The pandemic has changed many things in our lives with more changes to come. Many homeowners already own a house they love. Others found their homes lacking things like space for a home office or an outdoor living area for kids and pets. What few of us understand is what tomorrow's housing trends and challenges will be?
This article is meant to open your eyes to housing trends and new challenges that will affect our homes in the future. Each of us will find one or more topics particularly important because of individual circumstances. These concerns include:
- Changes in how we use our homes for work, school, entertaining and more. The question though is does this justify today's significantly higher prices?
- Climate challenges that affect our lives from personal safety to increases in the cost of heating/cooling, homeowner insurance and more.
- Aging infrastructure which affects us at home, work and wherever we spend time. Lead pipes affect our water and health, failing bridges mean longer commutes, etc.
Causes and Effects of Lead (NRDC, 7/21) – provides a great overview of where lead comes from and explains why it is such a hazard to our health, especially to children. What scared me in this article is a map of the US showing the number of lead pipes in various areas across the US, including the state (not Michigan) where I live.
Where Zillow says home prices are headed in 2022 (Fortune, 10/21) – the graph above tells the story with year-over-year price appreciation in double digits. Many feel these prices will stabilize while others fear a repeat of the 2007 housing crash. You have to decide how much risk and debt you're willing to assume … as this housing trend could go either way (read: How the Pandemic is Affecting Housing Prices).
Flood insurance rates are spiking for many, to account for climate risk (NPR, 10/21) – describes recent updates to FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program. Where previously flood insurance rates were based on your home's flood zone and elevation, they now include warming climate factors that make rain and flood events more common. We should expect to see housing trends like this drive higher homeowner costs for insurance, utilities and repairs (read: Do You Really Need Flood Insurance?).
The Southwest's most important river is drying up (CNN, 8/21) – starts with a historical perspective leading up to todays' hunt for water below ground. There are multiple issues here between states sharing natural resources and agriculture versus consumers, both dependent on vast amounts of fresh water. You might not live in the southwest but water, like energy will take on a more critical role for most of us.
Banks consider climate risk for home loans, a process called ‘underwaterwriting’ or ‘blue-lining’ (CNBC, 10/21) – introduces the concept of climate risks affecting your ability to get a mortgage. The focus today is on properties along the US coast given global warming but … don't be surprised if fire prone areas are also affected in the future (Podcast if you want to learn more about underwaterwriting).
Watch the video and check out two really important resources you can use, that were identified in this article:
- HazardHub’s freehomerisk.com – provides a quick and easy, risk report card (partial example above)for your house. It looks at 19 risks including the big three – hurricanes, earthquakes and wild fires.
- First Street Foundation’s floodfactor.com – offers a comprehensive overview of your home's flood risk. If you've been wondering whether you need to buy flood insurance, this is a good place to start your research … and check out these articles on flood insurance.
Being a homeowner is more complicated than it once was. It feels like we're replacing our tools for basic plumbing, carpentry and more (time to call your handyman?). In the information age, it's your fingers that will find the answers needed to navigate your journey as a homeowner … helping us weather tomorrow's housing trends.