Confusing Real Estate News? An Agent Can Help

Confusing Real Estate News? An Agent Can Help | Simplifying The Market

Below are the headlines from three separate news releases issued over a one month period:

11/3/2014 – Millions of Potential New Households Waiting Out the Recovery

11/11/2014 – Experts: First-Time Homebuyers’ Weak Finances Holding Back Housing Market

And then, the contrarian view:

12/2/2014 – In 2015, Millennials Will Be Biggest Home Buying Group

It sure seems that the group that released the first two stories emphatically disagrees with the organization that published the last news release.

Amazingly, the same entity published all three reports. What?

It seems the company (a well-respected provider of housing information) reported that those forming new households are not looking to buy a home. They actually surveyed over one hundred housing experts who agreed. But 30 days later, they reported that millennials (most new households) will be the biggest group of home buyers this year. All in one month!!

All the headlines could actually be true. However, a consumer reading them might be misled. This is evidence of how difficult it is to actually understand the intricacies of today’s housing market. Even the experts can seem confused.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of either buying or selling a home, it is probably best to engage a local real estate professional to help you successfully navigate the ins-and-outs of today’s real estate transaction.

Will Higher Interest Rates Kill HOME SALES?

Will Higher Interest Rates Kill HOME SALES? | Simplifying The Market

The Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of Realtors, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are each projecting mortgage interest rates to increase substantially over the next twelve months. What will that mean to the housing market in 2015?

Last week, we posted a graph showing that home prices appreciated each of the last four times mortgage interest rates dramatically increased. Today, we want to talk about the impact higher rates might have on the number of home sales.

The reason many experts are calling for a rise in rates is because they see a stabilizing economy. With the economy beginning to improve, they expect the employment situation to regain some ground lost during the recession, incomes to grow and for consumer confidence to improve.

What will that mean to home sales next year?

In its November 2014 U.S. Economic & Housing Market Outlook, Freddie Mac explains:

“While higher interest rates generally detract from housing activity, when they occur with strong job and income growth the net result can be increases in household formations, construction, and home sales. Our view for 2015 is exactly that, namely, income and job growth offset the negative effect of higher interest rates and translate into gains for the nation’s housing market.”

Bottom Line

Even with mortgage rates increasing, home sales and home appreciation should be just fine in 2015.

The Real Estate Market Has Turned The Corner

The Real Estate Market Has Turned The Corner | Simplifying The Market

As we finish 2014, it appears the real estate market is once again on solid footing and ready to advance forward over the next few years. The strength of the market can be viewed using two metrics: projected home values and projected house sales.

We recently reported that the Home Price Expectation Survey revealed future home values will continue to appreciate nicely. Today we want to look at projections on the number of home sales (existing and new construction) we will see over the next two years. We researched what the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers’ Association (MBA) are projecting for the housing industry going forward.

Here is what we found:

The Real Estate Market Has Turned The Corner | Simplifying The Market

All three entities see the number of home sales increasing in both 2015 and 2016. This is further proof the housing market is back.

Sales Up in almost Every Price Range

Sales Up in almost Every Price Range | Simplifying The Market

The National Association of Realtors’ most recent Existing Home Sales Report revealed that home sales were up rather dramatically over last year in five of the six price ranges they measure. Only those homes priced under $100,000 showed a decline (-6%). Every other category showed a minimum increase of at least 9.7%.

Here is the breakdown:

Sales Up in almost Every Price Range | Simplifying The Market

What does that mean to you if you are selling?

Houses are definitely selling. If your house has been on the market for any length of time and has not yet sold, perhaps it is time to sit with your agent and see if it is priced appropriately to compete in today’s market.

4 More Reasons to Sell Now

4 More Reasons to Sell Now | Simplifying The Market

As we discussed last week one reason to sell now is demand is still strong. With inventory levels also still below historic numbers, you could be missing out on a great opportunity for your family.

1. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing supply just dropped to 5.1 months, which is under the 6 months’ supply that is needed for a normal housing market. This means that, 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 two 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 Poll revealed 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 continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

2. The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the 2014 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. Any delay in the process is always prolonged during the winter holiday season. Getting your house sold and closed before those delays begin will lend itself to a smoother transaction.

3. 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 over 23.5% from now to 2019. 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 in the low 4’s right now. Rates are projected to be over 5% by this time next year.

4. 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.

That is what is truly important.

Proof that NOW is a Good Time to Sell

Proof that NOW is a Good Time to Sell

Most homeowners believe that the winter is not a good time to sell. This belief is based on the fact that historically the number of buyers decreases in the winter and then increases dramatically during the spring buying market. Though this is still true, there is an interesting pattern developing over the last few months.

The number of prospective purchasers actively looking at a home (foot traffic) has remained strong going into the fall. As a matter of fact, the foot traffic far exceeds the numbers reported for the same months last year (see chart):

Foot Traffic Still High

At the same time, the National Association of Realtors revealed that the months’ supply of housing inventory has decreased from 5.5 months to 5.3. That equates to less competition for homeowners selling today as compared to next spring when many homeowners will decide to put their home on the market.

Bottom Line

Since buying activity is still strong, this might be a great time to put your house on the market.

The Importance of Using a Professional When Selling Your Home

The Importance of Using a Professional When Selling Your Home | Simplifying The Market

When a homeowner decides to sell their house, they obviously want the best possible price with the least amount of hassles. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is to actually get the home sold.

In order to accomplish all three goals, a seller should realize the importance of using a real estate professional. We realize that technology has changed the purchaser’s behavior during the home buying process. For the past two years, 92% of all buyers have used the internet in their home search according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2014 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers.

However, the report also revealed that for the second year in a row 96% percent of buyers that used the internet when searching for a home purchased their home through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% purchased their home directly from a seller whom the buyer didn’t know.

Buyers search for a home online but then depend on an agent to find the actual home they will buy (53%) or negotiate the terms of the sale & price (31%) or understand the process (63%).

Stephen Phillips, the Chief Operating Officer for HSF Affiliates LLC, put it best:

“Home buyers are more informed than ever with their Internet searches and ongoing research; however, there’s a critical need to transform that information into analysis and advice that helps consumers make the best home-buying and selling decisions.”

The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers that reach out to real estate professionals to “connect the dots”. This is obvious as the percentage of overall buyers who used an agent to buy their home has steadily increased from 69% in 2001. 

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling your home, don’t underestimate the role a real estate professional can play in the process.