Pets are Taking Over the Real Estate Market

Millennials are now one of the biggest contributors to real estate markets across the globe. This means their wants and needs are significantly driving supply and demand.

More and more adults are waiting until later in life to start a family, choosing instead to focus on travel or career opportunities. However, it isn’t uncommon for young adults to have a pet. In fact, the American Pet Products Association claims that 73% of American millennials own a pet.  A recent study indicated that one third of millennials buying a first home were influenced by their pet’s needs when making their decision.

For many pet owners (especially those who own a larger breed of dog), renting isn’t an option. Properties that allow pets are either expensive, too small or non-existent. This means buying is more attractive, but the home has to be just right.

Yard Space

In past years, it was popular for people to want a decent yard for their children to play in. People with a dog now more commonly desire the yard for a different reason. Similarly, they want the yard to be private and somewhat fenced in. For people with larger dogs that can easily jump a 3-foot fence, the higher the better.

Flooring

Understandably, both cat and dog owners prefer hard floors over carpeting. It makes clean-up easier. There is also a concern with soft or cheap floors because a pet’s claws could cause expensive damage.

Stairs

Single-level homes aren’t just appealing to the aging population. They are also great options for people with elderly pets who have trouble with stairs.

Research suggests that the millennial desire for smaller, single homes that suit a pet’s needs are causing prices of those homes to rise because there isn’t enough supply to meet the demand. Assuming a high percentage of apartments continue to enforce animal bans, the desire for single homes will likely continue to rise.

The desire to keep their pets happy isn’t a second thought for many young people. It is at the top of their priority list, putting some properties out of the running immediately. Their pets are seen as part of the family, so ensuring their pet’s comfort and happiness is equivalent to ensuring their own peace of mind.

See my professional website for more posts on the real estate market. 

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How Changing Seasons Affects the Real Estate Market

It’s no secret in the real estate industry that spring is peak season for potential buyers to start looking at homes. Families want to relocate while the kids are out of school and there won’t be any chance of snow-related issues during the move.

While you may get more traffic by listing your home in the spring or summer, that may not be the best choice overall. One study found that sellers are more likely to sell their home above asking price between the months of December and March. This is even true for areas with cold winters. Furthermore, homes listed in the winter sold slightly faster than those listed in the spring, on average.

A possible reason for this could be that people looking in the winter are looking because they’re more serious about buying in a timely fashion. For example, if a couple needs a bigger home before the arrival of a child or if a professional needs to move for a new job. To get in a home they love quickly, they’ll sometimes be willing to pay top dollar.

Before you make winter listings your new passion, there are a few things to consider.

  • The Area’s Housing Market

Real estate fluctuates constantly. Before listing a home, do some research. Look at the homes currently for sale when winter hits. Have they all been on the market for two months? If so, it may be better to wait until the spring when there is a heavier flow of potential home buyers. If someone sees that the home has been listed for a while, they may try to use that as leverage to lower their asking price.

  • The Asking Price

Some sellers choose to price a home low to generate a bidding war. In the winter, that’s not a great idea since you’re less likely to receive multiple offers. However, you also don’t want to list the home too high because that could be an immediate turnoff. Seasoned real estate agents are pros at finding that sweet spot to hone in the right buyers.

  • Repairs that Matter

Home buyers in the winter aren’t looking for a major fixer-upper if they’re trying to move in immediately. If there are problems with the HVAC, furnace or roof, it could be a deciding factor that sends the buyers in another direction. Be sure that the home’s major systems have been inspected and updated if any repairs are needed. Additionally, change air filters, weather-strip the windows and clean the gutters before any showings or open houses.

Winter home sales might not be ideal for every seller, but it’s an option that shouldn’t be completely off the table from the start.

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Originally posted at http://jasoncohenpittsburgh.com/how-seasonality-affects-the-housing-market/

Pittsburgh Real Estate: The Market in 2018

Those looking to make a savvy investment may want to look towards Pittsburgh. George Hackett, president of Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services in Pittsburgh, remarks that home sales have been “extraordinary” for 2018, citing a ten percent increase in home sale closings over the past year.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania isn’t the most booming market in the United States. It’s currently rated as the twenty-second most populous city in the country, but that can be seen as a positive given the long-term history of the city. The collapse of the city’s reputation as the steel manufacturing capital of the country presaged a nosedive for Pittsburgh’s economy, but today it’s seen as undergoing something of a renaissance.

Pittsburgh has been drawing in national tech companies like Uber and Apple, and with that comes both an influx of new residents and a higher standard of living. The sudden growth of industry in the city brings with it new investments in luxury boutiques and an aggressive push to make more appealing and livable spaces in the once-floundering metropolis.

Further bolstering this economic boom is a new initiative by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. They’ve recently announced plans to build a $200 million immunology center that could draw in scientists and medical professionals from around the world.

And while it’s easy to speak in anecdotes about a city’s health, these particular anecdotes come backed by some respectable numbers. Home prices have increased on average by almost eleven percent in the past year, putting the new median home price at $142,800. While that’s a significant increase, it still puts pricing well below the national median of $216,700. That leaves prospective homeowners in a promising position.

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I originally discussed this topic on my blog at JasonCohenPittsburgh.com.

How Crime Rates Affect the Real Estate Market

Many factors affect a potential homeowner’s decision to buy a house, but one of the most important is safety. Neighborhoods with low crime rate are much more attractive than those with a higher tendency for crime.

Crime and the Real Estate Market

Because housing markets fluctuate due to a plethora of different factors, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact role of crime rate in the overall health of a market. However, there is one common thread that was discovered in a 2010 study by researchers at Florida State University. They found that robbery and aggravated assault most highly influenced housing values across different neighborhoods. Another study from the University of Troy found that an area’s home prices fell 0.25% for every 1% increase in violent crime.

Another interesting trend is that sometimes crime rate in one city can affect the real estate prices in another. For example, if City A slashes their police force in half and crime rates rise, neighboring City B may experience a spike in home prices because of people moving to that city. This happened in California back in 2008.

Potential Homeowners

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It’s not uncommon for homeowners to research an area’s crime rate before house hunting in that region. They would rather know in advance than be surprised after they move in. A history of high or rising crime rates may also take these areas off a homeowner’s option list entirely. When this becomes a pattern, it leads to the overall decrease in an area’s property value.

Pittsburgh Crime Rates

Unfortunately, Pittsburgh has one of the nation’s highest violent crime rates across all communities. In the entire state of Pennsylvania, you have a 1 in 316 chance of being a victim of a violent crime. In Pittsburgh, your chances jump to 1 in 126. Pittsburgh residents also have a 1 in 30 chance of becoming the victim of a property crime, such as burglary, theft or motor vehicle theft.

Crime Prevention Methods

When the residents of an area understand how crime affects their property values and other aspects of the community (such as business, school quality, etc.), they’re more invested in finding effective methods for crime prevention. Two common examples are neighborhood watch programs and after school programs to teach good habits from a young age. If you’re concerned about your neighborhood’s safety, get involved with the community to find solutions.