Raleigh, NC labeled one of 8 ’emerging tech hubs’ in the world

Raleigh is the only U.S. city on the list prepared by TransferWise

Raleigh has been named one of eight “emerging tech hubs you should pay attention to” by the international money transfer service TransferWise – and it’s the only U.S. city on the list.

Affordable housing, short commutes and being a good place for young families are cited as reasons tech companies and university graduates are flocking to the Triangle.

“The region … is anchored by cutting-edge research institutions from surrounding universities, growing high-tech companies like Bandwith and Yealink as well as Fortune 100 companies IBM, Cisco … and many more,” according to the TransferWise blog post.

The eight global cities named are as follows:

  1. Eindhoven, Netherlands
  2. Pune, India
  3. Nicosia, Cyprus
  4. Dublin, Ireland,
  5. Raleigh
  6. Hong Kong
  7. Malmo, Sweden
  8. Tel Aviv, Israel

Rebecca Troyer manages the day-to-day process of delivering the daily digital content and the weekly print edition of the Triangle Business Journal. Troyer also handles inquiries on news coverage and newspaper deadlines.

Mortgages, Housing Starts & New Household Creations in 2014 – What You Need to Know.

Over the past year, there has been a revival of single-family home production. What does this mean for 2014?

Housing will continue its climb toward higher ground this year, but builders are still confronting several challenges, according to economists speaking at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders’ Show (IBS).

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe explains that consumer confidence has returned to pre-recession levels and household balance sheets are on the mend.  Year-over-year household formations are on the rise and now averaging 620,000 compared to just 500,000 during the housing downturn.

At the height of the housing boom, the U.S. was producing 1.4 million additional households each year. Meanwhile, new-home sales are averaging just 8.7 percent of total home sales—barely half the historical average of 16.1 percent.  However, builders still face several headwinds, including rising building material prices, persistently tight mortgage credit conditions, difficulties in obtaining accurate appraisals and limited availability in labor and developed lots.

NAHB forecast for 2014:

  • 1.15 million total housing starts in 2014, up 24.5 percent from 2013’s 928,000 units.
  • Single-family production projected to rise 32 percent to 822,000 units and surge an additional 41 percent to 1.16 million units in 2015.
  • 333,000 multifamily starts, up 9 percent from 306,000 in 2013.
  • Single-family home sales are projected to hit 584,000 this year, a 35.9 percent increase above last year’s 430,000 sales.
  • Residential remodeling activity is expected to register a modest gain this year over 2013.
  • A slow and steady housing recovery will bring nationwide housing starts to 71 percent of normal by fourth quarter 2014 and 93 percent of normal by the end of 2015, says Crowe.
  • On a state level, the top 20 percent of states will be back to normal production levels by the end of 2015, compared to the bottom 20 percent, which will still be below 84 percent.

Mortgage rates up, but housing still affordable
As the economy strengthens and the Federal Reserve tapers its buy-back of mortgage-backed securities, there will be upward pressure on mortgage rates, but not enough to harm housing affordability, according to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac.

Nationally, Nothaft expects that home sales and prices will each rise about 5 percent in 2014, and that housing starts will post a 20 percent gain.

“As we move into the 2014 home buying season, it will be a market dominated by home buying originations rather than refinance originations,” says Nothaft. “This will be the first time since 2000 that purchase originations will dominate the market.”

He says the reason for the change is because so many households looking to refinance have already done so, and as mortgage rates gradually rise, fewer homeowners will look to refinance. Further, purchase originations are expected to increase as the overall housing market strengthens.
Pent-up demand will fuel growth
In the aftermath of the Great Recession, there is a significant pent-up demand to form households and even to build homes.

At least 3 million fewer households formed over the past five years than would normally have been expected.  During this period, many college graduates were forced to double-up or move in with their parents. Stronger job growth and a strengthening economy in 2014 should lead to a rise in household formations, which will be important to supplement housing demand.

“I think this will be a pretty good year for home construction,” says Real Estate Expert and Economist David Berson. “There will be a big increase in single-family construction, but not as much for multifamily.”

For more information, visit www.nahb.org.

Raleigh ranked No. 2 on Forbes’ fastest-growing cities list

Forbes credits Research Triangle Park and the major universities nearby as two main reasons for that growth.

Jason deBruyn, Staff Writer-Triangle Business Journal

When financial research firm Ipreo chose Raleigh for an expansion, it was enough to turn some heads nationally.  “The primary goal was access to talent, and the (Research) Triangle was our top choice in the U.S.,” O’Hara Macken, Ipreo executive vice president and managing director told Forbes.

As drivers in the Triangle likely already know, this area is growing rapidly. In fact, Raleigh is growing fast enough to land at the No. 2 spot on Forbes‘ annual list of “America’s Fastest-Growing Cities”, and the magazine credits Research Triangle Park and the major universities nearby as two main reasons for that growth.

The fastest-growing ranking accounts for more than simple population increase. It includes job growth, unemployment, median salaries and gross metro product as well. Raleigh’s jobs grew at a rate of 2.44 percent year-over-year while the population jumped an estimated 2.15 percent in 2013, according to Forbes, which noted that even faster population growth is expected in 2014.

“We’ve got great quality of life. You’ve got the university system, great health care, a decent climate year-round, and affordable cost-of-living,” Harvey Schmitt, chief executive of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, told Forbes.

As with many of these lists, Austin, Texas, edged out Raleigh for the No. 1 spot. In fact, Texas had three cities in the top 10 with Dallas at No. 4 and Houston at No. 10.

Triangle home sales – and prices – rise 11% in January

An 11 percent increase in both the number of sales and in the average home sale price, January home sales in the Triangle kicked off the new year with an 11 percent increase in both the number of sales and in the average home sale price, according to Triangle Multiple Listing Service.

In January, 1,723 homes were sold in the 16 counties tracked by Triangle MLS, which was 11.2 percent more than the number of homes sold in January the year prior.

The average sales price was up 11.2 percent to $239,699, and the median sales price was up 10.8 percent to $198,000.

Pending sales, which is often used as an indicator of future closings, were also up 7.6 percent to 1,904 units in January.

“The same factors that catalyzed widespread market recovery in 2012 and 2013 are likely to continue in 2014, though perhaps at a more moderate pace,” says Tessa Hultz, CEO of Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors, which manages Triangle MLS. “That’s not a bad thing, since the market is returning to a stable, healthy state.”

Trends to watch for in 2014 include increased seller activity, more new construction and fewer foreclosures on the market, she says. Home sales in the Triangle rose 24 percent in 2013, and average home prices rose 4.5 percent.

The Housing Affordability Index for January dropped to 154, according to the report, a 17.8 percent drop from last year. The index measures housing affordability for the region, meaning that the median household income is 154 percent of what is necessary to qualify for the median-priced home under prevailing interest rates.

Flood insurance rates could increase dramatically for home owner

Realtors watch Congress for a bill to delay increases in flood insurance rates

If a recent U.S. Senate bill passes the U.S. House of Representatives, premium increases for flood insurance policies could be delayed for up to four years, and with residences in the Crabtree Creek floodplain, the Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors is paying close attention.

Last week, Senators voted 67 to 32 to delay for up to four years large premium increases that are set to take effect next year as part of updated government flood maps, according to the Washington Post.

“Now that the bill has passed the Senate, we hope that the House will either take up the Senate bill or work on a similar bill to institute a four-year moratorium on rate increases for the buyers and owners of previously grandfathered properties,” says Tessa Hultz, CEO of the Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors.

If more properties are included in the next version of preliminary flood maps expected for Wake County in March or April, passage of the bill could have significant impact, according to Hultz, but more on homeowners than on commercial properties like Crabtree Valley Mall.

“Additionally, the moratorium on rate increases is important while issues of rate quote miscalculations and discrepancies are investigated,” says Hultz. “When the National Association of Realtors provided testimony to Congress recently, they were able to provide examples of quotes of rates exceeding the true risk rate by thousands of dollars.”

The Ultimate Guide to Homeowners’ Association

Here are some pros and cons of buying a home within the Homeowners’ Association.

Do you have mixed feelings about living under the Homeowners’ Association?  Have you heard horror stories from friends or family about their HOA? We’re here to set the record straight.  Residing in a neighborhood controlled and monitored by this type of association can have many drawbacks, but it also offers significant advantages.  Here are some pros and cons of buying a home within the Homeowners’ Association:


  1. Monthly Dues.  Owing monthly dues to the Homeowners’ Association is just another expense when evaluating how much home you can afford.  This is something that should be budgeted for in advance because they can increase over the years, without warning.  If you do not pay your dues within a set frame time, an HOA can put a lien on your house or force a foreclosure of a property.
  2. Strict Regulations.  Any structural modifications to your home must be approved by the Homeowners’ Association.  You also may be charged assessment fees for improvements and modifications to the neighborhood.  If an HOA decides that the clubhouse needs a new roof or the neighborhood pool has a leak and needs to be refaced, you will be assessed a fee from the HOA to make the repair.
  3. Selling or Renting Out your Home.  When deciding to sell your home or have it rented, the potential occupant must be approved and screened by the Homeowners’ Association board.  The HOA also has the power to regulate how much you can charge for rent or when the occupant is allowed to move in.


  1. Neighborhood Curb Appeal.  HOAs maintain things that would otherwise be your responsibility.  This includes landscaping, home maintenance, and roof repair.  This is great if you’re busy and don’t have the extra time to dedicate to maintaining your house.  You will not have to worry about hiring an outside company to mow your lawn or taking care of these services yourself.
  2. Landscaped Entrance and Amenities.  Homeowners’ Associations provide a well-maintained and attractive entrance to your neighborhood and often provides residents with a neighborhood pool, playground, tennis and basketball courts, golf course, and club house, all of which is in excellent condition year round.  This results in an increase of property value.
  3. “Expected” Community Lifestyle.  Living in a neighborhood governed by a HOA means you do not need to worry about noisy neighbors, trash in other yards, cars parked on the street, or loud parties that last all night.  Homeowners’ Associations have strict regulations and will not allow it.  HOAs also do a good job of resolving neighbor disputes.

If you’re buying a home in a Homeowners’ Association, always do your research first.  Before signing the purchase agreement, make sure you get personal copies of the rules, regulations and bylaws.  It is also a good idea to look at the budget and financial records from the HOA board.  This will give you a better idea of how well the organization is run.  Consider everything and then ask yourself:  Is a home in an HOA right for you?

Housing Outlook, 2014

Release date: 12/05/13 NC Association of Realtors

After a surge in home values in most cities over the past year, prices are expected to increase more slowly in 2014. Prices nationwide rose by 10.9%, pushing the median price for existing homes up by $30,000, to $215,000. According to Clear Capital, a provider of real estate data and analysis, home prices are expected to rise by just 3 to 5 percent in 2014. See how home prices are shifting in 276 metro areas, including many in N.C.

Raleigh #6 among top cities for job seekers in 2014

Raleigh is one of the cities that has a more positive outlook for job seekers

Raleigh is one of the cities that has a more positive outlook for job seekers than other cities due to a variety of factors,according to financial website NerdWallet.com. The site lists 10 cities, two of which are in North Carolina.

The cities were chosen by job availability, growth and cost of living. Raleigh was listed sixth, right after Charlotte, because it “is known for its research and development industry,” according to NerdWallet. Other qualities that got the city placed were the Research Triangle Park tech hub, the career development center at N.C. State University and the Center for Employment Training, which provides hands-on training for vocational skills.

Here’s the list:

  1. Austin, Texas
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. Forth Worth, Texas
  4. Denver, Colo.
  5. Charlotte, N.C.
  6. Raleigh, N.C.
  7. Omaha, Neb.
  8. Minneapolis, Minn.
  9. Oklahoma City, Okla.
  10. San Antonio, Texas

Here are the top 10 Triangle ZIP codes newcomers are flocking to

Dawn Kurry,  Staff Writer- Triangle Business Journal

Of the 52 ZIP codes in Wake, Durham and Orange counties, the Cary-Morrisville 27519 ZIP code seems to be the most appealing among people who are moving into the Triangle, averaging 405 new residents each month.

That’s according to Welcomemat Services, a marketing services company that sends coupons and incentives to the recently relocated enticing them to visit local small businesses instead of big-box stores. The company buys relocation data from a number of companies that compile the information from more than 35 sources, including utility companies, communication companies and county court house records, among other sources.

Based on Welcomemat’s curated data, here are the top 10 Triangle ZIP codes ranked by the average number of new residents that each ZIP code is receiving per month.

  1. 27519 (Cary/Morrisville, either side of Highway 55)
    New move-ins per month: 405
  2. 27713 (south Durham)
    New move-ins per month: 356
  3. 27612 (Raleigh, inside the beltline/Glenwood Avenue area)
    New move-ins per month: 337
  4. 27587 (Wake Forest)
    New move-ins per month: 316
  5. 27513 (Cary, Lake Crabtree area)
    New move-ins per month: 310
  6. 27606 (southwest Raleigh)
    New move-ins per month: 301
  7. 27613 (northwest Raleigh)
    New move-ins per month: 300
  8. 27707 (mid-Durham)
    New move-ins per month: 295
  9. 27616 (northeast Raleigh)
    New move-ins per month: 294
  10. 27610 (southeast Raleigh)
    New move-ins per month: 291

Triangle home sales in 2013 grew 24%

2013 saw an increase in buyers and an improved demand for listed homes.

Triangle home owners in 2013 had a much easier time finding a strong buyer pool for home listing than in any of the past five years, and that trend is expected to continue into 2014.

But now that home prices have started to normalize again, don’t expect to see a huge rise in prices in 2014.

Average home prices in the Triangle rose 4.5 percent to $236,755 in 2013 compared to the year prior, according to the latest report from Triangle Multiple Listing Service. The median home price rose 4.2 percent to $198,000.

Clear Capital, a real estate data firm, forecasts that home prices nationally will rise by 3 percent to 5 percent in 2014, which is close to the historical average. Kiplinger expects an increase of 4 percent.

The number of home sales in the Triangle, though, rose 23.5 percent in 2013 compared to the year prior, with nearly 29,500 home sales recorded through Triangle MLS.

The MLS database is maintained by its real estate agent subscribers from a 16-county area in the greater Triangle region, including Wake, Durham and Orange counties.

On average, home sellers received 95.4 percent of the original list price at closing in 2013 compared to a rate of only 92 percent of the list price two years ago. The average days on market also dropped from 119 days on market in 2011 and in 2012 to an average of 100 days on market in 2013.

In December, home sales were up 21 percent compared to the year prior, the average home price was up 6.5 percent to $244,991, and the median home price was up 8.7 percent to $208,330 compared to December 2012.