March 20, 2019

2 Reports That Say Now Is a Great Time to Sell

Heading into the spring buying market, there are strong trends starting to emerge.

 

The inventory of homes for sale has increased on a year-over-year basis for eight months in a row. Home price appreciation has continued to grow, although at a slower rate. The homeownership rate has reached heights last seen in 2014, with millennials and Generation X leading the way!

 

Let’s dive a little deeper into some of the recent reports that have been released and what they mean for the spring buying season!

 

1. National Association of Realtor’s Existing Home Sales Report

Sales of existing homes were down for the third consecutive month in January. Some of this can be explained by the natural seasonality that the real estate market experiences every year, and some can be explained even further by a lack of homes available for sale on the market.

 

Inventory

For the last eight months, the inventory of homes for sale has been higher when compared to the same month the year before. The challenge in the market is the mismatch of the type of home that is available for sale. First-time homebuyers looking for a starter home are often competing with other buyers to stand out, often outbidding each other.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, agrees that the market is still experiencing an inventory shortage.

“In particular, the lower end of the market is experiencing a greater shortage, and more home construction is needed.”

 

Home Prices

The median home price for homes sold in January was $247,500. This is up 2.8% from January 2018 and marks the 83rd consecutive month of year-over-year gains. The 2.8% growth in home prices represents the smallest year-over-year change since February 2012 but is a welcome change for buyers who had feared being priced out of the market.

 

Days on the Market

Properties that sold in January were on the market for an average of 49 days with 38% of homes on the market for less than a month.

Yun is positive about how today’s market conditions will help buyers this spring,

 “Existing home sales in January were weak compared to historical norms; however, they are likely to have reached a cyclical low. Moderating home prices combined with gains in household income will boost housing affordability, bringing more buyers to the market in the coming months.”

 

2. NAR’s Pending Home Sales Report

The national Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) rose 4.6% to 103.2 in January from 98.7 in December. An index score of 100 is considered normal. All four major regions of the country experienced gains in January, with the largest increase coming in the South.

 “The PHSI is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.”

Increases in the PHSI often predict increases in the level of home sales in the coming months, which is great news for the housing market leading in to spring! Yun had this to say,

“Homebuyers are now returning and taking advantage of lower interest rates, while a boost in inventory is also providing more choices for consumers.”

 

Bottom Line

The housing market in 2019 will require homeowners to list their house at the right price to attract buyers. If interest rates continue to stay low while wages increase, and more inventory comes to market, 2019 could be one of the best years for home sales in recent history.

Posted in Market, Pricing, Sellers
March 18, 2019

How to Have a Unique Open House

According to the National Association of Realtors, total inventory has been growing for six months straight, as has the number of buyers looking to find their dream home. In a market where inventory is increasing, you want to stand out in the crowd!

This quote from Grandscope puts it well:

“You can differentiate from competition by WOWing or exciting customers, not just trying to compete on price.”

What better way than to be creative with your Open House!

Here are a few ideas for how to do this in this era of technology.

1) Facebook Live Virtual Open House

This can also work as a ‘preview’ before an official Open House. Let your agent walk potential buyers through your home using a webcam or cell phone, highlighting the unique features of your house and taking questions. This can be of great benefit, especially for those out-of-state buyers looking to relocate to your area.

2) Youtube Live Virtual Open House

YouTube is forecasted to have 187.8 million video users in 2019 in the United States alone! One of those users might be the buyer you’re looking for! Like Facebook Live, allowing your agent to have a virtual open house will make it available, especially for all those first-time homebuyers house hunting on their phones! This allows access to your home from the comfort of their own. Broadcasting at peak time (during lunch between 12 and 2 P.M.) also prevents buyers from having to leave work.

What if you do not want to show your house online?

3) Have a Garage Sale at The Same Time

This serves two purposes. First, you can start getting rid of some of the clutter inside your home. This will help it to show better and make packing a little easier. Second, people will come to a garage sale.  Whether it’s the neighbors or bargain-hunters, each garage sale attendee is a potential “salesperson for your home”.  They could be looking for themselves or talking to someone else in the market.  The more people who are aware that your house is for sale, the better.

4) Go With Off-Peak Times

Why not host an Open House during the week when people are on their way home? This works especially well if the home is convenient for commuters. Add a little wine & cheese as a transition to going home for dinner! Or, why not have an Open House at 9:00 in the morning? After parents drop their kids at school, they can stop by your Open House for coffee & cake. Promote the Open House in community chats. Maybe one of the neighbors has a family member that wants to move to the area.

 

Bottom Line

With new inventory coming to market, you need your house to stand out from the crowd! Contact a local real estate professional to see what alternatives will work best in your area.

Posted in Buyers, Open House
March 15, 2019

The Housing Market Will “Spring Forward” This Year!

Just like our clocks this weekend, in the majority of the country, the housing market will soon “spring forward!” Similar to tension in a spring, the lack of inventory available for sale has been holding back the market.

Many potential sellers believe that waiting until Spring is in their best interest. Traditionally, they would have been right.

Buyer demand has seasonality to it. Usually, this falls off in the winter months, especially in areas of the country impacted by arctic conditions.

That hasn’t happened this year.

Demand for housing has remained strong as mortgage rates have remained near historic lows. Even with an increase in rates forecasted for 2019, buyers are still able to lock in an affordable monthly payment. Buyers are increasingly jumping off the fence and into the market to secure a lower rate.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that in 2018 the top 10 dates sellers listed their homes all fell in April, May, or June.

Those who act quickly and list now, before a flood of increased competition, will benefit from additional exposure to buyers.

Bottom Line

If you are planning on selling your home in 2019, meet with a local real estate professional to evaluate the opportunities in your market.

Posted in Market, Pricing
March 13, 2019

Home Prices Up 5.73% Across the Country! [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights:

  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently released their latest Quarterly Home Price Index report.
  • In the report, home prices are compared both regionally and by state.
  • Based on the latest numbers, if you plan on relocating to another state, waiting to move may end up costing you more!
Posted in Infographic, Market, Pricing
March 11, 2019

No Worries… Home Prices Coming in for a SOFT Landing

Home prices have appreciated considerably over the last five years. This has some concerned that we may be in for another dramatic correction. However, recent statistics suggest home values will not crash as they did a decade ago. Instead, this time they will come in for a soft landing.

The previous housing market was fueled by an artificial demand created by mortgage standards that were far too lenient. When this demand was shut off, a flood of inventory came to market. This included heavily discounted distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales).

Today’s market is totally different. Mortgage standards are tighter than they were prior to the last boom and bust. There is no fear that a rush of foreclosures will come to market. The Mortgage Bankers’ Association just announced that foreclosures are lower today than at any time since 1996.

Case Shiller looks at the percentage of appreciation as compared to the same month the year prior. Here is a graph of their findings over the last ten months:

As we can see, home price appreciation is softening as more inventory comes to market. This shows that real estate prices are not crashing, but merely returning toward historic appreciation numbers of 3.6% annually.

 

Bottom Line

Home prices are leveling off. Long term, that is a good thing for the housing market.

Posted in Buyers, Market
March 8, 2019

Interest Rates Hit New 12 Month Low!

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at their lowest for 2019. Rates like these haven’t been seen since February 2018!

Last week’s survey results reported an interest rate of 4.35%. This is a welcome change from the near 5% rates seen in mid-November. At 4.32%, the second week of February 2018 was the last time rates were this low. This can be seen in the chart below.

Interest Rates Hit New 12 Month Low! | MyKCM

Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist, Sam Khater, had this to say:

“Mortgage rates fell for the third consecutive week, continuing the general downward trend that began late last year.

Wages are growing on par with home prices for the first time in years, and with more inventory available, spring home sales should help the market begin to recover from the malaise of the last few months.”

Bottom Line

If you plan on buying a home this spring, meet with a local real estate professional who can help prepare you for today’s market before rates increase!

March 4, 2019

What are the Benefits of Becoming a Homeowner?

Every family has a list of important dates. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, pet adoptions…and the list goes on. For 64.4 percent of households in the United States, this list includes the day they became a homeowner for the first time!

Why is this date important? Homeownership is not just a roof over your head! It represents shelter, stability, wealth, and pride! For decades, homeownership has been an important part of the American Dream!

However, many question if the next generations see the same benefits of homeownership as their predecessors.

In case we have forgotten, some of those benefits are:

Non-Financial Benefits

1) Educational Achievement: Homeownership has a positive impact on academic achievement, including reading and math performance in children 3-12 years old.

2) Civic Participation: “Owning a home means owning a part of the neighborhood.” Homeowners have a stronger connection to their neighborhood and are more committed to volunteer.

3) Health Benefits: Adjusting for a range of demographic, socioeconomic and housing-related characteristics, homeowners have a substantial health advantage over renters.

4) Public Assistance: The report shows 47% of homeowners use their home equity credit lines to help pay other debts, diminishing their need for public assistance.

5) Property Maintenance and Improvement: A well-maintained home not only generates benefits through consumption and safety, but a high-quality structure also raises mental health.

6) Pride of Ownership: This place is uniquely “yours.” You can customize it according to your likes and personality.

In addition to financial benefits, homeownership also brings significant social benefits. These not only pertain to the family, but extend to the communities, the state, and the country!

 

Financial Benefits

Buying a home is an investment in your future!

1) Appreciation: On average, home prices are appreciating annually at a rate of 3.6%. This helps to create a safety net.

2) Forced Savings: Your mortgage is like a forced savings plan! With each payment, you are reducing the principal of your loan.

3) Home Equity: Homeownership builds equity every single month. You can later use that equity to start a business, send your children to college, etc.

4) Net Worth: A homeowners’ net worth is 44x greater than renters! This gives you the financial freedom to invest.

5) Stability: Rent prices increase 4% annually! A fixed mortgage payment allows you to save for future projects and guard against inflation.

6) Tax Benefits: The government has created tax benefits to encourage customers to purchase. (Talk to your CPA to see which benefits apply to you).

Bottom Line

Homeownership is and will always be part of the American Dream! There are many financial and non-financial benefits to take advantage of when owning a home. If owning a home is part of your dream, contact a local real estate professional to help you with the process!

Posted in Buyers
Feb. 27, 2019

How Can I Increase My Family’s Net Worth?

Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts their Survey of Consumer Finances. Data is collected across all economic and social groups. The latest survey data covers 2013-2016.

The study revealed that the median net worth of a homeowner is $231,400 – a 15% increase since 2013. At the same time, the median net worth of renters decreased by 5% ($5,200 today compared to $5,500 in 2013).

These numbers reveal that the net worth of a homeowner is over 44 times greater than that of a renter.

Owning a home is a great way to build family wealth.

As we’ve said before, simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth by increasing the equity in your home.

That is why Gallup reported that Americans picked real estate as the best long-term investment for the fifth year in a row. According to this year’s results, 34% of Americans chose real estate. Stocks followed at 26%, and then gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds.

Bottom Line

If you want to find out how you can use your monthly housing cost to increase your family’s wealth, let’s get together to guide you through the process.

Posted in Market, Sellers
Feb. 25, 2019

3 Tips for Making Your Dream of Buying A Home Come True [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights:

Setting up an automatic savings plan that saves a small amount of every check is one of the best ways to save without thinking too much about it.

Living within a budget right now will help you save money for down payments while also paying down other debts that might be holding you back.

What are you willing to cut back on to make your dreams of homeownership a reality?

Posted in Buyers
Feb. 21, 2019

3 Reasons Why We Are Not Heading Toward Another Housing Crash

With home prices softening, some are concerned that we may be headed toward the next housing crash. However, it is important to remember that today’s market is quite different than the bubble market of twelve years ago.

Here are three key metrics that will explain why:

  1. Home Prices
  2. Mortgage Standards
  3. Foreclosure Rates

HOME PRICES

A decade ago, home prices depreciated dramatically, losing about 29% of their value over a four-year period (2008-2011). Today, prices are not depreciating. The level of appreciation is just decelerating.

Home values are no longer appreciating annually at a rate of 6-7%. However, they have still increased by more than 4% over the last year. Of the 100 experts reached for the latest Home Price Expectation Survey, 94 said home values would continue to appreciate through 2019. It will just occur at a lower rate.

MORTGAGE STANDARDS

Many are concerned that lending institutions are again easing standards to a level that helped create the last housing bubble. However, there is proof that today’s standards are nowhere near as lenient as they were leading up to the crash.

The Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center issues a quarterly index which,

“…measures the percentage of home purchase loans that are likely to default—that is, go unpaid for more than 90 days past their due date. A lower HCAI indicates that lenders are unwilling to tolerate defaults and are imposing tighter lending standards, making it harder to get a loan. A higher HCAI indicates that lenders are willing to tolerate defaults and are taking more risks, making it easier to get a loan.”

Last month, their January Housing Credit Availability Index revealed:

“Significant space remains to safely expand the credit box. If the current default risk was doubled across all channels, risk would still be well within the pre-crisis standard of 12.5 percent from 2001 to 2003 for the whole mortgage market.”

FORECLOSURE INVENTORY

Within the last decade, distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) made up 35% of all home sales. The Mortgage Bankers’ Association revealed just last week that:

“The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the fourth quarter was 0.95 percent…This was the lowest foreclosure inventory rate since the first quarter of 1996.”

Bottom Line

After using these three key housing metrics to compare today’s market to that of the last decade, we can see that the two markets are nothing alike.

Posted in Market