Big real-estate trends to watch in 2017
A surprising twist toward the end of 2016 with the election of real estate magnate Donald Trump as president is likely to presage some dramatic changes in 2017 for the housing industry, which saw healthy increases in values this year, thanks to factors including low interest rates, lower gas prices, stronger wage growth and millennials getting off the fence and entering the market.
Still, as demonstrated by the Nov. 8 presidential election, anything can happen. Here are five things to watch for in real estate in 2017 — don’t get blindsided:
Attack of the drones
Commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, in 2017 has been cleared for takeoff by the Federal Aviation Administration, and the nascent use of drones by the real-estate industry is likely to expand dramatically next year, according to several analysts.
“Location, location, location has now become perspective, perspective, perspective,” said Steve McIrvin, chief executive of Autel Robotics USA, a Bothell, Wash.–based drone manufacturer. “If you have a property [to sell] with more than an acre of land or a unique perspective, it’s a good reason to bring in a drone.”
Not ‘mixed-use’ but ‘surban’
There’s been plenty written about the move from suburban-style sprawl — marked by McMansions and strip malls — to more dense communities of different housing arrangements, such as town houses, apartments and single-family homes, together in the same neighborhoods. In 2017, look for a new name for it: surban.
“Existing suburban neighborhoods are adding urban amenities so that there’s an environment where people can live, work and play right outside of the core part of the city,” said Peter Burley, a real-estate executive in Oak Park, Ill., an urbanized inner-ring Chicago suburb.
“These developments are more than simply mixed-use,” said Danielle Leach, a senior consultant at John Burns Real Estate Consulting in Chicago, who as a single mom lives in such a community in St. Charles, Ill., with two teen boys. “Surban living is becoming a new way of life for many: where the blend of urban and suburban living provides the best of both worlds,” she said. With surban living, it’s possible to walk to work, like in a city, as well as enjoying pedestrian access to groceries, entertainment and youth- and sport-friendly parks — plus reliably strong public schools.
Forget the starter home, millennials want the move-up property
More millennials — roughly, those born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s — are expected to buy a first home in 2017, according to the Washington, D.C.–based National Association of Realtors through Real Link plans.
Many of those buyers have saved enough to go with something more than a condo unit or a starter home, said Jessica Lautz, managing director for research at NAR. And with the markets doing so well, and interest rates as low as they are, millennials who have paid down their student debt and built up their cash may be in a position to buy more house than real-estate agents might think, she said.
How Trump’s shocking win could change real estate
The conventional wisdom just a few weeks ago foresaw a solid electoral win for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a smooth passing of the baton from the Obama administration, along with a gentle increase in interest rates in December by the Federal Reserve. No more.
Last week in Orlando, Fla., just before most voters went to the polls, Dennis Lockhart, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, said only “election turmoil” could force the Fed to hold back on an interest-rate hike in December.
“You can never rule things out post-election,” Lockhart said. “We may end up with enough turmoil around the election to create a different set of conditions,” he said during a news conference at the National Association of Realtors annual convention.