Housing Market Set to Spring Forward This Year

Housing Market Set to Spring Forward This Year

Housing Market

Just like our clocks this weekend in the majority of the country, the housing market will soon “spring forward!” Similar to tension in a spring, the lack of inventory available for sale in the market right now is what is holding back the market.

Many potential sellers believe that waiting until Spring is in their best interest, and traditionally they would have been right.

Buyer demand has seasonality to it, which usually falls off in the winter months, especially in areas of the country impacted by arctic temperatures and conditions.

That hasn’t happened this year.

Demand for housing has remained strong as mortgage rates have remained near historic lows.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the top 10 dates sellers listed their homes in 2015 all fell in April, May or June.

Those who act quickly and list now could benefit greatly from additional exposure to buyers prior to a flood of more competition coming to market in the next few months.

Bottom Line

If you are planning on selling your home in 2016, let’s meet up to evaluate the opportunities in your market.

Put Your Housing Costs To Work For You

Put Your Housing Costs To Work For You

There are so many people these days debating whether they should renew the lease on their house or apartment, or sign a contract to purchase their first home. As we have said before, mortgage interest rates are still near historic lows and rents continue to rise.

Housing Cost & Net Worth

Whether you rent or buy, you have a monthly housing cost. The difference is whether you are helping someone else’s net worth, or your own.

As a buyer, you are contributing to YOUR net worth.

Every mortgage payment is a form of what Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies calls“forced savings.”

“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”

The principal portion of your mortgage payment helps build your net worth through building the equity you have in your home.

As a renter, you are contributing to YOUR LANDLORD’S net worth.

Below is an example of the home equity that would be accrued over the course of the next five years if you had purchased a home in January; based on the results of the Home Price Expectation Survey.

Put Your Housing Cost To Work For You! | Simplifying The Market

In this example, simply by paying your mortgage, you would have increased your net worth by over $44,000!

Bottom Line

Use your monthly housing costs to your advantage! Ask questions, become informed. Let’s meet up to discuss the opportunities available in our Lake Tahoe market.

Home Is Where the Heart Is

Home Is Where the Heart Is

Yesterday, I discussed the reasons why homeownership makes sense financially. Today I wanted to touch on the emotional or ‘real’ reasons that many of us strive to become homeowners. After all, home is where the heart is!

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University performs a study every year surveying participants for the reasons that American’s feel are most important in regards to homeownership.

The top 4 reasons to own a home cited by respondents were not financial.

1. It means having a good place to raise children & provide them with a good education

From the best neighborhoods to the best school districts, even those without children at the time of purchasing their home, may have this in the back of their mind as a major reason for choosing the location of the home that they purchase. 

2. You have a physical structure where you & your family feel safe

It is no surprise that having a place to call home with all that means in comfort and security is the #2 reason.

3. It allows you to have more space for your family

Whether your family is expanding, or an older family member is moving in, having a home that fits your needs is a close third on the list. 

4. It gives you control over what you do with your living space, like renovations and updates

Looking to actually try one of those complicated wall treatments that you saw on Pinterest? Want to finally adopt that puppy or kitten you’ve seen online 100 times? Who’s to say that you can’t in your own home?

The 5th reason on the list, is the #1 financial reason to buy a home as seen by respondents: 

5. Owning a home is a good way to build up wealth that can be passed along to my family

Either way you are paying a mortgage. Why not lock in your housing expense now with an investment that will build equity that you can borrow against in the future? 

Bottom Line

Whether you are a first time homebuyer or a move-up buyer who wants to start a new chapter in their life, now is a great time to reflect on the intangible factors that make a house a home. In other words: how do you feel about where you live, and what more do you want?

Real Estate is a Great Investment

Real Estate is a Great Investment

This morning I had an interesting exchange with a potential client where they were telling me how they had read that real estate is no longer a good investment and they cited an economist named Alex Tabarrok. I gave them my best reply at the time, but I wanted to give them a more informed response, and rather than just use my own anecdotal evidence, I really wanted to provide them with information from other professionals in the field of economics. I have stated and reported many times that the American Dream of homeownership is alive and well, and tomorrow, I’ll touch on the personal benefits to homeownership, however, here is what I came up with for today:

In a recent blog post on Marginal Revolution, economist Alex Tabarrok discussed homeownership as an investment.

Here is what Mr. Tabarrok had to say:

“Housing is overrated as a financial investment. First, it’s not good to have a significant share of your wealth locked into a single asset. Diversification is better and it’s easier to diversify with stocks. Second, unless you are renting the basement, houses don’t pay dividends. Stocks do. You can hope that your house will accumulate in value but don’t count on it. Indeed, you should expect that as an investment your house will appreciate less than does the stock market. You didn’t expect to get a great investment and a place to live in the meantime, did you?”

Here is my rebuttal:

Eric Belsky, the Managing Director of the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University expanded on the top financial benefits of homeownership in his paper –The Dream Lives On: the Future of Homeownership in America.

Let’s use some quotes from Belsky’s study to address comments by Mr. Tabarrok:

Tabarrok:  

“Housing is overrated as a financial investment.”

Belsky:

“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”

Tabarrok:

You can hope that your house will accumulate in value but don’t count on it. Indeed, you should expect that as an investment your house will appreciate less than does the stock market.”

Belsky:

“Homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. Even a hefty 20 percent down payment results in a leverage factor of five so that every percentage point rise in the value of the home is a 5 percent return on their equity. With many buyers putting 10 percent or less down, their leverage factor is 10 or more.”

Tabarrok:

“You didn’t expect to get a great investment and a place to live in the meantime, did you?”

Belsky:

“Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord.

Homeowners are able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from income…On top of all this, capital gains up to $250,000 are excluded from income for single filers and up to $500,000 for married couples if they sell their homes for a gain.”

Bottom Line

I realize that homeownership makes sense for many Americans for an assortment of social and family reasons. It also makes sense financially. If you are considering a purchase this year, contact myself or a professional in your area who can help you evaluate your ability to do so.

14,986 Homes Sold Yesterday… Did Yours?

14,986 Homes Sold Yesterday… Did Yours?

There are some homeowners that have been waiting for months to get a price they hoped for when they originally listed their house for sale. The only thing they might want to consider is… If it hasn’t sold yet, maybe it’s not priced properly, or maybe it isn’t getting the exposure that it deserves.

After all 14,986 houses sold yesterday, 14,986 will sell today and 14,986 will sell tomorrow.

14,986!

That is the average number of homes that sell each and every day in this country according to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Existing Home Sales Report. NAR reported that sales are at an annual rate of 5.59 million. Divide that number by 365 (days in a year) and we can see that, on average, over 14,986 homes sell every day.

The report from NAR also revealed that there is currently only a 4.0-month supply of inventory available for sale, (6-months inventory is considered ‘historically normal’).

This means that there are not enough homes available for sale to satisfy the buyers who are out in the market now in record numbers. Your home SHOULD be selling.

Bottom Line

I realize that you want to get the fair market value for your home. You need to consider the fact that you may need to list it with a Realtor if you haven’t. Otherwise, however, if it hasn’t sold in today’s active real estate market, perhaps you should reconsider your current asking price.