There’s No Place like the City

Toto’s definitely not in Kansas anymore.

Rural areas are dwindling as more and more residents move into cities. According to a recent report from Trulia, metros have seen a commanding growth in jobs and home prices, while rural areas have been dwindling.

While this trend began well before the recession, the study shows that the move to metro areas have increased in recent years. The theory comes from people withdrawing from isolated areas and gathering in more of a weightier employment center.

As most homebuyers have seen, this has put an incredible amount of pressure on the housing demand in cities. Trulia’s report found that home values in the largest metro areas from mid-2012 to mid-2018 grew 53.1%, whereas rural counties saw a 27.9% increase in home value.

A population rise in cities = a mismatched market for homebuyers. Home values have been steadily increasing in these metro areas, with very little construction making headway. Luxury homes seem to still be available, but homebuyers looking for starter homes in the city are feeling the pinch.

There’s no place like home – and to many – finding a home in the city has been quite the challenge.

A Rise in Home Value and a Latte, Please

Coffee: it does more than just help you get out of bed in the morning – it also helps your home value.

A recent study released by Harvard Business School found that when a Starbucks pops up in your neighborhood, your home can increase by 0.5% within a year.

The conclusions from the study pinpoint how the expansion of restaurants, bars, cafés, grocery stores, and Starbucks chains can be a sign of gentrification. However, the study argues that these openings don’t necessarily attract affluent residents – but rather, how these openings mesh in with the neighborhood.

The study explains, “The most natural hypothesis to us is that restaurants respond to exogenous changes in neighborhood composition, not that restaurant availability is driving neighborhood change.”

If you’re a realtor, or in the process of thinking about selling your home, it might be worth seeing what new construction might be coming near the neighborhood. It’s important to know how to market your home to potential buyers, and if the neighborhood is changing, your approach might need to change.

And who knows? You might just see a spike in caffeine and home value.

2020 Brings Clear Vision – and a New Real Estate Market

It seems as though economists are quite convinced of their upcoming vision for the year 2020.

The housing market is still a seller’s paradise – with slow construction and aging-in-place homeowners, buyers are having to seriously compete for the house of their dreams.

According to real estate economists surveyed by Zillow and Pulsenomics LLC, the industry won’t switch to a buyer’s market until at least 2020. About 75% of 100 economists agree with the statement.

Some signs that the market is still favoring sellers: inventory dropping and home value appreciation rising. The data also shows that home values are expected to rise to an additional 5.9% at the end of 2018.

We’ll have to wait to see if their predictions are correct; but as for now, it looks like sellers will be holding the cards for a little while longer.

Staying Safe on the Job

September is right around the corner – and since 2003, the National Association of REALTORS® has devoted the month as REALTOR® Safety Month.

NAR’s 2017 Member Safety Report shows that 44% of females and 25% of males have experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or safety of their personal information.

It’s easy to fall into a routine and let your guard down – we’ve all been guilty of becoming a little lazy in some shape or form. But it’s always important to refresh your thinking and list out positive and simple methods to make sure you’re feeling safe and secure while on the job.

Meet in a public space. Have a “second meeting only” policy – the first time you meet your clients should either by in your office or another public location before agreeing to a private showing. This allows you an opportunity to evaluate them and for your intuition to do some work. Always require that your clients bring some form of identification that you can file (but be sure to discard properly when no longer needed).

Tell others where you’ll be. Before attending your open house or your showing, be sure to let your colleagues, friends, or family members know of your location. Give them the name of your client and the address you are planning to meet at. NAR’s Safety Report also demonstrated that 28% of Realtors use the “Find my iPhone feature” when out for the job.

Allow your clients to lead. When walking through the property, it’s safer to let them guide you through the house, rather than yourself. By having them lead, you are able to always have them in view.

Be mindful of exits. Always know where you can quickly exit and avoid showing basements or attics. This goes hand-in-hand with being mindful of where the property keys are!

Listen to your gut. If you feel as though something is off, or you feel uncomfortable, follow your intuition. You know the saying, “better to be safe than sorry.”

Millennials, Who? Gen Z, the New Crowd in Real Estate

Drum roll please….there’s a new generation entering the housing market: Generation Z. Those born between 1995 and 2010 already comprise 21% of the American population, according to Zillow – and many of them already have their eye on the housing market. 62% of Gen Zers believe owning a home is a key staple of the American Dream.

So what generational trends will the housing market see?

For both commercial and home real estate, we’ll see things like: bigger communal spaces, smart home technology, minimalistic design, and eco-friendly construction.

Gen Zers are wanting spaces that actually serve a purpose other than just being. They’re looking for retail stores to offer opportunities to build relationships – through social media and in-house events – rather than just being looked at as another number.

In terms of office space, those that find themselves in Generation Z want less visual clutter and more opportunity to destress – think “quiet areas” and meditation rooms.

While Generation Z still doesn’t surpass the buying power of Millennials in real estate, developers are looking ahead – and already tailoring changes.

Not by the Hairs on our Chinny Chin Chin: Housing Market Stagnant

No big bad wolf will be able to huff and puff homeowners out of their home.

People are committing to staying in their homes for a longer period of time – meaning most are opting to age in place.

The result has been causing a dramatic shift in the housing market. The National Association of Realtors released their 2017 Generational Trends Report and shared that Millennials were the largest share of homebuyers at 34% with 66% being first-time owners. Although Millennials are buying homes at a slower rate than past generations, they’re still very interested in owning a home.

After the recession, most homeowners have been hesitant to move after locking down their current mortgage rate. According to Freddie Mac, sellers on average are living in their home for 10 years or more before selling – a rise in 5 years since the early 2000s.

Since 2014, this gap has only continued to grow. It seems as though most homeowners are deciding to renovate their homes rather than purchasing a newer one.

What does this mean – New home construction slows and house prices continue to rise for starter homes. Repeat buyers are seeing a rebound in equity – which is usually a good thing – but it seems to be hurting the younger generations who are desperately wanting to own.

To Avoid or Not Avoid Escrow Impound Accounts?

Let’s get one thing straight: those extra shipping fees that are accumulated after adding up your shopping cart can make any grown adult question their decision to purchase.

But should homebuyers debate avoiding escrow impound accounts to potentially save money on monthly and upfront fees?

United Wholesale Mortgage is releasing a new program that will allow loan applicants to decline escrow accounts when finalizing their home mortgages. This move seems to be raising a lot of eyebrows and prompting many questions.

While it does seem attractive to not add on further costs upfront or on a monthly basis, it does open the door for possible financial issues – specifically for borrowers who are just looking for cost savings on their mortgage and not the actual big picture. Escrow impounds allow you to feel secure and confident with your financial responsibilities in paying your taxes and insurance – yes, those extra shipping fees aren’t the most fun, but it might just allow you to have peace of mind in enjoying your new home.

Best Cities for Housing Markets

Being a first-time homebuyer can be a scary feat; especially if you’re petrified of becoming a carbon-copy of Walter Fielding Jr. in The Money Pit. But don’t fret – luckily, WalletHub recently released their findings on the best and worst cities for first-time home buyers in 2018.

An unsuspecting city landed in the top five best cities: Boise, Idaho! In actuality, it shouldn’t be too startling of news after Forbes announced Boise as the fastest-growing area in the U.S. back in February.  Boiseans, rejoice!

WalletHub compared 300 cities of various sizes and used 27 assorted metrics to rank the cities by groups of affordability, real estate market, and quality of life.

According to the study, the top five cities with the best housing markets for first-time home buyers are:

  1. Broken Arrow, OK
  2. Tampa, FL
  3. Centennial, CO
  4. Boise, ID
  5. Grand Rapids, MI

Of course, who wouldn’t want to live in the Treasure Valley? If you’re a first-time homebuyer in the market, why not venture to Boise and see all that it has to offer?


Smart Home Harassment

Smart home harassment or abuse is something you might not hear of often. Alarmingly, those devices you install in your home to make your life easier can be turned against you. Have a look at this article from Engadget for the pros and cons of having a smart home and what to do to prevent smart home harassment:



Connecting With Diverse Buyers

Millennials make up the majority of the buyers in today’s market and within that group comes diversity of all types. It’s important to know how to connect with those buyers because chances are they’re purchasing their first home and it won’t be their last. Have a look at this article from MReport for 3 tips on connecting with diverse buyers:

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