How Buyers Can Win By Downsizing in 2020

How Buyers Can Win By Downsizing in 2020

 

Home values have been increasing for 93 consecutive months, according to the National Association of Realtors. If you’re a homeowner, particularly one looking to downsize your living space, that’s great news, as you’ve likely built significant equity in your home.

Here’s some more good news: mortgage rates are expected to remain low throughout 2020 at an average of 3.8% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan.

The combination of leveraging your growing equity and capitalizing on low rates could make a big difference in your housing plans this year.

How to Use Your Home Equity

For move-up buyers, the typical pattern for building financial stability and wealth through homeownership works this way: you buy a house and gain equity over several years of mortgage payments and price appreciation. You then take that equity from the sale of your house to make a down payment on your next home and repeat the process.

For homeowners ready to downsize, home equity can work in a slightly different way. What you choose to do depends in part upon your goals.

According to HousingWire.com, for some, the desire to downsize may be related to retirement plans or children aging out of the home. Others may be choosing to live in a smaller home to save money or simplify their lifestyle in a space that’s easier to clean and declutter. The reasons can vary greatly and by generation.

Those who choose to put their equity toward a new home have the opportunity to make a substantial down payment or maybe even to buy their next home in cash. This is incredibly valuable if your goal is to have a minimal mortgage payment or none at all.

A local real estate professional can help you evaluate your equity and how to use it wisely. If you’re planning to downsize, keep in mind that home prices are anticipated to continue rising in 2020, which could influence your choices.

The Impact of Low Mortgage Rates

Low mortgage rates can offset price hikes, so locking in while rates are low will be key. For many downsizing homeowners, a loan with a shorter term is ideal, so the balance can be reduced more quickly.

Interest rates on 10, 15, and 20-year loans are lower than the rates on a 30-year fixed-rate loan. If you’re downsizing your housing costs, you may prefer a shorter-term loan to pay off your home faster. This way, you can save thousands in interest payments over time.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning a transition into a smaller home, the twin trends of low mortgage rates and rising home equity can kickstart or boost your plans, especially if you’re anticipating retirement soon or just want to live in a smaller home that’s easier to maintain. Let’s get together today to explore your options.

The Biggest Issue Facing Housing Next Year

The Biggest Issue Facing Housing Next Year

This coming year the housing market will be defined by 3 things- inventory, interest rates, and appreciation. But the biggest issue the housing market will face in 2020 is an inventory shortage. There aren’t enough homes on the market for buyers, especially on the lower end of the market. This is a topic that has come up frequently within the past several months.

Based on what is forecasted, we know that interest rates are projected to remain low and that appreciation is expected to continue as we move into 2020. Additionally, the upcoming election will provoke many unique perspectives on the health of the US housing market. The challenge will be understanding what is actually happening and how you can best position yourself if you are thinking of buying or selling your home.

Here are several perspectives to consider on the inventory issue facing housing next year:

According to realtor.com:

Despite increases in new construction, next year will once again fail to bring a solution to the inventory shortage that has plagued the housing market since 2015. Inventory could reach a historic low as a steady flow of demand, especially for entry level homes, and declining seller sentiment combine to keep a lid on sales transactions.

Diana Olick at CNBC:

Inventory has been falling annually for five straight months, after it recovered slightly toward the end of last year, due to a spike in mortgage rates. Rates began falling again by spring of this year. Homebuilders have been increasing production slowly, but it’s not enough to meet the increasingly strong demand.

George Ratiu, Senior Economist with realtor.com

As millennials — the largest cohort of buyers in U.S. history — embrace homeownership and take advantage of this year’s unexpectedly low mortgage rates, demand is outstripping supply, causing inventory to vanish. The housing shortage is felt acutely at the entry-level of the market, where most millennials are looking to break into the market for their first home.

Bottom Line

The most important thing you can do is understand what is happening in your local market. You may not be able to avoid some of the issues brought on by low inventory, but you can be educated and prepared. Let’s connect and discuss the options that make the most sense for you and your family.

Home mortgage rates are down but you’d better hurry

Small changes in mortgage rates can have a big impact on the housing market.

North Texas home sales fell about 6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018 in large part due to higher home finance costs. The drop in home buys in the final months of the year caused sales for all of 2018 to drop for the first time in almost eight years.

Higher mortgage rates — which rose to about 5 percent in early November — were the biggest contributor to the slump in Dallas-Fort Worth home purchases last year.

Now that mortgage costs have eased off a bit, builders and real estate agents say they’re seeing more home shoppers hit the market.

They’d better hurry. Home finance costs are traditionally the lowest at the start of the year.

And the Federal Reserve has signaled that more interest rate hikes are coming in 2019.

“It provides a little bit of urgency in a market where buyers have gotten lackadaisical about mortgage rates — they just assumed they would stay low,” said Paige Shipp of housing analyst Metrostudy Inc.

Potential buyers were caught off guard last year when they found they couldn’t afford as much house as they wanted and their monthly mortgage payments would be higher than expected.

“The buyers that said interest rates are too high and we can’t do this are probably regretting that they didn’t get approved for a loan and keep hunting houses,” Paige said. “Rates are lower now.

“If people want to buy a home in the spring, they need to stay on top of where mortgage rates are.”

The decrease in nationwide average mortgage rates to just under 4.5 percent has already caused a surge in applications for home loans.

“We have seen a boost in loan application volume, both for purchase and for refinance,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Fixed-rate mortgage rates are down about a half percentage point from November 2018.

“That is an important gain in affordability,” he said. “For example, to buy a $300,000 home with 20 percent down payment, the monthly principal and interest payment for a $240,000 30-year fixed-rate loan has dropped from $1,280 to $1,209, a monthly savings of $71. That makes a big difference in a family’s budget.”

Nothaft still expects home loan costs to move higher this year — back to near 5 percent at the end of 2019. And rates are still almost a half percentage point higher than they were a year ago.

“With interest rates expected to rise, if the prospective home buyer is ready to buy, it’s better to act sooner than later,” he said.

Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtor’s chief economist, said the dip in home finance costs should bring another 200,000 nationwide home sales this year. “Falling mortgage rates have always boosted sales,” Yun said. “Sentiment and enthusiasm has turned for the better.”

The National Association of Home Builders has even boosted its outlook for U.S. home starts this year because of the lower finance rates.

“Our forecast calls for a slight improvement in sales due to rates falling from 5 percent to 4.5 percent,” said the builders’ association’s top economist Robert Dietz.

If you are planning to buy a house, don’t dawdle. Contact the Indigo Skye Group and let us go over your options on what you can afford or how to best price your home to sell.

No one expects the recent reduction in home mortgage rates to last forever.

Home mortgage rates are changing mortgage chart indigo skye group blog
Home finance costs have dropped since a recent peak of almost 5 percent in November. (Source: Freddie Mac)

Is the Recent Dip in Interest Rates Here to Stay?

Is the Recent Dip in Interest Rates Here to Stay?

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage climbed consistently throughout 2018 until the middle of November. After that point, rates returned to levels that we saw in August to close out the year at 4.55%, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

After the first week of 2019, rates have continued their downward trend. As Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist Sam Khater notes, this is great news for homebuyers. He states,

“Mortgage rates declined to start the new year with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dipping to 4.51 percent. Low mortgage rates combined with decelerating home price growth should get prospective homebuyers excited to buy.”

In some areas of the country, the combination of rising interest rates and rising home prices had made some first-time buyers push pause on their home searches. But with more inventory coming to market, continued price growth, and interest rates slowing, this is a great time to get back in the market!

Will This Trend Continue?

According to the latest forecasts from Fannie Maethe Mortgage Bankers Associationand theNational Association of Realtors, mortgage rates will increase over the course of 2019, but not at the same pace they did in 2018. You can see the forecasts broken down by quarter below.

Bottom Line

Even a small increase (or decrease) in interest rates can impact your monthly housing cost. If buying a home in 2019 is on your short list of goals to achieve, let’s get together to find out if you are able to today.

 

Related Article: Where are interest rates headed in 2019?

Buying A Home This Year? Here’s What to Watch

Excited About Buying A Home This Year? Here’s What to Watch

As we kick off the new year, many families have made resolutions to enter the housing market in 2019. Whether you are thinking of finally ditching your landlord and buying your first home or selling your starter house to move into your forever home, there are two pieces of the real estate puzzle you need to watch carefully: interest rates & inventory.

Interest Rates

Mortgage interest rates had been on the rise for much of 2018, but they made a welcome reversal at the end of the year. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates climbed to 4.94% in November before falling to 4.62% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage last week. Despite the recent drop, interest rates are projected to reach 5% in 2019.

The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.

Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford to buy will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.

The chart below shows the impact that rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a $400,000 home while keeping your principal and interest payments between $2,020-$2,050 a month.

With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000).

Inventory

A ‘normal’ real estate market requires there to be a 6-month supply of homes for sale in order for prices to increase only with inflation. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), listing inventory is currently at a 3.9-month supply (still well below the 6-months needed), which has put upward pressure on home prices. Home prices have increased year-over-year for the last 81 straight months.

The inventory of homes for sale in the real estate market had been on a steady decline and experienced year-over-year drops for 36 straight months (from July 2015 to May 2018), but we are starting to see a shift in inventory over the last six months.

The chart below shows the change in housing supply over the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. As you can see, since June, inventory levels have started to increase as compared to the same time last year.

This is a trend to watch as we move further into the new year. If we continue to see an increase in homes for sale, we could start moving further away from a seller’s market and closer to a normal market.

Bottom Line

If you are planning to enter the housing market, either as a buyer or a seller, let’s get together to discuss the changes in mortgage interest rates and inventory and what they could mean for you.

 

Related Article: Where are interest rates headed in 2019?