Specialty Rooms Are in Demand

home shoppers—particularly millennials—are ranking specialty rooms high on their priority list during their search. These rooms include laundry rooms, home offices, mud rooms, sun rooms, and more. The National Association of Home Builders surveyed buyers to find which of these rooms rank highest on their lists. The NAHB considers specialty rooms anything except bedrooms, bathrooms, or the kitchen—or what’s considered the essentials in a home.

Millennials also showed a strong preference for an exercise room (with 57% wanting one). But that preference tended to wane with age. For comparison, 50% of Gen Xers said they wanted an exercise room, 32% of baby boomers, and only 17% of seniors. Millennials also expressed an interest in media and game rooms and two-story entry foyers, more so than other age groups.

Source: “Specialty Rooms Wanted by Millennial Home Buyers,” National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing blog (Dec. 5, 2019)

Double Master Suites = Growing Trend

Double master bedrooms are proving to be a growing trend in new luxury developments, Forbes.com reports.

Builders are responding by adding two master suites into more floor plans, whether it’s a single-family home or condo. K.Hovnanian Homes offers several townhouse communities with two master bedrooms. The rooms include large bathrooms attached and walk-in closets.

Some are adding a dual master bedroom on the main level with a separate entrance. “We include features like secondary master suites so that families and loved ones can maintain close connections as they grow,” Gregory Malin, CEO and founder of Troon Pacific, told Forbes.com. “These spaces also allow the owners to age in place, as they can maintain their independence while having their children just steps away.”

Home Loan Interest Rates Rise

“The modest uptick in mortgage rates over the last two months reflects declining recession fears and a more sanguine outlook for the global economy,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Due to the improved economic outlook, purchase mortgage applications rose fifteen percent over the same week a year ago, the second highest weekly increase in the last two years. Given the important role residential real estate plays in the economy, the steady improvement of the housing market is a reassuring sign that the economy is on solid ground heading into next year.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending Nov. 14:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.75%, with an average 0.6 point, rising from last week’s 3.69% average. Last year at this time, they averaged 4.94%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.2%, with an average 0.5 point, rising rom last week’s 3.13% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 4.36%.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.44%, with an average 0.4 point, rising from last week’s 3.39% average. A year ago, they averaged 4.14%.
Source: Freddie Mac

Home Loan Rates Hold Firm

Home buyers looking for a purchase loan and homeowners who want to refinance are responding well to low mortgage rates. “While mortgage rates generally held steady this week, overall mortgage demand remained very strong, rising over 50% from a year ago thanks to increases in both refinance and purchase mortgage applications,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending Oct. 3:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.65%, with an average 0.6 point, up slightly from last week’s 3.64% average. Last year, 30-year rates averaged 4.71%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.14%, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 3.16% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 4.15%.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.38%, with an average 0.4 point, unchanged from last week’s average. A year ago, they averaged 4.01%.
Source: Freddie Mac

Desperate Buyers ‘Snag Homes Sight Unseen’

Some home shoppers are feeling hopeless this spring and making competitive moves in order to get a home. They’re reportedly rushing to making offers without seeing homes first, bidding well above the asking price, or waiving inspections entirely to get sellers to find their offer the most alluring.

Record low supplies of homes for sale are driving up prices across the country.

As for sellers, they may find some big profits when they do sell. “It’s going to have the feel of a hot market” with multiple offers and bidding wars, says Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®. Still, Yun expects sales to be flat compared to a year ago due to the shortage of homes for sale as well as reduced affordability for many house hunters.

Source: “Home Buying Market so Brutal, Some Home Buyers Make Offer Sight Unseen,” USA Today (April 5, 2018)

When Will Millennials Break Into Ownership?

The housing market has made some strides since 2013, but household growth has yet to fully recover from the effects of the recession, according to a new housing report released Thursday by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

“Young Americans, saddled with higher-than-ever student-loan debt and falling incomes, continue to live with their parents,” the report notes.

Still, researchers are hopeful for a turnaround as the Millennial generation breaks out on their own. The number of households in their 30s is expected to increase by 2.7 million over the coming decade, which should boost demand for new housing, the report predicts.

“Ultimately, the large Millennial generation will make their presence felt in the owner-occupied market, just as they already have in the rental market, where demand is strong, rents are rising, construction is robust, and property values increased by double digits for the fourth consecutive year in 2013,” says Daniel McCue, research manager at the Joint Center.

But Millennials likely will not be able to increase their presence in the housing market until incomes grow. Also, the report notes that another important aspect is how potential GSE reform will affect the cost and availability of mortgage credit for the next generation of home buyers.

Source: Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies

‘Mortgage Interest Rates’ on the Rise Again This Week

Mortgage rates ticked up slightly this week, as the 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.41 percent – more than a full percentage point higher than it was a year ago at this time, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

Freddie Mac reported the following national averages for the week ending April 3:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.41 percent, with an average 0.7 point, up slightly from last week’s 4.40 average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.54 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.47 percent, with an average 0.6 point, rising from last week’s 3.42 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.74 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.12 percent, with an average 0.5 point, up from last week’s 3.10 average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.65 percent.
  • 1-year ARMs: averaged 2.45 percent, with an average 0.4 point, rising from last week’s 2.44 percent average. A year ago, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.63 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Home Owners Love Their ‘Green Homes’

How satisfied are home owners who bought a green-certified home? A recent survey finds that the majority love their homes and would even buy another green home.

According the report from GuildQuality, a customer surveying company for residential real estate, 94 percent of home owners who purchased a National Green Building Standard (NGBS) certified green home built within the past three years said they would recommend a green home to a friend, and 92 percent said they’d go green again in their next home purchase. Home owners were most satisfied with their low utility bills, energy efficiency, and better insulation, according to the survey.

The report, commissioned by the National Association of Home Builders, found that 71 percent of respondents believe that green homes are, overall, of higher quality, and 90 percent were satisfied knowing they “did the right thing” in buying a green home.

“Historically, studies have focused on interest in green among buyers in the market or on trends as reported by industry professionals,” said Matt Belcher, Co-Chair of NAHB’s Energy & Green Building Subcommittee and a builder from Wildwood, Mo. “While that’s certainly important information for all those in the industry, it doesn’t always get to the heart of what new buyers want to know, which is: ‘How satisfied are green homeowners with their decision?’ This data provides groundbreaking information that can be of value to the general public as well as the industry.”

Source: “National Green Building Standard Certified Homes Report on Survey Responses,” GuildQuality