There are some rooms you’ll find in every house. Kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms come to mind. Libraries, on the other hand, aren’t as common. In short, some rooms are more essential than others. But these days, the list of essential spaces is expanding. And, according to a new survey from the National Association of Home Builders, buyers – and especially younger buyers – have strong feelings about which types of rooms they want in their next house. Among millennials home buyers, laundry rooms lead the list. In fact, 86 percent of millennial respondents said having a laundry room was either desirable or a must have. Other speciality rooms that were popular with large majorities of millennials included dining rooms, home offices, and great rooms. But naturally, millennials aren’t the only buyers who have a preference for speciality spaces. After all, older buyers likely also prefer to have a laundry room in the house. However, there are some generational differences in which rooms were deemed most important to which buyers. For example, the survey found younger buyers were much more likely than other generations to say their next house needed to have an exercise, media, or game room. More here.
Home buyers have a lot to consider. They have to think about the size and location of the house they’ll buy, how much storage it’ll have, the school district, how many bathrooms, the kitchen, mechanical systems, the roof, the neighborhood, etc. It’s a lot. But, if that weren’t enough, it’s also important to consider market conditions and what the financial side of buying looks like. So what can buyers expect to find when shopping for a house in 2020? Well, according to a new forecast from the National Association of Realtors’ consumer website, there’s good news and bad. More new homes, low mortgage rates, and slower price appreciation are all encouraging signs for hopeful home buyers. Add to that easier access to credit and it sounds like a good time to buy. However, challenges will remain. For example, low inventory remains a big issue for the housing market and, in areas where there are more buyers than homes for sale, it may take longer to find a home. This is especially true for first-time buyers. New home construction has largely been limited to higher-end homes, which means affordable homes in entry-level price ranges may be harder to come by. More here.
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates were mostly flat last week from the week before. Only rates for 30-year fixed-rate loans with jumbo balances and loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration saw much movement, with each seeing slight increases. Despite flat rates, however,the refinance index fell 16 percent and brought overall demand down. Purchase activity, on the other hand, saw a 1 percent increase. Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said the purchase market looks healthy as the year comes to a close. “The purchase market overall looks healthy as we enter the home stretch of 2019,” Kan said. “The seasonally adjusted purchase index was at its highest level since July, as a combination of wage gains, slower home-price appreciation, and slightly easing inventory conditions continue to support increased activity.” The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. More here.
With the job market strong, mortgage rates low, and buyer demand up, the housing market seems ready for a boom. But because there’s been fewer homes for sale than normal, it hasn’t happened. Now, according to a new forecast from the National Association of Realtors, things may be starting to change. That’s because, the number of single-family homes expected to be built next year should total 1 million, which is the highest number since 2007. And, with more new homes being built and put on the market, buyers will have more choices, affordability will improve, and sales will increase. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says inventory has been the primary factor holding housing back. “All the factors that contribute to higher home sales like the job situation are terrific, and of course mortgage rates are critical to buying a home and those are favorable,” Yun said. “All the factors are lined up in a way that means we should be having gangbuster home sales.” Skyrocketing home sales could be just around the corner, though, if new home construction increases as expected. More here.
Though spring and summer are the housing market’s busiest time, winter may be the best time for buyers. In fact, according to a new analysis from ATTOM Data Solutions, winter buyers have the best chance of buying a home at a price below its estimated market value. The analysis found that December is the best month for buyers and the day after Christmas and New Year’s Eve are the days offering the biggest discounts. Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM, says buyers willing to make a deal during the busy holiday season will be financially rewarded. “Closing on a home purchase the day after Christmas or on New Year’s Eve can be one of the most financially beneficial holiday-season gifts you can get,” Teta said. “While lots of folks are shopping the day-after Christmas sales or getting ready to ring in the New Year, our data shows that buyers and investors are buying homes on those days at a discount. That’s a far cry from buying during June, when they are likely paying about a 7 percent premium.” By comparison, December buyers pay about a 1.2 percent premium. More here.