South Florida Real Estate Blog by Shari Orland, Realtor

Are Huge Changes Sweeping the U.S. Housing Market?

The National Association of Realtors® is a sunny organization whose pronouncements can be relied upon to promote (you guessed it) real estate. Like any gigantic organization (we have more than a million dues-paying members), the NAR tends to be cautious in its public pronouncements. But in last Wednesday’s article about the course of residential real estate in 2020, Boca Raton readers would have found the kind of sweeping statement that makes people think twice. “Is that really so?” “If that’s true, what then?

The statement was this: the decade just past “has been the most consequential stretch in American real estate history…one that fundamentally altered the landscape.”

Quite a pronouncement.

There followed a quick summary of the decade just past, making a convincing case that so much has changed that it might as well be part of “a different landscape.” Ten years ago, “many homeowners were desperately hoping to hang onto their homes” and, “buyers were struggling with newly skittish lenders.” The turnaround in those crucial elements is undeniable, yes, but reversals in conditions happen regularly. What makes this decade’s about-face “the most consequential” ever?

Their answer boils down to the scope of the recovery combined with a dearth of entry-level housing starts. The recovery has meant a sustained, robust rebound in existing house values, but unaccompanied by the resurgence of entry-level builders who were stricken from the scene. Even as price rises are finally leveling out, the starter house inventory remains strikingly sparse.

This is happening as major demographic changes...

Why Delray Beach Holiday Travelers Set No Records

Delray Beach’s Sunday was officially called “Sofa Sunday”—possibly in recognition of its service as a welcome interlude between Black Friday sales, Small Business Saturday sales, and Cyber Monday sales. Football games on TV also drove many Thanksgiving celebrants to the sofas, where early pregame news flashes projected Sunday as “the busiest travel day” in history. By midday, it turned out that local viewers would have started to doubt those predictions.

The obstacle was the California storms that had been drenching the West Coast. By Sunday, they were well on their way East, shredding Midwest and East Coast airline travel schedules. For the majority of Delray Beach travelers who’d avoided the airports, holiday highway traffic at least gave them a shot at returning home on schedule.

The whole experience (including the blanket news coverage) did put travel convenience top-of-mind, even for Thanksgiving celebrants who remained homebound. When it comes to Delray Beach real estate, a property’s connection with transportation convenience is most often given minor prominence. For one reason, Delray Beach’s airport proximity is a given—there would be little sales advantage to noting it. On the other hand, some Delray Beach properties may shave travel minutes by ready access to major auto arteries—that can be an attractive convenience factor for breadwinners whose routine includes daily commutes.

Usually in urban contexts, mention is also cited for the impact that proximity to public transportation can have. A recent collaboration by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute and the American Public Transportation Association found a measurable sales price advantage for properties with good access to public transportation. In any case, this weekend, for...

Boca Raton Home Sellers Get Unlikely Staging Input

It’s fair to say that Walmart—the iconic American superstore—isn’t the first place most Boca Raton area home sellers are likely to think of when it comes to staging their property. After all, Walmart is most famous for “everyday low prices” (advertising code for ‘cheap!’). That’s quite a contrast with your house—the most costly purchase most people ever make.

So it was something of a head-turner when realtor.com, web home of the National Association of Realtors®, published an informative piece under the heading, “5 Home Staging Essentials You Can Find at Walmart.” Especially when you think about staging million-dollar Boca Raton estates, the Walmart connection seems like a stretch—much less a “home staging essential.”

That headline does make for some irresistible reading, though—and although Boca Raton staging professionals might debate some of the “essentials,” the list is worth quoting:

  • Fluffy white hand towels. No argument—as long as the fluffiness is (as described) “soft.”
  •  Round accent mirrors. They can be “a stylish accent” as described—but that depends on the quality of the frame (the one pictured fits the bill).
  • Fake green plants. Not a bad idea for corners where the real thing wouldn’t thrive. The examples pictured shows “the greenery” in nice-looking vases.
  • Flameless candles. In many settings, this could be debatable. Because they attract attention, such “safe LED candles” risk unnecessarily communicating “fake”...