Access: An Important Factor in Getting Your House SOLD!

Posted on May 15, 2018

So, you’ve decided to sell your house. You’ve hired a real estate professional to help you through the entire process, and they have asked you what level of access you want to provide to your potential buyers. There are four elements to a quality listing. At the top of the list is Access, followed by Condition, Financing, and Price. There are many levels of access that you can provide to your agent so that he or she can show your home. Here are five levels of access that you can give to buyers, along with a brief description: Lockbox on the Door – this allows buyers the ability to see the home as soon as they are aware of the listing, or at their convenience. Providing a Key to the Home – although the buyer’s agent may need to stop by an office to pick up the key, there is little delay in being able to show the home. Open Access with a Phone Call – the seller allows showings with just a phone call’s notice. By Appointment Only (example: 48-Hour Notice) – Many buyers who are relocating for a new career or promotion start working in that area prior to purchasing their home. They often like to take advantage of free time during business hours (such as their lunch break) to view potential homes. Because of this, they may not be able to plan their availability far in advance or may be unable to wait 48 hours to see the house. Limited Access (example: the home is only available on Mondays or Tuesdays at 2pm or for only a couple of hours a day) – This is the most difficult way to be able to show your house to potential buyers. With May proving to be the best month to sell your home, access can make or break your ability to get the price you are looking for, or even sell your house at all. Read More >>

Homeownership: “A Man Is Not a Complete Man, Unless He Owns a House”

Posted on May 14, 2018

The famous quote by Walt Whitman, “A man is not a whole and complete man, unless he owns a house and the ground it stands on,” can be used to describe homeownership in America today. The Census revealed that the percentage of homeowners in America has been steadily climbing back up since hitting a 50-year low in 2016. The homeownership rate in the first quarter of 2018 was 64.2%, higher than last year’s 63.6%. Chief Economist, Dr. Ralph McLaughlin, in his VUE Blog gave these new homeownership numbers some context: “The trend is clear: the homeownership rate has been ticking up for five consecutive quarters, and the number of new renter households has fallen for four consecutive quarters. Owner-occupied households grew by 1.345 million from a year ago, while the number of renters actually fell by 286,000 households. The fact that we now have four consecutive quarters where owner households increased while renter households fell is a strong sign households are making a switch from renting to buying. This is a trend that multifamily builders, investors, and landlords should take note of.” In a separate article comparing the rental population in America to the homeowner population, Realtor.com also concluded that the gap is now shrinking: “The U.S. added 1.3 million owner households over the last year and lost 286,000 renter households, the fourth consecutive quarter in which the number of renter households declined from the same quarter a year earlier. That could pose challenges for apartment landlords, who are bracing this year for one of the largest infusions of new rental supply in three decades.” America’s belief in homeownership was also evidenced in a survey conducted by Pew Research. They asked consumers “How important is homeownership to achieving the American Dream?” The results: 43% said homeownership was essential to the American Dream 48% said homeownership was important to the American Dream Only 9% said it was not important Bottom Line Homeownership has been, is, and always will be a crucial part of the American Dream. Read More >>

3 Tips for Making Your Dream of Owning a Home a Reality [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted on May 11, 2018

Some Highlights: Setting up an automatic savings plan that saves a small amount of every check is one of the best ways to save without thinking much about it. Living within a budget right now will help you save money for down payments while also paying down other debts that might be holding you back. What are you willing to cut back on to make your dreams of homeownership a reality? Read More >>

5 Ways Tax Reform Has Impacted the 2018 Housing Market

Posted on May 10, 2018

Starting late last year, some predicted that the 2018 tax changes would cripple the housing market. Headlines warned of the potential for double-digit price depreciation and suggested that buyer demand could drop like a rock. There was even sentiment that homeownership could lose its coveted status as a major component of the American Dream. Now that the first quarter numbers are in, we can begin to decipher the actual that impact tax reform has had on the real estate market. 1. Has tax reform killed off home buyer demand? The answer is “NO.” According to the Showing Time Index which “tracks the average number of buyer showings on active residential properties on a monthly basis” and is a “highly reliable leading indicator of current and future demand trends,” buyer demand has increased each month over the last three months and is HIGHER than it was for the same months last year. Buyer demand is not down. It is up. 2. Have the tax changes affected America’s belief in real estate as a long-term investment? The answer is “NO.” Two weeks ago, Gallup released its annual survey which asks Americans which asset they believed to be the best long-term investment. The survey revealed: “More Americans name real estate over several other vehicles for growing wealth as the best long-term investment for the fifth year in a row. Just over a third cite real estate for this, while roughly a quarter name stocks or mutual funds.”  The survey also showed that the percentage of Americans who believe real estate is the best long-term investment was unchanged from a year ago. 3. Has the homeownership rate been negatively impacted by the tax changes? The answer is “NO.” Not only did the homeownership rate not crash, it increased when compared to the first quarter of last year according to data released by the Census Bureau. In her latest “Z Report,” Ivy Zelman explains that tax reform didn’t hurt the homeownership rate, but instead, enhanced it: “We have been of the opinion that homeownership is most highly correlated with income and the net effect of tax reform would be a positive, rather than negative catalyst for the homeownership rate. While still in the early innings of tax changes, this has proven to be the case.” 4. Has the upper-end market been crushed by new State and Local Taxes (SALT) limitations? The answer is “NO.” In the National Association of Realtors latest Existing Home Sales Report it was revealed that: Sales between $500,000 and $750,000 were up 4.5% year-over-year Sales between $750,000 and $1M were up 15.1% year-over-year Sales over $1M were up 17.3% year-over-year 5. Will the reforms in the tax code cause home prices to tumble over the next twelve months? The answer is “NO.” According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Insights Report, home prices will appreciate in each of the 50 states over the next twelve months. Appreciation is projected to be anywhere from 1.9% to 10.3% with the national average being 4.7%. Bottom Line The doomsday scenarios that some predicted based on tax reform fears seem to have already blown over based on the early housing industry numbers being reported. Read More >>

Real Estate Tops Best Investment Poll for 5th Year Running

Posted on May 09, 2018

Every year, Gallup surveys Americans to determine their choice for the best long-term investment. Respondents are given a choice between real estate, stocks/mutual funds, gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds. For the fifth year in a row, real estate has come out on top as the best long-term investment! This year’s results showed that 34% of Americans chose real estate, followed by stocks at 26%. The full results are shown in the chart below. The study makes it a point to draw attention to the contrast in the sentiment over the last five years compared to that of 2011-2012, when gold took the top slot with 34% of the votes. Real estate and stocks took second and third place, respectively, while still in recovery from the Great Recession. Bottom Line As the real estate market has recovered, so has the belief of the American people in the stability of housing as a long-term investment. Read More >>

What If I Wait Until Next Year to Buy a Home?

Posted on May 08, 2018

We recently shared that national home prices have increased by 6.7% year-over-year. Over that same time period, interest rates have remained historically low which has allowed many buyers to enter the market. As a seller, you will likely be most concerned about ‘short-term price’ – where home values are headed over the next six months. As a buyer, however, you must not be concerned about price, but instead about the ‘long-term cost’ of the home. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae all project that mortgage interest rates will increase by this time next year. According to CoreLogic’s most recent Home Price Index Report, home prices will appreciate by 5.2% over the next 12 months. What Does This Mean as a Buyer? If home prices appreciate by 5.2% over the next twelve months as predicted by CoreLogic, here is a simple demonstration of the impact that an increase in interest rate would have on the mortgage payment of a home selling for approximately $250,000 today: Bottom Line If buying a home is in your plan for this year, doing it sooner rather than later could save you thousands of dollars over the terms of your loan. Read More >>

50% of Homes Sold in 30 Days in March [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted on May 04, 2018

Some Highlights: The National Association of REALTORS® recently surveyed their members for their Confidence Index. The REALTORS® Confidence Index is a key indicator of housing market strength based on a monthly survey sent to over 50,000 real estate practitioners. Practitioners are asked about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions. Homes sold in less than 60 days in 35 out of 50 states and Washington D.C. Homes typically went under contract in 30 days in March! Read More >>

4 Reasons Why Today’s Housing Market is NOT 2006 All Over Again

Posted on May 03, 2018

With home prices rising again this year, some are concerned that we may be repeating the 2006 housing bubble that caused families so much pain when it collapsed. Today’s market is quite different than the bubble market of twelve years ago. There are four key metrics that explain why: Home Prices Mortgage Standards Mortgage Debt Housing Affordability 1. HOME PRICES There is no doubt that home prices have reached 2006 levels in many markets across the country. However, after more than a decade, home prices should be much higher based on inflation alone. Frank Nothaft is the Chief Economist for CoreLogic (which compiles some of the best data on past, current, and future home prices). Nothaft recently explained: “Even though CoreLogic’s national home price index got to the same level it was at the prior peak in April of 2006, once you account for inflation over the ensuing 11.5 years, values are still about 18% below where they were.” (emphasis added) 2. MORTGAGE STANDARDS Some are concerned that banks are once again easing lending standards to a level similar to the one that helped create the last housing bubble. However, there is proof that today’s standards are nowhere near as lenient as they were leading up to the crash. The Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center issues a Housing Credit Availability Index (HCAI). According to the Urban Institute: “The HCAI measures the percentage of home purchase loans that are likely to default—that is, go unpaid for more than 90 days past their due date. A lower HCAI indicates that lenders are unwilling to tolerate defaults and are imposing tighter lending standards, making it harder to get a loan. A higher HCAI indicates that lenders are willing to tolerate defaults and are taking more risks, making it easier to get a loan.” The graph below reveals that standards today are much tighter on a borrower’s credit situation and have all but eliminated the riskiest loan products. 3. MORTGAGE DEBT Back in 2006, many homeowners mistakenly used their homes as ATMs by withdrawing their equity and spending it with no concern for the ramifications. They overloaded themselves with mortgage debt that they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) repay when prices crashed. That is not occurring today. The best indicator of mortgage debt is the Federal Reserve Board’s household Debt Service Ratio for mortgages, which calculates mortgage debt as a percentage of disposable personal income. At the height of the bubble market a decade ago, the ratio stood at 7.21%. That meant over 7% of disposable personal income was being spent on mortgage payments. Today, the ratio stands at 4.48% – the lowest level in 38 years! 4. HOUSING AFFORDABILITY With both house prices and mortgage rates on the rise, there is concern that many buyers may no longer be able to afford a home. However, when we look at the Housing Affordability Index released by the National Association of Realtors, homes are more affordable now than at any other time since 1985 (except for when prices crashed after the bubble popped in 2008). Bottom Line After using four key housing metrics to compare today to 2006, we can see that the current market is not anything like the bubble market. Read More >>

This Just In: Data Says May is the BEST Month to Sell Your Home

Posted on May 02, 2018

According to a newly released study by ATTOM Data Solutions, selling your home in the month of May will net you an average of 5.9% above estimated market value for your home. For the study, ATTOM performed an “analysis of 14.7 million home sales from 2011 to 2017” and found the average seller premium achieved for each month of the year. Below is a breakdown by month: ATTOM even went a step further and broke their results down by day. Top 5 Days to Sell: June 28th – 9.1% above market February 15th – 9.0% above market May 31st – 8.3% above market May 29th – 8.2% above market June 21st – 8.1% above market It should come as no surprise that May and June dominate as the top months to sell and that 4 of the top 5 days to sell fall in those two months. The second quarter of the year (April, May, June) is referred to as the Spring Buyers Season, when competition is fierce to find a dream home, which often leads to bidding wars. One caveat to mention though, is that when broken down by metro, ATTOM noticed that while warmer climates share in the overall trend, it turns out that they have different top months for sales. The best month to get the highest price in Miami, FL, for instance, was January, and Phoenix, AZ came in with November leading the charge. If you’re thinking of selling your home this year, the time to list is NOW! According to the National Association of Realtors, homes sold in an average of just 30 days last month! If you list now, you’ll have a really good chance to sell in May or June, setting yourself up for getting the best price! Bottom Line Let’s get together to discuss the market conditions in our area and get you the most exposure to the buyers who are ready and willing to buy! Read More >>

How Much Has Your Home Increased in Value Over the Last Year?

Posted on May 01, 2018

Home values have risen dramatically over the last twelve months. In CoreLogic’s most recent Home Price Index Report, they revealed that national home prices have increased by 6.7% year-over-year. CoreLogic broke down appreciation even further into four price ranges, giving us a more detailed view than if we had simply looked at the year-over-year increases in national median home price. The chart below shows the four price ranges from the report, as well as each one’s year-over-year growth from February 2017 to February 2018 (the latest data available). It is important to pay attention to how prices are changing in your local market. The location of your home is not the only factor that determines how much your home has appreciated over the course of the last year. Lower-priced homes have appreciated at greater rates than homes at the upper ends of the spectrum due to demand from first-time home buyers and baby boomers looking to downsize. Bottom Line If you are planning to list your home for sale in today’s market, let’s get together to go over exactly what’s going on in your area and your price range. Read More >>

Why Home Prices Are Increasing

Posted on April 30, 2018

There are many unsubstantiated theories as to why home values are continuing to increase. From those who are worried that lending standards are again becoming too lenient (data shows this is untrue), to those who are concerned that prices are again approaching boom peaks because of “irrational exuberance” (this is also untrue as prices are not at peak levels when they are adjusted for inflation), there seems to be no shortage of opinion. However, the increase in prices is easily explained by the theory of supply & demand. Whenever there is a limited supply of an item that is in high demand, prices increase. It is that simple. In real estate, it takes a six-month supply of existing salable inventory to maintain pricing stability. In most housing markets, anything less than six months will cause home values to appreciate and anything more than seven months will cause prices to depreciate (see chart below). According to the Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the monthly inventory of homes for sale has been below six months for the last five years (see chart below). Bottom Line If buyer demand continues to outpace the current supply of existing homes for sale, prices will continue to appreciate. Nothing nefarious is taking place. It is simply the theory of supply & demand working as it should. Read More >>

Existing Home Sales Grow Despite Low Inventory [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted on April 27, 2018

Some Highlights: According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors, sales grew 1.1% in March to an annual pace of 5.60 million. This is the strongest pace since November of 2017. Inventory levels dropped year-over-year for the 34th consecutive month and are now 7.2% lower than March 2017 levels, representing a 3.6-month supply. Read More >>

New Study Shows ‘Best States for Millennials’

Posted on April 27, 2018

A new study by WalletHub used “30 key metrics, ranging from share of millennials to millennial unemployment rate to millennial voter-turnout rate” to find out which states are the ‘Best States for Millennials.’ The Top 5 Best States for Millennials are: Washington, D.C. (also ranks highest in percentage of millennials already living there!) North Dakota (lowest unemployment rate) Minnesota (highest millennial homeownership rate) Massachusetts (highest percentage of millennials with health insurance coverage) Iowa (ranked #1 in lowest housing cost for millennials) Below is a map with the rankings for each of the 50 states: We recently reported on a study that set out to find out “How Much You Need to Make to Buy a Home in Your State,” which may have left you wondering what the average salaries are in each of the five states listed above. According to WalletHub’s research, the top 5 states with the Highest Average Millennial Salaries are: Washington, D.C. New York Massachusetts Washington California Every day, more and more millennials are aging into the ‘Responsibility Zone,’ the time in their lives when their responsibilities start to dictate their behaviors. For many, this includes buying a home. The top 5 states with the Highest Millennial Homeownership Rate are: Minnesota West Virginia Indiana Utah Delaware Bottom Line If owning a home is next on your list, let’s get together to answer any questions you may have and set you on the path to homeownership! Read More >>

Short of a war or stock market crash…

Posted on April 26, 2018

This month, Arch Mortgage Insurance released their spring Housing and Mortgage Market Review. The report explained that an increase in mortgage rates and/or home prices would impact monthly payments this way: A 5% increase in home prices increases payments by roughly 5% A 1% rise in interest rates increases payments by roughly 13% or 14% That begs the question… What if both rates and prices increase as predicted? The report revealed: “If interest rates and home prices rise by year-end in the ballpark of what most analysts are forecasting, monthly mortgage payments on a new home purchase could increase another 10–15%. That would make 2018 one of the worst full-year deteriorations in affordability for the past 25 years.” The percent increase in mortgage payments would negatively impact affordability. But, how would affordability then compare to historic norms? Per the report: “For the U.S. overall, even if affordability were to deteriorate as forecasted, affordability would still be reasonable by historic norms. That is because the percentage of pre-tax income needed to buy a typical home in 2019 would still be similar to the historical average during 1987–2004. Thus, nationally at least, even with higher rates and home prices, affordability will just revert to historical norms.” What about home prices? A decrease in affordability will cause some concern about home values. Won’t an increase in mortgage payments negatively impact the housing market? The report addressed this question: “Even recent interest rate increases and higher taxes on some upper-income earners didn’t slow the market, as many had feared…Short of a war or stock market crash, housing markets could continue to surprise on the upside over the next few years.” To this point, Arch Mortgage Insurance also revealed their Risk Index which estimates the probability of home prices being lower in two years. The index is based on factors such as regional unemployment rates, affordability, net migration, housing starts and the percentage of delinquent mortgages. Below is a map depicting their projections (the darker the blue, the lower the probability of a price decrease): Bottom Line If interest rates and prices continue to rise as projected, the monthly mortgage payment on a home purchased a year from now will be dramatically more expensive than it would be today. Read More >>

US Housing Market Still In ‘Buy Territory’!

Posted on April 09, 2018

According to the Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index, the U.S. housing market has continued to move deeper into buy territory, supporting the belief that housing markets across the country remain a sound investment. The BH&J Index is a quarterly report that attempts to answer the question: In today’s housing market, is it better to rent or buy a home? The index examines the entire US housing market and then isolates 23 major cities for comparison. The researchers “measure the relationship between purchasing property and building wealth through a buildup in equity versus renting a comparable property and investing in a portfolio of stocks and bonds.”  While 13 of the 23 metropolitan markets examined moved further into buy territory, markets like Dallas, Denver, and Houston are currently deep into rent territory. Due to a lack of inventory, the home prices in these areas have increased by 6.7%, 6.3%, and 5.3%  respectively from a year ago. According to Eli Beracha, Ph.D., Co-Creator of the index, home prices will begin to return to more normal levels. “Our data indicates that prices are above their 40-year trend but not significantly so as they were in 2007. Rather than a crash, I anticipate slower growth in prices accompanied by longer marketing times for sellers and increasing inventories, which should bring prices back in conjunction with their 40-year trend.” Bottom Line The majority of the country is strongly in buy territory. Buying a home makes sense socially and financially, as rents are predicted to increase substantially in the next year. Protect yourself from rising rents by locking in your housing cost with a mortgage payment now.  To Find Out More About the Study: The BH&J Index and other FAU real estate activities are sponsored by Investments Limited of Boca Raton. The BH&J Index is published quarterly and is available online at http://business.fau.edu/buyvsrent. Read More >>

Imperial Home Team

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