Hey, home buyers, just how stressed out are you these days?
Maybe you’ve finally come to grips with the crazy, sky’s-the-limit prices still sweeping through most major markets. Perhaps you’ve made peace with the ever-looming threat of another recession. Quite possibly you’ve even dismissed all that stuff about a coronavirus pandemic, and you’re blithely unconcerned about any aftershocks from the upcoming elections.
But when it comes to finding available homes on the market—where and when you want to buy ’em—well, that’s a challenge even the most battle-tested wannabe homeowners are struggling with these days.
And make no mistake: It is a battlefield out there. The problem is, there just aren’t enough homes on the market to satisfy all of the would-be buyers—and that causes prices to spike ever higher in many parts of the country.
Nationally, inventory plunged 13.6% in January compared with a year earlier, representing the biggest drop in more than four years. Few markets have been immune to the plunge. There are now 164,000 fewer homes on the market, the fewest number since 2012, when realtor.com® began collecting the data.
In some of the tightest markets, well-priced homes in the most sought-after locations can sell within a few hours of going up for sale. In others, there are enough properties for sale that buyers don’t need to make a split-second decision and can be choosier.
That’s why our economics team searched for the metropolitan areas where it’s easiest to buy a home—and where it’s not.
“Inventory is falling—even in the easiest markets to buy a home,” says realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “For buyers, it means there are fewer options to choose from, they have to make quicker decisions when they’re out there shopping, and they’re probably also dealing with rising prices.”
And while this may sound like a bonanza for sellers, keep in mind that most of them are also in the market to buy a new home. So there’s that.
To come up with our findings, we looked at the number of listings per 1,000 homeowner-occupied households in the 100 largest metros in the fourth quarter of 2019. The analysis was based on the number of homes for sale relative to the local population. And we narrowed our findings to one per state for some geographic variety.
So where can buyers get a home without losing their mind, and where would they want to sign up for meditation and relaxation classes? Let’s dig into the findings—and the trends they’re showing.
At first blush, the metros with the most homes on the market may not seem like they have much in common. But many of the metros in this hodgepodge are in the South, a less expensive part of the U.S. long popular with retirees and second-home seekers. But many of the cities in our rankings have strong economies, drawing younger buyers as well.
You want to buy a home fast? Head to Florida!
Why does the Sunshine State dominate our list of easiest places to buy a house, when nationally the trends are going the other way? After all, on our unfiltered list, Florida takes six of the 20 spots with the highest inventories of homes on the market. (We limited our list to just one metro per state.)
Well, some of it is seasonal: Florida’s busy real estate season kicks off in the fall, when the Northerners and Midwesterners head south. Sunshine State sellers begin planting those “For Sale” signs in the yards and listing their homes in earnest toward the end of the year, unlike the rest of the country, which heats up in the spring and summer.
But it’s also a function of the fact that builders are currently stepping up new construction to meet the greater demands of a tsunami of retiring boomers.
Reasonably priced Cape Coral, a city with about 400 miles of canals on Florida’s southwestern coast making it popular with vacation home buyers and seniors, snagged our top spot. The area has been affected by recent hurricanes and toxic blue-green algae blooms in recent years, which may be why the area has a bit more inventory than other Florida destinations.
“It has a city-suburb feeling,” says longtime Cape Coral real estate agent Nelson Rua, of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate. “We have local mom and pop stores instead of big franchises, and geographically we’re very well-protected by the storms because we have these barrier islands in front of us.”
The metro’s median home list price was $325,050 in January, according to realtor.com data.
While Cape Coral inventory may seem high, at 37.9 properties per 1,000 households, it’s still falling compared with the previous year. And that’s something it has in common with all of the other Florida entries on our larger list (including Miami, Deltona, North Port, and Jacksonville). Lower mortgage interest rates have spurred more buyers to take the plunge, and inventory in Cape Coral actually plunged 22% year over year in January.
Starter and more affordable homes tend to go quick, while the more expensive ones can linger on the market, according to Brad O’Connor, chief economist of the Florida Realtors, the state’s Realtors association.
It’s just easier to find a home in beach and retirement destinations
For many of the same reasons as in Florida, it’s easier to find homes in beach and retirement destinations with strong economies, like Charleston, SC (No. 3), and Virginia Beach, VA (No. 4). South Carolina and Virginia are both tax-friendly states, appealing to those living on fixed incomes, and both have lots of good jobs and are more friendly toward builders.
Charleston has its port, Boeing and Volvo plants, and a thriving tourism industry driving the economy. And its old-world-style cobblestone streets, hanging moss, gorgeous architecture, and renowned food scene may be why buyers are coming up with the metro’s median list price of $422,500. (That’s about 29% more than the national median of $300,000.)
Real estate broker Randy Bazemore, of Century 21 Properties Plus, is seeing lots of 55-and-up buyers moving to the area as well as younger professionals working in the tech industry.
Meanwhile, Virginia Beach has one of the largest military presences in the nation with more than 86,000 active-duty personnel stationed in the area. The median list price there is $310,000.
For well-heeled retirees or second-home buyers, Honolulu (No. 10), with a median list price of $655,050, has plenty of options for sale.
Watch: The 4 Markets Where Homes Are Appreciating Fastest
New construction gives inventory a boost—at least in some places
Lack of new real estate construction in much of the country has been a big problem ever since the housing crash brought everything to a dead stop more than a decade ago. Finally things are picking up again—at least in those markets where permitting is easier, labor is cheaper, and plenty of land is available for builders to put up more homes.
Often, these places also have fewer regulations, which can hold up the process. That’s partly why Las Vegas (No. 5), Des Moines, IA (No, 8), and Houston (No. 9) made the list. Charleston, as well as many of the Florida metros, has also seen a lot of new construction.
In Des Moines, there’s new construction in the suburbs to the north and west of the city, says local associate broker Paul Walter of Re/Max Concepts. But there are also just more folks putting their existing homes up for sale. Those two reasons may be why the metro area saw a 3% bump in inventory, the only one in our top 10 to not be lower in inventory compared with the previous year.
“Homes not being underwater would be the big driver” in the increase in inventory, says Walter.
The other metros that made our top 10 were Bridgeport, CT, at No. 2. The city has more inventory as there’s less demand than in other parts of the country thanks to the state’s shaky economy and high taxes.
Get ready for a shocker: New York City came in at No. 6! That’s because its metro area is so enormous, there are homes for sale in the surrounding suburbs, exurbs, and smaller cities, including on Long Island and in upstate New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Plus, while there’s basically no such thing as affordable homes for sale in Manhattan, there is a glut of luxury condos sitting on the market waiting for uber-rich buyers with millions of dollars to come around—$1.7 million studio condo, anyone?
OK, now let’s go to the dark side—the metros where you’ll have to jump on new listings the moment they hit your inbox. Get ready!
Buyers are having a tough time in tech cities
No surprise here: The tightest U.S. real estate markets are the ones with blazing hot job markets—and these days that usually means tech hubs. And these places often have pricey real estate to match their blazing economies. There’s a constant influx of new workers, all slugging it out for a very limited supply of housing.
Silicon Valley’s San Jose, CA, which had the fewest homes for sale, is also one of the most expensive markets in the country. There are just four, yes four, listings per 1,000 households. That kind of shortage explains why the median list price is just a hair under $1.1 million. If we hadn’t capped our ranking at just one metro per state, fellow astronomically pricey tech metropolis San Francisco would be close behind.
Unfortunately, not all tech workers make seven- or eight-figure salaries, causing them to search for homes farther and farther out from city centers—and their gigs.
But inventory is likely to rise, at least a little, in the coming months, says Patrick Carlisle, the chief market analyst for the San Francisco Bay Area for Compass. “This market takes a while to wake up from the holidays.”
Part of the problem is homeowners are staying in their properties longer so there isn’t much turnaround, says Carlisle. When they do move out, owners often rent out their properties and pocket the lucrative income instead of putting them on the market. And the lack of new construction is exacerbating the crunch. What is erected often skews luxury, well out of the price ranges of most buyers.
In Seattle, home of the online retailing giant Amazon.com—and No. 3 on our tightest inventory list—a simple equation is responsible for the lack of housing, according to Chris Bajuk, a local real estate agent at HomeStart Real Estate Associates.
“When people have good-paying jobs plus low interest rates, that’s fuel for the fire,” he says.
Plus, there’s not much available land for builders. The city and outlying suburbs are constrained by water, mountains, and zoning rules.
Other tech meccas on our list include Salt Lake City (No. 6), aka Silicon Slopes; Boston (No. 7), a financial, higher education, and tech center; and Washington, DC (No. 9). The real estate market in DC has exploded since Amazon announced it would be installing its second headquarters just outside of the nation’s capital, employing thousands of tech workers.
Inventory is drying up in the Rust Belt’s comeback cities
On the opposite side of the booming, ultraexpensive tech meccas are the Rust Belt cities in the Northeast and Midwest. Some of these urban meccas have been investing in their downtowns and staging comebacks, becoming more appealing to buyers and investors seeking affordable real estate without sacrificing amenities. And many folks want to get in while they still can afford to buy.
The one-time industrial hub of Buffalo, NY, which sits on the Canadian border near Niagara Falls, came in second place. If we didn’t cap our list at just one metro per state, nearby Rochester, NY, would have been next in our rankings.
Buffalo’s revitalization is attracting folks from other parts of the country, says associate real estate broker Ryan Connolly of Re/Max Plus. The Buffalo metro’s median list price was $197,950 in January—about a third less than the national median.
“We are seeing incredibly, incredibly low inventory levels,” says Connolly. The number of homes for sale fell 16% year over year in January, to 6.1 listings per 1,000 households. “It’s really frustrating for buyers.”
That’s leading to multiple offers and folks offering over the asking price on homes in good shape during the busy season. It’s so bad that about a year ago, he saw 23 offers come in on a three-bed, two-bath ranch home in a Buffalo suburb.
“It was a nice home, be we weren’t expecting that,” Connolly says.
Buyers are also clamoring for homes in Columbus, OH, which earned the fifth spot in our ranking. It’s the capital of Ohio and home to Ohio State University and its roughly 45,000 students—buoying it economically. But there simply aren’t enough homes to go around.
“When we had the recession, we didn’t build any new houses. [And] we’re still not building enough homes,” says real estate agent Jeff Cotner of Re/Max One in Pickerington, OH, a Columbus suburb. “The inventory shortage is not going to go anywhere for a while.”
St Lucia is closer to launching a proposed citizenship by investment programme.
The country’s new Citizenship by Investment bill was approved by the island’s senate last week.
St Lucia Minister for Legal Affairs, Home Affairs and National Security Victor Phillip La Corbiniere said the bill would “boost Saint Lucia’s economy.”
If launched, it would make St Lucia the latest Eastern Caribbean country to offer citizenship by investment, along with countries including St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica.
“We know that the Citizenship by Investment program has the potential to generate significant sums of money, and it is important particularly at this time—in terms of the economic realities of the world and economic realities of Saint Lucia—to look at various modalities such as this to raise the requisite revenue,” La Corbiniere said.
“We cannot sit back as other countries participate in this process,” he said. “I would suggest perhaps that down the line, it may well be that countries in the Caribbean that have citizenship by investment programs may want to look at coming together in some kind of standing committee. Perhaps a standing committee of CARICOM to keep this matter under constant examination and to be able to keep the government properly advised on developments taking place in this area, and how we need to be proactive in addressing some of these issues.”
Source; CaribJournal.com August 9, 2015 | 11:29 pm |
HomeNews – Source: Canadian Real Estate Wealth Magazine
by Jennifer Paterson30 Jan 2015
Most Canadians typically embrace an annual hibernation as temperatures drop in January and February – but you could be missing some great real estate investment opportunities.
December, January and February are known to be the quietest months of the year for real estate activity, as consumers prepare for the holidays and subsequently stay in and pay off their credit cards.
But Ontario-based investor Gillian Irving said there are a lot of deals to be found at this time of year. “When it’s quiet, you want to get out and look at the market,” she said.
Todor Yordanov, an investor and sales representative at Right at Home Realty, said that this January has been different than previous winters. “There is still a shortage of listings, but buyers are out looking and buying despite some cold days,” he added. “The market has not slowed down at all.”
For instance, Yordanov listed a property on January 1 and the phone started ringing the same afternoon. “We had three open houses that were attended by well over 40 people and 30-plus agents brought their clients. All this resulted in six offers just nine days after the property went on the market. The property ended up selling for $66,000 above asking.
“With the new reduced mortgage rate we all expect 2015 to be a very strong market for sellers, and buyers as well,” he continued. “There are still many great properties out there. You just need the right agent to help you navigate through this maze of choices.”
A few weeks ago, CREW wrote about a TheRedPin.com analysis, which found that January 20 is the day for rock-bottom real estate prices, adding that investors and first-time homebuyers should take advantage of the holiday hangover at this time of year.
“Consumers can see as much as a $20,000 discount and business picks up towards the third week of January,” said Rockham Fard, co-founder and chief marketing officer at TheRedPin.com.
“That extra $20,000 could help them with any repairs needed for the property or similar developments.”
A favorite pastime of many people — whether in the market to buy a home or simply curious — is to attend a Sunday Open House . In fact, checking out open houses is almost a religious experience in California. Everybody goes to open houses.
If you’re wondering about the proper open house etiquette or have questions about the role of the agent holding the house open, here are suggestions to help make your open house visit productive.
Agent Roles at Open Houses
Because not all real estate agents host open houses in the same manner, you can’t always be certain who will answer the door. Could be the listing agent, a neighbor, a buyer’s agent or even the seller. One thing is for certain. You do not need to ring the door bell or knock, unless there is a sign posted instructing you to do so. Open the door and walk in. If you don’t see an agent, call out “hello,” just in case the agent is, um, otherwise occupied in a private room.
Here are types of agents you may encounter:
Standing at the front door to greet you. This type of agent will shake your hand, introduce himself or herself, get your name, hand you a flyer and say, “Go on through at your own pace.” The agent might even follow you to point out features and answer questions you didn’t realize you had.
In the driveway, asleep behind the wheel of her car. This agent might leave the door ajar and never get up to greet you. Free free to go inside anyway. Make a note of the agent’s name and promise yourself you will never call this company nor the agent.
Reading a book in another room. The non-engaging type agent will say, “There is information on the counter. If you have any questions, let me know.” Generally, this is an agent who didn’t really want to hold open the home but is doing it so she can tell her seller she did.
Is the Open House Agent the Listing Agent?
The best way to find out if the agent holding the open is the listing agent is to ask. You can’t always count on the fact that the agent’s name will be on the For Sale sign or that the agent will be wearing a name badge. Sometimes two agents co-list a home. If you buy through this agent, and your state allows it, you could find yourself in dual agency.
More often than not, the agent holding the listing open will not be the listing agent but an associate agent. This agent will be hoping to represent a buyer to buy that home or, for that matter, any other home.
Open House Home Buyers With Agent Representation
If you are already working with an agent, you should pass on this information to the agent hosting the open. Realtors are required to ask buyers if the buyer is working with another agent, but sometimes they have a memory lapse.
The easiest way to inform the agent you meet that you are working with another agent is to walk in with your agent’s card in hand. Just give it to the other agent and say, “This is my agent.” Armed with this information, the agent at the home will not try to solicit you.
Open House Home Buyers Without Agent Representation
If you have not yet decided on an agent, let the agent at the home know that you are still shopping for a buyer’s agent. Maybe you will want to interview the agent to determine if you want to work with that person. Ask the tough questions to get the right answers.
Open houses are a good way to find an agent because you will meet face-to-face. You can witness the agent in action as well.
Open House Buyers Who Stop on a Whim
Often, buyers will drop in on an open house simply because it is open. Maybe it’s a home that you’ve often admired on that street and are curious to see what it looks like inside. If that’s the case, just tell the agent you have no inclination to buy. You can still tour the home. And who knows, more than one person has decided to buy a home because they unexpectedly and immediately fell in love with the house.
Neighbors Who Visit Open Houses
You might think the agent doesn’t want you to come to the open house if you are a neighbor, but actually, the agent would love to show the home and get your feedback. Neighbors are a great source of information. In addition, you might have a friend or coworker who could be interested in the home. So don’t feel embarrassed to admit to the agent that you are “a neighbor from down the street.”
With about 6,600 square feet of total living space, this custom-built, two-storey home located just south of Toronto’s Lawrence Heights neighbourhood is described as a Manhattan-style mansion with Parisian overtones, according to listing agent Zorica Lukovic.
“This impressive residence boasts the craftsmanship and the attention to detail that would be expected in a $5-million- to $7-million-dollar home.
“Exterior highlights include stone-and-brick, solid carved-limestone surrounds that highlight the quality windows and doors. The front steps are hand-cut solid granite. The limestone covered porch vestibule is lighted by a brushed-bronze fixture. The front mahogany entrance door has the design motif that is throughout the interior of the home,” says Lukovic.
“The exterior front and back yard can be monitored from the 55-inch monitoring screen in the main room, and surveillance can be controlled from any of the multiple exterior day- and night-vision cameras.
“As well, the property has been professionally landscaped, featuring interlocking brick pathways, custom-fencing and an exterior festive dance floor or sitting area made of 2-1/2-inch slab stone imported from a castle in Manhattan, New York,” Lukovic continues. “The extensive, custom back yard cedar deck overlooking the span of the property is thoughtfully appointed with external gas connections for exterior appliances, such as barbecues.”
The detached home is located a short drive to Yorkdale Shopping Centre, with easy access to Hwy. 401 and Allen Rd. It is about a half block from a park, and walking distance to schools. Steps from Dufferin St., it is very close to restaurants, cafes, shops and businesses and a supermarket.
Natural light floods the foyer from an above-door transom window and windows on each side of the front door. As well, the foyer features a marble floor, high ceilings and crown moulding.
The adjacent office has a double-door entrance, a hardwood floor, a 14-foot ceiling, panelled walls and a double French door walkout to a Juliette balcony, with a large fan transom window above.
Up a few steps from the foyer is the spacious living room. It overlooks the foyer and features a wrought-iron railing, a hardwood floor, pot lights, crown moulding, a fireplace with a flush marble surround, and two side-by-side double French doors and a large Juliet balcony.
The combined dining room has a hardwood floor, crown moulding and pot lights.
Custom-designed, the enormous chef’s kitchen and breakfast room has many features of note such as white Shaker-style cabinetry, thick granite countertops, a centre island with a built-in, retractable vacuum hose, top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances — including a six-burner range with two ovens, two fridges and two dishwashers, all hidden behind panels matching the cabinetry.
The kitchen also boasts a backsplash that is a collage of varying sized hand-cut stones illuminated by LED lighting. There are also pot lights, a chandelier and a double French door walkout with large floor-to-ceiling windows bordering both sides.
Between the dining room and the kitchen there is a butler’s pantry with a stainless steel refrigerator, built-in dishwasher, stainless steel wine cooler, preparation sink, shelving and cabinetry.
The great room is entered through the kitchen and boasts a hardwood floor, wall sconces, a fireplace, pot lights and a large picture window. There is a main floor powder room.
Upstairs, the master bedroom has ample space and highlights include a double entry door, pot lights, a hardwood floor, a partial coffered ceiling, a sitting area with a fireplace and large walk-in closet. The six-piece ensuite features a huge glass-enclosed shower with a sitting bench, marble counters, Carrera marble floors, custom-made walnut columns, a double sink and an extra-large, free-standing tub with a picture window above.
Up a few steps, there are five more bedrooms. Two of them feature walk-in closets. With two more bathrooms on this level, all secondary bedrooms have semi-ensuite access to either a three-piece or a four-piece bathroom. There is also a second-floor laundry room.
On the finished lower level is a large family room and sitting area with high ceilings, built-in cabinetry and a limestone-wrapped fireplace with a walnut mantle and an 11-foot home theatre screen.
The lower level has also a double garden door walkout, and is grade level with the backyard so it doesn’t feel like a basement. As well, there is a nanny’s suite with a four-piece bathroom, a kitchen with granite counter tops and a bedroom with an above-grade window.
There is also a mud room with a sink and cabinetry, with access to the garage. The lower level has another laundry room, and the home features two furnaces and two air conditioners.
To view this property contact listing agents Zorica Lukovic and Maja Lukovic, Sutton Group Realty Systems Inc., Brokerage, 416-762-4200 or 416-827-5651;www.SuttonRealty.com .
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