No need to dust off your crystal ball or shuffle your Tarot cards to find out what might happen next year in real estate. Looking back at the trends of 2014, it’s not difficult to make a few logical guesses about where the industry might be headed. It’s well established that mortgage rates are slowly rising and that housing inventory is making a comeback, but what other influencing factors might be on the horizon?
Here are 5 real estate predictions for 2015.
- On January 1, 2015, the minimum wage in 29 states will be higher than the federal minimum wage. Trailing edge millennial will make their initial foray into the workforce with an understanding of the hard lessons their Generation X older siblings or parents learned from the housing bust. They’ll be able to save more — and start saving much earlier than their predecessors did — for their future real estate dreams.
- The shift from big iron to big data will become more tangible and relevant to real estate agents. It’s no longer about collecting and storing data; it’s about making that data work for you. Real estate agents who are savvy with big data sites will have access to extremely detailed home information such as Wi-Fi signal strength and summer watering schedules.
- As a group, baby boomers might be healthier than their parents were at the same age, but their finances are still ailing as they enter 2015 and many are forced to stay put in the homes they’ve lived in for decades. Instead of moving, they’re sprucing the roost with renovations designed to accommodate greater accessibility and reduced mobility: non-slip flooring, grab bars, and lowered surfaces and fixtures. Don’t expect to garner much inventory from the neighborhoods where this demographic lives.
- Technology will continue to enable instant gratification: During showings, real estate agents wielding 3-D modeling and printing technologies will be able to customize wall colors, furniture arrangements — even door handles, light sconces and cabinet pulls — on the spot so that home buyers can instantly envision the property as their dream home.
- Manufacturers will finally get on board with the Internet of Things and enable Internet connectivity among more devices inside a home. When you show these homes, make sure you’ve boned up on the technical tidbits, such as how mood-sensing thermostats adjust the temperature, or how the refrigerator knows when there’s a commercial break on TV.
Nobody can accurately predict what will happen in real estate next year. Maybe our extrapolations on current trends are a little far-fetched, but some are more feasible than fantastic. Human nature is predictably unpredictable, the amount of actionable data is exploding, and technology evolves by the minute. With a little creative thinking, an insightful real estate agent can be ready to take advantage.