Time for Newark

From the Commercial Observer:

Five Reasons to Pay Attention to Newark

Of all the commuter cities west of the Hudson River, Newark, N.J., gets the least respect from real estate professionals.

Some of the reasons for this are understandable; Newark is more of a pain in the posterior to commute to than Jersey City. It doesn’t have the stock of brownstones of Hoboken. The city was devastated by riots a half-century ago and never quite regained its footing.

But those objections look puny when you consider that major real estate players like Edison Properties and Lotus Equity Group and basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal are investing tens of millions of dollars into hundreds of thousands of square feet of real estate. And the fact that the crime rate is the lowest it’s been since 1967.

“We think the way to change the dynamic is to create critical mass,” Ben Korman, the chief executive officer and founder of Lotus, told Commercial Observer. “It can’t happen organically.” And Korman is not the only one doing his part.

Beit started assembling lots for the project in 2005. The idea behind Teachers Village was that education and educators would be at the heart of the project. “Our goal is to get 70 percent teachers [as residents],” Beit said. They’ve marketed it directly to educators and found that the reaction has been extremely positive. “Just the fact that we have a community for them makes teachers feel supported.”

All but a handful of the apartments are leased, and Beit is gearing up for the next phase of his master plan: Four Corners, three ground-up buildings consisting of a 130-key hotel, 107 rentals and retail, which he’s aiming to have finished in the second quarter of 2019.

Can an area gentrify without the requisite Whole Foods? Well, Newark won’t need to worry about finding out. A 30,000-square-foot Whole Foods opened earlier this year at the old Hahne & Company building, just across Military Park from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC).

But the Whole Foods is only one reason to get excited about that particular building; it is the anchor of the 115-year-old, 400,000-square-foot namesake department store (with another 100,000 square feet tacked on) that had been vacant since the 1980s and has been converted into a mixed-use extravaganza.

“Rutgers [University] is taking about 50,000 square feet for a collaborative arts space,” said Jonathan Cortell, the vice president of development for the building’s developer, L+M Development. “They’re one of the vital anchors of the project.” But there’s more: Chef Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster is opening up a 2,250-square-foot restaurant on the project’s Halsey Street border. There’s also a Petco; a Kite + Key (the Rutgers equivalent of an Apple store); and a coworking space all in the works.

However, the stadium made for an enticing piece of real estate for Lotus’ Korman, who is taking a big swing at the property when he picked up the stadium last fall for $23.5 million.

The plan that Korman has drawn up is for a 2.3-million-square-foot mixed-use development, consisting of housing, office, retail and cultural space. (Sorry, baseball lovers; the stadium will be razed.)

“We’re doing everything we can to break ground in 2019,” Korman said. “We hope to start the permitting process later this year.”

“Brooklyn has a lot of housing and not much office presence,” Korman noted. “It’s the opposite problem here.”

Amen to that.

The list of corporate behemoths that have chosen Newark as their home would impress the most skeptical observer: Prudential has their world headquarters in Newark. (The insurer has been in the city since the 19th century, and the city’s indoor arena that opened in 2007 and hosts the New Jersey Devils is named the Prudential Center.) There’s Audible, which has 1,000 employees and is gearing up to expand its office space dramatically. (Last month, The New York Times ran a story about how Audible was paying $2,000 a month in free rent at the Hahne Building for 20 of its lucky employees as part of a housing lottery.) Panasonic’s North American headquarters is in Newark.

Richard Meier isn’t the only Newark son who came back to make his mark on his hometown’s skyline.

Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal has also returned to spread some of his largesse with the under-construction One Rector, the 168-unit rental on which he is a backer along with Boraie Development.

The $75 million ground-up project adjacent to NJPAC will feature market-rate studios starting at $1,400 per month, one-bedrooms beginning at $1,700 per month and two-bedrooms starting at $2,300 monthly. “It’s an affordably priced building,” said Wasseem Boraie, the vice president of development at Boraie.

Of course, O’Neal has been “involved with a lot of things in Newark,” Boraie said. “We developed a movie theater, CityPlex 12, with him.” This replaced a six-screen Loews multiplex a few years ago. As for One Rector, the project is expected to be completed next year.

Posted in Demographics, Economics, New Development, New Jersey Real Estate | 50 Comments

Say it ain’t so

From the Washington Post:

The McMansion, ultimate symbol of the pre-recession boom, is back

If there’s anything that typifies the boom times before the Great Recession, it is the McMansion. These sprawling houses proliferated around the country in the 2000s, as banks shelled out easy credit to fuel a housing bacchanalia they thought would never die.

McMansions became the ultimate symbol of living beyond one’s means. Unlike your standard mansion, McMansions aren’t just large – they are tackily so. Looming over too-small lots, these cookie-cutter houses are often decked out with ersatz details, like chandeliers and foam-filled columns. While their features mean they can command a decent price, many of these houses are shoddily built.

During the recession, their construction ground to a halt. Today, McMansions are not exactly cool, especially compared with the exposed-brick urban lofts young people today will pay exorbitant prices for. But with the recent recovery of the housing market, they are coming back anyway.

As Americans have started building and flipping houses again, they are once again buying McMansions. Since 2009, construction of these homes has steadily trended upward, data from Zillow, a real estate website, shows. The median home value of McMansions is also rising, at a pace that eclipses the value of the median American home.

Many casual onlookers have forecast the death of the suburbs in recent years, especially as younger renters and buyers turn an eye to city centers. Skylar Olsen, a senior economist at Zillow, says that young people today have far more interest in living in urban environments. “That’s where jobs had been growing fastest over the course of this economic recovery over the past five years,” says Olsen.

Yet younger people who are starting families are still moving to the suburbs for more room, she says. About half of all millennials that purchased a home last year did so in the suburbs, according to Zillow data.

Their decision is also supported by cheap energy costs, which make it affordable to commute. in mid-June, the nationwide average price of regular gasoline was $2.32 a gallon. Like the McMansion and the pickup in the housing market, it’s another source of deja vu. After remaining elevated for years, oil prices are now roughly the same as they were June 2000, when adjusted for inflation.

Kate Wagner, an architecture critic, wishes America would have learned its lesson about McMansions the first time around. She spends her free time tearing apart their architectural anachronisms on her blog, McMansion Hell.

Posted in Economics, Housing Recovery, National Real Estate, New Development | 67 Comments

May Otteau MarketNEWS

From Otteau Group:

NJ Purchase Contracts Bounce Back in May

After recording a 7% decline in April, home purchase contracts in New Jersey increased by 11% compared to the same month last year. Given the 9% increase during May of 2016, home sales have increased by 21% over the past 2 years. This latest gain was the highest number of purchase contracts recorded in the month of May of the past 12 years, signaling high demand. Overall, home sales have increased in New Jersey by 6% ytd.

While the number of home sales has increased across all price ranges this year, the largest gain has occurred for homes priced between $1.0-Million – $2.5-Million, which have increased by 12%. Home sales in excess of $2.5-Million have also been increasing for the first time in more than a decade. The gains for more expensive homes is attributable to the greater number of homes for sale in these price ranges compared to the tight inventory situation for less expensive homes which is putting constraints on sales volume.

Shifting to the supply side of the equation, the supply of homes being offered for sale remains constricted, which is limiting choices for home buyers. The number of homes being offered for sale today in New Jersey has declined by nearly 7,400 (-14%) compared to one year ago. This is also about 28,100 (-38%) fewer homes on the market compared to the cyclical high in 2011. Today’s unsold inventory equates to 3.8 months of sales (non-seasonally adjusted), which is lower than one year ago when it was 4.8 months.

Currently, all of New Jersey’s 21 counties have less than 8.0 months of supply, which is a balance point for home prices. Hudson County continues to experience the strongest market conditions in the state with just 2.4 months of supply, followed by Essex, Middlesex, Union, Passaic, Monmouth, Bergen, Morris, Burlington, Mercer, Somerset and Camden Counties, which all have fewer than 4.0 months of supply. The counties with the largest amount of unsold inventory (6 months or greater) are concentrated in the southern portion of the state including Cumberland (6.0), Cape May (6.5), Salem (7.4) and Atlantic (7.4), however, these counties are also beginning to exhibit strengthening conditions.

Demand for rental apartments remains strong in NJ with statewide occupancy rates being among the highest in the US. While Central NJ continues to have the lowest vacancy rate in the state (2.3%), it increased by 10 basis points from the prior quarter. The Philadelphia/Southern NJ region now has the highest vacancy in the state (3.8%), up by 20 basis points from the prior quarter, while vacancy in Northern NJ declined by 20 basis points to 3.6%. Nationally, the average vacancy rate increased by 10 basis points from the prior quarter and now stands at 4.3%.

A driving force for the apartment market sector is that the percentage of New Jersey households with children living at home has steadily declined to 35% today, with continued declines likely in the future.This trend, which is rooted in New Jersey’s economic conditions, is anticipated to drive future housing demand increasingly toward smaller homes including multi-family housing in more urban locations. At the present time, 65% of households within the state of New Jersey have no children under the age of 18 living at home.

Posted in Demographics, Economics, New Jersey Real Estate | 41 Comments

King of the hill, top of the heap.

From the Star Ledger:

Recent college grads are leaving N.J. in record numbers. Here’s why.

The bed is on an elevated bunk. Below the bed is a desk, dressed with items from college: clothes, books and accessories. The floor is barely visible beneath a slew of still-stuffed bags of clothes.

In 2016, Dina Bardakh, 23, uprooted her life from Hunter College, along with the degree in political science she received, and plopped down inside the 273-square-foot room of her mother’s two-bedroom modest apartment alongside the Hudson River.

“I never unpacked,” Bardakh explains. “I never imagined myself back here for as long as I have been. So, what do you do then?”

Bardakh is not the only one asking that question. As another college graduation season comes to an end, and a whole new set of millennials enter the job market, the prospect of recent graduates simply moving out of their parents’ homes is dimmer than ever. According to Census data, 47 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds in New Jersey were still living with their parents in 2015, the highest rate in the country.

The situation shows little sign of improving, either: Data released earlier this month by the National Low Income Housing Coalition says tenants need to make $27.31 an hour, the seventh highest in the country, to afford the average two-bedroom apartment in New Jersey. That makes it virtually impossible for someone making an entry-level salary to afford his or her own place, at least not without teaming up with multiple roommates and/or forgoing other necessities.

Meanwhile, higher education funding has dropped nationwide, including 23 percent in New Jersey from 2008 to 2015. The resulting increased student debt is also keeping many recent grads stuck in their parents’ places.

“It is sort of unprecedented, we would have to go back generations, to come to this situation where grown children live at home to the extent that they are today,” said Dr. James Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.

In recent years, many frustrated college graduates are giving up the promise of adult life in the New York-New Jersey area altogether. According to the 2007-2014 American Community Survey, 111,674 people age 18-34 moved out of New Jersey, the highest number for an age group in the state.

“I was really hopeful when I started going to college,” Bardakh said. “It was New York City, the capital of the world. I thought there was going to be so many opportunities.”

According to Hughes, the downward trajectory began with the financial crisis of 2008, the repercussions of which are still being felt by young people.

“That set back many millennials in their economic progression or career trajectory,” he said. “They may have been unemployed for awhile, under employed or coming out of college. They lost several years of earning growth power during that time period.”

This also means young people just getting out of college find themselves this spring now competing for entry-level jobs with people who graduated years earlier.

McKoy said the Garden State is facing an even harsher burden than most states.

“This is definitely a nationwide issue, but New Jersey is a little bit more drastic because it is a very, very expensive place to live, and this is happening at a time where wages are pretty much stagnant and most people in that age range, especially on the lower half, would be working around minimum wage jobs,” he said.

And, says Hughes, “when you have such a powerful trend such as this, there are no silver bullets to change it. At best, some policies could deflect it slightly.”

Posted in Demographics, Economics, New Jersey Real Estate, NYC | 52 Comments

Do so at your own peril

From the Record:

Millennial generation shunning the suburbs for city life

They want the bustle. They want the convenience. They want the diversity.

In short, they want the city and not the suburbs – even after their children start school.

In a trend that is starting to chip away at the bedrock of suburban North Jersey, a surge of families with young children is gravitating toward New York City, reversing a path worn by generations before them.

Recently released demographic data shows the number of married couples with school-age children rose 10 to 20 percent across middle- and upper-income neighborhoods of New York City just in the first half of this decade, accelerating a trend that began in the mid-2000s. Similar increases were found in urban areas of Hudson County in New Jersey.

At the same time, the number of such families continued to dip across much of Bergen, Passaic, Morris and other suburban counties in New Jersey and New York, according to an analysis of the data by The Record and NorthJersey.com.

While towns closer to the city — and with shorter commutes — have largely escaped the trend, some of the region’s more upscale communities, especially those with longer commutes to jobs in Manhattan, have been hit the hardest.

Across the river, families are putting down roots from Riverdale in the Bronx to the Upper West Side of Manhattan to Park Slope in Brooklyn, where baby carriages have become as common as taxis.

“It’s totally different from where I grew up,” said Malya Levin, who spent her teen years in the city of Passaic and now squeezes into a two-room Park Slope apartment with her husband and toddler. “It’s really night and day, in terms of the diversity of people, the things to do, the lifestyle, the culture, everything.”

But as newly minted urban dwellers settle in, their decisions are starting to pose challenges for suburban communities in the form of declining school enrollments, stagnant home values and elevated office vacancies that experts say are connected to the trend.

“The suburbs are at a serious crossroads,” said New York University sociologist Mitchell Moss, former director of the school’s Urban Research Center. “The family of the future is not the same as the family of the past and young people are no longer living conventional lifestyles. Kids that grew up in the suburbs want to experience a different life and that has made cities attractive again. This is a major, major challenge for the suburbs.”

Communities that adapt will thrive, while those that ignore it “do so at their own peril,” said Rutgers University demographer James Hughes. “This is not a trend likely to go away any time soon.”

Posted in Demographics, Economics, New Development, New Jersey Real Estate | 77 Comments

May EHS exceeds expectations

From CNBC:

Existing home sales hit 5.62 million units in May, vs. expectations of 5.57 million

U.S. home resales unexpectedly rose in May to the third highest monthly level in a decade and a chronic inventory shortage pushed the median home price to an all-time high.

The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday existing home sales increased 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.62 million units last month.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast sales declining 0.5 percent to a rate of 5.55 million units. Sales were up 2.7 percent from May 2016.

The number of homes on the market rose 2.1 percent, but supply was down 8.4 percent from a year ago. Housing inventory has dropped for 24 straight months on a year-on-year basis.

The median house price increased to an all-time high of $252,800, a 5.8 percent jump from one year ago, reflecting the dearth of properties on the market.

“We have a housing shortage, we may even use the term housing crisis in some markets,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said.

House price gains have also been helped by an unemployment rate that is at a 16-year low. Mortgage rates also remain favorable by historical standards.

At the current sales rate, it would take 4.2 months to clear inventory, down from 4.7 months one year ago. The median number of days homes were on the market in May was 27, the shortest time frame since NAR began tracking data in 2011.

Posted in Economics, Housing Recovery, National Real Estate | 75 Comments

Gentrification of the shore almost complete?

From the NYT:

Memories of a Jersey Shore Town, Before a Boom

On a hot August afternoon in the late 1990s, I waited at Donnelly’s Deli in Avalon, N.J., for our family’s sandwich order. This was a rare treat. We were a bologna-and-cheese-on-white-bread kind of family, loading up the car with beach chairs and boogie boards and a basket of towels for the drive to the Avalon beach from our trailer at a campground a few miles away.

But on that day, near the end of the summer, when my mother was tired of fixing our family of six a summer’s worth of beach sandwiches, we went to this one-story, brick-front deli that smelled like chips, sweat, pickles and meat, to let someone else do it for us.

In 2005, Donnelly’s closed, and the building was torn down — along with the rest of the block. In its place now is a three-story retail and residential building whose first floor features a Lululemon and a Lilly Pulitzer, both open for the summer only.

Like many beach communities, Avalon was transformed as real estate prices shot through the stratosphere. When I was a teenager in the 1990s, my parents thought the $110,000 price tag on a home there was just too much, which is why we spent our summer in a trailer.

Last year, the average home sale price in Avalon was $1.27 million. That’s down from a prerecession high of $1.75 million, in 2006, but still a lot of money. Beach cottages have been razed for mansions. Luxury cars and golf carts roll through the streets. Even the Princeton, a hole-in-the-wall bar where you went to meet someone whose name you couldn’t hear over the music, now has a raw bar.

This has, at least financially, been a good thing for Avalon.

For long-timers who lived there or had small second homes they rented out most of the summer to pay the mortgage, this change secured their retirement. But it also emptied the town. Avalon’s year-round population dropped 37.8 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to the Census Bureau.

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Shore Real Estate | 176 Comments

What Jersey Thinks

From the Star Ledger:

Christie says N.J. economy is better. Here’s what voters think.

Gov. Chris Christie has declared in recent months that New Jersey’s economy has vastly improved — but a new poll shows most voters aren’t feeling good about the state of their state these days.

The Quinnipiac University survey released Thursday found only 1 percent of New Jersey voters say the Garden State’s economy is “excellent,” while 35 percent say it’s “good.”

A larger number have a negative view, with 41 percent saying the economy is “not so good” and 20 percent saying it’s “poor.”

Ten percent of voters say the state’s economy is getting better, 29 percent say it’s getting worse, and 60 percent say it’s staying about the same.

But 16 percent of voters in Thursday’s poll say the state is a “very good” place to live and 61 percent say “fairly good.” Only 16 percent say it’s a “fairly bad” place to live and 7 percent say it’s “very bad.”

The survey also found 11 percent of voters say their own financial situation is “excellent,” 60 say it’s good, 22 percent say it’s “not so good,” and 6 percent say it’s “poor.”

Posted in Economics, New Jersey Real Estate | 84 Comments

No New Homes

From HousingWire:

Economists: Housing inventory could soon turn into an emergency

The latest report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau showed housing starts sank to an eight-month low.

Now, economists are saying that drop could intensify in the months ahead as building permits also saw a drop in May.

“Housing shortages look to intensify and may well turn into a housing emergency if the discrepancy between housing demand and housing supply widens further,” said Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist. “The falling housing starts and housing permits in May are befuddling given the lack of homes for sale and the quick pace of selling a newly-constructed homes.”

“Meanwhile, job creations of a consistent 2 million a year will push up housing demand further,” Yun said. “One thing that’s moving up is the housing costs for consumers: higher home prices and higher rents.”

And NAR wasn’t the only one alarmed by the survey’s results – another expert explained the importance of watching the market to see if the decrease is a new trend.

“We will need to watch carefully if this is a one-time anomaly or a multi-month trend,” said Scott Volling, PwC U.S. Engineering and Construction advisory director. “The industry is already facing an inventory shortage, which is driving up prices, so these results indicate the demand-supply gap could get worse and further impact affordability for certain segments and markets.”

One economist, who served as chief economist at Fannie Mae for more than 20 years, said the drop was surprising, and that the industry expected a modest increase of about 1.2 million units.

“The decline in starts is all the more surprising given high levels of homebuilder confidence and increases in new home sales, although there was a sharp drop in April,” Nationwide Chief Economist David Berson said. “Additionally, mortgage rates remain very low and mortgage credit availability, while much tighter than in last decade’s housing boom, has eased considerably in recent years.”

Posted in Economics, National Real Estate, New Development | 25 Comments

Poof go the jobs?

From the Star Ledger:

New Jersey lost 13,000 jobs in May

New Jersey lost employers cut 14,000 private-sector jobs in May as the unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent.

The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported a loss of about 13,000 jobs for the month. While private sector jobs went down by about 14,000, the state added 900 public-sector jobs.

The labor department boasted of steady, long-term job growth and record-low unemployment rates. At the end of May, Gov. Chris Christie defended his economic record, saying “The economy has gotten better every way you measure it. More people are working. Less people are unemployed.”

New Jersey’s jobless rate remains below the federal rate of 4.3 percent in May.

Employers in professional and business services slashed 9,000 jobs; trade, transportation and utilities cut 2,400; financial activities lost 1,400; education and health services lost 800; information lost 500; and leisure and hospitality lost 400.

Two industries added jobs, including 500 in manufacturing and 100 in construction.

Posted in Employment, New Jersey Real Estate | 61 Comments

It’s a good time to sell, but don’t.

From HousingWire:

Capital Economics: A seller’s market won’t cure inventory shortages

It’s finally a seller’s market, but according to a new Capital Economics report, the increased selling sentiment doesn’t guarantee a boost in much-needed housing inventory.

Fannie Mae’s most recent Home Purchase Sentiment Index reported that the net share of those saying it’s a good time to sell surpassed those saying it’s a good time to buy. This has only occurred twice in the survey’s history.

Unfortunately, Capital Economics explained that past rises in selling sentiment have not been accompanied by a significant rise in actual listings. And paired with the fact that the number of vacant homes that are being held off the market is rising, the report expects little chance for an improvement in inventory levels this year.

While selling sentiment is at its highest level in seven years, the change shouldn’t come as a shock.

Capital Economic attributed the change to multitude of factors, specifically pointing out the significant rise in home prices.

The increase in selling sentiment, however, doesn’t translate to actual home listings, yet. The chart below compares selling sentiment to number of existing homes listed for sale.

According to the report, a part of the reason is that since home prices are expected to continue to appreciate, households may expect selling conditions to continue to improve, causing them the wait to sell.

Then, beyond selling sentiment, there’s the fact that there is a very high number of vacant homes being held off the market. These homes are being held off the market for a similar reason since owners also expect increased capital gains.

Capital Economics does predict that this will change eventually though, as higher interest rates and lower house price expectations will eventually lead to more of those homes coming onto the market. But this probably won’t happen this year.

Posted in Economics, Housing Recovery, National Real Estate | 49 Comments

Delinquencies improve, even in NJ

From National Mortgage Professional:

Mortgage Delinquencies Dropped to 10-Year Low

CoreLogic’s Loan Performance Insights Report shows that in March, nationally, 4.4 percent of mortgages were in some stage of delinquency (30 days or more past due including those in foreclosure), a 0.8 percentage point decline in the overall delinquency rate compared with March 2016 when it was 5.2 percent. As of March 2017, the foreclosure inventory rate, which measures the share of mortgages in some stage of the foreclosure process, was 0.8 percent compared with one percent in March 2016. The serious delinquency rate, defined as 90 days or more past due including loans in foreclosure, was 2.1 percent, down from 2.7 percent in March 2016.

Early-stage delinquencies, defined as 30-59 days past due, fell to 1.7 percent in March 2017, down from 1.9 percent in March 2016 and the lowest level since January 2000. The share of mortgages that were 60-89 days past due in March 2017 was 0.59 percent, down slightly from 0.63 percent in March 2016.

“Early-stage mortgage performance continues to improve at a steady pace, especially for 30-59-day delinquencies which fell to 1.7 percent, the lowest rate for any month since January 2000,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Late-stage serious delinquency rates continue to decline, falling to their lowest levels since November 2007.”

“Dropping delinquency and foreclosure rates reflect the beneficial impact of stringent post-crisis underwriting standards as well as better fundamentals such as higher employment, household formation and home price gains,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Looking ahead, we expect these positive trends to continue as the industry shifts its focus toward solving supply shortages and looming affordability crises in an increasing number of markets.”

Posted in Economics, Foreclosures, National Real Estate | 54 Comments

Still #1

From HousingWire:

Foreclosure filings see slight uptick in May

The number of foreclosure filings increased slightly in May, but they are still down significantly from the year before, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.

Foreclosure filings in May increased to a total of 81,495 filings. This is up 5% from April but down 19% from last year, marking a 20-month consecutive decline.

Across the nation, one in every 1,636 housing units had a foreclosure filing in May 2017.

Here are the states with the highest foreclosure rates in May:

New Jersey – One in every 515 homes
Delaware – One in every 753 homes
Maryland – One in every 1,006 homes
Illinois – One in every 1,057 homes
Oklahoma – One in every 1,081 homes

And of the 217 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000, here are the metros with the highest foreclosure rates in May:

Atlantic City, New Jersey – One in every 271 homes
Trenton, New Jersey – One in every 508 homes
Fayetteville, North Carolina – One in every 523 homes
Rockford, Illinois – One in every 690 homes
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – One in every 722 homes

Posted in Foreclosures, New Jersey Real Estate, Risky Lending | 9 Comments

DINKS with style – what do you expect?

From MarketWatch:

Why house prices in gay neighborhoods are soaring

American homeowners can take pride in these prices.

At the nadir of the housing market in 2012, homebuyers had to pay an average premium of almost 29%, or $209 per square foot, to live in communities with a higher share of gay, lesbian and bisexual residents. This year, homebuyers will need to pay a premium of nearly 37%, or $320 per square foot, to live in these same neighborhoods, according to a study released Thursday by real-estate website Trulia and online dating site OKCupid IAC, -3.67% The conclusion? “Clearly, America’s gay neighborhoods have recovered at a faster rate than non-gay neighborhoods.”

Typically, researchers had to use U.S. Census data on same-sex couples in order to determine where gay populations concentrate. There is an obvious downside to that methodology, however: Not all LGBT people are in relationships and, as such, researchers may be inaccurately measuring where they live. To address this, Trulia and OKCupid developed the “Neighborhood Pride Score,” using OKCupid data on the location of gay singles combined with U.S. Census data on the location of gay couples. The researchers then cross-referenced this with house prices in those areas.

The highest premiums were in West Hollywood, the Castro District in San Francisco, Uptown in Dallas, Palm Springs, Hillcrest in San Diego and Edgewater in Chicago. On the one hand, the legalization of same-sex marriage in June 2015 may have led to more married couples buying homes together in those neighborhoods. On the other, since gay individuals and couples tend to have fewer children and higher disposable incomes, they may also seek to live in neighborhoods with more desirable amenities, or they may simply attract such amenities after they move in.

Another theory: “If you are not raising children, you have two male incomes and have more money to devote to improve their home environment,” says Gary Gates, the recently retired distinguished scholar at the Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at the University of California. There are possible limitations to house-price rises within a “gayborhood.” It may need to be “socially liberal” for an increase in same-sex households to increase house prices, a 2011 study by researchers at Konkuk University in Seoul and Tulane University in New Orleans found.

Ultimately, diversity is good for the economic development and housing prices, Richard Florida, an urban theorist and author of “The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community, and Everyday Life,” concluded. He found that high-tech hot spots followed the gay neighborhoods. His own separate “Bohemian Index,” which measured the prevalence of artists, writers and performers, had similar results. “Artistic and gay populations,” he wrote, “cluster in communities that value open-mindedness and self-expression.”

Posted in Demographics, Economics, National Real Estate | 31 Comments

Can’t live in one, can’t live without one

From MarketWatch:

Mortgages are unaffordable in half of America’s largest housing markets

Owning a home is becoming an increasingly unaffordable proposition in many of the largest metropolitan areas across the U.S.

In more than half of the nation’s 35 largest markets, buying a typical home listed for sale now requires a greater share of income than the median-valued home entailed historically, according to a new report from real estate website Zillow. Californians have it worst when it comes to home loan affordability. Mortgage payments as a share of income are higher in Los Angeles than in any other major city — for a typical property, these payments would eat up 46.8% of the median income. Historically, loan payments only represented 35.2% of median incomes for owners in the City of Angels.

Not far behind are San Francisco and San Jose, where mortgage payments represent 40.2% and 39.3% of median income respectively. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, home owners in the Midwest and Rust Belt states must devote a far smaller share of their income to mortgage payments. In St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Cleveland, loan payments represent roughly 13% of median income.

Nationally, homeowners must spend a fifth of their income in mortgage payments for the typical home on average — roughly in line with historical levels. But things could soon get worse, said Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell.

Posted in Economics, National Real Estate | 43 Comments