Archive for the ‘housing market’ Category

Growing Housing Inventory Will Affect Buyers and Sellers

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Attention home buyers and sellers: home inventory is growing. Over the last few years we have seen decreased inventory in many areas, including here in San Diego County. This has made it tricky for many buyers as supply has not met demand, but has been positive for sellers as the seller market picked up speed. But inventory appears to be growing and there are many extenuating circumstances that make now a good time to sell or buy real estate. 0

Home ownership holding period – Over time most homeowners have tended to occupy their homes on the average for about 6-7 years before selling. But over the last few years this number increased and many sellers were staying in their homes 9-10 years due to economic factors. However, there  has been a trend downward lately due to equity increases and market conditions.

Equity – The last few years have brought equity gains to many homeowners, and low interest rates make it a great time to buy – this combination is positive news for housing. But like any market there will be a correction in time, where equity stops rising as quickly. Here in San Diego County we are starting to see slight slow downs with sales – sales prices are dropping slightly and many homes are sitting on the market longer.

Seller Market – It has been a seller’s market for some time now, due to lack of inventory in many housing markets, combined with a healthy  demand. but with external changes on the rise more sellers will likely consider selling due to strong market conditions and other economic factors that may make them question how long the equity rise will continue. As inventory increases it may turn into a buyer market so long as demand is still prevalent and supply increases.

Economy -  There are several economic factors that may influence a seller or buyer, and moving forward these will likely play a role in decisions to buy or sell. For buyers, low interest rates and international economic conditions that affect our US economy could play into the decision- making process. As markets are cyclical most buyers and sellers know that low rates will not last forever. The looming Presidential election could also factor into housing, as well as international situations like Brexit and terrorism.

The bottom line is that no one has a crystal ball. Many predictions abound and feeding into them can make a buyer or seller crazy. Each individual has to consider their own factors – equity, supply, prices, external and personal economic factors. Talk to your accountant and an experienced real estate professional – but don’t wait too long because the market will change at some point.

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Who is the Best Presidential Candidate for the Housing Market?

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

If you have been paying attention to what is going on in the political circus…I mean arena…you may or may not understand how different candidates feel about certain issues. While some have not made clear statements on many issues, and others have literally changed their minds and don’t appear to have opinions (or don’t care to share them with the American people), some have wondered where the candidates stand on housing. protect-house

It is a fact that many people in this country were affected by the crash of 2008-2010. Many lost homes, lost jobs, declared bankruptcy. Although the economy has come a long way since then, as has the housing market, there are many who still distrust putting their money into home ownership for fear of another collapse. The number of renters has skyrocketed since the crash (according to the Huffington Post there are 9 million more renters today than existed a mere decade ago), and renting in many areas (including most parts of California) costs more than home ownership – and rents continue to rise in most areas. But of those who would like to purchase, many cannot afford a downpayment.

So you may wonder what will happen to housing once a new President is elected, and whether the choice of candidate will make a difference. Let’s take a look at party philosophies first to get an idea of what might happen depending on whether a democrat or republican is elected.

Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who has authored a specific plan for housing and home ownership attainment. The plan aims to provide better support and credit for those who wish to own homes. Under a Clinton presidency rentals will be more affordable as well, benefitting lower and middle class Americans. The plan details job creation, apprenticeship and investment in American youth, as well as the creation of job programs for convicts re-entering the work force and investment in small businesses. Where will the money for all this come from? Do your research.  Click here to read her plan in detail.

Bernie Sanders does not have a specific housing plan, but plans to raise taxes across the board – both for individuals and businesses. This would likely mean salaries will decline, as businesses will have to pass the tax increases along to employees. However, other things would be beneficial to Americans under a Sanders presidency, like free colleges and medicare. As for housing, it will of course be affected by lower wages and higher taxes, so one has to weigh the positives and negatives.

Ted Cruz has vocalized his across-the-board tax plan, which would put everyone in the same 10% tax bracket. Sounds good, especially if you pay a lot more, but he also wants to institute a flat tax on business payroll and profits. This could lead to salary cuts for workers, which would be detrimental to the real estate market (lower salaries mean no new home buyers and many owners that could need to sell to heed their new lower income levels). With the promise to end local and state tax deductions as well American homeowners could get hit hard, depending on where they live.

Donald Trump also has no specific housing plan, but has talked about substantial tax cuts and less tax deductions. The big tax cuts could cause interest rates to rise, which will likely affect mortgages – again, this could make homeownership less attainable.

John Kasich plans to cut the tax rate, but there is not much more about his proposal for housing or direct effects on housing due to his plans.

Housing plays a very important part in our lives as Americans, so make sure to do your research and decide whom has the best plan for your needs. Hopefully whomever is elected will keep housing on track so people to afford to become homeowners in the future and the housing market will continue to thrive.

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December is a Busy Month for Real Estate

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

It never fails – every year I always think I will have a quiet holiday season and be able to catch up on personal errands and have extra family time. But every November things always start to heat up in my real estate business. Offers on listings tend to increase (often multiple offers), there tend to be a flurry of showings, and buyers step out in force to see properties.2014-2015

I hear many real estate agents say that the end of the year is accompanied by a slow down in the real estate market, but I have not yet found that to be the case. Those agents who decide to not work as hard or to take a break miss out on the plethora of opportunities at this time of year. But for those who continue to work hard with existing clients, answer their phones and tap into their client base, this time of year can be lucrative.

Busy Time for Sellers

As for sellers, I have written blogs over the years as to why the holiday time is a great time to sell. The main reason is that there is not a lot of competition, so the buyers who are out there searching for homes (and believe me, there are many) don’t have as many options. If you list your home at this time and it is priced and shows well, you may be surprised at the amount of interest you get… and of course there is the potential for multiple offers. If you are a seller, make sure to speak with your agent about the best way to market and stage your home during the holidays, because that will have an impact on its selling potential.

The other reason it is a great time for sellers is because interest rates and inventory are still low. This makes it an optimal time for buyers who may have otherwise decided to wait until Spring.

Finally, it is fair to say that the majority of buyers who are out there looking at this time of year are very serious, not just looky-loo buyers. Many people would rather not focus on purchasing a home during the holidays, so as they say “the early bird gets the worm.”

Busy Time for Buyers

The end of the year/holiday season is a great time for buyers, for many of the same reason outlined above. There is less competition, the listings that are active are usually placed there by serious sellers who need to sell, and right now interest rates are still very low. In my opinion many properties are priced more accurately at this time of year than say in the Spring, when many sellers test out the market to see how high they may be able to list above comparable sold properties.

Buyers, sellers and agents can all benefit during the last quarter and during the holidays if they continue to work extra hard into the New Year. Happy buying and selling, and I hope everyone has a prosperous and happy holiday season!

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Housing Market Glance for October 2014 (Latest Figures)

Monday, December 1st, 2014

The chart below shows the latest existing home sale numbers for October, as well as median home prices, unsold inventory index, median time on market, and the housing affordability index. The National Association of Realtors reported a 2.5% increase for the homes sold in October, compared to the same month a year ago. This makes it the first month in 2014 to see a significant yearly increase in home sales.  The reasons for the increase were cited as lowering of mortgage interest rates (which dipped under 4% in October) and the slowing of home price appreciation.

Interestingly, several reports I have read indicate that housing prices are not going down, and that this trend will continue into 2015, with many states hitting new all-time highs as the housing recovery continues. Of course, much will depend on inventory levels, mortgage rates and other factors that we cannot predict, but the positive note is that properties are definitely going into escrow. Most escrow agents, home inspectors and appraisers I have spoken with are busy.

 

chart

Chart provided by the California Association of Realtors.

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Is the Housing Market Slowing Down?

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

The last few months have been very busy for the real estate market. Many areas seem to have corrected and although prices did rise through the summer it seems that now they have stabilized in many areas. The one thing that still seemed strong was demand, as buyers were still out there looking at homes and shopping. Until about a week ago.house_question

I have noticed in the last week a drastic slow down in showings and phone calls, as well as new listings. When interest rates dipped under 4% last week I thought it would spur buyers and result in more pending properties, but that does not seem to be the case in my area. Here are some of the challenges that could be having an effect on the market:

Bond Market Collapse – Last week the bond market took a substantial nose dive. Did this create fear about the housing market? It is possible, but one has to consider that all markets are cyclical, and unless we are talking about a full blown economic crash it is doubtful that the one will affect the other.

Challenges in International Markets – There are still many European countries that are facing difficult economic times…could this create fear amongst US buyers? Possible, but again it is important to realize that our housing market just underwent a big correction and now is back on the track to normalcy, so fears about other markets outside of the US should not have an impact on whether or not a buyer purchases a home.

Time of Year – Typically the Fall-to-Winter housing market tends to be slower and include lower inventory. With the holidays and the end of the year many sellers choose not to list or take their active homes off the market. Many people are not thinking about purchasing homes at this time of year, except those who need to (and actually, if you can do it, it is a great time to sell…click here for more information)

Lack of Inventory – This definitely could be a reason why the market seems to be slowing. Summer did finally see an increase in inventory in many markets that had been in an inventory slump for a while, but there are fewer new listings now; this could be due to a variety of factors, most notably the time of year. Once the holidays have passed we should slowly start to see inventory creep up, as we head into the Spring and Summer.

Fear – There is still talk out there of a housing bubble, believe it or not. This could be creating fear amongst buyers, and in addition to any of the above categories could combine to make some think they’d better sit on the fence for a time and see what transpires. Personally and professionally, I do not agree with this viewpoint. I believe most markets HAVE stabilized, and that we have returned to a more “normal” housing market. I do not believe we will see more than a 3-5% annual price increase moving forward from year to year. Those who are in the market solely to make a profit won’t have much opportunity to do so, but conditions will be perfect for those who are purchasing with long term benefits in mind. There will always be issues and problems that could affect housing, BUT housing is still historically one of the most stable markets in which to invest.

The bottom line is that buyers need to feel comfortable when they are contemplating a home purchase. Sellers also need to feel comfortable in listing their home. Overpriced homes will not be sold in the current market; of course there are always exceptions, but in general we will not see this happen now or in the coming year, in my opinion.

The key for any buyer or seller is to get educated on the neighborhoods in which they are focusing their searches, and to really understand comparable values. Working with a skilled area agent is the first step in the right direction. Buying  a home can feel scary, but in reality it should not be a difficult decision for those who understand the local market. Renting has been proven to be more expensive, but is also more risky -rents can be raised, leases can be terminated, and rental properties can be sold, leaving tenants to find another – which is no easy task.

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Housing: Buy Now or Wait?

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

I received an email from one of the preferred lenders with whom I work, telling me about a client of his who was  having a difficult time deciding whether to purchase now or wait. She told him that her friends had advised her to wait to purchase, since home prices are high right now. He shared with her the report from CoreLogic that came out today, which details the rising market and demonstrates more than ever why now is a great time to buy. statistics

CoreLogic, a leading data, analytics and global property information provider, reported this morning that home prices rose 6.4% year over year in August 2014 from August 2013. Furthermore, prices are expected to rise 5.2% between August 2014 and August 2015. According to the report, “this change represents 30 months of consecutive year-over-year increases in home prices nationally.”

The report predicts that home prices will increase .02% month over month from August 2014 to September 2015. California was named as one of the five states with the highest home appreciation value, at 9.2%. While the peak of appreciation is and will continue to slow down, the real estate market will balance out and future home buyers will have less pressure when it comes to affordability.

The data points to the fact that the market is still strong and now is a great time to buy. To sum it up, here are the reasons why buying now is smart:

1.  Interest rates are still low

2.  Prices are slowing down but still will continue to rise (albeit more slowly) moving forward

3.  Many lenders are providing more products that will make it easier for buyers to get qualified, thus meeting the demand for loans

4. Inventory is still on the low side and market times in many areas are longer, but the majority of sellers need or want to sell so it is a great time to be a buyer.

To read the entire report click here.

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San Diego Housing Market Update for September 2014

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

What is happening with the housing market? That is a big question right now all across the country. Of course, it is not truly possible to give an answer that will cover all parts of the country. Let’s look at San Diego County and focus on some of the things that are affecting home sales. http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-real-estate-home-values-going-up-image17256765

Prices are stabilizing. Prices soared across the county during the summer months. Now that summer is practically over most industry experts and commentators expect that prices will stop rising at such a quick rate and we will return to a more “normal” housing market. Many real estate agents, including myself, seem to agree. According to Zillow, San Diego home prices rose 9% in the last year and will continue to rise 3.8% in the next year.

Interest rates remain low. Rates are still very low, in fact they are the lowest in years (hovering around 4.1% this week on a 30 year fixed mortgage). Many factors contribute to this, including geopolitical instability, but the fact is that buyers can still take advantage of some great mortgage products. If inventory continues to increase this should stimulate sales.

Inventory is rising. Inventory this summer finally rose out of the doldrums. Currently San Diego County has close to a 4 month supply of inventory. As of mid-August, housing inventory had increased 14.3% since the same time last year, providing more choices to buyers.

Pending home sales show slight improvement. Pending home sales have been down year to year since 2012, but the decrease in July was smaller than the average over the last six months, indicating that pending sales may be on a slight increase, this according the the California Association of Realtors. Whether this trend will continue as we head into the holiday season is unknown, but there definitely are certain parts of the county where agents feel more homes are starting to go into escrow. Pending home sales are an indicator of future home sale activity.

Buyer’s market: coming soon? If rates continue to stay low and prices stabilize, the market will likely slowly shift to a buyers’ market. Some areas are seeing that effect already, and it seems pretty inevitable that we will move into that direction.

Of course there is no crystal ball for real estate, but all signs point to a market that is stabilizing and still in recovery. Indicators point to a more “normal” housing market moving forward, where sellers and buyers are on more equal footing.

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Sellers are Feeling Positive About Home Prices

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

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Market Time Down – Shortest Since 2005

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Market time across California is down, and the number of days most homes spend on the market has decreased immensely. Chalk it up to a high demand but low supply of inventory. It’s a great time to sell a home. Check out these numbers from the California Association of Realtors:

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It’s a Seller’s Market, But Where are the Sellers?

Friday, March 21st, 2014

You may have read lately that here in Southern California home prices continue to rise. You may also have noticed that there do not seem to be many homes listed for sale. Combine that with the fact that there are definitely buyers out there looking for homes to purchase, interest rates are still historically low, and it’s no wonder some people are concerned.For sale

Spring officially started yesterday, and with it comes the expected home selling season, which usually lasts into mid-summer. This is the time that those who are planning to move start seriously looking at homes, and those planning to sell get ready to do so. There have been new listings in my area, but it feels like a lot less than normal for this time of year. Where are the sellers and why are they not stepping forward to list their homes?

The main reason is that there is low inventory of homes on the market in many areas. Most sellers sell and simultaneously buy another property. If there are no homes on the market for them to consider they will likely hold off on listing their property until that changes, creating a Catch-22 situation. This keeps the cycle going and in turn causes housing prices to rise, as buyers have to compete for the little inventory that is on the market.

Another reason for lower inventory could include lack of sufficient equity in the home to purchase a replacement property (although many homeowners have come out of negative equity situations in the last year or so due to price increases).

Hopefully the sellers WILL soon step up and put their homes on the market. When this happens we will see a few things:

-  Lots of interest from buyers

-  The possibility of multiple offers

-  A likelihood of higher prices as a result of the above

Hopefully more sellers who are not buying replacement properties (such as 2nd homeowners, investors, or those moving out of the area) will step forward soon to give the market some momentum. It is a great time to be a seller right now.

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