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We can expect a hot year for home sales in 2017

We can expect a hot year for home sales in 2017, according to recent forecasts from the National Association of Realtors®, the Mortgage Bankers’ Association, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and more. NAR is predicting existing-home sales to reach 6 million in 2017, higher than its 5.8 million forecast for this year. But other entities are even more bullish. MBA is predicting home sales to eclipse 6.5 million next year, while Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are both predicting 6.2 million. A huge wave of Generation Yers, who have delayed home buying, are emerging into their key buying years. They are predicted to keep home sales and condo sales strong well into 2020, according to economists. Meanwhile, new-home construction starts likely will tick up to about 1.5 million per year to 2024, predicts Forisk Research. Home builders likely will continue to be more subdued, despite calls for more inventory. “Home builders’ behavior likely is a continuing echo of their experience during the crash,” Pantheon Macro Chief Economist Ian Shepherdson told MarketWatch. “No one wants to be caught with excess inventory during a sudden downshift in demand. In this cycle, the pursuit of market share and volumes is less important than profitability and balance sheet resistance.” Source: MarketWatch

In the pursuit of the American dream, immigrant households are gaining ground on native-born Americans in terms of homeownership rates, according to a new report issued by Trulia. In its report titled “Immigration Nation: Homeownership and Foreign-Born Residents,” Trulia noted that the 1994 homeownership rate of those born in the U.S. was 66 percent while that of the foreign born was 48.1 percent, a 17.8 percentage point difference. That disparity grew to a 20.7 percentage point difference by 2001, but in 2015 the disparity shrank to 15.4 percentage points. During that period, Trulia found the homeownership rate of native-born Americans remained mostly unchanged, with the immigrant rate fueling the gap closure. Mark Uh, a data scientist at Trulia, noted that immigrants who lived in the U.S. less than five years had a much lower homeownership rate than immigrants residing in this country for 10 or more years. “This is likely due to the fact that immigrants who lived in the U.S. less than five years do not have adequate credit history in the U.S. to obtain a home loan, which forces them to rent rather than own,” Uh said. Source: National Mortgage Professional

You may soon be selling a home inside of a mall. It’s becoming more common, as enclosed malls across the country look to reinvent themselves. What’s more, some communities are finding that living in a mall could be a boon for property values. Those massive, enclosed malls once popular in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s are dying off. More shoppers are buying online, instead of heading to walk the mall. Foot traffic among the largest malls in the country is plummeting. Stores are closing and some entire malls are going dark. “About 200 malls have closed down in the past two years across the country,” says Ellen Dunham-Jones, an urban design professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. “About 1,100 enclosed malls are left in the country,” she says. But what does a community do when it has up to 1.2 million square feet of vacant retail space in a prime area of town? “Nearly 300 former malls have – or are in the process of becoming – mixed-use developments, and 50 or so are adding in housing”, Dunham-Jones says. Closed malls are being transformed into public parks, medical complexes, and even hockey rinks. They’re being reimagined as walkable “urban developments in the suburbs,” outfitted with boutiques, restaurants, fitness centers, entertainment, and housing. Developers are eyeing shopping malls as prime real estate, particularly at a time when land has gotten scarce and pricier for new construction. At 50 to 100 acres, including parking lots, a closed mall could be a bargain, and it’s already about the size of a planned community or subdivision. Source: realtor.com®