The Top 10 Housing Markets of 2021—Who Made the List?

Wouldn’t it be great to look into the future? You could see just how quickly the world will recover from this deadly pandemic, get the winning lottery numbers—and learn just which real estate markets will be a solid investment.

Unfortunately, we misplaced our crystal ball. But by analyzing data and trends, the realtor.com® economics team put together a list of the housing markets that are expected to sizzle next year. The nation’s top markets of 2021 are tech hubs with strong job markets, state capitals where buyers can get more square footage for their money, and smaller cities that are affordable alternatives to the larger, coastal metropolises, according to a recent realtor.com® analysis.

Seven of the metros that cracked the top 10 are either established or burgeoning tech hubs. Half are state capitals, and four are in California, where prices just keep on accelerating.

Now these markets aren’t cheap—not even close. Just one has a median list price lower than the national median of $348,000. But most are still less expensive than San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. They’re siphoning off these big-city residents who can now work remotely due to the pandemic and are moving to lower-priced areas where they can afford larger homes. And they don’t have to compromise on big-city amenities—bars, restaurants, and cultural institutions are all accounted for, when it’s safe to frequent them again.

These markets are expected to experience higher price growth and more sales than the rest of the country. Median home list prices are anticipated to rise 6.9% in these metropolitan areas, compared with 5.7% nationally. Sales are to increase 13.1% annually versus 7%.

“The housing markets in tech towns are thriving because that industry is doing well,” says realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale.

However, she adds, “a lot of companies in the [San Francisco] Bay Area have given workers the flexibility to work remotely. … [Many] of the markets on our list are the places that tech workers leaving the Bay Area look to relocate to.”

To come up with the ranking, Hale’s team factored in past sale prices and number of sales; the rate of new construction; and previous and anticipated economic, household, and income growth in the 100 largest metropolitan areas. (Metros include the main city as well as nearby smaller towns and urban areas.)

So which markets will rise to the top next year?

1. Sacramento, CA

Sacramento, CA, was ranked as the top housing market for 2021.

Brandon Williams/Getty Images

Median home price: $554,000
Anticipated home price change: 7.4%
Number of home sales: 17.2%

Next year’s hottest market is expected to be none other than the sleepy capital of California, about 90 minutes northeast of San Francisco. The city has seen a rush of buyers coming from the ultraexpensive Bay Area in search of more reasonably priced homes set on a decently sized plot of land they can call their own. Many of these new residents are white-collar workers who are now able to work remotely, but don’t want to venture too far from their offices.

“It’s far enough away [from the Bay Area] that homes are more affordable,” says Hale. “But it’s close enough that, if people are working occasionally from the office, they can get in.”

About 70% of longtime Sacramento-area real estate agent Steve Ostrom‘s clients are out-of-towners—compared with about half last year.

The housing market now “is the craziest we’ve ever seen,” says Ostrom, of Coldwell Banker Realty. “There’s just no inventory.”

For roughly $500,000, buyers lucky enough to find a home can score a four-bedroom, three-bathroom, single-family abode in the suburbs. They would pay more than double for that same piece of real estate in many parts of the Bay Area.

In Sacramento, folks can score homes at $284 per square foot—compared with $679 in San Francisco.

“We have state employment, we have an easy airport you can get in and out of,” says Ostrom. “Our traffic isn’t as bad as other places. And the schools are pretty good.”

2. San Jose, CA

Median home price: $1,199,050
Anticipated home price change: 10.8%
Number of home sales: 10.8%

San Jose, in the heart of Silicon Valley, is expected to remain one of the nation’s most expensive metros due to the tech industry. Even as more workers embrace telecommuting, the area remains home to companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, LinkedIn—and even realtor.com. That’s likely to keep prices high even with the shift in where people are working.

Other perks in the area are the top-notch schools, which draw families. And it’s close to San Francisco, for those seeking a wild night out once the pandemic has ended.

While the median home price here is still among the highest in the nation, buyers get more for their money than in the Bay Area’s other reigning metro.

“San Jose has a cheaper price per square foot alternative to San Francisco,” says Hale. “It has more available land and has more new construction.”

3. Charlotte, NC

Median home price: $368,820
Anticipated home price change: 5.2%
Number of home sales: 13.8%

This Southern city has long been known as a financial hub, as it’s where Bank of America is headquartered. But it now also boasts innovative restaurants, a growing tech scene, and good schools, which appeal to millennials with young families.

It’s also become a popular destination for retirees seeking warm weather and a reasonable cost of living, but who don’t want to travel all the way to Florida. And it provides easy access to both the beach and the mountains.

As the area’s popularity grows, builders are trying to keep up with new construction. And buyers can still score deals on homes, including this four-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom abode for $250,000.

4. Boise, ID

Boise, ID, was named one of 2021’s top housing markets.

Sean Pavone/Getty Images

Median home price: $445,000
Anticipated home price change: 9.1%
Number of home sales: 9.8%

What is the secret to the success of Idaho’s capital? Boise, which was ranked No. 1 last year on our top markets list, has lured Californians tired of paying high prices in the coastal cities. This mountain lover’s dream city has a burgeoning tech sector, which has attracted many millennial and Generation X workers. Retirees also like it because they can sell their homes on the coast, pocket the proceeds, and buy nice residences for much less in Boise.

Plus, they don’t have to feel like they’re missing out on big-city amenities. Boise has a hopping food and arts scene and plenty of outdoor activities, including whitewater rafting and skiing. And there is plenty of new construction going up to house all of those California refugees.

5. Seattle, WA

Median home price: $629,050
Anticipated home price change: 9.7%
Number of home sales: 8.9% 

It’s not exactly a surprise that Seattle made this list. The metro area that gave us Microsoft is now also home to online retail giant Amazon as well as Starbucks and Costco. Bonus: The Pacific Northwest metro is a lot less expensive than the Bay Area.

In addition to the strong local economy, the area is also close to the water, the mountains, and top-notch wineries. There are plenty of highly rated schools. And it has all of the cultural perks that most cities offer such as restaurants and bars, museums, and major league sports teams—including the NHL’s newest team, the Kraken.

Buyers in search of a good deal can still find two-bedroom, one-bathroom townhomes within the city limits for $350,000. Or they can venture out to the suburbs, where they can get a four-bedroom, three-bathroom home for nearly $450,000.

6. Phoenix, AZ

Median home price: $412,260
Anticipated home price change: 7%
Number of home sales: 11.4%

The state capital of Arizona is another one of those cities that appeal equally to millennials and retirees thanks to its dry heat, reasonable cost of living, and plethora of golf courses (more than 400 to choose from). Like many of the other markets on this list, the area is drawing buyers from the West Coast seeking affordability. In response, builders have launched a herculean effort to put up new housing to meet that demand.

The area’s growing tech sector has been attracting millennials, along with its shopping, dining, and cultural amenities. Its business-friendly environment and seven military bases have also kept the local real estate market strong.

“Phoenix has a mix of retirees and younger people” moving in, says Hale. “It has a fair share of tech jobs and attracts more younger people than most people realize.”

7. Harrisburg, PA

Harrisburg, PA, is ideally located near several big cities.

Sean Pavone/Getty Images

Median home price: $262,000
Anticipated home price change: 3.8%
Number of home sales: 14.4%

Harrisburg’s appeal may lie in its location. The capital of Pennsylvania is a two-hour drive from Philadelphia and Baltimore, 2.5 hours from Washington, DC, and roughly three hours from New York City and Philadelphia. That’s practically a dream for professionals who are now able to work remotely, but want to live close enough to their offices to make the occasional appearance.

“We’re right in the center of the action,” says local real estate broker Joy Daniels. “People are wanting to leave those bigger areas, and they want to move into an area that is more rural. Harrisburg is more rural, but we have good restaurants, theater, museums, and shopping.”

The suburban city’s affordability is also another big draw. It’s the only metro on our list to have a median list price less than the national median. That makes it especially attractive to younger and first-time buyers who are priced out of the larger cities. And there are plenty of government, shipping, and health care jobs to be found locally.

While prices are steadily rising, buyers can still find a “nice” three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in the suburbs for around $250,000, says Daniels.

“In this new work environment, where you’re not going to the office every day and you can stomach a longer commute, Harrisburg could be a bedroom community to nearly every major city in the mid-Atlantic,” says realtor.com’s Hale. “On top of that, it’s a state capital and has its own industries as well.”

8. Oxnard, CA

Median home price: $824,000
Anticipated home price change: 5.5%
Number of home sales: 12.5%

Oxnard is like Los Angeles’ less flashy cousin, maybe once removed. The coastal city is just an hour’s drive west of Los Angeles (if the traffic isn’t too bad), and is a lot less cheaper.

Buyers in Oxnard pay a median $413 per square foot for housing—compared with $556 in L.A. That’s a whole lot more house for the money.

That could help to explain why former residents of Los Angeles and Orange County have been flocking to the area, a mix of farmland and beaches. Buyers with a bit more cash can score beach houses for a bit less than what they would pay in Malibu or Santa Monica—although these are still typically million-dollar-plus properties.

9. Denver, CO

Median home price: $520,000
Anticipated home price change: 5.4%
Number of home sales: 12.5%

This outdoorsy city has been hot for quite some time. There are the Rocky Mountains, the craft brewery scene, the towers rising throughout the city—and the legal marijuana. The area has also gotten a boost from its growing tech industry. Yet this rapidly expanding state capital has managed to hang on to its Western charm while cultivating a world-class dining, entertainment, and arts scene.

New buyers are drawn by these perks—as well as the real estate prices. While Denver’s housing market is expensive for Colorado, home prices are about half, if not more, of what folks would pay in some of the more desirable Bay Area communities. Plus, there’s some great skiing nearby.

“Denver is cheaper than California, and a lot of people from California are going to Denver for that affordability,” says Hale.

But the fast-rising prices have pushed some buyers out to the suburbs as well as smaller, nearby cities such as Boulder, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs.

10. Riverside, CA

Riverside, CA, is one of the top housing markets of 2021 thanks to its relative affordability.

DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images

Median home price: $475,050
Anticipated home price change: 5.5%
Number of home sales: 12.4%

Riverside is similar to Oxnard in that it’s a cheaper alternative to Los Angeles, about an hour away—to the east this time, halfway to Palm Springs. Prices in the Inland Empire city, along the Santa Ana River, are less than half of the $997,000 median price tag in the L.A. metro area. That’s appealing to first-time and younger buyers as well as younger families looking for good schools. Buyers cooped up for months on end during the pandemic and eager to spread out can find larger homes on bigger plots of land in the area.

The metro is within easy distance of Disneyland, skiing at Bear Mountain, desert spas, and the beaches of Orange County.

It’s an “alternative to the downtown Los Angeles area. People are looking for more space and more affordability,” says realtor.com’s Hale. “[It’s] a close enough alternative to the city of Los Angeles that gives buyers a lot more bang for their buck.”

The post The Top 10 Housing Markets of 2021—Who Made the List? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

3 Keys to Non-Traditional Holiday Decor

The holidays are a time when sprucing up your home hits an all-time high, but it can be difficult to find festive decorations that match your style. While there is nothing wrong with snowmen, Santa figurines and lots of red and green, it’s OK to think outside the (gift) box.

Follow these three tips for a gorgeous yet non-traditional holiday home.

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Choose a fresh color scheme

Who says that holiday decor has to be red and green? Try something new, like neutrals and mixed metallics. Or try unique color combinations that may not scream holiday, but create a sophisticated celebratory look when used in the right way.

This tree was inspired by the navy, turquoise, red and peach vintage shawl used here as a tree skirt.

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Carry the theme throughout your holiday home with colored ornaments, pillows and throws.

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Surprising color pairings like this blue woven throw with the red floral pillow really freshen up your decor. But nearly any color scheme can convey holiday spirit when you bring in shiny ornaments and cozy textures.

Use natural elements

Using natural elements like greenery, pinecones and berries brings in festive charm without feeling cheesy.

Image 7Plain garlands are beautiful all on their own! They don’t even need the traditional red bows. Local grocery stores, home improvement stores and farmer’s markets have great selections of natural garlands and wreaths.

image 8For an even more unique holiday look, try magnolia garlands or garlands made from materials other than traditional pine branches.

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Think outside the box

Look at materials differently. Find everyday items that, when used in the right way, can be great holiday decor. For example, trims from your local fabric store can make great garlands, on their own or paired with greenery. They will feel new and unique compared to a traditional ornament garland.

Also, experiment with using fabrics and patterns that wouldn’t normally be seen as Christmas. While plaid is a traditional Christmas pattern, pairing it here with a brighter teal napkin feels unexpected.

image 14Mint green plates wouldn’t normally be used for a holiday place setting, but pairing them with gold pinecones and collected tree centerpiece creates a stylish holiday table, ready for entertaining.

Forget the traditional holiday decorating rules and push yourself to find decor that is new, fresh and fits within your home’s current home style. Not only will you end up with a beautiful holiday home, but one that is a complete reflection of you and your family. What more could you want this time of year?

Related:

Originally published December 2014. 

Mistletoe Madness: Home Overflowing With Christmas Decor Is the Week’s Most Popular Property

realtor.com

In 2020, many of us are going all-in on holiday decorations as a way to keep spirits bright at the tail end of a dark and dreary year. And we remain firmly on the side of anyone who wants to make their living space a unique reflection of who they are.

And this week’s most popular home on realtor.com® ticks both of those boxes in a big way.

The stately New Jersey home on the market for $2.2 million features a must-see collection of Christmas decor. The two-story foyer serves as the holiday showstopper: It’s filled from floor to ceiling with stockings, statues, tinsel, trees, garlands, and wreaths—all guarded (of course) by a pair of life-size wooden nutcrackers.

The whole house is out of this world and, yes, the decor remains in place year-round.

You also clicked on a stylish “barndominium” in Texas, a sleek glass house in a forest in Illinois, and a brand-new home in Laurel, MS—the filming location of HGTV’s popular “Home Town.” It’s another sign the show is responsible for sparking a real estate revolution in an unlikely locale.

For a full look at this week’s 10 most popular homes, simply scroll on down.

10. 1365 Bonnieview Ave, Lakewood, OH

Price: $399,900
Why it’s here: Built in 1908 and completely redesigned inside, this three-bedroom Colonial has trendy touches throughout. It features a new driveway, new flooring throughout the home, and a new master suite with fireplace. Outside, there are two new decks, one in front and the other out back with a fireplace. The exterior siding is painted a crisp robin’s-egg blue.

Lakewood, OH
Lakewood, OH

realtor.com

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9. 30 Timber Ridge Dr, Laurel, MS

Price: $339,500
Why it’s here: Newly built in the town made famous by HGTV’s “Home Town,” this four-bedroom home was designed to appeal to the Pinterest-perfect crowd. It has the requisite amenities and custom finishes today’s buyers want, all wrapped in a stylish modern farmhouse package.

This brand-new subdivision boasts a lake, new roads, and new street lights.

Laurel. MS
Laurel, MS

realtor.com

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8. 6896 Carters Grove Dr, Noblesville, IN

Price: $545,000
Why it’s here: Punctuated by one of the most severe carports we’ve ever seen, this five-bedroom home was built in 2004. It features a home theater, finished basement, pool, fountains, wine cellar, home office, and fitness room. While the carport was left intact, all the bathrooms have been remodeled.

Noblesville, IN
Noblesville, IN

realtor.com

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7. 208 Bohemia Mill Pond Dr, Middletown, DE

Price: $890,000
Why it’s here: Elegant and refined, this five-bedroom home was purchased last year by “Teen Mom 2” star Kailyn Lowry.

But after she featured the home and its renovations on social media, Lowry said the address had drawn too much attention from fans, hence the listing.

Built on a 2-acre lot in 2004 and recently updated, the home includes a pool with hot tub. It features wall-to-wall hardwood flooring, built-ins, a master suite with fireplace, and a finished basement.

Middletown, DE
Middletown, DE

realtor.com

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6. 4937 Lyford Cay Rd, Tampa, FL

Price: $7,749,000
Why it’s here: Described by Florida Magazine as “one of the most unforgettable homes in Florida,” this waterfront home is said to be inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. Built in 2008 and featuring 271 feet of water frontage and views of Tampa Bay and downtown St. Petersburg, the four-bedroom luxury residence is finished in rich woods and stone and boasts 10-foot-tall wooden doors for a dramatic entrance.

Tampa, FL
Tampa, FL

realtor.com

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5. 14087 Ladue Rd, Chesterfield, MO

Price: $410,000
Why it’s here: Designed to suit a very specific taste, this three-bedroom home was built in 1966. The listing photos indicate not much has changed in the home over the decades. Groovy design features include a sunken grotto conversation room, floral wallpaper, scattered statuary, a garden room, and indoor pool.

Chesterfield, MO
Chesterfield, MO

realtor.com

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4. 4918 Wallbank Ave, Downers Grove, IL

Price: $795,000
Why it’s here: This modernist concept house was built in 1974 and recently renovated. The four-bedroom residence appears to float among the trees. In July we noted its list price of $850,000. A recent price cut spurred this current wave of interest.

The all-glass structure features white oak flooring, wood ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling views in every direction. There’s also a finished basement with rec room and wet bar, storage, and a workshop.

Downers Grove, IL
Downers Grove, IL

realtor.com

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3. 1242 E. Jefferson Blvd, South Bend, IN

Price: $1,800,000
Why it’s here: This local landmark was built in 1927 Dr. Stanley Clark. The sellers purchased  this French Country–inspired estate in 1974. The four-bedroom home has since been updated, but still features vintage details throughout. Highlights include four gas fireplaces and a basement with yoga room, billiard room, and wine cellar. Outside there’s a pool, gazebo, and terraced patio.

South Bend IN
South Bend, IN

realtor.com

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2. 2864 County Road 320, Abilene, TX

Price: $699,000
Why it’s here: This boffo blue-and-white “barndominium” was built in 2019 and features 4,763 square feet of living space. For a bit of whimsy, there’s an indoor slide! The home sits on 50 acres with a 23-foot-deep stock tank and high game fence.

Abilene, TX
Abilene, TX

realtor.com

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1. 1 Rivers Edge Dr, Colts Neck, NJ

Price: $4,199,999
Why it’s here: Maximalism meets mistletoe in this large four-bedroom home in New Jersey. It’s filled with Christmas decorations, and the listing photos make for must-see viewing—even if you’re not a Hallmark Channel addict.

For a sense of the scale, there are nearly 40 life-size Santas scattered throughout the residence.

Each bedroom has a holiday theme, and the kitchen also cooks up some serious Christmas vibes. You’ll see trees (plural), life-size nutcrackers, dozens of wreaths, bows, and bric-a-brac that must have taken a lifetime to collect. It’s very merry—and a little bit scary?

Colts Neck NJ
Colts Neck, NJ

realtor.com

The post Mistletoe Madness: Home Overflowing With Christmas Decor Is the Week’s Most Popular Property appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Our Favorite Laptop Backpacks

Protect your laptop computer with the latest back packs designed for electronics.

Protect your laptop computer with the latest back packs designed for electronics. (NOMATIC/)

Remember when backpacks were for camping trips and weekend getaways? They still are, but today they’re also wisely being used to protect laptop computers. Before you run to buy one, make sure you know the size of your laptop so you’ll know what type of laptop backpack to purchase. Here are several backpacks we love.

The brand's most iconic model is updated with electronics-friendly features like sleeve protectors and improved organization.

The brand’s most iconic model is updated with electronics-friendly features like sleeve protectors and improved organization. (The North Face/)

Yes, it’s completely possible you saw a troupe of hikers headed toward some rocky challenge wearing backpacks just like this. The North Face has converted its popular 30L backpack to cradle a laptop. Water bottle pockets now double as multi-use storage areas, and the front compartment has an extra padded sleeve for tablets.

Gold-plated zippers and a polyester-twill water-resistant exterior surround a roomy lined interior.

Gold-plated zippers and a polyester-twill water-resistant exterior surround a roomy lined interior. (Kenneth Cole/)

Sure, the chevron quilted exterior caught your eye, but your laptop will love the padded pocket that can fit most 15-inch computers. We’re also impressed by the padded tablet pocket, dual beverage holders and trolley strap that fits over most luggage upright handles. (Plus, it weighs only 2.15 pounds.)

It's padded and fleece-lined and ready to accommodate computers up to 15 inches.

It’s padded and fleece-lined and ready to accommodate computers up to 15 inches. (Herschel/)

This is not the bag that Maria took into the Alps during “The Sound of Music,” but it’s close. It’s made from 100 percent polyester and has a signature striped fabric liner. Magnetic strap closures with metal pin clips hold your computer safe and sound.

There's a built-in charger outside and a built-in charging cable inside.

There’s a built-in charger outside and a built-in charging cable inside. (SHRRADOO/)

This laptop backpack from SHRRADOO comes in six colors and can accommodate computers up to 15.6 inches. We’re impressed by the little touches, including the key fob hook, anti-theft pocket and USB charging center. Adjustable shoulder straps and a mesh design mean a comfortable fit. There’s also a luggage strap so the backpack can fit on suitcases and luggage.

A strong, waterproof exterior features full perimeter zippers to give access from all sides.

A strong, waterproof exterior features full perimeter zippers to give access from all sides. (NOMATIC/)

This laptop backpack from Nomatic has everything you can dream of, including 20 pockets and a 20-liter interior that can be expanded to 24 liters. There is also a RFID lockable security pocket, a hard shell to protect sun and eyeglasses and holes between each compartment so cords can pass through effortlessly.

Refrigerators, Ovens Get a Hygiene Makeover During Covid-19 Pandemic

Washing machines

Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

SEOUL—The roughly $500 billion home-appliance industry is making a hard pivot toward hygiene as the coronavirus pandemic shows no sign of moderating.

LG Electronics Inc.’s refrigerators have been retrofitted with sterilizing ultraviolet lights previously used in its water purifiers, while Whirlpool Corp. has touted washing machines with built-in heating that removes germs and allergens from clothes.

Samsung Electronics Co. is scooping up scientists who specialize in water and air quality, and Beko Electrical Appliances Co., a Turkish manufacturer, recently rolled out “HygieneShield,” a range of appliances such as refrigerators and ovens equipped with disinfection drawers. It is also offering a cleaning cabinet, a stand-alone appliance that resembles a microwave oven but is designed to disinfect everyday items such as wallets and mobile phones.

According to Mark Choe, a senior vice president at Samsung’s digital appliances business division, “all of our product development now is being done through the lens of hygiene.”

Indeed, hygiene is driving the home-appliance industry’s extreme makeover. For decades, firms saw sales grow sluggishly, especially in lucrative markets in the U.S. and Western Europe, churning out a predictable cycle of dryers, ovens and microwave ovens. A push toward digitized “smart homes” failed to captivate consumers who saw little reason to track their milk levels through artificial intelligence or get text alerts when the laundry was done.

But now, virus-weary buyers are perking up everywhere. Household appliances are breaking down faster than before with increased use as people shelter at home, and existing malfunctions have now become more intolerable. As travel remains limited because of the pandemic, wealthier consumers flush with cash are choosing to upgrade household products or splurge on new purchases.

“The Covid-19 situation is not actually a crisis for us,” said Song Dae-hyun, the departing president of LG’s home appliances and air solutions division. “People now think of home as the safest area—and they’re using their appliances more because they’re at home.”

Even with pandemic fatigue vexing virus-prevention efforts, two-thirds of global respondents polled in recent months prioritized staying home over leading a normal life, according to Gallup survey results released in mid-November.

Months spent isolating in southern Spain prompted Jaime Gómez Moreno to look for a top-of-the-line upgrade to keep his four-bedroom home clean. In April, Mr. Gómez Moreno, a 31-year-old entrepreneur in the city of Cádiz, splurged on a roughly $600 robot vacuum cleaner made by China’s Xiaomi Corp. It not only swept away dust but also scrubbed his floors, he said.

“I spent more money because it was the latest model,” Mr. Gómez Moreno said. “Certainly we went a little crazy to have the cleanest and, above all, sanitized house, without fingerprints, without viruses.”

All the extra attention on the domestic front has also breathed new life into existing offerings. There are monthslong backlogs for refrigerators and dryers in the U.S. Nationwide sales of kitchen appliances such as air fryers and slow cookers shot up 40% from spring to the end of August, said the NPD Group, a market tracking firm.

“There’s a new set of needs being created as we speak,” said Joe Derochowski, a home-industry analyst for NPD.

Growth is most dramatic for products used in the kitchen and for cleaning. From mid-March to the end of August, sales of vacuum cleaners, fans, humidifiers and water filters grew 32% from the year-earlier period, NPD said. Demand for washing machines with purifying steam functions grew 46% during the May-to-August period, while sales of air-treatment appliances surged 23%, according from GfK SE, a market researcher.

Industry analysts forecast that the breakneck pace may slow somewhat next year as vaccine breakthroughs herald a potential end to the pandemic, though GfK forecasts demand for major home appliances will still grow by 5% in the first half of 2021.

“The pandemic has changed how consumers think about being at home,” said Norbert Herzog, an expert on major home appliances at GfK.

For Samsung, Latin American vacuum-cleaner sales have more than tripled in the first half of the year from a year earlier. In its home country of South Korea, demand for a clothes steamer—about the size of a phone booth —has doubled, with advertisements now prominently pitching its disinfecting features.

Haier Smart Home Co. , the Chinese company that bought General Electric Co. ’s appliance unit, tapped influencers to hawk products on live streams to juice online sales as the pandemic forced many physical stores to close. Domestic sales of its air conditioners rose 27% in the third quarter, while dishwasher use in Europe soared by 24%. In its most-recent quarter, Haier reported a 58% rise in overseas operating profit.

Amid the rising demand for hygiene appliances, LG is guaranteeing that some of its cleaning products with steam functions “kill over 99.9%” of viruses” when sanitizing items like face masks. It is also starting to sell what it calls a new “wearable” air purifier. Worn over the face and made of plastic, the gadget has tiny motors that direct air through a pair of HEPA filters.

“People are being educated on how important hygiene is, and how important cleanliness is,” said LG’s Mr. Song.

Sanam Ijadi and her family are building a new home in Great Neck, N.Y.—and they are spending extra throughout their home because keeping the family safe and healthy is her top priority. Deliveries for many of the appliances she has ordered have been delayed for up to nine months due to backlogs, but the 43-year-old, who helps with her husband’s leather-manufacturing business, doesn’t expect life to return to normal for at least another year.

“We decided to use higher quality because we wanted to use everything longer,” she said. “I do think it’s a change in your mindset.”

The post Refrigerators, Ovens Get a Hygiene Makeover During Covid-19 Pandemic appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

What To Expect in 2021’s Housing Market: This Is How Much Home Prices Will Rise

2021 real estate forecast by realtor.com

Tony Frenzel; Getty Images

Few will be reluctant to say goodbye to 2020. With vaccines rolling out, the days of the deadly pandemic that bludgeoned the nation’s economy seem to be numbered. Good riddance! But the soaring home prices that became a hallmark of the COVID-19 crisis may be here to stay.

Realtor.com®’s 2021 housing forecast predicts record-high prices will continue rising in 2021, delivering a blow to first-time buyers and those on a budget. Mortgage interest rates, which hit historic lows this year and helped fuel the go-go growth in U.S. housing markets, are also expected to tick up again, making monthly housing payments ever more expensive.

So folks shouldn’t hold their breath for a bargain.

However, the pace of the wild price growth seen in 2020 will slow. Prices are expected to jump 5.7% next year as a result of more properties forecast to hit the market, particularly in the second half of next year. While still unwelcome news for buyers, the double-digit price hikes seen this year aren’t expected to carry over into the new year.

“We expect affordability to become a bigger challenge. It’s going to make [housing] more expensive,” says realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “[But] home prices will rise slower than this year, on the upper end of what we consider normal price growth.”

The forecast anticipates mortgage rates will begin slowly going up toward the last half of 2021, reaching 3.4% by the end of the year. Mortgage rates are currently at an all-time low of just 2.72% for 30-year fixed-rate loans in the week ending Nov. 25, according to Freddie Mac. While a roughly 70 basis point rise isn’t dramatic, it will make those monthly mortgage payments even pricier. This has the potential to price out some buyers or force others to purchase cheaper abodes in less desirable locations.

However, even higher prices, and therefore higher required down payments, aren’t likely to keep the hordes of determined buyers at bay.

Sales of existing homes (i.e., previously lived in abodes) are projected to increase 7% in 2021. That’s coming as folks stuck inside their homes for months on end are seeking larger residences or ones with different features. Younger millennials are competing with older members of Generation Z for starter homes, and baby boomers are downsizing. Many apartment dwellers are also seeking homes on their own.

Ironically, it’s those high prices that are keeping prices from rising even further.

“Home prices can’t outpace income growth indefinitely. The higher prices rise, the harder it is for more buyers to get into the market. That tends to dampen demand,” says Hale. That means that with less competition, prices don’t have as much room to rise.

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Watch: Economic Update: Are We Making Progress Yet?

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The bright spot for buyers is that more homes are likely to become available in the last six months of 2021. That should give folks more options to choose from and take away some of their urgency. With a larger selection, buyers may not be forced to make a decision in mere hours and will have more time to make up their minds.

The inventory bump is expected to be due to a combination of more sellers listing their properties as well as builders completing more abodes. Realtor.com predicts single-family housing starts, which are homes that have begun construction but aren’t yet completed, will rise 9%. And it’s sorely needed as there was an estimated shortfall of almost 4 million new homes heading into this year.

The new construction, while often more expensive than existing homes, are likely to appeal to move-up buyers looking for larger abodes with the latest amenities. Once those folks purchase these brand-new abodes, they typically list their existing homes, adding more inventory to the market.

“A lot of that new construction is not necessarily targeted at first-time buyers,” says Hale. “But we have seen builders shift what they’re building to better reach first-time home buyers.”

While 2021 is expected to be another banner year for sellers, most are also buyers. And while they can use their home equity to help finance their new abode, they’re still likely to be affected by the inventory shortage and loftier home prices and mortgage rates.

“Sellers are still expected to get top dollar for their home sales,” says Hale. “The biggest challenge is finding their new home.”

However, if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that everything can change in an instant. If the nation undergoes additional lockdowns due to COVID-19, then fewer homes may go up for sale and the market could slow. If everything goes well with the vaccines being rolled out early, then the housing market could benefit with additional inventory and sales.

Another wildcard is the possibility of sustained economic pain. The country could still fall into a double-dip recession if unemployment remains high and businesses continue to suffer. Most folks need jobs to afford home purchases. If the economy doesn’t improve, it could put a dent in the market.

“The value of housing is tied to the economy,” says Hale. “As long as the economy continues to rebound, I expect the housing market will do well.”

The post What To Expect in 2021’s Housing Market: This Is How Much Home Prices Will Rise appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Have a Happier Hour with these Cocktail Machines

Top-shelf cocktails can be yours with the push of a button.

Top-shelf cocktails can be yours with the push of a button. (Pixabay/)

The days of making rum and cokes or pouring a bottle of a syrupy, pre-blended cocktail out of a glass bottle can thankfully be in our past. Cocktail machines can crank out your favorite craft beverages in mere seconds. Some use pods or cartridges that contain all or most of the needed ingredients – even the booze. Other machines focus on delivering the perfect level of crushed or shaved ice while allowing you the freedom to customize the alcohol and mixer options. Either way, your happy hour just became double as joyous. Here are a few machines we recommend.

Forget about stirring and shaking. This unit from the maker of K-cups does the work for you.

Forget about stirring and shaking. This unit from the maker of K-cups does the work for you. (Drinkworks/)

What’s your biggest challenge when making a drink? Finding the recipe? Gathering up the ingredients? Making each cocktail consistently delicious? Keurig, the geniuses behind your morning cup of Joe, is back with an offering for beverages in the evening. The key is again the pod, which contains all the ingredients – including the alcohol. (You will have to purchase these separately.) One a pod is inserted, the machine’s advanced technology determines how much water and/or carbonation to add. Likewise the unit’s “KOLD” technology adjusts the drink’s temperature. All you have to do is enjoy the final product.

Insert a capsule, set the drink's strength and you're all set.

Insert a capsule, set the drink’s strength and you’re all set. (Bartesian/)

You supply the spirit, and this Bartesian machine does the rest. It uses capsules to create individual drinks – they’re recyclable and contain real fruit juice concentrates, bitters, extracts and more. (They’re dated for freshness and sold separately.) You simply fill the glass bottles with the appropriate alcohol – the manufacturer says only five base spirits are needed. Set the desired level of strength, push a button and enjoy a drink.

Makes up to 2.5 pitchers thanks to an extra-large ice reservoir.

Makes up to 2.5 pitchers thanks to an extra-large ice reservoir. (Margaritaville/)

As far as we know, the king of Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffett – didn’t have a song detailing the ingredients of his favorite libation as he did with cheeseburgers. (Generally speaking, most include tequila, some simple syrup and your favorite citrus-flavored liqueur.) What’s important is that this model can create any frozen concoction you crave. An ice reservoir on top supplies the key ingredient – let your imagination supply the rest. You decide how many drinks you want, and a pre-programmed cycle does the rest.

This heavy-duty, commercial grade machine can handle any thirsty crowd.

This heavy-duty, commercial grade machine can handle any thirsty crowd. (Bravo/)

You’ve no doubt seen a similar double-bowled model in your favorite bar or cruise ship. Unlike competing machines, this will take between 30 and 45 minutes to get up to speed, but you’ll have enough drinks to last for multiple happy hours. It can make up to 100 frozen drinks – or simply service as a cold drink dispenser for days when you need to take your fun down a notch. Eliminate the booze entirely and make fruity slushies for the whole family. The twin drink bowls are virtually unbreakable so your event can be care-free.

What’s Tarek El Moussa Up To? 7 SoCal Properties Recently Sold by the HGTV Star

Noel Vasquez/Getty Images, realtor.com

There’s a reason why Tarek El Moussa is a staple of HGTV programming. The guy knows how to flip houses.

Even when the cameras are off, he remains busy all over Southern California on a variety of projects. We checked out property records and the “Flip or Flop” star currently owns eight properties in SoCal that have yet to go on the market.

When you add the seven successful flips we spotted below, the HGTV personality is well into the double digits on personal projects in 2020.

In just the past couple of months, El Moussa has flipped millions of dollars in real estate. Each of the seven homes below are move-in ready and feature signature  touches like custom patterned tile work, distressed laminated floors, new bathrooms, and new backyard landscaping.

Have a look at these lucky seven houses El Moussa and his crew have sold in just the past few months. They range in price from the mid-six figures to the low sevens. Whatever the price, you can see how these flips were done by the ultimate pro.

12620 Gurley Ave, Downey, CA

Purchase price: $402,000
Listed at $599,900; final sale price to be determined
Downey dream: El Moussa bought this three-bedroom in August of this year and spent three months bringing it back to life. Built in 1947, the home now has a cute blue door, distressed laminated wood flooring, and a new kitchen with white shaker cabinets, quartz countertops, and a tile backsplash in El Moussa’s signature patterned tile. There’s also a new bathroom and roof.

Outside, the yard has been fully landscaped with grass and a large concrete patio.

His quick handiwork paid off—the home is pending sale after just two weeks on the market.

Downey, CA
Downey, CA

realtor.com

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6810 E Avenida De Santiago, Anaheim Hills, CA

Purchase price: $1,400,000
Listed at $2,245,000; final sale price to be determined
Anaheim Hills awesomeness: El Moussa bought this five-bedroom home in April and gave it a gorgeous makeover, including wide-plank wood flooring throughout, as well as a new open kitchen with shaker cabinets, floating shelves, and a large island.

Other improvements include a new custom shower in the master suite, and the big backyard features a newly plastered pool and a sport court. The 1.7-acre lot is surrounded by lovely views, and with no neighbors behind it, the home is very private.

It hit the market in mid-October and is now pending sale.

Anaheim Hills, CA
Anaheim Hills, CA

realtor.com

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16422 Flallon Ave, Norwalk, CA

Purchase price: $395,000
Listed at $599,900; final sale price to be determined
Nestled in Norwalk: This modest three-bedroom ranch was built in 1959 and received the full El Moussa treatment after he purchased it in late May. It features distressed laminated floors, a new kitchen with Euro-style flat-panel cabinets, and butcher block countertops. The bathrooms are new, and the spacious backyard has new landscaping and a patio for entertaining.

It hit the market in mid-October and is now pending sale.

Norwalk, CA
Norwalk, CA

realtor.com

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11583 Otsego St, Valley Village, CA

Purchase price: $950,000
Flipped for $1,500,000
Vision in Valley Village: The deal for this Spanish-style home just closed last week. And despite El Moussa’s seemingly golden touch, this home lingered on the market after it was listed in late July for $1.65 million. The price was reduced a few times before a buyer finally bit.

El Moussa bought the three-bedroom house in November 2019. He updated both the main home and the detached guesthouse. The charming home now boasts beamed ceilings, herringbone-patterned wood floors, high-end lighting fixtures, a new kitchen, and custom-tiled bathrooms.

Valley Village, CA
Valley Village, CA

realtor.com

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12252 Ditmore Dr, Garden Grove, CA

Purchase price: $450,000
Flipped for $780,000
Midcentury moneymaker: This home was sold within a month for way over its original asking price of $728,000. El Moussa bought the four-bedroom home in late May and wasted no time on a magnificent makeover.

He gave the 1955 home a cheery, midcentury modern makeover with new flooring, a new kitchen, new bathrooms, and a newly landscaped backyard with concrete patio.

The sale for 7% above the asking price suggests the flipping master sparked a bidding war.

Garden Grove, CA
Garden Grove, CA

realtor.com

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24682 Via San Fernando, Mission Viejo, CA

Purchase price: $550,000
Flipped for $1,075,000
Mission Viejo marvel: El Moussa bought this Orange County gem in late 2019. You’d never know this glamorous, contemporary four-bedroom home was originally built in 1972 based on the listing photos.

It features El Moussa’s signature distressed laminated flooring, kitchen with flat-panel cabinets, and quartz countertops.

The backyard was newly landscaped for the new owner to enjoy the gorgeous canyon views.

It was listed in mid-September and sold for asking price in just over a month.

MIssion Viejo, CA
Mission Viejo, CA

realtor.com

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12692 Bonita Heights Dr, North Tustin, CA

Purchase price: $820,000
Flipped for $1,072,000
North Tustin turnaround: This Orange County home took a few months to sell. El Moussa bought it in October 2019 and put it back on the market in March for $1.25 million. A buyer eventually snagged it at an 18% discount.

Stylish and airy at every turn, the four-bedroom home was overhauled with new laminated flooring, kitchen, and bathrooms. Outside, the large yard received new landscaping as well as a wood-deck patio and newly plastered pool.

North Tustin, CA
North Tustin, CA

realtor.com

The post What’s Tarek El Moussa Up To? 7 SoCal Properties Recently Sold by the HGTV Star appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.