The 'REAL' News about Housing Affordability

The 'REAL' News about Housing Affordability

The 'REAL' News about Housing Affordability | MyKCM

Some industry experts are claiming that the housing market may be headed for a slowdown as we proceed through 2017, based on rising home prices and a potential jump in mortgage interest rates. One of the data points they use is the Housing Affordability Index, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Here is how NAR defines the index:

“The Housing Affordability Index measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national level based on the most recent price and income data.”

Basically, a value of 100 means a family earning the median income earns enough to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home, based on the price and mortgage interest rates at the time. Anything above 100 means the family has more than enough to qualify.

The higher the index, the easier it is to afford a home.

Why the concern?

The index has been declining over the last several years as home values increased. Some are concerned that too many buyers could be priced out of the market.

But, wait a minute…

Though the index skyrocketed from 2009 through 2013, we must realize that during that time, the housing crisis left the market with an overabundance of distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales). All prices dropped dramatically and distressed properties sold at major discounts. Then, mortgage rates fell like a rock.

The market is recovering, and values are coming back nicely. That has caused the index to fall.

However, let’s remove the crisis years (shaded in gray) and look at the current index as compared to the index from 1990 – 2008:

The 'REAL' News about Housing Affordability | MyKCM

Though prices and rates appear to be increasing, we must realize that affordability is composed of three ingredients: home prices, interest rates, and income. And, incomes are finally rising.

ATTOM Data Solutions recently released their Q1 2017 U.S. Home Affordability Index. The report explained:

“Stronger wage growth is the silver lining in this report, outpacing home price growth in more than half of the markets for the first time since Q1 2012, when median home prices were still falling nationwide. If that pattern continues, it will help turn the tide in the eroding home affordability trend.”

Bottom Line

Compared to historic norms, it is still a great time to buy from an affordability standpoint.


15,014 Homes Sold Yesterday... Did Yours?

15,014 Homes Sold Yesterday... Did Yours?

15,014 Homes Sold Yesterday… Did Yours? | MyKCM

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.

After all, 15,014 houses sold yesterday, 15,014 will sell today and 15,014 will sell tomorrow.

15,014!

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 5.48 million. Divide that number by 365 (days in a year) and we can see that, on average, over 15,014 homes sell every day.

The report from NAR also revealed that there is currently only a 3.8-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.

Bottom Line

We realize that you want to get the fair market value for your home. However, if it hasn't sold in today's active real estate market, perhaps you should reconsider your current asking price.


How Low Supply & High Demand Impacts the Real Estate Market [INFOGRAPHIC]

How Low Supply & High Demand Impacts the Real Estate Market [INFOGRAPHIC]

How Low Supply & High Demand Impacts the Real Estate Market [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM
gloribee.com

Some Highlights:

  • The concept of Supply & Demand is a simple one. The best time to sell something is when the supply of that item is low & the demand for that item is high!
  • Anything under a 6-month supply is a Seller’s Market!
  • There has not been a 6-months inventory supply since August 2012!
  • Buyer Demand continues to outpace Seller Supply!

Again… You Do Not Need 20% Down to Buy NOW!

Again… You Do Not Need 20% Down to Buy NOW!

Again… You Do Not Need 20% Down to Buy NOW! | MyKCM

A survey by Ipsos found that the American public is still somewhat confused about what is required to qualify for a home mortgage loan in today’s housing market. There are two major misconceptions that we want to address today.

1. Down Payment

The survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 40% of consumers think a 20% down payment is always required. In actuality, there are many loans written with a down payment of 3% or less.

Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.

2. FICO® Scores 

The survey also revealed that 62% of respondents believe they need excellent credit to buy a home, with 43% thinking a “good credit score” is over 780. In actuality, the average FICO® scores of approved conventional and FHA mortgages are much lower.

The average conventional loan closed in February had a credit score of 752, while FHA mortgages closed with a score of 686. The average across all loans closed in February was 720. The chart below shows the distribution of FICO®Scores for all loans approved in February.

Again… You Do Not Need 20% Down to Buy NOW! | MyKCM

Bottom Line

If you are a prospective buyer who is ‘ready’ and ‘willing’ to act now, but are not sure if you are ‘able’ to, let’s sit down to help you understand your true options.


Renting or Buying… Either Way You’re Paying a Mortgage

Renting or Buying… Either Way You’re Paying a Mortgage

Renting or Buying… Either Way You’re Paying a Mortgage | MyKCM

There are some people who have not purchased homes 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 Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business, explained this month in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich”:

While renting on a temporary basis isn't terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you're serious about your finances. It won't make you rich overnight, but by renting, you're paying someone else's mortgage. In effect, you're making someone else rich.”

Christina Boyle, Senior Vice President and head of the Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management organization 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 build 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 at 4.23% 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.

Buyer Guide Spring 2017Things to Consider When Buying a Home Spring 2017 edition


The Compound Effect: Building Your Household’s Wealth

The Compound Effect: Building Your Household’s Wealth

Wealth is within reach for many people; however, according to a recent study, 63 percent of Americans said it’s not likely they’ll become rich.1 While younger people are more likely to say they’ll achieve wealth one day, only 34 percent of people aged 30 to 49 and 21 percent of people aged 50 or older say the same. There is no secret to becoming rich: it takes time, sacrifice and good financial sense. Here are a few ways to build your household’s wealth.

Let Compound Interest Work for You

Compound interest is your interest earning interest. While the concept may work against you when you take out a loan to buy a car or use your credit card, it works in your favor when you’re saving money. For example, if your savings is growing at a rate of four percent, your investment will double in eight years and quadruple in 16 years. Your money will grow exponentially the longer you save: the more money you’ve saved, the more your money will grow.

Tap into Your Home Appreciation

Experts expect home prices to appreciate 3.24 percent and grow by 21.4 percent cumulatively.2  If a homeowner purchases a home this year for $250,000, they could earn more than $40,000 in equity over the next five years. Although the home value of the average American family’s home is $165,000, home values vary by market.3 If you’re curious about the value of your home, give us a call!

Build Equity in Your Home

One of the most compelling reasons to own a home is it allows you to build wealth over time. According to one study, the average homeowner has a net worth of $200,000, which is 31 to 46 times the net worth of the average renter.4 Saving for a down payment, especially if you plan to put down more than 20 percent, helps you adopt good financial habits. The more you put down when you buy, the higher your share of equity when you close. Although for the first five to seven years, the majority of your payment will go toward interest, over time more money will be applied to the principal. There are many tools online that calculate your current and future equity in your home, including this one here.

Build equity sooner by choosing a shorter amortization term. While your payment may be higher, you’ll likely qualify for a lower interest rate and will pay less interest over the life of the loan.

Build Equity Faster in Your Home

Mortgage Term

30 Years

15 Years

Loan amount

$118,000

$118,00

Months to pay

360

180

Annual percentage rate

4.0%

3.0%

Monthly payment

$563

$815

Total interest

$84,806

$28,680

Interest savings

-

$56,126

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Building Wealth: A Beginner’s Guide to Securing Your Financial Future

Pay Down Your Mortgage…or Not

Many homeowners grapple with whether or not to pay down their mortgage. On one hand, if you pay it down, or pay it off early, you’ll save money on interest, which you can use to make other investments. On the other hand, if your goal is to be debt free, it’s better to pay off your higher-interest debt, such as credit card debt, first before paying down your mortgage debt. Additionally, if you’re saving for retirement, putting extra cash toward your retirement accounts will help you build a nice nest egg to enjoy later on.

If you decide to pay off your mortgage sooner, here are a few ways to do so:

  1. Pay more money at the beginning of your amortization period and apply it to your principal.
  2. If you receive a tax refund or other windfall, apply it toward your principal.
  3. Make one extra payment each year. You’ll save money on interest and pay your loan off sooner.
  4. Add an extra $50, or another amount you can afford, to the principal of your payment each month.
  5. If you locked into a 30-year fixed loan, refinance to a shorter, 15-year fixed loan. Your payment may be higher, but you’ll pay it off sooner.

Your financial advisor can help you decide if paying off or paying down your mortgage is right for your goals.

Purchase Investment Property

Investment properties provide passive income to your growing financial portfolio. More than 25 percent of Americans say real estate is the best way to invest money you may not need for the next 10 years.5 While many people flip houses to make money—that is, they buy a home at a low price, fix it up and sell it quickly—others purchase multifamily properties to create monthly cash flow to save or to reinvest in other properties.

The longer you own a property, the better investment it becomes as you’ll continue to build equity. While rental costs rise with inflation, your mortgage will remain the same. The best part? Once you pay off the mortgage, your cash flow will increase. Remember to create a budget for maintenance each month, between 10 to 20 percent of the rent you receive, or more if the home is older. This will help you save more money in the long run and allow you to prepare for unexpected repairs.

There are tax benefits to owning investment property as well. You may be able to claim deductions for depreciation, as long as it fits within the guidelines; repairs, travel expenses, interest and more. If you’re thinking of purchasing investment property, talk to your tax professional to get the details.

Achieve More Wealth by Creating Financial Goals

Setting a goal will help you achieve your desired level of wealth. Once you achieve one goal, reassess and set the bar higher.

  1. What is your idea of wealth? Your idea of wealth will change as you earn more money. That’s why it’s vital to set goals along the way. What do you want your net worth to be in 5 years, in 10 years and in 20 years?
  1. Write down your short-term and long-term goals. Once you have determined your goals, write them down. This is the first step towards getting your desires out of your mind and into motion and it will be easier to refer to them later on.
  1. Develop a budget to help you reach these goals. A budget not only helps you understand where your money goes each month, it may also prevent you from overspending. That way you can have more money to save and invest.

Your Budget 

Income

 

Earned

   $

Investments

+ $

Total Income

= $

Daily Expenses

-       $

Monthly Bills

-       $

Total Available for Investment

=

To increase the amount you can invest, make adjustments to your daily spending and monthly bills, if possible. Look for opportunities to save money and transfer that savings into your accounts.

It’s never too late to begin building your family’s wealth. Whether you’re interested in buying a first home, upgrading to a larger home or are thinking of renovating, we have you covered. Give us a call and we’ll answer all of your real estate questions and offer suggestions to help you increase the value of your home.

Sources: 1. BankRate.com

  1. Pulsenomics, Home Price Expectation Survey Q4 2016
  2. Statistic Brain, August 1, 2016
  3. National Association of REALTORS, Economists’ Outlook, September 8, 2014
  4. The Motley Fool, July 30, 2016

Do you Look Both Ways?

Traditionally Groundhog Day is a time when onlookers wait for the groundhog to emerge from its burrow and look to see if it casts a shadow.

The ritual suggests that if the groundhog sees a shadow, we look back for 6 more weeks of winter. If there is no shadow cast, we look forward and anticipate an early spring.

Last year 16 out of 22 groundhogs from around the world suggested we look forward to spring, while the remaining six said look back to more winter. Who was right? That depends on your perspective.

Since we don’t really make decisions based on our shadows, what can we actually learn from Groundhog Day? The only certain answer is to look both ways before making a decision.

When you have something important to accomplish, looking forward gives you the opportunity to plan, motivate and move towards your goals and desires. While looking back allows you to examine past mistakes and successes so that you create a path based in experience.

Groundhog Day reminds us to look where we’ve been and where we are going to have the best of both worlds.


The Best Times of Year for Real Estate

The Best Times of Year for Real Estate

For many in the United States it seems as though real estate season starts in the spring and ends just as the kids head back to school in the early fall. While many home and property sales take place in the spring and summer, the reality of the real estate market in the United States is that it's all about timing. Whether you're a buyer or a seller of a home or property, there are optimal times throughout the year, but for the most part, the real estate market and when it's 'hot' depends on where you're located and the time of year or season.

Spring and Summer

Real estate inventory fluctuates with each season. For many of us that peruse the market throughout the year, the spring and summer months (for the majority of the country) seem to be when the most properties are available. Spring and summer and even early fall are considered the best times for real estate for buyers as the market will see a wide variety of properties, but it also likely means more competition from other buyers. The reality of this, though, is that if you live in a competitive real estate market, no matter the time of year people will search for real estate and sellers will be able to sell their properties.

One of the main things that drives an influx of real estate in the spring and summer are households with children - parents want and like to move when kids are out of school. If you live in an area where there are a number of families, or where schools are relatively close, spring and summer are great seasons for properties.

Location plays a huge part in the best time to list a property. Areas that are known for their seasonal visitors (think snowbirds) will see more traffic during those seasonal times when people are in town. For example, if you live in a mountain area that sees more visitors in the winter because of snow or winter sports, listing in the winter might be a better way to attract potential buyers than listing in the summer when visitors are limited.

A handy tip for sellers: if you're going to have an open house, the first Sunday of every month is considered the best day to host it. Many listings will hit the market on Thursday afternoon or Friday morning and have a rushed open house the Sunday after. To create intrigue and build momentum for your property, talk with your agent or Realtor to have your listing appear on Monday or Tuesday and follow with an open house


52 Things a New Jerseyan Must Do Bucket List...4

No. 4
Get Your Jaws Around an Italian 

To consume a Jimmy Buff’s Italian hot dog like a normal sandwich, you need an elastic jaw like a python’s. Short of that, the pleasure is in the deconstruction, bite by bite, of deep-fried potatoes, onions and peppers stuffed into a half loaf of soft pizza bread on top of one or two deep-fried hot dogs or Italian sausages. Jimmy Buff’s has been serving hot dogs this way since 1932. Then as now—the health-conscious will appreciate this—everything is fried in soybean oil. (East Hanover, Scotch Plains, West Orange, Kenilworth and Randolph; jimmybuff.com)


52 Things a New Jerseyan Must Do Bucket List...3

No. 3 
Get a Blowout at the Jerseylicious Salon

Nobody ever said just because you live in New Jersey you have to look the part—the one portrayed by the many reality-TV series set here, that is—but that doesn’t mean a few hours spent in pursuit of the Jersey Girl look is not an essential New Jersey experience. And why go halfway? Skip the spray tan and head straight to Green Brook and Gatsby Salon, home of the Style Network’s Jerseylicious. It takes a while to get an appointment, and your blow-dry-and-style (starting at $30) is not apt to be administered by owner/star Gayle Giacomo herself. But you will walk out with Texas-sized hair and a feeling of superiority to Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, a poser from Marlboro, New York. (215 U.S. Highway 22; 732-752-4247; gatsbysalon.com)