mlsrealtor

Blog

Why a Foreclosure Wave Isn’t on the Horizon

Why a Foreclosure Wave Isn’t on the Horizon

Even though data shows inflation is cooling, a lot of people are still feeling the pinch on their wallets. And those high costs on everything from gas to groceries are fueling unnecessary concerns that more people are going to have trouble making their mortgage payments. But, does that mean there’s a big wave of foreclosures coming?

Here’s a look at why the data and the experts say that’s not going to happen.

There Aren’t Many Homeowners Who Are Seriously Behind on Their Mortgages

One of the main reasons there were so many foreclosures during the last housing crash was because relaxed lending standards made it easy for people to take out mortgages, even when they couldn’t show they’d be able to pay them back. At that time, lenders weren’t being as strict when looking at applicant credit scores, income levels, employment status, and debt-to-income ratio.

But since then, lending standards have gotten a whole lot tighter. Lenders became much more diligent when assessing applicants for home loans. And that means we’re seeing more qualified buyers who have less of a risk of defaulting on their loans.

That’s why data from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae shows the number of homeowners who are seriously behind on their mortgage payments (known in the industry as delinquencies) has been declining for quite some time. Take a look at the graph below:

No Caption Received

What this means is that, not only are borrowers more qualified, but they’re also finding ways to navigate through their challenges, exploring their repayment options, or maybe even using the record amount of equity they have to sell and avoid foreclosure entirely.

The Answer Is: There’s No Sign of a Wave Coming

Before there can be a significant rise in foreclosures, the number of people who can’t make their mortgage payments would need to rise significantly. But, since so many buyers are making their payments today and homeowners have so much equity built up, a wave of foreclosures isn’t likely.

Take it from Bill McBride of Calculated Risk – an expert on the housing market who, after closely following the data and market leading up to the crash, was able to see the foreclosure crisis coming in 2008. McBride says:

“We will NOT see a surge in foreclosures that would significantly impact house prices (as happened following the housing bubble) for two key reasons: 1) mortgage lending has been solid, and 2) most homeowners have substantial equity in their homes.”

Bottom Line

If you’re worried about a potential foreclosure crisis, know there’s nothing in the data to suggest that’ll happen. Buyers are more qualified now, and that’s one reason why they’re not falling seriously behind on their mortgage payments.

Source: https://www.simplifyingthemarket.com/en/2024/07/23/why-a-foreclosure-wave-isnt-on-the-horizon?a=5256-fd674d1a840c47baa4da566e9ff662ab

Why Fixing Up Your House Can Help It Sell Faster

Why Fixing Up Your House Can Help It Sell Faster

 If you’re thinking about selling your house, you should know there are buyers who are ready and able to pay today’s high prices. But they want a home that’s move-in ready. A recent press release from Redfin explains:

Buyers are still out there and they’re willing to pay today’s high prices, but only if the house is in really good shape. They don’t want to spend extra money on paint or new appliances.”

It makes sense when you think about it. They’re having to pay a lot of money for a house in today’s market. That means they may not be able to easily afford upgrades after they move in. So, if your home is outdated or needs some work, buyers might pass it by or offer a lower price than you were hoping for.

And there are a lot of homes that need upgrades right now. Millions are entering their prime remodel years, meaning they’re between 20 and 39 years old. Maybe yours is one of them. According to John Burns Research and Consulting (JBRC), the number of homes in their prime remodel years is high and growing (see graph below):

No Caption Received

If your house falls into this category, it’s important to consider making selective updates to help it appeal to buyers, so it sells faster. But how do you know where to spend your time and money?

Why You Need a Real Estate Agent

By working with a local real estate agent to be strategic about the improvements you make, you can be sure you’re making a smart investment. Put simply, not all upgrades are worth the cost. As Bankrate says:

Before you spend money on costly upgrades, be sure the changes you make will have a high return on investment. It doesn’t make sense to install new granite countertops, for example, if you only stand to break even on them, or even lose money.”

And, as that same Bankrate article goes on to say, that’s where a local real estate agent comes in:

“. . . a good real estate agent will know what local buyers expect and can help you decide what needs doing and what doesn’t.”

Your agent will know what buyers in your area are looking for and what they’re willing to pay for it. By working together, you can avoid spending money on upgrades that won’t pay off. Instead, they’ll fill you in on which changes will make your house more appealing and valuable.

Bottom Line

Selling a house right now requires more than just putting up a For Sale sign. You need to make sure it’s in good condition to attract buyers who are willing to pay today’s high prices.

The way to do that is by making smart improvements that will give you the best return on your investment. Let’s work together so you know what buyers are looking for and what your house needs before selling.

Source: https://www.simplifyingthemarket.com/en/2024/07/17/why-fixing-up-your-house-can-help-it-sell-faster?a=5256-fd674d1a840c47baa4da566e9ff662ab

Not a Crash: 3 Graphs That Show How Today’s Inventory Differs from 2008

Not a Crash: 3 Graphs That Show How Today’s Inventory Differs from 2008

Even if you didn’t own a home at the time, you probably remember the housing crisis in 2008. That crash impacted the lives of countless people, and many now live with the worry that something like that could happen again. But rest easy, because things are different than they were back then. As Business Insider says:

“Though many Americans believe the housing market is at risk of crashing, the economists who study housing market conditions overwhelmingly do not expect a crash in 2024 or beyond.”

Here’s why experts are so confident. For the market (and home prices) to crash, there would have to be too many houses for sale, but the data doesn’t show that’s happening. Right now, there’s an undersupply, not an oversupply like the last time – and that’s true even with the inventory growth we’ve seen this year. You see, the housing supply comes from three main sources:

  • Homeowners deciding to sell their houses (existing homes)
  • New home construction (newly built homes)
  • Distressed properties (foreclosures or short sales)

And if we look at those three main sources of inventory, you’ll see it’s clear this isn’t like 2008.

Homeowners Deciding To Sell Their Houses

Although the supply of existing (previously owned) homes is up compared to this time last year, it’s still low overall. And while this varies by local market, nationally, the current months’ supply is well below the norm, and even further below what we saw during the crash. The graph below shows this more clearly.

If you look at the latest data (shown in green), compared to 2008 (shown in red), we only have about a third of that available inventory today.

No Caption Received

So, what does this mean? There just aren’t enough homes available to make values drop. To have a repeat of 2008, there’d need to be a lot more people selling their houses with very few buyers, and that’s not the case right now.

New Home Construction

People are also talking a lot about what’s going on with newly built houses these days, and that might make you wonder if homebuilders are overdoing it. Even though new homes make up a larger percentage of the total inventory than the norm, there’s no need for alarm. Here’s why.

The graph below uses data from the Census to show the number of new houses built over the last 52 years. The orange on the graph shows the overbuilding that happened in the lead-up to the crash. And, if you look at the red in the graph, you’ll see that builders have been underbuilding pretty consistently since then:

No Caption Received

There’s just too much of a gap to make up. Builders aren’t overbuilding today, they’re catching up. A recent article from Bankrate says:

“What’s more, builders remember the Great Recession all too well, and they’ve been cautious about their pace of construction. The result is an ongoing shortage of homes for sale.”

Distressed Properties (Foreclosures and Short Sales)

The last place inventory can come from is distressed properties, including short sales and foreclosures. During the housing crisis, there was a flood of foreclosures due to lending standards that allowed many people to get a home loan they couldn’t truly afford.

Today, lending standards are much tighter, resulting in more qualified buyers and far fewer foreclosures. The graph below uses data from ATTOM to show how things have changed since the housing crash:

No Caption Received

This graph makes it clear that as lending standards got tighter and buyers became more qualified, the number of foreclosures started to go down. And in 2020 and 2021, the combination of a moratorium on foreclosures (shown in black) and the forbearance program helped prevent a repeat of the wave of foreclosures we saw when the market crashed.

While you may see headlines that foreclosure volume is ticking up – remember, that’s only compared to recent years when very few foreclosures happened. We’re still below the normal level we’d see in a typical year.

What This Means for You

Inventory levels aren’t anywhere near where they’d need to be for prices to drop significantly and the housing market to crash. As Forbes explains:

“As already-high home prices continue trending upward, you may be concerned that we’re in a bubble ready to pop. However, the likelihood of a housing market crash—a rapid drop in unsustainably high home prices due to waning demand—remains low for 2024.”

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, points to the laws of supply and demand as a reason why we aren’t headed for a crash:

“There’s just generally not enough supply. There are more people than housing inventory. It’s Econ 101.”

And Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“We will not have a repeat of the 2008–2012 housing market crash. There are no risky subprime mortgages that could implode, nor the combination of a massive oversupply and overproduction of homes.”

Bottom Line

The market doesn’t have enough available homes for a repeat of the 2008 housing crisis – and there’s nothing that suggests that will change anytime soon. That’s why housing experts and inventory data tell us there isn’t a crash on the horizon.

Source: https://www.simplifyingthemarket.com/en/2024/07/08/not-a-crash-3-graphs-that-show-how-todays-inventory-differs-from-2008?a=5256-fd674d1a840c47baa4da566e9ff662ab

Homeowners Gained $28K in Equity over the Past Year

Homeowners Gained $28K in Equity over the Past Year

If you own a home, your net worth has probably gone up a lot over the past year. Home prices have been rising, which means you’re building equity much faster than you might think. Here’s how it works.

Equity is the current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan.

Over the past year, there have still been more people wanting to buy than there are homes available for sale, and that’s pushed prices up. That rise in prices has translated directly into increasing equity for homeowners.

How Much Equity Have You Earned over the Past 12 Months?

According to the latest Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogicthe average homeowner’s equity has grown by $28,000 in the last year alone.

That’s the national average, so if you want to see what’s happening in your state, check out the map below. It uses data from CoreLogic to show how much equity has grown in each state over the past year. You’ll notice every single state with sufficient data saw annual equity gains:

No Caption Received

What If You Bought Your House Before the Pandemic?

If you bought your house before the pandemic, the equity news is even better. According to data from Realtor.com, home prices shot up by 37.5% from May 2019 to May 2024, meaning your home’s value has likely increased significantly. Ralph McLaughlin, Senior Economist at Realtor.comsays:

“Homeowners have seen extraordinary gains in home equity over the past five years.”

To give context to how much equity can stack up over time, Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at CoreLogicexplains the total equity the typical homeowner has today:

“With home prices continuing to reach new highs, owners are also seeing their equity approach the historic peaks of 2023, close to a total of $305,000 per owner.”

How Your Rising Home Equity Can Help You

With how prices skyrocketed a few years ago, and the ongoing price growth today, homeowners clearly have substantial equity built up – and that has some serious benefits.

You could use it to start a business, fund an education, or even to help you afford your next home. When you sell, the equity you’ve built up comes back to you, and may be enough to cover a big part – or even all – of your next home’s down payment.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning to move, the equity you’ve gained can really help. Curious about how much you have and how you can use it to help pay for your next home? Let’s connect.

Source: https://www.simplifyingthemarket.com/en/2024/07/03/homeowners-gained-28k-in-equity-over-the-past-year?a=5256-fd674d1a840c47baa4da566e9ff662ab

Housing Market Forecast: What’s Ahead for the 2nd Half of 2024

Housing Market Forecast: What’s Ahead for the 2nd Half of 2024

As we move into the second half of 2024, here’s what experts say you should expect for home prices, mortgage rates, and home sales.

Home Prices Are Expected To Climb Moderately

Home prices are forecasted to rise at a more normal pace. The graph below shows the latest forecasts from seven of the most trusted sources in the industry:

No Caption Received

The reason for continued appreciation? The supply of homes for sale. Jessica Lautz, Deputy Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

“One thing that seems to be pretty solid is that home prices are going to continue to go up, and the reason is that we don’t have housing inventory.”

While inventory is up compared to the last couple of years, it’s still low overall. And because there still aren’t enough homes to go around, that’ll keep upward pressure on prices.

If you’re thinking of buying, the good news is you won’t have to deal with prices skyrocketing like they did during the pandemic. Just remember, prices aren’t expected to drop. They’ll continue climbing, just at a slower pace.

So, getting into the market sooner rather than later could still save you money in the long run. Plus, you can feel confident experts say your home will grow in value after you buy it.

Mortgage Rates Are Forecast To Come Down Slightly

One of the best pieces of news for both buyers and sellers is that mortgage rates are expected to come down a bit, according to Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and NAR (see chart below):

No Caption Received

When you buy, even a small drop in mortgage rates can make a big difference in your monthly payments. For sellers, lower rates will bring more buyers back into the market, which can help you sell faster and potentially at a higher price. Plus, it may help you get off the fence, if you’ve been hesitant to sell due to today’s rates.

Home Sales Are Projected To Hold Steady

For 2024, the number of home sales will be about the same as last year and may even rise slightly. The graph below compares the 2024 home sales forecasts from Fannie MaeMBA, and NAR to the 4.8 million homes that sold last year:

No Caption Received

The average of the three forecasts is about 5 million sales in 2024 – a small increase from 2023. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, explains why:

“Job gains, steady mortgage rates and the release of inventory from pent-up home sellers will lead to more sales.”

With more inventory available and mortgage rates expected to go down, a few more homes are expected to be sold this year compared to last year. This means more people will be able to move. Let’s work together to make sure you’re one of them.

Bottom Line

If you have any questions or need help navigating the market, reach out.

Source: https://www.simplifyingthemarket.com/en/2024/06/24/housing-market-forecast-whats-ahead-for-the-2nd-half-of-2024?a=5256-fd674d1a840c47baa4da566e9ff662ab

The Downsides of Selling Your House Without an Agent

The Downsides of Selling Your House Without an Agent

No Caption Received

Some Highlights

  • Considering selling your house without an agent? You should know there are some serious downsides to handling it on your own.
  • You’ll be missing out on marketing tools that draw in more buyers, pricing and market expertise, essential negotiation skills, in-depth knowledge of the fine print in contracts, and so much more.
  • Don’t take all of this responsibility on. Instead, let’s connect so you have someone with the knowledge and experience you’ll need on your side.

Source: https://www.simplifyingthemarket.com/en/2024/06/21/the-downsides-of-selling-your-house-without-an-agent?a=5256-fd674d1a840c47baa4da566e9ff662ab

What You Need To Know About Today’s Down Payment Programs

What You Need To Know About Today’s Down Payment Programs

There’s no denying it’s gotten more challenging to buy a home, especially with today’s mortgage rates and home price appreciation. And that may be one of the big reasons you’re eager to look into grants and assistance programs to see if there’s anything you qualify for that can help. But unfortunately, many homebuyers feel like they don’t know where to start.

A recent Bank of America Institute study asked prospective buyers where they lack confidence in the process and need more information. And this is what topped the list:

53% said they need help understanding homebuying grant programs.

So, here’s some information that can help you close that gap.

What Is Down Payment Assistance?

As the Mortgage Reports explains:

“Down payment assistance (DPA) programs offer loans and grants that can cover part or all of a home buyer’s down payment and closing costs. More than 2,000 of these programs are available nationwide. . . DPA programs vary by location, but many home buyers could be in line for thousands of dollars in down payment assistance if they qualify.”

And here’s some more good news. On top of all of these programs, you probably don’t need to save as much for your down payment as you think. Contrary to what you may have heard, typically you don’t have to put 20% down unless it’s specified by your loan type or lender. So, you likely don’t need to save as much upfront, and there are programs designed to make your down payment more achievable. Sounds like a win-win.

First-Time and Repeat Buyers Are Often Eligible

It’s also worth mentioning, that it’s not just first-time homebuyers that are eligible for many of these programs. That means whether you’re looking to buy your first house or your fifth, there could be an option for you. As Down Payment Resource notes:

You don’t have to be a first-time buyer. Over 39% of all [homeownership] programs are for repeat homebuyers who have owned a home in the last 3 years.”

Additional Down Payment Resources That Can Help

Here are a few of the down payment assistance programs that are helping many buyers achieve their dream of homeownership, even now:

  • Teacher Next Door is designed to help teachers, first responders, health providers, government employees, active-duty military personnel, and Veterans reach their down payment goals.
  • Fannie Mae provides down payment assistance to eligible first-time homebuyers living in majority-Latino communities.
  • Freddie Mac also has options designed specifically for homebuyers with modest credit scores and limited funds for a down payment.
  • The 3By30 program lays out actionable strategies to add 3 million new Black homeowners by 2030. These programs offer valuable resources for potential buyers, making it easier to secure down payments and realize their dream of homeownership.
  • For Native Americans, Down Payment Resource highlights 42 U.S. homebuyer assistance programs across 14 states that ease the path to homeownership by providing support with down payments and other associated costs.

If you want more information on any of these, the best place to start is by contacting a trusted real estate professional.

They’ll be able to share more details about what may be available, including any other programs designed to serve specific professions or communities. And even if you don’t qualify for these types of programs, they can help see if there are any other federal, state, and local options available you should look into.

Bottom Line

Affordability is still a challenge, so if you’re looking to buy, you’re going to want to make sure you’re taking advantage of any and all resources available.

The best way to find out what’s out there is to connect with a team of real estate professionals, including a trusted lender and a local agent.

Source: https://www.simplifyingthemarket.com/en/2024/06/19/what-you-need-to-know-about-todays-down-payment-programs?a=5256-fd674d1a840c47baa4da566e9ff662ab

Savings Strategies Every First-Time Homebuyer Needs To Know

Savings Strategies Every First-Time Homebuyer Needs To Know

If homeownership is on your goal sheet for your future, you’re probably working on your savings. And a big priority is making sure you’ve got a plan in place for things like your closing costsdown payment, and more.

Here are a few strategies that can help speed up that process.

Budget and Track Your Expenses: To start, create a detailed budget that tracks the money you’ve got coming in and the money going out. This’ll give you a better look at your finances as a whole.

Cut Down on Unnecessary Spending: Now that you have your budget sheet done and you know how you’re spending your money, look for any line items that aren’t absolutely essential. If you cut down on those, you can re-allocate that cash toward buying a home. Even the little things can add up. As the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:

“The majority of first-time buyers did make financial sacrifices to purchase a home. For those who did, the most common sacrifices buyers reported were cutting spending on luxury goods, entertainment, and clothes.”

Automate Your Savings: Once you know how much you want to set aside for your homebuying budget, look for ways to make it easy. If you have to transfer money manually, you may forget to do it. But getting some automatic transfers set up helps drive consistency and removes the temptation to spend it elsewhere. Realtor.com explains:

“If you’re struggling to put enough money away because of the constant temptations to blow your paycheck, consider automating the process. Ask your employer if you can have your paycheck deposited into multiple accounts—if so, instruct it to send a certain percentage of your salary directly into your savings account. Or go through your bank . . .”

Lean into Any Side Hustles You Have: Do you have a gig you do (or have done before) to net some extra cash? Taking on part-time work, freelance jobs, or picking up a side hustle can help give your savings a boost.

Put any Unexpected Cash To Good Use: If you get any sudden windfalls, like a tax refund, bonus, inheritance, or cash gift from family, put it toward your house fund.

By using these strategies and focusing on your savings over time, you can make sure you’re well on the path to having what you need to buy your first home. As Ramsey Solutions says:

“Budgeting shows your money who’s in charge (that’s you). It gives you the power to tell your money where to go instead of having to wonder where it went. It’s how you make any money goals happen—like saving for a down payment.”

Bottom Line

If you need more strategies for getting ready to buy, let’s connect.

Source: https://www.simplifyingthemarket.com/en/2024/06/11/savings-strategies-every-first-time-homebuyer-needs-to-know?a=5256-fd674d1a840c47baa4da566e9ff662ab

What To Expect if You Buy or Sell a Home This June

What To Expect if You Buy or Sell a Home This June

June is a busy month in the housing market because a lot of people buy and sell this time of year. So, if you’ve got a move on your mind and you’re looking to make it happen this month, here’s a snapshot of what you need to know to make sure you’re ready.

If You’re Buying This June

A lot of homebuyers with children like to move after one school year ends and before the next one begins. That’s one reason why late spring into summer is a popular time for homes to change hands. And whether that’s a motivator for you or not, it’s important to realize more buyers are going to be looking right now – and that means you’ll want to be ready for a bit more competition. But there is a silver lining to a move this time of year. This is also when more sellers will list – so you should find you have more options. As an article from Bankrate says:

Late spring and early summer are the busiest and most competitive time of year for the real estate market. There’s usually more inventory listed for sale than other times of year . . . This is a double-edged sword for a buyer, as you will be met with more opportunities but [also] much more competition.”

During this busy season, it’s extra important to work with a trusted real estate agent. Your agent will help you stay on top of the latest listings, share expertise on how to make a strong offer in a competitive market, and give you insight into things like what the home is actually worth so you can make an informed decision when you buy. As Forbes says:

Approaching the market confidently, armed with good information and grounded expectations will take you far. Don’t let the hustle of the market convince you to buy something that’s not in your budget, or not right for your lifestyle.”

If You’re Selling This June

Because there are more buyers this time of year, you’re in a great spot as a seller. Many of those buyers are highly motivated to make their move happen before the next school year kicks off – so they’ll likely put in strong offers to try to make that possible. That means, if your house shows well and is listed at market value, you could see your house sell faster or for a higher price. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“Warmer weather and the end of the school year encourage more people to buy and sell, respectively. Buyers are looking to move and settle before the new school year begins, contributing to increased competition and, consequently, higher prices.”

You want to be sure you’ve got a great agent on your side to help you with the contingencies on those offers and any negotiations that take place so you can pick the best offer. Make sure you go over closing dates with your agent. Buyers trying to time their move with the school year may need to delay a bit or move faster. This can depend on the school calendar where you live. As U.S. News Real Estate explains:

“ . . if your house goes under contract in early summer, the buyer may ask for a delay in closing or move-in until the school year finishes or their current home has sold. Alternatively, a buyer later in summer may be looking to close quickly and move in under a month. Remain flexible to keep the deal running smoothly, and your buyer may be willing to throw in concessions, like covering some of your closing costs or overlooking the old roof.”

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to make a move this June, let’s chat so you know what to expect. We’ll come up with a plan that factors in current market conditions, but still works for you.

is June, let’s chat so you know what to expect. We’ll come up with a plan that factors in current market conditions, but still works for you.

Source: https://www.simplifyingthemarket.com/en/2024/06/04/what-to-expect-if-you-buy-or-sell-a-home-this-june/?a=5256-fd674d1a840c47baa4da566e9ff662ab

How VA Loans Can Help You Buy a Home

How VA Loans Can Help You Buy a Home

For over 80 years, Veterans Affairs (VA) home loans have helped millions of veterans buy their own homes. If you or someone you know has served in the military, it’s important to learn about this program and its benefits.

Here are some key things to know about VA loans before buying a home.

Top Benefits of VA Home Loans

VA home loans make it easier for veterans to buy a home, and they’re a great perk for those who qualify. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, some benefits include:

  • Options for No Down Payment: Qualified borrowers can often purchase a home with no down payment. That’s a huge weight lifted when you’re trying to save for a home. The Associated Press says:

“. . . about 90% of VA loans are used to purchase a home with no money down.”

  • Don’t Require Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): Many other loans with down payments under 20% require PMI. VA loans do not, which means veterans can save on their monthly housing costs.
  • Limited Closing Costs: There are limits on the types of closing costs you pay when you qualify for a VA home loan. So, more money stays in your pocket when it’s time to seal the deal.

An article from Veterans United sums up how remarkable this loan can be:

“For the vast majority of military borrowers, VA loans represent the most powerful lending program on the market. These flexible, $0-down payment mortgages have helped more than 24 million service members become homeowners since 1944.”

Bottom Line

Owning a home is the American Dream. Veterans give a lot to protect our country, and one way to honor them is by making sure they know about VA home loans.

Source:  https://www.simplifyingthemarket.com/en/2024/05/27/how-va-loans-can-help-you-buy-a-home?a=5256-fd674d1a840c47baa4da566e9ff662ab