There has been tremendous volatility in certain markets over the last few weeks (for example, the stock and currency markets). When this happens, some tend to lump all of their investments together and create an almost ‘Armageddon’ scenario where everything loses value quickly and dramatically. Real estate is an investment that can get caught up in this hysteria. Does the concern about the current housing market have merit?
Financial advisors have been warning us for months that the stock market was ripe for a “correction.”
Experts have been questioning the value of alternative currencies for over a year.
In contrast, here are the opinions of three major players in the residential housing market:
“It’s premature to worry about a housing bubble. The typical warning signs – excessive debt levels, poor quality loans, exponentially increasing home prices, rising vacancy rates and/or poor affordability compared to the past, and a high number of internet searches on house flipping – are not present.”
“My thoughts on many recent discussions of ‘housing bubble’ – the bar for a housing bubble is higher than just prices being above some fundamental value. There must be widespread behavior change as well such as higher levels of fraud and speculation.”
“US home prices are on track for a 5% nominal gain for the 4th consecutive year, returning national prices to their highest level since 2007. The growth has been driven by historically low mortgage rates and unemployment plus solid population and personal income growth rates…a meaningful correction should only be triggered by an unexpected economic shock.”
Speculation has driven certain markets over the last year. However, it has not been speculation, but instead people’s desire for homeownership, that has driven the real estate market.
Date posted: February 15, 2018 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Calm Down! The Real Estate Market is NOT Falling Apart
According to the National Association of REALTORS most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, married couples once again dominated the first-time homebuyer statistics in 2017 at 57% of all buyers. It is no surprise that having two incomes to save for down payments and contribute to monthly housing costs makes buying a home more attainable.
But, many couples are also deciding to buy a home before spending what would be a down payment on a wedding, as unmarried couples made up 16% of all first-time buyers last year.
If you’re single, don’t fret! Single women made up 18% of first-time buyers in 2017, while single men accounted for 7% of buyers. A recent report pointed to a sense of responsibility and commitment that drives many single women to want to own their own homes rather than rent someone else’s.
Here is the breakdown of all first-time homebuyers in 2017 by percentage of all buyers, income, and age:
You may not be that much different than those who have already purchased their first homes. Let’s get together to determine if your dream home is already within your grasp!
Date posted: February 14, 2018 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Which Comes First… Marriage or Mortgage?
According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, prices appreciated by 6.9% year-over-year from December 2016 to December 2017 on a national level. This marks the fifth month in a row with at least a 6.9% increase.
Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, gave insight into the reason behind the large appreciation,
“The number of homes for sale has remained very low. Job growth lowered the unemployment rate to 4.1 percent by year’s end, the lowest level in 17 years. Rising income and consumer confidence has increased the number of prospective homebuyers. The net result of rising demand and limited for-sale inventory is a continued appreciation in home prices.”
This is great news for homeowners who have gained nearly $15,000 in equity (on average) in their homes over the last year! Those homeowners who had been on the fence as to whether or not to sell will be pleasantly surprised to find out that they now have an even larger profit to help cover a down payment on their dream homes.
As we near the traditionally busy spring buyers season, there is still hope for buyers as mortgage rates remain low compared to recent decades. The report also predicted that home price appreciation will slow slightly, rising by 4.3% by this time next year.
If you are looking to enter the housing market, as either a buyer or a seller, let’s get together to go over exactly what’s going on in our neighborhood and discuss your options!
Date posted: February 13, 2018 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Low Inventory Pushes Home Prices Higher
The price of any item (including residential real estate) is determined by ‘supply and demand.’ If many people are looking to buy an item and the supply of that item is limited, the price of that item increases.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the supply of homes for sale dramatically increases every spring. As an example, here is what happened to housing inventory at the beginning of 2017:
Putting your home on the market now instead of waiting for increased competition in the spring might make a lot of sense.
Buyers in the market during the winter months are truly motivated purchasers. They want to buy now. With limited inventory currently available in most markets, sellers are in a great position to negotiate.
Date posted: February 12, 2018 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on The #1 Reason to Sell Now Before Spring
The famous quote by Mark Twain in the title of this article can be used to describe homeownership in America today. Last week, the Censusrevealed that the percentage of homeowners in the country increased for the first time in thirteen years.
A story in the Wall Street Journal gave these new homeownership numbers some context:
“The annual increase marks a crucial turning point because it comes after the federal government reined in bubble-era policies that encouraged banks to ease lending standards to boost homeownership. This time, what’s driving the market is a shift in favor of owning rather than renting.
‘This is market, market and market…There’s no government incentive program in sight that is having this effect,’ said Susan Wachter, a professor of real estate and finance at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, ‘This is back to basics.’”
In a separate report comparing the rental population in America to the homeowner population, RentCafé also concluded that the gap is now shrinking.
“Undoubtedly, the recession had a great impact on homeownership…However, it looks like it takes more to discourage Americans from buying a house than that.
As the years go by, it seems more and more certain that the fact that renting has seen a sudden gain in popularity is more a reaction to the economic crisis than a paradigm shift in the Americans’ attitude toward housing.”
America’s belief in homeownership was also evidenced in a recent survey by Pew Research. They asked consumers “How important is homeownership to achieving the American Dream?”
43% said homeownership was essential to the American Dream
48% said homeownership was important to the American Dream
Only 9% said it was not important
Homeownership has been, is and will always be a crucial element of the American Dream.
*Pictured Above – Mark Twain’s home in Hartford, Connecticut.
Date posted: February 8, 2018 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Homeownership: “The Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated”
The interest rate you pay on your home mortgage has a direct impact on your monthly payment. The higher the rate the greater the payment will be. That is why it is important to know where rates are headed when deciding to start your home search.
In a CNBC article, self-made millionaire David Bach explained that: “The biggest mistake millennials are making is not buying their first home.” He goes on to say that, “If you want to build real financial security, real wealth for your lifetime, then you need to buy a home.”
Bach went on to explain:
“Homeowners are worth 40 times more than renters. Now, that first home doesn’t need to be a dream home, it can be a very small home. You might literally have to buy a small studio apartment, but that’s how you get started.”
Then he explains the secret in order to buy that home!
“Don’t do a 30-year mortgage. You want to take that 30-year mortgage and instead pay it off early, do a 15-year mortgage. What happens if you do a 15-year mortgage? Well, one, you pay the mortgage off 15-years sooner, that means you’ll be able to retire in your fifties. Number two, you’ll save a fortune (on potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest payments).”
What will it cost to pay your mortgage in fifteen years? He explains further:
“For fifteen years, you got to brownbag your lunch. Think about that! Brownbag your lunch literally for fifteen years. You can retire ten years sooner than your friends. You’ll have real wealth, because you bought a home – you’re not a renter. And you’ll be financially secure for life.”
Whenever a well-respected millionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This millionaire gave simple advice – if you don’t yet live in your own home, go buy one.
Who is David Bach?
Bach is a self-made millionaire who has written nine consecutive New York Times bestsellers. His book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” spent 31 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He is one of the only business authors in history to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and USA Today bestseller lists.
He has been a contributor to NBC’s Today Show, appearing more than 100 times, as well as a regular on ABC, CBS, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Yahoo, The View, and PBS. He has also been profiled in many major publications, including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, USA Today, People, Reader’s Digest, Time, Financial Times, Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Working Woman, Glamour, Family Circle, Redbook, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Investors’ Business Daily, and Forbes.
Date posted: February 6, 2018 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Millionaire to Millennials: Don’t Rent a Home… Buy!
There are some people who have not purchased homes because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize, however, that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.
As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business, explained in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich”:
“While renting on a temporary basis isn’t terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you’re serious about your finances. It won’t make you rich overnight, but by renting, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage. In effect, you’re making someone else rich.”
Christina Boyle, Senior Vice President and head of the Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management organization at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage as opposed to paying rent:
“With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.”
As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ which allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person building that equity.
Interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. Freddie Mac’s latest report shows that rates across the country were at 4.22% last week.
Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.
Date posted: February 5, 2018 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Whether You Rent or Buy, Either Way You’re Paying a Mortgage!
Just like with any product or service, the law of supply and demand impacts home prices. Any time that there is less supply than the market demands, prices increase.
In many areas of the country, the supply of homes for sale in the starter and trade-up home markets is so low that bidding wars have ensued, and the busy spring-buying season is just around the corner.
CoreLogic recently conducted an analysis on national home prices at the time of sale for their January 2018 MarketPulse Report and found that a third of homes sold for at least list price.
“The share selling above list price was almost three times the trough in January 2008 and represented more than one-fifth of total sales.”
Many markets in the western part of the country and around major cities are experiencing higher shares of homes selling above list price.
“San Francisco had the largest share of homes—76 percent—that sold for at least the list price, and Seattle and Los Angeles followed with 63 and 51 percent, respectively. Miami had the lowest share—16 percent—of homes selling at or above the list price.”
Increased demand during the spring and summer months, the traditionally busier seasons for real estate, will no doubt influence how many homes continue to sell over list price.
This should not be seen by sellers as permission to overprice their homes, though. Buyers are becoming more and more educated, especially those who have been searching for their dream homes for a while now while waiting for new inventory to come to market.
Realtor.com gives this advice:
“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”
Without a large wave of new listings coming to market, buyers will continue competing with each other for the homes that are available. If you are thinking of selling your home, now may be the time to do so before more competition comes this spring. Let’s get together to determine the demand for your house in our area.
Date posted: February 1, 2018 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Bidding Wars Abound… How Long Will They Continue?
When it comes to talking about millennials, there are many stereotypes out there that have influenced the way the public feels about the generation. Whether it’s the assumption that millennials are irresponsible with money and would rather buy avocado toast than save for a down payment, or that millennials jump from job to job, the majority of these stereotypes paint the generation in a negative light.
“Millennials deserve more credit – both from themselves and from others – for their mindfulness when it comes to money and their lives.”
Here are some key takeaways from the study proving that millennials deserve more credit for what they are already doing:
63% are saving – (47% have $15,000 or more in savings)
54% are budgeting – (73% who have a budget stick to it every month)
57% have a savings goal – (67% who have a goal stick to it every month)
46% have asked for a raise in the past 2 years – (80% who asked for a raise got one)
59% feel financially secure – (16% have $100,000 or more in savings)
Many have wondered if millennials even want to own their own homes or if they would choose to rent instead. Well, not only do they want to own their own homes, but many already do and are looking to trade up! A recent study by realtor.com shows that 49% of Americans who plan to sell their home in the next 12 months are millennials!
Danielle Hale, realtor.com’s Chief Economist, gave some insight into why millennials are looking to sell,
“The housing shortage forced many first-time homebuyers to consider smaller homes and condos as a way to literally get their foot in the door. Our survey data reveals that we may see more of these homes hitting the market in the next year.”
Not every millennial fits into the stereotypes that are so prominent in our society. Those who have risen above the stereotype are ready and willing to buy a home of their own, and many others already have!
Date posted: January 31, 2018 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Study Shows “Millennials Deserve More Credit”
Urban Institute recently released a report entitled, “Barriers to Accessing Homeownership,” which revealed that “eighty percent of consumers either are unaware of how much lenders require for a down payment or believe all lenders require a down payment above 5 percent.”
Myth #1: “I Need a 20% Down Payment”
Buyers often overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the same report:
“Consumers are often unaware of the option to take out low-down-payment mortgages. Only 19% of consumers believe lenders would make loans with a down payment of 5% or less… While 15% believe lenders require a 20% down payment, and 30% believe lenders expect a 20% down payment.”
These numbers do not differ much between non-owners and homeowners; 39% of non-owners believe they need more than 20% for a down payment and 30% of homeowners believe they need more than 20% for a down payment.
While many believe that they need at least 20% down to buy their dream home, they do not realize that programs are available that allow them to put down as little as 3%. Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.
Myth #2: “I Need a 780 FICO® Score or Higher to Buy”
Similar to the down payment, many either don’t know or are misinformed about what FICO® score is necessary to qualify.
Many Americans believe a ‘good’ credit score is 780 or higher.
To help debunk this myth, let’s take a look at Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insight Report, which focuses on recently closed (approved) loans.
As you can see in the chart above, 53.5% of approved mortgages had a credit score of 600-749.
Whether buying your first home or moving up to your dream home, knowing your options will make the mortgage process easier. Your dream home may already be within your reach.
Date posted: January 30, 2018 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on 2 Major Myths Holding Back Home Buyers
“The majority of millennials said they consider owning a home more sensible than renting for both financial and lifestyle reasons — including control of living space, flexibility in future decisions, privacy and security, and living in a nice home.”
The top reason millennials choose to buy is to have control over their living space, at 93%.
Many millennials who rent a home or apartment prior to buying their own homes dream of the day when they will be able to paint the walls whatever color they’d like, or renovate an outdated part of their living space.
Date posted: January 26, 2018 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on 5 Reasons Millennials Choose to Buy [INFOGRAPHIC]
“America’s housing market is gearing up for a robust year ahead. Builders are more optimistic, demand is strong and lean inventory is keeping prices elevated.”
And the National Association of Realtorsrevealed that buyer traffic is stronger this winter than it was during the spring buying season last year.
The only challenge to the market is a severe lack of inventory. A balanced market would have a full six-month supply of homes for sale. Currently, there is less than a four-month supply of inventory. This represents a decrease in supply of 9.7% from the same time last year.
With demand increasing and supply dropping, this may be the perfect time to get the best price for your home. Let’s get together to see whether that is the case in your neighborhood.
Date posted: January 25, 2018 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on If You’re Considering Selling, ACT NOW!!
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 4% or more over the next twelve months. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal.
When 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 Loansmeasures the disparity between what a homeowner who is seeking to refinance their home believes their house is worth and what an appraiser’s evaluation of that same home is.
In the latest release, the disparity was the narrowest it has been in over two years, as the gap between appraisers and homeowners was only -0.5%. This is important for homeowners to note as even a .5% difference in appraisal can mean thousands of dollars that a buyer or seller would have to come up with at closing (depending on the price of the home)
The chart below illustrates the changes in home price estimates over the last two years.
Bill Banfield, Executive VP of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans urges homeowners to find out how their local markets have been impacted by supply and demand:
“Appraisers and real estate professionals evaluate their local housing markets daily. Homeowners, on the other hand, may only think about their housing market when they see ‘for sale’ signs hit front yards in the spring or when they think about accessing their equity.”
“With several years of growth, owners may have more equity than they realize. Many consumers use the tax season at the beginning of the year to reevaluate their entire financial life. It also provides a good opportunity for them to consider how best to take advantage of their equity while mortgage interest rates and borrowing costs are still near record lows.”
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: January 24, 2018 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Gap Between Homeowners & Appraisers Narrows to Lowest Mark in 2 Years
Many people wonder whether they should hire a real estate professional to assist them in buying their dream homes or if they should first try to go through the buying process on their own. In today’s market: you need an experienced professional!
You Need an Expert Guide If You Are Traveling a Dangerous Path
The field of real estate is loaded with landmines; you need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a home that is priced appropriately and is ready for you to move into can be tricky. An agent listens to your wants and needs, and can sift through the homes that do not fit within the parameters of your “dream home.”
A great agent will also have relationships with mortgage professionals and other experts that you will need in order to secure your dream home.
You Need a Skilled Negotiator
In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.
Realize that when an agent is negotiating his or her commission with you, they are negotiating their own salary; the salary that keeps a roof over their family’s head; the salary that puts food on their family’s table. If they are quick to take less when negotiating for themselves and their families, what makes you think they will not act the same way when negotiating for you and your family?
If they were Clark Kent when negotiating with you, they will not turn into Superman when negotiating with the buyer or seller in your deal.
Famous sayings become famous because they are true. You get what you pay for. Just like a good accountant or a good attorney, a good agent will save you money…not cost you money.
Date posted: January 23, 2018 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Why You Need a Professional on Your Team When Buying a Home
According to ATTOM Data Solutions’ 2018 Rental Affordability Report, “buying a median-priced home is more affordable than renting a three-bedroom property in 240 of 447 [or 54% of] U.S. counties analyzed for the report.”
For the report, ATTOM Data Solutions compared recently released fair market rent data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development with reported income amounts from the Department of Labor and Statistics to determine the percentage of income that a family would have to spend on their monthly housing cost (rent or mortgage payments).
Daren Blomquist, Senior Vice President of ATTOM Data Solutions had this to say:
“Although buying is still more affordable than renting in the majority of U.S. housing markets, the majority is shrinking as home price appreciation continues to outpace rental growth in most areas.”
However, the report also shows that the average fair market rent rose faster than average weekly wages in 60% of the counties analyzed in the report (266 of 447 counties). With rents rising, many renters should consider buying a home soon.
Rents will continue to rise, and mortgage interest rates are still at historic lows. Before you sign or renew your next lease, let’s get together to help you determine if you are able to buy a home of your own and lock in your monthly housing expense.
Date posted: January 22, 2018 | Author: simplify | Comments Off on Buying A Home Is More Affordable Than Renting In 54% Of US Counties