Listing Courtesy of OCEAN ATLANTIC SOTHEBY'S INTL REALTY
Bethany Beach real estate news is fairly predictable—at least compared with some of the stories that filter in from the rest of the world. Here in Bethany Beach, for instance, wherever a new home is being built, you’re likely to see familiar evidence like stacks of lumber and drywall, cartons of nail gun ammo, sacks of cement, and workmen hustling around as they put everything together.
Nary a printer in sight.
Not so in China. According to The Washington Post, the real estate news includes an item about an innovation from Asia. “Innovation” is perhaps a bit of an understatement, because the gist of the story was that in April a year ago, a Chinese concern built 10 houses in one day using a 3-D printer.
Despite what you may be thinking, this item did not have an April 1 dateline.
The 3-D printers we’ve been reading about over the past few years are the ones that take pellets or powders made of plastic, wax, ceramic, or even metal, and print three-dimensional objects, layer by layer, as directed by a computer.
Only a few years back, for most of us, stories about 3-D printers seemed more like science fiction than reality. But apparently the things actually work! As evidence, there have been lots of stories about the legal and other ramifications that accompany the printing of firearms. A few months ago, astronauts printed up a 3D wrench aboard the International Space Station: they’ll just print up spare parts when things break down. And there was that car (the “Strati”) that a company printed in Chicago: it took 44 hours to print, with a top speed of 40 MPH…
Doesn’t this all sound a little bit nuts?
But back to the real estate news from China. It seems that the outfit that printed the 10 houses last year, built a really, really big 3D printer, and used it to print a mansion: an 11,840 square-foot villa. Next to it, they printed up a 5-story building (just showing off, you have to think). According to reports, the process is more than just fast: it’s becoming cheaper and more energy-efficient. The Chinese company says that it can save 30%-60% of building materials, 50% of labor costs, etc. They want to print bridges, too…
But don’t think American ingenuity is being left in the polymer dust! USC Engineering Professor B. Khoshnevis is plugging away at the forefront of the technology, except he calls it “contour crafting” instead of “3D printing” (or “Xeroxing”). On his web site, in answer to the FAQ “Can you print an entire house?” the answer is Theoretically, yes. He hopes to see “entry-level construction models on the market within one to two years.”
Soooo, how long before our local Bethany Beach real estate news will be trumpeting our own 3D printed houses for sale? No time soon. It turns out that the villa, 10 small houses, and 5-story apartment building in China “aren’t much to look at.” In fact, some say they are for demonstration only. So when you give me a call to help you find the Bethany Beach home of your dreams, I suspect a printed model won’t be on our tour list. We won’t be making the rounds in a Strati, any time soon, either.
It’s only a two-seater, anyway. Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at email@example.com, visit more listings at www.beachrealestate.com
If anyone involved in Sussex County real estate were to try to pick a word to characterize the mortgage industry as a whole, “sentimental” wouldn’t be among them. Especially over the past several years, “frustrated” might be apt, or “hog-tied.” Mortgage issuers been hampered by tough rules developed in reaction to the sub-prime mortgage mess. They certainly wanted to issue more mortgages, if only for their own profitability, but until recently, the lending guidelines made that difficult.
In any case, this is an industry that relies on hard facts and statistics to govern lending decisions. Mortgage industry leaders are therefore not inclined to be overly optimistic, overly pessimistic—nor are they prone to exaggeration in their public pronouncements.
So when the powers-that-be at Fannie Mae come out each quarter with their Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey, the “sentiment” is not the Cry Me a River or You Are the Sunshine of My Life variety. This “sentiment” describes how real estate lenders (presumably including some Sussex County mortgage companies) feel about mortgage business prospects in the coming months. The actual report has a remarkable record of a lack of sentiment: it’s usually pretty much on target.
So it is that when the 2015 first quarter Survey appeared last month (this is one real estate report whose ‘first quarter’ paper actually appears in the first quarter), it sounded another positive note in the assemblage of springtime real estate projections. The summary talked about “an improving outlook among mortgage lenders” because those surveyed “expect mortgage demand…to grow over the next three months.” The hard number was 71% having that expectation, which wouldn’t be surprising, given our entry into the busy spring selling season. The optimism drew more from the fact that this is a substantial improvement compared with the same quarter 2014 (71% vs. the previous 59%).
If the growth they anticipate holds true for our own market, it wouldn’t just indicate improving activity for Sussex County home buyers and sellers. After what they viewed as an “uneven” 2014, Fannie Mae’s Chief Economist Doug Duncan said the results were “consistent with our view that an improving economy, strengthening employment, and increasing consumer confidence” pointed to the more cheerful outlook.
Also cheerful was the picture mortgage issuers expected for their own well-being. A year ago, lenders who thought their profitability would increase were in the extreme minority: 21%. This year, the size of the optimistic group doubled.
Local mortgage applicants could find good news in one more of the reasons for the expectation for mortgage demand to grow over the next three months. The report talked about how last year’s credit tightening was continuing to “trend down.” And there at the top was the headline which mentioned “Gradual Credit Easing.” For anyone who had found it hard to qualify under last year’s rules, that’s very welcome news.
If you will be buying or selling anytime soon, I hope you’ll give me a call: the sentiment here is also the green light kind!