Appraisers & HomeownersValue Opinions Narrow

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In today’s housing market, where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values are increasing rapidly. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal.

If prices are surging, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that closed recently) to defend the price when performing the appraisal for the bank.

Every month, Quicken Loans measures the disparity between what a homeowner believes their house is worth as compared to an appraiser’s evaluation in their Home Price Perception Index (HPPI). Here is a chart showing that difference for each of the last 12 months.

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The gap between the homeowner vs. appraiser’s opinion has started to head in the right direction (closer to even), as June saw a slight decrease from May’s -1.95% to -1.89% nationally.

Homeowners in the western part of the country, however, have been pleasantly surprised as their homes have appraised higher than they expected. Denver received its highest HPPI last month as homes came in an average of 3.28% higher than the homeowner believed it would. Nine of the twelve metro areas that had a positive HPPI last month were located in the west.

Quicken Loans’ Chief Economist, Bob Walters explains:

“The hot housing markets along the West Coast are growing quicker than owners realize, giving way to higher than expected prices for buyers and more home equity for existing owners.  

On the other hand, the housing markets are more balanced in the East and Midwest, leading owners to be slightly over-enthusiastic about their home’s appreciation.”

Bottom Line 

Every house on the market has to be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the appraisal process). With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first. If you are planning on entering the housing market this year, let’s get together to talk about what’s happening in our area.

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Is Your First Home Within Reach?

20160607-Within-Grasp-STMThere are many people sitting on the sidelines trying to decide if they should purchase a home or sign a rental lease. Some might wonder if it makes sense to purchase a house before they are married and have a family. Others may think they are too young. And still others might think their current income would never enable them to qualify for a mortgage.

We want to share what the typical first-time homebuyer actually looks like based on the National Association of REALTORS most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers. Here are some interesting revelations on the first time buyer:

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Bottom Line

You may not be much different than many people who have already purchased their first home. Let’s get together to see if your dream of homeownership can become a reality!

Your Fico Score!

How my FICO Scores are calculated

FICO® Scores are calculated from many different pieces of credit data in your credit report. This data is grouped into five categories as outlined below. The percentages in the chart reflect how important each of the categories is in determining how your FICO Scores are calculated.

Your FICO Scores consider both positive and negative information in your credit report. Late payments will lower your FICO Scores, but establishing or re-establishing a good track record of making payments on time will raise your score.

How a FICO Score breaks down

These percentages are based on the importance of the five categories for the general population. For particular groups—for example, people who have not been using credit long—the relative importance of these categories may be different.

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How much will credit inquiries affect my score?

The impact from applying for credit will vary from person to person based on their unique credit histories. In general, credit inquiries have a small impact on one’s FICO Scores. For most people, one additional credit inquiry will take less than five points off their FICO Scores. For perspective, the full range for FICO Scores is 300-850. Inquiries can have a greater impact if you have few accounts or a short credit history. Large numbers of inquiries also mean greater risk. Statistically, people with six inquiries or more on their credit reports can be up to eight times more likely to declare bankruptcy than people with no inquiries on their reports. While inquiries often can play a part in assessing risk, they play a minor part. Much more important factors for your scores are how timely you pay your bills and your overall debt burden as indicated on your credit report.

Sales Up in Nearly Every Price Range

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The National Association of Realtors’ most recent Existing Home Sales Report revealed that home sales were up rather dramatically over last year in five of the six price ranges they measure.

Only those homes priced under $100,000 showed a decline (-4.6%). The decline in this price range points to the lower inventory of distressed properties available for sale and speaks to the strength of the market.

Every other category showed a minimum increase of at least 4.6%, with sales in the $250,000- $500,000 range up 15.2%!

Here is the breakdown:

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What does that mean to you if you are selling?

Houses are definitely selling. If your house has been on the market for any length of time and has not yet sold, let’s meet up to see if it is priced appropriately to compete in today’s market.

Housing for 2016

STM-Share-6With the overall economy just inching along, some experts are questioning whether the housing market can continue its momentum throughout the rest of the year. People are beginning to ask questions such as:

  • Will disappointing economic news adversely impact housing?
  • Is affordability a major concern in today’s real estate market?
  • Are we approaching a new housing bubble?
  • Are mortgage standards too tight? Or have they loosened too much?

Freddie Mac, in their April Economic Outlook, addresses the disappointing economic news and what impact they think it will have on housing:

“Recent data darkened the growth outlook for the first quarter of 2016. However, despite the disappointing economic reports, we still forecast housing to maintain its momentum in 2016.

We’ve revised down our forecast for economic growth to reflect the recent data for the first quarter, but our outlook for the balance of the year remains modestly optimistic for the economy.”

What about real estate?

Freddie Mac was much more optimistic about housing…

“We maintain our positive view on housing. In fact, the declines in long-term interest rates that accompanied much of the recent news should increase mortgage market activity.”

They went on to conclude:

“We expect housing to be an engine of growth. Construction activity will pick up as we enter the spring and summer months, and rising home values will bolster consumers and help support renewed confidence in the remaining months of this year.”

Student Debt vs Home Ownership

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IS STUDENT DEBT STANDING IN THE WAY OF HOMEOWNERSHIP?

Student loan balances have doubled since 2007 to well over $1 trillion. Meanwhile, millennials are taking much longer than previous generations to buy their first home.  A recent study examined whether student loan debt is preventing young adults from purchasing homes*.

Surprisingly, the study concluded that there is no causal relationship between student debt and delayed homeownership.  In fact, debtors in their late 20s were more likely to own a home than non-debtors.  The study gives several alternative explanations for why millennials are delaying their first home purchase when compared to prior generations.  Mainly, the delay in homeownership seems to be part of a larger trend of delaying the period of life known as “transition to adulthood”.  For example, the share of 18-34 year-olds who are married with children has also fallen from 27% in 2000 to 20% in 2015.

The study did find one major correlation between student loans and delayed homeownership: student loan debtors who dropped out of college did have much lower rates of homeownership vs. student loan debtors who graduated from college.

Moral of the story?  If you’re going to take out student loans, it’s better to graduate from college with a degree that leads to a high-paying job.

*Jason Houle and Lonnie Berger. 2015 “Is Student Loan Debt Discouraging Home Buying Among Young Adults?”89:589-621, Social Service Review

Saving for a Down Payment

FasterThanYouThink-KCMIn a study conducted by Builder.com, researchers determined that nationwide, it would take “nearly eight years” for a first-time buyer to save enough for a down payment on their dream home. Depending on where you live, median rents, incomes and home prices all vary. By determining the percentage of income a renter spends on housing in each state, and the amount needed for a 10% down payment, they were able to establish how long (in years) it would take for an average resident to save. According to the study, residents in South Dakota are able to save for a down payment the quickest in just under 3.5 years. Below is a map created using the data for each state:

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What if you only needed to save 3%?

What if you were able to take advantage of one of the Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae 3% down programs? Suddenly saving for a down payment no longer takes 5 or 10 years, but becomes attainable in under two years in many states as shown in the map below.

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Bottom Line

Whether you have just started to save for a down payment, or have been for years, you may be closer to your dream home than you think! Meet with a local real estate professional who can help you evaluate your ability to buy today.