“The Healthy City Healthy Planet initiative is an affirmation of Irvine’s long-held commitment to health, fitness, well-being and the sustainability of our community.
Through the integration of multiple practices into all aspects of City planning and the delivery of municipal services, we are actively supporting the health of our City, our citizens and our planet on a daily basis.”—City of Irvine, Healthy City Healthy Planet webpage
Now and then, it is helpful to zoom out and take a look at the larger picture. And then zoom back in to see how that applies at home. That is what we are going to do in today’s post. We are going to take a look at what panelists and speakers at the 48th conference of National Association of Real Estate Editors said are the top five trends in today’s real estate market. They point out that being aware of these trends and adjusting your buying or selling strategy to take advantage of these trends will be beneficial whether you are planning on being a buyer or seller in today’s real estate market.
You can answer for yourself if you think that these trends apply to Irvine’s current real estate market—and, if Irvine is a healthy city that contributes to a healthy planet.
One of the hottest topics at the conference was energy efficiency, “which has become one of the most coveted features among home buyers. That’s true even at the upper end of the market, where wealthy homeowners don’t have to sweat steep utility bills, but still they want their homes to run at optimal efficiency.” The suggestion to buyers looking to optimize the value of their home purchase was to look for energy-efficiency features. Energy Star appliances, high efficiency windows, and well-insulated attics are a few energy-efficient items a prospective buyer might look for. The prospective buyer might even ask for a year’s worth of utility bills to better gauge what the cost of owning the home would be.
“Most Americans still can’t afford a mortgage, according to Anthony Hsieh, CEO and founder loanDepot. The average FICO score on mortgages stands above 750, compared with 710 in 2010. If you have solid credit, you’ll be able to take advantage of the still historically low interest rates. If not, you need to get your score up, and quick, since economists expect mortgage rates to tick above 5 percent in 2015”.
If you currently have a good interest rate that is locked in, advice was given to reconsider selling your home at this time. It might make more sense to hold on to your home, and if you really want those new features, consider remodeling.
“For the first time ever, today’s kids might have shorter lifespans than their parents.”–Rachel MacCleery of the Urban Land Institute.” And the way we have built our communities, which discourages walking, is part of the problem. The result is that the old model for building neighborhoods is losing favor: “People want to live closer to work and they’re looking for modes of transportation that don’t involve getting in their car.”–Bob Eury, executive director of the Houston Downtown Management District. Walkable residential development and transportation options that involve more than The-Car-Is-All model are becoming more popular. Smooth sidewalks, tree-lined streets and paths, bike trails and lanes, and easy access to playgrounds and nature are some of the features that today’s buyers are finding more and more desirable.
Water efficiency is becoming just as important as energy efficiency. (Actually, it takes a lot of energy to move water from one location to another, so energy efficiency and water efficiency are intertwined.) “Nearly 2 billion people are projected to live in scarce-water regions by 2015. In the U.S., groundwater depletion rates are accelerating at a rapid clip, and the western drought is creating severe stress for farmers and cities alike, according to the Counselors of Real Estate.” This is making water-efficient homes more desirable. Some water efficient features that home buyers might look for are water-smart landscaping (even for people who don’t live in a drought zone) as well as water-efficient fixtures, such as toilets, faucets, and showerheads.
Online Real Estate
With easy access to the online world, including the online real estate world, some are questioning if a need for real estate agents still exist. Rick Sharga, executive vice president at Auction.com, has some encouraging but cautionary words for today’s real estate agents: “This is an opportunity for agents to reinvent themselves and figure out what their value proposition is for consumers on a go-forward basis.”
What do you think? Do these five nationwide trends as stated at the National Association of Real Estate Editors conference, apply to Irvine? And is Irvine a healthy city that provides its citizens and, by extension the planet, a healthy, happy life?
Source: Consumer Reports