Red hot home prices have more consumers saying now is a bad time to buy

People wait to visit a house for sale in Floral Park, Nassau County, New York.

Wang Ying | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Anyone out hunting for a house knows that bidding wars are no longer the exception, but the rule.

Demand for housing has been unusually strong, due to the coronavirus pandemic, and supply is historically lean. That is a recipe for high prices, which are now beginning to take their toll on potential homebuyers’ confidence.

The share of buyers who say they think it’s a good time to buy fell in September, from 59% to 54%, according to a new survey from Fannie Mae.

Home values were up nearly 6% annually, according to CoreLogic, a data analytics firm. More consumers now expect those price gains to grow.

The percentage of respondents to the Fannie Mae survey who says prices will go up in the next year increased from 33% to 41%, while the share who said prices would go down decreased from 26% to just 17%.

More people do think now is a good time to sell a home, which is an improvement from the first months of the pandemic, when potential sellers didn’t want shoppers in their homes and worried about the state of the overall economy.

If seller sentiment improves substantially, that could help bolster supply and take away at least some of the heat in prices.  

“Going forward, we believe the wild card to be whether enough sellers enter the market to continue to meet the strong homebuying demand,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist. “The home purchase market requires the proper mix of home price growth and continued economic recovery to achieve sustainable levels of housing activity.”

Falling mortgage rates have been driving buyers into the market, especially as rates set record

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One Bad Kitchen, Three Good Designs

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Synopsis: In this case study, three designers/architects are assigned a set of fictional clients who have differing requests for a remodel of the same problem kitchen. Ashlee Richardson redesigns the space for empty nesters aging in place, Elizabeth Morgan is tasked with an eco-minded remodel, and Garrett Kuhlman, an avid cook himself, is given clients who love to cook and want to modernize the space. Each theoretical remodel includes extensive 3D floor plans along with a description of spec’d products and materials, displaying the many options for remaking the same space to suit different needs.

Remodeling a kitchen is always a big undertaking, but some kitchens are harder to fix than others. The size, the shape, and the way the space connects to the rest of the house can make it hard to add functionality, never mind bring it up to date.

Many homes built in the boom following World War II are tricky to remodel without adding on to them. They tend to be small, with closed floor plans that wall off rooms according to function, leaving their kitchens—which are typically designed for just one person—shut off from living and entertaining areas. That’s exactly what most people don’t want in a modern floor plan. Because these midcentury kitchens are so common and so gnarly to modernize, we wanted to see how a handful of architecture firms would tackle the task

Each designer had the same kitchen to work with—the one in my mid-1950s ranch—but received different instructions about their clients’ tastes. We tried to keep the budget on the low end, realizing that putting a price tag on such a project is not particularly useful information when the costs of materials and labor vary widely across the country. What we hoped to see—and what these firms delivered—are some smart

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Kenya: Bad News for Nairobi Contractors as Sonko-Badi War Delays Projects

Nairobi County government contractors are facing uncertain times as the row between City Hall and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) over implementation of projects continues to stall their completion.

This is after it emerged that Governor Mike Sonko’s administration is yet to hand over to NMS projects under the transferred functions, more than five months after the establishment of the new office.

This now threatens further delays, putting paid to efforts of the contractors to complete the projects and get paid.

Concerned with the delays, the Nairobi County Assembly now wants the county government and the Major-General Mohammed Badi-led NMS to come clean on when the projects will resume.

The county legislators, led by Majority Whip Paul Kados, said the delays in completion of the projects had left contractors unpaid and several projects, which had been going on before the transfer of functions in February, stalled.

Transferred county functions

He pointed out that the transfer of functions to the national government and their exercise through NMS had led to delays in the handling of ongoing prior county projects, primarily because the county government is yet to hand over existing projects falling within the transferred functions.

“This state of affairs has left contractors unpaid and several projects stalled despite budgetary allocations for the said projects,” said the Mihang’o Ward MCA.

In February, Mr Sonko transferred county functions of health, transport, public works, utilities and ancillary services and county planning and development to the NMS.

However, attempts by

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