It’s springtime, and that means a lot of people are thinking about buying and selling homes before summer is in full swing. As we head into that active season, a few trends are emerging.
One of the most notable shifts is that more people are moving toward the suburbs as the cost of buying homes in and around downtowns across the nation continues to climb as the housing market improves. For many young families, it’s the most logical choice to have additional space on a limited budget.
Meanwhile, those booming downtowns have proven lucrative for many commercial real estate investors. In March, we got a glimpse at the 20 wealthiest real estate barons. Check out that and more in our March real estate news roundup.
National Home Sales Slowdown
Single-family home sales cooled off significantly in February, according to the National Association of Realtors. The number of previously-owned homes sold during the month decreased by 7 percent from January’s figures to a little more than 5 million transactions. That slowdown likely stemmed from slightly less demand as housing prices rise and the inventory of available homes remains low. But, February home sales still outpaced sales from February 2015.
Home Sales Increasing in New Jersey
New Jersey saw strong growth in home sales in 2015, an increase that may be a sign of a stronger than average spring home selling season this year. The pace of sales jumped by 12.3 percent compared to the year prior, according to the New Jersey Realtors Association. That was accompanied by increases to average and median sales prices.
Rising Prices Lead to Suburb Growth in Austin
The ever-increasing home prices in the core of Austin are leading to the rapid growth of nearby communities that offer more affordable homes still within a relatively easy drive of downtown. An analysis of home sales by Redfin Corp. found that the median distance from the city’s core for home sales has grown from 13.2 miles in 2011 to 14.8 miles last year, the Austin Business Journal reported. That’s thanks both to Austin’s rapid population growth and the increasing home prices. The cost per square foot in the urban core is about $318, compared to about $128 in the suburbs.
Millennials Head to the Suburbs
Speaking of the suburbs, Millennials are embracing the idea of living farther away from urban cores, according to the National Association of Realtors. While younger people tend to want to be closer to the action, the revival of many downtown areas of American cities has pushed prices up forcing many of them who are starting new families toward the suburbs. Only 17 percent of Millennials who bought homes did so in the central part of the city. That’s down from 21 percent just a few years ago.
Austin is All About That Growth
The Austin metro area surpassed a seemingly inevitable milestone in March, officially clocking in with a population of 2 million, according to new Census figures. That’s up from the 2010 population of 1.7 million in the metro area. For a little perspective, we checked the history books. One of the earliest headcounts is from 1840 when the City of Austin (not counting surrounding areas) had 553 people. It hit 100,000 in 1945. By the year 2000, the city proper had 656,562. By last year, the City of Austin had 900,701 people.
The World’s Richest Real Estate Investors
We all know that real estate investments can lead to big time wealth. But, for some, it has been the cornerstone of incredibly massive wealth. This month, Forbes Magazine launched its list of the 20 richest real estate barons in the world, and it’s a list that is increasingly dominated by Chinese investors as their country continues to grow. Wang Jianlin topped the charts with an estimated net worth of $28.7 billion. That came largely through huge commercial developments, including shopping centers and hotels. The wealthiest American on the list was Donald Bren ($15.1 billion), whose California-based company has developed more than 40 shopping centers and 50,000 apartments. Donald Trump, meanwhile, didn’t make the cut for the top 20. He comes in at number 36.