“Housing starts jumped 16.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.608 million units last month, the highest level since December 2006. The percentage gain was the largest since October 2016. Data for November was revised higher to show homebuilding rising to a pace of 1.375 million units, instead of advancing to a rate of 1.365 million units as previously reported.” CNBC reports US housing starts soar 16.9% in December to a 13-year high. It appears building permit applications dropped in December but even developers have to get their holiday shopping done.
2. UNDERCURRENTS OF THE FUTURE
Millennial writer Angela Lashbrook recently wrote an article for Medium where she states “Real estate apps and Instagram accounts have become a digital fantasyland for broke millennials: Millennials Love Zillow Because They’ll Never Own a Home. “As homeownership becomes less of a reality and more of an illusion, many of us resort to merely imagining ourselves in our own homes via the internet.” Angela believes real estate websites and real estate-dedicated Instagram accounts allow many millennials to daydream about the security and stability that they could have if they could buy a home. “Meanwhile, we’re stuck renting, which, even with a decent landlord, research shows is destabilizing and mentally unhealthy compared with homeownership.” The bottom line… there isn’t enough affordable housing out there for young people. They will have to be more creative than ever if they want to live the American dream of homeownership.
3. POKER AND REAL ESTATE
Without much information on Chinese billionaire Cheung Chung Kiu, Bloomberg pieced together The Secretive Billionaire Who Bought London’s $262 Million Home. “Not much is known about the enigmatic billionaire, who has recently emerged as a patron of the arts scene in London… He’s known for being down-to-earth and unassuming, showing up in a tracksuit when he inspected the Cheesegrater building before he bought it in 2017, according to people who were present at the time.” Will Cheung keep the London property as a single house or will he convert into luxury apartments. Based on comparables Bloomberg reports such a redevelopment could be valued at as much as 700 million pounds.
4. TIS’ STILL THE SEASON
“The real estate market is just as unusual as the weather’s been lately. Nationally, a trend is indicating that January is the new April when it comes to real estate, and the spring housing market starts … now.” NBC Washington interviewed Corey Burr, senior vice president of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty and Burr says “he’s seen just about every market imaginable. From 2015 through 2018, April was the hottest month on Realtor.com. Last year, however, January was the busiest month on the site for dozens of areas across the country.” In the article, Burr suggests four things buyers and sellers should know to get ready for the season.
5. A TINY BIT EASIER
First-time buyers catch a break, NAR’s Yun says. “The low mortgage rates are clearly helping the market conditions,” Yun said in an interview with HousingWire. “Home prices consistently rising at a faster pace than people’s income growth has hurt, but because of the historically low rates, it’s providing marginal opportunities for first-time buyers.” Is it enough, or will it be too competitive of a market for the majority of folks who can’t compete with those who have deeper pockets?