Foreclosure Rate Drops to Pre-Crisis Levels [INFOGRAPHIC]

Foreclosure Rate Drops to Pre-Crisis Levels [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Only 2.9% of homes are in serious delinquency, down 17.1% from July 2015.
  • This is the 57th consecutive month with a year-over-year decline.
  • The national foreclosure rate has returned to August 2007 levels, at only 0.9%.

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5 Stats that Prove the Real Estate Market is Getting Stronger

5 Stats that Prove the Real Estate Market is Getting Stronger | Simplifying The Market

Whenever there is talk about an improving housing market, some begin to show concern that we may be headed toward another housing bubble that will be followed by a crash similar to the one we saw last decade.

Here are five data points that show the housing market will continue to recover, and that a new housing crisis is not about to take shape.

1) Mortgage availability is increasing, but is nowhere near the levels we saw in 2004-2006.

A buyer’s chances of being approved for a mortgage have increased over the last three years; That’s good news for the market. This is not a precursor to another challenge, as many experts maintain that it is still too difficult for many buyers to attain house financing.

As Jonathan Smoke, the Chief Economist of realtor.com, recently explained:

“The havoc during the last cycle was the result…of speculation fueled by loose credit. That’s the exact opposite of what we have today.”

2) The Housing Affordability Index, which measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home, based on the most recent price and income data. The current index shows that it is more affordable to buy a home today than at any other time between 1990 and 2008. With median incomes finally beginning to rise, houses should continue to remain affordable and housing demand should remain strong.

3) Home prices are well within historic norms. Prices have increased substantially over the last several years; However, those increases followed the housing crash of 2008 and national prices are still not back to 2006 levels. If there were no bubble (and subsequent bust), today’s prices would actually be lower than if they were measured by historic appreciation levels from 1987-1999.

4) Demand for housing, as measured by new household formations, is growing. The Urban Land Institute projects that 5.95 million new households will be formed over the next three years. Even if the homeownership rate drops to 60%, that would be over 3.5 million new homeowners entering the market.

5) New home starts are finally beginning to increase. This helps eliminate the number one challenge in the industry – lack of inventory. And it does so in two ways:

  1. Some first time buyers will, in fact, purchase a newly constructed home.
  2. Many current homeowners will move-up (or move-down) to a new construction and then put their current home on the market.

This means that there will be an increase in both new construction and existing home inventories.

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76% Of US Homeowners Now Have at Least 20% Equity in Their Homes!

76% Of US Homeowners Now Have at Least 20% Equity in Their Homes! | Simplifying The Market

CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 91.1% of all mortgaged properties are now in a positive equity situation, while 75.9% now have significant equity (defined as more than 20%)! The report also revealed that 548,000 households regained equity in the second quarter of 2016 and are no longer under water.

Price Appreciation = Good News for Homeowners

Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, explains:

“Home-value gains have played a large part in restoring home equity. The CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI) for the U.S. recorded 5.2 percent growth in the year through June, an important reason that the number of owners with negative equity fell by 850,000 in the second quarter from a year earlier.”

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

“We see home prices rising another 5 percent in the coming year based on the latest projected national CoreLogic Home Price Index. Assuming this growth is uniform across the U.S., that should release an additional 700,000 homeowners from the scourge of negative equity.”

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

76% Of US Homeowners Now Have at Least 20% Equity in Their Homes! | 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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Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Using an Agent When Selling Your Home

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Using an Agent When Selling Your Home | Simplifying The Market

When a homeowner decides to sell their house, they obviously want the best possible price with the least amount of hassles. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is to actually get the home sold.

In order to accomplish all three goals, a seller should realize the importance of using a real estate professional. We realize that technology has changed the purchaser’s behavior during the home buying process. For the past three years, 92% of all buyers have used the internet in their home search according to the National Association of Realtors’ most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers.

However, the report also revealed that 95% percent of buyers that used the internet when searching for a home purchased their home through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% purchased their home directly from a seller whom the buyer didn’t know.

Buyers search for a home online, but then depend on an agent to find the actual home they will buy (53%), to negotiate the terms of the sale & price (48%), or to help understand the process (60%).

The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers that reach out to real estate professionals to “connect the dots.” This is obvious, as the percentage of overall buyers who used an agent to buy their home has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling your home, don’t underestimate the role a real estate professional can play in the process.

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50% of Houses sold in 36 Days or Less in July [INFOGRAPHIC]

50% of Houses sold in 36 Days or Less in July [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

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 60 days in 38 out of 50 states and Washington D.C.
  • Homes sold in less than 30 days in 17 states

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Mortgage Standards Easing TOO MUCH? NO!!

Mortgage Standards Easing TOO MUCH? NO!! | Simplifying The Market

There is no doubt that getting a mortgage is easier today than it was right after the housing crash a decade ago. However, the easing of credit availability has led to some questioning of whether or not we are headed for another housing crisis.

Let’s put everything into the proper perspective.

Mortgage Credit Availability Over the Last Three Years

Getting a home mortgage has definitely gotten easier over the last three years as evidenced by the Mortgage Credit Availability Index, issued by the Mortgage Bankers Association, in the following graph (the higher the index, the easier it is to get a mortgage):

Mortgage Standards Easing TOO MUCH? NO!! | Simplifying The Market

However, if we look further back at the index we see quite a different story.

Mortgage Credit Availability Today Compared to 2006

The graph below shows the index going back to 2004, and the first graph we showed you above is represented by the small, orange, triangular section all the way in the lower-right corner.

Mortgage Standards Easing TOO MUCH? NO!! | Simplifying The Market

As this visual easily illustrates, today’s index is nowhere near the levels it shot up to in 2006.

Bottom Line

Mortgage credit is definitely easing. However, we are not coming close to the lax standards that caused the housing crisis of last decade.

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Home Prices Up 5.61% Across The Country! [INFOGRAPHIC]

Home Prices Up 5.61% Across The Country! [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently released their latest Quarterly Home Price Index report.
  • In the report, home prices are compared both regionally and by state.
  • Based on the latest numbers, if you plan on relocating to another state, waiting to move may end up costing you more!
  • Vermont was the only one state where home prices are actually lower than they were last year.

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New Construction Numbers: Now Versus 2005

New Construction Numbers: Now Versus 2005 | Simplifying The Market

There is some thinking that the pace of the housing recovery is unsustainable and that we may be heading for another housing bubble. However, Jonathan Smoke, the Chief Economist of realtor.com explains the basic difference between 2005 and today:

“The havoc during the last cycle was the result of building too many homes and of speculation fueled by loose credit. That’s the exact opposite of what we have today.”

If we look at the number of new single family housing starts over the last 30 years, we can see that the numbers of housing starts during the current recovery (2012-Today) are still way below historic averages, and are far less than the numbers built during the run-up to the housing bubble (2002-2006).

New Construction Numbers: Now Versus 2005 | Simplifying The Market

A single family housing start is defined as “the number of permits issued for construction of new single family housing units. Housing starts are an important economic indicator due to its extensive spill over benefits for the other sectors of the economy (retail, manufacturing, utilities).”

Bottom Line

Current demand for housing actually calls for more new construction to be built – not less. We should at least return to historically normal levels.

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Is the Current Pace of Home Sales Sustainable?

Is the Current Pace of Home Sales Sustainable? | Simplifying The Market

There are some experts questioning whether the current pace of residential home sales is sustainable. Are too many people buying homes like in 2004-2006? Are we headed for another housing crisis? Actually, if we look closely at the numbers, we can see that we are looking at a very healthy real estate market.

Why the concern?

Some are looking at the last three years of home sales and comparing them to the three years just prior to the housing bubble. Looking at the graph below, we can understand that thinking.

Is the Current Pace of Home Sales Sustainable? | Simplifying The Market

However, if we go further back in history, we can see the real picture. After taking out the “boom & bust” years, the pace of sales is growing at a quite natural pace.

Is the Current Pace of Home Sales Sustainable? | Simplifying The Market

And new home sales are way below historic numbers. Trulia’s Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin explains:

“Adjusted for population, [new home sales] are at about 63% of their fifty-year average level—way better than 2011, but nowhere near heated.”

Bottom Line

The current pace of residential home sales definitely seems sustainable.

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5 Reasons to Sell This Fall

5 Reasons to Sell This Fall | Simplifying The Market

School is back in session, the holidays are right around the corner, you might not think that now is the best time to sell your house. But with inventory below historic numbers and demand still strong, you could be missing out on a great opportunity for your family.

Here are five reasons why you should consider selling your house this fall: 

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Realtors’ Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now!

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

According to NAR’s latest Existing Home Sales Report, the supply of homes for sale is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market at 4.7-months.

This means, in most areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market this fall.

Also, as builders regain confidence in the market, new construction of single-family homes is projected to continue to increase over the next two years, reaching historic levels by 2017. Last month’s new home sales numbers show that many buyers who have not been able to find their dream home within the existing inventory have turned to new construction to fulfill their needs.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Fannie Mae announced that they anticipate an acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007’s pace. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing-time lines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker & simpler. 

4. 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 5.3% over the next year, according to CoreLogic. 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.

According to Freddie Mac’s latest report, you can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate around 3.46% right now. Interest rates are projected to increase moderately over the next 12 months. Even a small increase in rate will have a big impact on your housing cost.

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

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire. 

That is what is truly important.

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