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 Mae, Freddie 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.
“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.”
“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.”
Even during this election year, the desire to achieve the American Dream is greater than the fear of uncertainty of the next presidency.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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).
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.
“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.”
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.
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%.