Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

May 16, 2019

A Tale of Two Markets [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights:

  • An emerging trend for some time now has been the difference between available inventory and demand in the premium and luxury markets and that in the starter and trade-up markets and what those differences are doing to prices!
  • Inventory continues to rise in the luxury and premium home markets which is causing prices to cool.
  • Demand continues to rise with lower-than-normal inventory levels in the starter and trade-up home markets, causing prices to rise on a year-over-year basis for 85 consecutive months.
May 16, 2019

A Lack of Inventory Continues to Impact the Housing Market

The housing crisis is finally in the rear-view mirror as the real estate market moves down the road to a complete recovery. Home values are up and distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have fallen to their lowest point in years. The market will continue to strengthen in 2019.

 

However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory! Buyer demand naturally increases during the summer months, but supply has not kept up.

 

Here are the thoughts of a few industry experts on the subject:

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at National Association of Realtors

 

“Further increases in inventory are highly desirable to keep home prices in check, the sustained steady gains in home sales can occur when home price appreciation grows at roughly the same pace as wage growth.”

 

Jessica Lautz, Vice President of NAR

 

“There’s a supply-demand mismatch… More inventory is needed at the lower end and a price reduction may be needed at the upper end.”

 

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist of Realtor.com

 

“Heading into spring, U.S. prices are expected to continue to rise and inventory is expected to continue to increase, but at a slower pace than we’ve seen the last few months as fewer sellers want to contend with this year’s more challenging conditions… A buyer’s experience will vary notably depending on the market and price point they’re targeting.”

 

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling, now may be the time! Demand for your house will be strong at a time when there is very little competition. That could lead to a quick sale for a really good price!

May 16, 2019

New Research Shows Housing Is Affordable For First-Time Buyers

New Research Shows Housing Is Affordable For First-Time Buyers | Simplifying The Market

Home prices have been on the rise for the last seven years, leading many housing market analysts to conclude that first-time homebuyers are being shut out of the market due to affordability concerns.

 

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports on the percentage of First-Time Home Buyers (FTHB) on a monthly and yearly basis. Their latest report shows that FTHB’s made up 33% of buyers in March, which matches their reported share in 2018.

 

NAR uses survey data from their members to come up with this statistic, so their results do not include every transaction completed. Rather, they only show the transactions reported by members who complete the survey.

 

The other entity that reports on FTHB share is the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). The AEI uses data from mortgage applications that define an FTHB as “any borrower who did not have a mortgage for the preceding three years.”

 

This means the AEI measurement also includes former homeowners who transitioned out of a home they previously owned and re-entered the market after at least 3 years. The latest FTHB share data from AEI shows that first-time buyers made up 57.5% of all mortgages in August 2018. NAR’s data shows a 31% share for the same time period.

 

New research from the New York Federal Reserve shows that these traditional reports on FTHB share have been unable to give an accurate depiction of this group’s involvement in the market.

 

The NY Fed was able to take consumer credit data and identify when a mortgage payment entered a consumer’s credit report to determine when a first-time home purchase was made. Using this data, they were able to show that AEI’s reported FTHB share was consistently 10% higher. The NAR reports were right on par with their findings until 2010, when NAR’s share dropped to the 11% gap seen today.

 

So, what does this all mean?

First-time home buyers have not disappeared from the market as many analysts had believed. Buying a home is very much a part of the American Dream for younger generations, just like it had been for their parents and grandparents.

 

This also means that rising prices have not scared buyers away from the market. Many first-time buyers are making sacrifices to save their down payment and make their dream a reality.

 

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many renters who is scrolling through listings on your phone every night dreaming of buying your own home, there are opportunities in every market to make that dream a reality!

May 16, 2019

4 Tips for Making a Competitive Offer

So, you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call ‘home,’ and you’ve finally found it! The price is right, and in such a competitive market, you want to make sure you make a good offer so that you can guarantee that your dream of making this house yours comes true!

 

Below are 4 steps provided by Freddie Mac to help buyers make offers, along with some additional information for your consideration:

 

1. Determine Your Price

“You’ve found the perfect home and you’re ready to buy. Now what? Your real estate agent will be by your side, helping you determine an offer price that is fair.”

 

Based on your agent’s experience and key considerations (like similar homes recently sold in the same neighborhood or the condition of the house and what you can afford), your agent will help you to determine the offer that you are going to present.

 

Getting pre-approved will not only show home-sellers that you are serious about buying, but it will also allow you to make your offer with confidence because you’ll know that you have already been approved for a mortgage in that amount.

 

2. Submit an Offer

“Once you’ve determined your price, your agent will draw up an offer, or purchase agreement, to submit to the seller’s real estate agent. This offer will include the purchase price and terms and conditions of the purchase.”

 

Talk with your agent to find out if there are any ways in which you can make your offer stand out in this competitive market! A licensed real estate agent who is active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer.

 

3. Negotiate the Offer

“Oftentimes, the seller will counter the offer, typically asking for a higher purchase price or to adjust the closing date. In these cases, the seller’s agent will submit a counteroffer to your agent, detailing their desired changes, at this time, you can either accept the offer or decide if you want to counter.

 

Each time changes are made through a counteroffer, you or the seller have the option to accept, reject or counter it again. The contract is considered final when both parties sign the written offer.”

 

If your offer is approved, Freddie Mac urges you to “always get an independent home inspection, so you know the true condition of the home.” If the inspector uncovers undisclosed problems or issues, you can discuss any repairs that may need to be made with the seller or even cancel the contract altogether.

 

4. Act Fast

The inventory of homes listed for sale has remained well below the 6-month supply that is needed for a ‘normal’ market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream homes.

 

Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as quickly as possible.

 

Bottom Line

Whether buying your first home or your fifth, having a local real estate professional who is an expert in his or her market on your side is your best bet in making sure the process goes smoothly. Let’s talk about how we can make your dream of homeownership a reality!

May 16, 2019

What is Really Happening with Home Prices?

Home values have softened over the last twelve months. We are no longer seeing 6-7% annual appreciation levels for the national housing market. The current numbers are closer to 4%. Some have suggested that year-over-year appreciation levels could fall to 3% or less this year.

 

However, a stronger-than-expected economy and a good spring housing market have changed some opinions. Some analysts are now predicting that home value appreciation may begin to increase as we move forward.

 

Here are three examples:

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist of First American

“Data on the movement of unadjusted house prices during the early spring home-buying season won’t be available for a few more months, but it’s quite likely that price appreciation will accelerate again.”

 

CoreLogic’s April “Home Price Insights”

Home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased year over year by 3.7% in March 2019 compared with March 2018…The CoreLogic HPI Forecast indicates that home prices will increase by 4.8% on a year-over-year basis from March 2019 to March 2020.”

 

Pulsenomics’ Quarterly “Home Price Expectation Survey”

  • The 2018 4th Quarter survey called for 3.8% appreciation for 2019.
  • The 2019 1st Quarter survey raised the appreciation projection for this year to 4.3%.

 

Bottom Line

Price appreciation has slowed over the past year. However, a strong economy and a good housing market have many experts thinking that home values might re-accelerate moderately throughout the rest of this year.

May 7, 2019

Existing Home Sales Slow to Start Spring [INFOGRAPHIC]

Existing Home Sales Slow to Start Spring [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Existing Home Sales slowed to an annual pace of 5.21 million home sales in March.
  • Low inventory levels are still impacting home sales! The current month’s supply of homes for sale is 3.9-months.
  • Median home prices were up 3.8% over last March at $259,400. This marked the 85th consecutive month with year-over-year price gains.

 

May 7, 2019

How Quickly Can You Save Your Down Payment?

How Quickly Can You Save Your Down Payment? | Simplifying The Market

Saving for a down payment is often the biggest hurdle for a first-time homebuyer. Depending on where you live, median income, median rents, and home prices all vary. So, we set out to find out how long it would take to save for a down payment in each state.

 

Using data from HUD, Census and Apartment List, we determined how long it would take, nationwide, for a first-time buyer to save enough money for a down payment on their dream home. There is a long-standing ‘rule’ that a household should not pay more than 28% of their income on their monthly housing expense.

 

By determining the percentage of income spent renting in each state, and the amount needed for a 10% down payment, we were able to establish how long (in years) it would take for an average resident to save enough money to buy a home of their own.

 

According to the data, residents in Kansas can save for a down payment the quickest, doing so in just over 1 year (1.12). Below is a map that was created using the data for each state:

How Quickly Can You Save Your Down Payment? | Simplifying The Market

What if you only needed to save 3%?

What if you were able to take advantage of one of Freddie Mac’s or Fannie Mae’s 3%-down programs? Suddenly, saving for a down payment no longer takes 2 to 5 years, but becomes possible in less than a year in most states, as shown on the map below.

How Quickly Can You Save Your Down Payment? | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Whether you have just begun to save for a down payment or have been saving for years, you may be closer to your dream home than you think! Let’s get together to help you evaluate your ability to buy today.

May 7, 2019

What Would Make You Sell Your House?

What Would Make You Sell Your House? | Simplifying The Market

There are many reasons why a homeowner decides to sell their house and move. The latest Generational Trends Report from the National Association of Realtors asked recent home sellers to share their reason for moving.

 

The younger the respondents, the more likely their top response centered around needing a larger home (ages 29 to 53). Relocating for a job was the top reason for those ages 54 to 63 and the second most popular response for those under 53. The chart below shows the breakdown for these two reasons.

What Would Make You Sell Your House? | Simplifying The Market

For homeowners over the age of 64, wanting to be closer to friends and family served as the top motivator to move. Downsizing to a smaller home or moving due to retirement came in as a close second and third.

What Would Make You Sell Your House? | Simplifying The Market

Have you outgrown your current house? Are you a homeowner who can relate to wanting to be closer to family and friends? Is your house becoming a burden to clean now that the kids have moved out?

 

Bottom Line

Let’s get together to set you on the path to selling your current house and finding the home that fits your needs, today!

May 7, 2019

2 Trends Helping Keep Housing Affordable

2 Trends Helping Keep Housing Affordable | Simplifying The Market

Two positive trends have started to emerge that impact the 2019 Spring Housing Market. Mortgage interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate loan have dropped to new lows, right as reports show that wages have increased at their highest rate in decades!

 

These two factors have helped keep housing affordable despite low supply of houses for sale driving up prices. First American’s Chief Economist, Mark Fleming, explains the impact,

 

“Ongoing supply shortages remain the main driver of the performance gap as the housing market continues to face an inventory impasse – you can’t buy what’s not for sale.

 

 However, an unexpected affordability surge, driven primarily by lower-than-anticipated mortgage rates, rising wages and favorable demographics, has boosted housing demand.”

 

Mortgage interest rates had been on the rise for most of 2018 before reaching their peak in November at 4.94%. According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates last week came in at 4.20%.

 

Average hourly earnings grew at an annual rate of 3.2% in March, up substantially from the 2.3% average pace seen over the last 10 years.

 

These two factors contributed nearly $6,000 worth of additional house-buying power for median households from February to March 2019, according to First American’s research. Fleming is positive about the prolonged impact of lower rates and higher wages.

 

“We expect rising wages and lower mortgage rates to continue through the spring, boosting housing demand and spurring home sales.”

 

Bottom Line

Low mortgage interest rates have kept housing affordable throughout the country. If you plan on purchasing a home this year, act now while rates are still low!

May 7, 2019

Your Fabulous New Dream Home is Now Available

Your Fabulous New Dream Home is Now Available |Simplifying The Market

Over the last several years, many “baby boomers” have undergone a metamorphosis. Their children have finally moved out and they can now dream about their own future. For many, a change in lifestyle might necessitate a change in the type of home they live in.

 

That two-story, four-bedroom colonial with three bathrooms no longer fits the bill. Taxes are too high. Utilities are too expensive. Cleaning and repair are too difficult. When they decide to travel to be with friends and family, locking up the house is too time-consuming and worrisome.

 

Instead, a nice ranch home with 2-3 bedrooms and two baths might better fulfill their new needs and lifestyle. The challenge many “boomers” have faced when trying to downsize to the perfect new home has been a lack of inventory.

 

The average number of years a family stays in their home has increased by fifty percent since 2008, causing fewer houses to come to the market. During the same time, new home builders were concentrating most of their efforts on large, luxury, expensive houses.

 

However, that is starting to change.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau, sales of newly built, single-family homes rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 692,000 units in March. The great news is that more of those homes were sold at the lower end of the price range.

 

In a press release last week, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) explained that:

 

“The median sales price was $302,700, with strong gains in homes sold at lower price points. The median price of a new home sale a year earlier was $335,400.”

 

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz offered further detail:

 

“We saw a large gain at lower price points where demand is strong. In March of 2019, 50% of new home sales were priced below $300,000, compared to 39% in March of 2018.”

 

Bottom Line

If you are a “boomer” thinking of selling your old house in order to buy a new home that better fits your current lifestyle, now may be the perfect time!