March 2018 Newsletter

RBaker copy

Spring is in the air and summer is just around the corner! Many couples and families will be traveling the highways and byways for vacations as well as searching for locations to call home.  This is your chance to develop partnerships with CVBs, Development Authorities, and Planned Communities to show off your destination! The AARC has all those partnerships and more in place for you to see and prepare to capture the mature traveler and retiree.

Thank you to Benjamin Rudolph for the informative webinar last week. Digital marketing is so important to our industry and important to know and be able to track your return on your investment.

We are continuing to make plans for the 2018 Annual Conference so stay tuned for location and registration information. Whether you’re a private developer, a chamber or tourism professional, or a government official, AARC is your information source!

Rachel Baker Chair, The AARC

AARC April Webinar

Rudolph2017eJoin the AARC team and your fellow members for our April Webinar.  Benjamin Rudolph of Relevance Advisors will present a timely and informative webinar for anyone wanting to learn more about Interactive & Search Engine Marketing.  The webinar will be April 25th at 2:30pm (Eastern) – Click to learn more and sign-up, April Webinar

The Shifting Search Landscape – Driving ROI from Pay Per Click

Screen Shot 2017-12-28 at 7.10.41 AM

The search marketing landscape is constantly evolving, making it challenging for marketers to keep up with the changes.  However, by understanding the capabilities within Google AdWords, marketers can target a specific audience with a specific message at a specific time on a specific device.  Setting up targeting by device is important because over half of all searches queries come from mobile devices.

In this webinar, attendees will learn how a multi-location senior living community provider changed its strategy to drive web traffic to underperforming locations, track calls, leverage local listing information, and measure in-person visits to its facilities.  At the end of this webinar, you will have a better understanding of:

This webinar will be tactical, so you will see specific examples of where to go in the AdWords interface to execute these strategies.

The webinar will be April 25th at 2:30pm (Eastern) – Click to learn more and sign-up, April Webinar

Home prices are still on fire, Case-Shiller data show

Andrea Riquier, | March 27, 2018

The numbers: The S&P/Case-Shiller national index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.5% in the three-month period ending in January, and was up 6.2% compared to a year before. The 20-city index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.8% for the month, and 6.4% for the year.

What happened: Prices are still on fire. And the West is still the best: Seattle, Las Vegas and San Francisco all notched double-digit yearly price gains. Only one city, Washington, D.C., had a negative monthly reading.

As David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, noted in a release, the price gains are all about demand and lack of supply.

“The current months-supply — how many months at the current sales rate would be needed to absorb homes currently for sale — is 3.4; the average since 2000 is 6.0 months, and the high in July 2010 was 11.9,” Blitzer wrote. “Currently, the homeowner vacancy rate is 1.6% compared to an average of 2.1% since 2000; it peaked in 2010 at 2.7%. Despite limited supplies, rising prices and higher mortgage rates, affordability is not a concern.”

Relatively affordable housing is cold comfort to many would-be home buyers who simply can’t find anything to buy.

Big picture: Economists had forecast a 0.7% monthly increase, and a 6.2% 12-month increase, for the 20-city index. As MarketWatch has reported, most housing analysts have argued that the ongoing price gains in housing can’t last — and yet they have so far.

Case Shiller

Weekly mortgage applications rise even as rates increase

Diana Click, | March 28, 2018

  • Interest rates rose again last week – but that didn’t stop mortgage application volume from rising.
  • Total mortgage application volume jumped 4.8 percent from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
  • An increase in refinance and purchase applications drove the rise.

Image result for mortgage rateAfter decreasing for the first time this year, interest rates rose again last week – but that didn’t stop mortgage application volume from rising.

Applications for mortgages jumped 4.8 percent last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted report. Volume remained unchanged from one year ago.

An increase in refinance and purchase applications drove the weekly rise.

Refinance applications rose 7.3 percent last week from the previous week but was still down more than 10 percent from a year ago.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($453,100 or less) increased to 4.69 percent from 4.68 percent for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans.

“Rates slightly rose last week based on fears of trade conflicts with China and other countries but were offset by what we saw as a positive economic outlook from the Fed,” said MBA economist Joel Kan. “Refinance applications increased over 7 percent last week, despite the increase in rates, but this was off a very low level.”

Purchase volume rose 3.1 percent from the previous week, increasing for the third consecutive week. Purchase applications are up 8.2 percent from a year ago.

According to Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson, homebuyers are not as concerned with interest rates as they are with other factors in the housing market.

“The bigger impact on the market has been the extreme shortage of homes for sales, particularly in desirable metro areas. February saw an 11.4 percent decline in the overall number of homes for sale, marking the 29th consecutive month of year-over-year supply declines,” Richardson said. “Because of the lack of inventory, home prices are growing at the fastest rate we’ve seen in four years. It’s low inventory, not slightly higher mortgage rates, that is affecting buyers the most in 2018.”

A Redfin survey last month found that even if interest rates rose above 5 percent, only 6 percent of prospective homebuyers would walk away from their plans to buy a home.

“Mortgage rates are still really cheap compared to the historical average. Over the last 50 years or so mortgage rates have averaged around 8 percent on the 30-year fixed rate mortgage, and have been much higher, topping 18 percent in the 1980s. Rates now are still below 5 percent,” Richardson said.

And purchase applications had the strongest year-over-year growth rate since February as the spring season gets underway.

“We remain cautiously optimistic that purchase activity will continue to pick up as we enter the spring homebuying season,” MBA’s Kan said.

What’s Cooking? Five Top Trends for 50+ Kitchens | March, 2018

Whether your targeted consumer is a treadmill-tromping active adult or an older senior with limited mobility, success in the mature market will require a new way of thinking about the kitchen, arguably the most important room in the home. And for the new-home shopper of any age, it remains vitally important to demonstrate the kitchen space with a model, showing the endless possibilities of today’s high-tech, high-style kitchens.

Here are five current trends to look for when designing kitchens for today’s mature market.

 Location, Location, Location

While that is usually the most important tenet invoked when assessing a real estate purchase, it has become equally important to consider that when laying out a kitchen for the over-50 crowd.

Photo shows clear path around appliances, countertops and an island.Rethinking the placement of appliances, sinks, and storage so their locations are more comfortable for bending, reaching, and working will be the key to capturing this buyer.

Rethink the double oven, for example.



Why not install them in two separate locations — splitting, not stacking them – and eliminate that awkward oven on the bottom?

Photo shows dishwasher on a raised platform for easy use.

Realize that the over-the-range microwave might be not only difficult, but also dangerous for the average consumer.

And the dishwasher? That’s something we’ve all spent too many years bending over to load and unload, so why not raise the dishwasher with separate drawers installed at counter height?

“The universal reach ranges from 15 to 48 inches,” says Mary Jo Peterson, CKD, CBD, CAPS, a kitchen and bath designer and universal design professional who recommends implementing this sort of out-of-the-box thinking. Consider the array of other appliances in drawer formats, such as microwaves, refrigerators, warming drawers, and ice makers.

Image of microwave installed directly below the counter-top.When dedicating space to a built-in refrigerator, cautions Peterson, make sure that the space allotted never extends beyond the counter top. When installing a free-standing fridge, a 24-inch depth is a good rule of thumb.

A mini-kitchen built right into a master suite may just be the only private place in some households for a morning cup of coffee. In this room, make sure there are plenty of electrical outlets to accommodate appliances such as a microwave for quick coffee warm-ups, and a mini-fridge for those middle-of-the-night ice cream indulgences.


Everything, Including the Kitchen Sink

Most households have more than one cook in the kitchen, so how about two sinks? A prep sink, in addition to the main sink, will create a separate work zone. Smart sinks, such as Kohler’s trough-shaped stainless steel Crevasse, are made especially for food prep, automatically rinsing food scraps and activating the disposal.

A bar sink in the nearby dining or family room creates more possibilities when entertaining. The enameled cast iron Kohler Cordial® bar sink, includes an ice mold and holes for chilling up to three bottles of wine.

Working sinks are often two-to-three inches deeper today, accommodating larger pots and pans and keeping splashing to a minimum. Stylish options range from apron sinks (also known as farm sinks) to sleek, contemporary stainless steel designs. And how about a pop of color? Designer Jonathan Adler has partnered with Kohler to bring a splashy new line of sink colors, such as Greenwich Green, Piccadilly Yellow, Palermo Blue, and Annapolis Navy.

The sink faucet has been re-imagined, too. The Kohler Karbon articulated arm is a great option for the mobility challenged. And pot fillers are increasingly popular, alleviating the heavy lifting required for carrying a heavy pasta pot from the sink to the stove.

Fantasy Island

Kitchen islands have become more stylish and functional. For the less mobile resident, or for people whom standing is a problem, create an island niche or fold-up extension that accommodates sitting while preparing food. Another trend is to situate the microwave at the end of an island, making it more reachable for the mobility-challenged user, or even the grandkids.

And while we’re at it, why not consider two islands? One can be for eat-in convenience and the other for chopping and rinsing. Two-tiered islands and breakfast bars offer additional flexibility, and cabinetry in finishes contrasting with the base cabinets appear more like furniture than a built-in.

High-Tech Touches

Photo shows a small desk area off the dining room, separated by a curtain.Don’t forget to include a tech nook in today’s kitchen. A great many of the over-50 crowd are quite comfortable with the Internet, email and social networking, so a computer desk in a kitchen will allow them to browse for recipes on cooking sites and Pinterest, and monitor the front door at the same time.

A docking station will allow them to recharge all of today’s gadgets. Streamlined systems can be slipped out of sight behind a base or wall cabinet.

For the less mobile or eyesight-impaired, a monitor mounted on an articulated arm can adjust for height and distance.

Even appliances are going decidedly high-tech, and can make life easier for today’s over-50 consumer. Manufacturers such as Hafele are making cooktops with built-in computer monitors that produce induction heat that is both green and safe.

Using technology borrowed from the smart phone, Thermador’s Freedom induction cooktop boasts a full-color touchscreen interface.

And for the grandkids, how about a flat-screen TV that pulls down from above the cabinets?

Earth-Friendly Fashion

While granite is still popular, the countertop world has opened up with new possibilities that are Earth-friendly, such as lava stone counters that emit zero toxins. Butcher block is making a comeback, and soapstone, limestone, glass, copper and concrete are other natural countertop materials. Recycled glass and metal shavings sealed into a transparent matrix also are environmentally conscious choices. So are low-VOC paint and bamboo flooring.

Cabinets are still key, and according to Sarah Reep, director of designer relations and education at Masco Cabinetry, the 50+ Housing Council’s universal design sponsor. “Home owners are looking for flat panel doors with clean lines and matching drawer fronts. They’re drawn to maple, cherry and straight grain oak that has minimum texture and a more controlled pattern than in previous years.”

Crisp, clean, painted cabinets such as are popular choices right now.

Natural woods such as walnut, mahogany, hemlock and bamboo, are making strong appearances. Contrasting colors and two-tone colors are popular, not only for cabinets, but for countertops and appliances as well.

Don’t underestimate this important market’s discerning taste or desire for style and technology. For the builder catering to today’s over-50 market, the possibilities are endless. By staying on top of the shifting trends in this important market niche, builders will be able to target — and satisfy — this important demographic group in the future.

Photo of the author, Doris PearlmanDoris Pearlman is founder of POSSIBILITIES FOR DESIGN, a nationally recognized, award-winning, interior design and merchandising firm based in Denver. The firm specializes in market-driven interior space merchandising and trend-setting designs. Pearlman is an active member of NAHB’s 50+ Housing Council and the NAHB Institute of Residential Marketing. She is an active board member for HomeAid and lectures and teaches courses nationally. To date, POSSIBILITIES FOR DESIGN and its clients have been accorded more than 100 awards.The firm’s philosophy is to deliver quality interior design and merchandising, and design for all types of shelter.