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Feb. 10, 2016

Do You Know How Much Equity You Have In Your Home? You May Be Surprised!

Do You Know How Much Equity You Have In Your Home? You May Be Surprised! | Keeping Current Matters

CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 256,000 properties regained equity in the third quarter of 2015. This is great news for the country, as 92% of all mortgaged properties are now in a positive equity situation.

Price Appreciation = Good News For Homeowners

Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, explains:

“Home price growth continued to lift borrower equity positions and increase the number of borrowers with sufficient equity to participate in the mortgage market. In the last three years, borrowers with at least 20 percent equity have increased by 11 million, a substantial uptick that is driving rapid growth in home equity originations.” 

Anand Nallathambi, President and CEO of CoreLogic, believes this is a great sign for the market in 2016 as well, as he had this to say:

“Homeowner equity is the largest source of wealth for many Americans. The rise in home prices, expected to be at least 5% in 2016, will continue to build wealth and confidence across America. As this process continues, it will provide support for the housing market and the broader economy throughout [the] year.”

This is great news for homeowners! But, do they realize that their equity position has changed?

study by Fannie Mae suggests that many homeowners are not aware that they have regained equity in their home as their investment has increased in value. For example, their study showed that 23% of Americans still believe their home is in a negative equity position when, in actuality, CoreLogic’s report shows that only 8% of homes are in that position (down from 9% in Q2).

The study also revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have “significant equity” (greater than 20%), when in actuality, 74% do!

Do You Know How Much Equity You Have In Your Home? You May Be Surprised! | Keeping Current Matters

This means that 37% of Americans with a mortgage fail to realize the opportune situation they are in. With a sizeable equity position, many homeowners could easily move into a housing situation that better meets their current needs (moving to a larger home or downsizing).

Fannie Mae spoke out on this issue in their report:

“Homeowners who underestimate their homes’ values not only underestimate their home equity, they also likely underestimate 1) how large a down payment they could make with their home equity, 2) their chances of qualifying for mortgages, and, therefore, 3) their opportunities for selling their current homes and for buying different homes.”

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many Americans who are unsure how much equity you have built in your home, don’t let that be the reason you fail to move on to your dream home in 2016! Meet with a member of the Fissori Real Estate Team today, who can help you evaluate your situation and assist you along the way!


Posted in Investors, Sellers
Feb. 9, 2016

What You Don’t Need To Hear From Your Listing Agent

 

What You Don’t Need To Hear From Your Listing Agent | Keeping Current Matters

 

You’ve decided to sell your house. You begin to interview potential real estate agents to help you through the process. You need someone you trust enough to:

 

  1. Set the market value on possibly the largest asset your family owns (your home)
  2. Set the time schedule for the successful liquidation of that asset
  3. Set the fee for the services required to liquidate that asset

 

An agent must be concerned first and foremost about you and your family in order to garner that degree of trust. Make sure this is the case.

 

Be careful if the agent you are interviewing begins the interview by:

 

  • Bragging about their success
  • Bragging about their company’s success

 

An agent’s success and the success of their company can be important considerations when deciding on the right real estate professional to represent you in the sale of the house.

 

However, you first need to know that they care about what you need and what you expect from the sale. If the agent is not interested in first establishing your needs, how successful they may seem is much less important.

 

Look for someone with the ‘heart of a teacher,’ who comes in prepared well enough to explain the current real estate market and patient enough to take the time to show how it may impact the sale of your home.

 

Not someone only interested in trying to sell you on how great they are.

 

You have many agents from which to choose. Pick someone who truly cares.

Posted in Sellers
Feb. 8, 2016

Calling All First Time Buyers

Posted in Buyers
Feb. 3, 2016

Will Appraisals Continue to be a Challenge in 2016?

 

 

 

Will Appraisals Continue to be a Challenge in 2016? | Keeping Current Matters

 

First American Title issues a quarterly report, the Real Estate Sentiment Index (RESI), which “measures title agent sentiment on a variety of key market metrics and industry issues”. Their 2015 4th Quarter Edition revealed some interesting information regarding possible challenges with appraisal values as we head into 2016.

 

“The fourth quarter RESI found that title agents continue to believe that property valuation issues will be the most likely cause of title order cancellation over the coming year.”

 

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. In a housing market where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values increase rapidly. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal. If prices are jumping, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that closed recently) to defend the price when performing the appraisal for the bank.

 

Another monthly report by Quicken Loans measures the disparity between what a homeowner believes their house is worth as compared to an appraiser’s evaluation. Here is a chart showing that difference for each month through 2015.

 

Will Appraisals Continue to be a Challenge in 2016? | Keeping Current Matters

 

Bottom Line

 

Every house on the market has to be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the bank’s appraisal). With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first. That is why we suggest that you use an experienced real estate professional to help set your listing price.

Posted in Investors, Sellers
Feb. 2, 2016

No Matter Which Groundhog You Listen To, You Should Sell Before Spring!

Is spring closer than we think? Depending on which Groundhog you witnessed today, you may have less time than you think to get your home on the market before the busy spring season.

Many sellers feel that the spring is the best time to place their home on the market as buyer demand traditionally increases at that time of year. However, the next six weeks before spring hits also have their own advantages.

Here are five reasons to sell now. 

1. Demand is Strong

Foot traffic refers to the number of people out actually physically looking at homes right now. The latest foot traffic numbers show that buyers are still out in force looking for their dream home. These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

Take advantage of the strong buyer activity currently in the market. 

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing supply just dropped to 3.9 months, which is well under the 6 months’ supply that is needed for a normal housing market. This means, in many areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last three years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.

Also, new construction of single-family homes is again beginning to increase. A study by Harris Poll revealed that 41% of buyers would prefer to buy a new home while only 21% prefer an existing home (38% had no preference).

The choices buyers have will increase in the spring. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. There is less overall business done in the winter. Therefore, the process will be less onerous than it will be in the spring. Getting your house sold and closed before the spring delays begin will lend itself to a smoother transaction.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 5.4% over the next 12 months according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate below 4% right now. Rates are projected to rise by three-quarters of a percent by the end of 2016.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take back control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps, the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

Posted in Sellers
Jan. 26, 2016

Where Are Interest Rates Headed This Year?

Where Are Interest Rates Headed This Year?

If you look at what the four major reporting agencies are predicting for 2016, it may make the decision for you. The chart below averages the predictions by quarter.

Mortgage Rate Projections | Keeping Current Matters

With the exception of Fannie Mae, the experts agree that interest rates will increase by three-quarters of a percentage point, costing you more to pay back your loan.

Bottom Line

Even a small increase in interest rates can put a dent in your family’s wealth.

Posted in Buyers, Investors
Jan. 12, 2016

When Is It A Good Time To Rent? NOT Now!

People often ask whether or not now is a good time to buy a home. No one ever asks when a good time to rent is. However, we want to make certain that everyone understands that today is NOT a good time to rent.

The Census Bureau recently released their third quarter median rent numbers. Here is a graph showing rent increases from 1988 until today:

Median Asking Rents | Keeping Current Matters

A recent Wall Street Journal article reports that rents rose “faster last year than at any time since 2007, a boon for landlords but one that has stoked concerns about housing affordability for renters.”

 The article also cited results from a recent Reis Inc report which revealed that average effective rents rose 4.6% in 2015, the biggest gain since before the recession. Over the past 15 years, rents have risen at a rate of 2.7% annually.

Where are rents headed?

Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com recently warned that:

“Low rental vacancies and a lack of new rental construction are pushing up rents, and we expect that they’ll outpace home price appreciation in the year ahead.” 

Bottom Line

According to the WSJ article:

“In general, the higher rents go, the more difficult it will be for young people to save for down payments, making them likely to rent even longer.”

One way to protect yourself from rising rents is to lock in your housing expense by buying a home. If you are ready and willing to buy, contact us today and we can help!

Jan. 8, 2016

How Did Housing Do In 2016?

Happy New Year! We're just one week into the New Year and we've already been asked how did housing really do in 2015. The housing market improved in 2015, but how close is it to finally being back to normal? Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at Realtor.com®, weighed in yesterday on how the housing market fared last year:

Existing home sales:

Existing-home sales were up 7 percent in 2015, buoyed by strong household formation (at about 1.4 million households formed in the past four quarters ending in September) and strong job growth. Distressed sales fell in 2015, as did sales to investors, international buyers, and second-home buyers, Smoke notes. 

Home prices:

Home prices edged up 5 percent to 7 percent nationwide in 2015. “Such appreciation helped owners see substantial gains in equity,” Smoke writes. “Home values are close to being fully recovered nationally.”

But, the level of price appreciation is above a normal rate, mostly due to an imbalance in the number of homes for-sale and high demand. Nevertheless, affordability, overall, remained strong by the end of 2015, despite the higher home prices.

New-home construction:

New-home sales were up 13 percent in 2015. Most of the growth in new-home construction in 2015, however, was centered in apartment building rather than single-family homes. 

“Even with more than 20% growth in total new construction, we will have created only a net new 900,000 housing units, which is less than 65 percent of the new households we created,” Smoke notes.

Rental market: Many of the new households forming are renters. Apartment vacancies are at multi-year lows, and rents are rising sharply. That is worrisome, Smoke says, because “when renting households are so burdened by making rent payments, they’re less able to save up to own.”

So ... how did Homeownership match up against other investments in 2015? Here is a chart that compares its return on investment against precious metals and the stock market last year:

2015 Return on Investment | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Not only did Homeownership offer all its social benefits, it also was a great investment financially. Let us know if you'd like additional statistics and values for your individual neighborhood in SLO County. We'd love to help!
Jan. 4, 2016

Top Reason to List Your House For Sale Now!

If you are debating listing your house for sale this year, here is the #1 reason not to wait!

Buyer Demand Continues to Outpace the Supply of Homes For Sale

The National Association of REALTORS’ (NAR) Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun recently commented on the inventory shortage:

“While feedback from REALTORS® continues to suggest healthy levels of buyer interest, available listings that are move-in ready and in affordable price ranges remain hard to come by for many would-be buyers.”

The latest Existing Home Sales Report shows that there is currently a 5.1-month supply of homes for sale. This remains lower than the 6-month supply necessary for a normal market and well below November 2014 numbers.

The chart below details the year-over-year inventory shortages experienced in 2015:

Housing Supply Year-Over-Year | Keeping Current Matters

Anything less than a six-month supply is considered a “Seller’s Market”.

Bottom Line

Meet with a local real estate professional who can show you the supply conditions in your neighborhood and assist you in gaining access to the buyers who are ready, willing and able to buy now!

 

Posted in Sellers
Dec. 29, 2015

Don’t Let Rising Rents Trap You!

There are many benefits to homeownership. One of the top ones is being able to protect yourself from rising rents and lock in your housing cost for the life of your mortgage.

Don’t Become Trapped

Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com recently reported on what he calls a “Rental Affordability Crisis”. He warns that,

“Low rental vacancies and a lack of new rental construction are pushing up rents, and we expect that they’ll outpace home price appreciation in the year ahead.”

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University recently released their 2015 Report on Rental Housing, in which they reported that 49% of rental households are cost-burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing. These households struggle to save for a rainy day and pay other bills, such as food and healthcare.

It’s Cheaper to Buy Than Rent

In Smoke’s article, he went on to say,

“Housing is central to the health and well-being of our country and our local communities. In addition, this (rental affordability) crisis threatens the future value of owned housing, as the burdensome level of rents will trap more aspiring owners into a vicious financial cycle in which they cannot save and build a solid credit record to eventually buy a home.”

 “While more than 85% of markets have burdensome rents today, it’s perplexing that in more than 75% of the counties across the country, it is actually cheaper to buy than rent a home. So why aren’t those unhappy renters choosing to buy?”

Know Your Options

Perhaps, you have already saved enough to buy your first home. HousingWire reported that analysts at Nomura believe:

“It’s not that Millennials and other potential homebuyers aren’t qualified in terms of their credit scores or in how much they have saved for their down payment.

It’s that they think they’re not qualified or they think that they don’t have a big enough down payment.” (emphasis added)

Many first-time homebuyers who believe that they need a large down payment may be holding themselves back from their dream home. As we reported last week, in many areas of the country, a first-time home buyer can save for a 3% down payment in less than two years. You may have already saved enough!

Bottom Line

Don’t get caught in the trap so many renters are currently in. If you are ready and willing to buy a home, find out if you are able. Have a professional help you determine if you are eligible to get a mortgage.

Posted in Buyers