What's Trending in Real Estate

These six hot topics are gaining traction.

September 18, 2013

Be sure to stay ahead of the curve.

  1. Generation X jumps to the top. Generation X—those ages 33 to 47—made up the largest chunk of home buyers, at 31 percent, between July 2011 and June 2012, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ “Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends” report. Generation Y—those 32 and younger—made up the second-largest group, at 28 percent, followed by younger baby boomers (18 percent) and older baby boomers (14 percent).
  2. Mobile real estate search. Consumers are taking to their mobile devices in droves for real estate searches. According to online marketing firm The Search Agency, real estate ad clicks on smartphones grew 10.7 percent between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013. Tablet ad clicks shot up even higher, increasing 20.2 percent quarter over quarter—and 87 percent year over year. It all goes to show that consumers are becoming far more comfortable searching for real estate on mobile devices.
  3. Paperless business. Want to spend more time helping clients and less time dealing with all that paperwork? There’s a plethora of online tools that allow you to file and manage documents electronically, One option is RES.NET. In addition to keeping all his paperwork stored securely online, San Diego sales associate Jesse Zagorsky of SDREOSold likes that it lets him link his profile to all of his transactions. It also allows him to communicate with everyone involved in each transaction. “The system [frees] up my time to spend helping customers,” he says. And don’t forget DocuSign, a program for creating and transmitting documents electronically from any device. (Discounts are available to NAR members through the REALTOR Benefits® Program.)
  4. Reversal of fortune in inventory? The complaint is widespread: Housing inventory has been stubbornly low in the past year. Well, perhaps that’s starting to change. The number of listings nationwide ticked up by 4.3 percent to 1.9 million homes on the market in June, according to realtor.com®. That’s the highest monthly jump in a year, and rising home prices could persuade more sellers to throw their homes on the market in the coming months.
  5. Drone photography. The use of miniature remote--controlled -helicopters for taking aerial photos and -video of properties is piquing interest among real estate agents. But it’s important to note that this marketing practice currently violates Federal Aviation Authority rules pertaining to the use of drones for commercial purposes. The agency is expected to release proposed rules for such use later this year. Congress has given the FAA until September 2015 to finalize a plan. Six states have put laws on the books restricting the public and private use of drones. NAR recommends that REALTORS® avoid using drones until the FAA has released clearer rules.
  6. Micro apartments. In some major metropolitan areas, people are living large in smaller spaces. So-called micro apartments—which are often less than 200 square feet—are becoming popular in San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Boston, Providence, R.I., and Portland, Ore., reports CNN Money. But it’s not only those just-out-of-college grads flocking to these tiny units. In some “micro buildings,” the average tenant is 33 years old and makes less than $35,000 a year, according to Reuters.