Article | March 26, 2020
As most of us have adjusted to the new reality brought on by the coronavirus (COVID-19), developers and lenders are forced to look at the resulting economic shut down on ongoing real estate projects. When this virus first started making the news late last year, few people anticipated that it would turn into a global pandemic that would virtually shut down world economic markets. In the real estate world, when this did happen, it was easy to predict that the deals that had not yet been signed, would come to a stop and/or be terminated, and that deals that had been signed would be paused and extended. But what about deals in progress and under construction? Supply chains have not only been disrupted, but in many cases, have been stopped altogether. This could cause many borrowers to miss important benchmarks under construction loan agreements. It could also cause developers to miss delivery dates under leases and contracts. Will lenders declare loan defaults for missed benchmarks? Will tenants and buyers?
Article | March 11, 2020
When it comes to investment strategy, why is it that real estate is consistently the preferred investment method of Americans? The reality is that the benefits of investing in real estate far exceed the obvious expectations. When responsible real estate investors commit to thorough due diligence, there are very few strategies with a more powerful impact when it comes to generating wealth. The scope of this discussion will be long-term buy-and-hold strategies rather than some of the more short-term types of real estate investment. These investments are more suited to beginners because there is a lower knowledge barrier to overcome and it is optimal for providing benefits that compound over time. These factors together form a potent combination for generating wealth and ultimately accelerating your path to financial independence. So, what makes real estate so powerful? Real estate is far more versatile an asset than it seems on the surface. Your average person understands that buying a home is a wise move simply because its value is very likely to appreciate over time. While this may be true in many cases, it’s only one very small piece of the puzzle. In fact, there are four main pillars of wealth generation that make real estate such an appealing asset class.
Article | August 26, 2021
Considering a remodeling project? Before getting started, establish a list of return on investment (ROI) goals, because not all home improvements are created equal. Some add value to the home that can be recouped when selling, while others may be nice to have but are unlikely to raise the home's asking price. Anyone who wants to focus on home improvements that will pay for themselves when selling the home should know which projects to avoid. Read on to learn about three home improvement projects with a strong return on investment.
For homeowners looking for a better price when they sell, it's hard to go wrong with landscaping. This is one of the few home improvements that typically yields a positive return when selling the home. On average, homeowners can recoup 150% of what they spend updating a home's landscaping.
Since curb appeal is a huge factor in selling a home, choose improvements that can be seen from the road for the best return. Resodding or reseeding a lawn is a project that typically provides good returns. In an arid climate like Nevada, consider landscaping with native plants, xeriscaping, and other eco-friendly desert landscaping options to reduce water usage and maintenance requirements.
Adding new trees to the landscaping can pay off now and at the time of sale. Trees provide shade and natural cooling, which can take a chunk out of power bills. When selling, trees add between $1,000 and $10,000 to the selling price of a home.
Creating a Dazzling Entryway
Continue the strong first impression by creating a welcoming space in the entryway of the home. Upgrading to manufactured stone veneer has a return on investment of around 96%. The improvement is relatively simple but makes the front door and the surrounding area more dramatic.
Even small improvements can have a big impact. Upgrade to a metal door or one with small windows that let in additional light. Find upgraded house numbers that are visually appealing and easy to see. This often costs less than $100 but can improve the look and feel of the entry area and practically pay for itself when it's time to sell.
Minor Kitchen Remodeling
The kitchen is the heart of the home. This is the room that is one of the top choices for home improvement projects. However, contrary to what one might expect, huge kitchen overhauls don't always yield a high ROI. In fact, less costly improvements typically have a better payoff. Small projects that can dramatically improve a kitchen include:
Refacing the cabinets and adding updated hardware
Upgrading to more energy-efficient appliances
Choosing more energy-efficient appliances is an upgrade that can start repaying itself right away. Other improvements are likely to increase the price of the home when it sells. However, on average, kitchen remodeling projects only bring in 77% of their cost when it's time to sell. Because of this, homeowners should focus on upgrades that improve their quality of life and what they are likely to get back for their investment.
Some common mistakes can reduce what a homeowner will get back from a kitchen remodeling project. Investing large amounts of money on items that will need to be replaced again in a few years is unlikely to provide a positive return. Choosing items that are too high-end can cause them to clash with the look and feel of the rest of the home, which could turn buyers off.
Improve Daily Life and ROI With These Home Improvement Projects
Most home improvement projects do not pay for themselves in full when selling the home. Rather, they are changes that make the home worth more to the owner now, that have the bonus of a price increase when you sell the home. The right home improvement project can make any house feel like a new construction home.
Homeowners should look to areas that will give them the most mileage when picking updates for their homes. For instance, old kitchen cabinets can make the room feel dull and uninviting. Refacing with a bright new finish can make the kitchen feel like a brand-new room. Adding low-maintenance shrubs to the front yard adds visual interest that can be enjoyed right away. Projects that require special permits could raise questions during a home inspection and potentially reduce the home's value—but properly permitted additions may let homeowners list a home with an extra bedroom or bathroom.
Choose the updates that will provide the most meaningful benefits, both now and at the time of sale. By making the home inviting and attractive, sellers are more likely to be able to name their dream price.
Article | August 18, 2021
The spring selling season might be pushed back for a couple of weeks or even months as lockdowns restrict activity in some states and territories, according to CoreLogic. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, sales and listing turnouts typically rise from September to November. Over the ten years to December 2019, the growth in new listings during spring averaged 15.7% while sales hit 6.8%.
CoreLogic head of research Eliza Owen said both sales and listings tend to be most seasonal in the capital cities, particularly in Sydney and the ACT. With the lockdowns, however, the in-demand locations might not witness the same level of activity this upcoming spring, which is only two weeks away. "Observing housing market performance through lockdowns reveals that both sales and listings volumes will fall through lockdowns," Ms Owen said.
What can be learned from last year's Melbourne lockdown?
The extended lockdown in Melbourne last year could provide a glimpse as to what could happen in this year's lockdowns. Melbourne was in lockdown from mid-July to late October. During the period, listings dropped consistently, hitting the lowest at 1,411 in the four weeks to September, which was 80.7% lower than the previous five-year average.
There are several factors that contributed to the slowdown during the period.
Aside from the obvious restrictions that have limited inspections and auctions to virtual sessions, the low levels of consumer confidence also dampened the overall market sentiment, with vendors being unsure whether they would get an optimal price for their properties. Mortgage repayment deferrals and other government support also contributed, as these prevented distressed sales. However, when restrictions in Melbourne got lifted by late October, there was a sudden shift in the market mood, with listings quickly recovering. "New listings volumes through December 2020 trended an average 40.4% higher than the previous five-year average, suggesting the spring selling season of 2020 was 'pushed back' into the final months of the year," Ms Owen said.
Lockdowns to only postpone market activity
Ms Owen said the trend in sales and listings through a lockdown indicate the relative stability of the economy and the housing market amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "This has meant that housing purchasing decisions were more likely to have just been postponed through lockdowns, rather than abandoned all together.” In fact, the muted sales activity through lockdowns actually led to an uplift in sales across Melbourne in December of 2020 and July 2021, a time when seasonally, sales volumes would usually be far more subdued.
"There are tailwinds in place for housing market demand to suggest this may happen again; household savings rates remain elevated, new average mortgage rates continue to reach new record lows, and many government fiscal stimulus and broader institutional responses have been resurrected amid renewed lockdowns," Ms Owen said.
Affordability might become a concern
The consistent surge in prices across capital cities in recent months have already resulted in the inevitable constraints in affordability. CoreLogic's Hedonic Home Value Index in July showed a 1.6% gain in dwelling values, a retreat from the previous growth of 1.9%. Ms Owen said some support schemes that supported consumer sentiment, such as JobKeeper and HomeBuilder have already ended which could dampen the expected rebound in demand.
The rising threat of the Delta variant of COVID-19 might also be a major headwind, as it could result in further lockdowns which will ultimately impact the incomes of Australian households. "With affordability constraints becoming a larger obstacle in the market, as well as the potential for tighter credit conditions further down the track, if buyer activity does not match the lift in listings we could see a gradual rebalancing between sellers and buyers," Ms Owen said.