The best thing about any predictions is that they’re soon forgotten and by the end of the year no one says ‘Well, she was right about that or that one was way off the mark’. So keep these predictions around, whether in the old-fashioned cut-out-print way, or bookmark my blog at www.cyalaska.com.
1. Mortgage interest rates will continue to creep up. That’s an easy one. But the real question is by how much? Already conventional rates are 4.125% from 4% just last week. That doesn’t seem like much, just the cost of a half dozen lattes per month. However, the real issue is not the cost of the lattes but that buyers now have to qualify with more income in an economic environment when salaries and wages are flat. Bottom line: less home for more money.
2. A greater price divide between newly constructed homes and resale. Most resale homes sell for less than $200 per square foot in the Anchorage Bowl while new homes cost well over $210 per square foot. Inflation will see that divide widen.
3. Be wary of the hidden defects of resale homes over thirty years old. Homes built in the l980’s were constructed with significantly lower MOA standards. Pay attention to the property disclosure, and definitely get a home inspection by a registered professional. No family friends allowed.
4. New housing permits for single family homes, duplexes, and multi-family will continue to decline, particularly for the first half of the year, as builders and developers grapple with the new Title 21 requirements.
5. More public discussion about mixed use development. But does Anchorage have the urban environment to support it? And how will it be financed? Stay tuned.
6. The millennials are crawling out of their parents’ l980’s basements and looking to find their first home. But they don’t necessarily like what they see. Builders are making adjustments to their designs to satisfy these ‘millies’. Go see what’s popping out of the ground in the spring.
7. Meanwhile, the aging baby boomers can’t decide what to do. Their resale homes aren’t worth what they originally thought, and the sticker shock of new construction makes them want to age in place. But, oh my, those stairs and the rising utility cost of space they no longer use. These boomers want at least a $250,000 price differential before they will consider a move.
8. The return of the ranch, or at least the first floor master, for these baby boomers.
9. What exactly is multi-generational housing? Aging parents, grandparents, adult children with special needs. More new home requests to be custom designed to accommodate these families.
10. And, finally, the MOA, and now the state of Alaska, will continue to discuss the lack of affordable housing, but will any action be taken in 2016 to assist non-profits and private developers?