For Buyers

4 Reasons to Buy BEFORE Winter Hits

4 Reasons to Buy BEFORE Winter Hits | Simplifying The Market

Monday October 12th, 2015 First Time Home Buyers, For Buyers, Move-Up Buyers

It’s that time of year; the seasons are changing and with them bring thoughts of the upcoming holidays, family get-togethers, and planning for a new year. Those who are on the fence about whether now is the right time to buy don’t have to look much farther to find four great reasons to consider buying a home now, instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report released recently projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 10.5% (most pessimistic) and 25.5% (most optimistic).

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Although Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have softened recently, most experts predict that they will begin to rise later this year. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by the end of next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

3. Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage

As a recent paper from 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.”

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

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But, what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe it is time to buy.

Bottom Line

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Home Equity: You May Have More Than You Think

Home Equity: You May Have More Than You Think | Simplifying The Market

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CoreLogic recently released their 2015 2nd Quarter Equity Report which revealed that 759,000 properties had regained equity in the last quarter. That means that 91% of all mortgaged properties(approximately 45.9 million) are now in a positive equity position. Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic, reported:

“For much of the country, the negative equity epidemic is lifting. The biggest reason for this improvement has been the relentless rise in home prices over the past three years which reflects increasing money flows into housing and a lack of housing stock in many markets.”

Obviously, this is great news for the financial situation of many homeowners.

But, do they realize their equity position has changed?

A recent study by Fannie Mae suggests that many homeowners are unaware that their equity position has changed…in some cases dramatically. For example, their study showed that 23% of Americans still believe their home is in a negative equity position when, in actuality, only 9% of homes are in that position.

The study also revealed that, though 69% of homes had “significant equity” (greater than 20%), only 37% of Americans realize it.

Significant Equity | Simplifying The Market

This means that 32% 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

Every homeowner should be aware of the true equity in their house and also realize the opportunities that go along with it. If you are unsure of the savings you currently have built up in your home, let’s get together and discuss your current situation. You may be surprised.

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The Cost of Waiting to Buy a Home

The Cost of Waiting to Buy a Home | Simplifying The Market

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their July edition of the Housing Affordability Index. The index measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national level based on the most recent price and income data.

NAR looks at the monthly mortgage payment (principal & interest) which is determined by the median sales price and mortgage interest rate at the time. With that information, NAR calculates the income necessary for a family to qualify for that mortgage amount (based on a 25% qualifying ratio for monthly housing expense to gross monthly income and a 20% down payment).

Here is a graph of the income needed to buy a median priced home in the country over the last several years:

Qualifying Income | Simplifying The Market

And the income requirement has accelerated even more dramatically this year as prices have risen:

Qualifications | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Some buyers may be waiting to save up a larger down payment. Others may be waiting for a promotion and more money. Just realize that, while you are waiting, the requirements are also changing.

Most Experts Agree: There is No Housing Bubble

Most Experts Agree: There is No Housing Bubble | Keeping Current Matters

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There is no doubt that home prices in the vast majority of housing markets across the country are continuing to increase on a month over month basis. The following map (based on data from the latest CoreLogic pricing report) reveals the appreciation level by state:

One Month Price Change | Keeping Current Matters

These increases in value have caused some to be concerned about a new price bubble forming in residential real estate. Here are quotes from many of the most respected voices in the housing industry regarding the issue:

Nick Timiraos, reporter at the Wall Street Journal:

“Predictions of a new national home price bubble look unfounded for now, according to data.”

Michael Fratantoni, Chief Economist, the Mortgage Bankers Association:

“I don’t really see it as a bubble.”

Jack M. Guttentag, Professor of Finance Emeritus at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania:

“My view is that we are a long way from another house price bubble.”

Rajeev Dhawan, Director of Economic Forecasting Center at J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University:

“To have a bubble, you need to have construction rates higher than the perceived demand, which is what happened in 2003 to 2007. Right now, however, we have the reverse of that.”

Victor Calanog, Chief Economist, Reis:

“The housing market has yet to show evidence of systematic runaway asset price inflation characterized by home prices rising much faster than household income.”

David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee for S&P Dow Jones:

“I would describe this as a rebound in home prices, not a bubble and not a reason to be fearful.”

Andrew Nelson, US Chief Economist, Colliers International:

“I don’t think there is a housing bubble.”

George Raitu, Director, Quantitative & Commercial Research, NAR:

“We do not consider the current market conditions to present a bubble.”

Christopher Thornberg, Founding Partner, Beacon Economics:

“The housing market is far from overheated.”

So why have prices been increasing?

Today, there is a gap between supply (number of houses on the market) and demand (the number of buyers looking for a new home). In any market, this would cause values to increase. Here are some experts’ comments on this issue:

Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com Chief Economist:

“So does that mean we’re in a bubble? Nope, that’s just what happens when demand increases faster than supply.”

Robert Bach, Director of Research – Americas, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank:

“I don’t think the housing market is overheated based on demand and supply fundamentals.”

Mark Dotzour, Chief Economist, Real Estate Center, Texas A&M University:

“We are not in a housing bubble. We are in a situation where demand for houses is much higher than supply.”

Calvin Schnure, SVP of Research & Economic Analysis, NAREIT:

“Given all the demand and little supply the residential market is FAR from overheated.”

Bottom Line

Currently, there is an imbalance between supply and demand for housing. This has created a natural increase in values not a bubble in prices.

Should I Wait to Put Down a Bigger Down Payment?

ESPAÑOL VERSION

Should I Wait to Put Down a Bigger Down Payment? | Keeping Current Matters

Some experts are advising that first time and move-up buyers wait until they save up 20% before they move forward with their decision to purchase a home. One of the main reasons they suggest waiting is that a buyer must purchase private mortgage insurance if they have less than the 20%. That increases the monthly payment the buyer will be responsible for.

In a recent article, Freddie Mac explained what this would mean for a $200,000 house:

Difference Between a 5% and 20% Down Payment | Keeping Current Matters

However, we must look at other aspects of the purchase to see if it truly makes sense to wait.

Are you actually saving money by waiting?

CoreLogic has recently projected that home values will increase by 4.3% over the next 12 months. Let’s compare the extra cost of PMI against the projected appreciation:

PMI vs Appreciation | Keeping Current Matters

If you decide to wait until you have saved up a 20% down payment, the money you would have saved by avoiding the PMI payment could be surpassed by the additional price you eventually pay for the home. Prices are expected to increase by more than 3% each of the next five years.

Saving will also be more difficult if you are renting, as rents are also projected to increase over the next several years. Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell explained in a recent report:

“Our research found that unaffordable rents are making it hard for people to save for a down payment … There are good reasons to rent temporarily – when you move to a new city, for example – but from an affordability perspective, rents are crazy right now. If you can possibly come up with a down payment, then it’s a good time to buy a home and start putting your money toward a mortgage.”

Laura Kusisto of the Wall Street Journal recently agreed with Dr. Gudell:

“For some renters there may be a way out: Buy a house. Mortgages remain very affordable.”

Mortgage rates are expected to rise…

Freddie Mac is projecting that mortgage interest rates will increase by almost a full percentage point over the next 12 months. That will also impact your mortgage payment if you wait.

Bottom Line

Sit with a real restate or mortgage professional to truly understand whether you should buy now or wait until you save the 20%.

Don’t Wait to Move Up to Your Dream Home!

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Don’t Wait to Move Up to Your Dream Home! | Simplifying The Market

Now that the housing market has stabilized, more and more homeowners are considering moving up to their dream home. With interest rates still near 4% and home values on the rise, now may be a great time to make a move.

Sellers should realize that waiting while mortgage rates are increasing probably doesn’t make sense. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain budget for your monthly housing costs.

Here is a chart detailing this point: Click to Enlarge 

Buyer's Purchasing Power | Simplifying The Market

With each quarter percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5%, (in this example, $10,000). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be closer to 5% by this time next year.

Act now to get the most house for your hard earned money.