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    If you haven’t had time to keep up with real estate headlines lately, then you’re missing out.

    September proved to be a pretty good month for the industry. Homeowners gained more equity, home price growth slowed down, and housing’s inventory problem might have just turned around.

    Take a minute to catch up on all you might have missed this month in real estate news:

    Top September 2018 Real Estate News

    Home price growth slowed down.

    Home prices actually dropped 0.6% from July to August, and though they technically increased year-over-year, they did so at their slowest rate since 2014. This is the sixth month in a row that the annual growth rate has slowed. The share of homes selling above list price also dropped for the month, too, signaling even more room for optimism for today’s buyers.

    Sellers also started slashing prices.

    One in every four home sellers dropped their home’s listing price last month. Maybe it’s because the busy summer season has come to a close, or maybe it’s a sign of the market turning around. Either way, it’s good news for potential home buyers.

    The inventory shortage let up a bit.

    Housing inventory is still declining, but like price growth, it’s starting to slow down a little. In some markets, inventory has actually gone up in recent months. In San Jose, for example, listings jumped 67% in the last year, while Salt Lake City’s inventory rose 45%. Other cities with big gains in inventory were Seattle (44.3% jump), San Diego (37.7%), and Nashville, (21.1%).

    Rents kept on rising.

    Rent costs — especially in the Southern part of the country — are continuing to hit record highs. In Orlando, for example, rents jumped a whopping 6.4% over the year, while in Las Vegas, they jumped 5.7%. Unfortunately, the bulk of rent increases are happening on lower-end properties (properties that are increasingly older and less cared for, too.) When talking about rental homes in particular, Washington, D.C. is apparently the least affordable city in the nation. Renters need more than $8,400 in monthly income in order to afford the average rental property. California and Hawaii also have some of the country’s highest-cost rental homes.

    We found out what certain home amenities are worth.

    A survey released this month revealed what amenities buyers are willing to pay for — and how much. For millennial buyers, the most sought-after feature is a private backyard or patio. They’d pay over $7,000 more to have one on their property. Gen Xers and Baby Boomers prefer a swimming pool, which they’d pay $6,224 and $5,650 for, respectively. Central air conditioning, great views, and guest bedrooms are also high priorities for most buyers.

    Tappable home equity hit all-time highs.

    Americans have never had more home equity than they do right now. The amount U.S. homeowners could now tap for cash-out refinances and other financial products has surpassed $6 trillion. That’s a 300% jump since 2012.

    Home buying competition started to wane.

    About half of all homeowners said their local markets have become less competitive in the last year. Colorado, California, and New York homeowners were the most likely to notice this drop in competition, which could mean lower prices and fewer bidding wars for local buyers. Eventually, it might even mean a buyer’s market once again, according to industry experts.

    We got insights into Generation Z.

    A September survey gives us insights into the nation’s youngest cohort of homebuyers: Generation Z. The gist? They want suburban properties near big cities like Los Angeles, New York City, and Denver, and they plan to buy their homes in the next five years. The biggest hurdle is student loan debt and a lack of savings (the majority have $10,000 or less saved up.)

    Overland Park became the most family-friendly city.

    A recent ranking named Kansas’ Overland Park as the best place to raise a family in the nation. The city has great educational and childcare options, affordable housing, and a healthy economy. Irving and Fremont, California, took the No. 2 and 3 spots, while South Burlington, Vermont, and Bismarck, North Dakota, rounded out the top five.

    Single millennials made home buying their mission.

    In some parts of the country, single millennials made up huge shares of local home purchases last month. In Michigan’s Bay City and Wyoming’s Cheyenne, they accounted for 82% of all closed loans. Norwalk, Ohio, also had a high number, with single millennials making up 80% of all home purchases. The average FICO score of these solo buyers was 720 for the month.

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