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My Magic Eight Ball’s Green Forecasts for 2011

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Yes this is Completely Founded in Science and Logic

I consulted my handy eight ball in preparation for this article to see what the outlook for green homes is in our rather complicated and wildly vacillating world of real estate.  Alas, I got a favorable answer which sent me to Dr. Google to find some legitimate statistics and/or analysis that might support my eight ball’s rather bold assertion.

First of all, the NAR has recently published some data both publicly and to it members about the average American home size decreasing.   I am even seeing articles and blogs entitled the death of the McMansion.  There seem to be some shifts in market demographics to drive this trend indefinitely.  The over 55 population is according to census data about 25%  of the American population and is expected to rise within a growing population in the coming years.  This is expected to translate in buyers who no longer want/need large homes.  Generation Y buyers who will continue to enter the market have been raised more energy conscious and are looking to buy what they need.  I have also seen articles about the rise in building costs, difficulty in acquiring jumbo loans, and a desire to live more close to urban hubs where homes are generally smaller all being a factor in this trend.

This is an important factor in green real estate because one of the fundamental design principles to green building is building smaller more functional homes with universal design features.  Both NAHB and US Census data also seem to support this trend.  In addition Better Homes and Gardens did a survey in December and found that the top three home improvement projects included home offices, laundry rooms, and storage (i,e function over form).   Combined living, dining, kitchen with built in technology such as wiring for technology also tend to be on the top of consumers list as well integration of outdoor space has also become important.  All of which are a part of the more functional and flexible design principles found in green building.

In addition, EcoBroker in their newsletter featured an article from Jim Simcoe(consultant to investors in green real estate) entitled  Green Real Estate Predictions for 2011.   He made some very well thought out points that also seem to support what NAR and NAHB are saying.   Here are some highlights:

  • Return on Investment will continue to become easier to measure with case studies and real data on savings.   Meaning the hype part of energy efficiency should continue to translate in to real value which in turn should increase demand.
  • As green building features grow in popularity, better and more cost effective green building products continue enter the market allowing builders to  build greener at comparable if not cheaper prices than their less green counterparts. This should translate in to more green housing in a larger variety of price points.
  • According to Simco roughly 40% of the consumer base (i.e. buyers and renters) understood the value of paying more for a greener home with regards to overall costs to maintain and operate the home being less, with added comfort.   This awareness is predicted to double in the near future.

All of this is obviously favorable for my core message and continues to be consistent with what I’m finding on a small scale with growth of green consumers in my business.  However, even if you aren’t a “green” Realtor, understanding where your consumer base is trending in the future is a fundamental in creating longevity in this industry.  In addition, as consumers become more tech savvy and able to do research for themselves this means we are forced to be even more knowledgeable and forward thinking to better provide them solid data on how the largest single investment they will ever make may fair 5  or even 25 years from now.

Anna Altic – Village Real Estate Services. I’ve called Nashville home for the last 15 years and have been practicing (practice being the key word here) real estate for just over 6 years. In the fall of 2007, I went to a local German Festival that had a home tour, including a LEED certified property, and I instantly became enamored with the idea of eco friendly living (ok, so I’d had a little beer and the dual flush toilet rocked my world). I have since devoted much of my time and energies in to studying and espousing the benefits of better building technology within our local residential market and my proudest accomplishment thus far has been successfully leading the initiative to get over 25 green features added to our MLS search fields.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. MH for Movoto

    February 1, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Love this. As a member of Generation Y who grew up in a sprawling suburban home, I can’t imagine ever wanting one. May function/efficiency conquer form/waste every single time!

  2. Karen Highland

    February 2, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    I’ve been seeing these statistics in several places. You’ve combined all the points together and the trend seems very clear. Thanks.

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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