74% of Households in the US Now Have Significant Equity!

74% of Households in the US Now Have Significant Equity! | Simplifying The Market

CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 92% of all mortgaged properties are now in a positive equity situation, while 74% now actually have significant equity (defined as more than 20%)! The report also revealed that 268,000 households regained equity in the first quarter of 2016 and are no longer under water.

Price Appreciation = Good News for Homeowners

Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, explains:

“In just the last four years, equity for homeowners with a mortgage has nearly doubled to $6.9 trillion. The rapid increase in home equity reflects the improvement in home prices, dwindling distressed borrowers and increased principal repayment.  

These are all positive factors that will provide support to both household balance sheets and the overall economy.” 

Anand Nallathambi, President & CEO of CoreLogic, believes this is a great sign for the market in 2016 as well, as he had this to say:

“More than 1 million homeowners have escaped the negative equity trap over the past year. We expect this positive trend to continue over the balance of 2016 and into next year as home prices continue to rise.  

Nationally, the CoreLogic Home Price Index was up 5.5% year over year through the first quarter. If home values rise another 5% uniformly across the U.S., the number of underwater borrowers will fall by another one million during the next year.” 

Below is a map illustrating the percentage of households in each state with significant equity: 

74% of Households in the US Now Have Significant Equity! | Simplifying The Market

Many homeowners with more than 20% equity in their home would be able to use that equity as a down payment on either a larger home or even a retirement home.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many Americans who are unsure of how much equity you have in your home, don’t let that be the reason you fail to move on to your dream home this year!

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Foreclosure Rate Drops to New Post-Crisis Low [INFOGRAPHIC]

Foreclosure Rate Drops to New Post-Crisis Low [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • According to CoreLogic, the national foreclosure rate dropped to 1.1% of all homes with a mortgage. This is the lowest percentage experienced since October 2007.
  • April marked the 54th consecutive month of year-over-year declines in foreclosure inventory.
  • Only 3% of homes in the United States are in serious delinquency. More and more homeowners are escaping negative equity as prices rise.

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What’s Happening in the Real Estate Market?

What’s Happening in the Real Estate Market? | Simplifying the Market

This is a pretty common question that a potential home buyer or seller may be asking themselves. Leading economists in real estate converged in New Orleans this past week as they presented their answer to this question at the 50th Annual Real Estate Journalism Conference for the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

Here are the top takeaways from the week of presentations:

Many of the conversations at the conference came back to the impact that Millennials and first-time home buyers will have on the market in the future. Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist for realtor.com had this to say: 

“At any given time in our history, demographics would explain 60-80% of what’s happening [in the market], and we are in a period of time where Millennials make up a largest demographic group according to the Census, at 84 million.”

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median first-time home buyer age is 30 and many millennials are entering a prime age to drive the housing market into the future.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for NAR shared that myths and affordability may be holding back potential buyers:

“84% of current renters have the desire to own. While 36% believe they cannot afford a home and 60% of renters believe it would be ‘difficult’ to qualify for a mortgage.

Ellie Mae’s Vice President, Jonas Moe encouraged buyers to know their options before assuming that they do not qualify for a mortgage: 

“Many potential home buyers are ‘disqualifying’ themselves. You don’t need a 750 FICO Score and a 20% down payment to buy.”

The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) revealed that Millennials and Baby Boomers are often competing for the same housing inventory, causing a challenge as these two groups are the largest generations by population.

Both groups are looking for affordable, convenient homes close to city centers and ‘what’s happening.’

Bottom Line

The experts agree that homeownership is still desirable across all demographic groups, with Millennials and Baby Boomers having a great impact on available supply. If your dreams include owning your own home, let’s get together and evaluate your ability to buy now!

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Here Comes the Housing Inventory!!

Here Comes the Housing Inventory!! | Simplifying The Market

Almost every real estate conversation revolves around the continuous rise in house values over the last four years. Some have even mentioned a concern about another possible bubble forming. However, the recent increase in prices can be attributed to a very simple principle: supply and demand.

DEMAND

Demand for single-family housing has continued to increase as the economy slowly moves forward. Recent surveys have shown that over 80% of each generation still believes that homeownership is a part of the American Dream. And a recent Gallup survey showed that Americans believe that real estate is the best long-term investment.

SUPPLY

Over the last several years, many homeowners were unable to put their homes on the market for an assortment of reasons (family finances, no or limited equity in the home). There has been a pent-up supply of sellers who have wanted to move but couldn’t. Below is a graph depicting the number of years families have historically stayed in a home. We can see there is pent-up seller demand.

Here Comes the Housing Inventory!! | Simplifying The Market

As the economy improves and more families reach the point of significant equity (20%), we will see these homes come to market. As supply then matches demand, the acceleration of home price increases will begin to slow.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the families that have been chained to your current home over the last 5-7 years, now may be the time to break free and find the home of your dreams.

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US Housing Market Swings in Favor of Homeownership

US Housing Market Swings in Favor of Homeownership | Simplifying The Market

According to the latest Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index, homeownership is a better way to produce greater wealth, on average, than renting. The results from the first quarter index showed that “16 of the 23 metropolitan markets investigated moved in the direction of buy territory.”

The BH&J Index is a quarterly report that attempts to answer the question: 

Is it better to rent or buy a home in today’s housing market?

“The U.S. housing market, when considered as a whole, has swung marginally more in favor of home ownership over renting a comparable property and investing monthly rent savings in a portfolio of stocks and bonds.”

The latest results were released shortly after the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which reported that home prices had climbed 5.4% nationally since March 2015.

Ken Johnson Ph.D., Real Estate Economist & Professor at Florida Atlantic University, and one of the index’s authors states:

“This [growth] appears to be driven by a steady but strengthening job market, rising rents relative to rising ownership costs and recent slower growth in traditional financial portfolios consisting of stocks and bonds.”

Dallas and Denver are two of the major cities that continued to move deeper into rent territory, but they moved at a slower rate than they had in previous quarters. Johnson believes that, in these two markets, “strong economic support…should make for a soft landing in terms of slowing property price growth, increased marketing time for properties and lower probabilities that sellers will actually transact and close during a given marketing effort of their property.”

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. Rents are predicted to increase substantially in the next year, so lock in your housing cost with a mortgage payment now.

To Find Out More About the Study: The BH&J Index and other FAU real estate activities are sponsored by Investments Limited of Boca Raton. The BH&J Index is published quarterly and is available online at http://business.fau.edu/buyvsrent.

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Harvard: 5 Reasons Why Owning A Home Makes Sense Financially

Harvard: 5 Reasons Why Owning A Home Makes Sense Financially| Simplifying The Market

We have reported many times that the American Dream of homeownership is alive and well. The personal reasons to own a home differ for each buyer, but there are many basic similarities.

Eric Belsky is the Managing Director of the Joint Center of Housing Studies (JCHS) at Harvard University. He authored a paper on homeownership titled – The Dream Lives On: The Future of Homeownership in America. In his paper, Belsky reveals five financial reasons why people should consider buying a home.

Here are the five reasons, each followed by an excerpt from the study: 

1) Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available.

“Few households are interested in borrowing money to buy stocks and bonds and few lenders are willing to lend them the money. As a result, homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. Even a hefty 20 percent down payment results in a leverage factor of five so that every percentage point rise in the value of the home is a 5 percent return on their equity. With many buyers putting 10 percent or less down, their leverage factor is 10 or more.”

2) You’re paying for housing whether you own or rent.

“Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord.” 

3) Owning is usually a form of “forced savings.”

“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”

4) There are substantial tax benefits to owning.

“Homeowners are able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from income…On top of all this, capital gains up to $250,000 are excluded from income for single filers and up to $500,000 for married couples if they sell their homes for a gain.”

5) Owning is a hedge against inflation.

“Housing costs and rents have tended over most time periods to go up at or higher than the rate of inflation, making owning an attractive proposition. 

Bottom Line

We realize that homeownership makes sense for many Americans for an assortment of social and family reasons. It also makes sense financially. If you are considering a purchase this year, let’s get together and evaluate your ability to do so.

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Home Prices Up 5.67% Across The Country! [INFOGRAPHIC]

Home Prices Up 5.67% Across The Country! | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Across the country, home prices are up by 5.67%.
  • Each state is appreciating at a different rate, however, which is important to realize if you plan on relocating to a different state.
  • Regionally, prices have appreciated year-over-year by as high as 8.15%.

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Serious About Home Buying? Get Pre-Approved

Serious About Home Buying? Get Pre-Approved | Simplifying The Market

In many markets across the country, the amount of buyers searching for their dream home greatly outnumbers the amount of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

But even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence to know if your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac describes the 4 Cs that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity:Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves:The money, savings and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral:The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit:Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Bottom Line

Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so as well.

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Single Women Make Up 2nd Largest Home Buying Group

Single Women Make Up 2nd Largest Home Buying Group | Simplifying The Market

According to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, single women made up 18% of all first-time homebuyers last year, second only to married couples who made up 54% of total buyers.

Whether they are young, single and no longer want to rent, or newly divorced, the amount of single women becoming homeowners greatly outnumbers single males (11%). A survey of recent home buyers revealed some interesting trends about this rapidly growing group:

  • Average Age: 32 years old
  • Average Income: $49,400
  • Single women are more likely to become preapproved for a mortgage in order to know their budget at the beginning of the home buying process and to be able to make a move if they find their dream home.
  • Many female homebuyers think long-term when considering buying a home, often considering what amenities they may need in the near future.

“So what do women like best about homeownership? They believe that they are investing in their future by building equity and financial security. They are also very happy to no longer be paying their landlord’s mortgage payment. Being independent and having control over their environment is a key factor.”

It appears that it is not marriage before mortgage any longer, for either gender. As we reported yesterday, unmarried couples make up 13% of buyers, while single males account for 11%.

Bottom Line

If owning a home of your own has always been your dream, let’s get together to determine if your dream could become a reality sooner than you think.

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Is Your First Home Within Your Grasp Now?

Is Your First Home Within Your Grasp Now? | Simplifying The Market

There are many people sitting on the sidelines trying to decide if they should purchase a home or sign a rental lease. Some might wonder if it makes sense to purchase a house before they are married and have a family. Others may think they are too young. And still others might think their current income would never enable them to qualify for a mortgage.

We want to share what the typical first-time homebuyer actually looks like based on the National Association of REALTORS most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers. Here are some interesting revelations on the first time buyer:

Is Your First Home Within Your Grasp Now? | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

You may not be much different than many people who have already purchased their first home. Let’s get together to see if your dream of homeownership can become a reality!

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