5 Popular Trends in New-Home Construction

5 Popular Trends in New-Home Construction

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS

What building materials are trending in new-home construction? The latest Annual Builder Practices Survey, conducted by Home Innovation, reveals what buyers can expect to see in the new-home market.

  1. Garages: The garage door is getting more enhancements, including windows, insulated doors, and doors made of composite or plastic materials. In 2014, 32 percent of all new single-family homes had bays for three or more cars—the most ever recorded in this study’s history.
  1. Flooring: Carpeting continues to be the most popular flooring option for new construction, with about 83 percent of all new-home bedroom installations having carpeting. However, only about 40 percent of living rooms now have carpet. Hardwood flooring – both solid and engineered types – is the second most popular type of flooring, and is included in 27 percent of all new-home installations. Ceramic tile (which appears in 72 percent of all bathroom floor installation) follows in third place, making up 20 percent of all new-home floor installations, according to the survey.
  1. Countertops: For kitchen countertops, granite continues to reign at 64 percent of new-home installations. Quartz/engineered stone is gaining popularity while laminate, solid surfacing, and ceramic tile are losing appeal.
  1. Appliances: Cooktops and wall oven combinations are gaining in popularity and make up about 24 percent of the market, compared to freestanding ovens (at 45 percent). Freezer-on-bottom refrigerators are gaining in popularity at 19 percent, while side-by-side has fallen to 28 percent of the share. 
  1. Kitchen sinks: More buyers are paying attention to their kitchen sink, with the single basin kitchen sink making a comeback, growing from 5 percent to 20 percent of all new single-family homes in the past decade. Also growing in popularity are granite/stone kitchen sinks (at 8 percent). One-piece cultured marble lavatories are continuing to decline in demand, according to the survey.

Source: “Material World: The Hottest Trends From the 2015 Builder Practices Survey,” BUILDER Online (July 29, 2015)

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New Rental Units Too Pricey for Most Renters

New Rental Units Too Pricey for Most Renters

Much of the recent multifamily construction has focused on the luxury segment, which is pricing renters out of the market, according to Harvard University Joint Center’s 2015 State of the Nation’s Housing Report.

The rising costs in multifamily development pushed the median asking rent for newly constructed rental units up to about $1,290 per month as of 2013. That marks an increase of $180 compared to 2012, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Meanwhile, the typical renters’ incomes rose by just $60 a month, going from $32,000 in 2012 to $32,700 in 2013, according to the American Community Survey.

In order to afford a standard new multifamily unit, a household would need to earn at least $51,440, according to JCHS. Less than a third of renters, however, earn this much.

In some areas, rental costs are even higher. JCHS’ report notes that 84 percent of new multifamily units in the Northeast and 67 percent of those in the West went for a monthly rate of $1,350 or higher in 2013. In fact, many units built in 2012 to 2013 rented for at least $2,000 per month – which would require an annual salary of at least $80,000.

In the South and Midwest, new units rented in the $1,350 range were only about a third of growth, which indicates a more even regional supply of new units by price.

“While new multifamily construction is easing some of the demand for new units, it is currently not sufficient to ease the broader affordability problems facing renters,” notes Elizabeth La Jeunesse, a research analyst, at the JCHS’ Housing Perspectives blog. “Closing the gap between what it costs to produce this housing, and what economically disadvantaged households can afford to pay, requires the persistent efforts of both the public and private sectors.”

Source: “New Multifamily Construction Is Out of Reach for Most Renters,” Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies’ Housing Perspectives Blog (July 30, 2015) DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS

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10 Housing Markets Fueled by Job Growth

10 Housing Markets Fueled by Job Growth

Job growth is propelling home appreciation in several housing markets across the country. Nearly 3 million jobs have been created in the past 12 months, notably among the 25 to 34 age group too.

“With more jobs, more people in the labor force, and higher wages materializing, this spring’s strong pace for home sales will continue,” writes Jonathan Smoke, chief economist of realtor.com, in recent commentary.

Realtor.com® singles out the following 10 markets as seeing some of the highest job creation in the past three years as well as above-average price appreciation.

  • Atlanta–Sandy Springs–Roswell, Ga.

Employment growth, 2011–2014: 1.7%

Median home price growth, 2011–2014: 20.3%

  • Austin–Round Rock, Texas

Employment growth, 2011–2014: 3.7%

Median home price growth, 2011–2014: 8.5%

  • Charlotte–Concord–Gastonia, N.C.–S.C.

Employment growth, 2011–2014: 2.7%

Median home price growth, 2011–2014: 8.4%

  • Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington, Texas

Employment growth, 2011–2014: 2.9%

Median home price growth, 2011–2014: 8.2%

  • Denver–Aurora–Lakewood, Colo.

Employment growth, 2011–2014: 2.9%

Median home price growth, 2011–2014: 10.8%

  • Grand Rapids–Wyoming, Mich.

Employment growth, 2011–2014: 4%

Median home price growth, 2011–2014: 9.8%

  • Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford, Fla.

Employment growth, 2011–2014: 3.6%

Median home price growth, 2011–2014: 12.5%

  • Salt Lake City, Utah

Employment growth, 2011–2014: 2.8%

Median home price growth, 2011–2014: 10.3%

  • San Francisco–Oakland–Hayward, Calif.

Employment growth, 2011–2014: 3.2%

Median home price growth, 2011–2014: 16.8%

  • San Jose–Sunnyvale–Santa Clara, Calif.

Employment growth, 2011–2014: 4.1%

Median home price growth, 2011–2014: 15.6%

Source: “The Top 10 Markets Powered by Serious Job-Creation Mojo,” realtor.com® (June 5, 2015)

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The Most Common Delays Toward Closing

The Most Common Delays Toward Closing

The majority of contracts – 64 percent — are settled on time with no delays to closing, but some REALTORS® acknowledge facing delays or even having contracts terminated for numerous reasons, according to the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey, a survey of more than 1,500 REALTORS®. Twenty-six percent of REALTORS® surveyed identified a delay to settlement, while 10 percent said they have even had a contract terminated prior to closing.

About 60 percent of REALTORS® reported some type of issue on their contract in April. For example, 12 percent of REALTORS® identified a financing issue; 8 percent had home inspection problems surface; and 7 percent had an appraisal issue. Three percent of REALTORS® also identified issues buying/selling distressed property; titling and deed issues; or with contingencies stated in the contract.

“It is surprising that in a ‘tight’ and ‘difficult’ credit environment, only 12 percent of contracts that were reported to have settled or terminated had financing issues,” economists at the National Association of REALTORS® report. “One explanation may be that potential home buyers are deciding to sit on the sidelines for now, so these buyers were not captured in the data.”

Source:”64 Percent of Contracts Are Settled on Time,” National Association of REALTORS® Economists’ Outlook Blog (June 8, 2015)

 

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Who Can Make Housing Affordable?

This is a hot topic around the water cooler these days. 

Who Can Make Housing Affordable?

Though the majority of Americans believe local, state, and federal governments are taking the issue of housing affordability seriously, they still remain pessimistic about the future, according to a survey conducted by the MacArthur Foundation.

The annual How Housing Matters survey, conducted in April and May and reflecting the opinions of 1,401 adults nationwide, found that while there have been some improvements on perceptions of housing, 61 percent think the housing crisis isn’t over. One in five believes the worst is still ahead.

The MacArthur Foundation also looked at economic mobility, elements of the middle-class lifestyle, Millennials in the housing market, and how governments provide policies related to affordable housing. Here are some of the survey’s overall findings:

Americans’ perception of the value of home ownership has slightly improved from last year, and they continue to show a strong desire to own a home.

Fifty-six percent of Americans believe buying a home is an excellent long-term investment and one of the best ways to build wealth and assets, up from 50 percent last year. Seventy percent say buying a home is somewhere between a low and high priority, with 43 percent reporting high priority. Among those who reported a high priority, 53 percent are Millennials.

Americans are pessimistic about economic mobility, especially Millennials desiring a middle-class lifestyle.

Seventy-nine percent of respondents believe middle-class households fall into a lower economic class more often than low-income households rise to the middle class. Respondents say the top three most important factors of the middle-class lifestyle are a stable, decent-paying job (56 percent), affordable housing and owning a home (31 percent), and education beyond high school (30 percent).

Among Millennials, the biggest roadblocks to achieving the middle-class lifestyle are saving for retirement, owning a home, decent wages, and finding affordable housing.

Affordable housing is a serious problem, especially among Millennials and minorities.

Thirty-six percent of Americans believe housing affordability is a very serious problem, and 24 percent believe it is a fairly serious problem, according to the survey. People ages 50 to 64 are the most pessimistic, with 69 percent believing it is a very or fairly serious problem.

Seventy-two percent think Millennials who are left behind in terms of home ownership is a very, fairly, or moderately large problem. Sixty-one percent think the same about African-Americans and Hispanics.

Fifty-five percent of respondents have made at least one trade-off to afford housing compared to 45 percent who have made none.

  • Twenty-one percent have taken a second job and worked more hours.
  • Seventeen percent stopped saving for retirement.
  • Fourteen percent accumulated credit card debt.

Americans want government officials to make housing a priority but see them as falling short on creating change.

Seventy-five percent believe the federal government should make housing affordability at least a moderately high priority, but only 43 percent think it does. Seventy-nine percent believe local and state governments should make housing affordability at least a moderately high priority, yet 54 percent think they actually do.

On the other hand, 53 percent of respondents say solutions to housing affordability problems aren’t really the responsibility of the government. Forty-six percent of Millennials, though, say the federal government should be involved.

Many Americans have conflicting views of how the federal government should act due to three issues:

  • They don’t have a clear idea of what exactly the government could do to improve housing.
  • They have a lack of confidence that the government could make housing affordability policies that positively affect people.
  • They prefer private or local government over the federal government when it comes to addressing affordable housing problems.

Source: MacArthur Foundation

 

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Why Renters May Be Losing Out

Why Renters May Be Losing Out

Americans are better off buying than renting in the majority of places across the U.S., but the number of renters continues to be at record highs.

Realtor.com® finds that it’s cheaper to buy rather than rent in 80 percent of the counties in the U.S. That’s because renters continue to face sharp price increases. A record number of renting households are leading to fewer apartment vacancies, which in turn is continuing to push rents upward, notes Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist, in recent commentary at realtor.com®.

But many renters – with home ownership aspirations – are struggling to break into the housing market. Indeed, 81 percent of renters indicate they would prefer to own a home if they could afford to do so, according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Household Economics and Decision making. Fifty percent of renters reported that they lack the funds for a down payment and 31 percent of renters say they could not qualify for a mortgage.

Other reasons given for renting included 27 percent of renters saying it was cheaper for their household; 25 percent who thought renting was more convenient; and only 12 percent said they rented because they preferred it over owning.

The amount of income renters may have influenced their responses for why they choose to rent. For example, for renters earning less than $40,000 year, their top responses on why they rent were because they were unable to save for a down payment (52%) or qualify for a mortgage (35%). On the other hand, for renters who earn more than $100,000 a year, their top responses for renting were because they believed renting was more convenient (39%) or they preferred renting to owning (17%). Twenty-nine percent in the $100,000 and up earner group said they plan on moving in the near term.

Source: “Federal Reserve Report on Household Economic Well-Being,” National Association of Home Builders Eye on Housing Blog (June 10, 2015) and “Midyear Report: The Housing Market Is on Track for Its Best Year Since 2006 (and it Ain’t a Bubble,” realtor.com® (June 10, 2015)

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Housing on Track for Best Year Since 2006

For those currently active in the real estate market – this is no big surprise. Demand is hot, low supply is only fueling this market.  Today, August 1, the rules change – we are curious how it will effect the market.  Enjoy this article from the Daily Real Estate News.

Housing on Track for Best Year Since 2006

The residential real estate market, now at its midpoint in 2015, is on track for its best year since the peak of the housing bubble in 2006, notes realtor.com® chief economist Jonathan Smoke. But as Smoke is quick to point out, this time it’s not a housing bubble.

That’s because job growth is fueling the most recent climb in demand for homes. More than 3 million jobs have been created in the past 12 months.

As job growth increases, demand has followed. Homes are selling more quickly. The median age of inventory from homes on the market nationwide in May was 66 days – eight days faster than last year. Some markets are even seeing inventory move in just 18 to 45 days too, realtor.com® notes.

“A rapidly declining age of inventory signals that demand is growing more rapidly than supply,” Smoke writes in commentary at realtor.com®. “Indeed, we’ve had 32 months in a row of existing-home inventory at less than a six months’ supply. That’s why we’re also seeing above-normal price appreciation.”

Median home prices rose 9 percent in April year-over-year. Home owners are seeing strong gains in equity lately.

At the real estate’s market current level of growth, total home sales this year could near 6 million, which is near the peak seen in 2006, Smoke notes.

Source: “Midyear Report: The Housing Market Is on Track for Its Best Year Since 2006 (and it Ain’t a Bubble),” realtor.com® (June 10, 2015)

 

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