Case-Shiller: January Home Price Growth Strong; Pandemic Impact Unknown

Posted in Financial Crisis by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 2nd, 2020

Case-Shiller: January Home Price Growth Strong; Pandemic Impact UnknownUnited States home prices increased by 3.90 percent year-over-year in January as compared to December’s growth rate of 3.70 percent according to Case-Shiller’s National Home Price Index. Home prices also rose in Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index.

20-City Home Price Index: Phoenix Arizona Leads in Home Price Growth

The Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index is followed closely by real estate pros and its trends are used to gauge home price growth within cities included in the index. Phoenix, Arizona led home price growth rates for the eighth consecutive month with a year-over-year growth rate of 6.90 percent. Seattle, Washington followed with year-over-year home price growth of 5.10 percent; Tampa, Florida also reported home price growth of 5.10 percent.

Seattle replaced Las Vegas, Nevada in second place, which showed a comeback for coastal housing markets that lost ground in recent months.

Case-Shiller’s 10-City, 20-City, and National Home Price Indices all posted higher home price growth rates in January. 14 of 20 cities in the 20-City Home Price Index showed faster growth rates for home prices in January than in December. Home price growth was strongest in the South and West; home price growth was weaker in the Midwest and Northeast.

FHFA Reports 5.20 Percent Yearly Home Price Growth in January

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reported 5.20 percent annual home price growth for homes owned or financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. While home prices have been fueled by limited supplies of available homes, demand for homes will likely fall as the coronavirus spreads throughout the U.S.

Local and statewide requirements to limit nonessential activities caused businesses and schools to close and many workers were laid off.  Prospective homebuyers could be sidelined for months if not indefinitely.

Analysts had mixed opinions on how the coronavirus outbreak could impact home prices; if companies and jobs reopen after the virus has passed, housing markets are expected to recover. Because the ultimate length and impact of the pandemic remain unknown, it’s currently impossible to know how housing markets will be impacted.

 

 

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Millions Now Qualify For Home Refinancing To Save Money

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 19th, 2020

Millions Now Qualify For Home Refinancing To Save MoneyTo refinance or not to refinance, that is the question. How do you know when it is an appropriate time to refinance? Many factors influence this decision, besides just the cost of the mortgage loan. Here is a checklist to follow when considering a refinancing opportunity.

Check Your Credit Score

Refinancing is similar to getting the original home loan. The lenders will run a credit check and verify your current income. Your total debt level and your credit history are both important. If you have some “dings” on your credit record, you may be better off staying with the existing mortgage rather than attempting refinancing.

The opposite is also true. If your credit score has significantly improved since the time when you took out a mortgage, you may benefit from refinancing.

Be aware that every time you ask a lender for loan approval, and the lender runs a credit check, the credit inquiry will lower your credit score. It is highly advisable to check your credit history first before applying for any mortgage financing. If there is anything that is not correct in your credit file, then dispute the bad information to improve your credit score.

To get the best rates on mortgage financing, aim for a credit score of above 740, with a debt-to-income ratio of below 75%. The rule of thumb is that for every 20 points that your credit score goes up you will benefit from lower rates.

Private Mortgage Insurance

Another consideration on the checklist is whether you pay private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI is usually a requirement for a low down payment loan. If the equity value that you have in the home increased significantly since the time you bought it, the PMI may no longer be necessary. Sometimes a lender will accept a new appraisal of the home and recalculate the PMI requirements. Ask your lender if they allow this. If they do, you may be able to get rid of the PMI without refinancing.

If a lender will not remove the PMI requirement, and the equity value of the home is substantially higher, then refinancing may be beneficial, if the new loan does not require PMI.

Closing Costs

Covering the closing costs is a mathematical calculation. The amount saved on the monthly mortgage payment needs to be larger than the closing costs on a refinancing loan. The amount of savings depends on how long you plan to own the property. For example, if the closing costs are $3,600 and your monthly saving on the mortgage is $200, the break-even, where you save more than the closing costs, is 18 months later. You should plan to own the property for at least 18 months for this refinance to make financial sense.

Cash Out

Sometimes the benefits of refinancing also include the possibility of taking cash out from the refinancing loan to use for other purposes. If this is the case, consider the savings on the cost of those funds if borrowed elsewhere.

Summary

Those are the things to think about when considering refinancing. Work with a qualified real mortgage broker to get advice if you are not certain about the best thing to do.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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Most Renters Are Paying Far More Than Their Landlord’s Mortgage

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 13th, 2020

Most Renters Are Paying Far More Than Their Landlord's MortgageIn the overwhelming majority of the 50 largest cities across the U.S., monthly rent is more than the mortgage payment for single-family homes. In several cases, much more. 

Global answering service and chat support company Moneypenny compiled data from Zillow on median rent and mortgage payments from July 2014-July 2019.

In order to calculate the monthly mortgage payments, Moneypenny took the median home sale prices during the same time period and in the same major cities and then used nationally-average mortgage terms: 30-year fixed rate at 4% with approximately 6% down. 

Once the two figures — median monthly rent and median monthly mortgage — were calculated for each city, they were compared side-by-side. The data may surprise you. 

From Less Than Half To More Than Triple

In just seven of the 50 cities analyzed, tenants pay less rent than the owner’s mortgage payment each month. In 28 of the cities — well over half, tenants are paying more than 150% of their home’s mortgage. The city with the highest rent-to-mortgage ratio, Miami, shows that renters pay more than 300% of their landlord’s monthly mortgage payment on average.

Rounding out the top five are New York (276%); Riverside, California (231%); Boston (230%); and San Diego (221%). At the opposite end of the spectrum is New Orleans, where tenants pay just 49% of their home’s mortgage each month, followed by Richmond, Virginia (57%), and Kansas City, Missouri (82%). 

An interesting data point is that the median monthly mortgage payment in Miami is $720, while in New Orleans it’s $2,857. 

Not-Necessarily-For-Profit

While it makes perfect sense that rent prices in hot real estate markets are higher, some may still be surprised by the disparity between rental amounts and monthly mortgage payments. However, it’s important to note that even in the cities with the biggest gap, landlords are not necessarily pocketing the excess and enjoying a nice profit. While it’s certainly possible that they may be, homeowners are more likely putting some of that money back into the house in the form of improvements and maintenance, as well as setting some of it aside for large emergency repairs. 

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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The Narrowing Gap Between Renting And Buying A Home In The US

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 10th, 2020

According to data compiled by Realtor.com in the fourth quarter of 2019, it is still more affordable overall to rent versus buy a home — but just barely. The median monthly mortgage payment at the end of 2019 was $1,600, while the median monthly rent payment was $1,319. This is largely due to steadily-increasing rates, rising home prices, and near-record-low mortgage rates.

The Narrowing Gap Between Renting And Buying A Home In The USThe Realtor.com study looked at 593 counties across the country. As compared to the fourth quarter of 2018, the average monthly cost of renting a home increased 4%, up from $1,254, while the average monthly cost of homeownership actually declined 1%, falling from $1,658. These numbers represent exactly 30% of a homeowner’s gross income and 25% for renters, based on median household income. 

A Turning Tide

In a stunning 84% of the 593 counties that were part of the study, renting is less expensive than buying. The average home price in these areas is 260% higher than the national median, while rent prices average about 79% more than the national median. 

Interestingly though, 26 of the 593 counties experienced the opposite for the first time ever: It became more affordable to purchase a home than to rent, even if only by a narrow margin. The largest metropolitan areas in which homeownership is more economical than renting now include Bronx County, New York; the greater Cleveland area; Columbia, South Carolina, and the surrounding areas; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Camden County, New Jersey, which includes Philadelphia, as well as cities in Maryland and Delaware. In 16% of the counties analyzed, buying a home is less expensive monthly than renting, which is up from 12% in 2018. 

On the other end of the spectrum, several large counties made the switch from being more affordable to buy a home to more affordable to rent. The top five include the Wichita Falls, Texas, area; Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Luzerne County, Pennsylvania; the Greensboro, North Carolina metro area; and Craven County, North Carolina. 

With the costs of homeownership becoming more favorable over the past year, the gap between renting and buying a home is more narrow than it ever has been in the U.S. If you are in the market for a new home, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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NAHB: Home Builder Confidence Near 1999 High

Posted in Market Outlook by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 20th, 2020

NAHB Home Builder Confidence Near 1999 HighThe National Association of Home Builders reported a housing market index reading of 74 in February; the index reading was one point lower than for January and was only two points below the highest reading of 76 reported in December. Readings over 50 indicate that most builders consider housing market conditions to be positive.

Factors contributing to builder confidence included strong housing markets and low mortgage rates; job growth and higher wages also boosted builder confidence.

Low Inventory Influences Home Prices

Low inventories of available homes continued to drive demand and rising home prices. Homebuyers faced with low supplies of existing homes turned to new home developments for additional options. First-time homebuyers faced obstacles including affordability and student loan debt that negatively impacted the ability to save for a down payment and qualify for home loans.

High costs of building materials and lots contributed to homebuilder expenses and higher home prices. Analysts noted that environmental and zoning issues also presented challenges for builders and limited their ability to meet the rising demand for affordable single-family homes.

Composite indices used to calculate the Homebuilders Housing Market Index slipped one point in each category. Builder confidence in current market conditions for newly-built single-family homes fell to an index reading of 80 and builder confidence in market conditions over the next six months dipped to 79. Buyer traffic volume in new housing developments dropped to 57, but buyer traffic readings of 50 or more were historically rare until recently.

Analysts identified correlations between the Housing Market Index and readings on consumer sentiment. The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index and the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index readings trend close to the NAHB Housing Market Index but are reported one month behind the Housing Market Index.

Regional Builder Confidence Mixed

Homebuilders reported mixed confidence in housing market conditions throughout the U.S. Market Conditions improved in the Northeast where homebuilder confidence was five points higher at 67. The Midwestern region reported a builder confidence reading of 62, which was five points lower than January’s reading. Homebuilder confidence in the South rose two points to an index reading of 79; homebuilder confidence fell four points in the West to 82.

Regional builder confidence levels reflect local economic conditions and events impacting housing markets.

 

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FOMC Statement: Key Fed Rate Unchanged; Policymakers Monitor Impact of Asian Flu Outbreak

Posted in Market Outlook by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 31st, 2020

FOMC Statement Key Fed Rate Unchanged; Policymakers Monitor Impact of Asian Flu OutbreakThe Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve issued its scheduled post-meeting statement Wednesday. Policymakers unanimously decided to leave the target federal funds rate range unchanged at 1.50 to 1.75 percent.

FOMC members reasserted previous views that inflation was “subdued” and the economy was growing at a moderate pace. The Fed typically bases decisions about interest rates on its dual mandate of achieving maximum employment and an annual inflation rate of 2.00 percent.

U.S. Economy Strong, Fed Chair Sees No Immediate Risk From China

FOMC cut the target interest rate range three times in 2019 to offset higher prices associated with a trade war with China, but the Committee considered recent progress in trade negotiations as an indication that there was no current need for further rate cuts. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said he was not concerned about immediate risks from China.

In its current assessment of economic conditions, the Fed cited a strong labor market and job growth but said that business investments and exports were weak. Core inflation readings, which exclude volatile food and fuel sectors, consistently ran below 2.00 percent. The FOMC changed language in its statement to indicate a goal of achieving an inflation rate of 2.00 percent; previous statements referred to an inflation goal of near 2.00 percent.

Committee members will continue to monitor current and developing economic conditions to determine when or if to change the benchmark interest rate range in future meetings.

Fed Chair: Fed Is Monitoring Potential Impact Of Coronavirus Outbreak

Concerns over trade conflicts with China were overshadowed by an outbreak of a strain of Asian influenza in China. The disease, caused by a coronavirus, is extremely contagious and spreads quickly. This could impact global economic conditions as international air travel and shipping may be limited or stopped to prevent further spread of the virus.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that although the Fed is not worried about an immediate threat, the FOMC members would continue to monitor how and where the current outbreak of Asian influenza spreads to determine if changes to the Fed’s monetary policy positions are necessary. Tensions in the Middle East were not mentioned in the FOMC statement or Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s post-meeting statement.

 

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Case-Shiller Reports Growth In Home Prices In November

Posted in Market Outlook by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 29th, 2020

Case-Shiller Reports Growth In Home Prices In NovemberCase-Shiller Home Price Indices reported that national growth of home prices rose by 0.30 percent in November. Analysts said that slim inventories of available homes boosted home prices. Whether or not home price growth continues gaining speed depends on variables including supplies of homes for sale, affordability and home-buyer confidence in the economy.

Mr. Craig Lazzara, managing director and global head of index investment strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices said, “It is, of course, too soon to say whether this marks an end to the deceleration [of home price growth] or is merely a pause in the longer-term trend.”

Phoenix Holds First Place In Home-Price Growth For 6 Consecutive Months

Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index showed that all cities tracked reported year-over-year growth in home prices after seasonal adjustments. Phoenix, Arizona held the top position with home price growth of 5.90 percent; Charlotte, North Carolina held second place in the 20-City Index with 5.20 percent growth in home prices and Tampa, Florida held third place with year-over-year home price growth of 5.00 percent.

The Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index posted a year-over-year gain of 2.60 percent in November and home prices rose by 0.10 percent in November as compared to October. Case-Shiller reported that home price growth increased by 3.50 percent nationally on a seasonally adjusted annual basis.

Buyers Seeking Affordable Homes Inland

Home-buyers sought less expensive homes in inland states as high-priced homes in coastal regions continued to be unaffordable for many. Slim supplies of homes contributed to bidding wars that drove home prices higher. Analysts said that home prices are set to drop in high-cost markets as the home-buyers move to more affordable markets.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reported a 4.90 percent gain in November home prices for properties associated with mortgages owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; this reading was compiled on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis.

FHFA data noted that the Mountain Region reported slower month-to-month growth in home prices in November, but all geographic regions reported positive growth in home prices year-over-year. The Mountain region includes the states of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming; these states typically offer a lower cost of living and affordable home prices as compared to high priced coastal areas.

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10 US Cities With Highest Mortgage Denial Rates

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 16th, 2020

10 US Cities With Highest Mortgage Denial RatesFor many, owning property is seen as a rite of passage. At the same time, for most people, accomplishing this dream is largely dependent on the approval of a mortgage. For this reason, it is important for people to think carefully when deciding who to ask for a mortgage. Some cities have a higher mortgage approval rate than others.

Identifying Problems With A Mortgage Application

Before applying for a mortgage, it is important to think about the most common reasons why someone might be rejected. First, if someone has a debt to income ratio that is too high, they are more likely to be turned down for a mortgage.

It is understandable that if someone already has too much debt, they are unlikely to be able to handle the added burden of a mortgage. Another possible reason for being turned down might be out of someone’s control entirely. This has more to do with geography.

Application Problems In The Sunshine State

For those who might not know, the sunshine state is Florida. Many of the cities with the highest rejection rates are right here. For example, Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, and Orlando are all among the cities with the highest rejection rates on mortgage applications.

Some of the other cities on the list include New York, San Antonio, San Jose, Detroit, Birmingham, and Houston. Those who live in these cities need to make sure that their mortgage applications are in excellent shape. Otherwise, it could end up in disappointment.

Take, for example, Miami, Florida. More than one in nine mortgage applications are rejected. The most common reason why someone might be denied a mortgage in this major city is debt to income ratio.

Another common reason why those applying for a mortgage in this city might be denied is a lack of collateral. Florida has a reputation for attracting retirees; however, most of the jobs in this state have to do with hospitality. This is an industry that is largely seasonal and has low wages, contributing to a high rejection rate on mortgage applications.

Preparing For The Application Process

Anyone looking to buy property, particularly in these cities, must make sure their application is in order. Getting approved for a mortgage is a critical part of buying a home. For this reason, try to maximize credit scores while minimizing outstanding debt. This can go a long way toward getting approved.

And as always, talk with your mortgage professional for personal guidance through the application process. They are experienced and have the best vantage point to make sure your application is set up for success.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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The Advantages Of A Dual-Location Lifestyle

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 3rd, 2020

The Advantages Of A Dual-Location LifestyleCommuting for hours in traffic on a daily basis is a waste of resources, time, and money. It is stressful and bad for the environment. The infrastructure in many parts of the United States is falling apart. The roads and highways do not have sufficient capacity to handle the demands of the traffic load that continues to increase each year. Many busy professionals and families are turning to a solution of owning two homes for the convenience of enjoying dual-location living.

What Is Dual-Location Living?

The most common form of dual-location living is having a home and also owning a vacation home. Many like this lifestyle of having a vacation home to enjoy, to get away from it all. Retirees may use this strategy to have their residence for spring and summer in the cooler areas and then have another place to spend the time during the bad weather months of fall and winter. 

The trend of dual-location living, which is increasing now, is when the two homes are closer to each other. Professionals and families who want to spend the weekdays in the downtown areas or an area near the best schools may have a downtown residence and also a weekend residence in the suburbs. 

The Best Of City And Suburban Living

During the working week, the time spent downtown can be to enjoy going out to eat and partaking of the various amenities that come along with the big-city life. Then, by waiting until after the commute time, it is easier to go to the home in the suburbs. This allows for a couple of relaxing days before heading back late Sunday night to downtown, once again with less traffic. Waking up on Monday just a few minutes from work is pleasant.

Reducing Expenses

For those who need to manage their budget carefully, maintaining two places can be quite expensive. It may be better to share expenses with others by renting out a portion of each home. The proportional sharing does not have to be equally-divided in both homes.

Instead, the city-based home may have a private room and bath with the rest of the house rented out and the reverse in the suburbs, where only a guest room rents out. Doing this well means the rental income will offset significant portions of the expenses.

Another possibility that comes from dual-location living is using the time saved, which comes from less time wasted on commuting, to generate additional income.

Summary

The trend of owning two homes, near each other, yet on the other side of a long commute, makes sense. Besides all the conveniences of dual-location living, it is the start of building up a real estate investment portfolio by buying a second home and generating some rental income to help pay for it.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to set up an appointment with your trusted real estate professional.

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How Are Mortgage Rates Determined?

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 20th, 2019

How Are Mortgage Rates DeterminedWhen someone is interested in buying a home, there are a number of factors that people need to consider. Some of these include the budget, the size of the home, and the mortgage interest rates. 

The mortgage rate is going to play a tremendous role in whether or not someone is going to be able to afford their dream home. For this reason, it is critical for everyone to know how a mortgage rate is determined. There are a number of factors in someone’s financial history that are going to impact the mortgage rate the lender offers.

The Credit Score

One of the most important factors that a lender is going to consider is someone’s credit score. A credit score is a reflection of someone’s risk to the lender. The higher the credit score, the more likely the loan is going to be repaid, in the eyes of the lender.

If someone’s credit score is too low, the lender might not make an offer at all. In order to reduce the interest on someone’s mortgage, it is important to correct any inaccuracies on the credit report ahead of time. This will make someone more competitive when applying for a mortgage.

The Employment History

The lender’s biggest concern is making sure their loan is repaid. In order to make mortgage payments on time, the borrower needs to have a steady stream of money coming in. This means maintaining a steady job.

In order to predict this, the lender is going to look at someone’s employment history. The longer someone has been employed, and the fewer gaps someone has in their employment history, the lower the interest rate on the mortgage is going to be. 

The Current Financial Market

Some of the factors involved in a mortgage rate are outside of the borrower’s control. Mortgage rates are also impacted by the current financial market. Like the stock market itself, the mortgage rates are going to rise and fall with the real estate market. It is important for everyone to think about the current financial market when applying for a mortgage.

Thinking About Mortgage Rates

These factors will play a role in the mortgage rate someone is going to be offered. Everyone should think about the interest rate on a mortgage when looking for a home. 

Talk about your personal financial situation with your trusted home finance professional. They are a valuable and experienced resource that can answer all of your questions regarding the best fit for your mortgage.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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