New FHA Financing Available For Condo Buyers That Has A Low Down Payment

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 10th, 2019

New FHA Financing Available For Condo Buyers That Has A Low Down PaymentCondominium owners and buyers have previously been at a disadvantage when trying to use the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) support to get a home mortgage. Single-family homes could get better FHA mortgage deals than condominiums. In October 2019, this changes.

New FHA Condominium Financing

As of October 15, 2019, FHA loan availability is extended to condominium buyers. This is important news for first-time buyers who frequently purchase a condominium. First-time buyers appreciate FHA loans because they only require a very modest 3.5% down payment.

FHA loans were strongly curtailed after the real estate market collapse in 2008. Since 2009, most condos did not qualify for FHA loans. The problem was that FHA loans require mortgage insurance and this insurance was only available for about 6.5% of all condos.

In America, there are about 160,000 condominium projects (complexes and buildings). The new FHA program makes mortgage insurance possible for about 20,000 to 60,000 more condominium projects nationally. Not all condos will qualify for the new FHA program; however about half of them will.

Both first-time buyers and people who are down-sizing by selling a larger home appreciate condos. The median price for a condo nationally is around $260,000. This is about $29,000 less than the median price for a home that is about $289,000. Maintenance costs and upkeep for a condo are typically less than caring for a larger home.

Refinance Opportunities

For condo buyers, who could not get FHA loans in the past, they may now qualify for the mortgage insurance needed if they could not get it before. Then, they can refinance a loan to get a better deal with FHA financing if they want to do this.

Easier Condominium Sales

For those who are putting their condos on the market for sale, this new FHA loan program is worthwhile to investigate to see if the condominium building or complex qualifies. If the condo is in a facility that qualifies, this new FHA financing option will potentially attract more buyers

Summary

Real estate agents should become aware of the new FHA program and inform their clients if a condo buyer can use an FHA loan to finance the purchase. This is a very impactful change for the condominium market dynamics. This new FHA loan program is the first of its kind to occur since around 2009, a decade ago, which is great news for condo buyers.

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.

Tags: , ,


| Comments off

The Most Popular Cities For Relocating To Get A Better Deal On A Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 3rd, 2019

Many people are looking to buy homes, not across the street, not somewhere else in town, but in other parts of the country. The motivator for this is that there are significant differences in the median prices for home sales in different parts of America. This is not a result of the places being undesirable.

Many of the places with excellent values in home prices are very desirable. In these nice cities, the lower prices are more about the local economy, the cost of living, and the availability of homes for sale.

Popular Cities For Relocation

The Most Popular Cities For Relocating To Get A Better Deal On A HomeA study done by REALTOR® identified the most popular cities that people search for when looking for a new home in another area that is different from where they currently live.

The median home price in America is $226,800.

Areavibes ranks American cities based on a livability score that considers many factors, which include the cost of living, crime, school, employment, and amenities. The livability score is a scale that goes up to 100.

Here are the top choices in the order of their popularity for searches and median home prices along with their livability score:

  1. Charleston, South Carolina – Median home price is $269,400. Livability score is 77.
  2. Boise, Idaho – Median home price is $191,000. Livability score is 80.
  3. Honolulu, Hawaii – Median home price is $601,500. Livability score is 73.
  4. Columbia, South Carolina – Median home price is $164,200. Livability score is 63.
  5. Fort Myers, Florida – Median home price is $160,800. Livability score is 70.
  6. Portland, Maine – Median home price is $248,000. Livability score is 66.
  7. Sarasota, Florida – Median home price is $109,500. Livability score is 74.
  8. Greenville, South Carolina – Median home price is $237,800. Livability score is 73.
  9. Tucson, Arizona – Median home price is $135,200. Livability score is 65.
  10. Las Vegas, Nevada – Median home price is $184,900. Livability score is 71.

Cost Of Living

The cost of living is a big factor that impacts the quality of life for the average person. The cost of living includes the cost of housing, groceries, transportation, health care, utilities, and other goods and services. The national standard for America’s cost of living is set at 100.

The cost of living index in each city is a number that is higher or lower than 100. Higher figures than 100 represent a percentage higher than the national average. Lower numbers than 100 are cities that cost less than other cities in America.

Here is the cost of living index for these popular cities:

  • Charleston, South Carolina – 115
  • Boise, Idaho – 96
  • Honolulu, Hawaii – 182
  • Columbia, South Carolina – 101
  • Fort Myers, Florida – 94
  • Portland, Maine – 114
  • Sarasota, Florida – 108
  • Greenville, South Carolina – 106
  • Tucson, Arizona – 92
  • Las Vegas, Nevada – 100

Conclusion

The lowest median price for a home is found in Sarasota, Florida. The city with the highest livability score is Boise, Idaho. The lowest cost of living is in Tucson, Arizona. These are all great cities to live in. For those who have the option to relocate, to get a better price when buying a home, they should all be considered as decent choices.

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.

Tags: , ,


| Comments off

Expanding Opportunities For Home-Buying In ‘Opportunity Zones’

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 2nd, 2019

Expanding Opportunities For Home-Buying In 'Opportunity Zones'Opportunity Zones were created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to encourage investors with capital gains on other investments to invest that money in low-income and undercapitalized communities. They get a reward of deferring capital gains tax. They avoid a portion of it altogether if they keep the investment for five years or longer. 

What started with a trickle of a few Opportunity Zones scattered around the country is now a deluge with over 3,000 approved Opportunity Zones approved in just about every part of America. 4,700 more areas may also qualify.

Opportunity Zones Expanded Dramatically

The very generous definition of Opportunity Zones not only includes poorer areas but it also includes wealthy areas within larger poor areas. Some are wealthier areas adjacent to poor areas. For example, there are Opportunity Zones in Manhattan, which is an area not typically thought of as low-income or undercapitalized.

Opportunities In Opportunity Zones

The tax incentives along with the current easy financing from real estate lenders are stimulating development projects in Opportunity Zones. Investors may increase returns on real-estate investments by up to 50% for projects in these areas. 

The highest returns, based on the tax savings, are for those that invest before the end of 2019 and hold the investment for seven years until 2026. They get a capital gains step-up of 15%. After that, the tax benefits go down to a capital gains step-up of 10%.

Homes In Opportunity Zones

Another attractive characteristic is that the price of single-family homes in many Opportunity Zones is a bargain. The median price of homes in almost half of the Opportunity Zones is less than $150,000. This compares favorably to the national median home price of $266,000. 

Moreover, homes in many Opportunity Zones are less than half the price of an adjacent area. The median rents in the Opportunity Zones are not as depressed as the home prices.

For real estate investors looking for cash-flow positive rental properties to acquire for a portfolio, these homes may rent for enough to pay the carrying costs.

For home buyers, these bargain prices may mean it pays to buy a home on the edge of an Opportunity Zone. If the home is adjacent to a nicer neighborhood, the upside potential for appreciation in home value may be enhanced.

Opportunities for low-cost homes exist in the Midwest, which has 73% of its Opportunity Zones with homes that cost below $150,000. The portion in the South is 57% and in the North East, it is 53%. Florida has over 300 Opportunity Zones. Pennsylvania has over 150. Tennessee has about 140. Those are states worth considering.

Summary

Looking for home-buying opportunities in newly-designated Opportunity Zones is attractive for real estate investors building up a portfolio of rental properties and for homebuyers who are looking for a bargained-price home.

If you are in the market for a new home or investment opportunity, be sure to consult with your trusted real estate professional.

Tags: , ,


| Comments off

How To Crowdfund A Renovation Project

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

How To Crowdfund A Renovation ProjectCrowdfunding came into prominence with the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act that President Obama signed into law during 2012 and subsequent enhancements. The JOBS Act made it easier for startups to raise money and for the first time allowed the legal ability to advertise the investments and accept small investors.

Innovate And Renovate

Crowdfunding is useful for many projects. The method raises money to create new products, make documentary films, and for many kinds of fashion items. Crowdfunding successfully raises money for real estate transactions. 

Smaller investors participate in real estate projects that they would otherwise not have enough investment money to create on their own. They may invest a few hundred or a few thousand dollars. When their smaller investment money combines with all the others, the project raises enough money.

One thing that makes crowdfunding projects work is their popularity. Affinity groups who have a special interest in certain things invest money in projects related to something that they like.

One application of this motivational factor is to raise money using crowdfunding to renovate buildings with a historical value or that otherwise attract the interest of the public. The process does not have to start with money. It can start with crowd sourcing ideas.

The CLUE® Mansion

A fun example is the Hasbro Company teamed up with Houzz to get innovative ideas from interior designers about how to renovate the CLUE® Mansion. The mansion is a backdrop for the popular board game.

This promotion celebrates the game’s 70th anniversary. The mansion’s style in the game stayed the same since the game debuted in 1949. The winning room designs, selected by fans, will be part of a new version of the game.

There is no reason to stop there. A real mansion can be renovated to match the game. This could be a CLUE® museum and could offer escape rooms as a money-making enterprise. This is just an idea at this moment. Perhaps, someone will take this up and run with it.

Crowdfunding Renovations

The point is, historic buildings that are of interest may need renovation funds that can be raised using crowdfunding. Those who have an interest in the building from the local community and elsewhere can support the project by investing in the renovation with a small comfortable amount.

Summary

Renovation projects are not easy to finance using traditional lenders. However, if a thousand people invest $100 each that is $100,000 for a renovation project in your community. Paying back the loan can come from a portion of the entrance fees.

Hopefully, this will spark continued interest in preserving and restoring historic homes, which are a terrific part of the American heritage.

If you are interested in purchasing a new home or listing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted real estate professional.

Tags: , ,


| Comments off

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.

 

Tags: , ,


| Comments off

How To Create A Home-Buying Partnership

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 24th, 2019

How To Create A Home-Buying PartnershipMany want to have a home, yet find it difficult to afford one by themselves. Some people are forming home-buying partnerships to buy a home and live in it together. Here are some considerations for those interested in forming a home-buying partnership.

A home-buying partnership is a legal and personal relationship that is similar to having a permanent roommate. It has the feeling of being married to the other person in a legal way, not in a romantic way. Like any business partnership, there are advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages Of A Home-Buying Partnership

Buying a home is easier when sharing the responsibility with another person. In an equal partnership, the money needed is half and the expenses are also half of when compared to buying a home alone.

Wasting money on rent stops and the equity value may build up by owning a home over time if real estate prices increase.

Combining credit strength as co-signers may make it easier to buy a home if both parties have a decent credit history. Qualifying for a bigger home loan amount may be possible, which allows buying a larger home.

A strategy to consider is buying a duplex building, which is two homes combined into one building structure.

Disadvantages Of A Home-Buying Partnership

Getting along well with your home-buying partner is essential. Not only will you share a business relationship, but you will also see each other constantly. Having compatible lifestyles is critical to avoid personality clashes.

People who have been roommates for years and get along extremely well make great candidates for home-buying partners. This is a far better choice than doing something this serious with a person you just met.

Legal Structure

The best way to own the property is by forming a single-purpose limited liability company (LLC). The company will do nothing but own the home. An LLC is like a general partnership with the exception that it limits the liability exposure of its owners to the investment value they have in the LLC.

Ownership in an LLC is in units of the LLC. Owning half the authorized units is half the LLC. If one partner has one unit more than the other one has, that partner has decision-making control over the property.

For tax purposes, an LLC is a pass-through entity. The tax obligations and benefits pass to the owners of the LLC according to the portion of the LLC that they own.

Sudden Death, Buy-Sell Provision

This provision allows for one of the partners to buy out the other one’s ownership before it sells to a third party. This can happen automatically if one of the partners dies or becomes incapacitated. It may happen if there is a disagreement.

The idea is to use this provision so that one partner is not forced to sell the home and has the option to buy the other half of the home before it sells to another party.

Summary

These are just the basic issues about a home-buying partnership. This arrangement can be an effective way to own a home, just be very careful about how you select a partner. Use a competent real estate attorney to form the LLC properly. 

And as always, consult with your trusted professional real estate agent to help you navigate through the purchase process.

Tags: , ,


| Comments off

Fed Policymakers Cut Key Rate Range by .25 Percent

Posted in Market Outlook by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 19th, 2019

Fed Policymakers Cut Key Rate Range by.25 PercentThe Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee reduced its key short-term interest rate range one-quarter percent to 1.75 to 2.00 percent during it’s September meeting. While FOMC members had mixed opinions on reducing the benchmark rate range for short term loans, the post-meeting statement suggested that reducing the federal funds rate was a hedge against inflation. The federal funds rate impacts short-term consumer loan rates for autos and adjustable rate mortgages, but does not impact fixed mortgage rates. FOMC monetary policy decisions are governed by the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate of maintaining price stability and an inflation rate of 2.00 percent.

FOMC Members Facing Conflicted Opinions On Rate Cuts

Policymakers consider a variety of influences and news when cutting or raising the federal funds rate range. In addition to its dual mandate, FOMC members consider domestic and global impacts on the economy. Uncertainty over effects of international trade disputes and Great Britain’s looming exit from the European Union balanced strengths in the U.S. economy.

According to the post-meeting statement, seven FOMC members voted in favor of the rate cut to 1.75 to 2.00 percent; one member voted for a rate cut to 1.50 to 1.75 percent and two members voted against changing the target federal funds rate range.

Fed Chair: U.S. Economy Expected To Stay Strong

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in a post-meeting press conference that while U.S. economy expanded for its 11th consecutive year, global economic outlook was less certain particularly in Europe and China. The U.S. economy expanded 2.50 percent in the first half of 2019; factors driving growth included rising consumer confidence, wages and strong job markets. Business investment and exports were lower due to uncertainties over trade. Job growth slowed, but this was expected based on 2018’s fast pace of job growth. Work force participation grew; the Fed expects the national unemployment rate to remain below four percent for the next few years.

Chair Powell said that maintaining strong economic conditions was particularly important for low to middle income consumers left behind during the Great Recession. While current inflation stands at 1.40 percent, the Fed projects that it will grow to 1.90 percent in 2020 and achieve the target goal of 2.00 percent in 2021. Chair Powell said that inflation pressures are muted and at the lower end of historical ranges.

Chair Powell echoed the FOMC statement in saying that the Fed would continue to monitor economic developments abroad and would adjust monetary policy according to economic developments prompted by trade disputes and emerging economic developments.

 

Tags: , ,


| Comments off

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.

 

Tags: , ,


| Comments off

Boom Or Bubble? – Home Prices Hit Record Highs Across America

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 10th, 2019

Boom Or Bubble? - Home Prices Hit Record Highs Across AmericaThe rapidly rising home prices currently found in many parts of the United States make it seem like the Great Recession of 2008 never happened. It took approximately eight years for home prices to recover the values that were equivalent to those they had before the recession.

After reaching this point of recovery, since around 2016, real estate prices have been going up very quickly in many cities.

The Best Recovered Housing Markets

Here are the fully-recovered housing markets analyzed by ATTOM data service for the second quarter of 2019 that have exceeded the peak valuations from before the recession.

This list of winners shows the percentage that they are now above their pre-2008 peaks:

  • Greeley, Colorado (87% up)
  • Shreveport, Louisiana (81% up)
  • Denver, Colorado (80% up)
  • Austin, Texas (77% up)
  • Fort Collins, Colorado (76% up)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas (72% up)
  • Nashville, Tennessee (71% up)
  • San Antonio, Texas (58% up)
  • Houston, Texas (54% up)
  • San Jose, California (54% up)

It took quite a while for homes to have this much appreciation in value, which in most cases meant that the homes, first, had to increase significantly to overcome the lowered values from pre-recession peaks.

Homeowners Waiting Longer To Sell

Homeowners, who were wise and able, waited for this to occur. This accounts for the median of eight years that homeowners waited before selling now. Before the Great Recession, the median holding period for selling a home was only four years after purchase.

Homeowners who were able to hang on to their homes after the Great Recession hit, and then ride it out until now, are, in general, being rewarded for waiting to sell.

The Hottest Markets For American Cities

Most American cities are hot real estate markets. The appreciation rate for annual increases is up 89% of all the metro market areas.

Cities showing the greatest annual appreciation rates are:

  • Atlantic City, New Jersey (16% increase)
  • Boise City, Idaho (14% increase)
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee (13% increase)
  • Mobile, Alabama (11% increase)
  • Madison, Wisconsin (11% increase)
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin (9% increase)
  • Boston, Massachusetts (9% increase)
  • Salt Lake City, Utah (9 % increase)
  • Columbus, Ohio (8 % increase)
  • Birmingham, Alabama (6% increase)

Summary

Whether this a continuing boom or an early indication of another real estate bubble that might eventually burst is anyone’s guess. It is a decent time to sell if selling a home is in the plans. It is a more challenging time for home buyers. However, the one thing the Great Recession taught us all is that housing prices do not always go up.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, please consult with your trusted real estate professional.

Tags: , ,


| Comments off

New Home Prices Going Down Making Them More Affordable

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 6th, 2019

Residential real estate developers in America are responding to a national slowdown in new home construction by building smaller homes that are more New Home Prices Going Down Making Them More Affordablemodestly priced. The demand for smaller, less expensive homes is growing, while the overall demand for new custom homes is declining. Prices decreased slightly, by about one-half percent, from the price levels in 2018 for newly-constructed homes.

Lower Profits For Builders

The median price for a newly-constructed home in America is $372,900. The median sales price of an existing home is $309,700.

American construction companies are feeling the pressure to build lower-priced homes along with the increased costs for imported building materials due to the tariffs and a labor shortage. This is lowering profits for the construction companies, yet creates a buying opportunity for those looking for a new home.

Lower New Home Inventory Levels

These pressures caused new home inventory to decrease by 1% from the 2018 levels. To put this in perspective, the inventory of new homes only decreased this much in 2013. Even though mortgage loans are easier to come by than a number of years ago, there is not the same demand as before for new homes. Perhaps, this is an advance indicator of an upcoming slowdown.

Down-Sized Demand

The U.S. Census reports that the average size of a new home went from 1,660 square feet in the 1970s to 2,687 square feet in 2105. In 2018, the average size of a new home was only 2,386 square feet.

During 2018, there were around 119,000 contractor-built single-family new homes that started construction and over 840,000 that were completed.

Other interesting trends reported by the Census about the 840,000 new single-family homes that finished construction in 2018 include:

  • 783,000 of the new homes have air-conditioning installed, which is 93% of the total.
  • 778,000 of the new homes have wood frames.
  • 59,000 of the new homes have concrete frames.
  • 336,000 of the new homes have a heat pump.
  • 270,000 of the new homes have a porch or patio.
  • Only 10% or 84,000 of the new homes have two bedrooms or fewer.
  • About half or 376,000 of the new homes have four bedrooms or more.
  • 31,000 of the new homes have one and one-half bathrooms or fewer.
  • 306,000 of the new homes have three or more bathrooms.

Conclusion

Builders who offer smaller, lower-priced homes are still experiencing strong demand. In fact, the demand for these modest homes is growing. This trend is likely to continue for the time being.

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.

Tags: , ,


| Comments off

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »