“Hipsturbia” is one of 10 emerging trends in real estate to watch, according to a newly released report by the Urban Land Institute and PwC. The term refers to the trend of suburbs that are creating their own versions of downtowns featuring vibrant “live/work/play” districts. More suburbs are taking a chance on these mixed-use, walkable developments, researchers note in the “Emerging Trends in Real Estate” report.

“Many of these ‘cool’ suburbs are associated with metro areas having vibrant downtowns, illustrating the falsity of a dichotomy that pits central cities against ring communities,” the researchers note in the report.

For example, the communities around Silicon Valley between San Francisco and San Jose are evolving into hipsturbia centers. The report calls out Santa Clara, Calif., that is developing 240 acres with offices, hotels, serviced apartments, and residences, along with open space for recreation. “The presence of Stanford University is a massive contributor to a hipsturbia environment,” researchers note. “A constant supply of young adults is the lifeblood of hipsturbias.”

The trend can also be seen playing out in Tempe, Ariz., near Arizona State University. Its transit access and cluster of coffee shops, sit-down restaurants, brewpubs, retail, and entertainment are reinventing the area. Other areas, like Evanston, Ill.—just outside of Chicago and home to Northwestern University—as well as Atlanta suburbs of Decatur and Alpharetta, are also vying to become a “cool suburb,” researchers note.

“As more and more suburbs—not all, but those with the right recipe—attract a critical mass of ‘hip’ residents, their success will become increasingly visible,” researchers note. “This will multiple the number of imitators, keeping the trend going.” The live/work/play model could revive suburbs and make them an attractive place for millennials and younger adults to settle down, researchers say.

Emerging Trends in Real Estate,” Urban Land Institute and PwC (September 2019)

June 12, 2020
Mortgage rates for 30, 15, ARM. Full information at http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms/


The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage continued to hover near its all-time low this week, averaging 3.21%, Freddie Mac reports.

“The rebound in home buyer demand continued this week, driven by mortgage rates,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “This turnaround in demand, particularly by those who have higher incomes than the typical household, also reflects deferred sales from the spring.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending June 11:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: average 3.21%, with an average 0.9 point, rising slightly from last week’s 3.18% average. At the end of May, 30-year rates reached a record low average of 3.15%. A year ago, 30-year rates averaged 3.82%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.62%, with an average 0.8 point, unchanged from last week. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 3.26%.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.10%, with an average 0.4 point, unchanged from last week’s average. Last year at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.51%.

Freddie Mac reports average commitment rates along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining a mortgage.


A great lawn adds instant curb appeal to a home’s first impression, but according to Reviewed.com, homeowners may be making one of these common mistakes in their lawn maintenance:

1. Cutting the grass too short. Most grasses should be cut no shorter than 2.5 inches, according to Reviewed.com. Anything shorter could impede the grasses’ ability to absorb enough sunlight to thrive.

2. Failing to water enough. Reviewed.com says that most grasses need 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week. “If you’re just turning on your sprinkler for 10 minutes a day, the water isn’t getting down to the grass’s deep roots, and a lot of that water is going to evaporate before the grass has a chance to absorb it,” the article notes. The grass needs about 30 minutes for most irrigation systems. Reviewed.com suggests a test: Place cans across the lawn and run the sprinkler for 30 minutes. Measure with a ruler the amount of water that collects in the cans. Adjust your timing, as needed, to get 1 inch per watering session. Another test: If you can see your footprints in the grass after you walk on it, that is a sign it’s time to water.

3. Watering at the wrong time of day. To minimize evaporation loss, water early in the morning before it gets too hot. Avoid watering at night, as cool water sitting on the grass overnight can increase disease, Reviewed.com notes. “Don’t rush out to water the grass the moment the sun comes out either,” the article notes. “Grass grows deeper roots when it gets slightly drought-stressed.”

4. Using too much fertilizer. If your grass turns brown, don’t just dump a bag of fertilizer on it. That can waste money and hurt your plants. You likely will need less fertilizer than you think. Follow the directions on the bag for how much to fertilize. Also, avoid applying powdered or granular fertilizer before a rain. It will run off with rainwater. Reviewed.com also notes that if you use compost, try three-fourths of a cubic yard per 1,000 square feet of lawn.

5. Applying fertilizer at the wrong time. Fertilizer will be the most beneficial for a yard in the spring and fall in most climates. “Fertilizer will help your lawn the most when it’s growing the most—that is, not in the middle of summer, when your grass gets stressed by heat and drought,” the article notes.

15 Lawn Care Mistakes You’re Probably Making,” Reviewed.com (May 21, 2019)
Recent Stories in This Section

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 Forbes.com. “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, FEMA-IGA@fema.dhs.gov.


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.

Source: RealtorMag.com

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 realtor.com®.

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 realtor.com®. “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 realtor.com®.


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 SellHouseFast.uk. 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 SellHouseFast.uk’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.