February Real Estate Roundup

February Real Estate Roundup

Freddie Mac’s results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® shows that “mortgage rates fell for the third consecutive week, continuing the general downward trend that began late last year. Wages are growing on par with home prices for the first time in years, and with more inventory available, spring home sales should help the market begin to recover from the malaise of the last few months.”

• 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.35 percent with an average 0.5 points for the week ending February 21, 2019, down from last week when it averaged 4.37 percent. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.40 percent.

• 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.78 percent with an average 0.4 points, down from last week when it also averaged 3.81 percent. A year ago, at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.85 percent.

• 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.84 percent this week with an average 0.3 points, down from last week when it averaged 3.88 percent. A year ago, at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.65 percent.

9 Things That May Surprise You About Today’s Homebuyers

9 Things That May Surprise You About Today’s Homebuyers

Are you too young? Too old? Too single? Think you make too little money or don’t have enough for a down payment? Turns out, none of those factors may be standing in the way of buying a home. We’re going behind the numbers of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers to take a look at some surprising buyer statistics.

33%: That’s the percentage of total buyers for the year that were first-timers. That number is a tick down from 2017’s 34%, but still represents the largest share of homebuyers today. Hello, millennial invasion.

46: Then again…maybe it’s not only millennials, because 46 was the median age of all buyers for the year. It just goes to show that age is not a deterrent to buying a home, on either end of the spectrum.

13%: That was the median down payment of all buyers for the year. There goes that myth that you need 20% down to buy a home! Breaking that statistic down further, repeat homebuyers had an average down payment of 16% last year, but, for first-time buyers, that number was just 7%.

$250,000: That was the median purchase price of a home last year. Think homeownership is still out of reach at that number? Here’s a few more digits that may be surprising:

$91,600: That was the median household income of all buyers in the NAR report.
3.5%: That’s the minimum down payment required for a loan from the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), the most popular loan for first-time buyers in large part because of that low down payment requirement as well as generous credit score requirements.
$8,750: That’s 3.5% of $250,000. Buy a home at the median price, and that’s what you’ll have to come up with for an FHA loan.

18: That was the percentage of homebuyers who were single females last year. Additionally, 9% were single males, and 8% were unmarried couples. Who says you need to be married to buy a home?
12: That’s the percentage of homebuyers who bought a multigenerational home in 2018, “to take care of aging parents, because of children over the age of 18 moving back home, and for cost-saving,” said the NAR.

This is representative of a greater multigenerational trend across the country; The most recent data from the Pew Research Center in 2016 shows that, “A record 64 million people, or 20% of the U.S. population, lived with multiple generations under one roof.” The trend is strong across nearly all racial and age groups.

Top reason some adults move back home? Broken hearts

Top reason some adults move back home? Broken hearts

In the last few years, student loan debt and rising housing costs have been cited as the chief reasons why many young adults move back in with their parents. But a new Homes.com study suggests the real trigger may be a broken heart.

Since the Great Recession thwarted many millennials’ plans to move out on their own, an improving labor market has not done much to lure these young adults out of their parents’ houses. Why do they stay? In a recent survey of 500 “boomerang” millennials, 33 percent of 26- to 30-year-olds who moved back home cited a divorce or breakup as the primary reason; 37 percent of 31- to 35-year-olds and 24 percent of 36- to 40-year-olds said the same.

For millennials, it might be a combination of a breakup and unstable finances. Couples who live together often help each other financially by splitting housing costs, but post-breakup, the costs may be too much for one person to carry. Young adults may also be moving back home for emotional support to help them recover post-breakup.

“Home is a safe place a lot of times,” Grant Simmons, vice president of Homes.com, told CNBC. “Perhaps it’s just a safe place to get your act together and start fresh.”

Potential house hunters in the South – an area that includes Florida – may suffer the most heartache: 25 percent of survey respondents in the region saying they moved home due to the end of a relationship, followed by 20 percent in the Northeast, 17 percent in the Midwest, and 16 percent in the West.

Among all generations, the most commonly cited reason for moving back in with their parents was to save money for a home purchase, followed by a breakup or divorce. Other commonly cited reasons include unemployment and debt.

Of those who moved back home, 45 percent live in their childhood bedrooms, 12 percent sleep in the basement, 4 percent sleep in the living room and 2 percent move into the garage. About one in four (22 percent) pay rent to their parents, according to the Homes.com survey.

Moving back home is not always easy as an adult. Privacy and noise issues were the most commonly cited causes of household conflict, according to the survey.

Source: “This is the No. 1 Reason Young Americans Move Home With Their Parents – and It’s Not the Cost of Rent,” CNBC (Feb. 14, 2019) and “The Broken-Hearted Move Back Home,” The Wall Street Journal (Feb. 14, 2019)

© Copyright 2019 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

What does ‘I want a green home’ actually mean?

What does ‘I want a green home’ actually mean?

When buyers think of a green home, they think of features that will first save energy and second improve the quality of the air in the home, according to survey results released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) at the NAHB International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas last week.

NAHB surveyed nearly 4,000 homebuyers, both recent and prospective, on the types of features they prefer to have in their home, including eco-friendly components and designs.

To achieve their energy efficiency goals, buyers would most like to have windows and appliances rated Energy Star, efficient lighting (using less energy than traditional bulbs), and insulation higher than required by code.

More than half of homebuyers also find these indoor air quality features essential or desirable: a home dehumidification system, an electronic air cleaner and low volatile organic compound (VOC) materials.

“It’s confirmation that the most attractive green features for homebuyers are those that help them save money on energy costs as well as those that improve the air quality inside their homes,” says Rose Quint, associate vice president of survey research at NAHB.

Green features buyers don’t care about

A roof partially or completely covered by plants is the least appealing green feature – only 24 percent of buyers would want it in their next home. Many homebuyers are simply indifferent toward other green features, too, such as roof-mounted wind turbines, rainwater collection systems and recycled material or prefabricated building components.

It’s largely about the money

Consumers like the cost savings green features provide. Nearly half of homebuyers are willing to invest between $1,000 and $9,999 for $1,000 annual savings on their utility bills, with 37 percent willing to spend upward of $10,000. The average amount increases based on the price of the home, ranging from $6,653 for homes priced under $150,000, to $10,560 for homes valued at $500,000 or more.

Survey findings also show that most homebuyers would prefer a number of green options versus the non-green alternative: 74 percent would rather have features and finishes made of more expensive materials that last longer versus 26 percent who would prefer them to be made of cheaper materials that need to be replaced more often.

Similarly, 65 percent would opt for low-maintenance landscaping versus 35 percent who prefer a conventional lawn.

© 2019 Florida Realtors®

2019 may be best time to buy luxury vacation home

2019 may be best time to buy luxury vacation home

Real estate professionals say 2019 may be the best time to purchase a high-end vacation home – and they’re already seeing buyers pick up on the cues.

“We are seeing sales up in the resort areas, including Hawaii and Vail,” Stephanie Anton, president of Luxury Portfolio International, told forbes.com. She notes that sales and prices in Vail, Colo., are up over 25 percent from a year ago. “I think we are seeing people pulling money out of the stock market and buying these properties. … People are now so exhausted by today’s world, they are looking at vacation homes as total retreats to shut everything out.”

Vacation markets such as Cape Cod, Mass., and Palm Springs, Calif., are reporting an uptick in potential buyers looking for a retreat.

“Our market just turned in January, and we get really busy by March,” Erica Grossman, of Douglas Elliman Real Estate in New York’s Hamptons, told forbes.com. “Last year’s prices have been adjusted, depending on where you want to be in the Hamptons. Buyers who were sitting on the fence should come out and see what they can buy in their price range. Sellers are more realistic this year.”

Some luxury buyers are using their properties to then generate income from them when they’re not in use.

“When you are renting a luxury property, the guest expectation is very high,” says Andrew McConnell, CEO at rented.com. “You always must stay on top of maintenance. When you are decorating any vacation rentals, you have to be careful you don’t go too quirky or too cookie-cutter.”

Source: “2019 May Be the Best Time to Buy a Luxury Vacation Home,” forbes.com (Jan. 29, 2019)

© Copyright 2019 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

A guide: How to use real estate hashtags in social media

A guide: How to use real estate hashtags in social media

Hashtags are important when marketing a real estate business on social media – especially to millennials.

Combinations of letters, numbers and emoji starting with the # symbol categorize content on social media to make it more discoverable. Clicking on a hashtag or searching for a hashtag displays results with all the posts tagged with it.

A few hashtags real estate professionals should consider are:Set featured image

  • #[your location], which will help people searching for a home in their area
  • #[your location + school district], which will help parents looking for a new home in a particular school district
  • #[local attractions], avoiding hashtags for attractions that are not relevant to their listing
  • #[area + style], which helps if a buyer is looking for a specific type of home in the area
  • #[your brokerage], which makes it easy for searchers to find everything related to the brokerage in one place
  • #[generic, relevant words], like #DreamHome, #HouseGoals or other trendy hashtags that could increase the reach of their post

Tools like Hashtagify can suggest relevant hashtags and show how many people are using them. Agents should choose a hashtag that has a sizeable reach but not so big that their post gets lost in the noise.

They also should consider what their competitors are doing with hashtags and use some of the same ones so they’ll appear in similar search results.

As for the number of hashtags per post, TrackMaven found that Instagram posts with nine hashtags receive the most engagement, but Twitter posts with just one hashtag receive the most engagement.

Ultimately, agents should let the content of their post inform how many hashtags to use and ensure they are all relevant to the content they are posting.

Source: RISMedia (02/17/19) Petersen, Alexis

© Copyright 2019 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688