Real Estate Digest,December 2014     Volume 40, Number 12 
Year End Wrap Up: Optimism Reigns After Topsy-Turvy Year
1 The enigmatic year of 2014 began with a bang and is ending with a breather. The lull in price and volume promises to be short-lived as consumer optimism toward the housing market is growing. More people are now saying it’s a good time to buy or sell a home, according to Fannie Mae’s 2014 National Housing Survey. The share of consumers who say now is a good time to purchase a home rose to 68 percent in September, a four percentage point increase from August. Read on for details.
Home Builders See Markets Strengthening
2The National Association of Home Builders reports its Housing Market Index gained four points in September, to reach its highest point since November 2005. The confidence level moved up four points in September over the previous month to a reading of 59. Any reading above 50 indicates builders have a positive outlook on housing’s future. A reading below 50 indicates deteriorating markets. Read on for details.

Freddie Mac: Home-Buying Market “Chugging Along”
3 Freddie Mac economists are forecasting a continuing strong rental market for the foreseeable future, while describing the single-family ownership market as “chugging along.” The government-sponsored enterprise said construction on apartment complexes is now at its highest pace since early 2006. It also noted that condominium construction is near an all-time low. The absorption rate over the last six months has risen to 83 percent, indicating continued demand. Read on for details.
Why the West Is Key to Every Market
4For a glimpse at the direction of the overall housing market, look west, according to a new report from Clear Capital. After all, the West boasts some of the largest metro markets in the nation. When its housing markets boomed a few years ago, other markets across the country soon followed. When the downturn struck, many Western cities felt the shake-up first. Read on for details.
Chicago, Washington Top Mover Destinations
5A United Van Lines analysis of moves contracted during the summer found that Chicago, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Boston were the nation’s most popular destinations. However, those cities also were high on the “exit” list, too. Read on for details.
Selling Flood-Prone Properties Getting Tougher
6Owners of beachfront property are beginning to have trouble selling their places due to buyer worries about rising sea levels and staggering flood insurance premiums, according to The Virginian-Pilot. These trends are being echoed in coastal communities nationally. Read on for details.
Housing, Not Health Care, Is Biggest Cost for Seniors
7Those trips to the doctor are expensive, but nothing tops the cost of a roof over the head of seniors. The Employee Benefit Research Institute has published a study showing that housing is the largest expense for older Americans, not health care. Read on for details.
Luxury Bathrooms: Good-bye Bidets, Hello His-and-Her Showers
8Bathroom features are changing in luxury home buying, with his-and-her shower stalls becoming increasingly popular, bidets on their way out and hot tubs essentially gone. A survey of builders by the NAHB’s Home Innovation Research Lab found that, compared to 2008, demand for hot tubs was down nearly 35 percent, bidets down 9.5 percent and bar sinks down 8.5 percent. Read on for details.
Small Companies Still Surviving in Real Estate
8NAR has released a new “Profile of Real Estate Firms” that provides a sort of measuring stick for brokerages to see how they are doing compared to the averages. According to the survey: Read on for details.
HUD to Back More Homeownership
8Housing Secretary Julian Castro has told a bipartisan coalition of housing leaders that HUD is ready to get back into the business of promoting homeownership, suggesting a course change from several years of extraordinarily tight controls on lenders. Read on for details.
The ABCs of Lead Management
8Most agents say that their most urgent business concern is the need for more leads. “With all the incredible lead generation sources both online and offline, there are more leads out there than most agents know what to do with if they regard them properly,” says Verl Workman, president of Corcoran Consulting, Inc. Read on for details.
Five Must-Do’s to Protect Yourself in the Field
Despite busy showing schedules and time-crunched work weeks, safety is a crucial aspect of the business that should be top of mind for every industry practitioner. Here are a few reminders of how you can remain safe when in the field: Read on for details.