The inventory of existing homes for sale has dropped year-over-year for the last 29 consecutive months and is now at a 3.9-month supply.
Existing home sales are currently at an annual pace of 5.48 million, the highest pace since June of this year, but down 0.9% from October 2016.
NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, had this to say: “While the housing market gained a little more momentum last month, sales are still below year ago levels because low inventory is limiting choices for prospective buyers and keeping price growth elevated.”
Date posted: November 24, 2017 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Existing Home Sales Slowed by a Lack of Listings [INFOGRAPHIC]
There is little doubt that it is easier to get a home mortgage today than it was last year. The Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), published by the Mortgage Bankers Association, shows that mortgage credit has become more available in each of the last several years. In fact, in just the last year:
More buyers are putting less than 20% down to purchase a home
The average credit score on closed mortgages is lower
More low-down-payment programs have been introduced
This has some people worrying that we are returning to the lax lending standards which led to the boom and bust that real estate experienced ten years ago. Let’s alleviate some of that concern.
The graph below shows the MCAI going back to the boom years of 2004-2005. The higher the graph line, the easier it was to get a mortgage.
As you can see, lending standards were much more lenient from 2004 to 2007. Though it has gradually become easier to get a mortgage since 2011, we are nowhere near the lenient standards during the boom.
“Measures the percentage of home purchase loans that are likely to default—that is, go unpaid for more than 90 days past their due date. A lower HCAI indicates that lenders are unwilling to tolerate defaults and are imposing tighter lending standards, making it harder to get a loan. A higher HCAI indicates … it is easier to get a loan.”
Here is a graph showing their findings:
Again, today’s lending standards are nowhere near the levels of the boom years. As a matter of fact, they are more stringent than they were even before the boom.
It is getting easier to gain financing for a home purchase. However, we are not seeing the irresponsible lending that caused the housing crisis.
Date posted: November 22, 2017 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Bubble Alert! Is it Getting Too Easy to Get a Mortgage?
So, you’ve decided to sell your house. You’ve hired a real estate professional to help you with the entire process, and they have asked you what level of access you want to provide to potential buyers.
There are four elements to a quality listing. At the top of the list is Access, followed by Condition, Financing, and Price. There are many levels of access that you can provide to your agent so that he or she can show your home.
Here are five levels of access that you can give to buyers, along with a brief description:
Lockbox on the Door – this allows buyers the ability to see the home as soon as they are aware of the listing, or at their convenience.
Providing a Key to the Home – although the buyer’s agent may need to stop by an office to pick up the key, there is little delay in being able to show the home.
Open Access with a Phone Call – the seller allows showings with just a phone call’s notice.
By Appointment Only (example: 48-Hour Notice) – Many buyers who are relocating for a new career or promotion start working in that area prior to purchasing their home. They often like to take advantage of free time during business hours (such as their lunch break) to view potential homes. Because of this, they may not be able to plan their availability far in advance or may be unable to wait 48 hours to see the house.
Limited Access (example: the home is only available on Mondays or Tuesdays at 2pm or for only a couple of hours a day) – This is the most difficult way to be able to show your house to potential buyers.
In a competitive marketplace, access can make or break your ability to get the price you are looking for, or even sell your house at all.
Date posted: November 21, 2017 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Access is an Important Factor in Getting Your House SOLD!
In today’s housing market, where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values are increasing rapidly. Many experts are projecting that home values could appreciate by another 5%+ over the next twelve months. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal.
If prices are surging, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that recently closed) to defend the selling price when performing the appraisal for the bank.
Every month in their Home Price Perception Index (HPPI), Quicken Loans measures the disparity between what a homeowner who is seeking to refinance their home believes their house is worth, and an appraiser’s evaluation of that same home.
Bill Banfield, ExecutiveVP of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans urges anyone looking to buy or sell in today’s market to remember the impact of this challenge:
“Based on the HPPI, it appears homeowners in the markets where prices are rising faster than the national average – like Denver, Seattle and San Francisco – are continuing to underestimate just how quickly home values are rising, so the average appraisal is higher than homeowner estimate.
On the inverse of that, homeowners in areas where the values aren’t rising as fast may think they are rising faster than they are, leading to the appraisal lagging the estimate.”
The chart below illustrates the changes in home price estimates over the last 12 months.
Every house on the market must be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the bank’s appraisal). With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first. If you are planning on entering the housing market this year, let’s get together to discuss this and any other obstacles that may arise.
Date posted: November 20, 2017 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Homeowners: Your House Must Be Sold TWICE
Whether you are selling your home, just purchased your first home, or are a homeowner planning to stay put for a while, there is value in knowing which home improvement projects will net you the most “Return On Investment” (ROI).
While big projects like adding a bathroom or a complete remodel of a kitchen are popular ways to increase a home’s value, something as simple as updating landscaping and curb appeal can have a quick impact on a home’s value.
Date posted: November 17, 2017 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Top 4 Home Renovations for Maximum ROI [INFOGRAPHIC]
The current narrative is that home prices have risen so much so that it is no longer a smart idea to purchase a home. Your family and friends might suggest that buying a home right now (whether a first-time home or a move-up home) makes absolutely no sense from an affordability standpoint. They are wrong!
Homes are more affordable right now than at almost any time in our country’s history except for the foreclosure years (2009-2015) when homes sold at major discounts. As an example, below is a graph from the latest Black Knight Mortgage Monitor showing the percentage of median income needed to buy a medium-priced home in the country today in comparison to prior to the housing bubble and bust.
As we can see, the percentage necessary is less now than in those time periods.
The Mortgage Monitor also explains that home affordability is better today than it was in the late 1990s in 47 of 50 states.
Your friends and family have your best interests at heart. However, when it comes to buying your first home or selling your current house to buy the home of your dreams, let’s get together to discuss what your best move is, now.
Date posted: November 16, 2017 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Your Friends Are Crazy Wrong If They’re Telling You Not to Buy
Whether you are a renter who is searching for your dream home or a homeowner who feels like your only option is to renovate, you have at least one thing in common: feeling stuck in place.
According to data from the National Association of Realtors’ Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the average amount of time that a family stays in their home remained at 10 years in 2017. This mark ties the highest marks set in 2014 and 2016. Back in 1985, when data was first collected on this subject, homeowners stayed in their homes for an average of only 5 years.
There are many reasons why homeowners have decided to stay and not to sell. A recent Wall Street Journal article had this to say,
“Americans aren’t moving in part because inventory levels have fallen near multidecade lows and home prices have risen to records. Many homeowners are choosing to stay and renovate, in turn making it more difficult for renters to enter the market.”
Sam Khater, Deputy Chief Economist for CoreLogic, equated the lack of inventory to “not having enough oil in your car and your gears slowly [coming] to a grind.”
Historically, a normal market (in which prices increase at the rate of inflation) requires a 6-7 month supply of inventory. There hasn’t been that much supply since August of 2012! Over the course of the last 12 months, inventory has hovered between a 3.5 to 4.4-month supply, meaning that prices have increased and buyers are still out in force!
Challenges in the new-home construction market have “helped create a bottleneck in the market in which owners of starter homes aren’t trading up to newly built homes, which tend to be pricier, in turn creating a squeeze for millennial renters looking to get into the market.”
“Economists said baby boomers also aren’t in a hurry to trade in the dream homes they moved into in middle age for condominiums or senior living communities because many are staying healthy longer or want to remain near their children.”
So, what can you do if you feel stuck & want to move on?
Don’t give up! If you are looking to move-up to an existing luxury home, there are deals to be had in the higher-priced markets. Demand is strong in the starter and trade-up home markets which means that your house will sell quickly. Let’s work together to build in contingencies that allow you more time to find your dream home; the right buyer will wait.
Date posted: November 15, 2017 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Feeling ‘Stuck in Place’? You Aren’t Alone… And There’s Hope!
Mortgage interest rates, as reported by Freddie Mac, have increased over the last several weeks. Freddie Mac, along with Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors, is calling for mortgage rates to continue to rise over the next four quarters.
This has caused some purchasers to lament the fact that they may no longer be able to get a rate below 3.5%. However, we must realize that current rates are still at historic lows.
Here is a chart showing the average mortgage interest rate over the last several decades:
Though you may have missed getting the lowest mortgage rate ever offered, you can still get a better interest rate than your older brother or sister did ten years ago, a lower rate than your parents did twenty years ago, and a better rate than your grandparents did forty years ago.
Date posted: November 14, 2017 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Mortgage Interest Rates Are Going Up… Should I Wait to Buy?
Every year at this time, many homeowners decide to wait until after the holidays to put their homes on the market for the first time, while others who already have their homes on the market decide to take them off until after the holidays.
Here are seven great reasons not to wait:
Relocation buyers are out there. Many companies are still hiring throughout the holidays and need their employees in their new positions as soon as possible.
Purchasers who are looking for homes during the holidays are serious buyers and are ready to buy now.
You can restrict the showings on your home to the times you want it shown. You will remain in control.
Homes show better when decorated for the holidays.
There is less competition for you as a seller right now. Let’s take a look at listing inventory as compared to the same time last year:
The desire to own a home doesn’t stop when the holidays come. Buyers who were unable to find their dream home during the busy spring and summer months are still searching!
The supply of listings increases substantially after the holidays. Also, in many parts of the country, new construction will continue to surge reaching new heights in 2018, which will lessen the demand for your house.
Waiting until after the holidays to sell your home probably doesn’t make sense.
Date posted: November 13, 2017 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on 7 Reasons to List Your Home This Holiday Season
With residential home prices continuing to appreciate at levels above historic norms, some are questioning if we are heading toward another housing bubble (and subsequent burst) like the one we experienced in 2006-2008.
Recently, five housing experts weighed in on the question.
Rick Sharga, Executive VP at Ten-X:
“We’re definitely not in a bubble.”
“We have a handful of markets that are frothy and probably have hit an affordability wall of sorts but…while prices nominally have surpassed the 2006 peak, we’re not talking about 2006 dollars.”
Christopher Thornberg, Partner at Beacon Economics:
“There is no direct or indirect sign of any kind of bubble.”
“Steady as she goes. Prices continue to rise. Sales roughly flat.…Overall this market is in an almost boring place.”
Bill McBride, Calculated Risk:
“I wouldn’t call house prices a bubble.”
“So prices may be a little overvalued, but there is little speculation and I don’t expect house prices to decline nationally like during the bust.”
David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices:
“Housing is not repeating the bubble period of 2000-2006.”
“…price increases vary unlike the earlier period when rising prices were almost universal; the number of homes sold annually is 20% less today than in the earlier period and the months’ supply is declining, not surging.”
Bing Bai & Edward Golding, Urban Institute:
“We are not in a bubble and nowhere near the situation preceding the 2008 housing crisis.”
“Despite recent increases, house prices remain affordable by historical standards, suggesting that home prices are tracking a broader economic expansion.”
Date posted: November 9, 2017 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on A Housing Bubble? Industry Experts Say NO!
The American Dream of homeownership is alive and well. Recent reports show that the US homeownership rate has rebounded from recent lows and is headed in the right direction. The personal reasons to own differ for each buyer, but there are many basic similarities.
Today we want to talk about the top 5 financial reasons you should own your own home.
Homeownership is a form of forced savings – Paying your mortgage each month allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life for renovations, to pay off high-interest credit card debt, or even send a child to college. As a renter, you guarantee that your landlord is the person with that equity.
Homeownership provides tax savings – One way to save on taxes is to own your own home. You may be able to deduct your mortgage interest, property taxes, and profits from selling your home, but make sure to always check with your accountant first to find out which tax advantages apply to you in your area.
Homeownership allows you to lock in your monthly housing cost – When you purchase your home with a fixed-rate mortgage, you lock in your monthly housing cost for the next 5, 15, or 30 years. Interest rates have remained around 4% all year, marking some of the lowest rates in history. The value of your home will continue to rise with inflation, but your monthly costs will not.
Buying a home is cheaper than renting – According to the latest report from Trulia, it is now 37.4% less expensive to buy a home of your own than to rent in the US. That number varies throughout the country but ranges from 6% cheaper in San Jose, CA to 57% cheaper in Detroit, MI.
No other investment lets you live inside of it – You can choose to invest your money in gold or the stock market, but you will still need somewhere to live. In a home that you own, you can wake up every morning knowing that your investment is gaining value while providing you a safe place to live.
Before you sign another lease, let’s get together to help you better understand all your options.
Date posted: November 8, 2017 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on 5 Reasons Homeownership Makes ‘Cents’
Multigenerational homes are coming back in a big way! In the 1950s, about 21%, or 32.2 million Americans shared a roof with their grown children or parents. According to an article by Realtor.com, “Nearly 1 in 5 Americans is now living in a multigenerational household – a household with two or more adult generations, or grandparents living with grandchildren – a level that hasn’t been seen in the U.S. since 1950.”
Another report that proves this point is the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers which states that 13% of home buyers purchased multigenerational homes last year. The top 3 reasons for purchasing this type of home were:
To take care of aging parents (22%, up from 19% last year)
Cost savings (17%)
Children over the age of 18 moving back home (16%, up from 14% last year)
Valerie Sheets, Spokesperson for Lennar, points out that,
“Everyone is looking for the perfect home for any number of family situations, such as families who opt to take care of aging parents or grandparents at home, or millennials looking to live with their parents while they attend school or save for a down payment.”
For a long time, nuclear families (a couple and their dependent children) became the accepted norm, but John Graham, co-author of “Together Again: A Creative Guide to Successful Multigenerational Living,” says, “We’re getting back to the way human beings have always lived in – extended families.”
This shift can be attributed to several social changes over the decades. Growing racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S. population helps explain some of the rise in multigenerational living; “Data suggest that multigenerational living is more prevalent among Asian (28%), Hispanic (25%), and African-American (25%) families, while U.S. whites have fewer multigenerational homes (15%).”
Additionally, women are a bit more likely to live in multigenerational conditions than are their male counterparts (12% vs. 10%, respectively). Last but not least, basic economics.
Valerie Sheets brings to light the fact that home prices have been skyrocketing in recent years. She says that, “As home prices increase, more families tend to opt for living together.”
Multigenerational households are making a comeback. While it is a shift from the more common nuclear home, these households might be the answer that many families are looking for as home prices continue to rise in response to a lack of housing inventory.
Date posted: November 7, 2017 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Multigenerational Households May Be the Answer to Price Increases
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their latest Quarterly Metro Home Price Report last week. The report revealed that severely lacking inventory across the country drained sales growth and kept home prices rising at a steady clip in nearly all metro areas. Home prices rose 5.3% over the last quarter across all metros.
Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, discussed the impact of low inventory on buyers in the report:
“Unfortunately, the pace of new listings were unable to replace what was quickly sold. Home shoppers had little to choose from, and many had to outbid others in order to close on a home. The end result was a slowdown in sales from earlier in the year, steadfast price growth and weakening affordability conditions.”
What this means to sellers
Rising prices are a homeowner’s best friend. As reported by the Washington Post in a recent article post:
“The rise in median sales prices has made current homeowners much more willing to sell their home, and that willingness is one of the main drivers behind the inventory that does make it on to the market. While it hasn’t been enough to meet demand, it has made the situation much better, compared with even three or four years ago.”
What this means to buyers
In a market where prices are rising, buyers should take into account the cost of waiting. Obviously, they will pay more for the same house later this year or next year. However, as Construction Dive reported, the amount of cash needed to purchase that home will also increase.
“These factors have created a situation where the market keeps moving the goalposts in terms of the down payment necessary for first-time homebuyers to get into a home.”
If you’re thinking of selling and moving down, waiting might make sense. If you are a first-time buyer or a seller thinking of moving up, waiting probably doesn’t make sense.
Date posted: November 6, 2017 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Low Inventory Causes Home Prices to Maintain Fast Growth
Each year, most homeowners wait until the spring to sell their houses because they believe that they can get a better deal during the normal spring buyer’s market. However, recently releaseddata suggests that a seller’s best deal may be available right now. The concept of ‘supply & demand’ reveals that the best price for an item will be realized when the supply of that item is low and the demand for that item is high. Let’s see how this applies to the current residential real estate market.
It is no secret that the supply of homes for sale has been far below the number needed for over a year. A normal market requires six months of housing inventory to meet the demand. The latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that there is currently only a 4.2-month supply.
Supply is currently very low!!
A report that was just released tells us that demand is very strong. The most recent Foot Traffic Report (which sheds light on the number of buyers out looking at homes) disclosed that there are more buyers right now than at any other time in the last twelve months. This includes more buyers looking at homes right now than at any time during last year’s spring market.
Demand is currently very high!!
Waiting until the spring to list your house for sale made sense in the past. This year is different. The best deal is probably available right now.
Date posted: November 2, 2017 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Why Sell Now Instead of Later? The Buyers are Out Now
Knowing your credit score or getting a recent copy of your credit report is one of the first steps that you can take toward knowing how ready you are to start the home buying process.
Make sure all the information listed on your report is accurate and work to correct any mistakes. The higher your credit score, the more likely you will be to receive a better interest rate for your mortgage, which will translate into more ‘home for your money.’
Many potential buyers believe that they need a 750 FICO® Score or higher to be able to purchase a home. The truth is that according to Ellie Mae’s Origination Report, over 53% of loans were approved with a FICO® score under 750 last month!
Here are some tips for improving your credit score:
Make payments, including rent, credit cards, and car loans, on time.
Keep your spending to no more than 30% of your limit on credit cards.
Pay down high-balance credit cards to lower balances, and consider balance transfers to free up credit.
Check for errors on your credit report and work toward fixing them.
Shop for mortgage rates within a 30-day period — too many spread-out inquiries can lower your score.
Work with a credit counselor or a lender to improve your score.
Once you know your score, your next step will be finding a lender and getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Doing this will ensure that you know your budget before you start looking for your dream home.
Date posted: November 1, 2017 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Thinking About Buying? Know Your Credit Score
A considerable number of potential buyers shy away from jumping into the real estate market due to their uncertainty about the buying process. A specific cause for concern tends to be mortgage qualification.
For many, the mortgage process can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be!
In order to qualify in today’s market, you’ll need to have saved for a down payment (73% of all buyers made a down payment of less than 20%, with many buyers putting down 3% or less), a stable income and good credit history.
Throughout the entire home buying process, you will interact with many different professionals, all of whom perform necessary roles. These professionals are also valuable resources for you.
Once you’re ready to apply, here are 5 easy steps that Freddie Mac suggests you follow:
Find out your current credit history & score – even if you don’t have perfect credit, you may already qualify for a loan. The average FICO® Score of all closed loans in September was 724, according to Ellie Mae.
Start gathering all your documentation – income verification (such as W-2 forms or tax returns), credit history, and assets (such as bank statements to verify your savings).
Contact a professional – your real estate agent will be able to recommend a loan officer that can help you develop a spending plan, as well as determine how much home you can afford.
Consult with your lender – he or she will review your income, expenses, and financial goals to determine the type and amount of mortgage you qualify for.
Talk to your lender about pre-approval – a pre-approval letter provides an estimate of what you might be able to borrow (provided your financial status doesn’t change), and demonstrates to home sellers that you are serious about buying!
Do your research, reach out to professionals, stick to your budget, and be sure that you are ready to take on the financial responsibilities of becoming a homeowner.
Date posted: October 31, 2017 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Don’t Let Fear Stop You from Applying for a Mortgage