October 2018 Newsletter

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After such an extended Summer for many across the country, Fall has finally made its way in and the leaves are changing, temperatures are milder, and the holidays are fast-approaching. A perfect time to show all the amenities of your community.

As we “fuel up” for our annual conference, we’d like to remind you about some of the exciting topics that we’re offering from this year’s line-up of speakers. Social media, housing and technology trends, maximizing economic impact, and many more will be presented during our two days of learning and fellowship together.

The AARC prides itself on providing formative resources for our members and to help reach potential retirees and visitors with as much information to make an informed decision on their next step in life. We hope to see you in Daytona Beach very soon!

Sincerely,

Rachel Baker Chair, The AARC


Builder Confidence Rises One Point in October, Remains at Summer Levels

NAHB.com | October 16, 2018

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Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose one point to 68 in October on the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Builder confidence levels have held in the high 60s since June.

“Builders are motivated by solid housing demand, fueled by a growing economy and a generational low for unemployment,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel. “Builders are also relieved that lumber prices have declined for three straight months from elevated levels earlier this summer, but they need to manage supply-side costs to keep home prices affordable.”

“Favorable economic conditions and demographic tailwinds should continue to support demand, but housing affordability has become a challenge due to ongoing price and interest rate increases,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Unless housing affordability stabilizes, the market risks losing additional momentum as we head into 2019.”

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.

The HMI index measuring current sales conditions rose one point to 74 and the component gauging expectations in the next six months increased a single point to 75. Meanwhile, the metric charting buyer traffic registered a four-point uptick to 53.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast rose three points to 57 and the South edged up one point to 71. The West held steady at 74 and the Midwest fell two points to 57.


Consumer Confidence Reaches 18-Year High

Jing Fu, National Association of Home Builders | September 27, 2018

Consumer confidence continued to rise in September, after a big increase in August. Currently, consumers are quite optimistic about both the current situation and the near-term outlook.

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The Consumer Confidence Index, reported by the Conference Board, increased to 138.4 in September, from 134.7 in August. It has surpassed the 2007 peak of 111.9 and spiked to the highest level since October 2000. Both the present situation index and the expectations index rose in September. The present situation index rose by 0.3 point from 172.8 to 173.1 and the expectations index jumped by 6.0 points from 109.3 to 115.3. The September increase in consumer confidence was mainly generated by an increase in the expectations index.

Consumers’ assessments of current business conditions improved. The shares of respondents rating business conditions “good” increased by 0.9 percentage point from 40.5% to 41.4%, while the shares of respondents reporting business conditions “bad” and “normal” declined by 0.2 percentage point and 0.7 percentage point, respectively.

Meanwhile, consumers’ assessments of current employment conditions were mixed. As the share of respondents reporting that jobs were “plentiful” increased from 42.3% to 45.7%, and those reporting jobs were “not so plentiful” decreased from 45.6% to 41.1%, those reporting jobs were “hard to get” increased from 12.1% to 13.2%.

Expectations of business conditions over the next six months improved. In September, 27.6% of respondents expecting future business conditions to be better, increasing by 3.2 percentage points from 24.4%, while the share of respondents expecting business conditions to worsen declined by 1.9 percentage points from 9.9% to 8.0%.

Expectations of employment over the next six months were more upbeat than in August. The share of respondents expecting “more jobs” in the coming six months increased by 1 percentage point from 21.5% to 22.5%, while the share of respondents expecting fewer jobs decreased by 2.2 percentage points from 13.2% to 11.0%.



New Homes Deliver the Top 10 Features Home Buyers Want

Jay McKenzie, New Home Source |

What do our neighbors to the north have to teach us about the Top 10 Features home buyers want?

KHov_peoriaPlenty, it turns out. It’s clear the preferences of Canadian home buyers closely match those of American home buyers.

The award-winning interior designers from Rooms in Bloom shared their experience in a recent blog post. As the 2012 Home Staging firm in Canada, they should know. These experts help real estate professionals and home builders “stage” or decorate homes currently for sale. Like many top designers, Heather Cook and Alana Merrit find the challenge of staying one step ahead of the latest trends when they’re staging new homes for sale to be of great value in all of their interior design work.

As you search for a home, watch for the trends below. You’ll find today’s new homes deliver on the features that buyers like you want most. And when you’ve found your new dream home, keep these ideas in mind as you feather your new nest.

Let’s take a look at how today’s new homes compare to resale homes in delivering:

The Top 10 Features Home Buyers Want

1. Open Concept Homes — New homes offer spacious, flowing floorplans and high ceilings that older houses don’t provide.

2. Smaller Homes — McMansions are expensive to heat, cool and maintain. The wide array of new homes make it easy to find the size just right for you.

3. Outdoor Living Spaces — True in Canada and even more so in the many temperate areas of the U.S. For example, the 2011 Design Driver Survey from AvidBuilder found that 31.4 percent of move-up buyers (people moving to a larger home) said they either must have or really want an outdoor fireplace.

4. Neutral Decor — Probably best for selling a home. However, as a new home buyer, don’t be afraid to display your true colors. As we’ve reported in our blog, whether it’s hip designer Jonathan Adler bringing bold colors back to the kitchen with his line of vibrant sinks for Kohler or furniture and bedding in the current Color of the Year (tangerine) more and more homeowners are bravely adopting brighter hues.

5. Modern Kitchens — The heart of every home. This is where new homes shine with the latest and greatest design, cabinets, countertops and lighting — to say nothing of state-of-the-art appliances.

6. Smart Growth — Many of today’s master planned new home communities offer community clubhouses and pools, protected nature areas, hiking trails, playgrounds and more. Larger new home communities often contain carefully planned retail options and even schools inside the community. It’s also not uncommon to find master-planned communities that water common areas with reclaimed water . Which leads us to….

7. Going Green — Hands down, new homes win here, too. The Home Energy Rating System (also known as a HERS Score) is an industry standard that rates the energy efficiency of homes. The lower the score, the more energy efficient the home. As the people behind HERS point out on their site, the U.S. Department of Energy has determined that a typical new home is 30 percent more energy efficient than a typical resale house.

8. Linen Closets & Smart Storage — New homes take the win in this category, too. Simply compare the much larger walk-in closets of today’s new homes with the cramped closest of old homes.

9. Energy-Efficient Fixtures & Appliances — Our new vs. resale home comparison is turning into a rout. Today’s new homes feature enormous energy efficiency in appliances, HVAC (heating, ventilation and cooling equipment) and throughout the house. As we saw, a typical new home of today is 30 percent more energy efficient than one built just five years ago. Compare a typical new home built today to a 10-20 year old home? Game over!

10. Double Car Garage with Organized Work/Storage Space — You’d be hard-pressed to find a new home that doesn’t score a “10” on criteria number 10. Many builders also offer three-car garages (or larger) that offer enough storage space to make the man of the house grow weak in the knees.

Add it up and it’s a landslide win for new homes vs. used in delivering the features that buyers want. The odds are good a new home is your best bet to realize your dream. And while you may plan to stay put for many years, your new home will be much more likely to meet a buyer’s needs should you ever wish to sell it compared to a used home that’s already out of date today.

To learn more about the award-winning designs and designers at Rooms in Bloom on their blog.

Jay McKenzie heads up content and social media for NewHomeSource.com and Builders Digital Experience. You can find him on Google+.