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Is Now the Time To Buy? Homebuyer’s Mortgage Watch – February 14, 2021

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Graph showing last 7 weeks of mortgage rates

To find out if now is the time to buy, check out this week’s mortgage highlights:

  • Mortgage rates remained mostly level last week as markets waited on stimulus plans and virus news. Economic data added little to the conversion.
  • Weekly Jobless Claims are slowly moving downward, and inflation remained muted.
  • With Congress focused on the impeachment trial, political movement on what the next round of stimulus may look like came to a standstill. While we may see the $1.9 trillion package pushed through Congress, more experts are asking about its potential impact on inflation.
  • If we provide too much stimulus, we could drive inflation upward quicker than the Fed would like to see.
  • Virus news was mixed. As new cases and affiliated metrics appear to be moving downward, news of new variants that vaccines may not handle as well damped the economic outlook.
  • This week has some major economic data due, including Retail Sales. But as has been the case for some time, political and medical news are likely to be the real influence on rates.
  • If we see the next stimulus package pushed forward at $1.9 trillion, rates are fairly likely to step upward for the week.

Everyone Should Get The Best Financing Available!

Study after study has shown that non-majority Americans are treated poorly by financial institutions, and home lending is not immune. Last week, following a Supreme Court decision, HUD announced that the agency will enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to Mortgages and FHA Loans

Making the decision to buy a home is both an exciting and terrifying time…READ MORE

5 Common Mortgages for Homebuyers

Financing your home purchase is the most important part of buying a home…READ MORE

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Is Now The Time To Buy? Homebuyers Mortgage Watch 12-27-2020

Graphic showing the 8 week trends of mortgage rates up to December 27, 2020

To find out if now is the time to buy, check out this week’s mortgage highlights:

  • The long-awaited bill passed Congress following intense negotiations and with bipartisan support.
  • During the week, mortgage rates mostly wobbled within a tight range, which is not uncommon during the holidays.
  • While housing news revealed declines in New and Existing Home Sales, both remain elevated.
  • Consumer moods are beginning to darken as COVID-related challenges continue to drag on. GDP was adjusted upward, but impacted markets little this round.
  • With very little economic data due this week, politics are likely to take center stage in influencing financial markets.
  • So is now the time to buy for you? Purchasing a home is about finding the perfect time in YOUR life. Click here to start your home search and see what’s available in today’s real estate market that fits your needs.

Find a Grocer, Then Choose A Home?

According to recent research from ATTOM Data Solutions, a homebuyer might want to check out nearby grocery stores to get a sense of a home’s potential value appreciation. Homes near Trader Joes earned an average of $255K in home equity over the last five years, while homes near Aldi stores only made $71K. Understanding retail trends, from companies with research departments, may help homebuyers in their selection process by identifying real estate trends.

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Housing Report

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Don’t Let Buyer Competition Keep You from Purchasing a Home

Don’t Let Buyer Competition Keep You from Purchasing a Home | Simplifying The Market

This year’s record-low mortgage rates sparked high demand among homebuyers. Current homeowners, however, haven’t put their houses on the market so quickly. This makes finding a home to buy today challenging for many potential buyers. With an obstacle like this, those searching for their dream homes may be pressing pause on their searches as we approach the end of the year, but that could be a big mistake for many hopeful house hunters. Here’s why.

According to the most recent Housing Trends Report from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB):

“The length of time spent searching for a home continues to grow.”

The report indicates that 62% of buyers now spend 3 months or more looking for a home, an increase from 58% one year ago. A primary cause for the delay is the heavy competition today’s buyers face when making an offer on a home. Based on recent data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average house in today’s market receives 3.4 offers before it’s sold. This means for every buyer who purchases a home, there are on average two or three buyers who have to begin their search all over again.

Compared to this time last year, the NAHB report shows that buyers are having more success finding homes in their price range. However, it also notes the percentage of buyers saying they’re getting outbid when they make an offer has jumped from 15% to 27%. Buyers are indicating that bidding wars are a major obstacle to finding their dream home (See graph below):Don’t Let Buyer Competition Keep You from Purchasing a Home | Simplifying The MarketIf this is a challenge you’re up against in your home search, you’re not alone. Feeling stuck in the process can be frustrating, but if there’s ever been a year to power through, this is the one. NAHB noted:

“Difficulties finding a home to buy will likely lead 20% of active buyers to give up until next year or later. That share is up from 15% a year earlier.”

Experts anticipate home prices will continue to rise into 2021, and the incredibly low interest rates we’ve seen this year are also forecasted to increase as the economy strengthens. Hopeful homebuyers who decide to hold off on their search until there’s less competition run the risk of finding a more expensive housing market when they start looking again. If affordability is a key motivator behind your decision to buy a home, this winter is still the best time to make it happen.

Bottom Line

Bidding wars may be one of the greatest challenges buyers face in today’s housing market, but they shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. Having the right expert on your side throughout the buying process will give you the advantage you need when it comes to finding the right home and making a competitive offer. If you’re ready to buy this winter, let’s connect to discuss how to position yourself for success.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

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It Pays to Sell with a Real Estate Agent [INFOGRAPHIC]

It Pays to Sell with a Real Estate Agent [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

It Pays to Sell with a Real Estate Agent [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • Today, it’s more important than ever to have an expert you trust to guide you as you sell your house.
  • From your safety throughout the process to the complexity of negotiating the deal, you need a professional on your side.
  • Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house on your own, let’s connect to discuss your options.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

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Weekly Housing Report 11-19-2020

Talk Of The Town

?Located in the coveted Kerrigan Ranch neighborhood, today’s #talkofthetown is outfitted to meet all your growing needs!?✨  

See More ? 4055 Oldenburg LN

? 5 Bed ? 5.5 Bath ? 6,300 sqft

*Golf Course Views *Custom Built Home Office *Quiet Homework Space + Bedroom Suite on Main Level *Pool *Covered Patios *Built-in BBQ *Private Courtyard Patio *Award-Winning Schools.

Thinking of Buying or Selling, Call Ken (714) 474-7040

New Homes | New Condos | Search | Home Value

Homes for Sale Are Rapidly Disappearing

20201117-KCM-Share.jpg

Through all the challenges of 2020, the real estate market has done very well, and purchasers are continuing to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates. Realtor Magazine just explained:

“While winter may be typically a slow season in real estate, economists predict it isn’t likely to happen this year…Low inventories combined with high demand due to record-low mortgage rates is sending buyers to the market in a flurry.”

However, one challenge for the housing industry heading into this winter is the dwindling number of homes available for sale. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), recently said:

“There is no shortage of hopeful, potential buyers, but inventory is historically low.”

In addition, Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, notes:

“Fewer new sellers coming to market while a greater than usual number of buyers continue to search for a home causes inventory to continue to evaporate.”

One major indicator the industry uses to measure housing supply is the months’ supply of inventory. According to NAR:

“Months’ supply refers to the number of months it would take for the current inventory of homes on the market to sell given the current sales pace.”

Historically, six months of supply is considered a normal real estate market. Going into the pandemic, inventory was already well below this mark. As the year progressed, the supply has was reduced even further. Here is a graph showing this measurement over the last year:

20201117-MEM-Eng-1.jpg

What does this mean if you’re a buyer?

Be patient during your home search. It may take time to find a home you love. Once you do, be ready to move forward quickly. Get pre-approved for a mortgage, be prepared to make a competitive offer from the start, and understand how the shortage in inventory has led to more bidding wars. Calculate just how far you’re willing to go to secure a home if you truly love it.

What does this mean if you’re a seller?

Realize that, in some ways, you’re in the driver’s seat. When there’s a shortage of an item at the same time there’s a strong demand for it, the seller is in a good position to negotiate. Whether it’s the price, moving date, possible repairs, or anything else, you’ll be able to ask for more from a potential purchaser at a time like this – especially if you have multiple interested buyers. Do not be unreasonable, but understand you probably have the upper hand.

Bottom Line

The housing market will remain strong throughout the winter and heading into the spring. Know what that means for you, whether you’re buying, selling, or doing both. Should you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me anytime.

Proposition 19

California just passed Proposition 19, transforming tax breaks and unlocking TONS of opportunities for growth and much-needed change for homeowners. ✨?? ? Here’s what you need to know –

Mortgage Watch 11-15-2020
No Homes On The Internet? No Problem We Can Find Your Dream Home

Should you have any questions please reach out to us anytime.

Wishing you a beautiful day,

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Is Now the Time To Buy? Homebuyer’s Mortgage Watch – November 15, 2020

Graphic showing the 8 week trends of mortgage rates up to November 15, 2020

To find out if now is the time to buy, check out this week’s mortgage highlights:

  • Unexpectedly positive news from Pfizer and BioNTech regarding their vaccine candidate ignited a new level of hope that we could see the end of the pandemic in the coming year, or at least a significant reduction in its impact.
  • That, coupled with more election results that firmed Biden’s victory pushed stocks higher with mortgage rates also moving upward.
  • The most important economic news of the week, inflation data, revealed very little inflationary pressure. With the Fed continuing to engineer market conditions, we could once again see strong growth with interest rates remaining low.
  • All of the cheer from last week could begin to dissipate in the coming weeks if shutdowns and restrictions are enacted to control the pandemic.
  • The governor of Washington issued orders over the weekend, and other states may follow suit. If that happens, and we begin to see economic activity slowing, then rates are unlikely to move upward.
  • We could also see some additional downward movement in rates if Retail Sales and Industrial Production numbers come in under expectations.
  • So is now the time to buy for you? Purchasing a home is about finding the perfect time in YOUR life. Click here to start your home search and see what’s available in today’s real estate market that fits your needs.

Zoom In On The Best Remote Work Cities

Remote work is here to stay for many, but where are the best cities? Realtor.com® analyzed 100 of the largest metro areas for high-speed internet (at least 250 Mbps), affordable home prices, and low cost of living. For geographic diversity, only one metro per state was included. The top cities are Syracuse, NY, Akron, OH, Scranton, PA, New Haven, CT, El Paso, TX, New Orleans, LA, Milwaukee, WI, Providence, RI, Des Moines, IA, and St Louis, MO.

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How Prop 19 Helps Californians Move Anywhere Within the State and Keep Their Low Tax Base

How Prop 19 Helps Californians Move Anywhere Within the State and Keep Their Low Tax Base

California just passed Proposition 19, transforming tax breaks for thousands of homeowners across the state, hopefully unlocking opportunities for growth and much-needed change. The exemption is expected to help fuel home sales by encouraging those who have been reluctant to move because their property tax bills would increase sharply. Proposition 19 will officially go into effect after February 15, 2021.

Here’s a quick summary of the major changes for people 55+, the severely disabled, and wildfire victims implemented by Prop 19:

Starting April 1, 2021 –

  • Eligible homeowners can now transfer their low tax assessments anywhere within the state. Previously, under Proposition 13, eligible homeowners could transfer their tax assessments only within counties.
  • Previously, tax assessments were limited to homes of equal or lesser market value, and now it applies to more expensive homes as well.
  • Increases the number of times people can transfer their tax assessments from one to three.

Starting February 15, 2021

  • Require inherited properties be reassessed at market value unless they’re being used as a primary residence.

According to the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® President Jeanne Radsick, this is a win-win for the state. “Voters passed Proposition 19 because it is a win-win for California, providing needed housing and tax relief for seniors, wildfire victims, and generating much-needed revenue for schools, fire districts, cities, and counties as they face budget shortfalls due to harmful economic impact of COVID-19.” However, the majority of the wildfire funding isn’t projected to start flowing until roughly 2025.

Market Winners and Losers

Winners: Older homeowners ready to retire

Why: There has been a consistent push to extend the benefits of Proposition 13 in order to remove barriers and disincentives for older homeowners who are naturally ready to move onto the next phase – and home – in their lives. Coupled with the seller’s market we’re experiencing, this is a particularly great time for homeowners to sell their Southern California home for top dollar.

Retiring in Southern California is an expensive endeavor, but now it’s a much more attainable goal for longtime residents. For example, a homeowner over 55 can now sell their $800,000 single-family home and transfer their tax base to purchase a $1,000,000 condo by the beach. Empty-nesters and those wanting to move for health reasons can find new homes without facing a big tax hit.

Winners: Wildfire victims who want more

Why: Provided the same opportunities as individuals 55 or older, wildfire victims now have the freedom to quite literally rise from the ashes and enjoy greater flexibility when moving on from a devastating home loss. If a family loses their home in a wildfire, they have the opportunity to purchase an even better home without facing a large tax increase. Now, with great loss can come great new opportunities as well.

Potential winners: House hunters

Why: It’s no secret that we have a housing shortage with extremely low inventory especially within more affordable price ranges within Southern California. By allowing more homeowners to take their low tax base with them, it incentivizes them to open up desperately needed inventory for potential buyers who are currently fighting over limited homes for sale and frequently getting caught up in bidding wars.

In fact, proponents of Prop 19 believe that this change could spur 30,000 people a year to move, freeing up much-needed inventory and increasing sales by about 12% among older homeowners.

Potential losers: Those who inherit investment properties

WhyPreviously, individuals who inherited homes were given the same protections as older homeowners. By closing loopholes and tax breaks used on vacation houses, second homes, and beachfront rentals, estate planning is thrown into question.

Proposition 19 revises the Parent-to-Child exemptions set forth in Proposition 13, now limiting the type of transfers as well as the property tax benefit available. First of all, only a transfer of a parent’s primary residence to the child where the property remains a primary residence qualifies for the tax break. Second, the child’s assessed value is determined based on the property’s value at the time of transfer. If the property value at the time of the transfer exceeds the parent’s assessed value by less than $1 million, then the child simply takes the parent’s assessed value. However, if the property value at the time of the transfer exceeds the assessed value by $1 million or more, then the child’s assessed value is the current value of the property less $1 million. For example, if you have a primary residence with a tax base of $1.5 million, and a fair market value of $3 million, the home would be reassessed on the amount of fair market value above $2.5M ($1.5 million + $1 million).

Solution: Consider gifting real estate before the end of 2020. Because the law doesn’t take effect until February 16, 2021, you have time left to enjoy the current benefits of Proposition 13. However, the best time to give the gift of real estate is probably within this calendar year because under a Biden administration, lifetime exemptions could face further restrictions and limits.

Prop 19 helps Californians by opening up more flexible opportunities for movement so fewer individuals feel stuck in their current living situations. If you have any questions about how this measure may affect your real estate goals and plans, email us at kenleaders@firstteam.com for further assistance.

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Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year?

Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | Simplifying The Market

In 2020, buyers got a big boost in the housing market as mortgage rates dropped throughout the year. According to Freddie Mac, rates hit all-time lows 12 times this year, dipping below 3% for the first time ever while making buying a home more and more attractive as the year progressed (See graph below):

Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | Simplifying The MarketWhen you continually hear how rates are hitting record lows, you may be wondering: Are they going to keep falling? Should I wait until they get even lower?

The Challenge with Waiting

The challenge with waiting is that you can easily miss this optimal window of time and then end up paying more in the long run. Last week, mortgage rates ticked up slightly. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, explains:

Mortgage rates jumped this week as a result of positive news about a COVID-19 vaccine. Despite this rise, mortgage rates remain about a percentage point below a year ago.”

While rates are still lower today than they were one year ago, as the economy continues to get stronger and the pandemic is resolved, there’s a very good chance interest rates will rise again. Several top institutions in the real estate industry are projecting an increase in mortgage rates over the next four quarters (See chart below): Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | Simplifying The MarketIf you’re planning to wait until next year or later, Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), forecasts mortgage rates will begin to steadily rise:Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | Simplifying The MarketAs a buyer, you need to decide if waiting makes financial sense for you.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning to buy a home and want to take advantage of today’s low rates, now is the time to do so. Don’t assume they’re going to stay this low forever.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

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Chances of Another Foreclosure Crisis? “About Zero Percent.”

Chances of Another Foreclosure Crisis? “About Zero Percent.” | Simplifying The Market

There seems to be some concern that the 2020 economic downturn will lead to another foreclosure crisis like the one we experienced after the housing crash a little over a decade ago. However, there’s one major difference this time: a robust forbearance program.

During the housing crash of 2006-2008, many felt homeowners should be forced to pay their mortgages despite the economic hardships they were experiencing. There was no empathy for the challenges those households were facing. In a 2009 Wall Street Journal article titled Is Walking Away From Your Mortgage Immoral?, John Courson, Chief Executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association, was asked to comment on those not paying their mortgage. He famously said:

“What about the message they will send to their family and their kids?”

Courson suggested that people unable to pay their mortgage were bad parents.

What resulted from that lack of empathy? Foreclosures mounted.

This time is different. There was an immediate understanding that homeowners were faced with a challenge not of their own making. The government quickly jumped in with a mortgage forbearance program that relieved the financial burden placed on many households. The program allowed many borrowers to suspend their monthly mortgage payments until their economic condition improved. It was the right thing to do.

What happens when forbearance programs expire?

Some analysts are concerned many homeowners will not be able to make up the back payments once their forbearance plans expire. They’re concerned the situation will lead to an onslaught of foreclosures.

The banks and the government learned from the challenges the country experienced during the housing crash. They don’t want a surge of foreclosures again. For that reason, they’ve put in place alternative ways homeowners can pay back the money owed over an extended period of time.

Another major difference is that, unlike 2006-2008, today’s homeowners are sitting on a record amount of equity. That equity will enable them to sell their houses and walk away with cash instead of going through foreclosure.

Bottom Line

The differences mentioned above will be the reason we’ll avert a surge of foreclosures. As Ivy Zelman, a highly respected thought leader for housing and CEO of Zelman & Associates, said:

“The likelihood of us having a foreclosure crisis again is about zero percent.”

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters