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What are the top challenges affecting real estate?

The real estate sector has been on a wild roller coaster ride in the last decade with the highest of highs and lowest of lows – what positive and negative challenges remain?

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real estate challenges

Challenges affecting real estate

While housing marches to the slow, steady drumbeat of recovery, the grass is getting greener and optimism is creeping back into the hearts and minds of both real estate professionals and homeowners. But the wild ride isn’t over, and hiccups remain as the sector struggles to find its footing yet again.

At the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Conference and Expo currently under way in San Francisco, real estate consultant Scott Muldavin outlined what he believes the top 10 issues affecting real estate currently are, and by issuing a statement to the press on the topic, the NAR agrees.

Top issue: interest rates

Muldavin indicated, and our recent news coverage supports, that the top issue affecting real estate is interest rates. They were historically low for so long, that as rates begin to rise, capitalization rates are likely to follow, which could spark anxiety about investing in real estate.

Additionally, Muldavin notes that as the population ages, there will be greater demand for senior housing, requiring a change in the configuration and size of available housing, and for greater medical care, resulting in an expansion in medical facilities.

The capital market resurgence has positively impacted real estate – credit has become less restrictive for the commercial sector and transaction volume is up, and while underwriting remains a challenge for residential markets, interest rates are low and affordability remains high.

Future housing demand from echo boomers, the 80 million Americans born between 1982 and 1995, will also impact real estate markets, he said. “We are the only developed country that has had an echo boom and that’s a positive thing if the country can react and respond to it,” said Muldavin. This segment of the population prefers an active urban lifestyle, rely on public transit, and often choose location over size – suburbs are catching up, Muldavin notes, with better mass transit, new bike paths, and the like.

Climate change and more extreme weather patterns will also continue to have a strong impact on coastal homes and many other properties across the country. Muldavin cited the impact of recent storms like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and how property owners in these markets are now dealing with changes in code and zoning standards and paying significantly higher insurance premiums.

Like weather and geologic events, major global events can also impact real estate markets, such as acts of terrorism, war, global debt crisis and financial and economic downturns, he said. “The risk of future events is high, and while it’s always hard to anticipate these risks, they need to be considered because their impact is often great,” Muldavin opined.

Variables also include energy, globalization, and tech

Natural gas and oil production is on the rise in the U.S., and while this is creating greater employment opportunities and reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil, it’s also contributing to climate change, environmental degradation and contamination.

Muldavin also cited globalization, foreign investment, and the economies of other countries as variables that will continue to have a greater impact on the U.S. economy and real estate market.

Another issue is how technology will continue to impact office spaces. Muldavin said many corporations are employing work-from-home policies and other mobility solutions that are allowing individuals to work when and where they want, significantly reducing office space requirements.

“Many people are replacing physical items with electronics and free or virtual products, such as e-books and smartphones enabled with cameras, GPS and flashlights. This means businesses will continue to require less retail space, so I believe the trend in the future will be for fewer and smaller stores,” he said.

Muldavin said the impact of the Internet on bricks-and-mortar retail stores is also a growing issue. He said retail demand is down across the country due to an increase in Internet sales, which are expected to rise from the current 6.5 percent to nearly 15 percent by 2020.

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Smaulgld

    November 11, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Nice list. I would add- the overall economy is a shambles and there is no meaningful generational pipeline of new buyers as “gen Y” is not forming households as they have poor employment prospects and and lots of student loan debt. The “recovery’ in housing is over-it cost the Fed $4 trillion in QE money to produce some Wall Street institutional cash buyers to lift prices higher for a while. There are diminishing returns on a program like that and we’ve seen the extent of the benefits.

  2. Gabe Sanders

    November 11, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    There are some excellent points brought up in this post. Many of these issues will become major in the way it impacts the future of real estate.

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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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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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