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April home sales shows how confusing we are as people

(REAL ESTATE BIG DATA) April home sales have shown some interesting figures, and could be indicative of humans or COVID-19, we’re still not sure which.

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April home sales

If humans have a couple of giant, recognizable traits, one would be adaptability, and the other would be being confusing. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 April home sales defied conventional logic, and our understanding of sales history.

Having 2 months of solid lock down, and not a predictable end in sight, one would expect all industries, especially housing, to start crumbling and possibly collapse. Who would want to risk going outside, and looking at someone else’s home when there’s a virus running rampant? Also keeping in mind that at any moment you could be told you no longer have a job, so couldn’t get a new home anyway. Why take that risk?

The turn of many realtors and associations towards tech, and virtual showings must have made a major impact because April home sales actually increased .6%. That may not seem like much, but we need silver linings where we can find them. This small increase could be the result of a few different things that maybe we can capitalize on.

Home sales

First for the sake of safety, some people such as chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, Peter Bookvar think people are trying to get out of the large city centers, and head to rural areas. Not only for better social distancing to steer clear of the Coronavirus, but homes and land are cheaper.

Speaking of cheaper homes, the overall median home price dropped from $339,000 in April of last year to $309,000 this year. Knowing you have to pay a whole car less this year might incentivize you into that new home. Plus with inventory dropping from 331,000 in March to 325,000 in April, homes are running out pretty fast.

Even as the inventory quickly dissipates, newly constructed homes are still out there making up 1 in 5 sales which is up from 1 in 6 last year. Sure the number of homes being constructed and listed have slowed 13%, but not as drastically as existing home listings dropping 36.3%

As far as locations of the homes being sold, the South dominates with an increase of 4.7% in sales, while the others dropped 26.5% in the Northeast and Midwest, and 33.5% for the West.

We see a ton of ups and downs in all different sectors of the housing industry, without a lot of correlation between any of it. But home sales are up this month, and that’s something to be happy about.

Basically COVID-19, instead of throwing a wrench into the gears, added a couple of new ones we’re still trying to figure out. I guess keep your head up, and be as positive as possible; regardless of how confusing the markets, and we as people are, we can also adapt and be stronger in the end.

Colin is a Web Producer at The American Genius that spends more time with reptiles than a normal person would expect. Care for animals is one of his many passions alongside writing, drawing, gaming, and thinking of things to add to bios.

Real Estate Big Data

Gen Z is far more open to homeownership than millennials [study]

(REAL ESTATE) After years of hearing how millennials delay homeownership, it’s refreshing to hear Gen Z has a totally different perspective.

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gen z vs. millennials

We’ve written for years about millennials and their reluctance to purchase homes, especially in the wake of the pandemic. Financial hesitancy is a trait long associated with millennials, but according to Hana Ben-Shabat, Gen Z is making a definitive push for homeownership where the prior generation has stagnated.

Hana Ben-Shabat is the author of Gen Z 360: Preparing for the Inevitable Change in Culture, Work, and Commerce, and she founded Gen Z Planet, a firm that “[helps] brands prepare and adjust to the changes that Generation Z is bringing to the workplace and the consumer market.”

Her insight is clearly valuable, making her assertion that Gen Z is more likely to buy homes less speculation and more prophecy.

“Considering their focus on securing their future, home ownership is a piece of the puzzle,” Ben-Shabat says. In a related survey, she notes that 87 percent of Gen Z participants expressed interest in owning a home sometime in the future; only 63 percent of millennials echoed that sentiment.

Gen Z participants also had a stronger inclination toward viewing homeownership as a financially smart decision rather than a burden.

Gen Z’s open-mindedness toward purchasing homes may seem surprising at first glance. Ben-Shabat acknowledges the financial hardships placed on this generation, and posits that, having seen millennials struggle with student debt and the recession of 2008, this generation has arguably more incentive to stay away from large investments.

But she also points out that Gen Z buyers are “determined to learn from the mistakes of others and secure their financial future as early as possible,” adding that they “benefited from a wave of consumer financial education that began after the housing crisis of 2008.

This makes for a generation that is both clear and educated regarding their financial goals and how to achieve them.

It’s also worth noting, as Ben-Shabat does, that millennials have a more tenuous grasp of DIY culture and the financial decisions that accompany it than their Generation Z counterparts. As “digital natives,” Gen Z buyers don’t object as strongly to purchasing starter homes and renovating; millennials, by contrast, find themselves purchasing more expensive properties that are “ready to move in” due to waiting an extended time before shifting toward homeownership.

Ben-Shabat’s observations foreshadow an increased market shift toward Generation Z ownership, especially in smaller, more affordable locations. As for the economic ramifications of the paradigm change, only time (and Ben-Shabat’s website) will tell.

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Real Estate Big Data

It’s actually really great news that home sales just dipped slightly

(REAL ESTATE) Home sales took a small dip in July, according to the National Association of Realtors – why is this GOOD news?

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home sales

In a different market, home sales slipping would be terrible news, but in this overheated housing market, it’s welcome news. Pending home sales (contracts signed) slipped in July by 1.8%, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Marking the second month of declines, all regions fell except the West which rose 1.9%. Compared to July of last year, sales fell 8.5%, so why is this good news?

“The market may be starting to cool slightly, but at the moment there is not enough supply to match the demand from would-be buyers,” said Dr. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist. “That said, inventory is slowly increasing and home shoppers should begin to see more options in the coming months.”

Inventory levels have been high for several years now, and housing starts are millions of units behind where they should be, so several markets are overheated.

“Homes listed for sale are still garnering great interest, but the multiple, frenzied offers – sometimes double-digit bids on one property – have dissipated in most regions,” Dr. Yun said. “Even in a somewhat calmer market, a number of potential buyers are still choosing to waive appraisals and inspections.”

NAR reports that 27% of buyers bypassed appraisal and inspection contingencies to speed up the homebuying process.

Pending home sales slid 6.6% in the Northeast, 0.9% in the South, and 3.3% in the Midwest. While a slowing of sales doesn’t fix the inventory crisis, it sure does slightly loosen conditions. It won’t have a strong impact on housing prices, and a 1.8% dip may feel more like stagnant activity, but it truly is a sign of hope.

NAR is pressing lawmakers to take immediate action, from local to federal; they’re pressing for changes to stop the proverbial bleeding, like permitting law adjustments to allow commercial real estate be transformed to residential units in response to the shortage of housing, and builders unable to keep up.

We’ll still see comedic sketches online about the housing market as a reflection of a dip in homebuyer morale, but hopefully we’ll see those slow as well. Fingers crossed.

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Real Estate Big Data

Housing affordability and food insecurity are linked – a crisis is unfolding

(REAL ESTATE NEWS) You wouldn’t think housing affordability and people’s ability to buy food are linked, but they are and a finance problem is emerging.

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housing affordability and food insecurity

A report out today from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) substantiates the relationship between housing affordability and food security. Although this shouldn’t be news to anyone, in the wake of the pandemic, hints of a housing bubble, and with inflation on the rise, many more households are being forced to choose between housing or food.

According to the NAR, “the cost of housing have a critical impact on their ability to have enough food on the table.”

Using the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey, NAR analyzed the number of households that found it difficult to pay their expenses. About 7% of all households, or 35.1 million, found it difficult to meet their expenses.

Breaking it down even farther, about 23.3 million homeowners were having difficulty. This is about 38% of all homeowners across the U.S.

Renters only comprised about 11.8 million households with difficulty, but this is about 66% of all renter households. As eviction moratoriums and forbearance periods are expiring, these figures should be worrisome.

The NAR also reports about 8.1 million households are without enough food. About 10% of Americans experience food insecurity.

Renters experience food insecurity at higher rates than homeowners.

Although there are many programs that give out free groceries and that supplement food budgets, renters still find it difficult to meet expenses.

Rents are increasing, faster than wages, which is one reason families are on “the edge of affordability.” For example, although Texas housing rates have risen just 6.7% over the past year, the family income has not. This puts pressure on the family to pay for a roof over their head or to buy food. Affordable housing is an issue that directly relates to food insecurity.

NAR reports that their members care about their community. Among the 67% of REALTORS® who volunteer, a little more than 1/3 of them gave to food banks. Another 20% gave to food delivery for elderly and housebound individuals. REALTORS® donated to frontline workers and for school meals for children.

Despite the help, more can be done. Look into food banks and volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood.

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