March 26th, 2018

Infrastructure builds the future of real estate

Posted by at 11:58 am

As the population grows, so too does the need for infrastructure improvements – more roads, more pipelines, more electricity and more water distribution channels – but who pays the price? Look at the Monopoly board. Players buy up properties, then add houses and hotels. In the game, the two utilities, Water Works and the Electric Company, do not  increase in value, no matter what happens on the rest of the board. That’s not a realistic representation – no increase in size or value of infrastructure would likely cause chaos. But beyond serving homes, infrastructure also pumps the lifeblood of America, the movement of goods along roads, highways, railroads and runways. The nation’s framework is extensive, but is aging. Existing infrastructure was built using engineering safety standards based on extreme loads seen in the past centuries. Historic flooding, hurricanes, and wildfires of 2017 showed...
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February 23rd, 2018

A more multi-generational mindset

Posted by at 2:41 pm

Multi-generational living – defined as two or more adult generations or grandparents and grandchildren living together – has seen steep declines in the Western world – especially the U.S. Before World War II, American seniors often moved back in with adult children in their later years, or even with adult nieces or nephews. Think Aunt Bee on the Andy Griffith show. Similarly, single adult children often remained at home until they were married and could get their financial feet on the ground. Researchers say 50 percent of U.S. homes were multi-generational prior to 1900. But around 1945, American ideals began shifting. The growing Social Security program gave senior citizens more freedom to choose privacy and independence. The suburban lifestyle was more suitable for two married adults and their minor children. If you weren’t on your own by age 18, you...
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Interactive sites help Millennials make moves

Posted by at 2:34 pm

Trying to appeal to the potential homebuyer in today’s Millennial? Better promise them more than great customer service – they prefer solutions over promises. During their initial home search, chances are they won’t return your call or call a customer service department. As with every problem or need, they’ll first turn to Google. Millennials feel better about your business when you make it easy to do things online, by themselves, on their schedule. Millennial home shoppers are not only tech-savvy, they’re tech-bred. They use mobile devices for everything – from planning vacations to researching stocks to checking the Twitter status of celebs. It’s not a stretch to say these folks probably couldn’t conduct home buying or other personal financial management without the aid of a digital device, even if they wanted to. Already the largest and fastest-growing cohort among home-buyers, they’ll soon be claiming complete...
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Concentrate on the Positives

Posted by at 8:51 am

As America heads into the big spring selling season, all signs point to a robust housing market in 2018. Demand is high and homebuilders are upbeat. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) confidence gauge is at its highest level in 18 years. Record numbers of home shoppers are packing sales centers and open houses. The pace of annual construction spending soared to a record $1.257 trillion in November, and starts of single-family homes and building applications are the strongest in a decade. But will vigorous construction be enough to offset exceptionally weak inventory? With new and existing home sales skyrocketing, the national inventory is pegged at just 3.4 months, the shortest timeframe since 1999, and far short of the 6-month supply considered necessary for a healthy housing balance. Home builders say they’ll concentrate more on affordable housing in 2018, but...
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January 23rd, 2018

Autonomous cars driving housing’s future?

Posted by at 11:29 am

The idea of self-driven cars may evoke diabolical visions of the “rise of machines,” – the first step to robots becoming humanity’s overlords. Try to look deeper. Imagine a morning commute where there’s no one on cellphones, or applying makeup, or otherwise swerving wildly while they operate deadly machinery. The human element is confined – stress free – to passenger status, free to prep for meetings, nap, watch TV, or do whatever, without lousing up traffic with imperfect decision making. Free from reactive thinking, studies show just a few robotic cars help improve traffic flow. While it’s difficult to quantify the overall impact before automated cars actually arrive, there’s little doubt that these computerized rides – capable of billions of calculations a second – will be superior drivers to their all-too-human counterparts. Besides the obvious effects on traffic, there is...
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December 29th, 2017

New bit on the block

Posted by at 9:48 am

In 2013, a Long Island, NY, homeowner made headlines by announcing he would take Bitcoin offers on his Southampton home. But today, the idea of using virtual money is gaining traction across the financial realm. Several major retailers, including Overstock.com, Expedia.com and Microsoft now accept Bitcoin for some or all transactions, and the world’s largest futures exchange – CME – launched a Bitcoin futures contract Dec. 18. Created about a decade ago, Bitcoin is based on an accounting software known as the blockchain. Unlike other currencies, Bitcoin and other so-called “crypto-currencies” are not regulated by a central banking authority. They exist only in cyberspace, and were conceived as a way to easily conduct international transactions. No matter what you think of the cryptocurrency craze – and things are getting crazy – the blockchain technology appears here to stay – and...
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Seniors no longer a niche market

Posted by at 1:17 pm

Fueled by the baby-boomer generation, the population of Americans 65 and older is growing exponentially, and will become a major part of the housing and mortgage industries over the next several decades. According to the latest report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, one out of three U.S. households in 2035 will be headed by someone over 65. That’s an estimated 79 million people! Real estate agents and mortgage lenders who plan sales strategies with an eye on the aging will doubtlessly see more success. One unexpected backlash of the exodus to the suburbs over the last 40 years is the growing number of retirees realizing their neighborhoods no longer fit their needs. In a recent survey from Freddie Mac, seniors said they need major renovations in order to stay in their current homes as they age –...
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November 13th, 2017

Unused garages causing parking issues

Posted by at 10:15 am

Almost as long as there have been cars, there have been garages, and by the late 1950s, the attached garage had almost completely replaced the outbuilding model. At first, garages were actually reserved for cars, keeping the car dry and warm and protecting the paint job with no need for morning defrosts in cold weather. But somewhere around 1980 – no one is exactly sure –  garages turned another corner. They pretty much stopped being for cars. People had always stored a few items in garages, but over time they had become full-fledged storage rooms (sometimes full of junk). Slowly, the car got pushed out. According to a 2001 UCLA study, only about 25 percent of American homeowners still parked their cars inside. In the meantime, homes with three or more vehicles shot up 872% between 1969 and 2001. With...
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October 26th, 2017

2018 Housing market: A New Frontier?

Posted by at 12:06 pm

Heading into the back stretch of 2017, analysts predict more of the same for the 2018 housing market – moderate economic growth, solid job gains and low mortgage interest rates. Same old, same old – or is it? Could new construction rev up the housing market wrapping up the second decade of the 21st Century? Economists say low supply is driving high prices right now, but homes are selling fast; continuing to average 30 or fewer days on the market. Some potential buyers have acceded to  the sticker shock, but in most markets, they’ve shown a willingness to spend more. Builders report first-time buyers are skipping the traditional starter home and jumping straight to that new, move-up home instead. Waiting longer to buy a first home has increased the median age of a first-time homebuyer, and many are already higher...
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Mismatched marketplace

Posted by at 11:26 am

The record-low supply of homes for sale continues to be a nationwide trend, due mostly to a mismatch with buyer demand. Sales inventory tumbled 8.9 percent nationally between 2016 and 2017, and as of Q2 2017, had fallen for  nine consecutive quarters. Bidding wars are to be expected with most offers, especially in larger metropolitan areas and their suburbs. However, the competition is mostly born out of a lack of homes at the low end of the market, where there is most demand. After the housing crisis, investors bought up a huge percentage of the existing starting home inventory, perhaps thinking of “flipping” the homes when prices recovered. But today, those investors are collecting high rents on those homes, leaving little incentive to sell. The remaining starter homes are in huge demand. New construction isn’t filling the void. While homes priced between $200,000 and $250,000...
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