Renting vs. Buying: What Does it Really Cost? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Renting vs. Buying: What Does it Really Cost? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • The percentage of income needed to afford a median priced home is almost half the percentage of income needed to afford median rent.
  • Buying costs are significantly less than renting costs.
  • The percentage of income needed to afford a median priced home is less than the historic norm.

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The Presidential Election and Its Impact on Housing

The Presidential Election and Its Impact on Housing | Simplifying The Market

Every four years people question what effect the Presidential election might have on the national housing market. Let’s take a look at what is currently taking place. The New York Times ran an article earlier this week where they explained:

“A growing body of research shows that during presidential election years — particularly ones like this when there is such uncertainty about the nation’s future — industry becomes almost paralyzed. A look at the last several dozen election cycles shows that during the final year of a presidential term, big corporate investments are routinely postponed, and big deals are put on the back burner.

The research is even more persuasive on the final year of an eight-year presidential term, when a new candidate inevitably will become president.”

We are seeing this take form in the latest economic numbers. However, will this lead to a slowdown in the housing market? Not according to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the National Association of Realtors.

The Impact on Housing Throughout 2016

Let’s look at what has happened and what is projected to happen by these three major entities.

National Association of Realtors

“In spite of deficient supply levels, stock market volatility and the paltry economic growth seen so far this year, the housing market did show resilience and had its best first quarter of existing-sales since 2007.”

Freddie Mac

“Recent data darkened the growth outlook for the first quarter of 2016. However, despite the disappointing economic reports, we still forecast housing to maintain its momentum in 2016.”

Fannie Mae

“Consumers and businesses showed caution at the end of the first quarter…(but) Home sales are expected to pick up heading into the spring season amid the backdrop of declining mortgage rates, rising pending home sales and purchase mortgage applications, and continued easing of lending standards on residential mortgage loans.”

Bottom Line

Even during this election year, the desire to achieve the American Dream is greater than the fear of uncertainty of the next presidency.

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Mortgage Rates Remain at Historic Lows

Mortgage Rates Remain at Historic Lows | Simplifying The Market

The latest report from Freddie Mac shows that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.61% last week, slightly down from the week before (3.66%), and nearly 20 points lower than a year ago (3.80%).

This is great news for homebuyers who are dealing with rising prices due to a low inventory of homes for sale in many areas of the country. Freddie Mac expressed their optimism for the rates to remain low throughout the spring in a recent blog post:

“We expect mortgage interest rates to stay well under 4% as we head into the heart of the spring homebuying season. We’re predicting it to be the best one in 10 years, which should provide even greater opportunities for first-time homebuyers.”

Below is a chart of the weekly average rates in 2016, according to Freddie Mac.

Mortgage Rates Remain at Historic Lows | Simplifying The Market

Rates have again fallen to historic lows yet many experts still expect them to increase in 2016. One thing we know for sure is that, according to Freddie Mac, current rates are the best they have been since last April.

Sean Becketti, Chief Economist for Freddie Mac recently explained:

“Since the start of February, mortgage rates have varied within a narrow range providing an extended period for house hunters to take advantage of historically low rates.”

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of buying your first home or moving up to your ultimate dream home, now is a great time to get a sensational rate on your mortgage.

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4 Reasons to Move Up to Your Dream Home This Spring

4 Reasons to Move Up to Your Dream Home This Spring | Simplifying The Market

Spring is in full force; the summer months are right around the corner. If you are debating moving up to your dream home, here are four great reasons to consider listing your current home and moving up to your dream home now, instead of waiting.

1. Buyer Demand is High & Inventory is Low

Recent numbers show that buyer demand is at the highest peak experienced in years, and inventory for sale is at a 4.5-month supply, which is still markedly lower than the 6 months needed for a historically normal market.

Demand in many markets is far exceeding the supply, and more properties in March sold in less than 30 days (42%) than in any month since last July.

Listing your home today can greatly increase exposure to buyers who are out in force and ready to act.

2. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic recently released their latest Home Price Index in which they predict that national home values will appreciate by 5.3% by this time next year.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting for your current home’s value to increase before selling could price you out of your new home if you aren’t careful.

3. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Still Near Record Lows

Interest rates have remained below 4% for some time now and are substantially lower than the rate previous generations paid when getting a mortgage.

The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will rise over the next 12 months.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Even an increase of half a percentage point can put a dent in your family’s net worth. Whether you are moving up or buying your first home, your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your home.

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise. But, what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Have you always wanted to live in a certain neighborhood? Would a climate change be just what the doctor ordered? Would you like to be closer to your family?

Bottom Line

If the right thing for you and your family is to move up to the home of your dreams this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

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Warren Buffett: There is No Housing Bubble

Warren Buffett: There is No Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

With home prices expected to appreciate by over 5% this year, some are beginning to worry about a new housing bubble forming. Warren Buffet addressed this issue last week in an article by Fortune Magazine. He simply explained:

“I don’t see a nationwide bubble in real estate right now at all.”

Later, when questioned whether real estate and/or mortgaging could present the same challenges for the economy as they did in 2008, Buffet said:

“I don’t think we will have a repeat of that.”

What factors are driving home prices up?

It is easily explained by the theory of supply and demand. There is a lack of housing inventory for sale while demand for that inventory is very strong. According to a recent survey of agents by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer traffic was seen as either “strong” or “very strong” in 44 of the 50 states (the exceptions being: Alaska, Wyoming, North Dakota, West Virginia, Connecticut and Delaware).

Also, in NAR’s latest Pending Home Sales Report, it was revealed that the index was the highest it has been in a year.

What does the future bring?

As prices rise, more families will have increased equity in their homes which will enable them to put their home on the market. As more listings come to market, price increases should slow to more normal levels.

Anand Nallathambi, President & CEO of CoreLogic, recently addressed the issue:

“Home price gains have clearly been a driving force in building positive equity for homeowners. Longer term, we anticipate a better balance of supply and demand in many markets which will help sustain healthy & affordable home values into the future.”

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Americans Rank Real Estate #1 Long Term Investment

Americans Rank Real Estate #1 Long Term Investment | Simplifying The Market

The Gallup organization recently released a survey in which Americans were asked to rank what they considered to be the “best long term investment.” Real estate ranked number one, with 35% of those surveyed saying it was a better long term investment than stocks & mutual funds, gold, savings accounts or bonds.

Here is the breakdown:

Americans Rank Real Estate #1 Long Term Investment | Simplifying The Market

The survey revealed that real estate was the number one choice among each of the following groups:

  • Men
  • Women
  • People between the ages of 18-29
  • People between the ages of 30-49
  • People between the ages of 50-64
  • People 65 and older
  • People with annual earnings of less than $30,000
  • People with annual earnings between $30,000 and $74,999
  • People with annual earnings of over $75,000
  • People with a college degree
  • People without a college degree

Even stock investors ranked real estate number one. According to the report:

“With housing prices showing a steadier path upward in recent months, even stock investors are about as likely…to choose real estate (37%) as stocks (32%) as the best long-term investment.”

This Friday, I will be posting an infographic showing additional findings revealed in the report.

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Billionaire: Buy a Home… And if You Can, Buy a Second Home!

Billionaire: Buy a Home… And if You Can, Buy a Second Home! | Simplifying The Market

Three years ago, John Paulson gave a keynote address at the CNBC/Institutional Investor Conference. In his speech, he told those in attendance that he believes housing will continue its strong recovery for the next 4 to 7 years, saying that:

“The housing market has bottomed. It’s not too late to get involved. I still think buying a home is the best investment any individual can make. Affordability is still at an all-time high.”

When asked how the average person could take advantage of the current real estate market at the time, Paulson said:

“Buy a home and, if you can, buy a second home.”

Two years ago, Paulson reiterated his statement, saying:

“I still think, from an individual perspective, the best deal investment you can make is to buy a primary residence that you’re the owner-occupier of.”

Who is John Paulson and why should you listen to him?

Paulson is the person who, back in 2005 & 2006, made a fortune betting that the subprime mortgage mess would cause the real estate market to collapse. He understands how the housing market works and knows when to buy and when to sell.

What do others think of Paulson?

According to Forbes, John Paulson is:

“A multibillionaire hedge fund operator and the investment genius.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Paulson is:

“A hedge fund tycoon who made his name, and a fortune, betting against subprime mortgages when no one else even knew what they were.” 

So… Is what he said still true?

The core reasons behind Paulson’s statements still ring true today, but why does he believe homeownership is such a great investment?

Paulson broke down the math of homeownership as an investment:

1. “Today financing costs are extraordinarily low.”

The latest numbers from Freddie Mac show us that you can still get a 30-year mortgage at historically low rates of under 4%.

2. “And if you put down, let’s say, 10 percent and the house is up 5 percent,” as many experts predict, “then you would be up 50 percent on your investment.”

How many are seeing a 50% return on a cash investment right now?

Paulson goes on to compare the long term financial benefits of owning versus renting:

3. “And you’ve locked in the cost over the next 30 years. And today the cost of owning is somewhat less than the cost of renting. And if you rent, the rent goes up every year. But if you buy a 30-year mortgage, the cost is fixed.”

Bottom Line

Whenever a billionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This billionaire gave simple advice – if you don’t yet live in your own home, go buy one.

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Investment Home Sales Rebound in 2015 [INFOGRAPHIC]

Investment Home Sales Rebound in 2015 | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • 2015 marks the first year-over-year increase in investment home sales since 2011.
  • 62% of all investment homes purchased were single family homes.
  • The South saw the highest percentage of investment home sales (39%) with the West coming in second (28%).

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Investors: More Sales and Higher Prices

Investors: More Sales and Higher Prices | Simplifying The Market

The National Association of Realtors recently released their 2016 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey. The survey revealed many characteristics of both vacation home purchasers and investors. Two weeks ago, we posted on the vacation home market. Today, we want to concentrate on the investor real estate market.

The survey revealed that investment-home sales in 2015 jumped 7.0 percent to an estimated 1.09 million from 1.02 million in 2014.

Investors: More Sales and Higher Prices | Simplifying The Market

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist discussed the increase in the number of sales:

“Despite a smaller share of distressed properties coming onto the market, investment purchases reversed course in 2015 after declining for four straight years. Steadily increasing home prices and strong rental demand appear to be giving more individual investors assurance that purchasing real estate will diversify their portfolios and generate additional income if they decide to rent out the home.”  

Prices Are Also Up

The price paid by investors also increased in 2015 by 15.3%.

Investors: More Sales and Higher Prices | Simplifying The Market

Tomorrow, we will be providing an infographic that will highlight the other findings about investors from the survey.

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One More Time… You Do Not Need 20% Down To Buy NOW

One More Time… You Do Not Need 20% Down To Buy NOW | Simplifying The Market

A survey by Ipsos found that the American public is still somewhat confused about what is actually necessary to qualify for a home mortgage loan in today’s housing market. The study pointed out two major misconceptions that we want to address today. 

1. Down Payment

The survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 36% think a 20% down payment is always required. In actuality, there are many loans written with a down payment of 3% or less.

Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.

2. FICO Scores

The survey also reported that two-thirds of the respondents believe they need a very good credit score to buy a home, with 45 percent thinking a “good credit score” is over 780. In actuality, the average FICO scores of approved conventional and FHA mortgages are much lower.

The average conventional loan closed in March had a credit score of 753, while FHA mortgages closed with a 685 score. The average across all loans closed in March was 722. The graph below shows how the average FICO Score required has come down over the last 12 months and has stayed around 722 for the last six months.

FICO Score Distribution | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

If you are a prospective buyer who is ‘ready’ and ‘willing’ to act now, but are not sure if you are ‘able’ to, sit down with a professional who can help you understand your true options.

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