Showing posts from March, 2019

Mast Bath Linen Closets Are In Demand

In today’s master baths, home buyers are looking for a variety of features, including shower stalls, soaking tubs, and double vanities, but NAHB’s recently released  What Home Buyers Really Want  report reveals linen closets in the bathroom take first place in the most-wanted features list. According to the survey of prospective home buyers, 78% expressed interest in the feature, with 52% listing it as “desirable” and 26% saying it’s an “essential/must have.” NAHB’s Carmel Ford has additional details below. Two other features were rated as essential/must have or desirable by at least 70 percent of home buyers: ‘both shower stall & tub in master bath’ (73 percent); and a ‘double vanity’ (71 percent). It is important to note that these two features have the highest shares of home buyers rating them as essential/must haves (32 percent each), more than any other bathroom feature listed in the survey. Another four features were rated essential/must have or desirable by at least 60

Mortgage Rates Take A Dive

Today's data from Freddie Mac, shows the 30-year fixed-rate average dropping to 4.06%, and the average point charge falling to 0.5. The change in the fixed rate was the largest one week drop in ten years. The previous rate was 4.28% and a year ago the rate was 4.4%. The current rate is at its lowest level in 14 months. The 15-year fixed-rate average sank to 3.57 percent, with an average 0.4 point. It was 3.71 percent a week ago and 3.9 percent a year ago. The five-year adjustable-rate average dropped to 3.75 percent, with an average 0.3 point. It was 3.84 percent a week ago and 3.66 percent a year ago. Rates have fallen substantially in the past four months. After hitting a seven-year high of 4.94 percent in November, the 30-year fixed-rate average has gone down nearly a percentage point, falling 88 basis points. (A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.) Global and domestic economic concerns are driving rates lower. The Federal Reserve’s announcement last week that it was

Homeowners Are Craving Outdoor Kitchens

Homeowners are craving outdoor cooking spaces this upcoming spring season, says the American Institute of Architects’ latest Home Design Trends Survey. From higher-end outdoor cabinetry with beverage dispensers to grills with connectivity, owners are looking to extend a home’s indoor features to the outside. Indoor kitchens were also a hot feature for architects, the study showed, with the number of kitchen projects increasing. At the same time, the sizes of those rooms remained stable. Wine refrigerators and wine storage jumped 10 percentage points on the popularity list. Smart home features in the kitchen grew by five percent. Recycling centers and butler’s pantries also grew slightly, while double islands dropped by seven percent. Induction cooking and undercounter appliances also dropped slightly. Concealed lighting – e.g., as you’d find under wall cabinets – was listed as a popular feature. So was mixing countertop materials. Door-less, no threshold showers lead

FHA Clamping Down On New Mortgages

The Federal Housing Administration told lenders this month it would begin flagging more loans as high risk. Those mortgages, many of which are extended to borrowers with low credit scores and high loan payments relative to their incomes, will now go through a more rigorous manual underwriting process, the FHA said. FHA-backed borrowers are a critical buyer universe for home builders, especially those builders whose products and communities serve the needs of rising rent refugees, and would-be homeowners who can't access decent options in an existing home marketplace that offers very little at the low end of the price continuum. The FHA's chief risk officer Keith Becker, the WSJ reports, estimates that as many as 40,000 or 50,000 potential borrowers--4% to 5% of FHA-insured mortgages--will be "affected" as the agency tightens lending standards via its Total Mortgage Scorecard to reduce exposure to failed loans. This new Total Mortgage Scorecard algorithm will li

Demand For Closet Organizers Growing

Demand for home organization products used in closets will increase 4.8% annually until 2023,  according to a forecast released  by  The Freedonia Group . Home organization products are primarily used for storage and, as such, closets are the rooms where the largest amount of organization products are used. Demand for home organization products for all rooms is projected to reach $12.7 billion in 2023, on 3.8% annual gains, according to The Freedonia Group. The Cleveland-based research group says the market segment will benefit from a growing housing stock, increasing the number of bedrooms and closets, continued trends towards larger closets, the added value of a closet with high-end home organization products, and the desire for more closet space and organization. Further demand growth will result from downsizing and decluttering lifestyle trends, the growing market for products that offer customizeable features, and a strong construction and remodeling sector.

Warmer Weather Will Hurt Ski Home Values

With rising global temperatures, the western parts of the U.S. are starting to experience shorter snow sport seasons. Resorts, like Colorado-based Vail Resorts, have developed ways of keeping revenue streaming, but home values in these mountain villages are at risk.  CNBC ’s Diana Olick says values near ski resorts could drop by at least 15% by 2050. Lower elevation ski areas, like  Utah ,  Idaho , and  Nevada , are especially at risk and could fall as much as 55%. Josh Lautenberg sells multimillion dollar homes in the Vail area, some of which are used for just a few winter months each year. He was stunned by the poor conditions to start last year’s ski season. “That was the first delayed opening that I’ve seen since I’ve moved here in 1991,” he said, noting the slow start to business this year. “I think a lot of people were a little bit gun shy from last year. Deposits on hotels, and rental properties, and everything else.” Snow doesn’t just support luxury home values – it is t

Mustard Yellow May Be Making A Comeback In Design

Mustard yellow was a popular color choice in home design between the 1940s and the 1960s, but Nxt Modern says the vintage color is making a comeback in current design. According to the publication, mustard yellow can add "a feeling of clean, crisp, and fantastic brightness." Some homeowners may shy away from using yellow in their space for fear of creating a space that is too bright. For those willing to experiment with mustard yellow, though, there are several reasons to include the color in future projects. It Creates a Soft, Earthy Palette A lot of people are fearful of yellow because of its ability to become too harsh. However, mustard tones can give a room surprisingly soft and natural feels. Mustard yellow chairs can look right at home among carpets and walls with soft, earthy tones. To achieve a quietly rustic look, combine mustard yellow with more natural textures and plenty of wood. It Can Be a Statement Piece Adding new color to a piece of

What Buyers Want In Their Kitchens

A majority of prospective home buyers indicated preferences towards granite countertops and stainless steel kitchen appliances, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The survey,  What Home Buyers Really Want  (2019 Edition), found that there is no clear majority on preferred cabinet finishes, though. The survey polls recent and prospective home buyers—people who have bought homes in the last three years or plan to purchase a home in the next three years—about desired features in their spaces. Respondents have a clear favorite when it comes to appliance color. Sixty-seven percent want a stainless steel color while 15% each want white and black. The remaining 3% of respondents cited a preference for some “other” color. Respondents also have a clear preference when it comes to countertop material: 57% want granite or natural stone countertops. Quartz/engineered stone comes in at a distant second place, preferred by 21% of respondents. Mu

Top Home Features To Sell Faster And For Higher Dollars

The following 15 features stand out as critical for your home selling faster and for top dollar: 1. Chef's kitchen/gourmet kitchen 2. Theater room 3. Home gym 4. Three-car garage 5. Solar panels 6. Quartz counters 7. Exterior lighting 8. Tennis court 9. Home office 10. In-ground pool 11. Mudroom 12. Security system 13. Fireplace 14. Smart home features 15. Walk-in closet

Best And Worst Markets For First Time Buyers

Ten Best Markets for First-Time Home Buyers Tampa, FL Las Vegas, NV Phoenix, AZ Atlanta,  GA Orlando, FL Miami,  FL Detroit,  MI Dallas, TX Nashville, TN Charlotte,  NC Ten Most Challenging Markets for First-Time Home Buyers San Francisco , CA Seattle ,  WA Washington, D.C. Los Angeles, CA Sacramento, CA Minneapolis,  MN Denver, CO San Diego, CA San Jose, CA Boston,  MA

Seller's Market Changing Over To A Buyer's Market

The Daily Herald in the  Chicago  metro reports on the emerging buyers market in what were the hottest housing markets in the country. Exhibit A? A Seattle woman who is currently trying to sell her apartment. Just ask Kelly Randall, an Amazon employee who listed her renovated  Seattle  condo for $539,000 -- a bargain compared with the $615,000 her friend got last year for a smaller place in the same building. Almost four months and four price cuts later, Randall's still waiting for an offer. "My timing sucks," she said. "It's a little frustrating." For the first time in years, the U.S. is entering its key spring house-hunting season with buyers holding the upper hand. Nowhere is the shift more pronounced than in once-hot areas such as Seattle,  San Francisco  and  Denver , where bidding wars are vanishing, time-on-market is climbing and prices are flattening, or even falling. These western cities, the center of the recent housing boom, are now leading

Homeownership Is Rising While Rent Renting Dips

Mortgage Banker Association forecasts for purchase originations to increase around 4% to $1.24 trillion in 2019, with another year of growth to $1.27 trillion in 2020. What’s behind the optimistic forecast? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 1.6 million additional owner-occupied households in 2018 – the largest annual increase since 2004. In addition to the healthy labor market, improving supply conditions (in some markets) and moderating home-price growth, downsizing baby boomers and more millennials entering their prime buying years are creating sustained demand for home purchases. This week’s chart takes a look at the annual change in owner-occupied and renter households from 2002-2018. After nine years of mostly contraction in owner-occupied households, it’s hard not to notice that 2018 was the third straight year of growth. This trend is likely to continue.

Top Rising Housing Markets

SmartAsset is out with its third annual list of the markets with the biggest rise in home values, and California came up big--again. SmartAsset looked at Census Bureau data to rank the top 10 rising housing markets in America based on the five-year percentage point difference between population growth and housing growth, the five-year change in home values and the five-year change in median household incomes. Key Findings Rising markets populate California – Six of the top 10 rising housing markets are in California, amid its current housing affordability crisis. In two of these cities, the median value of homes increased by greater than 40%. A mix of non-Western cities rank at the bottom – Only one Western city – La Cruces,  New Mexico  – ranks in the bottom 25 rising housing markets. Other than that, the bottom is a mix of Southern, Northeastern and Midwestern cities.

Brexit Could Affect US Real Estate

Although the Atlantic Ocean separates the U.S. from the U.K., Britain’s Brexit plan, the country’s scheduled departure from the European Union, is expected to have international consequences that could potentially affect the U.S. housing market. The ramifications include a slowdown in global economic growth that could spill over into the U.S. leading to lower mortgage rates or foreign investors flocking to American real estate. See more details from Trapasso below. Real estate experts anticipate some international investors will hightail it out of Britain to avoid the economic uncertainty—and head straight for America. "The uncertainty of a Brexit possibility reinforces the stability of the U.S. [real estate market]," says Liam Bailey, global head of research at Knight Frank, a London-based real estate agency and consultancy. Brits may find American real estate more appealing as it becomes more onerous and time-consuming to buy in Europe, says Lawrence Yun, chief econo

New Homes Are On Track With Current Design Trends

Indoor-outdoor spaces, neutral colors, and materials such as engineered wood, laminate flooring, and quartz are all elements currently trending in home design. Spring time brings new designs, colors, and finishes. These different trends are currently popular with model homes and in the new home industry: Kitchen Highlights Quartz reigns in today's kitchens with its clean, consistent look, and it comes in a variety of colors. Quartz is durable, never needs to be replaced or refinished and visually mimics the look of even more expensive materials such as marble and slate. With the kitchen more integrated into the rest of the home, many people like to add panels that match the cabinetry to the appliances. When the appliances are hidden, other features of the kitchen can shine. Expect to see more copper accents this year along with a mixture of other metals. Mixing metals has been prevalent in light fixtures for some time, but now it's seen in faucets with some really cool com

Single Family Home Square Footages Decline

The median single-family square floor area decreased to 2,316 square feet during the final quarter of 2018, according to data from the Census Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design and NAHB analysis. The average, or mean, square footage for new single-family homes increased slightly to 2,567 square feet. The post-recession increase in single-family home size was consistent with the historical pattern coming out of recessions. Typical new home size falls prior to and during a recession as home buyers tighten budgets, and then sizes rise as high-end homebuyers, who face fewer credit constraints, return to the housing market in relatively greater proportions. This pattern was exacerbated during the current business cycle due to market weakness among first-time homebuyers and supply-side constraints in the building market. But current declines in size indicate that this part of the cycle has ended, and size will trend lower as builders add more entry-level homes i

Slow January For California Home Sales

California’s home sale numbers fell by nearly 15% year over year in January 2019, marking the second month in a row that home sales fell to the lowest level for a given month in 11 years. Andrew LePage of  CoreLogic  attributes this drop to a number of struggles in late 2018, including affordability issues, stock market volatility and the government shutdown. An estimated 24,674 new and existing houses and condos sold statewide in January 2019, the lowest sales tally for a January since 2008. January 2019 sales fell 20.4 percent from December 2018 and dropped 14.9 percent from January 2018, CoreLogic public records data show. Sales typically fall sharply between December and January, and since 2000 the average change between those two months is a drop of 25.3 percent. Sales have fallen year over year for the last six consecutive months. The sales slowdown this January was likely tempered by the decline in mortgage rates that began in December 2018, when many of the buyers who clos

Bathroom Design Trends

When it comes to the bathroom, all you  really  need is a functioning space where you can get in, do your business, and get out. But come on—it can be so much more! The latest bathroom design trends offer a way to express your unique style and indulge yourself as well. This year, experts say, homeowners are focused on making the bathroom a place you'll want to be—not just where you have to  go . From statement  furniture  to bold decor pieces, the bathroom is the new "it" space of the house. Here are the biggest, boldest, and most beautiful design trends to expect in the rest of 2019. 1. Half-baths that make a statement Photo by Houzz    This year, the half-bath is getting its full share of attention—designers are transforming this space into something that everyone will want to see. Where better to make a bold statement than in a small space?  High contrast and large scale will actually make this usually forgotten, but important, room in your house be heard.

Homebuyers Gaining Ground In California

In 20 of the 35 largest U.S. metros, market conditions favor buyers more than they did a year ago, according to the  Zillow ® Buyer-Seller Index  out Thursday. California markets have seen the biggest shift toward buyers since last January, led by San Jose, which has seen the most significant swing. San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and Denver round out the top five markets where buyers will have an easier time navigating the market than they would have in recent years. Even though San Jose and San Francisco have cooled exceptionally, they are still the hottest markets compared with others around the country, markets where listings see few price cuts, homes don't stay on the market for long, and sale-to-list price ratios are higher. In these two Bay Area markets, home prices are so prohibitive, the typical buyer must put more than a 20% down to keep mortgage payments at or below 30% of monthly household income. San Jose buyers would need a 49% down payment, or $614,100, n

America is Aging and Housing Is Going to Have To Adjust

In less than two decades, the graying of America will be inescapable: Older adults are projected to outnumber kids for the first time in U.S. history. Already, the middle-aged outnumber children, but the country will reach a new milestone in 2035. That year, the U.S. Census Bureau projects [PDF] that older adults will edge out children in population size: People age 65 and over are expected to number 78.0 million, while children under age 18 will number 76.7 million. An area many home builders have only begun to address is that all 55+ households are not the same, and there are opportunities across the continuum of wealth and income, geographies, community types (age-targeted, age-restricted, mixed age, etc), intentional communities, lifestyle communities, resort communities, and ones where living on fixed income is affordable. Still, in the next 15 years, a real wake-up call will need to take place, as the moment, in 2035, where 65-plus year-olds will outnumb

New Trends In Kitchen And Bath Faucet Designs

At the recent Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) in Las Vegas, new faucet styles and trends, for both kitchens and baths, emerged. There's an expansion in gold and matte black finishes from multiple manufacturers, along with new takes on the mixed-metals trend. Below are some findings: Mixed-Metal Finishes on a Single Faucet Mixing metals — pairing brass pulls on your kitchen cabinets with a chrome faucet at the kitchen sink, for example — has been trending in home design for some time now. In fact, the majority of renovating homeowners (54 percent) mix metal finishes for fixtures and hardware as part of their kitchen remodels, according to the 2019 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends study. This year some manufacturers at KBIS took the trend a step further by mixing metals on a single faucet. Matte Black Offerings Expand and Gold Fixtures Increase Matte nickel remains by far the top finish choice for homeowners matching their fixtures and hardware in both kitchen and master bathr

Bamboo Is Growing In Home Design

From flooring and wallpaper to bathroom accents and furniture, bamboo is making a comeback into home design with a modern touch. The lightweight, but sturdy, grass offers a light, natural palette and grows extremely fast, making it a sustainable material choice. Below are trendy ways to incorporate bamboo into your home: Bamboo flooring Put a twist on traditional hardwood floors with bamboo. It’s more eco-friendly, costs less, and quite durable. Bamboo wallpaper and fabric The bamboo trend isn't limited to furniture and flooring; this eco-chic look is becoming more popular on wallpaper and other fabrics around the home. The top reason: It's incredibly versatile.. Bamboo bathroom accents If you want to create a spalike bathroom (and who wouldn't want to wake up to such a luxurious space each day?) add some bamboo elements. Put down a bamboo bathmat, place a bamboo tray on the vanity, and even add a bamboo basket. Don't forget the bamboo plant, too!

Design Tips For Your Laundry Room

Interior designer Lisa Canning tells the Vancouver Sun  the laundry room is often one of the most neglected rooms in the house. The area is often thought as dirty or "in the basement." However, Canning said every room of the home can bring joy and make homeowners want to spend time there, and the laundry room is no different. Canning focuses on laundry room designs in her projects and says certain attention can help perk up the space for homeowners. Hanging elements are often overlooked in laundry design, says Canning. “You’re doing your laundry and then you have a piece that’s wet and you think ‘Oh, where am I going to hang this?’ It ends up on the back of a door or on a chair, or you’re too lazy to bring out the folding wire thingy. We recognize in design that we are busy, lazy people sometimes, so to incorporate things in the design like hooks or things like a clothes line that can be retractable is just very important.” When choosing flooring material for a laundry r