Everything you need to confidently make real estate part of your investing plan
|June 03, 2013||Month/Month||Year/Year|
|Median Asking Price||$285,077||+1.8%||+10.1%|
|Date||Single Family & Condo
The median asking price for homes in Portland peaked in April 2007 at $354,740 and is now $69,663 (19.6%) lower. From a low of $239,125 in February 2011, the median asking price in Portland has increased by $45,952 (19.2%).
Housing inventory in Portland, which is typically highest in the spring/summer and lowest in the fall/winter, peaked at 23,354 in July 2008. The lowest housing inventory level seen was 7,969 in March 2013.
|Date||Single Family & Condo
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Department of Numbers
Buying real estate for the first time is a very exciting step in life.
It is likely to be one of the biggest financial commitments that you make, so it’s very important to navigate the purchasing process wisely.
Many first-time home buyers make rookie mistakes that bring on negative consequences and a lot of frustration.
Outlined below are common errors home buyers make, so you can learn from their missteps and avoid them yourself.
1. Buying More Than What You Can Truly Afford
Just because the bank says that you qualify a certain amount for a mortgage doesn’t mean that you have to choose a house at the very top of this price range.
Many people get carried away and buy the most expensive house that they qualify for.
If something unexpected happens, they may find it difficult to keep up with their monthly mortgage payments later on.
Remember that you will also have student loan payments, vehicle costs, credit card bills, health insurance, groceries, retirement savings and other expenses, so make sure that your mortgage payments will comfortably fit within your budget.
2. Failing To Get A Home Inspection
Before buying a house, you should always have a professional inspection done. Not doing so is a big mistake.
You don’t want to get stuck with hidden damage that could saddle you with the expense of ongoing repairs.
Hiring a professional to assess the home’s condition is absolutely essential before making your final decision.
3. Disregarding Your Future
When you are buying real estate, don’t just think about how the home will work for you in the immediate future.
Also consider what your needs will be five, ten or even 20 years from now.
Find out the development plans for the neighborhood.
Look for reputable schools if you intend to start a family.
And consider whether the street’s home values are likely to increase or decline in the future.
Your Next Steps
Don’t let the home-buying process overwhelm you!
Learn from these common first-time home buyers’ mistakes, so you can avoid them.
A great next step toward planning for your first home purchase is to consult with a trusted, licensed mortgage professional who is trained in providing the best advice on how a new home will affect your budget.
With inventories down and prices up, sellers are ending the costly incentives they have been forced to offer buyers during the six-year long buyers’ market. Concession-free transactions make deal-making simple on both sides of the table.
There’s no better gauge of the onset of a seller’s market than the demise of concessions that were considered essential to attract buyer interest just a few months ago. The National Association of REALTORS®’ December REALTOR® Confidence Outlook reported that the market has steadily moved towards a seller’s market with buyers more willing to bear closing costs, in some cases paying for half or more of the closing cost. Tight inventories of homes for sale are making markets increasingly competitive.
NAR reports that last year 60 percent of all sellers offered incentives to attract buyers. The most popular was a free home warranty policy, which costs about $500, offered by 22 percent of sellers, but 17 percent upped the ante by paying a portion of buyers’ closing costs and 7 percent contributed to remodeling or repairs.
Concessions linger where inventories are still adequate and sales slow, but in tight markets like Washington D.C., the times when buyers can expect concessions are already over.
“Buyers are discovering, to their dismay that homes they wanted to see or possibly buy have already been snatched up before they even get a chance to see or make an offer on the property. This area’s unprecedented low inventory levels are slowly driving up home prices and making sellers reluctant to cede little if any concessions to buyers. Realtors are warning (or should in some cases) buyers to be prepared to act that day if they are interested in a property,” reporters a local broker.
In Albuquerque, supply is dwindling and sales are moving to a more balanced market. “Buyers can expect sellers to offer less concessions and sales prices will be close to list price,” reports broker Archie Saiz.
In Seattle, not only are concessions a thing of the past, desperate buyers are even resorting to writing “love letters” to win over sellers in competitive situations. Lena Maul, a broker/owner in Lynnwood, reports a successful letter-writing effort last month by one of her office’s clients. Those buyers, who were using FHA financing, wrote a letter introducing themselves to the seller and explaining why they liked the home so much. After reviewing 13 offers, including one from an all-cash investor, the seller chose the letter-writer’s offer.
New regulations enacted last year by the Federal Housing Administration to limit its exposure to risk forced many sellers to cut back on the amount of assistance on buyers’ closing costs. Sellers are now limited to no more than six percent of the loan amount.
Underwriting standards on conventional mortgages also have the effect of limiting the amount sellers can contribute.
In recent years many lenders have disallowed seller paid closing costs on 100 percent financed home loans because of the high foreclosure rate.
However, seller paid closing costs are typically limited to 6 percent of the loan amount at 90 percent loan-to-value or lower, 3 percent between 90-95 percent, and then usually 3 percent for 100 percent loan-to-value.
Some sellers bump up the home sales price to pay for concessions. However the buyer will need to get the higher amount he will need to borrow covered by the appraisal and he will have to meet increased debt-to-income ratio in order to close his loan.
The demise of concessions will make buying and selling a little simpler and more rational. As one observed asked, “Why would anyone selling a home pay the home buyer to buy it?”
For more information, visit www.realestateeconomywatch.com
This past week, several reports were released, all of which showed that declining home inventory is affecting sales. This decline is creating a seller’s market in which multiple bids are being made to purchase homes. According to the National Association of Realtors, existing home sales fell 1% in December, but were still at the second highest level since November, 2009. Inventory of homes for sale fell 8.5 from November, the lowest level since January of 2001, and are down 21.6% from December of 2011.
Following that lead, pending home sales dropped 4.34% in December to 101.7 from 106.3 in November, yet was 6.9% higher than December, 2011, according to the National Association of Realtors. The Chief Economist at NAR stated that “supplies of homes costing less than $100,000 are tight in much of the country, especially in the West, so first time buyers have fewer options”. Mortgage ratesare still low, affordability is still there, but the available homes are dwindling. In the meantime, home prices are increasing at a faster pace. According to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller index for November, property values rose 5.5% from November of 2011 which was the highest year over year increase since August of 2006.
The cause of the low inventory can be attributed to several factors. For the week ending January 18th, loan applications increased 7.0% on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Mortgage Banker’s Association. The Refinance Index rose 8% with refinances representing 82% of all applications. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index rose 3%, the highest level since May, 2010. Many homeowners have chosen a mortgage refinance instead of moving to another home which is one reason that inventory is down. In addition, many underwater homeowners have refinanced through the HARP program which is available for loans that were sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac prior to June 1, 2009. These homeowners may not yet be in a position to sell their homes until they have gained back enough equity. As home prices increase, this will eventually happen. The same can be said for those who refinanced through the FHA streamline program which is offering reduced fees for loans that were endorsed prior to June 1, 2009. Refinancing through these two government programs, both available until the end of 2013, hit all time highs in 2012.
Home builders are busy, but not currently building new homes at the rate that was seen during the housing boom. According to the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, total new homes sales in 2012 hit the highest level seen since 2009 and were up 19.9% from 2011. There was much progress made in 2012, but sales for new homes fell 7.3% in December.
On the down side, the Census Bureau reported that homeownership fell 0.6% to 65.4% during December, down from 65.5% at the end of October and 66% at the end of 2011. Homeownership reached a peak of 69.2% in 2004 and has been falling since that time. The latest Consumer Confidence index dropped to 58.6 which is the weakest since November of 2011. It was previously at a revised 66.7 in December. This fell more than expected and is due to the higher payroll tax that is taking more out of the pockets of consumers.
The housing market, which is still in recovery, remains fragile. The lack of inventory and the rise of home prices may affect its progress this year. As home prices increase, fewer consumers will be able to qualify for a home loan. Existing homeowners may choose to refinance remain where they are instead of purchasing another home. While jobless claims have fallen, there are still many consumers who are out of work or are working lower paid jobs. The housing market is dependent on jobs, not just for salaries, but for consumer movement from one area to another.
FreeRateUpdate.com surveys more than two dozen wholesale and direct lenders’ rate sheets to determine the most accurate mortgage rates available to well qualified consumers at about a 1 point origination fee.
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