April 21, 2021. In most parts of the country a staple of conversation these days is the crazy increase in home prices. A big reason for that, according to Realtor.com, is a shortage of places to buy. The supply of homes for sale in the U.S. during March was down 52% from a year earlier. Another factor is continued interest low rates. The March national median listing price of a home was $370,000, up a whopping 15.6% compared to last year. The typical home spent 54 days on the market this March, which is six days less than last year. Anecdotally, almost everyone we know in Florida who has sold their home this winter sold it in just a few days, often the same day it went on the market!
Oct. 29, 2020 – Builder confidence in the single-family 55+ housing market was at an all-time high in the third quarter, jumping 18 points to 83, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) 55+ Housing Market Index (HMI) released today.
The 55+ HMI measures two segments of the 55+ housing market: single-family homes and multifamily condominiums. Each segment of the 55+ HMI measures builder sentiment based on a survey that asks if current sales, prospective buyer traffic and anticipated six-month sales for that market are good, fair or poor (high, average or low for traffic).
July 29, 2020 — The types of living options available to people of retirement age have expanded tremendously in the last 50 years. But one type that has not changed much is the nursing home, the site of so many coronavirus infections. Sometimes disparagingly referred to as “big box” enterprises because they can be large and impersonal, even nursing homes might be about to experience a sea change, thanks to the combined impact of the Covid 19 pandemic and an aging baby boomer population.
Boomers want to do things their way, and that doesn’t mean being forced into a nursing home if they can help it. But an even longer nail in the coffin for nursing homes might be what the coronavirus does to them. Seeing the deadly germ spread like wildfire through nursing homes and assisted living facilities has made the danger of having a large number of a vulnerable population clustered together all too clear. Stories of residents left to die alone, separated from their loved ones, have been devastating.
December 12, 2019 – Two different companies, The National Association of Realtors® (NAR), and Realtor.com, have each identified markets expected to outperform in the coming years. The lists are quite different, with Realtor.com’s concentrating more on smaller markets.
Both sources believe that affordability and strong local economies are key to markets with strong prospects for the future. Note that very few of these cities are on the coasts, although the overwhelming majority are in warm weather climes.
In alphabetical order, here are the top 10 the NAR expects to outperform over the next three to five years.:
However, don’t stop with just the NAR report. Realtor.com jumped into the topic with its own list. Here are the “hottest” real estate markets they predict for 2020, along with median home prices. Note: many of these are smaller markets. The only overlap we see in the top 10 are Charleston and Colorado Springs.
November 9, 2019 — With so many baby boomers facing retirement with smaller than expected savings, the question of where they can afford to live is a serious question. Recently one of our long-standing Members, Peder, raised the issue of manufactured homes, and in particular, their pitfalls. Somewhat to our amazement we cannot find that we have written about this important topic before, so now seems like a great time to do it.
There can be a lot of confusion around terms like manufactured homes. Code of Federal Regulations, 24 CFR 3280, states that: “Manufactured homes are built as dwelling units of at least 320 square feet in size with a permanent chassis to assure the initial and continued transportability of the home.” They are typically built in a factory and moved as one or more sections to where the homeowner wants it. Their wheel chassis is the key differentiation from other types of homes. They are often referred to less elegantly as “mobile homes” and “trailers“. In the 1950’s ten foot wide models were introduced. Because of this greater width (previous models were 8′ wide), it became harder to transport them and this helped distinguish them from travel trailers and RVs.
They are different than modular homes, also prefabricated and built in factories. Some experts have long predicted that modular construction will eventually replace so called “stick-built” homes because of the efficiencies involved in building homes in a factory setting. It is often difficult to distinguish between a modular home and one built in-situ. Some other variations of modular homes are “pre-cut” or “panelized” homes.
November 6, 2019 — Millennials and GenY and Xers can get a little tired of us baby boomers. Now some experts are seeing yet another problem we seemed to have created. By staying in our homes longer than expected, we are disrupting the housing market. According to research by the real-estate brokerage Redfin, homeowners are staying in their homes 5 years longer than they did in 2010. The typical stay has now lengthened to 13 years. That has led to a tight real estate market with record low inventories of homes for sale.
Many folks expected that by now baby boomers would have downsized, moved to warmer climes, or headed to a 55+ community. That should have led to a big supply of larger homes on the market, to be purchased by younger families wanting to move up. While many of us have moved, more are staying put than predicted. The result is a market disruption. Families that need bigger homes for their growing broods are finding a tight housing market, with fewer homes for sale than expected. The inventory of homes on the market is the lowest in 37 years, according to CoreLogic Inc. Smaller inventories keep prices high. Boomers are affecting the market for smaller homes and condos too. Because inventories are tight in all kinds of markets, there is pressure on both older and younger buyers. Although home equity-rich boomers are more likely to come out on top in any bidding war, they are reluctant to pay high prices for a smaller home.
Oct. 23, 2019 — Many of the 10,000 adults who retire each day are interested in relocating from where they live now. The 55places 2019 National Housing Survey asked nearly 3,000 recent and prospective homebuyers to reveal what’s important when looking for a home, community, and real estate agent, as well as other relevant aspects of the homebuying process. The respondents, 97% of whom were over the age of 55, provided some interesting insights into what drives their relocation preferences.
May 29, 2019 — We are grateful to Brigitta for suggesting this article on the pitfalls to look out for when buying a home in the Southwest. Here is what she wrote a while back:
“I’ve been receiving your newsletter for a couple of years. However, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an article about the differences in building practices in different areas of the country. By that, I mean as someone who has lived my entire life on the east coast, I am quite familiar with how homes are/were built going back to the 1700s when my area was settled. I’m also familiar with the types of “pests” and environmental issues, i.e., radon, asbestos, buried oil tanks (for heating) that that NJ homeowners look for. Now, I am interested in purchasing a home in AZ and I realize I don’t know ANYTHING about typical building practices- pro/con, types of homes that one might want to stay away from or might WANT to consider, pests typical to the area, environmental issues, etc as I do about the east coast. ”
Thanks Brigitta! It is such a good question we will expand this “pitfalls” article to the Southeast and Florida as well the Southwest, since these are the most common places for retirees to be moving to, and where they tend to lack buying experience. As always, we are hoping for additional Member Comments to make sure we address all the important risks to worry about.
The desert and mountains present inherently different hazards to those found in the Southeast. The Southwest’s powerful sun and high temperatures present other differences. This first section will discuss the home buying hazards that can exist in the Southwest. Although many problems in a home can be corrected if you spend money and time, but it is always nice to find a property that doesn’t need work.
Flooding is possible in the Southwest, especially in areas of low elevation and along large rivers. Geological hazards, including avalanches, earthquakes, landslides, and rockfalls, also occur throughout the Southwest, especially where there is rugged, mountainous terrain. FEMA maps can help alert you to those areas.
May 11, 2019 — The National Association of Home Buyers (NAHB) reports that the market continues to be strong for 55+ homebuyers and renters. While many baby boomers will not be moving soon, there is a significant segment that is seeking a change in their living arrangements. “Overall, demand for homes in 55+ communities remain strong as more buyers and renters in that market search for simpler living arrangements,” said Karen Schroeder, chair of NAHB’s 55+ Housing Industry Council and vice president of Mayberry Homes in East Lansing, Mich. “However, there are still headwinds that are impacting the market, such as rising construction costs and a lack of skilled labor.”
Elsewhere, the Urbanland.uli.org site has an interesting article (referred to us by our own “Nomadic pilot”) that outlines the complexity of the 55+ homebuying landscape. There are many threads to the market. Many experts predicted there would be a mass selloff of suburban homes as aging boomers moved out, either to 55+ communities or urban apartments. While that has happened to some extent, there are still millions of boomers who continue to live where they always have.
Comments? What do you think is going to happen in the retirement housing market? Are you planning on changing where you live and the type of home, or are you staying where you live now? Please add your Comments below.
May 8, 2019 — Chances are you aren’t looking for the most expensive place to retire. Most people are looking for the opposite, a 55+ or active community where they can retire and stretch their savings and social security into a comfortable retirement. But just for fun, here’s a look at where we might retire if we were to suddenly join the ranks of the 1%. Which one would you pick?
We looked around in researching this article and were amazed at how little good information there is on the ritziest places to retire. 55places.com had an article on the topic, but the communities on its list barely approached the mid-range of pricing. The same can be said for a very similar list put out by ThinkAdvisor.com. Our list is by no means complete, but we think it is a lot better. If you know of a super-expensive retirement community, please suggest it in the Comments section below.