Real Estate News

June Newsletter

June – Real Estate Newsletter

“As long as the economy ‘keeps growing,’ that’s going to give a push to the housing market,”

  • Anil Puri, director, Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting, Cal State Fullerton.

TOP STORY:

The Latest – Home Decor Trends

Welcome to your newly updated home, circa June 2018. Rich textures, creature comfort, and a feeling for natural materials, especially indoor plants, are among the current themes in home decor. Colors of the present moment are moody shades like ultra-violet, blues, dark grays, “flat black” and metallics. Dramatic contrasts, such as the meeting of black walls and white walls is a hit this year.

Overall, the feeling is quiet and contemplative, even a little subdued compared to earlier years, as if home is a protection from the roughness of the world. Low- impact softness and sophistication, including dark colors and rich textures, are in.

The “overarching themes” this year, according to the Los Angeles Times are “maximalism, flexibility, self-care, 1970s and ‘80s redux and educated consumerism.” These designs ideas will “shape our homes and influence our daily lives in the months to come.”

Keen Antennae for What’s Current

The hard work and financial investment may be most important to people whose homes are part of their public, professional personas. These hip, up-to- date people use their homes as places to meet visitors, entertain clients, host big parties and celebrations.

For some power players, newly re-painted and re-decorated homes send the message that the owners are tasteful, well-informed and highly conscious of their presentation – all positive messages in the world of entrepreneurship, marketing, and consulting.

Keeping your home “in the know” requires constant work, of course. As hotel or restaurant operators can tell you, interiors need to be “freshened” every five or six years. Time and fashion both change quickly.

The wise homeowner does not have to break the proverbial bank to update her home, however. In fact, the discriminating decorator can achieve a lot of “with- it-ness” by the choice of one or two well- chosen pieces of furniture, or perhaps just by painting a single wall in a trendy accent color like deep blue, pink or flat black.

Blue, Gray, Violet & Black

Colors are possibly the fastest changing elements in interior style. The hottest color this year is notably cool: It’s Ultraviolet, according to Italian architect Zahira Cury. “The color… is often associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, and power.” The color is best used as “an accent wall or blended… into furniture, doors or pillows,” she writes in Dsigners.net, an interior-design website.

After Ultra-Violet, the next biggest color is Flat Black, along with an assortment of dark greys. For homeowners weary of off-white, light gray and other “blah” neutral colors, “black is the new gray,” says one color expert.

Black works equally well in the living room and the kitchen. Consider re-up- holstering your Italian or classic Modernist furniture in the somber shade. Another dark option are marble countertops and other fixtures in black, according to Alexandra Wood, director of style for Modsy, an online design app.

High Contrast Equals Drama

One “truly timeless design trend” is the eye-catching juxtaposition of black and white decor. “The visual contrast of black and white will provide a sense of balance and boldness to your home’s space,” says Huffpost.com.

The kitchen is good place for a high-contrast white-and-black scheme. In galley- style kitchens, one powerful effect can be achieved by lining up black built-in appliances and stove top against a black wall. That dark wall faces an all-white counter top attached to a white wall, with light gray floor and ceiling. The result is visually arresting, to put it mildly.

Mixing Metallic Colors in the Kitchen

Metallic colors with surfaces resembling silver, gold, brass, copper and bronze are big across the design spectrum this year. These shiny tones work particularly well as accents on both furniture and picture frames.

Mixing fixtures and other objects with different metal finishes is cool in 2018, especially in kitchens, according to Houzz.com, a home-design website. “Mixing metal finishes is directional for the year ahead, especially in the kitchen,” says Huffpost.com.

“Warm-toned fixtures live harmoniously with stainless appliances.”

Pale and powdery, Millennial Pink fits in well with the moody color palette of 2018. “A massive hit in 2017, this trendy hue is getting a lot of attention,” says the LA Times. “We’ve already seen this pink shade make its way into home decor and fashion, but for 2018 get prepared to incorporate this hue in new creative and unique ways, as an easy way to update any space.”

Maximalism and Texture

Obviously, colors don’t exist by themselves. In addition to painted walls – furniture, artwork, pillow and other décor – are all good places for color accents.

Overall, designers are currently thinking in terms of combining as many textures and patterns as taste allows. This tendency is called maximalism.

In one designer’s interpretation, maximalism means “texture, color, pattern, embel­lishment, comfort and eclectic style.” Another designer attributes the new-found taste for maximalism to the expression of a search for a feeling of security and comfort in a time of uncertainty and stress.

“The world is a very scary place right now,” she says. “I think people want to wrap themselves up in a blanket and feel safe.”

Textures Rich and Rough

The maximalist design approach invites both designers and home owners to be unafraid of overlaying one rich texture on top of another. “Velvet, floral patterns and textures in jewel colors are so in this season!” according to Huffpost.com.

Velvet, in fact, is forecast as the “fabric of choice for 2018,” according to Modsy.

“We’re seeing a need for really plush fabrics,” says one designer, “a need for comfort and things to be very tactile. We see velvet as being a key fabric across all interiors in the home.”

Notes of roughness and irregularity fit with the maximalist theme. Artwork using seed pods, dried bones and sea shells all add to the textural effect.

While current designers are introducing these rough materials in the name of maximalism, similar elements have been part of traditional Japanese design for centuries. The design philosophy of “Wa-bi-Sabi” is “a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection,” according to Dsigners.net.

WHAT’S THE COST TO LIVE IN YOUR CITY?

The cost of raising a family looks very different depending on where you are. It will cost you about $58,906 a year to raise a four-person family in Brownsville, Texas, for example, but if you move to San Francisco, California, that expense more than doubles, to $148,439. That’s according to the Economic Policy Institute’s newly up­dated family budget calculator. The calculator shows the income a family needs in order to attain a modest yet adequate standard of living across the U.S. In other words, it measures “what families need to get by,” says EPI Senior Economist Elise Gould. -CNBC

Design Philosophy of Wabi-Sabi

Characteristics of “the wabi-sabi aesthetic include: asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.”

Naturally weathered materials like driftwood can all add to the Wabi-Sabi mood. So can old farm furniture and saw horses that have been left out in the rain for a while.

Roughly textured walls, such as unfinished, sand-blasted brick walls or concrete walls with several layers of peeling paint and wallpaper, are another hip way of achieving the Wabi-Sabi feeling.

The rage for rustic includes nostalgic touches of the old-fashioned farmhouse, or what Sheila Schmitz, editor at Houzz.com, calls “refined farmhouse style.” Those elements may include wood details painted in white and gold, vintage lighting, trough-style and country-style cabinetry, such as those in the timeless Shaker style.

Not Your Grandma’s Plant Stand

Although plants never completely went out of style, their value in interior design has grown in 2018.Thinkof many different kinds of plants clustered together. Also consider the possibility of letting the plants grow out and even sprawl a bit more than in years past.

MORE ALL-CASH SALES, FEWER FORECLOSURES

In a sign of a stronger economy, more buyers are opting to pay all cash for their residential real estate. These sales made up 29% of single-family home & condo sales in 2017. That’s up from 28.7% in 2017. The metros with the most all-cash sales were Mobile, AL, at 69.8%; Binghamton, NY, at 60.9%; Macon, GA, at 57.7%; and Columbus, GA, at 56.2%. Meanwhile, distressed sales (think short sales, bank- owned sales, and foreclosure auction sales) fell to a 10-year low, to make up only about 14% of all single-family home & condo sales. That’s 15.5% less than a year earlier. -Realtor.com

“Most popular,” designer Alessandra Wood tells the LA Times, “are colorful, hard-to- kill plants with ornately patterned leaves.” Planters and stands are also enjoying a creative revival.

“It’s not just about the plant, but the vessel,” she adds. “It’s not your grandma’s plant stand.”

70s and 80s Retro

As the French say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. People old enough to remember the 1970s and ‘80s may be pleased to know that designer objects in the sleek, minimalist style of that decade are back into fashion. Rather than a wholesale revival, like the recent Midcentury Modern trend, designers are advising homeowners to use Seventies decor as accent pieces, such as retro chandeliers for the dinner table ora table-top refinished in terrazzo.

Terrazzo, the multi-colored composite material that last enjoyed popularity in the 1970s, has “dimension” plus “it’s fun,” one designer tells the Los Angeles Times. “We’re seeing it as an evolution of the interest in marble.” It can be used to refinish a table-top, or even as a stylish paving material on your front-door threshold.

Retro décor and fashionable colors, however, are not the only elements comprising the up-to-date house of June 2018. The new voice-driven lifestyle, or at least the electronic, computerized expression of one’s preferences, is very much part of one’s home-living experience.

The Internet of Things

The umbrella term for this new world of consumer ease is the Internet of Things. (Refer to it as “loT” when talking to up-to-the-minute types.) Merriam- Webster defines loT as “a set of devices … that are connected to each other and to the Internet and can automatically respond to preset rules, be remotely accessed and managed by mobile apps or a browser and send alert messages to the user(s).”

The advent of loT has been rapid. Literally thousands of products, programs and “apps” are already on the market, offering competing visions of life seemingly without fuss, bother or even much effort – at least with your hands. And while these systems were formerly reserved for enthusiasts willing to invest in expensive systems, many of these innovative products in the electronic personal-helper arena are becoming affordable to the inner nerd of Ms. Everybody.

These systems are voice driven, using electronic personal helpers such as Amazon Alexa, Apple HomePod, Wink or Samsung SmartThing. These devices serve as “hubs” through which homeowners can operate or monitor hundreds of different programs currently on the market, even from thousands of miles away.

FIRST-TIME BUYERS MUST “PREPARE TO STRETCH”

If you plan to buy this year, be ready to stretch your budget or compromise on the size and location of a home, says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the NAR. Find out how much house you can really afford by getting preapproved by a lender. That will limit your search and reassure sellers that you can close the deal. The more info the lender requires beyond just a credit score, the more reliable the preapproval. You can still shop later for the best rate and cheapest closing costs. –Kiplinger

The Voice-Controlled Home

No more pushing buttons with your weary, overworked fingertips. With the mere sound of your voice (and your personal apps can distinguish your voice from those of others) your intelligent home-control system can control the indoor temperature, defrost the foods you have selected for tonight’s dinner, activate the lawn sprinklers to trickle the exact amount of water needed for each of the trees and flower beds, while offering an informed suggestion for tonight’s music (yes to Vivaldi, no to Nine Inch Nails), plus make a reliable suggestion for tonight’s movie download (you like samurai movies but shun anime).

Still, smart-home tech may not be for the timid or the technophobic: “A good smart home requires a deep amount of research and determination,” according to ReadWrite.com, a consumer-electronics website. As a consumer, “you will need to figure out whether you want to dabble in the smart scene or are planning to go all out.”

It makes the best sense to start out modestly with a personal assistant device, adding voice-driven apps when you feel like it (and can afford to.) But again, being up to date does not require tons of money.

Thinking about making some changes to your interior? Give us a call. We have some ideas about updated decor that may increase the value of your home.