Showing posts from June, 2019

70% Of Americans Support A National Solar Mandate

A majority of American adults are eager to harness the sun's energy in their homes, according to a  new survey  conducted by  CITE Research  on behalf of full-service residential solar provider  Vivint Solar . The survey found 70% of respondents would support a nationwide mandate requiring solar panels to be installed on all newly built homes. The survey revealed that when people are deciding whether to install residential solar panels for the environment's benefit, significant others and environmental experts are the most influential. To date, California is the  only state to mandate solar panels  on new homes. The solar mandate goes into effect in 2020. The survey found support for the nationwide mandate for solar panels is highest among younger adults and decreases with age. The most supportive group is the cohort between the ages of 25 and 34, with 75% of respondents in this age bracket supporting the mandate. The cohort over the age of 65 was the least likely to suppo

Senior Housing Wealth Continues To Smash Records

Older homeowners continue to rake in the home equity as home values appreciate across the nation, with the latest data revealing that equity levels for the 62-and-older set grew by $104 billion last quarter. That brought senior housing wealth to a record-breaking $7.14 trillion in the first quarter of the year, according to a quarterly index published by  National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association  and  RiskSpan . The record-breaking total was driven by an estimated 2.4% increase in senior home values, which combined with increase of 0.8% in the senior home-owning population, the NRMLA/RiskSpan Reverse Mortgage Market Index revealed. This figure was then offset by a 1.1% – or $6.5 billion – increase of senior-held mortgage debt. NRMLA President and CEO Peter Bell said this immense source of wealth highlights the role home equity could play in creating a stable retirement for older Americans.

Home Upgrades Could Save Hundreds on Energy Bills

The right home improvements could help shave energy bills by up to 35% or unlock up to $627 in annual savings,  according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Some of the big items that are sending energy costs higher in many homes are proper insulation, incandescent lighting, or air conditioners that aren’t the correct size. Many homeowners have an air conditioning system that is too large. Therefore, it does not run as long as smaller ones which might sound energy-efficient, but it’s not. Sealing up air leaks in heating and air conditioning ducts or crawl spaces can also offer energy savings. Even small changes can add up, too. For example, switching from incandescent lighting to LEDs can increase a home energy efficiency by about 85% alone.  Sun screens on west facing windows help keep your home cooler. Programmable thermostats and power strips can also help save on bills.

Big Summit For Our Economy

The event of the year is occurring later this week when President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet at the G20 summit. A successful outcome, defined by a mutually beneficial trade agreement with no additional taxes implemented on either side, could reignite global economic growth. Clarity is good for hiring, encourages business investment, and promotes consumer spending. A seemingly negative impact on the housing industry could be higher rates, but we need to think about the bigger picture. Higher rates would be a sign investors are less concerned about an imminent recession. Not reaching a deal, however, could mean that the 'growing but slowing' economy of today could persist and potentially worsen. 

15 Things Home Buyers Will Hate About Your House

15 things that buyers will hate about your home: Bad Landscaping Bad Interior Paint Colors Popcorn Ceilings Wall to Wall Carpeting Brass Fixtures Faux Crystal Plumbing Fixtures Bathroom Vanity Light Strips Clutter and Dirt Bathroom Carpet Bad Odors Your Pets Wall Paper and Wood Paneling Bugs Darkness Messy Neighbor

5 Ways To Protect Yourself From Real Estate Fraud

Here are five ways to protect yourself from real-estate fraud: 1. Sign up for automatic notifications to be alerted when and if an unknown document is filed against your property. 2. If monthly electricity, water and other utility statements are delayed or missing, double check that the bills are addressed to the right person and address. 3. Participate in neighborhood watchdog organizations to be connected to local officials who can help if and when an incident occurs. 4. Contact your local District Attorney’s office if an incident of potential fraud has already occurred. 5. Sign up for identity theft monitoring.

Investors Are Reshaping The Housing Market

For decades, single-family homes were  an investment primarily for people who wanted to live in them. Real estate investors were around, but they were mostly individuals or small partnerships. That changed with the Great Recession and its aftermath, when investors bought at least two million homes, and almost certainly far more than that, with prices depressed. Large-scale institutional investors bought tens of thousands of homes for less than they cost to build. At first, the flood of capital seemed like a one-time opportunity arising from the collapse of the residential real estate market. Once the bargains dried up, the investors were expected to stop buying. Except they didn’t stop. Last year, investors bought about one in five starter homes in the United States (defined as priced in the bottom third of the local market), according to CoreLogic. That was even higher than in the early years after the Great Recession and about double the level of two decades ago. In the mos

Single Family Zoning Ma Be A Thing Of The Past In California

In 1960, about 2.5 million people lived in the city of Los Angeles, but 10 million theoretically could. The city had the zoning capacity for that many residents — developers could legally build enough apartments to house them, neighborhoods were planned to accommodate that much growth. Then L.A. began to reimagine itself in ways that constrain the city today. L.A. and many California communities began the steady process of “downzoning”: converting land that allowed courtyard apartments to just fourplexes, fourplexes to duplexes, large-lot single-family homes to even-larger-lot single-family homes. Within 20 years, the city’s zoning capacity had been cut to just under 4 million people. And that number has barely kept pace since with actual population growth. Today, many families are doubling up or paying far more than they can afford for a place to live. This history portrays a clearer picture of the housing shortage in California. It’s not just that the state hasn

The Psychological Cost Of Debt

In a survey of over 1,000 indebted Americans concerning debt: 56% said money could buy happiness “to an extent,” and another 17% said it absolutely could . Just 8% thought that money could not lead to an overarching sense of satisfaction. 70% with debt reported feelings of satisfaction, compared to 83% of those without debt. Those with a mortgage, which is generally considered to be good debt, reported a life satisfaction rate of 86%, followed by those with an auto loan at 82%.   People with medical loans were the absolute least satisfied with their life at just 64% , followed by student loan holders at 71%. The amount of student debt being accrued in the U.S. is  hardly slowing down . This creates a social climate in which indebted individuals are marrying later, holding off on buying a home, and delaying their parenthood. Of respondents with no debt, 57% said they lived life to its fullest, compared to 42% of indebted respondents .   Of debt-free respondents, 60% felt they ma

Homeowners Are Using Credit Cards To Pay For Home Improvements

Consumers charged $141 billion in home improvement spending on their credit cards in 2017, a powerful indication that this payment method is now a significant force in the industry.

California Housing Market Strengthens In April

CoreLogic saw an uptick in  California home sales in April, which have been sliding for most of the past year. April home sales rose more than usual from March and the year-over-year decline in transactions was the smallest since last summer. Several  San Francisco  Bay Area counties posted annual declines in their median sale prices in April but the statewide median’s modest annual increase was the highest since last November. An estimated 38,730 new and existing houses and condos sold statewide in April 2019 (Figure 1), up 10.7% from March 2019 and down 4.6% from April 2018, CoreLogic public records data show. Sales this April were the lowest for that month in five years but represented a slight improvement in the sense that the 4.6% annual decline was the smallest since sales began falling year over year last August. Sales normally edge higher between March and April – since 2000 the average change between those two months is a gain of 1.8%.


For purchase mortgages, the net share of lenders reporting demand growth over the prior three months rose significantly from the survey lows of last quarter, reaching the highest reading for any second quarter since 2016 for GSE-eligible and government loans and since Q2 2015 for non-GSE-eligible loans. Demand growth expectations for the next three months also improved, with the net share of lenders reporting growth expectations reaching the highest level for any second quarter over the past three years for GSE-eligible loans and over the survey's history for non-GSE-eligible loans. For refinance mortgages, across all loan types (GSE-eligible, non-GSE-eligible, and government), the net share of lenders reporting demand growth over the prior three months turned positive after being negative for nine consecutive quarters, reaching the highest reading since Q4 2016. Similarly, the net share expecting demand growth expectations for the next three months continued to climb and is no

Mortgage Applications Jump Up 26.8%

Mortgage applications rose by 26.8% on a seasonally-adjusted basis over the week ending June 7th, 2019, according to the Mortgage Bankers’ Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. The results for the previous week included an adjustment for the Memorial Day holiday. On an unadjusted basis, the Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, rose by 38% over the previous week. The Refinance Index rose by 47% over this period. The seasonally-adjusted Purchase Index rose 10%, and the unadjusted Purchase Index rose 20%. The refinance share of mortgage activity rose to 49.8% of total applications this week, up from 42.2% the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity rose to 7.9%. The FHA share fell to 8.9% from 9.5%, the  VA  share fell to 11.0% from 11.3%, and the USDA share remained unchanged at 0.6%. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) fell to


The average home appraisal in May was 0.79% lower than what the owner estimated, according to the Quicken Loans Home Price Perceptions Index (HPPI). In May, Philadelphia trailed all other cities, with the average appraisal 1.74% lower than what the owner estimated. There is also a new leader among those with a positive HPPI value with Charlotte boasted an average appraisal value 1.99% higher than expected. Quicken Loans' Home Value Index (HVI) shows that appraisal values reve rsed course from April's large increase. The nation's average home appraisal was 1.10% lower than in April, nearly erasing last month's growth. The annual measure, on the other hand, continued its positive momentum, with home values rising 3.54% year-over-year at a national level. The bulk of the national drop in appraisal values came from the West, where home values were 1.74% lower in May than in April. The Midwest, with a month-over-month increase of 0.47%, is the only region with home v

Painted Finishes and Clean Styles Remain Popular for Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets double as the most functional and most prominent aesthetic features of the kitchen space. Cabinet design and style influence the rest of the room and, with homeowners increasingly favoring open design concepts, the living and dining rooms as well. While trends in cabinetry shift slowly, on a two-to-five-year cycle according to some manufacturers, it is important to follow these consumer and interior trends to meet lifestyle demands.  Kitchen & Bath Design News  spoke to several cabinet manufacturers to gauge the current trends in the cabinet segment, and many highlighted painted finishes, clean lines, and traditional design. Painted Finishes  The popularity of a painted finish for kitchen cabinetry continues to rise. While whites and grays still dominate, manufacturers say they’re seeing a shift toward color as well. “Paint has rapidly become more popular than stain. We’re still seeing whites and grays as being the dominant choice for paints; although blues, g


Outdoor cooking spaces and doorless, no-threshold showers top the list of kitchen and bathroom trends, according to the Home Design Trends Survey conducted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The quarterly survey's Q4 2018 study found the share of residential architecture firms reporting an increase in their number of kitchen and bathroom projects continues to grow,  Kitchen & Bath Design News  reports. According to the  Washington , DC-based AIA, its fourth-quarter 2018 poll found that the share of surveyed architecture firms reporting an increase in the number of kitchen projects continues to grow, while kitchen sizes continue to stabilize. The AIA survey found that 31% of surveyed architects reported that their number of kitchen projects was rising. In contrast, only 9% said the number of kitchens they’re working on is declining, while 57% reported the number remaining about the same. In a similar vein, bathrooms “remain a popular feature in homes,” with a gr

How to Help a Senior Loved One Downsize

By Michael Longsdon Downsizing is becoming an increasingly appealing option for older adults everywhere. According to Senior Lifestyle, 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 intend to move in the next five years. Among these, downsizers outnumber upsizers 3 to 1. It’s easy to see what makes downsizing so appealing. It allows seniors to simplify and streamline their life, getting rid of the things they don’t need so they can focus on the things that matter to them. However, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t an emotionally fraught and logistically complex undertaking. If you have a senior loved one who is planning to downsize, here are a few ways you can make the whole process easier on them. Visit Prospective Homes With Them House hunting can be overwhelming, so volunteer to tag along as your loved one looks for their new home. The purpose of this is twofold: it allows you to offer moral support but also to look for elements that make for a safe and appr

This Summer's Hot Outdoor Living Spaces

A s rustic farmhouse decor becomes less popular indoors and out, reclaimed wood is no longer a trending material, according to Zillow's 2019 Outdoor Living Trends Report. The online real-estate database highlights several other elements that will be popular in the upcoming summer months,   CultureMap  Dallas   reports. Mixed Materials There's apparently no such thing as "indoor-only" materials, as brass, rope, textured upholstery, and webbing are showing up outdoors, along with chandeliers, rugs, and floor cushions in weather-resistant velvet, leather, and chenille. Feel the Heat Outdoor kitchens aren't going away anytime soon. The popular feature is not just a good investment for future resale, it's also something you can enjoy right now. Comfortable and functional is a key phrase this summer, and it doesn't get more useful than a place to cook around the pool or while lounging in the sun. Go Green Eco-conscious landscaping, outdoor furnishings, a

Market Tipping In Favor Of Buyers was out Tuesday with new research that it said indicates market conditions are tipping toward buyers for the first time in years in cities throughout the U.S. The shift is prompted by a wave of new for-sale listings and slowing home sales. The top 10 markets for home buyers includes  Albany , N.Y.; Chicago; San Antonio; Jacksonville, Fla., Riverside, Calif.; Los Angeles; Providence, R.I.;  Dallas ; Nashville, Tenn.; and Tampa, Fl

Home Prices Up 3.6% In April

CoreLogic® (NYSE: CLGX) reported Tuesday that home prices in April rose nationally by 3.6% from April 2018 and 1% from March, according to the CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI™) and HPI Forecast™. Looking ahead, after several months of moderation in early 2019, the CoreLogic HPI Forecast indicates home prices will begin to pick up and increase by 4.7% from April 2019 to April 2020. On a month-over-month basis, home prices are expected to decrease by 0.3% from April 2019 to May 2019. According to the CoreLogic Market Condition Indicators (MCI), an analysis of housing values in the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas based on housing stock, 37% of metropolitan areas had an overvalued housing market as of April 2019. The MCI analysis categorizes home prices in individual markets as undervalued, at value or overvalued, by comparing home prices to their long-run, sustainable levels, which are supported by local market fundamentals such as disposable income. As of April


The more-well-heeled millennial has different preferences than those who don't do as well, and that extends to where they want to live. Rich millennials are moving to the coasts. Seven of the states in our top 10 are either on the East Coast or the West Coast. With Texas on the Gulf Coast, that makes Colorado and Tennessee the only landlocked states in the top 10. The Northeast isn’t popular with wealthy millennials. Save for New Jersey, which made the top 10, the Northeast isn’t a popular destination for the wealthy under 35. Five of the bottom 10 states (Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New York [dead last]), plus the District of Columbia, are located in the Northeastern region of the U.S.

Phoenix Is The Fastes Growing US City

Newly released Census data reveals Phoenix placed No. 1 on the fastest-growing city list with an increase of 25,288 new residents between 2017 and 2018. The city’s business-friendly environment, plentiful job opportunities, and affordability are likely why the  Arizona  capital was pushed to the number one spot, says  Forbes contributor Brenda Richardson. Other cities that experienced the largest population increases were  San Antonio  with 20,824, Fort Worth,  Texas , with 19,552,  Seattle  with 15,354, and  Charlotte , N.C., with 13,151. The Great Recession was a wake-up call for Phoenix. Service-sector jobs in hospitality, retail and construction were hit particularly hard. The downturn accelerated the growth of a strong technology-based market in the last decade that has revitalized the metro area’s economy. For example, bioscience and healthcare are big fields here. The workforce in bioscience increased by over 100,000 people from 2007, a near doubling of the manpower. “We

Rents Going Up While Concessions Are Going Down

Fewer rental listings nationwide are advertising concessions than one year ago, according to a  new HotPads® analysis . Across the U.S., the number of rental listings on HotPads mentioning at least one concession has decreased 29.4% from this time last year. Renters will find a move-in special in fewer than 1 in 100 rental listings on HotPads. Adobe Stock / BrunoWeltmann Nationally,  rent prices are seeing strong growth  after slowing in 2018. The same factors driving this growth – primarily that demand for rentals is outstripping available supply – may also lead to fewer concessions being offered as landlords need less of an incentive to attract new tenants. The summer season, which typically brings an increase in rental demand, will likely see a continuation of this trend, HotPads said. In  San Francisco ,  San Antonio ,  Baltimore  and  Washington, D.C ., the number of rental listings with concessions has fallen by more than half over the past year. Rent prices are growing

The Most Important Department In Home Building

The biggest mistake most home builders make when staffing their warranty department is that the warranty department is treated as the training ground for production teams. Your warranty technicians should be your most senior and seasoned field staff. It should be a badge of honor to join the warranty department. It is your warranty team that is the last contact point with your customers. To be successful your warranty department has to understand all the facets of construction to know if the reported issue is an installation problem with your trade partner or a material defect that should be covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. The first visit to a customer’s house should be to review reported problems and record what is going to be addressed during the warranty process. What a lot of home builders forget is to track unwarrantable issues. That’s right. You need to track what you’re not going to fix. By tracking every reported issue you can confirm if a specific concern has already