America’s Real Estate Market May Be Finally Recovering From the Pandemic—Here’s Proof

America's Real Estate Market May Be Finally Recovering From the Pandemic—Here's Proof

Realtor.com / Getty Images

America’s housing market has undergone some wild swings during the coronavirus pandemic, but at long last, it appears to be recovering.

In June, the number of real estate listings rose by 18.7% compared with a year earlier, according to a new report by Realtor.com®. That’s the second straight month of growth, and the fastest rise on record since July 2017, when this data was first collected. All told, this amounts to 98,000 more homes for sale every day compared with the same time last year.

Granted, this record-setting growth has a long way to go before boosting the nation’s housing inventory levels back to where they were before COVID-19. Three years ago, in June 2019, there were 53.2% more homes on the market—more than double what’s available today.

Nonetheless, the latest numbers suggest that America’s housing shortage woes might be seeing a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

High home prices set yet another record

This gush of new sellers is likely motivated by the desire to cash in, as their profits continue to skyrocket. In June, median home prices hit another record high of $450,000—up 16.9% compared with last year and a whopping 31.4% compared with June 2020.

Meanwhile, weary buyers face not only sky-high home prices but also rising mortgage rates that now hover at 5.8%. And that financial double whammy is hitting homebuyers hard: Compared with just a year ago, the cost of financing 80% of a typical home rose 57.6%, amounting to an extra $745 per month.

Yet there is some relief in sight for home shoppers: The flood of new homes on the market likely means they’ll have more leverage when it comes to negotiating down the asking price. This, in turn, could help temper the raging seller’s market of the past two years and begin to balance the highly lopsided negotiating dynamics.

“The increase in the number of homes for sale in June is due to a couple of key factors: Namely, sellers are putting more homes up for sale than last year. In fact, we’re back to about as many sellers as we saw in a typical pre-pandemic market,” explains Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale.

“At the same time, buyers have grown pickier as home prices and, more importantly, their monthly payment costs skyrocketed as mortgage rates surge,” says Hale. “We’re getting more supply of homes for sale just as demand is reaching a breaking point for many buyers, and this has led to a rapid rebalancing or reset of the housing market.”

One city that illustrates the changes afoot is Austin, TX, which was one of the hottest markets during the height of the early pandemic real estate frenzy. In June, Austin’s active listings shot up 144.5% compared with last year.

“Prices are definitely starting to go down again, and the competition is slowing,” says Ryan Rodenbeck, owner and broker at Spyglass Realty in Austin. “Last Friday, an Austin home was listed at $825,000. The next day, at the open house, no one came. A few months ago, there would have been 20 or more buyers showing up. The sellers didn’t want to test the market, so on Sunday, they dropped it to $790,000. It sold for $760,000.”

Other hot spots, including Raleigh, NC, and Phoenix, also saw their inventory levels increase by more than 100% year over year.

“These markets are undergoing rapid adjustments and are great examples of the nationwide trend we’re seeing,” says Hale. “Sellers in these areas are jumping into the market while buyers are growing more selective.”

How quickly are homes selling today?

Despite skyrocketing listings, home prices, and mortgage rates, many buyers continue to waste no time making an offer. In June 2019, listings remained active for 59 days on average. Today, that window has shrunk to a mere 32 days. This time crunch is tied with last month’s record low, the shortest time on record since 2016.

Desperate home shoppers likely still jump at the chance to land a home because they see the writing on the wall: Interest rates are likely to continue to climb.

“Surveys showed that shoppers generally expected higher mortgage rates throughout the course of the year,” says Hale. “Concern that mortgage rates could continue to trend even higher is going to keep home shoppers motivated through summer and likely all throughout 2022.”

The post America’s Real Estate Market May Be Finally Recovering From the Pandemic—Here’s Proof appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

The ‘Boise Boys’ Team Reveals a Summer Maintenance Move That Can Save Thousands

Luke Caldwell and Clint Robertson

HGTV

Wondering what home improvement projects you should tackle right now? Luke Caldwell and Clint Robertson have plenty of ideas.

As the stars of HGTV’s “Boise Boys” and “Outgrown,” these best friends and business partners have renovated hundreds of homes around Boise, ID. Robertson, a contractor, handles the builds, while style-savvy Caldwell manages the designs.

While warm weather might tempt many to spiffy up their outdoor areas, Caldwell and Robertson also know that saving money is top of mind for many. That’s why they have partnered with American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning to educate consumers on ways to curb their energy bills and other cost-saving measures to do around the house.

Curious to hear more from the “Boise Boys” stars and their top tips, here’s what they had to say that’ll get your home in shape for the heat.

living room
One of Luke Caldwell and Clint Robertson’s designs from “Outgrown”

HGTV

Between ‘Boise Boys’ and ‘Outgrown,’ you two have done a lot of renovations. Do you have a favorite project?

Clint Robertson: The most challenging home for me came in the first season of “Boise Boys,” as we turned old horse stalls into an 1,800-square-foot home.

“Surprise” was the word of the day, from poor footings to under-engineered structures requiring us to bring in full-steel support and beams. [It] created lots of construction puzzles to solve, plus lots of Luke design frustrations as steel beams [take] up precious head space. But in the end, it definitely is one of my top 10 favorites.

What sort of home trends are you loving these days?

Luke Caldwell: With design, it truly feels like everything comes and goes. I personally have always been drawn to the consistent: clean lines infused with soul. I love mixing the old with the new, and I feel like it’s always timeless and comfortable at the same time.

kitchen
The “Boise Boys” team created this beautiful kitchen.

HGTV

Now that summer is here, what are some home improvements you think all homeowners should do right now?

Robertson: Investing in your landscape can really change the curb appeal of your home, and when it comes time to sell, will undoubtedly help attract buyers and get you a higher selling price. With summer vacation here and your kids out of school, your yard will be getting more use than ever, so it’s a great time to get outside and make some upgrades—like mulching or adding in a garden, things you can do while your kids can play. And by landscaping around your AC unit, you can actually improve its efficiency, by embracing the shade, which can keep the temperature down so the unit doesn’t have to work as hard to keep it cool.

Caldwell: Smart thermostats can be extremely helpful in keeping the temperature regulated, and they take the pressure off you. We see these more and more in vacation rentals and Airbnb [rentals], houses that aren’t getting used full time, so you don’t have to worry when the temperature fluctuates. You can set it to respond appropriately wherever you may be.

Do you have any tips on lowering AC bills during the summer months?

Robertson: Now that summer is here, it’s a good opportunity to check the insulation of your home so that you’re not having hot air come in that will push you to turn your AC down and your energy bill up. And if you’re leaving to go to work for the day, turn the thermostat up a few degrees while no one is at home. Do the same when you’re going away on vacation. If you set your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees above your normal setting while away, you could end up saving 10% on your electricity bill.

fireplace
One of Caldwell and Robertson’s gorgeous fireplaces on “Boise Boys”

HGTV

HVAC systems are often a mystery to homeowners. Got any advice on picking the right one?

Caldwell: It’s important when deciding which unit you want to decide what best fits your needs. Are you looking for something that doesn’t make a lot of noise? Is sustainability a factor? Do you need help cleaning up your indoor air quality? Or does size matter?

By working with a local dealer, they can walk you through all those options, making it easier for consumers to choose what unit fits their lifestyle and budget best. They can even let you know if you qualify for any local rebates or tax credits.

Also, if your kids suffer from asthma or bad allergies, we recommend using a whole-home air cleaner that is certified asthma- and allergy-friendly by the [Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America], which removes up to 99.98% of allergens from the filtered air.

Are there any mistakes or oversights you see homeowners commonly make in terms of maintaining an HVAC?

Caldwell: It’s very important to remember to swap out your air filters. Homeowners should be doing it every 30 to 90 days. We always remind our clients that simple maintenance like this takes only minutes but can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in the long run. A well-made unit should last decades. However, without proper maintenance, it can affect your energy bills and end up costing you more in repairs than installing an entirely new unit.

Money is tight these days for many. Do you have any tips for homeowners looking to expand their space on a budget?

Caldwell: If you find that you and your family aren’t using a space anymore, it’s time to change that. Your kids don’t need the playroom in the basement anymore? Turn it into a home gym. Do you have a formal dining room and you’re no longer hosting larger family gatherings? Convert it into a home office.

You can make these simple changes based on where you and your family are at this stage of life, and you’ll find you’re not tripping over each other and actually using all of the space you have available.

Robertson: Bathrooms are also an easy place to invest some time but don’t always require a lot of money. Making upgrades to hardware like faucets, sinks, and towel racks can quickly modernize a space. Repaint the walls or recaulk your bathtub, and it’ll look as good as the day you bought it. Plus, adding an additional mirror on a blank wall will open up the space and make it look bigger.

Luke Caldwell and Clint Robertson
Caldwell and Robertson show some clients their renovated home.

HGTV

You both have big families. Do you have any tips for creating a family-friendly home? 

Caldwell: Giving your kids the space to run around and actually be kids is so important—especially over the last few years where they haven’t been able to interact with other kids their own age. Turning a den or a formal dining room into a playroom gives them the space to have all their toys out, let their imagination run wild.

The post The ‘Boise Boys’ Team Reveals a Summer Maintenance Move That Can Save Thousands appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

An Investigation Into Ben Affleck’s In-Home Soda Fountain Reveals Fizzy Secrets

An Investigation Into Ben Affleck's In-Home Soda Fountain Reveals Fizzy Secrets

Photo by @jlo via Instagram / Getty Images

Let’s talk about Ben Affleck’s beverages.

In a Father’s Day post on Instagram, Jennifer Lopez feted her fiancé with a video montage and extolled his virtues as a father. As we all know, the duo have been tabloid darlings since getting back together after splitting up decades ago.

However, J. Lo also inadvertently unveiled her beau’s odd taste in soda.

One image showed him in what looks to be his home office. The sharp eyes of the internet spotted a soda fountain—the kind you see at fast-food joints everywhere—just out of arm’s reach by his desk.

Further sleuthing seems to show both Diet Pepsi and Diet Coke dispensers in a single soda fountain. To which many say: Heresy!

“Chaos king,” tweeted @kath_krueger, who first posted about the beverage dispenser.

Of course, this discovery led to serious soda speculation—and a fair amount of begrudging respect.

“Pepsi and Coke products in the same fountain….the wealthy truly live in another realm of existence,” added @SlayerNortyOG

But is an in-home soda fountain just reserved for the rich and famous? Can we all drink from a copious fountain of many flavors? We called around and a few answers bubbled to the surface.

Can I have a soda fountain in my house?

The good news: You can live the soda fountain dream in your own home—and you don’t have to be embarrassed about it.

“They’re not that crazy. People have them,” says Craig Williams, owner of Willtec At Home Soda company.

Over the years, he says he’s shipped systems to plenty of celebrities, including Dennis Rodman, Mariah Carey, and Charlton Heston.

While commercial sales make up the bulk of his business, the pandemic spurred growth in the home market.

“Everyone wants one for their house,” he says, noting that sales of soda fountains for private residences have tripled.

Of course, not all soda fountains are created equal. Williams’ Southern California–based business has fielded requests for installations on the flybridge of yachts, on every level of a three-story home, on terrace bars, and in home theaters.

As for installation, they can be placed in a private home as long as there’s easy access to a waterline and electrical power.

The systems range in size from countertop to full towers like you’d see in a fast-food restaurant.

And we have great news for fans of fountain drinks and feature films. You can procure the same two-flavor dispenser Affleck has for $2,795.

Countertop soda fountain

Soda Bar System

The systems come with refrigeration dispensers, CO2 tanks, as well as plastic bags of soda syrup in boxes  (“bag-in-boxes”).

The ratio of 5 ounces of water to 1 ounce of syrup will generate 30 gallons of your favorite beverage. For most folks, a bag generally lasts around six months.

The cost depends on the beverage and ranges between $50 and $150 per bag. Refills can be procured at Walmart or Sam’s Club. For example, a Dr Pepper syrup bag-in-box at Sam’s Club currently runs $110.

What are the benefits?

Soda on demand.

Getty Images

In addition to feeling like a movie star, you can also feel good about making a green choice.

“Nothing goes to landfill. People are tired of lugging cans,” says Williams.

He also touts the ease of enjoying a cold beverage: “It’s soda on demand. It’s more of a convenience than anything else.”

Do fountain drinks taste better?

Most soda aficionados emphatically attest that fountain drinks are superior. What makes each soda dispenser unique is a combination of carbonation, temperature, and the ratio of syrup to water.

“A true fountain drink will never taste like a drink out of a can or a bottle,” says David Bates, owner of Soda Bar Systems. “With our units, you have full control over the unit. It will come out ice cold. It will come out as sweet as you want and as carbonated as you want.”

He also broke down the beverage hierarchy for us: “A beer out of a glass bottle will always taste better than one in a can. But one off the tap will blow both of them away.”

Can a soda machine have both Coke and Pepsi?

Unlike restaurants that might get their systems directly from Coca-Cola or Pepsi, your at-home system can be filled with any brand you choose, says Williams.

But you do need specific fittings for each of those brands. He’ll send you the setup for each one—red connector for Coke and green for Pepsi—if you’re into that sort of thing.

What are the downsides?

Here’s where being a celebrity—and having a celeb-sized bank account—comes into play. Systems start at around $3,000 and go up from there, depending on how many flavors and fountains you want.

If you have a few free hours and want to tackle the installation yourself, no problem. But it might be an issue if you’re not handy. And installation courtesy of a local pro will add another expense. Also, be prepared to figure out your ice situation. These drink dispensers don’t come with cubes on demand.

If you’re successful, you’ll have a sweet drink station customized to your carbonated beverage choice—just like Bennifer.

The post An Investigation Into Ben Affleck’s In-Home Soda Fountain Reveals Fizzy Secrets appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Modern or Contemporary: What’s the Difference in Home Styles?

The home’s modern exterior in the Trousdale Estates subdivision of Beverly Hills is a draw for buyers, says real-estate agent Rayni Williams.

Joe Schmelzer

What’s the difference between a “modern” home and a “contemporary” one? About $275,000.

That’s the gap in listing prices for luxury homes described as modern and those called contemporary, according to an analysis of luxury homes by listings website realtor.com.

But actually defining the two styles is a far trickier matter—and one that confounds many real-estate professionals, homeowners, builders and even some architects. Frequently, the terms are used interchangeably. And the definitions have changed. “It’s rather confusing, because a contemporary [home] keeps shifting,” said Chris Bardt, and architect and professor at the Rhode Island School of Design.

John Stewart, residential committee chair of the American Institute of Architects, helps explain the difference. Modern homes and décor have the simple lines and “stripped-down” aesthetic of 1940s, ’50s and ’60s modernism, said Mr. Stewart, an architect in San Carlos, Calif. Other qualities associated with modern design: cube-shaped structures with flat roofs, monochromatic color palettes, low-key furnishings and a greater use of exposed steel and concrete. Modern “is probably the original contemporary style,” said Mr. Stewart.

Contemporary homes are often more playful in combining materials and bright colors, explained Sheila Schmitz, editor of home-design website Houzz. Some may include a dramatic black-and-white palette. Interiors are flooded with natural light and floorplans emphasize indoor-outdoor living. When it comes to spotting home décor, “those terms are really good starting points to start a conversation, and then kind of go from there,” she says.

This home in Beverly Hills, Calif., has classic modern features like a flat roof, large windows, white or monochromatic interiors and industrial materials like concrete and steel.
This home in Beverly Hills, Calif., has classic modern features like a flat roof, large windows, white or monochromatic interiors and industrial materials like concrete and steel.

Joe Schmelzer

But contemporary can be a loaded word. While luxury homeowners often use contemporary to signal sleek, one-of-a-kind designs, it can also suggest that a home has become dated over time. “Brown shag carpets in one’s living room were contemporary and fun in 1970s—that’s one of the brutal realities of contemporary homes,” Mr. Bardt said.

Defining something as contemporary isn’t necessarily good for home sellers, according to realtor.com. In an analysis of 2016 home listings through September, luxury homes designated as contemporary had a median listing price of $1.115 million, compared with $1.39 million for modern homes. Contemporary homes also spend more time on the market than modern homes, 109 versus 81 days respectively, according to the Realtor.com analysis, which looked at homes listed for more than $750,000. (News Corp, which owns The Wall Street Journal, also owns realtor.com.)

Single-family houses described as modern make up only 0.6% of the homes on the listings site, compared with 10.3% for homes characterized as contemporary; 1.1% of the homes on the site are described as both. Homes in New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Vermont and California are the most likely to be described as modern.

In an October Houzz.com survey, about 7% of about 1,000 respondents classified their homes as modern, compared with 12% who called their home contemporary.

These days, the lines of modern versus contemporary are increasingly blurred. When Houzz researchers assign attributes to the site’s trove of more than 12 million photos, interiors can be especially subjective, as Midcentury Modern furniture has become popular in contemporary homes, Ms. Schmitz said.

When Mr. Stewart, the architect, works with clients, he uses photos to help them understand the difference between modern and contemporary. Most of the time, it turns out that homeowners are looking for something contemporary with modern foundations rather than modern in a strict sense, he says.

Many ultraluxury buyers drawn to Midcentury Modern homes are opting for a blend of styles. “They want a modern home but with a little more of a soul,” said Rayni Williams, an agent in Beverly Hills, Calif. “The cold minimalistic white box is on its way out.”

The pool area of the modern Beverly Hills home includes a lounge and bar area. JOE SCHMELZER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL The home’s modern exterior in the Trousdale Estates subdivision of Beverly Hills is a draw for buyers, says real-estate agent Rayni Williams. JOE SCHMELZER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL Trip Haenisch and his partner Hadi Halawani purchased the home last year for $7.2 million and made contemporary updates before relisting it for $10.95 million. JOE SCHMELZER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL This home in Beverly Hills, Calif., has classic modern features like a flat roof, large windows, white or monochromatic interiors and industrial materials like concrete and steel. JOE SCHMELZER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL The kitchen. JOE SCHMELZER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL The wine cellar is the focal point of the dining room. JOE SCHMELZER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL Mr. Haenisch, an interior designer, ‘contemporized’ the home with wide-plank wood floors instead of flecked terrazzo tiles to instill warmth. Above, a living area with built-in bar. JOE SCHMELZER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL A soaking tub in the bathroom. ‘We tried to make the house sexy,’ Mr. Haenisch said. JOE SCHMELZER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL Mr. Haenisch in the dining room. JOE SCHMELZER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL Denise and Randall Farleigh’s home on the big island of Hawaii. Dr. Farleigh describes her home as ‘the modern end of contemporary.’ JOSHUA FLETCHER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL Contemporary touches include open-air living areas, ceilings with inlaid wood, multiple materials on the exterior and pops of color in the interiors. Above, the open-plan living and dining room.
Contemporary touches include open-air living areas, ceilings with inlaid wood, multiple materials on the exterior and pops of color in the interiors. Above, the open-plan living and dining room.

Joshua Fletcher

Interior designer Trip Haenisch and his partner Hadi Halawani purchased a Midcentury Modern home in Beverly Hills, Calif., last year for $7.2 million and made contemporary updates before relisting it with Ms. Williams for $10.95 million.

The “contemporized” version has wide-plank wood floors instead of terrazzo tiles to instill warmth, Mr. Haenisch, 52, said. A step-down into a sunken kitchen and family room was removed to create an open-plan design with floors on the same level. Mr. Haenisch and Mr. Halawani added glass doors that disappear when opened to the pool area. “We tried to make the house sexy,” he said.

Denise Farleigh defines her second home on the big island of Hawaii as “the modern end of contemporary.” The 66-year-old physician from Anchorage, Alaska, who lives in Hawaii part-time with her husband, Randall, hopes contemporary touches, including open-air living areas statement rugs and plenty of glass, will make it easier to sell the home. The couple is moving to be closer to family and have listed the home for $7.2 million, which includes furnishings and the 2-acre lot.

“Modern might have forced the appearance that not everybody would have liked,” said Dr. Farleigh, who completed the home four years ago for about $7 million. “We wanted a little more color.”

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The Great Real Estate Slowdown: 10 Markets Where Homes Linger the Longest—and Buyers Gain an Edge

Days on Market in Real Estate Slowdown: 10 Markets Where Homes take the longest and fastest to sell

Realtor.com / Getty Images

In the fraught, pressure-packed, scarily unpredictable summer 2022 housing market, home sellers and buyers are compulsively tracking key real estate metrics like baseball obsessives tracking box scores—only with way more on the line than the galling perfection of the New York Yankees. Everyone is desperate to get a grip on where things are going in U.S. real estate. Are prices continuing to rise? Is inventory going to keep falling? And where on Earth are mortgage rates going to top out?

But one stat seems to sum up the current market, with all of its twists and turns, better than any other: How long is it taking for homes to sell? And in another sign of a cooldown in the housing market, U.S. homes are remaining on the market just a little longer.

According to Realtor.com® data from May, the median number of days on the market for an American home stands at 31.

While still a blistering pace, it represents a relief from the turbocharged frenzy we saw late last year and earlier this year. At the beginning of 2022, the median number of days on the market was just 21—10 days faster than it is now.

“The big trend that we’ve seen just about nationwide is that homes are not sitting for very long anywhere,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com. “We have relatively few homes on the market for sale, and up until recently, buyer demand has been really intense. But there have been some signs that demand is cooling.”

Why demand is truly cooling

Hale says data shows more sellers are popping up in a number of markets nationwide. She believes some of those folks held off on putting their homes on the market in 2021 because of continued uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic.

It might seem like a story from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. But dial the calendar back 12 months, and vaccines were just ramping up with the masses getting their first jabs last spring. Questions about the effectiveness of the vaccines lingered and it was still unclear if (and when) most of the country would be ready to open back up.

This spring, we’re now headed back to what looks like equilibrium.

“This is the first relatively normal year since the start of the pandemic. I think a lot of people were afraid they were going to miss the heart of the selling season last year and just decided to postpone their home sales,” says Hale. “They weren’t quite ready to make moves last year—and they definitely are now.”

In another hopeful sign for buyers, Hale cited data that shows the number of home sellers has increased year over year for 10 out of the past 11 weeks. More folks putting their places up for sale means more options for buyers who were weary of tiresome bidding wars.

Days on the market are starting to climb

A national median of 31 days on the market doesn’t provide buyers with a ton of breathing room. But as Hale explains, it’s a marked difference from that head-spinning 21-day median seen earlier this year. She expects the pace to slacken even more with interest rates rising.

“In the most recent week, homes sold just four days faster than they did last year,” Hale says. “They’re still selling faster than a year ago, but that gap is shrinking, and eventually I expect to see homes sell a bit slower than last year.”

More days on the market can mean buyers have more time to decide if a house is right for them and get the financing together. Buyers might not feel pressured to make a purchase they might regret down the line. Bidding wars will be less frequent and less frantic.

Be wary of using the number of days on the market to predict the future, Hale cautions.

“Days on market is a bit more of a lagging indicator than a leading indicator, so it’s not generally the first metric to change, but it is one that signals market balance.”

So where are homes still moving fast—and where are they sticking around longer?

With that caveat in mind, we took a look at the 10 markets where homes are selling the quickest and the 10 where they’re lagging a bit behind the national median.

To create our list, the data team at Realtor.com scoped out the median days on the market in May for the nation’s 250 largest metropolitan areas. To ensure geographic diversity, we limited the data to one metro area per state. Metros include the main city and surrounding towns, suburbs, and smaller urban areas.

Cities don’t tend to stay on these lists for long.

“When a housing market has homes selling extraordinarily quickly, market forces tend to bring it back into balance, either through more supply from existing-home owners selling or builders building, or through reduced demand, homeowners shifting to other, less competitive markets,” Hale explains.

That said, we did spot a couple of holdovers from last year’s look at the fastest and slowest markets, including the city that holds the crown for the fewest median days on the market. What’s in the water in New Hampshire, anyway?

Where homes are selling the fastest.

Realtor.com

1. Manchester, NH

Manchester, NH.

Getty Images

Median list price in May 2022: $444,900
Days on the market: 8.5

The market where homes turned over the quickest is a historic city about 50 miles from Boston. A lack of housing starts might be a key component of Manchester’s rapidly moving market.

“There aren’t a lot of new-construction houses here in Manchester. We’re part of the original 13 Colonies, so a lot of our housing is dated prior to the industrial era, 1800s to 1940s,” says Suzanne Damon of the Damon Home Team at Re/Max Insight in Manchester.

“Demographic-wise, we have a large portion of millennials in our population, but we do tend to attract the baby boomers because there’s no state income tax,” she says.

Recently, Damon says she has started to see a shift.

“Interest rates started to rise in April, and that’s when we started to see a change in our market,” she says. “Last year, my offer count per listing was 12 offers versus today, it’s five and a half.”

That means the buyer—especially a first-time buyer—with a traditional mortgage or a government-backed loan like FHA, USDA, or VA, now has a fighting chance in what had been a cash-heavy market.

“Last year, 33% of my properties sold were cash. I see this [current market] as being very opportunistic for buyers who don’t have a lot of cash to come to the table,” Damon says. “These buyers who haven’t been able to buy, with a little bit of a cooldown in the market, they’re going to be able to come to the table, and we’ve seen that in the last three weeks.”


2. Raleigh, NC

Median list price: $493,558
Days on the market: 9

Not too far behind was Raleigh, with a median of nine days on the market.

Raleigh is a key part of the Research Triangle area along with the cities of Durham and Chapel Hill. Three major research universities in the area mean it’s a hub for employers on the lookout for well-educated workers.

Low inventory has been an issue in the market, says Matt Fowler, executive director of Triangle MLS. He says more area houses sold in 2021 than in any year before—and that pace has kept up this year so far.

“Think of it as a retail store. It’s not like there’s not stuff on the shelves. The shelves are full, and they’re turning so fast that it’s hard to keep them stocked,” he explains. “So there’s less inventory visible, but you can [still] find and buy a house.”

Prior to the pandemic in June 2019, the Raleigh area had 10.8 months of housing inventory to work through. Fowler says the number now sits at 3.3 months.

In an interesting twist, Fowler adds that homes priced at $250,000 or lower are staying on the market a bit longer than homes priced above $470,000. Buyers from out of state want the nicer homes and are ready to pony up the dollars it takes to win a bidding war.

“There are very publicized employment relocations that have occurred,” he says, adding that tech companies such as Apple, Google, and Meta are bringing new workers to the Triangle, with many having salaries in the $200,000 range.


3. Rochester, NY

Rochester, NY.

Getty Images

Median list price: $224,950
Days on the market: 10 (Tie)

Tied for third at a quick 10 days on the market is this intriguing upstate New York market where buyers still must act fast. Local agents say there’s a continued shortage of homes up for sale, with one local agent reporting there are “10% as many homes as there were available in 2015” in the metro area.

The city consistently ranks high for livability and gets a ton of lake-effect snow every winter thanks to its proximity to Lake Ontario. The median list price remains friendly, which means buyers continue to make their way to this town on the rebound.


4. Denver, CO

Median list price: $695,000
Days on the market: 10 (tie)

Also at a rapid 10 median days on the market is the Mile High City. While inventory turned over rapidly in May, red flags in the area are already apparent.

The median closing price on a home fell in May, and a “day of reckoning” could be on the horizon for this potentially overvalued metro, some insiders believe.


5. Burlington, VT

Burlington, VT.

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Median list price: $439,250
Days on the market: 11

On the list at No. 5 is Burlington, with homes on the market for a median of 11 days. It’s not a huge shock: The city ranked second in our look at May’s hottest real estate markets.

With a median price that’s just a hair above the national median, buyers continue to flock to this town near the Canadian border. The hurdle is the same as we have seen in Manchester, NH: There just aren’t enough homes on the market right now. When a desirable home pops up, it flies off the market in a hurry.

Rounding out the top 10 are Columbus, OH, at 14; Nashville, TN, and Columbia, MO, tied at 14.5 days; and Portland, ME, and Worcester, MA, tied at 15 days.

Got it? OK, now let’s take a look at the places where home sales are slowing down to a (slightly) more manageable pace.


Where homes take the longest to sell.

Realtor.com

1. Houma, LA

Houma, LA.

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Median list price: $284,500
Days on the market: 58.5

Houma tops the list for the slowest market. Even so, the number is down significantly from the median 79 days on the market in April of last year. Local agents have seen the sign of market strengthening.

“Right now anything from $130,000 to $140,000 to the $200,000 range priced right and is a nice house, those things are like war. You’re going to expect a multiple-offer situation on that,” explains Lisa Thibodaux with Latter & Blum Canal & Main Realty in Thibodaux, LA, which is next to Houma.

Many of those lower-priced residences are being bought for students attending nearby Nicholls State University.

“We have a lot of families looking for housing for students versus them renting. With the high price of rent, they’ll purchase a little house no higher than $200,000 for their kids to come to school,” she says. “Then they turn it around and put it back on the market. I’ve done many of those where, after the child is out of school, they give it back to me to put on the market.”

Thibodaux says both the pandemic and Mother Nature have contributed to the out-of-whack market around Houma.

Hurricane Ida hit the area with 150 mph winds in August 2021, damaging or destroying many homes. Many of those homes were in a flood zone and cannot be easily rebuilt or insured.

Owners “are definitely trying to get out of the flood zone right now,” she says.


2. Utica, NY

Median list price: $182,400
Days on the market: 55

This spring, homes in Utica were selling at close to the asking price. Seller supply was almost even with buyer demand, which means buyers have a bit more leeway in this upstate burg.

Foreign refugees have flocked to the unlikely locale of Utica with the help of The Center, an organization that helps people resettle from countries around the world. A recent New York Times article looked at how those refugees were helping to transform this “dying Rust Belt town.”


3. Iowa City, IA

Iowa City, IA.

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Median list price: $319,900
Days on the market: 51.5

Need time to pick the home of your dreams? Head to this college town where the pace is more leisurely. Homes in the land of the Iowa Hawkeyes average nearly two months on the market. Still a friendly market in terms of both price and availability, demand and supply are fairly evenly matched.

Right now, there are nearly 500 homes on the market in the town—and over 300 of those are priced below $400,000.


4. Charleston, WV

Median list price: $151,200
Days on the market: 50

In this capital city, it’s still possible to score a home with a five-digit price tag. The median sale price in Charleston was $94,000 in April 2022. It’s no wonder West Virginia recently topped our list of the most affordable states for homebuyers.

The state’s most populous town sits right along the Kanawha River and has over 400 homes for sale. Just over 150 of those homes have an asking price below $100,000.


5. Salisbury, MD

Pemberton Historical Park in Salisbury, MD.

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Median list price: $499,900
Days on the market: 49.5

In 2021, we named it the best college town for families to buy a home. Salisbury University is the city and has a 200-acre campus and more than 8,000 students.

With nearly 500 homes currently on the market and no homes priced over a million bucks, buyers have plenty of places to choose from—and plenty of time to make a decision.

Rounding out the top 10 are Las Cruces, NM, at 46 days; Appleton, WI, at 45.5 days; and Blacksburg, VA, Lexington, KY, and Gulfport, MS, tied at 44 days.

The post The Great Real Estate Slowdown: 10 Markets Where Homes Linger the Longest—and Buyers Gain an Edge appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

A Wild Time Capsule in North Dakota Is This Week’s Most Popular Home

Most Popular Homes

Realtor.com

Let’s hear it for the homes of North Dakota. An entire state with half as many homes currently on the market as the city of Los Angeles, North Dakota doesn’t get much PR for its real estate—until this week.

A time capsule gone wild sitting smack-dab in the middle of the nation’s least visited state racked up tens of thousands of clicks. Full of vibrant flooring choices and a swinging ’70s-era vibe, it’s this week’s most popular home on Realtor.com®.

It features interiors that have not changed at all since the home was built in 1976. From the Formica countertops in the kitchen to the brightly colored carpeting throughout, the listing photos for the three-bedroom home offer a step back in time and beg to be shared.

Aside from the time capsule, you also clicked on a San Francisco home immortalized in postcards, a fun and affordable beach home in North Carolina, and the Southern California mansion of former NFL linebacker Clay Matthews.

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

10. 714 Steiner St, San Francisco, CA

Price: $3,550,000
Why it’s here:
Immortalized on tourist tchotchkes and photo albums all over the world, one of the famed Postcard Row homes in Alamo Square is back on the market.

Built in 1900, it’s one of the iconic Seven Sisters in the city by the Bay. Purchased a couple of years ago by an ambitious owner, she’s relinquishing her dream to restore the run-down beauty to its past glory. For a buyer willing to go the distance, the sale includes approved plans and permits needed for the restoration.

San Francisco, CA

Realtor.com


9. 140 Fern Ave, Rye, NH

Price: $2,100,000
Why it’s here:
Curb appeal always wins. Handsome and stately, this custom-built Colonial offers 4,578 square feet of living space.

Luxury details include coffered ceilings, a first-floor primary suite with a soaking tub, a two-story family room on the main level, and an additional living area on the third floor.

You can take in the serene views of the nearly 2-acre property from the wraparound porch or spacious back deck.

Rye, NH

Realtor.com


8. 270 Black Point Rd, Scarborough, ME

Price: $375,000
Why it’s here: Also in the Northeast, this adorable three-bedroom home is close to Maine’s popular beaches.

Built in 1948, the cozy abode features a comfortable living room with a wood-burning fireplace. The bedrooms are all bright and airy thanks to the skylights.

Scarborough, ME

Realtor.com


7. 2029 Whispering Pine St SW, Ocean Isle Beach, NC

Price: $364,900
Why it’s here: It’s a beautiful beach retreat. Located along the Intracoastal Waterway, this four-bedroom home offers beautiful waterfront views.

It also makes the most of its 1,152 square feet of living space. There is a two-story living room with plenty of windows. A partly covered porch, large grilling deck, and massive outdoor shower are ideal for life near the water.

Ocean Isle Beach, NC

Realtor.com


6. 3129 Highway 22, Muscatine, IA

Price: $399,000
Why it’s here: Built in 1900, this three-bedroom home overlooking the Mississippi River has been entirely renovated.

Enjoy riverfront views from the front porch or take in the country setting from the spacious back deck. The remodeled interiors feature a kitchen with cherry cabinets and granite countertops. A detached three-car garage offers plenty of extra storage space.

Muscatine, IA

Realtor.com


5. 2141 Madrid Dr, Sparks, NV

Price: $825,000
Why it’s here: A gold rush, but make it 2022. The decor of this four-bedroom Nevada home is literally golden.

Every wall is bathed in a golden hue. Some rooms offer a contrast with shades of burgundy, while others feature interesting artwork.

The 23-year-old home features a gold-bedecked primary suite. The bath comes with a reinforced tub. And every surface, from the fixtures to the toilet tank lid, is covered in gold.

Sparks, NV
Sparks, NV

Realtor.com


4. 202 N Richardson St, Latta, SC

Price: $680,000
Why it’s here:
Built in 1890, this classic five-bedroom home has been restored to its natural beauty.

With over 4,000 square feet of space, the home features such original details as the arched doorways, high ceilings, and storage built-ins. Modernizations over the years mean the home now has a chef’s kitchen with a six-burner gas stove, two dishwashers, and quartz countertops. Outdoors, a wraparound covered porch leads to a porte cochere with a circular driveway complete with a lighted fountain.

Latta, SC

Realtor.com


3. 300 Highway 28, Crystal Bay, NV

Price: $64,500,000
Why it’s here:
 Nevada’s most expensive listing comes with a funicular. That steep tram ride will shuttle a new owner between the two homes in this luxurious lakeside compound.

Crystal Bay, NV

Realtor.com


2. 25314 Prado De La Felicidad, Calabasas, CA

Price: $24,995,000
Why it’s here:
Former NFL linebacker Clay Matthews has put his massive mansion back on the market with a substantial price cut. It was offered earlier this year for $28 million.

Calabasas, CA

Realtor.com


1. 2015 County Rd 138, Mandan, ND

Price: $599,000
Why it’s here:
Take a step back in time inside this multilevel home just outside of Bismarck. Textured ceilings, check. Brightly hued carpets, check. Ornate ironwork, triple check.

From the exposed stone wall to the retro kitchen, this three-bedroom home offers a look back at what was hot in 1976. Sitting on 7 acres, the well-preserved home offers more than 4,000 square feet of living space and beautiful views of the Missouri River and Fort Lincoln.

Mandan, ND
Mandan, ND

Realtor.com

The post A Wild Time Capsule in North Dakota Is This Week’s Most Popular Home appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Get ‘Em While They’re Hot! The Most In-Demand Design Trends of Summer

Japandi Baths, Barndos and Kit Kat Tile—Here Are The Surprising Summer Designs Trends of 2022

Photos by Featured Edits Furniture; Kitty Lee Architecture; The Wadsworth Company via Houzz

There’s an irrefutable truth to be found in people’s search habits, and a new survey shows exactly which way the wind is blowing this summer when it comes to home decor.

For the 2022 Houzz Emerging Summer Trends Report, this home design site sifted through three months’ worth of its search results from January to March 2022. Then, the site compared that data with the same time period last year to see which design fads were on the rise—and which were on the wane.

As expected, many of the most popular upgrades continue to reflect a COVID-19 pandemic theme. The toilet paper shortage was one we all shudder to recall, so it’s little surprise that searches for “bidets” are up 14% from last year. And with remote work lingering for many at least part of the time, searches for “cloffice” are still going strong, too (up 76%).

Yet many of the most sought-after home trends of today might be a bit more surprising. If you’re thinking of starting a renovation project soon or you’re just curious about what’s hot right now, check out these popular design fads for some fresh ideas this summer.

Brightly colored front doors

Photo by Glenn Layton Homes

We’re finally inviting family and friends into our homes once again, and fixing up the first thing they’ll see is top of mind. Folks have pushed plain ol’ black and blue doors aside in favor of searching for “red front doors” (up 22%) and “green front doors” (up 55%).

And the knob that came with the house you bought is getting replaced, too, per the report. “Front door handle” searches are up 46%. No more standard-issue hardware!

‘Japandi’ kitchens and bathrooms

Uncluttered, neutral, and very calming are the main themes of “Japandi” style, a mashup of Japanese and Scandinavian design aesthetics. (Ellen DeGeneres and Kanye West are both professed fans of the look.)

Homeowners are embracing this style’s natural fabrics and bamboo as they search for “Japandi kitchens” (up twice as much as last year) and “Japandi bathrooms” (up three times as much).

“Another of our studies on bathroom trends found that people are seeking a space for rest and relaxation, and the top features they want are cleanliness, a lack of clutter, and greenery—all hallmarks of Japandi style,” explains Mitchell Parker, Houzz senior editor.

And if you’re thinking of listing your home anytime soon, Japandi is a smart move, says Susan Jakubowski, a real estate agent with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty in Cornelius, NC. “It’s a very modern look, and modern is highly desirable, clean, and shows well.”

Barndominiums

Photo by The Wadsworth Company

Searches for “barndominium” (a portmanteau of “barn” and “condominium”) are up 154% (and “barndo kitchens” are up almost as much—138%). Chip and Joanna Gaines helped propel this look to the fore when they featured it a few years back on their show “Fixer Upper.”

A barndominium is a wholesale conversion of an old barn into a home, explains Parker. It salvages the familiar rooflines and interior beams for a rustic-chic style. These kitchens are appealing to those who want to try the trend in a small way, with the same vaulted ceiling and open floor plan.

Just keep in mind that a barndominium is likely too specific to sell easily, says Jakubowski, “unless you find the right buyer who will love this type of home.”

Hardy, drought-tolerant plants

Photo by Gravel and Green

Many homeowners are facing the reality of living in areas with drought conditions, says Parker. Searches for “drought-tolerant landscaping ideas” increased an impressive 99%, in part because caring for these designs requires less water and time.

These environmentally friendly options can “improve drought resilience as well as thrive on 20% less water than a traditional landscape, especially if you opt to plant native foliage,” explains Cassy Aoyagi, president of FormLA Landscaping in Los Angeles.

Hot-weather-loving, hands-off plants are definitely a draw in the Sunshine State, according to Charlina McGee, a real estate agent with Sotheby’s International in Naples, FL, whose buyers are mostly in the area during the winter.

“As snowbirds, they want to spend time golfing and boating rather than doing yardwork,” she says.

Kara Harms, a design and lifestyle blogger at Whimsy Soul, credits TikTok with helping to fuel the hardy landscaping trend.

“Users are sharing information on drought-tolerant plants, native flowers, and how to attract bees to the yard—all of which are far better for the environment than a traditional mowed lawn,” says Harms.

Dog-friendly design

Photo by Hierarchy Architecture + Design, PLLC 

Not every pandemic puppy was returned to the pet store! Instead, folks are sticking with Fido and even investing in the pet’s comfort as they seek out “dog feeding station” ideas (up 55%).

Alas, these pooches have proven hard to train as many seem to be destroying upholstery in their wake. To fix it, searches on fur-friendly “chair seat covers” are up an incredible 429%!

Midcentury materials galore

Photo by risa boyer architecture

No home style is more searched today than midcentury modern, especially “midcentury modern kitchen ideas,” which soared an eye-popping 576%. And even very specific materials connected to this look showed some real traction, including the looped yarn material “bouclé” (up 149%) and “curved sofas” (up 31%).

But the mother of all midcentury modern detail searches is “kit kat tile,” perhaps for a new backsplash or to cover the shower in a new Japandi-inspired bathroom. Kit kat tile is shaped like the candy of the same name—long and slender—and searches for it are on fire, to the tune of 797%! Who knew?!

The post Get ‘Em While They’re Hot! The Most In-Demand Design Trends of Summer appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Here Are the Riskiest Real Estate Markets Most Vulnerable to a Downturn. Did Yours Make the List?

Here Are the Riskiest Real Estate Markets Most Vulnerable to a Downturn. Did Yours Make the List?

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The good times in the housing market might be coming to an end for certain parts of the Windy City and the Big Apple as the economy hits some turbulence.

Eight counties in the Chicago metropolitan area and six in the New York metro were among the 50 most at-risk real estate markets in the nation, according to a recent report from ATTOM, a real estate data company. The rest were mostly on the East Coast, particularly in the Cleveland and Philadelphia metros, in the Midwest, and in inland California.

“These markets are more vulnerable to a potential downturn in the local housing market. That could mean price declines beyond a minor correction and/or increased levels of delinquencies and defaults,” says Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence at ATTOM. “Sales volume is already falling in many markets due to rising interest rates and weakening affordability, but these markets could also see sales activity fall more quickly and more dramatically than other regions.”

The report was based on housing affordability, local unemployment rates, foreclosures rates, and the number of mortgages where homeowners owe more than their properties are worth in 586 U.S. counties in the first quarter of 2022.

Housing is under stress as the U.S. Federal Reserve raises its interest rates in its bid to bring down inflation. This results in higher mortgage rates, which cracked 6% last week, at a time when home prices are also at record highs and rising. Buyers are also grappling with inflation, higher gas and rental property prices, and stock market and cryptocurrency drops as fears of another recession proliferate.

The most vulnerable counties in the Chicago metro area were Cook, DeKalb, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties in Illinois and Lake County in Indiana. In the New York City metro area, six counties in New Jersey, outside of the city, were deemed in jeopardy. They were Bergen, Essex, Ocean, Passaic, Sussex, and Union counties.

California, where home prices are famously high, had 10 risky counties make the list. They included Butte County (Chico), San Joaquin County (Stockton), Shasta County (Redding), Solano County (outside Sacramento), Fresno County, Kings County (outside Fresno), Madera County (outside Fresno), Merced County (outside Modesto), Stanislaus County (Modesto), and Kern County (Bakersfield).

“Almost all of these markets, for example, have higher unemployment rates than the national average,” says Sharga. “All of them are high-cost, high-tax markets, which means borrowers often have to stretch themselves financially to buy a home in the first place.”

Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia County and Camden and Gloucester counties in New Jersey were deemed vulnerable as were Cuyahoga, Lake, and Lorain counties in Ohio outside of Cleveland.

The South is expected to make it out of any downturn much better, making up about 26 of the 50 least at-risk counties in the nation in the first quarter of the year.

“Southern markets continue to experience strong growth, not just in home sales and prices, but in population and job creation,” says Sharga. “Homebuyers moving into these regions from more expensive areas can easily afford homes, despite rising prices, and unemployment rates are relatively low, with a few exceptions.”

The post Here Are the Riskiest Real Estate Markets Most Vulnerable to a Downturn. Did Yours Make the List? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.