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According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at 3.92%, which is still near record lows in comparison to recent history!
The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.
Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.
The chart below shows what impact rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a home within the national median price range, and planned to keep your principal and interest payments between $1,850-$1,900 a month.
With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be closer to 5% by this time next year.
Act now to get the most house for your hard-earned money.
The current narrative is that home prices have risen so much so that it is no longer a smart idea to purchase a home. Your family and friends might suggest that buying a home right now (whether a first-time home or a move-up home) makes absolutely no sense from an affordability standpoint. They are wrong!
Homes are more affordable right now than at almost any time in our country’s history except for the foreclosure years (2009-2015) when homes sold at major discounts. As an example, below is a graph from the latest Black Knight Mortgage Monitor showing the percentage of median income needed to buy a medium-priced home in the country today in comparison to prior to the housing bubble and bust.
As we can see, the percentage necessary is less now than in those time periods.
The Mortgage Monitor also explains that home affordability is better today than it was in the late 1990s in 47 of 50 states.
Your friends and family have your best interests at heart. However, when it comes to buying your first home or selling your current house to buy the home of your dreams, let’s get together to discuss what your best move is, now.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their latest Quarterly Metro Home Price Report last week. The report revealed that severely lacking inventory across the country drained sales growth and kept home prices rising at a steady clip in nearly all metro areas. Home prices rose 5.3% over the last quarter across all metros.
Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, discussed the impact of low inventory on buyers in the report:
“Unfortunately, the pace of new listings were unable to replace what was quickly sold. Home shoppers had little to choose from, and many had to outbid others in order to close on a home. The end result was a slowdown in sales from earlier in the year, steadfast price growth and weakening affordability conditions.”
What this means to sellers
Rising prices are a homeowner’s best friend. As reported by the Washington Post in a recent article post:
“The rise in median sales prices has made current homeowners much more willing to sell their home, and that willingness is one of the main drivers behind the inventory that does make it on to the market. While it hasn’t been enough to meet demand, it has made the situation much better, compared with even three or four years ago.”
What this means to buyers
In a market where prices are rising, buyers should take into account the cost of waiting. Obviously, they will pay more for the same house later this year or next year. However, as Construction Dive reported, the amount of cash needed to purchase that home will also increase.
“These factors have created a situation where the market keeps moving the goalposts in terms of the down payment necessary for first-time homebuyers to get into a home.”
If you’re thinking of selling and moving down, waiting might make sense. If you are a first-time buyer or a seller thinking of moving up, waiting probably doesn’t make sense.
Knowing your credit score or getting a recent copy of your credit report is one of the first steps that you can take toward knowing how ready you are to start the home buying process.
Make sure all the information listed on your report is accurate and work to correct any mistakes. The higher your credit score, the more likely you will be to receive a better interest rate for your mortgage, which will translate into more ‘home for your money.’
Many potential buyers believe that they need a 750 FICO® Score or higher to be able to purchase a home. The truth is that according to Ellie Mae’s Origination Report, over 53% of loans were approved with a FICO® score under 750 last month!
Here are some tips for improving your credit score:
- Make payments, including rent, credit cards, and car loans, on time.
- Keep your spending to no more than 30% of your limit on credit cards.
- Pay down high-balance credit cards to lower balances, and consider balance transfers to free up credit.
- Check for errors on your credit report and work toward fixing them.
- Shop for mortgage rates within a 30-day period — too many spread-out inquiries can lower your score.
- Work with a credit counselor or a lender to improve your score.
Once you know your score, your next step will be finding a lender and getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Doing this will ensure that you know your budget before you start looking for your dream home.
In Trulia’s recent report, Rent vs. Buy: Roommate Edition, they examined the impact that renting with a roommate has in determining whether it is more expensive to rent or buy. The study explains:
“Since we started keeping track in 2012, it’s been a better deal to buy than rent in America’s largest housing markets – and for much of that time it hasn’t been close.”
It then goes on to ask the question:
“But does the equation change for renters who share their rent with a roommate?”
The report reveals:
“While the standard rent vs. buy analysis reveals buying is cheaper than renting in all of the nation’s 100 largest metros, this doesn’t hold true for those choosing between renting with a roommate and buying a starter home.”
It seems obvious that sharing the cost of renting your living space by taking in a roommate dramatically decreases your housing expense (which is exactly what the report concluded), but it got us thinking.
What if you purchased a home and took in that same roommate?
The savings you would gain by adding a roommate would also occur if you purchased a home. This presents an opportunity for a list of possible purchasers. Here are two examples:
- The first-time buyer: As the report explains, many young adults already live with a roommate. If they purchased a new home, perhaps that roommate (or someone else) would be willing to rent a room in their new house. The rent could help offset the mortgage payment.
- The empty-nester seller looking to move: Their home may no longer fit their current lifestyle. They may now be looking for something a little smaller with all the bedrooms on the ground level. These families may be able to open a bedroom to an older family member (parents, aunts & uncles, etc.). This would kill two birds with one stone.
A smaller, move-down home is almost impossible to find in the current housing market. If the seller-turned-buyer takes on a tenant, they could buy a more expensive home knowing that the additional monies needed to pay the mortgage would be offset with the additional monies they receive in rent. Secondly, the older couple (ex. parents) could get a housing option that probably far surpasses anything else available to them in the current market.
Considering the concept of renting a portion of your house to be able to purchase the perfect home may make sense to many families. You will need to decide if it is right for you.
In a CNBC article, self-made millionaire David Bach explained that “the single biggest mistake millennials are making” is not purchasing a home because buying real estate is “an escalator to wealth.”
Bach went on to explain:
“If millennials don’t buy a home, their chances of actually having any wealth in this country are little to none. The average homeowner to this day is 38 times wealthier than a renter.”
In his bestselling book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” Bach does the math:
“As a renter, you can easily spend half a million dollars or more on rent over the years ($1,500 a month for 30 years comes to $540,000), and in the end wind up just where you started — owning nothing. Or you can buy a house and spend the same amount paying down a mortgage, and in the end wind up owning your own home free and clear!”
Who is David Bach?
Bach is a self-made millionaire who has written nine consecutive New York Times bestsellers. His book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” spent 31 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He is one of the only business authors in history to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and USA Today bestseller lists.
He has been a contributor to NBC’s Today Show, appearing more than 100 times, as well as a regular on ABC, CBS, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Yahoo, The View, and PBS. He has also been profiled in many major publications, including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, USA Today, People, Reader’s Digest, Time, Financial Times, Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Working Woman, Glamour, Family Circle, Redbook, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Investors’ Business Daily, and Forbes.
Whenever a well-respected millionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This millionaire gave simple advice – if you don’t yet live in your own home, go buy one.
According to a survey conducted by ClosingCorp, over half of all homebuyers are surprised by the closing costs required to obtain their mortgage.
After surveying 1,000 first-time and repeat homebuyers, the results revealed that 17% of homebuyers were surprised that closing costs were required at all, while another 35% were stunned by how much higher the fees were than expected.
“Homebuyers reported being most surprised by mortgage insurance, followed by bank fees and points, taxes, title insurance and appraisal fees.”
Bankrate.com gathered closing cost data from lenders in every state and Washington, D.C. in order to share the average costs in each state. The map below was created using the closing costs on a $200,000 mortgage with a 20% down payment.
Keep in mind that if you are in the market for a home above this price range, your costs could be significantly greater. According to Freddie Mac,
“Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of your purchase price.”
Speak with your lender and agent early and often to determine how much you’ll be responsible for at closing. Finding out that you’ll need to come up with thousands of dollars right before closing is not a surprise anyone is ever looking forward to.
There is no doubt that the largest challenge in today’s housing market is a lack of housing inventory for sale. This challenge has been defined as an “overwhelming lack of supply,” and even a “straight up inventory crisis.”
First American just released the results of a survey which sheds light on the reasons for the current lack of supply.
The survey asked title agents and real estate professionals to identify what they believe are the top reasons for this lack of inventory in their markets. Here are the results of the survey:
- 47% – existing homeowners are worried that they will not be able to find a home to buy
- 5% – first-time buyer demand is absorbing a large share of available homes
- 3% – existing homeowners’ mortgage rates are lower than the current rates
- 6% – insufficient or negative equity in the home
- 6% – foreign buyer demand is absorbing a large share of available homes
As the survey revealed, there is a shortage of current homeowners willing to put their homes on the market for one of three reasons (see numbers 1, 3 and 4 above).
Is this an opportunity for some homeowners?
The report on the survey explains:
“The crowd has spoken, and it seems in many markets home buyers and sellers alike are ‘imprisoned’ by the lack of housing inventory.”
That leaves a tremendous opportunity for every homeowner not facing these concerns. If you can put your home on the market today, you are subject to far less competition than at any time in recent history. That will result in your home selling quickly and for the highest possible price.
While many homeowners are feeling imprisoned for multiple reasons, those who are not handcuffed by these concerns have a once in a lifetime opportunity to sell their houses at a peak selling time.
Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today, instead of waiting.
1. Prices Will Continue to Rise
CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.7% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.0% over the next year.
The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.
2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase
Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have hovered around 4%. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by this time next year.
An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.
3. Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage
There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.
As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.
Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?
4. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life
The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.
But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?
Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.
If purchasing a home for you and your family is the right thing for you to do this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.