Posts Tagged ‘realestate’

Why should I refinance?

Positive statements by the Federal Reserve Board regarding the pace of future hikes in interest rates and the release of weak employment data have served to bring rates down moving into the spring selling season. This unexpected move in rates give Americans a unique opportunity to save money through refinancing or making their new dream home more affordable. From mid-September of last year to early-April of this year, Freddie Mac has reported that average rates on a 30-year fixed loan have moved down slightly more than one-half of one percent. This amounts to a savings of more than $1,500 annually for a $300,000 mortgage and $45,000 over the life of the mortgage. Recently, Black Knight Financial Services found that, in light of recent interest rate decreases on home loans, 7.1 million Americans would currently benefit by refinancing. In addition, Zillow has reported that 5.2 million renters are planning to purchase a home in the next year. Sources: Freddie Mac, Zillow & HousingWire

Fifty-four percent of for-sale listings of existing homes are within reach for a median-income household in the U.S., according to a new analysis by realtor.com®. Their analysts used the national median income of $51,801 to determine how many of the site’s 1.6 million listings would be affordable to an average family, while also assuming a 20 percent down payment and 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. The monthly payment couldn’t exceed 28 percent of the family’s income. “So far this year we are hearing from home shoppers that finding a home that meets their needs or budget is the biggest impediment to buying,” says Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “The good news from this data is that more than half of the listings nationwide are by definition affordable.” Realtor.com® analysts also found that existing homes tended to be much more affordable than new homes. In February, realtor.com® had more than 7,700 actively selling new-home communities listed, with an inventory of nearly 57,000 homes available for sale. Only 21 percent of those new homes, however, were deemed affordable. Source: realtor.com®

As Millennials begin to enter the homebuying market in larger numbers, homes will get a little smaller, laundry rooms will be essential, and home technology will become increasingly prevalent, said panelists during an International Builders’ Show press conference on home trends and Millennials’ home preferences. NAHB Assistant Vice President of Research Rose Quint predicted that the growing numbers of first-time homebuyers will drive down home size in 2015. Three million new jobs were created in 2014, 700,000 more than the previous year “and the most since 1999,” Quint said. At the same time, regulators have reduced downpayment requirements for first-time homebuyers from five percent to three percent and home prices have seen only moderate growth. “All these events lead me to believe that more people will come into the market, and as younger, first-time buyers, they will demand smaller, more affordable homes,” Quint said. “Builders will build whatever demand calls out for.” Of the Top 10 features mentioned by home builders, four have to do with energy efficiency: Low-E windows, Energy Star-rated appliances and windows and programmable thermostats. The top features: a master bedroom walk-in closet and a separate laundry room.

Source: National Mortgage Professional

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Rent is HOW MUCH?!

The rent may indeed be “too darn high,” but it’s only going up, according to a new report from online real estate listing service Zillow. According to new analysis from Zillow, U.S. renters paid $441 billion in rent in 2014, up $20.6 billion from 2013’s total of $420.4 billion. That represents an increase of 4.9%. Accounting for an estimated 770,000 additional U.S. renters in 2014, the average renter household spent $26 more per month in 2014 than in 2013, for a total of $312 more paid in rent this year compared to last, Zillow said. “Over the past 14 years, rents have grown at twice the pace of income due to weak income growth, burgeoning rental demand, and insufficient growth in the supply of rental housing,” said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries. “This has created real opportunities for rental housing owners and investors, but has also been a bitter pill to swallow for tenants, particularly those on an entry-level salary and those would-be buyers struggling to save for a down payment on a home of their own.” Humphries said that increases in rent are only going to continue. “Next year, we expect rents to rise even faster than home values, meaning that another increase in total rent paid similar to that seen this year isn’t out of the question,” he said. “In fact, it’s probable.” Source: HousingWire

Most younger renters think owning is a more sensible housing choice for financial reasons, according to Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey. Seventy-six percent of young renters, defined in this study as between 18 and 39, think owning makes more sense because they’re protected against rent increases, and owning can be a good investment over the long-term. “However, a large majority of young renters have remained pessimistic over the last few years about their ability to get a home loan; in contrast, younger owners have grown more optimistic,” says Sarah Shahdad, strategic planning analyst at Fannie Mae. “Demographic differences between younger renters and younger owners may explain part of the gap in attitudes.” Younger owners are more likely to fall in the higher end of the age range, earn more, and be employed full-time compared with younger renters, Shahdad notes. “The widening of that same gap during the last few years suggests that confidence in one’s ability to get a home loan is growing primarily among those who have already met financial requirements,” she notes. Young renters consider down payments and credit scores to be the top obstacles of getting a home loan. Also, the presence of student loans heightens the difficulty, they feel. But, young renters say, one day, they still plan to buy. “Enhanced housing education and alternative approaches to housing and savings may help renters fulfill their housing aspirations in a financially sustainable way,” Shahdad says. “Educational resources and tools may help renters make more informed decisions about their housing choices and begin managing their finances early and efficiently in order to fulfill their goals.” Also, promoting alternative paths to home ownership may help. Shahdad notes that about three-quarters of younger renters and owners said a lease-to-own arrangement would make renting more desirable to them since it would lead to home ownership. Source: Fannie Mae

Americans 55 years old and older are increasingly expected to begin trading residences as they near retirement, and that has many housing analysts and homebuilders predicting a surge in active-adult homes and communities that appeal to seniors. Homebuilders PulteGroup, Lennar, and Toll Brothers are reporting higher sales in this segment. Builders also are trying to lure this age group with multigenerational amenities, such as a separate private entrance, bedroom, bathroom, and eat-in kitchen attached to a traditional home. The National Association of Home Builders’ 55+ Housing Market Index also reflects greater optimism in the 55-plus housing market. This year, the index reached its highest second-quarter reading since it began in 2008, and it posted its 11th consecutive quarter of year-over-year gains. “One of the factors contributing to the positive signs in the 55+ housing market is the slow but steady increase in existing-home sales in the past several months,” says NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “The 55+ market is strongly driven by consumers being able to sell their existing homes at a favorable price in order to buy or rent in a 55+ community.” Source: Investors Business Daily

Fall To Do List

As the weather cools down, our thoughts turn to visions of … leaf piles, broken gutters, and stopped-up chimneys. Or rather, how to deal with such household chores before the winter sets in. Here are 10 jobs that should top your priority list this fall.

1. Change batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. It’s a great idea to do this on the day Daylight Savings Time ends. Check the expiration on your fire extinguisher and review your escape plan with your family as well.

2. Inspect your fireplace. Have the chimney cleaned professionally, clear out any leftover ashes from last year from disposal chute if you have one, fix cracked glass doors.

3. Get the garage into shape. Gather up summer items such as lawn chairs, umbrellas, garden tools, and beach toys, pack them securely and store them neatly. Move snow shovels, snow sports equipment, and other winter tools to the front of your storage areas so they are easily accessible.

4. Ready the garden for winter. If you’re in colder climes, decide if you’ll be feeding the birds, and get your feeders cleaned and filled. Empty hoses and pack them away. If your winter weather is more temperate, you may want to prepare for winter planting of garlic, leeks, onions, lettuce, and potatoes.

5. Clear the deck. Clean, repair, cover and store your patio furniture and barbecue to prevent weather damage.

6. Get to the gutters. Clean and inspect them. Make sure your downspouts are clear and that you replace any broken extensions so that water is properly diverted away from your homes foundation.

7. Prepare the furnace. Check that it’s working properly before you really need it — you don’t want to be waiting for the repair service when the temperature’s dropped into the single digits. Better yet, get a professional cleaning and inspection.

8. Set up humidifiers. If you don’t have a central humidifier, pull out your portables and get ready to use them once you turn the heat on. Dry air not only harms your lungs and skin; it can also damage wood furniture, which can become brittle and crack.

9. Consider an exterior paint job. Fall is a great time of year to freshen your home’s exterior paint, with lower temperatures and low humidity.

10. Install a programmable thermostat. It doesn’t have to be as fancy [or expensive] as the Nest. Preset temperatures for different times of day and save yourself some money on heating bills — plus ensure you’ve got a cozy home to return to.