Thursday, April 16, 2015

New Listings

I occasionally post new listings here, I have had several in past couple weeks, of which many have already sold. So I have been busy and have not had time to post them here. But here a few of the latest from the last couple of days. As of this posting, these are still available.

Columbia Village, 2 Bed, 2 Bath priced at $147,000

Boise's Northend,  3 Bedroom, 2.5 Bath, 2185 Square Feet, Price $479,900

Boise's Northend, New Construction, Price $442,000, 1967 Sq. Ft, 3 Bd, 2.5 Bath

HUGE home in Eagle on 1 Acre, 7743 Square feet, 7 Bedrooms, 6 Bths, Price $929,000

View Home in Quail Ridge, 2504 Sq. Ft., $399,000 4 Bed, 3 Baths

You can see more details on any of these on my website lowesflatfee.com or contact me.

Three Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Home

Excellent questions for a potential home buyer to ask themselves.  (From KCM Blog)
3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying A Home | Keeping Current Matters If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are surely getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family will have your best interest at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in real estate. Let’s look at whether or not now is actually a good time for you to buy a home. There are 3 questions you should ask before purchasing in today’s market:

1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?

This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with finances. A study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University reveals that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money:

  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education

  • A place where you and your family feel safe

  • More space for you and your family

  • Control of the space

What non-financial benefits will you and your family derive from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

2. Where are home values headed?

When looking at future housing values, Home Price Expectation Survey provides a fair assessment. Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over 100 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. Here is what the experts projected in the latest survey:

  • Home values will appreciate by 4.4% in 2015.

  • The cumulative appreciation will be 19.3% by 2019.

  • Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of over 11.7% by 2019.

3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?

A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by an increase in mortgage rates. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the National Association of Realtors and Freddie Mac have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase by approximately one full percentage over the next twelve months.

Bottom Line

Only you and your family can know for certain the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Home Ownership Can Be A Good Investment

The following article is by Mark Daly, managing director and investment officer, Daly & Vacek Investment Consulting Group. From the Idaho Statesman's Business Insider April 2015.

Read on for a great overview of the importance of home ownership in connection with the other investment options.

"Our investment consulting practice allows us the privilege of rendering advice beyond the traditional realm of stocks and bonds, mutual funds, retirement and education planning, and regular saving and investing. That includes ownership in productive real estate, and for most people starting out, that means a home.

The home offers a good chance for price appreciation. A balance between liquid assets like equities, fixed income securities and cash can complement less-liquid assets like a primary residence, business or commercial property.

My daughter and her fiance plan to marry this fall, and the topic of future home ownership has come up recently. The couple participates in a 401(k) plan at work, and both contribute enough to receive the employer matching contribution. Their next investment, in addition to after-tax savings, could be a home. From a planning perspective, we balance the expense of home ownership with other goals such as education funding, retirement, travel and ongoing cash needs.

First and foremost, a strategy to own the home outright, with a zero mortgage balance at retirement, is essential.

The planning process is the starting point for balancing multiple financial goals by illustrating the tradeoffs and demands on a finite amount of after-tax cash flow. The ability to prioritize and set realistic expectations about what is possible is a critical element of planning. Retire early or accept normal retirement age? Send kids to a private university or state school? Fund annual vacations or accept less frequent holiday travel?

When contemplating the purchase of a home, financial responsibility must be considered. This would include the ability to pay off not only mortgage interest and principal but also property taxes and homeowners insurance.

Ongoing maintenance and repairs will be required to keep the property in top condition, maintain value and allow possible resale. Selling does not always occur at the ideal time, especially when market conditions are depressed. Renting can make more sense if the job market is unstable or if relocation will be needed to obtain employment or remain employed. Various calculators are available to compare the cost of owning versus renting, and these should be used before making a decision.

Home ownership, loan qualifications and borrowing standards have changed dramatically since the credit crisis of 2008. Mortgage rates are low by historical measure, and down payments in the low-single-digit percentages are common. But even low interest rates compound over time, adding to the total cost of owning and buying a home. Record foreclosures after 2008 remind us that debt and leverage should be used wisely when economic conditions turn down.

The American dream remains the possibility of home ownership. Young people with wage income and clean credit history are qualifying like never before. Our advice is to take your time, plan carefully, consider the risk, don’t over-borrow, and be patient when considering this important financial decision."


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Housing Market is Healthiest in Years!

Housing Market is Healthiest in Years! | Keeping Current Matters According to Nationwide’s recently unveiled, Health of Housing Market (HoHM) Report, the US housing market is at it’s healthiest levels since the index’s creation in 2001. The index analyzes the health of the housing market across the country and in 373 metro areas every quarter. Using the data that they have collected over the past 15 years, Nationwide will look to give a “data-driven view of the near-term performance of housing markets based upon current health indicators.” The fourth quarter of 2014 ended with the highest indicator score in over 15 years of data analyzed by the study at 109.8. The report explains:
“An index value over 100 suggests that the national housing market is healthy, with lower chances of a housing downturn over the next year as the index moves increasingly above the 100 breakeven value.”

Employment, demographics, the mortgage market, and housing prices are all used to evaluate the health of each market. The top 10 healthiest housing markets according to the index are:

  1. Pittsburgh, PA

  2. Cleveland-Elyria, OH

  3. Philadelphia, PA

  4. Rockford, Ill.

  5. Burlington, NC

  6. Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, PA

  7. Fayetteville-Springdale, AK-MO

  8. Idaho Falls, ID

  9. Tulsa, OK

  10. Kennewick-Richland, WA

The two ‘least healthy’ markets were Bismark, ND and Atlantic City, NJ who received “just slightly negative performance rankings”. David Berson, Nationwide’s Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, says “the quarterly report should serve as a resource to gauge how healthy housing markets are today but, perhaps more important, what to expect in the future and why.”

From the KCM Blog

I was unable to find the Boise-Nampa MSA's actual ranking but it is in the positive range. I found it interesting that Idaho Falls was ranked 8th in the nation. (And with all we have been hearing about North Dakota, that Bismarck took a dive.)



Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Pending Sales Surge: Great Sign for the Housing Market

Timely article for our area as well, I know my pending numbers have jumped.


From the KCM Blog

Posted: 07 Apr 2015 04:00 AM PDT

The most recent Pending Homes Sales Index from the National Association of Realtors revealed that homes going into contract in February increased to their highest level since June 2013. The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing. The Index is now 12.0 percent above February 2014. The index is at its highest level since June 2013, has increased year-over-year for six consecutive months and is above what is considered “the average level of activity” – for the 10th consecutive month. Here is a graph showing the Pending Sales numbers:  Here is a chart showing the Pending Sales increases by region:

Bottom Line

In an article from Investors’ Business Daily, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors, explained what these numbers will mean to the overall market:

"It looks like the buyers want to come out to the market and they are eager to find the right home and make an offer. Therefore, I expect the second quarter of this year to be easily ahead of last year in terms of sales activity. Pending contracts are implying that the closing activity in coming months will be quite solid."


Friday, April 3, 2015

Treasure Valley Foreclosure Rate-Lowest since 07!

Foreclosure rates in Treasure Valley dipped to .63 percent in January, the lowest rates since October 2007, according to real estate data provider CoreLogic. Idaho overall is showing a rate of .8% in January which is a .6% decline from a year ago, and well below the national rate of 1.4%.

The Treasure Valley, Idaho and the rest of the nation continue to grow our way out of the real estate recession!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Selling Your House? Price it Right Up Front

I have found this to be a very true assessment regarding pricing! I can help you, give me a call.

Selling Your House? Price it Right Up Front | Keeping Current Matters In today’s market, where demand is outpacing supply in many regions of the country, pricing a house is one of the biggest challenges real estate professionals face. Sellers often want to price their home higher than recommended, and many agents go along with the idea to keep their clients happy. However, the best agents realize that telling the homeowner the truth is more important than getting the seller to like them.

There is no “later.”

Sellers sometimes think, “If the home doesn’t sell for this price, I can always lower it later.” However, research proves that homes that experience a listing price reduction sit on the market longer, ultimately selling for less than similar homes. John Knight, recipient of the University Distinguished Faculty Award from the Eberhardt School of Business at the University of the Pacific, actually did research on the cost (in both time and money) to a seller who priced high at the beginning and then lowered the their price. In his article, Listing Price, Time on Market and Ultimate Selling Price published in Real Estate Economics revealed:
“Homes that underwent a price revision sold for less, and the greater the revision, the lower the selling price. Also, the longer the home remains on the market, the lower its ultimate selling price.”

Additionally, the “I’ll lower the price later” approach can paint a negative image in buyers’ minds. Each time a price reduction occurs, buyers can naturally think, “Something must be wrong with that house.” Then when a buyer does make an offer, they low-ball the price because they see the seller as “highly motivated.” Pricing it right from the start eliminates these challenges.

Don’t build “negotiation room” into the price.

Many sellers say that they want to price their home high in order to have “negotiation room.” But, what this actually does is lower the number of potential buyers that see the house. And we know that limiting demand like this will negatively impact the sales price of the house. Not sure about this? Think of it this way: when a buyer is looking for a home online (as they are doing more and more often), they put in their desired price range. If your seller is looking to sell their house for $400,000, but lists it at $425,000 to build in “negotiation room,” any potential buyers that search in the $350k-$400k range won’t even know your listing is available, let alone come see it! A better strategy would be to price it properly from the beginning and bring in multiple offers. This forces these buyers to compete against each other for the “right” to purchase your house. Look at it this way: if you only receive one offer, you are set up in an adversarial position against the prospective buyer. If, however, you have multiple offers, you have two or more buyers fighting to please you. Which will result in a better selling situation?

The Price is Right

Great pricing comes down to truly understanding the real estate dynamics in your neighborhood. Look for an agent that will take the time to simply and effectively explain what is happening in the housing market and how it applies to your home. You need an agent that will tell you what you need to know rather than what you want to hear. This will put you in the best possible position.