Priced Out Young Adults Shop for Investment Homes Far Away

September 11, 2019

Millennials who have been priced out of their local housing market are jumping online and searching for investment properties to buy elsewhere, Curbed.com reports.

“We find that millennials see the investment landscape very different than their parents do,” Alan Lewis, co-founder of DiversyFund, a platform where users can invest in multifamily developments online, told Curbed.com. “They’re jaded by the homebuying story, they’ve seen people overpay during the peak and be upside-down in their homes, and they see stock market volatility and don’t have an appetite for it. They want something that offers a departure from the rollercoaster ride.”

But that doesn’t mean they’re shunning homeownership. They believe it’s still lucrative to own, but when they live in an area where it’s harder to achieve, they’re finding another way to break into ownership.

Michael Pickens, 31, works in the Bay Area and has found homeownership to be unobtainable so far for his family in the high-priced market. But he and his wife now own six properties in multiple cities, including Pittsburgh and Memphis, Tenn.

“It’s very video game-like, like buying stocks,” Pickens, who used an online platform called Roofstock to buy the investment properties, told Curbed.com. “I’m physically buying these buildings and managing properties from afar.” Roofstock allows users to pick rental properties based on various returns and risk factors, such as location and tenant history. Pickens at first bought a duplex in Memphis for $129,000 and put 20% down on the purchase. He says after the mortgage payment and fees to use a property manager, he earns about $200 a month on the property.

New technologies are making it easier for consumers to pick up investment properties in other locations and manage them. “Smaller cities and rising markets offer the best chances for more consistent monthly returns, and emerging investment platforms offer a channel for capital to flow from the coasts,” Curbed.com reports on the trend. In many markets, the most money is earned through appreciation of the real estate asset and not through the monthly cash flow, Curbed.com reports.

Eleven percent of single-family homes sold last year were purchased by investors—the highest on record, according to data from CoreLogic.

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

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Existing-Home Sales Climb 2.5% in July

WASHINGTON (August 21, 2019) – Existing-home sales strengthened in July, a positive reversal after total sales were down slightly in the previous month, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Although Northeast transactions declined, the other three major U.S. regions recorded sales increases, including vast growth in the West last month.

Total existing-home sales1, https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 2.5% from June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.42 million in July. Overall sales are up 0.6% from a year ago (5.39 million in July 2018).

“Falling mortgage rates are improving housing affordability and nudging buyers into the market,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. However, he added that the supply of affordable housing is severely low. “The shortage of lower-priced homes have markedly pushed up home prices.”

Home price appreciation has been much stronger in the lower-price tier compared to homes sold in the upper-price tier, based on the analysis of proprietary deed records data from Black Knight, Inc. and Realtors Property Resource®.

Of the same homes that were sold in 2018 that were purchased in 2012 in 13 large metro areas (repeat sales transactions), the lower half of the market had increased by more than 100% in 2018 in metro areas like Atlanta-Sandy-Springs-Roswell, Ga. (165%), Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. (103%), Miami-Fort-Lauderdale, Fla. (119%) and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (125%). The median home price for homes purchased in the upper half of the market in these same metro areas in 2012 increased at a much slower pace when sold in 2018.

“Clearly, the inventory of moderately-priced homes is inadequate and more home building is needed,” said Yun. “Some new apartments could be converted into condominiums thereby helping with the supply, especially in light of new federal rules permitting a wider use of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgages to buy condo properties.”

The median existing-home price2 for all housing types in July was $280,800, up 4.3% from July 2018 ($269,300). July’s price increase marks the 89th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory3 at the end of July decreased to 1.89 million, down from 1.92 million existing-homes available for sale in June, and a 1.6% decrease from 1.92 million one year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace, down from the 4.4 month-supply recorded in June and down from the 4.3-month supply recorded in July of 2018.

Properties typically remained on the market for 29 days in July, up from 27 days in June and up from 27 days in July of 2018. Fifty-one percent of homes sold in July were on the market for less than a month.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate (link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage decreased to 3.77% in July, down from 3.80% in June. The average commitment rate across all of 2018 was 4.54%.

“Mortgage rates are important to consumers, but so is confidence about the nation’s overall economic outlook,” Yun continued. “Home buying is a serious long term decision and current low or even lower future mortgage rates may not in themselves meaningfully boost sales unless accompanied by improved consumer confidence.”

First-time buyers were responsible for 32% of sales in July, down from 35% the month prior and about equal to the 32% recorded in July 2018. NAR’s 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 20184 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 33%.

As the share of first-time buyers rose, individual investors or second-home buyers, who account for many cash sales purchased 11% of homes in July, up from 10% recorded in June 2019 and down from 12% recorded in July a year ago. All-cash sales accounted for 19% of transactions in July, up from June and down from July of 2018 (16% and 20%, respectively).

Distressed sales5 – foreclosures and short sales – represented 2% of sales in July, unchanged from June but down from 3% in July 2018. Less than 1% of July 2019 sales were short sales.

“Present rates have opened the market for a number of potential buyers who couldn’t afford a home just a year ago,” said NAR President John Smaby, a second-generation Realtor® from Edina, Minnesota, and broker at Edina Realty. “Additionally, NAR has been working with the FHA for years to establish new condominium loan policies. Our hard work has paid off, and this change will begin benefiting buyers, sellers and our members as soon as this fall.”

Regional Breakdown

Compared to June, existing-home sales recorded in July rose in the Midwest, South and West, but fell slightly in the Northeast region. Compared to last year, July sales dropped in the Northeast and West while experiencing modest gains in the Midwest and South. Median home prices rose from a year ago, except in the Northeast.

July existing-home sales in the Northeast decreased 2.9% to an annual rate of 660,000, a 4.3% decline from a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $305,800, down 1.0% from July 2018.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales edged up 1.6% to an annual rate of 1.27 million, which is a 0.8% increase from July 2018. The median price in the Midwest was $226,300, an 8.1% surge from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South increased 1.8% to an annual rate of 2.31 million in July, up 2.7% from a year ago. The median price in the South was $245,100, up 5.2% from one year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West shot up 8.3% to an annual rate of 1.18 million in July, just 0.8% below a year ago. The median price in the West was $408,000, up 3.7% from July 2018.

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales sat at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.84 million in July, up from 4.71 million in June and up 1.0% from a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $284,000 in July 2019, up 4.5% from July 2018.

Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 580,000 units in July, about equal to the rate from the prior month and down 3.3% from a year ago. The median existing condo price was $254,300 in July, which is up 2.5% from a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

NOTE: For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services. Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

1Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs. Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90% of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample – about 40% of multiple listing service data each month – and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

3Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90% of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

4Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. Investors are under-represented in the annual study because survey questionnaires are mailed to the addresses of the property purchased and generally are not returned by absentee owners. Results include both new and existing homes.

5Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at nar.realtor.

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

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Mouth-Watering Outdoor Kitchens

What they typically cost, and tips for getting the most return on your investment.

Outdoor kitchen on home backyard deck
Image: Aniko Levai of Place of My Taste

Building an outdoor kitchen is more than an indulgence: These backyard beauties can improve your home’s value. Outdoor kitchens typically get a 71% return on investment, according to the “Remodeling Impact Report” from the National Association of REALTORS® — and that’s on top of your own outdoor-cooking joy.

The investment can be a little — or a lot. These five outdoor kitchen ideas fit a range of budgets and homes.

#1 A Tiny Outdoor Kitchen for Limited Spaces

Small outdoor entertaining area with grill and oven
Image: Field-Issue

If you boil down an outdoor kitchen to the basics, what more do you need than a grill, a little oven, cupboard space, and a cozy place to sit? This setup does it all efficiently, for as little as a few hundred dollars if you already have outdoor electricity. An electrician will add to the cost.

Concrete outdoor kitchen with sink and wood-burning oven
Image: WWOO Concrete Outdoor Kitchens

Modular kits, like this one from WWOO (starting around $1,500), can be customized to suit your backyard. Some companies even offer design help for additional cost.

The galley-inspired layout here also does double duty by adding privacy. (Keep in mind the cool outdoor sink requires additional plumbing, which will increase the cost.)

#3 An Outdoor Kitchen Made of Concrete & Steel

White concrete and stainless steal outdoor kitchen
Image: Mrs. Rackley

DIY-savvy homeowners used concrete and cement board to create this L-shaped outdoor kitchen that mimics today’s indoor layouts. Guests relax at the counter while the host flips burgers — it’s open-concept living in the great wide-open.

No, this isn’t DIY 101, but if you’ve got the skill set you can do it for the cost of materials — and concrete is cheap. If you hire a pro, though, the typical cost is about $14,000 for a kitchen that includes an inset grill, steel drawers, ice chest, sink, and concrete countertop, according to the “Remodeling Impact Report.”

#4 An Outdoor Kitchen With Personal Style

Wooden outdoor kitchen with grill, mini fridge, and table
Image: Custom outdoor products by Rustic WoodWorx, LLC

Your outdoor kitchen doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s. But it should match your home’s style if you want to get a return on your investment. This DIY kitchen fits the home’s rustic style and comes with enough storage any indoor cook would envy.

#5 An Outdoor Kitchen That Says “Sit a Spell”

Outdoor dining area with yellow umbrella over table
Image: Aniko Levai of Place of My Taste

Your outdoor kitchen can play the same role in your yard that your kitchen inside does: as the heartbeat of every gathering where guests will want to stay awhile. And bonus: The added deck and pergola could also kick up your home value a couple of notches.

“Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this.  Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.”

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NAR: Home Prices Post More Gains in Second Quarter

August 7, 2019

Home prices in the second quarter continued to rise in the majority of housing markets across the country. Ninety-one percent of 178 metros tracked saw home price gains in the second quarter, according to the latest report from the National Association of REALTORS®, released Wednesday.

The national median existing single-family home price was $279,600 in the second quarter, up 4.3% from a year ago. Ninety-three of the 178 metros tracked saw price growth of 5% or more. Ten metro areas posted double-digit increases, mostly in more modestly priced markets like Boise City-Nampa, Idaho; Abilene, Texas; Columbia, Mo.; Burlington-South Burlington, Vt.; and Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J.

Tight inventory conditions, particularly at lower price points, are prompting home prices to accelerate in several markets, notes Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

“Housing unaffordability will hinder sales irrespective of the local job market conditions,” Yun says. “This is evident in the very expensive markets as home prices are either topping off or slightly falling.”

Home Sales Should Improve But …

In high-priced metro areas where the median home prices were $500,000 and higher, the single-family median prices fell when compared to a year ago, according to NAR. For example, the most costly area, San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., posted a 5.3% drop. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., saw a 1.9% decrease in prices.

Yun says home sales should be higher, but he is cautioning that greater economic uncertainty could hinder business.

“The exceptionally low mortgage rates will help with housing affordability over the short run,” Yun says. “But if the low interest rates are due to weakening economic confidence, as reflected from a correction in the stock market, then the low rates will not help with job growth and will eventually hinder home buying and home construction.”

Housing affordability is declining, despite recent progress in wages, NAR’s report notes. National family median incomes rose to $78,366 in the second quarter. However, greater home price growth contributed to an overall decrease in affordability compared to the last quarter. For instance, a home buyer making a 5% down payment would need an income of $62,192 to purchase a single-family home at the national median price, while a 10% down payment would require an income of $58,918, and $52,372 would be required for a 20% down payment.

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

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What the Fed’s Rate Cut Means for Buyers

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday cut interest rates for the first time since the Great Recession took hold in 2008, though the move is not likely to deliver significant juice to an already favorable borrowing environment for home buyers. The federal funds rate, which is what banks charge one another for short-term borrowing, will now hover between 2% and 2.25%, according to news reports.

The Fed says its decision to lower interest rates, which comes after months of pressure from President Donald Trump, is designed to stave off the threat of an economic downturn. But it’s unlikely to translate into additional mortgage savings for many buyers. With the interest rate for a 30-year loan already hovering below 4%, the Fed’s move may be more meaningful for buyers with other types of financing, says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®. “Many borrowers will benefit, especially those with adjustable-rate mortgages and commercial real estate loans,” Yun says. “The longer-term 30-year fixed-rate mortgages will see little change in the near future because they had already declined in anticipation of this latest move by the Fed.

“These low interest rates will partly help with housing affordability over the short-term. Both rents and home prices have been consistently outpacing income growth. The only way to mitigate housing-cost challenges as a long-term solution is to bring more supply of both multifamily and single-family homes to the market,” adds Yun.

Still, lower borrowing costs are helping buyers manage rising home prices. For example, buyers who spend $1,500 on monthly mortgage payments can afford to purchase a $402,500 home this year compared to $367,500 last year, when mortgage rates averaged 4.57%, according to realtor.com®. “Last year, buyers would have needed an additional $145 a month on top of the $1,500 to afford a $402,500 home,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist.M

In some locales, buyers’ money can stretch even further. “An extra $35,000 in purchasing power, depending on where you are in the country, can really make a difference to buyers today,” Hale says. “It still counts, even with home prices up 6% nationally. That increase in purchase power is greater than the national price increase.”

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

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Stress-Free Homes Are a Trending Niche

From family and jobs to finances and health, life can get complicated. “Zen is in demand,” as one real estate pro says. Learn how you can provide that.

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Whether it’s a luxurious $45 million estate in California or a modest $250,000 two-bedroom house in Ohio, marketing a home’s stress-relieving qualities is a growing trend. Today, developers, builders, and interior designers are trying to make homes that offer that soft landing at the end of a day. And homeowners need it—about eight in 10 Americans say they frequently (44 percent) or sometimes (35 percent) encounter stress in their daily lives, according to a recent Gallup poll. 

Helping clients find a soothing place to come home to can become a niche in the real estate world. And, understanding what stress-relieving designs are available can help you and your agents guide clients to a happy purchase.

Reaching Female Homebuyers

Since 2003, Design Basics Inc., in Omaha, has been gearing many of its residential blueprints toward easing stress because that is one of the four important elements women look for in a home’s design. Why women, you ask? Well, 91 percent of home purchases are influenced by women, according to the Harvard Business Review. Additionally, the National Association of REALTORS® 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found that the number of single female buyers continues to rise, and are currently the second largest buyer group at 18 percent behind married couples at 63 percent.

Paul Foresman, director of business development for Design Basics, says the company took data and research on female buyers of all ages and backgrounds and created the Woman-Centric Matters home design program. They discovered the four primary elements women are looking for in home design: entertainment, stress relief, storage, and flexible living. Foresman travels across the country talking to builders about the program.

“Everyone lives differently. But women tell us that they want to come into their home and feel like it is a place of respite. They look for homes that make their life easier, more convenient, more fun, and more inviting to others,” he adds.

The High End of Less Stress

Residence 950 infinity pool

Home designs by Greg Malin, CEO and founder of Troon Pacific in San Francisco, are adding amenities such as lap pools with underwater speakers that play music and art galleries with chaise lounges so you can take it all in.

“What’s the best luxury in life? My late wife would say it’s your health,” Malin says. So, he builds homes with his passion for sustainability and wellness in mind. Less stress in a person’s world can help with their health. For instance, cables in all bedrooms of his homes are shielded to mitigate electromagnetic field waves, which can cause the body to emit stress signals that can lead to high levels of adrenaline.

His company also uses biophilic design, which bridges a homeowner’s lifestyle with natural environment around them. “We’re trying to connect people to nature. One of our homes offers a yoga deck. Plus, each [development] project offers a wellness center with a sauna, steam room, a place to have a massage, meditation area, and outdoor shower,” he adds.  

Joel Goodrich, agent at Colwell Banker Preview International in San Francisco, has shown Malin’s stress-free homes several times to clients. He also is a friend of Malin. “Perhaps, we are living in more stressful times than ever before. People are looking for their homes to be an oasis or retreat from life, the world, and business,” he says. “These homes are designed to feel like a retreat. Zen is in demand.”

Tips for Alleviating Stress at All Price Points

Most home buyers are looking for respite in a haven from everyday stress. The good news is not all stress-free homes have to be multimillion-dollar properties. Here are some of the stress-reducing designs and products being showcased in homes across the country.

Natural light, plus dimmers. “People always gravitate to the bright, sunny spaces in a home. So, anything we can to do enhance natural light is popular,” Foresman says. Malin adds that lights with dimmers can also help reduce harshness, especially in bedrooms, for a more relaxing ambiance.

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Automated shades. Shades programed to open at sunrise can be a calming way to wake up without an alarm. They can also be used to reduce sunlight for those not ready to rise, Goodrich says. In addition to setting times, homeowners can pair smart shades with a digital thermostat, so they automatically open and close based on temperature.

A water feature. “Water can be very calming,” Goodrich says. In one extreme example, an international architect put a waterfall in the middle of a living room design and branded it. But a simple fountain in a sun porch or patio can do wonders, too, he adds.

Pet center area in home

Pet centers. Many buyers nowadays are seeking pet-friendly abodes, so features such as cabinets with pullout drawers for dog food goes a long way. Some want a dog washing station or a room for the pet itself. Electronic doggie doors have also become popular, where the dog has a collar that automatically opens the door to go inside or out.

Nature’s beauty. The ability to see flowers or greenery outside your windows—even in a big city—helps create peacefulness. In Malin’s homes, he plants green rows of bamboo or cypress outside the main windows, even in the heart of the Bay Area.

Covered outdoor living space. Foresman says you don’t have to cancel your plans if it rains when you have a covered outdoor area, which eliminates worry. Plus, coffee on the patio can still happen on rainy mornings. A pergola cover or easy-to-assemble patio gazebo are cost-effective ways to accomplish this.

Work-in pantry. Taking the walk-in pantry to the next level, some buyers want a prep area, sink, dishwasher, and sometimes an oven in what’s dubbed the “work-in” pantry, Foresman says. This eliminates guests seeing any mess while keeping the heart of the gathering in the kitchen.

Relaxing sounds and white noise. Malin installs speakers in master bedrooms and bathrooms, allowing for the sounds of waterfalls, forests, or whatever keeps the homeowners tranquil. For existing homes without built-in speakers, try a Google Home or Amazon Echo—relaxing sounds at open houses may even entice buyers.

Shipping vestibule. This involves a door or cupboard that opens for delivery people. They can leave the package behind the door without entering the house, Foresman says. You don’t have to be home when the delivery is dropped off, and locks can used from your smartphone to avoid theft.  

Dual owner suites. This newer building plan has quickly become Foresman’s top seller. It includes two suites on the main floor that can be used for older couples who don’t sleep in the same bed, multigenerational households, boomerang kids, friends who have purchased together, or live-in caregivers. “In many ways for all involved it’s a great stress reliever, with a private bathroom and enough storage,” he adds.

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

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Low 30-Year Rates Keep Buyers in Summer Market

Mortgage rates barely budged this week, keeping borrowing costs low for summertime home shoppers. Mortgage rates continue to hover near their 2016 averages. “We’re seeing a tug of war happen as the fixed-income market flashes warning signs while the equities market continues to march higher with optimism,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “The data suggests the economy is weakening but is still on very solid ground, with high consumer confidence and a strong labor market. Closer to home, the housing market continues to slowly improve and gain momentum as we head into the second half of the year, which is good news and should keep the economy growing.”

Freddie Mac reported the following averages for mortgage rates for the week ending July 3:

• 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.75%, with an average 0.6 point, up slightly from last week’s 3.73% average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.52%.

• 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.18%, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 3.16% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.99%.

• 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.45%, with an average 0.4 point, rising from last week’s 3.39% average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.74%.

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

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Survey: Buyers Rank Commute Time Above Square Footage

July 5, 2019

Commute time is an important factor to buyers when they’re deciding on a home to purchase. Eighty-five percent of buyers say they would sacrifice other home features, such as lot size, square footage, and home style, in order to shorten their commute to work, according to a survey of more than 600 realtor.com® users. Forty percent say they are looking to reduce their commute time by up to 45 minutes.

In response, realtor.com® announced a new tool that enables buyers to filter their home-search results according to rush-hour and off-peak commute times. “Our commute time filter is different from others in the marketplace because it gives buyers the ability to toggle between rush-hour and off-peak commute times,” says Chung Meng Cheong, chief procurement officer for realtor.com®. “With a more holistic view of their drive to and from work, people are able to make more informed decisions about where to live and, hopefully, reduce some unnecessary stress from their daily lives.”

Home shoppers can enter basic search information, such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and location desired. They can then filter listings to match their preferred commute time. Commute times are offered in 10-minute increments up to 60 minutes or more. All of the available homes that match the search parameters and commuting distance will then be displayed. The Commute Time Filter is available on realtor.com®’s iOS app and will soon be available on Android, as well as mobile and web versions.

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

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Gap Widens Between What Buyers Want, What’s for Sale

Home buyers are finding fewer homes for sale that are meeting their price expectations. Half of all home buyers say they’re looking for a home priced under $288,000. But that is 9.1% below—or $27,000 less–than the median list price of currently available homes, a new realtor.com® study finds.

“The price difference between what buyers are searching for, closing on, and what’s available on the market demonstrates just how big the gap is for entry-level home buyers,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “Buying a first home has always been a challenge, but with such a slim number of entry-level homes available, it’s especially difficult now.”

The median sales price of homes purchased in April was $267,000, which is about 15% or $48,000 less than the price of the inventory currently on the market, according to National Association of REALTORS® data.

Realtor.com® researchers estimate that about 94,000 more homes priced between $100,000 to $340,000—or a 15% increase—are needed to satisfy the imbalance between what buyers want and what is available. However, it’s homes priced above $750,000 that have seen the most growth in inventory lately, rather than the lower end of the market, researchers note.

“Entry-level homes continue to be difficult to come by as the inventory composition shifts more and more toward higher-priced homes,” Hale says. “This is causing smaller and more affordable homes to appreciate rapidly, resulting in a mismatch between what buyers are able to spend and what sellers expect to receive.” Smaller homes (those between 750 to 1,750 square feet) have appreciated 12.1%, or 3.5 times, faster than mid- to large-sized homes (3,000 to 6,000 square feet), realtor.com®’s analysis finds.

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

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