How to Max Out on Candy & Embrace Black All Year Round

Did you know that black is not just for Halloween? Well, if you ask interior designers and follow the trends, you’ll see black popping up everywhere. We’ll look at some options, from the subtle to the bold. Want to target the best neighborhoods for trick-or-treating in your new home search? Get the top 5 list for achieving maximum candy in the least amount of time! If you’re looking for a longer read, check out the piece on prefab, modular construction in Japan, and what the US can learn from their best practices. We’ll also discuss the impact that baby boomers could have on urban development. Lastly, mortgage rates hit a 3-month high this week and appear to be trending higher.

DESIGN TRENDS:
A bedroom painted all black? Sounds dark and gloomy, right? Well, think again! Black and shades of dark gray are in, and there are loads of ways to use it. Real Simple highlights some great exterior uses of black, including trim and light fixtures. Meanwhile, designers are using it on interior walls, cabinets, stairways, you name it. Still don’t believe me? Well, each year the paint companies select a color of the year and Glidden has already named “Deep Onxy” as its choice for 2018. Likewise, Pantone has identified several color palettes for the coming year, including one named “Intensity” – a mix of black and golds. As always, you can check out my Pinterest board for more inspiration.

TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION:
If you’re up for a long read this weekend, settle in and think about this piece from Curbed on Prefab homes. It takes an in-depth look at the prefab home market in Japan, where everything from single family homes to multi-story buildings are built using modular technology. New prefab homes make up about 15% of the market in Japan, compared to only 2% in the US. One of the drivers in Japan is a lack of skilled construction labor. Sound familiar? This is also a weakness highlighted by new home builders here in the US. Some builders in the US think the time may have come for people to embrace this technology. A 32-story residential building made of 930 prefab modules opened just last year in Brooklyn, and there are other similar projects underway. Could prefab housing be one part of the solution to providing affordable housing in urban markets? It remains to be seen.

LOCAL REAL ESTATE:
Is Halloween your favorite holiday? Well, then you might want to know which DC neighborhoods are ranked the best for trick-or-treating. According to a Zillow analysis that takes into account home values, the density of single-family homes, and population under the age of 10, the top DC neighborhood this year is Kent, followed by Bloomingdale. Click this link for the full list. Last year, the neighborhood taking top honors was AU Park. Don’t live in one of these neighborhoods currently? Well, maybe you should!

REAL ESTATE, INTEREST RATES & MORTGAGE NEWS:
It’s always interesting to think about broader, national development trends. We have talked about the suburb of the future – think drones, self-driving vehicles, and environmentally conscious neighborhoods. But, what about the impact that the aging population of boomers will have on development? Some argue that boomers could be the new millennials. Between 2009-2015, the number of renters over the age of 55 increased 28%. That’s a huge increase, and there’s likely more to come. So, why the big shift? Boomers would love to downsize, but there are very few affordable options available in the single-family market. Hence, renting becomes an attractive alternative. Millennials find themselves in a very similar predicament. For high income boomers, this aging community is looking for luxe rental communities with all of the bells and whistles – a high degree of walkability to restaurants, shops, entertainment, and close proximity to public transportation – some developers are betting big on this trend, The flipside of this is the number of low income boomers who will have difficulty finding affordable housing options. For boomers born between 1956-1965, 41% will lack the income to live at their pre-retirement levels. This is where local and national governments and city planners will need to think about how to address this looming problem.

This week, 30-year mortgage rates headed north hitting a three month high, rising from 3.88% to 3.94%. Mortgage rates are likely rising as a result of two factors: 1) tax reform appears to be on the horizon, and 2) speculation about the next Fed chair. Janet Yellen’s term ends in February, and Trump is reportedly leaning towards replacing her with current Fed governor Jay Powell. Markets tend to like this choice as Powell has largely been in line with Yellen on past Fed rate decisions. Trump is expected to announce his pick before next Friday.

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