For Buyers

Harvard: Why Owning A Home Makes Sense Financially

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Monday February 1st, 2016 First Time Home Buyers, For Buyers

We have reported many times that the American Dream of homeownership is alive and well. The personal reasons to own differ for each buyer, with many basic similarities.

Eric Belsky, the Managing Director of the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard Universityexpanded on the top 5 financial benefits of homeownership in his paper –The Dream Lives On: the Future of Homeownership in America.

Here are the five reasons, each followed by an excerpt from the study: 

1.) Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available.

“Few households are interested in borrowing money to buy stocks and bonds and few lenders are willing to lend them the money. As a result, homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. Even a hefty 20 percent down payment results in a leverage factor of five so that every percentage point rise in the value of the home is a 5 percent return on their equity. With many buyers putting 10 percent or less down, their leverage factor is 10 or more.”

2.) You’re paying for housing whether you own or rent.

“Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord.” 

3.) Owning is usually a form of “forced savings”.

“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”

4.) There are substantial tax benefits to owning.

“Homeowners are able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from income…On top of all this, capital gains up to $250,000 are excluded from income for single filers and up to $500,000 for married couples if they sell their homes for a gain.”

5.) Owning is a hedge against inflation.

“Housing costs and rents have tended over most time periods to go up at or higher than the rate of inflation, making owning an attractive proposition.”

Bottom Line

We realize that homeownership makes sense for many Americans for an assortment of social and family reasons. It also makes sense financially. If you are one of the many considering a purchase this year, let’s get together to discuss your options!

NAR’S Latest Existing Home Sales Report [INFOGRAPHIC]

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NAR's Latest Existing Home Sales Report [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • Existing Home Sales are up 10.3% year-over-year across the country.
  • Sales rose to an annual rate of 5.59 million marking the 10th month in a row of year-over-year gains
  • Prices are up 5.6% year-over-year in the U.S. to a median price of $234,000
  • Marked the 41st consecutive month of year-over year price gains.

Are Home Values REALLY at Record Levels?

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Are Home Values REALLY at Record Levels? | Simplifying The Market

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 Journal covered 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.”

Bottom Line

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.

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Buyer Demand Continues To Outpace Housing Supply

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Buyer Demand Continues To Outpace Housing Supply | Simplifying The Market

The price of any item is determined by the supply of that item, and the market demand. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their latest Existing Home Sales Report.

Inventory Levels & Demand

Sales of existing homes rose 3.2% from May, outpacing year-over-year figures for the ninth consecutive month. Total unsold housing inventory is at a 5.0-month supply.

This is down from May’s 5.1-month supply and remains below the 6 months that is needed for a historically normal market.

Consumer confidence is at the highest level in over a decade. Pair that with interest rates still around 4%, new programs available for down payments as low as 3%, and you have an attractive market for buyers.

Buyer demand for housing surged to it’s highest level since June 2013.

Prices Rising

June marked the 40th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains as the median price of existing homes sold rose to $236,400 (up 6.5% from 2014).

So What Does This Mean?

The chart below shows the impact that inventory levels have on home prices.

The Impact of Inventory on Home Prices | Simplifying The Market

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun gave some insight into the correlation:

“Limited inventory amidst strong demand continues to push home prices higher, leading to declining affordability for prospective buyers.”

NAR’s President, Chris Polychron added:

“The demand for buying has really heated up this summer, leading to multiple bidders and homes selling at or above asking price.”

Bottom Line

If you are debating putting your home on the market in 2015, now may be the time. The number of buyers ready and willing to make a purchase is at the highest level in years. Let’s get together to discuss your options.

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Stop Paying Your Landlord’s Mortgage!

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Stop Paying Your Landlord's Mortgage! | Simplifying The Market

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 atFreddie 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’ which allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person with that equity.

The graph below shows the widening gap in net worth between a homeowner and a renter:

Increasing Gap in Family Wealth | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

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 since home values and interest rates are projected to climb.

 

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional Today!

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5 Reasons To Hire A Real Estate Professional Today | Simplifying The Market

Whether you are buying or selling a home, it can be quite an adventurous journey. You need an experienced Real Estate Professional to lead you to your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers think that they can For Sale by Owner or FSBO.

The 5 Reasons You NEED a Real Estate Professional in your corner haven’t changed, but have rather been strengthened due to the projections of higher mortgage interest rates & home prices as the market continues to recover.

1. What do you do with all this paperwork?

Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true Real Estate Professional is an expert in their market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.

2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?

According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, who knows what these actions are to make sure that you acquire your dream.

3. Are you a good negotiator?

So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a Real Estate Professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible), to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to the National Association of REALTORS, “the typical FSBO home sold for $208,700 compared to $235,000 among agent-assisted home sales.”

Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional.

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?

There is so much information out there on the news and the internet about home sales, prices, mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a low-ball offer?

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring an agent who has their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying/selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line:

You wouldn’t replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic. Why would you make one of your most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a Real Estate Professional? Let’s get together and talk about your goals.

Get In Touch with Us …For All Your Real Estate Needs!

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Debunking Some Myths about Mortgage Availability

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Debunking Some Myths about Mortgage Availability | Simplifying The Market

There seems to be a growing chasm between what the public believes to be need and what is actually needed to qualify for a residential home loan.

A recent survey by Ipsos reported that:

  • Two-thirds of those surveyed believe they need a very good credit score to buy a home, with 45 percent thinking a “good credit score” is over 780.
  • Consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan, with 36 percent thinking a 20 percent down payment is always required.

However, according to American Enterprise Institute’s International Center on Housing Risk’s May First-Time Buyer Mortgage Risk Index (FBMRI), reality is far from perception. The report reveals:

  • 70% of first-time buyer mortgages had a combined loan-to-value ratio of 95% or higher
  • About 20% of first-time buyers taking out mortgages had a FICO score below 660
  • 25% had total debt-to-income ratios above 43 percent
  • The median first-time buyer with an agency mortgage made a down payment of only 3 percent, or $7200 in dollar terms.
  • The median FICO score for first-time buyers with agency mortgages was 705
  • For first-time buyers with FHA-insured loans, the median FICO score was only 672

These numbers contradict the frequent claims that first-time buyers face difficulties in obtaining mortgages.

Bottom Line

Stephen Oliner, co-director of AEI’s International Center on Housing Risk explained the reality of the situation.

“One hears all the time that first-time buyers have limited access to mortgage debt.  But this isn’t true. Many first-time buyers with low FICO scores and little money down are buying homes every month.”                               

Get In Touch with Us …For All Your Real Estate Needs!

FOLLOW or CONNECT with US

Simply click the Follow button in the column on the left:

FollowWordpressButton

FREE SEARCH INFO :

 AREA HOMES     REALTORS      HOME VALUE        A  LENDER

THE HOME BUYERS GUIDE      Use Code: H B G

THE HOME SELLERS GUIDE     Use Code: H S G

MARKET SNAPSHOT                     Use Code: M S S                                               (To Find Out What Your Neighborhood Is Doing)

WEBSITE

SEARCH A NEIGHBORHOOD

Ask for: Joi or Guy McKinney, REALTORS® at 214-699-6788