First-time home-buyers are shifting housing industry standards when it comes to home design preferences—and, according to the latest Home Design Trends Survey by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), one of the most significant changes is the end of the era of expansive property and square footage.
Small, simply, is the new big.
Smaller homes are generally more affordable, which is key for many first-time home-buyers squeezed by high home prices and student debt. Small homes, however, are scarce in most housing markets.
Aside from less living space, the architecture professionals surveyed see the following trends taking shape:
- In-Home Accessibility
- Single-Floor Plans
- Open-Concept Layout
- Informal Spaces
Source: American Institute of Architects (AIA)
NEW STUDY: U.S. Homeownership Rate Off
Despite steadily improving local job markets and historically low mortgage rates, the U.S. homeownership rate is stuck near a 50-year low because of a perverse mix of affordability challenges, student loan debt, tight credit conditions and housing supply shortages according to new findings released at the Realtors® Sustainable Homeownership Conference.
Led by a group of prominent experts including Realtor’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, they reported a dip and idleness in the homeownership rate, its drag on the economy and what can be done to ensure more creditworthy households have the opportunity to buy a home.
“The decline and stagnation in the homeownership rate is a trend that’s pointing in the wrong direction, and must be reversed given the many benefits of homeownership to individuals, communities and the nation’s economy,” said Realtor President Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California, “Those who are financially capable and willing to assume the responsibilities of owning a home should have the opportunity to pursue that dream.” One of Brown’s main objectives as president of NAR is identifying ways to boost the homeownership rate in a safe and responsible way.
Credit standards have not normalized following the Great Recession. Borrowers with good-to-excellent credit scores are not getting approved at the rate they were in 2003, prior to the period of excessively lax lending standards. Safely restoring lending requirements to accessible standards is key to helping creditworthy households purchase homes.
U.S. real estate markets are increasingly becoming international, and changing demographics brought forth by immigration and growing interest from foreigners are positioned to bolster home sales activity and prices. That’s according to speakers at the recent international real estate forum organized by the REALTOR® University Center for Real Estate Studies in Washington DC.
Alex Nowrasteh, immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute, shared insight on the current and future impact of foreign buyers and immigration on the U.S. housing market. He said the rising U.S. population is being bolstered by a growing number of immigrant households, and their presence will continue to transform the housing market. Of the roughly 321.4 million residents in the U.S., 278.1 million are born here (natives) and the remaining 43.3 million – made up of 20.7 million naturalized citizens and 22.6 million non-citizens, foreign-born.
Danielle Hale, Managing Director of Housing Research, said foreigners view the U.S. as a great place to buy and invest in real estate. She noted the upward trend in sales activity from resident and non-resident foreign buyers1 in the past seven years, with total foreign buyer transactions increasing from $65.9 billion in 2010 to $102.6 billion in the latest survey.
A majority of foreign buyers in recent years are from China, which surpasses Canada as the top country by dollar volume and total sales, according to Hale.
If you’re entering the real estate market for the first time, you may find the array of titles used by real estate professionals a little confusing. There are real estate agents, associate brokers, brokers and Realtors.
A real estate agent is anyone who earns a real estate license and is the first step for someone entering the real estate profession. This is a temporary license and the agent must attain a real estate associate broker’s license as a permanent real estate license by taking additional courses.
The Real Estate broker is a person who has taken education beyond the agent level as required laws and has passed a broker’s license exam. Brokers can work alone or they can hire agents to work for them.
If you have hired a real estate agent to help you buy or sell a home, that agent typically reports to a broker. The broker is usually the manager and often owner of the real estate company and is recognized by the State as the “designated broker” of that real estate firm responsible for the overall operation and supervision of several real estate agents.
You can choose to work with a salesperson or a broker, but in any case you should take the time to interview your agent and ask for references. If you want to work with someone new to the profession, you may want to ask to meet the broker as well so you can feel comfortable that someone with experience will be representing your best interests.
The term Realtor refers to a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, which means that they are bound to uphold the strict standards of the association and its code of ethics.