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

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

More Properties Sell Above List Price

More homes are being sold for at or above the list price, according to the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey, a survey of real estate pros on their most recent transactions. Thirty-seven percent of properties that closed in February sold at or above the list price, according to the survey. A year ago, 35 percent of properties sold at or above the list price. From January 2012 through 2015, about a quarter of homes would sell for at or above the list price. 

“Buyer demand continues to outpace supply of homes being listed for sale in the market, sustaining the upward pressure on home prices,” the National Association of REALTORS® reports at its Economists’ Outlook blog.

Seventeen percent of the properties were sold at a premium over the list price in February, according to the March 2018 REALTOR® report. Of those, 87 percent sold at 101 to 110 percent of the list price; 7 percent sold for 111 to 120 percent of the list price; and 5 percent sold for more than 120 percent of the list price. 

Buyers will likely be paying even more in the coming months. Many real estate professionals expect home prices to continue to rise over the next 12 months, with real estate pros in the western region of the U.S. the most upbeat about prices rising by 5 percent or more in that time. 

Source: “More Properties Were Sold at or Above the List Price in March 2018,” National Association of REALTORS® Economists’ Outlook blog

The Link Between Real Estate, Life Expectancy

Developers, architects, and city planners were challenged at a recent meeting of the Urban Land Institute to help build healthier communities and reverse the trend of shorter life expectancy among U.S. children. Members of younger generations are facing a shorter life expectancy than their parents, and some in the housing industry blame it on poor living environments. 

“In the U.S., our children’s generation, my children’s generation, will be the first in U.S. history to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, and the reason for that is the epidemic of diabetes, obesity, and chronic disease amongst our children is now outpacing our ability to make medical advances to increase life expectancy,” says Joanna Frank, president and CEO of the Center for Active Design in New York. 

Speakers at the ULI meeting emphasized the need for cities to better implement wellness strategies on a broad scale. This could include greater sidewalks, more walking and biking trails, or using lower levels of volatile organic compounds in paints.  

“We are interested in how we can influence activities and the way housing is built in the middle, in the broader marketplace,” says Rachel MacCleery, head of the Urban Land Institute’s Building Healthy Places Initiative. “How can some of these lessons from affordable housing and, potentially, from some of the higher-end projects being built be applied to market-rate housing?” 

Seventy-one percent of renters say they would like to live in a community that promotes health, such as one with walking paths, sidewalks, and trails, according to a survey by McGraw Hill. However, only 16 percent of developers surveyed say they factor this into building considerations. 

Health-focused developments can fall into two broad categories: environmental and behavioral. With environmental developments, builders could offer greater access to outdoor space and natural light for tenants, and city planners could put more priority on parks with extensive trail networks. With behavioral developments, cities and builders could promote greater use of paints with low levels of volatile organic compounds, greater fresh food access, and active lifestyles, like sidewalks and self-contained communities that promote walking. 

“We’re really looking at all aspects of our built environment,” Frank says. “We’re looking at neighborhood-scale interventions as well as individual building interventions as well as the elements within a building, really looking at how do you provide an environment that optimizes behavior because we know that it’s behavior that impacts your risk of chronic disease, mental health issues, as well as life expectancy.”

A government-created certification system for health-minded construction is called Fitwel. It’s a point-based, three-star system that measures how well buildings promote physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices. Fannie Mae is offering a 15-basis point reduction on new construction and rehabilitation loans for projects that meet Fitwel’s requirements through its Healthy Housing Rewards initiative.

“There is a change taking place in the relationship between health, wellness, and the built environment,” says Howard Schlesinger, founding partner of Meridian Development Partners, who has been involved in ULI’s Building Healthy Places initiative. “All generations recognize the value of living healthier lives and creating environments that support that lifestyle.”

Source: “Developers Urged to Build Healthy Projects to Reverse Shorter Life Expectancy Trend,” Real Estate Weekly

Surging Prices, Rates Test Demand in U.S. Housing Market

By Vince Golle

A general view of Los Angeles is seen from Chinatown in Los Angeles
Photographer: Konrad Fiedler/Bloomberg

Fear of missing out may persuade Americans with an eye on buying a home to hurry their decision before it gets more expensive. But while demand shows few signs of teetering, jumps in both property values and borrowing costs will test the market’s durability.

Home sales are now hovering near expansion highs, though momentum has been kept in check by lean inventory that’s fueling an acceleration in prices. That’s the conundrum for the nation’s housing industry and its customers.

The following charts, derived from the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment survey and other figures, help explain how Americans’ views of the real estate market are evolving and how they compare to previous cycles:

1. Good Time to Sell, But…

In early May, 39 percent of respondents in……………………….



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