Housing Market: Freddie Mac Remains Optimistic

Housing Market: Freddie Mac Remains Optimistic | Keeping Current Matters

The April 2015 U.S. Economic & Housing Market Outlook from Freddie Mac revealed that they are optimistic about the real estate market in 2015. As a matter of fact, the sub-title of the report was “Great Expectations”.

What made Freddie Mac so optimistic? Here are a few highlights from the report:

“For the remainder of the year we should see a resumption of solid economic growth and acceleration in housing activity. Notwithstanding a disappointing March jobs report the acceleration is already underway.”

“With spring upon us, housing markets are poised to accelerate and we expect the best year for home sales since 2007. Despite harsh winter weather to start the year, home sales through February are only off from the 2013 pace by 7,000 sales… Pending home sales were up 3.1 percent in February to the highest level since June 2013. This marked the fourth consecutive month for rising pending home sales showing positive momentum in general for the housing market.”

Their projections…

“By the end of the spring home buying season in June, we should be well above the pace of home sales for any year since 2007.”

“We are as optimistic about trends in housing markets moving forward as we have ever been since the depths of the Great Recession.”

Regarding prices…

“Due to strong growth, we are expecting house prices to increase 4.0 percent in 2015.”

But there were some warnings…

On available supply:

“With low mortgage rates, improving labor markets, and rising demand, one key issue for housing over the next two years will be the lack of supply of for-sale and for-rent homes.”

“Many metro areas that have seen robust job growth and population increases are facing shortages of available for-sale inventory.”

On interest rates:

“However, by the end of the year long-term interest rates should only increase modestly, ending the year at about 4.3 percent for the 30-year fixed rate mortgage.”

Note: Freddie Mac worded this as being not that crucial. However, a 4.3% mortgage rate is about a .75 increase over current rates.

Bottom Line

Things are looking good for the real estate market. If you are thinking of selling, contact an agent to discuss how this applies to your neighborhood.

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Does Homeownership Make Sense Financially?

Does Homeownership Make Financial Sense? | Keeping Current Matters

Everyone knows the social advantages of home ownership. However, some question the financial benefits of owning a home. Three recent studies shed some light on the issue.

RealtyTrac recently released a report comparing home price appreciation to wage growth over the last two years. The study revealed that home price appreciation has outpaced wage growth in 76% of U.S. housing markets during that time period. By how much? Here is a graph showing their findings:

Home Prices vs. Wages | Keeping Current Matters

And we all know the importance of home appreciation in determining the net wealth of most American families. Merrill Lynch just issued a report covering the issue. Their findings are shown here:

Average Home Equity | Keeping Current Matters

It obviously makes financial sense to be a homeowner.

But, does it make sense to buy now?

The survey company Pulsenomics just issued their findings on the cost of owning versus the cost of renting. They compared historical averages to the cost you can expect to pay today.

Buying vs. Renting | Keeping Current Matters

The cost of buying is far below historical averages. Renting is another story.

Later today, we will be hosting a webinar entitled 4 Secrets to Getting Buyers & Sellers Off the Fence which will go into more depth about the opportunity available to buyers, along with ways to help potential sellers realize that now is the time to list their home.

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Selling Your House in 2015? Don’t Miss this Opportunity

Selling Your House in 2015? Don’t Miss this Opportunity | Keeping Current Matters

Every seller wants to get the best price for their house. We learned in high school that the best price for any item will be determined by the demand for that item relative to the supply of that item.

We have reported that the inventory of houses for sale is well below normal numbers.

There is historical evidence that the demand for housing is about to increase dramatically. Each year, more homes sell in May, June, July and August than any other four months of the year. Here is a graph of homes sales last year by month:

2014 Home Sales | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

You want to make sure your house is available for sale during peak selling season. If you are thinking of selling this year, contact a local real estate professional today.

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Desire to Own a Vacation Home Growing

Desire to Own a Vacation Home Growing | Keeping Current Matters

The National Association of Realtors just released their 2015 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey which revealed that vacation home sales boomed in 2014 to above their most recent peak level in 2006.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said favorable conditions are driving second-home sales:

“Affluent households have greatly benefited from strong growth in the stock market in recent years, and the steady rise in home prices has likely given them reassurance that real estate remains an attractive long-term investment. Furthermore, last year’s impressive increase also reflects long-term growth in the numbers of baby boomers moving closer to retirement and buying second homes to convert into their primary home in a few years.”

The report shows:

  • Vacation-home sales catapulted to an estimated 1.13 million last year
  • This was the highest amount since NAR began the survey in 2003
  • Vacation sales were up 57.4% from 717,000 in 2013
  • Vacation-home sales accounted for 21 percent of all transactions in 2014, their highest market share since the survey was first conducted

Bottom Line

If you have been considering that waterfront condo in Florida, that ranch in Wyoming or that special getaway you someday will retire to, maybe now is the time to act. Prices are good and mortgage rates are at historic lows. Contact a local real estate professional to help you put your dreams to a plan.

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3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying A Home

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying A Home | Keeping Current Matters

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying A Home | Keeping Current Matters

If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are surely getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family will have your best interest at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in real estate. Let’s look at whether or not now is actually a good time for you to buy a home.

There are 3 questions you should ask before purchasing in today’s market:

1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?

This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with finances.

A study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University reveals that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money:
•A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
•A place where you and your family feel safe
•More space for you and your family
•Control of the space

What non-financial benefits will you and your family derive from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

2. Where are home values headed?

When looking at future housing values, Home Price Expectation Survey provides a fair assessment. Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over 100 economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.

Here is what the experts projected in the latest survey:
•Home values will appreciate by 4.4% in 2015.
•The cumulative appreciation will be 19.3% by 2019.
•Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of over 11.7% by 2019.

3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?

A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by an increase in mortgage rates.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the National Association of Realtors and Freddie Mac have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase by approximately one full percentage over the next twelve months.

Bottom Line

Only you and your family can know for certain the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision.

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How Quickly Are Homes Selling In Your State? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Median Days on the Market [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • The National Association of REALTORS® surveyed their members for their Confidence Index
  • The REALTORS® Confidence Index is a key indicator of housing market strength based on a monthly survey sent to over 50,000 real estate practitioners. Practitioners are asked about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions.
  • Homes sold in less than 90 days in 36 out of 50 states and Washington D.C.
  • Only 3 states had a median sold date in the 121 – 210 day range

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Housing Market is Healthiest in Years!

Housing Market is Healthiest in Years! | Keeping Current Matters

According to Nationwide’s recently unveiled, Health of Housing Market (HoHM) Report, the US housing market is at it’s healthiest levels since the index’s creation in 2001.

The index analyzes the health of the housing market across the country and in 373 metro areas every quarter. Using the data that they have collected over the past 15 years, Nationwide will look to give a “data-driven view of the near-term performance of housing markets based upon current health indicators.”

The fourth quarter of 2014 ended with the highest indicator score in over 15 years of data analyzed by the study at 109.8. The report explains:

“An index value over 100 suggests that the national housing market is healthy, with lower chances of a housing downturn over the next year as the index moves increasingly above the 100 breakeven value.”

Employment, demographics, the mortgage market, and housing prices are all used to evaluate the health of each market. The top 10 healthiest housing markets according to the index are:

  1. Pittsburgh, PA
  2. Cleveland-Elyria, OH
  3. Philadelphia, PA
  4. Rockford, Ill.
  5. Burlington, NC
  6. Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, PA
  7. Fayetteville-Springdale, AR
  8. Idaho Falls, ID
  9. Tulsa, OK
  10. Kennewick-Richland, WA

The two ‘least healthy’ markets were Bismark, ND and Atlantic City, NJ who received “just slightly negative performance rankings”.

David Berson, Nationwide’s Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, says “the quarterly report should serve as a resource to gauge how healthy housing markets are today but, perhaps more important, what to expect in the future and why.”

Bottom Line

The housing market continues to recover and surpass recent history. Meet with an agent in your local market to determine if you are able to take advantage of the opportunities available in real estate today.

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