Buyers Aren’t Giving Up, But Their House Hunts Are Lasting Longer

Buyers are spending significant time trying to find the perfect home. Fifty-four percent of active buyers say they’ve been trying to find the right home for three months or longer, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Trends Report poll.

Buyers say the biggest delays that are stretching out their home search is they can’t find a home at an affordable price (49%), followed by not being able to find a home with the desired features they want (40%) or in their ideal neighborhood (38%).

National Association of Home Builders chart. Visit source link at the end of the article for more information.

© National Association of Home Builders

But most of the prospective buyers surveyed say they refuse to give up and will keep looking until they find the right home. The NAHB survey found that buyers who are unable to find a home over the next few months plan to do the following:

  • 61% will continue looking until the “right” home opens up in a preferred location
  • 37% will expand their search area
  • 23% will accept a smaller/older home than originally intended
  • 18% will give up trying to find a home until next year or later
  • 16% will buy a more expensive home than they originally intended.

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

 

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5 Home Design Trends to Watch in 2019

Living room

© Taylor Morrison

National homebuilder Taylor Morrison has its eye on pastels, unique finishes, and floral touches in the new year. The builder says it will be incorporating some of the hottest home design trends into its model homes for 2019.

Some of those home design trends that it expects to make a splash in the new year are:

pastel dining room

© Taylor Morrison

1. Pastels and jewel tones: Baby blues, mint greens, and blushing pinks will gain popularity in 2019, according to the homebuilder. “We’re calling these the ‘ice cream cone’ colors,” says Lee Crowder, design gallery and model home branding manager for Taylor Morrison and Darling Homes in Houston and Dallas. “But if pastels aren’t for you, bold jewel tones like emerald and sapphire are another popular option for the new year.”

2. Monochromatic schemes: The builder also picks high-contrast, monochromatic designs as a go-to trend for 2019, particularly in the kitchen. “Pairing dark finishes with stark white or gray cabinets will be a very popular look in the new year,” says Brittany Wightman, a Taylor Morrison design consultant in Charlotte, N.C.

3. Florals: “We’re seeing tons of floral patterns inspired by [fashion] runway looks,” Crowder says. “Florals are a top trend in the fashion world right now, so it makes sense that floral wallpaper is making a comeback.”

kitchen

© Taylor Morrison

4. New finishes: Hardware finishes like black, rose gold, and brass are gaining popularity, according to the builder. “Black is a really important color for 2019, and you’ll be seeing it pop up everywhere—from countertops to hardware and faucets,” Crowder says.

5. Healthy homes: Healthy lifestyles that are also reflected throughout the home’s design is also trending, Crowder says. “While there are a lot of different ways to achieve this look, one must-have is an abundance of plants,” Crowder says. “Bringing touches from the outdoors inside is not only an aesthetic choice, but real plants also provide the benefit of filtering the harmful chemicals out of your home.” Crowder also suggests swapping out hardwood for dust-collecting carpet and switching out high-gloss paint for flat finishes (since there are fewer chemicals in them).

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

 

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12 Delightful Ways to Make Your House Brighter in Winter

Let more natural light shine indoors with these simple tips.

But come January, staying indoors can feel less like a treat and more like you’re living in a cave.

Here’s how to make your house lighter, brighter, and cheerier with more natural light indoors.

#1 Take the Screens Off Your Windows

You’ll get 30% more sunlight shining indoors without screens on your windows.

Here’s the best part: Sunlight warms your room and saves you money on your heating bill. It’s solar power — for you!

Be sure to store your screens in your garage or basement where they won’t get damaged. In the spring you’ll want to put them back on so you can keep that 30% of the sun out and run your cooling system less.

#2 Hang Outdoor String Lights Indoors

   A bright living room with string lights on a wood shelf Image: Eleni Psyllaki

They don’t give off a lot of light, but they’re cheerful as heck.

Drape them around a window or a mantel, or hang a string of LED glimmer lights in a tall potted plant. They’ll add a layer of soft light to your room and remind you of fireflies, flip-flops, and patio parties.

#3 Steal a Little Swedish Chic

   A bright white, Scandinavian chic bedroom Image: @makingoverthemimsion

Scandinavians excel at making a home light and airy because they’ve got places where the sun doesn’t rise at all from November to January.

And you thought you had it bad.

To adapt to weeks and weeks of polar night, Swedes keep interiors pale to reflect and amplify light.

Think white walls, light woods for furniture and floors, and light upholstery. To get the look without getting rid of your dark furniture and floors, put white or light gray slipcovers on your sofa and chairs, and put down light-colored rugs.

The fastest way to bring a little Sweden into your room is to paint it. Try creamy white, pale blue, or dove gray.

#4 Change Your Bulbs

Replace those incandescent bulbs and their yellowy light with LEDs, which produce a brighter, whiter light.

But get your bright right:

  • The higher the K rating on the bulb, the cooler and whiter its light.
  • For cool, white light, opt for a bulb rated 3,500K to 4,100K.
  • For blue-white light that’s closest to natural daylight, use a bulb between 5,000K and 6,500K.

Unless you live in Sweden (see above) you may want to leave the uber-high K bulbs for grow rooms and seasonal affective disorder therapy clinics — because they’re as bright as real sunlight on a hot summer day at noon. You’ll need sunglasses to read.

#5 Hang Mirrors

Make the most of that weak winter light by bouncing it around the room with mirrors.

If you don’t want the distraction of seeing your reflection all the time, use a large, convex one — also known as a fish-eye mirror. It will amplify light better than a flat one. Another option: Hang a gallery wall of small mirrors.

#6 Replace Heavy Curtains With Blinds or Roman Shades

Fabric curtains, while quite insulating, block light and make a room feel smaller and more cramped, especially if they’re a dark color or have a large print.

Try Roman shades or a simple valance paired with blinds to let in the maximum amount of natural light.

#7 Trim Branches and Bushes That Block Light

   A woman with a green short-sleeved T-shirt trimming branches Image: Michele Constantini/PhotoAlto/Getty

If you look out your windows and see the tops of your bushes, grab your pruning shears and get whacking.

You don’t want anything blocking that precious natural light. Same for tree limbs that may be arching down and blocking windows. Cut them off.

#8 Clean Your Windows

Dirty windows block a lot of natural light.

Admit it, yours are kind of cruddy because who remembers to block out an afternoon to clean the windows?

So get it on your list. Clean the glass inside at least once a month and the glass outside once a year. Your serotonin level will thank you.

#9 Swap Your Solid Front Door for One With Glass Inserts

   An open white door with glass insert in entryway Image: irina88w/Getty

Get rid of it and install a half-light or full-light door that lets the natural light stream in. For even more natural light, add glass sidelights and a glass transom.

The median cost of a new door is $2,000 for steel and $2,500 for fiberglass, before any extras, but a new door will add curb appeal.

Curb appeal equals higher resale value. And coming home in the evening to the warm glow of light radiating out the glass panels in your front door is an instant mood lifter.

#10 Add a Skylight

It’s the ultimate way to bring more natural light into your house. A window only catches sun for a couple of hours a day, but a skylight lets in the sun all day.

An indoor view of the sky makes deepest January more tolerable. And feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin, light streaming from above, is liberating. A skylight, installed, can cost as much as $3,000. A cheaper alternative is a tubular skylight, which costs around $1,000.

If you’re really good with tools, you can install a tubular skylight yourself. Don’t even think about installing a full-blown skylight yourself.

#11 Add Plants

   Plants on a home windowsill Image: Igor Josifovic

Match plants to the amount of light you have, because dead and dying plants are depressing. Tropicals that thrive in indirect light are usually the best choice. If you have a sunny window you’ve got more plant options.

Bonus points for adding a plant that blooms in the winter, like a kaffir lily or anthurium.

#12 Celebrate National Cream Cheese Brownie Day

   Cream cheese brownies on a white plate Image: @mrsfergie13

February 10 is National Cream Cheese Brownie Day. Really. Since February is when winter is feeling longer than a seminar on insurance underwriting, this is exactly when you need to make cream cheese brownies.

Chocolate won’t make the sun shine longer or your house brighter, but it will make you feel better because … endorphins. Besides, you spent a ton of money on that marble-topped kitchen island and those double ovens, so get baking.

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

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Donate to REALTORS® Relief Foundation

When major disaster strikes, the REALTORS® Relief Foundation has one goal: help families who have endured unimaginable loss. The REALTORS® Relief Foundation is currently coordinating efforts to provide relief for those affected by wildfires in California. The foundation has made a $1 million commitment to wildfire victims. Your support will help us continue meeting the immediate housing needs of disaster victims.

Contributions

The REALTORS® Relief Foundation welcomes contributions—not only in times of disaster, but at any time throughout the year—and 100% of all funds collected go to disaster relief causes.

Online — via credit card

Use this secure online form to make a contribution.

By mail — via check

Make checks payable to:

REALTORS® Relief Foundation
430 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Check Memo Description: RRF Contribution

Note: The REALTORS Relief Foundation distributes 100% of all funds collected to disaster relief causes. The funds are distributed on an “as-needed” basis by the Foundation’s Directors. The Foundation cannot guarantee donors that donations made in response to a particular disaster will used for that specific disaster, but the Foundation does guarantee all donors that 100% of their donation will be used for an appropriate disaster relief effort.

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

 

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Existing-Home Sales Increase for the 1st Time in 6 Months

WASHINGTON (November 21, 2018) – Existing-home sales increased in October after six straight months of decreases, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Three of four major U.S. regions saw gains in sales activity last month.

Total existing-home sales1, https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 1.4 percent from September to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.22 million in October. Sales are now down 5.1 percent from a year ago (5.5 million in October 2017).

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says increasing housing inventory has brought more buyers to the market. “After six consecutive months of decline, buyers are finally stepping back into the housing market,” he said. “Gains in the Northeast, South and West – a reversal from last month’s steep decline or plateau in all regions – helped overall sales activity rise for the first time since March 2018.”

The median existing-home price2 for all housing types in October was $255,400, up 3.8 percent from October 2017 ($246,000). October’s price increase marks the 80th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory3 at the end of October decreased from 1.88 million in September to 1.85 million existing homes available for sale, but that represents an increase from 1.80 million a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.4 last month and up from 3.9 months a year ago.

Properties typically stayed on the market for 33 days in October, up from 32 days in September but down from 34 days a year ago. Forty-six percent of homes sold in October were on the market for less than a month.

“As more inventory enters the market and we head into the winter season, home price growth has begun to slow more meaningfully,” said Yun. “This allows for much more manageable, less frenzied buying conditions.”

Realtor.com®’s Market Hotness Index, measuring time-on-the-market data and listings views per property, revealed that the hottest metro areas in October were Midland, Texas; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Odessa, Texas; Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.; and Columbus, Ohio.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate (link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage increased to 4.83 percent in October from 4.63 percent in September. The average commitment rate for all of 2017 was 3.99 percent.

“Rising interest rates and increasing home prices continue to suppress the rate of first-time homebuyers. Home sales could further decline before stabilizing. The Federal Reserve should, therefore, re-evaluate its monetary policy of tightening credit, especially in light of softening inflationary pressures, to help ease the financial burden on potential first-time buyers and assure a slump in the market causes no lasting damage to the economy,” says Yun.

First-time buyers were responsible for 31 percent of sales in October, down from last month and a year ago (32 percent). NAR’s 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 20184 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 33 percent.

“Despite this much-welcomed month over month gain, sales are still down from a year ago, a large reason for which is affordability challenges from higher interest rates,” said NAR President John Smaby, a second-generation Realtor® from Edina, Minnesota and broker at Edina Realty. “Prospective buyers looking for their dream home in this market should contact a Realtor® as a first step in the buying process to help them navigate this more challenging environment.”

All-cash sales accounted for 23 percent of transactions in October, up from September and a year ago (21 and 20 percent, respectively). Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15 percent of homes in October, up from September and a year ago (both 13 percent).

Distressed sales5 – foreclosures and short sales – represented 3 percent of sales in October (the lowest since NAR began tracking in October 2008), unchanged from last month and down from 4 percent a year ago. Two percent of October sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales.

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales sit at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million in October, up from 4.58 million in September, and are 5.3 percent below the 4.88 million sales pace from a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $257,900 in October, up 4.3 percent from October 2017.

Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 600,000 units in October, up 5.3 percent from last month but down 3.2 percent from a year ago. The median existing condo price was $236,200 in October, which is down 0.2 percent from a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

October existing-home sales in the Northeast increased 1.5 percent to an annual rate of 690,000, 6.8 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $280,900, which is up 3.0 percent from October 2017.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales declined 0.8 percent from last month to an annual rate of 1.27 million in October, down 3.1 percent overall from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $197,000, up 2.4 percent from last year.

Existing-home sales in the South rose 1.9 percent to an annual rate of 2.15 million in October, down 2.3 percent from last year. The median price in the South was $221,600, up 3.8 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West grew 2.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.11 million in October, 11.2 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $382,900, up 1.9 percent from October 2017.

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing 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 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample – about 40 percent 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 percent 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.

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Metro Home Prices Rise 4.8% in 3rd Quarter

WASHINGTON (November 1, 2018) – Low inventory levels of moderately priced homes continue to stifle home sales and maintain the trend of increasing metro market prices according to the latest quarterly report (link is external) by the National Association of Realtors®.

The national median existing single-family home price in the third quarter was $266,900, up 4.8 percent from the third quarter of 2017 ($254,700). The median sales price in the second quarter increased 4.9 percent from the second quarter of 2017.

Single-family home prices increased in 93 percent of measured markets last quarter, with 166 out of 178 metropolitan statistical areas1 (MSAs) showing sales price gains in the third quarter compared to a year ago. Eighteen metro areas (10 percent) experienced double-digit increases, down from 24 in the second quarter.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says low inventory persisted in suppressing the market during the third quarter. “Though inventory is more than adequate on the upper-end market, the insufficient supply of low to mid-priced homes in metro markets with strong job growth continues to drive up prices and push prospective buyers out of the market,” he said.

Total existing-home sales2, including single family homes and condos, decreased 2.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.273 million in the third quarter, down from 5.413 million in the second quarter. That number is 2.4 percent lower than the 5.403 million pace during the third quarter of 2017.

“A strong economy and consistent job growth should be driving up home sales; however, would-be homebuyers are struggling to find a home they can afford,” said Yun. “As mortgage rates continue to rise, reaching the decade’s highest rates this quarter, an increase in the supply of affordable homes has become even more important to help temper price growth across the country.”

At the end of the third quarter, there were 1.88 million existing homes available for sale3, 1.1 percent above the 1.86 million homes for sale at the end of the third quarter in 2017. The average supply during the third quarter was 4.3 months – up from 4.2 months in the third quarter of last year.

National family median income rose to $76,6084 in the third quarter, but overall affordability decreased from a year ago because of higher mortgage rates and home prices. To purchase a single-family home at the national median price, a buyer making a 5 percent down payment would need an income of $64,480, while a 10 percent down payment would require an income of $61,086, and $54,299 would be necessary for a 20 percent down payment.

“Aspiring middle-class home buyers continue to face affordably issues, as buyers are increasingly being priced out in the West while the rest of the country struggles, too,” said Yun. “The market desperately needs homebuilders to begin constructing more moderately priced single-family home and condominiums to help satisfy demand and mitigate rapid price growth.”

The five most expensive housing markets in the third quarter were the San Jose, California metro area, where the median existing single-family price was $1,300,000; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California, $989,000; Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, California, $830,000; urban Honolulu, $818,600; and San Diego-Carlsbad, $650,000.

The five lowest-cost metro areas in the second quarter were Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio, $97,600; Decatur, Illinois, $102,800; Cumberland, Maryland, $110,300; Wichita Falls, Texas, $115,600; and Elmira, New York, $121,600.

Metro area condominium and cooperative prices – covering changes in 61 metro areas – showed the national median existing-condo price was $244,100 in the third quarter, up 2.3 percent from the third quarter of 2017 ($238,600). Eighty-two percent of metro areas showed gains in median condo prices from a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

Total existing-home sales in the Northeast sat at an annual rate of 680,000 (down 0.5% from last quarter) and are down 3.8 percent from a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the Northeast was $301,500 in the third quarter, up 6.1 percent from a year ago.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales fell 0.3 percent in the third quarter and are 1.0 percent below a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the Midwest grew 2.1 percent to $206,800 in the third quarter from the same quarter a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South declined 4.4 percent in the third quarter but are 0.3 percent higher than the third quarter of 2017. The median existing single-family home price in the South was $234,300 in the third quarter, 3.4 percent above a year ago.

In the West, existing-home sales in the third quarter decreased by 2.9 percent and are 7.9 percent below a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the West increased 4.8 percent to $395,500 in the third quarter from the third quarter of 2017.

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

 

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First Time Home Buyers Continue To Struggle

Single Females Remain a Force in Market, While First-time Buyers Continue to Struggle, According to Realtor® 2018 Buyer and Seller Survey

WASHINGTON (October 29, 2018) – Single female buyers continue to be a powerful force in the market, while low inventory, rising interest rates and increasing home prices remain, holding back first-time buyers despite notable interest in buying a home.

This is according to the National Association of Realtors®’ 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers1, which also identifies numerous current consumer and housing trends, including mounting student debt balances; the impact of pets on home buying decisions; increases in down payments for all buyers; the rising age of repeat buyers; and the fact that a vast number of respondents use a real estate agent to buy or sell a home, which kept for-sale-by-owner transactions at an all-time low.

“With the lower end of the housing market – smaller, moderately priced homes – seeing the worst of the inventory shortage, first-time home buyers who want to enter the market are having difficulty finding a home they can afford,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Homes were selling in a median of three weeks and multiple offers were a common occurrence, further pushing up home prices. These factors contributed to the low number of first-time buyers and the struggles of would-be buyers dreaming of joining the ranks of homeownership.”

Here are some additional key trends of buyers and sellers detailed in this year’s 150-page report.

Single Female Buyers continue to be a strong force in the market

For the second year in a row, single female buyers accounted for 18 percent of all buyers. The group was the second most common household buyer type behind married couples (63 percent). Single male buyers came in third and accounted for half the number of buyers as their female counterparts (9 percent). However, single males tended to purchase more expensive homes, with a median price of $215,000, compared to single females with a median price of $189,000 (the lowest of all household buyer types).

Share of first-time buyers continues to fall

The share of first-time home buyers continued a three-year decline, falling 33 percent (34 percent last year). This number has not been 40 percent or higher since the first-time home buyers credit ended in 2010.

“Low inventory, rising interest rates and student loan debt are all factors contributing to the suppression of first-time home buyers,” said Yun. “However, existing home sales data shows inventory has been rising slowly on a year-over-year basis in recent months, which may encourage more would-be buyers who were previously convinced they could not find a home to enter the market.”

Buyers continue to rely on agents and the internet to find the right home

For the third year in a row, 95 percent of buyers used the internet at some point during their home search process, and 50 percent said that they found the home they eventually purchased online. Eighty-six percent of buyers used a real estate agent in their home search, and repeat buyers were more likely to use an agent than first-timers (87 percent to 86). Overall, 87 percent of buyers ended up purchasing their home through a real estate agent (the same as 2017), as finding the right home and negotiating terms of sale were the top factors buyers desired from their agent. Ninety percent of respondents said they would definitely or probably use their agent again or recommend them to someone else.

“With inventory so low, buyers are relying on their agent’s knowledge of markets and neighborhoods to find listings, rather than relying only on online searches,” said NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation Realtor® from Columbia, Missouri and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty. “A Realtor® has years of experience, generating insight and expertise that can help buyers navigate a tight market where buyers are forced to move fast and make competitive bids in order to get their dream home.”

Student loan debt continues to be an issue

Once again, student loan debt stands out as a challenge keeping would-be buyers out of the market. Among the 13 percent of buyers who said saving for a down payment was the most difficult part of the buying process, 50 percent reported that student loan debt had inhibited their ability to save for a home purchase or down payment. Twenty-four percent of all buyers indicated that they have student loan debt, at a median of $28,000, and 40 percent of first-time buyers indicated that they have student loan debt at a median of $30,000.

“Even with a thriving economy and an abundance of job opportunities in many markets, monthly student loan payments coupled with sky-high rents and rising home prices make it exceedingly difficult for potential buyers to put aside savings for a down payment,” said Yun.

Down payments higher for all buyers

Overall, buyers paid a median 13 percent down payment, up from 10 percent last year and the highest since 2005. First-time buyers paid a median 7 percent down payment, up from 5 percent last year and the highest since 1997 (9 percent), while repeat buyers paid a median 16 percent, up from last year’s 14 percent and the highest since 2010.

A majority of buyers ranked their personal savings as the primary source of their down payment (58 percent). Repeat buyers were most likely to use the proceeds from the sale of the previous primary residence (56 percent), while first-time buyers were the most likely to use a gift from a friend or relative (24 percent).

Nearly all buyers choose a single-family home

A majority of buyers continue to choose a detached, single-family home (82 percent) as opposed to a townhouse or row house (8 percent) or a condo/duplex/apartment unit (4 percent).

Median age of repeat home buyers skyrockets; stays flat for first-time buyers

For the third straight year, the median age of first-time home buyers was 32 years old. A majority of first-time buyers were married couples (54 percent), followed by single females (18 percent). Their median income was the same as last year’s at $75,000, and they spent a median of $203,700 on a home. These buyers were more likely to purchase smaller homes than repeat buyers, with a median size of 1600 square feet.

The age of repeat buyers increased to an all-time high of 55 years old (up from 54 last year). A majority of repeat buyers were also married couples (57 percent), followed by single females (18 percent). Their median income increased from $97,500 last year to $100,000 and they spent a median of $280,000 on a home. The median home size remained the same as last year, at 2000 square feet.

Pets Influencing Home Buying Decisions

Fifteen percent of all buyers said that convenience to vets and/or outdoor space for their pet was a critical factor in determining where they wanted to purchase their home. That number rises to 20 percent, or one-fifth of buyers, for unmarried couples.

NAR conducted a survey on the important role pets play in our home buying decisions and the unique considerations that pet owners face,” said Mendenhall. “Realtors® understand that when someone buys a home, they are buying it with the needs of their whole family in mind. And any pet owner will tell you that their animals are an important and beloved part of their family.”

Downsizing not a trend

Only 9 percent of buyers listed downsizing as a factor in their decision to move. In fact, 73 percent of buyers purchased a home that was either larger or similar in size to what they previously owned. “Homeowners that may be looking to downsize tend to be competing for the same homes as first-time buyers, and we are experiencing a scarcity of inventory in those smaller sized, moderately priced homes,” said Yun. “These buyers, not finding the smaller home they are looking for, may decide to purchase an equivalently sized home or simply stay put in their current home.”

FSBO’s at record low

For-Sale-By-Owner sales accounted for 7 percent of all sales – the lowest number recorded in this survey’s history. This number has been steadily declining since a high of 15 percent in 1981, with more and more owners relying on the expertise of an agent to help navigate the complicated process and intricacies of a home sale.

NAR mailed a 129-question survey in July 2018 using a random sample weighted to be representative of sales on a geographic basis to 155,250 recent home buyers. Respondents had the option to fill out the survey via hard copy or online; the online survey was available in English and Spanish. A total of 7,191 responses were received from primary residence buyers. After accounting for undeliverable questionnaires, the survey had an adjusted response rate of 4.6 percent. The sample at the 95 percent confidence level has a confidence interval of plus-or-minus 1.15 percent.

Recent home buyers had to have purchased a home between July 2017 and June 2018. All information is characteristic of the 12-month period ending in June 2018 with the exception of income data, which are for 2017.

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.

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

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What Buyers Should Ask After a Home Inspection

After an inspector has finished a home report, buyers may feel overwhelmed by any flaws that might have been found. That’s why it’s important they take the opportunity to learn more so that they can move forward confidently in the transaction.

A recent article at realtor.com® recommends home buyers ask their inspector clarifying questions like: “I don’t understand this; what does it mean?” or “Is this a major or minor problem?” and “Do I need to call in another expert for a follow-up?”

Home inspectors are bound to uncover something in a home; no home is perfect. But the majority of the problems they uncover will likely be minor. Have the home inspector clarify which problems fall within the “minor” or “major” categories.

Keep in mind: “The inspector can’t tell you, ‘Make sure the seller pays for this,’ so be sure you understand what needs to be done,” Frank Lesh, executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors, told realtor.com®.

If the inspector identifies a potentially major problem, consumers will want to follow up whether they should call an additional expert in to investigate further. For example, consumers may need to bring in an electrician to take a closer look at potential electrical issues that were flagged or a roofer if a roofing problem is suspected. Those specialists can then give an idea of the cost to fix it, which the real estate agent can take to the seller to request a concession, if the seller doesn’t want to fix it prior to the sale.

Also, Lesh says that the list of items a home inspector identifies are issues the new buyer may need to address as soon as they move in. He says it’s like a “to-do list” for those items that did not get repaired by the seller prior to the sale.

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

 

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12 Outdoor Halloween Decorations to Spook Out Your House

Halloween lights and decoration ideas you can DIY.

Graveyard, CFL Floodlights | Outdoor Halloween Decorations
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