What do today’s buyers want in a home?

NEW YORK – Aug. 5, 2015 – What building materials are trending in new-home construction? The latest Annual Builder Practices Survey, conducted by Home Innovation, reveals what buyers can expect to see in the new-home market.

1. Garages: The garage door is getting more enhancements, including windows, insulated doors, and doors made of composite or plastic materials. In 2014, 32 percent of all new single-family homes had bays for three or more cars – the most ever recorded in this study’s history.

2. Flooring: Carpeting continues to be the most popular flooring option for new construction, included in about 83 percent of all new-home bedroom installations. However, only about 40 percent of living rooms now have carpet. Hardwood flooring – both solid and engineered– is the second most popular type of flooring included in 27 percent of all new-home installations. Ceramic tile (which appears in 72 percent of all bathroom floor installation) follows in third place, making up 20 percent of all new-home floor installations.

3. Countertops: For kitchen countertops, granite continues to reign in two out of three homes (64 percent of new-home installations). Quartz/engineered stone is gaining popularity while laminate, solid surfacing and ceramic tile are losing appeal.

4. Appliances: Cooktops and wall oven combinations are gaining in popularity and make up about 24 percent of the market, compared to freestanding ovens (45 percent). Freezer-on-bottom refrigerators are gaining in popularity at 19 percent, while side-by-side has fallen to 28 percent of the share.

5. Kitchen sinks: More buyers are paying attention to their kitchen sink, with the single basin kitchen sink making a comeback, growing from 5 percent to 20 percent of all new single-family homes in the past decade. Also growing in popularity are granite/stone kitchen sinks (at 8 percent). One-piece cultured marble lavatories are continuing to decline in demand.

Source: “Material World: The Hottest Trends From the 2015 Builder Practices Survey,” BUILDER Online (July 29, 2015)

© Copyright 2015 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Rental rates rise in South Florida

September 20, 2012 11:15AM

The mean rental rate in South Florida’s coastal markets rose 11 percent in the second quarter compared to the same period in 2011, according to a new report from brokerage and consultancy Condo Vultures. The mean rental rate stood at $1.60 per square foot, according to the report, up from $1.44 in the second quarter of 2011. Leasing activity also increased by 2 percent in the same timeframe. The rate represents a significant increase from the $1.35-per-square-foot mean rate in the same markets in 2009. — Alexander Britell

Signs point to reversal in foreclosure numbers

RealtyTrac: ‘It may be that we have reached that plateau’

June 14, 2012 12:01AM 
By Alexander Britell

Foreclosure filings in the tri-county area increased in May for the sixth straight month, but may be slowing down, data from the foreclosure research firm RealtyTrac shows. Properties with foreclosure filings in the tri-county area were 11 percent higher than they were in May 2011. The increase was especially pronounced in Miami-Dade County, which saw a 39 percent increase in foreclosure activity.

But those foreclosure numbers were significantly lower than in previous months — a sign that South Florida’s foreclosure problem could be peaking. In fact, foreclosures fell 36 percent year-over-year in Broward County.

“It’s possible that somewhere in this range of 7,000 to 10,000 properties a month is what we’re going to see,” RealtyTrac spokesperson Daren Blomquist told The Real Deal.

He noted: “If we continue to see somewhere around that 11 percent increase year-over-year, it may be that we have reached that plateau, and lenders are just pushing through as many [foreclosures] as they can.”

The month-to-month data leads to a similar conclusion. In May, foreclosure filings in South Florida decreased by 22 percent compared to April 2012.

The region was one of just three of the largest 20 metro areas in the United States to see a monthly decline, along with Boston and San Diego.

He cautioned that foreclosure activity at the county level could show more volatility than statewide and national numbers.

Nationally, foreclosure activity has continued to decline. In May, U.S. foreclosure filings fell 4 percent compared to the same period in 2011, the 20th straight month of reductions. That shift has been driven in part by an increase in pre-foreclosure sales, according to RealtyTrac CEO Brandon Moore.

The last six months represent a change from much of 2011, when much of Florida’s activity ground to a halt due to the foreclosure document scandal. After months of decreases, lenders began ramping up their processing toward the end of 2011.

“The lenders are pushing through the delayed foreclosures from a year ago, and continuing to do so,” Blomquist said. “I think the mortgage settlement between the attorneys general and fit major lenders that was finalized in April helped continue the upward trend.”

Now, it looks like that activity is reaching its limit.