Pending Home Sales Rise In December

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When a buyer signs a contract to purchase a home, it is referred to as a pending sale because it usually takes a few weeks before the transaction closes and the house is considered officially sold. Since most of these transactions end in a sold house, the National Association of Realtors tracks them as a way of predicting the number of final sales that will be seen in coming months. In December, the NAR found pending sales up 1.6 percent from the month before. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says the year ended on a high note. “Pending sales rebounded last month as enough buyers fended off rising mortgage rates and alarmingly low inventory levels to sign a contract,” Yun said. “The main storyline in the early months of 2017 will be if supply can meaningfully increase to keep price growth at a moderate enough level for households to absorb higher borrowing costs.” Yun also points out that home sales figures vary depending on the price of the house. For example, sales of homes above $250,000 were up 10 percent over the year before in December. By comparison, sales of homes under $100,000 fell 11.6 percent. This indicates that there are more homes for sale at the higher end of the market than there are at more affordable levels. However, an expected increase in the number of new homes built this year could help balance the market, offering buyers more choices and helping to moderate future price increases on existing homes. More here.

For all your mortgage needs or advice, please contact me – or visit www.robertfairhomeloans.com. I welcome all questions and feedback.

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How You Compare To The Typical Home Seller

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The National Association of Realtors’ Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers takes an annual look at the who, what, where, and how of the year’s typical real-estate transaction. Based on a survey sent out across the country, the results reveal things like how much the average home seller made on the sale of their home, how buyers came up with their downpayment, and what types of homes sold, who sold them, and for how much. For example, last year’s typical seller was 54 years old, had been living in their home for 10 years, and had a median income of $100,700. The most commonly cited reason for selling a home was to find something bigger, which was named by 18 percent of respondents. Other common reasons for selling a home included wanting to live closer to friends and family and because of a new job. The majority of sellers didn’t have to offer any incentives in order to attract a buyer for their home and nearly 9 in 10 used a real-estate agent to help sell their house. The typical home seller was able to sell their home for $43,100 more than they purchased it for and got 98 percent of their final listing price. More here.

For all your mortgage needs or advice, please contact me – or visit www.robertfairhomeloans.com. I welcome all questions and feedback.

Housing Outlook Sees Strong Year Ahead

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Though there is some uncertainty about how changing economic policies might affect the economy and housing market in the months to come, Fannie Mae’s most recent Economic and Housing Outlook from their Economic & Strategic Research Group sees continued improvement ahead. In short, improved consumer spending, a healthy labor market, and rising wages should continue to support economic growth. But what does this mean for the housing market and real estate this year? Well, according to Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist, the housing market should remain strong and build on last year’s performance. “We expect housing to remain resilient and continue its recovery in 2017, with affordability standing out as the industry’s greatest obstacle, particularly for first-time homeowners,” Duncan said. “Demographic factors, however, are positive. Our research shows that older Millennials have begun to buy homes and close the homeownership attainment gap with their predecessors.” An increasing number of younger buyers is good news for the market, as is the expected bump in new home construction. If the supply of homes for sale can keep up with buyer demand, a better balanced market may help alleviate affordability concerns and lead to favorable housing conditions in 2017. More here.

For all your mortgage needs or advice, please contact me – or visit www.robertfairhomeloans.com. I welcome all questions and feedback.

New Home Market Off To Optimistic Start

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New data from the Commerce Department and the National Association of Home Builders shows builders are optimistic about the market for new homes this year. That’s an encouraging sign, as a lower than normal number of homes available for sale has caused affordability conditions to decline in recent months. If more new homes are built, buyers will have more options to choose from and home prices should begin to moderate. In December, the number of new homes that broke ground was up 11.3 percent from the month before, according to the Commerce Department. The number of permits to build single-family homes also rose, jumping 4.7 percent. Additionally, the NAHB’s Housing Market Index – which measures builder confidence on a scale where any number above 50 indicates more builders feel conditions are good than poor – scored a 67 this month. NAHB chief economist, Robert Dietz, says the group expects continued improvement this year. “NAHB expects solid 10 percent growth in single-family construction in 2017, adding to the gains of 2016,” Dietz said. “Concerns going into the year include rising mortgage interest rates as well as a lack of lots and access to labor.” Regional results show three-month moving averages up slightly in the Northeast and Midwest, while the West and South held steady at 79 and 67, respectively. More here.

For all your mortgage needs or advice, please contact me – or visit www.robertfairhomeloans.com. I welcome all questions and feedback.

Mortgage Rates Hit Lowest Level In A Month

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According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates fell again last week – marking the third consecutive weekly decline. The drop brought rates to their lowest level in a month, with decreases seen across all loan categories including 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with both jumbo and conforming balances, loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, and 15-year fixed-rate loans. Despite the drop, however, demand for mortgage loan applications stayed relatively flat from one week earlier. The refinance index – which is generally more affected by rate changes – rose 7 percent, while the seasonally adjusted purchase index fell 5 percent. Michael Fratantoni, told CNBC that demand is down from where it was at the end of last year. “Refi volume is still down sharply from the end of last year, remaining 13 percent below the level from four weeks ago,” Fratantoni said. On the other hand, the number of prospective home buyers applying for loans to purchase homes is just 1 percent below where it was at the same time last year. The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. More here.

For all your mortgage needs or advice, please contact me – or visit www.robertfairhomeloans.com. I welcome all questions and feedback.

The Top Buyer Fears And How To Fight Them

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For a lot of people, buying a home is both exciting and a little bit intimidating. On the one hand, it’s seen as a vital part of achieving the American dream and, on the other, it’s a major financial undertaking that comes with some real risks. So what are some of the top fears of potential home buyers? Well, according to one recent article, the biggest fear is that their new house will fall in value. Considering recent history, this isn’t a surprising concern, but it is one that can be addressed. With the help of a knowledgable real-estate agent, you can pinpoint the dangers of a particular property and weigh them against potential positives like good schools and nearby amenities. Sure, you can’t be 100 percent sure about what the future holds, but you can protect yourself by buying in a good neighborhood with a history of holding its value. The costs of homeownership are another big concern among prospective buyers. Not only do buyers worry about being able to handle their mortgage payment but they also worry about potential maintenance costs. One way to protect yourself is to make sure you know what you’re getting. Look for a property that has had some of its major features – such as the roof or furnace – recently upgraded or replaced. Another fear is buyer’s remorse. This is natural. The best way to handle it is to be sure you know what you’re looking for, what you will compromise on, and what you won’t consider. Also, lean on the experienced professionals you’ve hired to help you along the way. The best insurance against any future regrets is doing your homework and heeding the advice of your agent and mortgage lender. More here.

For all your mortgage needs or advice, please contact me – or visit www.robertfairhomeloans.com. I welcome all questions and feedback.

Home Size Shrinks For First Time Since 2009

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For many years now, the average size of a newly built home has been going up. In fact, by 2015, the typical new home was 2,689 square feet – by comparison, the average was 1,660 square feet in 1974. That longtime trend took a step back last year, however. In 2016, the average new home fell 55 square feet. And, though that doesn’t sound like much, it is the first time in eight years new homes were smaller than the year before, according to Rose Quint, the National Association of Home Builders assistant vice president for survey research. “The data on new home characteristics show a pattern,” Quint said. “2016 marked the end of an era that began in 2009 when homes got bigger and bigger with more amenities. I expect the size of homes to continue to decline as demand increases from first-time buyers.” But though Quint believes home size will continue to fall as more first-time buyers enter the market, she doesn’t expect added features and amenities to become less popular. In fact, Quint says a majority of home buyers would prefer amenities and features over square footage. “More than two-thirds are willing to trade size for high quality products and features,” Quint said. Among the most coveted home features, a separate laundry room, energy-efficient windows and appliances, outdoor living space, exterior lighting, and a full bath on the main floor rank high. More here.

For all your mortgage needs or advice, please contact me – or visit www.robertfairhomeloans.com. I welcome all questions and feedback.

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