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June is National Homeownership Month!

6/7/2016
June is National Homeownership Month! [INFOGRAPHIC]
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Some Highlights:

  • Paying rent is not a good investment, but owning is a great way to start building family wealth.
  • Not only does homeownership allow you to provide your children with great education, but you can also decide whether or not your child grows up with a pet.
  • Owning a home provides you with tax benefits while also providing you with more living space to move around in.

Looking to build wealth?

6/1/2016

How Does Housing Help Build Family Wealth?

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As the economy continues to improve, more and more Americans are seeing their personal financial situations also improving. Instead of just getting by, many are now beginning to save and find other ways to build their net worth. One way to dramatically increase their family wealth is through the acquisition of real estate.

For example, let’s assume a young couple purchased and closed on a $250,000 home in January. What will that home be worth five years down the road? 

Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists every quarter. They ask them to project how residential prices will appreciate over the next five years. According to their latest survey, here is how much value that $250,000 house will gain in the coming years.

How Does Housing Help Build Family Wealth? | Simplifying The Market

Over a five-year period, that homeowner can build their home equity to over $40,000. And, in many cases, home equity is large portion of a family’s overall net worth.

Bottom Line

If you are looking to better your family’s long-term financial situation, buying your dream home might be a great option.

When Is It A Good Time To Rent?

5/25/2016

When Is It A Good Time To Rent? Definitely NOT NOW!

When Is It A Good Time To Rent? Definitely NOT NOW! | Simplifying The Market

People often ask whether or not now is a good time to buy a home. No one ever asks when a good time to rent is. However, we want to make certain that everyone understands that today is NOT a good time to rent.

The Census Bureau recently released their first quarter median rent numbers. Here is a graph showing rent increases from 1988 until today:

When Is It A Good Time To Rent? Definitely NOT NOW! | Simplifying The Market

A recent Wall Street Journal article reports that rents rose “faster last year than at any time since 2007, a boon for landlords but one that has stoked concerns about housing affordability for renters.”

The article also cited results from a recent Reis Inc. report which revealed that average effective rents rose 4.6% in 2015, the biggest gain since before the recession. Over the past 15 years, rents have risen at a rate of 2.7% annually. 

Where are rents headed?

Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com recently warned that:

“Low rental vacancies and a lack of new rental construction are pushing up rents, and we expect that they’ll outpace home price appreciation in the year ahead.”  

Bottom Line

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun had this to say in the latest Existing Home Sales Report:

 "With rents steadily rising and average fixed rates well below 4 percent, qualified first-time buyers should be more active participants than what they are right now."

One way to protect yourself from rising rents is to lock in your housing expense by buying a home. If you are ready and willing to buy, let's meet up to determine if you are able to today!

Are you wanting to Downsize?

5/17/2016

In a Seller’s Market: Is it Time to Downsize?

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A study by Edelman Berland reveals that 33% of homeowners who are contemplating selling their house in the near future are planning to scale down. Let’s look at a few reasons why this might make sense for many homeowners, as the majority of the country is currently experiencing a seller’s market.

In a recent blog, Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, highlighted the advantages of selling your current house and downsizing into a smaller home that better serves your current needs. Ramsey explains three potential financial advantages to downsizing:

  1. A smaller home means less space, but it also means less time, stress and money spent on upkeep.
  2. Let’s assume you save $500 a month on your mortgage payment. In 30 years, you could have an additional $1–1.6 million in the bank to get you through your golden years.
  3. Use the proceeds from selling your current home to pay cash for a smaller one. Just imagine what you could do with no mortgage holding you down! If you can’t pay cash, aim for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage and put at least 10–20% down on your new home. Apply the $500 you saved from downsizing to your new monthly payment. At 3% interest, you could pay off a $200,000 mortgage in less than 10.5 years, saving almost $16,000 in the process.

Realtor.com also addressed downsizing in a recent article. They suggest that you ask yourself some questions before deciding if downsizing is right for you and your family. Here are two of their questions followed by their answers (in italics) and some additional information that could help. 

Q: What kind of lifestyle do I want after I downsize?

A: “For some folks, it’s a matter of living a simpler life focused on family. Some might want to cross off travel destinations on their bucket lists. Some might want a low-maintenance community with high-end upgrades and social events. Decide what you want to achieve from your move first, and you’ll be able to better narrow down your housing options.”

Comments: Many homeowners are taking the profit from the sale of their current home and splitting it in order to put down payments on a smaller home in their current location, as well as a vacation/retirement home where they plan to live when they retire.

This allows them to lock in the home price and mortgage interest rate at today’s values. This makes sense financially as both home prices and interest rates are projected to rise.

Q: Have I built up enough equity in my current home to make a profit?

A: “For most homeowners, the answer is yes. This is if they’ve held on to their properties long enough to have positive equity that will be sizable enough to put a large down payment on their next home.”

Comments: A study by Fannie Mae revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have significant equity (> 20%) in their current home. In actuality, CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 72.6% have greater than 20% equity. That equity could enable you to build the life you’ve always dreamt about. 

Bottom Line

If you are debating downsizing your home and want to evaluate the options you currently have, let's meet up so I can help guide you through the process.

Housing Inventory Disappearing

5/9/2016

Housing Inventory Disappearing

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The price of any item is determined by the supply of that item, and the market demand. The National Association of Realtors (NAR)recently released their latest Existing Home Sales Report which gives insight into today’s market conditions.

Inventory Levels & Demand

Sales of existing homes rose 5.1% month-over-month in March and are 1.5% higher than this time last year. Sales rose in all four major regions in March.

Total unsold housing inventory is 1.5% lower than March 2015 at a 4.5-month supply and remains well below the six months that is needed for a historically normal market.

Consumer confidence is at the highest level in over a decade. Pair that with interest rates still below 4%, programs available for down payments as low as 3%, and you have an attractive market for buyers.

Homes sold in March were on the market for an average of 47 days and 42% of properties sold in less than a month.

Prices Rising

March marked the 49th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains as the median price of existing homes sold rose to $210,700 (up 5.7% from 2015).

So What Does This Mean?

The chart below shows the impact that inventory levels have on home prices.

Housing Inventory Disappearing | Simplifying The Market

 

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun gave some insight into the correlation:

"Buyer demand remains sturdy in most areas this spring and the mid-priced market is doing quite well. However, sales are softer both at the very low and very high ends of the market because of supply limitations and affordability pressures."

Bottom Line

If you are debating putting your home on the market in 2016, now may be the time. The number of buyers ready and willing to make a purchase is at the highest level in years. Let's meet up so we can get the process started.

If You Are Thinking of Selling, Now Is The Time

4/19/2016

If You Are Thinking of Selling, Now Is The Time | Keeping Current Matters

 

If you thought about selling your house this year, now may be the time to do it. The inventory of homes for sale is well below historic norms and buyer demand is skyrocketing. We were still in high school when we learned the concept of supply and demand: the best time to sell something is when supply of that item is low and demand for that item is high. That defines today’s real estate market.

Jonathan Smoke, the Chief Economist of realtor.com, in a recent article revealed that:

“Would-be buyers face a dilemma: There will be more homes on the market over each week of the next three to four months, but there will also be even more prospective buyers. We are entering the busiest season of home buying with the lowest amount of inventory in three years. To be competitive, buyers should get pre-approved for a mortgage and be ready to act quickly if they find a home that meets their needs.”

Smoke goes on to say:

“Listings are growing as they normally do this time of the year, but because demand has been growing faster than supply, homes are selling faster. So the monthly trend is the normal seasonal pattern, but the year-over-year decline is reflective of demand being stronger than supply for more than a year, which is resulting in fewer homes available and faster-moving inventory.”

In this type of market, a seller may hold a major negotiating advantage when it comes to price and other aspects of the real estate transaction including the inspection, appraisal and financing contingencies.

Bottom Line

As a potential seller, you are in the driver’s seat right now. It might be time to hit the gas.


 

You Can Save for a Down Payment Faster Than You Think

4/13/2016

You Can Save for a Down Payment Faster Than You Think

You Can Save for a Down Payment Faster Than You Think | Keeping Current Matters

In a study conducted by Builder.com, researchers determined that nationwide, it would take “nearly eight years” for a first-time buyer to save enough for a down payment on their dream home.

Depending on where you live, median rents, incomes and home prices all vary. By determining the percentage of income a renter spends on housing in each state, and the amount needed for a 10% down payment, they were able to establish how long (in years) it would take for an average resident to save.

According to the study, residents in South Dakota are able to save for a down payment the quickest in just under 3.5 years. Below is a map created using the data for each state:

You Can Save for a Down Payment Faster Than You Think | Keeping Current Matters

What if you only needed to save 3%?

What if you were able to take advantage of one of the Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae 3% down programs? Suddenly saving for a down payment no longer takes 5 or 10 years, but becomes attainable in under two years in many states as shown in the map below.

You Can Save for a Down Payment Faster Than You Think | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Whether you have just started to save for a down payment, or have been for years, you may be closer to your dream home than you think! Meet with a local real estate professional who can help you evaluate your ability to buy today.

2016 Home Sales Doing Just Fine!!

4/1/2016

2016 Home Sales Doing Just Fine!!

2016 Home Sales Doing Just Fine!! | Keeping Current Matters

Some of the housing headlines are causing concern for some consumers who are in the process of either buying or selling a home. Pundits are concerned over the lack of new construction or the month-over-month sales numbers. Let’s set the record straight; 2015 was a good year for residential real estate in the United States and 2016 is starting out stronger.

Here is a graph of total homes sold (new construction and existing homes) in the first two months in 2016 compared to last year:

2016 Home Sales Doing Just Fine!! | Keeping Current Matters

Will this momentum continue?

If we look at foot traffic (the number of purchasers currently out looking at homes), we can see that the spring buying market has started early and all indicators point to the fact that we may have the best spring in over a decade.

2016 Home Sales Doing Just Fine!! | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

The 2016 housing market started out well and looks to be gaining steam. If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, now may be a great time.

3 Charts That Scream ‘List Your Home Today’

3/22/2016

3 Charts That Scream ‘List Your Home Today’

3 Charts That Scream ‘List Your Home Today’ | Keeping Current Matters

In school we all learned the Theory of Supply and Demand. When the demand for an item is greater than the supply of that item, the price will surely rise.

SUPPLY

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the inventory of homes for sale stands at a 4.4-month supply. This is considerably lower than the 6-month inventory necessary for a normal market.

3 Charts That Scream ‘List Your Home Today’ | Keeping Current Matters

DEMAND

Every month NAR reports on the amount of buyers that are actually out in the market looking for homes, or foot traffic. As seen in the graph below, buyer demand in February significantly outpaced the last six months.

3 Charts That Scream ‘List Your Home Today’ | Keeping Current Matters

Many buyers are being confronted with a very competitive market in which they must compete with other buyers for their dream home (if they even are able to find a home they wish to purchase).

Listing your house for sale now will allow you to capitalize on the shortage of homes for sale in the market, which will translate into a better pricing situation.

HOME EQUITY

Many homeowners underestimate the amount of equity they currently have in their home. According to a recent Fannie Mae study, 37% of homeowners believe that they have more than 20% equity in their home. In reality, CoreLogic’s latest Equity Reporttells us that 72.6% actually do!

3 Charts That Scream ‘List Your Home Today’ | Keeping Current Matters

Many homeowners who are undervaluing their home equity may feel trapped in their current home, which may be contributing to the lack of inventory in the market.

Bottom Line

If you are debating selling your home this year, meet with a local real estate professional who can evaluate the equity you have in your home, as well as the opportunities available in your market.

Housing Market To “Spring Forward” This Year

3/17/2016

Housing Market To “Spring Forward” This Year

Housing Market To “Spring Forward” This Year | Keeping Current Matters

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 in the market right now is what is holding back the market.

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

Buyer demand has seasonality to it, which usually falls off in the winter months, especially in areas of the country impacted by arctic temperatures and conditions.

That hasn’t happened this year.

Demand for housing has remained strong as mortgage rates have remained near historic lows.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the top 10 datessellers listed their homes in 2015 all fell in April, May or June.

Those who act quickly and list now could benefit greatly from additional exposure to buyers prior to a flood of more competition coming to market in the next few months.

Bottom Line

If you are planning on selling your home in 2016, meet with a local real estate professional to evaluate the opportunities in your market.

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