- Your monthly housing cost is directly tied to the price of the home you purchase and the interest rate you secure for your mortgage.
- Over the last 30 years, interest rates have fluctuated greatly with rates in the double digits in the 1980s, all the way down to the near 4% we are experiencing now.
- Your purchasing power is greatly impacted by the interest rate you secure. Act now before rates go up!
As we are about to bring in the New Year, families across the country will be deciding if this is the year that they will sell their current house and move into their dream home. Many will decide that it is smarter to wait until the spring “buyer’s market” to list their house. In the past, that might have made sense. However, this winter is not like recent years.
The recent jump in mortgage rates has forced buyers off the fence and into the market, resulting in incredibly strong demand RIGHT NOW!! At the same time, inventory levels of homes for sale have dropped dramatically as compared to this time last year.
Here is a chart showing the decrease in inventory levels by category:
Demand for your home is very strong right now while your competition (other homes for sale) is at a historically low level. If you are thinking of selling in 2017, now may be the time.
The National Association of Realtors’ most recent Existing Home Sales Report revealed that, compared to last year, home sales are up dramatically in five of the six price ranges they measure.
Homes priced between $100-250K showed a 20.7% increase year-over-year. This is an impressive increase, showing that November was an excellent month for home sales in this price range.
But surprisingly, the 20.7% increase in sales in this range was not the highest percent change achieved, as sales of homes over $250,000 increased by double-digit percentages with sales in the $750,000- $1 million range showing the largest increase, up 43.2%!
As prices in many markets continue to accelerate, it is no surprise to see the percentage of homes in the higher price ranges increasing.
Here is the breakdown:
Homes under $100,000 were the only group to show negative appreciation of sales at -2.4%. This not only points to the lower inventory of homes available for sale in this price range but also speaks to the overall strength of the housing market.
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, perhaps it is time to sit down with your agent to see if it is priced appropriately to compete in today’s market.
|Every homeowner wants to make sure they get the best price when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to ensuring you get the highest price possible.
1. Price it a LITTLE LOW
This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little OVER market value will leave them room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house (see chart below).
Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. By doing this, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price, but will instead have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.
Realtor.com, gives this advice:
“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”
2. Use a Real Estate Professional
This too may seem counterintuitive. The seller may think they would net more money if they didn’t have to pay a real estate commission. With that being said, studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.
Research posted by the National Association of Realtors revealed that:
“The median selling price for all FSBO homes was $185,000 last year. When the buyer knew the seller in FSBO sales, the number sinks to the median selling price of $163,800. However, homes that were sold with the assistance of an agent had a median selling price of $245,000 – nearly $60,000 more for the typical home sale.”
Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. That will guarantee you maximize the price you get for your house.
- Many buyers who are searching for their dream homes are turning to new home construction after 10% of all new home buyers sighted a lack of inventory of existing homes as their reason for purchase.
- The median home price decreased slightly from September’s high of $314,100 to $304,500 in October.
- The West saw the largest month over month jump in sales at 28.7%.
We all realize that the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and the supply of that item is limited. The last two major reports issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed information that suggests that now continues to be a great time to sell your house.
Let’s look at the data covered by the latest Pending Home Sales Report and Existing Home Sales Report.
THE PENDING HOME SALES REPORT
The report announced that pending home sales (homes going into contract) are up 2.4% over last year, and have increased year-over-year now for 22 of the last 25 consecutive months.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, had this to say:
“The one major predicament in the housing market is without a doubt the painfully low levels of housing inventory in much of the country. It’s leading to home prices outpacing wages, properties selling a lot quicker than a year ago and the home search for many prospective buyers being highly competitive and drawn out because of a shortage of listings at affordable prices.”
Takeaway: Demand for housing will continue throughout the end of 2016 and into 2017. The seasonal slowdown often felt in the winter months did not occur last winter and shows no signs of returning this year.
THE EXISTING HOME SALES REPORT
The most important data point revealed in the report was not sales, but was instead the inventory of homes for sale (supply). The report explained:
- Total housing inventory rose 1.5% to 2.04 million homes available for sale
- That represents a 4.5-month supply at the current sales pace
- Unsold inventory is 6.8% lower than a year ago, marking the 16th consecutive month with year-over-year declines
There were two more interesting comments made by Yun in the report:
“Inventory has been extremely tight all year and is unlikely to improve now that the seasonal decline in listings is about to kick in. Unfortunately, there won’t be much relief from new home construction, which continues to be grossly inadequate in relation to demand.”
In real estate, there is a guideline that often applies; when there is less than a 6-month supply of inventory available, we are in a seller’s market and we will see appreciation. Between 6-7 months is a neutral market, where prices will increase at the rate of inflation. More than a 7-month supply means we are in a buyer’s market and should expect depreciation in home values. As Yun notes, we are, and will remain, in a seller’s market with prices still increasing unless more listings come to the market.
“There’s hope the leap in sales to first-time buyers can stick through the rest of the year and into next spring. The market fundamentals — primarily consistent job gains and affordable mortgage rates — are there for the steady rise in first-timers needed to finally reverse the decline in the homeownership rate.”
Takeaway: Inventory of homes for sale is still well below the 6-month supply needed for a normal market. Prices will continue to rise if a ‘sizable’ supply does not enter the market.
If you are going to sell, now may be the time to take advantage of the ready, willing, and able buyers that are still out looking for your house.
Are you thinking of buying a home? Are you dreading having to walk through strangers’ houses? Are you concerned about getting the paperwork correct? Hiring a professional real estate agent can take away most of the challenges of buying. A great agent is always worth more than the commission they charge, just like a great doctor or great accountant.
You want to deal with one of the best agents in your marketplace. To do this, you must be able to distinguish an average agent from a great one.
Here are the top 4 demands to make of your real estate agent when buying a home:
1. Tell the Truth About the Price
When making an offer on the home you want to buy, make sure that your agent walks you through their plan for getting both the seller – and the bank – to accept that price. Too many agents will just take the offer that you suggest and then try to ‘work’ both you and the seller in the negotiating phase later. In a competitive market, you need an agent who is going to help you make the best ‘initial offer’ so that you stand out from the crowd. Every house in today’s market must be sold twice – first to you and then to your bank.
The second sale may be more difficult than the first. When prices are surging, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that closed recently) to defend the selling price when performing the appraisal for the bank. A red flag should be raised if your agent is not discussing this with you at the time of the original offer.
2. Understand the Timetable with Which Your Family is Dealing
You will be moving your family into a new home. Whether the move revolves around the start of the new school year or a new job, you will be trying to put the move to a plan.
This can be very emotionally draining. Demand from your agent an appreciation for the timetables you are setting. Your agent cannot pick the exact date of your move, but they should exert any influence they can to make it work.
3. Remove as Many of the Challenges as Possible
It is imperative that your agent knows how to handle the challenges that will arise. An agent’s ability to negotiate is critical in this market.
Remember: If you have an agent who was weak negotiating with you on parts of the purchase offer, don’t expect them to turn into a superhero when they are negotiating with the seller for you and your family.
4. Find the Right HOUSE!
There is a reason you are putting yourself and your family through the process of moving.
You are moving on with your life in some way. The reason is important or you wouldn’t be dealing with the headaches and challenges that come along with buying. Do not allow your agent to forget these motivations. Make sure that they don’t worry about your feelings more than they worry about your family; if they discover something needs to be done in order to attain your goal, insist that they have the courage to inform you.
Good agents know how to deliver good news. Great agents know how to deliver tough news. In today’s market, YOU NEED A GREAT AGENT!
So you’ve decided to sell your house. You’ve hired a real estate professional to help you with the entire process and they have asked you what level of access you want to provide to potential buyers.
There are four elements to a quality listing. At the top of the list is Access, followed by Condition, Financing and Price. There are many levels of access that you could provide to your agent to be able to show your home.
Here are five levels of access that you could give a buyer with a brief description:
- Lockbox On the Door – this allows buyers the ability to see the home as soon as they are aware of the listing, or at their convenience.
- Providing a Key to the Home – although the buyer’s agent may need to stop by an office to pick up the key, there is little delay in being able to show the home.
- Open Access with a Phone Call – the seller allows showing with just a phone call’s notice.
- By Appointment Only (example: 48 Hour Notice) – Many out-of-town/state buyers and relocation buyers visit an area they would like to move to and only have the weekend to view homes. They may not be able to plan that far in advance, or may be unable to wait the 48 hours to be shown the house.
- Limited Access (example: the home is only available on Mondays or Tuesdays at 2pm or for only a couple of hours a day) – This is the most difficult way to be able to show your house to potential buyers.
In a competitive marketplace, access can make or break your ability to get the price you are looking for, or even sell your house at all.
From a purely economic perspective, this is one of the best times in American history to buy a home. Black Night Financial Services discusses this in their most recent Monthly Mortgage Monitor.
Here are two of the report’s revelations:
- The average U.S. home value increased by $13,500 from last year, but low interest rates have kept the monthly principal & interest payment needed to purchase a median-priced home almost equal to one year ago.
- Home affordability still remains favorable compared to long-term historic norms.
The report explains:
“Even though the value of the average home in the U.S. increased by about $13,500 over the last year, thanks to declining interest rates it actually costs almost exactly the same in principal and interest each month to purchase as it did this time last year.
Even taking into account the fact that affordability can vary – sometimes significantly – across the country based upon the different rates of home price appreciation we’re seeing, that’s a pretty incredible balancing act between interest rates and home prices at the national level…
Right now, it takes 20 percent of the median monthly income to cover monthly payments on the median-priced home, which is well below historical norms.”
However, the report warns that affordability will be dramatically impacted by an increase in mortgage rates.
“A half-point increase in interest rates would be equivalent to a $17,000 jump in the average home price, and bring that ratio to 21.5 percent. This increase is still below historical norms, but puts more pressure on homebuyers.”