Blogtastic Articles!

Sept. 26, 2016

4 Reasons to Buy This Fall



It’s that time of year; the seasons are changing and with them come thoughts of the upcoming holidays, family get-togethers, and planning for a new year. Those who are on the fence about whether or not now is the right time to buy don’t have to look much further to find four great reasons to consider buying a home now, instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.4% over the next year. The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects home values to appreciate by more than 3.5% a year for the next 5 years.

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 Remain at Historic Lows

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have remained at or below 3.5% for 13 consecutive weeks. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtorsare in unison, projecting that rates will increase by this time next year.

Any increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, the percentage of your income that you spend on housing will increase substantially if you choose to wait.

3. Either Way You Are Paying a Mortgage

Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage - either your mortgage or your landlord’s. As a paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

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 whether 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 the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Posted in Buying A Home
Aug. 29, 2016

Watch Out! Don't Get Caught in the Rental Trap!

There are many benefits to homeownership. One of the top ones is being able to protect yourself from rising rents and lock in your housing cost for the life of your mortgage.

Don't Become Trapped

Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com, reported on what he calls a "Rental Affordability Crisis." He warns that,

"Low rental vacancies and a lack of new rental construction are pushing up rents, and we expect that they'll outpace home price appreciation in the year ahead."

In the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University's 2015 Report on Rental Housing, they reported that 49% of rental households are cost-burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing. These households struggle to save for a rainy day and pay other bills, such as food and healthcare.

It's Cheaper to Buy Than Rent

In Smoke's article, he went on to say,

"Housing is central to the health and well-being of our country and our local communities. In addition, this (rental affordability) crisis threatens the future value of owned housing, as the burdensome level of rents will trap more aspiring owners into a vicious financial cycle in which they cannot save and build a solid credit record to eventually buy a home."

"While more than 85% of markets have burdensome rents today, it's perplexing that in more than 75% of the counties across the country, it is actually cheaper to buy than rent a home. So why aren't those unhappy renters choosing to buy?"

Know Your Options

Perhaps you have already saved enough to buy your first home. HousingWire reported that analysts at Nomura believe:

"It's not that Millennials and other potential homebuyers aren't qualified in terms of their credit scores or in how much they have saved for their down payment.

It's that they think they're not qualified or they think that they don't have a big enough down payment." (emphasis added)

Many first-time homebuyers who believe that they need a large down payment may be holding themselves back from their dream home. As we have reported before, in many areas of the country, a first-time home buyer can save for a 3% down payment in less than two years. You may have already saved enough!

Bottom Line

Don't get caught in the trap so many renters are currently in. If you are ready and willing to buy a home, find out if you are able. Let's get together to determine if you could qualify for a mortgage now!

Aug. 22, 2016

Whether You Buy or Rent, You're Paying a Mortgage!

There are some people that have not 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 The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

"Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return.

That's yet another reason owning often does--as Americans intuit--end up making more financial sense than renting."

Christina Boyle, a Senior Vice President, Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage vs. paying rent:

"With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you'll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years - unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades."

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of 'forced savings' which allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person with that equity.

Interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home.Freddie Mac's latest report shows that rates across the country were 3.43% last week.

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.

Posted in Buying A Home
Aug. 11, 2016

2008-2016 Peak Real Estate Values Compared

This housing market has many people talking about home values; where they are and where they are headed. It’s also interesting to look back and see how home prices compare to values prior to the housing crisis.

Every quarter, Freddie Mac releases their House Price Index. The index usually provides monthly home values for:

  • the nation as a whole
  • each of the 50 states
  • 367 metropolitan statistical areas

This quarter, the report also included a look at today’s home values as compared to Pre-2008 values. Here is a graphic that breaks down the numbers on a state-by-state basis:

 

The above map shows California as a whole, being down 6% from the 2008 Peak. However, the San Francisco Bay Area bucks that trend (as usual).

Check out this chart:

 

What does this mean for you?

Contact me to discuss how you can take advantage of this market trend.

July 25, 2016

The Brexit Impact: 30 Days Later


Just over a month ago, the United Kingdom decided to withdraw from the European Union in a decision commonly known as Brexit. At that time there was a lot of speculation on how that decision would impact the U.S. residential mortgage market. Today, we want to look at the impact of the first 30 days.

Most believed that the Brexit decision would drive mortgage rates down and keep them down for some time. As CoreLogic reported:

 “First-time buyers can count on continued low mortgage rates to help with affordability issues. Similarly, re-setting adjustable rate loans will have less of a rate shock, and in some cases may even go down.”

What has actually happened?

Initially, rates did fall. However, Freddie Mac has reported that rates have stabilized and have actually increased marginally each of the last two weeks. This prompted Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Beckett to say:

“Post-Brexit volatility tapered off over the last two weeks, allowing interest rates to bounce back a bit from their near-record 30-year mortgage rate lows.”

And, Capital Economics Property Economist Matthew Pointon believes rates will continue to increase:

“Given we expect Brexit will have a minimal impact on the U.S. economy, we see no reason to change our forecast for mortgage rates to reach 3.85% by the end of this year, and 5.0% by the middle of 2018.”

For now, it appears that the impact of Brexit on the U.S. housing market was not as dramatic as some thought it could be.

May 25, 2016

Sell NOW, Before the Competition Hits the Market

The real estate market is not only hot, it's been in full flame for quite some time. But how long will this last?

In their current edition of the Home Price Expectation Survey released last week, Pulsenomics asked this question of the 100+ economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists they surveyed:

“In your opinion, what is the primary driver of recent home value growth in the U.S.?”

Here are the top four reasons given by those surveyed:

Sell NOW Before Competition Hits the Market | Simplifying The Market

As we have stated before, the current lack of inventory in most housing markets has caused home appreciation to increase at greater percentages than historical averages. This means that this is a great time to sell your home as supply is low and demand is high.

However, things may be about to change…

The fortuitous situation sellers see themselves in may soon change for three reasons:

  1. As more homeowners realize their equity situation has dramatically improved over the last four years, they will be more likely to put their homes on the market.
  2. With the residential real estate sector outperforming a sluggish economy, more home builders will be looking to add new construction inventory to a depleted supply of housing stock.
  3. Many banks are just now foreclosing on loans that have been delinquent since the housing bust. These houses will also be coming to market.

According to Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of RealtyTrac, in the Q2 2016 U.S. Residential Property Vacancy and Zombie Foreclosure Report:

“Lenders have been taking advantage of the strong seller’s market to dispose of lingering foreclosure inventory.” 

Bottom Line

In most housing markets, don’t wait for this additional competition to hit the market. If you are considering selling your house, now may be the time.

To get started: Click here to find out how much your home is worth in today's market.

Or just send me a quick message:

 

April 18, 2016

If You Are Thinking of Selling, Now Is The Time

Getting an early startIf you thought about selling your house this year, now may be the time to do it. The inventory of homes for sale is well below historic norms and buyer demand is skyrocketing. We were still in high school when we learned the concept of supply and demand: the best time to sell something is when supply of that item is low and demand for that item is high. That defines today’s real estate market.

Jonathan Smoke, the Chief Economist of realtor.com, in a recent article revealed that:

“Would-be buyers face a dilemma: There will be more homes on the market over each week of the next three to four months, but there will also be even more prospective buyers. We are entering the busiest season of home buying with the lowest amount of inventory in three years. To be competitive, buyers should get pre-approved for a mortgage and be ready to act quickly if they find a home that meets their needs.”

Smoke goes on to say:

“Listings are growing as they normally do this time of the year, but because demand has been growing faster than supply, homes are selling faster. So the monthly trend is the normal seasonal pattern, but the year-over-year decline is reflective of demand being stronger than supply for more than a year, which is resulting in fewer homes available and faster-moving inventory.”

In this type of market, a seller may hold a major negotiating advantage when it comes to price and other aspects of the real estate transaction including the inspection, appraisal and financing contingencies.

Bottom Line

As a potential seller, you are in the driver’s seat right now. It might be time to hit the gas.

To get started: Click here to find out how much your home is worth in today's market.

Or just send me a quick message:

 

April 13, 2016

Rent? Buy? Either Way, You're Paying a Mortgage!

There are some renters that 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 your mortgage or your landlord’s. 

As The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return.  

That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

Christina Boyle, a Senior Vice President, Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage vs. paying rent:

“With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.”

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.

The graph below shows the widening gap in net worth between a homeowner and a renter:Increasing Gap in Family Wealth

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, owning might make more sense than renting with home values and interest rates projected to climb.

FREE GUIDE

Things to Consider when BUYING A HOME

 

April 4, 2016

Your Home Purchasing Power, Visualized

Now that the housing market has stabilized, more and more homeowners are considering moving up to the home they have always dreamed of. Prices are near those of a few years ago but interest rates have stayed near historic lows.

Sellers should realize that waiting to make the move when mortgage rates are projected to increase probably doesn’t make sense. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain budget for your monthly housing costs. 

Here's what I'm trying to say, look at this chart:2500_month_mortgage

I'm currently helping a move-up home owner; he was just pre-approved at a 3.5% interest rate on a 30 year loan! Just helped my sister-in-law buy her first home 2 months ago; she locked-in a 3.75% 30 year fixed mortgage! Folks, these are unbelievable low rates.

Freddie Mac predicts that mortgage rates will be closer to 4.7% by this time next year. Now look at the chart above...if you wait that long, you're purchase power gets cut by over 10%.

So, thinking about moving-up? Need to sell your current home in order to buy your next home? Contact me, and I'll show you how we can make this a reality.
It's a simple step-by-step process.

April 1, 2016

Take a stroll with us through downtown Livermore

 

Join us, as we take stroll down First Street in downtown Livermore. Michael Koenig and Maureen Torretto discuss a few reasons why they love Livermore so much.

Did you know the city of Livermore was incorporated 140 years ago on April 1st, 1876? Now you know.

Places mentioned: First Street Ale House, Livermore Chamber of Commerce, The Last Word, Bankhead Theater, Sauced BBQ, Cream, Loard's Ice Cream, Farmer's Market, Carnegie Park, Heritage Guild, Livermore Water Fountains, Uncle Yu's at the Vineyard, Livermore Rodeo (cowboys), Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory, Livermore Weather

Maureen Torretto, Loan Consultant with iMortgage.
Email: maureen.torretto@imortgage.com
Phone: 925-577-8706

Michael Koenig, Real Estate Broker
Email: SFBayRealtor@gmail.com
Phone: 510-681-3499