Home for the Holidays: How to Talk to Your Family about Housing

Posted on December 19, 2019 by Jorie Helms

You’re home for the holidays. The halls are decked with boughs of holly. Dad’s drinking eggnog, mom’s drinking almond-nog, your sister is drinking vegan oatmilk chai-nog; all is well … and then it happens. You make one comment about how maybe your mom’s gingerbread house could use some tasteful landscaping, and she takes the opportunity to make a jab about how maybe “you could stop paying money to live in a stranger’s basement.”

You brought up the contentious topic of housing, and now the tidings of comfort and joy have left the building.

Or have they?

As a gift to you this holiday season, the elves at the National Housing Center are offering this simple guide to help kids from one to 92 navigate conversations about housing.

When your dad puts his feet on the ottoman, looks you in the eye and lectures you on the immutability of the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (“If it worked for my generation, then it will work for yours.”)

Let your dad know that we’re going to need sensible housing finance reform if we’re going to keep the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage as an affordable option. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – the government sponsored mortgage guarantors – have been in conservatorship for 11 years. That’s not sustainable, Dad. It’s important that any new structure include an explicit federal backstop for the housing finance system and protect taxpayer liability. And, we need to provide an effective financing system for multifamily housing.

When your daughter’s TikTok goes viral – wherein, to the tune of The Commodores’ 1977 hit “Brick House,” she blames the older generations for ruining the housing market – and you decide to make this a teachable moment.

Make sure she understands that, for most home builders, the cost of complying with building regulations and codes can account for up to 25 percent of the total cost to build the home – and even more for multifamily housing. Explain to her that housing affordability is a supply-side issue. When regulatory compliance creates roadblocks to making housing affordable, it’s no surprise that homeownership and rental opportunities are being pushed further and further out of reach. And, we need permanent trade solutions to fluctuating material prices, like softwood lumber and Chinese steel, to ensure that housing can remain affordable. Also, your daughter is no longer listening. Just a heads up.

When your son asks if his girlfriend can move in with him in your basement because her part-time job and Uber gig don’t bring in enough money to rent an apartment.

Make a point to let him know there are more than 335,000 unfilled jobs in construction. These are good-paying jobs with benefits. Carpenters, electricians and masons make an average national wage over $51,000 a year, more than three times what a minimum wage worker takes home annually. It’s enough that he should be able to finally move out of what he calls his “garden-level apartment” and, as we all know, every time an adult child moves out of their parents’ house, an angel gets its wings.

When your parents keep reminding you that your cousin Amber is already married and has a nice house in the suburbs with granite countertops (and they have a Bernese Mountain Dog, and fresh eggs every day from their six chickens, and her husband makes the most amazing homemade gin).

Remind them that homeownership is a great option for some – and that you understand that for many households it represents a primary source of wealth, financial security and a gateway to the middle class. But the bottom line is that it is all about housing choice. Some people prefer to rent, and others are unwilling or unable to take on the financial responsibility of owning a home. And the gin isn’t all that good, anyway.

When your grandma doesn’t want to put out the Santa and reindeer decorations in her front yard because “this is probably the year y’all put me in the old folks’ home.”

Gently let her know that there are many options for people who want to stay in their homes as they age. In fact, aging-in-place remodeling is the fastest growing sector of the remodeling market. By hiring a Certified Aging in Place Specialist, she can get what she needs most: reassurance that you’ll help her make the choices that will help her stay in her home safely and securely. By modifying her home with additional task lighting, grab bars, lever door handles and other features, you all can make sure that holiday traditions (and grandma) are around for years to come.

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Alternative ed students receive holiday gifts

Posted on November 22, 2019 by Jorie Helms

The Moore Home Builders Association purchased clothing, hats, socks, jackets, sweat shirts and socks for 133 students at Dimensions Academy in Norman, then delivered those Christmas bags of cheer on Wednesday with the help of the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office. Pictured from left to right are: Marvin Haworth, Deputy Phillip Garbriel, Deputy Rafael Hernandez, Sheila Haworth, Deputy Chazdon Anderson, Dimensions Principal Linda Mace, Timmy Smith, Karen Ewing, Sheriff Todd Gibson and Capt. Mike Finley.

-An assortment of clothing and hand-sewn blankets filled Christmas bags of cheer that were delivered Wednesday to 133 alternative education students in Norman.

The project was a joint effort of the Moore Home Builders Association, the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office and The Linus Project, which is a ladies’ quilting group that meets at Moore’s First Christian Church one Saturday each month.

“Every year we try to do something that helps our youth,” said Sheila Haworth, executive officer for the home builders association. “It’s like Sheriff (Todd) Gibson was saying, ‘This is a really important project because if we can’t keep these kids in school they won’t have a future.’”

Students were delighted, excited and almost beyond belief when county deputies delivered the gift bags to Dimensions Academy earlier this week. Dimensions Academy is the alternative education program for Norman Public Schools.

“They (students) looked like they had blank stares on their faces,” Haworth said. “Some of them were like, ‘that’s all for us?’”

The students wrapped the hand-sewn blankets around their bodies and “kept them on the rest of the day,” she said. “It really got their morale up.”

Linus Project spokeswoman Sharene Anderson said her group became involved in the school project because “there was a need.”

“That’s our mission — to provide for children in need and especially the homeless and abused children,” she said. “This is our drive. It’s our life.”

Depending on their schedules, the quilters spend anywhere from “every waking moment to a few hours a month and everywhere in between” on their blankets that are donated to variety of causes.

The quilters gave 140 double-sided, fleece quilts to The Dimensions Academy project, Anderson said. The Linus Project was founded in 1995 and serves Canadian, Cleveland, Grady, Kingfisher, Logan, McClain and Oklahoma counties.

The home builders association, through its $3,500 monetary donation and two other contributions, spent about $4,500 on clothes, hats, socks, jackets, sweatshirts and socks for the 133 students. Haworth and retired teacher Karen Ewing shopped from February until November purchasing the clothing items at any store that offered discounts, including some in Texas.

During one shopping spree, the women loaded a buggy with 120 fleeced jackets at a Norman Old Navy store. The jackets originally sold for $29 each, but the women only paid $8 per jacket.

Prior to that, Haworth and Ewing made a trip to an Allen, Texas, shopping outlet where stores were having going-out-of-business sales. During the trip, they spent about $700 for clothes, including some from name brand store Lou LaRue.

The donations also helped the women purchase enough clothes to establish a clothing pantry at the school for future needs.

-Tim Farley of Norman Transcript 

Article by Norman Transcript 

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Millennials continue to outpace older generations in homebuying

Posted on November 13, 2019 by Jorie Helms

Millennials are moving more, spending more and buying more

Continuing a trend that stretches back to one year ago, Millennials are still dominating the homebuying landscape, taking on more mortgages than previous generations.

A report from Realtor.com says that at the end of the third quarter, the Millennial share of mortgage originations increased 3% from last September, coming in at 46%.

(Image courtesy of realtor.com. Click to enlarge.)

Meanwhile, Gen X and Baby Boomer shares continued to fall, to 35% and 17% this year, from 37% and 18% last year, respectively.

As for primary home loan originations, Millennial shares increased also. In September, Millennial share was 44%, up from last year’s 40%.

Gen X shares fell from last year’s 41% to 39%, while Baby Boomer shares fell to 16% from 17% last year.

Millennials were also found to move once every two years, a study from Porch said. Gen Xers moved about every four years and baby boomers stayed in the same place for nearly six years at a time. 

According to the report, Millennials are buying more expensive homes, too.

The median price of a primary home purchased by Millennials went up 6%, to $250,000 compared to last year. Generation X and baby boomers only increased their purchase prices by 5% and 2%, respectively.

(Image courtesy of realtor.com. Click to enlarge.)

Millennials are also increasing the size of loans they are taking out to buy a home, as this generation had a median loan amount of $231,590 in September. This is 7.3% higher than last year.

This growth in mortgage debt undertaken by Millennials outpaces that of both Baby Boomers, which grew by 2.6%, and Generation X, which grew by 4.4%.

-Article by Housing Wire

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Top Bathroom Features Among Millennial Home Buyers

Posted on November 13, 2019 by Jorie Helms

More than three out of four millennial home buyers (76%) say that their most wanted bathroom feature is both a shower stall and tub in the master bath, according to a recent report published by NAHB, What Home Buyers Really Want (2019 edition).

The survey indicates that millennials want larger bathrooms to accommodate certain amenities. For example, the second most popular bathroom feature among this key demographic is a double vanity (75%), followed by a linen closet in the master bath (73%), a whirlpool tub (70%) and a private toilet compartment in the master bath (68%).

A dressing/make-up area and a white toilet, tub and sink are also important to millennials, with 67% reporting that each of these items are desirable or essential/must have features.

Millennials also expressed interest in having specific shower features: 66% want multiple shower heads in a master bath and 64% desire a body spray panel in a master bath [shower head(s) plus spray massage jets].

A majority of millennials also prefer a granite vanity (64%). See the Figure 1 chart below for more details. Note: move your cursor along the Figure 1 and Figure 2 charts to view more details.

The report also reveals a wide disparity among bathroom wants between millennials and seniors. The Figure 2 chart below shows at least a 20-point difference among these two demographic groups on a variety of bathroom features.

For example, 46% of millennials desire dual toilets in the master bath while just 14% of seniors prefer this feature. Fifty-five percent of millennials want his and hers baths vs.only 25% of seniors and 70% of millennials want a whirlpool tub in a master bath, compared to 44% of seniors.

NAHB economist Carmel Ford provides more insights in this Eye on Housing blog post.

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Oklahoma Home Builders Association talks to KFOR about cities across the state starting to regulate products that are used to build new homes.

Posted on November 5, 2019 by Jorie Helms

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) - The Oklahoma Home Builders Association says small towns are cracking down on housing ordinances and it could price people out of living there.

Cities across the state are starting to regulate products that are used to build new homes.

“They’re going after regulating small homes which is what we call affordable homes, or houses that help people that are in the lower socioeconomic brackets being able to purchase their first home,” said Mike Means the Executive Vice President of the Oklahoma Home Builders Association.

Read more from KFOR

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Oklahoma Home Builders Association discusses labor shortage with The Oklahoma News Report

Posted on November 5, 2019 by Jorie Helms

Construction is booming in Oklahoma, creating demand for well educated workers in the field.

-OETA, The Oklahoma News Report

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