5 Excellent Pathways To Home Ownership For Millennials

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 7th, 2020

5 Excellent Pathways To Home Ownership For MillennialsMillennials are a huge socio-demographic group of over 83 million people. Many of them want to buy a home but face challenges that their parents did not necessarily have. Homes are more expensive. In most places, home prices rebounded to exceed the pre-2008 economic collapse values. Moreover, home prices continue to go up.

The encouraging news is that there is home financing readily available and mortgage interest rates are still reasonable. Even if it is more challenging, the greatest investment that most Americans can make is buying a home. Paying rent is only helping the landlord get rich. Homeownership is still highly desirable and a part of a wise long-term investment strategy.

Here are some tips that millennials can use to become homeowners.

Save For The Down Payment And Build An Excellent Credit History

The best rates for home loans are for those with an excellent credit history who can put down 20%. It is possible to borrow the down payment. The problem with this strategy is that the cost of the loan is higher. The mortgage rate may be higher and the lender may require private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI pays off the loan balance to the lender if the homeowner defaults on the loan; however, it does not protect the homeowner’s equity in the home or any down payment. PMI just adds another monthly expense.

Create Non-Location Dependent Income

Home prices are somewhat dependent on the local economy and the employment available in the local area. By creating non-location dependent income through the “gig” economy. Work as a freelancer or a person who telecommutes by working from home. With this income, you will be freer to look for a home in a rural area or an area where the home prices are lower.

Take Advantage Of First-Time Homebuyer Programs

Many first-time homebuyer programs are offered by programs of the federal government through the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other agencies. Be sure to investigate those possibilities when considering buying a home.

Hunt For A Home In Low-Cost Areas

Use the online systems when searching for a home to compare two things, 1) the median price of homes for each area and 2) the cost of living for each area. The areas with low median prices and that have a lower cost of living are usually easier places to buy a home.

Partner With Others

A home-buying partnership is something many are using to make owning a home more affordable. Multigenerational ownership is used by many families to buy a large home together and share it. Other partnerships can be made among individuals, who are not relatives, to share ownership. Choose ownership partners very carefully and be sure to have competent legal counsel when creating a written ownership agreement.

Summary

Millennials are challenged with new obstacles when seeking to buy a home. The strongest challenge is the cost of homeownership. However, there are many clever ways to improve the chances of enjoying an affordable ownership situation. Be patient and do not give up. Work with a REALTOR® who understands the challenges and is an expert in the area where you are thinking about buying.

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FOMC Statement: Fed Holds Steady On Its Interest Rate Range

Posted in Market Outlook by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 12th, 2019

FOMC Statement: Fed Holds Steady On Its Interest Rate RangeThe Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve announced its unanimous decision not to change to the current target federal funds range of 1.50 to 1.75 percent. The committee’s customary post-meeting statement said the decision not to change the Fed’s target range for federal funds was based on factors including a strong labor market, moderate economic growth, continued job growth, and low unemployment.

Economic readings reviewed prior to the FOMC meeting held Tuesday and Wednesday supported the achievement of the committee’s dual mandate to achieve maximum employment and maintain price stability.

According to the post-meeting statement issued on December 11, FOMC members consistently review incoming global and domestic economic news to determine if the Fed’s monetary policy should be adjusted. Chair Powell signaled that the federal funds rate may not change in 2020, but repeated the FOMC’s frequently-repeated caveat that monetary policy is subject to change as world news and economic conditions may warrant.

Expected And Realized Economic Conditions Contribute To Fed’s Monetary Policy

FOMC members reviewed their expectations of economic performance and compared them with actual readings in evaluating economic performance as connected to the Federal Reserve’s dual mandates of maximum employment and price stability. Low unemployment and overall inflation readings near two percent supported the Committee’s decision not to change the target range for the federal funds rate.

Fed Chair Expects Strong Economy To Continue

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in a scheduled press conference that he and his colleagues in the Federal Open Market Committee are confident that strong economic conditions will prevail over the next few years. Mr. Powell said that the Fed expects the national unemployment rate to remain near a 50-year low at approximately four percent; he said that the national unemployment rate is expected to remain low in the near-term. Chair Powell said that the economy has remained strong for 11 years; this is the record for the longest run of positive economic conditions.

Inflation remains below the Fed’s objective of 2.00 percent; Chair Powell said that the overall inflation rate averaged 1.30 percent, but core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors averaged 1.60 percent. Chair Powell said that the core inflation reading was a more reliable indicator of long-term inflation.

Jobs and wages increased in lower to middle-income communities, but the business and manufacturing sectors weakened. Mr. Powell suggested that the Fed would leave interest rates unchanged in 2020 unless economic and news events indicate that a change in the current monetary policy becomes necessary.

 

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Case Shiller, FHFA Report Uptick In Home Price Growth In September

Posted in Real Estate Trends by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 4th, 2019

Case Shiller, FHFA Report Uptick In Home Price Growth In SeptemberCase-Shiller’s National Home Price Index showed 3.20 percent national home price growth in September, which was 0.10 percent higher than August’s reading of 3.10 percent. The 20-City Home Price Index showed the continued impact of exorbitant home prices on both coasts as home price growth slowed in high-cost areas and smaller markets experienced upward pressure on home prices as home buyers were seeking affordable homes.

Phoenix, Arizona led the 20-City Home Price Index with 6.00 percent year-over-year growth in September. Charlotte, North Caroline had 4.60 percent growth in home prices and Tampa, Florida rounded out the three cities with highest year-over-year home price growth with 4.50 percent growth. The 20-City Home Price Index has documented migration of home buyers away from prime metro areas to interior and southern states. Analysts said that lower mortgage rates helped affordability in some cases, but home price growth outpaced stagnant wage growth and inflation.

FHFA Data Shows Home Buyers Leaving High Priced Areas

Federal Housing Finance Agency reporting for the third quarter of 2019 supported Case-Shiller’s trends. Home prices in mid-sized cities are rising as buyers relocate to areas where home prices are accessible to moderate-income buyers. FHFA reported year-over-year price growth for homes owned or financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac slipped to 4.90 percent. This was the first time home price growth dipped below 5.00 percent growth since 2015.

FHFA reported home prices in Boise, Idaho grew by 11.10 percent year-over-year; home prices in Tucson, Arizona grew by 10.30 percent year-over-year in the third quarter. Lynn Fisher, a senior economic advisor for FHFA, said that home price growth rates in California and New York were lower than the national average.

The top three states with the largest year-over-year home price growth rates in the FHFA 20-City HPI were Idaho with 11.60 percent; Maine and Arizona tied with Utah with 7.90 percent home price growth. States with the lowest rates of home price growth were Illinois with 1.90 percent year-over-year growth, Connecticut reported 2.20 percent home price growth and Maryland home prices rose by 2.40 percent. FHFA reported that home prices have risen for 33 consecutive quarters; this is good news for homeowners, but also creates affordability challenges for would-be buyers facing high home prices and strict mortgage qualification standards.

Be sure to consult with your trusted Realtor and home mortgage professionals regarding your real estate concerns and transactions.

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Case-Shiller: July Home Price Growth Hits Lowest Pace in 12 Years

Posted in Market Outlook by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 26th, 2019

Case-Shiller July Home Price Growth Hits Lowest Pace in 12 YearsCase-Shiller’s National Home Price Index reported U.S. home prices grew by 3.20 percent year-over-year in July; as compared to year-over-year home price growth 0f 3.00 percent posted in June. Cities with the highest rates of year-over-year home price growth were Phoenix, Arizona with 5.80 percent year-over-year home price growth. Las Vegas, Nevada had 4.70 percent year-over-year home price appreciation and Charlotte, North Caroline bumped Tampa, Florida from the top three cities with home price appreciation of 4.60 percent. Tampa, Florida posted 4.50 percent year-over-year home price growth in July.

Home Price Growth Stalls In West

14 cities had higher home price gains than in June and Seattle, Washington was the only city in the 20-City Index to post lower home prices. Analysts said that after years of rapid and unsustainable growth in home prices on the West Coast coupled with economic expansion and job growth in areas with lower home prices. July readings for home-price growth in western cities that posted double-digit price growth percentages in recent years were far lower. Home prices in Portland, Oregon rose 2.50 percent year-over-year; Los Angeles, California home prices rose 1.10 percent and San Francisco, California posted year-over-year home price growth of 0.20 percent.

High Home Prices Ease Demand Caused By Low Supply Of Homes For Sale

As home prices in many markets skyrocketed, would-be buyers were sidelined by affordability cash buyers and strict mortgage loan requirements. With home prices stabilizing and mortgage rates at near-record lows, more buyers will likely enter the market. This would increase demand on already slim supplies of homes for sale and cause home prices to rise at a faster pace than they have in 2019. Current rates of home price growth remain higher than current inflation and wage growth, but are low enough to encourage home buyers who were previously unable to keep up with rapidly rising home prices.

Seven cities posted higher rates of home price growth year-over-year in July as compared to readings for year-over-year home price growth from June 2018 to June 2019. The National Association of Realtors® said that sales of pre-owned homes were higher in July for the first time in months. The supply of available homes tightened in June; this trend is expected to boost home prices as demand for homes increases.

 

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NAHB: Home Builders Remain Confident

Posted in Market Outlook by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 18th, 2019

NAHB Home Builders Remain ConfidentThe National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index shows steady builder confidence in housing market conditions. September’s index reading of 68 was one point higher than August’s reading. Any reading over 50 indicates that most home builders surveyed view housing market conditions as favorable. August’s original index reading was adjusted upward by one point.

Component readings for the Housing Market Index were mixed. Builder confidence in current market conditions rose two points to index reading of 75; this was the highest reading year-over-year. Builder confidence in home sales over the next six months fell by one point to 70. The gauge of buyer traffic in single-family housing developments held steady at 50. Readings for buyer traffic seldom exceed 50; September’s reading suggested higher builder confidence than the numerical reading suggested.

Average New Home Size Decreases, Builders Confident In Housing Markets

In recent months, builders have focused on producing larger homes, which has limited the number of affordable homes available to middle-income and first-time home buyers. High demand for homes caused by slim inventories of homes for sale and factors including competition with cash buyers sidelined would-be buyers. Home builders scaled down the size of new homes by 4.30 percent during the second quarter of 2019. This trend is expected to encourage potential home buyers into the market as lower home prices and mortgage rates combine to encourage more buyers into the housing market.

Lower Home Prices And Mortgage Rates Increase Affordability

Analysts and real estate pros have long said that the only way to ease demand for homes is by building more homes within all price ranges. Builders did not immediately respond to calls for more homes, but if current builder confidence and a new focus on building affordable homes continues, high demand for homes and short supplies of available homes may ease toward evenly balanced market conditions, but the unknown factor is mortgage rates. If they rise, affordability will be challenged and buyer interest in new homes could slow.

New home prices typically fall as peak buying season ends. Current trends toward building smaller homes, low mortgage rates and lower home prices combined to provide more choices and affordable options for home buyers. If general economic conditions remain strong, more home shoppers could become homeowners.

 

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Should You Brace For A Potential Market Downturn Next Year?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 27th, 2019

Should You Brace For A Potential Market Downturn Next YearDon’t panic, a looming recession may be good news for those wanting to sell their homes. The experts say this recession may happen in 2020, so there is still plenty of time to make plans for how to deal with a potential economic downturn.

In many parts of America, especially in popular cities, the real estate markets are super hot for sellers. Home sales are coming in at prices that are record highs. For sellers in these hot markets, it might be time to sell. For buyers, able to wait until next year, the prices may come down.

What The ‘Experts’ Say

A Pulsenomics survey of 100 real estate market experts says that the pressures on the economy, which are negative, are not coming from the housing market this time. In fact, the Federal Reserve announced it will not make any changes until 2021, so the financial market supporting home loans will be coasting along pretty much as it is now.

The damage to the U.S. economy is coming from the delayed effects of the tariffs. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the tariffs is not the issue. The tariff changes that already went into effect, will have an economic impact next year or the year after.

Economists use the analogy of observing a big, slow-moving tidal wave. Scientists can see it coming from miles away. If those potentially affected by the danger pay attention to the warnings soon enough, they may have a chance to get out of the way.

Half the experts see the tariffs having a significant impact in 2020. Most of the other half see it coming in 2021. Nobody thinks the recession will hit before the end of 2019.

Summer 2019 – Selling Time

Home sales toward the end of summer are usually the strongest when compared to other times of the year. After returning from vacation, and before school starts, it is a popular time to look for a home when the weather is still nice outside.

Next Year 2020 – Buying Time

If a recession hits in 2020, then home sales prices may go down due to lowered demand. Again, this may be helpful for buyers who wait until next year to buy a home.

Conclusion

It is interesting to see that any possible recession will not be caused by the housing market this time. Real estate experts think that the housing market will price-in the effect of the recession up to one year ahead of when it hits.

If there are plans to sell a home, such as going into retirement and wanting to downsize or buy an RV for a happy retirement traveling, now may be an opportune time to consider selling.

If there are plans to buy a home and there is no rush, just take the time to work with your real estate agent to get a good deal and wait for a possible overall economic slowdown to get a better price. And be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss your financing options.

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Case-Shiller: Home Prices Growth Slows in March

Posted in Market Outlook by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 1st, 2019

Case-Shiller: Home Prices Growth Slows in MarchHome price growth slowed again in May according to Case-Shiller home price indices. Home price growth slowed for the 14th consecutive month to its lowest rate in 12 years. Case-Shiller’s National Home Price Index showed 3.40 percent growth year-over-year in May as compared to April’s year-over-year reading of 3.50 percent.

Las Vegas, Nevada held its first place position in the 20-City Home Price Index for highest year-over-year home price growth rate at 6.40 percent; Phoenix, Arizona held second place with a year-over-year home price growth reading of 5.70 percent. Tampa, Florida home prices grew by 5.10 percent year-over-year in May.

Home Price Growth Rates Fall In West Coast Cities

West coast cities that posted double-digit annual home price gains in recent years posted less than two percent growth in home prices in May. Seattle, Washington was the first city to post negative home price growth with a negative year-over-year reading of -1.20 percent in May. San Francisco, California home prices rose by 1.00 percent year-over-year and home prices in San Diego, California grew 1.30 percent year-over-year.

This trend suggests that home prices were topped out in terms of affordability as buyers looked elsewhere for larger selections of homes at affordable prices.

Analysts predicted a plateau in home price growth and did not expect steep declines in home prices. Steady growth in wages and jobs could help to ease affordability challenges for home buyers. Lower mortgage rates provided additional opportunity for first-time and moderate income home buyers, but home price growth needs to ease further to help would-be buyers conquer affordability concerns. Shortages of homes for sale are most pronounced for lower-priced homes, where demand is largest. Higher demand for homes during the peak selling season could boost prices in popular metro areas.

If you’re in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, please contact your trusted real estate professional.

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The Community Reinvestment Act Explained In Simple Terms

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 23rd, 2019

The Community Reinvestment Act Explained In Simple TermsThe federal government adopted the Housing and Community Development Act in 1977, and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) portion was designed to prompt lending institutions to provide mortgages for low- and moderate-income Americans. The underlying reasoning for the CRA was to discourage discriminatory lending practices that inhibited low-income communities and neighborhoods.

Over the years, its regulations have been revised to improve effectiveness. During the early 1990s, upwards of five changes were made and more following the 2007 financial crisis. With the country currently in the midst of an economic comeback, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced that it favored making changes to the rules that govern lending under the CRA. These changes could have a significant impact on the real estate market.

Modernization of the Community Reinvestment Act

Critics of the CRA say that it has failed to keep pace with the emerging technologies readily available in the low- to moderate-income communities it was designed to serve. Falling behind in this capacity reportedly inhibited the worthy goal of the policy.

Organizations such as the American Bankers Association are said to be in favor of modernizing the CRA. This group continues to press regulators to bring resources into the technology era. Improved technological resources appear to be critical elements to meeting community borrowing needs and improving banking transparency.

Another aspect of the CRA some feel has trailed behind the times is that not all lending institutions are subject to CRA guidelines. If the goal of the CRA is to give low- and moderate-income families a fair shot at the American dream of homeownership, other financial organizations may need to come under the CRA umbrella. A greater CRA borrowing pool is likely to increase residential and commercial buying.  

How The CRA Helps Communities Build Wealth

The current administration has made some hay about pushing policies that centralize ownership in community members’ hands. Several of the potential rule changes to the CRA point to improved home and business ownership within low- and moderate-income communities. In essence, the changes are a kind of throwback to the days when the person who owned the local bakery, breakfast restaurant and hardware store lived within the community.

If successful, the discussed policy shift would encourage residents to buy residential and commercial real estate where they live. In some sense, the administration appears to be shielding living, breathing communities from the widespread corporate takeovers that occurred in the 1990s and early 21st Century.

Critics seem to worry that tinkering with guidelines may lead to quantity over quality lending. However, proponents see a long-term plan to revitalize communities by restoring and increasing localized property ownership.

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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NAHB: Housing Market Index Rises 1 Point in July

Posted in Market Outlook by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 17th, 2019

NAHB Housing Market Index Rises 1 Point in JulyHome Builder sentiment rose one point in July according to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index. 2019 builder confidence in housing market condition continued to fall short of 2018 levels. July’s Housing Market Index reading of 65 was one point higher than June’s reading.

Component readings also rose one point each. Builder confidence in current housing market conditions rose to 72; the reading for builder confidence in market conditions for the next six months rose to 71. Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new housing developments rose to an index reading of 48; buyer traffic readings seldom exceed the neutral reading of reading of 50.

2019 Builder Confidence Is Lagging Behind 2018 Readings

Year to date, builder confidence index readings averaged 63 as compared to a reading of 67 in 2018 and 68 in 2017. Ongoing headwinds affecting builders were familiar concerns over materials prices and shortages of buildable lots and labor. Analysts said that builders remain leery of building to many homes after having large inventories of unsold homes after the Great Recession.

Builders also noted that increasing regulation and local building codes are impacting some areas. Builders are under pressure to produce affordable homes, but are log-jammed by “not in my backyard” zoning restrictions when they apply to build mixed developments of single and multi-family homes.

There may be good news on the horizon. Oregon passed state legislation banning exclusively single-family zoning. Depending on population, local jurisdictions will be allowed to build duplexes and larger multi-family units. If other states and communities follow Oregon’s lead, builders may find new options for building multiple units on lots formerly zoned for single family homes. Building affordable homes would help to ease housing shortages and ease demand for homes.

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

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New York Penthouse Sells For $238 Million – Is This A Real Estate Bubble About To Burst?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 16th, 2019

New York Penthouse Sells For $238 Million - Is This A Real Estate Bubble About To BurstThe most expensive home sold in America, so far, was a New York penthouse that sold for $238 million in January 2019. It is on the top of a building that overlooks Central Park. The 26-story luxury condo building designed by Robert A. M Stern is nearly all sold out.

Who Has That Kind Of Money?

The proud buyer of the penthouse is Ken Griffin. His net worth is estimated to be $9.6 billion. He is the founder of the Citadel hedge fund. Griffin is 50 years old. A few days before buying the NYC penthouse, he closed on a home in London that overlooks St. James Park near Buckingham Palace. For that 200-year-old home, he paid just a paltry $122 million.

Griffin’s New York penthouse is 22,000 square feet of ultra-luxury living. It sold for more than twice the amount of the second palace record-holder in America. That is a penthouse on the One57 building, which sold for $100.5 million in 2014.

Boom Or Bust?

One might think that a penthouse sale setting a new almost unfathomable record would indicate a vibrant bullish market in New York residential real estate. Well, not exactly. It did raise the median sales price of a residential sale in New York City to over $1 million from being below this amount at the end of 2018. Prior to this sale, the median price was trending lower.

Forbes reports that the current economic trends are not normal. Usually, the NYC real estate market goes up when the stock market is up. However, the NYC residential real estate is down in spite of the robust economy.

Properties selling for top-dollar at prices that are hard to imagine could be a sign of a real estate market collapse. In general, the NYC residential market has been in a steady decline over the past year. The lowest number of closings in a decade happened during the first quarter of 2019.

Investor Uncertainty

There is a general sense of uncertainty for residential buyers in NYC, where the average one-bedroom condominium sells for over $1 million. Uncertainty makes potential buyers take longer to decide on making a home purchase in the Big Apple.

Add to this uncertainty, there is the new “mansion tax” that was approved by New York City as part of its budget in April 2019. The mansion tax is now 1% on residential sales of $1 million or more that goes up to a maximum of 4.15% on homes sales of $25 million and up.

Did you just do the math? Griffin would have paid $9.87 million for the new mansion tax if he waited until April 2019 to buy his penthouse. So maybe he feels like he got a bargain by saving nearly $10 million on the purchase?

Summary

In spite of the record price for the penthouse sale in NYC, the residential market continues to soften. The new mansion tax is not going to help sales either. Unless you have money to burn, as Griffin does, it may not be the best time to invest in residential properties in NYC if you hope to make a return on your investment when selling them.

Your trusted real estate agent is well-informed about the market trends in your area. Be sure to set up an appointment if you are in the market for a new property.

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