The ever-elusive ‘dream home’

Finding a customer their “dream home”—it’s often a difficult task since compromise is a major part of the buying process. Here’s what a recent survey discovered about buyers and the concessions they made when purchasing homes1:

  • The most common reason a buyer compromised was because they couldn’t afford the home they wanted (43%). Other reasons: “I couldn’t find what I was looking for” (20%) and “I was tired of looking” (10%).
  • What buyers comprised on the most: layout (29%), the age of the property/repairs needed (29%), the home’s size (26%), and an updated kitchen (23%).
  • Women were more likely than men to say they were the ones who compromised. At the same time, factors such as a home’s architectural style, its neighborhood, and its school system were non-negotiable for both genders.

Please contact me if you have questions or need assistance.

1“Homebuying must-haves,” Lombardo Homes, last updated May 26, 2020.


One-quarter speeding up their moving timelines

Combine record-low interest rates with a pandemic that has forced many people to work from home and the result is an increasing number of Americans are considering moving.1 Here are the numbers from a Redfin survey:

  • In July, Redfin asked 1,000 people who were planning to a buy a home in the next 12 months whether or not the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted their plans. Three quarters of them said it did.
  • One quarter said the pandemic had forced them to speed up their moving timelines.
  • The biggest factors driving buyers’ change of plans? Low mortgage rates (55%), spending more time at home (52%), working from home more often (40%), and the desire to live somewhere less expensive (25%).

In this unique business climate, I am here to answer any questions you may have.

1Dana Anderson, “Survey: 25% of homebuyers are moving—or moving sooner than planned—because of the pandemic,” Redfin, last updated August 5, 2020.


Pandemic no match for equity growth

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative effect on many aspects of the housing market. One positive, however, was a rise in home values and equity. Here’s more from ATTOM Data Solutions1:

  • In its second quarter U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report, ATTOM noted that 15.2 million residential properties were considered equity rich. This means that the combined estimated amount of loans secured by those properties was 50% or less of their estimated market value.
  • At one point in the second quarter, the percentage of equity-rich properties hit 27.5%.
  • Forty-nine of 50 states saw an increase in equity-rich homes. Meanwhile, just one in 16 homes nationwide was considered “seriously underwater,” which is when a loan balance is at least 25% more than the property’s estimated market value.

As always, it is a pleasure staying in touch and sharing important market information.

1“Home equity levels improve across nation in second quarter of 2020 despite coronavirus pandemic,” ATTOM Data Solutions, last updated August 6, 2020.


Northeast sees a sharp decrease in square footage

The size of a new single-family home shrank considerably in the second quarter, according to the National Association of Home Builders®1 and U.S. Census Bureau.2 The drop in square footage is especially eye-opening in our region. Check it out:

  • Here in the northeast, the median square footage of a new single-family home declined sharply—2,635 to 2,093—in the second quarter. Why the decrease? Experts said it’s partly a result of more builders constructing much-needed entry level homes.
  • Nationwide, the median square footage of a new home was 2,264, slightly less than the 2,280 square feet reported in the first quarter.
  • A square footage increase is predicted for the second half of 2020 since many Americans are looking for more space to live, work, and study during the COVID‑19 pandemic.

If your clients are looking to finance a new build, I can guide them to the lending option that works best for their situation. I am always here to help!

1Robert Dietz, “New single-family home size leveling off?” Eye on Housing Blog, last updated August 19, 2020.
2“Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design,” U.S. Census Bureau.


U.S. now has over one million ADUs

Across the country, accessory dwelling units (ADUs)—also referred to as in-law suites, garage apartments, or guest quarters—are on the rise, especially in high-cost areas.1 Check out the numbers from a recent Freddie Mac study:

  • From 2000 to 2019, the percentage of for-sale listings containing ADUs increased from 1.6% to 6.8%.
  • The passing of ordinances to reduce restrictive zoning laws have ADUs sprouting up mostly in the south and west regions. California, Florida, Texas, and Georgia account for half of the nation’s 1.4 million ADUs.
  • Detached ADUs (garden suites or guest cottages) are more prevalent in western cities with large lots. Attached ADUs (finished basements or spaces above attached garages) can be found in older, denser cities along the east coast.

The Freddie Mac study also stated that ADUs are helping to fill the gaps in long-term affordable rentals. It will be interesting to see if ADUs continue to impact the housing market in the years ahead.

1“Granny flats, garage apartments, in-law suites: Identifying accessory dwelling units from real estate listing descriptions using text mining,” Freddie Mac, last updated July 16, 2020.