THE BULLS vs THE BEARS
The economy is currently experiencing the longest recovery in our nation’s history. The stock market has hit record highs, while unemployment rates are at record lows. Home price appreciation is beginning to reaccelerate. This begs the question: How long can this economic recovery last?
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Survey of Economists recently called for an economic slowdown (recession) in the near future. The most recent survey, however, now shows the economists are pushing that timetable back. When asked when they expect a recession to start, 42.5% of the economists in the previous survey projected between now and the end of 2020. The most recent survey showed that percentage drop to 34.2%. Here are the most current results:Like the economists surveyed by the WSJ, most experts are still predicting a recession will likely occur sometime in the next few years. However, many are pushing back the date for the economic slowdown.
Real estate is impacted by the economy (and the consumer’s belief in the strength of the economy). The fact that most economic experts are calling for the recovery to continue through 2020 means the housing market will also remain strong for the foreseeable future.
Inventory on the market today is low, especially among existing homes in the entry and middle-level tiers of the market. It is hovering well below the 6-month supply typically found in a more normal market, as shown in the graph below:With inventory being one of the biggest housing market challenges today, finding a starter home right now isn’t easy. According to the Q3 Housing Trends Report from the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), 68% of those searching for a home think their search will get harder or stay about the same over the next 12 months.
The same study reveals,
“In Qtr3’19, buyers actively engaged in the process of buying a home are more likely to have spent at least 3 months searching (58%) than a year earlier (55%).”
This is certainly no surprise, given the current inventory status. So, what’s the good news? The NAHB continues to say,
“If still unable to find a home in the next few months, the next step for most long-time searchers is to continue looking for the ‘right’ home in the same preferred location (52%). The next step for 35% is to expand their search area and for 16% is to accept a smaller/older home. Only 15% will give up looking.”
If you’re thinking of selling your home, buyer demand is high – and those looking in your neighborhood aren’t planning on giving up anytime soon. The majority of potential buyers who are still searching for their dream home are eager, willing, and ready to buy, so maybe it’s time to list your house and make your move.
With buyer demand as high as it is today, and inventory in the entry and middle-tier markets remaining low, it’s never been a better time to move up. Let’s get together to determine if now is your time to sell.
Success is something often worth repeating, and Brent Sutherland, a Certified Financial Planner and Real Estate Investor, has certainly made his way in a momentum-driving direction. Here are 3 tips he shares from a recent piece in Business Insider on the benefits of owning real estate:
"While it is certainly important to be properly diversified with your investments, it is even more important to be diversified with your income. This is because the largest financial risk for most of you is the loss of your primary source of income, which is typically in the form of a day job."
The article highlights how having multiple sources of income, such as those derived from real estate investments, can eventually lead to relying less and less on a day job. Sound dreamy? It can be. When done well, real estate investments may eventually open up your time and the financial freedom to explore other things, like travel and other aspirations you may have for the future, particularly in the golden years of retirement.
"You can achieve and feel the results almost immediately. Property improvements are visible and tangible. You can cash, spend, and invest rent payments. Today! Not 30 years in the future."
Currently, home prices are appreciating in all price ranges, and just last week CoreLogic announced their 12-month home value projection at 5.6%, an increase from 4.5% noted earlier this summer. With that in mind, real estate today is definitely driving immediate results!
"If you need $40,000 a year to live, you could alternatively invest in assets that generate an 8% cash-on-cash return. This is a very reasonable assumption. And it means you would only need to save a total of $500,000 (instead of $1 million). Yet, your investments would still meet your annual household living needs.While returns, taxes, and inflation can, of course, affect your timeline, cash-flowing real-estate is a clear asset.”
"If you need $40,000 a year to live, you could alternatively invest in assets that generate an 8% cash-on-cash return. This is a very reasonable assumption. And it means you would only need to save a total of $500,000 (instead of $1 million). Yet, your investments would still meet your annual household living needs.
While returns, taxes, and inflation can, of course, affect your timeline, cash-flowing real-estate is a clear asset.”
Homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you’re contributing to your net worth by increasing the equity in your home, bringing you one step closer to true financial independence.
If you want to increase your savings and overall net worth, real estate is a great way to go. To learn how you can make it happen, let’s get together to discuss the process.
Sutherland was 35 when he bought his first single home to rent out for income, less than five years later, he owns eight additional properties and part of a commercial real estate project.
Home buying activity (demand) is up, and the number of available listings (supply) is down. When demand outpaces supply, prices appreciate. That’s why firms are beginning to increase their projections for home price appreciation going forward. As an example, CoreLogic increased their 12-month projection for home values from 4.5% to 5.6% over the last few months.
The reacceleration of home values will cause some to again voice concerns about affordability. Just last week, however, First American came out with a data analysis that explains how price is not the only market factor that impacts affordability. They studied prices, mortgage rates, and wages from January through August of this year. Here are their findings:
“In January 2019, a family with the median household income in the U.S. could afford to buy a $373,900 house. By August, that home had appreciated to $395,000, an increase of $21,100.”
“The 0.85 percentage point drop in mortgage rates from January 2019 through August 2019 increased affordability by 9.7%. That translates to a $40,200 improvement in house-buying power in just eight months.”
“As rates have fallen in 2019, the economy has continued to perform well also, resulting in a tight labor market and wage growth. Wage growth pushes household incomes upward, which were 1.5% higher in August compared with January. The growth in household income increased consumer house-buying power by 1.5%, pushing house-buying power up an additional $5,600.”
When all three market factors are combined, purchasing power increased by $24,500, thus making home buying more affordable, not less affordable. Here is a table that simply shows the data:
In the article, Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, explained it best:
“Focusing on nominal house price changes alone as an indication of changing affordability, or even the relationship between nominal house price growth and income growth, overlooks what matters more to potential buyers – surging house-buying power driven by the dynamic duo of mortgage rates and income growth. And, we all know from experience, you buy what you can afford to pay per month.”
Congratulations! You’ve found a home to buy and have applied for a mortgage! You're undoubtedly excited about the opportunity to decorate your new home, but before you make any large purchases, move your money around, or make any big-time life changes, consult your loan officer – someone who will be able to tell you how your decisions will impact your home loan.
Below is a list of Things You Shouldn’t Do After Applying for a Mortgage. Some may seem obvious, but some may not.
1. Don’t Change Jobs or the Way You Are Paid at Your Job. Your loan officer must be able to track the source and amount of your annual income. If possible, you’ll want to avoid changing from salary to commission or becoming self-employed during this time as well.
2. Don’t Deposit Cash into Your Bank Accounts. Lenders need to source your money, and cash is not really traceable. Before you deposit any amount of cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer.
3. Don’t Make Any Large Purchases Like a New Car or Furniture for Your New Home. New debt comes with it, including new monthly obligations. New obligations create new qualifications. People with new debt have higher debt to income ratios…higher ratios make for riskier loans…and sometimes qualified borrowers no longer qualify.
4. Don’t Co-Sign Other Loans for Anyone. When you co-sign, you are obligated. As we mentioned, with that obligation comes higher ratios as well. Even if you swear you will not be the one making the payments, your lender will have to count the payments against you.
5. Don’t Change Bank Accounts. Remember, lenders need to source and track assets. That task is significantly easier when there is consistency among your accounts. Before you even transfer any money, talk to your loan officer.
6. Don’t Apply for New Credit. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new credit card or a new car. When you have your credit report run by organizations in multiple financial channels (mortgage, credit card, auto, etc.), your FICO® score will be affected. Lower credit scores can determine your interest rate and maybe even your eligibility for approval.
7. Don’t Close Any Credit Accounts. Many clients erroneously believe that having less available credit makes them less risky and more likely to be approved. Wrong. A major component of your score is your length and depth of credit history (as opposed to just your payment history) and your total usage of credit as a percentage of available credit. Closing accounts has a negative impact on both of those determinants in your score.
Any blip in income, assets, or credit should be reviewed and executed in a way that ensures your home loan can still be approved. The best advice is to fully disclose and discuss your plans with your loan officer before you do anything financial in nature. They are there to guide you through the process.
With the current uncertainty about the economy triggered by a potential trade war, some people are waiting to purchase their first home or move-up to their dream house because they think or hope home prices will drop over the next few years. However, the experts disagree with this perspective.
Here is a table showing the predicted levels of appreciation from six major housing sources:As we can see, every source believes home prices will continue to appreciate (albeit at lower levels than we have seen over the last several years). But, not one source is calling for residential real estate values to depreciate.
Additionally, ARCH Mortgage Insurance Company in their current Housing and Mortgage Market Review revealed their latest ARCH Risk Index, which estimates the probability of home prices being lower in two years. There was not one state that even had a moderate probability of home prices lowering. In fact, 34 of the 50 states had a minimal probability.
Those waiting for prices to fall before purchasing a home should realize that the probability of that happening anytime soon is very low. With mortgage rates already at near historic lows, now may be the time to act.
In a recent article by Realtor Magazine, Mark Fleming, Chief Economist of First American Financial Corporation, notes,
“The largest group of millennials by birth year will turn 30 in 2020, which puts them entering their prime homebuying years”.
The article continues to describe how millennials have more buying-power than the generations that preceded them, making their interest in embracing homeownership stronger than ever,
“Millennials—the most educated generation—have the highest incomes across their generational cohorts, even when salaries are adjusted for inflation.”
This combination of power and desire has the potential to drive positive growth in the homeownership rate heading into the near future. According to Fleming,
‘“The gap between the potential and actual homeownership in 2018 narrowed slightly as the growth in homeownership modestly exceeded the increase in potential demand,” he says, citing First American’s Homeownership Progress Index.“We expect the homeownership rate to further close the gap with potential in the years ahead as millennials continue to make important decisions, such as attaining an education and, later in life, getting married and having children.”’
‘“The gap between the potential and actual homeownership in 2018 narrowed slightly as the growth in homeownership modestly exceeded the increase in potential demand,” he says, citing First American’s Homeownership Progress Index.
“We expect the homeownership rate to further close the gap with potential in the years ahead as millennials continue to make important decisions, such as attaining an education and, later in life, getting married and having children.”’
That said, the shortage of sellable inventory in the entry and mid-range levels that’s attractive to potential millennial buyers may be a contributing factor as to why many millennials haven’t yet purchased a home. According to another recent report citing Frank Martell, President and CEO of CoreLogic,
“Lower rates are certainly making it more affordable to buy homes and millennial buyers are entering the market with increasing force. These positive demand drivers, which are occurring against a backdrop of persistent shortages in housing stock, are the major drivers for higher home prices, which will likely continue to rise for the foreseeable future.”
With millennials aging-up into mortgage-ready and home-buying territory, along with their strong buying interest and buying power, this generation is poised and ready to have positive impact on homeownership rates across the country. Many of them just need to find a home they're excited to buy in this competitive end of the market.
If you’re thinking of selling, let’s connect and determine if now is a great time for you to list your house and move-up. More millennials are getting ready to jump into the market and join the ranks of homeownership, so demand for homes in the starter and mid-level range will continue to be strong.
When buying a home, taxes are one of the expenses that can make a significant difference in your monthly payment. Do you know how much you might pay for property taxes in your state or local area?
When applying for a mortgage, you’ll see one of two acronyms in your paperwork – P&I or PITI – depending on how you’re including your taxes in your mortgage payment.
P&I stands for Principal and Interest, and both are parts of your monthly mortgage payment that go toward paying off the loan you borrow. PITI stands for Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance, and they’re all important factors to calculate when you want to determine exactly what the cost of your new home will be.
TaxRates.org defines property taxes as,
“A municipal tax levied by counties, cities, or special tax districts on most types of real estate - including homes, businesses, and parcels of land. The amount of property tax owed depends on the appraised fair market value of the property, as determined by the property tax assessor.”
This organization also provides a map showing annual property taxes by state (including the District of Columbia), from lowest to highest, as a percentage of median home value.The top 5 states with the highest median property taxes are New Jersey, New Hampshire, Texas, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. The states with the lowest median property taxes are Louisiana, Hawaii, Alabama, and Delaware, followed by the District of Columbia.
Depending on where you live, property taxes can have a big impact on your monthly payment. To make sure your estimated taxes will fall within your desired budget, let’s get together today to determine how the neighborhood or area you choose can make a difference in your overall costs when buying a home.
Below are 5 compelling reasons listing your home for sale this fall makes sense.
The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing, and able to purchase…and are in the market right now. More often than not, in many areas of the country, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy the same home.
Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.
Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal market. This means that in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers.
Historically, a homeowner would stay an average of six years in his or her home. Since 2011, that number has hovered between nine and ten years. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years due to a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners will be given the freedom to move.
Many homeowners were reluctant to list their homes over the last couple years, for fear that they would not find a home to move to. That is all changing now as more homes come to market at the higher end. The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until additional inventory comes to market before you decide to sell.
Today’s competitive environment has forced buyers to do all they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. This makes the entire selling process much faster and simpler, as buyers know exactly what they can afford before shopping for a home. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the time needed to close a loan is 43 days.
If your next move will be into a premium or luxury home, now is the time to move up. There is currently ample inventory for sale at higher price ranges. This means if you're planning on selling a starter or trade-up home and moving into your dream home, you’ll be able to do that in the luxury or premium market.
According to CoreLogic, prices are projected to appreciate by 5.2% over the next year. If you’re moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage) if you wait.
Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?
Only you know the answers to these questions. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.
That is what is truly important.
As a homeowner, it’s always tempting to dream about the next big project you’re going to tackle. The possibilities are endless. Should I renovate? Should I refinance? Should I stay? Should I move? The list goes on and on.
In today’s housing market, it’s actually a great time to shift your thoughts toward selling your house and moving up into the home of your dreams. Here’s why:
Inventory is on the rise, but there’s still an overall shortage of houses for sale (less than a 6-month supply found in a more normal market), so homes are going under contract quickly. In fact, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Realtors® Confidence Index Survey reports that right now homes are only staying on the market for an average of 27 days. That’s less than one month, an even more accelerated pace from the 36-day trend we saw last spring.The same report also indicates there are more interested buyers than active sellers today, which is one of the big factors driving home prices higher.This power combination provides an ideal environment for sellers aiming to close a quick sale and earn a big return as we wrap up the summer season.
There’s still time to make a move before the school year starts and the fall weather sets in. Maybe it’s time to make a change. Let’s get together to determine if selling now is the right decision for your family.
The current housing landscape presents greater home values, low interest rates, and high buyer demand. All of these factors point to the strong market forecasted to continue throughout the rest of the year.
There is, however, one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: an overall lack of housing inventory. Buyer demand naturally increases during the summer months, but the current supply is not keeping up.
Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at National Association of Realtors
“Imbalance persists for mid-to-lower priced homes with solid demand and insufficient supply, which is consequently pushing up home prices.”
Mark Fleming, Chief Economist of First American
“Market conditions are ripe for increasing home sales with one glaring exception. The supply of homes for sale remains tight, keeping existing home sales below potential.”
Danielle Hale, Chief Economist of Realtor.com
“We're not seeing as many new listings come up on the market…It was only 18 months ago that the number of homes for sale hit its lowest level in recorded history and sparked the fiercest competition among buyers we've ever seen.”
If you’re thinking of selling, now may be the time. Demand for your house will be strong during a period when there is very little competition, ideally leading to a quick sale and a great return on your investment.
Whether you are a first-time buyer or looking to move up to the home of your dreams, now is a great time to purchase a home. Here are three major reasons to buy today.
Many people focus solely on price when talking about home affordability. Since home prices have appreciated throughout the past year, they assume homes are less affordable. However, affordability is determined by three components:
Prices are up, but so are wages - and interest rates have recently dropped dramatically (see #2 below). As a result, the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Affordability Index report revealed that homes are MORE affordable throughout the country today than they were a year ago.
“All four regions saw an increase in affordability from a year ago. The South had the biggest gain in affordability of 6.9%, followed by the West with a gain of 6.0%. The Midwest had an increase of 5.8%, followed by the Northeast with the smallest gain of 1.8%.”
Mortgage rates have dropped almost a full point after heading toward 5% last fall and early winter. Currently, they are below 4%.Additionally, Fannie Mae recently predicted the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage will be 3.7% in the second half of 2019. That compares to a 4.4% average rate in the first quarter and 4% in the second quarter.
With mortgage rates remaining near historic lows, Fannie Mae and others have increased their forecasts for housing appreciation for the rest of the year. If home price gains are about to re-accelerate, buying now rather than later makes financial sense.
Homeownership has always been recognized as a sensational way to build long-term family wealth. A new report by ATTOM Data Solutions reveals:
“U.S. homeowners who sold in the second quarter of 2019 realized an average home price gain since purchase of $67,500, up from an average gain of $57,706 in Q1 2019 and up from an average gain of $60,100 in Q2 2018. The average home seller gain of $67,500 in Q2 2019 represented an average 33.9 percent return as a percentage of original purchase price.”
The longer you delay purchasing a home, the longer you are waiting to put the power of home equity to work for you.
With affordability increasing, mortgage rates decreasing, and home values about to re-accelerate, it may be time to make a move. Let’s get together to determine if buying now makes sense for your family.
Shifting trends and industry-leading research are pointing toward some valuable projections about the status of the housing market for the rest of the year.
If you’re thinking of buying or selling, or if you just want to know what experts are saying is on the horizon, here are the top three things to put on your radar as we head into the coming months:
“An interesting thing is the widespread assumption that the next recession will be as bad as 2008. Natural to think that way, but, statistically, highly unlikely. Could be over before you realized it began.”
In fact, during 3 of the 5 last U.S. recessions, housing prices actually appreciated:
With prices appreciating and low interest rates available, it’s a perfect time to buy or sell a home. Let’s get together to discuss how you can take the next step in the exciting journey of homeownership.
We’re halfway through the year, and with a decline in interest rates as well as home price and wage appreciation, many are wondering what the experts predict for the second half of 2019.
Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com
“Lower mortgage rates, higher wages and more homes for sale have helped counteract rising home prices, and ultimately, made it so that buyers are able to afford more than last year.”“Our outlook implies 4% growth for the remaining months of the year, predicated on…more supply than last year, the decline in mortgage rates, moderating home price appreciation and improving affordability.”
“Lower mortgage rates, higher wages and more homes for sale have helped counteract rising home prices, and ultimately, made it so that buyers are able to afford more than last year.”
“Our outlook implies 4% growth for the remaining months of the year, predicated on…more supply than last year, the decline in mortgage rates, moderating home price appreciation and improving affordability.”
Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR
“Rates of 4% and, in some cases even lower, create extremely attractive conditions for consumers. Buyers, for good reason, are anxious to purchase and lock in at these rates.”
Doug Duncan, Chief Economist for Fannie Mae
“Moderating home price appreciation and attractive mortgage rates continue to support affordability, particularly as home builders are now paying more attention to the entry-level portion of the housing market.”
Kaycee Miller in a Realtor Magazine article
“At the moment, some observers suggest the housing market is indeed headed for a slowdown. But no need to panic — experts say the financial and economic factors that were in play during the big crash a decade ago don’t exist today.”
The housing market will be stronger for the rest of 2019. If you’d like to know more about your specific market, let’s get together to chat about what’s happening in our area.
If you’re currently renting and have dreams of owning your own home, it may be a good time to think about your next move. With rent costs rising annually and many helpful down payment assistance programs available, homeownership may be closer than you realize.
According to the 2018 Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report, 74% of renters plan on buying within the next 5 years, and 38% are planning to buy within the next 2 years.
When those same renters were asked why they disliked renting, 52% said rising rental costs were their top reason, and 42% of renters believe their rent will rise every year. The full results of the survey can be seen below:It’s no wonder rising rental costs came in as the top answer. The median asking rent price has risen steadily over the last 30 years, as you can see below.There is a long-standing rule that a household should not spend more than 28% of its income on housing expenses. With nearly half of renters (48%) surveyed already spending more than that, and with their rents likely to rise again, it’s never a bad idea to reconsider your family’s plan and ask yourself if renting is your best angle going forward. When asked why they haven’t purchased a home yet, not having enough saved for a down payment (44%) came in as the top response. The report went on to reveal that nearly half of all respondents believe that “a 20% down payment is required to buy a home.”
The reality is, the need to produce a 20% down payment is one of the biggest misconceptions of homeownership, especially for first-time buyers. That means a large number of renters may be able to buy now, and they don’t even know it.
If you’re one of the many renters who are tired of rising rents but may be confused about what is required to buy in today’s market, let’s get together to determine your path to homeownership.
Over 10% of all residential homes are purchased by investors, and that number continues to rise. Who are these investors?
Many have speculated that the large institutional conglomerates such as Blackstone, American Homes 4 Rent, and Colony Starwood dominate investor purchases. However, a special report on investor home buying by CoreLogic, Don’t Call it a Comeback: Housing Investors Have Been Here for Years, shows this is not the case.
Ralph McLaughlin, CoreLogic’s Deputy Chief Economist and author of the report, explained his findings at the recent National Association of Real Estate Editors conference in Austin:
“Investor buying activity in the U.S. is at record highs. And our records go back confidently, about 20 years…What’s going on and why? Well, it turns out, it’s not the big institutional guys that are leading the increase in home buying. It’s actually the smaller guys. It’s those that have bought between one and ten properties over this 20-year period, they’re the ones that are really leading the increase in investor home buying.”
“Investor buying activity in the U.S. is at record highs. And our records go back confidently, about 20 years…
What’s going on and why? Well, it turns out, it’s not the big institutional guys that are leading the increase in home buying. It’s actually the smaller guys. It’s those that have bought between one and ten properties over this 20-year period, they’re the ones that are really leading the increase in investor home buying.”
Here is the breakdown of the percentage of purchasers by type of investor over the last six years according to the report:As the graph shows, the percentage of “Mom & Pop” investors is currently dominating the number of homes purchased by investors, as the percentage of homes purchased by both professional and institutional investors is falling.
Most houses purchased by an investor are bought by small investors looking to diversify their financial portfolio by adding a real estate component. If you are investing in real estate as either a landlord or someone who fixes-up and flips the house, let's chat about the ways you can build or liquidate your current portfolio of properties.
Over the last few years, many sellers have been hesitant to put their houses on the market because they feared not being able to find another home to buy.
We’ve reported on inventory shortages in the past, and it’s been a constant concern for potential buyers throughout recent years. New research shows the inventory concern is starting to decrease among potential buyers.
According to First American, the two leading obstacles to homeownership that buyers feel today are Affordability and Limited Inventory. This means the feeling that homes are less affordable has risen, while the fear of limited inventory has decreased, delivering a wealth of good news for sellers.At the same time, over the past 12 months, we’ve seen a steady month-over-month increase in the number of homes coming to market for purchase. In the past, the lack of listings and available inventory slowed down the real estate market. This recent increase in current inventory has many buyers and sellers now thinking it is time to make their move – and rightfully so! For the last two months, we’ve seen over 4 months of inventory become available for sale, a promising number that’s been slowly increasing this year and creating more buying opportunities.To further support the idea of an improving real estate market, Sam Khater, the Chief Economist at Freddie Mac says,
“…In the near-term, we expect the housing market to continue to improve from both a sales and price perspective.”
Many experts, like Sam, believe the second half of 2019 will drive a stronger market than we saw at the beginning of the year. This is great news for homeowners who have put off getting their houses on the market and are now ready to make a move.
What a difference we’ve seen over the course of this year! If you’re thinking of selling, now is the time as inventory is on the rise.
With the recent lower interest rates, many homeowners are wondering if they should refinance.
To decide if refinancing is the best option for your family, start by asking yourself these questions:
There are many reasons to refinance, but here are three of the most common ones:
Once you know why you might want to refinance, ask yourself the next question:
There are fees and closing costs involved in refinancing, and Lenders Network explains:
“If you were to refinance that loan into a new loan, total closing costs will run between 2%-4% of the loan amount.”
They also explain that there are options for no-cost refinance loans, but be on the lookout:
“A no-cost refinance loan is when the lender pays the closing costs for the borrower. However, you should be aware that the lender makes up this money from other aspects of the mortgage. Usually pay charging a slightly higher interest rate so they can make the money back.”
If you’re comfortable with the costs of refinancing, then ask yourself one more question:
To answer this one, we’ll use an example. Let’s assume you have a $200,000 home loan. A 4% refinance cost will be $10,000. If you want to lower your interest rate from 6% to 4%, then refinancing is going to save you $244 per month. To break even ($10,000/$244), you need to continue owning your home for over 40 months.
Now that you know how the math shakes out, think about how much longer you’d like to own your current home. If you plan to stay for more than 3 years, then maybe it is advantageous for you to refinance.
If, however, your current home does not fulfill your present needs, you might want to consider using your potential refinance costs for a down payment on a new move-up home. You will still get a lower interest rate than the one you have on your current house, and with the equity you’ve already built, you can finally purchase the home of your dreams.
There are many opportunities for growth in the current real estate market. To find out what’s right for your family, let’s get together to help you understand your options and guide you toward the best decision.
Questions continue to come up about where home prices will head throughout the rest of this year, as well as where they may be going over the few years beyond.
We’ve gathered current data from the industry’s most reliable sources to help answer these questions:
The Home Price Expectation Survey – A survey of over 100 market analysts, real estate experts, and economists conducted by Pulsenomics each quarter.
Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) – As the leading advocate for the real estate finance industry, the MBA enables members to successfully deliver fair, sustainable, and responsible real estate financing within ever-changing business environments.
Zelman & Associates – The firm leverages unparalleled housing market expertise, extensive surveys of industry executives, and rigorous financial analysis to deliver proprietary research and advice to leading global institutional investors and senior-level company executives.
Freddie Mac – An organization whose mission is to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S. housing market in all economic conditions extending to all communities from coast to coast.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) – The largest association of real estate professionals in the world.
Fannie Mae – A leading source of financing for mortgage lenders, providing access to affordable mortgage financing in all markets.
Every source sees home prices continuing to appreciate, which is great news for the strength of the market. The increase is steepest throughout the rest of 2019, and prices should continue to rise as we move through 2020 and beyond.
The Federal Reserve Bank (The Fed) recently released their 2019 Survey of Consumer Expectations Housing Survey. The survey reported that 65% of Americans believe homeownership is a good financial investment. Since 2014, the percentage has increased by over nine percent.The Fed’s survey also showed that when the results are broken down by age, education, income, or region of the country, more than 55% of Americans in each category see homeownership as a good investment.
This coincides with a recent Gallup survey of Americans which revealed that real estate was their number one choice for the best long-term investment when compared to stocks, savings accounts or gold.
Americans' belief in residential real estate as a good financial investment continues to grow as the housing market returns to normalcy.
Since June of last year, we have seen an increase in the inventory of homes for sale month per month. Every spring and summer, the inventory increases because people want to sell their home. For those with children, they may want to be in their new home for the beginning of the school year.
If you are one of those sellers, you may find these 4 tips helpful in getting your home sold more quickly.
1. Make buyers feel at home
Declutter your home! Pack away all personal items like pictures, awards, and sentimental belongings. Make them feel like they belong in this house! According to the Profile of Home Staging by the National Association of Realtors,
“83% of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.”
Not only will your house spend less time on the market, but the same report mentioned that,
“One-quarter of buyers’ agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered between 1 – 5%, compared to other similar homes on the market that were not staged.”
2. Keep it organized
Since you took the time to declutter, keep it organized! Before the buyers show up, pick up toys, make the bed, and put away clean dishes. It is also a good idea to put out some cookies fresh from the oven or a scented candle. Buyers will remember the smell of your home! According to the same report, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms to stage in order to attract more buyers.
3. Give buyers full access
One of the top four elements when selling your home is access! If your home is available anytime, that opens up more opportunity to find a buyer right away. Some buyers, especially those relocating, don’t have much time available. If they cannot get into the house, they will move on to the next one.
4. Price it right
As we mentioned at the beginning, more inventory coming into the market guarantees there will be some competition. You want to make sure your home is noticed. The key to selling your house in 2019 is ensuring it is Priced to Sell Immediately (PTSI). That way, your home will be seen by the greatest amount of buyers and will sell at a great price before more competition comes to market!
If you want to sell your house in the least amount of time at the best price with as little hassle as possible, a local real estate professional is a useful guide. Call them today to find out what you need to do to sell your home more quickly.
Owning a home has great financial benefits.
In a recent research paper, Homeownership and the American Dream, Laurie S. Goodman and Christopher Mayer of the Urban Land Institute explained:
“Homeownership appears to help borrowers accumulate housing and nonhousing wealth in a variety of ways, with tax advantages, greater financial flexibility due to secured borrowing, built-in ‘default’ savings with mortgage amortization and nominally fixed payments, and the potential to lower home maintenance costs through sweat equity.”
Let’s breakdown 5 major financial benefits of homeownership:
1. Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available
Homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. A 20% down payment results in a leverage factor of five, meaning every percentage point rise in the value of your home is a 5% return on your equity. If you put down 10%, your leverage factor is 10.
Example: Let’s assume you purchased a $300,000 home and put down $60,000 (20%). If the house appreciates by $30,000, that is only a 10% increase in value but a 50% increase in equity.
2. You’re paying for housing whether you own or rent
Some argue that renting eliminates the cost of property taxes and home repairs. Every potential renter must realize that all the expenses the landlord incurs (property taxes, repairs, insurance, etc.) are baked into the rent payment already – along with a profit margin!!
3. Owning is usually a form of “forced savings”
Studies have shown that homeowners have a net worth that is 44X greater than that of a renter. As a matter of fact, it was recently estimated that a family buying an average priced home this past January could build more than $42,000 in family wealth over the next five years.
4. Owning is a hedge against inflation
House values and rents tend to go up at or higher than the rate of inflation. When you own, your home’s value will protect you from that inflation.
5. There are still substantial tax benefits to owning
We know that the new tax reform bill puts limits on some deductions on certain homes. However, in the research paper referenced above, the authors explain:
“...the mortgage interest deduction is not the main source of these gains; even if it were removed, homeowners would continue to benefit from a lack of taxation of imputed rent and capital gains.”
From a financial standpoint, owning a home has always been and will always be better than renting.
Homes priced at the top 25% of the price range for a particular area of the country are considered "premium homes." In today’s real estate market, there are deals to be had at the higher end! This is great news for homeowners wanting to upgrade from their current house.
Much of the demand for housing over the past couple of years has come from first-time buyers looking for their starter home. Many of the more expensive homes listed for sale have not seen as much interest.
According to ILHM’s Luxury Report, this mismatch in demand and inventory of luxury and premium homes has created a Buyer’s Market. For the purpose of the report, a luxury home was defined as one that costs $1 million or more.
“A Buyer’s Market indicates that buyers have greater control over the price point. This market type is demonstrated by a substantial number of homes on the market and few sales, suggesting demand for residential properties is slow for that market and/or price point.”
The authors of the report were quick to point out that current conditions at the higher end of the market are no cause for concern.
“While luxury homes may take longer to sell than in previous years, the slower pace, increased inventory levels and larger differences between list and sold prices, represent a normalization of the market, not a downturn.”
Luxury can mean different things to different people. To one person, luxury is a secluded home with plenty of property and privacy. To another, it could be a penthouse at the center of a bustling city. Knowing what characteristics mean luxury to you will help your agent find you the home of your dreams.
If you are debating upgrading your current house to a premium or luxury home, now is the time!