3 Powerful Reasons to Buy a Home Now

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3 Powerful Reasons to Buy a Home Now | Simplifying The Market

Whether you are a first-time buyer or looking to move up to the home of your dreams, now is a great time to purchase a home. Here are three major reasons to buy today.

1. Affordability

Many people focus solely on price when talking about home affordability. Since home prices have appreciated throughout the past year, they assume homes are less affordable. However, affordability is determined by three components:

  • Price
  • Wages
  • Mortgage Interest Rate

Prices are up, but so are wages – and interest rates have recently dropped dramatically (see #2 below). As a result, the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Affordability Index report revealed that homes are MORE affordable throughout the country today than they were a year ago.

“All four regions saw an increase in affordability from a year ago. The South had the biggest gain in affordability of 6.9%, followed by the West with a gain of 6.0%. The Midwest had an increase of 5.8%, followed by the Northeast with the smallest gain of 1.8%.”

2. Mortgage Interest Rates

Mortgage rates have dropped almost a full point after heading toward 5% last fall and early winter. Currently, they are below 4%.3 Powerful Reasons to Buy a Home Now | Simplifying The MarketAdditionally, Fannie Mae recently predicted the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage will be 3.7% in the second half of 2019. That compares to a 4.4% average rate in the first quarter and 4% in the second quarter.

With mortgage rates remaining near historic lows, Fannie Mae and others have increased their forecasts for housing appreciation for the rest of the year. If home price gains are about to re-accelerate, buying now rather than later makes financial sense.

3. Increase Family Wealth

Homeownership has always been recognized as a sensational way to build long-term family wealth. A new report by ATTOM Data Solutions reveals:

“U.S. homeowners who sold in the second quarter of 2019 realized an average home price gain since purchase of $67,500, up from an average gain of $57,706 in Q1 2019 and up from an average gain of $60,100 in Q2 2018. The average home seller gain of $67,500 in Q2 2019 represented an average 33.9 percent return as a percentage of original purchase price.”

The longer you delay purchasing a home, the longer you are waiting to put the power of home equity to work for you.

Bottom Line

With affordability increasing, mortgage rates decreasing, and home values about to re-accelerate, it may be time to make a move. Let’s get together to determine if buying now makes sense for your family.

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Mid-Year Housing Market Update: Three Things to Know Today

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Mid-Year Housing Market Update: Three Things to Know Today | Simplifying The Market

Shifting trends and industry-leading research are pointing toward some valuable projections about the status of the housing market for the rest of the year.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling, or if you just want to know what experts are saying is on the horizon, here are the top three things to put on your radar as we head into the coming months:

  1. Home prices are appreciating at a more normal rate: Home prices have been appreciating for about ten years now. Experts at the Home Price Expectation Survey, Mortgage Bankers Association, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae are forecasting continued growth throughout the next year, although it should be leveling-off to normal appreciation (3.6%), as we move into 2020.
  2. Interest rates are low: Over the past 30 years, the average mortgage rate in the United States has been 8.27%, and rates even peaked as high as 18% in the 1980s. Today, at 3.81%, the rate is considerably lower than the historical 30-year average. Although experts predict it may climb into the low 4% range in the near future, that’s still remarkably lower than our running average, suggesting a great time to get more for your money over the life of your loan.
  3. An impending recession does not mean there will be a housing crash: Although expert research studies such as those found in the Duke Survey of American CFOs and the National Association of Business Economics, are pointing toward a recession beginning within the next 18 months, a potential recession isn’t expected to be driven by the housing industry. That means we likely won’t experience a devastating housing crash like the country felt in 2008. Expert financial analyst Morgan Housel tweeted:

“An interesting thing is the widespread assumption that the next recession will be as bad as 2008. Natural to think that way, but, statistically, highly unlikely. Could be over before you realized it began.”

In fact, during 3 of the 5 last U.S. recessions, housing prices actually appreciated:Mid-Year Housing Market Update: Three Things to Know Today | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

With prices appreciating and low interest rates available, it’s a perfect time to buy or sell a home. Let’s get together to discuss how you can take the next step in the exciting journey of homeownership.

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What Experts are Saying About the Current Housing Market

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What Experts are Saying About the Current Housing Market | Simplifying The Market

We’re halfway through the year, and with a decline in interest rates as well as home price and wage appreciation, many are wondering what the experts predict for the second half of 2019.

Here’s what some have to say:

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com

“Lower mortgage rates, higher wages and more homes for sale have helped counteract rising home prices, and ultimately, made it so that buyers are able to afford more than last year.”

“Our outlook implies 4% growth for the remaining months of the year, predicated on…more supply than last year, the decline in mortgage rates, moderating home price appreciation and improving affordability.”

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR

“Rates of 4% and, in some cases even lower, create extremely attractive conditions for consumers. Buyers, for good reason, are anxious to purchase and lock in at these rates.”

Doug Duncan, Chief Economist for Fannie Mae

“Moderating home price appreciation and attractive mortgage rates continue to support affordability, particularly as home builders are now paying more attention to the entry-level portion of the housing market.”

Kaycee Miller in a Realtor Magazine article

“At the moment, some observers suggest the housing market is indeed headed for a slowdown. But no need to panic — experts say the financial and economic factors that were in play during the big crash a decade ago don’t exist today.”

Bottom Line

The housing market will be stronger for the rest of 2019. If you’d like to know more about your specific market, let’s get together to chat about what’s happening in our area.

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Is Renting Right for Me?

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Is Renting Right for Me? | Simplifying The Market

If you’re currently renting and have dreams of owning your own home, it may be a good time to think about your next move. With rent costs rising annually and many helpful down payment assistance programs available, homeownership may be closer than you realize.

According to the 2018 Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report, 74% of renters plan on buying within the next 5 years, and 38% are planning to buy within the next 2 years.

When those same renters were asked why they disliked renting, 52% said rising rental costs were their top reason. The results of the survey can be seen here:Is Renting Right for Me? | Simplifying The MarketIt’s no wonder rising rental costs came in as the top answer. The median asking rent price has risen steadily over the last 30 years, as you can see below.Is Renting Right for Me? | Simplifying The MarketThere is a long-standing rule that a household should not spend more than 28% of its income on housing expenses. With nearly half of renters (48%) surveyed already spending more than that, and with their rents likely to rise again, it’s never a bad idea to reconsider your family’s plan and ask yourself if renting is your best angle going forward. When asked why they haven’t purchased a home yet, not having enough saved for a down payment (44%) came in as the top response. The report went on to reveal that nearly half of all respondents believe that “a 20% down payment is required to buy a home.”

The reality is, the need to produce a 20% down payment is one of the biggest misconceptions of homeownership, especially for first-time buyers. That means a large number of renters may be able to buy now, and they don’t even know it.

Bottom Line

If you’re one of the many renters who are tired of rising rents but may be confused about what is required to buy in today’s market, let’s get together to determine your path to homeownership.

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The Cost of Waiting: Interest Rates Edition [INFOGRAPHIC]

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The Cost of Waiting: Interest Rates Edition [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

The Cost of Waiting: Interest Rates Edition [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Interest rates are projected to increase steadily heading into 2020.
  • The higher your interest rate, the more money you will end up paying for your home and the higher your monthly payment will be.
  • Rates are still low right now – don’t wait until they hit 5% to start searching for your dream home!

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The Surprising Profile of the Real Estate Investor

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The Surprising Profile of the Real Estate Investor | Simplifying The Market

Over 10% of all residential homes are purchased by investors, and that number continues to rise. Who are these investors?

Many have speculated that the large institutional conglomerates such as Blackstone, American Homes 4 Rent, and Colony Starwood dominate investor purchases. However, a special report on investor home buying by CoreLogic, Don’t Call it a Comeback: Housing Investors Have Been Here for Years, shows this is not the case.

Ralph McLaughlin, CoreLogic’s Deputy Chief Economist and author of the report, explained his findings at the recent National Association of Real Estate Editors conference in Austin:

“Investor buying activity in the U.S. is at record highs. And our records go back confidently, about 20 years…

What’s going on and why? Well, it turns out, it’s not the big institutional guys that are leading the increase in home buying. It’s actually the smaller guys. It’s those that have bought between one and ten properties over this 20-year period, they’re the ones that are really leading the increase in investor home buying.”

Here is the breakdown of the percentage of purchasers by type of investor over the last six years according to the report:The Surprising Profile of the Real Estate Investor | Simplifying The MarketAs the graph shows, the percentage of “Mom & Pop” investors is currently dominating the number of homes purchased by investors, as the percentage of homes purchased by both professional and institutional investors is falling.

Bottom Line

Most houses purchased by an investor are bought by small investors looking to diversify their financial portfolio by adding a real estate component. If you are investing in real estate as either a landlord or someone who fixes-up and flips the house, let’s chat about the ways you can build or liquidate your current portfolio of properties.

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What a Difference a Year Makes for Sellers

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What a Difference a Year Makes for Sellers | Simplifying The Market

Over the last few years, many sellers have been hesitant to put their houses on the market because they feared not being able to find another home to buy.

We’ve reported on inventory shortages in the past, and it’s been a constant concern for potential buyers throughout recent years. New research shows the inventory concern is starting to decrease among potential buyers.

According to First American, the two leading obstacles to homeownership that buyers feel today are Affordability and Limited Inventory. This means the feeling that homes are less affordable has risen, while the fear of limited inventory has decreased, delivering a wealth of good news for sellers.What a Difference a Year Makes for Sellers | Simplifying The MarketAt the same time, over the past 12 months, we’ve seen a steady month-over-month increase in the number of homes coming to market for purchase. In the past, the lack of listings and available inventory slowed down the real estate market. This recent increase in current inventory has many buyers and sellers now thinking it is time to make their move – and rightfully so! For the last two months, we’ve seen over 4 months of inventory become available for sale, a promising number that’s been slowly increasing this year and creating more buying opportunities.What a Difference a Year Makes for Sellers | Simplifying The MarketTo further support the idea of an improving real estate market, Sam Khater, the Chief Economist at Freddie Mac says,

“…In the near-term, we expect the housing market to continue to improve from both a sales and price perspective.” 

Many experts, like Sam, believe the second half of 2019 will drive a stronger market than we saw at the beginning of the year. This is great news for homeowners who have put off getting their houses on the market and are now ready to make a move.

Bottom Line

What a difference we’ve seen over the course of this year! If you’re thinking of selling, now is the time as inventory is on the rise.

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Should I Refinance My Home?

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Should I Refinance My Home? | Simplifying The Market

With the recent lower interest rates, many homeowners are wondering if they should refinance.

To decide if refinancing is the best option for your family, start by asking yourself these questions:

Why do you want to refinance?

There are many reasons to refinance, but here are three of the most common ones:

  1. Lower your interest rate and payment – This is the most popular reason. If you have a 5% interest rate or higher, it might be worth seeing if you can take advantage of the current lower interest rates, hovering below 4%, to reduce your monthly payment and overall cost of the loan.
  2. Shorten the term of your loan – If you have a 30-year loan, it may be advantageous to change it to a 15 or 20-year loan to pay off your mortgage sooner.
  3. Cash-out refinance – With home prices increasing, you might have enough equity to cash out and invest in something else, like your children’s education, a vacation home, or a new business.

Once you know why you might want to refinance, ask yourself the next question:

How much is it going to cost?

There are fees and closing costs involved in refinancing, and Lenders Network explains:

“If you were to refinance that loan into a new loan, total closing costs will run between 2%-4% of the loan amount.”

They also explain that there are options for no-cost refinance loans, but be on the lookout:

“A no-cost refinance loan is when the lender pays the closing costs for the borrower. However, you should be aware that the lender makes up this money from other aspects of the mortgage. Usually pay charging a slightly higher interest rate so they can make the money back.”

If you’re comfortable with the costs of refinancing, then ask yourself one more question:

Is it worth it?

To answer this one, we’ll use an example. Let’s assume you have a $200,000 home loan. A 4% refinance cost will be $10,000. If you want to lower your interest rate from 6% to 4%,  then refinancing is going to save you $244 per month. To break even ($10,000/$244), you need to continue owning your home for over 40 months.

Now that you know how the math shakes out, think about how much longer you’d like to own your current home. If you plan to stay for more than 3 years, then maybe it is advantageous for you to refinance.

If, however, your current home does not fulfill your present needs, you might want to consider using your potential refinance costs for a down payment on a new move-up home. You will still get a lower interest rate than the one you have on your current house, and with the equity you’ve already built, you can finally purchase the home of your dreams.

Bottom Line

There are many opportunities for growth in the current real estate market. To find out what’s right for your family, let’s get together to help you understand your options and guide you toward the best decision.

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Home Price Appreciation Forecast

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Home Price Appreciation Forecast | Simplifying The Market

Questions continue to come up about where home prices will head throughout the rest of this year, as well as where they may be going over the few years beyond. We’ve gathered current data from the industry’s most reliable sources to help answer these questions:

The Home Price Expectation Survey – A survey of over 100 market analysts, real estate experts, and economists conducted by Pulsenomics each quarter.

Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) – As the leading advocate for the real estate finance industry, the MBA enables members to successfully deliver fair, sustainable, and responsible real estate financing within ever-changing business environments.

Zelman & Associates – The firm leverages unparalleled housing market expertise, extensive surveys of industry executives, and rigorous financial analysis to deliver proprietary research and advice to leading global institutional investors and senior-level company executives.

Freddie Mac – An organization whose mission is to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S. housing market in all economic conditions extending to all communities from coast to coast.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) – The largest association of real estate professionals in the world.

Fannie Mae – A leading source of financing for mortgage lenders, providing access to affordable mortgage financing in all markets.

Here’s the home price appreciation these experts are projecting over the next few years:

Home Price Appreciation Forecast | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Every source sees home prices continuing to appreciate, which is great news for the strength of the market. The increase is steepest throughout the rest of 2019, and prices should continue to rise as we move through 2020 and beyond.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters