Thinking of Selling? New Construction Will Soon Be New Competition

Thinking of Selling? | Keeping Current Matters

For the last several years, home sellers had to compete with huge inventories of distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales). The great news is that the supply of these properties is falling like a rock in the vast majority of housing markets. Many homeowners are now thinking of selling as the impact of this substantially discounted competition has disappeared.

However, every seller of an existing residential property must realize that there is a new form of competition about to hit the market: newly constructed homes.

As the economy improves, builders will again be bringing their housing developments to the market. Trulia recently reported that the purchaser, given a choice, actually prefers new construction. Here are two charts showing the results of the Trulia survey:

New Construction Trends | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling, perhaps you should do it now to avoid the additional competition that will come to the market later this year.

Moving Up: Was it Worth Waiting?

Moving Up? Do it Now!! | Keeping Current Matters

New reports are revealing that the number of months’ inventory of existing homes available for sale is increasing. Some of these sellers are moving up, some are downsizing and others are making a lateral move.

There is no way for us to predict the future but we can look at what happened over the last year. Let’s look at buyers that considered moving up last year but decided to wait instead.

Assume, last year, they had a home worth $300,000 and were looking at a home for $450,000 (putting 10% down they would get a mortgage of $405,000). By waiting, their house appreciated by approximately 10% over the last year (national average based on the Case Shiller Pricing Index). Their home would now be worth $330,000. But, the $450,000 home would now be worth $495,000 (requiring a mortgage of $420,000 assuming the original $45,000 down plus the additional $30,000 from the sale of their home).

Here is a table showing what the difference in monthly cost (principal and interest) would be if a purchaser had waited:

Cost of Waiting: Was it Worth It? | Keeping Current Matters

3 dollars and 27 cents. Was it worth waiting a year to move up to the home of your dreams? Only you can answer that question.

Moving Up?

If your family plans on moving up in the next twelve months, it may make sense to move now rather than later. Prices are definitely still appreciating and, unlike the last year, interest rates are also projected to increase.

NAR Reports Reveal Two Reasons to Sell Now

NAR Reports Reveal Reasons to Sell Now | Keeping Current Matters

We all realize that the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and the supply of that item is limited. The last two major reports issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed information that suggests that now may be the best time to sell your house. Let’s look at the data covered by the latest Pending Home Sales Report and Existing Home Sales Report.

THE PENDING HOME SALES REPORT

The report announced that pending home sales (homes going into contract) “surged” by 6.1%. The increase was “the largest month-over-month gain since April 2010, when first-time home buyers rushed to sign purchase contracts before a popular tax credit program ended”.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, expects improving home sales throughout the rest of the year:

“Sales should exceed an annual pace of five million homes in some of the upcoming months behind favorable mortgage rates, more inventory and improved job creation.”

TakeawayDemand is beginning to increase dramatically compared to earlier in the year.

THE EXISTING HOME SALES REPORT

The most important data point revealed in the report was not sales but instead the inventory of homes on the market (supply). The report explained:

  • Total housing inventory climbed 2.2 percent to 2.28 million homes available for sale
  • That represents a 5.6-month supply at the current sales pace
  • Unsold inventory is 6.0 percent higher than a year ago

There were two more interesting comments made by Yun in the report:

1.)   “Rising inventory bodes well for slower price growth and greater affordability, but the amount of homes for sale is still modestly below a balanced market.”

In real estate, there is a guideline that often applies. When there is less than 6 months inventory available, we are in a sellers’ market and we will see appreciation. Between 6-7 months is a neutral market where prices will increase at the rate of inflation. More than 7 months inventory means we are in a buyers’ market and should expect depreciation in home values.

As Yun notes, we are currently in a sellers’ market (prices still increasing) but are headed to a neutral market.

2.)   New home construction is still needed to keep prices and housing supply healthy in the long run.”

As new construction begins to be built, there will be increased downward pressure on the prices of existing homes on the market.

Takeaway: Supply is about to increase significantly. The supply of existing homes is already increasing and the number of newly constructed homes is about to increase.

Bottom Line

If you are going to sell, now may be the time.

Buying a Home? Know ALL Your Options

Buying a Home? Know ALL Your Options | Keeping Current Matters

In a post earlier this week, we suggested that the Millennial generation’s struggles with student debt and the overarching concept of homeownership are not the reasons for so many first time buyers hesitating to move forward with the purchase of their first home. Now there is another firm suggesting the same. The asset management company, Nomura, came out with strong guidance to their investors. According to an article in Housing Wire last week:

“Nomura’s note to clients has a take few have offered: The first time homebuyers are holding out and it’s not student debt, a shift away from homeownership as a choice by Millennials, or any of that.”

Instead, they think it is a lack of a full understanding of the mortgage process. The article explains:

“Analysts say it’s not that Millennials and other potential homebuyers aren’t qualified in terms of their credit scores or in how much they have saved for their down payment. It’s that they think they’re not qualified or they think that they don’t have a big enough down payment.” (emphasis added)

This comes off the heels of a survey by Zelman & Associates that revealed that 38% of those between the ages of 25-29 years old and 42% of those between the ages of 30-34 years old believe that a minimum of 15% is required as a down payment to purchase a home. In actually, a purchaser may be able to put down far less.

The Reality of the Situation

According to Christina Boyle, Freddie Mac’s VP and Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management, in a recent Executive Perspectives piece:

  • A person “can get a conforming, conventional mortgage with a down payment of as little as 5 percent (sometimes with as little as 3 percent coming out of their own pockets)”.
  • Freddie Mac's purchase of mortgages with down payments under 10 percent more than quadrupled between 2009 and 2013.
  • More than one in five borrowers who took out conforming, conventional mortgages in 2014 put down 10 percent or less.
  • Qualified borrowers can further reduce the down payment coming out of their own pockets to 3 percent by lining up gifts from family or grants or loans from non-profits or public agencies.

Ms. Boyle goes on to explain:

“Letting more consumers know how down payments are determined could bring more qualified borrowers off the sidelines. Depending on their credit history and other factors, many borrowers can expect to make a down payment of about 5 or 10 percent.”

Bottom Line

If you have considered purchasing a house or moving-up to a new dream home, know all of your options. Reach out to a real estate and/or mortgage professional in your marketplace to get the best, most up-to-date information available. You may be surprised to learn what you and your family are capable of achieving.

Buying a Home: The Cost of Waiting

Buying a Home: The Cost of Waiting | Keeping Current Matters

Whether you are a first time buyer or a move-up buyer, you should look at the projections housing experts are making in two major areas: home prices and mortgage rates.

PRICES

Over 100 economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists were recently surveyed. They were asked to project where home prices were headed. The average value appreciation projected over the next twelve month period was approximately 4%.

MORTGAGE INTEREST RATES

In their last Economic & Housing Market Outlook, Freddie Mac predicted that 30 year fixed mortgage rates would be 4.8% by this time next year. As of last week, the Freddie Mac rate was 4.14%.

What does this mean to you?

If you are a first time buyer currently looking at a home priced at $250,000, this is what it could cost you on a monthly basis if you wait to buy next year:

First Time Homebuyer's Cost of Waiting | Keeping Current Matters

If you are a move-up buyer currently looking at a home priced at $500,000, this is what it could cost you on a monthly basis if you wait to buy next year:

Move Up Buyer's Cost of Waiting | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

With both home prices and interest rates projected to increase, buying now instead of later might make sense.

Millennials and Student Debt: We Knew They Were Wrong!

Millennials & Student Debt: We Knew They Were Wrong! | Keeping Current Matters

For almost a year now, we have been trying to debunk the myth that student debt is keeping the vast majority of Millennials from purchasing a home.

We explained that Millennials have purchased more homes over a recent twelve month period than any other generation as was reported by the National Association of Realtors).

We explained that the homeownership rate of people currently between the ages of 25-29 is 34.3%. That is higher than the 33.6% rate members of the previous generation (people currently between the ages of 45-49) achieved when they were that age (as per John Burns Consulting).

We explained that a recent survey showed that almost three out of every four (74%) young adults between the ages of 18-34 plan to buy a home in the next five years with 32% planning to do it in the next twelve months.

However, no matter how hard we tried, the same recourse was trumpeted back at us – What about student debt?

The good news is that the real facts about student debt are coming to light. Last week, The New York Times posted an article titled The Reality of Student Debt Is Different from the Clichés. This article went into great depth regarding the findings of a new study just released by the Brookings Institution, Is a Student Loan Crisis on the Horizon? which looked at data through 2010. The NYT article quoted key elements of the report:

  • 58% of young-adult households have less than $10,000 in debt. An additional 18% have between $10,000 and $20,000
  • 36% of households with people between the ages of 20 and 40 had education debt, up from 14% in 1989. Some of the increase stems from the good news that more people are going to college.
  • Taking financial aid into account, the average tuition at private (nonprofit) colleges has not increased any faster than overall inflation over the last decade.
  • Because the incomes of college graduates have grown since the early 1990s, the share of income that a typical student debtor has to devote to loan payments is only marginally higher than it was in the early 1990s — and somewhat lower than it was in late 1990s. It was 3.5% in 1992, 4.3% in 1998 and 4% in 2010.
  • The burden for the people with the most debt is significantly lower today than two decades ago. Someone at the 90th percentile of debt had to devote 15% of their income to repayment in 2010, down from 20% in 1992.

Bottom Line

The authors of the actual study put it simply in their conclusion:

“Despite the widely held belief that circumstances for borrowers with student loan debt are growing worse over time, our findings reveal no evidence in support of this narrative. In fact, the average growth in lifetime income among households with student loan debt easily exceeds the average growth in debt, suggesting that, all else equal, households with debt today are in a better financial position than households with debt were two decades ago. Furthermore, the incidence of burdensome monthly payments does not appear to have become more widespread over the last two decades.”