Real Estate Trends With Staying Power
Last year there were some common national trends in real estate that seem to have staying power. According to Realtor Magazine six of them were: Generation X jumps to the top, mobile real estate, paperless business, reversal of fortune in inventory, drone photography, and micro-apartments. Graham Wood, columnist for Realtor Magazine, noted these as six hot topics that are gaining traction.
Generation X, the age group between 35 and 49 is now the group buying the most homes. According to the National Association of Realtors they bought the highest percentage of homes in 2013 at 31 percent. The next largest group of buyers was Generation Y, who are 32 years old and younger, who accounted for 28 percent of the sales, with the baby boomers following them.
Mobile devices are being used more than ever by buyers looking at real estate. It is estimated that using smart phones to learn about real estate grew by more than 10 percent in the last year by The Search, an online marketing firm. Tablet searches increased even more with a 20 percent increase each quarter and a whopping 87 percent increase for the year. It has become very common for buyers to use their smart phones and tablets rather than call a real estate agent, which was the norm in the past.
In a business known for piles of paperwork, technology has made it easier to draft and sign offers and contracts using a tablet or other device which allows all parties the ability to execute the contract using electronic signatures with tools like DocuSign from just about anywhere. There are also tools that manage the entire transaction and allow all parties to log on to see how thing are progressing. Our office is now filing documents electronically compared to the old way of boxing files and storing them for several years collecting dust and taking up valuable space in the office.
It is getting easier and affordable to take photographs of properties and neighborhoods from small remote-controlled flying cameras. The Federal Aviation Authority is now proposing regulations to congress to restrict the use of these flying devices.
Micro Apartments are popping up in some of the country’s larger cities like New York and San Francisco. These are small apartments containing around 200 square feet and are affordable. Reuters reports that the average age in these micro apartments is 33 and the average income is $35,000 a year.
A trend in our Phoenix market was reported this week in the local media is that builders are building new construction in the central downtown core. They are looking for small, undeveloped land to build on and are tearing down older buildings to build housing close to where the jobs and entertainment are located. The light rail has helped in the desirability of downtown properties as well. This trend is referred to as infill. Builders are buying up pieces of land and creating urban living spaces to keep up with the demand of this new trend. The younger buyers are not going to the suburbs as their parents did. And while this trend is appealing to the younger buyers, these homes are being bought by all age groups. According to an article in a local newspaper, infill is growing by a percentage faster than all other new homes in the Phoenix metro market. In 2010, 200 new homes were built in the central core and this year, more than 1,300 infill homes have been built–six times more than three years ago. Real estate analyst, RL Brown estimates that in 2013, 13 percent of the new home permits pulled were for infill housing. Builders are reporting that buyers of infill neighborhoods are looking for environmentally conscious construction with energy features such as solar panels and they are looking for a contemporary design with flexible space.
We will see some of these trends continue into 2014 and it will be exciting to see what new trends we see rise to the top in 2014.