Can you believe it’s December already? Hopefully you had a wonderful Thanksgiving last week, and getting back to work this week hasn’t been too crazy. As we go forward into a cold December, we thought we’d take a quick look at some of the main rental news headlines from the past month. (Q&A will be back next week with the lowdown on dues, fees, and rents.)
Wall Street Journal: New homes are being built with renters in mind.
11/3/13: As homeownership declined in recent years, real estate investors first focused on purchasing foreclosed homes to convert into rental properties. But now that there are fewer foreclosed homes on the market, investors are developing single-family homes, as well as purchasing newly-completed ones, in order to rent them out. In fact, a full 5.8% of the 535,000 single-family homes that were started last year were being built as rentals; that’s up 4.8% in 2011. Read more.
The Herald: Homeownership was down in Q3 over the previous year.
11/5/13: Homeownership rates remained low in the third quarter of this year, the Herald reports. While the rate was 65.5% in the third quarter of 2012, this year’s third quarter saw a slightly lower rate of 65.3%, according to the Census Bureau. The last time a third-quarter rate was this low was in 1995, when it hit just 65%. So what’s keeping homeownership down? Among other reasons, new household formation is still low, with 36% of adults ages 18-31 still living with their parents, the highest number in 40 years. Read more.
Marcus & Millichap: U.S. Hiring rate “exceeds even optimistic expectations.”
11/12/13: While the government shutdown could have affected the housing market adversely, firm Marcus & Millichap is reporting that October’s hiring rates exceeded all expectations. Employers across the country added 204,000 jobs in October, with August and September posting gains as well. According to the report, about 83% of the jobs lost during the recession have now been recovered; if things continue as they are currently, the country will be on track to add over 2.2 million jobs this year. That’s good news for Seattle and beyond! Read more.
New Geography: Could Seattle become the “next tech capital?”
11/15/13: While Silicon Valley has long been recognized as “the nation’s hub of technology,” New Geography reports that Seattle may be on track to emerge as the California region’s biggest competition. Our unemployment rate of just 5.9% and the draw of tech companies like Microsoft and Amazon don’t hurt; but what really puts the city in the spotlight is its affordability. Contrast Seattle’s affordable housing, for instance, with the San Francisco Bay Area’s housing prices, which have actually increased over 20% just in the past year alone. Seattle also has more affordable office space, with average rental rate coming in at just $20.86, compared to San Francisco’s $25.80. Read more.
LA Times: Lenders may soon reward owners & landlords with energy-efficient homes
11/24/13: Good news could soon be on its way for owners whose rentals are ecologically friendly–there is now a push in Washington to implement regulations that would see lenders reward owners for energy efficiency. So just how would this work? According to the Times: “Owners of homes that reduce energy consumption pay lower utility bills, so why not factor these out-of-pocket savings into calculations of debt-to-income ratios and appraised valuations?” The concept, which has been adopted in other countries, is currently pending as bipartisan legislation in the Senate. Read more.
The Atlantic: Americans want walkable, mixed-use communities; some still looking for the suburban dream
11/25/13: The National Association of Realtors recently released their latest National Community Preference Survey; and while the results of the survey definitely favored smart growth and walkable communities, plenty of respondents reported that they still favored the idea of suburban homes on large lots. A quick look at the results: While 47% placed a high priority on revitalizing cities and reducing traffic congestion, just 37% prioritized creating new development outside of cities. And while 57% of respondents reported that they would prefer to live in a suburb or rural area, 30% of those who wanted to live in the suburbs reported that they would prefer a mix of houses, shops and businesses in their neighborhood. Read more.