September 27, 2012

We knew it would happen in senior housing, but we didn’t know exactly when. Now it happened.

danBy Dan Dolan
Dan Dolan Homes

Sometimes when I say something repeatedly to my children, I get the feeling they either turn me off or they seem to adopt a “who cares” attitude and seem to disregard what I’m saying. In recent months, in this column, I have found myself repeating a future scenario that I knew would happen, though I couldn’t pinpoint exactly when. It has now begun to happen. Buyers who committed to building their senior “dream home” in recent months, have saved several thousand dollars. Those who have delayed, will find it somewhat more expensive to create their dream home. The trend of rising costs will continue. And, it’s getting late to take action. But not too late as yet, though we’re getting there. I hate to keep repeating it, but anyone thinking of senior housing in the next year or two should give serious thought to moving up their purchase timetable. Now, if possible.

Here’s what I mean. A month ago, our roof truss manufacturer announced a $1,000 price increase in the typical construction package for our town homes. I didn’t like it, but I understood why their company had to act. Since then, plywood prices have doubled as a result of worldwide demand, also with sheathing. And the product list grows weekly. To stay in business, eventually builders must reflect these increases in their own pricing. So, with great reluctance, we announced a price increase in our homes in late September. And, I’m afraid more of the same may have to follow. A year from now, I’m confident that area new home prices will be higher than they are now.

I was invited to fly over the Quad-Cities recently and to observe the amount of new residential construction that’s taking place in the area. I was awestruck by what I saw. Somehow, seeing it from above was far more impressive than seeing the activity head on. I believe that the large, multiple housing developments going up are healthy for the area and the nation. They reflect the pent-up need for housing that has been unfilled in the last several years. But, one thing is certain. Prices will continue to rise as national pressure on land, labor and materials tries to catch up after the recent dormant period. Additionally, the recent Federal Reserve action is expected to put further downward pressure on interest rates, and both builders and buyers will take advantage of any rate reductions that occur.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I can only reiterate to seniors contemplating a decision to downsize to smaller living quarters to do it now rather than in a year or two. I think you’ll be amazed how low current housing prices will seem when you look back a year or two hence. In fact, many households would be hard pressed to save the equivalent of the anticipated price increases we expect to see over the next two years.

Finally, for senior home buyers who want to preserve their capital while moving to new housing, we continue to encourage them to give serious thought to a Reverse Mortgage for Purchase. Many of our buyers are taking advantage of this program to move into a brand new home for a one-time moderate down payment, with no further mortgage payments for as long as they remain in the home.

Our Realtor hosts at our various locations will be happy to explain the Reverse Mortgage for Purchase program to you, and you can determine if it meets your personal objectives for wealth preservation. At Stone Gate East in Davenport, our Realtor host Don Gibeault is on site Saturdays and Sundays 1-4 p.m. and by special appointment. Call me at (563) 570-1460 for the open times at our locations in Bettendorf, Clinton, Blue Grass and Muscatine.

Do yourself a favor and give serious thought to selecting your dream home soon.