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  • First-Time Home Buyers Continue to Put Down Less Than 6%!
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    According to the Realtors Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors, 61% of first-time homebuyers purchased their homes with down payments below 6% in 2017. Many potential homebuyers believe that a 20% down payment is necessary to buy a home and have disqualified themselves without even trying, but in March, 71% of first-time buyers and 54% of all buyers put less than 20% down. Ralph McLaughlin, Chief Economist and Founder of Veritas Urbis Economics, recently shed light on why buyer demand has remained strong, “The fact that we now have four consecutive quarters where owner households increased while renters households fell is a strong sign households are making the switch from renting to buying. Households under 35 – which represent the largest potential pool of new homeowners in the U.S. – have shown some of the largest gains. While they only make up a third of all homebuyers, the steady uptick in... Read more »
  • Want to Sell Your House Faster? Don’t Forget to Stage! [INFOGRAPHIC]
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    Some Highlights: The National Association of Realtors surveyed their members & released the findings of their Profile of Home Staging. 62% of seller’s agents say that staging a home decreases the amount of time a home spends on the market. 50% of staged homes saw a 1-10% increase in dollar-value offers from buyers. 77% of buyer’s agents said staging made it easier for buyers to visualize the home as their own. The top rooms to stage in order to attract more buyers are the living room, master bedroom, kitchen, and dining room. ... Read more »
  • House-Buying Power at Near-Historic Levels
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    We keep hearing that home affordability is approaching crisis levels. While this may be true in a few metros across the country, housing affordability is not a challenge in the clear majority of the country. In their most recent Real House Price Index, First American reported that consumer “house-buying power” is at “near-historic levels.” Their index is based on three components: Median Household Income Mortgage Interest Rates Home Prices The report explains: “Changing incomes and interest rates either increase or decrease consumer house-buying power or affordability. When incomes rise and/or mortgage rates fall, consumer house-buying power increases.” Combining these three crucial pieces of the home purchasing process, First American created an index delineating the actual home-buying power that consumers have had dating back to 1991. Here is a graph comparing First American’s consumer house-buying power (blue area) to the actual median home price that year from the National Association of Realtors (yellow line). Consumer house-buyer power has been greater... Read more »
  • Rising Interest Rates Have Not Dampened Demand
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    Since the beginning of the year, mortgage interest rates have risen over a half of a percentage point (from 3.95% to 4.52%), according to Freddie Mac. Even a small rise in interest rates can greatly impact a buyer’s monthly mortgage payment. First American recently released the results of their quarterly Real Estate Sentiment Index (RESI), in which they surveyed title and real estate agents across the country about the impact of rising rates on first-time homebuyers. Real estate professionals around the country have not noticed a slowdown in demand for housing among young buyers; nearly 93% of all first-time homebuyers last quarter were between the ages of 21-35, with the largest share of buyers (51%) coming from those ages 26-30. First American’s Chief Economist Mark Fleming had this to say, “On a national level, mortgage rates would need to hit 5.6%, 1 percentage point above the current rate, before first-time homebuyers withdraw from the... Read more »
  • How Long Do Most Families Live in a House?
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    The National Association of Realtors (NAR) keeps historical data on many aspects of homeownership. One of their data points, which has changed dramatically, is the median tenure of a family in a home, meaning how long a family stays in a home prior to moving. As the graph below shows, over the last twenty years (1985-2008), the median tenure averaged exactly six years. However, since 2014, that average is almost ten years – an increase of almost 50%. Why the dramatic increase? The reasons for this change are plentiful! The fall in home prices during the housing crisis left many homeowners in a negative equity situation (where their home was worth less than the mortgage on the property). Also, the uncertainty of the economy made some homeowners much more fiscally conservative about making a move. With home prices rising dramatically over the last several years, 95.3% of homes with a mortgage are now in a positive equity situation, according to CoreLogic. With the economy coming back... Read more »
  • The #1 Reason to List Your House for Sale NOW!
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    If you are debating whether or not to list your house for sale this year, here is the #1 reason not to wait! Buyer Demand Continues to Outpace the Supply of Homes for Sale The National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun recently commented on the current lack of inventory: “Inventory coming onto the market during this year’s spring buying season – as evidenced again by last month’s weak reading – was not even close to being enough to satisfy demand.  That is why home prices keep outpacing incomes and listings are going under contract in less than a month – and much faster – in many parts of the country.” The latest Existing Home Sales Report shows that there is currently a 4.1-month supply of homes for sale. This remains lower than the 6-month supply necessary for a normal market, and 6.1% lower than last year’s inventory level. The chart below details the year-over-year inventory shortages experienced over the last 12 months: Anything... Read more »
  • Cost Across Time [INFOGRAPHIC]
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    Some Highlights: With interest rates still around 4.5%, now is a great time to look back at where rates have been over the last 40 years. Rates are projected to climb to 5.1% by this time next year according to Freddie Mac. The impact your interest rate makes on your monthly mortgage cost is significant! Lock in a low rate now while you can! ... Read more »
  • Homes More Affordable Today than 1985-2000
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    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. However, it is not just the price of a home that determines its affordability. The monthly cost of a home is determined by the price and the interest rate on the mortgage used to purchase it. Today, mortgage interest rates stand at about 4.5%. The average annual mortgage interest rate from 1985 to 2000 was almost double that number, at 8.92%. When comparing affordability of homeownership over the decades, we must also realize that incomes have increased. This is why most indexes use the percentage of median income required to make monthly mortgage payments on a typical home as the point of comparison. Zillow recently released a report comparing home affordability over the decades using this formula. The report revealed that, though homes are less... Read more »