Category Archives: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hodnett Cooper Real Estate

Best Places to Raise a Family

Did you know that the average American family moves approximately once every five years? According to MoveBuddha.com, about 15.3 million American households move each year. Most families (40.2%) relocated less than 50 miles from their old home, but 24.7% moved 500 miles or more and 10% moved out of state, according to VerifiedMovers.com.

Families move for many reasons, such as wanting a better home; new job or job transfer; finding a cheaper home; buying a first home; to be closer to schools or work and wanting a better, safer neighborhood. Others want good schools; safe walking areas; lots of amenities like parks and museums; and a wide range of outdoor activities.

You’ll find numerous rankings for “best cities for families” online for metros of all sizes, but seldom do researchers choose the same best cities because of differing criteria. WalletHub.com ranked Fremont, California as their number one based on overall scores for the number of playgrounds and attractions; air and water quality; infant mortality rates; high school graduation rates; and costs of childcare, living and housing and more. USNews.com rates Huntsville, Alabama number one based on its median annual salary ($58,730); residents spending just 20.12% on cost of living; median home prices ($192,667) and air quality. ExtraSpace.com named Ann Arbor, Michigan as top choice based on low crime rates, affordability, blue ribbon schools, and its urban forest vibe.

Whatever your reasons for moving, be sure to look up commute times; healthcare and fitness; public transportation; housing costs; and job growth.

How NIMBYism Stunts Housing Growth

In addition to supply chain interruptions, high material costs and labor shortages, badly needed new home construction is also being curtailed by NIMBYism, says the National Association of Home Builders. “Not in my backyard” homeowners may not realize that by preventing development in their towns and neighborhoods that they’re making homeownership much more expensive for themselves as well as others.

The root cause of nimbyism is that homeowners are afraid that their home values will fall if they allow less expensive homes to be built in their neighborhoods. While this is common in master-planned developments that require new homes to be built using only construction and materials approved by the homeowner’s association, many communities have put their land-use regulations and restrictions in place against rental properties or smaller multi-family homes being built next to single-family homes.

Detached single-family home zoning means that builders can only build a single-family home on a given lot, which prevents more affordable multi-family homes such as duplexes, townhomes and apartments from being built. The net result is fewer available homes to rent or buy and skyrocketing prices. As land values increase, these limitations prevent workforce personnel such as fire fighters, police, paramedics, teachers and others from living in the communities they serve.

Housing regulations and restrictions are set by individual cities and counties and some states, including Oregon and Washington, rewrote statutes to make affordable housing a protected class for fair housing.

Homebuyers Catch a Break

If you’ve been discouraged about buying a home because the housing market is too competitive, you’ll like the latest 2022 forecast update from Realtor.com.

Inflation, higher home prices and higher mortgage rates are impacting affordability, which caused many homebuyers to move to the sidelines. In April 2022, existing home sales dropped 2.4% from March, and 5.9% year-over-year, partly due to mortgage interest rates crossing 5% for the first time in decades. Meanwhile, home prices in April rose 14.8%.

Home sellers are responding by putting more homes on the market in an effort to cash in before prices possibly begin to fall. Active listings, or homes listed for sale, are anticipated to grow 15% year-over-year in the second half of 2022. Home builders are stepping up production, too by about 5%, so buyers will have more inventory to choose from. Home sellers will have to become more competitive which will invite wait-and-see homebuyers back into the market. Housing sales volume for 2022 should be the second-highest in 15 years, even though a decline of 6.7% from 2021 is anticipated.

With unemployment rate near 50-year lows, wage growth should rise 3.8%, and flexibility to work remotely, even out of state, will continue. First quarter data showed that 40.5% of Realtor.com® home shoppers viewed listings located outside of their current state, up from 33.4% in 2020.

That said, affordability will remain an issue for many homebuyers as home sales prices rise 6.6% and mortgage rates reach 5.5% by the end of the year.