September 2014 Newsletter

Jeff Fleming headshot 2012

Meet me in Memphis!

Our annual conference is just around the corner! Don’t miss an opportunity to network with like-minded communities and peers!  This is also a great opportunity to bring those who may want to learn more about retiree demographics, trends, and economic potential.  Click to learn more or sign-up

Does your community recognize the potential of retiree recruitment as a non-traditional economic development strategy?  For those who do, their economies have been improved without huge investments in infrastructure, tax abatements, “clawback” agreements, and industrial parks.

The Census Bureau recently reported there are 43.1 million people over 65 in the United States.  That’s roughly equivalent to the entire population of the traditional South (NC, SC, GA, AL, MS, TN, AR, LA).

This population group will grow to 92 million by 2060.  Many of these retirees are going to be looking for a home to purchase and a community to spend their lifetime of accrued earnings.  Will it be yours?

So what are you waiting for?  Learn how to become an AARC Seal of Approval community and market yourself to this crucial piece of the economic pie.


Jeff Fleming Chair, The AARC

AARC Annual Conference October 15th – 17th – Conference Sign Up Discounts Expire Tomorrow –

Early Bird Discount Expires October 1st! – Click To Sign Up

Memphis Has your community taken advantage of the growing number of Baby Boomer retirees seeking a dream home or property?  Others have – and a number of them will be in Memphis in just a few weeks, ready to share success stories, best practices, and maybe a fun time or two.

The American Association of Retirement Communities’ annual conference is a highly anticipated gathering of some of the leading minds in retiree attraction.  Learn from – or maybe even share a drink onMemphis’s historic Beale Street with – the directors of the retirement programs for the states ofTennessee, Mississippi, and North Carolina.  Enjoy casual conversations with and formal presentations from developers who have had success bringing migrating retirees to their properties.  Hear from retiree industry researchers, and learn what they’ve learned about the motivations of retirees seeking their next community.  Serious learning, and serious fun – and in a great downtown Memphis venue.

The event is already a great value for the time – where else can you get this much networking and industry learning in one convenient location?  Even better – early bird registration saves $50-$100 off the non-profit association’s conference registration.  Make your best investment – join us in Memphis!

Sessions Include – 

  • Retiree Buyer Shopping Process – Tracking the Untrackable
  • Engaging Boomers Socially Online
  • Destination Branding – Why It Matters and How To Do It Right
  • What Retirees Want Most In A Home & Community
  • Reinventing Retirement Communities
  • Best Practices revisited – with a digital edge

Attendance at the 2014 Conference starts at just $325.00 and hotel accommodations are only $142/night and include breakfast each morning.

Early Bird Discount Expires October 1st! – Click To Sign Up

To Signup for this year’s conference visit – Conference Signup To book your hotel accommodations visit – Hotel Signup (click the Reserve link)

New Home Sales Power High In August, Soar by 18%

September 24, 2014

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes surged in August and hit their highest level in more than six years, offering confirmation that the housing recovery remains on course. home_sales_up_medium

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday sales jumped 18.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000 units. That was the highest level since May 2008 and marked the second straight month of gains. July’s sales were revised to show a 1.9 percent gain instead of the previously reported 2.4 percent drop.  Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales rising to only a 430,000-unit pace last month.

While the new home sales segment accounts for only 9.1 percent of the housing market, the increase last month should allay fears of renewed housing weakness after a surprise decline in home resales last month. A survey last week showed homebuilder sentiment hit its highest level in nearly nine years in September, with builders reporting a sharp pick-up in buyer traffic. In August, new home sales soared 50 percent in the West to their highest level since January 2008.

Sales in the populous South increased 7.8 percent to their highest level in 10 months. In the Northeast, sales rose 29.2 percent, but were flat in the Midwest. Despite the rise in sales, the stock of new houses hit its highest level in four years. At August’s sales pace it would take 4.8 months to clear the supply of houses on the market. That compared to 5.6 months in July. Six months’ supply is normally considered a healthy balance between supply and demand.

Home Builder Confidence Hits Highest Level Since 2005

By Diana Olick, CNBC
September 17, 2014

sale pendingHope for a stronger housing recovery is surging among the nation’s home builders. A monthly index of sentiment in the industry rose for the fourth straight month in September to the highest reading since November 2005.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index jumped 4 points to 59. Anything above 50 is considered positive sentiment. The index had been as low as 45 just four months ago.

“Since early summer, builders in many markets across the nation have been reporting that buyer interest and traffic have picked up, which is a positive sign that the housing market is moving in the right direction,” said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Delaware.

Workers install a paved driveway at the Toll Brothers' Jupiter Country Club housing development in Jupiter, Fla.
Mark Elias | Bloomberg | Getty Images Workers install a paved driveway at the Toll Brothers’ Jupiter Country Club housing development in Jupiter, Fla.

Of the three components making up the housing market index, current sales conditions and traffic of prospective buyers each rose 5 points to 63 and 47, respectively. The index gauging expectations for future sales increased 2 points to 67.

Buyer traffic, however, is not uniform. Younger buyers continue to be sidelined from the housing recovery, still struggling under weak job and wage growth. Young Americans are renting at a higher rate than ever, and as rents rise, they are less able to save for a down payment on a mortgage. Applications for a mortgage to buy a home are running 10 percent below where they were one year ago, when rates were lower.

“While a firming job market is helping to unleash pent-up demand for new homes and contributing to a gradual, upward trend in builder confidence, we are still not seeing much activity from millennials and first-time homebuyers,” said the NAHB’s chief economist, David Crowe. “Other factors impeding the pace of the housing recovery include persistently tight credit conditions for consumers and rising costs for materials, lots and labor.”

Results from the largest publicly traded home builders have also been mixed. Miami-based Lennar reported Wednesday better-than-expected earnings for its third quarter. Orders rose 23 percent from a year ago, but the company also benefited from its play in the multifamily rental business. Pennsylvania-based Toll Brothers, a higher-end home builder, disappointed in its latest quarterly earnings report.

Regionally, builder confidence was highest in the Midwest and lowest in the Northeast, but all regions posted gains.

When Will Rising Mortgage Rates Hurt The Housing Market?

By Jed Kolko, Trulia

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist at Trulia, digs into recent history to reveal how today’s rising rates may be more bark than bite. Typically, spiking mortgage rates take a big chomp out of refinancing immediately and smaller nibbles out of sales three months later. Longer term, the impact of rising rates is typically offset by stronger economic growth. 

home-prices-riseEver since mortgage rates started their steep climb in early May, we’ve all been on high alert, watching how higher rates will affect the housing market. For a would-be buyer calculating the mortgage payment on their dream home, the effects are obvious: the increase in the 30-year fixed rate from 3.59% in early May to 4.73% at the end of August (according to the Mortgage Bankers’ Association, or MBA) means a 15% increase in the monthly payment on a $200,000 mortgage. That should deter homebuyers and reduce mortgage applications, sales, and prices, right? In theory, yes, but of course the real world is much more complicated. Mortgage rates aren’t rising all on their own: other housing and economic shifts are happening at the same time.

Fortunately, the recent past is a useful guide. The 30-year fixed rate jumped .47 points in May 2013 and .51 points in June 2013, comparing the levels at months’ end (MBA). (Side point: the 30-year fixed reached 4.80 this morning, September 11, .22 points higher than at the end of June, which means July, August, and early September have seen much milder increases compared with the May & June spike.) But this year isn’t the only time when mortgage rates have jumped up: they also climbed at least .4 points in seven other months since 1999. With some simple time-series regressions, we traced out the typical paths of mortgage applications, sales, and prices in the months immediately after a mortgage rate spike. 

The Month-by-Month Impact of a Rate Spike Our analysis of mortgage rates and other housing data from January 1999 through April 2013 – just before the current spike – shows that mortgage rates hit refinancing applications (MBA) earlier and harder than any other measure of housing market activity. (Not all of the data series are available back to 1999.) Here’s the timeline of what typically happens when rates spike by half a point in a month:

  • The month when rates spikeRefinancing applications typically fall by 45% in the month of a spike, with further falls one and two months after mortgage rates jump, compounding the effect. The drop in refinancing applications this year was roughly 50% cumulatively over two months, which actually looks small compared with similar rate jumps in the recent past.
  • 1-2 months after the spike: Pending home sales and home-purchase mortgage applications typically decline slightly, though the effect isn’t statistically significant. New home sales also decline modestly.
  • 3 months after a spike: New home sales and existing home sales drop. That means that the May mortgage rate spike should show up most strongly in August new home sales and existing home sales, both of which will be reported later this month (on September 25 and September 19, respectively).

Compared with the impact on refinancing, the impact of a rate spike on home-purchase mortgage applications and sales volumes is very small and not always statistically significant.