More and younger first-timers than expected are now buying homes


Click to enlarge [har]This is what 1265 sq.ft. can get you, for example

❝ For years, the U.S. housing market looked bleak for young couples hoping to buy their first homes but struggling with high student debt, low pay and meager down-payment savings.

But a new survey by the real estate firm Zillow suggests that first-time buyers may be entering the market in greater numbers than industry watchers had assumed.

❝ Over the past year…nearly half of home sales have gone to first-timers. That’s a much higher proportion than some other industry estimates had indicated. And it comes as a surprise in part because ownership rates for adults under 34 are at their lowest levels since the government began tracking the figure in 1994.

Zillow’s survey results suggest that the trend is shifting, and that some of this year’s growth in home sales has come from a wave of college-educated couples in their 30s, who are the most common first-time buyers…

❝ If the pattern in Zillow’s survey holds, it could raise hopes that today’s vast generation of 18-to-34-year-old millennials will help support the housing market as more of them move into their 30s.

The 168-page report…also found that home ownership is increasingly the domain of the college-educated. And it reported that older Americans who are looking to downsize are paying premiums for smaller houses…

Gradually, oh so gradually, Americans are beginning to comprehend the sense of smaller homes. Letting size in and of itself describe your lifestyle is as silly as voting for Trump. The reality TV portion of American culture still seems to believe every 1950’s advertisement left in the hopper. But, smaller homes are cheaper to heat and cool. They take less effort to keep clean and healthy.

Yes, we’re still a country that buys the biggest car or truck on the lot when gasoline prices drop below $3/gallon. So, while I wish folks well – those first home-buyers of new or not-so-new homes – I hope they continue to learn about energy efficiency, environmental sanity. Maybe even a lifestyle comfortable enough for our species in tandem with the rest of Earth’s species.

Pokémon Go got you to walk 25 percent more than you used to


Ina Fried/ReCode

Pokémon Go’s creators want the hit mobile game to get people out of the house and exploring their neighborhoods. A new study confirms that’s really happening.

In “Influence of Pokémon Go on Physical Activity,” researchers from Microsoft Research and Stanford University studied, over the course of a month, how many steps were recorded by the Microsoft Bands — wearable activity trackers — belonging to Pokémon Go fans. The most engaged fans of the game walked 25 percent more than they did before Pokémon Go’s release…

All told, the study estimates that Pokémon Go players across the U.S. walked an additional 144 billion steps in the game’s first month in the wild. It says that if those players were to keep up the same level of increased activity over a longer period of time, they could add nearly three billion years, collectively, to their lifespans.

I’m a lifetime walking addict. Count in miles spent backpacking, hillwalking, hiking, walking because because I found an interesting place to walk, etc…I’ve spent a good piece of my waking hours walking. It all helps.