Real Estate Technology
Article | July 21, 2022
While many workers plan, at least according to recent surveys, to continue spending at least part of each week working from home, a shorter commute still seems to be holding increasing appeal. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB ) says its first quarter Home Building Geography Index (HBGI) indicates not only a pandemic driven shift in construction to low density, low cost markets, but a rapid expansion in areas with the shortest commutes.
Litic Murali, writing in NAHB's Eye on Housing blog, says workplaces are moving toward hybrid home/office work models which could affect 30 to 40 percent of the American workforce. This will give renters and buyers increased market power over their travel times and the ability to reduce both housing and transportation costs.
The nationwide average commute is 26 minutes. Those counties in the bottom quintile (lowest 20 percent) have a commute time of 18 minutes or less while the commute in the highest quintile is 28 minutes. The data show that 36.2 percent of the U.S. population resides in the counties in that top slice.
The HBGI indicates that the top two quintiles with the longest commutes together had 63.6 percent of single family building. However, growth was strongest in that bottom quintile with a four-quarter moving average annual growth of 22.2 percent.
Real Estate Technology
Article | July 18, 2022
For first-time homebuyers, making the transition from renter to homeowner can be exciting, overwhelming, and scary all at once. Yet as Gary Keller and Jay Papasan write in the second edition of Your First Home, “Those who live the most fulfilling lives base their decisions on facts, not fears.”
Below, we’ve outlined four powerful facts from Your First Home to help move anxious homeowners toward the fulfillment and abundance Keller and Papasan nod to. Delivered with empathy, care, and your expertise – these facts can help ease fears and move clients closer to experiencing all the bounties homeownership brings.
Fear 1: “I can’t afford to buy a home now.”
Fact: Until you do the math, you don’t know what you can or can’t afford.
If you are currently paying rent, generally you can afford to buy. From a financial point of view, in the United States, the tax savings on mortgage interest alone usually make up most of the difference between your rent and mortgage payments – the tax write-offs you get at the end of year will generally help you save a lot of money.
Additionally, depending on your credit score, you can end up affording more than you realize. Note: The credit scores used for mortgage lending tend to take on a much larger picture of your overall credit score.
Finally, although there may be a higher initial cost to buying a house, if you’re planning on staying in one place for a few years, the equity you build can end up being a financial boon.
Fear 2: “I should wait until the real estate market gets better.”
Fact: There is never a wrong time to buy the right home.
Whether “right” means the right price or the right property for you, waiting for the perfect market timing seldom works to your advantage. If you don’t believe us, look back to the Great Recession when the bubble around the housing market burst, GDP declined 4.5% and unemployment rose to around 9.5%. Everyone still feels the impact of this incredible financial event. But, like those who endured the Great Depression, the people who lived through the Great Recession made it through, and benefited from an era of financial growth. In fact immediately following the Great Recession, the United States entered the longest period of rising prices and general prosperity since World War II. The fact of the matter is, even the biggest economic downturns are, well, normal. Even when there were some events that threatened to dampen the economy, like the COVID-19 pandemic, the housing market still continued to thrive.
In the end, there are two ways to make money in real estate: timing and time. That is you happen upon the right moment to purchase your home before the price appreciates, or you hold it for a long enough time so that appreciation makes your purchase investment right. If you miss the first, you can most certainly count on the second.
Fear 3: “I don’t have the money for a down payment.”
Fact: There are a variety of down-payment options available to you.
While many people believe that making a home purchase requires a substantial down payment, as as much as 20%,, this is seldom true. Options are always available to you that require much less than this number, as low as 5%, some even less. Moreover, most states have down-payment assistance programs that can help you afford to buy.
House-hacking can also be a great way to make homeownership a more affordable option. House-hacking is when you purchase a piece of real estate and lease out one of the bedrooms or units. This rental income can then be applied toward your mortgage. Or, you can participate in home rental programs like Vrbo or Airbnb. While it may not be ideal all of the time, you could always make your month’s mortgage payment by renting your place while you’re on vacation.
Fear 4: “I can’t buy a home because my credit score isn’t good.”
Fact: A less-than-perfect credit score won’t necessarily prevent you from buying a home.
Although it’s valuable to have a good credit score, a poor one shouldn’t necessarily prevent you from talking to lenders to explore your options. You can expect that a good loan officer (or mortgage specialist) will be able to help you resolve your credit challenges, often simply by showing you how to move or consolidate your debts, or by referring you to a credit counselor who will put you on a plan.
If you’re facing the challenge of having no credit history because you are new to the workforce or have not made regular purchases on credit, there are still possible solutions that you may want to explore. One is to secure financing with the help of a cosigner, such as parents or a close relative, who is willing to stand by your ability to make the payments. Another can be finding a lender who is willing to use alternative forms of history such as student loans, rent, and utilities.
Looking For More Homeownership Resources?
Head over to the Your First Home webpage for freebies, including information on how to build out your real estate dream team and for your clients, a resource on how to determine their homeownership criteria.
Real Estate Technology
Article | July 12, 2022
Florida’s real estate market is on the up amidst a COVID-driven boom. But, as homebuyers flock to the Sunshine State, they are bringing with them a checklist that consists of more than just sun, shores and southern fun.
In recent months, there has been an average of 1,000 people moving to Florida each day, resulting in more than a 50% increase in home sales in some parts of the state.
Alistair Brown, CEO of Alistair Brown International Real Estate (ABIRE), an international real estate sales and marketing company that has particular expertise in the Florida market, explains the cause of the boom.
“The pandemic has shifted behaviors and ways of life in more ways than one and, as a result, our living arrangements have had to adapt.
“For example, the rise in remote working, restrictions on leisure activities and social distancing guidelines have all caused a spike in demand for homes that are outside of crowded cities, have more space and COVID-safe amenities on offer. Many of Florida’s high-end houses provide just that.”
The migration has been particularly popular among families who, pre-COVID, resided in densely populated cites. But, with virus risks significantly higher in these areas and a threat of future outbreaks still looming, a rural escape seems to make perfect sense.
But, while some favor a permanent move to the state, a vacation home is an attractive investment opportunity for others – whether that is for domestic getaways, as travel restrictions remain in place, or a sense of home comfort, as you enjoy an extended stay with self-isolation periods.
However, no matter what the reason may be, the root motivating factor is an interesting one, and one that Alistair believes has inspired a new list of requirements among home buyers.
“The pandemic has caused people to re-evaluate the way they were living. We all have visions and desires for how we want our lives to play out and at no point have these been more magnified than during the virus outbreak.
“While the threat to our health and livelihoods has been worrying, the thought of a life with unfulfilled aspirations, confinement and heightened risk has become another significant concern.
“Many have accepted that the virus is not going away any time soon and the chances of returning to what we knew as normalcy are slim. So, rather than living a life of regret, it is time to adapt and fulfil those wishes while we still can, as well as inspire new ones in the wake of our current reality.”
But what exactly do these new desires entail? Well, Alistair explains they have a lot to do with the architectural design of homes.
“For those who experienced lockdown restrictions in confined living spaces, particularly in populated cities, the need for a home with room will be stronger than ever.
“Home buyers will be looking at the size and space available in specific areas of the house. For example, kitchens will need to have ample room to cater for an increase in cooking at home, as well as a dining area that is fit for the whole family.
“Outside space will also become a priority. Whether that is a private backyard, decking area or a communal garden, families will be looking for homes with outdoor living spaces in which they can enjoy the Sunshine State to its fullest, no matter what COVID-restrictions are in force.”
“One of the biggest enabling factors of the migration trend is the rise in working from home. While this was a requirement during the peak of the pandemic, many companies and employees will choose to make the switch permanent.
“Consequently, home buyers will be seeking properties with purpose-built home office spaces. These will also need to be spacious rooms that can accommodate everything from desks, filing cabinets and high-speed connectivity.
“Home offices need to be areas that can be closed off from the rest of the house. Not only does this provide privacy and minimize distractions when working, it also allows people to properly switch off after a long day.
“Balancing both home and work life can become incredibly difficult, especially when both are contained by the same four walls, so homes that allow for the separation of the two will be favored much more.”
“An incidental effect of the pandemic has been the reduced environmental impact of our restricted movement and new, minimalist lifestyles. Having recognized this, many will be seeking ways to continue going about their lives with greater awareness of their actions.
“At home, this will include things, such as efficient energy usage or growing their own food. Of course, this will require homes to have modern heating, plumbing and electricity systems in place, as well as gardens in which fruit and vegetables can be grown.”
“While it would be wrong to assume people were living in unclean conditions prior to the pandemic, the threat of the virus’ long-lasting existence on surfaces has only heightened people’s hygiene concerns.
“Therefore, homes that can be easily cleaned, or better, self-cleaned, will be more sought after than those in which risk prevails. Take for example, voice activated technology that can turn lights on and off or stop-start electrical appliances, without the need for manual intervention. And, while air conditioning units are a common feature of Floridian properties, they can be updated with smart technology solutions, such as those provided by RespirTech.
“As well as cooling the home, the new system will be constantly cleaning the air and surfaces using photocatalytic technology, which emits small parts of hydrogen peroxide. Such equipment will be increasingly at the forefront of consumer’s minds, as they seek to minimise physical interaction with products and systems.”
“With risks and restrictions remaining in place at many entertainment venues, leisure facilities at home are becoming a must. This may include bar areas, private swimming pools and home gyms to name but a few.
“While community amenities are still important in fulfilling our innate need for social contact, buyers are seeking properties which have more on offer at home than out.
“As well as protecting them against any of the risks associated with shared facilities, more home entertainment options will ensure any quarantine periods or future lockdowns cause little disruption to people’s daily routines.
“Ultimately, post-COVID living will focus more on maximizing comfort while minimizing the potential impact of any future chaos. And, like most things in life, that starts at home.”
Notes to editors
About Alistair Brown International Real Estate
Alistair Brown International Real Estate (ABIRE) is a boutique real estate consultancy and creative agency that brings together the most distinguished properties from around the globe. Offering a diverse portfolio focused exclusively on the world’s most desirable locations, its specialist team is committed to providing nothing but the very best in high-end property.
Under the direction of founder Alistair Brown – who has more than thirty years’ worth of experience in the sector – the firm has attracted some of the finest real estate professionals in the business today.
Laying a primary focus on Florida and the Caribbean, ABIRE has acquired an in-depth knowledge of the real estate market in each of these areas. Successfully navigating the complexities of premium real estate through creative thinking, worldwide networking and a distinct marketing approach, ABIRE’s longevity in the industry is a direct result of its ability to exceed the expectations of its clientele.
Real Estate Technology
Article | July 21, 2022
More than just reducing carbon emissions from building operations will be required to decarbonize cities.
As communities commit to ambitious net zero objectives, the most forward-thinking are increasingly thinking about how to better plan building lifecycles, from construction through maintenance and, eventually, destruction.
The real estate business generates the most garbage in the world. Construction and demolition trash accounts for around one-third of total garbage in the EU and nearly 40% of solid waste in the US.
If cities want to attain a net zero future, this must alter soon. This is why circular economy philosophy, which strives to minimize waste, is gaining traction. It has far-reaching implications for decarbonizing cities because it considers whole-life emissions - the carbon emitted from the production and transportation of goods all the way to their usage and disposal.
However, this is only a portion of the solution. For example, in North America and Europe, almost 80% of buildings that will be in use in 2050 already exist today and will fall significantly short of future carbon reduction objectives. However, demolishing an old structure in order to construct a new, greener structure is not a viable strategy.
Regulations On the Horizon
Incoming rules in large cities are increasingly on developers' minds. By 2030, Amsterdam will have cut its usage of new raw materials in half, on its way to being totally circular by 2050.
Los Angeles aims to be the largest city in the United States to reach zero waste by 2025, with a 90% garbage diversion rate, while Melbourne is likewise on a similar path.
With Design for Reuse Principles, Paris is paving the path for 50% of building projects to send no trash to landfill by 2030. These urge developers to focus on facilities that can support several purposes over time - residences, workplaces, hotels - without requiring large modifications or improvements. By 2030, 30% of its office stock will be required to be flexible.