Here’s the Stand-Out Stat for August 2017: Median Time to Sale for Single Family Homes was 63 days down 13.7% from 73 days in August 2016.
Tesla Installs First Solar Roofs
The roofs were first announced last October, with online orders beginning in May. The carmaker’s new solar roof tiles are made to resemble regular roofing.
Homeownership Rate Rebounds from 50-Year Low
Good news for Real Estate… The U.S. homeownership rate may have finally bottomed out, as the share of Americans who own homes is steadily climbing.
Florida Consumer Confidence Rises 1.5 Points in July
Consumer sentiment among Floridians hit its second-highest level since 2002. Of the five components that make up the index, three increased and two decreased.
[Inman News] DENVER — Every year, the Counselors of Real Estate (CRE) surveys its members to discover what the most pressing issues facing the real estate industry might be.
Yesterday, at the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) conference in Denver, CRE chair Scott Muldavin unveiled a list of the 10 challenges the industry will face.
“As real estate agents, we’re all futurists,” said Muldavin, pointing out that purchasing a home, securing a mortgage and even signing a lease are all activities that require some thought about the future.
In a departure from previous years, Muldavin started the list with the item that CRE members think is the most pressing one for the industry to face right now.
1. Political polarization and global uncertainty
“Today we’re going to start at the top because political polarization and global uncertainty is an issue that permeates almost all the other issues,” Muldavin explained.
He noted that resurging nationalism, threats to the European Union and the possibility of war with Iran or North Korea — plus uncertainty relative to trade deals — are all contributing to this challenge.
“There are a lot of unintended consequences,” he noted.
Political polarization and global uncertainty have a particular impact on trade, so port, gateway and coastal communities might find themselves with economic or other problems that they haven’t yet had to tackle.
Add to that the fact that the consumer price index, home prices and interest rates are all rising, mortgages are less affordable and communities are increasingly polarized, and you can see how this issue would affect homeownership on an individual and national scale.
2. The technology boom
“One of the biggest booms today is actually the boom in applications,” said Muldavin, noting that in 2011, $186 million was spent on real estate tech applications, and that number had ballooned to $2.7 billion in 2016.
“This move is going to change every aspect of buying, selling and managing real estate,” he said.
Technology will affect home sales in the following ways:
3. Generational disruptions
The two biggest generations in the United States — millennials and baby boomers — have very different challenges and varying priorities and needs when it comes to housing, and that gets especially squirrelly when the two groups need to share living spaces.
This means that office, public and residential living spaces should be designed with the demands of both groups in mind, whenever possible, to meet the needs of this side-by-side generational workforce.
And while young renters and buyers have income limits and are marrying and moving to the suburbs later in life, older owners are downsizing and selling so they can move back to the cities.
4. Retail disruption
“This is not exactly a new issue that the retail markets are having a problem,” said Muldavin.
“Between 1970 and today, malls grew at twice the rate of the population.” He noted that the United States has 40 percent more retail space than Canada, five times more than the United Kingdom and 10 times more than Germany. That’s…a lot, especially when you combine it with the wonders of shopping online.
So is it any surprise that so many retail storefronts are closing up shop?
“Retail’s not dying,” assured Muldavin, “but people like experiences” — so current retail stores might be converted to climbing gyms, offices or what Muldavin calls “omnichannel” stores.
And this will all roll up to impact residential real estate; properties within walking distance will be within high demand, and retail disruption can be a residential value determinant, so it’s unwise to ignore it.
5. Infrastructure investment
“Infrastructure is a long-term problem relative to our competitiveness,” said Muldavin, and it’s another one we can’t ignore — it won’t fix itself and it’s only going to keep deteriorating.
He discussed the the infrastructure plan outlined by the Trump administration and said it would push funds into public transportation and other important infrastructure projects.
However, infrastructure projects of this scope are typically taken on when unemployment is relatively high — which it is definitely not right now; we’re at an unemployment rate of 4.3 percent in the U.S., the lowest since 2001.
So where are those infrastructure workers going to come from, and how much will they need to be paid?
There are commercial opportunities for fund management, plus advantages for ports and communities that support global transportation routes, and more infrastructure likely means more jobs (and therefore more money to buy a home), better access to housing and work and other necessary places, improved utilities, improved delivery of goods and more.
“The losers are going to be rural areas, water, electrical grids, parks — anything that doesn’t have a direct public source,” Muldavin said.
6. Housing: The big mismatch
“Affordability is a big issue, but in Cleveland you can still buy a house for $80,000,” Muldavin noted. “So affordability’s not a problem everywhere. The places where jobs are being created, you have huge affordability issues. What they really need to do is get jobs moving to where we have housing that’s affordable.”
This is just one example of the big housing mismatch. Others include:
7. Lost decades of the middle class
Middle class wages haven’t grown in 20 years, Muldavin noted.
“We have a real challenge in this and it has significant implications for real estate relative to homebuying.”
Is it any surprise that homeownership rates have dropped? Muldavin said that they’re forecasted to go even lower — to 60 percent or below. “We’re not expecting a homebuying boom,” he said.
8. Real estate’s emerging role in health care
Is anyone in the U.S. (aside from perhaps pharmaceutical companies) happy with the state of health care? Muldavin noted that we spend $3 trillion on health care every year in this country, and our outcomes rank 50 out of 55 developed countries surveyed. “We’re not getting a lot done,” Muldavin said, “and real estate has a key role in turning this around.”
That includes both increased health care infrastructure — urgent care centers, ambulatory care centers, clinics and other health care-related locales are popping up to help alleviate the burden from hospitals — and buildings themselves can help enhance and promote our health.
There are programs that can control carbon dioxide and lighting levels, for example, to promote alertness and align with circadian rhythms for better sleep.
“The problem with immigration and the polarization is we don’t have a comprehensive strategy,” said Muldavin.
There are, of course, implications of toughening the borders against immigration:
10. Climate change
Muldavin explained that whether or not you believe in rising sea levels and climate change, it’s going to affect real estate — because new scientific algorithms might convince other people that your property will soon be (literally) underwater.
“It doesn’t even have to be true for it to affect real estate,” he said.
Muldavin lives in the San Francisco Bay Area by the water, and he explained that his big concern is less about his property and more about how he gets there (and leaves).
“If the access road floods now, I can’t get to my house today,” he said. If it gets worse….
“Even if it’s wrong, the perceptions can affect values a lot,” he said “and particularly for baby boomers when your home is such a huge part of your equity and investment, are you going to take a huge risk and not sell or move?”
Dodd-Frank Law Is Falling Short…
New evidence shows that on a few key measures, the Dodd-Frank law hasn’t put new market pressure on large banks, and that it’s also failed to protect consumers.
Mortgage math doesn’t have to be intimidating!
Here are the numbers you need to know, broken down into simple terms:
Greenspan: Axe Dodd-Frank and Watch Economy Soar
“If you get rid of Dodd-Frank, it’s going to have a very significant positive impact on the economy,” ~Greenspan
Cheaper Mortgages Could Spur Housing Market.
Will the drop to 3.97% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage encourage home buyers?
Homes are flying off fast this spring in the ‘strongest seller’s market ever’
Spring homebuyers are pounding the pavement at a furious pace, but the pickings are getting ever slimmer.
New York Times’ Moving Checklist
• Take a deep breath. Moving is a big step with a bigger transition to follow.
• Decide how you’ll manage the move. If you’re hiring a moving company, get quotes from at least three places, and check them out. If you’re moving far, arrange for transporting your car. If you’re going to do it yourself, figure out where you will get a truck and how much advance notice will be needed.
• Start pruning. What will stay? What will go? Start as far ahead as you can so that you will sort through the stuff instead of throwing it into a box and taking care of it at your new space. If you’re hiring someone to do the packing, ask them how they would prefer things to be sorted, if at all. This will give you an idea of what you will be trying to sell, too.
• Get packing materials. You can buy boxes, Bubble Wrap and packing tape, but keep an eye on your local Freecycle Network and the free section of Craigslist for people who have recently moved and are giving away boxes.
• If you’re selling a home, attack the inspection repair list. If you don’t have a regular plumber, contractor and/or electrician, it will take time to hire professionals. Closing day comes quickly. Keep all receipts for work in case the buyer asks for them at the closing.
• Change magazine subscriptions.
• Keep packing. There is more stuff than you will expect.
• If you’re moving into an apartment building, find out where the truck can park and if you need to make arrangements or reserve an elevator.
• If you’re selling furniture, make a plan for when and where to list the items for sale. You can probably live without that hutch if it sells on Craigslist in a flash, but not your bed.
• Schedule your change of address at the post office or at moversguide.usps.com.
• Change the address for whatever paper bills you get in the mail.
• Arrange to stop or transfer utilities. Whether you’re selling or buying, ask your broker what the title company will handle and what you should do yourself.
• Arrange for sitters for young children and pets on moving day.
• Other addresses to change: driver’s license and insurance cards (for yourself and your car if you have one). Also, make sure your prescriptions are changed to a local pharmacy or will be delivered to your new address if you get them by mail.
• Keep packing, but make sure to leave out what you’ll need on moving day, and anything else essential if it will take a while for you to be reunited with your stuff. Also, make sure those items are in luggage or boxes clearly marked “DO NOT MOVE.”
• Change or halt newspaper delivery and any other regular deliveries.
• Confirm the date and time of the move; discuss any changes because of possible bad weather, and what the company will and won’t take (plants are rarely moved, and they probably won’t take your fireworks either). If you’re moving into a building, confirm the elevator and parking situation.
• Pack up the food you’re taking with you. (For nonperishables you’re not bringing, donate them to a local food bank.
• Make sure your luggage and the “DO NOT MOVE” boxes are far from what the movers are taking.
• If you can, plan to be with the movers while they load the truck. Take whatever you consider nonreplaceable or too valuable to move with you (jewelry, wedding photos, your children), along with the documents you will need at the closing or move-in and the payment for the movers, plus tip. The American Moving and Storage Association recommends $10 a person for a half-day move and $20 per person for a full day.
• Sweep up behind you, and do one more check of the house, including the basement and attic.
A version of this article appears in print on April 2, 2017, on Page RE10 of the New York edition with the headline: Counting Down to Moving Day.