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Our Favorite Real Estate Trends From 2016

In the coming months, as housing professionals and experts look back on the past year’s market, don’t be surprised to a slew of headlines reading something akin to “2016 was the year of…” and then ending with some big real estate trend, like green building or smart home technologies. But, whatever claim they make, whatever trend they say dominated the 2016 marketplace, they’ll be wrong. Because 2016 wasn’t defined by a single trend. It was defined by a whole bunch of them.

1. Social Media as a Key Real Estate Marketing Tool

As much as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, you name it, is a means for connecting and interacting with your friends and family, over the last few years, it’s evolved into incredibly valuable and, more importantly, free ad space. Social networks were cemented as an integral part of real estate marketing campaigns in 2016. Why? Because so many people are using them. According to Pew, from 2005 to 2016, social media usage jumped from five percent of Americans to a staggering 69 percent. And what’s more interesting, especially for those working in the housing space, is that more than 80 percent of the key demographics of 18- to 29-year-olds and 30- to 49-year-olds use social media. It’s even popular among people over 65, as one-third of the older population is on social media.

2. Residential Construction Spending Is Way Up

There have been some serious hindrances to building – labor and lot shortages as well as a rise in the cost of building materials – but that hasn’t stopped builders and developers from being incredibly active this year. In a number of major markets – Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco, for example – residential construction spending was up by at least 20 percent last year, and in some markets, like Chicago, was up by over 40 percent. This bodes well for a national housing market stunted by widespread inventory shortages.

3. Smart Home Tech Is Very Popular

As of 2016, nearly half of Americans either own smart home technology or plan to invest in it within the year, according to a survey from Coldwell Banker. One-quarter of the people who didn’t already have it said they planned to soon incorporate it into their lives. But not only did homeowners prove to be totally into the tech; buyers were as well. Across multiple generations and socioeconomic groups, the popularity of smart home technologies proved strong, with buyers showing a particular attraction to smart security and temperature devices. The best part? 72 percent of millennials, the generation slated to save the housing market, said they’d be willing to pay as much as $1,500 to get smart home tech in their home – something sellers can take into account when pricing their listing.

4. Green Building Is Blowing Up

Sustainability showed up strong in 2016, and some really cool products are coming out as a result. Things like “cool roofs” that cut down cooling costs by seven to 15 percent, and natural insulation made from hemp and lime that promises to improve air quality while helping to reduce energy use. As Flint’s water crisis showed us in 2016, improving building materials is imperative to keeping residents safe

5. The Federal Housing Administration Was Set to Reduce Insurance Premiums

At the end of President Obama’s term, the FHA was set to reduce mortgage insurance premiums by .60% down to a planned .25%. By the second week of January, newly inaugurated President Trump announced his intentions to scrap FHA premium cuts while simultaneously nominating Ben Carson as HUD lead.


  • http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/01/12/evolution-of-technology/
  • http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-housing-labor-idUSKCN11C0F7
  • http://www.builderonline.com/building/lot-shortage-continues_o
  • http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/01/osb-prices-climb-14-in-2016/
  • https://chicagoagentmagazine.com/2017/01/03/chicagoland-new-construction-continues-sensational-growth/
  • https://www.coldwellbanker.com/content/pdfs/coldwellbanker_smart_home_marketplace_survey.pdf
  • https://citizensgeneral.com/business-insurance-news/postid/40/infographic-the-biggest-green-building-trends-for-2016
  • https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2017/HUDNo_17-003