Real estate executives feel cautiously optimistic
According to the 2013 Imprev Thought Leader Survey, real estate executives are feeling optimistic toward housing, but not without caution. In a nationwide survey taken after the federal government re-opening, real estate broker-owners and top executives lean toward a positive outlook, but uncertainty remains rampant in the industry.
“Their enthusiasm appears to be tempered,” said Renwick Congdon, Imprev CEO. “We are in a better place than we were last year, so these results are somewhat surprising.”
Outlook on housing and the economy
Imprev’s study revealed that 56 percent of respondents believe housing will improve in the next year, but only 2.0 percent believe it will improve significantly, while 35 percent say it will stay the same, and 7.0 percent believe it will deteriorate.
“That’s less rosy than their views last year,” the company notes, “when the 2012 Imprev Thought Leader Survey found 70 percent of top real estate executives predicting the housing market would continue to improve over the coming year.”
Confidence in the 2014 housing market is tempered, with 72 stating they are only “somewhat confident” and 24 percent reporting they are “very confident” in the 2014 housing market. Under 5.0 percent report they are “not at all confident” in the 2014 housing market, which Imprev calls “good news.”
Regarding the overall economy, 46 percent of respondents believe it will improve in the next year, 51 percent say it will stay the same, and 13 percent believe it will deteriorate.
“Overall economic confidence increased significantly when the executives are looking closer to home,” Imprev notes. “More than three times as many say their confidence in their local economies has improved since January, vs. overall confidence that the world economy has improved.”
The level of economic confidence among respondents has diminished across all economic sectors when compared to last year’s survey. Global economic confidence is 14 percent in 2013 versus 16 percent in 2012. U.S. economic confidence is 21 percent versus 47 percent; State economic confidence is 39 percent versus 65 percent; Local economic confidence is 46 percent versus 77 percent.
Broker optimism centers around profitability
Despite their views on the national economy, 95 percent of respondents say they are confident that their real estate brokerage businesses will be more profitable in the next 12 months than they are today; nearly half say they are “very confident” (48 percent) and 47 percent say they are “somewhat confident.”
With political and economic uncertainty lingering, it appears that real estate executives are focused on their own practice with the belief that they can control their profits and growth regardless of a stagnating economy.
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?
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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