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Existing Home Sales Rebound in December

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) just released their latest Existing Home Sales Report on Friday. Sales of existing homes rose by the largest increase ever recorded as they rebounded 14.7% over November’s numbers and now stand at 7.7% higher than a year ago.

While this is great news for the housing market, let’s take a look at one of the main reasons why there was such a large increase in sales.

As we explained last month, the implementation of the “Know Before You Owe” (TRID) initiative delayed some closings, pushing a portion of November’s would-be transactions to close in December.

“December’s rebound in sales is reason for cautious optimism that the work to prepare for ‘Know Before You Owe’ is paying off,” says NAR President Tom Salomone.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, had this to say about the surge in December sales:

“While the carryover of November’s delayed transactions into December contributed greatly to the sharp increase, the overall pace taken together indicates sales these last two months maintained the healthy level of activity seen in most of 2015. Additionally, the prospect of higher mortgage rates in coming months and warm November and December weather allowed more homes to close before the end of the year.”

The most important realization to come out of the report is the fact that inventory of existing homes for sale dropped dramatically from a 5.1-month supply in November to the lowest figure since January 2005, at a 3.9-month supply.

A normal market, where prices rise with inflation, is defined as having a 6-7-month supply of homes for sale. As you can see in the chart below, inventory levels in 2015 were at or below a 5.2-month supply for the entire year.

2015 Months Inventory of Homes For Sale | Keeping Current Matters

If inventory levels do not recover, this could be a challenge for sales moving forward as buyer demand remains strong and competition for the homes that are on the market continues to rise.

Bottom Line

If you are considering listing your home for sale in 2016, now is the time! With inventory levels at their lowest mark in over 10 years, listing your home for sale now will give you the most exposure to buyers and allow you to get the best price for your home.

Blog post via KCM Blog

Should I Buy Now Or Wait Until Next Year? [Infographic]

Thinking of Buying? Selling? 5 Reasons You Need To Hire A Professional

Thinking of Buying? Selling? 5 Reasons You Need To Hire A Professsional | Keeping Current Matters

Whether you are buying or selling a home, it can be quite an adventurous journey. You need an experienced Real Estate Professional to lead you to your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers think that they can For Sale by Owner or FSBO.

The 5 Reasons You NEED a Real Estate Professional in your corner haven’t changed, but have rather been strengthened due to the projections of higher mortgage interest rates & home prices as the market continues to recover.

1. What do you do with all this paperwork?

Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true Real Estate Professional is an expert in their market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.

2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?

According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, who knows what these actions are to make sure that you acquire your dream.

3. Are you a good negotiator?

So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a Real Estate Professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible), to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to the National Association of REALTORS, “the typical FSBO home sold for $210,000 compared to $245,000 among agent-assisted home sales.”

Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional.

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?

There is so much information out there on the news and the internet about home sales, prices, mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a low-ball offer?

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring an agent who has their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying/selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line

You wouldn’t replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic. Why would you make one of your most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a Real Estate Professional?

Blog post via KCM Blog

MRED Chicagoland Report for December, 2015

In 2015, national residential real estate, by and large, had a good year. Supply and demand were healthy, in an environment rife with low interest rates and improved employment. The Federal Reserve finally increased short-term rates in December, and more increases are expected in 2016. Housing markets have shown a willingness to accept this. Save for a few expensive outliers where low inventory and high prices have become the norm, a balanced market is anticipated for much of the country for the foreseeable future. Improved inventory and affordability remain key factors for continued optimism.

New Listings in Chicagoland were down 6.5 percent for detached homes and 8.2 percent for attached properties. Listings Under Contract increased 15.4 percent for detached homes and 18.0 percent for attached properties.  The Median Sales Price was up 10.9 percent to $203,000 for detached homes and 3.5 percent to $165,000 for attached properties. Months Supply of Inventory decreased 23.2 percent for detached units and 24.2 percent for attached units.  Gross Domestic Product increased at an annual rate near 2.0 percent to close 2015, and that rate is expected to increase next year. Residential real estate is considered a healthy piece of the national economy. Contributing factors from within the industry include better lending standards and foreclosures falling back to more traditional levels. Declining unemployment, higher wages and low fuel prices have also conspired to improve personal budgets.

MRED real estate professionals can log into MREDLLC.com and click on the Statistics tab to get the latest Lender Mediated and Monthly Market Indicators Reports.  You can also click on the Local Market Updates choice under the Statistics tab and use our Interactive Market Analytics map for the latest local market metrics.

Any questions?  Please contact MRED’s Help Desk at 630-955-2755 or help.desk@MREDLLC.com.

Obstacles to Homeownership: Perceived or Real?

Obstacles to Homeownership: Perceived or Real? | Keeping Current Matters

Yesterday, we discussed the belief Americans have in homeownership and their desire to partake in this piece of the American Dream. We also discussed some of the obstacles preventing them from attaining that goal. However, studies have shown that many of the obstacles mentioned are perceived, not real.

A recent study by Fannie Mae, What Do Consumers Know About The Mortgage Qualification Criteria?, revealed that many consumers are either unsure or misinformed regarding the minimum requirements necessary to obtain a mortgage. Let’s break down three such challenges.

Down Payment

Perceptions

Many renters have mentioned that the lack of an adequate down payment is preventing them from moving forward with the purchase of a home. According to the Fannie Mae report:

  • 40% of all renters don’t know what down payment is required
  • 15% think you need at least 20% down
  • An additional 4% think you need at least 10% down

The Reality

There are programs offered by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA that require as little as 3-3.5% down. VA and USDA loans offer 0% down programs. According to the National Association of Realtors, the typical down payment for a first time buyer is 6%.

Credit Score

Perceptions

Many renters have mentioned that the lack of an adequate credit score is preventing them from moving forward with the purchase of a home. According to the Fannie Mae report:

  • 54% of all renters don’t know what credit score is required
  • 5% think you need at least a 740 credit score

The Reality

Many mortgages are granted to purchasers with a credit score of less than 700. According to Ellie Mae, the average credit score on a closed FHA purchase is 687 and the average credit score on all loans is 722.

Back End Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI)

Perceptions

Many renters have mentioned that they carry too much debt which is preventing them from moving forward with the purchase of a home. According to the Fannie Mae report:

  • 59% of all renters don’t know what DTI is acceptable
  • 25% think you need at under 25%
  • 7% think you need under 39%

The Reality

Lenders like to see a back-end ratio that does not exceed 36%. Fannie Mae’s maximum total DTI ratio is 36% of the borrower’s stable monthly income. The maximum can be exceeded up to 45% based on credit score and other requirements.

Bottom Line

Don’t let a lack of knowledge or misinformation keep your family from buying a home this year. Meet with a local real estate professional who can evaluate your ability to buy now!

Blog post via KCM Blog

Real Estate Shines as an Investment in 2015

Real Estate Shines as an Investment in 2015 | Keeping Current Matters

A survey by The Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University reveals that when a family is buying a home they consider the financial benefits of homeownership along with the social benefits. The survey mentions things like:

  • Paying rent does not make sense
  • Homeownership provides a good financial opportunity
  • Owning a home helps you building family wealth
  • Buying a home is investing in your retirement
  • Home equity gives you something to borrow against

So how did homeownership match up against other investments in 2015? Here is a chart that compares its return on investment against precious metals and the stock market last year:

2015 Return on Investment | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Not only did homeownership offer all its social benefits. It also was a great investment financially.

Blog post via KCM Blog

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