Zoom Towns on the Rise

Yes, you read the title of the article right – Zoom Towns.

But, what are they?

These “towns” are locations that have been booming due to remote work becoming more of a reality with the many changes COVID has brought.

While this surge might be temporary (as more businesses decide to bring back their employees again), the Zoom Town Boom could potentially reshape the idea of small towns. Millennials, being the biggest home purchasing generational group of 2020, has been the one to primarily fuel this new geographical change.

Many homebuyers and owners who once felt stifled by their work location, now feel as though they can live where they’ve always wanted – tourist destinations, like beach and mountain towns.

Moving away from large cities to Zoom Towns might help lower housing costs in what would be pricier areas.

Bloomberg has reported that, “these trends probably will become clearer in the next year or two […] it now seems likely that there will be a new group of winners such as Truckee, California and Missoula, Montana amid the shift to virtual work, transforming their housing markets, and local economies forever.”

Interested in moving to a Zoom Town? Comment below!

For more real estate news and trends, check out Alliance’s Blog here.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Agent Safety Tips

September is real estate agent safety month!

The National Association of Realtor’s have created list of safety tips to help agents better prepare for unknown situations, while also raising their confidence when out in the field.

Safety is of the upmost importance at all times – these tips can help you, as an agent, throughout the year! Check out their first five tips explained below:

Show Properties During the Day

Try your very best to show homes to your clients during the day. If that is not possible, be sure to tell your coworkers and supervisor and give them your contact information. While you’re at the home, do not close any blinds or turn off the lights.

Prep New Clients

A new client should meet you in the office with their Prospect Identification Form completed. Have them also bring a photocopy of their driver’s license as well – discard their personal information after you no longer need it.

Be Weary of Sharing Information

When you advertise your services, be careful not to give out more information than you have to. Do not include your home address, and do not use your full name. If you must use an address, use your company’s address.

Let Clients Guide

Let your client lead the way around the home you’re showing – never don’t lead them, but direct them from a position behind. You can gesture and let them know about the next room they will be entering.

Check Your Surroundings

When you’ve arrived at your destination, make sure you’re checking your surroundings. Make sure you’re parked in a well-lit and visible location, and that you can exit easily.

For more of NAR’s tips on safety, check out their article.

Real Estate Agent Safety

September is Realtor Safety Month, and the National Association of Realtors have released their 2020 Member Safety Report!

In most cases, real estate agents are having to show homes by themselves and to strangers – the report finds that 31% of agents feel unsafe during open homes or showings, and 27% said they feel unsafe when meeting a new client for the first time at a scheduled location or property.

Female real estate agents are more likely than men to take NAR’s course on safety in the field, at 33%, while only 21% of men have taken it. Of those who have taken the course, 79% reported feeling better prepared in unknown situations.

It also looks like female agents are more readily prepared to protect themselves than last year – in 2020, 50% of women are carrying a self-defense item, while 46% of male agents are doing the same. In 2019, 49% of female agents and 45% of male agents had some sort of self-defense weapon or tool.

For more on real estate agent safety, check out the NAR’s page here. Be sure to stop by Alliance’s blog to keep in the loop with all news!

Build and They Will Come – to Outlying Suburbs

Pre-pandemic, homeowners and future homebuyers were looking to purchase as close to the city as possible – but now, it seems as though the more space, the better.

Home construction in small-metro suburbs increased 10.6% in the second quarter on an annual average basis. Before the pandemic, 55% of purchases were centered on large metro areas, which made it difficult for builders to expand. Now that buyers are looking to spread out, building is predicted to boom.

What exactly are small-metro suburbs, you might ask? These areas are defined as “outlining counties” outside from urban areas that have less than 1 million population.

According to a Harris Poll, a third of Americans have considered moving to smaller populated areas, following the initial outbreak in mid-April.

With a mixture of home affordability, workers either part- or full-time, and the need for larger home space, single-family construction will be growing faster in these low-density markets.

Looking for more real estate news? Stop by Alliance’s Blog.

Millennials & the Housing Boom

Millennials are making strides in homeownership.

According to the Pew Research Center, millennials have now surpassed baby boomers as the largest living adult generation in the U.S.

And with being the largest living adult generation, comes homeownership. These younger home buyers in their 20s and 30s have become a major contribution towards assisting the real estate market’s rebound.

July saw a huge surge of existing-home sales by nearly 25% – which is the highest seasonally adjusted annual rate since December 2006. With historically low interest rates, the dream of homeownership has become reachable.

So, just how many homes are millennials predicted to purchase? First American Financial believes the generational group could purchase at least 15 million homes over the next decade.

Looking for more real estate news? Stop by Alliance’s Blog.

Cottagecore: The New Housing Trend?

COVID seems to be changing a lot of things – and how we style our homes has become one of them!

If you haven’t heard of “Cottagecore,” then you’re in for a treat. Cottagecore closely resembles “Hygge” and is meant to “embrace comfort and coziness to create a relaxing environment”.

Taylor Swift is a major representation for Cottagecore, especially when highlighting her newest album, “Folklore.” Her music videos and short clips “exemplifies the essence of the look: rustic cottage, wildflowers, [and] knitted blankets.”

So what are some ideas and décor you can use for your home to give it a “Cottagecore” feel? Check out some of these tips below:

  • A muted-color palette
  • Flowered Wallpaper
  • Botanical Bedding
  • Earthenware Mugs
  • Farmhouse Pitcher
  • Mason Jar Lights
  • Wood tones & textured pieces
  • Indoor Herb Garden
  • Reading Nook

Think: idyllic, peaceful, rustic, and vintage.

So, what do you think? Is the “Cottagecore” lifestyle the one for you? Comment below!

Stop – Construction Time! Real Estate Inventory Heats Up

2020, although not what real estate experts were expecting, is heating up with new real estate construction.

According to the National Association of Realtors, single-family and multifamily construction jumped 23% last month, which is the highest production rate since February.

Construction has reached its pre-pandemic peak, which marks a hopeful pivotal moment for inventory.

Single-family construction rose by 8.2% in July, and multifamily rose by 58.4%. This construction includes apartment buildings, condos, townhouses, duplexes, bungalows, etc.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist of the National Association of Realtors, predicts “inventory shortages will remain problematic for the reminder of the year, but will create a more balanced market for the housing supply in 2021.

Housing permits rose 18.8% in July – which is a great indicator for future construction.

Summer 2020: A Seller’s Market

COVID impacted real estate’s usual Spring purchasing season, but it looks like Summer has been the new replacement!

Real estate agents have been busier than ever with buyers and sellers entering the market these past summer months. According to the National Association of Realtors, contract signings have started off with a bang in August, with the most contract signings in the Midwest at 21%.

What do all these contract signings mean for buyers and sellers?

Fannie Mae’s most recent reports show that the percentage of people who believe it is a good time to sell increased 4% last month to 45%, which reflects a seller’s market.

Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, explains, “Supply constraints appear to be applying upward pressure to consumers’ home price expectations, which in turn has contributed to both a sharp reversal in optimism about whether it is a good time to buy a home and further improvement in home-selling sentiment.”

What will Fall look like for the real estate market? Experts will be keeping a sharp eye on how it all looks!

For more real estate news, check out Alliance’s Blog!

First-Time Home Buyer Savings Account – What is It?

Calling all future first-time home buyers!

Have you heard of the savings account that can help you reach your goal for a down payment on a home? There’s one specifically designed for first-time home buyers – so if you haven’t heard of this handy financial account, then listen up!

A first-time home buyer savings account (FHSA) is tax-advantaged and incentivizes home buyers to save toward their future home. These funds can be applied, on a tax-advantaged basis, towards the down payment and closing costs of your first home.

Each state has their own rules and regulations on how the FHSA can be applied, so it’s important that you check with your local bank to see what’s available.

FHSA’s are either one of the two models below, depending on your state:

  • Larger contributions; limited tax benefits
  • Limited contributions; greater tax benefits

Qualifications also vary by state, but there are no age restrictions on a first-time home buyer savings account.

Wanting to know what your state offers for a first-time homebuyer? Check out Nerd Wallet’s list here.

For more real estate guides and news, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

Signed & Closed: Home Sales Jump in June

The real estate market is dedicated to keeping buyers, sellers, agents, and all parties involved, safe during COVID – and keeping transactions flowing.

According to the National Association of Realtors, sales of existing homes jumped 21% in June compared with May. This is also the largest monthly gain since this data was first tracked back in 1968.

Sales might have been even higher, if there were more inventory to show. Existing homes available has fallen 18.2% annually and to 1.57 million homes for sale at the end of June.

Inventory problems isn’t new, but fortunately mortgage rates have been helping ease buyer tension. The median price of an existing home sold in June rose 3.5% annually to $295,300. Mortgage applications rose 19% annually last week.

Real estate experts will keep an eye on the market throughout the summer to better predict how the fall and winter months might look.

Want more real estate news? Stop by Alliance Title’s Blog!