Besides added convenience, 40 percent of adults surveyed say they believe a smarter home would help them trim costs and save money on their utility bills. Sixty-two percent said they find smart home systems are most beneficial for monitoring safety and security.
So with the technology pool in the smart home arena ever-expanding, what’s holding back adoption rates?
The top considerations holding back respondents from purchasing such products were cost or fees (56 percent); ease of use (13 percent), and security (11 percent). Americans are more than twice as likely to prefer a do-it-yourself solution, without a monthly fee, over a professionally installed/monitored system with a monthly service fee, according to the survey.
“In general, Americans feel positively toward products that will make their homes safer, more energy efficient, and easier to manage,” says Kevin Meagher, Lowe’s vice president and general manager of Smart Home. Lowe’s offers Iris, a single user interface that allows home owners to control several aspects of their home from connected devices. “People want DIY solutions that are simple and affordable,” Meagher said about the survey results.
The biggest obstacles identified in the survey by those who don’t yet own were centered around financial limitations, mainly a low credit score, lack of down payment, and the price of homes in the area.
Still, “we’re very encouraged that so many Americans feel optimistic about home ownership and view it as a realistic and achievable goal,” says Joe Buhrmann, manager of financial security support at Country Financial. “This is a dramatic increase from last year, when less than half felt like home ownership was attainable for a middle-income family. An improving economy and labor market might be helping to lift Americans’ spirits and place buying a home closer within reach.”
source: Country Financial
Single-family housing starts posted a more modest drop at 2.4 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 643,000 units.
The HUD and Census data follows a report that showed builders’ confidence in the new-home market had reached its highest level since 2005, as more builders reported greater optimism with home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as well as an uptick in potential buyer traffic.
The builders’ tradegroup is calling August’s drop in single-family housing starts a “monthly blip,” and that starts are still 8 percent above last year’s level.
"While single-family starts registered a slight decline, low mortgage rates, affordable home prices, and pent-up demand will keep single-family production moving forward in 2014,” says David Crowe, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders.
As for the drop in starts on the multifamily side, it’s “not too surprising, given how volatile the numbers have been the last 18 months,” Crowe notes.
Housing starts fell across the country, with all regions posting drops in August.
Housing starts month-over-month by region:
Building permits – which reflect future building activity – also fell 5.6 percent in August. Multifamily permits dropped 12.7 percent while single-family permits decreased 0.8 percent.
“Homebuilder confidence had risen to a 9-year high but that is not being matched by what is actually happening on the ground,” notes Lawrence Yun, the National Association of REALTOR®’ chief economist, in a recent blog post. “The current pace of new home construction is woefully low – only about 60 percent of the norm. If new home construction activity does not pick up sizably in the upcoming months then the housing market will again encounter an inventory shortage.”
source: National Association of Home Builders and National Association of REALTORS® Economists’ Outlook blog
Despite the headlines about hot real estate markets, your home showings have started to slow, interest from potential buyers is waning, and your home seller is getting worried.
What should you do?
Time to update your listing photos. The listing may benefit from having new photos taken of the home to post on the Internet, which may help to renew interest online and get more potential buyers to the front door, according to real estate professionals in a recent article in The Chicago Tribune.
“Does the home still look as good as it did in the listing photos or does it look more lived-in now, a few months later?” The Tribune article also notes.
Many real estate pros have also opted for staging homes to try to renew interest: Decluttering, make sure the home is in neutral colors, washing the windows, and paying attention to the smell of the home (particularly if there are pets) to make sure the home is more inviting to potential buyers.
And if the home continues to linger, agents may need to revisit comparable sales in the neighbor and have a frank talk with sellers about the price they’re asking for the home.
"At the end of the day, it's going to come down to the price," Kevin Tatum, an @properties broker in Chicago, told the newspaper.
"That's what we try to have (sellers) keep in mind."
source: Chicago Tribune
In an effort to prevent blight, municipalities increasingly are imposing ordinances that require mortgage servicers to cough up fees, post bond for repairs, and register homes headed toward foreclosure.
The number of laws mandating registration of vacant or foreclosed property has surged more than 50 percent over the last few years, with California and Florida each approving more than 100 such ordinances. The trend could burden banks, investors and the housing government-sponsored enterprises with millions and possibly even billions in extra costs.
source: American Banker
Sales of existing homes, which represent the bulk of the residential housing market, declined in August from July but new-home sales rose.
Existing-home sales, which include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, declined to 5.05 million units on an annualized basis in August, after rising for four consecutive months. Although sales were at the second-highest level of 2014, they represented a 1.8% decline from July and a steeper 5.3% decline from August 2013. The National Association of Realtors reported that sales gains in the Northeast and the Midwest were outweighed by less activity in the South and the West. Even though the pace of recovery for sales of previously owned homes has been uneven, the median price rose almost 5% above August 2013 and represented the 30th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.
Separately, the Commerce Department reported that sales of new single-family homes in August rose 18% from July and 33% compared with August 2013. The higher-than-expected monthly growth was led by the West, but units sold increased in all regions except the Midwest, which was flat. Analysts welcomed the good news but cautioned that new-home sales data can be volatile and the pace may not be sustainable: For example, some of the gain could represent sales deferred from June and July. The number of months that new homes remain on the market was relatively unchanged.
A full slate of economic reports is scheduled for release this coming week, including personal income, The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index, construction spending, the ISM Manufacturing and Nonmanufacturing Indexes, factory orders, the employment situation, and international trade.
source: Vanguard Group
The most popular metro areas for U.S. family moves during the peak moving season (based on United Van Lines' summer moving volume data) are:
What had people moving this summer? Seventy-one percent moved for a new job or corporate transfer; 13 percent moved because of retirement; and nearly 10 percent moved for health or other personal reasons, according to the United Van Lines survey. Dallas/Fort Worth, Atlanta, and Los Angeles were the most popular destinations for new jobs and corporate transfers, according to the survey.
source: United Van Lines