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How Much Must You Trust Your Listing Agent?

How Much Must You Trust Your Listing Agent? | Simplifying The Market

How Much Must You Trust Your Listing Agent?

You and your family have decided to sell your house. It is now time to choose a real estate professional to help with the process. One of the major attributes this agent must possess is trustworthiness. To what degree do you need to trust them?

 

You must have enough trust in them that you feel comfortable they will accomplish all four things below:

1. Sell possibly the largest asset your family owns

In many cases, a home is the largest asset a family has. Studies have shown that the equity many families have in their home is the largest percentage of that family’s overall wealth.

2. Set the correct market value on that asset

Pricing is crucial even in the best of markets. You want to get the best price for your home without putting your house at a value that buyers will have little interest.

3. Set the time schedule for the liquidation of that asset

Your family probably has a certain timetable for the sale of your house and the move into your next home. Coordinating the home selling process to meet certain schedules can be tricky.

4. Set a fair fee for the services required to liquidate that asset

You will need to pay a commission to an agent for selling the home and coordinating all elements of the selling transaction including possible future negotiations (ex. with a home inspector or appraiser).

That’s a lot of trust. Make sure you pick a true professional to help with the sale of your home.

Buying A Home Is Better Way to Produce Wealth Than Renting

Buying A Home Is Better Way to Produce Wealth Than Renting | Simplifying The Market

Buying A Home Is Better Way to Produce Wealth Than Renting

According to the latest Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index homeownership is a better way to produce greater wealth, on average, than renting.

The BH&J Index is a quarterly report that attempts to answer the question:

Is it better to rent or buy a home in today’s housing market?

 

The index examines that entire US housing market and then isolates 23 major markets for comparison. The researchers at use a “’horse race’ comparison between an individual that is buying a home and an individual that rents a similar quality home and reinvests all monies otherwise invested in homeownership.”

Ken Johnson, Real Estate Economist & Professor at Florida Atlantic University, and one of the index’s authors states: "The U.S. as a whole is still in clear buy territory. The cities of Cincinnati, Chicago, Cleveland, and New York City are deep into buy territory."

Miami and Portland had been inching closer toward renting being the better option but have "pulled back from the edge." Johnson goes on to say, “that's a good sign for home pricing as it suggests prices are going to level off in these metro areas."

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. Rents are predicted to increase substantially in the next year, so lock in your housing cost with a mortgage payment now.

Credit Score Requirements LOWER As Interest Rates CREEP UP! [INFOGRAPHIC]

Credit Score Requirements LOWER As Interest Rates CREEP UP! [INFOGRAPHIC]

Credit Score Requirements LOWER As Interest Rates CREEP UP! [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

 

Some Highlights:

  • The average 30-year rate for all loans closed in August eclipsed 4.3% for the first time since October 2014.
  • The average FICO score for all closed loans in August reached a new yearly low at 724 (the lowest since February 2014!)
  • The average down payment of FHA loans closed was just 4%!

Fannie Mae Introduces Home Purchase Sentiment Index

Fannie Mae Introduces Home Purchase Sentiment Index | Simplifying The Market

Fannie Mae Introduces Home Purchase Sentiment Index

Earlier this month, Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group announced the launch of their Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI). The index will distill results from Fannie Mae’s consumer-focused National Housing Survey into a single, monthly, predictive indicator. According to Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, the goal for the new index is simple:

 

“The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index provides the market a single number to track consumer attitudes focused on the housing market. Utilizing our National Housing Survey, the only consumer sentiment survey of its kind focused on housing, the HPSI will offer insights regarding current and future-looking housing market outcomes and will complement existing data sources to inform housing-related analysis.”

Here is a graph of the findings of the HPSI from May 2011 until the current index. A higher number reflects a more positive sentiment from the consumer.

Fannie Mae's Home Purchase Sentiment Index | Simplifying The Market

According to consumer sentiment, the housing market has made great strides over the last four years.

Why You Should Stop Renting & Buy Today!

Why You Should Stop Renting & Buy Today! | Simplifying The Market

Why You Should Stop Renting & Buy Today!

There are many young people debating whether they should renew the lease on their apartment or sign a contract to purchase their first home.

Housing Cost & Net Worth

Whether you rent or buy, you have a monthly housing cost.

 

As a buyer, you are paying YOUR mortgage. 

Every mortgage payment is a form of what Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies calls “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.”

The principal portion of your mortgage payment helps build your net worth through building the equity you have in your home.

As a renter, you are paying YOUR LANDLORD’S mortgage. 

Below is an example of the home equity that would be accrued over the course of the next four years if you were to buy a home by the end of this year; based on the results of the Home Price Expectation Survey.

Home Equity Over The Next 4 Years | Simplifying The Market

In this example, simply by paying your mortgage, you have just increased your net worth by over $34,000!

Bottom Line

Use your monthly housing cost to your advantage! Let's get together and discuss the opportunities available in our market.

Over 23% Thinking of Selling. Why the Hesitation?

Over 23% Thinking of Selling. Why the Hesitation? | Simplifying The Market

Over 23% Thinking of Selling. Why the Hesitation?

Last month, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that housing inventory was down 4.7% from the same time last year and that the month’s inventory of homes for sale stood at 4.8 - far below the six months necessary for a normal housing market. Why is there such a shortage of inventory?

 

The recently released Homeowner Sentiment Survey suggests that the American homeowner may not be fully aware of the opportunities that exist in the current real estate market. The survey, conducted by Edelman Berland for HSF Affiliates, also reports that many homeowners would be placing their home up for sale if they were better informed about today’s market.

Since the housing industry is facing a shortage of housing inventory, the survey’s findings are crucially important.

The survey reported that 23% of current homeowners questioned are considering selling their home, but haven’t yet put it up for sale. That’s almost one out of every four houses. This is the inventory necessary to normalize the balance between “supply & demand” in the current market.

Why are potential sellers hesitating?

The survey shows that 55% of the 23% contemplating selling “would be more likely to put their homes on the market if given more information about the process”. What information do they need?

Here are a few of the challenges that potential sellers perceive to exist according to the survey along with what is actually happening in today’s market:

1. More than half (53%) don’t realize that “the number of homes for sale on the market is lower, giving buyers fewer choices”. As a matter of fact, only 6% of potential sellers believe that listing inventory has recently decreased.

In reality, as we mentioned before, inventory is down from last year.

2. 80% think credit scores make it difficult to get a loan. 

In reality, though other studies have shown that many Americans believe that you need a credit score of at least 780 to get a loan when the actual median scores on closed loans are demonstratively lower than that.

3. 76% believe stricter lending requirements make it more difficult to get a mortgage.

In reality, the Mortgage Credit Availability Index shows lending standards have been consistently easing over the last year.

4. 68% think that current homeowners are trapped into their mortgages and are unable to sell their current homes.

In reality, a recent Fannie Mae study revealed that 32% of Americans are dramatically underestimating the current equity in their homes. Many more can afford to make the move they desire.

What’s the answer?

Every family should feel confident when they are buying or selling a home. In order to feel confident they need to truly understand their options and opportunities. HSF Affiliates CEO Gino Blefari put it best when he addressed the findings of the survey:

“Education is essential in today’s market. The stage is set for real estate professionals to connect with consumers, learn their needs and concerns and determine the best way for sellers and buyers to capitalize on the opportunities that exist today.”

Thinking of Buying a Home? Ask Yourself These 3 Questions!

Thinking of Buying a Home? Ask Yourself These 3 Questions! | Simplifying The Market

Thinking of Buying a Home? Ask Yourself These 3 Questions!

If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are surely getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family will have your best interest at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in real estate.

Let’s look at whether or not now is actually a good time for you to buy a home.

There are 3 questions you should ask before purchasing in today’s market:

1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?

This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with finances.

A study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University reveals that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money:

  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of that space

What non-financial benefits will you and your family derive from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

2. Where are home values headed?

When looking at future housing values, Home Price Expectation Survey provides a fair assessment. Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over 100 economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.

Here is what the experts projected in the latest survey:

  • Home values will appreciate by 4.1% in 2015.
  • The cumulative appreciation will be 18.1% by 2019.
  • Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of over 10.5% by 2019.

So what does that really mean for you and your family?

The chart below was made using the Home Price Expectation Survey’s predictions:

Homeowner's Family Wealth Over The Next 4 Years | Simplifying The Market

If the experts are right and you were to purchase a home by January 2016 for $250,000, that home would appreciate by over $34,000 over the next four years! As we have reported before, homeownership is one of the best ways to build your family’s wealth.

3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?

A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by an increase in mortgage rates.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the National Association of Realtors and Freddie Mac have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase by approximately one full percentage over the next twelve months as you can see in the chart below:

Mortgage Rate Projections | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Only you and your family will know for certain if now is the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision.

Most Experts Agree: There is No Housing Bubble

Most Experts Agree: There is No Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

Most Experts Agree: There is No Housing Bubble

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 Map | Simplifying The Market

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.

5 Financial Reasons To Buy A Home

5 Financial Reasons To Buy A Home | Simplifying The Market

5 Financial Reasons To Buy A Home

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 University expanded 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 considering a purchase this year, let's get together to evaluate your ability to do so.

What Do You Really Need to Qualify for a Mortgage?

What Do You Really Need to Qualify for a Mortgage? | Simplifying The Market

What Do You Really Need to Qualify for a Mortgage?

A recent 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.

Here are the results from a Digital Risk survey done on Millennials:

Millennials & Down Payments | Keeping Current Matters

2. FICO Scores

The Ipsos 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.

Here are the numbers from a recent Ellie Mae report:

FICO Score | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

If you are a prospective purchaser who is ‘ready’ and ‘willing’ to buy but not sure if you are also ‘able’, let's get together to discuss your true options.

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