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Today’s “Ask the Expert” Column features Kathy Cummings, Homebuying Coach with Bank of America Home Loans.

Q: Will homebuyers be ready to act in 2015?

A: As real estate professionals prepare their business approach for 2015, the details will rest on the answer to these two questions:

1. Who will be buying homes in the coming year?
2. What will the mix of buyers look like?

Accurate predictions about the future of the housing market are fleeting, but by looking at trends among traditional market segments—first-time buyers, move-up buyers and empty nesters—we can gain some insight into what’s in store for the coming year.

First-time buyer market has great potential
While the first-time buyer segment is likely to remain below historic levels, there are reasons to be optimistic that millennial and multicultural buyers will show strength.

  • The millennial generation is beginning to hit 32 years of age—the historical median age of first-time homebuyers.
  • Recent reports from the Pew Research Center note that millennials are more educated than any generation before them, making them well positioned for economic improvement as the labor market strengthens. 1
  • Multicultural buyers continue to drive first-time buyer trends. According to Harvard’s 2014 State of the Nation’s Housing, “At last measure, 32 percent of all first-time buyers were minorities, with Hispanics alone accounting for 14 percent. First-time homebuyers are also more likely to be foreign born (16 percent) compared with current homeowners (10 percent).” 2

Move-up buyers buoyed by equity gains
As home prices increase, homeowners should become more aware of the current value of their homes and decide to make their moves for a variety of reasons. Some may have growing families, while others may be relocating for lifestyle or employment reasons.

Regardless, as home equity levels and job markets continue to improve, trading up to a bigger home may well become a more attractive option, making move-up buyers a solid source of business for real estate professionals in the coming months. These move-up buyers should also begin to free up some of the more “entry level,” affordable housing that first-time buyers are having difficulty finding today.

Empty nesters seeking new habitats
For more than a decade, experts have predicted significant changes in the 55+ housing market. As more people from the baby boomer generation enter their retirement years, will we see the expected shift in their housing choices?

The homebuilding industry thinks the time is right
In August 2014, the National Association of Home Builders’ 55+ Housing Market Index reflected greater optimism in the empty-nest segment. The organization noted “the index reached its highest second-quarter reading since it began in 2008, and it posted its 11th consecutive quarter of year-over-year gains.” 3

Stay in the know about buyer trends and ways to help grow your business
Forecasts about the nation’s housing market change frequently with many factors impacting local markets. Bank of America does a tremendous amount of research and outreach to a wide variety of homebuyers and has significant information to share with real estate professionals, both about potential buyers and the types of financing that may be best suited to them. We have also established productive marketing alliances with many real estate companies in an effort to help them better serve their clients’ overall home-buying needs. Learn more about how we can work together and the possibilities of an alliance for your company, or even for an individual real estate professional, by visiting Bank of America’s Agent Resource Center or calling (866) 412-4151.

1 “Millennials in Adulthood,” Pew Research Center, May 7, 2014, http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/03/07/millennials-in-adulthood/

2 “2014 State of the Nation’s Housing,” Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, http://www.jchs.harvard.edu/sites/jchs.harvard.edu/files/sonhr14-color-full.pdf

3 http://www.nahb.org/news_details.aspx?sectionID=1843&newsID=16954
For more information, visit www.bankofamerica.com.

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