Either Way, You’re Paying a Mortgage

Either Way You're Paying a Mortgage | Simplifying The Market

There are some people that have not purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent free, you are paying a mortgage – either your mortgage or your landlord’s.

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.”

Also, if you purchase with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, your ‘housing expense’ is locked in over the thirty years for the most part. If you rent, the one guarantee you will have is that your rent will increase over that same thirty year time period.

As an owner, the mortgage payment is a ‘forced savings’ which will allow you to have equity in your home you can tap into later in your life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person with that equity.

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, owning might make more sense than renting since home values and interest rates are still lower than projected.

Foreclosure Inventory Down 34.3% from Last Year

Foreclosure Inventory Down 35.5% from Last Year | Simplifying The Market

According to the latest CoreLogic National Foreclosure Report“approximately 552,000 homes in the US were in some state of foreclosure as of December 2014”. This figure is down 34.3% from the 840,000 homes in December of 2013. December marked the 38th consecutive month in which there were year-over-year declines.

Anand Nallathambl, the President and CEO of CoreLogic, is hopeful for the future, saying:

“At current foreclosure rates, we expect to see the foreclosure inventory in the U.S. drop below 500,000 homes sometime in the first quarter of 2015 which would be another milestone in the healing of the housing market.”

The map below shows the percentage of foreclosure inventory in each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. Thirty-six states have inventory below the national rate of 1.4% and can be seen in two shades of green.

CoreLogic Foreclosure Inventory | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Even though some states have not recovered completely from the foreclosure crisis, the nation as a whole is on the right track as inventory decreases.

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

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t For Sale By Owner

5 Reasons You Shouldn't For Sale By Owner | Simplifying The Market

Some homeowners consider trying to sell their home on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.

Here are five reasons:

1. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With

Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale By Owner:

  • 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 appraiser if there is a question of value

2. Exposure to Prospective Purchasers

Recent studies have shown that 88% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 21% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?

3. Results Come from the Internet

Where do buyers find the home they actually purchased?

  • 43% on the internet
  • 9% from a yard sign
  • 1% from newspaper

The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.

4. FSBOing has Become More and More Difficult

The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 9% over the last 20+ years.

5. You Net More Money when Using an Agent

Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $208,000 while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $235,000. This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $27,000 more for your home as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.

Bottom Line

Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional in your marketplace and see what they have to offer.