Tag Archives: affordability

Improved Affordability in California

Compared to this time last year, homes are slightly more affordable in California

  • The median price for a single-family home in California in 2016’s Q3 was $515,940.
  • 31% of households could afford to purchase a median-priced home — compared to 29% of households a year ago.
  • Least-affordable counties include: San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin.
  • Most-affordable counties include: San Bernardino, Kings, and Kern.

CAR improved real estate affordability in California

This infographic is from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS

Money Monday: Many full-time workers face housing affordability problems

Source: Harvard

While statistics on the gap in affordable housing clearly indicate the magnitude of the problem, they mask the extent of the difficulties that certain low-wage workers often face in obtaining a unit they can afford, particularly in major metro areas.

housing market

Making sense of the story

  • Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that in many markets, most full-time cashiers, retail and sales persons, and food preparation workers would have been unable to afford even a modest one-bedroom apartment.
  • The fair market rent of a two-bedroom apartment was even further out of reach for these workers: as high as $2,062 in San Francisco and over $1,400 Washington, DC, Boston, New York, and Los Angeles.
  • Other occupations where median annual wages were inadequate for households to afford a
    modest one-bedroom apartment include—but are not limited to—EMTs and paramedics,
    childcare workers, security guards, and several types of healthcare support occupations.
  • All of these jobs are vital to local economies, and support a variety of businesses and services required for healthy, growing communities.
  • Wage stagnation among low-income households is certainly part of the problem. Between 2001 and 2014, the median real household income for renters in the bottom quintile fell 9.9 percent, while income for households in the top quintile was up 3.1 percent.
  • To make ends meet, many low-wage households must reduce expenditures on food and
    healthcare, move to areas which are less accessible and require longer commute times, or double up with family or roommates.
  • Nearly a third of the nation’s 7 million renters earning less than $35,000 in 2014 had minors
    living at home, and fully half of these families reported being severely cost-burdened in the same year—paying more than half of their incomes for housing.

Read the full story: housingperspectives.blogspot.com/2016/08/many-full-time-workers-face-housing.html

Homes under contract hit 2.5-year high in November

Demand in the Northeast and West drove an increase in pending home sales in November to the highest level in 2 1/2 years.

Pending home sales grew by 1.7 percent from October to November and were up 9.8 percent from a year ago, reaching their highest level since April 2010, when buyers were rushing to claim an expiring federal homebuyer tax credit, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® reported.

It was the third consecutive month-over-month increase in NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, which tracks homes under contract that haven’t yet closed. Pending home sales have posted annual gains for 19 consecutive months, NAR said.

“Even with market frictions related to the mortgage process, home contract activity continues to improve,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement. “Home sales are recovering now based solely on fundamental demand and favorable affordability conditions.”

NAR is projecting that existing-home sales will rise 8 to 9 percent in 2013 to about 5.1 million, following a 10 percent gain expected for all of 2012. NAR expects the median existing-home price to increase by about 4 percent in 2013, after posting a 7 percent gain in 2012.

In the Northeast, the Pending Home Sales Index rose 5.2 percent from October to November, to 83.3, up 15.2 percent from a year ago.

In the Midwest, the index was essentially unchanged from October to November, rising 0.1 percent to 103.8. Looking back a year, the index was up 15.2 percent in the Midwest.

Pending home sales in the South were unchanged from October to November. The index reading of 117.2 represented a 13.9 percent gain from a year ago.

In the West, the index was up 4.2 percent from October to November, but at 110.1 was down 3.2 percent from a year ago, as scarce inventory limited sales.

An index value of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, the first year to be examined and a year in which sales fell within a normal range for the current U.S. population.

NAR Index: Housing Affordability hits 42-year high in January

NARThe National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Housing Affordability Index reached a record high this January, at 206.1. January 2012 is the first month since the index’s inception in 1970 that the index has hit or passed 200, the group announced this week…

…Late 2011 saw a steady monthly rise in the index from June’s 172.4, the 2011 low, to 197.9 in December 2011. The index has risen from 169.4 in 2009 to 174 in 2010, and to 184.5 in 2011.

Read this article in full by Inman.com here: “NAR Housing Affordability Index hits 42-year High in January.”

November 2011’s Market Condition

Existing-Home Sales Continue to Climb in November

Existing-home sales rose again in November and remain above a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors. Also released today were periodic benchmark revisions with downward adjustments to sales and inventory data since 2007, led by a decline in for-sale-by-owners.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said more people are taking advantage of the buyer’s market. “Sales reached the highest mark in 10 months and are 34 percent above the cyclical low point in mid-2010, a genuine sustained sales recovery appears to be developing,” he said. “We’ve seen healthy gains in contract activity, so it looks like more people are realizing the great opportunity that exists in today’s market for buyers with long-term plans.”

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low 3.99 percent in November from 4.07 percent in October; the rate was 4.30 percent in November 2010; records date back to 1971.

NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc., in Miami, said housing affordability conditions have set a new record high. “With record low mortgage interest rates and bargain home prices, NAR’s housing affordability index shows that a median-income family can easily afford a median-priced home,” he said.

“With consumer price inflation rising by more than 3 percent this year, consumers are looking to lock-in steady payments by taking out long-term fixed-rate mortgages. However, the problem remains that some financially qualified families who are willing to stay well within their means are being denied the opportunity to buy in today’s market by the overly restrictive mortgage underwriting situation,” Veissi said.

Source: National Association of Realtors

Six must-haves for mortgage approval

Interest rates are hovering around historical lows, and low interest rates increase affordability, making it easier for buyers to qualify. Yet stories of buyers waiting months to gain loan approval and home purchase transactions not closing on time due to lender’s strict underwriting are all too common.

Some buyers are turned down for illogical reasons. For instance, if you have investments — even if they’re performing well — an underwriter might deny the mortgage because your portfolio doesn’t fall into the underwriter’s risk assessment model.
checklist
One couple was turned down because the husband had worked at his current job for less than a year — even though he was making more money at the new job than he was before.

These buyers were well-qualified. The wife had worked several years for one employer and was able to qualify for the loan on her own. So, the transaction closed, although two months late.

Generally, it’s more difficult to qualify now than it was a year ago. Most conventional lenders require a 20-25 percent down payment. For the lowest interest rates, your credit scores need to be in the 700 range. You need to have verifiable income and cash reserves in addition to your down payment and closing costs.

You could run into underwriting problems if you’re self-employed, as W-2 income is much easier to verify. Other hurdles are lapses in employment and owning a lot of property. Some lenders won’t lend to buyers who have more than three or four residential properties.

If you’re buying a new home before selling your current home, you’ll need to have 30 percent equity in your current home. This needs to be verified by the lender’s appraiser. Also, the lender will want to see a copy of the cashed check from the tenant for the first month’s rent to verify rental income if needed to qualify.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: As soon as you’re serious about buying a home, find the best mortgage broker or loan agent you can to assist you. Don’t make your selection based on interest rates alone. A good track record counts for a lot.

Closing the deal should be your primary goal. If you have to pay 0.25 percent more to assure your transaction closes on time and that you’re not turned down at the last minute, it’s worth it.

Be candid with your loan professional about anything in your financial picture that might impact loan qualification. A good loan agent or broker will be able to assess your financial situation and anticipate what you’ll need to do to satisfy the underwriter.

Be aware that appraisal issues can impact your loan approval. For example, if a previous owner added square footage without a building permit, the additional square footage probably won’t be included as livable square feet.

If the appraisal comes in for less than the purchase price, the lender might not lend you enough to close the deal. Include an appraisal contingency in your contract.

There are more jumbo financing options available now. Adjustable-rate mortgages that are fixed for 10 years and then revert to an adjustable have a starting rate about 0.25 percent less than a 30-year fixed jumbo. A five-year fixed starts about 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent lower, but is riskier.

THE CLOSING: Because of the risk factor, the lender may want you to have a large cash reserve. Your retirement account counts toward this.

Dian Hymer is a real estate broker with more than 30 years’ experience and is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author.

Existing-Home Sales Rise Unexpectedly in October

Sales of previously owned homes got an unexpected boost last month while the number of homes on the market continued to decline, according to data released Monday by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The trade group recorded a 1.4 percent month-over-month increase in existing-home sales in October, pushing the annual rate of sales to 4.97 million. NAR’s latest reading is 13.5 percent above the 4.38 million-unit sales pace in October 2010.

Housing inventory fell 2.2 percent to 3.33 million existing homes available for sale as of the end of October, which represents an 8.0-month supply.

That’s down from an 8.3-month supply in September. NAR says the housing supply has been trending gradually down since setting a record of 4.58 million in July 2008.

Distressed homes – foreclosed REOs and short sales – slipped to 28 percent of October’s transactions, down from 30 percent in September. They were 34 percent in October 2010.

NAR says 17 percent of last month’s existing-home sales were foreclosures and 11 percent were short sales.

Market analysts were expecting up to a 3 percent drop in overall existing-home sales between September and October. Forecasts ranged between an annual rate of 4.76 million and 4.80 million.

According to NAR, October home sales should have risen higher than the 1.4 percent the trade group recorded.

According to Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, contract failures reported by Realtors jumped to 33 percent in October from 18 percent in September. Only 8 percent of contracts fell through in October of last year.

“A higher rate of contract failures has held back a sales recovery,” Yun said. “Home sales have been stuck in a narrow range despite several improving factors that generally lead to higher home sales such as job creation, rising rents, and high affordability conditions. Many people who are attempting to buy homes are thwarted in the process.”

NAR’s report shows the national median existing-home price was $162,500 in October, which is 4.7 percent below October 2010.

“In some areas we’re hearing about shortages of foreclosure inventory in the lower price ranges with multiple bidding on the more desirable properties,” Yun said. “Realtors in such areas are calling for a faster process of getting foreclosure inventory into the market because they have ready buyers.”

Yun adds that extending credit to responsible investors would help to absorb distressed inventory at an even faster pace, which he says “would go a long way toward restoring market balance.”

NAR’s data indicates investors purchased 18 percent of homes in October, while first-time buyers accounted for 34 percent of transactions. All-cash sales made up 29 percent of last month’s purchases.

This article is by DSNews.com.