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March 11, 2020

Interest Rates Over Time

 

Some Highlights:

  • With interest rates hovering at near historic lows, now is a great time to look back at where they’ve been, and how much they’ve changed over time.
  • According to Freddie Mac, mortgage interest rates are currently hovering near a five-decade low.
  • The impact your interest rate has on your monthly mortgage payment is significant. An increase of just $20 dollars in your monthly payment can add up to $240 per year or $7,200 over the life of your loan. Maybe it’s time to lock in now while rates are still low.

 

Posted in Market Trends
March 9, 2020

Opportunity in the Luxury Market This Year

 

Homes priced in the top 25% of a price range for a particular area of the country are considered “premium homes.” At the start of last year, many of the more expensive homes listed for sale hadn’t seen as much interest, since much of the demand for housing over the past few years has come from first-time buyers looking for starter homes. It looks like buyer activity, however, is starting to show a shift in this segment.

According to the January Luxury Report from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM):

“In a snapshot of 2019, despite pessimism at the start of the year, the last quarter showcased a strengthening, with an upswing in the luxury market for sales in both the single family and condo markets.”

Momentum is growing, and those looking to enter the luxury market are poised for success in 2020 as well. With more inventory available at the upper-end, historically low interest rates, and increasing average wages, the stage is set for buyers with an interest in this tier to embrace the perfect move-up opportunity.

The report highlights the increase in buyer activity in this segment, resulting in growing sales toward the end of 2019:

“According to reports from many luxury real estate professionals, the significant increase in number of properties bought at the end of 2019 versus 2018 is reflective of an early 2019 holding pattern.

Many of early 2019’s prospective luxury buyers held off while waiting to see how prices would react to new tax regulations and other policy changes. Buyer confidence returned in late spring and compared to 2018, above average sales were reported in the final quarter of 2019.”

With evidence of strong buyer confidence, this is great news, as more homeowners are building equity and growing their net worth throughout the country:

“Many homeowners are now diversifying their wealth, owning several properties rather than a single mega mansion. In addition, there have been an increase number of home purchases taking place in smaller cities, reflecting the rising number of people relocating from major metropolises. Their property equity wealth or ability to pay high rental costs have afforded them the opportunity to purchase luxury properties in…secondary cities throughout North America.”

With a strong economy and a backdrop set for moving up this year, it’s a great time to explore the luxury market. Keep in mind, luxury can mean different things to different people, too. To one person, luxury is a secluded home with plenty of property and privacy. To another, it is a penthouse at the center of a bustling city. Knowing what characteristics mean luxury to you will help your agent understand what you’re after as you define the scope and location for the home of your dreams.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about upgrading your current house to a luxury home, or adding an additional property to your portfolio, let’s get together to determine if you’re ready to make your move.

Posted in Market Trends
March 5, 2020

Thinking of Selling? Now May Be the Time.

 

The housing market has started off much stronger this year than it did last year. Lower mortgage interest rates have been a driving factor in that change. The average 30-year rate in 2019, according to Freddie Mac, was 3.94%. Today that rate is closer to 3.5%.

The Census Bureau also just reported the highest homeownership rate since 2014 for people under 35. This is evidence that owning their own home is becoming more important to Millennials as they reach the age where marriage and children are part of their lives.

According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index Survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer demand across the country is strong. That’s not the case, however, with seller demand, which remains weak throughout most of the nation. Here’s a breakdown by state:

Demand for housing is high, but supply is extremely low. NAR also just reported that the actual number of homes currently for sale stands at 1.42 million, which is one of the lowest totals in almost three decades. Additionally, the ratio of homes for sale to the number purchased currently stands at 3.1 months of inventory. In a normal market, that number would be nearly double that at 6.0 months of inventory.

What does this mean for buyers and sellers?

Buyers need to remain patient in the search process. At the same time, buyers must be ready to act immediately once they find the right home.

Sellers may not want to wait until spring to put their houses on the market. With demand so high and supply so low, now is the perfect time to sell your house for the greatest dollar value and the least hassle.

Bottom Line

The real estate market is entering the year like a lion. There’s no indication it will lose that roar, assuming inventory continues to come to market.

Posted in Market Trends
March 4, 2020

How Much “Housing Wealth” Can You Build in a Decade?

 

Earlier this month, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released a special study titled Single-Family Home Price Gains by Years of Tenure. The study estimates median home price appreciation over the last 30 years based on the length of homeownership.

Below are three graphs depicting the most important data revealed in the study.

How much have home prices increased?

One of the first measures of the financial benefits of homeownership is the net worth (in the form of equity) an owner can build over time. The study showed the average increase in home values based on how long homeowners stayed in a home.

What was the percentage of appreciation?

Another way to look at this is by the percentage increase in value over time, called appreciation:How Much “Housing Wealth” Can You Build in a Decade? | MyKCM

Was this appreciation consistent throughout the country?

Today, when we think of markets that have done well over the last decade, we have a tendency to think about San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, and other West Coast cities. Though it is true the West Region showed the highest price growth over the last three decades, we can see how every region of the country did quite well in ten-year increments:How Much “Housing Wealth” Can You Build in a Decade? | MyKCM

This data validates the claim that homeownership is great for building wealth. The importance of this information was highlighted in the study’s first sentence:

“Homeownership is an important source of wealth creation, enabling current homeowners and succeeding generations to move up the economic ladder.”

Bottom Line

 

Homeownership has many financial and non-financial benefits. The accumulation of “housing wealth” through increased equity is a major one. If you’re thinking of buying a home for the first time or moving up to your dream home, the sooner you make the move, the sooner your net worth will begin to grow.

Posted in Tips & Advice
Dec. 20, 2019

The Bill Heenan Show. Episode 10

 

 

 

Hello everybody this is Bill Heenan from the Heenan Group at William Ravis Real Estate in Niantic and if you’re thinking of listing or selling your home this winter, you’re gonna want to stick around for episode number 10 of the Bill Heenan Real Estate Show.  

 

Welcome back everybody to episode 10 of the Bill Heenan Real Estate Show. I’m excited to have you aboard on this snowy December morning here in Waterford Connecticut. I have a topic that is quite often talked about this time of year.  Sellers ask me, “should I list my home during the winter months”, “when is the best time to list my home” or “should I list my home during the Holidays”. 

 

Whether it’s a prospective seller client that I’ll be helping sometime throughout the year or whether it’s an existing seller client that has a home on the market and is thinking about pulling it off the market. I have a few bullet points.  There is a lot of positive that go along with keeping your house on the market during the winter months and the two primary ones at the top of the list for sure are;

 1.  There’s a lot less inventory for sellers and 2. This time of year there’s a lot of competition.  All the buyers that are out there are much more serious. There are very serious buyers that are out there during the winter months and during the holiday season. Think of it this way,  if you’re out looking at a home on December 20, at 5 o’clock at night, in the dark, and cold, you must be a pretty serious of a buyer! And your life must demand that you need to buy a house.   Then as far as inventory or competition is concerned. 30% of the listings don’t come on the market or come off the market in the winter, so we deal with 30% less.  

 

What that means is if a buyer is buying in a specific zip code,  say East Lyme or Waterford, maybe in a Spring market they have eight homes to look at,  but when we’re in the winter doldrums and the holiday season, they might only have five homes to look at. So couple that with very serious buyers and it really sets up a set of circumstances that work to the advantage of most sellers.  

 

A couple of the other things is the economy.  December leading into January 2020. It is a great economy right now and the national economy looks very good. We’re going into an election cycle, so that means the news feed is focusing on that.  Generally we find the economy stays static during an election cycle. Meaning we’re not going to see a lot of shifts up or down, and we won’t see a lot of movement in the interest rates because the powers they want to try to get elected will influence any of the adjustments and will try to keep the economy steady for the election. So we’re at a very good situation right now.

 

Our local real estate market conditions are very confident. In the last year (2019) we shifted further and further into a sellers favorable market. We have inventory time frames of less than 45 days in most cases, so that’s a very confident and building real estate market. We also have very low interest rates, I was checking the interest rates today, a piece of paper came across my desk this morning for the CHFA loans (which is a first time home buyer loan program), the rate was 3%. That’s incredible!  3% and 3 1/4% are incredible rates for first time homebuyers. And conventional rates are below 4% with good credit!  So it’s a great time as a buyer and a seller to get your house sold because the economy and the market conditions are really supporting that sale.  And last but not least the holiday theme. A lot of homes can show well during the holiday season, you just have to embrace the holiday theme and stage your home so that it shows off for the holidays.  Who doesn’t like going into the house and see it beautifully decorated or smell cookies in the oven or see tinsel in the mantel? That’s a great environment to get your home sold and to make it feel like they’re at home. 

 

Keep that in mind. On the ‘con’ side,  the number one I’d like to mention is PATIENCE.  Sellers in the winter and holiday market need to be a lot more patient. What I mean by that is what I expressed earlier. Less buyers = less showings.  But the confidence in the showings are a lot greater. You don’t have a lot of people ‘kicking tires’ around this time of year. They’re serious but there are less of them. So that means instead of showing your home two times a week in a typical market,  you’d be showing it once a week. Instead of five people at your open house, you have two people at your open house. But those buyers are serious. So you have to stay focused and patience and maintain the course. The other cons of being on the market in the winter/holiday market is everyone is busy. It’s cold, and messy, and  it gets dark early. These are the dynamics of the winter market but overall it’s a great time to get your home on and get it sold. It comes down to the approach. You have to take the proper approach in the winter market. We are very experienced and if you have any questions we would love to have a conversation and help you out.  We are always here to help.

 

Once again,  if you like what you’re hearing and you want to hear more,  subscribe to our YouTube Channel! You will be notified of any future real estate show episodes. 

 

You can always visit us on our website www.billheenan.net or you can call us directly at 860-442-4663. Have a great day and I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtutbAlaS3I

 

 

Posted in Market Trends
Dec. 13, 2019

Is A Bigger House Within Your Budget?

At this time of year, many families come together to celebrate the season. It’s also the time when many realize their homes are just not quite big enough to host all of their guests and loved ones. Are you one of those homeowners dreaming for a larger space to call home?

You may have enough equity in your current home to move up.

According to the Q3 2019 U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report by ATTOM Data Solutions,

“14.4 million residential properties in the United States were considered equity rich, meaning that the combined estimated amount of loans secured by those properties was 50 percent or less of their estimated market value.”

This means that one in four of the 54 million mortgaged homes in the U.S. have at least 50% equity. If these homeowners decide to sell, they can use their equity to put toward the purchase of a new home. Maybe you’ll be one of them.

NAR recently released their 2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers showing that,

“This year, home sellers cited that they sold their homes for a median of $60,000 more than they purchased it, up from $55,500 the year prior. This accounted for a 31 percent price gain, up from 29 percent the year before.”

Here’s the equity gain breakdown based on the number of years these sellers lived in their homes:Is A Bigger House Within Your Budget? | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

If you’re one of the many homeowners with big dreams of owning a larger home, let’s get together. Working with a trusted adviser to find out how much equity you have is a great first step in putting your move-up plan in motion.

Posted in Tips & Advice
Dec. 12, 2019

What is the Best Investment for Americans?

Some are reporting that there is trepidation regarding the real estate market in the United States. Apparently, the American people are quite comfortable.

Porch.com, a major network helping homeowners with their renovation projects, recently conducted a survey which asked Americans:

“What do you believe is the safest investment over the next 10 years?”

U.S. housing came in at number one, beating out other investments such as gold, stocks, bonds, and savings.

Here is a graph showing the top five investments Americans selected:What is the Best Investment for Americans? | Simplifying The MarketThe findings of the Porch.com survey also coincide with two previous surveys done earlier this year:

  1. The Federal Reserve Bank’s 2019 Consumer Expectations Housing Survey reported that 65% of Americans believe homeownership is a good financial investment, and that the percentage has increased in each of the last four years.
  2. The Gallup survey showed that Americans have picked real estate as the “best” investment for six straight years.

Bottom Line

Based on all three surveys done this year, we can see that Americans still believe in homeownership as a great investment, and that feeling continues to grow.

Posted in Tips & Advice
Dec. 11, 2019

Millennials Are on the Move as First-Time Homebuyers

Some Highlights:

  • According to NAR’s latest Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the median age of all first-time homebuyers is 32.
  • With more millennials entering a homebuying phase of life, they are driving a large portion of the buyer appetite in the market, keeping buyer activity strong.
  • More and more “old millennials” (ages 25-36) are realizing that homeownership is now within their grasp, and they’re actively dominating the first-time homebuyer market!
Posted in Market Trends
Dec. 10, 2019

A 365 Day Difference in Homeownership

Over the past year, mortgage rates have fallen more than a full percentage point. This is a great driver for homeownership, as today’s low rates provide consumers with some significant benefits. Here’s a look at three of them:

  1. Refinance: If you already own a home, you may want to decide if you’re going to refinance. It’s one way to lock in a lower monthly payment and save substantially over time, but it also means paying upfront closing costs too. You have to answer the question: Should I refinance my home?
  2. Move-up or Downsize: Another option is to consider moving into a new home, putting the equity you’ve likely gained in your current house toward a down payment on a new one that better meets your needs – something that’s truly a perfect fit for your family.
  3. Become a First-Time Homebuyer: There are many financial and non-financial benefits to owning a home, and the most important thing is to first decide when the time is right for you. You have to determine that on your own, but know that now is a great time to buy if you’re considering it. Just take a look at the cost of renting vs. buying

Why 2019 Was a Great Year for Homeownership

Last year at this time, mortgage rates were 4.63% (substantially higher than they are today). If you’re one who waited for a better time to make a move, market conditions have improved significantly. Today’s low mortgage rates combined with increasing wages are making homes much more affordable than they were just one year ago, so it’s a great time to get more for your money and consider a new home.

The chart below shows how much you would save based on today’s rates, compared to what you would have paid if you purchased a house exactly one year ago, depending on how much you finance.

Bottom Line

If you’ve been waiting since last year to make your move into homeownership, or to find a house that better meets your needs, today’s low mortgage rates may be just what you need to get the process going. Let’s get together to discuss how you can benefit from the current rates.

Posted in Market Trends
Nov. 18, 2019

2 Myths Holding Back Home Buyers

 

 

In a recent article, First American shared how millennials are not really any different from previous generations when it comes to the goal of home-ownership; it is still a huge part of their American Dream. The piece, however, also reveals,

 “Saving for a down payment is one of the biggest obstacles faced by first-time home buyers. Dispelling the 20 percent down payment myth could open the path to home-ownership for many more.”

 Myth #1: “I Need a 20% Down Payment”

Buyers often overestimate how much they need to qualify for a home loan. According to the same article:

“Americans still overestimate the qualifications needed to get a mortgage, resulting in qualified potential buyers not even considering home-ownership. Indeed, the Urban Institute report revealed that 16 percent of consumers believed that the minimum down payment required by lenders is 20 percent or more, and another 40 percent didn’t know at all.”

While many potential buyers still think they need to put at least 20% down for the home of their dreams, they often don’t realize how many assistance programs are available with as little as 3% down. With a little research, many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined.

Myth #2: “I Need a 780 FICO® Score or Higher”

In addition to down payments, buyers are also often confused about the FICO® score it takes to qualify for a mortgage, believing a ‘good’ credit score is 780 or higher.

To debunk this myth, let’s take a look at Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insight Report, which focuses on recently closed (approved) loans.

 

Bottom Line

Whether buying your first home or moving up to your dream home, knowing your options will make the mortgage process easier. Believe it or not – your dream home may already be within your reach.

source. kcm
Posted in Tips & Advice