So we’ve made it a month into the decade of the 2020s (I will leave the debate about whether it 2020 is actually the first or the last year of a decade to others with more time…), and I am writing my first intro note for the newsletter of the American Association of Retirement Communities. My welcome verbiage on our website tried to have fun with some “2020 vision” wordplay, and while I will try to avoid more of that here I do want to reiterate the belief that there is considerable opportunity RIGHT NOW in the business of retiree attraction, and the AARC is uniquely positioned to help you to take full advantage.
The biggest cohort of the Baby Boomer wave is right around 60 years old, the age where folks are actively considering making a move. But even the oldest cohort of the Baby Boomers (those born 1946-1950) are no older than their early 70s. That wave of 70-somethings has not fully impacted the “traditional” retirement communities yet, and there are a lot of very interesting projects and programs aimed at bridging the gap between “destination” retirement communities (neighborhoods and towns, generally in warmer climes, that have amenities that cater to young retirees) and “traditional” retirement communities (properties that cater to older retirees, typically with a healthcare component). Is your destination retirement community prepared for the wave of older retirees? Does your traditional retirement community have a plan to attract the Baby Boomers from the “fun” destination communities as residents age? The AARC is the place to focus on that opportunity.
Members, if you haven’t done so, I encourage you to take a look at the presentations from our November 2019 conference – many of the slides from and videos of the presentations are found on our website (HERE). That might be a great way for you to start your 2020 out on a strong strategic footing. And don’t let that be the end of your AARC engagement – there are lots of folks in our organization facing similar challenges to you, and there AARC is a collaborative place where we all strive to make ourselves better. Reach out to a member (even if you are not a member yourself!), ask questions, make a friend, capitalize on an opportunity.
Chair, The AARC
2019 New Home Sales Up 10% Over Previous Year
National Association of Home Builders (NAHB.com) | January 27, 2020
Sales of newly built, single-family homes declined 0.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 694,000 units in December, coming off a downward revision in November, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. The monthly number is 23% higher than the December 2018 pace. An estimated 681,000 new homes were sold in 2019, 10.3% higher than in 2018.
“High levels of home builder confidence, coupled with an insufficient existing housing supply to meet current demand, suggest growth ahead for new home sales this year,” said NAHB Chairman Dean Mon.
“Despite the slow start for housing in 2019, lower mortgage interest rates accelerated new home sales during the second half of the year, marking it as the best year for new home sales since the recession,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.
A new home sale occurs when a sales contract is signed or a deposit is accepted. The home can be in any stage of construction: not yet started, under construction or completed. In addition to adjusting for seasonal effects, the December reading of 694,000 units is the number of homes that would sell if this pace continued for the next 12 months.
Inventory has been trending lower over the course of 2019 and now stands at a healthy 5.7 months’ supply, with 327,000 new single-family homes for sale. Of that total, just 78,000 are completed, ready to occupy. The median sales price was $331,400. The median price of a new home sale a year earlier was $329,700.
Regionally, and on a year-to-date basis, new home sales are 10.1% higher in the Midwest and 31% higher in the West. Sales are down 11.8% in the Northeast and 15.4% in the South.
Kitchens and bathrooms may see some big makeovers in 2020. Houzz, the popular home remodeling website, offered its predictions of 10 home design trends that they expect to gain attention this year.
1. Wood cabinets amid painted cabinets
White kitchen cabinets are still the most popular, with more than 40% of renovating homeowners installing them, according to Houzz research. However, more designers are looking to add visual interest and warmth by breaking up the white expanse with wood drawers, shelves, and pullouts.
2. Dining rooms with personality
The dining room is often the spot for social celebrations and gatherings for special occasions, and the space is getting special treatment with bolder design. More personality through color, pattern, and lighting are livening up the dining room’s look, Houzz says. Homeowners are feeling freed from having to conform their dining room to fit the style of the rest of the home and are looking to make a unique statement.
3. Extra seating in the bathroom
4. Tiled bathtub aprons
Tile is known as being an affordable material that can add some pizzazz to a bathroom. More homeowners and designers are wrapping the tub apron in tile or another material such as wood. For a minimal investment, the extra tiling accent can make a big difference, Houzz designers says.
5. Softly colored kitchens.
Many trending kitchens on Houzz have “soft” palettes, such as light grays and blues, that will likely grow even more popular in 2020.
6. Double floating vanities.
Houzz reports a rise in popularity of double floating vanities. “It’s a great way to free up floor space to give the appearance of a larger room and makes cleaning the floor easy,” the site notes.
7. Colorful laundry rooms
8. Bold powder rooms
Homeowners also are making bigger statements with the design of their powder rooms. Houzz reports that one way in which powder rooms are being transformed is by wrapping the entire space in a feature wallpaper.
9. Wood detail on range hoods
Just a little accent can make a big difference: A wood detail on a range adds a tad of warmth and texture into the sightline, Houzz notes. It also helps break up large expanses of cabinetry that are often painted all white or gray.
10. Warmer colors
While neutrals are still popular, Houzz says more designers are moving away from grays and toward warmer colors, such as coral or ocher.