A Stunning $441 Billion Paid in Rent

A Stunning $441 Billion Paid in Rent | Simplifying The Market

A recently released study revealed that a whopping $441 Billion was spent on rents in the U.S. in 2014. This represents an increase of over $20 Billion from the year before. As shown on the chart below, rents have increased consistently over the last 20+ years.

Median Rents Since 1988 | Simplifying The Market

However, the recent increases have been astounding.

Why such a jump?

Many Millennials have postponed the purchase of their first home while waiting for the economy to recover. This has increased demand and dramatically lowered vacancy rates. In a recent article on the MarketWatch, economics reporter Ruth Mantell explains:

“Landlords have ramped up rents by the fastest pace in six years, with national vacancy rates the lowest in two decades.”

Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries let us know that increases will continue:

“Another increase in total rent paid similar to that seen this year isn’t out of the question. In fact, it’s probable.”

4 Reasons to Buy Before Spring

4 Reasons to Buy Before Spring | Simplifying The Market

The holiday season is behind us, time to focus on what exciting new experiences 2015 can bring! If you are planning on becoming a homeowner, or moving up to the home of your dreams in 2015, here are four great reasons to consider buying a home now, instead of waiting until spring.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 15.1% (most pessimistic) and 32.8% (most optimistic).

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense. 

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Although Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have softened recently, most experts predict that they will begin to rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by the end of 2015.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

3. Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage

As a paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

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

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But, what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe it is time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Where will Mortgage Rates be Headed in 2015?

Where will Mortgage Rates be Headed in 2015? | Simplifying The Market

We finished 2014 with the 30 year fixed mortgage rate at 3.87% as per Freddie Mac. This is very close to the historic lows in the spring of 2013.

However, the Mortgage Bankers Association projects mortgage rates to be about 5% by the end of 2015. The website Investopedia agrees and gives some perspective on the 5% rate:

“Barring another financial and housing market implosion, and if the economy continues to improve, expect interest rates to rise in the latter half of 2015. If they do jump to the 5% range it will be a modest hike when compared to historical averages. Rates will still be far below the approximately 8.5% 30-year fixed-rates mortgages have averaged since 1971 when Freddie Mac started tracking them. Rates averaged 6% in the years leading up to the recession.”

Here are the latest 2015 mortgage rate projections from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Mortgage Bankers’ Association and the National Association of Realtors:

Interest Rates 2015 | Simplifying The Market

#1 Reason to Sell Now

#1 Reason to Sell Now | Simplifying The Market

If you are one of the many homeowners out there who are debating putting their home on the market in 2015, don’t miss out on the opportunity that currently exists. There will be significantly less competition in the winter months than in the spring.

According to the National Housing Survey released by Fannie Mae, 45% of homeowners “say mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months.”

What Does This Mean?

Homeowners are unaware that interest rates are projected to go up by all four major reporting institutions – This is big news for move-up buyers reflecting the overall amount of housing inventory that will be on the market.

If existing homeowners believe that mortgage interest rates are not going to increase, then they won’t be inclined to make a move by putting their home up for sale, meaning less competition for sellers who list now.

Don’t Wait!

The study also revealed that:

“Those who say it is a good time to buy a house rose to 68%” & “the share of respondents who think it would be difficult to get a home mortgage today decreased by 3 percentage points.”

As Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae explains:

“We expect consumer attitudes toward housing to improve as the pickup in the overall economy lifts employment and income prospects.“

Bottom Line

There are buyers out there who are ready to make a move. If your goal this year is to move up to your dream home, what are you waiting for?

Homeowners’ Tough Decision: OTM, FSBO or List

Homeowners’ Tough Decision: OTM, FSBO or List | Simplifying The Market

At the end of the year, in every region of the country, hundreds of homeowners have a tough decision to make. The ‘listing for sale agreement’ on their house is about to expire and they now must decide to either take their house off the market (OTM), For Sale by Owner (FSBO) or list it again with the same agent or a different agent. Let’s assume you or someone you know is in this situation and take a closer look at each possibility:

Taking Your Home off the Market

In all probability, after putting your house on the market and seeing it not sell, you’re going to be upset. You may be thinking that no one in the marketplace thought the house was worthy of the sales price.

Because you are upset, you may start to rationalize that selling wasn’t that important after all and say,

“Well, we didn’t really want to sell the house anyway. This idea of making a move right now probably doesn’t make sense.”

Don’t rationalize your dreams away. Instead, consider the reasons you decided to sell in the first place. Ask your family this simple question:

“What made us originally put our home up for sale?”

If that reason made sense a few months ago when you originally listed the house, chances are it still makes sense now. Don’t give up on what your family hoped to accomplish or on goals your family hoped to attain.

Just because the house didn’t sell during the last listing contract doesn’t mean the house will never sell or that it shouldn’t be sold.

Re-Listing with your Existing Agent

For whatever reason, your house did not sell. Perhaps you now realize how difficult selling a house is or that the listing price was too high, or perhaps you’re now acknowledging that you didn’t exactly listen to your agent’s advice.

If that is the case, you may want to give your existing agent a second chance. That’s a perfectly okay thing to do.

However, if your agent didn’t perform to the standard they promised when they listed your home you may want to either FSBO or try a different agent.

For Sale by Owner

You may now believe that listing your house with an agent is useless because your original agent didn’t accomplish the goal of selling the house. Trying to sell on your own this time may be alluring. You may think you will be in control and save on the commission.

But, is that true? Will you be able to negotiate each of the elements that make up a real estate transaction? Are you capable of putting together a comprehensive marketing plan? Do people who FSBO actually ‘net’ more money?

If you are thinking about FSBOing, take the time to first read: 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t For Sale by Owner.

List with a New Agent

After failing to sell your home, you may no longer trust your agent or what they say. However, don’t paint all real estate professionals with that same brush. Have you ever gotten a bad haircut before? Of course! Did you stop getting your hair cut or did you simply change hair stylists?

There is good and bad in every profession—good and bad hair stylists, agents, teachers, lawyers, doctors, police officers, etc. And just because there are good and bad in every line of work doesn’t mean you don’t call on others for the products and services you need. You still get your hair cut, see a doctor, talk to a lawyer, send your kids to school, etc.

You initially believed that using an agent made sense. It probably still does. Contact me and we can sit down and discuss the possibilities.

Freddie Mac: 2015 Home Sales to Hit 2007 Levels

Freddie Mac: 2015 Home Sales to Hit 2007 Levels | Simplifying The Market

According to Freddie Mac’s latest U.S. Economic & Housing Market Outlook, U.S. home sales in 2015 will show increase to the numbers associated with a normal real estate market. Here is their projection:

“We are projecting a 4 percent rise in sales to 5.6 million, which would mark the highest level of annual sales since 2007.”

And their optimism was seconded by both the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

Freddie Mac: 2015 Home Sales to Hit 2007 Levels | Simplifying The Market

It seems that an improving economy and jobs market will mean a very healthy housing market.