Saturday, August 30, 2014

Celebrate Labor Day! September 1, 2014


On Labor Day we pay tribute to the social and economic achievements of American workers.

Currently, 58.9% of working-age Americans have jobs, down from 62.7% at the start of the Great Recession.

It took 77 months, but earlier this year non-farm payroll jobs finally gained back what had been lost during the Great Recession. About 8.8 million jobs were lost during the 2007-09 recession.

Why do they call it the Great Recession? One data point is telling: During the recession of 1980-82 (then considered the worst since the Depression) it took only 44 months to regain the jobs lost during that economic downturn.


Friday, August 29, 2014

14,109 Houses Sold Yesterday! Did Yours?

14,109 Houses Sold Yesterday! Did Yours? | Keeping Current Matters

There are some homeowners that have been waiting for months to get a price they hoped for when they originally listed their house for sale. The only thing they might want to consider is... If it hasn't sold over the summer, maybe it's not priced properly.

After all 14,109 houses sold yesterday, 14,109 will sell today and 14,109 will sell tomorrow. 14,109!

That is the average number of homes that sell each and every day in this country according to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latestExisting Home Sales Report. NAR reported that sales are at an annual rate of 5.15 million. Divide that number by 365 (days in a year) and we can see that, on average, over 14,000 homes sell every day. Sales are at the highest pace of 2014 and have risen for four consecutive months.

We realize that you want to get the fair market value for your home. However, if it hasn't sold in today's active real estate market, perhaps you should reconsider your current asking price.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Boise ranked with some of the safest drivers!

This post comes from Des Toups at partner site Insurance.com.


Insurance.com on MSN MoneyThe safest drivers in America, for the fourth year in a row, hail from Fort Collins, Colorado, according to the 10th annual “Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report.”


Businessman driving © Pixland, JupiterimagesDrivers in the city of 150,000 north of Denver can expect to go 14.2 years between accidents, according to the insurance giant’s claims data. Contrast that with 200th-ranked Worcester, Massachusetts, where drivers go just 4.3 years between claims.


On average, nationwide, drivers can expect a collision about every 10 years, Allstate says.


Claims frequency in a city or ZIP code is one of many factors as carriers calculate your car insurance rates – along with state laws and your driving record -- but it’s a big one.


A car owner with a clean record shopping for full coverage on a 2012 Honda Accord in Fort Collins, for example, would pay about $936 a year. In Denver, the same driver would pay about $1,221, according to an average of rates from six carriers gathered by Insurance.com.


Here are the safest-driving cities in America, according to Allstate, along with the number of years a driver can expect to go between collision claims:

  1. Fort Collins, Colorado       14.2

  2. Brownsville, Texas 14.2

  3. Boise, Idaho 14

  4. Kansas City, Kansas        12.9

  5. Huntsville, Alabama 12.6

  6. Montgomery, Alabama 12.4

  7. Visalia, California             12.4

  8. Laredo, Texas                  12.2

  9. Madison, Wisconsin          12.2

  10. Olathe, Kansas                 12.1


Friday, August 22, 2014

Where Are Mortgage Rates Headed?


Where are Mortgage Rates Headed? | Keeping Current Matters

The interest rate you pay on your home mortgage has a direct impact on your monthly payment. The higher the rate the greater the payment will be. That is why it is important to look at where rates are headed when deciding to buy now or wait until next year.

According to a recent article in Kiplinger, 30 year mortgage rates are about to increase:
“Now around 4.1%, rates will edge slowly toward 4.4% by the end of this year. Then they’ll follow the Treasury bond rate’s upward move in early 2015. Thirty-year home loans should end 2015 at around 5.1%, still low by historical standards.”

Here is a graph created by using interest rate projections in Freddie Mac’s August 2014 U.S. Economic & Housing Market Outlook:

Where Are Mortgage Rates Headed? | Keeping Current Matters

How will this impact a mortgage payment?

Research released this month by Zillow reveals:
“We examined how a 1 percentage point rise in mortgage rates would impact monthly payments for the typical home in 35 metro areas, and found that the difference this year versus next year varies dramatically from market to market. In the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, for example, potential buyers should expect to see a monthly payment increase of more than $700 if they waited a year to buy the same home they were considering today. By contrast, in St. Louis, the difference is only $65 per month.” (emphasis added)

Bottom Line

Again, we turn to the Zillow research:
“As rates rise, new home buyers will confront higher financing costs and monthly mortgage payments. For many, this will mean tightening their budgets and sacrificing some luxuries they may take for granted today.”


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Home Ownership and Net Worth

Homeownership's Impact on Net Worth | Keeping Current Matters

Over the last six years, homeownership has lost some of its allure as a financial investment. As homeowners suffered through the housing bust, more and more began to question whether owning a home was truly a good way to build wealth. A study by the Federal Reserve formally answered this question.

Some of the findings revealed in their report:

  • The average American family has a net worth of $77,300

  • Of that net worth, 61.4% ($47,500) of it is in home equity

  • A homeowner’s net worth is over thirty times greater than that of a renter

  • The average homeowner has a net worth of $174,500 while the average net worth of a renter is $5,100


Bottom Line

The Fed study found that homeownership is still a great way for a family to build wealth in America.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Harvard's 5 Financial Reasons to Buy a Home

Harvard’s 5 Financial Reasons to Buy a Home

Harvard’s 5 Financial Reasons to Buy a Home | Keeping Current Matters

Eric Belsky is Managing Director of the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University. He also currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Housing Research and Housing Policy Debate. Last year, he released a paper on homeownership - The Dream Lives On: the Future of Homeownership in America. In his paper, Belsky reveals five financial reasons people should consider buying a home.

Here are the five reasons, each followed by an excerpt from the study:

1.) Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available.

“Few households are interested in borrowing money to buy stocks and bonds and few lenders are willing to lend them the money. As a result, homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. Even a hefty 20 percent down payment results in a leverage factor of five so that every percentage point rise in the value of the home is a 5 percent return on their equity. With many buyers putting 10 percent or less down, their leverage factor is 10 or more.”

2.) You're paying for housing whether you own or rent.

“Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord.”

3.) Owning is usually a form of “forced savings”.

“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”

4.) There are substantial tax benefits to owning.

“Homeowners are able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from income...On top of all this, capital gains up to $250,000 are excluded from income for single filers and up to $500,000 for married couples if they sell their homes for a gain.”

5.) Owning is a hedge against inflation.

“Housing costs and rents have tended over most time periods to go up at or higher than the rate of inflation, making owning an attractive proposition.”

Bottom Line

We realize that homeownership makes sense for many Americans for an assortment of social and family reasons. It also makes sense financially.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

July Market Report-Long Hot Summer of 2014

From ACAR Watercooler

by Marc Lebowitz, RCE, CAE

ACAR Executive Director

Single family home sales in July 2014 were 832 in Ada County, a decrease of 7% compared to July 2013.   YTD total sales are down 3% compared to this time last year; 4,525 homes sold compared to 4,674.

In July 78% of our total sales were for homes priced above $160,000.

In July sales of homes in the $160,000 - $200,000 were up 18% from June 2014 to 194. This category had the greatest sales increase month-over-month and was the highest sales category behind.  Sales in price points above $200,000 cooled slightly in July

Days on Market for July were 47; one day more than last month. In July 2013, Days on Market was 44.

New homes sold in July totaled 156; down 5% from last year; up 3% over June.

Existing home sales were 676; down 8% from July 2013.

Historically July sales fall off from June levels.   Last year and this year the trend has been reversed. July 2013 increased over June 2013 by 9%. July 2014 increased over June 2104 by 4%.

July 2013 was the peak in a very strong sales year. Although we’ve had four consecutive months with sales behind the previous year, our sales trend for 22014 is strong.

Pending sales at the end of July were 988; down 20% from July 2013. Pending sales have trailed behind previous year’s pending sales for twelve consecutive months.

July median home price was $213,800; up 3% from July 2013. Our YTD median price is $208,729; up 7% over last year.

New Homes median price for July was $311,540; up 16% from July 2013. For Existing homes the increase is 3% to $195,000.

The number of houses available for sale at the end of July increased 4% from June 2014 to 2,907.  This is an increase we really need.  This is 14% more than last year at this time.

We anticipate continued inventory growth from now until the end of Summer.

The price point with the largest increase month-over-month is $160,000 - $200,000 at 7%. The next highest is $120,000 - $160,000 with 6%.

In Ada County we now have 3.6 months of inventory on hand, essentially unchanged from the end of June.

The price categories in shortest supply are $120,000 to $160,000 which has 2.1 months; and $100,000 - $119,000 which has 2.2 months.

From $160,000 to $400,000 we have 3.6 months; not much change from last month.

Of sales in July, the most popular price point was $160,000 to $200,000 (23%); and $120,000 to $160,000 (18%) followed by $200,000 - $300,000 with 16%.

So…what’s next?

We’ve compared pretty well to 2013 for the first seven months of 2014. From now until December we should trend ahead of 2013 sales and median should hold steady.

We have more inventory coming online in the <$160,000 which will release some pent up demand among first time buyers.

Median price shows no signs of weakening.

Boise was named the “Best City to Move to in 2104” last week because of our ‘Median Income” “Home Value Growth” and “Home Affordability”.

All in all, I’m still feeling pretty good about how we will finish the year.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Bigger Ads Don't Make Dumber Buyers!

Today's post is so true, I run in to it regularly. From KCM Blog

Bigger Ads Don't Make Dumber Buyers

Bigger Ads Don't Make Dumber Buyers | Keeping Current Matters

Being 'in and around' the real estate business for over 30 years, we are still confused about the importance both sellers and real estate agents put on advertising.  Decades ago, advertising a home was important to attract a buyer because there was no other way for an individual real estate office to announce to the world that a house was now on the market.

But times have changed.  With the development of the Multiple Listing Systems (MLS), as soon as a listing is taken the entire agent population of that area or region is informed. Instantly! Every agent working every buyer is put on notice that a new opportunity to sell a home is here. In many cases, through new technologies, the buyers are directly informed of the new listing before the agent can even reach out to them. Buyers already in the market will know the home is up for sale immediately. No ad is required to do this.

You may ask - what about the buyer who is not yet actively engaging an agent in search of a home? Those future buyers are searching the internet months before they are ready to commit. In most areas, once a home is placed on the MLS system, the listing populates a plethora of real estate internet sites where a buyer can easily find it.

Why are no buyers looking at the house? I will argue that it is probably not because they are unaware of the listing. In 99% of the cases, it is about pricing. They know of it and, for some reason, have decided it is not worth seeing. The value was not there for them.

Look at the Price

You may think there are just no buyers in the market for your type of home at the present time. Well, let's take a step back and ask a question. Would someone buy it at $1? How about $100?  $1,000?  $10,000?  $100,000? Of course!! But, that proves our point. There is a price that buyers will pay for each and every home that is for sale today. You must decide if you are willing to take what the current value of your property is. That is entirely your decision.

But, let's not believe the house hasn't sold because it wasn't advertised more aggressively. You could put it on the front page of your large, regional paper for the next 365 straight days. If it is not priced right, a buyer will not buy it.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Home Prices...Where are they Headed?

From KCM Blog


Home Prices... Where are they Headed? | Keeping Current Matters

Today, many real estate conversations center on housing prices and where they may be headed. That is why we like the Home Price Expectation Survey. Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.

The results of their latest survey

  • Home values will appreciate by 4.6% in 2014.

  • The cumulative appreciation will be 19.5% by 2018.

  • That means the average annual appreciation will be 3.6% over the next 5 years.

  • Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of 11.2% by 2018.

Individual opinions make headlines. We believe the survey is a fairer depiction of future values.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Small Country Acreages

I have some buyer clients that are looking for a large house on a small acreage, likely 2 - 5 acres. We looked at a few today, north of Caldwell as well as on the other side of Homedale. Most needed a considerable amount of updating. Just for kicks, I thought I would add photos of them today.

$249,000   5 Acres   2759 Square Feet

$209,900   3.02 Acres   2440 Square Feet including a full basement.

$220,000    5.08 Acres   3077 Square Feet

$279,900   5.03 Acres   3312 Square Feet including full basement.

Buying a Home? You do not need to do it alone!

Look at this poor worn out fellow, let me help you!

Buying a Home? You Don’t Need to Do It Alone | Keeping Current Matters

Last week, Discover Home Loans released an interesting survey which revealed how prepared home buyers are for the actual mortgage process. The survey reported that 94 percent of prospective buyers believe they are making a good investment decision if they buy a home. The survey also explained that 66 percent of buyers reach out to real estate agents to help determine whether buying a certain home would be a good investment. However, there is less certainty regarding the mortgage process.

Most buyers overwhelmed

The majority of potential buyers are actually overwhelmed with the plethora of information available about the home financing process.  Here are some interesting highlights from the report:

  • Nearly 66% feel overwhelmed with the amount of information available

  • 76% of those under the age of 30 feel overwhelmed

  • 76% of first time buyers feel the same way

  • 54% of those buyers who have previously owned also were overwhelmed

  • 59% of buyers turn to mortgage bankers to help evaluate mortgage terms and comparing offers

  • 49% of buyers turn to real estate agents to help evaluate mortgage terms and comparing offers

There is help available…use it!

Cameron Findlay, chief economist at Discover Home Loans, gives great advice:

“The industry is becoming more transparent in an effort to help homebuyers become informed about changes that may affect their process. The sheer amount of information can lead to confusion and stress. Those looking to purchase should work closely with their lender and realtor to make sure they are comfortable with mortgage terms and understand the impact a loan will have on their finances.”

Bottom Line

The purchasing of a home can put great pressure on a family. Reach out to the best mortgage and real estate professionals in your market for assistance throughout the process.

Courtesy of KCM Blog