Fewer Americans are willing to uproot their lives to move for new job opportunities, suggests new census data.
About 3.5 million Americans relocated for a new job last year, a 10 percent drop from 3.8 million in 2015. The number has been trending lower, despite the overall population increasing 20 percent over that time, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Why are more people staying put? Experts told WSJ that some blame may rest on rebounding real estate values. Housing costs have soared higher in some regions where jobs may be more plentiful, like East and West Coast cities, but it may be pricing out some who may have otherwise been willing to relocate.
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Media reports are increasingly focused on whether a major home sale slowdown, or maybe even a crash, is in the making, in part because many hot housing markets are seeing slackening buyer demand, and nationally 2018 is expected to end with fewer home sales than 2017. But the possibility of a crash is unlikely, says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®.
In a piece he contributed to Forbes, Yun says hot markets are seeing a slowdown not because of weak buyer demand, which could be an indicator of a true slowdown, but insufficient supply. When homes come on the market, especially in areas like Seattle and Denver that have strong job growth and little unemployment, they are typically snapped up.
In other positive signs, home price growth remains strong in markets across the country—about 5 percent on a nationwide basis so far this year—and there are no signs of the credit excesses that characterized the housing crisis 10 years ago. “Lending standards today are still stringent, as evidenced by the higher-than-normal credit scores of those who are able to obtain a mortgage,” Yun says. “That is why mortgage default and foreclosure rates are at historic lows.”
In short, Yun says, today’s housing problem stems from insufficient inventory. The supply problem is driving up home prices and worsening affordability and keeping sales from matching demand. That is a serious problem and the answer is to encourage builders to increase supply, Yun says, but it is not a prelude to a crash.
Contract signings rose in all four major regions across the U.S. last month, a sign that dwindling home sales—which have plagued the market at an unusual time of year this summer—will reverse course in the coming months, the National Association of REALTORS® reports.
NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, increased 0.9 percent month over month in June to a reading of 106.9. “After two straight months of declines in pending home sales, home shoppers in a majority of markets had a little more success finding a home to buy last month,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “The positive forces of faster economic growth and steady hiring are being met by the negative forces of higher home prices and mortgage rates. Even with slightly more homeowners putting their home on the market, inventory is still subpar and not meeting demand. As a result, affordability constraints are pricing out some would-be buyers and keeping overall sales activity below last year’s pace.”
Despite last month’s rise, contract signings are still down 2.5 percent compared to a year ago, NAR reports. Nevertheless, Yun says the worst of the supply crunch may now have passed. In June, existing inventory was up slightly on an annual basis, marking the first increase in three years. Several large metros saw year-over-year surges in inventory levels last month:
- Portland, Ore.: +24 percent
- Providence, R.I.: +20 percent
- Seattle: +19 percent
- Nashville, Tenn.: +17 percent
- San Jose, Calif.: +15 percent
“Home price growth remains swift, and listings are still going under contract at a robust pace in most of the country, which indicates that even with rising inventory in many markets, demand still significantly outpaces what’s available for sale,” Yun says. “However, if this trend of increasing supply continues in the months ahead, prospective buyers will hopefully begin to see more choices and softer price growth.”
Source: National Association of REALTORS®
Bathroom makeovers can help enhance a property, but homeowners should be careful not to be too trendy or it may have the opposite effect. HouseLogic detailed several recent bathroom trends that homeowners might want to reconsider, including:
Mosaics of tiny colored tiles may be on-trend and offer a retro vibe to your bathroom, but they’ve also earned a reputation as being a pain to keep clean. Tiny tiles mean more grout to clean and maintain. Instead of doing a large space of tiny tiles, HouseLogic recommends using them as an accent, such as the wall surrounding your vanity. Choose a place where they won’t get wet on the floor, in the tub, or in the shower so that cleaning them is less of a chore.
The flooring may be a hot choice for the rest of your home, but they can be a pain in the bathroom. “It will warp next to a shower or tub if not dried after each use,” Tanya Campbell, a designer for Virdis Design Studio in Denver, told HouseLogic. “Also, tile is more sanitary.” If the wooden look is what you want, opt for something that resembles the exterior, but is actually tile.
Colored tubs and sinks
Color is gradually entering more bathrooms. But don’t forget the lessons from the 1950s pastel bathroom craze that brought in pink and aqua sinks. That had renovators ripping them out a few years later in favor of white, a safer choice for the long term. “The bathroom is one of the most expensive rooms in the house to do, and so I try to be very safe because the parts are going to be expensive to change out—like a tub,” Suzanne Felber, a designer in Dallas, told HouseLogic. If color is what homeowners want, opt for painting the walls instead; it’s easier to change later on.
Catch more bathroom trends worth reconsidering at HouseLogic.com.
Rising interest rates and the economy are the top two current issues to watch in real estate, according to the Counselors of Real Estate’s Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate 2018-2019, a list of the biggest threats to the housing market. For the first time, CRE broke its annual list down into current and longer-term issues to watch during the industry’s next year.
Read the article on REALTORmagazine…
Native plants, outdoor yoga spaces, and charging stations are among the hottest landscaping trends growing in consumer demand for 2018, according to a new report released by the American Society of Landscape Architects. Landscape architects were asked to rate the popularity of several residential outdoor design elements. Landscape architects noted a growth in the use of native plants, low-maintenance landscapes, and flexible-use spaces, for yoga classes or movie night.
Overall, landscape architects ranked the following outdoor design elements as the overall most popular in 2018:
- Fire pits/fireplaces
- Seating/dining areas
- Outdoor furniture
- Outdoor kitchens
- Decking (i.e. rooftop decking)
- Movie/TV/video theaters, wireless/internet, stereo systems
- Outdoor heaters
- Stereo systems
- Pools and spa features (hot tubs, Jacuzzis, whirlpools, indoor/outdoor saunas)
- Utility storage
- Outdoor cooling systems (including fans)
House flipping activity surged to an 11-year high this year, with more than 207,000 homes flipped, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate data firm. But the key is knowing where to be and when. “The sweet spot for successful home flipping is finding the neighborhoods just emerging as the next hot neighborhoods in a city,” says Daren Blomquist, a senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. The firm says the average profit for a housing flip in 2017 was $68,100.
Realtor.com® ranked the 200 largest metros according to the share of all home sales categorized as a flip (defined as any type of home that is bought and resold within a three- to 12-month period). Researchers limited their rankings to two metros per state for geographic diversity and only included markets where the average profit was at least $30,000.
Read about the best housing markets for home flippers, according to realtor.com®.