6.28.2014

What babies tell us about housing

What babies tell us about housing Couples starting families usually are a key factor in the housing market's growth. Will that change with the latest generation? By MSN Real Estate partner Thu 11:49 AM The suburbs are over, and young people are flooding into big cities. That has been the growing consensus of builders, real estate agents, urban planners and even environmentalists during this housing recovery. However, it just may not be true. Millennials are not flocking to big cities, at least according to newly released Census figures analyzed by Trulia's chief economist, Jed Kolko. "From 2012 to 2013, population growth for millennials (20-to-34-year-olds)​ was highest outside big cities," wrote Kolko in his report. "Millennial population growth in 2012-2013 in big, dense cities was outpaced by big-city suburbs and lower-density cities and even by lower-density suburbs and smaller cities." Post continues below While an outsized number of younger people have moved back in with their often suburban parents, that is not the primary driver of this growth. It is more because the suburbanization and ex-urbanization that was all the rage during the McMansion-fueled housing boom has slowed. Sure, the nation's urban areas are growing faster than in 2006, but still not ahead of the denser suburbs. So who is fueling growth in big cities? Babies, ages 0 to 4. The stroller set skews strongly urban, according to the Census data. Even though the overall number of young children declined, likely due to a still weak economy, it grew fastest in the most urban counties. Dilemma: Buy expensive home for good school? Having a baby has always been the greatest driver of homeownership, but with higher home prices in 2013 and higher mortgage rates, many young parents, potentially first-time homebuyers, have been unable to buy a suburban home. Young, millennial parents are the key to a stronger housing recovery, as headlined by a new report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. "Much of the sluggishness of household growth relates to lower (growth) rates among this age group — driven not only by a slowdown in immigration but also by the increasing share that continue to live in their parents' homes," noted Harvard researchers. One third of millennials live with parents More than 2 million more adults in their 20s and 300,000 more adults in their 30s were still bunking in with their parents in 2013, compared with prerecession levels. The hope is that as the job market improves, these young people will move into homeownership, but the odds are that they will choose to rent first. Even though rents have skyrocketed in the past few years, renting does not require a down payment nor high credit scores to qualify for a loan. Witness one of the nation's largest home builders, Miami-based Lennar, which reported strong second-quarter earnings Thursday. The company recently branched out into multifamily apartment construction and now boasts around 17,000 units. Lennar expects to sell its first apartment community in the third quarter of this year. "While our homebuilding business remains the primary driver of our earnings growth, we are extremely well-positioned across all of our platforms to capitalize on the opportunities of a recovering market," noted Lennar's CEO, Stuart Miller. In a conference call with analysts, Miller added that the millennial generation will fuel Lennar's apartment investment, which he deemed, "an excellent complement to our primary homebuilding business." Apartment rental demand continues to be very strong, in both large cities and smaller metropolitan markets. The trouble is that with higher rents today, rental affordability is also weakening. "More than a third of U.S. households live in housing that exceeds their means," noted Harvard researchers. "For renters, this is indeed a crisis of affordability." More than half of all renters, they found, are "cost-burdened," and 28 percent pay more than half their income on housing. This makes renters unable to save for that first home.

6.21.2014

6 Housing Markets Surged to All-Time Highs

6 Housing Markets Surged to All-Time Highs DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | FRIDAY, JUNE 20, 2014 The housing market is bouncing back strong in some areas of the country. In fact, some markets have soared to new record highs. For example, home prices in Jefferson County, Ky., were 63 percent higher in March 2014 than they were in 2007, according to an analysis by 24/7 Wall St., using RealtyTrac housing data. Middle America tends to have most of the counties that have fared the best post-housing crisis, mostly because home prices there did not fall as great or fluctuate as much as some other markets during the housing bubble. But these markets now soaring to new highs need to make sure they don’t outpace salary growth, says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. When home prices start to outpace incomes, there is cause for concern, Blomquist says. According to RealtyTrac and 24/7 Wall St.’s analysis, homes in half of the counties that have appreciated the most were valued at more than four times the estimated median household income for 2014. The following are the counties that have recovered the most since the housing crisis, according to 24/7 Wall St. Current home price trends: Experts: Home-Price Appreciation to Slow Down Through 2016 Report: Despite Price Gains, Homes Still Undervalued 1. Jefferson County, Ky. Home price percent change compared to 2007-2008: 63.1% Average price (as of March 2014): $160,000 2. Delaware County, Pa. Home price percent change compared to 2007-2008: 54.9% Average price: $295,000 3. Buchanan County, Mo. Home price percent change compared to 2007-2008: 41.1% Average price: $139,450 4. Marion County, Ind. Home price percent change compared to 2007-2008: 39.4% Average price: $116,000 5. Henderson County, Texas Home price percent change compared to 2007-2008: 30.2% Average price: $192,500 6. Johnson County, Iowa Home price percent change compared to 2007-2008: 25.5% Average price: $192,000 View the full list of the housing markets reaching all-time highs at 24/7 Wall St. Source: “Eight Housing Markets at All-Time Highs,” 24/7 Wall St. (June 17, 2014) http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2014/06/20/6-housing-markets-surged-all-time-highs

6.14.2014

Happy Father's Day - Soldiers Surprise Their Kids (via Repost Video News)

Father's Day is only a couple of days away. And in honor of those military dads who can't be with their families on Sunday, we've put together some of the best surprise reunions between soldiers and their kids.

6.07.2014

Forecast for Housing and the Economy Suggests Gradual Improvement Through 2015 (via MarketWired)

SOURCE: National Association of Realtors May 15, 2014 11:50 ET WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - May 15, 2014) - Housing activity was sub-par in the first quarter of this year, dampened in part by severe weather patterns, but an uptrend is expected with…