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74% of Households in the US Now Have Significant Equity!

74% of Households in the US Now Have Significant Equity! | Simplifying The Market

74% of Households in the US Now Have Significant Equity!

CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 92% of all mortgaged properties are now in a positive equity situation, while 74% now actually have significant equity (defined as more than 20%)! The report also revealed that 268,000 households regained equity in the first quarter of 2016 and are no longer under water.

 

Price Appreciation = Good News for Homeowners

Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, explains:

“In just the last four years, equity for homeowners with a mortgage has nearly doubled to $6.9 trillion. The rapid increase in home equity reflects the improvement in home prices, dwindling distressed borrowers and increased principal repayment.  

These are all positive factors that will provide support to both household balance sheets and the overall economy.” 

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

“More than 1 million homeowners have escaped the negative equity trap over the past year. We expect this positive trend to continue over the balance of 2016 and into next year as home prices continue to rise.  

Nationally, the CoreLogic Home Price Index was up 5.5% year over year through the first quarter. If home values rise another 5% uniformly across the U.S., the number of underwater borrowers will fall by another one million during the next year.” 

Below is a map illustrating the percentage of households in each state with significant equity: 

74% of Households in the US Now Have Significant Equity! | Simplifying The Market

Many homeowners with more than 20% equity in their home would be able to use that equity as a down payment on either a larger home or even a retirement home.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many Americans who are unsure of how much equity you have in your home, don’t let that be the reason you fail to move on to your dream home this year!

Here Comes the Housing Inventory!!

Here Comes the Housing Inventory!! | Simplifying The Market

Here Comes the Housing Inventory!!

Almost every real estate conversation revolves around the continuous rise in house values over the last four years. Some have even mentioned a concern about another possible bubble forming. However, the recent increase in prices can be attributed to a very simple principle: supply and demand.

DEMAND

Demand for single-family housing has continued to increase as the economy slowly moves forward. Recent surveys have shown that over 80% of each generation still believes that homeownership is a part of the American Dream. And a recent Gallup survey showed that Americans believe that real estate is the best long-term investment.

SUPPLY

Over the last several years, many homeowners were unable to put their homes on the market for an assortment of reasons (family finances, no or limited equity in the home). There has been a pent-up supply of sellers who have wanted to move but couldn’t. Below is a graph depicting the number of years families have historically stayed in a home. We can see there is pent-up seller demand.

Here Comes the Housing Inventory!! | Simplifying The Market

As the economy improves and more families reach the point of significant equity (20%), we will see these homes come to market. As supply then matches demand, the acceleration of home price increases will begin to slow.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the families that have been chained to your current home over the last 5-7 years, now may be the time to break free and find the home of your dreams.

Serious About Home Buying? Get Pre-Approved

Serious About Home Buying? Get Pre-Approved | Simplifying The Market

Serious About Home Buying? Get Pre-Approved

In many markets across the country, the amount of buyers searching for their dream home greatly outnumbers the amount of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

But even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence to know if your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac describes the 4 Cs that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity:Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves:The money, savings and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral:The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit:Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Bottom Line

Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so as well.

Is Your First Home Within Your Grasp Now?

Is Your First Home Within Your Grasp Now? | Simplifying The Market

Is Your First Home Within Your Grasp Now?

There are many people sitting on the sidelines trying to decide if they should purchase a home or sign a rental lease. Some might wonder if it makes sense to purchase a house before they are married and have a family. Others may think they are too young. And still others might think their current income would never enable them to qualify for a mortgage.

We want to share what the typical first-time homebuyer actually looks like based on the National Association of REALTORS most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers. Here are some interesting revelations on the first time buyer:

Is Your First Home Within Your Grasp Now? | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

You may not be much different than many people who have already purchased their first home. Let’s get together to see if your dream of homeownership can become a reality!

The Presidential Election and Its Impact on Housing

The Presidential Election and Its Impact on Housing | Simplifying The Market

The Presidential Election and Its Impact on Housing

Every four years people question what effect the Presidential election might have on the national housing market. Let’s take a look at what is currently taking place. The New York Times ran an articleearlier this week where they explained:

“A growing body of research shows that during presidential election years — particularly ones like this when there is such uncertainty about the nation’s future — industry becomes almost paralyzed. A look at the last several dozen election cycles shows that during the final year of a presidential term, big corporate investments are routinely postponed, and big deals are put on the back burner.

The research is even more persuasive on the final year of an eight-year presidential term, when a new candidate inevitably will become president.”

We are seeing this take form in the latest economic numbers. However, will this lead to a slowdown in the housing market? Not according to Fannie MaeFreddie Mac or the National Association of Realtors.

The Impact on Housing Throughout 2016

Let’s look at what has happened and what is projected to happen by these three major entities.

National Association of Realtors

“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.”

Freddie Mac

“Recent data darkened the growth outlook for the first quarter of 2016. However, despite the disappointing economic reports, we still forecast housing to maintain its momentum in 2016.”

Fannie Mae

“Consumers and businesses showed caution at the end of the first quarter…(but) Home sales are expected to pick up heading into the spring season amid the backdrop of declining mortgage rates, rising pending home sales and purchase mortgage applications, and continued easing of lending standards on residential mortgage loans.”

Bottom Line

Even during this election year, the desire to achieve the American Dream is greater than the fear of uncertainty of the next presidency.

A ‘Buyer’ in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush

A ‘Buyer’ in Hand Is Worth Two in the Bush | Simplifying The Market

A ‘Buyer’ in the 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.

 

Mortgage Rates Remain at Historic Lows

Mortgage Rates Remain at Historic Lows | Simplifying The Market

Mortgage Rates Remain at Historic Lows

The latest report from Freddie Mac shows that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.61% last week, slightly down from the week before (3.66%), and nearly 20 points lower than a year ago (3.80%).

This is great news for homebuyers who are dealing with rising prices due to a low inventory of homes for sale in many areas of the country. Freddie Mac expressed their optimism for the rates to remain low throughout the spring in a recent blog post:

“We expect mortgage interest rates to stay well under 4% as we head into the heart of the spring homebuying season. We're predicting it to be the best one in 10 years, which should provide even greater opportunities for first-time homebuyers.”

Below is a chart of the weekly average rates in 2016, according to Freddie Mac.

Mortgage Rates Remain at Historic Lows | Simplifying The Market

Rates have again fallen to historic lows yet many experts still expect them to increase in 2016. One thing we know for sure is that, according to Freddie Mac, current rates are the best they have been since last April.

Sean Becketti, Chief Economist for Freddie Mac recently explained:

“Since the start of February, mortgage rates have varied within a narrow range providing an extended period for house hunters to take advantage of historically low rates.”

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of buying your first home or moving up to your ultimate dream home, now is a great time to get a sensational rate on your mortgage.

Warren Buffett: There is No Housing Bubble

Warren Buffett: There is No Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

Warren Buffett: There is No Housing Bubble

With home prices expected to appreciate by over 5% this year, some are beginning to worry about a new housing bubble forming. Warren Buffet addressed this issue last week in an article by Fortune Magazine. He simply explained:

“I don’t see a nationwide bubble in real estate right now at all.”

Later, when questioned whether real estate and/or mortgaging could present the same challenges for the economy as they did in 2008, Buffet said:

“I don’t think we will have a repeat of that.”

What factors are driving home prices up?

It is easily explained by the theory of supply and demand. There is a lack of housing inventory for sale while demand for that inventory is very strong. According to a recent survey of agents by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer traffic was seen as either “strong” or “very strong” in 44 of the 50 states (the exceptions being: Alaska, Wyoming, North Dakota, West Virginia, Connecticut and Delaware).

Also, in NAR’s latest Pending Home Sales Report, it was revealed that the index was the highest it has been in a year.

What does the future bring?

As prices rise, more families will have increased equity in their homes which will enable them to put their home on the market. As more listings come to market, price increases should slow to more normal levels.

Anand Nallathambi, President & CEO of CoreLogicrecently addressed the issue:

“Home price gains have clearly been a driving force in building positive equity for homeowners. Longer term, we anticipate a better balance of supply and demand in many markets which will help sustain healthy & affordable home values into the future.”

Investors: More Sales and Higher Prices

Investors: More Sales and Higher Prices | Simplifying The Market

Investors: More Sales and Higher Prices

The National Association of Realtors recently released their 2016 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey. The survey revealed many characteristics of both vacation home purchasers and investors. Two weeks ago, we posted on the vacation home market. Today, we want to concentrate on the investor real estate market.

The survey revealed that investment-home sales in 2015 jumped 7.0 percent to an estimated 1.09 million from 1.02 million in 2014.

Investors: More Sales and Higher Prices | Simplifying The Market

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist discussed the increase in the number of sales:

"Despite a smaller share of distressed properties coming onto the market, investment purchases reversed course in 2015 after declining for four straight years. Steadily increasing home prices and strong rental demand appear to be giving more individual investors assurance that purchasing real estate will diversify their portfolios and generate additional income if they decide to rent out the home."   

Prices Are Also Up

The price paid by investors also increased in 2015 by 15.3%.

Investors: More Sales and Higher Prices | Simplifying The Market

Selling Your Home? Make Sure the Price Is Right!

Selling Your Home? Make Sure the Price Is Right! | Simplifying The Market

Selling Your Home? Make Sure the Price Is Right!

In today’s market, where demand is outpacing supply in many regions of the country, pricing a house is one of the biggest challenges real estate professionals face. Sellers often want to price their home higher than recommended, and many agents go along with the idea to keep their clients happy. However, the best agents realize that telling the homeowner the truth is more important than getting the seller to like them.

There is no “later.”

Sellers sometimes think, “If the home doesn’t sell for this price, I can always lower it later.” However, research proves that homes that experience a listing price reduction sit on the market longer, ultimately selling for less than similar homes.

John Knight, recipient of the University Distinguished Faculty Award from the Eberhardt School of Business at the University of the Pacific, actually did research on the cost (in both time and money) to a seller who priced high at the beginning and then lowered their price. His article, Listing Price, Time on Market and Ultimate Selling Price, published in Real Estate Economics revealed:

“Homes that underwent a price revision sold for less, and the greater the revision, the lower the selling price. Also, the longer the home remains on the market, the lower its ultimate selling price.”

Additionally, the “I’ll lower the price later” approach can paint a negative image in buyers’ minds. Each time a price reduction occurs, buyers can naturally think, “Something must be wrong with that house.” Then when a buyer does make an offer, they low-ball the price because they see the seller as “highly motivated.” Pricing it right from the start eliminates these challenges.

Don’t build “negotiation room” into the price.

Many sellers say that they want to price their home high in order to have “negotiation room.” But, what this actually does is lower the number of potential buyers that see the house. And we know that limiting demand like this will negatively impact the sales price of the house.

Not sure about this? Think of it this way: when a buyer is looking for a home online (as they are doing more and more often), they put in their desired price range. If your seller is looking to sell their house for $400,000, but lists it at $425,000 to build in “negotiation room,” any potential buyers that search in the $350k-$400k range won’t even know your listing is available, let alone come see it!

One great way to see this is with the chart below. The higher you price your home over its market value, the less potential buyers will actually see your home when searching.

Selling Your Home? Make Sure the Price Is Right! | Simplifying The Market

A better strategy would be to price it properly from the beginning and bring in multiple offers. This forces these buyers to compete against each other for the “right” to purchase your house.

Look at it this way: if you only receive one offer, you are set up in an adversarial position against the prospective buyer. If, however, you have multiple offers, you have two or more buyers fighting to please you. Which will result in a better selling situation?

The Price is Right

Great pricing comes down to truly understanding the real estate dynamics in your neighborhood. Let's get together to discuss what is happening in the housing market and how it applies to your home.

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