Leanne Ford Installs the Best Bedroom Upgrade Ever for Lazy People

Paul Archuleta/Getty Images; Reid Rolls/House Beautiful

Leanne Ford, who co-stars with her brother, Steve Ford, on the HGTV renovation reality show “Restored by the Fords,” has recently installed a rather creative upgrade for those who hate getting out of bed for a glass of water: a bedside faucet.

According to “House Beautiful,” she’d been longing to try this hack in one of her renovations and had even sourced a gorgeous eagle-shaped fixture from a shop in Pittsburgh a few years ago. Installation wasn’t much of a problem since the master bedroom and bathroom in this particular home shared a wall.

Once the faucet was in place next to the bed, she said, “it was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.”

Water on the wall: clever or crazy?

Reid Rolls/House Beautiful

Granted, middle-of-the-night thirst is a common problem, especially after a salty pepperoni pizza or some movie popcorn. A nearby glass of water seems smart, but if you have little kids, a dog, or, like most people, butterfingers in the dark at 2 a.m., it’ll likely topple over at least once a week.

So, are bedside faucets going to become all the rage, designwise? We checked in with the pros for their take on this look—and here’s what we learned.

Bedside faucets: The next big trend?

Photo by Dcasa Ltd 

Drew Henry, founder of Design Dudes, loves the bedside faucet in theory, as it’s clearly a dream solution for lazy bedtime water drinkers.

“But personally I hate food or beverages in my bedroom space, and any water in this room creates annoyance and can sometimes damage your nearby books or mattress,” he shares.

Photo by Caroline McCredie

It’s hard to tell whether there’s a piece of furniture underneath the faucet that Leanne put in, but most homeowners are going to want some kind of table by the bed. “The idea of a tap right where you sleep seems convenient, but I’m sure you’ll still want a nightstand below it—then what happens if you have a leak or the faucet drips?” asks Henry.

Is an actual sink under the faucet the next step?

“I don’t imagine anyone wants a bedside sink,” he says.

The cost to install a bedside faucet

You might pay between $500 to $1,000 to tap into nearby pipes on a shared wall, says Henry, but the cost may end up being prohibitive if you’re unlucky with your floor plan and need to add new plumbing.

“If the master bath is close by, then you can certainly run some piping, but I often feel like the bed is across the room or on the opposite wall from it,” he says.

Bedside faucet vs. wet bar

Photo by Jenni Leasia Interior Design 

In a larger bedroom, the general concept could work, notes Henry, especially if you have the space to include a wet bar or coffee station near a sitting area that’s separate from where you sleep.

“Of course this design takes away from the short-term ease of never leaving the bed for a glass of water, but it’s ultimately much more functional,” he says.

Bottom line: Bedside faucets aren’t likely to start trending anytime soon. And unless you have the perfect pipe scenario, don’t bother with this detail.

The post Leanne Ford Installs the Best Bedroom Upgrade Ever for Lazy People appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

The 2020 New American Home Wowed Us—Except for These 3 Things

Courtesy of Jeff Davis Photography

If you could build your perfect home, what would it look like?

Would it have dual dishwashers? A minibar in every bedroom? A vanishing-edge pool and hot tub perched 3,000 feet above sea level? All with top-of-the-line, energy-efficient appliances that promise to slash your utility bills?

That’s the idea behind the 37th New American Home, unveiled this week by the National Association of Home Builders during its annual convention in Las Vegas. The 7,638-square-foot, one-story home in Henderson, NV, was built to showcase the latest innovations in design, efficiency, and technology—plus every luxury amenity you could imagine.

And this year, the contemporary desert home’s designers had a theme in mind—one that’s obvious from the moment you set foot on the curb.

“I had a vision for this home at the beginning that it was a desert oasis,” says Dan Coletti, president of Sun West Custom Homes, which built the property. “As you walk through the home, you kind of feel that fluidity, water, textures—everywhere.”

The New American Home, outdoor space
Outdoor space, the New American Home

Courtesy of Jeff Davis Photography

Not just for show, the four-bed, five-bath property is for sale for $5.75 million. But don’t fall too hard in love—this place already has a pending offer.

Even if you’re not moving in, the idea is that builders and designers might take some cues from this ultimate spec home. So we toured the property to give you an inside look at the most-cutting-edge features in homebuilding today—and what could be coming to a neighborhood near you soon. Here’s what stood out—for better or for worse.

What we loved: The shades of blue

The New American Home, master bedroom
Master bedroom

Rachel Stults

Full disclosure: I’m on board with blue. From teal to periwinkle, I dig any shade of indigo. And boy, does this house have all the shades. Themes of water and waves flow throughout the home, offering a soothing and tranquil vibe amid the arid, rocky desertscape.

The lean in to blue is perfectly on trend for 2020, too: Color authority Pantone recently named Classic Blue as its color of the year, and a host of other paint companies (including Sherwin-Williams, which provided the paint for the 2020 New American Home) have homed in on blue as the next big hue.

The wall treatments

The New American Home, wall treatments
Home office

Rachel Stults

Woven wallpaper, intricate tile, luxurious stonework, and one-of-a-kind wood paneling. (That’s right—wood paneling!) This house is decked out with so many exquisite wall treatments that we lost count of all of them.

In particular, the wallpapers—which Coletti says “are so rich and have textures”—make everything look more expensive. And in the home office, the wood paneling isn’t your mama’s ’70s-era stuff, or even Joanna Gaines‘ more modern, light-colored shiplap. Instead, the boards are stained a rich navy blue—a perfect contrast to the light flooring and natural wood furniture.

The elegant wine showroom

The New American Home 2020
Wine showroom

Courtesy of Jeff Davis Photography

Forget the cellar. 2020’s New American Home brings wine front and center, making it the focal point of the open living space.

“I’m not a big wine connoisseur like some people, but I love the beauty of wine bottles. I think they add an ambiance for a dining experience,” Coletti says. “And you can see all the wine in there at night when the lighting is perfect, too.”

This glassy wine room serves another purpose beyond showing off, creating necessary separation between the dining room and kitchen.

The fantasy fire feature

The New American Home, living room
Living room with fire feature

Rachel Stults

This baby is the largest residential fireplace ever installed in all of Las Vegas—”17 feet of fire,” as Coletti calls it. And we are sufficiently impressed.

Just one thing: We were a bit surprised to learn this fire feature doesn’t emit any heat. While real fire is being produced (with less gas than traditional fireplaces), the flames are purely for aesthetic purposes. So if you’re looking to warm up on a chilly desert evening, you’ll have to bump up your thermostat setting or head to the fire pits outside.

The truly seamless indoor-outdoor flow

The New American Home, infinity pool
Indoor-outdoor infinity pool

Courtesy of Jeff Davis Photography

Speaking of the outside, one of the coolest features of the home has to be the floor-to-ceiling glass doors that pocket right and left to fully open to the outdoor space. You could lounge in your master bedroom, watching TV (on a flat-screen that flips down from the ceiling, no less) and be surrounded by water at the same time. Talk about an oasis.

What we didn’t love: The exterior

The New American Home, exterior

Courtesy of Jeff Davis Photography

On the outside of the home, laser-cut steel sculptures were applied to light blue stucco walls to give the impression of waves. And, well, they nailed that look.

But that doesn’t mean we have to like it. While we’re into the whole water theme, we dare say this is a little too on the nose—and the bold design doesn’t enhance the curb appeal, either. Even more surprising? They brought a few of these sculptures inside the home, too. We’d prefer a more subtle approach to the water concept.

The ‘mini master bedroom’ (and its adjoining bathroom)

The New American Home, mini master bedroom
“Mini master bedroom”

Courtesy of Jeff Davis Photography

Tired of the water theme altogether? Just take a stroll into the “mini master bedroom”—a blood-red space with black, white, and gold accents. The adjoining bathroom, which features more of the same, along with a strange floral motif just doesn’t jibe with the space.

The New American Home, mini master bathroom
Adjoining bathroom

Courtesy of Jeff Davis Photography

No, not every room needed to be blue—or even cohesive with the rest of the home. But walking into this space felt jarring. One colleague likened it to a bordello. (To be fair, another colleague went gaga for everything in the bathroom, which just shows how subjective interior design can be.)

The kitchen

The New American Home, kitchen

Courtesy of Jeff Davis Photography

While the kitchen is undeniably impressive (a built-in beer tap! dual dishwashers! three refrigerators!), we have to admit: There’s a lot going on here. The blue subway tile on top of blue paint, with mixed white and dark wood cabinetry, combined with a dark wood ceiling, gave us sensory overload. Individually, we like a lot of the elements in this kitchen, but on the whole, we can’t get behind it.

The post The 2020 New American Home Wowed Us—Except for These 3 Things appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Affordable Awesomeness: Gorgeous Green A-Frame Is the Week’s Most Popular Home


A green double A-frame house in Connecticut looks as if it has stepped straight out of an Alpine fairy tale. The home’s obvious charms, plus a surprisingly affordable $279,000 price tag, helped it climb up the leaderboard and wind up as the most popular home this week on realtor.com®.

Anyone who ever dreamed of escaping to a quiet cottage in the woods must see this cool charmer, which features a rear wall of windows, wood paneling, and unique nooks and crannies that come courtesy of that dramatic angled roof.

There was more than enough drama to go around this week. One of the world-famous Painted Ladies in San Francisco landed on the market and amassed plenty of clicks. Prospective buyers will need a generous budget, in addition to the $2.7 million purchase price, for a top-to-bottom renovation.

You also clicked on a couple of other antiques looking for love, like a Palladian-style house in West Virginia from 1784 and a Victorian in South Carolina from 1843. A massive abandoned construction job on a 22,000-square-foot mansion in Wisconsin also attracted your attention.

We’d never abandon you, but we would ask you to scroll down to read all of this week’s most popular homes…

10. 296 Piedmont Ln, Charles Town, WV

Price: $995,000

Why it’s here: Over its 289 year history, this historic home has had just five owners. The Palladian-style home on the National Register of Historic Places has seen plenty of history, including both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Located just 70 miles outside Washington DC, the over 3,600-square-foot main house was built in 1786 by Dr. John Briscoe and updated in 1994. The property also includes an unoccupied rental unit and other buildings, some in need of repair after all these years.

histoic house Charles Town WV exterior
Charles Town, WV



9. 264 E. Fairview Ave, Montgomery, AL

Price: $83,000

Why it’s here: It’s $26 a square foot! A motivated seller and an extremely low list price make this four-bedroom home, built in 1923, a deal worth checking out. It’s close to restaurants, shopping, and Maxwell Air Force Base, and the listing says that the property would make a good bed and breakfast or event venue, with charming details like the front porch, hardwood floors, roomy kitchen, and built-ins throughout.

Montgomery, AL house exterior
Montgomery, AL



8. 714 Steiner St, San Francisco, CA

Price: $2,750,000

Why it’s here: Sitting on the iconic “Postcard Row,” this famous Painted Lady definitely needs some updates. Built in 1900, the Victorian beauty is one of the famous Seven Sisters watching over the area, with views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alamo Square, and City Hall. The iconic block attracts a steady stream of tourists and architecture fans from around the world. Sure, it’s pricey for a fixer-upper, but it’s a certified piece of SF history!

San Francisco CA Painted Lady exterior
San Francisco, CA



7. 1272 Cole St, Columbus, OH

Price: $1,000,000

Why it’s here: Completed in 2019 and known as the George Manor, this brick family home offers more than 6,100 square feet of living space. The modern-industrial interiors are filled with striking design details, from the multicolored wood floors to the bathrooms dressed up in custom sleek tile. The two-story great room is ringed by a balcony and warmed by a biofuel fireplace with steel hearth. There’s also a detached guest suite over the garage.

Columbus OH brick house exterior
Columbus, OH



6. 4735 Fonda Fields Ct, Hobart, WI

Price: $6,950,000

Why it’s here: Only partially finished, this massive 22,000-square-foot mansion is headed to no-reserve auction in early February. It looks as if the last crew just dropped tools and walked away. The structure sits on more than 2.5 acres and includes a multiuse sport court.

Hobart, WI mansion exterior
Hobart, WI



5. 1453 Township Road 204, Bloomingdale, OH

Price: $345,000

Why it’s here: Sitting on a sprawling 20-acre farm, this five-bedroom farmhouse, built in 1920, was recently remodeled. Interior highlights include an open kitchen, fireplace, an office with built-in shelves, wood floors, plus new paint and light fixtures throughout. Outside, there’s plenty of room for entertaining, as well as an attached garage with an unfinished upstairs area, which would make an ideal guest suite.

Bloomingdale OH farmhouse exterior
Bloomingdale, OH



4. 312 E. Main St, Ridge Spring, SC

Price: $205,000

Why it’s here: This Victorian antique was built in 1843 and has been updated over the years. Hardwood floors, heavy moldings, high ceilings, and six fireplaces are just a few of the original features. Updates include granite countertops in the kitchen and a large laundry room, and make this home ready for modern family living. Outside, the acre-plus lot features a large lap pool and fitness room.

Ridge Spring, SC farmhouse exterior
Ridge Spring, SC



3. 51 Ford Ln, Naperville, IL 

Price: $3,750,000

Why it’s here: The plaque at the gates of this luxurious estate welcomes you to “Casa del Pape,” a nearly 10,000-square-foot home filled with every imaginable upgrade. There are lush gardens and a heated drive outside, and an elevator, wine cellar, custom kitchen, and exercise room inside. Situated on nearly a full acre along the DuPage river, the grounds also include a full outdoor bath, fireplace, putting green, tennis court, and pool.

Naperville, IL mansion exterior
Naperville, IL



2. 8434 Dalton Pike SE, Cleveland, TN

Price: $1,900,000

Why it’s here: Sitting on nearly 11 rolling wooded acres in the hills, this custom home was built in 2016 and redefines rugged luxury, with high-end add-ons like an Italian pizza oven inside and a stocked bass pond with a gazebo. The pool features waterfalls, slide, and a poolhouse with indoor and outdoor cooking areas. Other highlights include wood beams throughout, three fireplaces, and a luxurious master suite.

Cleveland, TV house exterior
Cleveland, TN



1. 10 Hanson Rd, Canton, CT

Price: $279,900

Why it’s here: It’s an ideal cabin in the woods! This green, double A-frame gem was built in 1964 and has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and 2,000 square feet of living space. It sits on nearly 3 acres close to hiking trails and the Farmington River, and its hardwood floors have been completely redone with Brazilian cypress. The spacious family room features a deck overlooking the backyard, and the finished basement has its own full bathroom, laundry room, utility room, and storage.

Canton, CT
Canton, CT


The post Affordable Awesomeness: Gorgeous Green A-Frame Is the Week’s Most Popular Home appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

$29.5M Oceanfront Estate in North Palm Beach Is the Week’s Most Expensive New Listing


An oceanfront estate in North Palm Beach, FL, on the market for $29.5 million is this week’s most expensive new listing on realtor.com®.

The owner of the Mediterranean-style mansion is reportedly West Virginia businessman Chris Cline, who died in July in a helicopter crash. He was 60.

The estate, which first came on the market in October for the same price, was relisted this month.

The 1.39-acre property features a pool and sport courts. The interiors of the mansion feature “Venetian plaster walls, numerous balconies and balustrades, a colonnaded porte-cochere, and hand-painted murals,” according to an earlier listing.

Most expensive new listing this week


Living room


Casual dining area


Wet bar with ceiling mural


Game room




Pool and lounge area


Steps from the ocean


Built in 2005, the 17,704-square-foot mansion has eight bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and five half-baths. The entry features an elaborately decorated floor and a curved staircase. The living room is graced with a giant chandelier and French doors. 

Additional rooms include a huge kitchen, breakfast room, formal dining room, wet bar with a ceiling mural, family room, office, and game room. In addition, there’s a gym, tiered home theater, and wine room. 


Watch: This Insane Florida Yacht House Is the Ultimate in Waterfront Living


Outside, entertaining options continue with patios, kitchen and dining area, pool and spa, and sport courts. The home is just steps from the beach. 

Cline enjoyed impressive business success in the coal industry and had an estimated net worth of $1.8 billion. He was romantically linked at one point to Elin Nordegren, former wife of Tiger Woods. People magazine reported that the two met when she bought the place next door to his in 2011.

Nordegren’s neighboring home is also up for grabs, for $44.5 million. It was initially listed in 2018 for $49.5 million. 

Lawrence A. Moens represents the Cline listing.

The post $29.5M Oceanfront Estate in North Palm Beach Is the Week’s Most Expensive New Listing appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Home Seller Profits Go So High, You Have to Ask: Should You Sell Now?


2019 was a stellar year for home sellers, with the average profits on a home sale reaching a 13-year high of $65,500, according to the recently released 2019 U.S. Home Sales Report by ATTOM Data Solutions.

These earnings—based on data from recorded sales deeds across the U.S.—compared the purchase price of Americans’ homes with what they sold for last year. In 2019, the median home sales price reached $258,000, resulting in a 34% return on investment for home sellers. That’s the highest ROI since 2006.

Todd Teta, ATTOM’s chief product officer, attributes these high home-seller profits to several market factors: a strong economy, rising wages, stock market gains, and historically low mortgage interest rates. In 2019 interest rates dropped a full percentage point and have hovered around 3.6%.

“Put simply, economic conditions for continued price—and therefore profit—run-ups remained in place and even got better,” Teta tells realtor.com®. “With more money available and reduced borrowing costs, buyers apparently were able to pay higher prices, which boosted seller profits.”

Cities with the highest home sale profits

Not surprisingly, many of the metros with the highest home seller profits were in California. According to the ATTOM report, these cities had the highest home seller ROI in 2019:

  • San Jose, CA (82.8%)
  • San Francisco, CA (72.8%)
  • Seattle, WA (65.6%)
  • Merced, CA (63.2%)
  • Salem, OR (62.1%)

These top four cities also topped the list in 2018.

Should I sell my home now?

These sky-high ROIs may have homeowners wondering whether they should sell their house now to make a killing—unless they could see even bigger profits if they hold on to their property even longer. But that largely depends on whether the factors that kept the market strong last year continue, Teta says. So far, there are no signs that economic conditions will worsen, he adds.

“Profits should remain strong and maybe hit new records,” he says. “But if the economy slows, the stock market dives, or interest rates go up, prices and profits could easily flatten out or decline.”

Once the market starts to slow, it could be too late to sell and get top dollar.

“If sellers are thinking about moving, now is a great time to sell,” says Ali Wolf, director of economic research at Meyers Research, in Costa Mesa, CA.

This “sell now” call to action may be particularly true if you reside in a luxury home, since the smallest profits last year were in areas where homes were selling for $275,000 and more.

“We could see a slight slowdown in sales rates and increase in time on market for the luxury segments,” says Tim Sullivan, senior managing principal at Meyers Research.

Currently most of the country remains a seller’s market, especially in mid- to lower-priced markets, Teta says. In more expensive markets, however, it may be shifting to a buyer’s market.

“If that’s where you’re located, the latest trends suggest that now’s the time to sell,” Teta says.

Is now a good time to buy a home?

While home buyers might be tempted to put off purchasing property until prices drop, trying to time the market like this can land you in trouble. If you find the right home in the right location and plan to stay there for a while, then it’s always a good time to buy, says Sullivan.

“That permanence will typically outlast market shifts,” he says. However, “if there is uncertainty about a job or a location, waiting is probably the best course. Or, if one is looking to buy and flip, care must be taken since prices have increased significantly in the last six years,” he says.

In particular, home prices in the middle and low ranges are expected to rise the most, so it may be a smart move for buyers in that price range to act now, Teta says. In higher-end markets, waiting may make more sense, since price increases have been limited.

High home prices and low mortgage rates will likely stick around for a while. As such, it’s essential that home buyers crunch the numbers and figure out how much they can afford before they even start home shopping.

“They need to weigh how much of their income they want to put toward housing and see if what’s on the market matches their needs,” says Wolf.

“Of course, all that hinges heavily on the factors propping up the market,” Teta adds. “If any of those goes bad, then waiting obviously would be the best move for anyone in any market who doesn’t need to buy right away.”

The post Home Seller Profits Go So High, You Have to Ask: Should You Sell Now? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

2020’s Top Home Trends and Features to Start the Decade Off Right

2020's Top Home Trends, Features and Abodes To Start The Decade Off Right


Millennial Pink? Anything but that! Word art? We’re so over it. Please, whatever you do—no more shiplap! So what are the top home trends and features of 2020? What are going to be the most popular types of homes? And what does new construction look like these days?

If you’re looking for answers, the best folks to ask are those who are actually building homes. They have their fingers on the pulse of what people want—not just today, but tomorrow, and even next year. (After all, it takes a while to build!)

For starters, despite a lot of hullaballoo about luxury condos and urban living, the most popular type of home remains the single-family residence, according to survey research on about 3,000 homebuilders conducted by the National Association of Home Builders. Those were followed by townhomes, condos and co-ops, and manufactured homes.

That’s because the majority of buyers are heading to the suburbs, where there’s more space for a stand-alone house and a yard. The next most popular type of destination was rural areas and then cities.

“It’s part of the American dream: the single-family detached home,” says Rose Quint, assistant vice president of survey research at NAHB. “That’s despite having less expensive options.”


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New homes today are getting smaller

So what do we know about new homes today?

Well, they’re getting smaller. New single-family homes totaled an average 2,520 square feet in 2019. That’s the smallest they’ve been since 2011—and about 170 square feet less than their peak in 2015.

“Builders respond to demand out there in the market, and the demand right now is mostly from entry-level buyers and first-time buyers,” says Quint. “They’re responding to the affordability crisis by shifting their product to smaller, more affordable homes.”

Last year, about 44% of new homes have at least four bedrooms, down from 47% in 2015. A third had at least three full bathrooms, down from a high of 37% in 2015. And just 18% had a three-car garage, down from 23% in 2015. Small is the thing.

However, home buyers were more likely to choose smaller, higher-quality homes with the top home features than larger homes with fewer must-have features if given the choice between both options around the same price, according to NAHB.

“They value high-quality [homes] and amenities over size,” says Quint.

First-time buyers were more likely to choose an existing home (i.e., one that’s previously been lived in). Meanwhile, repeat buyers were more likely to opt for new construction. That’s because new homes cost about a third more than existing ones.

All of those new finishes and features aren’t cheap! Some things never change.

The must-have features in new homes


The most sought-after feature that builders are most likely to include in new homes this year is the walk-in closet.

It was followed by a host of environmentally friendly and cost-saving features that are decidedly less sexy than those giant closets. Energy-efficient windows came in second, with laundry rooms, energy-efficient lighting, and great rooms (a combo of a kitchen, family area, and living room) on its heels.

“Energy efficiency has everything to do with saving money,” says Quint.

Builders are also installing central islands in kitchens, programmable thermostats, high ceilings, Energy Star appliances, and two-car garages.

The least popular features were cork flooring on the main floor, geothermal heat pumps, solar water heating and electrical systems, dual toilets in the master bath, and laminated countertops in the kitchen.

The top colors, materials, and rooms

Buyers were choosy when it came to colors and materials—as they should be! They wanted stainless-steel appliances (e.g., refrigerators, stoves, and dishwashers) over black ones. For kitchen countertops, they preferred granite and natural stone over quartz, engineered stone, and laminate.

But they were undecided when it came to kitchen cabinet colors. First-time buyers preferred medium-brown cabinets, while repeat buyers wanted white.

“No color was a big, large majority for people,” says Quint. “Where there is consensus is in the color of the kitchen appliances. Stainless steel is where it is for most buyers.”

First-time buyers were also partial to having dining rooms and having both a bath tub and shower stall in the master bathroom. Repeat buyers, many of whom are retirees and soon-to-be retirees hoping to downsize into homes where they can age in place, were more concerned with garage storage and exterior lighting.

Both groups wanted laundry rooms, energy-efficient windows, hardwood floors on the main level, and patios.

But there doesn’t seem to be one main architectural style that buyers are clamoring for.

“What’s the trend in architecture? Everything,” says Donald Ruthroff, principal at Dahlin Group Architecture Planning. “We’re seeing contemporary that is based on traditional. You’re seeing mixes in neighborhoods of that traditional with that contemporary [style] along the same street.”

They’re also looking for seamless indoor-outdoor living.

“This is hugely important to buyers,” says Ruthroff. “This is the marrying of landscape architecture with architecture.”

The post 2020’s Top Home Trends and Features to Start the Decade Off Right appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

The Top City Where America’s Renters Are Moving—and the Ones They’re Fleeing in Droves

Apartment List's Renter Migration Report

Stefan Tomic/iStock

Looking for a new city to call home? Consider Denver. According to Apartment List’s latest renter migration report, this mountain city is the top metro where renters are moving right now.

Apartment List came to this finding by analyzing millions of searches for apartments on its site from June 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2019. And, since searching for an apartment and actually moving are different things, the report also factored in which cities were retaining and losing their population, too.

So why did Denver top the list? You can thank the area’s tech boom, for starters.

“Denver’s economy has been booming for a number of years now, with significant growth in its tech industry specifically,” Chris Salviati, housing economist at Apartment List, told realtor.com. “The metro has added a significant number of jobs for highly educated workers, which generally pay high salaries.”

Along with Denver’s booming economy, renters are drawn to the city for its mountain views, abundant outdoor activities, and (last but not least) legalized cannabis.

“We attribute the city’s appeal to its strong job growth, great climate, appeal to outdoors enthusiasts, and ease of transportation to other national and international destinations,” says Ryan Belinak, creator and team lead of Denver-based Live Urban Real Estate’s leasing division.

The rental costs in Denver, revealed

While Denver has a lot to offer, don’t expect cheap rent to come easy. Rents are relatively high in Denver, averaging $1,352 for a two-bedroom as of December 2019, according to Apartment List. Median rent nationally for a two-bedroom is $1,192.

Because of this, Belinak says, “We find that renters who can afford to rent here only do so for their initial lease term, and then they are on the hunt to purchase properties in the metro area.”

Despite its high housing costs, Denver remains more affordable than coastal tech hubs like San Francisco or Boston, Salviati says, adding that there’s also an outflow of renters to smaller, more affordable nearby metros like Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Fort Collins.

Here are the top 10 metros attracting renters:

  1. Denver, CO
  2. Baltimore, MD
  3. San Diego, CA
  4. Tampa, FL
  5. San Francisco, CA
  6. Boston, MA
  7. Seattle, WA
  8. Charlotte, NC
  9. Houston, TX
  10. St. Louis, MO

Top cities renters are leaving

As for cities that people are leaving behind, Orlando, FL, topped the list, according to Apartment List’s survey.

Home to Walt Disney World and several other theme parks, Orlando is mobbed with tourists, which could be a turnoff to local renters. Plus the job market here is largely tourist-related, with low wages that don’t exactly inspire people to stick around.

“The nature of that job growth is very different than what we’re seeing in Denver,” Salviati says. “Orlando’s economy is dominated by the tourism industry, which is highly cyclical, and workers generally earn lower salaries. Workers tend to be less attached to low-wage jobs, which may explain the high share of renters who are looking to leave the area.”

Making matters worse, Orlando’s housing costs aren’t even that low, either, with the average rent on a two-bedroom apartment being $1,295.

Even though renters are looking to get out of Orlando, many want to stay in Florida, with Miami and Tampa as top destinations they’re flocking to next. Salviati says these metros are larger with more diversified economies.

Although many people want to leave Orlando, the city’s also attracting a fresh crop of people who want to move there, too.

“We also see a relatively robust share of renters looking to move to Orlando from elsewhere, indicating turnover in the metro’s renter population, rather than an exodus from it,” Salviati says.

Here are the top 10 metros renters are planning to leave:

  1. Orlando, FL
  2. Riverside, CA
  3. Detroit, MI
  4. Chicago, IL
  5. Charlotte, NC
  6. Washington, DC
  7. San Francisco, CA
  8. Los Angeles, CA
  9. Portland, OR
  10. Baltimore, MD

The post The Top City Where America’s Renters Are Moving—and the Ones They’re Fleeing in Droves appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Generation Z Is Buying Homes: Here’s What You Need to Know About This Group

yacobchuk/iStock; realtor.com

Move over, millennials. Forget Generation X. (Everyone else seems to have already done so.) And it’s not always about you, baby boomers. Generation Z is the latest group to start dipping its toes into the housing market—and this money-conscious group is already snapping up affordably priced homes.

These whippersnappers, born between 1997 and 2012, are now buying up about 2% of the homes on the market, according to realtor.com®’s fourth-quarter generational propensity report. They’re purchasing property at the same rate as the silent generation, those born before 1946. And while that may not sound like much yet, this financially savvy generation is on track to become a home-buying force to be reckoned with in the coming years.

The report is based on a realtor.com analysis of residential mortgages (for purchases, not refinances) from real estate data firm Optimal Blue, which specializes in lending records. This is the first time Gen Z has been included in this report.

“The oldest of them are finishing college and starting jobs, especially if they were the ambitious types who took a lot of AP classes in high school,” says Senior Economist George Ratiu of realtor.com. “For this generation, homeownership seems to be a part of their growing up. Contrary to expectations, this generation is just as much interested in owning the home they live in as prior generations.”


Watch: Should Millennials’ Financial #Goals Focus on a Down Payment, or Retirement?


But most of the Gen Z crowd doesn’t have a lot of money just yet—although this is one generation already known for saving its pennies. The oldest members are still in their early 20s. So they’re choosing cheaper homes in smaller, less expensive places in the most affordable parts of the country, such as smaller cities in the Midwest and South.

“Gen Z is more practical with their money than previous generations,” says Jason Dorsey, president of the Center for Generational Kinetics, a Gen Z and millennial research firm based in Austin, TX. “They’re better positioned to enter the home-buying market than millennials when millennials were the same age. They’re savers, and they’re looking for stability.

“Gen Z could leapfrog many millennials financially, as they’re starting out on better footing,” he continues.

They were buying starter homes for a median $160,600 in December. That’s about 37% less than millennials are spending and about 46.5% less than the national median price of $300,000.

But it’s 11% more than members of Gen Z spent in the previous year. Meanwhile, millennials spent about 7% more as their median home price rose to $256,500.

And Gen Z is putting only about 5% down. That’s likely because the group is just entering the workforce and hasn’t had as much time to save up for a down payment. That puts the group at a disadvantage because buyers who don’t put at least 20% down typically have to pay for private mortgage insurance.

“They’re carrying a slightly higher [financial] burden on a monthly basis because they’re putting down less than 20%,” says Ratiu.

Millennials’ down payments were about 8.5%, while Gen X contributed 11.5%, and boomers had 17.6%.

The top market for Gen Z buyers was Toledo, OH, where they took out the most mortgages compared with other metropolitan areas where they became homeowners in the last quarter of the year. It was followed by Grand Rapids, MI; Wichita, KS; Virginia Beach, VA; Winston-Salem, NC; Scranton, PA; Oklahoma City, OK; Cincinnati; Youngstown, OH; and Baton Rouge, LA.

“They’re making a conscious choice to buy there, because most of these places have strong local economies, are university towns, and are very affordable,” says Ratiu. “Many of these people come out of their universities and choose to settle where they went to school.”

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This Is the Reason Home Prices Are So High—and Why They’re Likely to Stay That Way

This Is the Reason Home Prices Are So High—And Why They're Likely to Stay That Way

Ja_inter/iStock; realtor.com

For years, home prices have been climbing to record highs in much of the country. That has sidelined many aspiring homeowners and taken a toll on the budgets of those stretching to make it work. The reason? There simply aren’t enough homes to meet the demand, pushing prices up to the heavens.

One of the biggest culprits of the housing shortage is the severe shortfall in new construction. Builders simply aren’t putting up enough homes to come anywhere close to satisfying the hordes of buyers—a problem expected to get a little better this year even as more buyers enter the market, according to the National Association of Home Builders. But it still likely won’t be enough to meet demand.

“We’ve had multiple years of low housing production,” says Robert Dietz, chief economist of the NAHB. “That’s the reason we’ve got this housing deficit.”

Housing starts, which reflect the beginning of construction on a home, shot up 16.9% from November to December and 40.8% year over year in December, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development seasonally adjusted data.

But folks should take that news with a grain of salt, says Dietz. He expects starts to increase by only 4% this year and then rise an additional 1% in 2021.

“It’s going to be a positive year,” says Dietz, who anticipates 920,000 single-family housing starts in 2020. But builders need at least 1 million starts to begin pulling the nation out of a housing shortage. “That’s still insufficient.”


Watch: 5 Things You Should Never Do When Buying a Home


How bad is the new-home shortage?

That increase in building should help ease (but not obliterate) the shortage of 3.84 million new homes the nation is facing, according to a realtor.com® analysis. Even with a ramped-up construction schedule, it would still take four to five years to build enough housing stock to meet buyer demand.

Blame the millennials! This huge generation has definitively entered into the age where they’re looking for homes in which to raise their families.

However, the numbers are discouraging. There were just 21,288 single-family housing starts per million people from 2010 through 2019—nearly half of what it was in the previous three decades, according to NAHB. Housing starts per million population topped 41,000 in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.

Making matters worse, the population is practically exploding. There were an estimated 329 million U.S. residents as of Jan. 1, 2020—compared with almost 309 million in 2010 and 281 million in 2000, according to Census figures. That’s a nearly 17% population boom.

To put it into perspective, just 5.9 million single-family homes were constructed from 2012 through 2019, according to a realtor.com analysis. Yet there were 9.8 million new households formed over the same period.

About 93% of the multifamily development, which includes apartments, condominiums, and co-operatives, is rental housing, according to NAHB. Historically, it’s been much lower, at 80%.

That means fewer affordable units are hitting the for-sale market. (Condos are often less expensive than single-family homes.) However, many of the condos going up today are luxury units, well out of the budgets of most middle-class Americans.

Why builders aren’t putting up more homes

So why aren’t builders, well, building?

When the housing bubble popped just over a decade ago, no one was buying—especially new homes. Practically overnight, many builders were forced out of business and many construction workers suddenly found themselves out of work. Many of those companies and workers never came back to the industry.

There were still about 311,000 construction labor positions open in October, according to NAHB. And that labor shortage is making it more expensive and difficult for the remaining builders to ramp up construction.

“There’s a big shortage because young people just don’t want those jobs,” says realtor.com’s director of economic research, Javier Vivas.

In addition, there’s a lot less land available in desirable areas. What’s there is more expensive and builders have to jump through a lot of hoops with local regulators and zoning boards to get permission to build. This is often a lengthy and pricey process, which also hinders construction.

Plus, it’s become a lot harder for builders to get financing for large projects. And then there are rising material costs and shortages, which also make it harder and costlier to put up new homes.

All of those factors lead to fewer homes going up—and longer construction times and more expensive finished abodes.

The median price of a newly constructed home was $330,800 as of November 2019, according to the most recent Census and HUD data. That’s nearly 21% more than existing homes, which have previously been lived in.

“We need home builders to step it up and build at least twice the pace they have been,” Vivas says. “It has to get better, because builders now see how fast orders come in for what they build.”

The post This Is the Reason Home Prices Are So High—and Why They’re Likely to Stay That Way appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Beyonce and JAY Z’s Property Taxes Are So High, They Boggle the Mind

Beyonce and Jay-Z's $1M in property taxes

Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images

‘Tis the season to complain about taxes (or if not now, soon enough). But before you start grumbling about all the money you’ll owe the IRS, find some solace in the fact that some people owe a whole lot more. Especially celebrities!

Case in point: According to the Los Angeles Times, which analyzed more than 2.4 million assessor records in the area, Beyoncé and JAY Z reportedly owe $1.05 million per year in property taxes alone on their Bel Air mansion.

Granted, these music moguls bought this 30,000-square-foot, eight-bedroom, 11-bath estate on 2 acres in 2017 for a whopping $88 million. With a purchase price this high, is $1 million in property taxes all that shocking? It’s certainly not an area outlier by any means. In fact, the Times article featured a total of 11 L.A. homes with property taxes above the $1 million mark, with this superstar couple’s home coming in at No. 8.

Views from the Bel Air, CA, mansion


Meanwhile, the nearby 20,000-square-foot former Playboy mansion in Holmby Hills has even higher property taxes ($1.22 million), and the highest property taxes of all ($1.36 million) belongs to a 38,000-square-foot, 12-bedroom, 21-bath manse owned by real estate entrepreneur Bruce Makowsky.

Overall, California homeowners pay $1,450.91 per capita in taxes per year—which is a far cry from a million-plus. Nonetheless, JAY Z and Beyoncé’s property taxes do contain some pearls of wisdom for us regular folks, and how to avoid a similar fate come tax time.

How property tax is calculated

While home buyers often obsess over the price they pay for a house, they often forget to factor in (at least initially) property taxes. And since property taxes are often folded into mortgage payments, it’s not always clear how much people owe, or how property taxes are calculated at all.

For instance, while many assume property tax is based on a home’s market value, it’s actually derived on a different figure: a home’s assessed value.

“Many people don’t realize that the assessed value on which property tax is calculated is typically not the same as the market value of the property,” explains Andrew Latham, managing editor of Supermoney.com. “Generally, the assessed value is lower, which is a good thing for property owners.

“However, that’s not the case with Beyoncé and JAY Z,” he adds. “If you check the L.A. County Assessor Portal, you can see that JAY Z and Beyoncé’s property is assessed at $89.8 million, which is the purchase price plus 2%.”

Essentially, Beyoncé and JAY Z may have gotten a deal, relatively speaking, buying the house for $88 million, but they’re paying taxes on $89.9 million.

Latham also points out that because this power couple bought this house recently, they’re going to be paying a lot more than if they had bought decades earlier.

The reason? California’s Proposition 13 (or the People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation) limits how high property tax can go while an owner is living in a home.

“The spirit of the law was to prevent seniors from being forced out of their homes by rapidly escalating property taxes,” says Michael Dinich of Your Money Geek. “With this bill, homeowners who purchased properties in the 1950s as young couples can still afford their property taxes in retirement.”

That’s good news for people who’ve lived in their house a long time—but a curse to people who’ve just moved to the area.

“In Los Angeles County—since Proposition 13 passed in 1978—the base value of a property is assessed at the date of purchase with a maximum taxable value increase of 2% per year,” Latham says. “This means people who bought a property in L.A. many years ago will usually pay much less in property tax than new home buyers who just bought a comparable property in the same neighborhood.”


Watch: Cardi B and Offset’s New Atlanta Mansion Is an Eye-Popper


How to avoid high property taxes

Property taxes may be a fact of life, but since they can amount to a serious chunk of change, it’s worthwhile for home buyers to factor property taxes into their decision on where to live.

“When people buy a home, they should consider not only the monthly mortgage payment owed but also other expenses such as property taxes, homeowners association fees, utilities, landscaping, and repairs,” explains Laura Fogel, a certified public accountant at Gonzalez and Associates. “It is important to have an accurate picture of what these monthly expenses will be and whether this home is truly affordable.”

Wondering how much property tax you’d pay on a home?

You can calculate your own property taxes, but usually, you won’t have to. You can usually find the exact amount (or at least a ballpark estimate) on a home’s listing on realtor.com®, or you can enter the home’s location and price into an online home affordability calculator.

Savvy home buyers should also know that property taxes can go up. You might buy a house in an up-and-coming area, and, after a few years, the area improves and your property taxes skyrocket. Or, you might spend a big chunk of your savings on home improvements, and find those improvements boost the assessed value—and your property taxes. However, there are ways to fight higher taxes, too.

“Many homeowners don’t know that the assessed value of your home is not set in stone,” says Latham. “For example, you can influence the assessed value of your home by limiting additions that will expand the built area on a property. You can also appeal your property’s assessed value if you think it’s too high. If you fall into a protected category, such as seniors, veterans, disabled people, and farmers, you can qualify for exemptions.”

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