June is National Homeownership Month!
In their current edition of the Home Price Expectation Survey released last week, Pulsenomics asked this question of the 100+ economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists they surveyed:
“In your opinion, what is the primary driver of recent home value growth in the U.S.?”
Here are the top four reasons given by those surveyed:
As we have stated before, the current lack of inventory in most housing markets has caused home appreciation to increase at greater percentages than historical averages. This means that this is a great time to sell your home as supply is low and demand is high.
However, things may be about to change…
The fortuitous situation sellers see themselves in may soon change for three reasons:
- As more homeowners realize their equity situation has dramatically improved over the last four years, they will be more likely to put their homes on the market.
- With the residential real estate sector outperforming a sluggish economy, more home builders will be looking to add new construction inventory to a depleted supply of housing stock.
- Many banks are just now foreclosing on loans that have been delinquent since the housing bust. These houses will also be coming to market.
According to Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of RealtyTrac, in the Q2 2016 U.S. Residential Property Vacancy and Zombie Foreclosure Report:
“Lenders have been taking advantage of the strong seller’s market to dispose of lingering foreclosure inventory.”
In most housing markets, don’t wait for this additional competition to hit the market. If you are considering selling your house, now may be the time.
A study by Edelman Berland reveals that 33% of homeowners who are contemplating selling their house in the near future are planning to scale down. Let’s look at a few reasons why this might make sense for many homeowners, as the majority of the country is currently experiencing a seller’s market.
In a recent blog, Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, highlighted the advantages of selling your current house and downsizing into a smaller home that better serves your current needs. Ramsey explains three potential financial advantages to downsizing:
- A smaller home means less space, but it also means less time, stress and money spent on upkeep.
- Let’s assume you save $500 a month on your mortgage payment. In 30 years, you could have an additional $1–1.6 million in the bank to get you through your golden years.
- Use the proceeds from selling your current home to pay cash for a smaller one. Just imagine what you could do with no mortgage holding you down! If you can’t pay cash, aim for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage and put at least 10–20% down on your new home. Apply the $500 you saved from downsizing to your new monthly payment. At 3% interest, you could pay off a $200,000 mortgage in less than 10.5 years, saving almost $16,000 in the process.
Realtor.com also addressed downsizing in a recent article. They suggest that you ask yourself some questions before deciding if downsizing is right for you and your family. Here are two of their questions followed by their answers (in italics) and some additional information that could help.
Q: What kind of lifestyle do I want after I downsize?
A: “For some folks, it’s a matter of living a simpler life focused on family. Some might want to cross off travel destinations on their bucket lists. Some might want a low-maintenance community with high-end upgrades and social events. Decide what you want to achieve from your move first, and you’ll be able to better narrow down your housing options.”
Comments: Many homeowners are taking the profit from the sale of their current home and splitting it in order to put down payments on a smaller home in their current location, as well as a vacation/retirement home where they plan to live when they retire.
This allows them to lock in the home price and mortgage interest rate at today’s values. This makes sense financially as both home prices and interest rates are projected to rise.
Q: Have I built up enough equity in my current home to make a profit?
A: “For most homeowners, the answer is yes. This is if they’ve held on to their properties long enough to have positive equity that will be sizable enough to put a large down payment on their next home.”
Comments: A study by Fannie Mae revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have significant equity (> 20%) in their current home. In actuality, CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 72.6% have greater than 20% equity. That equity could enable you to build the life you’ve always dreamt about.
If you are debating downsizing your home and want to evaluate the options you currently have, let’s meet up so I can help guide you through the process.
A ‘Buyer’ in Hand Is Worth Two in the Bush
In today’s highly competitive seller’s market where there are more buyers than there are listings for them to purchase, some sellers may feel like the ball is in their court.
And they would be right when it comes to choosing which offer to accept, the closing date, or even which improvements the seller is willing to make to the home prior to selling.
One thing to remember though is that there is always a line that shouldn’t be crossed.
Interest rates could change, financing might not go through, the appraisal might not come back at the price that you have agreed to. These are all opportunities to work with your buyer to make sure that the sale still happens.
You may think that because buyer demand is high right now, that you could choose to make your buyer jump through hoops. But what happens if they reach their limit and need to walk away? You’re starting over… weeks, maybe months later… and other buyers may wonder what’s wrong with the house that the deal fell through.
The Golden Rule
We were all taught from a young age to “treat others as you would like to be treated”. This shouldn’t change once you have a buyer who seems as though they would do anything to buy your home.
A survey by Ipsos found that the American public is still somewhat confused about what is actually necessary to qualify for a home mortgage loan in today’s housing market. The study pointed out two major misconceptions that we want to address today.
1. Down Payment
The survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 36% think a 20% down payment is always required. In actuality, there are many loans written with a down payment of 3% or less.
Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.
2. FICO Scores
The survey also reported that two-thirds of the respondents believe they need a very good credit score to buy a home, with 45 percent thinking a “good credit score” is over 780. In actuality, the average FICO scores of approved conventional and FHA mortgages are much lower.
The average conventional loan closed in March had a credit score of 753, while FHA mortgages closed with a 685 score. The average across all loans closed in March was 722. The graph below shows how the average FICO Score required has come down over the last 12 months and has stayed around 722 for the last six months.
If you are a prospective buyer who is ‘ready’ and ‘willing’ to act now, but are not sure if you are ‘able’ to, sit down with a professional who can help you understand your true options.
The housing market is really heating up and buyer demand is dramatically increasing as we enter the spring season. However, one challenge to the current market is a major shortage of inventory. Below are a few comments made in the last month by industry experts.
Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist of NAR
“Looking ahead, the key for sustained momentum and more sales than last spring is a continuous stream of new listings quickly replacing what’s being scooped up by a growing pool of buyers. Without adequate supply, sales will likely plateau.”
Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist of Realtor.com
“Low inventories and tight credit will limit the gains we will see in 2016. However, given the level of pent-up demand evident in web activity and stated buyer intentions for 2016, we should see this spring materialize as the busiest season of sales since 2006.”
Rick Sharga, Ten-X’s EVP
“Inventory is too low to support much higher sales. There’s virtually no inventory available at the entry level, and single family housing starts and permits continue to languish at levels far below where they should be at this point of the recovery.”
David Crowe, Chief Economist of the National Assoc. of Home Builders
“Many sellers may not have an absolute decision as to whether to buy an existing home or a new home. So the low inventory of existing homes is locking them in place.”
“Challenges remain, with low housing supply and declining affordability being a key concern in many markets.”