Blog Category - New Homes Chicago

Builders predict an early spring moving season

Categories: New Homes Chicago | Posted: February 24, 2017

By Sherry Giewald (Daily Herald Correspondent)

Suburban home builders look for an exciting spring housing market. They’re opening new communities, the economy is good and homebuyers are confident about home ownership.

The housing market is improving, said Lance Ramella, president of Housing Trends LLC in Geneva. “The new year started well. In mid-December, sales picked up and continued through January and into February for a better start this year than last year.

“Overall, in the eight-county area (including Lake County, Indiana), the forecast for this year is an increase of about 8.5 percent in single-family home building permits.

“DuPage and Kane counties are on pace for a 4 percent increase in single-family home permits, and Cook County outside the city is at 3 percent.

“Kendall County, a more affordable area, and Lake County, Indiana, show the strongest increase. Kendall has a lot of (property) inventory with development. DuPage has exhausted its lot supply, so builders would need to develop (smaller, infill) lots there.”

Here’s what builders have in the pipeline.

William Ryan Homes

As William Ryan Homes celebrates its 25-year anniversary in 2017, the company is offering its biggest incentives ever, said Jennifer Mencias, director of sales for the builder. “This is a good time for us to give back to the customer.

“We’re creating 13 brand new plans that reflect what buyers want based on feedback from the market, and all our new homes now feature 2-by-6 construction.”

With a positive outlook for the home market, the company offers Stonebridge in Hawthorn Woods, a luxury community on 59 rolling acres with winding streets and natural surroundings. And coming soon is Bartlett Ridge with a great location across from Villa Olivia golf course and ski hill.

“We’re seeing an increase in traffic and a lot of interest in new construction,” Mencias said. “People are looking for energy efficiency, and we’re going a little greener.”


Today’s homes offer fresh features, finishes and conveniences.

Categories: New Homes Chicago | Posted: February 23, 2017

New Homes Construction

The thrill of building a new home is all about enjoying the newest trends in design along with the conveniences that reflect today’s lifestyles.

Architects and home builders conduct extensive research and survey buyers and other industry experts to determine new styles and features. The resulting trends energize the new home marketplace.

Trends that being incorporated into virtually every new home include the open concept floor plan that, true to the name, combine the kitchen, dining area and great room into one expansive living space where family and friends can relax together.

“We have just introduced new floor plans at all of our new home communities throughout Chicagoland to celebrate our 25th Anniversary year,” says Chris Coleman, Chicago Division president for William Ryan Homes. “These plans all have open concept living areas, although our largest plans still include formal dining rooms and living rooms or flex space. With today’s casual living and entertaining, many buyers do not need formal spaces and would rather have the square footage devoted to the areas they live in.”

Flex space is another priority for today’s buyers, says Chris Naatz, vice president of Sales for D.R. Horton’s Chicago Division.

“We have just introduced an innovative series of ranch designs that literally take flexible space to a whole new level,” Naatz said. “These plans are more open and spacious, providing inviting living spaces featuring the kitchen with an extra-large island/breakfast bar that seats four people, the dining area and a very large great room. The master bedroom is located to the rear of the home and two bedrooms or a flex room that can be used as a study or formal dining room is located toward the front.

“But what really sets these homes apart is the optional second floor that can be finished with conditioned storage and a loft, or a bedroom, bath and loft. Buyers are selecting this option to accommodate children and grandchildren or other guests, and the well-lit environment with windows for natural light is considered preferable to converting basement space into a living area,” he says.

Leading the list of practical additions to today’s homes is the mudroom, the transition space between garage and living area that is the receptacle for school books, sports equipment, muddy shoes and wet dogs and cats.

“Mudrooms are very popular with people that we work with in our interior design business,” says Mary Ward, director of Design for Laura O’Connor Design, a national interior design firm. “These rooms can be finished with built-in cabinets, lockers and cubby holes to organize the items that are stored there. Some buyers equip these rooms with similar items that can be purchased online or in retail stores.”

New interior features and construction enhancements are providing buyers with more quality and convenience in their homes.

“William Ryan Homes is implementing the use of 2-by-6-inch framing for the exterior walls of our homes for a sturdier, more energy-efficient building,” Mencias says. “Other new features include free-standing tubs in master bathrooms, sliding ‘barn doors’ that conserve space. Chef’s kitchens and big farmhouse sinks are also popular.”

Trends in interior decorating are influenced by the many new materials that inspire creativity.

“Whether flooring or wall coverings, it has never been easier to create a mood,” Ward says. “For example, extra-large tiles that measure 10-by-20-inches are very popular, as are tiles that come in various shapes and sizes. Another new type of tile looks like sleek, luxurious but practical wood. Texture on walls includes exposed brick, bead board, stone, decals and wallpapers. These materials are much easier to apply and remove than in the past, enabling even renters to decorate with them. They are also helpful in decorating children’s rooms where themes change frequently. Rustic painted wood for a farmhouse look and mixed metals for an industrial look provide even more options. Mixing of metals is popular, and gold is back, but looking nothing like the gold fixtures of the past. Neutrals are in, either neutral gray or greige, a combination of beige and gray. Rich, vibrant colors that ‘pop’ are very popular as accents,” she says.

Energy savings and industry-leading warranty bring value-driven buyers to Hampshire Highlands

Categories: New Homes Chicago | Posted: February 23, 2017

Hampshire Highlands

The Coventry ranch is one of William Ryan Homes’ value-driven designs offering energy savings and a state-of-the-art warranty.
In a competitive Chicago area new home marketplace, William Ryan Homes stands out from the rest with its energy-saving ranch and two-story designs accompanied by an industry leading warranty.

“The energy saving features that we include in each William Ryan Home save homeowners, on average, $1,500 a year,” says Chris Coleman, Chicago Division president for William Ryan Homes. “In addition, we offer a warranty unlike any of our competitors. Our 1-2-10 transferable warranty gives buyers peace-of-mind knowing we stand behind the quality construction and service of our homes. We include a 10-year dry basement guarantee as well, which goes above and beyond that of our competitors. And knowing that we’ve been building homes for 25 years in Chicago gives buyers confidence that the William Ryan home they build today will be a solid investment in their future.”

Located on Route 72 just two miles west of Route 47 in Hampshire, Hampshire Highlands is just one of eight suburban William Ryan neighborhoods and features 42 single-family ranch and two-story homes. Homes are priced from $257,990 to $319,990 and offer 1,798 to 3,300 square feet of living space with three or four bedrooms, 2 to 3.5 baths, basements and attached two and three-car garage as standard. Extra wide 100-foot home sites; brick exteriors and concrete driveways are also included. Homeowners save with no SSA (Special Service Assessment) taxes or HOA (Home Owners Association) fees in the community.

“Today’s homebuyers have done their homework before stepping into the sales office,” Coleman says. “The buyers at Hampshire Highlands are no exception. Our homes are 30-percent more energy efficient than a standard new home and that’s extremely important to value-oriented buyers. As is building a home with a builder who has been in the market for 25 years and stands behind its homes with warranties that ensure quality and comfort long after closing.”

One of the most popular plans at Hampshire Highlands is the Coventry ranch plan with 2,200 square feet of living space, including three bedrooms, 2.5 baths, basement and attached two-car garage.

A charming covered front porch welcomes guests to the Coventry. To the front of the home, two secondary bedrooms are served by a full hall bath while the master suite with large walk-in closet and private bath are to the rear of the home for optimum privacy.

The spacious kitchen with walk-in pantry, peninsula island and dining area is open to the great room. A powder room and mudroom with access to the two-car garage complete the Coventry plan.

Buyers may choose to personalize their home by extending the family room 4-feet, adding a gourmet kitchen, finished basement, a 3 or 4-car garage, luxury master bath and more.

“While Hampshire offers a quiet, country setting it is within minutes of every imaginable convenience the I-90 Corridor has to offer,” Coleman says.

Highly rated District 300 Hampshire schools are located close to the community and the Hampshire Park District offers programs for children of all ages.

The sales center and professionally-decorated model home at 442 Zachary Drive in Hampshire are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; 2 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday or by appointment. For more information, call 847-305-1229

William Ryan Homes celebrates 25th anniversary with sizzling incentives with its 25th anniversary during 2017

Categories: New Homes Chicago | Posted: February 23, 2017

Home buyers at Renwick Place and the company’s other new home communities will be receiving anniversary gifts, with exciting incentives all year long.

Buyers who act now can take 30 percent off the price of options up to a total of $100,000, greatly expanding their ability to personalize their homes with features such as the William Ryan Homes’ signature morning room, gourmet kitchens and luxury baths.

“As a privately owned builder of single-family homes, William Ryan Homes has grown into a company with a national presence and a widely respected reputation,” says Chris Coleman, Chicago Division president. “We realize that our success is due to our past and present buyers, so we want to share our celebration with them in a truly significant way. This 30 percent incentive on options up to $100,000 is unusually generous by industry standards, and is applicable at all of our new home communities.

“A hallmark of William Ryan Homes is the outstanding locations and community amenities we choose to ensure an outstanding lifestyle. A great example is Renwick Place, a community in southwest suburban Romeoville that blends a location in a master-planned community with highly rated Plainfield School District 202 schools, including Plainfield North High School.”

Both ranch plans and two-story designs have full basements and two-car attached garages. A 2,200-square-foot ranch plan that has three bedrooms, 2.5 baths and a full basement, priced from $278,990. Seven two-story designs range in size from 2,052 to 3,011 square feet with three or four bedrooms, 2.5 baths and full basements. Base prices range from $252,990 to $299,990. The Fordham model home is open for viewing.

“As a Green Builder committed to quality in every detail, William Ryan Homes offers a 25-year warranty that exceeds the industry norms and state-of-the-art, energy-saving building systems that make the homes 30 percent more energy efficient and save owners an average of $1,500 a year,” Coleman says. “A state-of-the-art waterproofing process guarantees dry basements for 10 years, and we include more quality features than the competition.”

Another advantage of the Renwick Place lifestyle is its location close to shopping and services. Commuters will appreciate the convenience of having Int. Hwy. 55 nearby. The community also features a naturally beautiful setting adjacent to Lake Renwick, a nature preserve. Lake Renwick Preserve includes 839 acres of protected land highlighted by 200-acre Budde Lake and associated wetland habitat. The Lake Renwick Bikeway is a 3.5 mile, flat paved linear and loop trail that travels through the wetlands and around the lake, providing an ideal opportunity for biking, hiking, running, in-line skating, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

William Ryan Homes was established in 1992 in suburban Chicago, and has since expanded to markets in Arizona, Florida and Wisconsin. The company continues as the No. 1 privately owned builder of single-family homes in the Chicago area.

To visit from the north, proceed south on Route 59, turn left (east) onto Lockport Street and continue onto Airport Road, right onto SE Frontage Road, left onto Helen Drive. From I-55, Exit 261, take Weber Road south to Airport Road, west 1.5 miles to Renwick Place.

The professionally decorated model home is located at 2093 W. Helen Drive. Sales center hours are daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for Wednesday when hours are 2 to 5 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Call 815-272-9599 for more information.

Why Single Women Are Buying Homes at Twice the Rate of Single Men

Categories: New Homes Chicago, New Homes Madison, New Homes Milwaukee, New Homes Phoenix, New Homes Tampa | Posted: February 5, 2017

Skip the spouse, buy the house: Single women account for 17 percent of homebuyers in the U.S., vs. 7 percent of single men.
By 2007, Michelle Jackson, a 30-something writer in Denver, held a master’s degree, had traveled the world, and was enjoying her social life as a single woman. She also felt the pull to purchase her own home, a rite of passage she thought was reserved for the coupled.

“I wanted to have my own place,” Jackson said.“A lot of people in my circle of friends were women purchasing their homes when they got married, but I still felt like I wanted to build my own wealth and buy. If and when I met someone, it’s something that just added to what I bring to the relationship. It didn’t make sense to wait.”

A few open houses later, Jackson was preapproved for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage and had put an offer in on a small, one-bedroom home in a triplex in Denver for $72,500. She still lives in the home, which was appraised last year at more than double the price she paid, and said she plans to renovate it and perhaps buy an additional property nearby.

“I’m so happy,” Jackson said. “It’s completely changed how I feel connected to the place where I’m living. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.”

The news and research about women and money can be dreary. Women earn less than their male counterparts, pay harsher workplace penalties for pursuing parenthood, struggle more with debt, and save less for retirement.

But there’s one area of personal finance where single women are outpacing men in the U.S., and it’s a significant one: home ownership.

Nearly a century since the publication of A Room of One’s Own—Virginia Woolf’s essay on women’s urgent need for a private physical space in which to flourish—and a legacy of laws that restricted women in owning property or considered them to be property, single women account for 17 percent of homebuyers in the U.S., compared with 7 percent of single men. The data, from last year, are from the National Association of Realtors.

“I’m not married, I don’t have kids. I can live alone, and fabulously. I feel empowered”
Although women have been ahead of men in NAR’s data since 1981, the gap has widened even further in recent years, said Jessica Lautz, NAR’s managing director of survey research and communications. Property values and mortgage lending imploded after the 2008 financial crisis, and low interest rates have made lending more appealing to new, more frugal buyers.

Single women are also likelier than single men to be parenting on their own, Lautz noted, and therefore likelier to seek stable housing for raising children. There were 8.6 million single-mother households in 2011, more than three times the 2.6 million single-father households, according to the Pew Research Center.

“If you have children, it’s definitely going to play a role in where you’re thinking of living and how,” Lautz said. “And a mortgage can provide financial security. I think women, even with lower incomes, want a place where they can have roots and really own a place. The psychological desire to do that is great.”

With that comes an increase in financial sacrifices women are willing to make to own a home, Lautz said, such as taking a second job or working their budgets to save for a down payment. “They really value home ownership, and they’re willing to give up a lot to have a home of their own.” Source: National Association of Realtors
Then there are single women’s sheer numbers. As millennials postpone or shrug off marriage, more women are unmarried than ever before. Today, one in every five Americans 25 years and older has never been married, a sharp contrast to just 9 percent in 1960, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. More of them are men (23 percent) than women (17 percent), according to the Pew Research Center, but it’s the women who dominate as homebuyers, for the reasons above, and more.

For one, unmarried women may be likelier than men to seize singledom as a lifestyle, said Bella DePaulo, a professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara and the author of Singled Out.

“Despite the stereotypes that insist that women care more about marriage than men do, it may actually be single life that women embrace more than men,” DePaulo said. “Some research suggests that single women are especially unlikely to be lonely—again, contrary to our stereotypes. … I think that buying a home is a way of living your single life fully, rather than seeing your single years as just marking time until you find The One.”
When single women do buy their first homes, they do so at an older age than men, 34 compared with 31, according to NAR research from last year. And women are buying at a lower average price: $173,000 compared with $190,600.

Single women also have long had a slightly higher foreclosure rate than men: 73 per 10,000 vs. 70 per 10,000, Daren Blomquist, a senior vice president with ATTOM Data Solutions, said. 1 One reason may be that men’s properties involved larger initial sales and appreciated faster than women’s.

“There’s a domino effect,” Blomquist said. “Because of the wage gap, you see women having to purchase lower-value homes, and they’re more open to risk when they do. Typically what causes a foreclosure is some kind of shock, like a job loss. If you have a lower-value home that’s appreciating less quickly, you have less of a cushion than someone who has seen their value appreciate more.”

For Rachel Weiss, a fashion executive in New York, the thought of owning a home in Manhattan “always seemed so unattainable.” Having spent her 30’s and some of her 40s in a rent-stabilized studio in the West Village, she accumulated a pile of cash that was sitting dormant in a savings account and was hungry to invest. On a whim last spring, she began to look at properties, and she said she was surprised when, running the numbers and being pre-approved for a mortgage, she saw that a one-bedroom in a co-op in the area could be within reach.

“I outgrew my apartment 10 years ago, and buying a home was always in the back of my mind,” Weiss said. “But I didn’t know what to do and never knew if I could afford an apartment. I started looking online at Trulia and Streeteasy, and the next day [real estate agents] started calling. It wasn’t premeditated or anything. It was almost like I was on Tinder for an apartment.”

After a few open houses, Weiss had narrowed her search to apartments in smaller buildings with lower maintenance fees. She was OK in a walkup, but location was still a priority. She put an offer on a one-bedroom co-op in Chelsea for $640,000. It was accepted. She moved in last August.

“There was a psychological aspect to it, too,” Weiss said. “I’m in my 40s, and I looked at what my life was like. I’m not married, I don’t have kids. I can live alone, and fabulously. I feel empowered.”

Source: Bloomberg: Mary Pilon; January 31, 2017

Homebuilders resolve to innovate with new locations, home designs to meet the changing needs of homebuyers

Categories: New Homes Chicago | Posted: January 19, 2017

New Year’s resolutions are all about new approaches to the challenges of a new year and homebuilders expect to innovate with new locations, new floor plans and new products to meet the evolving needs of homebuyers.

According to the Mainstreet Organization of Realtors (MORe), home sales rose in November 2016 throughout 200 communities in DuPage, Lake and suburban Cook County. Increases were seen in the year-to-date number of homes sold, the average sales price and median sales price, all up compared to the same period of 2015. Clearly, suburban Chicagoland buyers are ready to welcome the exciting new offerings of Chicagoland homebuilders.

“We expect home sales to continue to rise during 2017,” says Chris Coleman, Chicago Division president of William Ryan Homes. “Although interest rates are edging up slightly, they are not expected to have a significant impact on the pent-up enthusiasm of home buyers. With new choices in locations and single-family home designs, buyers can anticipate an exciting 2017.”

William Ryan Homes has just opened Stonebridge in Hawthorn Woods and Bartlett Ridge in Bartlett will open soon. A new community will open in Cary later in the year.

“These are already well-established upscale towns so buyers will appreciate the opportunity to purchase newly constructed homes in these desirable areas,” he says. “We offer homes in price ranges from the $250s to over a million and we expect to see growth in every segment of the market.”

New home designs and updated features in some other popular floor plans are also planned for 2017 and refinements in construction are also taking place at William Ryan Homes.

“As a Green Builder, William Ryan Homes places a priority on the quality construction and energy efficiency of our homes and this year we are moving from 2-inch by 4-inch to 2-inch by 6-inch construction. This results in a stronger structure with greater insulation and energy efficiency.”


For more information on these builders and their new home communities, visit

See the article in the Chicago Tribune 1-12-2017

10 Real Estate Trends in 2016

Categories: New Homes Chicago, New Homes Milwaukee | Posted: September 3, 2016

blog 2016

Home prices are up year-over-year and new home sales are on track for the best year since 2007.

What will 2016 still hold for homebuyers, sellers and renters? Here are the top real estate trends to watch for this year.

1. Home prices will continue to rise…moderately.
Economists and housing experts surveyed by Zillow expect home values to grow an average of 3.5 percent with most markets experiencing modest gains. That’s closer to historical averages and more sustainable than double-digit increases. However, some economists are worried that price appreciation may be approaching bubble territory in some hot markets like San Francisco, Denver, and Dallas.

2. Interest rates will inch up.
Economists widely agree that the Fed will increase its fed funds rate gradually throughout the year. Rates on adjustable-rate mortgages, which are tied to the prime rate that tracks the fed rate, will react immediately to a Fed hike. The rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage will increase slower, because it follows the yield on the 10-year Treasury, rather than the fed rate.

Rates on a 30-year mortgage currently stand at about 4 percent, up from record lows but still extremely attractive by historical measures. The Mortgage Bankers Association expects rates to reach 4.5 percent in 2016.

While some worry that higher interest rates would dampen the housing market, job security and wage growth are larger factors on home activity than interest rates.

3. First-time buyers will continue to struggle.
Part of the reason for the muted housing recovery is the lack of first-time buyers. These buyers—who traditionally fuel the market—have had difficulty saving for a down-payment due to stagnant wages and high rents. “The investors came in and helped accelerate the housing recovery by being willing to buy when the market was bleeding, but they have pushed up home prices rapidly in some markets, and all of the sudden those markets are unaffordable for the traditional, first-time buyers,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

The median age of first-time homebuyers—currently at a record-high 33—will head even higher next year, according to Zillow. Another headwind facing first-time homebuyers: Prices for entry-level homes are increasing faster than prices at any other price level, according to CoreLogic. That’s because developers have been building larger, more expensive houses rather than starter homes.

4. Credit will get—a little—looser.
While the days of no-doc loans and drive-by appraisals will likely never return, the pendulum is inching closer to center after several years of tight credit restrictions. The average FICO score on all closed loans in the third quarter was 723, the lowest level in at least four years, according to Ellie Mae. Two years ago, the average score for denied applications was 729.

Banks may be even more willing to work with homebuyers over the next year as the volume of refinances falls as interest rates rise. “There will be more competition for borrowers,” says Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic. “We may start to see more flexibility in credit standards and underwriting.”

5. It will still be cheaper to buy than rent.
Rental rates have risen even faster than home prices in some markets. Buying a home is 36 percent cheaper than renting nationwide for millennials and now is the best time to buy since 2012, according to Trulia. Buying is cheaper than renting in every one of the country’s 100 largest metro areas. The disparity could likely grow as rents are expected to increase by 8 percent next year, according to a survey of property managers.

6. The suburbs will make a comeback.
The suburbs are once again becoming a potential destination for buyers as downtown living increases and Millennials start families, according to a new report from the Urban Land Institute. The most attractive suburbs are close to a city and have walkable Main Streets, job opportunities and public transportation. In the largest metro areas, more than four out of five jobs are located outside of the center-city core.

7. Buyers will want green and smart homes.
Despite the higher costs, home builders and remodelers are increasingly incorporating eco-friendly features into projects to meet growing demand largely from affluent Baby Boomers who prioritize energy efficiency, a healthier indoor environment and durability. More than half of builders and 39 percent of remodelers say they are working on green projects, according to a study from Dodge Data & Analytics for the National Association of Home Builders. Those percentages are expected to rise over the next five years.

Sellers that don’t want to invest in full-scale renovations are turning to smart thermostats and lights that can be controlled by smartphones to pump up their eco appeal. “It’s a great way for sellers to differentiate their properties from others on the market,” says Budge Husky, chief executive officer at Coldwell Banker Real Estate. “You’re not only getting the energy savings, but it becomes a lifestyle feature.”

8. Videos will be the new photos.
High-quality, professional photographs have become the norm for online listings. To stand out in today’s market, more sellers are working with their real estate agents to create virtual tours and videos to highlight their properties.

Videos can help create positive reactions and emotional connections to younger buyers accustomed to sharing photos and videos on social media. Los Angeles real estate agent Scott Tamkin has been using video game-like 3D tours to allow potential buyers who may be abroad to virtually “walk through” a property to get a real feel for it.

9. All-cash sales will continue to decrease.
About a third of home sales in August went to all-cash buyers, down form a high of more than 46 percent in January 2011, according to CoreLogic. That share will likely continue to decline in 2016, which is good news for mortgage-dependent buyers who have had trouble competing with all-cash offers in some markets.

10. New homes will come back big time.
New home construction was one of the hardest-hit industries after the housing bust. At their lowest point in 2009, developers had scaled back production by nearly 79 percent. They’re finally starting to ramp up again. Single-family starts increased 10 percent this year and are expected to rise another 23 percent in 2016, according to the National Association of Home Builders. That coincides with healthy sales. New home sales grew 15 percent this year and are forecast to jump 26 percent in 2016.

Source: By Beth Braverman- The Fiscal Times

Housing Forecast: What To Expect In The Second Half Of 2016

Categories: New Homes Chicago, New Homes Madison, New Homes Milwaukee, New Homes Phoenix | Posted: July 8, 2016

Where have all the houses gone? That’s the question economists and, more importantly, would-be homebuyers are asking themselves. Demand is healthy and home values are rising. Owning a home remains a better deal than renting one and mortgage rates are near record lows, meaning borrowing money to buy is cheap. Nevertheless, inventory is scarce and falling.

“At a time when rising prices should be inducing inventory, exactly the opposite is happening,” explains Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at real estate data firm Trulia. “That has been the biggest story in the last six months and it will continue to be a story for the rest of the year.” According to Zillow, also a data firm, in May inventory of low- and middle-tier homes fell 8.9% and 9.7% respectively, compared to a year earlier. Top-tier inventory fell 0.5%.

Now that we’re halfway through 2016, here’s a glimpse how the rest of the year is likely to play out.
The Dynamics: Mortgage rates could reach all-time lows. Fitch Ratings expects U.S. mortgage rates to reach all-time lows following the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union. This is because Brexit pushed the Treasury rates that serve as a benchmark for mortgage rates to new lows. The 30-year fixed-rate hit a record low of 3.31% in 2012 and is currently about 3.6%. Low rates could spur demand for homes, as well as a spat of current loan refinancing.

Brexit has drawn new attention to rates, but mortgage have been relatively cheap for so long that economists have finally stopped forecasting a rise. According to a Trulia survey this is in line with average consumers, who rank interest rates a distant third among their housing market concerns–behind finding a home they like and qualifying for a mortgage.

In May, groundbreakings stood at an annual rate of 1.138 million, below the 1.5 million needed to get supply back in line with demand. Adding to the pain–most of the homes that have been built in recent years have been for the luxury consumer, rather than lower price starter homes.

The median home price has risen 5.4%. Economic theory suggests rising starter home prices should entice new construction in the segment, says McLaughlin.

Meanwhile, people aren’t moving as often, meaning fewer existing homes are coming onto the market. Prices have risen so much that potential sellers can’t afford to buy that next level home in their current neighborhood. McLaughlin calls the phenomenon “gridlock.” While Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow, describes it as a game of musical chairs where someone is left without a seat. Says Nela Richardson, chief economist at web-based broker Redfin: “Yes people can sell their home in a New York or San Francisco minute, but they won’t have anything to buy.”

Home values are currently appreciating an annual rate of 5%, well above the historical average of around 3% to 3.5% and a pick up from a year ago. Gudell attributes the strength to low inventory, low mortgage rates and a strong labor market. (Yes, the May jobs report was disappointing, but trend is still solid and wages seem to be picking up.)

Plus across the country buying remains more attractive than renting. Zillow finds that the current breakeven point for home ownership–the time you would have to live in a house before buying would be financially advantageous over renting–is 1.8 years. Trulia judges that interest rates would need to cross 7% for that national dynamic to change.

What it means for you: Have your checkbook ready.
Right now the typical home is selling in just 42 days; in markets like Denver, Portland and Seattle sales are happening in a week or less. That is the shortest time on market Redfin has seen since it began tracking in 2009 and it is a full week faster than a year ago, meaning this ultra-fast market is speeding up. With no clear supply bump on the horizon this trend is likely to continue.

What moms look for when buying a house

Categories: New Homes Chicago, New Homes Madison, New Homes Milwaukee, New Homes Phoenix | Posted: June 27, 2016

Open floor plans, a mud room, and an office so parents can keep tabs on their kids

William Ryan Hampshire Model-17

William Ryan Hampshire Model-9
Open floor plans are high on moms’ wish lists.

Traditionally, when people with children have looked to buy a new home, they were more concerned with neighborhood schools, walkability and convenient shopping than with the actual layout of the home they’d be occupying.

But that is changing, says Jeff Martel, a Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate (BHGRE) agent in Boise, Idaho. “Ten years ago, the only thing families were looking for was square footage and a large yard,” he said. “Configuration of the home is more important now,” as people prefer open floor plans rather than separate dining and living rooms.

“We see less and less formal spaces,” Martel said, as floor plans with separate dining rooms aren’t as preferable as a larger kitchen, often not just with one large central island, but two islands. “Everything happens in the kitchen,” he said. “Kids use the islands now for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” he said.

Separate home offices are out too, replaced by an office nook off the main living space so that parents can keep tabs on what kids are looking at online. “You want a family office that’s very visible with a direct sightline to the kitchen,” he said.

Lindsay Alteri, who works for BHGRE in Raleigh, N.C., and is a mother of two young kids, said she’s seeing moms wanting the same thing — a large kitchen space, open floor plan and even laundry space on the same floor with room to fold laundry so they can keep an eye on everything. “What I hear is, ‘I can’t leave my kids unattended,’” she said.

Location of the garage also counts with many moms and parents, Alteri says. “If there are stairs to and from the garage, are you going to be willing to go up and down them carrying a child” in from the car, she asks.

Stacy Barry, a realtor at Century 21 Scheetz in Indianapolis, agrees. “You want an open area floor plan with wide stairs for carrying little ones and laundry baskets,” she said.

Barry, along with BHGRE’s Martel, says the garage should be attached with a walk-in area to the laundry for muddy kids.

“You want a ‘mud room’ that has a bench and some storage for boots that’s done in a hardwood or laminate where you can drop everything like backpacks and jackets,” Martel said. The mud room should be a separate entrance to the house from the main entrance so that guests don’t see it, he said.

Above all, as parents know all too well, “kids come with clutter,” Martel says.

As a result, Martel and Barry both say that, not surprisingly, parents want lots of built-in storage in bedrooms, attics, spaces under stairs and even hidden storage behind bookshelves where you can pile toys and clothes when company comes.

As kids get older, agents say that some clients want separate living areas for kids and adults.

“Young families desire to be on the same floor,” said Martelm but “as the kids get older, have the master bedroom retreat on the main floor, and have the kids have their own space,” with bedrooms on the separate floor and separated so they don’t share a common wall to allow for privacy.


Special savings offered at White Ash Farm

Categories: New Homes Chicago | Posted: June 5, 2016

William Ryan Hampshire Model-13
Offering over 2,700 square feet of living space and brimming with today’s most popular options and upgrades, the Sheridan, at 25110 Prairie Grove Drive in the Plainfield community of White Ash Farm, is available now with spectacular savings for buyers who can close by June 30.

“White Ash Farm has been one of our fastest selling communities with only five of the original 50 homesites remaining for sale,” says Chris Coleman, Chicago Division president for William Ryan Homes. “Knowing that buyers have varying timetables and often want to move when school is out, we went ahead and built one of our most popular plans, the Sheridan. “

Highlights of the two-story Sheridan with Colonial exterior, include four bedrooms, 2.5 baths, hardwood flooring throughout the first floor, formal living and dining rooms, gourmet island kitchen with upgraded cabinets, granite countertops, stainless-steel appliances and breakfast room, signature morning room, spacious family room with fireplace, master suite with private luxury bath, first-floor mudroom, convenient second-floor laundry room, full basement, attached three-car tandem garage and concrete driveway.

Located east of Route 30 near the intersection of 252nd Avenue and 119th Street, White Ash Farm is served by highly touted District No. 202 schools, including Freedom Elementary School, Heritage Grove Middle School and Plainfield North High School.

Both ranch and two-story designs are offered at White Ash Farm and range from 2,200 to 3,785 square feet with three to five bedrooms, two to 3.5 baths, basements and three-car garages included as standard. The remaining homesites feature cul-de-sac, open space and nature trail locations. The professionally-decorated Jensen model is open for touring with homes currently priced from $317,990 to $380,990.

White Ash Farm is home to the Normantown Trails Equestrian Center with walking and equestrian trails winding throughout the community. The scenic neighborhood also features acres of open space, a pond and numerous cul-de-sacs. Commuters are within minutes of I-55, I-355 and Routes 30 and 59 as well as Metra train service in nearby Lockport or Joliet.

The model and sales center at White Ash Farm are located at 25120 White Ash Drive in Plainfield.

For more information, visit or call 815-600-7628.

Source: Chicago Tribune