St. Louis Is The Best City For First-Time Buyers

First-time homebuyers will find the best mix of affordability, low competition, and young homeowners in Midwestern metros, a new report says. Zillow named the best markets for first-timers in 2024, with St. Louis taking the number one spot. Detroit, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, and Austin rounded out the top five. These cities offer reasonable prices and a relatively full arsenal of starter homes to choose from. Low-priced properties have been hard to come by due to rate lock-in keeping many families from moving up and a tendency for builders to produce big homes. That trend is changing, with builders now prioritizing smaller homes with fewer amenities, but until the construction wave is complete, first-time buyers need to prioritize metros that offer affordable…

Building For Families: These Cities Are Leading The Way

By ERIN FLYNN JAY As the housing crunch continues throughout the country, some cities are planning for growth when it comes to building homes for average families. Mark Buskuhl, owner of Ninebird Properties, a Texas-based investment firm, said Dallas is one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation and has been a top destination for families looking to relocate. “With its booming job market and affordable cost of living, it’s no surprise that Dallas is planning for growth when it comes to building housing for the average American family,” he said. Buskuhl said the city has implemented initiatives to increase housing options, such as the “GrowSouth” program which focuses on revitalizing and developing housing in southern Dallas. Additionally, the city…

Hitting The Market During The Holidays? What Sellers And Buyers Need To Know

By KIMBERLEY HAAS The housing market traditionally cools during the holiday season as people focus on family and friends but industry leaders say it is a good time for potential sellers and buyers to weigh their options. After mortgage rates recently surged above 7%, real estate activity and consumer sentiment took a nosedive. Home delistings hit a record high in November as sellers and buyers pulled out of the market, according to journalists Lily Katz and Ben Walzer at Redfin. Markets where home prices skyrocketed during the pandemic are now cooling the fastest. In Sacramento, Calif., an average of 3.6% of active listings were delisted per week during the 12 weeks ending on November 27, up 1.6 percentage points from one year earlier.…

Austin Ranked #1 City For Remote Workers

Austin, TX, has been ranked the best city for working from home, leading a list full of Southern and Western metros. A new SmartAsset study looked at factors such as the number of remote workers, housing costs, and income taxes to determine what U.S. cities offer the most to work-from-homers. Remote work has risen in prevalence from around 5% in 2016 to 17.9% in 2021. In 13 cities, more than a third of the workforce is remote. Some employers are even using remote work as a bargaining chip to offer lower salaries while inflation is high. This type of work is changing how Americans view moving and shifting their priorities when searching for a new home. And it’s not going…

Extended Stay America And Others Win During Pandemic

By CHUCK GREEN Now, how about a little, um, pop-up pop quiz? You. Put…the…iPhone….down. Okay, then. What did Marilyn Monroe. Elizabeth Taylor and, oh, say, Tennessee Williams, have in common? Whether compelled by business reasons — or simply because it was how they rolled – the trio lived in hotels. Probably beat the price of real estate. Even back then. Even for them. Seems they were onto something. Today, at least temporarily, a number of individuals – you know, us regular joes – also call hotels or motels la casa. Perhaps they’re working on location for a relatively limited time on a short-term out-of-town job and, given the paucity of housing in many parts of the United States, other accommodations…

Bidding Wars For Rentals Seen As Prices Rise

By KIMBERLEY HAAS As prices for rental housing continue to climb in many parts of the country, bidding wars are becoming more common. According to a report released last week by Joel Berner and Danielle Hale for Realtor.com, rent has reached another high in the company’s data history, averaging $1,827 in the 50 largest US metropolitan areas. Rental increases are most pronounced in Sun Belt metros, Berner and Hale wrote. That is because as more people have the opportunity to work remotely they are choosing warmer climates to live in. Three Florida metros are particularly affected. They include Miami, where rent was up 51.6% from April 2021; Orlando, 32.9%; and Tampa, 27.8%. Overall median rent in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale,…

Rents, Mortgage Payments Jumped In February

Average monthly asking rent in the U.S. leaped to new heights in February, up 15% year-over-year to a record high of $1,901, though mortgage growth outpaced it yet again, according to Redfin. Rent growth saw its largest annual increase since Redfin began tracking rental data in February 2019. Mortgage payments rose 31% YOY to $1,716, also the biggest increase recorded by Redfin. Mortgage payment increases outpaced rent increases in 44 of the 50 largest U.S. metros. “The cost of housing is going up for homebuyers and renters, but it’s going up more quickly for homebuyers,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather.  “That’s because mortgage rates have increased sharply, and will likely continue to do so. When the cost of homeownership…

Rental Rates Up By More Than 15%, Adding To Inflation

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Monthly asking rates for rentals increased an estimated 15.2% year-over-year in January, and some economists say this is accounting for a significant portion of recent inflation. Redfin is reporting that last month the average asking rent was $1,891, which is the largest annual jump since at least February of 2020. The national median monthly mortgage payment for homebuyers climbed by 25% year-over-year to $1,595. That is also the biggest increase in Redfin’s records. Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather noted that rising mortgage rates are shrinking more Americans out of the for-sale market, which will likely put increasing pressure on rents this year. “Moving right now is expensive, whether you’re renting or buying,” Fairweather said. “One of the only…

Despite Changes, Office Spaces Are Not A Thing Of The Past

By DOUG OHLEMEIER Despite many employees working from home and companies adopting hybrid work models, investors are still attracted to the land of cubicles. While office suites aren’t as packed with workers as before the pandemic, the commercial market remains strong. “There is investor interest in office properties,” said Stephen Newbold, National Director in the U.S. office of research for Colliers International, a Toronto, Ontario-based global real estate services and investment management company. “We are at a stage where we can fairly confidently say that we’re not going back to those (2020) levels. It may fluctuate a little, but my overarching view is we are stabilizing on vacancies and space on the market.” Observers aren’t sure how the new work…

Austin Home Values Equivalent To Ecuador’s Total GDP

December 2021 saw a record annual surge in US home value, the largest gain seen in any December since at least 2001, according to a new analysis of Redfin’s Housing Value Index. U.S. home value rose 18.6% year-over-year (YOY) to $38.6 trillion. Austin, TX, saw home values double that, jumping 39.2% YOY. That shakes out to $365.9 billion, roughly the 2020 GDP of Ecuador and the biggest gain of any metro tracked by Redfin. December marked the 17th consecutive month of double-digit price gains as inventory shrank to a record low. Cape Coral, FL, saw the second-highest gains (36.9%), followed by Grand Rapids, MI (33.1%), Phoenix (32.8%), and Boise, ID (32.8%). Cape Coral and Phoenix have consistently made the list…