Hispanic women will be the major new players in driving up homeownership, according to a new data report released by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate and the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP). In a national study of more than 1,000 Hispanic women between the ages 25 to 60, 91 percent of respondents said that home buying was the best financial investment they could make, adding that they were taking the lead in exploring potential homeownership. Furthermore, 61 percent of the respondents said they would play a larger role than their partner researching homes to visit (59 percent), researching communities or neighborhoods (58 percent), deciding which home to eventually purchase (54 percent) and researching financing including mortgage options (43 percent). "Historically, we've been able to broadly project the influence the Hispanic demographic would have on our industry by the sheer population growth alone," said Sherry Chris, president and CEO, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. "However, it's vital to understand that Latina women in particular are a driving force behind decisions related not only to the home, but the actual home-buying transaction process. It's our responsibility to educate the industry on the primary roles these women have taken on as primary decision makers." Source: National Mortgage Professional

A younger generation is no longer viewing marriage as a prerequisite to a mortgage, as they show some signs of committing to a house before a marriage. "These key life-stage things impact when we buy, what we buy and where we buy," Mollie Carmichael, a principal at John Burns Real Estate Consulting in Irvine, told the Los Angeles Times. "But ... young people today aren't living by the same rules as 20 or 30 years ago." Unmarried couples, same-sex partners, even pairs of roommates are making up a larger part of the housing market than they did a generation ago, says Rachel Drew, a researcher at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. "The decline in married couples among younger buyers is almost entirely offset by growth in unmarried couples,” Drew notes. “You're not actually seeing a decline in two-adult households. [Unmarried couples] are much more likely than a single person to buy a home. They're acting like married couples." Some couples are realizing they could take the cost of a big wedding and instead put it toward a home. The average wedding and honeymoon costs about $35,000, which is around the down payment many home buyers need, according to a study last year by real estate website Redfin. "I think a lot of people my age have come to the realization that marriage is almost like a bonus,” Yvonne Carrasco, a 33-year-old public relations professional, told the Los Angeles Times. “If it happens, great. If it doesn't, great. But it's important to put yourself in the situation to feel safe and secure." Still, while unmarried couples or singles may be showing more willingness to buy, some do see marriage as a key driver to home ownership. "It's a pretty straightforward link," says Richard Green, director of USC's Lusk Center for Real Estate. "Married people buy houses. Single people rent." For example, in California, 48.7 percent of households were headed by married couples in 2013, down from 51.1 percent in 2000, according to Census data. But more than two-thirds of married couples owned their homes compared to 40 percent of non-married households. Source: The Los Angeles Times


A survey commissioned by online brokerage Redfin of 2,134 Americans who bought and/or sold a home in the past two years revealed while small portions of homebuyers and sellers had used unconventional methods to buy and sell homes—like offer sight unseen or forego an agent’s help—a majority is open to an alternative to the traditional real estate service. One in five buyers made an offer on a home without having visited it in person. Some 17% of buyers bought a home without an agent’s help, a significantly higher portion than is cited in the most widely accepted report on this figure. The most common reason for foregoing an agent’s help was that they already knew the seller. And more than one-third of buyers who worked with a traditional agent received a refund or other form of commission savings from their agent. Homebuyers and sellers who worked with a Redfin agent were much more likely to recommend their agent to a friend or colleague than those who worked with agents at other brokerages. Source: HousingWire