A Modern style that architects created to sequester certain living activities–such as sleeping or socializing–split levels offered an multilevel alternative to the ubiquitous style in the 1950s. The nether parts of a typical design were devoted to a garage and TV room; the midlevel, which usually jutted out from the two-story section, offered "quieter" quarters, such as the living and dining rooms; and the area above the garage was designed for bedrooms.
Areas on the outskirts of cities—known as the exurbs—were among some of the hardest hit during the housing crisis, but these areas are gradually recovering years ahead of when many economists had predicted.
It all comes down to the decrease in home affordability: Home buyers in search of lower prices are taking their searches further afield. In general, home prices have risen by about 23 percent since 2009. But home prices in the outskirts of towns have remained relatively low. Buyers facing skyrocketing rents and higher home prices near city centers are starting to consider the exurbs more seriously.
Some researchers are predicting city-loving Millennials will change their tune in a few years.
For example, in Phoenix’s Maricopa County, median existing-home sales prices have rebounded by 82 percent since a low in 2011, while those in the exurban Pinal County, Ariz., have surged 65.5 percent, according to the Phoenix Association of REALTORS®.
Many economists believed that a recovery in the exurbs was unlikely for several years. Exurbs are usually overwhelmingly residential in nature, which means residents often face long commutes. Agriculture or open land often makes up a big part of exurban borders. Exurbs lost their appeal during the housing crisis due to job losses, mortgage defaults, and high gasoline prices that brought home sales and construction mostly to a halt, as more people started to look closer in to city centers.
But as buyers look to exurbs again, so are builders, particularly since land prices tend to be much lower in the exurbs than city centers.
"I'm definitely seeing a trend toward these areas," Bob Bennett, division president for home builder Ryland in Charlotte, N.C., told The Wall Street Journal. "People are starting to consider driving a bit further to get the home they want at a better price."
Metrostudy, a Hanley Wood LLC research firm, analyzed home construction in exurban counties nationwide and found that developers in the 10 counties analyzed produced 136.1 percent more home lots in the last four quarters than in the previous year—much greater than the broader market's 46 percent increase during that period.
Source: “Affordable Homes Drive Rebound in Exurbia,” The Wall Street Journal (Sept. 18, 2014)
Predictions for 2015 3Q:
Let’s look at it this way…
1. Demand is Strong
2. There Is Less Competition Now
3. The Process Will Be Quicker
4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up
5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life
There are some pundits lamenting the softness of the 2014 housing market. We can’t understand why. Though it is true that the early part of the year disappointed because of a myriad of reasons (ex. weather, lack of inventory, less distressed sales), the recent housing news is extremely encouraging. Let’s give some examples:
Spring Home Buying Season is Healthiest in 3 Years
"This is the first time, since the beginning of the recovery that we expect to see positive momentum throughout the second half of the year. While seasonal patterns are emerging in July month-to-month comparisons, all other metrics point to fundamental market health and a build-up of momentum."
Existing Home Sales are Up
“The number of houses for sale is higher than a year ago and tamer price increases are giving prospective buyers less hesitation about entering the market. More people are buying homes compared to earlier in the year and this trend should continue.”
New Construction Surging
“Construction on new U.S. homes jumped 15.7% in July to the highest level in eight months and starts were revised up sharply for June, indicating a pickup in home building after an early-year lull. Housing starts climbed to an annual rate of 1.09 million last month…Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected starts to climb to a seasonally adjusted 975,000 in July.”
Foot Traffic at Year High Numbers
The latest foot traffic numbers show that there are more prospective purchasers currently looking at homes than at any other time in the last twelve months which includes the latest spring buyers’ market.
We think the housing market is doing just fine.
I had to post this link today. Who knew that shaving my head for the past decade was a good business decision.
It is finally summer; time for barbecues, summer camp, and family vacations. In recent years we’ve heard of people shortening their vacations, staying closer to home, or going nowhere at all for “staycations”. Another way to save money, while still getting away, is to leverage your own home for a home exchange.
A home exchange—often called “house-swapping”—is a money-smart vacation idea that’s been around for a long time. With virtually everyone feeling the economic squeeze, some exchanges are more popular than ever before.
Why a home exchange? Since accommodations are usually the priciest part of a vacation, a home exchange saves money, allowing travelers to take longer vacations and perhaps splurge a bit on dining, tours, or shopping. Larger families appreciate how homes meet their needs for space, meals, and a good night’s sleep. And, home-swappers often say they enjoy “living like the locals,” especially when traveling internationally.
How it works. The basic idea of a home exchange is that two families agree to live in each other’s home (usually at the same time) at no cost—it’s considered an even trade. Exchangers find one another via home exchange website that provides detailed listings of available homes. Exchanges take place within the United States or internationally, and the length of stay is whatever the parties agree upon. Exchangers typically do not meet in person but get acquainted via phone calls and emails before the exchange happens. Details, including pets, the use of a car, and cleaning are all agreed upon ahead of time, usually in a written contract provided by the website.
What makes a house desirable? You might be surprised! As a general rule, home exchangers are looking for location, location, location. They want to explore attractions in your area, attend an event, or visit family. A beachfront house in California is highly desirable, as is a condo in an exciting city—and even a home in the suburbs will appeal to the right travelers. Because swappers are primarily looking for a convenient jumping-off point for their adventures, your home’s age, floor plan, and furnishings don’t matter too much, as long as it’s clean, comfortable, and accommodating.
Vacation homes are ideal. Whether it’s a rustic cottage on a secluded fishing lake or a condo at a popular ski area, a second home is ideal for exchanges. Logistically, you don’t have to vacate your primary residence, and you have more flexibility as to when the swap can happen. For this reason, many retirees—who often own second homes and enjoy freer schedules—find home exchanges especially appealing.
First steps. If you’re intrigued, start by exploring a few websites; you can view a lot of information for free. Home exchange websites typically charge an annual membership fee of $50 to $100 to list your home. If you decide to join a service, you’ll provide several photos and a detailed description of your home. You’ll also post your desired destination(s) and travel dates, and you’ll be able to peruse the homes that meet your criteria. It’s common to trade information with several homeowners before finding just the right match, and the process may take several months.
Focus on the basics. Once you’ve agreed to an exchange and are preparing your home for guests, think about what makes a hotel room enjoyable. A clean, clutter-free home is universally appealing, and comfortable mattresses and attractive bedding are a must. Your kitchen should be well organized, and internet access is a big plus. Your guests know they’re staying in someone’s home, so don’t worry about scuffed baseboards and well-worn furniture. Likewise, don’t expect five-star accommodations when you step into your host’s home.
Is a home exchange right for you? If the very thought of others living in your home and sleeping in your bed—or you in theirs—makes your palms go clammy, an exchange is probably not for you. But many travelers are hooked!