The latest measures of the housing market have been released: new home sales and home prices. New home sales increased 12.4% in July to a 654,000 annualized rate. The increases are attributed to seller discounting, as the median price fell 5.1% to $294,600. Source / 4 page PDF: U.S. Census Bureau
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Andre’ Nabors Chair, The AARC
Housing Trends for Baby Boomers
Anne Baker, National Association of Home Builders
Few 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.
Home Prices Are Approaching Record Highs, But S&P/Case-Shiller Says This Isn’t A Bubble Set To Blow
Lauren Gensler, Forbes / September 27, 2016
Home prices continued their steady ascent in July but there’s no reason to believe a collapse in prices is on the horizon, according to S&P/Case-Shiller.
On a national basis, single-family home prices rose by 5.1% in July, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions. Home prices have risen by about 5% annually for the last two years and are approaching the record highs seen before the financial crisis. In seven out of 20 major cities, houses are more expensive than ever.
“The pace is probably not sustainable over the long term,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
As housing prices have soared, the amount people are borrowing hasn’t swelled nearly as much as it did before the financial crisis. Currently, outstanding mortgage debt on family homes for four people or less is 13% below the peak in 2008, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.
“There is no reason to fear that another massive collapse is around the corner,” said Blitzer. “The run-up to the financial crisis was marked with both rising home prices and rapid growth in mortgage debt.”
Mortgage rates have been at record lows thanks to the Federal Reserve, helping to fuel home sales, but policymakers are expected to raise rates before the year is over. Even so, the impact will likely be gradual. “After such Fed action, mortgage rates would still be at historically low levels and would not be a major negative for house prices,” said Blitzer.
Homes are getting rapidly more expensive out West and the cities with the highest year-over-year price increases were once again Portland (12.4%), Seattle (11.2%) and Denver (9.4%).
An index measuring 20 cities shows that home prices increased an annual 5% in July, while a separate 10-city index shows that home prices gained 4.2%.
Builder Confidence Surges in September
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes in September jumped six points to 65 from a downwardly revised August reading of 59 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. This marks the highest HMI level since October 2015.
“As household incomes rise, builders in many markets across the nation are reporting they are seeing more serious buyers, a positive sign that the housing market continues to move forward,” said NAHB Chairman Ed Brady, a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill. “The single-family market continues to make gradual gains and we expect this upward momentum will build throughout the remainder of the year and into 2017.”
“With the inventory of new and existing homes remaining tight, builders are confident that if they can build more homes they can sell them,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Though solid job creation and low interest rates are also fueling demand, builders continue to be hampered by supply-side constraints that include shortages of labor and lots.”
Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.
All three HMI components moved higher in September. The component measuring current sales expectations rose six points to 71 and the gauge charting sales expectations in the next six months increased five points to also stand at 71. The index measuring traffic of prospective buyers posted a four-point gain to 48.
The three-month moving averages for HMI scores posted gains in three out of the four regions. The Northeast and South each registered a one-point gain to 42 and 64, respectively, while the West rose four points to 73. The Midwest was unchanged at 55.
Editor’s Note: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is strictly the product of NAHB Economics, and is not seen or influenced by any outside party prior to being released to the public. HMI tables can be found at nahb.org/hmi. More information on housing statistics is also available at housingeconomics.com.