The Weekly Buzz: 3/12/15

The latest news and reports to share at your next sales meeting.

March 12, 2015

Net Neutrality and Real Estate

In a landmark decision, the Federal Communications Commission approved a rule prohibiting fast lanes on the Internet. The rule keeps a level playing field for all websites and prevents companies from paying Internet service providers for faster online services, which, in the real estate world, could be home searches or video playback. Internet service providers will not be allowed to block or throttle content and applications. The FCC is expected to publish the rule later this year.

“NAR is pleased that the FCC will implement net-neutral practices and prohibit paid prioritization, which would have created a two-tiered Internet and put REALTORS® and other small-business owners at a competitive disadvantage,” says NAR President Chris Polychron. “The new rules are a victory for consumers and for REALTORS® who embrace technology and online resources to meet the needs of their clients.”

Millennials Lead in Homebuying

Are you and your agents targeting younger clientele? According to the 2015 National Association of REALTORS® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study, the millennial generation – ages 18 to 34 – represented the largest share of buyers in 2014, at 32 percent. Baby boomers ages 50 to 68 made up 31 percent of buyers last year, followed by generation X (35–39) at 27 percent, and the silent generation (69–89) at 10 percent.

The survey, which was answered by more than 6,500 buyers, shows that 80 percent of millennial and generation X buyers believe purchasing a home is a good financial investment. The desire to own their own home was listed as the top reason for their purchase.

Leading as the largest group of buyers for the second year in a row, millennials are also the most likely to use an agent to purchase their home, at 90 percent.

Yet millennials still face challenges when it comes to buying a home. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, believes the share of millennial purchases would be higher if not for numerous financial obstacles. “Many millennials have endured underemployment and subpar wage growth, and rising rents and repaying student debt have made it very difficult to save for a down payment. For some, even forming households of their own has been a challenge,” he says.

Here are five quick facts about millennial home buyers:

  • Median age: 29
  • Median income: $76,900 (up from $73,600 in 2013)
  • Typical home purchased: 1,720 square feet costing $189,900 ($180,000 in 2013)
  • Most influenced by: quality of the neighborhood (75 percent) and convenience to jobs (74 percent)
  • Share of millennials buying in an urban area: up from 19 percent to 21 percent in the past year

Read more about NAR’s generational survey.

NAR Survey Shows Most REALTORS® Feel Safe

In a recent NAR survey of nearly 3,000 REALTORS®, 96 percent said they’ve never been a victim of crime, but 40 percent have found themselves in situations where they have feared for their safety or the safety of their personal information.

REALTORS® from across the country answered questions about their personal experiences on the job and said the most dangerous situations include:

  • open houses
  • showing vacant and model homes
  • working with properties that were unlocked or unsecured
  • showing homes in remote areas

One-third of those surveyed said they carry a self-defense weapon. Women are more likely to carry pepper spray, while men are more likely to carry a firearm.

Additionally, 38 percent said they’ve participated in self-defense class, and 13 percent use a smartphone safety application to track their whereabouts or alert colleagues of an emergency.

Unfortunately, 54 percent said either their brokerage either had no safety measures in place or they were not aware of any. Visit NAR’s safety page for tips and download safety forms to use at your office.

Upcoming Webinar: 2015 Forecast for Property Managers

Last year, the residential rental market saw record occupancy rates, as well as a rise in new multifamily developments. Will the strong demand for apartments persist?

Ryan Severino, chief economist of Reis Inc., a market data company, will provide insights on the economic trends that matter most to property managers in a free webinar at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 24. AppFolio, a property-management software company, is sponsoring the webinar. Register today.

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