Housing inventory ready to rise?

While housing inventory continued to decrease – down 0.2 percent in the last year – analysts say a turnaround may be coming with up to 8 percent increase in new listings, which would be the largest jump since 2013.

Larger cities are already seeing an in crease in listings with San Jose, Calif.; Seattle; Jacksonville, Fla.; San Diego; and San Francisco posting increases of 31 percent or more.

With inventory still low, houses are continuing to sell at a rapid pace with the average time on the market in the U.S. at 65 days. In the Bay Area, of course, houses sell at a much more rapid rate.


At least 670 new home coming to Richmond … eventually

The Richmond city council has voted to allow six qualified developers to submit a request for proposal in the coming months for the desirable Point Molate site. Long a point of controversy, the city of Richmond reached an agreement with a Native American tribe that had wanted to build a casino on the site that calls for 70 percent of the 413 acres to be kept as open space as well as preserving buildings in the Winehaven Historic District.

To add to the complexity, the area currently has no water or electricity so a fair amount of infrastructure work must be completed before actual development can begin.

Needless to say, considerable work remains to be done before these 670 homes will be completed. But it’s a start.


Time to sell?

According to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors, 77 percent of home owners believe that now is a good time to sell a house. While 55 percent believe that home prices will continue to rise over the next six months, most understand that the period of fast gains is nearing an end, thus making this an optimum time to sell.

The survey also reported a general optimism over the state of the economy with those in higher brackets of household income much more positive than those who make less.


Home construction up in August, but…

Yes, there is good news in real estate beside prices going up. According to the US Commerce Department housing starts increased by 9.2 percent in August, which translates to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.28 million units.

This, of course, is great news for the housing industry that is starving for inventory. However, the long-term prognosis isn’t so rosy. The high regulatory expense of new construction couple with ever-increasing costs for building materials, fueled largely by ongoing increases in tariffs probably means this gain in new construction will be short-lived.

this is made clear by the fact that new housing permits fell by 5.7 percent to 1.23 million in August. Moreover, single-family home permits dropped by by 6.1 percent while multifamily permits declined by 4.9 percent.


It’s not the Starbucks, it’s the gentrification

A recent study by the Harvard Business School reported that having a Starbucks open in the vicinity can add a 0.5 percent increase in housing prices in the neighborhood. However, other analysts were quick to point out that it wasn’t the presence of Starbucks per se but an indication of affluence in the area.

Commonly referred to as gentrificationthe process of rebuilding homes and businesses accompanied by an influx of middle-class or affluent people at the expense of earlier, often poorer residents – it is usually associated with increases in the numbers of grocery stores, cafes, restaurants, and bars in the area.


Looking for “Ultra-Luxury” Real Estate? You may be in luck

If you’ve had your eye on a certain mansion in Bel Air, California, – reportedly the most expensive real estate listing in the U.S. at this time – that was originally listed at $250 million, this is your lucky day! It is now selling for a cool for $188 million – a savings of over $60 million.

According to Redfin this is becoming commonplace in the “ultra-luxury” market where 12 percent of homes listed at $10 million-plus have seen prices come down, which is actually twice the number of such properties that cut their prices in 2015 and 2016.

Why is this happening now? Experts cited an over-supply, the drying up of foreign buyers, new tax laws that hurt the wealthiest states, not to mention federal tax laws, which limit deductions of state and local taxes.


Tips on buying a home in today’s market

Good suggestions from RealtyBizNews on getting good value in today’s housing market:

  • Use comparables: Comparables give you an idea of how similar homes with similar features rate by price in the market you’re looking at. If the comps look like the house you’re considering is priced too high, you can use that as a negotiating point. If the comps look lower, consider moving quickly.
  • Use realtors to your advantage: Good realtors can be a great help in finding the right home at the right price. Take advantage of their expertise.
  • Think like a flipper: Look for a homes that need a bit of repair that you can get below retail value. Don’t forget to check home investor lists.

Those darn Millennials!

Yes, it seems as if we’re always discussing Millennials, particularly they’re home buying habits (see , , , ) and a new report by the Urban Institute highlights the differences in their home purchase timeline as compared with other generations.

According to the report, millennials had a homeownership rate of 37 percent in 2015, which is 8 percent lower than Generation X and Baby Boomers when they were between 25 and 34 years old.

Of course, the reasons cited are familiar as well: a delay in getting married and starting a family (apparently marriage increases the probability of buying a home by close to 18 percent), massive student debt and high rents, making it harder to save up for a downpayment.

Finally, the current state of housing: high demand, low inventory, rising and rising prices might have something to so with it as well.


“Bump clauses” can bring better prices

According to real estate agents, home sellers are adding “bump clauses” to their real estate transaction contracts as a method of getting the possible offer on their homes.

Often used when there is a contingency, a “bump clause” allows sellers to enter into a contract with a potential buyer but still market their property. If a better offer materializes, the seller can tell the original buyers to “bump” up their offer or waive the contingency.

Sellers often use this practice to get other interested parties to make a higher bid without contingencies.


Urban population rising at the same as rate as the suburbs

For the first time in decades, population growth in urban city centers is increasing at the same pace as residential neighborhoods. Analysts cite the rise in mixed use environments as well the increase in job opportunities as significant factors.

Another reason is the more rapid increase in rental development in urban areas; between 2010 and 2017 rental inventory in cities rose twice as fast as the number of rental units in the suburbs. However, rental and prices tend be be higher in cities while the average household income is lower.