Listing Courtesy of OCEAN ATLANTIC SOTHEBY'S INTL REALTY
Just as with movie credits, the features you find in Lewes listings have a “billing order.” The “stars” may not be printed in gigantic superstar type—but the order in which they appear do reflect changes in current buyer priorities. For a homeowner soon to add their property to this summer’s Lewes listings, it’s important to learn which features currently tend to attract the most favorable attention from prospective buyers. It’s of more than marketing interest, as well: knowing what’s in and what out can also help determine where improvement dollars should go.
The question is, which features are most desirable, and which formerly popular features have become passé: “so Twentieth Century!”
New answers to these questions usually appear a couple of times a year—and 2015 is no exception. The latest one I found was on the Realtor.com website. It went into recent history, describing in detail how listings’ features for newly-built homes have been undergoing rapid change over the past few years. In general (and probably as a reaction to the difficult economic times that only lately have seen improvement), over-the-top luxury details are fading, being replaced in favor of features centered on efficiency, organization, and pragmatism.
Examples of the kinds of details less likely to be found in today’s listings are two-story foyers, master bathrooms with whirlpool tubs, and luxurious details like outdoor kitchens. (“NOPE” in capital letters is shown stenciled over a picture of one of those outdoor kitchens…which, I have to admit, really does look like it belongs in a hotel). Whereas ten years ago, those outdoor kitchens with fancy wine racks might have been found near the top of a listing, today it might be replaced by ‘walk-in closets’ or even, simply, a ‘laundry room.’
“It’s not sexy,” says one industry executive, “but that’s what people want.”
The most extensive survey of home builder trends is conducted by their national association, the NAHB. By quizzing nearly 400 builders, they concluded that other features on the decline include outdoor fireplaces, sunrooms, and media rooms. Taking their places (and likely candidates for what we’ll soon see creeping toward the tops of some of our Lewes listings) are the walk-in closets (since people want to get out the door efficiently first thing in the morning) and well-organized and well-lit laundry rooms (to improve the efficiency of the household).
As part of a “post-recession cultural shift toward pragmatism,” this makes perfect sense. But that word “post-recession” may offer a clue to what could be the temporary nature of the NAHB’s 2015 findings. For example, granite countertops—once a ‘luxury’ item in Lewes listings—are now more popular than the laminate alternatives. And those supposedly unpopular media rooms are not vanishing totally. They’re simply being replaced by spaces that are “more flexible.”
If you’re soon to be scrutinizing your own home to determine which of its best features to emphasize, I’d be pleased to furnish an opinion—it will be based on the results we’re seeing from today’s Lewes listings! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at email@example.com, visit more listings at www.beachrealestate.com.
When we are keeping tabs on Lewes’s real estate scene, it’s only natural to go directly to the portion of the market we are most connected to. If we are a renter or investor, our eye is drawn to trends affecting that segment. Lewes home sellers (or potential home sellers) can be counted on to pretty much ignore that information, instead concentrating on the latest single family residential listings, asking prices, and news related thereto.
Yet some trends in one sector can significantly impact the others. That’s the way it is with construction—any kind of construction. Whether it comes in as new building or remodeling, when construction goes up, lots of impacts can find their way to Lewes —some right away, some after a significant lag.
Last week there were reports and reactions to some recent national readings:
HUD reported that March building permits were 4.6% stronger than in last year during the same period. Permits is one of those lagging indicators—a timelier statistic comes in the form of actual housing starts. Starts are bird in the hand numbers, as opposed the permits, which are birds in the bush. U.S. single-family starts came in at more than a million (1,089,000)—a happiness-inducing number if you are a builder. That’s a full 14.2% stronger than in the previous year, though not as robust as in February.
Investors would be more apt to notice starts for buildings with five or more units. Like the single-family starts, they were down from the month before but stronger than in 2015. Usually, availability of more rentals relieves price pressure on the single-family residential market. But in today’s situation, where listings for starter and trade-up homes has been decreasing for four long years—the overall inventory shortage makes that effect less likely for Lewes home sellers (at least anytime soon).
In the same way that it’s simple to imagine the builders smiling at the year-over-year building starts statistics, it’s equally easy to picture the bankers as less exuberant. Let’s face it, the nature of the banking industry is to be more restrained. After all, when we put our own money in the bank, we definitely want them to be cautious. Risk-averse. Stingy, even.
The BankersOnline website (“For Bankers/From Bankers”) played into the prototype, concentrating on housing completions rather than will-o’-the-wisps like permits or starts. And although the numbers there were even stronger (a whopping 31.6% gain over the previous year), a word of caution about over-reading the meaning of that leap is in order. A year ago March, residential completions had been unusually dismal.
All in all, even The Associated Press—who for some reason framed the same numbers into a gloomier cast than seemed reasonable—couldn’t help reporting what the National Association of Home Builders sentiment index showed: “an overall optimistic outlook for new homes as the industry heads into the all-important spring sales season.” That construction industry assessment might not seem to directly affect what Lewes home sellers will encounter, but a lively market is good news for each. I hope you will give me a call if this summer’s market is one you are interested in exploring further! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com.