Real Estate Trends 2016

Real Estate trends for 2016

Now that we are into the new year with new developments, let’s take out the crystal ball and predict real estate trends for the remainder of 2016.
Here are a few from our perspective as a company that empowers brokers and agents with custom WordPress websites and the ability to display massive amounts of local data.
First of all, what are the experts saying about home sales for this year?
As usual, there are plenty of pundits out there taking wild guesses.
But here’s one group whose livelihood absolutely depends on homes sales – the  Mortgage Bankers Association.
Their economists regularly issue home finance forecasts and here are their predicted real estate trends for 2016.
Let’s start with interest rates, which have been incredibly attractive (who remembers the horrid days of 9% interest rates for mortgages).
Sure, now that the Federal Reserve in raising rates, the MBA includes increased rates in their forecast.
Here is their outlook for 30-Yead Fixed Rate Mortgage rates by quarter for this year. (By the way, in Q1 of 2015, rates were 3.7%)
2016 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage forecast:
Q1 – 4.2%
Q2 – 4.4%
Q3 – 4.6%
Q4 – 4.8%
This particular real estate trend for 2016 is actually favorable news for brokers and agents.
For one, interest rates will still be incredible low. Okay, we’ll say it, awesomely low. Opening day of StarWars-like  magnificently low.
Therefore, people should still  be buying homes. To own their own property. To have a solid property investment strategy compared to renting.
Secondly, here’s the silver lining in this cloud. Now that mortgage interest rates will be moving up, home buyers sitting on the fence better be moving quickly to lock in those still attractive rates.
Who knows what the real estate trends will be for 2017? In a year or two , we could be at much higher rates. The forecast is heading toward 5%.
This is also a great way to convince millenials that they are wasting their money by renting and NOW is the time to buy to take advantage of these incredibly low rates. Because, there was a time when their parents paid interest rates that were DOUBLE what they are now and higher.
The MBA is bullish on home sales. Here is their 2016 predictions compared to 2015.
Q1 – 4,973,000 (actual)
Q2 – 5,297,000 (actual)
Q3 – 5,477,000 (actual)
Q4 – 5,444,000
Now here’s what their economists  forecast for homes sales in 2016:
Q1 – 5,417,000
Q2 – 5,498,000
Q3 – 5,629,000
Q4 – 5,634,000
Nice. They obviously see demand shooting up as interest rates creep upward.

Real estate trends for 2016  empower brokers and agents with better technology

Sure Zillow, Trulia, and are the big real estate heavyweights. These sites and others like them have great marketing power and resources.
The thing is, as technology advances, there are tremendous resources now available at the local level to Main Street real estate brokers and agent.
Take sites developed with the WordPress platform.
Now, with this easy to use, top-grade Content Management System, arguably the best in the world, local brokers and agents can create incredible, jaw-dropping websites that compete with the mega-sites.
WordPress real estate pages that show big, beautiful photos of properties. A site that shows a ton of those big beautiful photos covering everything from the appliances in the kitchen to the view of the woods in the back yard.
These custom WordPress sites take a different approach then the mega-sites. They are more personal, more localized.
Secondly, sure,  the mega-sites because of their massive size, generate great rankings on the search engines. But with WordPress’ reputation as the working man’s tool for hyper-local Search Engine Optimization, brokers and agents now have the ability to move up on Google, Bing and Yahoo for high search engine rankings.
In fact, because it is so much easier to do SEO on WordPress sites, brokers and agents  have an advantage for posting specific long tail keywords about their local neighborhoods. Keyword phrases that the mega-sites would never even know existed , eg “homes with barns near river in xyz town.”
WordPress allows brokers and agents to continually and easily updates their sites with new information without having to call in an IT guy or outside developer. Continually adding new information is one of the signals that search engines look for and they will reward that website by moving them up in the search results.
This is a game changer. This empowers local agents.
There’s more. Big data will continue to be one of the hot real estate trends of 2016.
Before, it was unimaginable that a local broker and agent would be able to gather hyper-local information such as Recent Homes Sales, Market Trends, School Information, Local Business Listings.
But today they can. Companies such as Home Junction are able to provide big data on a neighborhood level to brokers and agents.
Now, home buyers can find the hyper-local information they need on a local real estate website. Those buyers don’t need to wander all over the web looking for this data.
Local agents can embed it right on their site. Conveniently, right next to a lead form for more information or to contact the agent.
This whole process of finding quality community data is now in the hands of  the local broker or agent. Those data leads becomes their lead, no one else’s and they don’t have to buy it. They have all the tools to attract their own prospects.
Think about how social media has given local brokers and agents tremendous access to millions of potential home buyers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest?
Now, local brokers and agents have even better tools to catch their attention – from incredible, cool website design to displaying the latest market trends lines in any neighborhood.
The real estate trends for 2016 look very encouraging. Millennials and fence-sitters will have to make a move.
Local brokers and agents should also make a move to take advantage of the incredible real estate tools of 2016. This is the year they can make their websites into a powerhouse of local knowledge.
To find out how to make this happen, contact Home Junction.
Homes For Sale By School District

School Boundaries Can Now Be Easily Featured To Sell Homes For Sale By School District

One of the most important pieces of information a real estate agent or broker can place on their website to help parents has nothing to do with a property itself. It’s school boundaries. Those critical lines on a map that will determine which school a child will attend.

As everyone knows, the choice of a school is a very, very sensitive issue. Children might wake up one morning, get dressed and hop on a bus, thinking going to school is no big deal. But people in the know do know that there is quite a bit of activity going on behind the scenes with some parents as to which school that child will be attending.

A real estate agent can really differentiate themselves from others by providing school boundary maps on their website. Sure, an agent can tell a prospective home buyer which school district or school attendance boundaries they are located in. But think about how powerful it would be if they could show them the actual boundaries.

Because there is more to this process than just where a home is located. Perhaps, there is a charter school nearby where the parent can submit an application for their child to attend instead.

Or, thinking ahead, maybe a parent likes the middle school near her home, but would really rather have her child attend a different high school on the other end of town.

Don’t think that its only education that plays a factor. For many parents with an athlete in the house, school boundaries will dictate whether that student will be enrolled in a school with a great coach and football program or a school where the coach doesn’t really seem to care.

For home buyers with aspirations for their own little Johnny Football, school boundaries are a BIG issue. Some children will switch high schools for athletic reasons like professional ball players switch cities.

Maybe there’s an artist or actor in the family. Again, some schools might have fantastic theater programs, while others may not. Some schools might be geared just for arts. That’s where they want their little Meryl Streep to go.

An Easy Way to Showcase School Boundaries

What’s a real estate professional to do? Well, they could get out a pencil and try to draw the school boundaries on a map. Then take a picture of it with their cellphone to place on their site. Not very professional.

Or, they could provide links on their website to the local school district’s homepage where prospects can check the school boundaries or call to find out. In that case, it could be goodbye prospect because once they leave your site, they might never return.

Do you really want a person searching for a $650,000 property to ever leave your website for a minute? That’s a risk you should work to eliminate at all costs.

The best solution is to work with a real estate data provider, such as Home Junction, in order to place a widget for school boundaries directly on your website. It’s not as big a production as you might think. Make sure the data provider hosts the data on their site. That way all you need to do is paste a few lines of code on your website to pull those school boundaries right onto your site.

Now, not only do you supply “Homes for Sale,” you also supply geo-spatial mapping information that is accurate, current and easily understood.

There Are Even More Benefits to Adding School Boundaries

For one, many parents will go to Google and Bing and type in a search for “School boundaries in XYZ” town. Wouldn’t it be great if your real estate website showed up on the first page in that search? Wouldn’t it be great to take a few easy steps to add this data to attract, say, that person looking for a $650,000 home? Of course it is!

Here’s another benefit. Think of the power you would have in making a presentation to a potential seller of a $650,000 home if you could show them how you are going to list their property on a map with school boundaries? Say, they are located near that school with the awesome arts program or the winning football team.

You can almost see the eyes of that seller light up in glee.

This is the era of big data. Just like you can press a button and talk to your friends on a live video feed on your iPhone, that same data processing technology can add massive amounts of hyper-local data, like school boundaries, onto your website.

Best thing to do? Pick up the phone and get an education on how easy it is to feature school boundaries on your website. Mom and Dad home buyer will give you an A+ for doing this.