Category Archives: Uncategorized

Homeowners: Do You Know Your Home’s Value?

Homeowners: Do You Know Your Home’s Value? | Keeping Current Matters

The latest edition of CoreLogic’s Home Price Index shows that nationally, home prices have appreciated 6.7% over the last year and 0.9% month-over-month. The release of the report included this headline,

“National Home Prices Now 50% Above March 2011 Bottom”

The real estate market has come a long way since 2011, which is great news for homeowners!

Nearly 79% of homeowners with a mortgage in the US now have significant equity in their homes (defined as over 20%), according to the latest Equity Report. The challenge is that not every homeowner knows how much their home’s value has appreciated.

Homeowners in Denver, CO lead the way with 8.7% appreciation over the last year, while owners in Washington and Utah have experienced a 3% increase in values since the start of this year!

Nationally, CoreLogic forecasts that home values will increase another 5.0% by this time next year.

Bill Banfield, VP of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans, recently explained the importance of knowing the conditions in your area,

“With home values constantly changing, and the rates of change varying across the country, this is one more way to show how important it is for homeowners to stay aware of their local housing market.”

Bottom Line

Do you know what your house is worth? Have you stayed put because you are nervous you won’t have enough equity to buy your dream home? Meet with a local professional who can perform an equity analysis and give you the freedom to achieve your dreams.


Homeownership and Well-Being: A Complicated Relationship

Homeownership has come to represent security and wealth—the American Dream, realized, for millions who place their stake through property. There is evidence, even, that homeownership lends itself to overall satisfaction.

Financially, homeownership is also associated with well-being, according to a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB defines “financial well-being” as “a state of being wherein a person can fully meet current and ongoing financial obligations, can feel secure in their financial future and is able to make choices that allow them to enjoy life.”

Homeownership and Well-Being: A Complicated Relationship

The first factor is key. The ability to afford a home affects sense of well-being, the report shows. The CFPB assigned respondents to a survey, on a scale of zero to 100, scores of well-being. In comparing homeowners and renters, homeowners averaged a 58, while renters averaged a 49. (As a whole, respondents to the survey averaged a 54.) Generally, Americans in good enough financial straits (in the context of income and savings) are in a position to purchase a home; the capacity to own, therefore, rather than ownership itself, is a predicator of well-being.

Affordability is also impactful in that those with a lower share of their income spent on housing have higher scores of well-being. Respondents paying more than 50 percent of their income on housing averaged a 46.5, roughly 10 points below the 56.51 of respondents who shell out 30 percent or less.

Respondents with “non-retirement investments” have higher scores of well-being, as well. (A house, often, is an appreciating asset, building wealth, as other investments do, over time.) Respondents with even one non-retirement investment averaged a 62, while those without averaged a 51. (Real estate, relatedly, has ranked as the No. 1 investment in several studies.)

“Housing satisfaction” is connected similarly. Respondents “very satisfied” with the place they live averaged a 60; those less than “very satisfied” averaged a 50. One distinction, however: The ability to improve level of satisfaction (buying in a more costly but safer neighborhood, for example) hinges on having the wherewithal to do so.

Financial well-being is also linked to homeownership in unanticipated ways. According to the report, age, education and physical health are the top three influences on financial well-being. Age has implications: Americans at a certain life stage, for instance, could be of the perception that “now” is the time to own a home. If they do not meet that expectation, their sense of well-being could suffer.

A cushion for emergencies, likewise, is related. Respondents with access to at least $2,000 for the unexpected (within 30 days) averaged a score of 62—leaps ahead of the 39 for those without. On the other side of the coin: Respondents who have experienced a “financial shock,” such as a major home repair, averaged a 52, while those who have not averaged a 57.

“The strongest relationships to financial well-being appear to be related to savings and security nets,” the report states. Homeownership, for most, is both—but its relationship to well-being? It’s complicated.

By Suzanne De Vita
Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

More Than Half of All Buyers Are Surprised by Closing Costs

KZVCohr0oQrt_KME8lRPmmtYkgKKNH1_bW8-MFXFjy0gTay37CLiVUHwLip5MNJhH1d_SRJ1CyGYk29yeXffQOrktrC9kv8MpM4hcFczAOaDMIhqDKoAhESVmBwWzEUdcJ0_rmrfHMIHYObRdK2JhC4hWz56=s0-d-e1-ftAccording to a survey conducted by ClosingCorp, over half of all homebuyers are surprised by the closing costs required to obtain their mortgage.

After surveying 1,000 first-time and repeat homebuyers, the results revealed that 17% of homebuyers were surprised that closing costs were required at all, while another 35% were stunned by how much higher the fees were than expected.

“Homebuyers reported being most surprised by mortgage insurance, followed by bank fees and points, taxes, title insurance and appraisal fees.” gathered closing cost data from lenders in every state and Washington, D.C. in order to share the average costs in each state. The map below was created using the closing costs on a $200,000 mortgage with a 20% down payment.

More Than Half of All Buyers Are Surprised by Closing Costs | Keeping Current Matters

Keep in mind that if you are in the market for a home above this price range, your costs could be significantly greater. According to Freddie Mac,

“Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of your purchase price.”

Bottom Line

Speak with your lender and agent early and often to determine how much you’ll be responsible for at closing. Finding out that you’ll need to come up with thousands of dollars right before closing is not a surprise anyone is ever looking forward to.

Which Homes Have Increased in Value the Most?

Which Homes Have Increased in Value the Most? | Keeping Current Matters

Home values have risen dramatically over the last twelve months. The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors puts the annual increase in the median existing-home price at 5.6%. CoreLogic, in their most recent Home Price Index Report, revealed that national home prices have increased by 6.7% year-over-year.

CoreLogic broke appreciation down ever further into four price ranges which gives a more detailed view than simply looking at the year-over-year increases of the national median home price.

The chart below shows the four tiers and each one’s growth from July 2016 to July 2017 (the latest data available).

Which Homes Have Increased in Value the Most? | Keeping Current Matters

It is important to pay attention to how prices are changing in your local market. The location of your home is not the only factor in determining how much it has appreciated over the course of the last year. Lower priced homes have appreciated at greater rates than homes at the upper ends of the spectrum, due to demand from first-time home buyers and baby boomers looking to downsize.

Bottom Line

If you are planning on listing your home for sale in today’s market, find a local agent who can explain exactly what’s going on in your area and your price range.

Mortgage Rates Take a Leap This Week

Daily Real Estate News | Friday, October 13, 2017

Borrowers saw financing costs for a mortgage move higher this week. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage posted its largest week-over-week increase since July.

“The 30-year mortgage rate increased for a second consecutive week, jumping 6 basis points to 3.91 percent,” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “The 10-year Treasury yield also rose, climbing 4 basis points this week.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Oct. 12:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.91 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 3.85 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.47 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.21 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 3.15 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.76 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.16 percent this week, with an average 0.4 point, dropping from last week’s 3.18 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.82 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Consumers say 10 percent is the ideal down payment

More than half of Americans say they would prefer to put 10 percent down on a home purchase rather than 15 percent, 20 percent, or 30 percent, according to mortgage banker American Financing’s 2017 Mortgages in America Survey. The 10 percent down payment option was the lowest among the choices respondents were given in the survey. It also was the most popular choice across generational divides, including millennials, Generation Xers, and baby boomers.

The average down payment on a home purchase in 2016 was 11 percent, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2017 Aspiring Home Buyers Profile. Borrowers under the age of 35 put down an average of 8 percent, according to NAR’s report.

Many respondents to American Financing’s survey acknowledge that they do not fully understand the basics of how mortgages work. Nearly a quarter—primarily millennials—say they lack understanding about interest rates and private mortgage insurance. Further, “while affordable programs allowing a 10 percent down payment are available and provide an attractive option to prospective home buyers, it’s important to consider other factors, like private mortgage insurance, which can play a significant role in the overall cost of a home,” says Carrie Niess, business analyst at American Financing. “For instance, the lower the down payment, the higher private mortgage insurance costs can run.”

Some additional findings from the study:

  • Renting vs. homeownership: Consumers overall indicate that an increase in rental rates would motivate them to move. Forty percents say an increase of less than $100 per month in rent would motivate them to move, and another 37 percent say the same about an increase between $101 and $300 per month.
  • Mortgage preferences: Millennials and Gen Xers show preference for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, while baby boomers favor a 15-year mortgage.
  • Marital status: Respondents who are married (37 percent) say they are most likely to buy a home in one to two years, while those who are single (41 percent) say they are likely to wait five years before purchasing.

Source: “The Mortgages in America Survey,” American Financing (2017)

Trendy Amenities: Dog Yoga, Rock ’n’ Roll Rooms

Urban landlords are increasingly offering unique incentives to attract buyers and tenants to their buildings, including rock ‘n’ roll rehearsal rooms, Imax theaters, bike repair stations, stargazing sessions, woodworking shops, greenhouses for growing herbs, and even dog yoga classes, The New York Times reports. Dog yoga, which the developer Brodsky Organization is offering as a free perk to residents in 62 rental buildings in New York, helps dog owners assist their pets with different stretches.

Landlords are looking for other ways to lure tenants as the average square footage of their units decreases. Since the mid-1990s, the average apartment size has dropped from more than 1,000 square feet to about 900 square feet, according to Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers and Consultants. “Having these auxiliary spaces allows someone to think, ‘I may not have this giant living room, but I do have a climbing wall and basketball court downstairs,’” Collin Bond, an associate broker with real estate firm Triplemint, told the Times.

The latest amenities are focused on experiences, developers say. For example, a 428-unit rental building in Queens, N.Y., known as ARC will offer standard options such as a gym, library, and golf simulator when it opens next month. At its other properties, ARC’s developer, Lightstone Group, has hired a “lifestyle director,” who plans to book rock bands and comedians for performances, as well as meet-and-greet neighbor activities. “It’s about a holistic lifestyle as opposed to just room and board,” Lightstone President Mitchell Hochberg told the Times.

Source: “Dog Yoga and Electric Guitars: Amenities, at a New Level,” The New York Times (Sept. 15, 2017)

Homeowner Perceptions of Value Off

Homeowner perceptions of value were off in September, 1.14 percent higher than those of appraisers, according to the latest Quicken Loans’ National Home Price Perception Index (HPPI). The latest Quicken Loans National Home Value Index (HVI) shows appraised values rose 3.38 percent year-over-year.

Homeowner Perceptions of Value Off

A summary of the HPPI:
There was an average 1.14 percent difference between the appraisal and the homeowner’s estimate of value in September, with the appraiser’s opinion falling below that of the homeowner. However, the trend is positive. September was the fourth consecutive month the gap between the two perceptions narrowed, as perceptions moved closer to equilibrium. On the other hand, there is still a wide variety of home value perceptions across the country, from Dallas, where appraisals were an average of 2.87 percent higher than expected, to Philadelphia, where the average appraisal was 2.89 percent lower than what the owner thought it would be.

A summary of the HVI:
Home values continued their ascent in September. On a national level, appraisals rose 0.44 percent from the previous month. Even more impactful, the average home valuation was 3.38 percent higher than the same time last year. Regionally, all areas showed annual home value growth, from 2.08 percent in the South to 5.77 percent in the West. Monthly, however, the South did have a 1.33 percent drop in September.

“Home values are highly impacted by the balance of buyer’s interest and the volume of available homes,” says Bill Banfield, executive vice president of Capital Markets for Quicken Loans. “Currently this is highly tilted with a lack of home inventory, leading to rising values. One of the most impactful things that could be done to achieve stability is an increase in new home-building. If move-up buyers move on to new construction, it will open up starter homes for first-time buyers.”

“An appraisal can vastly impact the mortgage process,” Banfield says. “This number alone can impact how much a buyer needs to bring to closing, or the current equity a homeowner has when refinancing. If homeowners are aware of local home values and how they are changing, it will assist with a smoother mortgage process.”

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Student Debt Forces 7-Year Homebuying Delay

Young adults strapped with student debt are delaying buying a home an average of seven years, according to a joint study by the National Association of REALTORS® and American Student Assistance released Monday. The average student debt load among survey respondents—who are millennials between the ages of 22 and 35—is $41,200, which is higher than their average annual income of $38,800, the study shows.

Eighty percent of the more than 2,000 respondents said they do not own a home. The vast majority of that group—83 percent—blame student loan debt for their delay in buying a home. “The tens of thousands of dollars many millennials needed to borrow to earn a college degree have come at a financial and emotional cost that’s influencing millennials’ housing choices and other major life decisions,” says NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Sales to first-time buyers have been underwhelming for several years now, and this survey indicates student debt is a big part of the blame. Even a large majority of older millennials and those with higher incomes say they’re being forced to delay homeownership because they can’t save for a down payment and don’t feel financially secure enough to buy.”

The total value of student loan debt held by U.S. households today is a whopping $1.4 trillion, which is helping to lower demand at the entry level of the housing market. Furthermore, a quarter of current millennial homeowners say their student debt is preventing them from purchasing a move-up property, according to the study. They say it’s either too expensive to buy a larger home or they don’t qualify for a future mortgage because their student debt has impacted their credit negatively.

“Millennial homeowners who can’t afford to trade up because of their student debt end up staying put, which slows the turnover in the housing market and exacerbates the low supply levels and affordability pressures for those trying to buy their first home,” Yun says.

Besides delaying home purchases, survey respondents report that student debt is also forcing them to put aside several life choices and financial decisions. For example, 86 percent say they’ve had to make career sacrifices, including taking a second job. Forty-one percent say they are delaying marriage because of student debt, and 61 percent say they have sacrificed contributions toward a retirement plan.

“Being unable to adequately save for retirement on top of not experiencing the wealth-building benefits of owning a home is an unfortunate situation that could have long-term consequences to the financial well-being of these millennials,” Yun says. “A scenario where only those with minimal or no student debt can afford to buy a home and save for retirement is not an ideal situation—and is one that weakens the economy and contributes to widening inequality.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®