Leonard H. Craver

Leonard H. Craver
Leonard H. "Tony" Craver

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


· All of you local homeowners will like this. Realtor.com says Durham is the third most stable growing real estate market in the country.
· Inman Headlines says that although the majority of home searchers now use the internet for their search, there has been a 10% rise in the use of real estate agents over the last 20 years.
· I hate to quote Zillow because they have become an increasing threat to the real estate industry as we know it. Perhaps I will tell you more in a future newsletter. They did attempt an interesting study of renting verses buying. According to Zillow the median rent in the US is $1,416 per month. That is enough to cover principal, interest, taxes and insurance on a home worth $289,500, well over the national average price of $196,500. Even though the average loan closes now in 43 days, they could not understand why everyone, especially millennials, are not interested in buying instead of renting. They failed to mention no down payment, bad credit, high student loans and fear of job security. The younger folks who are buying are buying townhouses while the older buyers are buying single family homes. Older buyers are trying to pay off their loans while younger buyers are trying to qualify. There is nothing new here. It has always been this way to some extent.
· What is today’s home buyer looking for? Realtor.com says the most searched items are #1, a large back yard, #2, a garage and #3 is an updated kitchen. The least searched items are a guest house, a mother-in-law suite and a “man cave”. The most searched for style is a ranch (42%) followed by a contemporary (28%). And here we are in two-story heaven. What is the favorite room in the house? The kitchen was favored by 80%. No wonder the whole country is over weight. Second favorite was the master bedroom followed by the living room. It should be noted that the over 55 crowd preferred a garage over the living room.  In spite of all of these stats the number one goal of home searches is privacy.
· Inman once again gives us an idea of what today’s home buyers are looking for in the way of smart technology. Number one on their list are leak detection devices. This category covers a lot of things like fire, smoke, carbon dioxide, radon and moisture detectors. Second on their list was an energy saving thermostat. Third was smart garage doors that you can close from anywhere. Did you see the commercial of the couple lying on the beach that forgot to close their windows? Next was automated watering systems followed by security cameras.
· That last item brings up an interesting new problem. Technology first gave us the nanny cam. They have worked well for years, but now home owners are using them to spy on agents as they show their property. Unfortunately this has turned up an occasional indiscretion by an agent. Photographing folks in your home is perfectly legal, but it is advised that you notify prospective agents that the customers are being photographed. Now, several of the major tech companies are advertising and selling little computer towers with cute names. You can ask them to turn off the lights or order a pizza. That is all well and good but they are also recording what is being said in the house. When someone outside of your household is in your house, we are told that it is not legal to record them without their written permission. What is happening in the real estate industry, unfortunately, is that showings are being secretly recorded, and that gives the seller an unfair advantage in future negotiations. Do you want to see a house with your agent with someone recording the entire event?
· As you see there are a lot of changes going on in the real estate industry. One of the biggest influences on the home buyer now is TV. Commercials once controlled what fashions were “in” and which were “out”. Now we buy what Chip and Joanna say we like. Open space is the big craving now. I remember when it was called a kitchen-den combination. And the tiny house reminds me of a home-made house trailer. They did not sell too well back then, but with new packaging, they are going like hot cakes.


Here is a bunch of “stuff”, for lack of a better word, but I think you will find it interesting.
· Cushman Wakefield’s global chief economist says to “expect the largest economic expansion since WWII. That should get this newsletter off to a good start.
· Despite all of the negative press over NC’s HB2, tourism in the state last year set a record volume of $22.9 billion. That is up 4% over the record set in 2015. It’s too bad the ACC and the NBA did not enjoy our beautiful state as well.
· USA Today has an interesting list of America’s most “literate” cities. Washington DC was #1. Other notables included #13 Raleigh, #15 Durham, #38 Greensboro and #44 Charlotte. I hope I spelled that right.
· Here is one you will like. Vogue declared Durham as North Carolina’s “Hippest” city. They said it was thanks to (their order) Duke men’s basketball, the restaurant scene, DPAC, American Tobacco and Brightleaf Square, the Durham Bulls, and the old Durham Athletic Park where the Bull Durham movie was filmed.
· If you have nothing to do next Saturday afternoon I suggest you take a ride to downtown Durham. The city is riding a wave of expansion you just will not believe. The wave is also rolling into east central Durham with amazing new homes and offices. Don’t limit yourself to just one street—explore a little, then take advantage of the “restaurant scene” that impressed Vogue so much.
· Some lists automatically make you question their validity. “Niche”, whoever that is, published a list of the “Best Places to live in North Carolina”. I think the researcher lived in Raleigh and his /her parents lived in Charlotte. Of the 25 cities, 10 were in and around Raleigh and Chapel Hill and 10 were in Mecklenburg County (Charlotte). The other five were in the mountains and the Triad, including one of my favorites, #18 Clemmons.
· Not everything is rosy. Travel and Leisure listed the “Rudest” cities. In the US. Miami was #1 and the usual suspects, New York and L A were high on the list. The bad news is that Charlotte was #14.

 · Finally the same group listed the top ten places for Millennials to settle. Salt Lake City was # 1 and Miami was #2- both made the “Rude” list also. Maybe some fresh new life is what they need.


          You also know that I love rankings. It seems that the Milken Institute has ranked the “Best Cities for Successful Aging” . In other words they are good places to get old. I have no idea why this article intrigued me so. Number one among their large city list was Provo, Utah. I have been there and it looks like a great place. Following were # 2, Madison, Wisconsin and # 3 was Durham/Chapel Hill. The article said that if a city was a good place for the aging then it would also be a “good place for all to live”. They had a lot of different categories for ranking purposes, but Durham/Chapel Hill ranked number one in health care. There was a small city category and it was headed by Iowa City, Iowa. Number four on that list was Columbia, MO where my son Jeff lives. Maybe we will move in with him some day. Don’t tell him.


I know you get tired of hearing about my grandchildren but I never get tired of talking about them. They are literally scattered across the globe this summer. I just hope the world behaves itself - I know they will.