• Follow us

Mortgage Rates

Feb 24

Real Estate – Driving Factors

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Real Estate Market Driving Forces

The real estate market fluctuates continually and values vary from region to region. Yet one constant remains amidst all this flux and diversity; specific factors drive the real estate market.

These factors have tremendous influence on society. Keep in mind that real estate accounts for a substantial percentage of people's wealth. Almost one-third of the average North American's net worth can be attributed to real estate. The value of the entire market amounts to about $20 trillion. Obviously, real estate is a lucrative market for investors especially in global centers such as New York City and Washington.


The demographics (data describing a population) affect real estate prices and the types of property in demand. Demographics include age, race, gender, income, and migration patterns, as well as population growth. Huge shifts in the demographics of a nation can have a major impact on real estate.

Indeed, significant changes can affect real estate trends for decades. Demographics make a big difference. For example, baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1965) are impacting the market as they start and move forward in retirement.

In this instance, investors are looking at the probable popularity of second homes in vacation hot spots as this group reaches retirement. Will baby boomers prefer smaller homes? After all, their children have flown the nest and they might have to rely more on that nest egg as they live on retirement pensions.

Baby boomers stated to retire in 2010. Yet savvy real estate investors anticipated this shift long before and geared their investment to match the approaching trend. They targeted the types and location of properties of interest to baby boomers.


Obviously, interest rates drive the real estate market. Rates matter to individuals and the market. When interest rates fall, the cost of a mortgage is lower, and there is a higher demand for real estate. Of course, more demand means increased prices. Rising interest rates will have the opposite effect.

In addition to residential real estate, interest rates affect real estate investment trusts (REITs). When interest rates fall, a bond value increases with the more desirable coupon rate. With falling interest rates, the value of REITs rises and their high yields look attractive to investors.


No doubt, the economy affects the real estate market. Economic indicators (GDP, employment data, manufacturing activity, prices of goods) are used to measure the economy. The old adage holds much truth – as goes the economy, so goes real estate.

REITs in certain investment areas can suffer during an economic downturn. A REIT centered on hotels might not perform as well in economic turmoil as a REIT focused on office buildings. Hotels are sensitive to economic setbacks because they are considered "short-term leases."

Under economic stress, an entrepreneur might reduce the number of corporate business trips and hotel room rentals. Yet the business owner will still hold on to his office (a longer-term lease). Real estate is sensitive to economic activity.

Check out additional factors that drive the real estate market.

Four key factors that drive the real estate market

Which Factors Do You Think Drive The Real Estate Market?

Image courtesy of landthink.com

Feb 22

Buying a Home – Basic Steps

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Buying a Home - Basic Steps

Buying a home is a big decision and step-by-step process. Real estate agents can handle the details and see if a purchase suits your needs. Yet ultimately, this house will be your home so you should prepare yourself for the process. Be ready to invest the necessary money, time, and effort. The investment is well-worth taking the time to follow a few careful and considered steps.


Buying a home should not be one of those 'spur of the moment' times in life. These spontaneous times have their place but not when it comes to purchasing a home. A huge commitment requires careful consideration of various issues.

Do you have your finances in order? Can you access the necessary funds for the entire process – down payment, purchase, closing? Can you handle the commitment beyond the closing including maintenance and mortgage payments? The decision to buy a home has to be right for you.

Of course, home ownership has advantages but the buyer has to be able to handle all aspects of the commitment. Home ownership has benefits including building home equity and receiving tax benefits. If buying a home suits you at this time in your life, it has an advantage over renting in that the monthly payment goes towards your mortgage.

Real Estate Agent

A reputable real estate agent will be one of your most valuable resources throughout this process. Choose carefully from excellent sources. Try to find an agent that you feel comfortable working with through these important steps. Actually, finding a real estate agent whom you feel at ease with should not be too much of a problem. Reputable agents will treat you with the utmost professionalism and have your interests as their priority.

They have a valuable and varied role to play in this purchase. Agents will let you know about the market, discover your preferences, and find a property to match your needs. They are familiar with the neighborhoods and prices and have a whole list of professionals they can draw on for any reason. Real estate agents should have expert negotiating skills and be diligent about checking documents and dealing with any issues in a timely manner.


Buyers must be able to get the necessary financing. In order to receive funding, you have to find a lender, submit an application, and get pre-approval. There are various financial steps to go through before you own your dream home. Figuring out manageable payments and loan options, forwarding an accepted purchase offer contract to your banker, appraisal, title commitment, and money for closing – all are examples of financial-related steps in buying a home.

Pre-approval should be square one for home-buyers


Obviously, you need to have a fixed idea about your preferred neighborhood. You do not need to know from the start about the exact street for your perfect home. Yet you do need to know your general preferences for the area such as near schools or public transporation.

Home Inspection

A home inspection done by a professional who will look for hidden problems in a house is an invaluable service for homeowners. The living room might look fashionable but it will lose its appeal quickly if you move in and discover a faulty foundation. Every step in the home buying process exists for a reason. Don't try to rush, bypass, or ignore any significant details in this monumental purchase – your new home.

Do You Have Any Tips To Offer About Buying A Home?

Image courtesy of realestatecare.co.uk

Feb 15

Housing Plan – Will Middle Class Miss Out?

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Obama Mortgage Plan

Congressman Dennis Cardoza (D-Merced) believes that the new proposal from the Obama administration will end the American dream of home ownership for the middle class. The plan points to the eventual end of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Now this initiative does not go into effect tomorrow. The changes have to pass through Congress. Actually, it could take several years for certain modifications to be in place.

Proposed Reform

Cardoza admits that there are problems with both government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). He would agree to reforming them but opposes eliminating the GSEs. Cordoza insists that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have helped a huge percentage of middle class homeowners to buy homes. In fact, he mentions his own state of California, its high housing costs, and the fact that almost every mortgage is backed by the GSEs.

A former realtor, Cardoza points to the pre-Fannie and Freddie days. At that time, homeowners needed a 50% down payment and repayment time was five years on average. Presently, he is seeking support for his own legislation - the Housing Opportunity and Mortgage Equity (HOME) Act, H.R. 363 – a bill capitalizing on market-based solutions to keep people in their homes.

Cardoza is not shy about expressing his opposition to getting rid of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He was invited to speak at a think tank panel discussion - Underwater Housing and Recovery - sponsored by the Third Way. Cardoza'a Congressional district in California's Central Valley is in the midst of a serious housing crisis. Modesto, Stockton, and Merced have some of the highest rates of foreclosures in the country. Three out of five homeowners are 'underwater' carrying loans more than the value of their house.

"In America, homeownership is at the core of middle class prosperity. In fact, it is the American dream. If the government withdraws assistance to the GSEs that make this dream accessible, average working Americans - teacher, plumbers, and journalists - will no longer be able to get a mortgage to buy a home. We will become a rental society, instead of an ownership society." ~ Congressman Dennis Cardoza

Cardoza: President's Plan the "Most Irresponsible Housing Proposal Yet"

Private Sector

More representatives than Cardoza see problems with the GSEs. A few people even hoped that the administration would abolish the GSEs. Yet Obama's latest proposals were still a shock to many individuals and groups. Part of the new proposal plans a housing-finance system that would rely almost exclusively on the private sector.

Currently, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back private mortgages. Consumer advocates worry about the proposed changes. If the government does not get behind these mortgages, maybe more lenders could back away, and consumers will have fewer options. Of course, it is not advisable to help people get into houses if they cannot afford a home.

Balanced Approach

The past housing crisis is evidence that a situation can get out of control. Yet government must provide a balanced approach. Often people need a helping hand. There is a promise, however, that this new proposal will not eliminate all help for low-income families. Apparently, there will be programs to help with housing even if they are not the familiar Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Why You Should Buy That Home Now

What Do You Think Of Obama's New Housing Plan?

Image courtesy of stopfreclosure.com

Feb 1

2011 – Year of the Landlord

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Year of the Landlord

2011 is shaping up to be the "Year of The Landlord." As many people face the winter winds, we are reminded of a wise old saying.

"It's an ill wind that blows no good." ~ John Heywood (1497-1580)

In the case of the winds of change in real estate, falling house prices and slow sales have challenged many sellers but benefited more than a few apartment building landlords. More people are choosing to rent but others can find no suitable alternative to apartment living. Everyone has their own reason for deciding to rent property rather than buy a home.

Rent or Own

Sometimes renting is the best choice for an individual. Indeed, many renters prefer the apartment lifestyle. After all, renting a luxurious NYC condo does not seem like such a bad deal. Even renting any apartment has its perks such as more flexibility in relocation and less maintenance responsibilities.

Of course, other renters would sooner own a home. Often foreclosure forces homeowners to become renters. Sometimes potential first-time buyers discover that they cannot afford the financial commitment of a home. The Federal First-Time Homebuyers' Tax Credit is no more and not everyone has an "angel investor."

Whether people choose to rent or have no other choice, landlords are gaining tenants. Banks and lenders are also smiling – especially if the apartment building owner had been previously under financial duress. Borrowing has become less expensive with low interest rates.

This effect is noticed with commercial real estate of all types. The low rates have a positive effect on borrowing for office buildings, retail outlets, and company warehouses. The apartment market, however, is the healthiest of the commercial categories – mainly because of cheap financing.

Investing in Apartments

Obviously, investors are interested in apartment buildings. Actually, 'flipping' properties is coming into vogue again. The practice of reselling quickly for profit is somewhat prevalent at all times.

Yet 'flipping' is as popular now as in earlier thriving economic periods. This practice can have its place - if done responsibly for the right reasons. Illegal flipping, however, is a different matter. It involves scams, disregard for others, and a goal of profit at any cost.

Higher Values

Apartment building values have risen to levels not seen since the middle of 2007. According to the brokerage firm Marcus & Millichap, values of apartment buildings rose 16% in 2010. Green Street Advisors, a research company tracking REITs, say that present values are now within 10% of their 2007 peak value.

Of course, apartment values in major centers such as New York and Washington, D.C., have shown signs of recovery since 2009. Currently, increasing apartment values can be seen in additional markets including Los Angeles and Seattle as well as other U.S. cities. At the end of 2010, TIAA-CREF paid $62 million for the 261-unit Newbury Commons in Stamford, Connecticut. According to Real Capital Analytics, this sale price was 65% more than the amount paid by Seaboard Properties in February 2009.

Apparently, even Las Vegas is seeing the high values. Keep in mind that Las Vegas was affected greatly by the economic downturn. Yet in December 2010, the Croix Townhomes complex in the Las Vegas Henderson suburb sold for nearly $20 million - $143,000 for each unit – a price even far above the national average. The 'apartment advantage' might be the start of the next big trend in investment property.

Housing Woes Fuel Apartment Surge

Will 2011 Continue To Be The "Year Of The Landlord?"

Image courtesy of architecturelist.com

Jan 19

Mortgage Changes – Helpful or Harmful

by Mary Teresa Fowler

Mortgage Changes

Many potential home owners in Canada are reeling from recent mortgage changes introduced by their federal government. Yet the Canadian administration believes that the modifications will make a positive difference in people's financial health. The regulatory changes are meant to save consumers from themselves in terms of debt load. The government is hoping to discourage potential home owners from taking on debt that they cannot handle in reality. As well, the regulations aim to discourage unwise use of home equity lines of credit.

Helpful Advice

Now many people will argue that consumers should not be prompted in one way or another; they should make their own decisions and live with the consequences. Of course, too little regulation can also cause financial woe. Consider the recent U.S. dilemma. Mortgage approval might have been too easy in some instances; many consumers became homeowners but lacked the financial means to handle the commitment.

Mortgage Changes


According to Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, effective March 18, 2011, the term of government-backed mortgages has been lowered to 30 years from 35 years. As well, the maximum amount of equity for refinancing will drop to 85% from the previous 90 per cent.

Many hopeful first-time home buyers are not pleased with this recent development. Yet the government insists that they are helping consumers. Eventually, homeowners will be faced with a rise in interest rates. This latest intervention is designed to discourage buyers who will not be up to the challenge.

Massive Debt

According to recent statistics, Canadian household debt has soared to 148% of disposable income. Of course, shopping trips and house sales fuel the economy but there is an 'elephant in the room' with such a high percentage of debt. The Canadian government has chosen not to ignore the massive amount of debt carried by many home owners.

Beginning April 18, the Canadian government will stop insuring newly issued home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). An ever-increasing number of home owners in Canada are using these lines of credit. In fact, HELOCs account for 12% of consumer debt.

Home Equity Lines of Credit

Actually, 50% half of these variable-rate loans are spent on consumer goods including new cars and boats. Only one third of the loans go towards paying down other debt. Therefore, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation has reconsidered its practice of insuring home equity lines of credit.

Government Regulations

With recent mortgage changes, the Canadian government claims to have considered the best interests of consumers. Of course, distancing themselves from the inevitable future rise in interest rates might be a wise move for this government – especially with a possible election in the near future. As well, in 2006, this government allowed the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. to lift its 25-year limit on mortgages and insure up to 40 years.

In 2008, Flaherty rewound the 40-year term back to 35 years. Maybe this latest move is an attempt to distance themselves further from that original rash decision of extending limits to 40 years. The Canadian government, however, has to be prepared for their new regulations to have a few undesirable effects on the economy. Almost one third of Canadian mortgages in 2010 were for 35-year terms.

Mortgage changes sensible

Do You Think The Canadian Government Made Sensible Mortgage Changes?

Image courtesy of dallastexasrealestateblog.com

Jan 11

Federal Reserve in Recovery Mode

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Federal Reserve and Housing Market

When it comes to promoting economic recovery, the Federal Reserve is not acting in a 'reserved' manner. The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank has a definite plan and defining purpose.


The FOMC (committee responsible for setting monetary policy) plans to purchase $600 billion in Treasury securities.


Encourage economic growth and keep long-term interest rates at a low level.


The Federal Reserve wants to speed up the process of economic recovery. No doubt, there have been sure signs of improvement. During the third quarter of 2010, consumer spending rose at an annual rate of 2-1/2%.

More businesses also invested in new software and equipment towards year-end. Of course, the statistics have to be looked at in a realistic light. Spending and investment is 'up' compared to the activity in recent 'down' periods.

Yet small gains can be indication of big things in the future. Issues like high unemployment, however, do not disappear from the radar overnight. It could take four or five years for employment rates to return to a normal scale.

Only 103,000 U.S. jobs were created in December 2010 – less than the 150,000 expected for that period. With its pending bond purchase by the end of the second quarter in 2011, the Federal Reserve hopes to encourage economic growth. In fact, a drop in the jobless rate is expected – almost 9% by the end of 2011 – but it will stay above 8% throughout 2012.

Housing Market

On January 7, 2011, Chairman Ben S. Bernanke gave his report (The Economic Outlook and Monetary and Fiscal Policy) before the Committee on the Budget in the U.S. Senate. The overall message in the report was that the economy would be somewhat stronger in 2011. Yet Bernanke referred to challenges in the housing market.

"However, the housing sector remains depressed, as the overhang of vacant houses continues to weigh heavily on both home prices and construction, and nonresidential construction is also quite weak," says Chairman Ben S. Bernanke before the Committee on the Budget, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.

The Federal Reserve has reason to worry about the state of the housing market. Three main factors can cause an economic recovery to lose steam. Damage to the credit market and regulatory and tax uncertainty problems can pose danger to an economy on the rebound. As well, problems in the housing market are stumbling blocks in a recovering economy.

Cautious Optimism

Yet there has been an increase in pending and new home sales. The rise amounted to 3.5% in November. These figures were influenced by a flurry of sales (18.2%) in the West. The National Association of Realtors chief economist, Lawrence Yun, explained how 2,000,000 jobs and just a moderate increase in mortgage rates would influence home sales.

"If we add 2 million jobs as expected in 2011, and mortgage rates rise only moderately, we should see existing-home sales rise to a higher, sustainable volume," says Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist.

If lenders returned to safe underwriting standards for credit-worthy buyers, there would be a greater rise in home sales.

Real Estate Outlook: Federal Reserve Promoting Recovery

Do You Agree With The Federal Reserve Plan to Buy $600 Billion In Bonds?

Image courtesy of realtorestateagent.com

Jan 8

Rounding Up the Best Real Estate Advice

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Real Estate Advice for 2011

The beginning of the New Year revolves around the 'annual' resolutions – at least according to the media. Whether people choose to follow a set plan or just play it by air, you can bet that they will be bombarded by all kinds of advice - on television, in print, and at online sites. The professional (or other) advice will cover every topic from routine to resorts to real estate.

You have to separate the great advice from the inaccurate, silly, or even foolhardy suggestions. Real estate is one area where it pays to resolve to learn more during the coming year. Even if you are not buying or selling now, chances are that you will at some point. As well, renters need to know the score. It pays to get a feel for the topic and arm yourself with knowledge.

As you delve through the mounds of real estate advice, you can find 'real' golden nuggets of information from reputable sources. Often the best pieces of advice are simple suggestions that make the most sense. Yet often, consumers overlook the simple solution because they perceive real estate as a complicated matter. Truthfully, real estate is a complex issue, but knowing the basics makes it less of a challenge.

Rounding Up the Best Real Estate Advice

"Get your home into selling shape." ~ Ilyce Glink, Real Estate Matters, Chicago Tribune

Ilyce Glink, author of Real Estate Matters, emphasizes preparing to sell your home. Part of her wise advice – get rid of items - unless you need or use them. Interior and exterior cleaning, repairs, and touch-ups are also suggestions as well as the possibility of hiring a stager.


"Make a sensible valuation." ~ Tanya Ashreena, Financial Times

This sensible statement was written for London readers but it is relevant on a global level. Sellers have to be certain that their asking prices reflect the present market – not yesterday's value or tomorrow's prediction. The Financial Times focuses on the reality of what will happen if you ignore this piece of advice. Failure to do so will lower your chances of selling a home.

"Always get a home inspection." ~ US News

Now this bit of advice might seem boring if you've just found the perfect house – or so you think at the time. Potential buyers need to complete a 'checklist' before they decide on that dream home. The state of the foundation and the electrical system as well as water damage – all these matters (and more) have to be explored before you buy a home. Keep in mind that potential buyers can keep an eye out for types of damage and disrepair but they still need the professional help of a home inspector.


Federal Reserve issues tips for mortgage loan shopping

Money Saving Tips for Your Apartment

What Is The Best Real Estate Advice For First-Time Buyers?

Image courtesy of occarealty.com

Jan 3

Foreign Investors Favor US

by Mary Teresa Fowler

Foreign real estate investment

According to the results of the 19th Annual Survey released by the Association of Foreign Investment in Real Estate (AFIRE), international buyers favor US property. As foreign investors notice a recovering economy, they are expressing a renewed interest in U.S. real estate. In the latter part of 2010, this real estate survey was conducted among association members. The James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the Wisconsin School of Business handled the project.

19th AFIRE Survey

Industry leaders are bound to pay close attention to this latest survey by AFIRE with its 180 members representing 21 countries. The survey received responses from members holding more than $627 billion in global real estate and $265 billion in U.S. property. More than 60% of responses named the US as the best potential for capital appreciation. At least 72% of foreign buyers revealed that they plan to increase their US investments in 2011 compared to 2010 transactions.

AFIRE's 19th Annual Survey holds significant weight. The numbers reflect the opinions and plans of an influential group holding a considerable stake in global and regional assets. The 2010 results are far more encouraging than previous dismal numbers.

In 2006, only 26% of international investors saw potential in US property. Now more foreign buyers recognize the chance for capital appreciation in this country. Actually, the 2010 survey showed the strongest faith in this nation's real estate in the past decade.

Leading U.S. Cities

Two US cities – New York City and Washington – outshone other global cities in this recent AFIRE survey. In fact, New York City replaced London as the number one choice for foreign investors in real estate during 2011. Since 2001, London has held either first or second place. With the latest AFIRE results, London dropped to third place – behind the Big Apple and Washington – just before Paris in fourth position. Ian Hawksworth, AFIRE chairman, is not surprised by London's drop in rank.

"...In the last downturn, London was the first market to recover, and whilst investment in the UK Capital is still very active, it is not surprising that London has dropped to third place as investors expand their search to higher yielding markets such as U.S. gateway cities that offer attractive risk adjusted returns," says Ian Hawksworth, chairman of Foreign Investment in Real Estate.

NYC tops London for real estate investors

The popularity of NYC and Washington real estate is not a big surprise. Check out our 2010 articles – Inside New York Hotels – and - Moving To Washington. NYC, Washington, and Boston came in as the top three U.S. cities for foreign investment. New York City and Washington received four times more votes than third-place Boston. Yet in 2010, Boston has moved up from its fourth place position in the previous year. Take a look back at our 2010 analysis of Boston Real Estate – Better & Brighter Market.

U.S. Cities Lead Way for Global Foreign Real Estate Investment

Surprising statistics came to light about preferred U.S. property types for investment in 2011. Multi-family homes, apartments, retail, and hotels are the top four favorites among foreign investors. Offices ranked lower and industrial spaces showed up as the least favorite. Usually, offices are the top pick of institutional investors.

The drop in popularity of office space might be tied to high unemployment rates. Although there is growth in employment numbers, buyers could be feeling somewhat uncertain about investing in offices and industrial property. Yet foreign investors have overall confidence in the U.S. real estate market. Investors interested in U.S. cities quadruple the number of foreign buyers wanting to invest in the UK.

Are You Feeling Confident About The U.S. Real Estate Market?

Image courtesy of usbalkanssummit.com

Jan 1

Real Estate Levels 2011

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Real estate value predictions for 2011

Home buyers and sellers, as well as investors, are trying to figure out the future of real estate in the coming year. Depending on their position, interested parties are exploring different areas of real estate. Individuals and organizations focus on everything from property value levels to interest rates to REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) debt levels.

Commercial Real Estate

Real-estate fund managers have expressed confidence in the future of commercial real estate. According to portfolio managers, recovery is underway in the current market. The improvement is spurred on by low interest rates, favorable cash flows, and increased demand.

This group analyzes national and regional trends. Using this data, they decide on the most promising property sections and regions. Sectors such as apartments with short leases suffered in the economic downturn but they are expected to rebound in this recovery stage. As corporate travelers return to the road, hotels are attracting the attention of investors.

REIT Debt Level

With regards to REITs, industry experts pay attention to debt level compared to their earnings before taxes, interest, depreciation, and amortization.

Up, Up And Away

UK Business Property

In 2011, UK business property is also expected to be supported by low interest rates. Industry leaders believe that the Bank of England will not change the base rate until later in the year. On December 9th, the Monetary Policy Committee voted to maintain current levels.

Business property boosted by low interest rates in 2011?

Residential Property Value Levels

During 2011, home owners (and potential buyers) will be keeping an eye to property value levels. Within the past week, home owners in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, were told about a slight increase in their property value assessments. During 2010, B.C. Assessment had frozen property values at 2007/2008 levels.

Of course, home owners are concerned about higher taxes associated with increased assessments. According to Cameron Muir, chief economist for the B.C. Real Estate Board, the increase in property values, however, may not result in a significant tax increase. Muir points out the positive aspect of higher property value assessments in a region.

"The increase would reflect stronger economic conditions and a healthier real estate market," said Cameron Muir, chief economist for the B.C. Real Estate Board, representing 12 real estate boards and almost 18,000 Realtors.

Residential housing sales in British Columbia should rise slightly in 2011. The province's economy is showing improvement with more employment and a larger population. Metro Vancouver is one popular area where home buyers can find affordable houses. Most likely, property prices will continue to rise in the coming year. Yet Metro Vancouver is still expected to be popular with home buyers especially with first-timers.

Greater Victoria property values buoyed by economic recovery

Will The Real Estate Market Level Out In 2011?

If people have an interest in real estate on any level, they should track market statistics. At present, the industry is experiencing a recovery. Yet there will be continued speculation about whether the market will level out or climb to new heights. Real estate predictions – even on a local scale - are not an exact science. A regional market can be affected by varied factors including external influences.

What Are Your Predictions For The Real Estate Market In 2011?

Image courtesy of agentgenius.com

Dec 29

Global Real Estate Trends

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Global Real Estate Trends in 2010

As the current year winds down and 2011 approaches, readers can expect reports and articles about real estate trends to pop up everywhere. With so much trend-related content out there, our eyes can sometimes glaze over and we tend to ignore the latest list. Yet we should rethink our reaction to the barrage of year-end statistics.

Tracking Trends

Examining trends helps us to zone in on where we've been, gives us an idea of where we're going, and arms us with the knowledge to navigate the system. Real estate revolves around statistics. It is worth consumers' time and effort to examine the numbers and keep up-to-date about real estate trends.

Global Real Estate Trends

The Global Real Estate Trends report released by Canada's Scotiabank tracks housing markets in 12 major economies. The December report states that global residential property markets in 2010 experienced a modest but uneven recovery.


Australia fared the best with its housing demand and low unemployment. Slower sales and price appreciation, however, are expected for this thriving market in the coming months.


Meanwhile, Japan’s twenty-year property slump continued in the past year. In 2011, Japan's economy is expected to experience a further slowdown.


Stability is returning to U.S. markets. Housing demand is expected to rise with increasing employment numbers and continued low interest rates. Yet the Global Real Estate Trends report warns that housing demand might not translate into home sales. Within a recovering economy with a high unemployment rate (although shrinking), individuals and lenders are feeling uncertain and cautious about major financial commitments.


Despite a volatile market in 2010, Canada ranked high in the Global Real Estate Trends report.

Read about all 12 housing markets in the Global Real Estate Trends report.

Local Real Estate Trends

Potential home buyers and sellers should keep informed about state and local trends. Varied media (print or online) across the US and elsewhere publish information regularly about the latest real estate trends. The Washington Post tracks housing sales and prices in the Washington area. Each Saturday, the results are posted in their 'Real Estate' section. Information is collected for every residential zip code and the data is compared to the numbers during the corresponding period in the previous year.

Green Building Trends

'Green building' trends will make a noticeable difference to the real estate industry in the coming year. Regardless of uncertain economies, 'green building' is expected to rebound in 2011. New commercial start-ups will opt for green alternatives. Existing businesses will be making energy-efficient improvements.

This decision makes sense on many levels for businesses. Besides being environmentally-friendly choices, green businesses impress the modern customer. As well, residential buildings will follow this trend. Home owners want to live in a safe and healthy environment.

Parents and educators will also be advocating for 'green' schools. As part of the LEED system, the number of Certified Green Schools should increase as more people embrace the health and educational benefits of these buildings. By the middle of 2010, certified schools made up almost 40% of all new LEED projects in the US. In 2011 and beyond, the real estate industry will be seeing more 'green' buildings in all areas - commercial, educational, and residential buildings.

Green Building’s Top Ten Trends for 2011

What Do You Think Will Be The Top Real Estate Trends in 2011?

Image courtesy of hcrealty.com

Tips and Advice for Home Buyers and Sellers

Find estaterebate.com on Facebook and become a fan
Follow estaterebate.com on Twitter

Category list