Buying

Is Your First Home Within Your Grasp Now? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights: According to the US Census Bureau, ‘millennials’ are defined as 18-36-year-olds. According to NAR’s latest Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the median age of all first-time home buyers is 32. More and more ‘old millennials’ (25-36) are realizing that homeownership is within their grasp now!

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Moving Up to Your Dream Home? Don’t Wait!

Mortgage interest rates have risen by more than half of a point since the beginning of the year, and many assume that if mortgage rates rise, home values will fall. History, however, has shown this not to be true. Where are home values today compared to the beginning of the year? While rates have been rising, so have home values. Here are the most recent monthly price increases reported in the Home Price Insights Report from CoreLogic: January: Prices were up 0.5% over the month before. February: Prices were up 1% over the month before. March: Prices were up 1.4% over the month before. Not only did prices continue to appreciate, the level of appreciation accelerated over the first quarter. CoreLogic believes that home prices will increase by 5.2% over the next twelve months. How can prices rise while mortgage rates increase? Freddie Mac explained in a recent Insight Report: “In the current housing market, the driving force behind the increase in prices is a low supply of both new and existing homes combined with historically low rates. As mortgage rates increase, the demand for home purchases will likely remain strong relative to the constrained supply and continue to put upward pressure on home prices.” Bottom Line If you are thinking about moving up to your dream home, waiting until later this year and hoping for prices to fall may not be a good strategy.

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Renters Under 50 Want to Buy a Home!

Every year, the New York Federal Reserve publishes the results of their Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE). Each survey covers a wide range of topics including inflation, labor market, household finance, credit access and housing. One of the many questions asked in the housing section of the survey was: Assuming you had the financial resources to do so, would you like to OWN instead of RENT your primary residence? Over three-quarters of respondents under the age of 50 said that they would prefer to own their home, rather than rent. While only 52.6% of those over 50 would prefer to own. The full breakdown can be found in the chart below. When renters were asked what the average probability of owning a primary residence at some point in their future was, 66.4% of those under 50 believed that they would eventually own their home, while only 23% of those over 50 did. Bottom Line Many had wondered if young Americans had lost their desire to own a home, but for those renting now, that dream is still alive.

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

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…

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

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?

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5 Ways Tax Reform Has Impacted the 2018 Housing Market

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…

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Real Estate Tops Best Investment Poll for 5th Year Running

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.

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Home Inspections: What to Expect

So you made an offer, it was accepted, and now your next task is to have the home inspected prior to closing. Oftentimes, agents make your offer contingent on a clean home inspection. This contingency allows you to renegotiate the price you paid for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or even, in some cases, walk away. Your agent can advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed. How to Choose an Inspector Your agent will most likely have a short list of inspectors that they have worked with in the past that they can recommend to you. HGTV recommends that you consider the following 5 areas when choosing the right home inspector for you: Qualifications – find out what’s included in your inspection and if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties. Sample Reports – ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home. The more detailed the report, the better in most cases. References – do your homework – ask for phone numbers and names of past clients who you can call to ask about their experiences. Memberships – Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate your choice. Membership in one of these organizations often means that continued training and education are provided. Errors & Omission Insurance – Find out what the liability…

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

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.

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

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!

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