Naturally, when there are more home buyers than homes for sale, prices and competition increase. That’s why, the fact that there are a lower than normal number of homes for sale ranks high among the main issues affecting today’s home buyer. But what are the factors causing for-sale inventory to lag in markets across the country? Well, one of them is that an increasing number of homeowners have decided that, rather than moving, they’d prefer to renovate or remodel the home they have. In fact, according to Harvard’s Joint Center For Housing Studies, home improvement spending is up. Since 2015, it’s risen 10 percent. And when compared to 2010, it’s up 50 percent. According to the report, older homeowners are driving the trend. “Homeowners age 55 and over have dominated the home remodeling market for nearly a decade, overtaking middle-aged owners as the primary source of home improvement spending,” the report says. “Older homeowners are living longer and are increasingly willing and able to spend for home improvements that allow them to remain safely in their current homes.” More here.
Determining when it’s a good time to for you to buy a house means thinking about things like market conditions, your life goals, job security, and personal finances. That’s why Fannie Mae’s monthly Home Purchase Sentiment Index surveys Americans about those things in an effort to gauge perceptions of the current housing market. And, according to the most recent results, Americans are becoming more enthusiastic. In fact, there was a 13 percent month-over-month increase in the number of respondents who said now is a good time to buy a house. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist, says there are a lot of positive trends currently supporting buying sentiment, though there are also some remaining concerns. “Another sharp rebound in the ‘Good Time To Buy’ component lifted the HPSI nearer its survey high set during last year’s home buying season, though several uncertainties remain,” Duncan said. “While consumers’ more favorable mortgage rate outlook suggests continued support for housing affordability, potential home buyers still face supply constraints. Additionally, while the survey recently resumed its upward trend, consumers’ sense of income growth and job security have moved lower from the highs established earlier in the year, which, if sustained, could weigh on the … Read More
Buying a house is a major financial transaction. So, it makes sense that you’d want to take your time and not rush into anything. Unfortunately, though, buying a house also requires you to act fast, especially in a competitive market. If you spend too much time deliberating, you may lose the house to a buyer who’s quicker than you and makes an offer while you’re still thinking it over. In other words, the home buying process can sometimes make you feel like you have to rush. This is particularly true for buyers who haven’t been through the experience before and don’t know exactly what to expect. That’s what a recent survey of homeowners found, anyway, The survey – which asked homeowners for their views on homeownership and their regrets and expectations – found that the vast majority of young homeowners (between 18 and 34 years old) had at least one regret about their home. And, among those regrets, feeling like they rushed their decision and didn’t have a chance to consider all the options earned the top spot. In fact, 29 percent of young homeowners said they regret rushing the process. By comparison, just 12 percent of older buyers said … Read More
The National Association of Realtors most recent existing-home sales report shows sales were essentially flat in April, falling 0.4 percent from the month before. But though flat sales to begin the spring selling season may seem like trouble, a closer look at the data shows conditions are gradually improving for home buyers and may lead to more activity. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says he believes the improvements will soon help spur more sales. “First, we are seeing historically low mortgage rates combined with a pent-up demand to buy, so buyers will look to take advantage of these conditions,” Yun said. “Also, job creation is improving, causing wage growth to align with home price growth, which helps affordability and will help spur more home sales.” Additionally, inventory continues to improve, with the number of homes available for sale up nearly 2 percent from last year at the same time. However, though the market is becoming more favorable for buyers, it’s still competitive. In fact, 53 percent of homes sold in April were on the market for less than a month. More here
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances fell again last week. Rates for jumbo loans, loans backed by the FHA, and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages remained mostly flat from the week before. Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said the average 30-year fixed-rate is now at its lowest point in more than a year. “Mortgage rates fell for the fourth straight week, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hitting its lowest level since January 2018, leading to a rebound in refinances,” Kan said. And while it’s true that there was an 8 percent increase in refinance activity last week due to decreasing rates, purchase activity was actually down from the week before. Kan says home buyers may be delaying their search due to economic uncertainty. But though demand for loans to buy homes was down from the week before, it remains 7 percent higher than at the same time last year. The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. More here.
If you’re a homeowner getting ready to sell, you’re likely thinking about how to get the best price for your house. Naturally, getting a good offer is going to be top priority. The other big issue is timing. Homeowners who are using the sale of their home to fund the down payment on their next place have to time it right. But could the timing of your move affect the price your home gets? Well, according to new research that compared the sale price of occupied versus vacant homes, it might. In fact, the research showed that homes whose owners had already moved out sold for $11,000 less and spent six more days on the market than comparable homes that were still occupied. Why would this be? Well, one reason is that buyers looking at an empty house assume its owners aren’t as eager to sell, since they’ve already moved on. Another reason is furnishings can sometimes help a home show better. However, there are a lot of factors to consider. For example, a home with less attractive décor can sometimes drag its price down just as much as being vacant. More here.
It’s hard not to be influenced by your family and friends. After all, their opinions hold more weight because you trust them. When someone you love recommends something, you’re probably more likely to consider it than had you heard it from another source. It doesn’t matter if it’s a restaurant, a new movie, or a vacation destination, if a friend tells you it’s good, you’ll likely believe them. This is also true when deciding to buy a house. At a panel convened by the National Association of Realtors, Dr. Johannes Stroebel – an associate professor of finance at New York University – talked about why that is. According to Stroebel, a recent paper looked at how the positive experiences of people close to us can influence our decision to buy. The research showed that having a Facebook friend who experienced a 5 percent increase in their home’s value over the past two years increased the probability that a current renter would purchase a home over the next two years. “Individuals do discuss property value with their friends, and this changes behavior,” Stroebel said. In short, if you have a friend who’s seen their home’s value rise, you’re more likely to … Read More
Recently, there has been a growing number of young Americans interested in buying homes. But though there’s been increasing demand, the number of affordable homes available to these buyers has lagged behind in many markets. In short, there are more potential first-time buyers than entry-level homes available for sale. This is a problem for the housing market, since it means many buyers get priced out or simply can’t find a home to buy. Fortunately, inventory is beginning to rebound. And, according to one recent report, the number of starter homes available for sale rose 3.5 percent over the last year. That’s the fastest pace in more than 6 years. It’s also good news for younger home buyers and the market overall. But though the news is good, the data also suggests inventory is growing fastest in more expensive markets. That means, some of the inventory growth is due to homes remaining on the market longer due to higher prices. More here
There’s a reason they’re called wish lists. After all, home buyers can’t expect to get every single thing they want in a house unless they have one custom built. Which is to say, you’re, undoubtedly, going have to make some sacrifices and some of your wishes are going to go unfulfilled. For that reason, a recent survey took a look at what new homeowners say are the things they most wish their home had. According to the results, a walk-in pantry was the most common response. Around a third of respondents said it was the thing their home didn’t have that they regretted most. Other popular answers included granite countertops, kitchen islands, tankless water heaters, and hardwood floors. But though that might make it sound like recent buyers are dissatisfied with their new homes, the survey found that 95 percent of participants said they like or love the house they purchased. Which should be encouraging to prospective home buyers who worry that they’ll get it wrong and end up in a house they dislike. More here.
Naturally, home prices are important to home buyers. When they’re high, you get less house for your money. And, if you’re a buyer, you’re most likely trying to get as good a deal as you can. That’s why the most recent S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices should be encouraging news. www.homeprice.spdji.com The Index – which is the leading measure of U.S. home prices – found that, on a month-over-month basis, prices are flat and, on an annual basis, the rate of increases has continued to slow. David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, says prices have been following a gradual trajectory. “The pace of increases for home prices continues to slow,” Blitzer said. “Homes began their climb in 2012 and accelerated until late 2013 when annual increases reached double digits. Subsequently, increases slowed until now when the National Index is up 4 percent in the last 12 months.” More here.