Sometimes picking a house to buy can cause anxiety. After all, what if you choose the wrong one and aren’t happy living there? What if there are structural or mechanical issues that go undetected and will end up meaning costly renovations? It’s hard to imagine that you could possibly cover all the potential issues in just a few walkthroughs. And so, it’s natural to worry about buyer’s remorse. But, according to a new survey, you might be worrying yourself unnecessarily. That’s because, the results show an overwhelming majority of respondents said they love their current home. In fact, 83 percent of participants said they were happy in their house. To some degree, the responses fell along demographic lines, with people 55 years or older and retirees being the most likely groups to say they love their home and have no plans to move. Respondents between 18 and 34 were more likely to want to move. There were also regional differences. For example, residents in Boston and Detroit were more likely to say they like their current home and would rather renovate than move, while the survey found Los Angeles residents were the most likely to say they’d prefer a new house. More here.
Home prices have been increasing for awhile. But their consistent upward climb is starting to slow, according to new data. In fact, a recent analysis has found the number of home sellers who have reduced their listing price is up from where it was last year. The research shows 17.2 percent of homes for sale reduced their price in August, up from 16.7 percent last year at the same time. That’s encouraging news for hopeful home buyers who have been keeping an eye on affordability conditions. But, though price reductions are at their highest level since 2014, that doesn’t mean every neighborhood is part of the trend. For example, in this case, there are more reductions seen at the higher end of the housing market than in more affordable price brackets. That means, while you may be able to find a better deal in a pricier neighborhood, you may not have as much luck in the more affordable locations popular with entry-level and first-time buyers. That’s why potential home buyers should do some research on their preferred neighborhoods and get an idea of where they’ll be able to get the best deal. More here.
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates were up across all loan categories last week, including 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with both conforming and jumbo balances, loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, and 15-year fixed-rate loans. The increase follows an upward trend that has been driven by economic improvement and a stronger job market. “Rates moved higher last week, driven by strong data on the job market, indicating that the Fed will continue to raise rates,” Joel Kan, an MBA economist, told CNBC. But despite higher rates and a weekly drop in application demand, requests for loans to buy homes is still up over last year, when rates were lower. In fact, the MBA’s Purchase Index is now 2 percent higher than it was a year ago. The improvement, though slight, is a good indication that demand for homes remains strong, even while rates move higher. The MBA’s weekly survey covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications and has been conducted since 1990. More here.
Deciding to buy a house is mainly a money decision. You either feel secure enough financially to make a move or you don’t. This helps explain the current real estate market. After all, survey after survey shows Americans think home prices and mortgage rates are moving higher and making it less affordable to buy. And yet, home buying demand remains high. Why? Well, mostly because, at the same time, people also feel more secure in their jobs and money due to a stronger economy and job market. Take Fannie Mae’s most recent Home Purchase Sentiment Index as an example. The survey found a rising number of respondents who said it was a good time to buy a home, despite increasing numbers who also say they believe mortgage rates and prices will continue to rise. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s senior vice president and chief economist, says the economy explains it. “Downside risk to housing is limited by broader economic strength, which helped boost perceptions of current home buying conditions,” Duncan said. “For consumers who say now is a good time to buy, the share citing overall economic conditions as a reason rose to a survey high.” More here.
In order for a home to be considered truly green, there are six elements it needs to contain, according to the Appraisal Institute, a professional association of real estate appraisers. These include water efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, materials, and operations and maintenance. Put simply, to retrofit a home to meet those standards would require a lot of work. But that doesn’t mean you can’t improve your home’s performance through smaller measures. And Appraisal Institute president, James L. Murrett, says, if you do, you’ll not only be able to lower your bills but you may also be able to sell your house for more when the time comes. “The latest research shows that green and energy-efficient home improvements have the potential to pay dividends for buyers and sellers,” Murrett says. “However, it depends on the improvements made. Some green renovations, such as adding Energy Star appliances and extra insulation, are likely to pay the homeowner back in lowered utility bills relatively quickly.” Whether you’re searching for a home to buy or thinking about selling one, a home’s efficiency and performance is an important factor to consider. More here.
If you’re someone who’s been thinking about buying a house, you’ve likely kept your eye on mortgage rates and home prices. Those are the two most watched affordability factors and, since both have risen over the past year, prospective home buyers have good reason to pay attention to which way they’re heading. Home prices are still headed upward in most markets, though they’re moving at a slower rate. And, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey – which covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications – there’s some good news about mortgage rates too. That’s because rates were virtually unchanged last week and long-term rates remain steady. “Short term rates have been increasing but long term rates have held steady, which should not pose too much of a headwind to home purchase activity, especially given the potential demand from demographic factors,” Joel Kan, an MBA economist, told CNBC. In short, though rates are higher than they were last year at this time, they are still historically low. Which means, unless conditions change, they shouldn’t have much impact on home buyers’ plans in the near future. More here.
When looking for a house to buy, you aren’t necessarily always looking for the biggest house. After all, the size of the home you choose will be determined, in part, by things like the size of your family, storage needs, how many bathrooms and bedrooms, etc. Mostly, though, it’ll be determined by your budget. Because, when it comes down to it, we all would like a little more space. For that reason, a recent study looked at the largest 45 cities in the country and calculated the median home size and cost per square foot, in an effort to figure out which cities have the biggest homes and which give buyers the most space for the best price. The results show that the South has the biggest homes, with three of the top five cities located in Texas. In fact, Houston was the city with the largest median home size at 1,952 square feet, with Atlanta, Washington DC, Dallas, and Austin rounding out the top five. Southern cities also tend to have a lower price per square foot. For example, while Houston has the biggest homes, the median price per square foot was $100. By comparison, cities like San Francisco, Boston, and Denver have smaller homes but higher prices, mostly due to the fact that the housing stock in those areas is older. More here.
Nearly 80% of Americans say now is a good time to sell a house, according to a recent survey from the National Association of Realtors. This may be good news for buyers. These days, there are more home buyers than there are homes for sale, which is the primary factor causing prices to rise. But rising prices have also caused homeowners to think about the benefits of selling their home. And, if the results of the NAR’s Housing Opportunities and Market Experience survey are any indication, a growing number of them are beginning to consider putting their home on the market. If so, it’ll help provide additional choices for home buyers while also slowing the rate at which prices move upward. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says he believes American homeowners were waiting to see if the gains got any better before making a decision. “With prices having risen so quickly, many consumers were deciding to wait to list their homes hoping to see additional price and equity gains,” Yun said. “However, with indications that buyers are beginning to pull out, price gains are going to decelerate and potential sellers are considering that now is a good time to list and bring more properties to the market.” More here.