Most Americans Believe They Are Adept at Home Repairs — Particularly Millennials

  • Millennials are more likely than other generations to consider themselves handy around the house.
  • Millennials are also more likely to undertake repairs themselves than baby boomers or Gen Xers.
  • Nearly one in five millennials cannot discern a flat-head screwdriver from a Philips-head screwdriver.

Millennials are more likely than other generations to describe themselves as handy around the house, although they actually have the least experience at do-it-yourself projects.

That’s according to survey results from, which assesses the household handiness of baby boomers, Gen Xers, and millennials. More than 69 percent of the latter group describe themselves as handy, compared with about 61 percent of Gen Xers and baby boomers. Male millennials were even more likely to tout their home-maintenance skills, with nearly 79 percent calling themselves handy.

Millennials are more likely than older generations to make repairs themselves, cited by 55 percent of respondents in that age group. Millennials are also three times less likely to call a handyman than baby boomers, perhaps deterred by costs.

But when it comes to actual hands-on experience, millennials have less experience than older generations in 13 of 21 home-repair tasks that tracked. Projects that millennials have more experience in tend to involve technology; 86 percent have set up a Wi-Fi router, and 60 percent have installed a television.

Millennials also have less knowledge of common household repair tools than baby boomers of Gen Xers. Nearly 20 percent of millennials did not know the difference between a flat-head screwdriver and a Philips-head screwdriver. They were also less able than older generations to identify Allen wrenches, air compressors, hacksaws, and C-clamps.

Even if they may not have as much repair and remodeling know-how as older generations, millennial homeowners are pumping a significant amount of money into the home-improvement industry, an average of $26,000 per year.

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Shared with permission from the Pacific Union Blog

Real Estate Roundup: California Housing Markets Posted the Nation’s Biggest Equity Gains in 2017

Here’s a look at recent news of interest to homebuyers, home sellers, and the home-curious.

The U.S. housing market saw tappable equity increase by the largest dollar amount on record last year, with San Francisco and Los Angeles leading the country for gains.

That’s according to Black Knight’s latest Mortgage Monitor, which says that the U.S. housing market gained $735 billion in tappable equity in 2017. Nationwide tappable home equity now stands at $5.4 trillion, a new all-time high and 10 percent above the former peak recorded in 2005.

“As home prices continued their upward trajectory at the national level, the amount of tappable equity available to homeowners with mortgages continued to rise as well,” Black Knight Data & Analytics Executive Vice President Ben Graboske said. “Still, Americans seem more reserved in tapping their equity than in years past.”

California holds nearly 40 percent of the nation’s tappable equity, about seven times as much as the next closest state. In 2017, San Francisco and Los Angeles each saw tappable equity increase by $80 billion, respective gains of 20 percent and 12 percent and the most in the U.S.

America’s housing market is more competitive than ever this spring, with prices again reaching a new high and no end in sight to tight supply conditions.

As reports, the median list price for a U.S. home was $280,000 in March, up 8 percent year over year and surpassing the previous high observed in July 2017. Company Director of Economic Research Javier Vivas predicts that if appreciation continues at its current pace, half of the homes on the market will be priced at more than $300,000 by this summer.

Conditions remain particularly difficult for first-time buyers, as homes priced at less than $200,000 are rare. If listing-price trends persists, one in 12 homes on the market this summer will be priced above $1 million.

The aforementioned consistent home price appreciation and shortage of homes for sale dictate that a significant number of buyers realize that they may need to exceed their initial budgets to close a purchase.

A study by found that one-third of Americans said that they would bust their budgets to purchase a home, by an average of $16,510. Millennials were the most willing to exceed their homebuying budgets (40 percent) by the largest amount of money ($24,545), followed by 34 percent of Gen Xers, who said they would overspend by $13,996.

The report also highlights the importance of retaining the services of a knowledgable real estate professional in such a competitive market. More than 80 percent of recent homebuyers worked with a real estate professional, with millennials being more likely that other generations to need advice and guidance about the homebuying process.

While mortgage rates remain low by historical standards, most economists predict that they will steadily climb this year, and millennials are particularly aware of the impact.

The latest numbers from Freddie Mac put the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 4.40 percent for the week ended April 5, down from the previous week but up from one year earlier. Fifteen-year, fixed-rate mortgages mirrored that trend, ending the week at 3.87 percent.

It’s clear that Americans realize how higher mortgage rates will affect their abilities to purchase a home. Citing survey results from Toluna Research, reports that 79 percent of active homebuyers say that rising interest rates will impact their search. For millennials, that number is even higher: 92 percent.

(Photo: iStock/LUNAMARINA)

Bay Area In-Migrants Are Younger and Earn More Than Out-Migrants

  • Between 2005 and 2016, people moving to the Bay Area earned almost $13,000 more per year than those leaving.
  • Bay Area in-migrants are about two years younger than out-migrants, as many Americans find the region a difficult place in which to start a family.
  • Roughly 10 percent more people migrating to the Bay Area had four-year college degrees or higher than those moving away.

Young couple in moving truckOver the past decade, expensive coastal metropolitan areas with thriving economies and limited housing stock have attracted younger, more educated, and higher-paid Americans, pushing other residents out and keeping home prices elevated.

That’s according to a new analysis by BuildZoom Chief Economist Issi Romem, which examines a trend he calls “positive income sorting.” This pattern indicates that income differences between people moving into pricey U.S. coastal cities and those moving away is more pronounced than in other areas of the country.

As the nation’s most expensive place to call home, Romem says that the Bay Area serves as an extreme example of positive income sorting. Between 2005 and 2016, households moving to the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland metro area earned median annual incomes of $70,015, which is $12,640 more than those who left the region. Other high-priced coastal metro areas such as Los Angeles and New York display similar trends.

People migrating to the Bay Area are also slightly younger than those who are moving away. During the aforementioned 12-year period, those moving to the region had an average age of 38.6, compared with out-migrants, who were almost 41 years old.

Similarly, Americans who are moving to the Bay Area to take advantage of the region’s booming economy are more likely to be educated than those who can no longer afford to live here. Sixty-percent of in-migrants who were head of a household had a four-year college degree or higher, while slightly less than half of those leaving had the same.

Romem says that positive-income-sorting trends suggest that Americans move to high-priced coastal cities when they are young, then flee to less expensive areas of the country once they are ready to start families. He told The Mercury News that the Bay Area’s extreme cost of living makes it “almost impossible for many families to put down roots.”

Positive income sorting helps sustain home price growth in coastal job centers, but it could also jeopardize those cities’ economies by forcing employers to keep only the most productive positions that pay well enough to compensate for the high cost of living. The answer, Romem says, is of course to build more housing in these areas, a process that can unfortunately can be quite difficult in California according to recent research from John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

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Most Homeowners Are Planning a Remodeling Project in 2018

  • Fifty-eight percent of homeowners will funnel money into a home-improvement project this year, according to a recent poll.
  • For the fifth straight year, outdoor renovations are the most popular with homeowners in 2018.
  • Twice as many homeowners are improving their properties so that they can age in place than those who are renovating in advance of a sale.

Nearly six in 10 U.S. homeowners are planning to spend money improving their properties this year, and an even larger amount will do at least some of the work themselves.

LightStream’s 2018 Home Improvement Survey found that 58 percent of homeowners will spend some amount of money to better their properties this year. Almost half are expecting to spend $5,000 or more on renovations, an all-time survey high, while the number of owners who will shell out $35,000 or more doubled from last year.

For the first time ever, LightStream asked respondents about “sweat equity,” meaning adding value to one’s home by making improvements via personal physical work. Nearly two-thirds of owners planning a renovation will do some of the work themselves, and 35 percent will complete the entire job without professional assistance.

LightStream says that outdoor renovation projects — such as decks, patios, and landscaping — are the most popular for the fifth straight year, cited by 43 percent of homeowners. A bathroom remodel was the second most common renovation (31 percent), followed by general repairs (28 percent) and kitchen overhauls (26 percent).

Here in the Bay Area, homeowners thinking of remodeling their kitchens or bathrooms should be prepared to dig deep. Two separate Houzz studies published within the past six months found that San Francisco homeowners can expect to incur the largest bills in the nation to complete bathroom and kitchen remodels.

Speaking of funding home-renovation projects, LightStream found that 62 percent of respondents plan to use their savings accounts to improve their homes. Thirty percent will use credit cards, 13 percent will tap into their home’s equity, and 10 percent will take out a loan.

One final finding from the survey: The desire to remodel a home is not necessarily driven by plans to put it on the market. Just 7 percent of those polled are renovating because of an upcoming sale, while twice that amount — across all age groups — are bettering their home so that they can age in place.

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Real Estate Roundup: San Francisco Is Still the Hottest U.S. Housing Market This Spring

Here’s a look at recent news of interest to homebuyers, home sellers, and the home-curious.

More buyers than ever are eyeing an increasingly smaller pool of homes on the market, with San Francisco retaining its title as the most sought-after market in the country in March.

That’s according to’s latest monthly list of America’s hottest housing markets, as judged by the fastest pace of sales and the most listing views on its website. Nationwide, the median list price climbed to $280,000 in March, the highest since the company began tracking that data in 2012 and up 8 percent year over year. Although 480,000 new homes hit the market from February to March, inventory is still down 8 percent year over year.

Nowhere is competition for homes fiercer than in San Francisco, which ranks as the hottest U.S. real estate market for the third straight month. Vallejo moved up one spot from February to No. 2, while San Jose held steady in the No. 4 position. In a related report published at the end of last year, named those Bay Area housing markets the nation’s three hottest for 2017.

In typical fashion, California cities account for more than half of the cities on March’s hot list. The others: Santa Cruz (No. 6), Stockton (No. 8), Sacramento (No. 10), Chico (No. 12), San Diego (No. 14), Modesto (No. 15), Fresno (No. 17), and Santa Rosa (No. 19).

The Golden State’s housing inventory woes make headlines on a near daily basis, but there was a piece of good news on the subject last week.

That would be the Property Tax Fairness Initiative, an initiative sponsored by the California Association of Realtors that would allow homeowners 55 and older to sell their current homes without facing higher property taxes. As reports, this could incentivize older Californians to put their homes on the market, adding much needed supply for other buyers.

“We have hundreds of thousands of senior homeowners who have lived in their homes for many, many years who have enjoyed a lower tax base,” CAR President Steve While told “But at a time when they need to downsize, retire, or move closer to their families, they’re essentially trapped in their homes.”

Californians will vote on the initiative on Nov. 6.

A recent blog post from American Enterprise Institute put the amount of people leaving the Bay Area at a 10-year high, and now another study sheds light on the number of residents who are fleeing the region.

ATTOM Data Solutions’ Q1 2018 U.S. Home Affordability Report says that eight of America’s 10 most expensive counties for homebuyers saw declines in net migration in 2017, meaning that more people left than arrived. Santa Clara County had the second highest net-migration decrease in the U.S., losing 5,559 residents. San Mateo, Marin, and Napa counties also ranked among those with the most significant net-migration declines last year.

San Francisco and Alameda counties bucked that trend, adding a respective 5,555 and 1,286 residents. ATTOM Data Solutions attributes the gains in those two counties to international immigration outweighing domestic migration.

Anyone who is currently moving to the Bay Area instead of away from it will face higher rents than they would have last spring.

Zumper’s latest monthly rent report puts the median cost of a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco at $3,400 in March, maintaining the city’s status as the nation’s priciest for tenants. While one-bedroom rent prices in San Francisco were flat from February, they were up by 2.4 percent from March 2017.

As the nation’s third most expensive rental market, tenants in San Jose can expect to pay a median $2,470 for a one-bedroom unit, an annual increase of 9.3 percent. In No. 6 Oakland, one-bedroom apartments go for $2,130, up 2.9 percent year over year.

(Photo: iStock/Spondylolithesis)

California Dominates List of 2018’s Best Housing Markets for Sellers

  • Sixty-eight percent of the best U.S. places to sell a home are in California according to a new report from SmartAsset.
  • Home values in Alameda County’s Hayward grew by 20.3 percent between 2012 and 2016, the most of any city included on a list.
  • Homes in San Jose currently sell in less than a week, making it the fastest-paced U.S. market.
Fremont, California

An aerial view of Fremont, which ranks among the 10 best markets for home sellers in 2018.

Demand for California homes remains high as the traditionally busy spring season begins, with more than two-thirds of 2018’s top markets for sellers located in the state.

An annual analysis from SmartAsset ranks the 25 best U.S. cities in which to sell a home on a 100-point scale. Factors used to determine a housing market’s seller-friendliness include change in home value from 2012 to 2016, average days on market, percentage of homes sold for a loss, and average closing costs in 2017.

Golden State cities account for 17 of the 25 best sellers’ markets this spring. That’s a notable jump from SmartAsset’s 2017 list of top places to sell a home, when just four California cities were included.

The Bay Area’s top-ranked representative is No. 5 Hayward, which scores a 95.49. Home prices in the Alameda County community have appreciated by 20.3 percent in the aforementioned five-year period, the most of any city on the list.

With a 91.88, Fremont is the other Bay Area city to crack the top 10, tied at No. 8. Homes there are selling in an average of 12 days, making it the list’s second fastest-paced market. Along with Hayward, Fremont has the highest average closing costs, at $11,407.

Homes are flying off the market in No. 13 San Jose, where the average property sells in just five days, faster than any other city in the analysis. Between 2012 and 2016, San Jose’s median home value increased by 14.4 percent, and since then, appreciation in the area has become even more pronounced. According to the latest home sales report from the California Association of Realtors, the median sales price for a single-family home in Santa Clara County was $1,383,500 in February, a year-over-year gain of 25.8 percent and a new record high.

Tied at No. 23 with San Bernardino County’s Rancho Cucamonga, Santa Rosa is the Bay Area’s final representative, where homes find a buyer in an average of 16 days. The other California cities that rank as the best for sellers: Moreno Valley (No. 2), Elk Grove (No. 3), Fontana (No. 6), Ontario (No. 8), Pomona (No. 10), Chula Vista (No. 11), Palmdale (No. 12), Riverside (No. 15), Corona (No. 18), Escondido (No. 21), Oceanside (No. 22), and Santa Ana (No. 25).

(Photo: iStock/honestmike)

Shared with permission from the Pacific Union Blog