Consumer Confidence at Highest Level in Over a Decade

Consumer Confidence at Highest Level in Over a Decade | Simplifying The Market

Two recently released reports reveal that the American public is starting to feel much better about the U.S. economy. The University of Michigan’s Surveys of Consumers showed that:

“Consumer optimism reached the highest level in the past decade in the January 2015 survey…Consumers judged prospects for the national economy as the best in a decade, with half of all consumers expecting the economic expansion will continue for another five years. The anticipated strength in the overall economy has been accompanied by more favorable income and employment expectations.”

Here is a chart showing results over the last decade:

Consumer Optimism | Simplifying The Market

As all consumers are feeling more optimistic, more young adults are moving out of their parents’ basements and into a residence of their own. The recent Census report shows that new household formations skyrocketed in 2014. Below is a chart showing the historical significance of the numbers:

Household Formations | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

The economy is definitely improving and, more importantly, the American consumer is beginning to feel much more confident. This should lead to a very robust real estate market in 2015.

Net Worth: A Homeowner’s is 36x Greater Than A Renter!

Net Worth

Over the last six years, homeownership has lost some of its allure as a financial investment. As homeowners suffered through the housing bust, more and more began to question whether owning a home was truly a good way to build wealth.

Every three years the Federal Reserve conducts a Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups.

Some of the findings revealed in their report:

  • The average American family has a net worth of $81,200
  • Of that net worth, 61.4% ($49,856) of it is in home equity
  • A homeowner’s net worth is over 36 times greater than that of a renter
  • The average homeowner has a net worth of $194,500 while the average net worth of a renter is $5,400

Bottom Line

There are many reasons why owning a home makes sense, the Fed study shows that owning is still a great way for families to build wealth in America.

Real Estate Heading in the “Right Direction”

Real Estate Heading in the “Right Direction” | Simplifying The Market

The housing market has taken a great turn toward recovery over the last few years. The opinions of the American public toward real estate took longer to recover, until recently.

For the first time since 2006, Americans have an overall positive view of real estate, giving the industry a 12% positive ranking in a Gallup poll.

Americans were asked to rate 24 different business sectors and industries on a five-point scale ranging from “very positive” to “very negative.” The poll was first conducted in 2001, and has been used as an indicator of “Americans’ overall attitudes toward each industry”.

America's View on Real Estate | Simplifying The Market

Americans’ view of the real estate industry worsened from 2003 to the -40% plummet of 2008.  Gallup offers some insight into the reason for decline:

Prices Dropped

“In late 2006, real estate prices in the U.S. began falling rapidly, and continued to drop. Many homeowners saw their home values plummet, likely contributing to real estate’s image taking a hard hit.”

Housing Bubble

“The large drops in the positive images of banking and real estate in 2008 and 2009 reflect both industries’ close ties to the recession, which was precipitated in large part because of the mortgage-related housing bubble.”

Bottom Line

“Although the image of real estate remains below the average of 24 industries Gallup has tracked, the sharp recovery from previous extreme low points suggests it is heading in the right direction.”

If the news of recovery has you considering homeownership, meet with a local real estate professional to discuss the opportunities that exist in today’s market.

The Difference Between A Home’s Cost vs. Price

The Difference Between A Home’s Cost vs. Price | Simplifying The Market

As a seller, you will be most concerned about ‘short term price’ – where home values are headed over the next six months. As either a first time or repeat buyer, you must not be concerned only about price but also about the ‘long term cost’ of the home.

Let us explain.

There are many factors that influence the ‘cost’ of a home. Two of the major ones are the home’s appreciation over time, and the interest rate at which a buyer can borrow the funds necessary to purchase their home. The rate at which these two factors can change is often referred to as “The Cost of Waiting”.

What will happen in 2015?

A nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists project that home values will appreciate by almost 4% by the end of 2015.

Additionally, Freddie Mac’s most recent Economic Commentary & Projections Table predicts that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will appreciate to 4.5% by the end of 2015.

What Does This Mean to a Buyer?

Here is a simple demonstration of what impact these projected changes would have on the mortgage payment of a home selling for approximately $250,000 today:

Cost of Waiting | Simplifying The Market

13,808 Houses Sold Yesterday! Did Yours?

13,808 Houses Sold Yesterday! Did Yours? | Simplifying The Market

There are some homeowners that have been waiting for months to get a price they hoped for when they originally listed their house for sale. The only thing they might want to consider is… If it hasn’t sold yet, maybe it’s not priced properly.

After all 13,808 houses sold yesterday, 13,808 will sell today and 13,808 will sell tomorrow.

13,808!

That is the average number of homes that sell each and every day in this country according to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Existing Home Sales Report. NAR reported that sales are at an annual rate of 5.04 million. Divide that number by 365 (days in a year) and we can see that, on average, over 13,800 homes sell every day.

The report from NAR also revealed that there is currently only a 4.4 months supply of inventory available for sale, (6 months inventory is considered ‘historically normal’).

That means less competition for buyers who are out in the market now, but more houses will hit the market soon with spring right around the corner.

Bottom Line

We realize that you want to get the fair market value for your home. However, if it hasn’t sold in today’s active real estate market, perhaps you should reconsider your current asking price.

The Two Things You Don’t Need to Hear from Your Listing Agent

The Two Things You Don’t Need to Hear from Your Listing Agent | Simplifying The Market

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 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.

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional | Simplifying The Market

Whether you are buying or selling a home, it can be quite an adventurous journey. You need an experienced Real Estate Professional to lead you to your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers think that they can For Sale by Owner or FSBO.

The 5 Reasons You NEED a Real Estate Professional in your corner haven’t changed, but have rather been strengthened due to the projections of higher mortgage interest rates & home prices as the market continues to recover. 

1. What do you do with all this paperwork?

Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true Real Estate Professional is an expert in their market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.

2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?

According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, who knows what these actions are to make sure that you acquire your dream?

3. Are you a good negotiator?

So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a Real Estate Professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible), to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to the National Association of REALTORS“the typical FSBO home sold for $208,000 compared to $235,000 among agent-assisted home sales.”

Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional.  

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?

There is so much information out there on the news and the internet about home sales, prices, mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a low-ball offer?

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring an agent who has their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying/selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line:

You wouldn’t replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic. Why would you make one of your most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a Real Estate Professional?

Thinking Of Selling? Now May Be The Time

Thinking Of Selling? Now May Be The Time | Simplifying The Market

It is common knowledge that a large number of homes sell during the spring buying season. For that reason, many homeowners hold off 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 compared to the rest of the year? The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently revealed which months and days of the year most people list their home. Here is a graphic showing the results:

Top 10 Listing Dates of 2014 | Simplifying The Market

The circles represent the ten most popular listing dates in 2014. We can see that all ten days are in the second quarter of the year. The months in red represent which months most people put their home on the market. Again, the three months in the second quarter are most active for listings. Last year, the number of homes available for sale in January was 1,880,000.

That number spiked to 2,350,000 by July!

What does this mean to you?

With the 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 are putting your house on the market at a time you will have the greatest competition for your buyer. It may make sense to beat that rush of housing inventory to the market and list your home today.