Is the Current Pace of Home Sales Sustainable?

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There are some experts questioning whether the current pace of residential home sales is sustainable. Are too many people buying homes like in 2004-2006? Are we headed for another housing crisis? Actually, if we look closely at the numbers, we can see that we are looking at a very healthy real estate market.

Why the concern?

Some are looking at the last three years of home sales and comparing them to the three years just prior to the housing bubble. Looking at the graph below, we can understand that thinking.

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However, if we go further back in history, we can see the real picture. After taking out the “boom & bust” years, the pace of sales is growing at a quite natural pace.

And new home sales are way below historic numbers. Trulia’s Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin explains:

“Adjusted for population, [new home sales] are at about 63% of their fifty-year average level—way better than 2011, but nowhere near heated.”

Bottom Line

The current pace of residential home sales definitely seems sustainable.

Why is there SO much paperwork involved in getting a mortgage?

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We are often asked why there is so much paperwork mandated by the bank for a mortgage loan application when buying a home today. It seems that the bank needs to know everything about us and requires three separate sources to validate each and every entry on the application form.

Many buyers are being told by friends and family that the process was a hundred times easier when they bought their home ten to twenty years ago.

There are two very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today’s buyer than perhaps any time in history.

1. The government has set new guidelines that now demand that the bank prove beyond any doubt that you are indeed capable of affording the mortgage.

During the run-up in the housing market, many people ‘qualified’ for mortgages that they could never pay back. This led to millions of families losing their home. The government wants to make sure this can’t happen again.

2. The banks don’t want to be in the real estate business.

Over the last seven years, banks were forced to take on the responsibility of liquidating millions of foreclosures and also negotiating another million plus short sales. Just like the government, they don’t want more foreclosures. For that reason, they need to double (maybe even triple) check everything on the application.

However, there is some good news in the situation.

The housing crash that mandated that banks be extremely strict on paperwork requirements also allows you to get a mortgage interest rate as low as 3.43%, the latest reported rate from Freddie Mac.

The friends and family who bought homes ten or twenty ago experienced a simpler mortgage application process but also paid a higher interest rate (the average 30 year fixed rate mortgage was 8.12% in the 1990’s and 6.29% in the 2000’s). If you went to the bank and offered to pay 7% instead of less than 4%, they would probably bend over backwards to make the process much easier.

Bottom Line

Instead of concentrating on the additional paperwork required, let’s be thankful that we are able to buy a home at historically low rates.

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Home Prices Compared to Pre-2008 Peak

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What Does Home Mean to You?

 

No matter what shape or size your living space is, the concept and feeling of home can mean different things to different people. Whether it’s a certain scent or a favorite chair, the emotional reasons why we choose to buy our own home are, more often than not, the more powerful or compelling ones.

Every year, The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University conducts a survey to find driving factors behind why Americans decide to buy a home.

The top 4 reasons to own a home cited by participants of the survey were not financial. 

1. It means having a good place to raise children & provide them with a good education

From the best neighborhoods to the best school districts, even those without children at the time of purchase may have this in the back of their mind as a major reason for choosing the location of the home that they purchase.

2. You have a physical structure where you & your family feel safe

It is no surprise that having a place to call home with the means for comfort and security is the number two reason.

3. It allows you to have more space for your family

Whether your family is expanding, or an older family member is moving in, having a home that fits your needs is a close third on the list. 

4. It gives you control over what you do with your living space, like renovations and updates

Looking to actually try one of those complicated wall treatments that you saw on Pinterest? Tired of paying an additional pet deposit for your apartment building, or do you want to finally adopt that puppy or kitten you’ve seen online 100 times? Who’s to say that you can’t in your own home?

The 5th reason on the list, is the #1 financial reason to buy a home as seen by respondents:

5. Owning a home is a good way to build up wealth that can be passed along to my family

Either way you are paying a mortgage. Why not lock in your housing expense now with an investment that will build equity that you can borrow against in the future?

Bottom Line

Whether you are a first time homebuyer or a move-up buyer who wants to start a new chapter in your life, now is a great time to reflect on the intangible factors that make a house a home.

3 Crucial Questions Most Home Buyers Don’t Know the Answer To…DO YOU?

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Whether you are considering the purchase of your first home or trading up to the home your family frequently fantasizes about, there are three crucial questions you must know the answer to:

  1. What is the minimum down payment required to purchase a home?

  2. What is the minimum FICO score required to qualify for a mortgage?

  3. What is the maximum Back-End DTI Ratio allowed?

A survey conducted by Fannie Mae revealed startling information: most Americans don’t know the answer to these three crucially important questions. Here is a graphic showing the results of the survey:

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The percentages are quite disturbing but can explain why so many people believe they are not eligibleto purchase a home whether it is a first home or a trade-up home. Here are the actually requirementsas per Fannie Mae:

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Bottom Line

If you are considering purchasing a home, make sure you are aware of all your options before moving forward.  For questions or to get the process started, contact Jill Anderson- 402.618.9984 or http://www.jillanderson.npdodge.com.

 

Is Now the Right Time to Put Your House on the Market …or Not?

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Thursday July 7th, 2016 For Sellers, Housing Market Update

 

“With last month’s decline, the index reading is still the third highest in the past year, but declined year-over-year for the first time since August 2014.”

The mainstream media ran headlines highlighting that the index had dropped for the first time in two years. Many read this as an indication that the housing market must be slowing down.

If you were thinking that now may be the perfect time to put your house on the market, these reports may have caused you some concern. We want to alleviate that concern today.

Though it is true that the index dropped in last month’s report, let’s take a closer look at the numbers. Below is a graph of the index since January 2014. We can see that the index has increased every month over the last eighteen months, leading up to this past May.

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Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, explained that it wasn’t a slowing of the market that caused the index to slip, but instead a lack of housing inventory:

“Total housing inventory at the end of each month has remarkably decreased year-over-year now for an entire year. There are simply not enough homes coming onto the market to catch up with demand.”

Here is a graph depicting the situation Yun was referencing:

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Bottom Line

Did the latest numbers from the Pending Home Sales Index cause you to question if now is a good time to put your house on the market? If anything, it indicated the exact opposite: that this may be the perfect time to sell!!  Call me for an in depth look at the market.

Jill Anderson 402.618.9984

BREXIT: What’s the FIXIT for US Housing?

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BREXIT: What’s the FIXIT for U.S. Home Buyers and Sellers?

 

The most immediate impact of Brexit will be on mortgage interest rates. Interest rates have remained at historic lows for the last several years. Contrary to what many experts believed, rates have remained low throughout the first half of 2016.

Possible impact of Brexit on mortgage rates?

In a recent article, the Washington Post explained:

“Brexit has spawned the recent bout of volatility in global financial markets. That has anxious investors scurrying for safety — and few assets are safer than U.S. Treasuries. High demand for government debt pulls down interest rates.

That all translates into ultra-low mortgage rates for American households. And with Britain voting for Brexit, they could go even lower.”

However, the lower rates caused by Brexit may be short lived as Trulia Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin pointed out in a recent post:

“While the departure of the UK from the European Union has driven down the 10-year bond, and thus mortgage rates, we expect them to rebound later in the year as uncertainty over the economic consequences of the departure lifts.”

Bottom Line

Rates are already at historic lows. The UK’s exit from the EU almost certainly guarantees they will remain low (and possibly go lower) over the next few months. If you were thinking of buying your first home or trading up to the house of your dreams, this may be the time to act. The cost of money may never be better for a potential buyer.

Call me today for your next steps.  Jill Anderson 402.618.9984