4 Reasons to Sell This Summer [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights: Buyer demand continues to outpace the supply of homes for sale which means that buyers are often competing with one another for the few listings that are available! Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply needed to sustain a normal housing market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

Homes are More Affordable in 44 out of 50 States

With both home prices and mortgage rates increasing this year, many are concerned about a family’s ability to purchase a major part of the American Dream – its own home. However, if we compare housing affordability today to the average affordability prior to the housing boom and bust, we are in much better shape than most believe. In Black Knight’s latest monthly Mortgage Monitor, they revealed that in the vast majority of the country, it is actually more affordable to purchase a home today than it was between 1995 to 2003 when looking at mortgage payments (determined by price and interest rate) as compared to incomes. Home prices are up compared to 1995-2003, but mortgage rates are still much lower now than at that time. Today, they stand at about 4.5%. Here are the average mortgage rates for each of the years mentioned: 1995 – 7.93% 1996 – 7.81% 1997 – 7.6% 1998 – 6.94% 1999 – 7.44% 2000 – 8.05% 2001 – 6.97% 2002 – 6.54% 2003 – 5.83% On the other hand, wages have risen over the last twenty years. Black Knight’s research revealed that, when comparing “the share of median income required to buy the median-priced home” today, to the average between 1995 to 2003, it is currently more affordable to purchase a home in 44 of 50 states. Here is a state map of the percentage change in the price-to-payment ratio. Positive numbers indicate that it is less affordable to buy while negative numbers indicate that…

3 Issues Facing Today’s Real Estate Market

Last week, the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) held their 52nd Annual Journalism Conference in Las Vegas, NV. Among the many highly anticipated sessions was one called “Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate™,” given by Joseph Nahas, Jr., Chair of the Counselors of Real Estate & Senior Vice President of Equus Capital Partners.  The Counselors of Real Estate (CRE) “is an international organization of high profile property professionals which include principals of prominent real estate, financial, legal, and accounting firms as well as recognized leaders of government and academia.”  Their annual “top 10” list spans any and all issues that could have an impact on the real estate market. This year, the list was broken up into “Current” and “Long-Term Issues.” Today we’re going to focus on three of the five “Current” issues with a brief explanation of their impacts on the housing market today! E-Commerce & Logistics With promises of 2-day shipping no matter where you live, we are benefiting more now than ever before from the speed and ease-of-use of online retailers like Amazon. These e-retailers haven’t changed whether or not we buy certain items, but rather HOW we buy them! Many traditional malls or big-box stores are being repurposed as warehouses or distribution centers for online retailers so that they can get their products out faster. A Look to the Future: “Developers who are including experiences into their locations are the ones who will succeed. It’s about the experience and gaining something over just going…

How A Lack of Inventory Impacts 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, home sales are up, and distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have fallen to their lowest points in years. The market will continue to strengthen in 2018. 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 is not keeping up. Here are the thoughts of a few industry experts on the subject: Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at National Association of Realtors “The worsening inventory crunch through the first three months of the year inflicted even more upward pressure on home prices in a majority of markets. Following the same trend over the last couple of years, a strengthening job market and income gains are not being met by meaningful sales gains because of unrelenting supply and affordability headwinds.” Sam Khater, Chief Economist for Freddie Mac “As we head into late spring, the demand for purchase credit remains rock solid, which should set us up for another robust summer home sales season. While this year’s high rates – up 50 basic points from a year ago – have put pressure on the budgets of some home shoppers, weak inventory levels are what’s keeping the housing market from a stronger sales pace.” Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research for Realtor.com “The dynamics of increased competition and buyer…

Top 4 Home Renovations for Max ROI [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights: Whether you are selling your home, just purchased your first home or are a homeowner planning to stay put for a while, there is value in knowing which home improvement projects will net you the most Return On Investment (ROI). Minor bathroom renovations can go a long way toward improving the quality of your everyday life and/or impressing potential buyers. Upgrading your landscaping or curb appeal helps get buyers in the door. These upgrades rank as the 2nd and 4th renovations for returns on investment.

Are Lending Standards Too Loose…or Too Tight?

With home values appreciating at record rates, some are concerned that we may be heading for another housing bubble like the one we experienced a decade ago. One of the major culprits of that housing boom and bust was the loosening of standards for mortgage credit. In a study done at the University of North Carolina immediately after the crisis, it was revealed that: “Lenders began originating large numbers of high risk mortgages from around 2004 to 2007, and loans from those vintage years exhibited higher default rates than loans made either before or after.” A study by John V Duca, John Muellbauer, and Anthony Murphy concluded that those risky mortgages caused the housing crisis: “Our findings indicate that swings in credit standards played a major, if not the major, role in driving the recent boom and bust in US house prices.” How do today’s mortgage standards compare to those from 2004 to 2007? The Mortgage Bankers’ Association tracts mortgage standards in their Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI). A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index are indicative of loosening credit. While the chart below shows the index going back to that period between 2004 and 2007 when loose standards caused the housing bubble, we can see that, though the index has risen slightly over the last several years, we are nowhere near the standards that precipitated the housing crisis. Bottom Line If anything, standards today are too tight and are preventing some…

Parents Say Kids’ Opinions Matter Big When Buying a Home

A recent survey conducted by Harris Poll and released by SunTrust Mortgage found that “55% of homeowners with a child under the age of 18 at the time when they purchased their home said that the opinion of their offspring played a major role in their home buying decision.” When the results were broken down by the parent’s age, millennials (those 18-36) led the way with 74% of homeowners saying that their child’s opinion was a factor in choosing which home to buy. Eighty-three percent of renters believe that their child’s opinion would be a deciding factor when looking to purchase a home. So what features in a home are most important to kids? Coming in at 57%, it should come as no surprise that gaining their own bedrooms was the top most-desirable feature of any home for kids, followed by a large back yard to play in at 34%. Todd Chamberlain, Head of Mortgage Banking at SunTrust explained the reasoning behind the survey, “As a parent of two kids, I know from experience that including children in the home buying process is not only fun for the whole family, but also educational for our homebuyers of tomorrow.” Bottom Line If you’re thinking about selling your home this year, make sure to highlight all the kid-friendly features your home has to offer so that you can sway the real decision makers.

Days on The Market Drops to New Low in April

According to recently released data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median number of days that a home spent on the market hit a new low of 26 days in April, as 57% of homes were on the market for under a month. NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, had this to say, “What is available for sale is going under contract at a rapid pace. Since NAR began tracking this data in May 2011, the median days a listing was on the market was at an all-time low in April, and the share of homes sold in less than a month was at an all-time high.” Strong buyer demand, a good economy, and a low inventory of new and existing homes for sale created the perfect storm to accelerate the time between listing and signing a contract. The chart below shows the median days on the market from April 2017 to April 2018: Bottom Line If you are a homeowner who is debating whether or not to list your home for sale, know that national market conditions are primed for a quick turnaround! Let’s get together to discuss exactly what’s going on in our area, today!

The Cost of Renting vs. Buying [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights: Historically, the choice between renting or buying a home has been a tough decision. Looking at the percentage of income needed to rent a median-priced home today (28.8%) vs. the percentage needed to buy a median-priced home (17.1%), the choice becomes obvious. Every market is different. Before you renew your lease again, find out if you can put your housing costs to work by buying this year!

Did Tax Reform Kill the Luxury Market? NOT SO FAR!

The new tax code limits the deduction of state and local property taxes, as well as income or sales taxes, to a total of $10,000. When the tax reform legislation was put into law at the beginning of the year, some experts felt that it could have a negative impact on the luxury housing market. Capital Economics: “The impact on expensive homes could be detrimental, with a limit on the MID raising taxes for those that itemize.” Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics: “The impact on house prices is much greater for higher-priced homes, especially in parts of the country where incomes are higher and there are thus a disproportionate number of itemizers, and where homeowners have big mortgages and property tax bills.” The National Association of Realtors (NAR) predicted price declines in “high cost, higher tax areas” because of the tax changes. They forecasted a depreciation of 6.2% in New Jersey and 4.8% in Washington D.C. and New York. What has actually happened? Here are a few metrics to consider before we write-off the luxury market: 1. According to NAR’s latest Existing Home Sales Report, here is the percent change in sales from last year: Homes sales between $500,000 – $750,000 are up 11.9% Homes sales between $750,000 – $1M are up 16.8% Homes sales over $1,000,000 are up 26.7% 2. In a report from Trulia, it was revealed that searches for “premium” homes as a percentage of all searches increased from 38.4% in the fourth quarter of 2017 to…