Thinking of Buying a Vacation/ Retirement Home? Why Wait?

Extended family walking on beachThe sales of vacation homes skyrocketed last year. A recent study also revealed that 25% of those surveyed said they’d likely buy a second home, such as a vacation or beach house, to use during retirement. For many Baby Boomers, the idea of finally purchasing that vacation home (that they may eventually use in retirement) makes more and more sense as the economy improves and the housing market recovers.

If your family is thinking about purchasing that second home, now may be the perfect time. Prices are still great. If you decide to lease the property until you’re ready to occupy it full time, the rental market in most areas is very strong. And you can still get a great mortgage interest rate.

But current mortgage rates won’t last forever…

According to FreddieMac, the interest rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage at the beginning of April was 4.4%. However, FreddieMac predicts that mortgage rates will steadily climb over the next six quarters.

Let’s assume you want to purchase a home for $500,000 with a 20% down payment ($100,000). That would leave you with a $400,000 mortgage. What happens if you wait to buy this dream house?

Prices are projected to increase over the next year and a half. However, for this example, let’s assume prices remain the same. Your mortgage payment will still increase as mortgage rates climb to more historically normal levels.

This table shows how a principal and interest payment is impacted by a rise in interest rates:

Cost of Waiting $400K

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

Homeownership’s Impact on Net Worth

4.9 VisualOver 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. A study by the Federal Reserve formally answered this question.

Some of the findings revealed in their report:

  • The average American family has a net worth of $77,300
  • Of that net worth, 61.4% ($47,500) of it is in home equity
  • A homeowner’s net worth is over thirty times greater than that of a renter
  • The average homeowner has a net worth of $174,500 while the average net worth of a renter is $5,100

Bottom Line

The Fed study found that homeownership is still a great way for a family to build wealth in America.

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.

A Home’s Cost vs. Price Explained

HomePercentageWe have often talked about the difference between COST and PRICE. 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 about price but instead about the ‘long term cost’ of the home. Let us explain.

Recently, we reported that a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists projected that home values would appreciate by approximately 8% from now to the end of 2015.

Additionally, Freddie Mac’s most recent Economic Commentary & Projections Table predicts that the 30 year fixed mortgage rate will be 5.7% by the end of next year.

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-Waiting0407