TEMPE RANKS AS ONE OF THE BEST COLLEGE TOWNS for students and permanent residents alike, based in part on:

  • Livability
  • jobs
  • housing affordability
  • availability of rental units
  • walkability

The ranking was completed by www.livability.com, which states that Tempe offers a big city experience while still maintaining a small town feel. The study further noted that Tempe has a diverse economy, major university, vast shopping opportunities, excellent recreation facilities, great local transportation, including a good “walk Score,” warm sunny days and, I will add, PAC 12 ASU Sun Devil football and basketball.

PENT UP DEMAND FOR ACTIVE ADULT COMMUNITIES?  Homebuilder confidence in the market for homes aimed at buyers over the age of 55 rose in the second quarter – its highest 2nd quarter reading in 6 years. According to the National Association of Builders chief economist, David Crowe, “The slow but steady increase in existing home sales” is one of the factors of this optimism.

As more and more of the over-55 crowd is able to sell their homes for better prices, many are looking to the active adult communities for their next move.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE KITCHEN STUPID!  What ranks as the most important feature for buyers considering a “new” home? Well no surprise here, but according to the PulteGroup Home Index Survey, 30% of Americans say they consider the kitchen to be the most important area when choosing a new home. And considering the phenomenal popularity of cable TV home and cooking shows in the past 5 years, it looks like this trend will only move upwards.

Surprising to me anyway, is that the master bedroom is ranked the 2nd area of importance by 22% of the new home buyers. In personal experience of showing buyers homes, the “Great Room” seemed to be almost as important as the kitchen.

HOMEOWNERSHIP DECLINING  The U.S. homeownership rate declined for the ninth year in a row in 2012-2013 according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The number of homeowner households also fell for the 7th straight year with a drop of 76,000. Homeownership rates, per the study, for ages 25-54 are at their lowest rates since 1976.

These declines are the smallest reported since 2008 suggesting that the bottom may be in sight. Without question, our great recession, spurred on by the housing debacle of 2007-2009, was the main culprit as more folks lost homes or walked away and turned toward renting or living with relatives. As the numbers turn, homeownership will again head upwards in a big way.