Tag Archives: single-family

Four steps to buying a house in 2012

Q: I am on a mission to buy a home. I’ve wanted to own a home my entire life, and thought I would miss the opportunity to buy while the market was down, because I had no real savings when the market crashed. I think I’m ready, though, and prices still seem low. What should I be doing now to make this happen in 2012?

A: The recession has done lots of favors for buyers-to-be, including dropping prices and interest rates to bargain levels. But it has also created a lending and housing market climate in which loans are tough to get, tensions about buying into a down market run high, and transactions are harder and longer to close than they have ever been.

Here are the things to do now, to buy a home this year:

1. Fix credit problems. More deals than ever are dying on the vine, and credit problems are a top reason home-sale transactions fall out of escrow. Detect and correct errors on your credit report now by reviewing the federally mandated free reports you can get at AnnualCreditReport.com.

2. Study up. Do some research, both online and offline, into things like:

Areas: Start your online research into decision points like tax rates, school districts, neighborhood character and even prices in various areas. Check out NabeWise.com for some local insight into neighborhood flavor and personality.

When you start connecting with local agents, ask them to brief you on neighborhood market dynamics. They can give you a deeper view into need-to-knows like how long homes typically stay on the market and whether they generally go for more or less than the asking price, so you can be smart about how you search vis-à-vis what you have to spend.

Agents: This is the perfect time to ask your family and friends for a referral to an agent they know, have used and love. Then, follow up by doing an online search for the agent’s name and seeing what sort of online reviews and activities you find. When you’ve narrowed the field down to a few, call them up and set up a meeting to find out if you’re a good fit.

Distressed properties: In some areas, more than 40 percent of the homes on the market are short sales and foreclosures, and they involve a very different timeline and set of facts than traditional home sales. Read up and talk with the agent candidates you interview about what you should expect from these types of listings, to minimize surprise and manage your expectations way in advance.

3. Save even more. Sounds like you’ve worked hard for a number of years to save enough cash that you think you’re in the clear when it comes to funding your down payment and closing costs. Studies show that after months of saving, people often let up and relax into a spending season. Even at your early stage in the process, it’s easy to start noticing and buying the furnishings and touches you want to install in your new home.

Although you shouldn’t feel deprived or forgo amazing and affordable deals on things you know you’re going to need, rest assured that no matter what amount of cash you have on hand, when you start house hunting, making offers, closing your transaction or moving in, the time will definitely come when you’ll wish you had more.

You might want to ratchet up your offer a bit to best another buyer, or you might just end up with a place that needs a little sprucing up. It might be months before you know exactly what you’ll need extra cash for, but now is not the time to press the gas pedal when it comes to your monthly spending.

4. Purge. Now’s the time to sell, donate or give away as much of your personal possessions as you can. Use the proceeds to pad your cash cushion, or tuck the donation receipts away for your tax records next year.

Start here, and chances are good that your house hunt — and purchase — will be in full swing by spring, if not sooner.

Tara-Nicholle Nelson is an author and the Consumer Ambassador and Educator for real estate listings search site Trulia.com.

More mortgage relief from the White House – but congressional ‘ok’ doubtful

Mortgage reliefAn summary update (by CAR.org) on the mortgage relief plan by the federal government, covering an article by The Mercury News:

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama laid out a plan to help responsible borrowers and support a housing market recovery. Details of that plan were released yesterday. However, funding for the proposed program must be approved by Congress, lowering the possibility that it will be implemented quickly. Making sense of the story:

  • Operated by the Federal Housing Administration, the plan would allow underwater homeowners to refinance into cheaper federally insured loans. Borrowers with good credit who are current on their loan payments are eligible.
  • The measure also streamlines the process of refinancing an underwater mortgage, eliminating the need for an appraisal or submitting a new tax return.
  • To qualify, borrowers must be current on their mortgage, have a minimum credit score of 580, and must be refinancing a loan on a single-family owner-occupied principal residence.
  • Lenders only need to confirm that the borrower is employed. Loans that are more than 140 percent of the home value probably would not qualify until banks wrote down part of the balance.
  • Congress must approve $5 billion to $10 billion in funding, leading housing experts to praise the plan’s objectives with skepticism of it passing this year.

Read the full story from The Mercury News here: “More mortgage relief from the White House – but congressional ‘ok’ doubtful.”

CoreLogic’s 2012 Housing Market Prediction

Where’s the real estate market going in 2012?  Well, according to CoreLogic–nowhere. Is flat growth really in housing’s future? Read the following article and decide for yourself.

Two prominent home-price indices continued to show declines in September and October, with one outlook indicating no more than flat growth in the next two years.

A home-price index report from loan data aggregator Lender Processing Services showed the national average sales price for single-family homes fell 4.4 percent year over year and 1.2 percent month to month in September, to $202,000.

LPS’ Home Price Index, launched in July, tracks monthly sales in more than 13,500 ZIP codes. Within each ZIP code, the index shows historical price changes for five home-price levels, including entry-level, middle-market and high-end homes.

Prices declined on a monthly basis in all ZIP codes covered by LPS. The top 20 percent of homes (selling for more than $317,000) saw a slightly smaller monthly decline, 1.2 percent, than the lowest 20 percent (selling for less than $102,000), which saw a 1.4 percent drop.

housing market forecast“Home prices in September were consistent with the seasonal pattern that has been occurring since 2009,” said Kyle Lundstedt, LPS Applied Analytics’ managing director, in a statement.

“Each year, prices have risen in the spring, but revert in autumn to a downward trend that has not only erased the gains, but has led to an average 3.7 percent annual drop in prices to date. The partial data available for October suggests a further approximate decline of 1.1 percent.”

A report released by property data firm CoreLogic bears out the monthly decline in October. For the third straight month, nationwide single-family home prices fell on both a monthly and yearly basis, dropping 1.3 percent from September and 3.9 percent from October 2010. Excluding distressed sales (short sales and real estate owned home sales, also known as REOs), October’s index fell 0.5 percent from a year ago.

“Home prices continue to decline in response to the weak demand for housing. While many housing statistics are basically moving sideways, prices continue to correct for a supply and demand imbalance. Looking forward, our forecasts indicate flat growth through 2013,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, in a statement.

The index was down 32 percent in October from an April 2006 peak. Excluding distressed sales, the drop was 22.4 percent. CoreLogic’s index is based on 30 years of data for repeat sales transactions, and “price, time between sales, property type, loan type and distressed sales.”

Among the 10 most populous metropolitan areas in the country, six saw index declines in October. Only Washington, D.C., and New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J., saw index increases above 1 percent. When distressed sales were excluded, six experienced index increases.

Most states, 34, experienced year-over-year index drops in October. Ten states and Washington, D.C., saw index rises of more than 1 percent. West Virginia led the way with a 4.8 percent annual rise.

At the other end of the spectrum, Nevada was the only state to see a double-digit index drop in October, down 12.1 percent. When distressed sales were excluded, 28 states and Washington, D.C., saw flat or rising home prices. South Carolina posted the biggest increase, up 4.6 percent.

Read more concerning CoreLogic’s real estate prediction here: Research and Trends.

No rise in US real estate prices before 2014?

Two prominent home-price indices continued to show declines in September and October, with one outlook indicating no more than flat growth in the next two years.

A home-price index report from loan data aggregator Lender Processing Services showed the national average sales price for single-family homes fell 4.4 percent year over year and 1.2 percent month to month in September, to $202,000.

LPS’ Home Price Index, launched in July, tracks monthly sales in more than 13,500 ZIP codes. Within each ZIP code, the index shows historical price changes for five home-price levels, including entry-level, middle-market and high-end homes.

Prices declined on a monthly basis in all ZIP codes covered by LPS. The top 20 percent of homes (selling for more than $317,000) saw a slightly smaller monthly decline, 1.2 percent, than the lowest 20 percent (selling for less than $102,000), which saw a 1.4 percent drop.

“Home prices in September were consistent with the seasonal pattern that has been occurring since 2009,” said Kyle Lundstedt, LPS Applied Analytics’ managing director, in a statement.Real estate prediction for 2012

“Each year, prices have risen in the spring, but revert in autumn to a downward trend that has not only erased the gains, but has led to an average 3.7 percent annual drop in prices to date. The partial data available for October suggests a further approximate decline of 1.1 percent.”

A report released by property data firm CoreLogic bears out the monthly decline in October. For the third straight month, nationwide single-family home prices fell on both a monthly and yearly basis, dropping 1.3 percent from September and 3.9 percent from October 2010. Excluding distressed sales (short sales and real estate owned home sales, also known as REOs), October’s index fell 0.5 percent from a year ago.

“Home prices continue to decline in response to the weak demand for housing. While many housing statistics are basically moving sideways, prices continue to correct for a supply and demand imbalance. Looking forward, our forecasts indicate flat growth through 2013,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, in a statement.

The index was down 32 percent in October from an April 2006 peak. Excluding distressed sales, the drop was 22.4 percent. CoreLogic’s index is based on 30 years of data for repeat sales transactions, and “price, time between sales, property type, loan type and distressed sales.”

Among the 10 most populous metropolitan areas in the country, six saw index declines in October. Only Washington, D.C., and New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J., saw index increases above 1 percent. When distressed sales were excluded, six experienced index increases.

Most states, 34, experienced year-over-year index drops in October. Ten states and Washington, D.C., saw index rises of more than 1 percent. West Virginia led the way with a 4.8 percent annual rise.

At the other end of the spectrum, Nevada was the only state to see a double-digit index drop in October, down 12.1 percent. When distressed sales were excluded, 28 states and Washington, D.C., saw flat or rising home prices. South Carolina posted the biggest increase, up 4.6 percent.

9 Reasons to be Optimistic About Housing

housing marketThere’s a lot of negative information and news about the real estate market, but not to worry–there is a brighter side to housing! In fact, there are nine reasons to be optimistic!

There’s been a lot of positive signs for a housing (and broader economic recovery) coming out lately. Here are nine reasons we might be looking at a better 2012 than 2011 in the residential construction market:

  1. Unemployment dropped to its lowest point since 20092. Pending home sales up 10.3 percent in October
  2. Pending sales up 10.2 percent in October
  3. Housing affordability at record levels
  4. Consumer confidence up heading into year-end
  5. Existing home sales make surprising October jump
  6. Residential construction spending up 3.4 percent
  7. Construction industry adds most jobs since 2006
  8. Builder confidence at 18-month high
  9. Single-family starts increased in October

Read the article in full at HousingZone.com: “9 Reasons to be Optimistic About Housing“.