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Real Estate Big Data

US Census results show times are a changing (so might your business)

(BIG DATA) New Census data gives us insight into a few key takeaways regarding population shifts and how this is affecting the real estate market.

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The Census results are in

Seriously, get excited. It’s hard to get psyched for spreadsheets. I get that. But the US Census results are as important as spreadsheets get, and for real estate in particular, it’s vital to know who’s where and why.

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The details for the 2016 census came in last week, and while it’s not mandatory reading, Trulia has taken a deep dive into the subject.

The details are absolutely worth your time, but here are four big takeaways for anyone in the business:

1. America is old

Ironically, the most important demographic trend in the eternal geopolitical adolescent that is the United States, full to the brim though it is of new tech and youth-worshipping advertising, is the increasing prevalence and importance of older adults.

To state the obvious, more old folks around is a very good thing.

For one, it means our overall health is improving. For another, it means a more stable, consistency-oriented marketplace than us twitchy millennials and Gen Y types.

As we’ve previously written, older Boomers are taking over the housing market. The fact that every one of the 100 major metro areas in the United States saw an increase in the population of adults 65 years of age or older, representing growth from 14.9% to 15.2% of the national population, is big news for real estate, because those folks buy it.

2. America is not white

For any of y’all still laboring under the impression that America is supposed to be a solely European-American nation – seriously guys, not since Leif Erickson’s brother-in-law ran screaming from the people who are actually from here; come to The Real Daily for all your obscure historical trivia needs – Caucasian population (that’s just fun to write) has shown neither growth nor decline in the last two years.

Nationwide, all population growth between 2015 and now has been 50.7% Hispanic, 23.4% Asian, 15.8% black, 8.6% people identifying as two or more of those races, and a whopping 0.2% Caucasian.

Importantly, white populations aren’t declining either. America’s just made up of everybody. Market likewise.

3. Trends stay trending

For all of the rhetoric on both sides of the political spectrum, the demographic changes shown in the Census track what trends they’ve clocked since the far-away days of the year 2000. In fact, population change has slowed in that time: between 2000 and 2010 the population grew at a rate of 0.9%; from 2010 to the present it’s slowed to 0.7%.

Immigration has not spiked, nor have demographics undergone substantial changes nationwide. That’s the math.

If someone says otherwise, exercise skepticism.

4. Cities are changing

Trends may be consistent nationwide, but there are always outliers, and outliers can mean opportunity.

Notably, as of the most recent census 26 of American’s 100 biggest metro areas are majority-minority, which is to say, the minority population taken as a whole is larger than the Caucasian one. That’s the same as 2015, but representative of a substantial change over time: in 2000, there were just 14.

Urban populations are absolutely getting more diverse, and people doing business in those places need to take note.

Some are also moving in surprising directions.

The Hispanic population of the Bay Area, California is declining: the only two metros of the 100 tracked by the census that showed a decline in Hispanic population this year are San Francisco and San Jose. Conversely, the most rapidly changing cities are Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida, both of which saw a major influx of Hispanic-Americans this year as well as the last.

Interestingly, Las Vegas also saw a rise in both its Hispanic and Asian-American population.

That’s the word from the American org chart. Time to do business accordingly.

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Matt Salter is a writer and former fundraising and communications officer for nonprofit organizations, including Volunteers of America and PICO National Network. He’s excited to put his knowledge of fundraising, marketing, and all things digital to work for your reading enjoyment. When not writing about himself in the third person, Matt enjoys horror movies and tabletop gaming, and can usually be found somewhere in the DFW Metroplex with WiFi and a good all-day breakfast.

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Real Estate Big Data

Ultra simple shortcut to attract new (or more) real estate investors

(REAL ESTATE) Without having to spend any money, this shortcut can attract more business to boost your bottom line. And it’s a huge win-win for the nation.

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Whether you’re a real estate veteran, or looking to expand your services to the real estate investment world, a wild shortcut has just been launched, and you already have access to it for free if you’re a Realtor.

Realtors Property Resource (owned by the National Association of Realtors (NAR)), rolled out a map layer to unveil the Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZ) across the nation this year, and it’s a tool we should all be using regularly…

The QOZ program was created in 2017 as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and is designed to improve local economies (specifically the economically disadvantaged areas) through long-term investments.

There are 8,700 QOZs in America, and real estate investment and development in those areas are rewarded with tax incentives (potentially reducing their tax liability by 10-15%, and appreciation on the investment is tax free if held for at least 10 years).

And now, you can find the investment opportunities in seconds, generate reports for investors, connect with homeowners (via the “Mailing Labels” feature) in those areas, and so much more – the new RPR features combine to create one hell of a shortcut for you. Check it out:

“With the Opportunity Zone initiative poised to transform American communities that have long been shunned by investors, NAR has developed resources to help facilitate and expedite investments in these areas. As our work continues, REALTORS® are committed to ensuring Americans can take full advantage of this valuable new initiative”, said Joseph Ventrone, NAR Vice President, Federal Policy and Industry Relations.

“These Opportunity Zones encourage private investment into low-income communities, with the intent of stimulating economic growth and job creation,” said Bob Turner, NAR’s 2019 Commercial Liaison and RPR Advisory Council Member. “Residential practitioners will notice homes that fall within Opportunity Zones gain a boost to their marketability because of increased attention, while Commercial practitioners will likely see properties once being skipped over turn into desirable investment opportunities.”

It’s not just a shortcut for practitioners, but meaningful help for underserved areas. Talk about a real win-win.

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Real Estate Big Data

Pending home sales dip in all regions but the Midwest

(REAL ESTATE) Pending home sales slipped nationally, but there are some healthy signs for the housing sector as we look forward.

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If you’re in the field and feeling a slight slowdown, you’re probably right. Pending home sales (contracts signed) dipped 1.5% nationally, down 2.0% year-over-year, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This marks the 16th consecutive month of annual decreases.

Pending home sales dipped 1.8% in the Northeast, 2.5% in the South, 1.8% in the West, and rose 1.3% in the Midwest.

Compared to last year, pending homes are 2.1% below a year ago, down 1.8% in the South, 1.5% lower in the West, and 2.4% lower in the Midwest during the same time period.

This indicator is forward-looking and lets us know how closings will look in the coming months.

NAR Chief Economist, Dr. Lawrence Yun said the sales dip has not yet reflected the market shifts that work in favor of homeownerships.

“Though the latest monthly figure shows a mild decline in contract signings, mortgage applications and consumer confidence have been steadily rising,” he said. “It’s inevitable for sales to turn higher in a few months.”

Dr. Yun noted that home price appreciation has been strongest on homes priced under $250,000 as inventory levels have been perpetually tight for several years. Price conditions are soft on upper-end homes, “especially in high tax states like Connecticut, New York and Illinois,” he added.

There are now signs for a rise in inventory, Dr. Yun states, digging into data from realtor.com, noting the largest increase in active listings (in April) compared to April 2018.

“We are seeing migration to more affordable regions, particularly in the South, where there has been recent job growth and homes are more affordable,” Yun said.

NAR has repeatedly pointed to housing starts by new home builders as one of the key paths to loosening up the tight inventory levels that continue to edge out willing buyers. Starts remain low, but with a healthy market, the inventory appears to be correcting, albeit slowly.

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Real Estate Big Data

Are you selling real estate in a high-cancer-risk area?

(BIG DATA) If you own a brokerage knowing your local ecosystem can be beneficial. Whether it’s a humble brag on your blog, or a letter to a local rep, knowing your environment is always a good idea.

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As a realtor or brokerage owner, you know the importance of understanding your community’s ecosystem in order to shape your business strategy.

However, have you considered how environmental and quality may play a role in those decisions?

A recent study published in Cancer suggests that you should. According to the study, “of every 100,000 Americans, 451 of us will get cancer in a given year.” The study “found a difference of 39 cases (per 100,000) people, between areas with the highest and the lowest environmental quality.

This establishes a significant link between environmental qualities and cancer risks.

The study also showcases a map of the US and the air quality of various regions. Red and orange areas have the worst air quality, while blue and green areas have the best air quality. As you might expect, large metropolitan areas have the worst air quality, and things improve as you move into more rural areas. You do find the most exceptions throughout the southeastern region and a vertical stretch that runs from the tip of Texas to the Dakotas up north.

These kinds of signs can either be a major benefit or a major obstacle to attracting buyers to your real estate market.

According to the most recent Gallup polls, 47 percent of Americans worry a great deal about the quality of the environment. So, how do you adjust?

If you’re in a blue or green area, make sure to get the word out! People now consider environmental quality as part of the quality of life factor. Don’t let that benefit go unnoticed. Blog about it on your own website. Use your social media to share data like this from other sources, or other information praising the environmental quality and protections of your market.

Integrate it into your marketing materials where possible.

If you’re in a red or orange area, you’ve got a bit more work to do here, and it’s going to get a bit political. There is already plenty of concern about attempts at the federal level to handicap agencies dedicated to protecting the environment. Be wary of such measures at the state and city level, and be a voice for the real estate economy in shaping this policy.

Does going to places of legislative businesses give you the heebie-jeebies? Find local organizations dedicated to improving environmental quality. Sponsor a river or park clean up event. Show your support for events like Earth Day. Don’t have those kinds of events? Harness your entrepreneurial spirit and bring these events to your community. Taking action as a community leader will be massively beneficial for your brand.

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