Happy New Year! 2017 is going to be a great year for our industry, just to spread around some positive thinking! The AARC is determined to provide the most up-to-date trends, story’s, research and marketing topics to our members.
The AARC is pleased to announce that Wilmington, North Carolina has been chosen as the site for our 2017 Annual conference to be held November 15th – 17th. This vibrant city will play host for an exciting event, filled with industry leaders sharing techniques, trends and research that is timely and can be integral in your approach for retiree recruitment. In addition to our accomplished speakers the Conference Committee, based on feedback from attendees, is expanding the agenda to cover more topics, creating more interactive sessions and roundtables to foster more idea exchanges than ever before. Visit the Conference Page to learn more about Early, Early Bird rates and sign up. This will be a conference not to be missed!
Andre’ Nabors Chair, The AARC
Pending Home Sales Bounce Back in December
News Release, Realtor.com | January 30, 2017
WASHINGTON (January 30, 2017) — Pending home sales picked up in December as solid increases in the South and West offset weakening activity in the Northeast and Midwest, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, increased 1.6 percent to 109.0 in December from 107.3 in November. With last month’s uptick in activity, the index is now 0.3 percent above last December (108.7).
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says contract activity was mixed throughout the country in December but ultimately ended on a high note to close out 2016. “Pending sales rebounded last month as enough buyers fended off rising mortgage rates and alarmingly low inventory levels1 to sign a contract,” he said. “The main storyline in the early months of 2017 will be if supply can meaningfully increase to keep price growth at a moderate enough level for households to absorb higher borrowing costs. Sales will struggle to build on last year’s strong pace if inventory conditions don’t improve.”
According to Yun, a large portion of overall supply right now is at the upper end of the market. This is evident by looking at December data on the year-over-year change in single-family sales by price range. Last month, sales were up around 10 percent compared to December 2015 for homes sold at or above $250,000, while homes sold between $100,000 and $250,000 only increased 2.3 percent. Meanwhile, sales of homes under $100,000 were down 11.6 percent compared to a year ago.
“The dismal number of listings in the affordable price range is squeezing prospective first-time buyers the most,” said Yun. “As a result, young households are missing out on the wealth gains most homeowners have accrued from the 41 percent cumulative rise in existing home prices since 2011.”
Existing-home sales are forecast to be around 5.54 million this year, an increase of 1.7 percent from 2016, which was the best year of sales since 2006. The national median existing-home price in 2017 is expected to increase around 4 percent. In 2016, existing sales increased 3.8 percent and prices rose 5.2 percent.
Yun expects housing starts – which for another year undershot overall demand – to jump to around 1.26 million units, an increase of 7.9 percent from 2016 (1.16 million).
“Especially if construction-related regulations are relaxed, all eyes will be on the homebuilding industry this year to see if they can finally start making up lost ground on the severe housing shortages impacting much of the country,” added Yun.
The PHSI in the Northeast declined 1.6 percent to 96.4 in December, and is now 1.2 percent below a year ago. In the Midwest the index decreased 0.8 percent to 102.7 in December, and is now 3.4 percent lower than December 2015.
Pending home sales in the South rose 2.4 percent to an index of 121.3 in December and are now 0.5 percent above last December. The index in the West jumped 5.0 percent in December to 106.1, and is now 5.0 percent higher than a year ago.
The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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1Total housing inventory at the end of December was at 1.65 million existing homes available for sale, which is the lowest level since NAR began tracking the supply of all housing types in 1999.
* The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.
The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.
An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.
NOTE: NAR’s metropolitan area home price report for the fourth quarter of 2016 will be released February 9, Existing-Home Sales for January will be reported February 22, the first quarter Commercial Real Estate Report/Forecast will be released on February 23, and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be February 27; all release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.
National Association of Home Builders
New Features Keep Pace with this Active Generation
Baby boomers, who were the largest American generation until the Millennials took over, are either retired or quickly nearing retirement age. Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964 and who count more than 76 million, may be getting older, but they are definitely not ready to head to the retirement home!
The boomer generation is more active than generations past, has a more sophisticated style and wants options and choices in their homes. Whether they are selling the homes where they raised their children and heading to sunnier pastures, or staying put and redesigning to accommodate their retired lifestyle, boomers are making an impact on housing trends.
Some features that home builders and remodelers are seeing as they begin to cater to the boomers include:
Home Offices: Some boomers are choosing to work past the age of 65. As they transition from a traditional 9-to-5 job, however, they want home offices for flexibility. A second career or part-time employment often eliminates the hassle of commuting while keeping them active and bringing in supplementary income.
Tech/Media Centers: The tech-savvy boomer generation wants top-of-the-line amenities for their homes such as a media room with surround sound and central control systems, which manage all media sources in one location. The house may include a wireless home network, remote control lighting and security features.
Wider Doors and Hallways: As a person ages, there is a likelihood that use of a wheelchair might become a necessity. Designing a home that is livable now but can transition and be functional as the occupant ages is important in ensuring that the home will be a good long-term investment. Wider doors and hallways are useful for moving larger furniture today, and will also be wheelchair accessible tomorrow.
Better Lighting/Bigger Windows: The need for more lighting usually increases as we grow older. To accommodate this, builders are adding more windows and making them larger to let in more natural light. They are also adding more light fixtures in areas including under cabinets and in stairwells. Multiple switches to reduce the number of trips and dimmer controls to eliminate glare are other options.
First-Floor Bedrooms and Bathrooms: More than 40% of new homes have master suites downstairs, a 15% increase over a decade ago. Boomers not wishing to go up and down stairs with bad knees and aching backs have helped fuel this trend. The bedrooms also are also larger, with more spacious walk-in closets and bathrooms that have a separate tub and shower and dual sinks.
Easy to Maintain Exteriors/Landscaping: Yard work, painting, and other landscaping chores may no longer be enjoyable to aging home owners. People who move to a new home when they retire may opt for a maintenance-free community. Those that choose to stay in their homes might make improvements to exterior surfaces such as installing stucco, brick or low-maintenance siding. Lawns are being replaced with living patios, decorative landscaping, or flower beds which can be a hobby for gardening enthusiasts.
Flex Space: Flex space has become more prevalent in both new homes and remodeling. Flex spaces are rooms that take on the purpose of the present home owner’s needs but can adjust with changes as they occur. What may have once started out as a guest bedroom can be redecorated to serve as a hobby room or library. This allows home owners to stay in their homes longer as it continues to serve their needs throughout life’s stages.
A Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) has been trained in the unique needs of the older adult population, aging-in-place home modifications, common remodeling projects, and solutions to common barriers. Access our directories to find a designated CAPS builder or remodeler in your area.
5 Signs Your Website Is Out of Date
Internet users don’t tend to have a lot of patience. For example, 79 percent of users will search for another site to complete a task if your website is not optimized, according to an ExperienceDynamics’ study. A broken link or even the slightest delay could be enough to get them to move on.
A great website can help draw more business to you; a bad one could be costing you business. Better Homes and Garden Real Estate’s blog, Clean Slate, recently featured some of following tips on knowing when your website could use an overhaul.
1. Your site isn’t responsive.
Make sure your site is optimized to be viewed on other devices, like a tablet and phone, not just made to view on a desktop computer. Mobile usage of the Internet now outranks desktops — 51 percent to 42 percent, according to SmartInsights. If a site is not rendering correctly on a mobile device, users are 5 times more likely to move on, according to ExperienceDynamics. Google offers a quick test to see how mobile-friendly your site is.
2. Your site is too complex.
Don’t get too fancy with your site design. Simplicity reigns today in website design. Pages that contain Flash content are likely outdated, since many devices no longer support Flash. That can hamper your SEO rankings. For example, try a smaller menu on your site (like just three lines of icons that then expand when clicked on to show more navigation choices).
3. Your site is slow to load.
Forty percent of Internet users will leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. You don’t have a lot of time to grab them. A slow website can also worsen your Google search engine rankings. Keep your site simple to improve load times.
4. You don’t have ROI.
Make sure you are able to pull metrics from your site to see what is working and not working. If you do have high traffic but a low conversion rate, revisit your web design as the culprit. If your visitors spend a short amount of time at your site, revisit your content offerings. Scrutinize the following metrics at your site for insight into how well your site is performing: returning users, unique visitors, time spent on site, page views, bounce rate, and conversion rate.
5. You fail performance tests.
- SEOSiteCheckup: check your site’s SEO
- Kingdom: check your site’s speed
- PageSpeed: see how to get your site optimized
Source: “6 Signs Your Website May Need an Update,” Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Clean Slate blog (Jan. 28, 2017)