In Trulia’s latest American Dream survey, people told us they want to super-size their homes and expect prices to return to their bubble-era highs.
Trulia’s latest American Dream survey reveals that consumer optimism is rebounding– faster than the housing market itself is. Prospective homebuyers are looking at bigger homes, thinking more seriously about buying and optimistically hoping for higher home prices in both the short-term and long-term.
To get American’s take on homeownership, we worked with Harris Interactive to conduct an online survey of 2,205 U.S. adults between May 22-24 and 2,230 U.S. adults between June 4-6. For the full methodology, see here.
The Return of Super-Sized Homes
Remember when Americans started looking for smaller-sized homes after the bubble burst? Well, it turns out that downsizing was not here for good. After a few months of encouraging housing market news, the “bigger is better” way of thinking is making a comeback. Now, 27% of Americans say their ideal home size is over 2,600 square feet–up from 17% in 2011. Furthermore, the “super-sized” house category, 3,200 square feet and up, saw an even more dramatic increase in interest. While just 6% of those surveyed in 2011 expressed desire for a super-sized home, 11% now say they want a home of this size — that’s almost double a year ago.
It turns out that new-home builders spotted this growing appetite for size: the Census recently reported the average home constructed increased from 2,392 square feet in 2010 to 2,480 square feet in 2011.0 comments
Trulia's Latest Study Reveals Buying a Home Trumps Renting in 98 out of the 100 Largest Metros
Since the housing bubble burst, it seems like everyone and their mother can’t stop talking about what a great time it is right now to buy a home, but how good is it really? After years of seeing home prices drop like flies and rental markets tightening up better than pair of Spanx, it’s safe to say that homeownership is very affordable almost everywhere. In fact, it is now cheaper to buy than to rent in 98 of the 100 most populous metros – including (shocker!) pricey places to live like New York, Los Angeles and Boston.
Says who you ask? Our Trulia’s Winter 2012 Rent vs Buy Index – that’s who! To give you a little bit of background, this Index is what we use to figure out whether buying a home or renting in a given metro is easier on the pocketbook. To do this, we look at asking prices for rentals and homes for-sale on Trulia.com while also factoring other costs like taxes, insurance and maintenance, etc.
Just see for yourself. After ranking all the metros (marked as dots in the chart below) in order of where buying is most expensive relative to renting, notice that the two metros at the top of the list —Honolulu and San Francisco — are no where close to being orange, let alone being in the red (read: renting is cheaper relative to buying). At best, they are a nice mustard yellow, which means that the asking price between renting and buying isn’t all that different. Instead, what really matters if you’re only doing a basic cost comparison is (1) your tax bracket and whether you can benefit from the mortgage interest deduction and (2) how long you actually plan to live in the house.
Start Spreading The News, I’m Leaving NYC For The Suburbs Today
Truth be told, it won’t surprise anyone to say that you need to be making some serious bank in order to be a Manhattan homeowner. Housing crisis or no housing crisis, it’s still going to be a really expensive place to live compared to pretty much anywhere else in the U.S. of A. However, if you can let go of Manhattan city living (like Miranda in “Sex and the City” did), then you might be pleasantly surprised to know that buying a home is definitely doable. You just got to look even further than Brooklyn and Staten Island (priced-out Manhattanites have bid up home values in many neighborhoods…boo! hiss!). How far? Think Queens, the Bronx and other nearby suburban counties.
|New York City Area|
|Borough or County||Price:Rent Ratio|
|Bergen, NJ (Hackensack)||12.5|
|Hudson, NJ (Jersey City)||12.1|
|Nassau, NY (Long Island)||11.8|
NOTE: The lists above rank the major metros where renting a home is most expensive relative to buying, and vice-versa. Price-to-rent ratios that are 15 and under indicate buying is less expensive than renting, while ratios that are 20 or higher indicate renting is less expensive than buying. Between 15 and 20, the rent-versus-buy calculation depends on tax deductions and other personal circumstances.
Left My Heart In San Francisco…As I Move To The East Bay
When it comes to buying a home in the SF Bay Area, you’re going to have to pay a pretty penny as compared to renting to do so in San Francisco, the Peninsula (San Mateo County) and in the South Bay (Santa Clara County). You’re more likely to get a better deal once you cross the Bay Bridge and head to the East Bay (Alameda County and Contra Costa County). That’s because there’s been more empty homes and foreclosures on that side of the bay.
|San Francisco Bay Area|
|Santa Clara (San Jose)||14.5|
Buying Beats Renting 99 Miles From LA, But Not Always
Generally speaking, homeownership in SoCal gets pricier as you move away from the coast towards the desert, but this “rule” is by no means set in stone. There are a couple of big exceptions: Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley. These two real estate markets are really far from the beach, but are crazy expensive places to buy a home as compared to renting. Heh, go figure.
|Area Code||Price:Rent Ratio|
|Westside LA / Beaches /Coast (310 / 424)||15.8|
|Pasadena / San Gabriel Valley (626)||15.8|
|Orange County South (949)||14.4|
|Central Los Angeles (213 / 323)||13.4|
|Orange County North (714 / 657)||12.8|
|Long Beach (562)||11.9|
|San Fernando Valley (818 / 747)||11.7|
|San Bernardino (909)||10.2|
If You’re Living in Chicago, It’s Cheaper to Buy vs. Rent
No matter how you slice and dice it, being a homeowner in Chicago is much more affordable than being a renter. Even in the heart of the windy city (the Loop and Near North Side), buying is relatively cheaper than buying than in many suburbs of New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
|Area Code||Price:Rent Ratio|
|Loop and Near North Side (312)||11.4|
|Chicago except downtown (773)||8.0|
|North/Northwest Suburbs (847 / 224)||7.7|
|Western Suburbs (630 / 331)||7.5|
|South Suburbs (708)||5.0|
To check out the all the findings from the report, check out the Slideshare deck below.0 comments
March marks the start of the housing season. Prices peak in May, sales in June, and inventories in July. In colder regions, seasonal swings are bigger, and the market peaks later.
The housing market rides the seasons. Year in and year out, market activity has predictable ups and downs. Sometimes those seasonal patterns are hard to see when longer-term trends (like plummeting housing prices) or one-off events (like the homebuyer tax credit) drive movements in prices, sales and other housing indicators. But seasonal patterns are there, even when they’re beneath the surface.
To understand the effects of long-term trends or one-time events on the market, housing wonks like to “seasonally adjust” data. That means we strip out the regular seasonal patterns in order to highlight trends or events. This is useful for deciding whether the market is really in recovery or assessing the impact of a housing policy.
But these seasonal patterns help show us what’s really going on in the housing market, which is important because they give us hints about when we should search, list, buy, sell or build. In this post, I look at five measures of housing activity: search activity (Trulia), asking prices (Trulia), new construction starts (Census), existing home sales (NAR) and housing inventory (deptofnumbers.com).
Starts and Sales Swing with the Seasons
New construction starts and existing home sales fluctuate more throughout the year than other housing activities. The chart below shows that sales are typically 29% above their annual average in June and 31% below their annual average in January. Construction starts also swing 25% above and below their annual average over the year. No wonder builders and agents say theirs are seasonal businesses. Other activities float rather than swing with the seasons. Search activity rises 12% above its annual average in March. But inventories stay within 10% of their annual average every month, and asking prices stay within 5% of their annual average every month (see note below on asking prices).
The Spring Thaw Comes First to Buyers, then to Sellers
As the market comes out of winter hibernation, buyers wake up first. The table below shows when each measure hits its highs and lows. In the winter, all activity rests: searches, prices, starts, sales and inventories all slide to their yearly low in December or January. Life resumes in March, as search activity pops up and stays above normal through August. Prices rise too and reach their annual high in May. Summer has endings and beginnings: sales peak in June, as do new construction starts. But inventory keeps climbing as some sellers miss the sales peak, topping out in July and August.
What do these patterns tell us? Homebuyers are a little ahead of sellers. Asking prices peak at the start of the season, so demand appears to rise ahead of supply. As supply catches up, prices ease back down and sales peak. After that, inventories build up a bit further through the summer.
High-Season Comes Stronger and Later in the North
Harsh climates fuel seasonality. It’s harder to build homes in the snow, and a lot less fun to go to open houses (or host them). Construction starts in the Midwest are 2.5 times higher in June than in January, but in the South, construction starts are only 50% higher at the summer peak than at the winter low. Sales seasonality too is stronger in the Midwest and Northeast than in the South and West.
The best time to buy or sell? Depends on where you are. If you want to buy when inventory swells (or want to avoid those months for selling), inventory peaks in the summer across most of the country, but not in the Sunbelt. In Miami, Tampa and Orlando, inventory peaks in March; Las Vegas inventory peaks in October, and Phoenix inventory peaks in December – just in time to buy a home for Christmas.
Looking to buy low or sell high? Nationally, asking prices peak in May and bottom in December, so sellers can get top dollar in the spring, while buyers can find bargains later in the year. In other words, buyers should be more patient than they are, while sellers should move faster to get their home on the market. But prices tend to peak earlier in the South, as the map below shows, and later in the North, so the best deals come later in the year the farther North you are. And the harshest climates create the biggest swings: prices for similar homes vary more with the seasons in Minnesota, Illinois and Maine than in any other state.
— All data presented are the seasonal factors from the Census X-12 seasonal adjustment model, applied to at least five years of unadjusted raw data from each source. As each data source allows, I estimated separate seasonal factors for each metro, state, or region as well as for the US overall.
— Asking-price data from Trulia.com are adjusted for housing characteristics and neighborhood attributes. Therefore, the seasonal pattern in asking prices is not affected by seasonal changes in the types of homes that get listed.
Nationally construction is looking up -- but some places are hot while others are not.
Things keep looking up for the construction industry. New construction starts in January were 10% higher than one year ago. Confidence among builders jumped this month to the highest level in four years, even though it’s way below where it was before and during the housing boom. And construction jobs are on the rise too, growing faster than the U.S. economy overall.
But housing markets are local. In some cities you hear the sweet sounds of hammers and backhoes, but others cities are silent. Building-permit data from the last quarter of 2011 – the most recent available – show where construction is hot and where it’s not. Where it’s hot, new homes will add to the existing inventory, giving buyers more choices. Where it’s not, buyers will have to look at existing homes, and construction workers will have to hope for better news next quarter. Here are the winners and losers in new construction:
Ahead of Valentine's Day, Trulia surveyed Americans across the country to see how much real estate and dating choices intertwine.
When it comes to dating, we all have our own kooky preferences for finding that special someone. Whether we’re looking strictly for dog lovers, vegetarians, outdoorsy types or homebodies, everyone has a check-list of “must haves” or “would likes” to screen out the best possible prospects.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we asked ourselves whether a person’s living situation affects their chances of finding love? Are women more attracted to men who own a home? Do men prefer women who rent in the suburbs vs. the city? We fielded our Love & Housing survey asking more than 2,000 US adults how much they care about a potential partner’s housing preference.
We found some surprising and some not-so-surprising stats on how today’s singles view dating and real estate.
Single and living with your parents? It may be time to move out.
It is now officially official that if you call your parents, “roomies,” you probably have a non-existent dating life. According to our survey, only 5% of unmarried U.S. adults would prefer date someone in that living situation.
But parents aside, most unmarried adults (62%) would rather date someone who lives alone versus someone who lives with other people — which makes sense. Living alone means no distractions and more privacy. However, when it comes to location and the type of home, there was definitely a noticeable difference between men and women. More women preferred to date someone who lived in a house in the suburbs and more men preferred dating someone in an apartment in the city. What can we say, guys like the fast-paced city life and girls long for the white picket fence!
|Would you, personally, prefer dating someone who lives…?|
|Total, Unmarried U.S. Adults|
|With other people||14%|
|Other or None||24%|
|Would you, personally, prefer dating someone who lives…?|
|Total||Unmarried Men||Unmarried Women|
|Alone in a house in the suburbs||33%||29%||37%|
|Alone in an apartment in the city||29%||32%||25%|
|With roommates in either the suburbs or the city||9%||14%||9%|
|With their parents||5%||6%||4%|
More men open to shacking up to save money
When you take that big step to live with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you are ultimately giving up your single life and layin down some commitment. But these days, this move is sometimes less about the solidifying the relationship and more about being economical. In our survey, a whopping 74% of unattached renters (meaning those who don’t own a home and haven’t tied the knot/haven’t made the decision to live together) said they would be at least somewhat willing to live with their significant other to save money. What we found was rather interesting. Men are more likely to be very willing or willing than women (51% vs. 34%) to giving up the bachelor pad to save some money!
|Would you be willing to live with a boyfriend, girlfriend or significant other to save money due to the economy?|
|Total||Unmarried Men||Unmarried Women|
|Not at all willing||26%||21%||30%|
Homeownership is NOT a deal breaker.
A majority (63%) of unmarried U.S. adults said it didn’t matter whether their significant other owned their own home or rented. That said, there are definitely more than a few picky daters out there who do care. Women in particular are more likely than men to prefer dating a homeowner versus a renter (36% vs. 19%). What can we say, some women really know what they want.
|Would prefer dating someone who rents or owns their own home?|
|Total||Unmarried Men||Unmarried Women|
|Owns their own home||28%||19%||36%|
|Rents their home||2%||2%||2%|
|It Doesn’t matter to me||63%||72%||54%|
Younger daters say homeownership signals commitment
Among unmarried U.S. adults, 43% said homeownership is NOT an indication that someone may be serious about being in a long-term committed relationship, such as marriage. And when we looked at what men and women said separately, there was only a sliver of a difference — 36% of women and 33% of men said owning a home was a signal that someone is ready to settle down.
However, when we took a at the differences in opinions across different generations, 44% of millenials (18-34 year olds) felt that homeownership does equal commitment while only 26% of Baby Boomers (55+ year olds) felt the same.
|Do you think homeownership indicates that a person may be serious about being in a long-term committed relationship, such as marriage?|
|Total||18-34 YO||35-44 YO||45-54 YO||55+ YO|
What spells love at first sight for first-time homebuyers
We asked all U.S. adults surveyed to select every amentitiy that would make them “fall in love” with a home. For men and women in the market for their first home, both sexes are actually seeing eye to eye on what’s most important — which according to our survey is the master bathroom, followed by a … walk-in closet!? Guess there is a lot more synergy between the sexes than we thought and that men care as much about their shoes and clothes as women do!
Maybe the battle of the sexes on this issue isn’t much of a battle after all.
Love and housing – it’s a tricky little thing