Headlines – Week of March 28, 2010

April 2, 2010

Sunbelt Growth Slows Down (from the Associated Press)

The U.S. Census recently released figures indicate that Baby Boomers are staying put in traditional big cities to hold onto jobs, creating slowdowns in population growth at once-popular retirement destinations widely found in the South and West.

In the next few years, the number of older workers will increase by 11.9 million, making up nearly 1 in 4 workers by 2016 as more seniors hold onto jobs due partly to shriveled home values and decreased stock portfolios.

The census shows that the growth of traditional retirement destinations slipped from 3.1% between 2000 and 2007 to 1.7% between 2007 and 2009, even though significant numbers of baby boomers passed age 60 during those years.

The report noted that 126 of the 440 retirement counties surveyed lost population during the recession, many of them in Sunbelt areas such as Florida, Arizona, New Mexico and California. In Florida, 33 of its 43 retirement counties grew more slowly, while seven others, led by Daytona Beach in Volusia County, lost population.

The one exception in the survey was Texas, a Sunbelt state that saw substantial gains due to a stronger labor market and immigrant growth. For the second year in a row, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston ranked first and second among metros with the most numerical gains, each adding more than 140,000 people.

Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, Atlanta, and Raleigh, N.C., all lost population in 2009, while New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and Chicago gained population. Cleveland and Philadelphia decreased in population.

Full Article

Vacation-Home Sales Increased in 2009 (from NAR)

According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), vacation-home sales recovered in 2009 while investment sales fell sharply.

NAR’s 2010 “Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey,” covering existing- and new-home transactions in 2009, shows vacation-home sales rose 7.9% to 553,000 last year from 513,000 in 2008, while investment-home sales fell 15.9%to 940,000 in 2009 from 1.12 million in 2008. Primary residence sales rose 7.1 percent to 4.04 million in 2009 from 3.77 million in 2008.

The typical vacation-home buyer is making a lifestyle choice, with nine out of 10 saying they intend to use the property for vacations or as a family retreat. Investment buyers primarily seek rental income, with six in 10 planning to rent to others, although one in five wants a family member, friend, or relative to use the home.

Half of vacation homes purchased last year were in the South, 21 percent in the West, 17 percent in the Midwest and 12 percent in the Northeast. Seven out of 10 were detached single-family homes.

Here is a breakdown of statistics from the survey:

Vacation-Home Buyers

  • Only one in four vacation-home buyers plan to rent their properties to others.
  • 26% of vacation-home buyers intend to use the property as a primary residence in the future.
  • The vacation-home market share rose a percentage point to 10%.
  • The median transaction price of a vacation home was $169,000 in 2009, compared with $150,000 in 2008.
  • Three out of 10 vacation-home buyers in 2009 paid cash for their properties
  • The typical vacation-home buyer in 2009 was 46 years old, had a median household income of $87,500, and purchased a property that was a median distance of 348 miles from their primary residence

Investment-Home Buyers

  • One in five investment buyers plan to use their homes for vacations or as a family retreat.
  • 8% of investment buyers intend to use the property as a primary residence in the future.
  • The market share of homes purchased for investment was 17% in 2009, down from 21% in 2008.
  • The total share of second homes declined from 30% of sales in 2008 to 27% in 2009.
  • The median investment property sold for $105,000 last year, down 2.8% from $108,000 in 2008.
  • Half of investment buyers paid cash.
  • Investment-home buyers last year had a median age of 45, earned $87,200, and bought a home that was relatively close to their primary residence – a median distance of 24 miles.
  • Roughly one in four investment buyers purchased more than one property in 2009.

Full Article

Markets: 10 Fastest-Growing Small Towns in U.S. (from Forbes.com)

According to a recent article at Forbes.com, towns all over the country grew during this decade as retirees and others sought attractive and uncrowded places to live and vacation.

Early U.S. Census Bureau projections identify these towns as America’s fastest growing between 2000 and 2010. Some of them are distant suburbs of large cities, but others are in sparsely populated rural areas where new residents enjoy pastoral beauty.

To derive the information, Forbes received information from the U.S. Census Bureau which broke down population growth by its source: net domestic migration, net immigration and new births. Forbes then added the number of newcomers minus the number of people moving out between 2000 and 2008.

Retiring baby boomers, snowbirds and young professionals, drawn by the warm climes and once-plentiful jobs, flocked to Florida towns over the past decade. Sumter County, which includes the municipality of Wildwood and the unincorporated community The Villages, showed new migrants as 34% of the population. Lake County, an exurb of Orlando comprising a handful of small communities, has a 32% migrant population; Southeastern St. John’s County, where vacation destination St. Augustine and the town of Hastings are located, has 32% in-migration.  Flagler County, the No. 1 county on the list had almost half of current population come from newcomers.

Economists expect growth to slow in the next decade as people stay closer to jobs and because they can’t sell their homes. Meanwhile, here are the top 10 rural and suburban counties that enjoyed the most growth in the last decade:

1. Flagler County, Fla.
2. Kendall County, Ill.
3. Rockwall County, Texas
4. Pinal County, Ariz.
5. Sumter County, Fla.
6. Forest County, Pa.
7. Forsyth County, Ga.
8. St. John’s County, Fla.
9. Lake County, Fla.
10. Lyon County, Nev.

Full Article

Posted by Scott R. Lodde

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