Who wears the pants in making decisions about real estate? Coldwell Bander found that, in most cases, it’s a mutual decision – here’s a video showing a few of the specific responses…
Austin-area residential construction is up 11% over last year, and it looks like we’ll continue to see activity even though the federal tax credit for home buyer expired, based on an article by Shonda Novak in the Austin American-Statesman. Novak quotes Tommy Tucker of Residential Strategies, Inc., who says that “buyers are coming back to the market for reasons apart from the tax credit.” Area builders “have shown discipline by not creating an oversupply of housing,” so prices should remain stable. The Austin housing market’s health relative to other parts of the country reflects the strength of Austin’s job market. The article mentions, as an example, Samsung’s $3.6 billion expansion here.
- Suburbs are now more likely to be home to a poor, rapidly growing older population as younger, educated whites move to urban centers.
- A majority of all racial and ethnic groups in large metro areas live outside the city.
- Suburbs have the largest poor population in the U.S., and a majority of baby boomers age 55 to 64.
- “White flight” is turning into “bright flight” as aspiring young adults move to cities, seeking access to knowledge-based jobs, public transportation, and a new city ambiance.
- Recommendations: “affordable housing and social services for older people in the suburbs; better transit systems to link cities and suburbs; and a new federal Office of New Americans to serve the education and citizenship needs of the rapidly growing immigrant community.”
Single women are buying more real estate than single men.
Unmarried women accounted for 21% of home purchases in 2009, while unwed males were 10% of the buyers, according to a National Association of Realtors report in November. It’s a dramatic shift from 1981, the first year the numbers were tracked, when single women and men each accounted for 10% of home sales.
The article goes on to explain that this hasn’t quite sunk in with some industry professionals, who are having to learn to be “gender-friendly.” A case study is Sara Barger, a 26-year-old freelance video producer who “pursues buying homes as a way to safeguard her net worth.”
Earning roughly $90,000 a year, the American University graduate bought her third Washington property in three years in January when she closed on a four-bedroom $350,000 foreclosed townhouse in Columbia Heights. Barger rents out three of the bedrooms as well as her two condominiums to supplement her income and subsidize her monthly $5,866 mortgage, condo and tax expenses. After her rental income, she ends up owing about $625 a month, including utilities.
Could that be you?
FHA Commissioner David Stevens spoke before the audience of Realtors and executives, calling the long term prospects for the real estate market “incredible,” according to NAR. Pointing to young households as a demographic that is growing larger than the baby boomer demographic, Stevens notes that their entry into the market will lead to “an incredible real estate market in the future.”
Lani asks “By ‘incredible,’ don’t you really mean ‘uncertain’?”
That had me laughing. I think we’d all like to see a merely-credible future for real estate right now!
It’s not clear the surge represents a bottoming out of the housing market, as the sales are still not happening organically–that is to say, without a government incentive. And now that the home buyers’ credit has been extended to April, we won’t know if we have an organic, non-subsidized bottom until after then.