Archive for January, 2020

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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How To Find Places To Buy Rental Investment Properties

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 30th, 2020

How To Find Places To Buy Rental Investment PropertiesReal estate, which is a rental property, has the unique characteristic under the tax code of being able to depreciate it and pretend the asset is going down in value, while, if you are a clever investor, you will acquire property that actually increases in value. Additionally, there are other tax advantages for owning a rental property that can help shelter income.

Positive Cash Flow

The key to success with a real estate investment portfolio of rental properties is to build value while it is self-sustainable. Have the goal of creating positive cash flow from every owned property. Making $100 per month positive cash flow from a single property may not sound like much until you multiply that by 25 properties. A portfolio with those characteristics makes a nice passive income of $2,500 per month or $30,000 per year.

Leverage

Using leverage increases the return on investment (ROI) as long as you choose properties that are cash-positive enough to cover their carrying costs and do not lose value over time. The lower the amount of your money that you invest, the greater the leverage you have and the higher your ROI will be.

Finding Rental Income Property

Commercial rental income property is more challenging so it is best to focus on residential rental properties, especially when starting to build up a real estate portfolio. The things you want to look for when hunting for residential rental properties are a manageable median price for the area, an area that is showing steady annual appreciation in home values, and an area that is stable with no severe negative challenges now or in the foreseeable future.

City Opportunities

It is possible to find properties that are excellent investments in many parts of the United States. Here are some examples of cities that currently have investment opportunities so you can consider them and compare them to your location.

Here are the top ten residential rental markets as ranked by TurboTenant for 2020:

1. Reading, PA

Median Sales Price $140,000 — Annual Increase 11.1% — Average Rent $957

2. District Heights, MD

Median Sales Price $252,000 — Annual Increase 0.4% — Average Rent $1,408

3. Allentown, PA

Median Sales Price $145,000 — Annual Increase 19.0% — Average Rent $1,063

4. East Orange, NJ

Median Sales Price $273,000 — Annual Increase 10.0% — Average Rent $1,534

5. Nashua, NH

Median Sales Price $283,000 — Annual Increase 4.5% — Average Rent $1,524

6. Cincinnati, OH

Median Sales Price $163,000 — Annual Increase 3.1% — Average Rent $1,048

7. Paterson, N.J

Median Sales Price $268,000 — Annual Increase 11.9% — Average Rent $1,614

8. New Castle, DE

Median Sales Price $188,000 — Annual Increase 8% — Average Rent $1,884

9. Rochester, NY

Median Sales Price $136,000 — Annual Increase 5.6% — Average Rent $1,126

10. Hyattsville, MD

Median Sales Price $279,000 — Annual Increase 0.4% — Average Rent $1,982

Summary

It is possible to find cash-flow positive properties in all of these markets, so they are all excellent examples of what to look for when you are hunting for a residential rental property to acquire. Be sure to work with a qualified local REALTOR® who knows the market well that you are considering.

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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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How A Reverse Mortgage Can Help With Long-Term Care

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 28th, 2020

How A Reverse Mortgage Can Help With Long-Term CareAnyone who has paid attention to the TV recently has likely seen a lot of commercials for something called a reverse mortgage. For those who might not know, a reverse mortgage is exactly that. In this option, people receive monthly payments from a lender in exchange for equity in their homes. In essence, this functions as an annuity.

One of the major benefits of a reverse mortgage is that it can be used to cover the costs associated with long-term care. Over the next few decades, the number of elderly individuals in the United States is projected to double. For this reason, long-term care is projected to become a major expense.

How Can A Reverse Mortgage Pay For Long-Term Care?

Long-term care is one of the biggest unexpected expenses encountered by the elderly. Often, coinsurance associated with a health insurance policy, combined with the lifetime caps on many policies, can shift significant medical costs to the individual. This leaves many elderly individuals looking for an immediate for some cash. Because many elderly individuals and families are on a fixed income, there are not a lot of options. 

This is where a reverse mortgage can come in handy. Many elderly individuals have paid off their houses entirely. This can act as an immediate source of equity, providing seniors with a much-needed cash infusion to cover the costs associated with long-term care.

Improving On Reverse Mortgages And Long-Term Care

With long-term care expected to become a bigger issue as a larger percentage of the US population reaches retirement, suggestions have been offered to address these costs. One of these suggestions has been to marry long-term care and reverse mortgages with improved social services.

Many experts have been suggesting ways to tie the equity in someone’s home to Medicare and Social Security. This could be used to create a nice safety net that might support seniors by covering the costs of long-term care. Given the stress that an unexpected medical expense can create, this can offer a much-needed respite for seniors and caregivers alike.

Taking Advantage Of A Reverse Mortgage

In the meantime, it is important for seniors to note that a reverse mortgage can offer an immediate cash infusion. This can be used to cover an unexpected cost, such as a medical bill. It will be interesting to see how reverse mortgages evolve in the future.

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

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 27th, 2020

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 27th, 2020

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 27th, 2020Last week’s economic reporting was slim due to the observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The National Association of Realtors® reported on sales of previously owned homes and the Veterans Administration announced changes to its home loan programs. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and initial unemployment claims were also released.

Sales Pace of  Pre-owned Homes Rose 3.60 Percent in December

The sales pace of previously-owned homes jumped by 3.60 percent on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. December’s sales pace rose to 5.54 million sales. 5.35 million homes were sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in November. Sales of new and pre-owned homes rose 10.60 percent year-over-year.

The number of available homes for sale reached its lowest reading since the National Association of Realtors® started tracking sales in 1999. There was a three-month supply of homes for sale in December as compared to a 3.70 month supply of homes available in  November. Real estate pros typically consider a six-month supply of homes to balance market conditions evenly between buyers and sellers.

December’s data indicates that housing markets are skewed in favor of sellers, which increases challenges for buyers relying on mortgage loans or moderate-income buyers seeking affordable homes.

High demand for homes encourages bidding wars and cash offers that grab sellers’ attention at the expense of traditional purchase offers contingent on mortgage financing. Moderate-income buyers may require additional approvals from mortgage insurance companies or programs geared toward first-time buyers.

Veterans Home Loans: No More Loan Limits in 2020

As of January 1, 2020, VA home loans are no longer subject to loan limits based on property location. Past regulations included home loan limits based on maximum loan amounts determined by the county where a veteran’s prospective home was located.

Removing loan limits streamlines VA loan approval and can avoid problems caused if a VA home loan limit is lower than a home’s appraised value. More veterans are expected to gain the advantage of no down payment required for VA loans. Veterans with less than full VA loan entitlement remain subject to loan limits.

Mortgage Rates, Fall as New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported the lowest average mortgage rates in three months last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.60 percent and were five basis points lower. The average rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.04 percent and was five basis points lower.

5/1 adjustable rate mortgages had an average rate of 3.28 percent, which was 11 basis points lower than in the prior week.

First-time jobless claims rose by 4000 claims to 211,000 new claims filed. Analysts said that the rise in first-time claims did not indicate more layoffs.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, new home sales and the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve will issue its customary post-meeting statement. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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Is A 15 Or 30 Year Mortgage Right For You?

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 24th, 2020

Is A 15 Or 30 Year Mortgage Right For YouWhen someone is looking to purchase a house, they need to think about how long they want their mortgage to last. While a bank can structure a mortgage to last for any number of years, the most common lengths are 15 and 30 years. While a 30-year mortgage is typically more affordable, a 15-year mortgage is cheaper overall. 

When someone is trying to decide how long they want their mortgage to last, there are a few important tips to keep in mind.

The Benefits Of A 15-Year Mortgage

There are a few important benefits that everyone should know about a 15-year mortgage. Some of the biggest benefits include:

  • With a 15-year mortgage, people are going to pay off their home more quickly. This will free up cash to spend in other places. Those who are looking to retire without a mortgage may want to go with a 15-year mortgage. 
  • Next, a 15-year mortgage is going to come with a lower interest rate. Because the bank is going to get their money back more quickly, they are going to reward the borrower with a lower interest rate. Overall, the bank is taking on less risk.
  • Finally, a 15-year mortgage is also going to be cheaper overall. With a lower interest rate and a loan that is paid off more quickly, the bank is going to take less of someone’s money over the life of the loan. 

The Benefits Of A 30-Year Mortgage

A 30-year mortgage has some notable differences when compared to a 15-year mortgage. There are a few important benefits that people need to remember. These include:

  • The monthly payments are going to lower. Those who are planning on paying for their children’s college education, or who envision a car payment in the near future, may want to have extra cash on hand to fund them.
  • As someone pays off their mortgage the interest paid on the loan is tax-deductible. Since more interest is paid on a 30-year mortgage, there will be greater tax savings as well. This means that people will get some of their money back.
  • Finally, a 30-year mortgage is also more flexible. During the loan, people may elect to make extra payments. This allows someone to pay off their home more quickly.

These are a few of the most important points people need to remember when trying to decide between a 15-year and 30-year mortgage. 

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

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Eight Signs You’re Ready To Stop Renting And Buy A Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 23rd, 2020

Eight Signs You're Ready To Stop Renting And Buy A HomeFor many people, owning a home is seen as a rite of passage. At the same time, purchasing a home is expensive. As a result, many people end up renting for an extended period of time.

Here are a few signs that someone is ready to stop renting and purchase a home.

1. Rental Prices Keep Going Up

Year after year, rental prices are going to keep going up. While the rental company is going to claim that these increases are consistent with the industry, they tend to be exorbitant. As a result, those who are tired of their rent being increased should think about buying property instead.

2. The Credit Score Has Gone Up

Someone’s credit score is going to play a major role in the mortgage approval process. Anyone whose credit score has gone up recently should think about buying property.

3. Debt Management Is Second Nature

Before taking out a mortgage, someone is going to have to be good at managing debt. A mortgage is simply another form of debt. It needs to be managed properly.

4. There Is A Liquidity Fund In Place

The cost of owning a home extends far beyond the mortgage. Anyone who is thinking about owning property is going to have to have money set aside to cover additional costs. These include repairs, maintenance, and homeowners’ insurance.

5. There Is Money For A Down Payment

There is going to be a large check due upfront. A down payment is essential when it comes to buying a home. In addition, be sure to set aside money for closing costs as well.

6. You’re Going To Settle Down

When someone is thinking about buying a home, they need to stay in the same place for an extended period of time. When someone buys and sells homes quickly, they are likely to lose money to closing costs.

7. A Major Life Change Is Happening

Many people elect to buy a home after a major life change. This might come in the form of marriage. This might also come on the back of having kids. These major life changes can trigger someone to settle down and buy a home.

8. Your Vision Of The Future Is Clear

Those who know where their life is headed in the near future are in a great position to buy a home. If the future is clear, you are ready for the responsibilities of homeownership.

Call your trusted real estate professional today to discuss the options for homeownership in your local marketplace.

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What Is A Short Sale?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 22nd, 2020

What Is A Short SaleNobody enters into a mortgage assuming they are going to fall short on their payments; however, life happens and borrowers might need a way out. In serious situations, lenders may elect to foreclose on homeowners who are unable to make their mortgage payments. Fortunately, there might be another way out. This is called a short sale.

A short sale can be used to help homeowners who are struggling cater to those who are looking to buy a home. At the same time, there are risks to both parties. Therefore, there are a few important points to keep in mind.

What Is The Structure Of A Short Sale?

If someone owes more on their mortgage than the property would otherwise sell for, this is called a short sale. In this situation, the lender accepts the money coming from the sale of the home rather than that money going to the homeowner. This is because the homeowner still owes a significant amount of money on their mortgage.

Take, for example, someone who owes $300,000 on their mortgage. In a short sale situation, he or she would sell the home for $250,000 in a short sale. In this fashion, the lender agrees to accept a smaller amount of money for the home than he or she would get otherwise. In essence, the lender is then short $50,000. This is where the name comes from.

This is different from a foreclosure. A foreclosure happens when the borrower falls so far behind on payments that the lender reclaims the property.

The Benefits Of A Short Sale

The biggest benefit of a short sale is avoiding foreclosure. A foreclosure is a disastrous event for someone’s credit score. When someone agrees to a short sale process instead, he or she will often buy a more affordable home shortly thereafter. 

Buying A Home In A Short Sale

On the buyer side, the biggest benefit of targeting a short sale home is that there is usually a great deal on the price. The lender is already not getting their money on a regular basis and is often motivated the sell the home quickly to recoup their money.

On the other hand, short sales often take longer to proceed. The lender has to approve the sale and price, which might lead to delays. The condition of the house may also not be in good shape. Therefore, be sure to get a home inspection.

Calling your trusted real estate agent and mortgage loan professional is the best thing to do if you have questions regarding your home and a possible short sale.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 21st, 2020

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 21st, 2020

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 21st, 2020Last week’s economic reports included the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index along with readings on consumer sentiment and weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

NAHB: Builder Confidence d in Housing Markets Drops 1 Point in January

Homebuilder confidence in overall housing market conditions dropped one point in January, but analysts said that a new trade deal would likely benefit builder interests. The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index dropped to an index reading of 75 from December’s reading of 76; December’s reading was the highest since 1999.

The reading for builder confidence in January 2019 was 58; while any reading over 50 is considered positive, builder confidence increased significantly year-over-year.

Sub-index readings used to calculate the overall housing market index reading were mixed;  builder confidence in current housing market conditions fell -3 points to an index reading of 81.

Homebuilder confidence in market conditions over the next six months was unchanged at a reading of 79. Homebuilder confidence in buyer traffic levels in new housing developments rose one point to 58; index readings over 50 for buyer traffic are unusual.

NAHB reported mixed readings for homebuilder sentiment regionally. Builder confidence in market conditions in the Western region rose four points; builder confidence in the Northeastern region rose three points and builder confidence readings for the South were unchanged. Builder confidence in housing market conditions in the Midwest fell seven points.

Factors contributing to high builder confidence in housing markets include high demand for homes and a potential easing of materials prices due to recent trade agreements. Builders continue to battle high materials and labor costs that reduce their profit margins. Analysts note that narrower profit margins contribute to builders’ongoing focus on building high-end homes.

Mortgage Rates Rise; New Jobless Claims Fall

Average mortgage rates rose incrementally last week; Freddie Mac reported a one basis point gain for 30-year-fixed-rate mortgages to 3.65 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.09 percent and were two basis points higher. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.39 percent and were nine basis points higher.

New jobless claims were lower than expected with 204,000 initial claims filed. Analysts expected 220,000 new claims and 214,000 new claims were filed the prior week. Initial jobless claims fell for the fifth consecutive week, which indicates a strong labor market.

The University of Michigan reported a lower index reading for its Consumer Sentiment Index in January. The monthly reading fell to 99.1 from December’s reading of 99.3; the projected reading for January was 99.6. The Consumer Sentiment Index reflects consumers’ attitudes toward their personal finances along with their views of overall business and buying conditions.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include sales of previously-owned homes and the Chicago Fed’sNational Index report; weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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3 Crucial Questions To Ask Before You Co-Sign A Mortgage

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 17th, 2020

3 Crucial Questions To Ask Before You Co-Sign A MortgageA mortgage is a significant responsibility. For this reason, many people have someone co-sign with them on their mortgage. Before agreeing to co-sign on any mortgage, it is important to ask the right questions. There are several crucial questions that everyone should ask before they co-sign on someone else’s mortgage.

What Does It Mean To Co-Sign On A Mortgage?

Before signing that piece of paper, it is important to understand the responsibilities involved. Co-signing on a mortgage is a little bit different than co-signing for a credit card.

The person who is buying the home, the primary signer, lives in the property in question. The co-signer, typically, does not. On the other hand, both people signing the mortgage take on the financial risk of the mortgage. Before co-signing, understand the financial risk involved.

Is It Smart To Trust The Borrower?

One of the most important questions to ask is whether or not the borrower can be trusted. Remember, if the primary signer cannot make the payments on the mortgage, the co-signer is on the hook for those payments. Before placing any financial assets on the line, make sure the borrower can be trusted to maintain gainful employment, make smart financial decisions, and keep up with the mortgage payments.

What Are The Risks Involved?

There are a few risks that people need to think about when it comes to co-signing a mortgage. First, think about the risk to the credit score. If the primary signer makes late payments, these can impact the co-signer’s financial health and credit score as well.

In addition, there are relationship risks that everyone should think about. Most people co-sign a mortgage for a family member or friend. Having this type of financial arrangement can complicate relationships among loved ones.

Understanding The Process Of Co-Signing A Mortgage

These are only a few of the many questions that people need to ask when they are thinking about co-signing on a mortgage. Everyone who is considering co-signing must consider the financial health and responsibility of the primary signer in addition to the risks they will be taking on. Co-signing on someone else’s mortgage is a big decision. Consider the various factors involved in this decision.

As always, speak with your trusted real estate and mortgage finance professional for advice on your personal situation.

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