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Monthly Archives: October 2018

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Slows to 20-Month Low

Case-Shiller Home Price Growth Slows to 20-Month LowHome price growth slowed to its lowest rate in 20 months according to the 20-City Home Price Index issued by Case-Shiller. After years of dismal readings, Las Vegas, Nevada led the cities included in the index.

Top three cities for August included Las Vegas, Nevada where year-over-year home prices grew by 13.90 percent. San Francisco, California saw home prices increase by 10.60 percent year-over-year and Seattle, Washington home prices rose by 9.60 percent year-over-year. August’s 20-City Home Price Index overall reading fell below six percent for the first time in a year.

Cooling Home Price Growth Helps Balance Housing Markets

Cooling home prices have been forecast for months, but August’s reading indicated that home prices have peaked and that current home price growth rates may ease pressure on overheated real estate markets, where high home prices, limited inventories of homes for sale and rising mortgage rates have limited buying opportunities. Home price growth remained above current rates of wage growth and inflation, but slower appreciation of home values will help balance the housing market from an extreme sellers’ market to more moderate market conditions.

Rising Mortgage Rates Not Sole Cause of Easing Home Prices

Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan recently said that rising mortgage rates were not the only cause of slowing growth of home prices. Mr. Kaplan said that multiple factors including rising building costs, labor shortages and rising mortgage rates combined to ease record demand for home; Mr. Kaplan said that the Fed is closely monitoring the economy and housing markets and mentioned that he had previously forecast slower housing markets as 2019 approaches.

Recent stock market sell-offs boosted the 10-year Treasury note price, but this momentum appears to be settling. Fixed mortgage rates are connected to yields on 10-year Treasury notes. Yields rise as note prices decline. Mortgage rates rise as the 10-year Treasury yield rises. While nothing is set in stone, this situation indicates that mortgage rates could continue to rise.

Rising mortgage rates and strict mortgage lending requirements have barred home buyers concerned with affordability and less than perfect credit profiles. As prospective home buyers abandon their home searches, demand for homes should ease and may further reduce gains in home prices.

If you are interested in buying a new property or selling your current property, contact your trusted real estate agent to discuss market specifics in your area.

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Posted by on October 31, 2018 in Real Estate

 

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4 Reasons To Buy Or Sell A Home This Winter

4 Reasons To Buy Or Sell A Home This WinterThe winter real estate market tends to be significantly different from other seasons. Buyers and sellers alike are often driven by different reasons than at other times of the year. That can be a win-win for both motivated buyers and sellers in the right climate.

Many homeowners list their property during spring and early summer hoping to maximize their return on investment during the competitive seasons. Families with school-aged children tend to be highly motivated buyers because they prefer not to take a child out of school mid-term.

Given the nationwide housing shortage, those seasons were hot seller’s market with Millennials scooping up listings quickly at or near asking price. But since the dog days of summer, the housing industry has changed substantially.

These are four meat-and-potatoes reasons to buy or sell property this winter.

  • Inventory Shortage: During the first six months of 2018, the national housing shortage stood at a 20-year worst. That was great news for sellers who enjoyed higher prices and fewer days on the market. It wasn’t great for buyers who were in heated competition for homes. A shortage is expected during the winter months. That could be good news for sellers. But there is likely to be less competition, and that may allow buyers a little wiggle room in negotiations.
  • Interest Rates: The Fed announced that interest rates would inch up in four increments by the end of 2018. While that may seem like bad news, it could be helpful for motivated buyers and sellers this winter. The rate increases will likely result in listing prices leveling off, and that could help buyers from being priced out of the market. The Fed also announced that rates would likely increase further by the end of 2019, which should motivate people to buy sooner rather than later. Simply put, the winter market forecast looks hot.
  • Tax Cuts: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act helped many Americans keep more of their own money and ratchet up the economy. A recent announcement from the White House says a middle-class tax cut of 10 percent is expected to be pushed through Congress. Rates may eek up but keeping another 10 percent of your money can provide a great deal of mortgage bandwidth.
  • Employment Opportunities: As mentioned above, spring and summer markets are often driven by family considerations. The winter market tends to be driven by others. One of the key reasons buyers and sellers relocate during the winter is driven by jobs. It is common for large and mid-sized companies to hire for the first of the year. Given the tremendous opportunities in this robust economy, higher salaries and dream jobs may present themselves. This winter could be a carpe diem homes market.

Although winter housing markets may have been sluggish in some years, it’s been a long time since everyday Americans were immersed in a thriving economy. With unemployment at a near 50-year low and wages rising, this winter could be a winner for buyers and sellers.

Whether you are buying or selling, your trusted real estate agent is available to help you navigate the market any time of the year in your area.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2018 in Real Estate

 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 29th, 2018

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - October 29th, 2018Last week’s economic news included readings on sales of new homes and pending home sales. A reading on consumer sentiment was also released along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Sales of New Homes Slide to Near 2 – Year Low

According to Commerce Department readings on new home sales, the pace of sales slipped close to a two-year low in September; new homes sold at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 553,000 sales.

September’s reading was 5.50 percent lower than for August and was 13.20 percent lower year-over-year. Analysts expected a reading of 620,000 sales; August’s reading showed an annual pace of 585,000 new homes sold.

Real estate pros reported a 7.10-month supply of available homes, which was a six-year high. A six-month supply of homes for sale is considered a normal inventory in many markets.

Home prices had a median of $320,000 in September, which was 3.50 percent lower year-over-year. Strong demand for homes coupled with limited supplies have caused home prices to rise and buyers to compete with cash-buyers and ever escalating home prices. Rising mortgage rates and few choices of available homes have sidelined moderate and first-time buyers.

Pending Home Sales Rise in September

The National Association of Realtors® reported rising pending home sales, which provided hope for lagging home sales. Pending sales are sales for which a purchase contract is signed but the sale has not yet closed. Pending home sales had an index reading of 104.6 in September as compared to 104.1 in August. No change from August’s reading was expected in September. The pending sales index pending home sales index was one percent lower year-over-year.

Pending sales rose 4.40 percent in the West; The Midwest posted a gain of 1.20 percent and the South posted a negative reading of – 0.40 percent. The South posted a negative reading of -1.40 percent in pending home sales.

Pending home sales are considered a predictor of completed sales and new mortgages.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week. Rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose one basis point to 4.86 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose three basis points to 4.29 percent and the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was four basis points higher at 4.14 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages, 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims rose last week to 215,000 new claims filed. Analysts expected no change from the prior week’s reading of 210,000 new claims filed. The University of Michigan reported a dip in its consumer sentiment index for October. September’s reading was adjusted from and index reading of 99 to 100.1. October’s reading was 99.  Lower consumer sentiment was based on stagnant wage growth according to analysts.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings from Case-Shiller on home prices, Labor sector reports on private and public sector employment and the national unemployment rate.

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2018 in Financial Reports

 

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4 Housing Market Trends To Expect In 2019

4 Housing Market Trends To Expect In 2019Just like Fantasy Football players try to predict who will score the most touchdowns, pass for the most yardage and win the Super Bowl, people with an eye on the real estate market also engage in speculation. Like sports fans, expectations are often driven by statistics from the previous season.

That being said, these are some of the important housing market trends buyers and sellers can expect in 2019.

1: New Construction To The Rescue (Sort Of)

The 2018 housing shortage has been well documented. The inventory shortfall has driven up listing prices and created a powerful seller’s market. The law of supply and demand would indicate that the construction sector will ramp up new home building in 2019.

Materials and labor costs are relatively modest when compared to new homes selling for approximately $150 per square foot on average. Home prices are expected to rise throughout 2019 creating more opportunity for construction outfits to build custom and spec houses. It is unlikely that new construction will keep pace with the high demand for homes. But buyers can expect more availability and custom-design options by working directly with builders.

2: Millennials Will Drive The Housing Market (Again)

In 2018, the full presence of Millennials was felt in the housing industry. There are now an estimated 75 million adults who fall into the demographic and they were reportedly responsible for upwards of 34 percent of all recent single-family home sales. Millennial home buyers were significantly responsible for higher than usual competition for starter homes in 2018.

At the older end of the spectrum, many are now in their mid-30s and fully engaged in careers. At the younger end, many are graduating from college and looking for starter homes as they enter the workforce. With more looking to buy first homes and others trading up, sellers would be wise to remain keenly aware of what Millennials want. Having grown up immersed in technology, Smart homes, and other integrated technologies tend to be attractive to this class of buyer.

3: Waiting May Result In Higher (But Still Low) Rates

The Federal Reserve continues to roll out interest rate increases against the fast-growing economy and employment stability. This did not come about unexpectedly and should not frighten off home buyers.

The Fed dropped rates to historic lows in 2008 after the Great Recession hit in an effort to stimulate growth. These days, business is thriving and there are reportedly 7 million unfilled jobs. All this good news means that the Fed will likely continue its planned increase throughout 2019. However, rates are likely to remain relatively low and buyer friendly.

4: Economy Expected To Remain Robust

To say we live in unusual times would be something of an understatement. The country has been embroiled in a series of tariff wars and trade negotiations many thought would cripple the GDP. The exact opposite seems to have occurred.

With the NAFTA deal now being redone as the USMCA, trade with Canada and Mexico are expected to be more beneficial for American businesses and wages. The administration is currently reworking a trade deal with the EU and a zero-tariff goal is on the table. The U.K. is in the midst of Brexit and a more beneficial trade agreement is expected there as well.

In terms of the dust-up with China, manufacturers appear to have simply shifted their output to other plants to avoid paying hefty tariffs. The price of goods appears to be staying low and the U.S. Business Confidence Index remains over 100 percent. These trends seem to overwhelmingly favor the American economy and housing market in 2019 and beyond.

Whether you are buying or selling, your trusted real estate professional is aware of the trends in your area and ready to help you find success with your real estate transactions.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2018 in Real Estate

 

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Inexpensive Updates That Will Appeal To Buyers

Inexpensive Updates That Will Appeal To BuyersWhile you could spend tens of thousands of dollars or more completing a home makeover, there are more than a few budget-minded ideas that you may consider.

Add Color To Molding And Trim

One cool idea in home décor and interior design is to get rid of the standard white trim and molding and to add color to these areas. Neutral hues like grays and browns have universal appeal, or you can give your space a more contemporary look by adding black to these areas. Generally, you will want a more neutral color like a creamy beige on the walls when executing a look with colored trim.

Another idea is utilizing a color consistent with your wall color as opposed to a contrasting or complimentary color. This helps the trim blend in and almost disappear. This is an especially effective concept when used in small rooms, narrow halls with several doorways or in rooms with low ceilings.

Update Light Fixtures

If you have a little more money to spend, you may consider updating your light fixtures. There are rather affordable yet stylish fixtures available in a wide range of finishes. When your rooms are empty or staged to perfection, the light fixtures can easily set the tone of the room and may be focal points. Outdated fixtures may have limited appeal to buyers who are looking for a home that is modern and current with today’s trends.

When thinking about lighting, don’t forget to consider updating your outdoor lighting. The right fixtures may add an additional element of curb appeal that many buyers appreciate.

Redefine Outdated Spaces

In some older homes, some of the rooms may have originally been built with outdated uses in mind. Today’s savvy buyers may be looking for a home with an exercise room, a media room or a study rather than a formal living or dining area. With this in mind, you may consider how you can stage your home to show that it can be used for modern purposes.

This may simply mean moving your formal dining room set into storage, adding French doors and investing in an affordable desk and side chairs for staging purposes. Murphy beds that offer space for guests that can be hidden away when not in use are a clever way to show dual purpose. Turning a closet or the area under the stairs into a small office is also a clever use of space. 

Your trusted real estate agent should be able to offer additional suggestions to help update your home and get it ready for market.

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2018 in Real Estate

 

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You Ask, We Answer: What is Private Mortgage Insurance or ‘PMI’ and How Does It Work?

You Ask, We Answer: What is Private Mortgage Insurance or 'PMI' and How Does It Work? For many homeowners, their mortgage payment contains more than just principal and interest. A little something called PMI could be representing a significant portion of that payment, and it’s important for home buyers to understand this cost.

What Is PMI?

PMI stands for private mortgage insurance, or sometimes just mortgage insurance. However, it isn’t intended to mitigate risk for the homeowner, but rather the bank.

Statistics show that when a home buyer puts less than 20% down on a home, he/she is much more likely to default. So, requiring these buyers to carry PMI helps the bank hedge their losses in the event of a default.

It’s important to note that the home buyer doesn’t shop for PMI; this is all taken care of by the lender. However, the cost of PMI should be calculated out well before closing to help the home buyer be aware of his/her final mortgage payment.

Who Needs PMI?

Who will need to carry PMI depends on factors like the credit rating of the buyer and the exact mortgage being sought out. However, it’s safe to say that most home buyers with less than a 20% down payment will be required to carry PMI.

Does PMI Ever Go Away?

Eventually, PMI can be removed from a mortgage once enough of the principle has been paid down or enough years have passed.

It’s important for home buyers to fully understand the terms of their PMI requirement. Sometimes, it will be automatically removed once 20% of the house has been paid off, while other times, refinancing may be required.

Should Those Who Cannot Put 20% Down, Not Buy A House To Avoid PMI?

Unfortunately, this is not an easy question to answer. Yes, PMI is an extra cost that needs to be calculated into the cost of the home – but putting off a home purchase isn’t necessarily the right course of action.

For many families, it’s financially challenging to save up 20% of the cost of a home. After all, in 2010, the median home price of new homes sold in America was $221,800. A 20% down payment on such a home would be $44,360.

However, many find that it’s still cheaper, or just financially wiser, to buy a home with PMI than to continue renting. Each potential home buyer should call their real estate professional to get more information about market trends in their area and to decide the appropriate course of action.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2018 in Home Mortgage Tips

 

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NAHB: Builder Confidence in Housing Market Ticks Up in October

NAHB Builder Confidence in Housing Market Ticks Up in OctoberHome builder confidence in national housing market conditions rose one index point for a reading of 68 in October. Readings over 50 indicate that most builders are confident about market conditions. Rolling three-month averages showed mixed results. The Northeastern region gained three points for an index reading of 57; the Midwestern region lost two index points with a reading of 57 and the Southern region posted a gain of one point with a reading of 70. The Western region held steady at 74.

Readings for sub-categories of the Housing Market index showed a one-point gain to 74 for current market conditions, Builder confidence in market conditions over the next six months also gained one point for a reading of 75 index points. Builder confidence in buyer traffic rose four points to 53. This was remarkable as historical readings for buyer traffic rarely rose above the benchmark reading of 50.

Demand for Homes Rises

The National Association of Home Builders reported that demand for homes increased regardless of high home prices, rising mortgage rates and low inventories of available homes. Labor shortages and high cost of buildable lots continued to weigh on builder confidence. Analyst predictions that home prices have peaked did not impact October’s builder confidence readings.

Home Builders Look Toward Affordable Housing

When the current housing boom started, builders concentrated on building high-end homes as cash buyers and investors fueled demand. Home prices rose quickly as inventories of homes for sale dwindled; first-time and moderate-income home buyers were sidelined as affordable homes were quickly snapped up. Strict mortgage qualification requirements presented challenges to buyers with credit problems. Consumers struggle with home price growth that exceeds inflation and wage increases.

As analysts report that home prices may have hit their peak the highest reading for builder confidence in recent months was 74 in December 2017. Slowing increases in home prices have signaled builders that favorable housing market conditions may have reached a tipping point. If another recession occurs, those who bought their homes at the top of the market and who have little equity are most at risk. Analysts cited high priced coastal areas as ripe for this risk. Meanwhile, builders are looking to create more affordable housing in response to signals of slowing growth in residential real estate markets.

Contact your trusted real estate professional to find out about about the market trends specific to your area.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2018 in Real Estate

 

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