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Real Estate Big Data

Surprise nuggets in the 2020 home buyer, seller generational trends report

(REAL ESTATE) You may think you know generational behaviors, but there are interesting trends emerging as millennials begin to behave more like the Silent Generation.

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Everything you assumed about annoying millennials like me is apparently wrong. Sure, I had avocado sprouted grain toast and local fair-trade coffee for breakfast, but don’t let that ridiculous exterior fool you… it turns out that millennials are increasingly behaving more like the Silent Generation than any other.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR’s) 2020 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, there are some shifts in consumer behavior that are worth noting, to better serve the market.

Dr. Jessica Lautz, VP of Demographics and Behavioral Insights emphasizes that “it is really important not to pigeon hole a buyer just based on their age,” and that it is important to remain informed of the trends.

For example, the aforementioned millennial generation behaving like the Silent Generation. Dr. Lautz notes, “when buying a home, they want to be close to friends and family,” a behavior typically emphasized by retirees, and that “they’re buying at affordable price points, and using referrals to find agents at high rates.”

Additionally, it’s not just Boomers that stay put – millennials want to own homes, and they intend on planting deep roots, Boomer style. The study also indicates that millennials are relying more on savings to purchase their homes than past generations.

Another surprise gem in the data amassed by NAR? Dr. Lautz observes that while most people think millennials want to bebop around inner cities, “lots of younger millennials are moving to small towns and suburbs where they can find affordability.” #MythBusted

In 2020, the real estate referral method looks a lot like 1920 in that there is a high level of trust in personal referrals. That’s worth noting if you’re spinning your wheels to attract new clients when business is likely to come from your existing clientbase.

It’s not all avocados and sunshine, though.

Dr. Lautz said, “there is a sad data point in that Gen Xers are still struggling to come out of the recession when it comes to home buying trends. They’re back on their feet financially, but many were underwater, which stalled the selling of their property, and they’re now recovering, but they have a longer period of time they have to wait before their finances are in order to do that.”

In other words, the recession has had a lingering impact on this middle child of a generation.

The 2020 generational trends report is something every industry practitioner should spend time getting to know (at least, practitioners that prefer to make money).

Below are the highlights – read them first, then dig into the full report here.

Characteristics of Home Buyers

  • 21% of homebuyers between the ages of 22 to 29 are unmarried.
  • 22% of homebuyers between the ages of 65 to 73 are single females.
  • 31% of homebuyers between the ages of 40-64 purchased a multigenerational home (will home adult siblings, adult children, parents, or grandparents).
  • 33% of homebuyers between the ages of 22 to 29 stated that they lived with parents/relatives/friends who paid and did not pay rent before their living arrangement.

Characteristics of Homes Purchases

  • The oldest and the youngest age groups (74 to 94, and 22 to 29) were most likely to purchase a new home for the amenities of new construction communities (though a small share of buyers aged 22 to 29 purchased new homes).
  • 25% of homes purchased by homebuyers within the ages of 22 to 29 were located in a small town.
  • 43% of homes purchased by homebuyers between the ages of 55 to 64 were located in a small-town or rural environment.
  • 64% of homebuyers between the ages of 22 to 29 stated the overall affordability of the home as a factor was influencing neighborhood choice.
  • 53% of homebuyers between the ages of 22 to 29 and 74 to 94 stated convenience to friends/family as a factor was influencing neighborhood choice.
  • 46% of homebuyers between the ages of 30 to 39 noted the quality of the school district as a factor influencing neighborhood choice.
  • 38% of homebuyers between the ages of 30 to 39 stated convenience to schools as a factor influencing neighborhood choice.
  • 29% of homebuyers between the ages of 65 to73 reported convenience to a health facility as a factor influencing neighborhood choice.
  • 36% of homebuyers between the ages of 74 to 94 stated convenience to a health facility as a factor was influencing neighborhood choice.
  • The median expected length of tenure in homes purchased between the ages of 40 to 73 is 20 years.

The Home Search Process

  • 63 % of homebuyers between the ages of 22 to 29 stated finding the right property as the most challenging step of the home buying process.
  • 60 % of homebuyers between the ages of 30 to 39 reported finding the right property as the most challenging step of the home buying process.

Home Buying and Real Estate Professionals

  • 92% of homebuyers between 22 to 29 and 30 to 39 bought a home through a real estate agent or broker.
  • 85% of homebuyers between 22 to 29 used a real estate agent to help understand the buying process.
  • 51% of homebuyers between 22 to 29 found a real estate agent through a referral from friends or family.
  • 45% of homebuyers between the ages of 30 to 39 found a real estate agent through a referral from friends or family.

Financing the Home Purchase

  • 27% of the homebuyers between 22 to 29 stated gift from a relative or a friend as the source of their down payment.
  • 6% of homebuyers between 22 to 29 stated loan from a relative or a friend as the source of their down payment.
  • 46% of homebuyers between 65 to 73 stated savings as the source of their down payment.
  • 56 % of homebuyers between 65 to 73 stated proceeds from the sale of the primary residence as the source of their down payment.
  • 39% of homebuyers between the ages of 74 to 94 stated savings as the source of their down payment.
  • 52% of homebuyers between 74 to 94 stated proceeds from the sale of the primary residence as the source of their down payment.
  • 30% of homebuyers between 22 to 29 stated saving for a downpayment was the most difficult task in the buying process.
  • Home purchases delayed at a median of 5 years between the ages of 40 to 54, due to difficulty saving.
  • 7% percent of homebuyers between 40 to 54 reported having their buyer application rejected by a mortgage lender.
  • 15% of the homebuyers between 50-54 stated they’d sold the distressed property.
  • 82% of homebuyers between the ages of 22 to 29 reported they view their home as a good financial investment.
  • 84% of homebuyers between the ages of 30 to 39 stated they view their home as a good financial investment.

Home Sellers and Their Experience

  • 28% of home sellers between 30 to 39 stated their home was too small as the primary reason for selling their previous home.
  • 21% of home sellers between 40 to 54 indicated their home was too small as the primary reason for selling their previous home.
  • 19% of home sellers between 55 to 64 stated the primary reason for selling their previous home was to move closer to friends and family.
  • 28% of home sellers between 65 to 73 stated the primary reason for selling their previous home was to move closer to friends and family.
  • 33% of home sellers between 74 to 94 stated the primary reason for selling their previous home was to move closer to friends and family.
  • 17% of home sellers between 74 to 94 stated home was too large as the primary reason for selling their previous home.
  • 11% of home sellers between the ages of 40 to 54 who lived in the home or rented their home to others while living elsewhere, stated they wanted to sell earlier but waited or stalled because the home was worth less than the mortgage.
  • The median tenure of home sellers between the ages of 55 to 64 in the previous home is 12 years.
  • The median tenure of home sellers between the ages of 65 to 73 in the previous home is 12 years.
  • The median tenure of home sellers between the ages of 74 to 94 in the previous home is 12 years.

Home Selling and Real Estate Professionals Methodology

  • 21% of homebuyers between the ages of 30 to 39 stated helping the seller find ways to fix up home to sell it for more as the most wanted service from real estate agents.
  • 20% of homebuyers between the ages of 40 to 54 stated helping the seller find ways to fix up home to sell it for more as the most wanted service from real estate agents.
  • 23% of homebuyers between the ages of 55 to 64 stated helping the seller market home to potential buyers is the most wanted service from real estate agents.

Real Estate Big Data

Supply crisis hits housing – starts and permits fell in September

(REAL ESTATE) New data from the Commerce Department shows a dip in permits and starts, but if you look closely, multifamily is carrying that weight, so how is single family production going?

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Last month, housing starts fell 1.6%, which is only a slight dip, but permits fell 7.7%, and the gap between units completed and those still under construction is the largest on record, according to reporting from the U.S. Commerce Department.

While starts and permits hit a year low and while labor shortages, supply chain issues, and rising prices of raw materials, it should be noted that single-family starts actually remained unchanged, and permits for single family homes only fell 0.9%, so what we’re looking at here is a slowdown in the multifamily sector as sales heat up in single family housing..

Another factor at play here regarding still-tight inventory levels is the federal mortgage forbearance program as a response to the pandemic. As the program wraps up, more inventory will come online.

Dr. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains: “The current mortgage default rate of at least three months is running high at 3.5% compared to less than 1% before the pandemic. However, foreclosures have been at historic lows so far due to the forbearance support. The default rate will certainly fall as long as the economy continues to generate jobs, but the end of the federal support program inevitably means some homeowners will need to sell. This will be another source of housing inventory.”

Because tight inventory levels have kept the market restricted and sales below what demand is, the residential real estate sector should see hope in this analysis.

But there is no sector safe from the supply chain crisis or prices rising again on raw materials. Reuters reports that many materials like windows and breaker boxes are in short supplies while the cost of building materials have surged, like copper which is up 16%, and lumber prices are jumping back up to record highs set in May.

Homebuilder confidence is up, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), but their most recent survey also indicates that “builders continue to grapple with ongoing supply chain disruptions and labor shortages that are delaying completion times.”

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported today that mortgage applications for new home purchases are down 16.2% compared to September 2020, and applications are down 4% compared to August. It is notable that the average loan size hit $408,522, the highest on record, and another indicator of increasing construction costs.

Going forward, analysts expect the backlog of starts to continue as labor and supply chain issues persist. And although the news isn’t overtly positive, single family housing on its own is actually performing better than in 2020. There is light at the end of the tunnel for hopeful homebuyers.

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Real Estate Big Data

A ridiculously easy way to combat bad reviews from non-customers

(MARKETING) Some ratings and review sites don’t verify reviewers, so what happens when a nasty comment about you is left on a ratings site?

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reviews Woman seated on ground writing cold email to clients.

Have you ever found a business through Yelp that you wanted to like but just couldn’t make up your mind about because of the contrasting reviews of the place? Like a restaurant with the best service but had cold soup and an unresponsive hostess, or a B&B that was warm and clean but had an owner who did not provide the second B come morning time?

Some of these outlying negative reviews can be telling of the business, and I always make sure to read them in case I set my expectations too high (like I did for the eggs benedict from that diner up north).

However, while most reviews do reflect a genuine experience and are useful to would-be customers, others can be exaggerated or even outright falsified.

One such encounter one of our team members had was when searching for a private firearms trainer. Her online search had taken her to a trainer she liked. However, the comments on Yelp for the trainer were horrible.

Before she ran the other way, she saw comments from the trainer that simply said, “This person is not a verified client of [Company Name].” Apparently, he made a tv news appearance advocating for a specific gun right, and people from all over the globe made negative comments.

The fact that they weren’t his clients made her totally disregard their comments, because those reviews weren’t based on his professional performance. Guess who she hired?

Sites that allow anyone to review an unlimited number of businesses naturally risk exploitation. Such review sites make it possible to communicate quick, personal experiences about any business out there, and that also means an easy dig from a disgruntled customer to the place that hurts a company most.

It is up to the business to stay vigilant about what is being said out there and seek out ratings and review platforms that verify customers.

Since customers rely on sites like Yelp, businesses need to maintain their profile in the same way they would maintain their storefront. Just as they would fix the broken lighting in their lobby, they need to acknowledge any unreliable reviews a cranky customer may write about them. By having a human presence on these sites, businesses can breed a sense of integrity and accountability that others will pick up on.

If those scathing and seemingly random reviews had been acknowledged by the supposed perpetrators, I would have had an easier time overlooking the more exaggerated claims, just like my team member did.

By responding, the business provides context for the incident, but more importantly, it shows that they care.

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Real Estate Big Data

Global market panic over Chinese real estate bubble subsides slightly

(REAL ESTATE) Chinese real estate bubble fears shook markets last week, but Evergrande made a big move today to temper the panic.

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Last week, stock markets internationally plunged due to fears of a real estate bubble in China as their largest real estate developer, Evergrande struggled to make their interest payments on their outstanding bank loans as well as their bonds.

Analysts pointed to the interconnected nature of markets, reminding people that when the housing market crashed in the U.S. back in 2008, all global markets were impacted.

We asserted that the panic was overblown given that Evergrande has a tremendous amount of physical assets ($340 billion to be more precise), and that a restructure was possible which could put them back on track (rather than crumble – which was what markets seemed to imagine last week).

There has been a lot of speculation that the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) would begin pressuring state-owned businesses to prop up the developer.

Today, Evergrande’s stock is actually up as they have raised $1.5 billion in cash to meet their financial obligations.

How did they accomplish this? By selling their 20% stake in Shengjing Bank to the state-owned Shenyang Shengjing Finance Investment Group.

The money will only be applicable to their outstanding interest payments that are past due, and the Chinese government has not made any statement to the effect that they applied pressure or intervened.

The government has been pouring cash into the financial system to assuage fears, adding $15.5 billion to keep liquidity moving.

In a statement this week, the People’s Bank of China said they would “maintain the healthy development of the real estate market and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of housing consumers.” The statement did not specifically reference Evergrande.

It is important that real estate practitioners keep their eye on this story as it has stoked consumers’ fears, especially when people don’t read beyond a headline.

There won’t be a pop quiz on how much cash Evergrande has on hand, but consumers may mention the Chinese real estate bubble elbowing markets here as a factor in their decision making. Understanding the bird’s eye view of what is going on will help Realtors better address the topic while in the field.

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