Want to Sell Your House? Price it Right!

4.14 BlogThe housing market is recovering nicely. Prices have increased nationally by double digits over the last twelve months. Competition from the shadow inventory of lower priced distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) is diminishing rapidly. Now may be the perfect time to sell your home and move to the dream house or beautiful location your family has always talked about.

The one suggestion we would definitely offer: DON’T OVERPRICE IT!!

Even though prices have increased by more than 10% over the last year, the acceleration of appreciation has slowed dramatically over the last few months. As an example, in their April Home Price Index Report, CoreLogic revealed that home prices actually depreciated by .08% this month as compared to last month’s report. What concerns us is that Trulia just reported that asking prices are still continuing to increase.

Because investor purchases are declining and there are more listings coming onto the market, we believe that sellers should be very cautious when they price their house. The alternative might be that you could lose money by overpricing your home at the start as explained in a research study on the matter.

Bottom Line

Though it is a great time to sell your house, pricing it right is crucial. Get guidance from a real estate professional in your marketplace to ensure you get the best deal possible.

Vacation Home Property Sales Surge

The American desire to own a second home as a vacation home is alive and well!

The National Association of Realtors analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data shows there are approximately 8 million vacation homes in the U.S. Their 2014 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey shows vacation home sales improved substantially in 2013.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said favorable conditions are driving second-home sales:

“Growth in the equity markets has greatly benefited high net-worth households, thereby providing the wherewithal and confidence to purchase recreational property,” he said. “However, vacation-home sales are still about one-third below the peak activity seen in 2006.”

Here are the key findings from the report:

Raw Numbers

  • Vacation-Home sales rose 29.7 percent to 717,000 from 553,000 in 2012
  • Sales accounted for 13% of all transactions last year, up from 11% in 2012
  • The median price was $168,700, compared with $150,000 in 2012, reflecting a greater number of more expensive recreational property sales in 2013
  • 42% of vacation homes purchased in 2013 were distressed homes (in foreclosure or short sale)

Buyer Profile

  • The typical vacation-home buyer was 43 years old
  • The median household income was $85,600
  • Buyers plan to own their recreational property for a median of 6 years
  • 33% said they were likely to purchase another vacation home within two years
  • 82% of all second-home buyers said it was a good time to buy (compared with 67% of primary residence buyers)

Reasons for Purchasing

Lifestyle factors remain the primary motivation for vacation-home buyers:

  • 87% want to use the property for vacations or as a family retreat
  • 31% plan to use it as a primary residence in the future
  • 28% wanted to diversify their investments or saw a good investment opportunity
  • 23% plan to rent to others

Location

  • 41% of vacation homes purchased last year were in the South
  • 28% in the West
  • 18% in the Northeast
  • 14% in the Midwest

The vacation homebuyer purchased a property that was a median distance of 180 miles from their primary residence (down from 435 in 2012)

  • 46% were within 100 miles
  • 34% were more than 500 miles

Financing

  • 38% of vacation-home buyers paid cash in 2013
  • The median down payment was 30%, up from 27% in 2012

3 Reasons to Sell Your Home this Spring

4.8 VisualMany sellers are still hesitant about putting their house up for sale. Where are prices headed? Where are interest rates headed? These are all valid questions. However, there are several reasons to sell your home sooner rather than later. Here are three of those reasons.

1. Demand is about to skyrocket

Most people realize that the housing market is hottest from April through June. The most serious buyers are well aware of this and, for that reason, come out in early spring in order to beat the heavy competition. We also have a pent-up demand as many buyers pushed off their home search this winter because of extreme weather. Sellers in markets where seasonal weather is never an issue must realize that buyers relocating to their region will increase dramatically this spring as these purchasers finally decide to escape the freezing temperatures of the winters in the north.

These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

2. There Is Less Competition – For Now

Housing supply always grows from the spring through the early summer. Also, there has been a growing desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners have seen a return to positive equity as prices increased over the last eighteen months. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all the other potential sellers in your market put their homes up for sale.

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 approximately 4% this year and 8% by the end of 2015. 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 at about 4.5% right now. Freddie Mac projects rates to be 5.1% by this time next year and 5.7% by the fourth quarter of 2015.

Moving up to a new home will be less expensive this spring than later this year or next year.

If you are a real estate professional and want great information on where prices and interest rates are headed over the next 18 months, we cover both in the March edition of Keeping Current Matters. If you are already one of our 6,000+ members, login in to get the educational resources you need to intelligently discuss the future of values and interest rates with your clients.

3 Reasons the Housing Market Should Thrive in 2014

threeRecently, HousingWire asked David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide, for his opinion on the near-term future of housing. Below are what Mr. Berson believes to be the three things you need to know about housing in 2014. We have included a quote from the article and a small comment from Keeping Current Matters (KCM) for all three points.

Number 1: 2014 should prove to be the strongest year for housing activity since before the Great Recession

“Most economists expect an improved job market in 2014, with employment growth accelerating and the unemployment rate continuing to decline. That jobless rate drop will reflect more of a pickup in employment than further declines in the labor force participation rate. This will be the key factor improving housing demand this year, even if mortgage rates rise and affordability declines. While the housing market tends to do especially well when the job market improves and mortgage rates decline simultaneously, that combination of events occurs only rarely…People buy homes when their job and income prospects improve – even if it’s more expensive to do so – rather than buy when it is inexpensive to do so but they’re worried about keeping their jobs.”

KCM Comment:

We agree that the job market will continue to improve and that rising interest rates will not be a detriment to the market in 2014. As Doug Duncan, SVP and chief economist at Fannie Mae, recently revealed:

“Consumers have taken the interest rate rise in stride. Expectations for continued improvement in housing persist, and sentiment toward the current buying and selling environment is back on track.”

Number 2: Demographics should start to favor housing activity

“If the economy expands at a faster pace this year, bringing a more rapid rate of job creation, that should translate into more households, raising housing demand. We won’t see all three million missing households return to the housing market at once. (That wouldn’t be a good thing for the housing market anyway, since that would be on top of the 1.2 million households that normally would develop this year; such a surge would swamp the existing housing supply). Beginning in 2014, the pace of household formations should accelerate to an above-trend pace for several years, pushing up housing demand.”

KCM Comment:

The Urban Land Institute recently released a report, Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2014, projecting that 4.48 million new households will be formed over the next three years. Millennials will make up a large portion of these new households. With the economy improving, we believe they will finally be moving out of their parents’ homes and, after they compare renting versus buying, many will choose homeownership.

Number 3: Mortgage availability shouldn’t worsen and may improve

“The rise in mortgage rates already has reduced mortgage origination volumes as refinance activity declines. If mortgage rates rise further this year, as expected, then refinance activity will fall still more. In response, mortgage lenders probably will ease lending standards to the extent possible under the QM rules to boost lending activity by increasing purchase originations. As a result, the increase in new households expected to be created this year, spurred by a stronger job market, should find that qualifying for a mortgage loan will be somewhat easier in 2014 than in prior years.”

KCM Comment:

We also believe that, as the refinancing market begins to dry up, mortgage entities will be more aggressive in the purchase money market (mortgages necessary to purchase a home). There even seems to be recent evidence that lending standards are actually loosening.

FSBOs Must Be Ready to Negotiate

crazyIn a recovering market, some sellers might be tempted to try and sell their home on their own (FSBO) without using the services of a real estate professional. The real estate agent is a trained and experienced negotiator. In most cases, the seller is not. The seller must realize the ability to negotiate will determine whether they get the best deal for themselves and their family.

Here is a list of some of the people with whom the seller must be prepared to negotiate if they decide to FSBO:

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house.
  • The termite company if there are challenges
  • The buyer’s lender if the structure of the mortgage requires the sellers’ participation
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value
  • The title company if there are challenges with certificates of occupancy (CO) or other permits
  • The town or municipality if you need to get the COs permits mentioned above
  • The buyer’s buyer in case there are challenges on the house your buyer is selling.
  • Your bank in the case of a short sale

Chicken Little is Wrong: Homeownership Still the American Dream

Chicken LittleAfter the harrowing challenges experienced by so many homeowners over the last few years, many housing experts had predicted that the belief in homeownership as a major element of the American Dream would soon die. There is now conclusive evidence that these experts were wrong. As we reported back in September, The Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University completed a study which concluded:

“The long term cultural preference for owning seems to have weathered the recent housing crisis.”

Now, a second source recently announced similar results. Fannie Mae just released their National Housing Survey of Delinquent Mortgage Borrowers. The survey asked questions about the value of homeownership to the most sensitive of all groups – those delinquent on their mortgages. Here is what they found:

Of those delinquent borrowers:

  • 74% still see homeownership as better than renting when building up wealth
  • 71% still see homeownership as better than renting when saving for retirement
  • 73% still see homeownership as better than renting for overall financial stability
  • 80% still see homeownership as better than renting as an investment plan
  • 70% still see homeownership as better than renting for creating an overall tax strategy

Bottom Line

Homeownership has always been and will always be a crucial piece of the American Dream.