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Real Estate Big Data

New home construction data is out, and the numbers are both horrible and awesome

If new home construction data slipped this month, how can a leading economist call this “the best year since the recovery began?”

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, housing starts in July fell 16.0 percent, but were up 10.1 percent for the year. Falling to 1.206 million, housing starts are at historically low levels, and after a jump last month, permits saw a 6.3 percent dip during this reporting period (although permits are up 7.5 percent for the year).

Although multi-family saw the biggest decline, pulling the overall number down, it is not time to panic, as it is typical for this sector to decline after frantically making up for lost winter productivity. All regions but the Midwest are doing well when looking at year to date numbers.

So why then does Trulia’s chief economist, Dr. Selma Hepp proclaim that “Despite the volatility, construction activity is in the best year since the recovery began.” Because of data.

How can this be good news?

Hepp explains by offering in her own words below the combination of single-family starts, annual growth in multi-family construction, and builder confidence:

  1. Single-family construction starts are moving up ever so slowly, and reached 782,000 annualized units in July 2015. Finally a little bit stronger than multi-family starts, the single-family starts are still below long-run average in most major metros across the county. In fact, Trulia’s latest study reveals that the single-family component is still well below historical norms even in metros seeing improvement in annualized permit activity. Only 13 out of the 100 largest U.S. metros saw increases in single-family construction over their historical norms, most notably in Austin, Houston, Charleston and Nashville.
  2. The annual growth in multi-family home construction has slowed markedly but in line with expectations, particularly among 5+ units construction which recently reached highest levels since mid-1980s. Trulia’s analysis of permit activity for multi-family construction shows that 53 out of the 100 largest U.S. metros are now building more than their historical average. In some of the top 10 markets, multi-family construction was higher than the historical norm by several fold. For example, New York’s activity is more than four times higher, while both Boston and Newark are almost three times higher. In many of these markets, multi-family construction is reaching a cyclical peak and will soon see some slowdown.
  3. Many housing markets are still building well below their historical norm. Trulia’s analysis of permit activity shows that 7 in 10 homebuilding markets t are building below their long-run norm. Most simply, areas with slower home price appreciation and fewer new jobs are still the construction laggers, but also the markets with some residual distressed inventory since the housing bust.
  4. Builder confidence for newly built, single-family homes yesterday showed the index continuing to increase to the highest level since November 2005. High confidence among builders is an encouraging indicator of future construction activity.

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Hepp concludes, “All in all, the housing recovery has reached a new milestone. Builders have become much more bullish on the housing market, with homebuilder confidence haven risen to a near-decade high. New construction is now being driven by steady home price appreciation, but more importantly by stronger economic fundamentals, job growth, and demographic trends which are key fundamentals necessary for a sustainable healthy recovery.”

NewHomeConstruction

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.

Real Estate Big Data

The NAR’s top 10 places for millennials to move to (a 2020 reflection)

(REAL ESTATE BIG DATA) If you’re a millennial, and wondering where you should move that can get you ahead even during this pandemic, here’s the top 10 cities for millennials.

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millennials city

An analysis of the largest 100 metropolitan statistical areas in the US by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has resulted in the release of their list of top housing markets for millennials from the past year of the pandemic. NAR used housing affordability, local job market conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic, share of millennials in the area, and inventory availability as part of their metrics in the development of the list.

“With relatively better employment conditions and a strong presence of millennials in these markets, more new home construction will be required to fully satisfy the housing demand as the economy reopens” said NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. Nationally there has been a 6% increase in the percent of listed homes the typical household can afford to buy since 2019, but with median home prices in the $300k and $400k range in some of the top markets, many millennials will still be priced out.

The NAR Top 10 Housing Markets for Millennials during the Pandemic, listed alphabetically:

Austin-Round Rock, Texas:

  • Affordability, April 2020 (y-y change): 11%
  • Share of Millennials: 35%
  • New Listings, April 2020 (y-y change): -28%
  • Share of most affected employment: 20%
  • Median Home Price (Q1 2020): $341,500
  • Share of listings that the typical household can afford to buy (April 2020): 33%
  • Employment y-y change (April 2020): -9%

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas

  • Affordability, April 2020 (y-y change): 22%
  • Share of Millennials: 30%
  • New Listings, April 2020 (y-y change): -36%
  • Share of most affected employment: 21%
  • Median Home Price (Q1 2020): $269,700
  • Share of listings that the typical household can afford to buy (April 2020): 30%
  • Employment y-y change (April 2020): -8%

Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa

  • Affordability, April 2020 (y-y change): 11%
  • Share of Millennials: 31%
  • New Listings, April 2020 (y-y change): -16%
  • Share of most affected employment: 17%
  • Median Home Price (Q1 2020): $209,200
  • Share of listings that the typical household can afford to buy (April 2020): 57%
  • Employment y-y change (April 2020): -10%

Durham-Chapel Hill-Raleigh, North Carolina

  • Affordability, April 2020 (y-y change): 23%
  • Share of Millennials: 31%
  • New Listings, April 2020 (y-y change): -36%
  • Share of most affected employment: 15%
  • Median Home Price (Q1 2020): $293,800
  • Share of listings that the typical household can afford to buy (April 2020): 26%
  • Employment y-y change (April 2020): -11%

Houston-The Woodlands, Texas

  • Affordability, April 2020 (y-y change): 14%
  • Share of Millennials: 30%
  • New Listings, April 2020 (y-y change): -31%
  • Share of most affected employment: 19%
  • Median Home Price (Q1 2020): $245,300
  • Share of listings that the typical household can afford to buy (April 2020): 31%
  • Employment y-y change (April 2020): -8%

Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Indiana

  • Affordability, April 2020 (y-y change): 12%
  • Share of Millennials: 30%
  • New Listings, April 2020 (y-y change): -35%
  • Share of most affected employment: 19%
  • Median Home Price (Q1 2020): $204,000
  • Share of listings that the typical household can afford to buy (April 2020): 47%
  • Employment y-y change (April 2020): -11%

Omaha, Nebraska/Council Bluffs, Iowa

  • Affordability, April 2020 (y-y change): 15%
  • Share of Millennials: 30%
  • New Listings, April 2020 (y-y change): -30%
  • Share of most affected employment: 18%
  • Median Home Price (Q1 2020): $197,000
  • Share of listings that the typical household can afford to buy (April 2020): 38%
  • Employment y-y change (April 2020): -9%

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona

  • Affordability, April 2020 (y-y change): 12%
  • Share of Millennials: 27%
  • New Listings, April 2020 (y-y change): -24%
  • Share of most affected employment: 21%
  • Median Home Price (Q1 2020): $308,900
  • Share of listings that the typical household can afford to buy (April 2020): 29%
  • Employment y-y change (April 2020): -8%

Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington

  • Affordability, April 2020 (y-y change): 17%
  • Share of Millennials: 27%
  • New Listings, April 2020 (y-y change): -41%
  • Share of most affected employment: 19%
  • Median Home Price (Q1 2020): $416,100
  • Share of listings that the typical household can afford to buy (April 2020): 20%
  • Employment y-y change (April 2020): -12%

Salt Lake City, Utah

  • Affordability, April 2020 (y-y change): 13%
  • Share of Millennials: 32%
  • New Listings, April 2020 (y-y change): -14%
  • Share of most affected employment: 18%
  • Median Home Price (Q1 2020): $372,100
  • Share of listings that the typical household can afford to buy (April 2020): 30%
  • Employment y-y change (April 2020): -8%

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Real Estate Big Data

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

(REAL ESTATE BIG DATA) Without having to spend any money, this shortcut can attract more business to boost your bottom line with real estate investors – a 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 with real estate investors.

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:

Opportunity Zones

This is “Opportunity Zones” by Realtors Property Resource® on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.

“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 and real estate investors, but meaningful help for underserved areas. Talk about a real win-win.

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Real Estate Big Data

NAR Report: How the home search process has changed in 2020

(REAL ESTATE BIG DATA) The 2020 National Association of Realtors annual report examined the home search process, with buyers utilizing online tools and agents to help find the perfect home.

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Woman holding phone in lap, doing an online home search.

There’s extensive data and topics to research when it comes to the National Association of Realtors annual report – everything from the trust home sellers place in agents, home financing, home sales (naturally), and real estate professionals and their relationship with buyers. Practically every angle of this important market has been broken down and examined to help deliver a clear picture of real estate sales across the nation. It’s all extremely valuable and highly worth perusing (psst: search “NAR report”).

Of course, searching for a home is a pivotal and significant part of the entire process, and the NAR report has delivered an in-depth analysis of everything as well. Let’s take a look and see what current trends were revealed.

Initial Search

When it comes to looking for a home initially, there are two main options that most buyers tend to go with – searching online versus contacting outside help (primarily a real estate agent, but family and friends were also viable resources).

With the advent of the pandemic in 2020 keeping several people at home, online searches were at their all-time highest (though this trend has continued to increase in recent years). In fact, a staggering 97% of all buyers utilized the internet at some point during the process.

With the advent of the digital listings and databases, it’s been shown that 43% of buyers are first looking for properties online, compared to 18% that go to a real estate agent first. Speaking broadly, first time buyers were more likely to take this step first, and there was a direct increase as buyers were older (though this percentage decreases after the
age of 64).

First Step Taken During the Home Buying Process, First-time and Repeat Buyers

Real estate agents were definitely the second most used avenue during the search process, and this did increase with aging demographics as well. Perhaps due to greater familiarity with searching online, younger generations did look up information on buying their first home at a higher rate than older counterparts (13% with the younger group versus 6% with the oldest).

First Step Taken During Home Buying Process, by Age

Information Sources

Of course, when it comes to where to find information and best to listen to, real estate professionals reigned supreme (91% reported successfully being helped by agents), and were the primary resources for every demographic – first time buyers, repeat buyers, new homes, and previously owned homes. Online searches and open houses came second and third respectively, and yard signs and online video sites also saw a lot of utilization. Methods after this – print advertisements, billboards, relocation companies, and television sources – finished out the bottom, but there was a wide margin between them and other methods.

Information Sources Used in Home Search, by First Time and Repeat Buyers, and Buyers of New and Previously Owned Homes

Length of Time From Searching to Buying

Perhaps again owing to the nature of the pandemic, the average time a buyer used from search to purchase decreased (a first since 2014), needing only eight weeks. A median of nine homes were looked at (five online only).

First time buyers needed a little more time on average than repeat buyers (nine versus eight weeks). Agents were still utilized frequently in all instances, and were usually contacted within three weeks of the initial search.

Length of Home Search, by Region

Difficulty During the Process

It should come as no surprise that searching for a home is a massive undertaking, and can prove to be an arduous process given the magnitude of what it entails. Just finding the right home to purchase is seen as the most difficult step, with 53% of buyers saying it gave them the most trouble. Paperwork followed at 17%, while simply understanding the process from start to finish was cited by 15% of buyers. As might be expected, first time buyers reported more difficulty across the board in all areas than repeat buyers.

Most Difficult Steps of Home Buying Process by First Time and Repeat Buyers and Buyers of New and Previously Owned Homes

Online Searching Trends

Online searching was first examined in 1995, where only 2% of buyers would utilize the internet during their home search process. This increased repeatedly until 2009 to 90%, dipped slightly until 2012, and has since generally been rising. It was almost an even split between mobile and desktop devices, with younger buyers focusing more on mobile and older more likely to use a desktop/laptop.

Percentage of Time Using Devices in Home Search, by Age

There’s actually a lot of information to process when it comes to online search trends – married couples versus single buyers generally searched online more, desktop searches utilizing video sites more often than mobile (46% versus 40%), and mobile users generally finding their home through their online searches while desktop might generally direct buyers to complete the process with a real estate agent.

Value of Website Features

Of course, how a website helps direct a buyer is extraordinarily important to the home search process. Photos were the clear primary resource here, with 89% of buyers saying that images were extremely useful in the process.

Detailed information about properties followed at 86%, and then there was a significant jump to the next most important feature, as buyers reported that floor plans were important 67% of the time).

Value of Website Features

Next Steps After Searches

Once homes were found online that proved attractive, more than half of first (51%) and repeat (59%) buyers would proceed to walk through the home. Following this, buyers might then see the home but choose to skip seeing the inside (37%), or would contact a real estate agent for additional information (35%). First time buyers tended to look for more information in general (on the home itself, about mortgages, and so on) to better prepare themselves.

Actions Taken as a Result of Internet Home Search, First-Time and Repeat Buyers

Method of Home Purchases

Perhaps the best conclusion to draw here is the home purchase itself. When that time comes, agents are still used the overwhelming majority of the time regardless of a buyer using mobile or desktop more than 50% of the time. With the former, an agent helps 88% of the time, and 90% of the time otherwise. Builder agents or direct contact with the previously owner – known or not – are far overshadowed here.

Method of Home Purchase, by Use of Internet

Satisfaction with the Search Process

Given all of the tools and data available to buyers, 64% reported that they were very satisfied with the entire process, 30% were somewhat pleased, and the remaining group said they were unhappy.

Satisfaction with Buying Process

Conclusion

The NAR Report really shows an incredibly exhaustive look into the home search process. Generally speaking, with so much information available online, buyers were eager to search with devices first and speak with real estate agents early on in the process. Further, digital resources such as photos, floor plans, and other data proved incredibly useful in helping determine if buyers should seek out the home or continue their search.

Perhaps the best conclusions to draw here are that first and repeat home buyers are actively consuming data from online sources, but still rely heavily on agents to help guide them through the process (including ultimately with purchasing the home). Given the unique circumstances of the 2020 Pandemic, it’s clear that searches and next steps are best started through websites and other repositories, and are then usually followed with experts that can provide their professional experience. It’s likely that these trends will – on average – continue in ensuring years.

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