Figuring out what’s current and worth implementing when we renovate is an important part of our jobs. We read magazines, look at houses (Carol even gets to look at NICE houses as part of her retail real estate business), and watch the all-important television shows (OK, that’s just for fun).
There’s more to it than just what paint colors to choose and what color fixtures to put in the bathrooms, though. We also are keeping a close eye on what kind of properties people want now, and what they’ll want in the future. Here are a couple of learnings that we are keeping in mind right now as we try to not blindly follow trends just to be trendy, but to look for trends that will lead to good investments of our time and money.
Need More Starter Homes
Our reading confirms what we have observed where we live: there are not enough units of housing available for people just starting out, and mid-range housing is disappearing as well. Traditional single-family housing is especially hard to find for folks who aren’t lucky enough to have inherited money or have one of those few well-paying starter jobs. That’s led to a trend for different types of housing. Curbed sums it up:
Whether it’s urban row houses, transit-oriented development, or a new type of tract housing, practical and affordable mid-market homes, as well as starter homes and affordable rental units for young adults, remain potential goldmines for developers who figure out the right balance of price, land costs, location, and amenities.
We are intrigued by the idea of creating new types of housing, and hope to figure out some in our Cameron property, which has some emtpy lots that could be turned into affordable housing of some kind, perhaps one of those with retail on the first floor and housing above, like I saw in Bryan last year.
Buildings for the Elderly
On the other end of the age spectrum, we have the large number of people growing older right now and needing affordable, safe housing. Many elders want to “age in place,” which means there will be a growing need for homes that are remodeled to be easier for people with mobility issues, have bathroom renovations like bars and roll-in showers, and provide space for live-in caregivers, etc. Investors in this market are looking for houses on a single level that can easily be converted to have wider halls and doors for wheelchair access. According to Lee, there are lots of them.
A growing need in commercial buildings is for small, home-like facilities that are patient centered, yet affordable for elderly people without millions in savings. Those of us interested in commercial development or investing in commercial properties would be wise to look here. These properties will be in demand only more and more.
New Loan Types
I recently stumbled across an enlightening article in Builder Magazine, which is for people who develop real estate. The article (read it for yourself for details) showcased new ways for funding properties. As traditional loans dry upand banks become more cautious, new sources for equity and loans are filling the void. The article predicts there will be more innovation in the near future.
All of us who are looking for funding for our projects need to keep our eyes and ears open, because programs and policies are popping up everywhere. Check with the city where you live to see if there are any new development incentives, types of loans from new sources, and such. We’re looking into one we hope to share more about soon.
And on that note, I’ll cut this short, but I have more thoughts a later post!