A recent article from a reputable news source was titled: Here’s why some homeowners still can’t sell. In the opening bullets of the article, the author claimed, “Negative equity is one of the main reasons why there are so few homes for sale.” The article then goes on to soften that stance but we want to bring better clarity to the equity situation.
A recent report from CoreLogic (which was quoted in the article) revealed that over 80% of all homes now have “significant equity,” which means the home has over 20% equity. That level of equity allows the homeowner to sell their home if they so desire. (There was no reference to significant equity in the article.)
If eight out of ten homeowners now have significant equity in their homes, it is hard to make the claim that lack of equity is “one of the main reasons why there are so few homes for sale.”
Here is a map showing the percentage of homes in each state which currently have significant equity:
If you are one of many homeowners who is debating selling your home and are wondering how much equity you have accumulated, contact a local real estate professional who can help you determine if now is the time to list.
Home features—particularly those that are technology-based—have a stronger pull on millennial home shoppers than the promotion of brand names, according to a new survey by John Burns Real Estate Consulting, conducted with 20,000 new home shoppers. Millennials tended to show a preference for tech-focused amenities that could make their lives simpler.
Young adults born in the 1980s and 1990s are half as likely as their parents’ generation to rank brand as the most important factor when selecting products in the home. They do check reviews online before buying, so the survey showed online reputation is also important to them.
The young adults born in the 1990s are more likely to pay an extra $3,500 for a smart-tech refrigerator than older adults. Younger adults may have less income to spend, but they showed a higher preference for technology, according to the survey.
“We believe that understanding your target buyer will help you make better business decisions,” notes Steve Basten, senior consultant, and Todd Tomalak, vice president of research, for John Burns Real Estate Consulting. “When marketing to older adults, focus on brand. When marketing to younger adults, focus more on features.”
Source: “Millennials Pay More for Features and Less for Brands,” John Burns Real Estate Consulting
According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at 3.92%, which is still near record lows in comparison to recent history!
The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.
Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.
The chart below shows what impact rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a home within the national median price range, and planned to keep your principal and interest payments between $1,850-$1,900 a month.
With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be closer to 5% by this time next year.
Act now to get the most house for your hard-earned money.
Owning a home has great financial benefits, yet many continue to rent! Today, let’s look at the financial reasons why owning a home of your own has been a part of the American Dream for as long as America has existed.
Zillow recently reported that:
“In reality, buying or renting a home is an intensely personal decision, with emotional and even financial considerations that go beyond whether to invest in this one (admittedly large) asset. Looking strictly at housing market numbers, there is a concrete point at which buying a home makes more financial sense than renting it.”
What proof exists that owning is financially better than renting?
1. We recently highlighted the top 5 financial benefits of homeownership:
- Homeownership is a form of forced savings.
- Homeownership provides tax savings.
- Homeownership allows you to lock in your monthly housing cost.
- Buying a home is cheaper than renting.
- No other investment lets you live inside of it.
2. Studies have shown that a homeowner’s net worth is 44x greater than that of a renter.
3. Just a few months ago, we explained that a family that purchased an average-priced home at the beginning of 2017 could build more than $48,000 in family wealth over the next five years.
4. Some argue that renting eliminates the cost of taxes and home repairs, but every potential renter must realize that all the expenses the landlord incurs are already baked into the rent payment– along with a profit margin!!
Owning a home has always been, and will always be, better from a financial standpoint than renting.
Here are five reasons listing your home for sale this winter makes sense.
1. Demand Is Strong
The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very 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, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy a home.
Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.
2. There Is Less Competition Now
Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market. This means that, in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in the market. This is good news for homeowners who have gained equity as their home values have increased. However, additional inventory could be coming to the market soon.
Historically, the average number of years a homeowner stayed in their home was six, but has hovered between nine and ten years since 2011. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners will be given the freedom to move.
The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until this other inventory comes to market before you decide to sell.
3. The Process Will Be Quicker
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 much simpler as buyers know exactly what they can afford before home shopping. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the time to close a loan has dropped to 44 days, after seeing a 12-month high of 48 days in January.
4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up
If your next move will be into a premium or luxury home, now is the time to move up! The inventory of homes for sale at these higher price ranges has forced these markets into a buyer’s market. This means that if you are planning on selling a starter or trade-up home, your home will sell quickly, AND you’ll be able to find a premium home to call your own!
Prices are projected to appreciate by 4.7% over the next year according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.
5. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life
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 your health? 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 the questions above. 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.
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.
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.”
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.
So, you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call a ‘home,’ and you finally found it! The price is right, and in such a competitive market, you want to make sure that you make a good offer so that you can guarantee that your dream of making this house yours comes true!
Freddie Mac covered “4 Tips for Making an Offer” in their Executive Perspective. Here are the 4 tips they covered along with some additional information for your consideration:
1. Understand How Much You Can Afford
“While it’s not nearly as fun as house hunting, fully understanding your finances is critical in making an offer.”
This ‘tip’ or ‘step’ should really take place before you start your home search process.
Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and will allow you to make your offer with the confidence of knowing that you have already been approved for a mortgage for that amount. You will also need to know if you are prepared to make any repairs that may need to be made to the house (ex: new roof, new furnace).
2. Act Fast
“Even though there are fewer investors, the inventory of homes for sale is also low and competition for housing continues to heat up in many parts of the country.”
The inventory of homes listed for sale has remained well below the 6-month supply that is needed for a ‘normal’ market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream homes.
Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as soon as possible.
3. Make a Solid Offer
Freddie Mac offers this advice to help make your offer the strongest it can be:
“Your strongest offer will be comparable with other sales and listings in the neighborhood. A licensed real estate agent active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer based on their experience and other key considerations such as recent sales of similar homes, the condition of the house and what you can afford.”
Talk with your agent to find out if there are any ways that you can make your offer stand out in this competitive market!
4. Be Prepared to Negotiate
“It’s likely that you’ll get at least one counteroffer from the sellers so be prepared. The two things most likely to be negotiated are the selling price and closing date. Given that, you’ll be glad you did your homework first to understand how much you can afford.
Your agent will also be key in the negotiation process, giving you guidance on the counteroffer and making sure that the agreed-to contract terms are met.”
If your offer is approved, Freddie Mac urges you to “always get an independent home inspection, so you know the true condition of the home.” If the inspector uncovers undisclosed problems or issues, you can discuss any repairs that may need to be made with the seller, or cancel the contract.
Whether you’re buying your first home or your fifth, having a local professional on your side who is an expert in their market is your best bet in making sure the process goes smoothly. Happy House Hunting!
Hardwood flooring is dominating the main living areas of new homes, and engineered hardwood has been particularly catching on over the past decades, according to the latest surveys from Home Innovation Research Labs.
Engineered hardwood floors are made up of layers: the top and bottom layers are natural wood, but the middle contains a core of plywood. It’s known to be a more quick, fuss-free installation than solid hardwood.
Hardwood has become the most popular flooring in new-home kitchens, according to Home Innovation Research Labs. Hardwood floors—both solid and engineered—have increased from 11 percent of all flooring in new single-family homes to 31 percent over the past 12 years.
Other flooring types are decreasing in popularity. For example, ceramic tile has posted a slower growth rate from 15 percent to 21 percent over the last 12 years.
Hardwood flooring represents 65 percent of all flooring installed in new-home dining rooms, half of all flooring in living rooms, and about 45 percent of all flooring installed in kitchens, BUILDER reports on the study.
Hardwood of all types has grown in popularity in all areas of the home, except for the bedroom and bathroom. Carpeting remains the champ in bedrooms.
Source: “Engineered Hardwood Is Top Flooring Pick,” BUILDER (Dec. 6, 2017)