The baby boom generation is heading towards retirement, which means a sizable slice of the housing pie could be hitting the market soon. And demand is not shaping up to meet the expected supply.
This according to a recent article in The Atlantic Cities, which suggested that baby boomers, who were largely responsible for the growth in larger, big-lot single family homes that defined suburbia, are going to be looking to downsize as the move into retirement over the next ten years. This means selling those suburban homes to the next generation of families.
The only problem? That next generation of households with children has a larger percentage of buyers who are inclined towards condos and townhouses (around 25%, according to the article).
A growing lower class unable to afford the large suburban homes will further exacerbate the problem.
So when's the next housing crash going to happen? The article points to 2020 as the year to keep an eye on.
We have to scratch our heads a little at their Corner Window slide, though. Maybe we're not looking at the same houses that they are, but this seems like a smaller movement and not so much a full-blown trend. We agree that they're cool and they add to a room's brightness and sense of space. And surely more homeowners would like to have one (or three). But prominence on wish lists does not a trend make.
As far as passive homes go, well, there's still a lot of questions as to how the next four years are going to go, housing-wise. There may have been a demand for green building before the bubble burst, but it has yet to reach those heights again. With that said, energy efficiency is sort of walking the line between trend and the norm. We'd love to see it more the latter, of course, and a little help with rebates and incentives goes a long way.
Have you incorporated any of these trends into your home?
The economy may have been the main election issue, but neither candidate delved too deeply into their plans for housing in America. Now that we know our president for the next four years, what can we expect for the housing market?
Forbes published an article recently that sought to answer this question. Among the related topics tackled, the article hit upon these points as they related to Obama and his direction:
Refinancing. In the previous term, Obama and his administration took steps to make it easier to refinance at the current rates. Expect more of the same.
Mortgage Regulations New mortgage standards are expected in January 2013, per the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The new standards will impose legal and financial hurdles upon lenders who attempt to issue mortgages judged to be greater than a borrower can repay.
No end to mortgage interest deduction. At least not for middle-income taxpayers. Obama appears okay with cutting it for the wealthy, but has reasons to keep it in place for the average household.
Read the whole article here. How will your housing situation be affected over the next four years?
When foreclosures take place, there aren't many winners. Certainly not the homeowners. Nor the mortgage servicer, as it turns out.
To help prevent future foreclosures, Fannie Mae has launched a training and support initiative aimed at improving the information given to struggling homeowners by the servicer. The "Know Your Options Customer Care" program sees Fannie Mae personnel conduct trainings for the call centers of servicers, so those employees will be better equipped to handle the calls from homeowners who may be staring foreclosure in the face.
The Customer Care program has already been implemented with 18 of Fannie Mae's largest servicers. The program was one year in the making and focuses around having a single point of contact in the call center for any given customer, which ensures that a relationship is developed and that regular contact is maintained throughout the loss mitigation process.
It's nice to see one of the big guys putting a premium on customer service, especially as it concerns so grave an issue for American homeowners. Good news, too: participating servicers have already seen a 20-30 percent increase in "workouts" through implementation of the program.
According to a recent article on Builder Magazine's website, new home sales in April were up 3.3% over March's numbers. The total figure came in at 343,000, which exceeded the consensus expectations of 335,000.
Median home price also ticked upwards with a 0.7% gain to $235,700.
Additionally, total inventory increased 1.4%, which one quoted Wells Fargo senior analyst interpreted as optimistic builders reacting to strong spring sales.
Despite the signs of improvement, however, new home sales rates are still at about half of what is considered "healthy."
Realtor.com and RealBizMedia recently announced the launch of a new real estate channel called the Realtor.com Channel. Poised to launch in the second half of 2012, the new channel will bring millions of property listings into 55 million U.S. homes via the Cox cable network.
With this move, Realtor.com claims it is the first to bring real estate listings to "the three screens consumers use most: computer, mobile and TV."
The channel will feature local real estate as listed on Realtor.com, displayed by price range, with accompanying high quality photo-based videos and home descriptions by agents.
Sounds like a cool channel, but will the consumer want to sit through a scrolling list of properties until they see one they like? If the content is delivered in a video-on-demand (VOD) format, it will be easier to skip through. Also, video tours should be incorporated with the photo-based videos, as this is what the consumer has come to expect from home tours done on the many home improvement and real estate-related shows on television today.
If sales of building materials and garden equipment are directly lated to sales of homes, we could be looking at an upsurge in the latter, according to a recent piece on the Smart Money blog. The theory goes: Sales of these materials are up because homeowners are investing in their homes' curb appeal with an eye on selling.
An interesting theory, but it is still only a theory. It could also mean that homeowners are simply resigned to the times and realize that they're not going anywhere soon, so it's best to make the most of what they've got.
What are your thoughts on the increased spending on building materials and garden equipment? Is it for maintenance or a move?