The fledgling U.S. housing recovery lost momentum last year as homeownership rates continued to fall, single-family construction remained near historic lows, and existing home sales cooled, concludes a new report titled “The State of the Nation’s Housing” from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

Source: Harvard

Making sense of the story

  • Rental markets continued to grow, fueled by another large increase in the number of renter households. However, with rents rising and incomes well below pre-recession levels, the U.S. is also seeing record numbers of cost-burdened renters.
  • The flip side of falling homeownership rates has been exceptionally strong demand for rental housing, with the 2010s on pace to be the strongest decade for renter growth in history.
  • While soaring demand is often attributed to the millennials’ preference to rent, households aged 45–64 in fact accounted for about twice the share of renter growth as households under the age of 35.
  • The other byproduct of this surge in rental demand is that the national vacancy rate fell to its lowest point in nearly 20 years. Given the limited supply of rental units, rents rose at a 3.2 percent rate last year—twice the pace of overall inflation.
  • While the cost-burdened share of homeowners began to recede in 2010 (because some homes were lost to foreclosure, and low interest rates helped other homeowners reduce their monthly costs), the cost-burdened share of renters has held near record highs. In 2013, almost half of all renters had housing cost burdens.
  • Cost burdens are climbing the income ladder, affecting growing shares of not just low-income renters but moderate- and middle-income renters as well.
  • The cost-burdened share of renters with incomes in the $30,000–45,000 range rose to 45 percent between 2003 and 2013, while one in five renters earning $45,000–75,000 are now cost-burdened as well.

Read the full story

Talking Points …

  • Contract signings to buy a home rose for the fifth straight month in May to the highest level in more than nine years, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
  • Pending home sales climbed 0.9 percent to 112.6 last month, the best pace since April 2006, which was ahead of the housing crisis.
  • April’s level of 111.6 was slightly lower than first reported but is 10.4 percent above May 2014, putting sales on their best start since the downturn in 2007. Low mortgage rates and job growth have helped get buyers back into the market.

C.A.R. Market Matters is published by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, a trade association representing more than 175,000 REALTORS® statewide. C.A.R. does not in any way endorse or sponsor any product or service or vendor mentioned herein unless expressly stated.

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Yesterday on Housecall, we discussed ways to increase your home value with indoor décor. Today, we’re focusing on what you can do outside the home to give it an added monetary boost.

Curb appeal is everything when it comes to selling your home, and that means your home’s exterior needs to be in optimal condition. In fact, 71 percent of prospective home buyers say that a home’s curb appeal is an important factor in their buying decision. This infographic from LawnStarter shows seven exterior home improvements that can increase resale value and help sell your home even faster:

Replace Your Front Door

Believe it or not, a front door says a lot about you and your home. A quality front door can be a huge asset for your home’s value, and how secure your home feels upon entrance. Kelly Fallis of Remote Stylist says, “It’s the first thing a buyer walks through. Repaint or replace; their first impression rests on it.” According to House Logic, a standard 20-gauge steel door can cost around $1,230, but that investment can more than pay for itself with the amount of value it adds to your home. A quality front door replacement can bring you a return of around 102 percent, which makes it a great bang for your buck.

Updated Landscaping

Over 92 percent of prospective home buyers use the Internet at some point during their search process, meaning a lot of eyes are going to be looking for pictures of your home. You want to be able to showcase your property in the best light possible to drive interested parties in for a closer look. According to Bankrate, a quality landscaping job has the potential to net you a whopping 252 percent return in increased home value. John Harris, a landscape economist, has stated that updated landscaping can increase a home’s value by 28 percent and have it sold 10-15 percent quicker.

New Paint

Most prospective homeowners tend to look at what they need to update or work on in the homes that they look at. Repainting your home can cause less stress on the buyer since they know that the job is fresh and adds to the look of the home. That being said, don’t go overboard with color choices. Choose warm and inviting colors, such as taupe, tan or white. “Individuals too often minimize the impact of a first impression,” says James Alisch, managing director of WOW 1 DAY PAINTING. “The exterior paint job of a home greatly impacts how potential buyers feel about a place.” You want to make sure that potential buyers can envision themselves inside your home, and having a neutral exterior color is appealing to a larger pool of buyers. If you do feel the need to add some brighter colors, make sure that they aren’t overpowering and can work well with the neutral base. It’s best to consult your local home improvement store to discuss your options and budget.

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From RISMedia Housecall

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Realtor.com recently released a list of the 20 hottest U.S. real estate markets. To see where demand for housing is greatest, Realtor.com reviewed the number of listing views relative to the number of listings in the 300 largest U.S. markets. To see where houses are flying off the market, they looked at the median number of days that homes spent on the market.

Combined, this exclusive analysis—the Realtor.com® Hotness Index—identifies the 20 medium-size to large U.S. markets where buyers are eagerly seeking homes and sales are closing quickly.

California again dominated the hottest markets list, with almost half of the country’s 20 hottest real estate markets. This is because supply is tight and the state’s strong economy is fueling demand. San Francisco captured the No. 1 spot from Denver, while Vallejo and Santa Rosa also made the top five.

The 20 hottest U.S. real estate markets in California include: San Francisco, Vallejo, Santa Rosa, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Sacramento, San Diego, and Stockton.
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C.A.R. Newsline is published by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, a trade association representing more than 175,000 REALTORS® statewide. C.A.R. does not in any way endorse or sponsor any product or service or vendor mentioned herein unless expressly stated.

Fast Facts

Calif. median home price: May 2015:

  • California: $485,830
  • Calif. highest median home price by region/county May 2015: San Francisco, $1,375,000
  • Calif. lowest median home price by region/county May 2015: Glenn, $175,000

Calif. Pending Home Sales Index:
April 2015: Decreased  0.6 percent from a revised 130.2 in March to 129.4 in April.

Calif. Traditional Housing Affordability Index: Fourth Quarter 2014: 30 percent (Source: C.A.R.)

Mortgage rates: Week ending 6/25/2015 (Source: Freddie Mac)
• 30-yr. fixed: 4.02% fees/points: 0.7%
• 15-yr. fixed: 3.21% fees/points: 0.6%
• 1-yr. adjustable: 2.50% Fees/points: 0.3%

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Water is at a premium throughout drought-stricken California, and home buyers will no longer be able to  “go with the flow” as residents are tasked with conserving more. Typical U.S. households use approximately 260 gallons of water every day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  And as mandatory water restrictions require residents to reduce their water usage by 25 percent, a water-efficient home can help play a large role.

REALTORS® eager to help clients lessen their aqua-footprint may want to consider the water conservation  features that new home construction can offer. New homes are generally equipped with more state-of-the-art options to help protect this precious resource and create a viable point of differentiation for concerned citizens.

Here are some common features of new construction that can help conserve our “liquid gold”:

1. “Green” landscaping:  The average suburban lawn consumes a whopping 10,000 gallons of non-rain water each year.  That’s why some of today’s most coveted gardens utilize the principles of “xeric” or drought-tolerant landscaping. Native plants, such as lavender, ice plant and succulents are well-suited to drought-like conditions and drier soil, thereby helping to reduce water usage. Also, consider a smart “weather-sensing” irrigation system to automatically adjust the water schedule based on weather, seasonality and even zone type. After all, no one wants to see sprinklers running during an unexpected rain.

2. Efficient plumbing lines:  New homes generally employ efficient plumbing lines including pressure-regulating valves, which can limit water usage to 60 pounds per square inch (psi). This reduction helps with leaks, saves water and money, and can lessen the possibility of pipes bursting. New homes may also include well-insulated hot water pipes, which speed hot water to the user, reducing the amount of water wasted in warming it up.

3. Improved water heaters:  New choices including tankless heaters, heat pumps, or solar hot water heaters save both water and energy.

4. Low-flow plumbing fixtures:  Faucets and showers account for 15 and 17 percent of household water use respectively.  Improved low-flow options save water (about 30 percent for sinks and 25 to 60 percent for showerheads) without sacrificing quality, appearance or functionality.

5. Dual-flush toilets:  Toilets are the number one source of water usage in the home, accounting for nearly 30 percent of residential indoor water consumption. Low-flow models are a step in the right direction, but dual-flush options are even better, offering a full flush volume for solids and a reduced flush for liquids.

6. Energy-efficient dishwashers:  On average, dishwashers earning the ENERGY STAR label are 15 percent more water efficient than standard models. These newer-model dishwashers can save up to 1,600 gallons of water over the lifetime of the appliance.

7. Updated washing machines:  Take a brand new washing machine for a spin and save on the second-highest water demand in the house. Models manufactured and sold since March 7 are required to use even less water than previous energy-saving models. Even as capacities have expanded, maximum water usage has decreased, helping to save as much as eight gallons more per cycle than older models.

As this severe drought continues to challenge California, REALTORS® can help clients look for new homes that have taken water conservation into account and that have the potential to save money for prospective homeowners in the future. We can all do our part to contend with the Golden State’s water scarcity.

From C.A.R ~ CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

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Jun

30

Description: Beautifully upgraded 4 bedroom 2 bath home near Stribley Park in south Stockton. 2-car detached garage with access from gated rear alley. Includes large enclosed patio, fireplace, extra storage or hobby room and lots of wrought iron throughout. This family home built in 1947 is in near perfect condition and is priced right! 2120 E Hazelton Avenue, Stockton, CA, 95205 ~ $165,000

For most families, their home is their largest financial asset, and deciding to sell it is a big decision that involves a lot of preparation and work. When you’re ready to sell it’s important to have an experienced real estate professional handle the details involved in successfully selling your home for top dollar.

As an experienced Stockton northern California REALTOR®, I have helped numerous clients successfully sell their home. I know how to handle every aspect of the sales process – from strategically marketing and displaying your home, to making sure everything is signed, sealed and delivered by the closing date.

Providing you with a comprehensive, high-quality listing service is the top priority for me.

When you decide to sell your home in the Stockton, Manteca and Lodi areas, please contact me. And let’s get started!

Dave Thurman Real Estate

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