With the volume of sellers who held back from selling the entire winter, we can expect the inventory to climb up as more and more sellers join in and balance out the demand.
Many potential sellers believe that waiting until Spring is in their best interest. Traditionally, they would have been right.
Buyer demand has seasonality to it. Usually, this falls off in the winter months, especially in areas of the country impacted by arctic conditions.
That hasn't happened this year.
Demand for housing has remained strong as mortgage rates have remained near historic lows. Even with an increase in rates forecasted for 2019, buyers are still able to lock in an affordable monthly payment. Buyers are increasingly jumping off the fence and into the market to secure a lower rate.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that in 2018 the top 10 dates sellers listed their homes all fell in April, May, or June.
Those who act quickly and list now, before a flood of increased competition, will benefit from additional exposure to buyers.
If you are planning on selling your home in 2019, meet with a local real estate professional to evaluate the opportunities in your market.
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Following common practice of holding back from selling until Spring may be a cliche. But truth be told, it's a wise and conservative choice that has proven beneficial to the housing market. Nevertheless, with the number of sellers popping up from all directions. Holding off now is not the best thing to do.
Let's dive a little deeper into some of the recent reports that have been released and what they mean for the spring buying season!
1. National Association of Realtor's Existing Home Sales Report
Sales of existing homes were down for the third consecutive month in January. Some of this can be explained by the natural seasonality that the real estate market experiences every year, and some can be explained even further by a lack of homes available for sale on the market.
For the last eight months, the inventory of homes for sale has been higher when compared to the same month the year before. The challenge in the market is the mismatch of the type of home that is available for sale. First-time homebuyers looking for a starter home are often competing with other buyers to stand out, often outbidding each other.
Lawrence Yun, NAR's Chief Economist, agrees that the market is still experiencing an inventory shortage.
"In particular, the lower end of the market is experiencing a greater shortage, and more home construction is needed."
The median home price for homes sold in January was $247,500. This is up 2.8% from January 2018 and marks the 83rd consecutive month of year-over-year gains. The 2.8% growth in home prices represents the smallest year-over-year change since February 2012 but is a welcome change for buyers who had feared being priced out of the market.
Days on the Market
Properties that sold in January were on the market for an average of 49 days with 38% of homes on the market for less than a month.
Yun is positive about how today's market conditions will help buyers this spring,
"Existing home sales in January were weak compared to historical norms; however, they are likely to have reached a cyclical low. Moderating home prices combined with gains in household income will boost housing affordability, bringing more buyers to the market in the coming months."
2. NAR's Pending Home Sales Report
The national Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) rose 4.6% to 103.2 in January from 98.7 in December. An index score of 100 is considered normal. All four major regions of the country experienced gains in January, with the largest increase coming in the South.
"The PHSI is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing."
Increases in the PHSI often predict increases in the level of home sales in the coming months, which is great news for the housing market leading in to spring! Yun had this to say,
"Homebuyers are now returning and taking advantage of lower interest rates, while a boost in inventory is also providing more choices for consumers."
The housing market in 2019 will require homeowners to list their house at the right price to attract buyers. If interest rates continue to stay low while wages increase, and more inventory comes to market, 2019 could be one of the best years for home sales in recent history.
Although setting an attractive price on your home definitely boosts its sellability, it's not the only way to go. Here are other ways to put up a great show to leave a solid impression to your potential buyers and give them the WOW factor they all subconsciously crave for.
Here are a few ideas for how to do this in this era of technology.
1) Facebook Live Virtual Open House
This can also work as a 'preview' before an official Open House. Let your agent walk potential buyers through your home using a webcam or cell phone, highlighting the unique features of your house and taking questions. This can be of great benefit, especially for those out-of-state buyers looking to relocate to your area.
2) Youtube Live Virtual Open House
YouTube is forecasted to have 187.8 million video users in 2019 in the United States alone! One of those users might be the buyer you're looking for! Like Facebook Live, allowing your agent to have a virtual open house will make it available, especially for all those first-time homebuyers house hunting on their phones! This allows access to your home from the comfort of their own. Broadcasting at peak time (during lunch between 12 and 2 P.M.) also prevents buyers from having to leave work.
What if you do not want to show your house online?
3) Have a Garage Sale at The Same Time
This serves two purposes. First, you can start getting rid of some of the clutter inside your home. This will help it to show better and make packing a little easier. Second, people will come to a garage sale. Whether it's the neighbors or bargain-hunters, each garage sale attendee is a potential "salesperson for your home". They could be looking for themselves or talking to someone else in the market. The more people who are aware that your house is for sale, the better.
4) Go With Off-Peak Times
Why not host an Open House during the week when people are on their way home? This works especially well if the home is convenient for commuters. Add a little wine & cheese as a transition to going home for dinner! Or, why not have an Open House at 9:00 in the morning? After parents drop their kids at school, they can stop by your Open House for coffee & cake. Promote the Open House in community chats. Maybe one of the neighbors has a family member that wants to move to the area.
With new inventory coming to market, you need your house to stand out from the crowd! Contact a local real estate professional to see what alternatives will work best in your area.
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For most Americans, buying a home is the most important financial investment that we will ever make. Nevertheless, the recent housing bubble has left many people wondering if buying a home is still an effective way for people to save money and build wealth for the future.
The answer is 'yes,' according to recent studies.
The study revealed that the median net worth of a homeowner is $231,400 - a 15% increase since 2013. At the same time, the median net worth of renters decreased by 5% ($5,200 today compared to $5,500 in 2013).
These numbers reveal that the net worth of a homeowner is over 44 times greater than that of a renter.
Owning a home is a great way to build family wealth.
As we've said before, simply put, homeownership is a form of 'forced savings.' Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth by increasing the equity in your home.
That is why Gallup reported that Americans picked real estate as the best long-term investment for the fifth year in a row. According to this year's results, 34% of Americans chose real estate. Stocks followed at 26%, and then gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds.
If you want to find out how you can use your monthly housing cost to increase your family's wealth, meet with a real estate professional in your area who can guide you through the process.
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We are definitely headed to a balanced market this year. As things start to unfold, we are beginning to realize that last year's worries are nothing more than speculations. Price hikes are starting to soften as more inventory is introduced, this is good news to sellers and buyers alike.
The previous housing market was fueled by an artificial demand created by mortgage standards that were far too lenient. When this demand was shut off, a flood of inventory came to market. This included heavily discounted distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales).
Today's market is totally different. Mortgage standards are tighter than they were prior to the last boom and bust. There is no fear that a rush of foreclosures will come to market. The Mortgage Bankers' Association just announced that foreclosures are lower today than at any time since 1996.
Case Shiller looks at the percentage of appreciation as compared to the same month the year prior. Here is a graph of their findings over the last ten months:
As we can see, home price appreciation is softening as more inventory comes to market. This shows that real estate prices are not crashing, but merely returning toward historic appreciation numbers of 3.6% annually.
Home prices are leveling off. Long term, that is a good thing for the housing market.
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As the rates continue on its slow and steady descent, it is now in its lowest by far in the last 12 months. This is good news to prospective buyers looking to buy their first house or existing homeowners planning to move up to their dream home.
According to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at their lowest for 2019. Rates like these haven't been seen since February 2018!
Last week's survey results reported an interest rate of 4.35%. This is a welcome change from the near 5% rates seen in mid-November. At 4.32%, the second week of February 2018 was the last time rates were this low.
This can be seen in the chart below.
Freddie Mac's Chief Economist, Sam Khater, had this to say:
"Mortgage rates fell for the third consecutive week, continuing the general downward trend that began late last year.
Wages are growing on par with home prices for the first time in years, and with more inventory available, spring home sales should help the market begin to recover from the malaise of the last few months."
If you plan on buying a home this spring, meet with a local real estate professional who can help prepare you for today's market before rates increase!
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Although it can be said that the amount of the benefits depend on where you live, the fact remains that there are many financial and non-financial reasons favoring homeownership.
Financial BenefitsBuying a home is an investment in your future!
Homeownership is and will always be part of the American Dream! There are many financial and non-financial benefits to take advantage of when owning a home. If owning a home is part of your dream, contact a local real estate professional to help you with the process!
With the traumatic devastation caused by the last housing bubble, it's understandable why a lot of Americans can be a little paranoid when it comes to market fluctuations. We tend to worry about heading into another housing crash whenever we see changes in the market. Good news is, we no longer have to go through all that unnecessary stress for here are three indicators to let us know how the market then and now are different from each other.
A decade ago, home prices depreciated dramatically, losing about 29% of their value over a four-year period (2008-2011). Today, prices are not depreciating. The level of appreciation is just decelerating.
Home values are no longer appreciating annually at a rate of 6-7%. However, they have still increased by more than 4% over the last year. Of the 100 experts reached for the latest Home Price Expectation Survey, 94 said home values would continue to appreciate through 2019. It will just occur at a lower rate.
Many are concerned that lending institutions are again easing standards to a level that helped create the last housing bubble. However, there is proof that today's standards are nowhere near as lenient as they were leading up to the crash.
The Urban Institute's Housing Finance Policy Center issues a quarterly index which,
"...measures the percentage of home purchase loans that are likely to default-that is, go unpaid for more than 90 days past their due date. A lower HCAI indicates that lenders are unwilling to tolerate defaults and are imposing tighter lending standards, making it harder to get a loan. A higher HCAI indicates that lenders are willing to tolerate defaults and are taking more risks, making it easier to get a loan."
Last month, their January Housing Credit Availability Index revealed:
"Significant space remains to safely expand the credit box. If the current default risk was doubled across all channels, risk would still be well within the pre-crisis standard of 12.5 percent from 2001 to 2003 for the whole mortgage market."
Within the last decade, distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) made up 35% of all home sales. The Mortgage Bankers' Association revealed just last week that:
"The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the fourth quarter was 0.95 percent...This was the lowest foreclosure inventory rate since the first quarter of 1996."
After using these three key housing metrics to compare today's market to that of the last decade, we can see that the two markets are nothing alike.
There have been reports that a lot of sellers are holding off from listing their homes in the market due to a forecasted decrease of buyers this year. They speculate that potential buyers were scared off by the rising interest rates and home prices. This may be true in some areas, however, this same reason opens an opportunity to dedicated sellers to take advantage of the number of buyers who are still out there looking to buy their dream homes.
NerdWallet's 2018 Home Buyer Report revealed that:
"Approximately one-third (32%) of Americans plan to purchase a home in the next five years. Millennials are most likely to have such a purchase in their five-year plan (49%), versus 35% of Generation X and 17% of baby boomers."
As we can see, buyers are optimistic! According to the report, here are the top reasons Americans plan to buy:
The most common reason Americans prioritize buying is that they believe it's a good investment!
If you're a homeowner looking to sell, 2019 is the perfect year to put your house on the market. But why?
At least 3 of the renowned organizations that report on real estate market trends predict that homeowners are going to wait until 2020 to list their homes, leading to a nice increase in sales (as shown in the graph below).
Don't wait for a competitive market; be ahead of the curve and sell your house at the best possible price!
There are more and more buyers entering the market every day! Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a current homeowner looking to move-up to your next home, sit with a real estate professional who can help you with your real estate needs!
A self-made Millionaire David Bach gave a piece of simple yet compelling advice to Millennials; "Don't Get Stuck Renting A Home... Buy One!" plain and straight, Bach pointed out a common mistake a majority of millennials tend to make with their life decisions.
In a CNBC article, self-made millionaire David Bach explained that: "The biggest mistake millennials are making is not buying their first home." He goes on to say that, "If you want to build real financial security, real wealth for your lifetime, then you need to buy a home."
Bach went on to explain:
"Homeowners are worth 40 times more than renters. Now, that first home doesn't need to be a dream home, it can be a very small home. You might literally have to buy a small studio apartment, but that's how you get started."
Then he explains the secret to buying that home!
"Don't do a 30-year mortgage. You want to take that 30-year mortgage and instead pay it off early, do a 15-year mortgage. What happens if you do a 15-year mortgage? Well, one, you pay the mortgage off 15-years sooner, that means you'll be able to retire in your fifties. Number two, you'll save a fortune (on potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest payments)."
What will it cost to pay your mortgage in fifteen years? He explains further:
"For fifteen years, you got to brownbag your lunch. Think about that! Brownbag your lunch literally for fifteen years. You can retire ten years sooner than your friends. You'll have real wealth, because you bought a home - you're not a renter. And you'll be financially secure for life."
Whenever a well-respected millionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This millionaire gave simple advice - if you don't yet live in your own home, go buy one.
With the home prices cooling down, a lot of Americans are worried that we may be heading off for another housing crash. With the current ratio of demand and supply, we have nothing to worry about. On the contrary, this is something we should thankful for as home price hikes are expected to move on a much normal pace.
This 'seller's market' has driven home prices to new heights. Home price appreciation averaged over 65 across the country.
However, home price growth has recently started to cool down. The latest report from CoreLogic shows that home prices have only risen by 4.7% over the last 12 months.
Many buyers and sellers planning to enter the housing market this year have started to wonder if we are headed towards another housing crash. Ralph McLaughlin, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic, recently stated in an interview,
"There's no reason to panic right now, even if we may be headed for a recession. We're seeing a cooling of the housing market, but nothing that indicates a crash.
The real elephant in the room here is housing supply.
"The simple answer is we are returning to a 'normal' market. The inventory of homes for sale more closely matches the demand in the market. The added supply means fewer buyers are outbidding each other. Therefore, prices are experiencing less upward pressure. McLaughlin went on to explain,
"If there are a lot of homes on the market and suddenly no one wants to buy them, you'll get into a downward spiral of price competition. Right now, however, we're in the opposite situation, there isn't an over-abundance of homes on the market."
As more renters looking for their piece of the American Dream enter the housing market, demand for housing will continue to grow. The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University estimates over 30 million new households will enter the market from now through 2040.
"There's the natural life cycle of young people getting older and starting to do adult life things which include ... buying a house and that's a lot of potential inertia that could last indefinitely."
Home prices will start to appreciate by historical norms as we continue to head towards a more 'normal' market, rather than the over 6% seen over the course of the last couple of years. This is great news! Homeowners looking to sell their home will have buyers, as more buyers will be able to afford them!
Statistics show that the majority of homebuyers last year were couples, this totally makes sense as the down payment is particularly easier to tackle when shared with a partner.
According to the National Association of REALTORS most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, married couples once again dominated the first-time homebuyer statistics in 2018 at 54% of all buyers.
If you're single, don't fret! Single women made up 18% of first-time buyers in 2018, while single men accounted for 10% of buyers. One recent article pointed to a sense of responsibility and commitment that drives many single women to want to own their home, rather than rent.
Here is the breakdown of all first-time homebuyers in 2018 by percentage of all buyers, income, and age:
You may not be that much different than those who have already purchased their first homes. Meet with a local real estate professional today to determine if your dream home is already within your grasp!
Pricing your home right is one of the most challenging part of the sales process, too low may mean a loss on your end, on the other hand, you can be at risk of having a stale listing if you price it too high.
If your plan for 2019 includes selling your home, you will want to pay attention to where experts believe home values are headed. According to the latest Home Price Index from CoreLogic, home prices increased by 4.7% over the course of 2018.
The map below shows the results of the latest index by state.
Real estate is local. Each state appreciates at different levels. The majority of the country saw at least a 2.0% gain in home values, while some residents in North Dakota and Louisiana may have felt prices slow slightly.
This effect will be short lived. In the same report, CoreLogic forecasts that every state in the Union will experience at least 2.0% appreciation, with the majority of the country gaining at least 4.0%! The prediction for the country comes in at 4.6%. For a median-priced home, that translates to over $14,000 in additional equity next year! (The map below shows the forecast by state.)
So, how does this help you list your home for the best price?
Armed with the knowledge of how much experts believe your house will appreciate this year, you will be able to set an appropriate price for your listing from the start. If homes like yours are appreciating at 4.0%, you won't want to list your home for more than that amount!
One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is pricing their homes too high and reducing the price later when they do not get any offers. This can lead buyers to believe that there may be something wrong with the home, when in fact the price was just too high for the market.
Pricing your home right from the start is one of the most challenging parts of selling your home. Once you decide to list your house, look for a local agent who can show you where prices are headed in your area.
We have discussed time and again the advantages of owning a home over renting, and not only has the majority of Americans agree to these, but surveys say the same things too. Money spent on a mortgage is money well spent and help build one's financial wealth.
For Americans approaching retirement age, one of the greatest benefits to homeownership is the added net worth they have been able to achieve simply by paying their mortgage!
The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University focused on homeowners and renters over the age of 65. Their study revealed that the difference in net worth between homeowners and renters at this age group was actually 47.5 times greater, with nearly half their net worth coming from home equity!
Homeowners over the age of 65 are much more financially prepared for retirement and often own their homes outright if they were fortunate enough to purchase their homes before the age of 36.
Their 30 years of mortgage payments have paid off as they gained equity through their monthly payments and as home values appreciated.
It is no surprise that lifelong renters have had a hard time accruing net worth as the latest Census report shows that the Median Asking Rent has been climbing consistently over the last 30 years.
Your monthly mortgage payment is a form of 'forced savings' building your net worth with every payment!
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If you're thinking of selling your house this year, now is the best time to do it. The saying "the early bird catches the worm" may sound cliche, but it's on point with the law of supply and demand. A lot of sellers hold off until spring, and it's a great opportunity for others to take advantage of less competition to have the prospective buyers all to themselves.
The other listings that come out in the spring will represent increased competition to any seller. Do a greater number of homes actually come to the market during this season in comparison to the rest of the year? The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently revealed the months during which most people listed their homes for sale in 2018. This graphic shows the results:
The three months in the second quarter of the year (represented in red) are consistently the most popular months for sellers to list their homes on the market. Last year, the number of homes available for sale in January was 1,520,000.
That number spiked to 1,870,000 by May!
What does this mean to you?
With the national job situation improving and mortgage interest rates projected to rise later in the year, buyers are not waiting until the spring; they are out looking for homes right now.
If you are looking to sell this year, waiting until the spring to list your home means you will have the greatest competition amongst buyers. Beat the rush of housing inventory that will enter the market and list your home today!
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One of the things that add up to the stress of selling a house is cleaning up. Believe it or not, most people spend days to weeks on end trying to tidy up their home in preparation for selling. Well, we have good news for all you prospective sellers. The KonMari Method is here to save the day.
Marie Kondo, the inventor of the KonMari Method of Tidying Up, has gained popularity with her new Netflix series. She gives some great tips for sorting through years of accumulated possessions that we all collect in our homes.
"The KonMari Method encourages tidying by category - not by location - beginning with clothes, then moving on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items. Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service - then let them go."
When you subjectively look at all of your belongings, you can sort through the ones that mean the most to you. Not only will you increase space for more joy-bringing items in your new home, but you will also have a much easier time packing remaining belongings!
"Remember, tidying up isn't about getting rid of stuff. It is about creating an environment that sparks joy and improves your quality of life."
When selling your house, first impressions matter! Before you or your agent schedule a photographer to take photos for your listing, make sure to tour your home with fresh eyes. Look for any imperfections that a buyer might notice.
When you sort through your more sentimental items, consider packing them away to ensure that you know where they all are. That way, they are safe during open houses and showing appointments. This will also cut down on the amount of packing you need to do right before you move!
Whether you are selling your house to move up to a larger one, downsizing, or moving in with family, only bring the items that truly spark joy for you. This will not only help cut down on the items you move, but also ensures that you're off to a great start in your new home!
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Would you rather pay rent so someone else can afford to pay the mortgage or buy your own home so all the money you spent on it monthly will leave you with something to call your own?
As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business explained in their article, "12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich":
"While renting on a temporary basis isn't terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you're serious about your finances. It won't make you rich overnight, but by renting, you're paying someone else's mortgage. In effect, you'e making someone else rich."
With home prices rising, many renters are concerned about their house-buying power. Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist at MBA, explained:
"The spring homebuying season is almost upon us, and if rates stay lower, inventory continues to grow, and the job market maintains its strength, we do expect to see a solid spring market."
As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of 'forced savings,' which allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person building that equity.
As mentioned before, interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. Freddie Mac's latest report shows that rates across the country were at 4.46% last week.
Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.