Where to Get Decorative Inspiration

A house becomes a home for many owners once it’s furnished and decorated, reflecting their personal tastes. But a little over half of consumers—53%—say their home is only partly furnished and decorated to their satisfaction, while 23% say very little about their home is designed to their liking, according to a new survey of 1,850 Americans by home improvement resource Improvenet.

The survey shows how consumers are shopping for decorative items: For example, respondents say they’re most willing to spend extra money on quality and style when buying a sofa or sectional, mattress, television, refrigerator, and dining table and chairs. They get the most inspiration for their style in a store (38%) or through social media (30%). Only 12% say they get inspiration from their friends or family, and 5% from interior designers. The majority tend to buy furniture in person, at 74%, but 26% say they buy furniture online, the survey shows.

States for Middle Class Prosperity in 2019

Though middle class households are pinching their pennies, they still desire homeownership as a means to increase personal wealth, according to a new study by personal finance resource SmartAsset. Researchers looked at the states in which the middle class is the strongest financially, factoring in housing costs, incomes, and job growth, among other criteria.

The middle class is defined as households who earn between two-thirds to double the national median household income, often between $35,000 to $100,000, the study notes.

‘Amazon Effect’ on Housing Is Real

One year after Amazon selected Arlington, Va., as its second headquarters site, home prices and sales in the surrounding area continue to surge, a new study from realtor.com® shows. “Massive inventory shortages, sky-high price spikes, and a blistering pace of sales are now the norm in the metro surrounding Amazon’s second headquarters, propelling it to one of the nation’s hottest housing markets,” realtor.com® notes in a new analysis.

New York City, on the other hand, hasn’t fared as well. New York City was initially chosen as one of the two markets for Amazon’s headquarters, but in February, Amazon backed out of that portion of its plans. New York City has seen a 15% decline in home sales and home prices year over year, realtor.com® notes. At the time of Amazon’s initial announcement, New York City had seen a surge of 50% in sales.

Favorite Mortgage Lenders Ranked

Customers were slightly less satisfied with mortgage originators in the second quarter, and too much technology may be the culprit, according to the latest J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study. Lenders have been adding self-service technology to increase convenience in the mortgage process while trimming their customer-facing staff. But too much tech may fall short of customers’ expectations for service, the study notes.

1 in 4 Properties Are ‘Equity Rich’

It’s a good time to be a homeowner: The share of equity-rich residential properties zoomed to a total of 14.4 million, shows the 2019 U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report from ATTOM Data Solutions. Nearly 27% of all properties with a mortgage in the U.S. are now considered “equity rich,” meaning the combined estimated amount of loans secured by those properties was 50% or less of their estimated market value.

Who Are Homebuyers?

Home buyers are ready to plant roots: Today’s buyers are young, multicultural, tech-savvy, and eager to buy a home as a personal investment, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Sellers, on the other hand, are already rooted, having lived in their current home an average of 10 years, NAR’s report shows. Sellers are equity-rich and rely on real estate professionals for guidance now more than ever before.

Five key themes emerged from NAR’s annual survey of recent home buyers and sellers, ranging from what buyers are looking for in a house to what both buyers and sellers expect from a real estate agent.

  • First-time buyers made up 33% of all home buyers, holding steady from last year’s 33%.
  • The typical buyer was 47 years old this year, and the median household income for 2018 rose again this year to $93,200.
  • 12% of home buyers purchased a multi-generational home, to take care of aging parents, because of children over the age of 18 moving back home, and for cost-saving.
  • 20% of recent home buyers were veterans and 3% were active-duty service members.

Read more HERE.

Midwest Dominated 20 Hottest Housing Markets This Fall

Ohio is proving to be a hot housing market. The state boasted the largest number of metros to make it onto a top 20 list of the nation’s top-performing housing markets for October, realtor.com®’s data shows. realtor.com® ranks the markets based on where homes are selling the fastest and where visitors to realtor.com® are clicking on listings the most.

The following Ohio metros made this month’s list: Columbus (number 3); Springfield (number 9, up 93 spots from September); Canton (number 13); and Dayton (number 14). The Midwest claimed nine of the top 20 markets on realtor.com®’s October list. For the fourth consecutive month, Fort Wayne, Ind., topped the rankings.

The Midwest and Ohio’s attraction lately may be driven by its affordability.

Top Markets for Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers

Millennials are flocking to affordable smaller cities, baby boomers are retiring in walkable communities that offer urban amenities, and Gen Xers are heading to larger, high-priced markets. Realtor.com® researchers recently evaluated the migration trends of the generations. Life stages—growing families, retirement, and employment—continues to drive demand in housing.

Millennials, the largest U.S. generation ever, is particularly making its mark on the housing market.  View the full lists of top markets for millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers at realtor.com®.

I Want to Buy a Home

Many non-owners—those renting or living with someone else—are eager to buy a home. But their current financial situation is what is mostly holding them back.

The National Association of REALTORS®’ newly released “2019 Profile of Buyers and Sellers” report contained a new section this year, including a survey about non-owners and their views on homeownership. NAR released its annual report during the 2019 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco this week.

But the main reason they aren’t buying yet is because they can’t afford to make the jump into ownership.  Read the report HERE.

FEMA is Changing How They Assess Flood Risk

The current rating system for assessing properties’ flood risk is outdated and may not fully reflect the actual danger level for individual homes and communities, David Maurstad, deputy associate administrator for insurance and mitigation at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told attendees Friday at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco.

FEMA has been developing a new system, Risk Rating 2.0, which would represent the first time flood risk assessments have been update since the 1970s.  Read more HERE.

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