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Homeownership

NAR launches first ever profile of LGB homebuyers and sellers

(REAL ESTATE) For the first time ever, NAR has extracted data from their massive national profile of buyers and sellers to observe preferences of LGB (lesbian, gay, and bisexual) consumers – pretty interesting insights!

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To celebrate Pride Month, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) dug into four years of data from their Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers to unearth similarities and differences between lesbian, gay, bisexual, and heterosexual Americans.

“The American Dream of homeownership traverses across the spectrum of our society – including sexual orientation – and Realtors® always have and will continue to advocate so that anyone who wants to, and is capable of purchasing a home, is able to do so,” said NAR President John Smaby, a second-generation Realtor® from Edina, Minnesota and broker at Edina Realty.

Smaby added, “Realtors® have always embraced the significance of the protections secured by the Fair Housing Act, and have encouraged efforts to extend them by amending our Code of Ethics in 2009 to prohibit discriminations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

For the purposes of this report, it appears NAR has broken the data down into three categories to observe: Heterosexual, Bisexual, and Gay/Lesbian buyers are combined into a third group.

The segment of the population most likely to indicate they’re first time homebuyers is bisexuals (at 58%), followed by gay and lesbian buyers (36%), and heterosexuals (32%).

The most likely to be a first-time home seller was bisexuals (50%), while lesbians, gays, and heterosexuals equally indicated it was their first time (36%) being a home seller.

Bisexuals were observed to be the youngest buyers, a median age of 36 years old, and had the lowest median income of $62,400. In comparison, lesbian and gay buyers were the oldest buyers at 45 years old. Heterosexual buyers reported a median age of 44 and a median income of $91,200, similar to $92,900 for lesbian and gay buyers.

Regarding each group’s preferences:

  • Homes purchased by bisexual buyers are a median of 1,840sf, with a median year built of 1966.
  • Gay and lesbian buyers purchased homes with a median of 1,900sf, and a median year built of 1974.
  • Heterosexual buyers’ median home size is 2,060 median sf, and 1985 is the median year.
  • Bisexual buyers were the most likely to purchase a detached single-family home (86%).
  • Gay and lesbian buyers were the least likely (79%), and only 10% purchased a multi-generational home.
  • Heterosexual buyers were the most likely to purchase a multi-generational home (13%).
      • Lesbian and gay buyers were most likely to purchase in an urban area or a city center (28%).
      • Bisexual buyers were most likely to buy a home in a small town (22%).
      • All sexual orientations were equally likely to purchase in a resort or recreation area (2%).
      • Bisexual buyers were most likely to have made at least one compromise in their home purchase, most likely on the price (28%), style of home (23%) or distance from their jobs (23%).
      • Lesbian and gay buyers were the least likely to have compromised on convenience to schools (7%).

      Regarding other demographic info:

      • Bisexual home buyers were less likely to identify as white/Caucasian than lesbian/gay or heterosexual buyers (77%, compared to 88% and 85%, respectively).
      • Bisexuals are nearly twice as likely to identify as Hispanic than both groups (13% compared to 7%).
      • Fully 14% of bisexual buyers were born outside of the U.S., versus 7% of lesbian and gay buyers.
      • 38% of bisexual home buyers identify as single females.
      • 25% of gay buyers identify as single men.
      • 22% of lesbian and gay buyers identify as an unmarried couple (38% as a married couple).
      • 15% of bisexual buyers identify as an unmarried couple (34% as a married couple).
      • 7% of heterosexuals identify as an unmarried couple (66% as a married couple).
      • 38% of heterosexual buyers have children in their household.
      • 29% of bisexual buyers have children in their household.
      • 11% of lesbian and gay buyers have children in their household.

      “The number of home buyers and sellers who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual has remained steady at 4% since we first included the question in our HBS survey in 2015,” said Dr. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Given that Millennials now make up 37% of home buyers and attitudes regarding sexual orientation continue to shift even among Generation Z, we expect to see this percentage increase in future surveys as younger generations are more likely to self-identify as LGB.”

      Editor’s note: For the purpose of citing this study and for logistics, we used NAR’s terminology, making an exception to our internal policy to only use the acronym “LGBTQIA+” in all stories.

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Homeownership

LifeDoor automatically closes doors to save homes and lives

(TECH NEWS) LifeDoor is one of the smartest devices we’ve seen in ages and could save peoples’ lives and protect their homes.

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The way that we build our homes, with synthetic materials, furniture, and cheaper construction is making our homes more flammable – House fires spread 600% faster today than 40 years ago, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This means that every second counts.

And while most us have some warning system: smoke detectors, and maybe even fire suppression systems built into our homes, there is a very easy way to help slow the spread of fire in your home: closing your door.

Research by the UL Fire Safety Research Institute concluded that closed doors do a number of things including:

  • A closed door can help keep back heat and prevent rooms reaching dangerous temperatures.
  • A closed door keeps more oxygen away from the fire so it allows you to breathe better.
  • Closing the bedroom door at night gives you more time to react to a smoke alarm.
  • Closed doors keep dangerous smoke away from you – smoke and toxic gasses can incapacitate you and keep you from escaping the fire.
  • Closing door cuts fire off from a fuel source and can better contain the fire.

And of course, where there is an opportunity, our internet of things has a solution.

In case you don’t automatically shut your doors (perhaps you’re a free spirit, a Gemini? Who knows?) There is a gadget for that. Lifedoor is a gadget that integrates with existing smoke detectors and does three things: it closes the door of the room, illuminates the room to help the occupant make a better decisions, and sounds a secondary alarm that can help wake your more heavier sleepers.

The product easily installs onto the hinge of a door and then attaches to the door with screws or even double sided tape. It activates when it hears the tone of the triggered smoke alarm (which is standardized at 85 decibels, #FunFacts).

For those of you who may fear the worst – this does not render the door unopenable and the battery should last 18-24 months depending on use.

One particular note about this new product is that its support has largely come from firefighters – and those guys know their stuff.

Hopefully, you won’t have to experience a housefire. But even if you don’t invest in LifeDoor – remember that closing your own door can keep you safe by giving you more time. And nothing is more important than being prepared: make sure you follow the best home fire practices you can – learn more from the American Red Cross.

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Homeownership

Researchers point to the government as source of California’s housing shortage

(REAL ESTATE NEWS) California is in the middle of a housing crisis with ongoing shortages. The Governor has a plan, but many have pointed to the government as the source of the problem with no end in sight.

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These days, California ranks #2 as the state with the highest cost of living in the United States, second only to Hawaii. The average home price in the The Golden State is over $1 million. Your monthly energy bill will be over $200.  And still, it’s one of the most desirable places to live. Small wonder that people flock to California, because the state ranks worst for doing business thanks to taxes and regulations.

It’s no secret that California has a housing shortage. It’s not even that the housing costs are sky-high. It’s that there simply aren’t enough homes to go around. Gov. Gavin Newsom says he plans to build 3.5 million new homes over the next few years to fix this crisis, but it may take much more to bring housing to the homeless and under-employed.

In a Los Angeles Times Op-Ed, James Broughel and Emily Hamilton suggest that California is overregulated when it comes to housing.

The average state has about 137,000 restrictions in its housing code. California has over 395,000.

Although many of the regulations are necessary to protect the environment and to ensure safety, it can contribute to higher construction costs, which it turn are passed on to consumers.

The California Code of Regulations contains over 21 million words. (Forbes estimates that the US tax code was about 4 million words in 2013). At a reading speed of 300 words per minute, for 40 hours a week, it would take 29 weeks or more to read the thing. And that doesn’t take into account comprehension, which requires a legal degree.

California’s housing shortage is a man-made problem that will take years to undo. One builder in Orange County planned a new community in Santa Clarita that would provide almost 22,000 homes.

The project has been stalled since 1994.

As the project ages, each home being constructed faces new regulations, increasing the cost of the home, making it near impossible for average families to obtain the American Dream.

It’s been suggested that California’s housing shortage is a political choice.

Bureaucrats are choosing to restrict housing by placing regulatory burdens on builders instead of helping the population find affordable housing to be more stable. Families are leaving California to find a more affordable cost of living and housing which will continue to hurt the state.

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Homeownership

American marriage is happening later and it’s not why you think

(HOMEOWNERSHIP) Marriage is happening later and later with Americans and economists believe it’s not just about the changing face of relationships; it’s also about money and wanting to wait for financial stability.

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As we know, homeownership is a cornerstone of American family life. Homes provide long-term financial stability as a major investment for homeowners. Furthermore, they also provide a strong environment in which to raise a family; so many of us have fond memories of running around our backyards, or cozying up in the family room.

So, it stands to reason that homeownership and marriage are tied together; many couples will buy a home soon before or soon after they get hitched.

With all that said, some of the following statistics may be alarming, as it points to a trend that may play into the delay of homeownership.

Lots of data gathered over the past few years shows Americans are marrying later and later, if at all, according to a report from The Guardian. Today, Half of American adults are married, compared to 75 percent in 1960. The disparities are mostly consistent with class divisions.

Per the Guardian article, “26 percent of poor adults are married, compared with 51 percent in 1990.” That same study found 39 percent of the modern working class of adults are married, but that number was 57 percent in the 90s.

Education is closely tied with financial status, so an education disparity is also present. Today, 50 percent of adults with a high school are married; that rate was over 60 percent 25 years ago.

As the Guardian puts it, “Young people are increasingly seeing marriage as a “capstone” rather than a “cornerstone” event, a crowning achievement once other goals have been reached, rather than a launchpad for adulthood.”

That achievement is financial stability, and many more Americans are feeling a financial crunch.

There’s data to back this up, too. For example, a poll found “nearly half of never-married adults with incomes under 30k say being financially insecure is a major reason” behind their lack of marital commitment to a partner.

Part of steady income is a steady job, and past Pew Research found 78 of never-married women wanted a future partner to have a steady job.

A decline in manufacturing jobs is contributing to this as well, per some economic research on the subject, which may help to explain how the steepest drops in marriage rates come from the lower and middle class.

It’s not unreasonable to speculate that major living costs factor into that decision as well. For example, with real estate prices going up around the country, especially in major cities with strong job markets, the capstone that is owning a home is pushed farther away from the average American.

If marriage and homeownership are so closely tied together, the delay of one may also contribute to a delay in the other.

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