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American Housing Survey Tells Us a Lot About How We Live

American Housing Survey Tells Us a Lot About How We Live

American Housing Survey Tells Us a Lot About How We Live

Do you know how many housing units across the country are occupied by owners and how many by renters?

You will, once you read the latest American Housing Survey released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The department’s latest survey covers the year 2013. And it’s filled with fascinating bits of information.

There’s the renter-vs.-owner question, of course. According to the survey, in 2011 — the most recent year for which numbers were available – 65% of the country’s housing units were occupied by owners and 35% by renters.

Overall, in 2013 there were nearly 133 million total housing units in the United States, according to the survey. Of this figure, 87% were occupied. As of 2013, the median size of all single-family detached housing units was 1,800sqft. This means that half of all homes in the county in 2013 were more than 1,800 sqft and half were less.

The survey, though, doesn’t just look at the characteristics of homes. It also looks at the way people live. For instance, the survey found that 82.4% of households reported talking to their neighbors in the previous month, while 50.7% strongly agreed that they got along with their neighbors. The survey found that 49.7% of households were very willing to help their neighbors.

The survey also studied people’s reliance on public transportation, finding that 17.4% — or 20 million households — used some form of public transportation, usually local buses, and that 40.2% of households reported biking or walking to entertainment venues, grocery stores, shopping centers or work.

And if you want to get really in-depth? The survey found that 10.3% of all households reported seeing signs of cockroaches in the prior 12 months and 9.1% of households reported evidence of mice during that time.

The MG Group is an award winning residential real estate group ranked #1 IN ILLINOIS & TOP 40 IN THE NATION since 2011 by The Wall Street Journal & in Real Trends’ THE THOUSAND TOP REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS. The MG Group is also recognized as a LUXEHOME 25 by Top 25 Luxury Broker in Chicago and FIVE-STAR REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL by Chicago Magazine.  SHARE THIS POST & FOLLOW US NOW ON:

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Who Owns the Chicago Market?

Who Owns the Chicago Market?

Who Owns the Chicago Market?

Does Chicago’s housing market favor buyers or sellers? According to a recent story by Chicago Magazine, it tilts more toward buyers.

This doesn’t mean, though, that sellers will struggle in Chicago. The Chicago Magazine story also said that the Chicago metropolitan area is still enjoying an annual median home price appreciation of 6.9% – higher than the 6.6% across the nation.

The magazine cited a recent study by Zillow to determine the city’s five best seller’s markets and five best buyers’ markets. It’s important to note, though, that these rankings don’t take into account home values. Instead they look at the amount of home-sale activity in a community.

With that being said, Zillow ranks the top five seller’s markets in the city as the Near West Side, Logan Square, River North, East Village and West Lawn. The reasons these neighborhoods count as seller’s markets? Chicago Magazine says that demand in these areas is far outpacing the supply of homes for sale. That equals quicker home sales.

Zillow ranks the top buyer’s markets, too. Topping that list is the Beverly neighborhood on the city’s South Side, followed by Garfield Ridge, the Gold Coast, Streeterville and East Lakeview.

The reason these neighborhoods are considered buyer’s markets? First, it takes a longer time to sell homes here, 4 to 5 months on average. At the same time, sellers have reduced their asking prices on nearly 50% of the homes listed in these neighborhood.

Of course, if you’re a seller, the secret to successfully moving a home — whether you’re in a buyer’s or seller’s market — remains pricing your home properly. If you ask more for your home than what the market allows, you’ll struggle not only to sell your property, but even to get most buyers to look at your home.

The message, then, is simple: Work with a REALTOR® to price your home properly. Then you’ll boost your odds of selling in any Chicago neighborhood in any market.

The MG Group is an award winning residential real estate group ranked #1 IN ILLINOIS & TOP 40 IN THE NATION since 2011 by The Wall Street Journal & in Real Trends’ THE THOUSAND TOP REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS. The MG Group is also recognized as a LUXEHOME 25 by Top 25 Luxury Broker in Chicago and FIVE-STAR REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL by Chicago Magazine.  SHARE THIS POST & FOLLOW US NOW ON:

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Clear Off Your Kitchen Counters, Now!

Clear Off Your Kitchen Counters, Now!

Clear Off Your Kitchen Counters, Now!

There are certain rooms that immediately attract the attention of potential buyers. One of these? The kitchen. Buyers today want modern kitchens, and homes that boast them have higher odds of selling quickly and for higher prices.

But what if you can’t afford to gut-renovate your home’s kitchen? What if your kitchen isn’t modern and dotted with gleaming stainless-steel appliances?

Your job then is to make your existing kitchen look as appealing, and spacious, as possible.

Though this story from Realty Times is almost a year old it does provide an important and often overlooked tip for home sellers: Keep your kitchen counters clutter-free.

This matters more than you might think. A kitchen with clean, nearly empty counters, simply looks bigger than one with counters cluttered with toasters, blenders, food processors and water bottles. Clutter-free counters also make a kitchen look clean and homey.

Of course, keeping counters free of clutter today might be more challenging than ever. That’s because retailers have convinced so many of us to spend thousands of dollars on high-end kitchen gadgets, everything from expensive espresso machines to tank-like bread makers. Many homeowners simply don’t have anywhere to store all their kitchen gadgets.

The solution? Remove these gadgets from the kitchen and place them in storage until you sell your home. Those empty counters will make a more positive impression on would-be buyers than you can imagine.

It’s important, too, to keep your kitchen as clean as possible whenever you have a showing scheduled. This means no dirty dishes in the sink. It also means drying those clean dishes and putting them in your cabinets. You don’t want a strainer full of drying dishes to make your counter space look more limited than it is.

The MG Group is an award winning residential real estate group ranked #1 IN ILLINOIS & TOP 40 IN THE NATION since 2011 by The Wall Street Journal & in Real Trends’ THE THOUSAND TOP REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS. The MG Group is also recognized as a LUXEHOME 25 by Top 25 Luxury Broker in Chicago and FIVE-STAR REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL by Chicago Magazine.  SHARE THIS POST & FOLLOW US NOW ON:

 

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Aging Loans Proof That Housing Market is Slowing

Aging Loans More Proof That Housing Market is Slowing

Aging Loans More Proof That Housing Market is SlowingSco

The housing market, both in Chicago and across the country, is in a slowdown period today. You can see this in the monthly reports released by the Illinois Association of REALTORS®, which consistently show that housing sales this year have been lower than they were during the same time a year earlier.

Now a new story by the influential mortgage publication the Scotsman Guide offers more proof that home sales are going through a sluggish period.

According to the story, the average age of all mortgage loans in the United States in August stood at 54 months. That’s the highest this average age has ever been for U.S. loans, according to the Scotsman Guide.

This is an important statistic. As the guide says, aging mortgage loans mean that fewer borrowers are qualifying for or seeking to refinance their home loans. It also means that fewer borrowers are selling their homes and that foreclosures are still gumming up the housing market.

What does this mean for Chicago home sellers? Selling a home might take more time today, even in a steady real estate market like Chicago’s. If fewer buyers are hitting the market, it will take even a well-priced home in a desirable neighborhood more months to find a taker.

This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to sell a home in Chicago today. It doesn’t even mean that homeowners should be particularly depressed at the thought of listing a home today.

As always, selling a Chicago home comes down to setting the right price. I hate to sound like a broken record, but pricing really is the critical element of selling a property in Chicago, or any U.S. city for that matter.

So when your REALTOR® — and you are working with a REALTOR® to sell your home, right? — suggests an asking price, don’t automatically argue for a higher listing price. You might think your home is worth $350,000. But if homes like yours are only selling for $300,000, that extra $50,000 in asking price WILL keep potential buyers away.

Remember, your REALTOR® wants your home to sell. To attract buyers today, you need to set the right asking price, even if you don’t particularly like it.

The MG Group is an award winning residential real estate group ranked #1 IN ILLINOIS & TOP 40 IN THE NATION since 2011 by The Wall Street Journal & in Real Trends’ THE THOUSAND TOP REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS. The MG Group is also recognized as a LUXEHOME 25 by Top 25 Luxury Broker in Chicago and FIVE-STAR REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL by Chicago Magazine.  SHARE THIS POST & FOLLOW US NOW ON:

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An Uncertain 2015

An Uncertain 2015

An Uncertain 2015

The number of homes sold each month in Chicago continues to drop. And as Chicago Tribune real estate writer Mary Ellen Podmolik writes, that is creating an uncertain market for both buyers and sellers.

Podmolik cites the latest sales numbers from the Illinois Association of REALTORS®. According to IAR, when home sales fell again in August, it marked the eighth consecutive month-over-month drop in sales in the city of Chicago.

What does 2015 hold? According to Podmolik’s story, home sellers and buyers should expect an uncertain market, fueled in large part by the sluggish number of home sales in the city.

Podmolik points to move-up buyers, those buyers ready to sell their existing homes and buy larger ones. On the positive side, home prices have slowly but steadily increased since the housing bust. This means that more potential move-up buyers now have equity in their homes. This could encourage them to enter the housing market in 2015, providing a boost to Chicago home sales.

On the negative side, many of today’s potential move-up buyers have refinanced their mortgage loans to ones with historically low interest rates. According to the Tribune story, mortgage interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate loans are expected to move closer to 5% by the second half of 2015. Although still incredibly low, a rise to 5% represents an over 40% increase in the rate they are likely carrying. This might come as a shock to homeowners who today are blessed with rates closer to 3.5% on 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loans. The higher interest rates might keep potential buyers from seeking their move-up homes.

Podmolik cites numbers from Zillow saying that rising interest rates could result in about 100,000 fewer home sales by the middle of 2015. Zillow predicts, too, that these rising rates could mean more than 200,000 fewer home sales by the later stages of 2017.

Then there’s the case of the large number of Millennials who are now renting. No one knows yet when these renters will want to become buyers. As the Tribune story says, no one knows, either, if these Millennials will be able to qualify for mortgage loans should they even want to buy.

So the future of the residential real estate market looks hazy today. What will 2015 hold? Looks like we’ll have to wait to see.

The MG Group is an award winning residential real estate group ranked #1 IN ILLINOIS & TOP 40 IN THE NATION since 2011 by The Wall Street Journal & in Real Trends’ THE THOUSAND TOP REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS. The MG Group is also recognized as a LUXEHOME 25 by Top 25 Luxury Broker in Chicago and FIVE-STAR REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL by Chicago Magazine.  SHARE THIS POST & FOLLOW US NOW ON:

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