Tag Archives: Real estate

Spring Selling Season Predicted To Start Early

18 Feb

from The Motley Fool  at fool.com February 15, 2014

If you’re considering selling your home in 2014, now is the time to get ready. Not next month, not next week, not tomorrow. Right now.

Why? Because buyers are already on the hunt.
The Internet is the new curb appeal

Last month will likely be remembered for polar vortexes, widespread snow, and historic traffic jams. Lost in the shuffle is that while American’s were sitting inside trying to stay warm, they were looking at houses for sale on the Internet.
Experian Marketing Services released its monthly most visited real estate website rankings earlier this week for web traffic in January. The results are eye popping.
Web traffic to real estate websites was up 25% from December to 364 million visits. Zillow (NASDAQ: Z ) led the way with over 57 million visits and Trulia (NYSE: TRLA ) limped into second at over 30 million visits.
If you’re considering selling and your home is not yet online, then every day you’re missing out on thousands (or even millions) of potential buyers viewing your home.
Even more incentive for buyers Spring is coming, and that is certainly driving a lot of the interest in homes currently listed for sale. But there are other factors at play.
Mortgage rates have declined over the past month and are currently trending back toward 4% for traditionally structured, well qualified loans. This is a significant development for buyers, as interest rates are a huge driver of home affordability.
For example, a traditional 30 year, $150,000 mortgage at 4.5% would have a monthly payment of $760. If rates declined to 4.25%, the payment would change to $738.
For borrowers on the edge of qualifying for a mortgage, that $22 per month savings could make the difference between getting a loan approval or not. Over the life of the loan, that 0.25% difference saves the borrower $7,963!
For buyers, the time is now! Buy low and sell high, right? For buyers, the time to buy low is quickly ending, creating a sense of urgency to buy now before prices rise too high or interest rates return to more historically normal levels.
According to CoreLogic and reported by Realtor.org, home prices in 2013 saw the largest percentage increase across the board since 2005, north of 11% as of December. The appreciation was most pronounced in the states that were hit hardest in the real estate collapse: Nevada rose 23.9%, California 19.7%, and Michigan 14% rounding out the top three.
Buyers are ready. Are you?

 

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Home prices show one of the strongest annual price gains in 8 years

25 Sep

Existing-home sales in August reached their highest level in six years according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

 

Total existing-home sales rose 1.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million in August. This was an increase from July’s 5.39 million, and 13.2% higher year-over-year compared to August 2012.

 

Total housing inventory at the end of August increased 0.4% to 2.25 million existing homes available for sale. This figure represents a 4.9-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 5.0-month supply in July.

 

Meanwhile, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.46% in August, and is the highest since July 2011 when it was 4.55%. In August 2012, the rate was 3.60%.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $212,100 in August, up 14.7% from year ago levels, and the strongest year-over-year appreciation since October 2005, when the median price rose 16.6%.

 

August’s home price increase was also the ninth consecutive month of double-digit year-over-year increases, and marks 18 consecutive months of annual gains.

 

Rising home values will encourage more people to sell as homeowners’ equity continues to improve, says NAR President Gary Thomas.

 

“Most of those owners also will be buying another home, but higher levels of new home construction going into 2014, combined with some reduction in demand from less favorable affordability conditions, will help to moderate price growth to more sustainable levels,” he said.

What homebuyers need to know about title insurance

12 Sep

At some point during your homebuying process, the topic of title insurance is likely to come up. Like most types of insurance, title insurance is better to have and not use than need it and not have it available. But what is it, why do you need it, and how does it work?

 

What is title insurance?

 

Title insurance is a specialized insurance policy that protects you and your mortgage lender against mistakes made in a title search. If you find a home and there’s not a clear title to it, title insurance protects the bank – and you – if there’s a problem. A clear title means you’ll be able to occupy and use the property the way you want, and that you’re able to sell or pledge your property as security for a loan.

 

There are generally two types of title insurance: lender’s and owner’s title insurance. The lender’s policy is usually based on the dollar amount of your loan and protects the lender’s interests in the property against a problem with the title. The policy coverage decreases each year and goes away as the loan is paid off.

 

As its name suggests, the homeowner buys owner’s title insurance, which is in the amount of the real estate purchase, for a one-time fee at closing. It lasts as long as you own or have an interest in the property. Owner’s title insurance fully protects the homeowner in the event that there’s a problem with the title that wasn’t discovered during the title search. This type of insurance also pays for any legal fees involved in defending a claim to your title. Think of owner’s title insurance as helping to protect your equity, or your investment, in a home.

 

 

Title insurance is a safeguard against loss arising from hazards and defects already existing in the title. While claims on title insurance are rare compared to other types of insurance, they still happen and can be complicated legal issues to fix.

 

For example, one of the most common title-insurance claims is for the cost of back property taxes that the title company missed in researching a sale. Another example is when there’s not a clear title to the house, especially in cases of divorce. These scenarios might sound minor, but they can cost thousands in fees without title insurance.

 

Are you buying a newly built home and think there’s a clear title? Many consumers think they’re the first owner if they’re building a home on a lot, but it’s just as likely there were prior owners of the land. A title search will uncover any existing liens, and a survey can determine the boundaries of the property you’re buying for your new house.

June 2013 Scorecard on Administration’s Comprehensive Housing Initiative

17 Jul

An interesting report on the state of the housing market today.  An excerpt:

“”The President’s housing market recovery efforts began immediately
after taking office in February 2009. The June 2013 housing
scorecard includes key indicators of market health and results of the
Administration’s comprehensive response, as outlined above:
• The Administration’s foreclosure mitigation programs
are providing relief for millions of homeowners as we
continue to recover from an unprecedented housing
crisis. More than 1.6 million homeowner assistance actions
have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program,
including more than 1.2 million permanent modifications through
the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), while the
Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has offered more than
1.8 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions.
The Administration’s programs continue to encourage improved
standards and processes in the industry, with HOPE Now lenders
offering families and individuals more than 3.6 million proprietary
mortgage modifications through April.
• Homeowners in HAMP continue to benefit from
significant payment relief increasing the long-term
likelihood of avoiding foreclosure. As of May, more
than 1.2 million homeowners have received a permanent
modification through HAMP, saving approximately $547
on their mortgage payments each month – a 39 percent
savings from their previous payment. In May, 69 percent of
homeowners with eligible non-GSE mortgages benefited from
principal reduction with their HAMP modification. Homeowners
currently in permanent HAMP modifications have been granted
an estimated $10.6 billion in total principal reduction.
View the Making Home Affordable Program Report with data
through May 2013.
Given the current fragility and recognizing that recovery will take
place over time, the Administration remains committed to its efforts
to prevent avoidable foreclosures and stabilize the housing market.””

Read the full report here:

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=junenat2013_scdfinal.pdf

Zillow Predicts Significant Home Value Appreciation

24 Jun

Home values continued trending upwards across the nation in May, according to Zillow’s most recent Real Estate Market Report, rising 5.4% on a year-over-year basis.

National home values rose 0.5% from April to May to $159,000, matching June 2004 levels.

Between May 2013 and May 2014, Zillow’s Home Value Forecast predicts a 4.1% appreciation across the nation to $165,448.

 

Looking at the 30 largest metro areas covered by Zillow, 29 experienced year-over-year home value increases in May, with St. Louis as the only exception. Half were up by double-digits, with the most growth seen on a yearly basis in Las Vegas (up 28%), Sacramento, Calif. (up 26.1%) and San Francisco (up 24.2%).

More than half (51%) of the 360 markets Zillow covers showed monthly home value appreciation in MAy 2013, while 72% saw annual appreciation.

National home values are still down 18.3% from their peak in May 2007, but are up 7.2% from the post-recession trough in October 2011.

Home value appreciation is expected to slow down, even though economist believe the housing recovery will stay strong.

Home Values See Increase

3 May

adapted from Reverse Mortgage Daily April 30, 2013

Case-Shiller: Home Prices Rise Near 10%, Best Showing since 2006.

Home prices rose nearly 10% national on a year-over-year basis according to the latest reading from the S&P/Case-Shiller home price indices.

 

Prices showed an uptick of 8.6% year-over-year in February for Case-Shiller’s 10-city composite index and 9.3% for its 20-city composite index, indicating a home price recovery is holding strong.

 

“Home prices continue to show solid increases across all 20 cities,” said David Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The 10- and 20-City Composites recorded their highest annual growth rates since May 2006; seasonally adjusted monthly data show all 20 cities saw higher prices for two months in a row – the last time that happened was in early 2005.”

 

Prices rose slightly from January to February with the 10- and 20-city indexes showing a .4% and .3% uptick, respectively. Regionally, Phoenix represented a standout market with 23% year-over-year growth while Atlanta and Dallas had the highest annual growth rates in the history of the index.

 

“Phoenix, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Atlanta were the four cities with the highest year-over-year price increases,” Blitzer said. “Atlanta recovered from a wave of foreclosures in 2012 while the other three were among the hardest hit in the housing collapse. At the other end of the rankings, three older cities – New York, Boston and Chicago – saw the smallest year-over-year price improvements.”

 

The data indicates housing is still on the upswing, despite mixed signals among multifamily indicators.

 

NAR Predicts 9% Increase In Home Sales

30 Jan

The National Association of Realtors released estimates that predict a 9% increase in home sales in 2013.

“The supply limitation appears to be the main factor holding back contract signings in the past month,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Still, contract activity has risen for 20 straight months on a year-over-year basis,” he said. “Buyer interest remains solid, as evidenced by a separate Realtor® survey which shows that buyer foot traffic is easily outpacing seller traffic.

“Supplies of homes costing less than $100,000 are tight in much of the country, especially in the West, so first-time buyers have fewer options,” he said. “We expect a seasonal rise of inventory in the spring to help, but a seller’s market may be developing. Much of the West is already a seller’s market for homes priced under a million dollars, but conditions are much more balanced in the Northeast.”