Your "Local" Specialist Blog

June 23rd, 2016 12:21 PM

Hurry Up and List your House TODAY!!

Hurry Up and List your House TODAY!! | Keeping Current Matters That headline might be a little aggressive. However, as the data on the 2016 housing market begins to roll in, we can definitely say one thing: If you are considering selling, IT IS TIME TO LIST YOUR HOME! The May numbers are not in yet, but the April numbers were sensational. Jonathon Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com, explained:
"We had a triple crown of April home sales reports, so 2016 is in the pole position to earn best year of home sales in a decade."
And Freddie Mac also expressed a tremendous optimism regarding home sales for the rest of the summer:
"Home sales typically rise in the spring and summer months, and we anticipate acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007's pace by late summer."
The only challenge to the market is a severe lack of inventory. A balanced market would have a full six-month supply of homes for sale. Currently, there is less than a five-month supply of inventory. This represents a decrease in supply of 3.6% from the same time last year.

Bottom Line

With demand increasing and supply dropping, this may be the perfect time to get the best price for your home. Contact a local real estate professional today to see whether that is the case in your neighborhood.

Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on June 23rd, 2016 12:21 PMLeave a Comment

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Do Homeowners Realize Their Equity Position Has Changed?
Do Homeowners Realize Their Equity Position Has Changed? | Keeping Current Matters
Yesterday, we reported that according to CoreLogic's latest Equity Report, nearly 268,000 homeowners regained equity and are no longer underwater on their mortgage in the first quarter. Homes with negative equity have decreased by 21.5% year-over-year. A study by Fannie Mae suggests that many homeowners are not aware of how their equity position has changed as their home has increased in value. For example, their study showed that 23% of Americans still believe their home is in a negative equity position when, in actuality, CoreLogic's report shows that only 8% of homes are in that position. The study also revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have "significant equity" (greater than 20%), when in actuality, 74% do! Do Homeowners Realize Their Equity Position Has Changed? | Keeping Current Matters This means that 37% of Americans with a mortgage fail to realize the opportune situation they are in. With a sizable equity position, many homeowners could easily move into a housing situation that better meets their current needs (moving to a larger home or downsizing). Fannie Mae spoke out on this issue in their report:
"Homeowners who underestimate their homes' values not only underestimate their home equity, they also likely underestimate: 1) how large a down payment they could make with their home equity, 2) their chances of qualifying for mortgages, and, therefore, 3) their opportunities for selling their current homes and for buying different homes."
CoreLogic's report also revealed that if homes were to appreciate by an additional 5%, over 800,000 US households would regain positive equity.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many homeowners who is unsure of your current equity situation and would like to know your options, contact a local real estate professional who can help.

Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on June 22nd, 2016 3:07 PMLeave a Comment

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What's Happening in the Real Estate Market?

What's Happening in the Real Estate Market? | Keeping Current Matters This is a pretty common question that a potential home buyer or seller may be asking themselves. Leading economists in real estate converged in New Orleans this past week as they presented their answer to this question at the 50th Annual Real Estate Journalism Conference for the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

Here are the top takeaways from the week of presentations:

Many of the conversations at the conference came back to the impact that Millennials and first-time home buyers will have on the market in the future. Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist for realtor.com had this to say:
"At any given time in our history, demographics would explain 60-80% of what's happening [in the market], and we are in a period of time where Millennials make up a largest demographic group according to the Census, at 84 million."
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median first-time home buyer age is 30 and many millennials are entering a prime age to drive the housing market into the future. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for NAR shared that myths and affordability may be holding back potential buyers:
"84% of current renters have the desire to own. While 36% believe they cannot afford a home and 60% of renters believe it would be 'difficult' to qualify for a mortgage.
Ellie Mae's Vice President, Jonas Moe encouraged buyers to know their options before assuming that they do not qualify for a mortgage:
"Many potential home buyers are 'disqualifying' themselves. You don't need a 750 FICO Score and a 20% down payment to buy."
The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) revealed that Millennials and Baby Boomers are often competing for the same housing inventory, causing a challenge as these two groups are the largest generations by population. Both groups are looking for affordable, convenient homes close to city centers and 'what's happening.'

Bottom Line

The experts agree that homeownership is still desirable across all demographic groups, with Millennials and Baby Boomers having a great impact on available supply. If your dreams include owning your own home, meet with a local real estate professional who can evaluate your ability to buy now!

Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on June 17th, 2016 2:15 PMLeave a Comment

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June 7th, 2016 4:52 PM

Wall Street Journal: Housing Recovery Picks Up Steam

Wall Street Journal: Housing Recovery Picks Up Steam | Keeping Current Matters

Yesterday, we ran a post quoting major housing experts on the increasing strength of the U.S. housing market. We were pleasantly surprised that, on the same day, the Wall Street Journal decided to run a front page story titled, “Housing Recovery Picks Up Steam” (article available to WSJ subscribers).

Wall Street Journal: Housing Recovery Picks Up Steam | Keeping Current Matters

The first paragraph of the article says it best:

“Home prices are back to near-record highs across the U.S. amid rising demand and supply constraints, a sign that the lopsided housing-market recovery of the past five years is gaining some strength.” (emphasis added).

What about the struggles in the economy?

Some openly question how the real estate market can be gaining ground if the overall economy is still struggling. According to the WSJ, it is:

“Despite the unbalanced recovery, Federal Reserve officials have seen housing as a bright spot for the U.S. economy in recent years. Residential construction has contributed to overall economic output for eight straight quarters, expanding at a 17% annual rate in a first quarter marked by slow growth in other sectors.”

Bottom Line

The housing market is gaining strength and all indicators point to an even stronger real estate market moving forward.


Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on June 7th, 2016 4:52 PMLeave a Comment

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May 31st, 2016 2:36 PM

Unparalleled Trust Necessary Before Listing Your House

Unparalleled Trust Necessary Before Listing Your House | Keeping Current Matters
You and your family have decided to sell your house. It is now time to choose a real estate professional to help with the process. One of the major attributes this agent must possess is trustworthiness. To what degree do you need to trust them? You must have enough trust in them that you feel comfortable they will accomplish all four things below:

1. Sell possibly the largest asset your family owns

In many cases, a home is the largest asset a family has. Studies have shown that the equity many families have in their home is the largest percentage of that family's overall wealth.

2. Set the correct market value on that asset

Pricing is crucial even in the best of markets. You want to get the best price for your home without putting your house at a value that buyers will have little interest in.

3. Set the time schedule for the liquidation of that asset

Your family probably has a certain timetable for the sale of your house and the move into your next home. Coordinating the home selling process to meet certain schedules can be tricky.

4. Set a fair fee for the services required to liquidate that asset

You will need to pay a commission to an agent for selling the home and coordinating all elements of the selling transaction, including possible future negotiations (ex. with a home inspector or appraiser). That's a lot of trust. Make sure you pick a true professional to help with the sale of your home. 

Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on May 31st, 2016 2:36 PMLeave a Comment

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When Is It A Good Time To Rent? Definitely NOT NOW!

When Is It A Good Time To Rent? Definitely NOT NOW! | Keeping Current Matters People often ask whether or not now is a good time to buy a home. No one ever asks when a good time to rent is. However, we want to make certain that everyone understands that today is NOT a good time to rent. The Census Bureau recently released their first quarter median rent numbers. Here is a graph showing rent increases from 1988 until today: When Is It A Good Time To Rent? Definitely NOT NOW! | Keeping Current Matters A recent Wall Street Journal articlereports that rents rose "faster last year than at any time since 2007, a boon for landlords but one that has stoked concerns about housing affordability for renters." The article also cited results from a recent Reis Inc. report which revealed that average effective rents rose 4.6% in 2015, the biggest gain since before the recession. Over the past 15 years, rents have risen at a rate of 2.7% annually.

Where are rents headed?

Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com recently warned 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."

Bottom Line

NAR's Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun had this to say in the latest Existing Home Sales Report:
"With rents steadily rising and average fixed rates well below 4 percent, qualified first-time buyers should be more active participants than what they are right now."
One way to protect yourself from rising rents is to lock in your housing expense by buying a home. If you are ready and willing to buy, meet with a local real estate professional who can help determine if you are able to today!

Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on May 23rd, 2016 2:46 PMLeave a Comment

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Are Foreclosures Increasing or Decreasing?
Are Foreclosures Increasing or Decreasing? | Keeping Current Matters
Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the size of the foreclosure inventory in the nation. There has been some speculation that distressed property inventories are about to skyrocket. Today, we want to reveal what is actually taking place in this segment of the housing market. CoreLogic, in their most recent National Foreclosure Report, reported that foreclosure inventory has decreased by 23.2% since this time last year. The report also showed that foreclosure inventory has decreased in 49 of the 50 states and that 45 states have posted a year-over-year, double-digit decline (see chart below). Are Foreclosures Increasing or Decreasing? | Keeping Current Matters Other findings in the report:
  • The Seriously Delinquent Rate (homeowners more than 90 days behind in their mortgage payment) is 3.1% which is the lowest level since November 2007
  • The Foreclosure Rate is 1.1% which is also the lowest level since November 2007
  • This was the 53rd consecutive month that showed a decline in the Foreclosure Rate

Bottom Line

Though foreclosures do remain in the market, the number is dramatically decreasing. The fact that mortgage delinquency rates are also decreasing means the worst of the foreclosure crisis is in the rearview mirror.

Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on May 18th, 2016 1:46 PMLeave a Comment

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Warren Buffett: There is No Housing Bubble


Warren Buffett: There is No Housing Bubble | Keeping Current Matters

With home prices expected to appreciate by over 5% this year, some are beginning to worry about a new housing bubble forming. Warren Buffet addressed this issue last week in an article by Fortune Magazine. He simply explained:

“I don’t see a nationwide bubble in real estate right now at all.”

Later, when questioned whether real estate and/or mortgaging could present the same challenges for the economy as they did in 2008, Buffet said:

“I don’t think we will have a repeat of that.”

What factors are driving home prices up?

It is easily explained by the theory of supply and demand. There is a lack of housing inventory for sale while demand for that inventory is very strong. According to a recentsurvey of agents by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer traffic was seen as either “strong” or “very strong” in 44 of the 50 states (the exceptions being: Alaska, Wyoming, North Dakota, West Virginia, Connecticut and Delaware).

Also, in NAR’s latest Pending Home Sales Report, it was revealed that the index was the highest it has been in a year.

What does the future bring?

As prices rise, more families will have increased equity in their homes which will enable them to put their home on the market. As more listings come to market, price increases should slow to more normal levels.

Anand Nallathambi, President & CEO of CoreLogicrecently addressed the issue:

“Home price gains have clearly been a driving force in building positive equity for homeowners. Longer term, we anticipate a better balance of supply and demand in many markets which will help sustain healthy & affordable home values into the future.


Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on May 16th, 2016 1:37 PMLeave a Comment

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4 Reasons to Move Up to Your Dream Home This Spring
4 Reasons to Move Up to Your Dream Home This Spring | Keeping Current Matters
Spring is in full force; the summer months are right around the corner. If you are debating moving up to your dream home, here are four great reasons to consider listing your current home and moving up to your dream home now, instead of waiting.

1. Buyer Demand is High & Inventory is Low

Recent numbers show that buyer demand is at the highest peak experienced in years, and inventory for sale is at a 4.5-month supply, which is still markedly lower than the 6 months needed for a historically normal market. Demand in many markets is far exceeding the supply, and more properties in March sold in less than 30 days (42%) than in any month since last July. Listing your home today can greatly increase exposure to buyers who are out in force and ready to act.

2. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic recently released their latest Home Price Index in which they predict that national home values will appreciate by 5.3% by this time next year. The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting for your current home's value to increase before selling could price you out of your new home if you aren't careful.

3. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Still Near Record Lows

Interest rates have remained below 4% for some time now and are substantially lower than the rate previous generations paid when getting a mortgage. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will rise over the next 12 months. An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Even an increase of half a percentage point can put a dent in your family's net worth. Whether you are moving up or buying your first home, your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your home.

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. Have you always wanted to live in a certain neighborhood? Would a climate change be just what the doctor ordered? Would you like to be closer to your family?

Bottom Line

If the right thing for you and your family is to move up to the home of your dreams this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Posted in:General
Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on May 13th, 2016 11:53 AMLeave a Comment

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Where is Housing Headed for the Rest of 2016?
Where is Housing Headed for the Rest of 2016? | Keeping Current Matters
With 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."

Posted in:General
Posted by Cheryl Talbot ABR,GRI,e-PRO,SFR on May 12th, 2016 10:39 AMLeave a Comment

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