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Existing home sales rise | Bedford Real Estate

Existing home sales, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), increased 2.0% in October and reached the highest pace since February 2007. In October sales increased for the second straight month, and were up 5.9% from the same month a year ago. Total existing home sales in October increased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.60 million units combined for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, up from an upwardly adjusted 5.49 million units in September.

existing-sales-october-2016

October existing sales increased in all four regions, ranging from 2.8% in the South to 0.8% in the West. Year-over-year, October sales also increased in all regions, ranging from 10.4% in the West to 1.4% in the Northeast.

Total housing inventory decreased slightly by 0.5% in October, and remains 4.3% lower than its level a year ago. At the current sales rate, the October unsold inventory represents a 4.3-month supply, compared to a 4.4-month supply in September.

The October all-cash sales share increased to 22% from 21% in September, but was down from 24% one year ago. Individual investors purchased a 13% share in October, down from 14% in September and unchanged from a year ago. The first-time home buyer share was 33% in October, down a point from the solid September report, but above the first-time buyer share of 31% in October 2015. Distressed sales, comprised of foreclosures and short sales, increased to 5% in October from 4% in September, which was the lowest rate since NAR launched that series in 2008.

The October median sales price of $232,200 was 6.0% above the same month a year ago, and represents the 56th consecutive month of year-over-year increases. The median condominium/co-op price dropped for the fourth consecutive month to $220,300 in October, but was up 6.2% from the same month a year ago.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/11/existing-sales-revival/

San Jose to tackle homelessness with tiny houses | Bedford Real Estate

Homeless person in San Jose, California

Sprawling and largely suburban in character, San Jose — highly affluent de facto capital of California’s Silicon Valley — is home to one of the nation’s most well-educated, socially progressive, ethnically diverse and highest paid populaces. It’s also blessed with beautiful weather, a fabulous park system and a low crime rate for a city of its size. Everything is hunky-dory, all sunshine and Dionne Warwick songs, in the well-heeled epicenter of America’s busiest tech hub.

Except that it’s not.

Like its (technically smaller) neighbor to the north, San Francisco, the third most populous city in California struggles with exorbitant housing costs, severe income inequality and a homelessness crisis that shows no signs of abating.

Yes, there are homeless people in the Silicon Valley. And way more than you might imagine.

As reported by the Mercury News citing 2014 statistics released by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, San Jose and greater Santa Clara County have the fourth largest homeless population in the United States. With an estimated 4,063 homeless residents, San Jose has the nation’s third largest population of chronically homeless residents and the nation’s fifth largest population of homeless veterans.

In total, 69 percent of San Jose’s homeless population are living on the streets, in cars, in abandoned buildings and in encampments. One such encampment, “The Jungle,” was one of the largest — if not the largest — homeless camps in the nation until it was cleared out in 2014. The site has since been reclaimed by nature and other, smaller settlements have popped up around the city’s secluded wooded areas along creeks and riverbeds. In lieu of overcrowded shelters or encampments, many of the Silicon Valley’s homeless sleep aboard the 22 Bus, the only 24-hour bus line in Santa Clara County.

Never a city to shy away from innovation and outside-the-box thinking, San Jose is now turning to the tiny house movement to give shelter — even if just temporarily — to those who most desperately need it.

San Jose skyline)

Crisis mode meets creative thinking

A new piece of legislation authored by Assemblywoman Nora Campos and signed into law by California Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 27 would allow San Jose to circumvent statewide building, health and safety codes that would otherwise impede the creation of garden shed-sized standalone dwellings. In lieu of abiding by state regulations, city officials will adopt their own unique set of building regulations that enable the construction and distribution of homeless-geared tiny houses.

The law, which will be valid for five years at which point its impact will be assessed, can only be enacted if San Jose declares a “shelter crisis” — and it already has.

When the law goes into effect in January of next year, San Jose will be the first city in California to officially embrace tiny houses as a means of combating homelessness.

Speaking to the Mercury News, Ray Bramson, the city’s homeless response manager, notes that the tiny houses, so en vogue with middle-class downsizers and flexibility-seeking Millenials, would serve as a sort of “temporary stopping point” while the city constructs 500 affordable apartment units over the next several years.

“This law really is the first of its kind,” Bramson tells the Mercury News. “It will allow us to create bridge housing opportunities — a stable place people can live and stay while they’re waiting to be placed in a permanent home.”

The Jungle, San Jose

Tiny houses with a big impact

San Jose will soon launch a competition seeking designs for the diminutive housing units. The emphasis, according to the Mercury News, will be on “innovative features, cost effectiveness and replicability.”

The legislation, Assembly Bill 2176, dictates that single-person “emergency shelter cabins” must measure at least 70 square feet while standalone shelters for couple must be no less than 120 square feet. Each unit must be insulated, wired for electricity, include at least one lighting fixture and be topped with a weatherproofed roof. And this is a biggie: Each tiny house must also include a privacy lock.

Tiny houses, often bespoke and kitted out with high-tech bells and whistles, are generally in the 200 to 300-square-feet range in a non-transitional housing context. So, yes, 70 square feet is on the extremely petite side for a tiny house.

As for location, it would appear that San Jose is following in the footsteps of cities such as Austin, Texas, and Olympia, Washington, by establishing transitional micro-housing villages. Although sites have not been selected — and this may prove to be tricky part — the new law states that the tiny houses must be placed on city-owned or leased land no less than a half-acre. Each cluster of tiny houses, referred to in the bill as “emergency bridge housing communities,” would include on-site supportive services and bathroom facilities.

“It was huge for the governor to sign this because it’s outside-the-box and no one else has done it,” Assemblywoman Campos announced in a statement. “Other big cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles will be looking at what we do here. We had to do something because what we were doing wasn’t working.

It’s interesting that Campos mentions Los Angeles, a city where officials have yet to embrace the concept of tiny houses for the homeless but where private citizens have.

Such is the case of Elvis Summers, a power drill-wielding mohawked Angeleno that, in the absence of action from city officials, stepped up and decided to do something for his neighbors living on the streets of South L.A.

In 2015, Summers and a team of volunteers began constructing dozens of tiny houses, each costing about $1,200 to build. For financing, Summers launched a successful crowdfunding campaign that raised big bucks and garnered international media attention.

However, not long after the recipients of Summers’ hand-built micro-shelters began to get accustomed to sleeping with honest to goodness roofs over the heads, L.A. sanitation workers, under orders from City Hall, began an aggressive crackdown on the structures. While some were saved by Summers and temporarily moved to private property, others were impounded by the city.

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http://www.mnn.com/your-home/remodeling-design/blogs/san-jose-tackle-homelessness-tiny-houses

Longaberger Basket Building heading to foreclosure | Bedford Real Estate

Longaberger basket building

Cushman & Wakefield

The Longaberger Basket Building, the Newark, OH, office structure built to resemble a giant picnic basket, is heading to foreclosure if the home goods company does not pay more than $600,000 in back property taxes.

Olivia Parkinson, the Licking County treasurer, tells realtor.com® that the county recently sent a letter informing Longaberger that it is referring the property for tax foreclosure. The company, which hasn’t made a tax payment since November 2014, owes $605,219.12.

In order to halt foreclosure proceedings and an eventual property auction, the company must pay the bill in full within two weeks, Parkinson says.

The one-of-a-kind property has lingered on the market for 18 months. Brenton Baker, a spokesman for the Longaberger Company, says serious negotiations are underway with “several entities” who’d like to pack their employees into the basket building.

The basket backstory

It’s been tough to find a buyer for the 180,000-square-foot building in a suburb of Columbus. The basket landed on the market for $7.5 million about a year and a half ago, and the price has since been slashed to $5 million. The current asking price works out to about $27 per square foot, roughly half of what area office space—that doesn’t look like bologna sandwich storage—typically commands.

Inside Longaberger building
Inside the Longaberger building

Cushman & Wakefield

“It’s a very unique property, and I don’t know that there are a lot of basket-related businesses out there,” says Baker. “The inside is a very nice, high-end office space. But the outside does present certain challenges.”

Longaberger, which sells baskets through a national network of Tupperware-style home consultants and is now owned by JRJR Networks, completed the office building in 1997 at a cost of approximately $32 million. It was the brainchild and dream project of the company’s founder, Dave Longaberger, who wanted his headquarters to mimic his best-selling basket.

Initially, the project’s architects thought he was speaking conceptually. But after the third failed design, Longaberger grabbed one of his baskets, slammed it on the table, and said, “Make it look exactly like this.”

And so they did, handles and all.

The exterior consists of stucco-covered framed metal set in a basket weave pattern. Two 75-ton handles heated to prevent ice from forming grace the top of the basket, and two 725-pound gold leaf Longaberger tags adorn the sides. The interior contains a 30,000-square-foot atrium and a 142-seat auditorium, where employees used to gather for movie night.

“It was a great home for us for many, many years,” says Baker, who’s worked for the company for 25 years. The final employees emptied out of the basket in July.

It also was a tourist destination. TripAdvisor, which calls the building “World’s Largest Basket,” ranks it No. 6 out of 19 things to do if you happen to be in Newark. The Dawes Arboretum is No. 1.

“It did bring people to the area when it was new,” says Jennifer McDonald, vice president of Licking County Chamber of Commerce, which includes Newark businesses. “They’d make a stop because of the size of the building and the photo opportunity.”

Unpacking the basket’s fate

But after Dave Longaberger died in 1999, tastes in home décor changed and sales slumped. The company’s revenue shrank from $1 billion in sales in 2000 to about $100 million in 2014. In fall 2014, the company was nipping away at the back taxes it owed, paying $10,000 per week for eight weeks, says Parkinson. But the payments stopped in November 2014.

Those delinquent taxes are “the scary part” for prospective buyers, says McDonald. “Heating and cooling costs must be phenomenal. Plus, it looks like a basket.” A basket in need of a paint job, according to a TripAdvisor comment posted in August.

 

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http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/longaberger-basket-building-foreclosure/?is_wp_site=1

Wondering around Harlem | Bedford NY Real Estate


The street scene in Harlem, near Lenox Avenue

Jeff Reuben/Curbed Flickr Pool

Journalists Felix Zeltner and Christina Horsten are the brains behind NYC12x12, a project in which they move to one New York City neighborhood each month, living in different areas of the city for one year. They’ll be blogging for Curbed during their journey, sharing insights and anecdotes from their travels through the five boroughs. Read on for Felix’s second dispatch, and check back for more insights from their NYC exploration.

“How do you explore a new neighborhood?” is a question we get asked often, and while it’s not alwayseasy, we have a few tried-and-true methods of finding neighborhood gems. It’s a lot of research, and after a month we have barely scratched the surface.

But we try our best, and my wife Christina is a master. Partly due to her job as a New York correspondent for a German newswire, she religiously reads everything concerning New York and rips out articles that turn into discoveries. For Harlem, she dug out a recent piece by New York magazine about African restaurants, which introduced us to Somalian and Pan-West-African kitchens.

Then there was the old New York Times piece that brought us to an apartment in Washington Heights, where the graceful Marjorie Eliot hosts jazz concerts in her living room every Sunday, free of charge. The crowd spilled out of her living room into the hallway of the building, with everybody listening silently.

We have a stack of books like The Big City and Its Little Neighborhoods, New York Originals, and the recently released Food and the City, which reveal great discoveries in every borough. To find more, we do extensive Googling of best-of lists and just recently found really good self-guided tours.

We also use apps, e.g. Google Maps, Yelp, and The Scoop, a somewhat neglected New York Times product that attempted to have staffers recommend their favorite places. (“Oh, you are the one person using it!” a NYT journalist once exclaimed when I told him that I love the app.) The restaurants are mostly too expensive for us, but the bars and cafes never fail—the Times has its own coffee critic who turns followers into coffee snobs. In Harlem, it led us to the greatness of Lenox Coffee and Double Dutch Espresso.

And then there are the people, who’ve been perhaps the most invaluable resource when wayfinding in a new neighborhood. Here’s an example: we found a printout on our doorstep just a few days after we had met our neighbors for the first time. On top there was a handwritten Post-It note. “Hi Felix and Christina,” it read. “Here’s a list of a few recommendations in Harlem. Hope you guys find a few gems on here—many I’m sure you’re already familiar with. Have fun exploring!—Neal and Daniel”

We’d met Neal and Daniel through our current subletter, Maxim, and they tipped us off to Levain Bakery, where you can buy the most delicious fresh cookies. We left a cookie at their door with a thank you note. And then this sweet couple sat down in front of their computer, compiled what they’ve learned from almost a decade of living in Harlem, and shared it with us. The two pages, held together by a paper clip, contained a list, separated into “food,” “walks,” and “oddities.” Their estimate of our knowledge was wildly exaggerated—we had never heard of most of these places.

We started with the food: Jamaican jerk chicken at the pop-up outdoor restaurant tucked in a little alley between the equally amazing Malcolm Shabazz Market and the Mist Harlem art center; pizza at Babalucci; and soul food at BLVD Bistro, all of which wowed us.

Next up are the walks: We’re excited to see the triptych by Keith Haring at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and the architectural gems along Astor Row and Strivers Row.

Another great community resource—and a place to find things to do in every new neighborhood—is the YMCA. It already feels like a companion. We signed up with the Y in Brooklyn because they offer free childcare, but by now we have seen many of their awesome facilities. At the massive Harlem Y, you find more fun in the classrooms than anywhere else—ever heard of Dancelates?

And last but not least, we walk—an actual, aware, conscious walk, along with the occasional run. A reporter from Chinese television recently interviewed us and asked if we walk around a new neighborhood in concentric circles. We don’t—yet.

From strolling through our current neighborhood near Malcolm X Blvd, we learned one thing: We’re surrounded by some of the most beautiful people in this city and probably on earth. We never felt so underdressed as during Eid, the Muslim holiday, when the area around 125th Street transformed into a West African catwalk.

And we feel humbled every day, especially on those bright early mornings, when the sidewalk in front of our house is filling with glowing sunlight and people who are timelessly, effortlessly stylish.

One Instagram follower asked us if we can post Neal and Daniel’s full list online, and we promise to ask them once they’re back from vacation. Meanwhile, we would love to hear your ideas about exploring New York City’s neighborhoods. Any books, websites, or feeds we missed out on? Any institutions or people we should know about? Drop us a line, and we’ll share it here next time around.

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http://ny.curbed.com/2016/9/28/13088950/nyc12x12-harlem-blog-exploring-nyc-neighborhoods?utm_campaign=issue-49013&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Curbed+NY

Average home price rises | Bedford Real Estate

United States House Price Index MoM Change  1991-2016 

The average prices of single-family houses with mortgages guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the United States rose 0.5 percent on the month in July 2016, following an upwardly revised 0.3 percent growth in June and beating market expectations of a 0.3 percent gain. Year-on-year, the FHFA house price index went up 5.8 percent compared to a 5.6 percent increase in June. Housing Index in the United States averaged 0.28 percent from 1991 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 1.20 percent in January of 2000 and a record low of -1.70 percent in November of 2008. Housing Index in the United States is reported by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

United States House Price Index MoM Change
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http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/housing-index

 

CoreLogic: Foreclosure inventory plummets in July | Bedford Real Estate

Foreclosure inventory and completed foreclosures decreased significantly in July from last year, according to the July 2016 National Foreclosure Report released by CoreLogic, a global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider.

Foreclosure inventory decreased 29.1% annually in July from, and completed foreclosures decreased 16.5% from 41,000 last year to 34,000. This decrease represents a drop of 71.2% from the peak of 118,009 in September 2010.

Foreclosure inventory includes the number of homes at some stage of the foreclosure process whereas completed foreclosures includes the total number of homes lost to foreclosure.

In July, the national foreclosure inventory included about 355,000 or 0.9% of total homes with a mortgage. This is compared to 501,000 homes, or 1.3%, last year. The foreclosure inventory rate was the lowest in July for any month since August 2007.

“Loan modifications, foreclosures and stronger housing and labor markets have each played a role in bringing the foreclosure rate to the lowest level in nine years,” CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said.

“The U.S. Treasury’s Making Home Affordable program has contributed to the decline through permanent modifications, forbearance and foreclosure alternatives which have assisted 2.5 million homeowners with first mortgages at risk of foreclosure since 2009,” Nothaft said.

Click to Enlarge

foreclosure

(Source: CoreLogic)

Last month, CoreLogic’s June 2016 National Foreclosure Report showed the inventorydeclined 25.9% from last year, and completed foreclosures declined 4.9%.

The number of mortgage in serious delinquency, mortgages 90 days or more past due including loans in foreclosure or real estate owned, declined 17.3% from last year to 1.1 million, or 2.9% of total loans. A decline was seen in 47 states and the District of Columbia.

A recent report from MGIC Investment Corporation, a provider of primary insurance covering approximately one million mortgages, showed a decrease of over 20% in residential mortgage delinquent inventory.

“Foreclosure rates declined year over year in all states except North Dakota, which experienced a 6% increase in its foreclosure inventory related to the drop in energy-related jobs,” CoreLogic President and CEO Anand Nallathambi said.

“Importantly, judicial states like New Jersey and New York have continued to work through their large inventory of homes in foreclosure proceedings,” Nallathambi said.

Click to Enlarge

foreclosure

(Source: CoreLogic)

A new study from Fannie Mae shows that the jobs market correlates closely to the number of homes in foreclosures.

 

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http://www.housingwire.com/articles/38018-corelogic-foreclosure-inventory-plummets-in-july?eid=311691494&bid=1526896

Mortgage rates average 3.46% | Bedford Realtor

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates moving slightly higher for the week. Regardless, mortgage rates remain near their all-time record lows.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.46 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending September 1, 2016, up from last week when it averaged 3.43 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.89%.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.77 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.74 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.09 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.83 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.75 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.90 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quote
Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“The 10-year Treasury yield inched up in response to Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech last Friday then settled near last week’s average. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 3 basis points to 3.46 percent. Mortgage rates have hovered between 3.41 and 3.48 percent for the past ten weeks.”

Existing homes sales fall | Bedford Real Estate

Existing home sales, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), decreased 3.2% in July and were down 1.6% from the same month a year ago, the first year-over-year decline since November 2015. Total existing home sales in July decreased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.39 million units combined for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, down from 5.57 million units in June.

Existing Home Sales July 2016

July existing sales increased in the West by 2.5%, reflecting the June increase in the Pending Home Sales Index for that region. July existing sales fell from the previous month by 1.8% in the South, 5.2% in the Midwest and 13.2% in the Northeast. Year-over-year, the Midwest remained unchanged, while the West declined a slightly. The South and Northeast declined by 1.8% and 5.7% year-over-year.

Total housing inventory increased by 0.9% in July, but remains 5.8% lower than its level a year ago. At the current sales rate, the July unsold inventory represents a 4.7-month supply, compared to a 4.5-month supply in June.

The July all-cash sales share was 21%, the lowest share since November 2009. Individual investors purchased an 11% share in July, unchanged from June, and down from 13% a year ago. The first-time home buyer share was 32% in July, down from 33% in June.

The July median sales price of $244,100 was 5.3% above the same month a year ago, and represents the 53rd consecutive month of year-over-year increases. The median condominium/co-op price of $228,400 in July was up 4.1% from the same month a year ago.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/08/existing-sales-stumble/

California home sales tumble | Bedford Real Estate

Just one month after posting a nearly four-year high, home sales in California took a step backwards in the month of July, with year-to-date sales falling from previous year for first time in 18 months, according to a new report from the California Association of Realtors.

The CAR report for June showed that closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 450,960 units in June, the highest level in almost four years.

But July’s lackluster sales data undid much of June’s growth, according to the latest CAR report.

CAR’s newest report showed that home sales in California stumbled in July thanks to low inventories and “eroding” affordability.

According to CAR’s report, closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 415,840 units in July, which is down 4.1% from the revised 433,600 level in June and down 5.1% compared with home sales in July 2015 of a revised 438,230.

While home sales remained above the 400,000 pace for the fourth straight month, sales also declined year-over-year for the fifth consecutive month, CAR’s report showed.

“Despite the tight housing supply conditions that have persisted over the past few years, home sales have stayed relatively solid,” CAR President Pat Zicarelli said.

“Even with a shortage of homes on the market, low rates and strong demand have been the norm,” Zicarelli continued. “Some regions, such as the Bay Area, are seeing an uptick in inventory as high prices are motivating sellers to list their properties for sale. While this could ease the inventory somewhat, supply remains tight, and low affordability is expected to be an issue in the short term.”

Additionally, CAR’s report also showed that the statewide median price remained above the $500,000 mark for the fourth straight month, but noted that there are signs of an expected slowing in price growth.

CAR’s report showed that the median price of an existing, single-family detached California home fell by 1.8% in July to $509,830 from $519,410 in June.

Additionally, July’s median price increased 3.9% from the revised $490,780 recorded during the same time period last year.

According to CAR’s report, more homes being sold at the high end of the market (over $1 million) and slightly fewer sales at the lower end (under $300,000) contributed to the year-over-year gain in the median price.

“California’s median home price rose again in July from last year, but the pace of increase has clearly slowed down in recent months,” said CAR Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “While fundamentals such as increasing household formation and strong job creation continue to fuel housing demand and support price growth, low housing affordability and reduced buying power of home buyers has put a cap on how fast the statewide median price can grow.”

 

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http://www.housingwire.com/articles/37800

Over 1/3 of households are now age 55+ in every state | Bedford Real Estate

Households age 55 or older form an important part of the housing market. They define a
distinct class of housing, as 55 is the youngest age cutoff mentioned in any of the criteria
under which it’s possible legally to build age-restricted housing for older persons.
This article looks at how many households headed by someone age 55+ there are in the
U.S., and where they’re located. The article is based on new American Community Survey
data released by the U.S. Census Bureau at the end of 2015. The data show that, in the
U.S. as a whole, about 42 percent of all households are headed by someone age 55+.
Other highlights include:
 In every state, the 55+ category accounts for over 34 percent of all households.
 In every county, 55+ category accounts for over 20 percent of all households.
 In 99 percent of the counties, 55+ accounts for over 30 percent.
 At the high end, 112 counties have a 55+ household share of over 60 percent.
 In the U.S. there are 13 “top 55+” counties, where 55+ not only accounts for over
60 percent of all households, but where there are more than 20,000 55+ households
in total. Ten of these are in Florida, two in Arizona, and one in Massachusetts.

Background
The American Community Survey (ACS) has taken the place of the decennial Census long
form questionnaire that, up until 2000, collected basic data on housing, income and other
characteristics of the U.S. population. The ACS was first fully implemented in 2005 and
therefore just passed its 10th birthday. Strengths of the ACS include its large budget (over
$200 million a year) with a carefully designed and correspondingly large sample size (over

3.5 million homes a year) that covers the entire country in a consistent way and allows for
tabulations at a detailed level of geography.
The main advantage of the ACS over the decennial Census is that new data become
available once a year instead of once a decade. The trade-off is that the ACS needs to
accumulate data over a 5-year period in order to produce a sample roughly equivalent to
that of the decennial Census. If you want to look at smaller geographic areas, like all
counties in the country, you need to use these “5-year Estimates”.
Because this article includes statistics for all counties in the country, it uses the 5-year ACS
estimates from data collected over the 2006-2010 period that were released by the Census
Bureau on December 3.
The article looks at 5-year ACS estimates of households by age, with an emphasis on
households headed by someone age 55 or older. As mentioned in the introduction, 55 is a
natural cut-off for studying housing markets due to the federal law that governs agerestricted
housing. Amendments to the 1968 Fair Housing Act passed in 1988 and 1995 now
allow housing to be age restricted under one of three conditions. The condition that’s easiest
to use in a typical single-family community is that it demonstrates the intent to house
people age 55 or older, and has at least one person age 55+ in 80 percent of its occupied
units, and complies with HUD guidelines for verifying the age of its occupants.1 Even if not
explicitly age-restricted, a community may include amenities that the developer suspects
will appeal to 55+ buyers, but it is not legal to target or market the homes exclusively to
households without children unless the community is age-restricted in accord with the
amended Fair Housing Act.
55+ Households by State
Overall, the 2006-2010 ACS estimates show a little over 48 million households headed by
someone age 55+ in the U.S., accounting for roughly 42 percent of all U.S. households.
Although the percentage is different in different states, the variation is relatively modest.
Of the 51 states (including the District of Columbia), 35 are clustered in in a very narrow
band with a 55+ share of all households between 40 and 45 percent, and no state has a
55+ share under 30 percent or over 50 percent (Figure 1).

At the top end of the scale, the 55+ share of all households is over 45 percent in seven
states: West Virginia (48.3), Florida (47.7), Maine (47.1), Hawaii (46.2), Vermont (46.1),
Montana (46.0) and Pennsylvania (45.7). This list includes a couple of large states, like
Florida and Pennsylvania, each of which has population well over 10 million, as well as
couple that are relatively fast growing. According to the Census Bureau’s Population
Estimates,2 Florida has been the sixth fastest growing state in the country (with a
population that increased by 5.8 percent from 2010 to 2014), and Hawaii is twelfth fastest
(population increase of 4.4 percent).
At the other end of the scale, only in Utah and the District of Columbia are the 55+
household shares under 35 percent—and only slightly under. Households headed by
someone age 55 or older account 34.3 percent of all households in the District, and 34.8
percent of all households in Utah.
Table 1, available at the end of the article, shows the number of 55+ households in each state,
along with the 55+ category as a share of all households. As a group, 55+ households have a tendency to be owners rather than renters.
The ACS data in Table 1 can be used to show that over 70 percent of 55+ households own
their own homes in every state (excluding the District of Columbia).
55+ Households by County
The 5-year ACS release contains estimates of households by age for every county in the
country. Compared to states, counties are considerably smaller and more variable. Even so,
in every one of the 3,142 counties (including county equivalents like the parishes in
Louisiana, independent cities in Virginia and Census designated Areas in Alaska) in the U.S.,
55+ accounts for over 20 percent of all households. In fact, for 3,114 of the 3,142 (more
than 99 percent of them), 55+ accounts for more than 30 percent of all households. Even
the “youngest” state of Utah has a county (Daggett) where nearly three-fourths of the
households are 55+.

Among the 3,142 county and county equivalents, the “oldest” on a percentage basis is
Sumter County in Florida, where 84.8 percent of the households are 55+. Sumter is a
relatively large county (with over 45,000 households) that contains most of The Villages,
which is essentially an entire city of age-restricted housing. Some of the counties with high
particularly 55+ shares are much smaller. Daggett County in Utah, for instance, is the third
oldest county in the country, with 74.6 percent of its households age 55+, but there are
fewer than 300 households total in the entire country. Because of their small populations,
some of these counties will be of limited interest to developers.

 

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