Millennial concept. Group students with gadgets in their hands. Vector illustration flat design. Isolated on white background. Modern fashionable young people. Generation y.

When baby boomers reached the median age of 35 in 1990, they owned nearly one-third of U.S. homes by value. In 2019, the millennial generation, now at the median age of 31, owns just 4%, according to data from the Federal Reserve.

As millennials enter more prime buying years, that figure is expected to rise by the time their median age reaches 35. But housing analysts warn that millennials aren’t likely to reach 30% of the market share—or even 20%, like the smaller Generation X was able to do at that age.

“We’re looking at a generation that will have lower lifetime wealth” as a result, Jenny Schuetz, a housing policy expert at the Brookings Institution, told The Washington Post. “That’s bad news for the economy overall, not just millennials.” Homeownership has long been a traditional builder of wealth to the middle class, she adds.

Many millennials may be getting priced out of housing markets. The median home price is far beyond the typical salary. Plus, millennials carry a large amount of debt, which is preventing them from saving for a home. Households headed by someone younger than 35 saw debt rise from $21,000 in 1989 to $39,000 in 2016 (adjusted for inflation). Student loan debt has more than doubled—17% to 45% in that time frame. Further, the median debt more than tripled—$5,600 to $18,500.

The key for some millennials may be getting help from their parents. “Millennials whose parents are sitting on lots of housing wealth will have an easier time paying for college or coming up with a down payment,” says Schuetz. Even if they don’t inherit the money, they still tend to have some type of family safety net.


Renters are finding fewer places that charge a security deposit. That may be good news for tenants, but it’s a source of stress for landlords.

Security deposits have traditionally been a way for landlords to protect themselves if a resident causes damage to a property or stops making payments. But the large upfront payments before moving in have proved to be problematic for tenants. Renters can spend more than $3,400 on moving costs, according to research from Hotpads. With higher rent costs, new tenants may already be feeling stretched thin and a security deposit could even price them out.

Further, if the landlord takes any deductions from a security deposit when the tenant moves out, tensions often arise.

As such, some state and local governments are passing laws to limit security deposits. For example, Seattle has a law that limits security deposits so that they are equivalent to no more than one month’s rent. New York state recently approved a similar bill.

But landlords are still needing some assurance that a tenant won’t bail on them or leave them with a high bill for cleanup once they move out.

Some landlords are offering residents an opportunity to buy surety bonds instead of paying a security deposit. The renter pays a portion of the total deposit when they move in. That goes into a pool of funds to cover any damages or rent loss. It’s a nonrefundable upfront fee. This allows renters to save money when they go to sign a new lease, but they still may have to pay more later on. If landlords find damages from the renter once they move out, the bonding company will pay to fix those damages. They’ll then require the renter to pay for reimbursement.

Another alternative that landlords are turning to is lease insurance. “With lease insurance, instead of paying a large sum of money for a security deposit, residents pay a monthly fee over the course of their leases,” Reichen Kuhl, CEO and co-founder of LeaseLock, whose company provides lease insurance, writes for “As a result, the property owner is covered if the resident damages the property or skips their rent.”


March 30, 2020

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that it’s extending its grace period for homeowners to renew flood insurance policies to 120 days. Typically, FEMA allows a 30-day grace period to renew policies through the National Flood Insurance Program to help customers avoid a lapse in coverage. But FEMA’s unprecedented step to extend that period comes in response to the coronavirus pandemic. “The extension will allow additional time for policyholders who may be struggling financially to pay insurance premiums and ensure their policies are not canceled for nonpayment of premium due to circumstances beyond their control,” FEMA said in a statement.

Federal law requires the purchase of flood insurance for a federally backed mortgage in special flood hazard areas designated by FEMA. The NFIP provides insurance coverage to 22,000 communities across the country and protects property owners against losses from flooding, which is the most common and costly natural disaster in the U.S.

Under FEMA’s new guidelines, if a homeowner’s policy has an expiration date between Feb. 13 and June 15 of this year, they have 120 days from that expiration date to renew their policy and avoid a lapse in coverage. Further, if the policyholder receives an underpayment notice during the same time period, they have 120 days from receipt of the notice to make an additional premium payment, FEMA notes.

Any policyholders who need extra time beyond the 120-day extension can contact their agent or insurer to ask about additional options. Also, FEMA has published its Office of External Affairs Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs Division’s contact information for any further questions on the matter: 202-646-3444,


The apartment sector is expected to have a banner year, with new supply reaching a three-decade high across the country’s 150 largest apartment markets, according to a new report from RealPage, a property management software firm. For this year, the company is predicting 371,000 new units will enter the multifamily market.

Larger markets like Los Angeles are expected to see a surge in new units, and researchers say many smaller markets are expected to see an uptick too.

Small markets with largest construction spikes table. Visit source link at the end of this article for more information.

© RealPage

In January, construction starts for multifamily units hit a 34-year high. Multifamily starts are up across the country, with every region in the U.S. posting increases. Multifamily completions more than doubled in the Midwest in January (184%) and were up 19.8% in the South and 46% in the West.


Is gray cooling for interiors? Where do those trendy blues work best? Paint can do a lot to upgrade a space. Fixr, an online marketplace for home improvement services, spoke to home design experts to gather insights on the hot color trends for 2020. Here are a few trends they found in their study:

Gray interiors are falling to the wayside.

Gray has been the go-to color in design, but it may be losing some of its appeal. Only 20% of designers say that gray will remain popular this year. Others feel it’s on its way out. That said, despite it losing popularity, 57% of designers say people likely will continue to use it.

Cool neutrals reign.

Neutral earth tones can go well with many different design styles, Fixr notes. Fifty-seven percent of designers surveyed say that cool neutrals will be the most popular interior paint colors of 2020 (the next most popular group—at only 20%—was jewel tones).

Gray and white exteriors sell best.

Gray may be waning for interiors, but not on the exterior. Fifty-two percent of designers said gray is the best exterior color choice for someone who wants to sell their house, 52% of designers also said white is a good color choice for the exterior. “If you’re looking to sell your home this year, gray and white are the top recommended colors for the exterior of your home,” the report notes. “This gives your home a neutral look that appeals to a wide range of buyers, helping them picture themselves living there.”

Pale blue is best for small spaces.

Blues have been trending, including a pale blue that designers see as their top choice for small spaces. Thirty-seven percent of designers surveyed said that pale blue is the best color for small spaces, while 22% said gray or green is a great choice. “While the size of a space is a key factor in selecting a paint color, it is only part of the equation, as lighting and architecture can also play a major role in the color selection process,” the report notes.

Paint and Color Trends in 2020,” Fixr (Jan. 14, 2020)

March 24, 2020

Cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies has found a surge in coronavirus-themed malware and malicious software that is targeting the growing number of people working from home due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Cybercriminals are infecting home computers that may not have the same safeguards that employees use at their offices.

“The hackers are out in force, and they know that everybody’s home, so I think working from home without appropriate security is a risk,” Beth McCarty, owner of TeamLogic IT/Central Pinellas in Clearwater, Fla., told®.

Phishing emails continue to prey on individuals, security experts warn. Hackers are sending out emails impersonating charities. They’re making requests for money or other personal information. For example, one reported scam purports to be an app by Johns Hopkins University that tracks the coronavirus and urges people to download a file or to click on the link, which contains malicious malware. Some cybercriminals are also hijacking video conferences, displaying pornography.

Check Point Software Technologies’ research shows that more than 4,000 coronavirus-related domains had been registered globally. Three percent were found to be malicious and 5% were labeled “suspicious.”

While companies offer in-house internet networks, many people who are working at home don’t have that same type of security in their home networks. Also, many households are now sharing devices among family members, and aren’t just using them for work. Children may be using devices to access classroom portals or for entertainment.

What can you do?

“Make sure you change that default password on your router,” McCarty told®. “Many people have not.”

She also recommends enabling encryption on the router, using two-factor authentication to access programs, not storing any company information on your personal device, and using only approved company storage.

Also, she urges the use of a virtual private network, if available from your company. View more tips at®.


March 20, 2020

Farmhouse-style home design is the most Googled type of interior decoration in the U.S. Terms related to the design trends draw about 318,950 searches a month, according to data analyzed by the firm Though designers recently have called the style overdone, farmhouse still appears to have the public’s affection. The next-highest Googled interior design style—rustic—was a distant second at 190,240 searches a month, the data shows.

Here are the five most popular interior design trends by Google searches, according to’s analysis:

  1. Farmhouse: 318,950
  2. Rustic: 190,240
  3. Scandinavian: 126,540
  4. Vintage: 124,890
  5. Industrial: 118,100

The least searched interior design style? Directoire, Modernist, and American Colonial, all of which earned just 730 searches a month combined.

Low interest rates and inventory will draw buyers to the market, Lennar Corp.’s executive chairman, Stuart Miller, said on a conference call with industry analysts this week. The home builder, one of the largest in the country, said it was working on new ways for buyers to purchase new homes virtually, such as by leveraging its digital programs and offering drive-through closings. Such closings enable home buyers to sign documents from their car. “Even in the current environment, we are selling homes,” Miller said. “Since the first quarter, new orders continue to be strong.”

Miller acknowledged that in some cities, construction has been halted by local governments due to shelter-in-place restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. But Miller said Lennar has not halted its production yet, and the company will continue to build homes and adapt to the changing environment. He said low mortgage rates could incentivize a rush of new-home buyers once the coronavirus pandemic eases. The company has slowed its land purchases, focusing on reducing its outflow of cash to boost its liquidity and balance sheet position, a statement read on its earnings.

Lennar reported strong first-quarter earnings, totaling $398.5 million compared to $239.9 million in the first quarter of 2019. Its new orders also rose 18% on a year-over-year basis, with 12,376 homes in the first quarter.

Lennar Says Homes Are Still Selling Despite Coronavirus,” The Real Deal (March 19, 2020)

March 12, 2020

Some home sellers are making changes to how their listing is viewed by prospective buyers amid growing concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak.

About a quarter of real estate professionals surveyed by the National Association of REALTORS® said their sellers are taking extra precautions, including stopping open houses, requiring buyers to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer, or asking buyers to remove shoes and wear footies.

The survey examines the impact of the coronavirus on the real estate industry so far. Forty-four percent of real estate pros surveyed in the state of Washington and 34% in California reported changes to home tours. The two states currently have the highest number of reported cases of coronavirus in the U.S.

coronavirus sellers concerns chart. Visit source link at the end of this article for more information.

© National Association of REALTORS®

“We are seeing a lot more hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes at open houses,” Wes Jones, managing broker with Keller Williams in Bellevue, Wash., a Seattle suburb, told®. “We also make sure to wipe down the front door handle a number of times throughout the open house. It also appears that not shaking hands at all is quickly becoming acceptable.”

Cara Ameer, a real estate professional in California, also said she’s taking extra precautions. “I now carry a canister of disinfecting wipes in my car so I can wipe my hands and the steering wheel after being in and out of houses,” she told®. “I have also wiped down lock boxes, light switches, and doorknobs on my listings, and encourage customers to do the same. While you don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable, it is better to err on the side of caution rather than worry about exposure. You can never be too careful.”

The coronavirus is having a mixed impact on the housing market. It’s decreasing buyer traffic somewhat—although in still relatively low numbers—but it’s also not deterring some home buyers and sellers from taking advantage of the lowest mortgage rates in history, shows NAR’s survey, which is based on responses from more than 2,500 real estate professionals.

Sixteen percent of real estate pros say they’ve seen a reduction in buyer interest in their market since the onset of the coronavirus in the U.S. In California, 21% of members reported a decrease in buyer interest, and 19% of members said the same in Washington.

“Given that a home transaction is a major commitment, the uncertainties on how the economy will play out and the spread of the virus itself are barriers to home buying and selling,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “The stock market crash is no doubt raising economic anxieties, while the coronavirus brings fear of contact with strangers. At the same time, the dramatic fall in interest rates may induce some potential buyers to take advantage of the better affordability conditions. It is too early to assess the likely impact as to whether lower interest rates can overcome the economic and health anxieties.”

coronavirus buyers concerns chart. Visit source link at the end of this article for more information.

© National Association of REALTORS®

At least in the short term, Yun predicts home sales to be down about 10% compared to what they could have been due to the spread of the coronavirus.

One movement that could lessen its impact, however, is the dip in mortgage rates and its effect on buyers to move ahead with a purchase. More than one-third of members said that their clients are excited by the lower mortgage rates.

Real estate pros credit the lower rates for prompting the majority of home sellers to not make a change in the listing of their home, the survey shows. They want to take advantage of the lower rates on the buying side.

In some areas, the number of home sellers is rising. In California, 12% of members said the number of sellers is increasing because of the desire to take advantage of lower interest rates upon moving, according to NAR’s survey. Nine percent of real estate pros nationwide also reported a higher number of homeowners wanting to sell for this reason. Only 3% of sellers nationwide have decided to remove their home from the market and refinance into a lower mortgage rate so they can remain in their home.

REALTOR® Magazine Daily News

March 13, 2020
Mortgage rates for 30, 15, ARM. Full information at


After hitting a record low last week, rates reversed course this week and inched up. Rates still remain at “extraordinary levels,” Freddie Mac said in its weekly rate report.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage climbed from last week’s 3.29% record low average to 3.36% this week.

“As refinance applications continue to surge and lenders work to manage capacity, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked up from last week’s all-time low,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Mortgage rates remain at extraordinary levels and many homeowners are smartly weighing their options to refinance, potentially saving themselves money.”

Freddie Mac reported the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending March 12:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.36%, with an average 0.7 point, rising from last week’s 3.29% average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.31%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.77%, with an average 0.7 point, falling slightly from last week’s 2.79% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.76%.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.01%, with an average 0.2 point, falling from last week’s 3.18% average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.84%.