1. Those who are building are building bigger – The National Association of Home Builders says new homes most often have four bedrooms, three full baths and three-car garages. The average size in 2013 was 2,679 square feet — a steady climb from the 2,362 square-foot average in 2009. Read the full NAHB story here.
2. Mortgages are still low. For me, the memory of double-digit mortgages of the 80s is still fresh, so single digits below 5 percent — lower than my parents paid — are a good deal in my mind. Realtor.com says the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.38 percent last week. The 15-year fixed-rate was at 3.39 percent — both higher than 2013. Read the latest from Realtor.com here.
3. Younger house hunters expect nice digs when they buy. We all need to pay attention to this one. 20-somethings with good careers are enjoying the luxuries of some pretty nice rentals. Apartment buildings – new or completely renovated in Erie and elsewhere often include stainless steel appliances and much more. When this group looks for housing — they expect similar features. Sellers: If you put your house on the market with 20-year-old appliances and decor, beware. Especially if your neighbors are selling and have updated — guess which house the 20-somethings will buy?
4. The rental market is picking up — I wrote a story about Lovell Place last year. It’s about 95 to 98 percent rented. While I was there, a steady stream of folks were walking in and renting. So what’s up? All age groups want nice places to live. Home ownership is the American Dream, but a nice place to live often trumps that. If you want to sell your house, clean it up, spruce it up and make it sparkle.
And just in time to add sparkle to your home — the Home and Garden Expo starts Thursday. It’s time to see the trends in home and garden updates up close and personal. Show times are Thursday, 2 to 8 p.m.; Friday 2 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. See you there!
Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyle, Her Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She has written about homes and real estate for more than 20 years. She is mom to three, stepmom to three and GramPam to one.