Housing Market is on the Rise

Housing MarketIt’s safe to say the housing industry is officially on the mend—it is slowly becoming a seller’s market once again. According to the Census Bureau, the increase comes for both existing and new starts: existing home sales up 7.8% from last year and new starts up a whopping 29.1%!

As a new home buyer, and also an existing homeowner, I’ve been following the trends for the past few months and I’m happy about this for four reasons (well, the four off the top of my head anyway):

1) First and foremost, for the obvious reasons of job revitalization and overall economic revival. According to this article from CNN Money, “home building provides about three hires for every home built in a year.” Based on the annual rate rise of 750,000 new builds, that equates to 2.25 million new jobs. That’s great news!

2) With interest rates at a continual low—and looking to go even lower—people will continue to buy, despite of the increase in housing prices.

3) The hubs and I got lucky and locked in our offer just in time—just before what seems to be a spike in selling costs over the last two-or-so months for comparable homes in our area. Ok, if this sounds selfish, please redirect your attention to #1 once again. ;)

4) We’ve been holding on to (and renting out) a condo for quite some time because we would have been far under water if we had tried to sell. Soon, we may be able to at least break even. Hopefully.

So the housing market is on a positive slope. But what does that mean in the land of home automation? Well, it continues to appear progressive as well. With today’s technology, some consider home automation when they’re building a new home but others still don’t know it’s an option. I think that as the housing market rises, more people will start to consider home automation when building new homes.

An estimate by Parks Associates, an international market research and analysis company, states that “60 percent of homes across the nation will have some type of networked energy management system by 2022.” If this proves true, in just about 10 years, over half of homeowners in the United States will realize that home automation is not only a luxury, but—if done correctly—their initial investment can pay itself off over time through energy savings.

Even though retrofits prove the most challenging to integrators, they still account for the largest percentage of installations in comparison to new builds. However, as people are becoming more commonly acquainted with home automation, interest continues to rise at a rapid pace. Therefore, more and more builders are offering home automation as an add-on to a pre-development package. It seems that smart home exhibits and home product shopping destinations are also popping up all over the country. Have you read about MainStreet America?

Furthermore, it seems there is no limit to where technology will take us. For example, thanks to a new voice control product, VoicePod, I’ll actually be able to tell my house what to do for me—how cool is that? I’m consistently astounded by the new products I hear about in the CE industry. With all of these new innovations, it only allows for home automation to build upon itself, leading me to believe that—even just a basic system—will become standard in every home in the future.

Control4 Blog

In the Market for a New TV?

I am. As of this weekend I have not one, but two televisions that need to be replaced. It’s a little embarrassing to admit this, especially given the industry I work in, but I am not always on the cutting-edge of electronics technology. I might be what you call a “late adopter.” I still have one of those big…no, huge, boxy televisions. The 48″ kind that actually hogs about 15 square feet of valuable real estate in my living room. I hate it, but it works like a champ and we’ve been trying to stall the complete redecoration of our living room as long as possible. Well, we just got an Apple TV (remember what I said about being a “late adopter?”) and it won’t even work with this beast because it’s so old. Finally! A catalyst for change! We might even get rid of the VCR at the same time. And then this weekend, the television in our bedroom croaked. It’s not as old as the other one, but it’s definitely not a top-of-the-line piece of equipment and we were kind of surprised it hung on as long as it did.
Market for TV
So now I’m in the market for two new televisions. Perhaps not the best time to be shopping for TV’s. I’ve been hearing that TV’s are a “commodity” so the prices are cheap, cheap, cheap. And then just today I see this article from USA Today “TV’s get bigger, fancier, pricier…”  Yikes. Pricier? This is the time when I’m really glad to have a dealer I can call!

They know exactly what questions to ask to help me get the biggest, fanciest, least priciest for my budget and my lifestyle. Do you want 3D? (no, gives me a headache) How big is the space? (I want a BIG screen, like the biggest I can hang on the wall, but maybe not that 10 thousand dollar one) Is the room bright or not? (dark., borderline gloomy) How much do you care about picture quality? (not much…whether I’m wearing my glasses determines picture clarity more than the TV I think.) Do you want LCD, LED, blah blah? (no clue. What do you think I want?) How much do you want to spend? (as little as possible, obviously) All good questions.

So we’re taking their professional recommendations to heart, happy that they know us and how we use our entertainment system. And, of course, we’re now thinking about all the other things we get to update on our Control4  system when the dealer comes to install the new TV’s. Getting that Apple TV working is just the beginning! And, of course, I’m balancing all the fun tech stuff with a new couch and entertainment center and maybe some new paint that makes the room a little less gloomy. Hey! Like most regular people, I have a budget to keep my dreams in check. Sorry, $ 10K TV. Maybe next time!

Let me know what TV you think I should get in the comments section!

Control4 Blog