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.
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.
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.
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.
Indeed, the NAR noted that in 2016, 17% of buyers under 35 were able to save enough for a down payment for a home within a year, compared with 14% of all age groups. And though it was lower than all other age groups, 37% of buyers under 35 said they were able to save enough for a down payment within six months, compared with 46% of all other buyers, the NAR said.