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!

Sept. 6, 2018

5 Reasons You Should Sell This Fall!

5 Reasons You Should Sell This Fall! | Simplifying The Market

Here are five reasons why listing your home for sale this fall makes sense.

 

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase…and are in the market right now! In fact, more often than not, multiple buyers end up competing with each other to buy the same homes.

 

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

 

2. There Is Less Competition Now 

Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply needed for a normal housing market. This means that, in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in the market. This is good news for homeowners who have gained equity as their home values have increased. However, additional inventory could be coming to the market soon!

 

Historically, a homeowner stayed in his or her home for an average of six years, but that number has hovered between nine and ten years since 2011. Many homeowners have a pent-up desire to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners will be given the freedom to move.

 

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until this other inventory comes to market before you decide to sell.

 

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Today’s competitive environment has forced buyers to do all that they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. This makes the entire selling process much faster and much simpler as buyers know exactly what they can afford before home shopping. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the average time it took to close a loan was 44 days.

 

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If your next move will be into a premium or luxury home, now is the time to move up! The

abundance of inventory available in these higher price ranges has created a buyer’s market for anybody looking to purchase these homes. This means that if you are planning on selling a starter or trade-up home, your home will sell quickly AND you’ll be able to find a premium home to call your own!

 

According to CoreLogic, prices are projected to appreciate by 5.1% over the next year. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

 

5. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life 

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you feel you should?

 

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

 

That is what is truly important.

 

Sept. 6, 2018

A+ Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Pro [INFOGRAPHIC]

A+ Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Pro [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Hiring a real estate professional to help you buy your dream home or sell your current house is one of the most ‘educated’ decisions you can make!
  • A real estate professional has the experience needed to help you through the entire process.
  • Make sure that you hire someone who knows current market conditions and can simply and effectively explain them to you and your family!
Sept. 6, 2018

Why are Existing Home Sales Down?

Why are Existing Home Sales Down? | Simplifying The Market

The latest Existing Home Sales Report issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that home sales have decreased for four consecutive months and are at their slowest pace in over two years. This has some industry leaders puzzled considering the fact that the economy is strengthening, unemployment is down, and wages are beginning to rise. This begs the question: “Where are the buyers?”

 

Actually, agents in the field of most communities are still seeing strong desire from prospective purchasers. They have a list of potential buyers ready to go if the right houses come on the market and they claim it is not a shortage of demand, but is instead a shortage of inventory that is causing the market to soften.

 

Why is there a shortage of inventory?

You only need to look at the graph below to understand:

Why are Existing Home Sales Down? | Simplifying The Market

New construction sales over the last ten years are far below historic numbers from 1995-2002.

 

A recent industry report looked at building permits and concluded:

 

“If construction over the past decade matched historic norms, accounting for population change, the country would have had 2.3 million more single-family home permits.”

 

That decade of not building enough homes is the primary reason for the concerns about today’s market.

 

Wait, weren’t we talking about ‘existing’ home sales?

Some may argue that NAR’s sales report deals with existing home sales and not new construction, and they would be correct. However, reports have shown that one of the main reasons why existing homeowners are not selling is because they can’t find homes that meet the needs of their current lifestyles. Historically, the upgrades in a newly constructed home were the answers to those needs.

 

Over the last decade, however, there were fewer homes built to satisfy this move-up seller. Consequently, there are many homeowners who stayed in their homes for a longer tenure, instead of putting their homes up for sale.

 

Bottom Line

As more new homes are being built, there will be more housing inventory to satisfy current demand which will cause prices to moderate and sales volumes to increase.

 

Sept. 6, 2018

Top 3 Myths About Today’s Real Estate Market

Top 3 Myths About Todayâ??s Real Estate Market | Simplifying The Market

There are many conflicting headlines when it comes to describing today’s real estate market. Some are making comparisons to the market we experienced 10 years ago and are starting to believe that we may be doomed to repeat ourselves. Others are just plain wrong when it comes to what it takes to qualify for a mortgage.

 

Today, we want to try and clear the air by shedding some light on what’s causing some of these headlines, as well as what’s truly going on.

 

Myth #1: We Are Headed for Another Housing Bubble

Home prices have appreciated year-over-year for the last 76 straight months. Many areas of the country are at or near their peak prices achieved before the last housing bubble burst. This has many worried that we are headed towards another housing bubble.

 

Reality: The biggest challenge facing today’s real estate market is a lack of homes for sale! Demand is strong, as many renters have come off the fence and are searching for their dream homes.

 

Historically, a normal market requires a 6-month supply of inventory in order for prices to rise with the rate of inflation. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) there is currently a 4.3-month supply of inventory.

 

The US housing market hasn’t had 6-months inventory since August 2012! The concept of supply and demand is what is driving home prices up!

 

Myth #2: The Rumored Recession Will Lead to Another Housing Market Crash

Economists and analysts know that the country has experienced economic growth for almost a decade. When this happens, they also know that a recession can’t be too far off. But what is a recession?

 

Merriam-Webster defines a recession as “a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two consecutive quarters.”

 

Reality: Recession DOES NOT equal housing crisis. Many people associate these two terms with one another because the last time we had a recession it was caused by a housing crisis. According to the Federal Reserve, over the last 40 years, there have been six recessions. In each of the previous five recessions, home values appreciated.

 

Myth #3: There is an Affordability Crisis Looming

Rising home prices have many concerned that the average family will no longer be able to afford the most precious piece of the American Dream – their own home.

 

There are many different affordability indexes supported by different organizations that all measure different data. For this reason, there is a lot of confusion about what “affordable” actually means.

 

The monthly cost of a home is determined by the home’s price and the interest rate on the mortgage used to purchase it. According to Freddie Mac, interest rates have risen from 3.95% in January to 4.59% just last week.

 

Reality: As we mentioned earlier, home prices have appreciated year-over-year for the last 76 months, largely driven by high demand and low supply.

 

According to a recent study by Zillow, the percentage of median income necessary to buy a home in today’s market (17.1%) is well below the mark reached in 1985 – 2000 (21%), as well as the mark reached in 2006 (25.4)! Interest rates would have to increase to 6% before buying a home would be less affordable than historical norms.

 

The starter-home market has appreciated at higher levels (9.4% year-over-year) than any other market. One reason for this is the fact that many of the first-time buyers who have flocked to the starter-home market are being met with high competition. For some hopeful buyers, it may take more than a good offer to stand out from the crowd!

 

Bottom Line

There is a lot of confusion in today’s real estate market. If your future plans include buying or selling, make sure you have a trusted advisor and market expert by your side to help guide you to the best decision for you and your family.

 

Aug. 28, 2018

Millennials & Income

Image result for Homeownership millennials

Millennials have become an important topic of discussion for media outlets and blogs throughout the Country. While some argue that my generation is blossoming later than our predecessors, optimists such as myself believe that with our rebounding economy will help Millennials finally arrive in the economic arena that allows them the growth potential generations before us were afforded.

 

While I truly believe Millennials are positioned to become an important force in the new economy, the widening economic policy that minimizes retirement accounts and creates underemployment of Millennials threatens what is now America’s largest demographic.

 

In his post for MSN, Austin Thompson points out that Millennials are now in peak childbearing age, and from a Real Estate, as well as a parental Standpoint, what goes hand in hand with raising a family is the desire to own a home.

 

Families want to put down roots. They want to know they have a certain level of security if possible, while growing some form of equity for retirement.

 

While slashing pensions and lower wages certainly puts a strain on Millennial workers, the ability to purchase Real Estate can still be a saving grace in the Millennial financial planning process.

 

As agents and brokers, we are meant to advise our clients. We can’t change the fact that outside economic factors can have a negative impact on the lives of our clients. What we can do is try and help Millennials understand that they can take their future, and subsequently their retirement, into their own hands.

 

Chances are, your average Millennial client, like their parents, will not be starting out with a beach front multi-million dollar estate. Our job, is to help explain the path that starting in smaller affordable homes now will have down the road, how it will help them grow, and how it will help them take control of their livelihood.

 

Do more than sell my generation a house…help them build a future.

Posted in Millennials
Aug. 28, 2018

Homeownership’s Impact on Net Worth

Image result for Homeownership net worth

Over the last six years, homeownership has lost some of its allure as a financial investment. As homeowners suffered through the housing bust, more and more began to question whether owning a home was truly a good way to build wealth. A study by the Federal Reserve formally answered this question.

 

Some of the findings revealed in their report:

  • The average American family has a net worth of $77,300
  • Of that net worth, 61.4% ($47,500) of it is in home equity
  • A homeowner’s net worth is over thirty times greater than that of a renter
  • The average homeowner has a net worth of $174,500 while the average net worth of a renter is $5,100

Bottom Line

The Fed study found that homeownership is still a great way for a family to build wealth in America.

Posted in For Buyers
Aug. 28, 2018

Chicken Little is Wrong: Homeownership Still the American Dream

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After the harrowing challenges experienced by so many homeowners over the last few years, many housing experts had predicted that the belief in homeownership as a major element of the American Dream would soon die. There is now conclusive evidence that these experts were wrong. As we reported back in September, The Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University completed a study which concluded:

 

“The long term cultural preference for owning seems to have weathered the recent housing crisis.”

 

Now, a second source recently announced similar results. Fannie Mae just released their National Housing Survey of Delinquent Mortgage Borrowers. The survey asked questions about the value of homeownership to the most sensitive of all groups – those delinquent on their mortgages. Here is what they found:

 

Of those delinquent borrowers:

 

  • 74% still see homeownership as better than renting when building up wealth
  • 71% still see homeownership as better than renting when saving for retirement
  • 73% still see homeownership as better than renting for overall financial stability
  • 80% still see homeownership as better than renting as an investment plan
  • 70% still see homeownership as better than renting for creating an overall tax strategy

Bottom Line

Homeownership has always been and will always be a crucial piece of the American Dream.

Posted in For Buyers, For Sellers
Aug. 28, 2018

FSBOs Must Be Ready to Negotiate

Image result for fsbo real estate

In a recovering market, some sellers might be tempted to try and sell their home on their own (FSBO) without using the services of a real estate professional. The real estate agent is a trained and experienced negotiator. In most cases, the seller is not. The seller must realize the ability to negotiate will determine whether they get the best deal for themselves and their family.

 

Here is a list of some of the people with whom the seller must be prepared to negotiate if they decide to FSBO:

 

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house.
  • The termite company if there are challenges
  • The buyer’s lender if the structure of the mortgage requires the sellers’ participation
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value
  • The title company if there are challenges with certificates of occupancy (CO) or other permits
  • The town or municipality if you need to get the COs permits mentioned above
  • The buyer’s buyer in case there are challenges on the house your buyer is selling.
  • Your bank in the case of a short sale
Posted in For Sellers
Aug. 28, 2018

Harvard: 5 Financial Reasons to Buy a Home

Eric Belsky is Managing Director of the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University. He also currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Housing Research and Housing Policy Debate. This year he released a new paper on homeownership – The Dream Lives On: the Future of Homeownership in America. In his paper, Belsky reveals five financial reasons people should consider buying a home.

 

Here are the five reasons, each followed by an excerpt from the study:

 

1.) Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available.

 

“Few households are interested in borrowing money to buy stocks and bonds and few lenders are willing to lend them the money. As a result, homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. Even a hefty 20 percent down payment results in a leverage factor of five so that every percentage point rise in the value of the home is a 5 percent return on their equity. With many buyers putting 10 percent or less down, their leverage factor is 10 or more.”

 

2.) You’re paying for housing whether you own or rent.

 

“Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord.”

 

3.) Owning is usually a form of “forced savings”.

 

“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”

 

4.) There are substantial tax benefits to owning.

 

“Homeowners are able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from income…On top of all this, capital gains up to $250,000 are excluded from income for single filers and up to $500,000 for married couples if they sell their homes for a gain.”

 

5.) Owning is a hedge against inflation.

 

“Housing costs and rents have tended over most time periods to go up at or higher than the rate of inflation, making owning an attractive proposition.”

 

Bottom Line

We realize that homeownership makes sense for many Americans for many social and family reasons. It also makes sense financially.

Posted in For Buyers
Aug. 28, 2018

Home Sales Expected to Continue Increasing in 2019

Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and the Mortgage Bankers Association are all projecting that home sales will increase nicely in 2019. Below is a chart depicting the projections of each entity for the remainder of 2018, as well as for 2019.

Home Sales Expected to Continue Increasing in 2019 | Simplifying The Market

As we can see, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and the Mortgage Bankers Association all believe that homes sales will increase steadily over the next year. If you are a homeowner who has considered selling your house recently, now may be the best time to put it on the market.