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Feb. 11, 2016

Final 2015 Housing Numbers Now In

Final 2015 Housing Numbers Now In | Simplifying The Market

Final 2015 Housing Numbers Now In

Many have questioned the stability of certain sectors of the U.S. Economy, one section in particular is the housing market. Today we would like to share how the experts feel about how we ended 2015 and where they think we are headed in 2016.

How did we do in 2015?

 

The National Association of Realtors

“Overall, a resilient U.S. economy and very solid job growth in recent years made 2015 a great rebound year for the housing market.

Existing-home sales were at the highest pace (5.26 million) since 2006 (6.48 million) and the Pending Home Sales Index came in at an average of 108.8, the highest annual reading since…you guessed it: 2006 (111.7).”

The National Association of Home Builders

“With the December report on housing starts and permits, preliminary totals for 2015 are now available. Total housing starts at 1.11 million were up 10.8% in 2015 compared to 2014. Single-family starts were up 10.4% to 715,300. All four census regions also experienced increases in single-family starts for 2015.”

What can we expect to start 2016?

Jonathan Smoke, Realtor.com Chief Economist

“All indicators point to this spring being the busiest since 2006…

Demand for for-sale housing will grow and will continue to be dominated by older millennials, aged 25 to 34. This demographic has the potential to claim a third of home sales in 2016 and represent 2 million home purchases.”

Posted in Market News
Feb. 11, 2016

Do You Know How Much Equity You Have In Your Home? You May Be Surprised!

Do You Know How Much Equity You Have In Your Home? You May Be Surprised! | Simplifying The Market

Do You Know How Much Equity You Have In Your Home? You May Be Surprised!

CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 256,000 properties regained equity in the third quarter of 2015. This is great news for the country, as 92% of all mortgaged properties are now in a positive equity situation.

 

Price Appreciation = Good News For Homeowners

Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, explains:

“Home price growth continued to lift borrower equity positions and increase the number of borrowers with sufficient equity to participate in the mortgage market. In the last three years, borrowers with at least 20 percent equity have increased by 11 million, a substantial uptick that is driving rapid growth in home equity originations.” 

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

“Homeowner equity is the largest source of wealth for many Americans. The rise in home prices, expected to be at least 5% in 2016, will continue to build wealth and confidence across America. As this process continues, it will provide support for the housing market and the broader economy throughout [the] year.”

This is great news for homeowners! But, do they realize that their equity position has changed?

study by Fannie Mae suggests that many homeowners are not aware that they have regained equity in their home as their investment has increased in value. For example, their study showed that 23% of Americans still believe their home is in a negative equity position when, in actuality,CoreLogic’s report shows that only 8% of homes are in that position (down from 9% in Q2).

The study also revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have “significant equity” (greater than 20%), when in actuality, 74% do!

Do You Know How Much Equity You Have In Your Home? You May Be Surprised! | Simplifying The Market

This means that 37% 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

If you are one of the many Americans who are unsure how much equity you have built in your home, don’t let that be the reason you fail to move on to your dream home in 2016! Let's get together to evaluate your situation!

Curious about how much your home is worth? Call us at (208) 501-8200 or you can also use our new automated value tool to get an instant value check and to learn how much your home may sell for in today's market: 

Click here to get your instant value check!

Feb. 9, 2016

What You Don’t Need To Hear From Your Listing Agent

What You Don’t Need To Hear From Your Listing Agent | Simplifying The Market

What You Don’t Need To Hear From Your Listing Agent

You’ve decided to sell your house. You begin to interview potential real estate agents to help you through the process. You need someone you trust enough to:

  1. Set the market value on possibly the largest asset your family owns (your home)
  2. Set the time schedule for the successful liquidation of that asset
  3. Set the fee for the services required to liquidate that asset

An agent must be concerned first and foremost about you and your family in order to garner that degree of trust. Make sure this is the case.

Be careful if the agent you are interviewing begins the interview by:

  • Bragging about their success
  • Bragging about their company’s success

An agent’s success and the success of their company can be important considerations when deciding on the right real estate professional to represent you in the sale of the house.

However, you first need to know that they care about what you need and what you expect from the sale. If the agent is not interested in first establishing your needs, how successful they may seem is much less important.

Look for someone with the ‘heart of a teacher,’ who comes in prepared well enough to explain the current real estate market and patient enough to take the time to show how it may impact the sale of your home.

Not someone only interested in trying to sell you on how great they are.

You have many agents from which to choose. Pick someone who truly cares.

Posted in Selling a Home
Feb. 4, 2016

This Time “Mr. Wonderful” is just WRONG!!

This Time “Mr. Wonderful” is just WRONG!!

Recently, on CNBC’s Closing Bell, Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary, also known as “Mr. Wonderful,” said Millennials “don’t give a poo-poo about owning a house.” This thinking couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s give a few examples to make this point.

1.) In the recent National Housing Market Survey conducted by Fannie Mae, it was revealed that:

“…data indicates that millennial renters today have as much desire to own a home as the general population of renters. According to NHS data, the substantial majority of renters age 25-34 say that owning makes more sense than renting from a financial perspective. A majority also agree that owning makes more sense than renting from a lifestyle perspective. The vast majority of millennial renters tell us they plan to own a home at some point in the future.”

2.) A recent Merrill Lynch report found that 81% of Millennials agree that “homeownership is an important part of their personal American Dream”

3.) The most recent H.O.M.E. Survey explained that 85% of Americans ages 34 and under believe that “homeownership is a good financial decision”.

Bottom Line

Kevin O’Leary might be a great white shark when it comes to investing in companies. However, he is just a guppy when dealing with the residential real estate market. 

Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 3, 2016

Will Appraisals Continue to be a Challenge in 2016?

Will Appraisals Continue to be a Challenge in 2016? | Simplifying The Market

Will Appraisals Continue to be a Challenge in 2016?

First American Title issues a quarterly report, the Real Estate Sentiment Index (RESI), which “measures title agent sentiment on a variety of key market metrics and industry issues”. Their 2015 4th Quarter Edition revealed some interesting information regarding possible challenges with appraisal values as we head into 2016.

“The fourth quarter RESI found that title agents continue to believe that property valuation issues will be the most likely cause of title order cancellation over the coming year.”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. In a housing market like the Treasure Valley's where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values increase rapidly. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal. If prices are jumping, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that closed recently) to defend the price when performing the appraisal for the bank.

Another monthly report by Quicken Loans measures the disparity between what a homeowner believes their house is worth as compared to an appraiser’s evaluation. Here is a chart showing that difference for each month through 2015.

Appraiser Home Value Opinions vs. Homeowner Estimates | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Every house on the market has to be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the bank’s appraisal). With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first. Let's get together and discuss how this may impact the sale of your home. We at West Real Estate Group have a proactive plan for addressing this concern and would love to chat with you about your real estate goals. 

Call us to learn more about selling your home at (208) 501-8200 or you can also use our new automated value tool to get an instant value and to learn how much your home may sell for in today's market: 

Click here to get your instant value check!

Feb. 2, 2016

No Matter Which Groundhog You Listen To, You Should Sell Before Spring!

No Matter Which Groundhog You Listen to, You Should Sell Before Spring! | Simplifying The Market

No Matter Which Groundhog You Listen To, You Should Sell Before Spring!

Is spring closer than we think? Depending on which Groundhog you witnessed today, you may have less time than you think to get your home on the market before the busy spring season.

Many sellers feel that the spring is the best time to place their home on the market as buyer demand traditionally increases at that time of year. However, the next six weeks before spring hits also have their own advantages.

Here are five reasons to sell now.

1. Demand is Strong

Foot traffic refers to the number of people out actually physically looking at homes right now. The latest foot traffic numbers show that buyers are still out in force looking for their dream home. These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

Take advantage of the strong buyer activity currently in the market. 

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing supply just dropped to 3.9 months, which is well under the 6 months’ supply that is needed for a normal housing market. This means, in many areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last three years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.

Also, new construction of single-family homes is again beginning to increase. A study by Harris Pollrevealed that 41% of buyers would prefer to buy a new home while only 21% prefer an existing home (38% had no preference).

The choices buyers have will increase in the spring. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. There is less overall business done in the winter. Therefore, the process will be less onerous than it will be in the spring. Getting your house sold and closed before the spring delays begin will lend itself to a smoother transaction.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 5.4% over the next 12 months according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate below 4% right now. Rates are projected to rise by three-quarters of a percent by the end of 2016.

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

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take back control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps, the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

Call us to learn more about selling your home at (208) 501-8200 or you can also use our new automated value tool to get an instant value and to learn how much your home may sell for in today's market: 

Click here to get your instant value check!

 
Posted in Selling a Home
Feb. 2, 2016

Harvard: Why Owning A Home Makes Sense Financially

Harvard: Why Owning A Home Makes Sense Financially | Simplifying The Market

Tuesday February 2nd, 2016  First Time Home BuyersFor Buyers

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 Universityexpanded 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 one of the many considering a purchase this year, let's get together to discuss your options!

Posted in Buying a Home
Jan. 29, 2016

Existing Home Sales Bounce Back

Existing Home Sales Bounce Back 

Existing Home Sales Bounce Back [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Sales in December were 14.7% higher than those in November, marking the largest month-over-month increase ever recorded.
  • Inventory levels are still below historic norms at 3.9-months supply.
  • Median home price is up 7.6% from last year, marking the 46th consecutive month with year-over-year price gains.
Posted in Market News
Jan. 28, 2016

Thinking of Selling? Why Now May Be The Time

Thinking of Selling? Why Now May Be The Time | Simplifying The Market

Thinking of Selling? Why Now May Be The Time

It is common knowledge that a large number of homes sell during the spring-buying season. For that reason, many homeowners hold off on putting their home on the market until then. The question is whether or not that will be a good strategy this year.

The other listings that do come out in the spring will represent increased competition to any seller. Do a greater number of homes actually come to the market in the spring, as compared to the rest of the year? The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently revealed which months most people listed their home in for 2015. Here is a graphic showing the results:

2015 Popular Selling Months | Simplifying The Market

The three months in the second quarter of the year (represented in red) are consistently the most popular months for sellers to list their homes on the market. Last year, the number of homes available for sale in January was 1,860,000.

That number spiked to 2,280,000 by May!

What does this mean to you?

With the national job situation improving, and mortgage interest rates projected to rise later in the year, buyers are not waiting until the spring. They are out looking for a home right now. If you are looking to sell this year, waiting until the spring to list your home means you will have the greatest competition for a buyer.

Bottom Line

It may make sense to beat the rush of housing inventory that will enter the market in the spring and list your home today. 

Call us to learn more about selling your home at (208) 501-8200 or you can also use our new automated value tool to get an instant value and to learn how much your home may sell for in today's market: 

Click here to get your instant value check!

Posted in Selling a Home
Jan. 27, 2016

A Million+ Boomerang Buyers about to Enter Market

A Million+ Boomerang Buyers about to Enter Market | Simplifying The Market

A Million+ Boomerang Buyers about to Enter Market

TransUnion recently released the results of a new study titled The Bubble, the Burst and Now - What Happened to the Consumer? The study revealed that 1.5 million homeowners that were negatively impacted by the housing crisis could re-enter the housing market in the next three years.

TransUnion defined “negatively impacted” as…

“…those who were 60+ days past due on a mortgage loan, lost their mortgage through foreclosure, short sale or other non-satisfactory closure, or had a mortgage loan modification between the Bubble and Burst.”

Other interesting findings in the study:

  • During the mortgage bubble in 2006, 78 million consumers, or 43% of credit-active consumers in the U.S., had a mortgage
  • More than 8% of these consumers were “impacted”
  • 5 Million consumers will again be eligible for a mortgage in the next four years

Here are the numbers of consumers who will meet mortgage guidelines over the next four years:

Boomerang Buyers Re-Entering The Market | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

If you are a family that experienced the impact of the last housing crisis, now may be the right time to again buy your own home. 

Call us at (208) 501-8200 to discuss your goals and how we can help you. You can also visit our website to start browsing for your new home: 

Click here to start your home search!

Have a home and need to sell first? Get an instant value check to learn how much your home may sell for in today's market: 

Click here to get your instant value check!