As a seller, you will be most concerned about ‘short term price’ – where home values are headed over the next six months. As a buyer, you must be concerned not about price but instead about the ‘long term cost’ of the home.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the National Association of Realtors, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase by about three-quarters of a percentage point over the next twelve months.
According to CoreLogic’s most recent Home Price Index Report, home prices will appreciate by 5.2% over the next 12 months.
What Does This Mean as a Buyer?
Here is a simple demonstration of what impact an interest rate increase would have on the mortgage payment of a home selling for approximately $250,000 today if home prices appreciate by the 5.2% predicted by CoreLogicover the next twelve months:
There are some people that have not purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent free, you are paying a mortgage - either your mortgage or your landlord’s.
As The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:
“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return.
That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”
Christina Boyle, a Senior Vice President, Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage vs. paying rent:
“With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.”
As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.
The graph below shows the widening gap in net worth between a homeowner and a renter:
Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, owning might make more sense than renting with home values and interest rates projected to climb.
CoreLogic released their most current Home Price Index last week. In the report, they revealed home appreciation in three categories: percentage appreciation over the last year, over the last month and projected over the next twelve months.
Here are state maps for each category:
The Past – home appreciation over the last 12 months
The Present – home appreciation over the last month
The Future – home appreciation projected over the next 12 months
Homes across the country are appreciating at different rates. If you plan on relocating to another state and are waiting for your home to appreciate more, you need to know that the home you will buy in another state may be appreciating even faster.
Meet with a local real estate professional who can help you determine your next steps.
We all realize that the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and the supply of that item is limited. The last two major reports issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed information that suggests that now is a great time to sell your house.
The report announced that pending home sales (homes going into contract) are up 3.9% over last year, and have increased year-over-year now for 14 consecutive months.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, expects demand to remain stable through the final two months of the year, and “forecasts existing-home sales to finish 2015 at a pace of 5.30 million – the highest since 2006.”
Takeaway: Demand for housing will continue throughout the end of 2015 and into 2016. The seasonal slowdown often felt in the winter months hasn’t started and shows little signs of being near.
THE EXISTING HOME SALES REPORT
The most important data point revealed in the report was not sales but instead the inventory of homes on the market (supply). The report explained:
Total housing inventory decreased 2.3% to 2.14 million homes available for sale
That represents a 4.8-month supply at the current sales pace
Unsold inventory is 4.5% lower than a year ago
There were two more interesting comments made by Yun in the report:
1. "New and existing-home supply has struggled to improve, leading to few choices for buyers and no easement of the ongoing affordability concerns still prevalent in some markets."
In real estate, there is a guideline that often applies. When there is less than 6 months inventory available, we are in a sellers’ market and we will see appreciation. Between 6-7 months is a neutral market where prices will increase at the rate of inflation. More than 7 months inventory means we are in a buyers’ market and should expect depreciation in home values. As Yun notes, we are currently in a sellers’ market (prices still increasing).
2. "Unless sizeable supply gains occur for new and existing homes, prices and rents will continue to exceed wages into next year and hamstring a large pool of potential buyers trying to buy a home.” As rents and prices increase, potential buyers will not able to save as much for a down payment and many may become priced out of the market.
Takeaway: Inventory of homes for sale is still well below the 6 months needed for a normal market. Prices will continue to rise if a ‘sizeable’ supply does not enter the market. Take advantage of the ready willing and able buyers that are still out looking for your house.
In today's market, with homes selling quickly and prices rising some homeowners might consider trying to sell their home on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.
Here are five reasons:
1. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With
Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale By Owner:
The buyer who wants the best deal possible
The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house.
The appraiser if there is a question of value
2. Exposure to Prospective Purchasers
Recent studies have shown that 88% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 21% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?
3. Results Come from the Internet
Where do buyers find the home they actually purchased?
43% on the internet
9% from a yard sign
1% from newspaper
The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.
4. FSBOing has Become More and More Difficult
The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 9% over the last 20+ years.
5. You Net More Money when Using an Agent
Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.
Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $208,000 while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $235,000. This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $27,000 more for your home as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.
Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional in your marketplace and see what they have to offer.
According to the latest Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Indexhomeownership is a better way to produce greater wealth, on average, than renting.
The BH&J Index is a quarterly report that attempts to answer the question:
Is it better to rent or buy a home in today’s housing market?
The index examines that entire US housing market and then isolates 23 major markets for comparison. The researchers at use a “’horse race’ comparison between an individual that is buying a home and an individual that rents a similar quality home and reinvests all monies otherwise invested in homeownership.”
Ken Johnson, Real Estate Economist & Professor at Florida Atlantic University, and one of the index’s authors states:
"The U.S. as a whole is still in clear buy territory. The cities of Cincinnati, Chicago, Cleveland, and New York City are deep into buy territory."
Miami and Portland had been inching closer toward renting being the better option but have "pulled back from the edge." Johnson goes on to say, “that's a good sign for home pricing as it suggests prices are going to level off in these metro areas."
Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. Rents are predicted to increase substantially in the next year, so lock in your housing cost with a mortgage payment now.
In school we all learned the Theory of Supply and Demand. When the demand for an item is greater than the supply of that item, the price will surely rise.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the inventory of homes for sale stands at a 4.8-month supply. This is significantly lower than the 6 months inventory necessary for a normal market.
Every month NAR reports on the amount of buyers that are actually out in the market looking for homes, or foot traffic. As seen in the graph below, buyer demand this year has significantly surpassed the levels reached in 2014.
Many buyers are being confronted with a very competitive market in which they must compete with other buyers for their dream home (if they even are able to find a home they wish to purchase).
Listing your house for sale now will allow you to capitalize on the shortage of homes for sale in the market, which will translate into a better pricing situation.
Many homeowners underestimate the amount of equity they currently have in their home. According to a recent Fannie Mae study, 37% of homeowners believe that they have more than 20% equity in their home. In reality69% of homeowners actually do!
Many homeowners who are undervaluing their home equity may feel trapped in their current home, which may be contributing to the lack of inventory in the market.
If you are debating selling your home this year, meet with a local real estate professional that can evaluate the equity you have in your home and the opportunities available in your market
Last month, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that housing inventory was down 4.7% from the same time last year and that the month’s inventory of homes for sale stood at 4.8 - far below the six months necessary for a normal housing market. Why is there such a shortage of inventory?
The recently released Homeowner Sentiment Survey suggests that the American homeowner may not be fully aware of the opportunities that exist in the current real estate market. The survey, conducted by Edelman Berland for HSF Affiliates, also reports that many homeowners would be placing their home up for sale if they were better informed about today’s market.
Since the housing industry is facing a shortage of housing inventory, the survey’s findings are crucially important.
The survey reported that 23% of current homeowners questioned are considering selling their home, but haven’t yet put it up for sale. That’s almost one out of every four houses. This is the inventory necessary to normalize the balance between “supply & demand” in the current market.
Why are potential sellers hesitating?
The survey shows that 55% of the 23% contemplating selling “would be more likely to put their homes on the market if given more information about the process”. What information do they need?
Here are a few of the challenges that potential sellers perceive to exist according to the survey along with what is actually happening in today’s market:
1. More than half (53%) don’t realize that “the number of homes for sale on the market is lower, giving buyers fewer choices”. As a matter of fact, only 6% of potential sellers believe that listing inventory has recently decreased.
In reality, as we mentioned before, inventory is down from last year.
2. 80% think credit scores make it difficult to get a loan.
In reality, though other studies have shown that many Americans believe that you need a credit score of at least 780 to get a loan when the actual median scores on closed loans are demonstratively lower than that.
3. 76% believe stricter lending requirements make it more difficult to get a mortgage.
4. 68% think that current homeowners are trapped into their mortgages and are unable to sell their current homes.
In reality, a recent Fannie Mae study revealed that 32% of Americans are dramatically underestimating the current equity in their homes. Many more can afford to make the move they desire.
What’s the answer?
Every family should feel confident when they are buying or selling a home. In order to feel confident they need to truly understand their options and opportunities. HSF Affiliates CEO Gino Blefari put it best when he addressed the findings of the survey:
“Education is essential in today’s market. The stage is set for real estate professionals to connect with consumers, learn their needs and concerns and determine the best way for sellers and buyers to capitalize on the opportunities that exist today.”
If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are surely getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family will have your best interest at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in real estate.
Let’s look at whether or not now is actually a good time for you to buy a home.
There are 3 questions you should ask before purchasing in today’s market:
1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?
This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with finances.
A study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University reveals that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money:
A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
A place where you and your family feel safe
More space for you and your family
Control of that space
What non-financial benefits will you and your family derive from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.
2. Where are home values headed?
When looking at future housing values, Home Price Expectation Survey provides a fair assessment. Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over 100 economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.
Here is what the experts projected in the latest survey:
Home values will appreciate by 4.1% in 2015.
The cumulative appreciation will be 18.1% by 2019.
Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of over 10.5% by 2019.
So what does that really mean for you and your family?
The chart below was made using the Home Price Expectation Survey’s predictions:
If the experts are right and you were to purchase a home by January 2016 for $250,000, that home would appreciate by over $34,000 over the next four years! As we have reported before, home ownership is one of the best ways to build your family’s wealth.
3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?
A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by an increase in mortgage rates.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the National Association of Realtors and Freddie Mac have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase by approximately one full percentage over the next twelve months as you can see in the chart below:
Only you and your family will know for certain if now is the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision.
Today, many real estate conversations center on housing prices and where they may be headed. That is why we like the Home Price Expectation Survey.
Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.
The results of their latest survey
Home values will appreciate by 4.1% in 2015.
The cumulative appreciation will be 18.1% by 2019.
That means the average annual appreciation will be 3.4% over the next 5 years.
Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of 10.5% by 2019.
Individual opinions make headlines. We believe the survey is a fairer depiction of future values.
The interest rate you pay on your home mortgage has a direct impact on your monthly payment. The higher the rate the greater the payment will be. That is why it is important to look at where rates are headed when deciding to buy now or wait until next year.
Depending on the amount of the loan that you secure, a half of a percent (.5%) increase in interest rate can increase your monthly mortgage payment significantly.
Dr. Frank Nothaft, the SVP & Chief Economist for CoreLogic, had this to say in their latest MarketPulse:
“If you are thinking of buying a home and have the financial means to do so, this could be a good time to take a look at the neighborhoods you are interested in. We expect home prices in our national index to be up about 4.3% in the next 12 months, and mortgage rates are also likely to increase over the next year.”
If both the predictions of home price and interest rate increases become reality, families would wind up paying considerably more for their next home.
Even a small increase in interest rate can impact your family’s wealth. Meet with a local real estate professional to evaluate your ability to purchase your dream home.
In today’s market, where demand is outpacing supply in many regions of the country, pricing a house is one of the biggest challenges real estate professionals face. Sellers often want to price their home higher than recommended, and many agents go along with the idea to keep their clients happy. However, the best agents realize that telling the homeowner the truth is more important than getting the seller to like them.
There is no “later.”
Sellers sometimes think, “If the home doesn’t sell for this price, I can always lower it later.” However, research proves that homes that experience a listing price reduction sit on the market longer, ultimately selling for less than similar homes.
John Knight, recipient of the University Distinguished Faculty Award from the Eberhardt School of Business at the University of the Pacific, actually did research on the cost (in both time and money) to a seller who priced high at the beginning and then lowered the their price. In his article, Listing Price, Time on Market and Ultimate Selling Price published in Real Estate Economics revealed:
“Homes that underwent a price revision sold for less, and the greater the revision, the lower the selling price. Also, the longer the home remains on the market, the lower its ultimate selling price.”
Additionally, the “I’ll lower the price later” approach can paint a negative image in buyers’ minds. Each time a price reduction occurs, buyers can naturally think, “Something must be wrong with that house.” Then when a buyer does make an offer, they low-ball the price because they see the seller as “highly motivated.” Pricing it right from the start eliminates these challenges.
Don’t build “negotiation room” into the price.
Many sellers say that they want to price their home high in order to have “negotiation room.” But, what this actually does is lower the number of potential buyers that see the house. And we know that limiting demand like this will negatively impact the sales price of the house.
Not sure about this? Think of it this way: when a buyer is looking for a home online (as they are doing more and more often), they put in their desired price range. If your seller is looking to sell their house for $400,000, but lists it at $425,000 to build in “negotiation room,” any potential buyers that search in the $350k-$400k range won’t even know your listing is available, let alone come see it!
One great way to see this is with the chart below. The higher you price your home over its market value, the less potential buyers will actually see your home when searching.
A better strategy would be to price it properly from the beginning and bring in multiple offers. This forces these buyers to compete against each other for the “right” to purchase your house.
Look at it this way: if you only receive one offer, you are set up in an adversarial position against the prospective buyer. If, however, you have multiple offers, you have two or more buyers fighting to please you. Which will result in a better selling situation?
The Price is Right
Great pricing comes down to truly understanding the real estate dynamics in your neighborhood. Look for an agent that will take the time to simply and effectively explain what is happening in the housing market and how it applies to your home.
You need an agent that will tell you what you need to know rather than what you want to hear. This will put you in the best possible position.
Last week, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Home Sales Report. The report announced that the median existing-home price in June was $236,400. That value surpasses the peak median sales price set in July 2006 ($230,400). This revelation created many headlines exclaiming that home prices had hit a “new record”:
Wall Street Journal: Existing-Home Prices Hit Record
USA Today: Existing home sales surge, prices hit record
Though the headlines are accurate, we want to take a closer look at the story. We do not want people to believe that this information is evidence that a new “price bubble” is forming in housing.
NAR reports the median home price. That means that 50% of the homes sold above that number and 50% sold below that number. With fewer distressed properties (lower valued) now selling, the median price will rise. The median value does not reflect that each individual property is increasing in value.
Below are the comments from Bill McBride, the author of the esteemed economic blog Calculated Risk. McBride talks about the challenges with using the median price and also explains that in “real” prices (taking into consideration inflation) we are nowhere close to a record.
“In general I'd ignore the median sales price because it is impacted by the mix of homes sold (more useful are the repeat sales indexes like Case-Shiller or CoreLogic). NAR reported the median sales price was $236,400 in June, above the median peak of $230,400 in July 2006. That is 9 years ago, so in real terms, median prices are close to 20% below the previous peak. Not close.”
Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journalcovered this issue in detail. In this story, Nick Timiraos explained that this rise in median prices is nothing to be concerned about:
“Does this mean we have another problem on our hands? Not really…There may be other reasons to worry about housing affordability by comparing prices with incomes or prices with rents for a given market. But crude comparisons of nominal home prices with their 2006 and 2007 levels shouldn’t be used to make cavalier claims about a new bubble.”
Home values are appreciating. However, they are not increasing at a rate that we should have fears of a new housing bubble around the corner.