Housing Markets Nationwide Hit Key Milestone

There are many ways to gauge the health of the housing market. But no matter which way you look at it, the ultimate goal is to figure out where things are headed and how that will affect home buyers and sellers, as well as current and future homeowners.

In other words, the data may differ but it’s all getting at the same question. Take the National Association of Home Builders’ Leading Markets Index – which compares current conditions to previous norms. The NAHB’s index looks at employment info, home prices, and building permits in 340 metropolitan areas across the country in an effort to determine how those markets have rebounded since the housing crash and what they should expect going forward.

According to the latest results, markets nationwide are running at an average of 100 percent of normal economic and housing activity. And, if that sounds good, it’s because it is. “This is the first time the LMI has reached this key milestone and it shows how much our industry has improved since the depth of the Great Recession,” Granger MacDonald, NAHB’s chairman, said in a press release. But though the data shows great strides across a majority of markets, it also shows that – while employment levels and home prices have rebounded strongly – building permits still lag behind. That’s an issue because many markets are in need of new homes to help provide options for buyers and keep affordability conditions under control.

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his article is provided by Jennifer Bixby, the broker for Don Peterson and Associates Real Estate, 100 E. 6th St.  Jennifer can be reached at 402-721-9700 for answers to questions regarding real estate.

 

Fixer-Uppers Prove Popular with First Time Home Buyers

Last year, first-time home buyers spent 22 percent more renovating their new house than buyers the year before. The increase shows a significant spike in younger buyers who are willing to take on the challenge of buying a fixer-upper.

But what’s behind the surge? Well, one obvious reason to buy a house in need of some work is price. Naturally, if you’re going to find a bargain, it’s likely going to be because the house isn’t in the best shape. Depending on how handy you are – or how much savings you’ve built up – you may be inclined to grab a lower-priced house with a plan to upgrade it to your liking.

The other reason, which would help explain the recent spike, are current market conditions. Since inventory in many markets is low, there are fewer homes available for buyers to choose from. That means, more buyers are going to have to look at homes that may need a little help.

Nino Sitchinava, principal economist for Houzz, the company who conducted the survey, says recent buyers are always a big share of renovations and low inventory of affordable homes is helping to boost those numbers. “Younger and cash-constrained first-time buyers are responding to the low inventory of affordable homes by purchasing properties that require more than just cosmetic upgrades.”

 

This article is provided by Jennifer Bixby, the broker for Don Peterson and Associates Real Estate, 100 E. 6th St.  Jennifer can be reached at 402-721-9700 for answers to questions regarding real estate.

Millennials Turn Traditional When it’s Time to Buy

Whenever the topic of millennial home buyers comes up, the assumption is that they’re all searching for urban lofts and using the latest tech to find them. In other words, the next generation of home buyers isn’t interested in the old way of doing things.

However, survey after survey seems to contradict those assumptions. In fact, recent surveys have found millennials are far more traditional than most assume. For example, a recent survey of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 found large majorities said they’d prefer to work with a local real-estate agent and lender as opposed to online services when searching for a house to buy.

Doria Lavagnino, co-founder and president of CentSai, the company behind the survey, says younger buyers want the comfort and reassurance of a recommendation from someone they trust. “Buying a home for the first time is daunting, and working with a local agent – particularly an agent referred by a parent or friend – could provide peace of mind.” The survey also found a majority of respondents said they plan to buy in the next two years and – among those who said they don’t plan on buying – nearly 70 percent said it’s because they can’t afford to, rather than because they prefer to rent.

 

 

 

This article is provided by Jennifer Bixby, the broker for Don Peterson and Associates Real Estate, 100 E. 6th St.  Jennifer can be reached at 402-721-9700 for answers to questions regarding real estate.

What does it Mean when a Home’s Sale is Pending?

There are steps to buying a home. You don’t just find a house, make an offer, and move in as soon as it’s accepted. In fact, though having an offer accepted is a big step, it’s really just the first of the closing process.

There are many things that need to be done before your accepted offer becomes a final sale. During this process, the house you’ve chosen is taken off the market but not officially sold. Until you’ve got keys to the house, it’s considered a “pending sale” or “under contract”.

Pending sales are important because they can be a good indicator of where home sales are headed. Because of this, the National Association of Realtors keeps track each month of the number of homes that are under contract as a way of watching what’s ahead for the market. For example, the NAR’s most recent Pending Home Sales Index was virtually flat from the month before. These results show that low inventory may be holding home sales back. “Home shoppers are coming out in droves this spring and competing with each other for the meager amount of listings in the affordable price range,” Jennifer Bixby said.

In other words, what we can learn from how many pending sales there were in April is that buyers should be prepared to move fast this spring and sellers should expect to find favorable conditions.

 

 

 

This article is provided by Jennifer Bixby, the broker for Don Peterson and Associates Real Estate, 100 E. 6th St.  Jennifer can be reached at 402-721-9700 for answers to questions regarding real estate.

Educated Buyers Make Happier Homeowners

The best defense against making avoidable mistakes is education. The more you know about something, the less likely you are to screw it up. So you’d think home buyers would want to learn as much as possible before heading out to find a house to purchase. After all, buying a house is major financial transaction and a serious commitment. Yet, surveys of potential home buyers consistently find that large majorities of them share in some common misconceptions about what it takes to buy a house and how the process should unfold.

Recently, Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group interviewed real estate agents, buyers, and loan officers in an effort to figure out why there isn’t more focus on homeownership education before buying. Not surprisingly, most of their answers boiled down to there not being enough time during the process to focus on education. But common misunderstandings about down payment requirements, financing options, and the added costs of homeownership can scare off buyers or lead them to make unwise financial decisions. That’s why it’s always important, as a buyer, to ask questions along the way.

Though you may not have time for hitting the books, you can always lean on the expertise and knowledge of the professionals you hired to guide you along the way.

 

This article is provided by Jennifer Bixby, the broker for Don Peterson and Associates Real Estate, 100 E. 6th St.  Jennifer can be reached at 402-721-9700 for answers to questions regarding real estate.

Why Aren’t More Homeowners Looking To Sell?

Recent real estate data shows home buyer demand is high. There are a lot of buyers looking to take advantage of current conditions out of concern that mortgage rates may go up this year or prices will rise further. That, along with pent-up demand from younger buyers and previously underwater homeowners looking to finally move, means it should be a great time to sell a house.

So, if buyer demand is up and conditions are right, why aren’t more homeowners putting their homes up for sale? Well one reason, according to a recent survey, is that they’re afraid they won’t be able to find a suitable replacement for their current home. With inventory tight in many markets, some homeowners – who may otherwise be ready to sell – say they’re hesitant.

However, as more homeowners get in the market and off the sidelines, that will begin to change. In the meantime, buyers looking to purchase a home this spring should expect to see available homes for sale selling more quickly than they did last year.

In other words, there will likely be some competition for hot properties. Interested buyers will have to move fast. One way to beat the competition is to be prepared. If you’re a buyer, have your financing lined up in advance and have a professional Realtor working for you. Experienced representation will be key to winning negotiations in this hot market.

 

This article is provided by Jennifer Bixby, the broker for Don Peterson and Associates Real Estate, 100 E. 6th St.  Jennifer can be reached at 402-721-9700 for answers to questions regarding real estate.

Will This Year Be Better For Buyers Or Sellers?

If you want to know whether this year is going to be good for buyers or sellers or both, you need to watch for a couple of factors. First, take a look at the housing market. A recent uptick in mortgage rates, combined with higher prices and lower inventory, have made buying a home slightly less affordable than it was a couple of years ago.

However, mortgage rates are still historically low and, though prices continue to rise, they have slowed down. That means, though affordability isn’t what it was a few years ago, buying a home remains an affordable choice. This is especially true when taken together with recent economic data. That’s because, whether or not higher rates will deter potential buyers really depends more on whether or not those buyers feel financially secure and optimistic about their prospects. In other words, if Americans continue to see better job opportunities and higher wages, they’ll be less likely to hesitate when thinking about buying a house regardless of where rates and prices go.

According to the most recent outlook from Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group, how things play out will depend largely on young Americans. “Tight inventory remains a boon to home prices and Americans’ net worth, but it also continues to price out many would-be first-time homebuyers.” However, our research suggests that aging millennials, now boasting higher real wages, are beginning to narrow the homeownership attainment gap.

 

This advertisement is provided by Jennifer Bixby, the broker for Don Peterson and Associates Real Estate, 100 E. 6th St. Jennifer can be reached at 402-721-9700 for answers to questions regarding real estate.

The Absolute Best Time to List Your Home

Though it’s commonly said that spring is the most popular time for home buyers to begin looking at houses, a new analysis has narrowed it down even further. In fact, the Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends pinpointed the best two weeks of the year to list a house. The study found that homes listed between May 1st and 15th sold nine days faster than the average listing. Additionally, homes that were listed during that time frame sold for 1 percent above average.
However, you may not be able to expect the same success if you’re selling a house in an area with a warmer climate. That’s because, regions where the weather doesn’t change as drastically from season to season will see less variation in sale price. According to Zillow’s chief economist, Dr. Svenja Gudell, there’s one possible reason homes listed near the end of April or beginning of May do so well. “Many home buyers who started looking for homes in the early spring will still be searching for their dream home months later,” Gudell said. “By May, some buyers may be anxious to get settled into a new home – and will be more willing to pay a premium to close a deal.”

 

This article is provided by Jennifer Bixby, the broker for Don Peterson and Associates Real Estate, 100 E. 6th St. Jennifer can be reached at 402-721-9700 for answers to questions regarding real estate.

Will Low Inventory Affect Your Home Search?

If you’ve followed the housing market at all this year, you’ve likely heard something about inventory. Inventory refers to the number of homes available for sale. This year, it’s been lower than usual. And, when for-sale inventory is low and buyer demand is high – as it’s been this year – prices rise and sellers hold most of the negotiating power.

In many markets, that has been the story this year. However, according to a new analysis from Trulia, whether or not low inventory will affect a buyer’s home search depends on where that buyer is looking and what kind of home they’re looking to buy. For example, starter homes had the largest drop in inventory last year, falling 10.7 percent.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the number of high-end homes for sale only fell 3.7 percent. Naturally, that means a first-time buyer looking for an affordable home may have fewer homes to choose from than a luxury home buyer. However, it also depends on where you live.

Here in Fremont, we have averaged 27 sales a month over the past 6 months. With only 57 active listings today, that is an inventory supply for 2 months. A balanced market is closer to 4-6 months of inventory. If you are thinking of selling now is the time!

 

This advertisement is provided by Jennifer Bixby, the broker for Don Peterson and Associates Real Estate, 100 E. 6th St.  Jennifer can be reached at 402-721-9700 for answers to questions regarding real estate.

How Your Pets Influence What Home You Buy

Most people treat their pets like they’re a member of the family. In fact, a recent survey from the National Association of Realtors, found a full 99 percent of pet owners agreed their animals were considered part of their family. And a lot of us have them.

William E. Brown, NAR’s president, says a majority of Americans have a pet or are planning on getting one. “In 2016, 61 percent of U.S. households either have a pet or plan to get one in the future, so it’s important to understand the unique needs and wants of animal owners when it comes to homeownership,” Brown said. “Realtors understand that when someone buys a home, they are buying it with the needs of their whole family in mind; ask pet owners, and they will enthusiastically agree that their animals are part of their family.”

So, if pets are thought of as family members, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that they play a large role in how Americans make decisions about buying or selling a house. But what are some of the things a prospective home buyer might be looking for specifically to accommodate their furry friends? According to the survey, a fence around the yard is the top priority for pet owners, though a dog door and laminate flooring also ranked high.

 

This article is provided by Jennifer Bixby, the broker for Don Peterson and Associates Real Estate, 100 E. 6th St.  Jennifer can be reached at 402-721-9700 for answers to questions regarding real estate.