Kitchen storage is a top priority among renovating homeowners, finds the 2021 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, based on a survey of more than 2,000 homeowners planning or in the midst of a kitchen remodel. Renovators are paying closer attention to their cabinet and pantry storage.
Many of the surveyed homeowners turned their attention to upgrade their kitchen cabinets, either replacing them or refacing the ones they already have. Also, the percentage of homeowners adding or upgrading a pantry space is on the rise. Nearly half of homeowners upgraded their pantry cabinets, and one in eight added a walk-in pantry—both up compared to last year, the survey finds.
2020 Was a Year Where Home Design Took Center Stage
December 31, 2020
Americans are taking a greater interest in the aesthetics of their spaces. Share these trending stories online to connect with homeowners interested in sprucing up their spaces and help potential buyers envision their new home.
The following are the top five home design stories at REALTOR® Magazine for 2020.
Bold, saturated colors are back after years of calm beiges, soothing grays, and varied whites dominating the interior design scene. What’s a homeowner to do?
As homeowners continue to stay in, avoiding the latest spikes in coronavirus numbers, many seek new ways to improve their abode’s function and aesthetics.
REALTOR® Magazine’s Styled, Staged & Sold blog counts down some of the cringe-worthy decorative choices people are making while hunkering down at home.
Owning a home is a significant financial investment for your clients. These 10 tips will help them prepare for maintenance and repair costs, too.
For equity-rich sellers who need more than a fluff before they put their home on the market, companies are now offering renovation management and funding.Source: REALTOR® Magazine
Between 2018 and 2028, the number of households is projected to increase by up to 12 million. Generation X and millennials are expected to drive most of that household formation. As they replace dropped households over that time, the two generations could add nearly 25 million new households by 2028, according to the CoreLogic Insights Blog.
The largest cohort of millennial buyers have yet to surface on the market, researchers note. That segment, from ages 28 to 30, numbers nearly 15 million and is approaching the average age to buy a first home, 33 years old, CoreLogic reports.
Homes are getting smarter, and real estate pros are discovering it’s important to stay ahead of the trends to present the “new” American home to clients. And as the workplace went virtual this year, videoconferencing along with other virtual tools rose in importance.
REALTOR® Magazine highlights its top five technology articles in 2020
1. A Vision for the Greenest Homes Ever
This year’s New American Home, an annual concept build at the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas, reflects the most technologically advanced methods of achieving energy efficiency.
December 30, 2020
Real estate pros are quickly submitting offers for clients as the buyer frenzy, unusual for the winter season, continues.
Sales have slowed slightly from the high levels recorded this fall. Pending home sales slid in November by 2.6% compared to those in October, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ Pending Home Sales Index, released on Wednesday. November’s decline marked the third consecutive month for monthly decreases in pending home sales.
“The latest monthly decline is largely due to the shortage of inventory and fast-rising home prices,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “It is important to keep in mind that the current sales and prices are far stronger than a year ago.”
Pending home sales are still up 16.4% compared to a year ago. All major regions are posting double-digit year-over-year increases.
“The market is incredibly swift this winter with listed homes going under contract on average at less than a month due to a backlog of buyers wanting to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates,” Yun says.
NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index reached a reading of 125.7 in November—an all-time high. An index reading of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001.
Yun predicts home sales to continue to perform strongly in 2021. He expects existing-home sales to increase about 10% and new home sales to surge by 20% in the new year.
“Economic growth is guaranteed from the stimulus package and from vaccine distribution, but high government borrowing will put modest upward pressure on interest rates,” Yun says.
December 28, 2020
Mortgages are now taking an average of nearly two months to close as lenders face a surge in business spurred by low mortgage rates and high demand.
The average time it took a mortgage to close in November was 55 days, according to Ellie Mae’s Origination Insight Report.
The 55-day average wait is proving problematic for borrowers who might lock in their mortgage rate for a 30-day or 45-day period. The rate lock will hold a low mortgage rate for a specified time. But if it expires before a buyer closes, buyers could get stuck paying a higher interest rate on their mortgage or have to pay another fee to extend their rate lock, The Motley Fool reports.
“A big reason why mortgages have been delayed lately is volume,” The Motley Fool reports. “Low interest rates are fueling demand for new home purchases and refinances, and mortgage lenders are incredibly busy trying to keep up with everyone.”
Home buyers’ anxiety levels could increase as the frustrating wait to close lengthens, but buyers likely can do little if a mortgage is delayed by a lender processing their loan. However, they could possibly jumpstart the process by making sure they respond to all the information the lender requests promptly and at the time of the application, The Motley Fool reports. The sooner they submit all the requested information, the quicker lenders can get to work processing the mortgage.
The latest REALTORS® Confidence Index report from November shows that 30% of contracts last month were delayed but did eventually reach settlement. The most common delays were related to obtaining financing, which contributed to about 26% of those instances.Source: “The Average Mortgage Now Takes Almost 2 Months to Close,” The Motley Fool (Dec. 26, 2020) and “REALTORS® Confidence Index: November 2020,” National Association of REALTORS® (November 2020)
As the pandemic wears on, more homeowners are looking to spruce up their nests by searching for home design inspiration online.
Houzz, a home remodeling and design resource site, recently analyzed the most popular home design searches of the year to determine the most popular trends during the pandemic began. The two standout trends relate to the outdoors and creating cozy getaways at hom
Looking at searches from May to July, Houzz found that users’ interest in the outdoors doubled during that time. The design terms that saw the biggest growth:
As people rethink how they use their homes, some design trends that were popular in recent years are quickly fading. For example, the open layout is becoming less trendy as homeowners favor more privacy. Apartment Therapy recently asked designers to chime in on which home decorating trends they think will fall out of style in the new year.
December 17, 2020
The Federal Reserve left borrowing costs at record lows on Wednesday, while acknowledging there’s still a long way to go as the nation’s economy heals from the COVID-19 outbreak.
The key rate acts as a benchmark for borrowing and savings. Interest rates will remain at 0% to 0.25%, which they have since March. The Fed’s benchmark rates do not have a direct influence over mortgage ratesbut can influence them. Mortgage rates have been reaching all-time lows in recent weeks and likely will continue to stay low, economists say.
Fed officials on Wednesday did upgrade their economic outlook and said that they believe the economy will rebound strongly once a coronavirus vaccine is widely available. The Fed also said it was more optimistic about employment and growth. Still, it will likely keep its interest rates at record lows until at least through 2023, according to its forecasts.
“The path of the economy will depend significantly on the course of the virus,” the Fed said in a statement following the meeting. “The ongoing public health crisis will continue to weigh on economic activity, employment, and inflation in the near term, and poses considerable risks to the economic outlook over the medium term.”
Fed officials predict that unemployment will drop to 5 percent by the end of 2021 and to 4.2% by the end of 2022. Fed officials are also more hopeful about growth in the GDP, predicting it could grow by 4.2% by the end of 2021.
Also on Wednesday, the Fed renewed its commitment to continue buying at least $120 billion worth of bonds each month “until substantial further progress has been made” on employment and inflation remains at 2%.
“Together, these measures will ensure that monetary policy will continue to deliver powerful support to the economy until the recovery is complete,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said in a news conference.Source: “Fed Keeps Interest Rates at Near-Zero as Coronavirus Rebound Sputters,” Bankrate.com (Dec. 16, 2020) and “Fed Leaders More Optimistic on Jobs, GDP Growth at Final 2020 Policy Meeting,” The Washington Post (Dec. 16, 2020)Comment