Forget keeping up with the Joneses; kids these days just want to blow the Joneses out of the water.

Forget keeping up with the Joneses; kids these days just want to blow the Joneses out of the water.

Many consumers have spent too much on a luxury handbag, or signed on for a car payment that might require a regular phone call to Mom and Dad. But the price tag of appearing successful, wealthy, and independent has just gone up, as a new Bankrate.com survey shows that 30 million homebuyers have felt pressured to overspend on a home.

The survey also accounts for how peer pressure comes into play when shopping for things like school supplies or holiday gifts.

Ted Rossman, an industry analyst with Creditcards.com, said potential homebuyers should remember to identify costs beyond what’s posted on the “for sale” sign.

“You need to be careful not to overextend yourself, and you need to account for taxes, insurance and maintenance,” Rossman said. “But what feels like a stretch at first could become a much more reasonable monthly payment over time. That’s because your income could very well go up, and assuming you opt for a fixed-rate mortgage, that payment will remain static. So you’re insulating yourself from inflation in a way that renters are unable to do. Property taxes and construction costs generally go up over time, so factor that in, particularly if you’re planning major home improvements.”

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Millennial

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

It started as a drumbeat last March, as Candace Taylor of the Wall Street Journal wrote that Baby Boomers who built million-dollar, large homes, suddenly were finding it difficult to unload them because Millennial buyers (the next market of age to buy a home after Gen Xers) were disinterested in (or couldn’t afford) the homes.

Seems Boomers, who are looking to retire and downsize, and Millennials have something in common — a slim-to-nil desire to live in too much house.

“Large, high-end homes across the Sunbelt are sitting on the market, enduring deep price cuts to sell,” Taylor wrote. “That is a far different picture than 15 years ago, when retirees were rushing to build elaborate, five or six-bedroom houses in warm climates, fueled in part by the easy credit of the real estate boom. Many baby boomers poured millions into these spacious homes, planning to live out their golden years in houses with all the bells and whistles.”

The Boomer generation owns about 32 million homes and account for two out of five homeowners in the country.

Tastes Change

What nobody accounted for, really, was that tastes would change, and the buyers entering the market in the mid to late 2000s would be looking for walkable neighborhoods, energy-efficient homes, and clean floor plans, for the most part.

“Design trends have shifted radically in the past decade,” Taylor wrote. “That means a home with crown moldings, ornate details and Mediterranean or Tuscan-style architecture can be a hard sell, while properties with clean lines and open floor plans get snapped up.”

A survey by Nationwide Insurance revealed that 48 percent of Millennials wanted new construction, to avoid renovations and plumbing and electricity problems.  (more…)

Turtle Creek Gardens’ peaceful pool

Homeownership is the most consistent way to build up the nest egg you’ll need in retirement. People who downsize their homes are cashing out equity built up over a lifetime (and telling the kids they’re on their own). Sure, there are many reports that claim folks who rent in some areas make out better. But they’re always predicated on the renter investing the difference between the rent and the mortgage/taxes – which almost no one does. Instead, flush renters eat out more, buy more shoes (or in my case, shirts) or wend their way around the world collecting selfies.

The increased incidence of renters is troubling in many countries. When I spoke to HGTV presenter Richard Blanco in London recently, he agreed it would have an impact on tenants later in life. While student loans are an issue here, the issue both countries shared was a desire by younger people to live a catered life (as they did with mom and dad) where they farmed out the reality of living.

For those smart enough to embrace property ownership, the down payment is often a stumbling block for younger buyers. So without living in your Star Wars-decorated childhood bedroom, how does a potential homebuyer save? Especially when Uptown digs can scrape $3 per square foot per month?

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JCHS tabulations of Federal Reserve Board, Survey of Consumer Finances.

In Texas, the average debt is $26,292 and 56 percent of residents hold student loan debt. But one company found a way to make it go away faster.

In 1995, about a quarter of adults aged 20-29 had student loan debt. In 2016, it had increased to 47 percent. The percentage who had less than $10,000 went from 16 to 12 percent, while those owing $10,000 to $24,999 rose from 8 percent to 15 percent. Former students owing $25,000 to $49,999 also jumped from two percent to 12 percent and those owing over $50,000 from one percent to eight.

We also know that it takes the average college-educated person with student loan debt until around age 35 to reach the homeownership rates of their peers without debt. Student loan debt is one of the biggest reasons the Millennial generation took so long to purchase a home. And what about Generation Z, whose oldest have just drank their first legal beer while waiting for their even larger student loans to come due?

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Plenty of data has shown that Millennials have been eschewing homeownership more than previous generations. That trend may now be reversing according to data from HomeLight, a company that utilizes complex data analysis to better understand real estate markets across the country.

“Millennial is a broad term, but when we look at our data, we are seeing more homebuyers in their thirties,” HomeLight spokesperson Matthew Proctor said. “That’s a lag compared with Baby Boomers and other generations who were buying closer to age 26 or 27.”

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Millennial Homebuyers

Nationally, about half of American homebuyers are under 36, according to the latest study on consumer trends from Zillow, putting them squarely in the Millennial camp, born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.

Mail surveys from the National Association of Realtors indicate that first timers account for about 32 percent of all buyers, and Dallas Builders Association member builders ranked Millennials behind Generation X and Baby Boomers as their most common buyer in a recent survey.

The contrasting studies may be related to the methodology, but the Zillow study provides optimism about Millennial homebuyers.

Millennials have been slow to buy their first house—housing economists call this “delayed household formation” and cite it among Millennials as one of the biggest reasons we saw a slow housing recovery nationwide.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, 65 percent of Millennials hope to buy a single-family home. But this age cohort experienced the largest decline in homeownership rates since 2006. In fact, only 34.1 percent of Millennials own a home, down from 39 percent in the second quarter of 2010, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau’s Housing Vacancy Survey, which reported data from 2010 to 2016. A recent Pew Research Study further shows 32 percent of Millennials still live with their parents.

How do Millennial homebuyers fare in DFW? We’re experiencing record growth and are on track to add more than 100,000 jobs this year, causing price increases, especially for new homes. The median closing price for a new detached home in the Dallas-Fort Worth region increased 5.4 percent year-over-year to $305,637 in August, compared to the median closing price for an existing detached home, which is now $217,360.

“Market demand, increasing local regulations, and an ongoing labor shortage are all reasons why the average new home is more than $88,000 more expensive than the average existing home,” said Dallas Builders Association Executive Officer Phil Crone. “Obviously, that kind of premium is going to make it difficult for most first-time homebuyers to step into the new home market. We need to ensure our market and our industry meets the needs of Millennials as they hold the key to our region’s continued prosperity.”

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millennials renting

Photo: Billingsley Company

We’ve all heard the sad story of Millennials living with their parents, drowning in student debt, and working at Starbucks with liberal arts degrees.

While part of that image is accurate for a percentage of the U.S. population—a recent Pew Research Study showed 32 percent of Millennials do live with the folks—a larger percentage of those 18 to 34 years old live independently (48 percent). And a lot of them are renting.

Millennials are often drawn toward renting versus buying, in part because of that student loan debt. They also like the flexibility of being able to take advantage of new economic opportunities by not being tethered to a mortgage. These are free spirits.

“For Millennials, life is about experience over ownership,” said Sumner Billingsley, a managing partner of The Brickyard in Farmers Branch. “Thoughtfully designed apartments and rental townhomes give [them] the ability to enjoy creative and unique design elements that are typically reserved for single family homes, but at a budget [they] can afford.”

So what are the top five considerations of today’s Millennial looking for a temporary dwelling? The Billingsley Company did some research and came up with a list.

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East Dallas has a high density of parks and public spaces: White Rock Lake, the Dallas Arboretum, and Flag Pole Hill, the dog park, as well as the myriad trails and scenic routes that wind through the neighborhoods of Lakewood and Lake Highlands.

All of these reasons make this area prime for Pokemon hunters.

With the augmented reality app Pokemon Go sweeping the nation, homebuyers from Team Valor may find it beneficial to move to East Dallas. However, downtown isn’t exactly slim pickings, either (are you listening, Team Mystic?). Truth: We can’t hate on this fad, as it’s helping people connect, making people go outside and get some fresh air and exercise, and also creating a new marketing opportunity for small business — and real estate, of course!

In fact, some small businesses are seeing a serious boost in sales. In some cases, Realtors are using Pokestops, gyms, and rare Pokemon sightings as ways to attract Millennial homebuyers to open houses:

Pokestop MLS

But how do you take advantage of Pokemon Go to draw in more traffic and boost your sales?

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