Market Info

Buying Is Now 33.1% Cheaper Than Renting in the US

The results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

The updated numbers actually show that the range is an average of 3.5% less expensive in San Jose (CA), all the way up to 50.1% less expensive in Baton Rouge (LA), and 33.1% nationwide!

Other interesting findings in the report include:

  • Interest rates have remained low and, even though home prices have appreciated around the country, they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation.
  • With rents & home values moving in tandem, shifts in the ‘rent vs. buy’ decision are largely driven by changes in mortgage interest rates.
  • Nationally, rates would have to reach 9.1%, a 128% increase over today’s average of 4.0%, for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates haven’t been that high since January of 1995, according to Freddie Mac.

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. If you are one of the many renters out there who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, let's get together to find your dream home.

 

Are Home Prices Approaching Bubble Territory?

As home values continue to rise, some are questioning whether we are approaching another housing bubble. Zillow just reported that:

“National home values have surpassed the peak hit during the housing bubble and are at their highest value in more than a decade.”

Though that statement is correct, we must realize that just catching prices of a decade ago does not mean we are at bubble numbers. Here is a graph of median prices as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Are Home Prices Approaching Bubble Territory? | MyKCM

We can see that prices rose during the early 2000s, fell during the crash and have risen since 2013.

However, let’s assume there was no housing bubble and crash and that home prices appreciated at normal historic levels (3.6% annually) over the last ten years.

Here is a graph comparing actual price appreciation (tan bars) with what prices would have been with normal appreciation (blue bars).

Are Home Prices Approaching Bubble Territory? | MyKCM

Bottom Line

As we can see, had there not been a boom and bust, home values would essentially be where they are right now.

 

Mortgage Interest Rates Went Up | Market Update March 2017

March 14, 2017

The spring market is off to a very strong start this year in the communities North of Boston, MA.  The uncertainty of mortgage rates are causing many buyers to feel a high level of urgency. While it is a sellers market, depending on the type of home, location and price point, the level of demand can vary greatly.  Many homes are selling within days, while others a few weeks. Some homes are receiving a few offers selling for close to asking and others  are getting 15+, selling for tens of thousands over.

If you are in the market to move in the Suburbs North of Boston, call us to today to make sense of this crazy market.   For sellers, pricing, preparation, strategy, and understanding the nuances of navigating a bidding war is critical for taking advantage of this market to get top dollar.  For buyers, this market can be extremely frustrating!   it is crucial to understand the market climate you are in. It is just as important to understand strategies on getting an offer accepted in a bidding war as well as knowing when it is unnecessary to outbid yourself, and over pay by thousands, when you arent competing with other buyers.

 

 

 

Mortgage Interest Rates Went Up Again… Should I Wait to Buy?

Mortgage interest rates, as reported by Freddie Mac, have increased over the last several weeksFreddie Mac, along with Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors, is calling for mortgage rates to continue to rise over the next four quarters.

This has caused some purchasers to lament the fact they may no longer be able to get a rate below 4%. However, we must realize that current rates are still at historic lows.

Here is a chart showing the average mortgage interest rate over the last several decades.

Bottom Line

Though you may have missed getting the lowest mortgage rate ever offered, you can still get a better interest rate than your older brother or sister did ten years ago, a lower rate than your parents did twenty years ago, and a better rate than your grandparents did forty years ago.

Where Are the Home Prices Heading in the Next 5 Years?

 

Today, many real estate conversations center on housing prices and where they may be headed. That is why we like the Home Price Expectation Survey.

Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment & market strategists about where they believe prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.

The results of their latest survey:

Home values will appreciate by 4.4% over the course of 2017, 3.4% in 2018, 2.8% in 2019, 2.7% in 2020, and 2.8% in 2021. That means the average annual appreciation will be 3.22% over the next 5 years.

Where Are the Home Prices Heading in the Next 5 Years? | MyKCM

The prediction for cumulative appreciation fell from 21.4% to 17.3% by 2021. The experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey are projecting a cumulative appreciation of 6.3%.

Where Are the Home Prices Heading in the Next 5 Years? | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Individual opinions make headlines. We believe this survey is a fairer depiction of future values.

 

 

Attention First-Time Buyers: Here's the Key Stuff You Don't Know About Mortgages

When it comes to mortgages, there’s a big gap between what people thinkthey need in order to get one and the reality of what buyers are successfully doing—especially young people.

f

You Don't Know I know, I know, I’ve written on down payments before (like last month, when I highlighted that putting 20% down isn’t the norm).About Mortgages!

But you know what? When it comes to what might be the biggest purchase of your life—one that can be incredibly intimidating for first-time buyers—it’s nice to know real facts. And in the mortgage market, reality is very often different from perception. Or, for that matter, myth.

Last week, the National Association of Realtors® issued its 2017 Aspiring Home Buyers Profile report. The report cites data from surveys taken in the third quarter of 2016 about down payments.

The report summarized that 39% of nonowners believe they need more than 20% for a down payment on a home, 26% believe they need to put down 15% to 20%, and 22% believe a down payment of 10% to 14% would work.

 

So on average, those nonowners thought a down payment would need to be about 16%. The reality? The average down payment on purchase mortgages in 2016 was 11%.

In fact, when we drill into the purchase mortgages taken out by people under 35, who represent the majority of first-time buyers, we see the average down payment was even lower, at just under 8%. In other words, aspiring first-time buyers think it takes twice as much to buy a home than it really does.

Perception, meet reality

But averages can be misleading, right? Especially when there is a wide distribution, like we observe with down payments. When we dig into what actually happened in 2016 we find that most young people buy homes with … less than 5% down. That’s less than one-third of what the average nonowner had assumed! 

As with many things in life, the most correct answer to the question of how much you need to put down is “it depends.” There are a slew of important factors like who you are, your financial circumstances, the home’s location, and the price of the home.

It is possible to buy a home with a mortgage with no money down. VA and USDA loans are the most popular loans that offer the ability to put no money down. In 2016, 16% of buyers under 35 put no money down.

The largest share (36%) of loans for buyers under 35 in 2016 was for people putting down something less than 5%. The options there include loans offered through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but also 3% down payment programs backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (aka conforming loans). And, of course, this includes the traditional 3.5% FHA mortgage that is primarily targeted to first-time buyers.

More than half of young people who successfully bought a home with a mortgage in 2016 put at most 5% down. The average dollar amount for these buyers was $3,500. That’s right, if you have #FOMO from your friends buying homes, the majority of them are putting down just a few thousand dollars.

How are they doing it? The aforementioned mortgage products (conforming, FHA, VA, and USDA) represent almost 99% of the mortgages to people under 35 in 2016. There is nothing exotic about this.

And it doesn’t require perfect credit, just fair credit. The average FICO was 713, and the floor we observed in FICOs (below which very few mortgages were made) was 639.

Put that all together and you can see that for the millennial dreaming of buying a home this year, you need a FICO score of at least 639 and enough money that you could put down at most 5%. If you live in a typical American town, what you need could be as little as $3,500.

That sounds a lot more attainable than most people think. The truth is out there! Take advantage of it.

How to Refinance a Mortgage?and Why a Refi Might Be Right for You

 

Even after you’ve landed a loan and bought your dream home, that’s not where your knowledge of mortgages should end. For one, you’ll want to know the ins and outs of how to refinance a mortgage—info which can come in handy for a variety of reasons.

Yet beware—make a wrong move when you refinance, and you could easily get in over your head. That’s why in this final installment of our Stress-Free Guide to Getting a Mortgage, we highlight the right (and wrong) ways to tap into your home equity.

What is home equity?

Your home equity is the current market value of your home, minus the amount you owe on your mortgage. While paying down your mortgage will increase your home equity, the value of your home can rise (or fall) and increase (or decrease) your home equity, too. (Here’s how you can can get an estimate of how much your home is worth.)

What is a refi?

When you refinance your mortgage, you’re essentially applying for a new loan. Once again, you’ll be subject to complete documentation and verification of your income, assets, debt-to-income ratio, credit score, and job history. Your house will need to appraise for enough value to support the new loan. You will also need to either pay closing costs, which run anywhere from 2% to 7% of the home’s sales price, or opt for a no-cost refinance, where your lender covers the closing costs but you get a slightly higher interest rate on your new loan.

Whether you use the same lender is entirely up to you, says Jordan Dobbs, a loan officer at Washington First Mortgage in Rockville, MD. Even if you were happy with your original lender, it could be beneficial to shop around and compare your loan options.

4 reasons to refinance

There are several things that could prompt you to refinance:

  1. To get a lower interest rate. Many people want to refinance when interest rates are lower so that they can lower their monthly mortgage payments and, consequently, pay less in interest over the life of the loan. If that’s the case, you’d want to look at your potential closing costs and calculate your break-even point to determine whether it makes sense to refinance, since you’re also resetting the clock in terms of the life of your mortgage. You can use realtor.com®’s refinance calculator to crunch the numbers of your own mortgage and see how much you’d save. (One rule of thumb says that if your interest rate is more than 1% above current rates, refinancing is a smart move.)
  2. To get a different type of mortgage. Some borrowers want to refinance an adjustable-rate mortgage into a fixed-rate loan, while others want to reduce their loan term from a 30-year loan to a 10-, 15-, or 20-year loan in order to pay it off faster and save money over the long haul.
  3. To stop paying mortgage insurance. If you didn’t have enough cash to make a 20% down payment when you purchased your home, you were likely forced to get mortgage insurance—a monthly premium that typically costs between 0.3% and 1.15% of your home loan. Refinancing to a loan without mortgage insurance can save you hundreds of dollars each month, but you’ll need to have at least 20% equity in your home to qualify, says Dobbs.
  4. To tap into the home’s equity. People also refinance because they want to take cash out of their property, which is often done to make home improvements, pay for college, consolidate debt, or make a down payment on a second home. If you decide to go that route, you can choose between a home equity loan and a home equity line of credit (or HELOC).

What’s the difference between a home equity loan and a HELOC?

Although these two loan products sound similar, they’re significantly different. With a home equity loan, you decide how much you want to borrow and then make monthly payments, similar to a regular mortgage. Thus, with a home equity loan you avoid the temptation to overspend, because you’ll be borrowing a set amount. Also, because the interest rate is usually fixed, you have peace of mind knowing that the payments will remain the same.

A home equity line of credit, or HELOC, meanwhile, functions more like a credit card, because it allows you to borrow up to a certain amount (typically 75% to 85% of the home’s appraised value, minus what you still owe on your home) on an as-needed basis over the term of the loan (usually 5 to 20 years). In fact, your lender will actually issue you a plastic card that you can use to access the money easily. A HELOC works well if you want to borrow money but don’t know exactly how much you’ll need (a common conundrum when making home improvements).

The main drawback to HELOCs? Unlike with home equity loans, interest rates on HELOCs are variable, which means they fluctuate depending on market conditions. And while many lenders offer a low “introduction” rate, it lasts only for a matter of months; after that, the interest rates will adjust—and continue to readjust—which could create problems if you don’t prepare for the potentially higher payments. So be sure to weigh these pros and cons before you start chipping away at the equity you’ve gained.

 

 

Prices Rose 7.1% Year-Over-Year

 

Prices rose in MA 4.7%.  While it is less than the national average, the Boston market remains more stable than a lot of markets in the US, and saw less depreciation compared to many others during the downturn. 

 

Some Highlights:

  • CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index shows that prices rose by 7.1% across the United States year-over-year.
  • With mortgage interest rates rising in the short term, CoreLogic believes price appreciation will slow to 4.7% by this time next year.
  • 49 out of 50 states, and the District of Columbia, all had positive appreciation over the last 12 months, with the only exception being the state of Connecticut, which experienced a -0.5% appreciation.

Comments

  1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

Fed Hikes Rates: The Mortgage Impact

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2016 

The Federal Reserve hiked short-term interest rates Wednesday, in a move largely predicted by economists. So, what does this mean for mortgage rates and buyers?

Read moreFed Warns About a 'New Housing Crisis'

First off, the Fed does not set mortgage rates. Short-term rates are different from long-term rates. Mortgage rates typically follow long-term bond rates, such as the 10-year U.S. Treasury note. Longer-term rates typically adjust before the Fed makes a move.

Indeed, mortgage rates have risen near to 60 basis points since the presidential election. More than twice the quarter-point increase that the Fed voted on Wednesday.

The Fed announced that it expects to raise short-term rates three times next year by a total of 75 basis points.

“That means rates like we’ve seen for most of the past five years are indeed history,” writes Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist, in his latest column. Mortgage rates in the 3 percent range are gone.  

“Mortgage rates will move higher before the Fed acts again, so if the Fed carries out its three planned hikes in 2017, we could come close to 5 percent on 30-year conforming rates before the end of next year,” Smoke notes.

On Wednesday, the average 30-year conforming rate was just under 4.2 percent.

Smoke believes that rates are more likely to move in the month ahead of each key Fed policy meeting. As such, the important meetings to note are in March, June, September, and December 2017.

How big of an impact could rising rates have in the coming months? A median-priced home would be $978 per month payment at Wednesday’s rate of 4.2 percent (and assuming a 20 percent down payment), realtor.com® notes. Take that rate to 5 percent, the monthly payment jumps up to $1,074, nearly $100 more.

“If you intend to buy next year and finance the purchase with a mortgage, acting sooner rather than later will cost you less,” Smoke says is the message to home buyers.

Source: “Fed’s Rate Hike Confirms It: Time Is Running Out on Low Mortgage Rates,” realtor.com® (Dec. 15, 2016)