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Jeremy Orton February Real Estate Newsletter

Housing Starts Hit Highest Pace Since 2006

Single-family housing starts ended 2020 on a high note, rising 12% in December to a 1.338 million-unit pace – the highest pace since 2006, according to the Census Bureau.

That’s up 27.8% from one year ago, a remarkable figure given the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, per industry officials.

“2020 will go down, quite unexpectedly, as one of the best years for home builders in recent memory, and proof that great challenges — and not just those posed by COVID — can be overcome with hard work and creativity,” said Matthew Speakman, Zillow economist.

“Demand for homes remains sky-high, despite the still-raging pandemic, as people look to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates and find their next home. “

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COVID Couldn’t Stop the U.S. Housing Market In 2020

Today the National Association of Realtors reported existing home sales for the month of December were at 6,760,000, a beat of estimates.

This also closed the books on 2020’s housing market as we finished out the year at 5,640,000 total existing-home sales — a 5.6% increase from the same month in 2019.

Instead of thinking of the end of 2020 and going into 2021 as a hot sales market, this increase over December 2019 sales may be more appropriately interpreted as an end-of-the-year bump due to “make-up sales” for sales missed during the COVID shutdown in the spring of  2020. 

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The COVID crisis of 2020 was responsible for a lot of abnormal metrics in the housing market. Data lines that are typically very sticky, i.e. take months to move significantly in either direction,  took waterfall dives, and then made parabolic recoveries — the existing home sales numbers are an extreme case of this. 

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The 10 Most Popular Bathroom Makeovers of 2020

Big, bright and bold design elements run through this countdown of the most popular bathroom makeovers from our Bathroom of the Week series in 2020.

In one bathroom, a designer ditched a shower-tub combo for a roomy walk-in shower with a built-in bench.

In another, a bright blue double vanity enlivens a remodel for two teenage girls. See if these ideas and others might help you plan a bathroom renovation of your own in 2021.

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February Home Maintenance Checklist 

12 Pro Tips for Planning Your Laundry Area

There are many things to consider when planning your ideal laundry area, from choosing the right materials and storage to creating a practical layout.

So where do you start? 

And how can you be sure the layout and design will meet your needs?

Here, three laundry and design experts share 12 insider tips for designing a laundry that delivers.

1. Make Your Countertops Deep Enough

The biggest mistake I see people make with their laundries is specifying countertops that are too narrow. As a result, their undercounter washing machine and dryer stick out, which makes the laundry look messy and unsightly.

I would recommend a minimum countertop depth of 26 inches to ensure that appliances can fit neatly underneath.

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Home Maintenance Task

  • Check caulking and grout around sinks, showers, and tubs; repair as needed.
  • Regularly check roof and gutters for ice dams and icicles
  • Clean and vacuum curtains, window blinds, and ceiling fans
  • HVAC system: vacuum and dust
  • Clean garbage disposal: Run with crushed ice to sharpen, then with baking soda and citrus peels
  • Test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors; replace batteries as needed
  • Plumbing: check for leaks on supply lines to sinks and toilets
  • Repair any interior wall damage; touch up paint as needed or paint an accent wall
  • Electrical: Test and reset all ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) receptacles; check all extension cords for wear and tear

Click Here For A Full Home Checklist

Jeremy Orton Real Estate Group

Keller William, SVSI


If you have a brokerage relationship with another agency, this material is not intended as a solicitation. Information is reliable but not guaranteed and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Each Keller Williams office is independently owned and operated. Copyright (C) 2020 Keller Williams (R) Realty, Inc.

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