Category Archives: Homebuyers

July 2017 Real Estate Market Report

Existing-Home Sales Slide 1.3 Percent in July

real estate market update for July 2017Listings in July typically went under contract in under 30 days for the fourth consecutive month because of high buyer demand, but existing-home sales ultimately pulled back as large declines in the Northeast and Midwest outweighed sales increases in the South and West, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, slipped 1.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.44 million in July from a downwardly revised 5.51 million in June. July’s sales pace is still 2.1 percent above a year ago, but is the lowest of 2017.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the second half of the year got off on a somewhat sour note as existing sales in July inched backward. “Buyer interest in most of the country has held up strongly this summer and homes are selling fast, but the negative effect of not enough inventory to choose from and its pressure on overall affordability put the brakes on what should’ve been a higher sales pace,” he said. “Contract activity has mostly trended downward since February and ultimately put a large dent on closings last month.”

“Home prices are still rising above incomes and way too fast in many markets,” said Yun. “Realtors® continue to say prospective buyers are frustrated by how quickly prices are rising for the minimal selection of homes that fit buyers’ budget and wish list.”

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate (link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.97 percent in July from 3.90 percent in June. The average commitment rate for all of 2016 was 3.65 percent.

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Avoid Real Estate Regret

Buying a home is a big decision; make sure you don’t suffer from homebuyers’ regret by taking these things into consideration.

  • What is the neighborhood atmosphere at night, when everyone’s home?
  • How long will your commute be?
  • Take a look at the CC&Rs, or the homeowner association rules. Are there any that are a no-go for you?
  • If there are any specialty amenities on the property (like a septic system or pool), you may want to have an expert do a thorough inspection of them.

Avoid homebuyers' real estate regret

This infographic is from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS, at CAR.org.

Money Monday: Homebuying myths you need to avoid

Don’t fall for these 6 homebuying myths

home buying

“Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make, and you’ll likely need to do a lot of planning and research before you take the leap. But don’t get snagged by misconceptions. Mortgage expert Tim Manni busts these six common real estate myths to help you find — and afford — your first home.”

  1. Your credit score is “good enough” to buy a home
  2. Loan pre-approval determines your price range
  3. Your home purchase is non-negotiable

Read the three other homebuying myths here, on Yahoo’s personal finance page: “Don’t fall for these 6 homebuying myths.”

 

How Homebuyers Can Overcome Tough Competition

Tips for homebuyers

Source: Kiplinger

Redfin Chief Economist says to win in a hot market, home buyers should take advantage of technology to find homes as soon as they are listed.

Making sense of the story:

  • Arm yourself with tech tools to find available homes quickly. With the variety of apps available today, you can receive listing alerts so that you’re notified as soon as a home in your price range or search area hits the market.
  • Buyers will gain an advantage from whatever concessions they can offer. Instead of a small earnest-money deposit, we’ve seen buyers put into escrow their entire down payment or even half of the purchase price.
    You needn’t waive a contingency for inspection in the purchase contract.
  • Rather, you can agree to pay the seller, say, $2,500, or next month’s mortgage payment, if you walk away.
    Work with a local or reputable lender to get a pre¬approval for your mortgage that includes full documentation of your means to obtain a certain amount of financing in advance of a signed purchase contract.
  • That may give you the confidence to waive a contingency for financing, and it’s almost as good as cash for closing a deal quickly.
  • Because sellers can sell their homes in days but may take months to buy, you can gain leverage by offering to “rent back” their home to them for a certain number of months.
  • Fall can be a good time to buy a home because prices generally peak in the summer and ease up in the fall.
  • There’s a bit less inventory, but many fewer buyers. Plus, sellers who list in the fall are serious because they must leave because of job relocation, divorce or something else that made them miss the top of the season.

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Money Monday: Common Home Buying Expenses

When home buyers purchase real estate, they often don’t factor in other expenses that they may incur.

Your new home is certainly a large expense, but have you considered the other purchases that may go hand-in-hand with that home’s cost?

Common home buying expenses for real estate buyers

This infographic is from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS, available here.

Money Monday: Mortgage Lenders are Trying to Make it Easier to Buy

As prices rise, mortgage lenders are making it easier to buy a house.

mortgage rates and property taxes

Source: Los Angeles Times

Some prices are rising across the country and mortgage rates, though still historically low, are up since the presidential election.

Simply put, buying a home isn’t easy, especially in high-cost metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles County, where the median price of a home hit $569,000 in June.

But changes in the mortgage industry are afoot, with the goal of loosening some of the strict standards established after the subprime crisis — rules some blame for impeding sales.

“The reality has sunk in that there are buyers out there who will be able to buy homes and make the mortgage payments,” said William E. Brown, the president of the National Assn. of Realtors. The industry is “trying to give them more options to buy a house.”

Government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are paving the way by rolling out new programs to encourage home ownership.

The companies, with their congressional mandate to promote home ownership, don’t originate loans, but purchase mortgages from lenders to keep the market moving. And any changes they make in the underwriting standards for the loans they buy can have a big effect.

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Money Monday: Homeownership rates affected by student debts

Student debts have seemed to affect homeownership rates, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

student loan debt

About 32% of those in their 20s owned a home in 2007, but that’s fallen drastically to 21% in 2016.

While the poor labor market and memories of the housing bubble certainly played a role, student debt can explain up to 35% of the decline, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released Thursday.

The results suggest that the rise in college costs will result in “weaker spending and wealth accumulation among young consumers in the years to come.”

It’s consistent with surveys that have asked those with student debt if it affected their decision to buy a home. Half of those under the age of 35 surveyed by the National Association of Realtors in 2016 said it had delayed their purchase. And 25% told Pew Research Center that student loans had made it harder to buy a home in 2011.

Read more of CNN’s article here: “Yes, student debt is delaying homeownership.”

Homebuyers Move Quickly for Inventory

Falling inventory forces homebuyers to move at fastest pace ever

Source: Housing Wire

housing market forecastHousing inventory fell 8.9 percent from last year in the second quarter of 2017, sending homebuyers scurrying to beat the rising competition.

Housing inventory dropped for nine consecutive quarters, and is currently down a full 20 percent from inventory levels five years ago, a new report from Trulia shows.

And now, homebuyers are snatching up homes at the fastest pace since Trulia began tracking in 2012. While 57 percent of homes were still on the market after two months in 2012, today that number shrank down to 47 percent.

Competition is so fierce, in fact, that 33 percent of Americans who bought a home in the last year made an offer without even seeing the home in person, according to a survey from Redfin, an online real estate brokerage.

This is up from 19 percent of buyers who placed an offer on a home without seeing it first last year. Among millennials, even more placed offers without seeing the home in person — a full 41 percent.

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