Smart-Home Tech That Helps Homeowners Age in Place

Those ages 55 and above say they want solutions for home maintenance, safety and security and making daily life easier. So, share these devices with your clients.

Smart-home technologies may help a growing number of older adults age in place, enabling them to improve their quality of life and continue to live independently longer, research shows. “Emerging technologies like smart beds and systems that detect falls can make aging in place a safer and more viable option,” Nadia Evangelou, senior economist and director of forecasting for the National Association of REALTORS®, writes on the Economists’ Outlook blog. “For instance, smart beds allow people with health issues to customize their beds in order to satisfy their needs.”

According to a study by insurance company The Hartford and the MIT AgeLab, older Americans’ top concerns with their home are:

  • Home maintenance (40%)
  • Safety and security (18%)
  • Making day-to-day life easy and convenient (16%)
  • Saving money (8%)
  • Saving energy (8%)

Sixty-six percent of adults ages 55 and older say they plan to remain in their home over the long term, according to Freddie Mac data. But beyond the addition of common features like grab bars and no-step showers, older adults are warming up to smart-home tech that may be able to assist them in their daily routine. Forty-eight percent of older adults say they would need to equip their current home with devices like voice-activated home assistants or a doorbell camera in order to age in place, according to AARP’s Home and Community Preferences Survey.

Most Helpful Tech for Aging in Place

The number of households headed by people ages 65 and older jumped 38% to 34 million between 2010 and 2020, so the need among this age group for smart-home tech is growing, according to data from the Urban Institute. These households are expected to rise to 48 million over the next two decades.

The Hartford and MIT AgeLab study identified these 10 smart technologies as potentially most valuable to older adults because they help with home maintenance, enhance safety and security, and make life easier for homeowners over the age of 50.

  • Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Wireless doorbell cameras
  • Keyless entry
  • Automated lighting
  • Smart water shutoff valves
  • Smart home security systems
  • Smart outlets and plugs
  • Smart thermostats
  • Water and mold monitoring sensors
  • Smart window blinds

The study also listed additional technologies that could benefit homeowners who have a health condition or are caring for a family member, including:

Telehealth systems: track, record and share vital signs with medical providers and enable doctors to monitor a person at home; includes video chat features.

Medical management systems: record a person’s medical data on their smartphone to share with medical professionals.

Medication management systems: provide medication reminders, track whether a person used a certain medication and send alerts to caregivers’ smartphones about whether medication has been taken.

Smart fall-detection systems: monitor movements throughout the house and can notify a caregiver or emergency contact if a fall is detected.

Smart beds/sleep sensors: track sleep cycles, breathing and heart rate patterns and can wake the person at an identified ideal time in their sleep cycle. They can also send relevant information to a caregiver’s smartphone.

June 28, 2022

Melissa Dittmann Tracey

NAR Report: These Are the Top Home Improvements

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M&R Realty Best Realtor in Lexington SC West Columbia

Homeowners and REALTORS® alike want new roofs and kitchens. According to the 2019 Remodeling Impact Report, released by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the two projects rank as the most popular home improvement projects among both demographics.

The report, which examines homeowners’ reasons for completing the projects ranked, also provides the costs and seller recovery values for many of the tasks.

Although NAR regularly releases similar reports, this is the first time since 2017 the organization has released this report, and there are some notable differences from what was included in that iteration two years ago.

“This year, we saw the estimated cost of closet renovations increase from 2017; however, we also saw an increase in the cost recovered from this project,” Brandi Snowden, director of Member and Consumer Survey Research at NAR, tells Housecall. “Because homeowners are staying longer in their homes, we see them investing more elaborately than in the past.”

Another effect of homeowners staying in their residences longer is they’re choosing to invest their money in projects that they’ll use on a daily basis, and that will improve the functionality and livability of their home.

Aside from kitchen renovations and upgrades and closet renovations, other interior projects hugely popular with both homeowners and REALTORS® this year are HVAC replacements, new wood flooring, bathroom renovations and adding new bathrooms.

As far as exterior projects, the REALTORS® surveyed in the report note that new roofing was most popular among homeowners, and, in their opinion, would add the most value to a home. Other exterior projects that ticked off both of these boxes were new vinyl windows, new vinyl siding, new garage doors and new fiber-cement siding.

Additionally, a Joy Score was calculated by NAR for each of the projects reported. This score is based on the happiness homeowners noted for each of the renovations. For exterior projects, new fiberglass and steel front doors scored the highest Joy Score each, at 9.7.

For interior projects, several renovations scored a perfect Joy Score of 10. They are: complete kitchen renovations, closet renovations, full interior and individual room paint, kitchen upgrades and basement conversions to a living room.

Here’s a graphic provided by the NAR that illustrates the top Joy Score projects as well as the top return-on-investment projects:

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Posted by Paige Brown NARand RISMedia’s Housecall

When Is the Best Time to Replace Your Roof?

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Maybe there’s a leak in your attic. Maybe you’ve noticed cracked or broken shingles. There are many reasons why you might need to replace your roof, but as with other home improvement projects, there are optimal and sub-optimal times to get it done. Here are just a few considerations when you’re wondering about the best season for redoing your roof.

Temperature
Temperature is the first thing to think about when planning an outdoor project. You don’t want to be working in intense heat, but you don’t want your fingers going cold and numb as you handle power tools, either. The ideal temperature is a moderate one during spring or fall. Make sure that you’re also paying attention to things like humidity, windchill, and air quality; these can be just as significant as the numbers on the thermometer.

Weather
You should always consider the weather when tackling outdoor renovation projects, but you’ll need to watch out for more than just extreme temperatures. Spring and summer storms can be volatile, bringing wind, rain, and hail that delays your roof work. You might also have to deal with things like unexpected heat waves softening your shingles or warping their adhesives.

Environmental Conditions
Winter is a dangerous time for roof replacement since ice and snow can make things slippery on top of your home. The colder temperatures can also create icicles and ice dams, and these are more than just eyesores; they’re genuine health hazards that can cause bodily injury. Summer can also be dangerous with the possibility of everything from heatstroke to sweaty hands dropping tools. Spring storms are a menace, too. Fall is the clear victor in terms of the best time for roof replacement.

Professional Availability
If you’ll be calling in the experts to help you with your roof, you should think about their availability. Home renovation companies tend to be high in demand in the spring and summer months. They might also need time to order and arrange supplies, especially if you’re opting for something like a solar roof, which can push your project from one season to the next. It’s best to contact them directly when working out a timetable for your roof work.

These are just a few things to keep in mind when you’re thinking about replacing your roof. It might not be an easy task, but it doesn’t have to be overly difficult, especially if you make efficient plans at the right time of year. The specific time, of course, will be up to you.

Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She enjoys playing tennis and spending time with her family.

Understanding the Asphalt Economy for the Roofing Industry

M&R Realty Best Realtor in Lexington SC West Columbia
M&R Realty Best Realtor in Lexington SC West Columbia

The asphalt economy is incredibly fascinating and sustainable. As of December 2021, asphalt is the most recycled material on Earth and can be used for roadways, parking lots, roof shingles, and more. With the current state of climate change and efforts to become more sustainable, asphalt recycling matters now more than ever. The United States is already heavily involved in the asphalt industry. In 2019, the U.S. produced 420 million tons of asphalt, housed more than 3,600 asphalt production sites, and owned 36 billion barrels of bitumen deposits.

What is asphalt? Asphalt, which is also referred to as bitumen, is a refined, solid-state petroleum made from distilling crude oil. Asphalt is a 100% renewable construction resource. Composed of five major elements, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur, asphalt is prized for its binding capabilities, structural strength, and temperature resistance. It is used to create many different types of surfaces; namely, roadways, waterproof surfaces, parking lots, and roof shingles.

Understanding the sustainability of the asphalt economy is important. Asphalt has a circular lifestyle, meaning it has a sustainable life process. Roughly 99% of all asphalt pavement is recovered every year, protecting people, property, and our planet. Recycling companies subject the material to a process that extracts usable asphalt from extraneous waste, then recovered materials are resold to providers for paving, shingling, waterproofing, and more. Finally, once the asphalt has reached the end of its life it’s picked up by a recycling company, and the entire process is repeated.

Asphalt Recycling benefits everyone. The asphalt recycling industry has both environmental and financial benefits. In terms of the environment, asphalt recycling prevents 2.4 metric tons of CO2e from entering the atmosphere, which is up to a 61% reduction in greenhouse gasses. It also prevents 11 tons of shingle waste from entering the landfill. The financial impacts are both country-wide and individual. Recycled asphalt saves American taxpayers more than $1.8 billion. Additionally, asphalt recycling reduces the United States’ dependence on foreign oil sources by up to 7.86 million barrels per day.

Today, the asphalt recovery market is a $7.1 billion industry. Shingle recovery has become a booming business; currently, there are more than 50 roofing recovery sites in more than 20 states. Asphalt shingles are recycled in a closed loop recycling process. Bitumen is pulled from the shingle using a specialized solvent. First, the asphalt is ground into chunks to remove nail debris, then single chinks are mixed with the special solvent to dissolve the bitumen. During this process, the solid waste sinks to the bottom of the tank while the bitumen and rest of the solvents rise to the surface. The remaining solution is heated to separate the solvents from the bitumen oil, which is then packaged.

Demands for asphalt have been increasing, and the asphalt recycling industry has modified to adapt to this new demand. Asphalt demands in the United States are projected to rise 3% year over year. Recycling programs are now available for both hot and cold mix asphalt. These sustainable programs reduce binder manufacturing costs by 35%. 95% of the asphalt and bitumen recovery allows for the resale of asphalt, asphalt granules, and bitumen oil. The asphalt economy isn’t the future; it’s already here.

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rce: InvestSkyQuarry.com
Brian Wallace is the founder and president of NowSourcing, a infographic design agency based in Louisville, Ky., and Cincinnati, Ohio, and works with companies that range from small business to Fortune 500. Wallace also runs a local event to make the Louisville/Cincinnati region more competitive (#thinkbig).

NEW BUILDING MATERIALS THAT ARE REVOLUTIONIZING HOME CONSTRUCTION

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The real estate industry is constantly evolving, and with this ever-changing landscape comes innovation. This innovation appears in many forms, from advanced technologies to new ways of handling real estate transactions. One thing that has made a significant change in the housing industry is the increasing cost of building materials. Lumber costs have skyrocketed in recent years, halting construction on new housing and causing home prices to rise to new highs—especially with inventory at a historic low across the country.

Read: High Lumber Prices: Here’s What It Means for Homeowners and Homebuyers 

Another factor to consider when it comes to building materials is location. From destructive wildfires on the West Coast to devastating hurricanes on the East Coast and in the South, climate change is making a serious impact on housing. According to a special report by The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Research Institute for Housing America (RIHA)—The Impact of Climate Change on Housing and Housing Finance—climate change will place increasing stress on housing, creating a need for adaptation strategies, such as incorporating building modifications into new construction and existing buildings, increasing the resiliency of communities through infrastructure improvements and standards.

These challenges have led to construction innovations that will begin to transform the new-home market. From concrete and cement to natural and recycled materials, these options can help scale down home building costs, reduce your carbon footprint and increase durability against natural disasters.

Bamboo

An environmentally friendly, renewable resource, bamboo has become a popular alternative for building homes. From durability to sustainability, this natural resource offers many qualities compared to more traditional materials.

Traditional lumber sources, such as maple and oak, can take up to 80 years to replenish. Bamboo, on the other hand, is the fastest growing plant on the planet, and can be harvested multiple times a year. In fact, according to Bamboo Living, every bamboo home that goes into production saves almost 10 acres of forest from destruction.

This material is also much stronger and sturdier than traditional woods, making it a great option for flooring. And even though it is strong, it is also flexible, which means builders can get creative with shapes and home designs that may have been limited with traditional materials. Bamboo also contains a natural bio-agent, bamboo kun, which makes this material resistant to pathogens and pests. Not only does this eliminate the risk for termites, but it also reduces the risk for rotting and losing strength over time.

Bamboo Living, a leader in providing artisan-quality bamboo homes and innovative, durable building products, has designed and manufactured over 400 homes around the world. From California to Florida, even all the way to India, their structures have proven to be resilient against the effects of changing climates and tough weather. Plus, it is not only eco-friendly, but budget-friendly, too.

Hempcrete

Sticking to the theme of eco-friendly and natural materials, hemp is taking big steps in the home building industry. As one of the oldest building materials, and with more and more states legalizing cannabis, hemp is becoming a more attainable alternative to traditional building materials and has many advantages.

The hemp plant has a very thick pulp, which can be used to create textiles, such as shoes and clothing, as well as building materials. Once fibers and seeds are removed from the plant, you are left with a woody stem, also known as a shiv. Hempcrete is made from combining this part of the plant with lime binder and water, creating what resembles a concrete block, without the weight. Industrial hemp can also be grown in many different climates and soils, giving builders across the country a sustainable alternative in a short period of time.

Hemp Block USA, the U.S.’s only provider of load bearing hempcrete blocks, share the many benefits of utilizing hempcrete as an alternative building material, including:

  • Mold resistant – Hempcrete regulates indoor humidity and air quality, which helps keep mildew and mold from growing.
  • Energy efficient thermal insulation – The value of hemp insulation can reduce energy costs up to 70% for both heating and cooling.
  • Termite-free – Termites and many other pests are not drawn to the hemp plant, reducing the chance of infestation and rotting.
  • Fire resistant – Hempcrete does not burn and has an excellent fire resistance rating, perfect for both walls and insulation.
  • Carbon negative – Finished hempcrete walls sequester more CO2 than they use during production.
  • Rendered finish – Hempcrete creates a finished rendered wall both inside and out.
  • Load bearing – Hempcrete is engineered for up to two stories.
  • Fast and easy assembly – Interlocking blocks can be stacked with minimal effort, saving 80% of traditional construction time.

Upcycled storage containers

Both environmentally friendly and cost-effective, this building option is becoming more popular amongst those looking to embrace unique home designs that ultimately meet their functionality needs and budget. Container homes have continued to gain momentum, and according to a study by Allied Market Research, the global market for this type of home is expected to reach more than $73 million by 2025.

Aside from being cost-effective, converting a shipping container into a home has additional benefits. Because they’re basic structure, they are very simple to construct, and augment. They are essentially a form of modular homes, offering the option to add and modify to your liking, and can even allow for container homeowners to easily relocate.

Shipping container homes are also extremely durable, made from Corten steel, which can withstand extreme weather conditions that traditional home materials may not, making these a great option for areas that suffer from hurricanes.

For the environment-friendly builders and buyers, there is nothing better than reusing and recycled materials. Steel is one of the most recycled materials in the world and using these containers as residences not only conserve resources, but offer a high-quality, affordable and sustainable solution.

Custom Container Living, a home construction company specializing in building homes from shipping containers, offers a step-by-step process for what you can expect, from start to finish construction, to financing, delivery and custom-build floor plans.

3D-printed concrete

A new technology has reached the home building industry, and it brings a new sustainable option to the forefront. Though concrete is a very common building material, it is now being used in new ways, making the building process more affordable while still utilizing existing materials.

The 3D printing process is primed to not only build houses faster and cheaper, but ultimately stronger and more long lasting compared to traditional materials, such as lumber. According to Habitat for Humanity, who have recently endorsed 3D printed homes, adding the use of concrete walls may save an estimated 15% per square foot in building costs, as it retains temperature in all climates, saving on heating and cooling costs, and is more resistant to hurricane and tornado damage.

3D printers have become more and more popular over the last 5 years, however, on this homebuilding scale, they are still new. In 2019, Statista projected that by 2025, the size of the global market, plus materials and any associated services will reach $49.1 billion, compared to $5.1 billion in 2015, a 700% increase.

Pilari, a technology driven developer of sustainable communities and modular homes, is re-imagining the future of home building with sustainability in mind, making an impact through reduction of waste and carbon emissions. In 2021, the company started development on the country’s first 3D-printed community in the desert city of Rancho Mirage, California, including 15 eco-friendly homes made from 3D-printed panels.

From climate change to increasing costs of lumber, traditional building materials could eventually take a backseat to these innovative and eco-friendly options.

Paige Brown is RISMedia’s content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to pbrown@rismedia.com.

2021 Price Surges Yield Record-Level Profits for Home Sellers, Report Says

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It’s no secret that 2021 was a banner year for real estate sales, but a new report from ATTOM Data Solutions indicates that homeowners that were willing to sell last year reeled in a profit that hasn’t been seen in more than a decade.

ATTOM released its Year-End 2021 U.S. Home Sales Report on Jan. 27, which shows that home sellers realized a profit of $94,092 on the typical sale in 2021—up 45% from 2020 and up 71% from two years ago.

Based on median purchase and resale prices, experts said the profit increase marked the highest level in the United States since at least 2008.

Major takeaways

  • National median home prices rose 16.9% in 2021 to $301,000, causing profits to surge.
  • Profits margins rose in nearly 90% of the nation—150 of the 173 metro areas with sufficient data to analyze.
  • Homeownership tenure dipped to a nearly 10-year low of 6.14 years.
  • One of every three single-family house and condo sales in 2021 was an all-cash purchase—a six-year high.
  • Institutional investing accounted for one of every 14 single-family home and condo sales in 2021 in the U.S.—an eight-year high.
  • Federal Housing Administration sales hit their lowest levels in 14 years.
  •  

What this means

Frenzied market behavior filled headlines last year as pandemic-induced stimulus and historically low mortgage rates helped fuel demand for a finite number of homes for sale.

According to the report, a surge of buyers financially unscathed by the pandemic flooded the market throughout 2021. The intense competition for a tight supply of homes contributed to a price surge that proved to be a boon for sellers who were able to reel in nearly $95,000 in profit for their homes.

“What a year 2021 was for home sellers and the housing market all around the U.S.,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM, in a statement. “Prices went through the roof, kicking profits and profit margins up at a pace not seen for at least a decade. All that happened as the virus pandemic raged on, which actually helped drive the increases instead of stifling them. Households that escaped job losses from the pandemic dove into the market, in large part as a response to the crisis. And the rising demand led the market boom onward.”

While 2021 was a record-setting year for price gains and profit margins, ATTOM noted that there are signs that prices could flatten out in this year as declining affordability, lower investor profits, and rising foreclosure activity contributes to a market cooldown that began in the fall.

The report stated that that was layered over with rising inflation and likely increases in mortgage rates this year.

A silver lining is that the current imbalance in demand and supply suggests there is room for at least some additional price gains.

“No doubt, there are warning signs that the surge could slow down this year,” Teta said. “But 2021 will go down as one of the greatest years for sellers and one of the toughest for buyers.”

Jordan Grice is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to jgrice@rismedia.com.

Millennial Demand Is Driving Prices Up in Neighborhoods With Kids

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With a record number of millennials set to reach key age milestones for homebuyers over the next two years, experts say this could push already accelerated price gains even further. This, according to a new report from Zillow that found home values are growing fastest in areas with the highest share of kids, reflects the impact millennial house hunters are making on family-friendly neighborhoods already experiencing a shortage of homes for sale.

According to the report, the top 10% of ZIP codes with the largest share of kids in each county analyzed saw an average of 21.3% growth from October 2020 to October 2021, compared to 17.6% in ZIP codes with the smallest share of kids. This trend started in 2013, which, not coincidentally, was the year the oldest millennials turned 32, the age when many new parents buy their first homes. That’s the median age of first-time home buyers and one year older than the median age of fathers with newborns, Zillow’s report stated.

“As millennials go, so goes the housing market, and we are seeing now, as millennials age, that they are looking for homes that fit the needs of growing families,” said Zillow economist Nicole Bachaud. “Millennial demand has helped push up home prices in areas with the most children. Competition for homes in these family-friendly areas should intensify in the coming years as more millennials reach the key age of 32, adding to the affordability squeeze.”

Zillow’s report analyzed 421 U.S. counties, representing 71% of the country’s population. ZIP codes with more residents under 18 years old are associated with higher home value growth in nearly two-thirds of the counties studied. Many of the counties where this relationship does not hold true are vacation destinations, where part-time residents have unconventional housing demands. Home value growth in these family-friendly areas began to outpace nearby ZIP codes in 2013, and the correlation between kids and home value growth has been nearly perfect for each year since 2017, according to the report.

That first wave of early-30s millennials had the benefit of discounted home prices because of the Great Recession; home values in these family-friendly ZIP codes were hit particularly hard between 2008 and 2011, during the nationwide housing crash. Today’s first-time home buyers are encountering a much different market, especially as home price growth has reached record highs during the pandemic.

Kristi Ramirez-Knowles, a REALTOR® and team leader for Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty working in West Los Angeles, told RISMedia late last year that millennials are often forced to look at areas near or abutting these traditional family-friendly zip codes, because the most attractive markets have no homes within their budget.

“It’s pushed further,” she says. “Other places where it wasn’t very family friendly, now it’s starting to get very family friendly because they’re building brand new construction with everything built in—with the pool and the rec room, and that’s drawing to those areas. That’s attracting families even though the school district may not be that great. It’s the appeal of brand-new and something they can afford.”

That also seems to be the case on the other side of the country, as Virginia-based agent Kathryn Kramer with Howard Hanna, suggests that the Norfolk housing market has seen similar behavior.

“I think that this effect is compounded by two factors,” Kramer says. “Empty-nesters are more hesitant to move because of the pandemic, and we have fewer of those homes on the market. Also, more millennials are working from home which has allowed markets like ours to flourish because people who can now work remotely are moving to areas that have better schools and amenities and a lower cost of living.”

Kramer went on to say that some of the neighborhoods that are not traditionally thought of as first choices for families are going to start improving as people start getting priced out of other neighborhoods.

The snowball of millennials reaching peak age for first-time home buyers has grown during the past nine years and is about to turn into an avalanche, Zillow reported. Nearly 200,000 more Americans will turn 32 this year than did so in 2021―the biggest jump since the transition from Generation X to millennials in 2013—and even more will do so in 2023. This demographic reality should fuel even faster price growth in family-friendly ZIP codes over the next two years, making saving for a down payment even more challenging for first-time buyers.

This effect, the report states, is strongest in counties that encompass the cities of Norfolk, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; Portland, Oregon; Austin, Texas; and Seattle. Counties where this trend does not hold true include those encompassing Galveston, Texas; Santa Barbara, California; and Ocean City, New Jersey.

NATIONAL DELINQUENCY DROPS BELOW MARCH 2020 LEVEL

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Another good indicator of a strong economy, was revealed in CoreLogic’s monthly Loan Performance Insights Report for November 2021.

In November, 3.6% of all mortgages in the U.S. were in some stage of delinquency (30 days or more past due, including those in foreclosure), representing a 2.3-percentage point decrease compared to November 2020, when it was 5.9%. This suggests mortgage performance is following the nation’s income growth.

Key findings: 

  • Early-Stage Delinquencies(30 to 59 days past due): 1.2%, down from 1.4% in November 2020
  • Adverse Delinquency(60 to 89 days past due): 0.3%, down from 0.6% in November 2020
  • Serious Delinquency(90 days or more past due, including loans in foreclosure): 2%, down from 3.9% in November 2020 and a high of 4.3% in August 2020
  • Foreclosure Inventory Rate(the share of mortgages in some stage of the foreclosure process): 0.2%, down from 0.3% in November 2020. This remains the lowest foreclosure rate recorded since 1999
  • Transition Rate(the share of mortgages that transitioned from current to 30 days past due): 0.6%, down from 0.8% in November 2020

The takeaway:


In addition to low delinquency rates, foreclosure rates also remain at historic lows as borrowers have been able to quickly pile on equity during a year of record-breaking home price growth. These factors have helped offset some of the difficult economic impacts of the ongoing pandemic.

“Nonfarm employment rose 6.45 million during 2021, helping to rebuild income for families under financial stress during the pandemic,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic. “Income growth has helped to reduce past-due rates and home equity build-up has reduced the likelihood of a distressed sale for families that experience financial challenges.”

Regional highlights:

  • In November 2021, all states logged year over year declines in their overall delinquency rate. The states with the largest declines were: Nevada (down 3.8 percentage points); New Jersey (down 3.6 percentage points); Hawaii (down 3.5 percentage points); Florida (down 3.4 percentage points); and New York (down 3.2 percentage points).
  • All except one U.S. metropolitan area posted at least a small annual decrease in their overall delinquency rate. The one area with an annual increase in November 2021 was Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana (up 0.4 percentage points). Houma was impacted by Hurricane Ida in the fall, but its November delinquency rate is an improvement from October as the area works to recover.

MORTGAGE RATES CONTINUE UPWARD MOMENTUM

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The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.14% for the week ending Oct. 28, according to the latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) from Freddie Mac. Declining COVID cases and improved consumer confidence, however, are keeping purchase demand strong despite increasing rates.

Mortgage details:

– 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.14% with an average 0.7 point for the week ending Oct. 28, 2021, up from last week when it averaged 3.09%. Last year, the 30-year FRM averaged 2.81%.

– 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.37% with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.33%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.32%.

– 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.56% with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.54%. Last year, the five-year ARM averaged 2.88%.

The takeaway:

“The yield on the 10-year Treasury note has been trending up due to the decline in new COVID cases, increasing consumer optimism, as well as broadening inflation and persistent shortages,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, in a statement. “Mortgage rates are also rising, but purchase demand remains firm, showing that latent purchase demand exists among consumers.”

“Next week’s Federal Reserve FOMC meeting to decide on the next monetary steps will offer more clarity to financial markets about the road ahead. With the Fed expected to announce a tapering of its asset purchases in light of stronger employment and higher inflation, I expect rates to continue rising,” said realtor.com® Manager of Economic Research, George Ratiu, in a statement.

“Real estate markets are showing signs of a new equilibrium, marked by a steady pace of transactions, and more moderate price growth. As more homeowners list their houses for sale, these homes are spending more time on the market. A good number of cities that were fraught with bidding wars earlier this year are finding a calmer housing landscape, where price reductions are bringing sky-high asking prices back down to earth,” added Ratiu. “While the market remains brisk, there are fewer competing offers, and contingencies have returned, both clear signs of a healthier housing market. For buyers, approachable mortgage rates and less competition mean good opportunities to find the right home. Even so, at today’s rate, buyers of a median-priced home will pay an extra $142 toward their mortgage payment compared with a year ago.”

By RISMedia Staff

MARKET COOLS IN SEPTEMBER AS PENDING HOME SALES DIP

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Despite a late summer rebound, pending home sales dipped again in September, according to the newest report from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings, declined by 2.3% last month, dropping to 116.7. 

All regions saw year-over-year contract signings fall last month, declining 8.0% nationally. The northeast decline was the most significant, with another double-digit drop in contract signings.

Lagging inventory was a primary factor in potential buyers momentarily pausing their home searches in September. Despite the lull in contract signings, experts predict that the buying activity will resume in 2022 as the supply of homes for sale improves. 

Home sales have risen by 6.4% in 2021 based on NAR’s data from the year. Looking ahead, the association expects sales activity to decline by 1.7% in 2022 under rising mortgage rates in the new year. 

https://www.rismedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/NAR_PHS-SEPT2021.png

Regional Breakdown:

Northeast
-3.2% MoM — Now 93.1 PHSI
-18.5% YoY 

Midwest
-3.5% MoM — 111.4 PHSI
-5.8% YoY 

South
-1.8% MoM — 139.1 PHSI
-5.8% YoY  

West
 
-1.4% MoM — 105.3 PHSI
-7.2% YoY

What the Industry Is Saying:

“Contract transactions slowed a bit in September and are showing signs of a calmer home price trend, as the market is running comfortably ahead of pre-pandemic activity. It’s worth noting that there will be less inventory until the end of the year compared to the summer months, which happens nearly every year.

“Rents have been mounting solidly of late, with falling rental vacancy rates. This could lead to more renters seeking homeownership in order to avoid the rising inflation, so an increase in inventory will be welcomed.”— Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist

“Although home sales activity has retreated from its earlier highs, it is stabilizing at a level of activity that is above pre-pandemic pace thanks to a combination of eager young buyers, lingering pandemic savings, and low mortgage rates creating opportunity despite ongoing home price gains.

“Whether the housing market will maintain this plateau and begin to grow again or slide back is dependent on home construction and income growth. Rising home prices will be the norm as long as demand exceeds supply, and with a 5.2 million cumulative home shortage over the last decade and many millennials entering prime home-buying age, the stage is set for that imbalance to continue. If builders continue to ramp up production, as they have, that could help stem price growth to a pace more consistent with rising incomes. 

“Alternatively, as rising home prices are paired with rising mortgage rates, which have already jumped above 3%, we could see mortgage payments that require larger shares of buyer paychecks, especially if incomes grow more slowly. This could cause some buyers to opt out, dampening demand and ultimately causing sales activity and home price growth to slow.” — Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com®

For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor

Jordan Grice is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to jgrice@rismedia.com.