Richard Stein – Realtor®, Douglas Elliman, GREEN, SFR, CBR, eCertified®

Local Agent, Worldwide Marketing – Douglas Elliman Real Estate formerly Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Yun: Some Markets Reaching ‘Crisis’ Level

With the median sales price for existing homes reaching a new high last month, the availability of affordable housing is dwindling, causing a “crisis” in some areas of the country, says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®. Higher-priced homes now make up the majority of available inventory—which is the lowest it’s been in decades—making it harder for home buyers to achieve homeownership.

“There is a housing shortage everywhere and a housing crisis in some markets,” Yun says. Here’s how sales in different price ranges fared in May:

  • Under $100,000: Down 7 percent year over year
  • $100,000-$250,000: Up 2 percent
  • $500,000-$1 million: Up 20 percent
  • Above $1 million: Up 30 percent

“Because of the run-up in home prices, it’s making it more difficult for renters to convert into homeownership,” Yun says. “We are essentially stuck at a 50-year low in the homeownership rate.”

However, the surge in home prices is working out well for current homeowners, who are enjoying rising equity. In the past five years, home equity has doubled from about $6 trillion to more than $13 trillion. “Yet the renters are not participating in this wealth, so there is a greater divide between owners and nonowners,” Yun says.

The share of existing homes purchased by first-time buyers dropped to 33 percent in May, down a percentage point from April, NAR reports. However, first-time buyers comprise more of the market than a year ago, when they made up 30 percent of sales.

Source: “Divide Widens Between Housing Haves and Have-Nots,” CNBC

Most Undervalued U.S. Cities in 2017

SmartAsset, a personal finance technology company, has analyzed its second annual round of undervalued cities in the U.S. Each city had a projected price per square foot based on livability metrics such as unemployment rate, crime, high school graduation rates, number of entertainment and dining establishments, and walkability. SmartAsset then compared that number to the actual price per square foot.

In Charleston, buyers purchase homes for $106.75 per square foot, but SmartAsset estimates it should really be around $294.40 per square foot. That means buyers in the city save $187.65 per square foot, according to the analysis. Augusta, Ga., which landed second on the list, saw buyers saving about $158.36 per square foot.

View SmartAsset’s chart of the top 10 most undervalued cities in America for 2017.

Source: “The Most Undervalued Cities in America – 2017 Edition,”

Home Security Tips for the Summer

An increase in burglaries during the summer months means it’s time to help safeguard your clients’ homes while they’re away for the season or absent while selling. Ooma, a smart home phone and security company, offers six tips for preventing break-ins.

  1. Front door surveillance. Because 34 percent of break-ins happen through the front door of a home, recommend that your clients install a smart doorbell that routes to their phone. Other security options Ooma mentions include two-way speakers that will give visitors the impression the owner is home, or video cameras so your clients can see who’s at the door from their phone.
  2. Secured windows. The second most common break-in location is a first floor window, the access point of 23 percent of burglars. Ooma recommends installing sash locks and wireless motion sensors that will alert the homeowner if a window is opened or broken.
  3. Don’t forget the AC unit. Pushing in a window air conditioning unit is another common break-in method. Suggest motion sensors near the AC unit, or tell your clients to remove the unit while they’re away, Ooma says.
  4. Barring patio and sliding glass doors. Sliding doors should not only be locked, but should also have a barrier bar in the tracks. Ooma suggests homeowners place motion detectors in this area as well.
  5. Leave the lights on. The goal is to make the home appear lived in, even if your clients are vacationing or have already moved out. Ooma recommends smart lights that homeowners can control from their phone, or at the very least, light timers.
  6. Call 911 from afar. A homeowner trying to reach the police from a remote location can take valuable minutes. Home security companies, including Ooma, offer remote 911 calling.

Source: Ooma Home Security

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