Western Massachusetts Real Estate and Community News

Sept. 16, 2019

5 Real Estate Reality TV Myths Explained

5 Real Estate Reality TV Myths Explained

 

 

Have you ever been flipping through the channels, only to find yourself glued to the couch in an HGTV binge session? We’ve all been there, watching entire seasons of shows like “Property Brothers,” “Fixer Upper,” and “Love It or List It,” all in one sitting.

When you’re in the middle of your real estate-themed TV show marathon, you might start to think everything you see on the screen must be how it works in real life. However, you may need a reality check.

Reality TV Show Myths vs. Real Life:

Myth #1: Buyers look at 3 homes and decide to purchase one of them.
Truth: There may be buyers who fall in love and buy the first home they see, but according to the National Association of Realtors, the average homebuyer tours 10 homes as a part of their search.  

Myth #2: The houses the buyers are touring are still for sale.
Truth: Everything is staged for TV. Many of the homes shown are already sold and are off the market. 

Myth #3: The buyers haven’t made a purchase decision yet.
Truth: Since there is no way to show the entire buying process in a 30-minute show, TV producers often choose buyers who are further along in the process and have already chosen a home to buy. 

Myth #4: If you list your home for sale, it will ALWAYS sell at the open house.
Truth: Of course, this would be great! Open houses are important to guarantee the most exposure to buyers in your area, but they are only one piece of the overall marketing of your home. Keep in mind, many homes are sold during regular showing appointments as well. 

Myth #5: Homeowners decide to sell their homes after a 5-minute conversation.
Truth: Similar to the buyers portrayed on the shows, many of the sellers have already spent hours deliberating the decision to list their homes and move on with their lives and goals.

Sept. 13, 2019

American Confidence in Housing at an All-Time High

American Confidence in Housing at an All-Time High

 

Fannie Mae just released the July edition of their Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI). The HPSI takes information regarding consumers’ confidence in the real estate market from Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey and condenses it into a single number. Therefore, the HPSI reflects consumers’ current views and forward-looking expectations of housing market conditions.

Great News! The index reached its highest level since Fannie Mae began their survey. Breaking it down, the report revealed:

  • The share of Americans who say it is a good time to buy a home increased from the same time last year.
  • The share of those who say it is a good time to sell a home increased from the same time last year.
  • The share of Americans who say they are not concerned about losing their job over the next 12 months increased dramatically (16 percentage points) from the same time last year.
  • The share of Americans who say mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months increased dramatically (24 percentage points) from the same time last year.

The day after the index was released, Freddie Mac also announced the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate fell to its lowest level in three years.

Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae explained the uptick in the index:

“Consumer job confidence and favorable mortgage rate expectations lifted the HPSI to a new survey high in July, despite ongoing housing supply and affordability challenges. Consumers appear to have shaken off a winter slump in sentiment amid strong income gains. Therefore, sentiment is positioned to take advantage of any supply that comes to market, particularly in the affordable category.”

Sept. 11, 2019

Rent Vs. Own

Rent Vs. Own [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Sept. 9, 2019

Why All the Chicken Littles Should Calm Down

 

Why All the Chicken Littles Should Calm Down

 

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released their 2019 Q2 Homeownership Report. Some began to see the sky falling, believing the report showed Americans may be stepping back from their belief in homeownership.

The national homeownership rate (Americans who owned vs. rented their primary residence) increased significantly during the housing boom, reaching its peak of 69.2% in 2004. The Census Bureau reported that the second quarter of 2019 ended with a homeownership rate of 64.1%, which is down from the 64.8% rate for the fourth quarter of 2018. Based on this news, some started to question the consumer’s belief in the idea of homeownership as a major part of the American Dream.

Everyone Calm Down…

It is true the homeownership rate did fall. However, if you look at the national rate over the last 35 years (1984-2019), you can see that the current homeownership rate has returned to historical norms. The 64.1% rate is equivalent to the rates in 1984 and 1994.Why All the Chicken Littles Should Calm Down | Keeping Current Matters

What Will the Future Bring?

Part of the reason the homeownership rate slipped is a lack of inventory available for purchase for first-time home buyers. The demand is there, but currently, the supply is not. It seems, however, that is about to change.

In a recent report, Ivy Zelman explained that builders have finally started to increase the number of homes they’re constructing at the lower-end price points:

“Robust growth in the entry-level price point of late should translate to a reacceleration in homeownership rates moving forward.”

Sept. 6, 2019

Appreciation Is Strong: It Might Be Time to Sell

Appreciation Is Strong: It Might Be Time to Sell

 

There’s no doubt that today’s housing market is changing, and everything we see right now indicates it is time to sell. Here’s a look at why selling now is likely to drive the greatest return on your largest investment.

Home values have been appreciating for several years now, growing at a strong, steady, and impressive pace. In fact, the average annual appreciation rate since 2012 has nearly doubled the average rate from the more normal market of the 1990s (think: pre-bubble).Appreciation Is Strong: It Might Be Time to Sell | Keeping Current MattersAppreciation, however, is projected to shift back toward normal, meaning home prices will likely keep climbing over the next few years, but they are not projected to continue to increase at such a high rate.

Here’s What That Means for Homeowners:

As noted in the latest Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES) powered by Pulsenomics, experts forecast an average annual appreciation rate closer to 3.2% over the next five years, which is more in line with a historically normal market (3.6%). The good news is, there’s still time to take advantage of the current strength of home prices by selling your house now.Appreciation Is Strong: It Might Be Time to Sell | Keeping Current MattersLooking at the projections as they stand today, 2019 is slated to drive the strongest appreciation as compared to the upcoming few years. With average home prices still on the rise, the pace at which they are predicted to continue increasing will likely soften by 2020.

Sept. 4, 2019

How Much Do You Know About Down Payments?

How Much Do You Know About Down Payments?

 

Whether you’ve owned a home before, or you’re ready to jump into homeownership for the first time, there are always a lot of questions swirling around about what is truly required for a down payment, and how to best source down payment assistance. Let’s tackle these two today.

1. How much do you really need for a down payment?

There is a long-standing misconception about down payment requirements. A survey from Fannie Mae shows only 17% of consumers know the minimum options are actually between 1 – 5% of the purchase price and 40% don’t know how much they need at all.How Much Do You Know About Down Payments? | Keeping Current MattersThere are many mortgage loans available that require as little as 3% down for first-time buyers, and some ask for only 3.5% down from repeat buyers. There are even loans available for Veterans that provide 0% down payment options too.

We’ve mentioned recently that you don’t need to come up with a 20% down payment to buy, and we’ve also shared how quickly you can save for a 3% or 10% down payment, depending on where you live. If you’re planning to put down just 3%, the research shows it may be possible in most states to have enough saved for a down payment in less than a year. That puts homeownership in a much closer reach for many potential buyers, maybe even you!

2. How can I get help with my down payment?

Regardless of the loans available, many buyers still need assistance with a down payment. The great news is, there are a lot of ways to tap into down payment assistance options. Here are just a couple of them:

Assistance from Family Members

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said, “a third of recent first-time buyers received down payment assistance from family members.” They also mentioned, “the average net worth of those aged 75 and over stands at $264,800…They just might offer the boost the next generation needs to become homeowners.

That means one of the ways to find help with a down payment is to accept a gift from a family member. If this is an option for you, make sure you talk to your loan officer before you accept the money, to ensure you document the process the way it is required by your loan. This way, it will be received properly and you can still potentially qualify.

Down Payment Assistance Programs

The reality is, not everyone has a loved one or a family member who can provide help with a down payment. There are, however, more than 2,500 down payment assistance programs available (by local areas like city, county, or neighborhood), and some of them are even specifically for first-time buyers.

The gap, as mentioned in the same survey, is “only 23% of consumers are familiar with low down payment programs.”

That’s why it is so important to get familiar with these options by doing your homework before you plan to buy a home. Determine what is available in the area where you ultimately want to live, so you have all the details you need to take advantage of the down payment assistance option that is best for your family.

Sept. 2, 2019

Millionaire to Millennials: The Costly Mistake of Not Buying Now

Millionaire to Millennials: The Costly Mistake of Not Buying Now

 

On his personal website, self-made millionaire David Bach makes a striking statement:

 “Not prioritizing homeownership is the single biggest mistake millennials are making.” 

He further stated, “Buying a home is an escalator to wealth.”

Bach explains:

“Young adults in particular aren’t hopping on this escalator, and it’s a costly mistake…If millennials don’t buy a home, their chances of actually having any wealth in this country are little to none.”

He then elaborates on the game of homeownership:

“Start by crunching the numbers…actually do the math…This way, you’re really clear on your goals and you won’t just say to yourself, ‘I’ll never afford this!’

A good rule of thumb is to make sure your total monthly housing payment doesn’t consume more than 30 percent of your take-home pay.”

Bach concludes by saying,

“Oftentimes, buying your first home means you’re not buying your dream home…You’re just getting into the market.”

Aug. 30, 2019

Existing Home Sales Point Toward A Good Time To Sell

Existing Home Sales Point Toward a Good Time to Sell [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

 

Some Highlights:

  • Existing Home Sales dropped 1.7% from May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.27 million in June.
  • Low inventory levels are still a factor in the market. The current supply of homes for sale is at 4.4 months, which is less than the optimal 6-month supply.
  • Median home prices were up 4.3% from June 2018, hitting $285,700. This marked the 88thconsecutive month with year-over-year price gains.
Aug. 28, 2019

How to Judge The Impact of the Next Economic Slowdown On Housing

How to Judge the Impact of the Next Economic Slowdown on Housing

 

We’ve experienced economic growth for almost a decade, which is the longest recovery in the nation’s history. Experts know a recession can’t be too far off, but when will this economic slowdown actually occur?

Pulsenomics just released a special report revealing that nearly 6 out of 10 of the 90 economists, investment strategists, and market analysts surveyed believe the next recession will occur by the end of next year. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 9% believe a recession will occur this year
  • 50% believe it will occur in 2020
  • 35% believe it will occur in 2021
  • 6% believe it will occur after 2021

When asked what would trigger the next recession, the three most common responses by those surveyed were:

  1. Trade Policy
  2. Stock Market Correction
  3. Geopolitical Crisis

How might the recession impact real estate?

Challenges in the housing and mortgage markets were major triggers of the last recession. However, a housing slowdown ranked #9 on the list of potential triggers for the next recession, behind such possibilities as fiscal policy and political gridlock.

As far as the impact the recession may have on home values, the experts surveyed indicated home prices would continue to appreciate over the next few years. They called for a 4.1% appreciation rate this year, 2.8% in 2020, and 2.5% in 2021.

Aug. 26, 2019

Why is Now The Perfect Time To Sell Your House

As a homeowner, it’s always tempting to dream about the next big project you’re going to tackle. The possibilities are endless. Should I renovate? Should I refinance? Should I stay? Should I move? The list goes on and on.

In today’s housing market, it’s actually a great time to shift your thoughts toward selling your house and moving up into the home of your dreams. Here’s why:

Inventory is on the rise, but there’s still an overall shortage of houses for sale (less than a 6-month supply found in a more normal market), so homes are going under contract quickly. In fact, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Realtors® Confidence Index Survey reports that right now homes are only staying on the market for an average of 27 days. That’s less than one month, an even more accelerated pace from the 36-day trend we saw last spring.Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Sell Your House | Keeping Current MattersThe same report also indicates there are more interested buyers than active sellers today, which is one of the big factors driving home prices higher.Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Sell Your House | Keeping Current Matters
Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Sell Your House | Keeping Current Matters
This power combination provides an ideal environment for sellers aiming to close a quick sale and earn a big return as we wrap up the summer season.