CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that “over the past 12 months, 712,000 borrowers moved into positive equity.” This is great news, as the share of homeowners with negative equity (those who owe more than their home is worth), has dropped more than 20% since the peak in Q4 of 2009 (26%) to 4.9% today.
The report also revealed:
The map below shows the percentage of homes by state with a mortgage and positive equity. (The states in gray have insufficient data to report.)
Significant Equity Is on The Rise
Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, believes this is great news for the “housing market.” He went on to say:
“Homeowner equity increased by almost $871 billion over the last 12 months, the largest increase in more than three years. This increase is primarily a reflection of rising home prices, which drives up home values, leading to an increase in home equity positions and supporting consumer spending.”
Of the 95.1% of homeowners with positive equity in the U.S., 82.9% have significant equity (defined as more than 20%). This means that more than three out of four homeowners with a mortgage could use the equity in their current home to purchase a new home now.
The map below shows the percentage of homes by state with a mortgage and significant equity.
If you are one of the many homeowners who are unsure of how much equity you have in your home and are curious about your ability to move, let’s meet up to evaluate your situation.
One of the main reasons why For Sale By Owners (FSBOs) don’t use a real estate agent is because they believe they will save the commission an agent charges for getting their house on the market and selling it. A new study by Collateral Analytics, however, reveals that FSBOs don’t actually save anything, and in some cases may be costing themselves more, by not listing with an agent.
In the study, they analyzed home sales in a variety of markets in 2016 and the first half of 2017. The data showed that:
“FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.” (emphasis added)
The study makes several suggestions:
If you are thinking of selling, FSBOing may end up costing you money instead of saving you money. Contact me and see how I can bring value to your table and the strategies that I use to sell your home!
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The residential housing market has been hot. Home sales have bounced back solidly and are now at their fourth highest pace over the past year. Demand has remained strong throughout spring as many real estate professionals are reporting bidding wars with many homes selling above listing price. What about your house?
If your home is on the market and you are not receiving any offers, look at your price. Pricing your home just 10% above market value dramatically cuts the number of prospective buyers that will even see your house. See chart below.
The housing market is hot. If you are not seeing the results you want, sit down with your agent and revisit the pricing conversation.
As we head into summer, it is a great time to review how the 2017 real estate market is doing so far. Here is what the experts are saying:
“Positive demographic factors should continue to reshape the housing market, as rising employment and incomes appear to be positively influencing millennial homeownership rates.”
“Even as more homes come on the market for this traditionally popular sales season, they're flying off fast, with bidding wars par for the course. Home prices have now surpassed their last peak, and at the entry level, where demand is highest, sellers are firmly in the driver's seat.”
"I am guessing we will see it get even better… If you are considering moving, it could be a really good time to sell."
"The early returns so far this spring buying season look very promising as a rising number of households dipped their toes into the market and were successfully able to close on a home last month. Although finding available properties to buy continues to be a strenuous task for many buyers, there was enough of a monthly increase in listings…for sales to muster a strong gain. Sales will go up as long as inventory does."
“Despite higher mortgage rates, the potential for home sales increased on an annual basis driven by steady income and job growth, along with a surge in building permits. While it may be a little late for this spring, the increase in building permits is a welcome sign that some relief may be in sight for the inventory shortages that are holding back many markets from realizing their full potential this spring.”
As you can see, each of these real estate experts are optimistic about the future of the US Housing market. Even though the mortgage rates and inventory are rising, it remains to be strong in the Seller's Market throughout United States.
Last week, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings. The report revealed that this May’s numbers weren’t quite as good as the year before:
“With last month’s decline, the index reading is still the third highest in the past year, but declined year-over-year for the first time since August 2014.”
The mainstream media ran headlines highlighting that the index had dropped for the first time in two years. Many read this as an indication that the housing market must be slowing down.
If you were thinking that now may be the perfect time to put your house on the market, these reports may have caused you some concern. We want to alleviate that concern today.
Though it is true that the index dropped in last month’s report, let’s take a closer look at the numbers. Below is a graph of the index since January 2014. We can see that the index has increased every month over the last eighteen months, leading up to this past May.
Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, explained that it wasn’t a slowing of the market that caused the index to slip, but instead a lack of housing inventory:
“Total housing inventory at the end of each month has remarkably decreased year-over-year now for an entire year. There are simply not enough homes coming onto the market to catch up with demand.”
Here is a graph depicting the situation Yun was referencing:
Did the latest numbers from the Pending Home Sales Index cause you to question if now is a good time to put your house on the market? If anything, it indicated the exact opposite: that this may be the perfect time to sell!!
We want to let you know that “rumors of a new market meltdown” are not based on any reputable data. As proof, we offer you the comments of the following experts who have a totally different view on the current housing market.
“In spite of deficient supply levels, stock market volatility and the paltry economic growth seen so far this year, the housing market did show resilience and had its best first quarter of existing-sales since 2007.”
“We had a triple crown of April home sales reports, so 2016 is in the pole position to earn best year of home sales in a decade.”
“I’m calling the end of the housing “recovery.” On to ‘expansion.’”
“Despite the disappointing economic reports, we still forecast housing to maintain its momentum in 2016.”
“A recent gauge of home builder sentiment held firmly in positive territory, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Perhaps more important, expectations for sales in the next six months jumped to the highest level of the year.”
“Our latest housing tracker shows that the first quarter of 2016 was the second fastest first quarter pace of home sales in the past decade… Home sales typically rise in the spring and summer months, and we anticipate an acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007′s pace by late summer.”
Source: Keeping Current Matters
As the events of the last few years in the real estate industry show, people forget about the tremendous financial responsibility of purchasing a home at their peril. Here are a few tips for dealing with the dollar signs so that you can take down that “for sale” sign on your new home.
Get pre-approved. Sub-primes may be history, but you’ll probably still be shown homes you can’t actually afford. By getting pre-approved as a buyer, you can save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can’t afford. You can also put yourself in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Unlike pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history. By doing a thorough analysis of your actual spending power, you’ll be less likely to get in over your head.
Choose your mortgage carefully. Used to be the emphasis when it came to mortgages was on paying them off as soon as possible. Today, the debt the average person will accumulate due to credit cards, student loans, etc. means it’s better to opt for the 30-year mortgage instead of the 15-year. This way, you have a lower monthly payment, with the option of paying an additional principal when money is good. Additionally, when picking a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying additional points (a portion of the interest that you pay at closing) in exchange for a lower interest rate. If you plan to stay in the house for a long time—and given the current real estate market, you should—taking the points will save you money.
Do your homework before bidding. Before you make an offer on a home, do some research on the sales trends of similar homes in the neighborhood with sites like Zillow. Consider especially sales of similar homes in the last three months. For instance, if homes have recently sold for 5 percent less than the asking price, your opening bid should probably be about 8 to 10 percent lower than what the seller is asking.
Moving from a small town or suburb to a large city can be an intimidating proposition. Here are a few tips to help make your move as painless as possible.
1- Research before you move. It’s important to understand the culture you’re joining. Do research online and find out about school systems, neighborhoods, parking, weather, public transportation, and laws that are native to that area. If you can, visit a city before moving and connect with someone who’s lived there before.
2- Have a plan. There are a lot of steps to go through before you start packing the moving truck. Find housing before you leave, or at least know where you’ll stay while you look for a home. Never sign a lease on an apartment that you haven’t seen. If you can’t get there, find a friend or an employer to check for you. Have a job waiting for you, or if that’s not possible, know what you’ll do for money in the first few weeks of living there. Try to line up things like driver’s licenses, car insurance, renter’s insurance, and parking passes ahead of time as well.
3- Get involved. Meeting people in a big city can be daunting. Don’t expect the neighbors to knock your door down with a casserole when you arrive: city life is often too noisy and hectic. Take the initiative. If there are things you liked to do in your town, find ways to do those things in the city. Try new things. Volunteer. Big cities offer so many opportunities to engage other people, so find what you like.
4- Mind your wallet. City life is expensive. Everything costs more: food, insurance, clothes, rent. There are also a lot more ways to get ripped off, whether legally or criminally. Be careful how you spend, and know where your money is going.
Looking to buy a home? Here are five essential tips for making the process as smooth as possible.
1- Get your finances in order.
Start by getting a full picture of your credit. Obtain copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you find. Next, find a suitable lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house.
2- Find a house you can afford.
As with engagement rings, there’s a general rule of thumb when it comes to buying a home: two-and-a-half times your annual salary. There are also a number of tools and calculators online that can help you understand how your income, debt, and expenses affect what you can afford. Don’t forget, too, that there are lots of considerations beyond the sticker price, including property taxes, energy costs, etc.
3- Hire a professional.
While the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings and resources, many aspects of the buying process require a level of expertise you can’t pick up from surfing the web. That’s why you’re better off using a professional agent than going it alone. If possible, recruit an exclusive buyer agent, who will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process.
4- Do your homework.
Before making a bid, do some research to determine the state of the market at large. Is it more favorable for sellers or buyers? Next, look at sales trends of similar homes in the area or neighborhood. Look at prices for the last few months. Come up with an asking price that’s competitive, but also realistic. Otherwise, you may end up ticking off your seller.
5- Think long term.
Obviously, you shouldn’t buy unless you’re sure you’ll be staying put for at least a few years. Beyond that, you should buy in a neighborhood with good schools. Whether you have children or not, this will have an impact on your new home’s resale value down the line. When it comes to the house itself, you should hire your own home inspector, who can point out potential problems that could require costly repairs in the future.