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Real Estate Big Data

Looking into the crystal ball – 2020 housing forecast

(REAL ESTATE BIG DATA) Housing in America is about to change significantly as the millennials begin purchasing their first house and the market changes to meet them.

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Housing neighborhood

In 2020, Millennials will be taking on the majority of home mortgages and shape the housing market, that according to Realtor.com’s national housing forecast for 2020.

The report dispels the myth that Millennials want walkability and avocado toast. The report states that in 2020 the group will take on more mortgages than Boomers and Gen X – combined. And, they will be plunking down serious cash, with larger down payments than ever.

While Millennials will be buying homes in the burbs, willing to drive the kids to school, and shaping the market, in general the forecast is for a tight market, with a flat increase in sales.

The coming year is going to be a mixed bag.

Economy and Global Market Influence

During 2019, consumers were still feeling good about the economy, leading to a 4.6% annualized gain in consumer spending, yet businesses were not as confident by the second quarter and resulted in a 1% drop in investment. Trade disputes between the US and its trade partners resulted in an escalation in tariffs and increased uncertainty.

At the start of 2019, the Federal Reserve initially tightened its belt because the economy seemed to be on an expansionary track, but it switched tactics later in the year as it became clear major economies around the globe were slowing and as a result cutting rates and purchasing assets to boost output, according to the report.

In 2020, GDP growth is expected to be modest with a 1.7% advance, according to the report. As housing expenses continue to rise, consumers will spend less on non-housing related purchases. Slowing consumer spending, coupled with global uncertainty and a volatile world market is expected to cause businesses to trim employment goals and control costs. Unemployment is expected to rise slightly from 3.6% to 3.9% by the end of 2020. Meanwhile, inflation is expected to remain restrained with a 2.0% year-over-year increase.

Housing Supply

Home buyers were searching for more affordable housing choices in 2019 and as a result there was a housing buildup around the country, with the number of homes available rising 7% on a yearly basis, the fastest pace of growth since 2014. As the year wore on buyers became frustrated with the costs of housing, but then mortgage rates dropped in March and many buyers were able to get into the market thanks to the shift and the reliance on financing, according to the report.

“In 2020, we expect inventory to struggle to grow and could instead reach a historic low level. The yearly declines are likely to be moderate and range between 1%-to-5 % for most of the year. A steady flow of demand, and robust-yet-declining seller sentiment will combine to ensure there is no surplus adequately-priced inventory,” the report stated.

Demand for housing will remain strong in 2020, particularly in the entry level. Millennials will be turning 30 and will make up the largest group entering the market. And, they will take more than half of all mortgages in 2020, the Realtor.com forecast stated.

Home sales are expected to remain flat in 2020, even as demand remains strong. With consumers sensing a cooling economy in the coming year, it’s expected that home sales will dip 1.8%, as supply remains short, price growth is going to remain restrained. The decline in sales will be tied to flat price growth. Prices are expected to rise 0.8% in 2020.

Buying in 2020 is going to present a mix for consumers as there will be more opportunities to find new construction at flattened prices, yet it will depend on the market they search and finding one with fewer barriers to entry. The report describes it as “Marco Polo” while it may be easier to qualify for loans, it may be harder to find a home.

Sellers are going to need to price it right to sell it. Homebuyers are on the hunt for affordable properties, so those homes in a higher price range will need to relax prices or provide incentives to encourage sales.

The trend of searching for affordable housing will continue as Millennials leave the urban centers behind for homes for families and Boomers retire to sunnier communities, with lower taxes and lower cost of living. Texas, Arizona and Nevada could benefit from homebuyers looking for affordability. Meanwhile, Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas may see more relocations from folks leaving the expensive and cold Northeast behind.

Mary Ann Lopez earned her MA in print journalism from the University of Colorado and has worked in print and digital media. After taking a break to give back as a Teach for America corps member and teaching science for a few years, she is back with her first love: writing. When she's not writing stories, reading five books at once, or watching The Great British Bakeoff, she is walking her dog Sadie and hanging with her cats, Bella, Bubba, and Kiki. She is one cat short of full cat lady status and plans to keep it that way.

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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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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