Home Prices Jump 6.2% in 2nd Quarter; Eclipse 2016 High

WASHINGTON (August 16, 2017) — The headstrong supply and demand imbalances in much of the country slightly tempered the pace of sales and caused home prices to maintain their robust growth in the second quarter, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors®.

The national median existing single-family home price in the second quarter was $255,600, which is up 6.2 percent from the second quarter of 2016 ($240,700) and surpasses the third quarter of last year ($241,300) as the new peak quarterly median sales price. The median price during the first quarter increased 6.9 percent from the first quarter of 2016.

Single-family home prices last quarter increased in 87 percent of measured markets, with 154 out of 178 metropolitan statistical areas1 (MSAs) showing sales price gains in the second quarter compared with the second quarter of 2016. Twenty-three areas (13 percent) recorded lower median prices from a year earlier.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says home prices in most metro areas continued their fast ascent in the second quarter because supply remained at pitiful levels. “The 2.2 million net new jobs created over the past year generated significant interest in purchasing a home in what was an extremely competitive spring buying season,” he said. “Listings typically flew off the market in under a month2 — and even quicker in the affordable price range — in several parts of the country. With new supply not even coming close to keeping pace, price appreciation remained swift in most markets.”

Added Yun, “The glaring need for more new home construction is creating an affordability crisis that needs to be addressed by policy officials and local governments. An increasing share of would-be buyers are being priced out of the market and are unable to experience the wealth building benefits of homeownership.”

Twenty-three metro areas in the second quarter (13 percent) experienced double-digit increases, down from 30 areas in the first quarter (17 percent). Overall, there were slightly more rising markets in the second quarter compared to the first quarter, when price gains were recorded in 85 percent of metro areas.

Total existing-home sales3, including single family and condos, slipped 0.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million in the second quarter from 5.62 million in the first quarter, but are still 1.6 percent higher than the 5.48 million pace during the second quarter of 2016.

At the end of the second quarter, there were 1.96 million existing homes available for sale4, which was 7.1 percent below the 2.11 million homes for sale at the end of the second quarter in 2016. The average supply during the second quarter was 4.2 months — down from 4.6 months in the second quarter of last year.

Last quarter, a rise in the national family median income ($71,529)5 was not enough to offset weaker affordability from the combination of higher mortgage rates compared to a year ago and rising home prices. To purchase a single-family home at the national median price, a buyer making a 5 percent down payment would need an income of $56,169, a 10 percent down payment would require an income of $53,213, and $47,300 would be needed for a 20 percent down payment.

“Mortgage rates have subsided in recent months, which has only somewhat helped take away some of the sting prospective buyers are experiencing with the deteriorating affordability conditions in many areas,” added Yun. “Household incomes may be rising and giving consumers assurance that now is a good time to buy, but these severe inventory shortages will likely continue to be a drag on sales potential the second half of the year.”

The five most expensive housing markets in the second quarter were the San Jose, California, metro area, where the median existing single-family price was $1,183,400; San Francisco, $950,000; Anaheim-Santa Ana, California, $788,000; urban Honolulu, $760,600; and San Diego, $605,000.

The five lowest-cost metro areas in the second quarter were Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio, $87,000; Cumberland, Maryland, $98,200; Decatur, Illinois, $107,400; Binghamton, New York, $109,000; and Elmira, New York, $111,600.

Metro area condominium and cooperative prices — covering changes in 61 metro areas — showed the national median existing-condo price was $239,500 in the second quarter, up 5.4 percent from the second quarter of 2016 ($227,200). Eighty-seven percent of metro areas showed gains in their median condo price from a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

Total existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 1.3 percent in the second quarter and are 0.4 percent above the second quarter of 2016. The median existing single-family home price in the Northeast was $282,300 in the second quarter, up 3.2 percent from a year ago.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales increased 4.2 percent in the second quarter but are 0.5 percent below a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the Midwest increased 6.6 percent to $204,000 in the second quarter from the same quarter a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South dipped 3.0 percent in the second quarter but are 2.5 percent higher than the second quarter of 2016. The median existing single-family home price in the South was $229,400 in the second quarter, 6.7 percent above a year earlier.

In the West, existing-home sales decreased 3.7 percent in the second quarter but are 3.1 percent above a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the West increased 7.5 percent to $372,400 in the second quarter from the second quarter of 2016.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing over 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

NOTE:  NAR releases quarterly median single-family price data for approximately 175 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). In some cases the MSA prices may not coincide with data released by state and local Realtor® associations. Any discrepancy may be due to differences in geographic coverage, product mix, and timing. In the event of discrepancies, Realtors® are advised that for business purposes, local data from their association may be more relevant.

Data tables for MSA home prices (single family and condo) are posted at http://www.realtor.org/topics/metropolitan-median-area-prices-and-affordability/data. If insufficient data is reported for a MSA in particular quarter, it is listed as N/A. For areas not covered in the tables, please contact the local association of Realtors®.

1Areas are generally metropolitan statistical areas as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. NAR adheres to the OMB definitions, although in some areas an exact match is not possible from the available data. A list of counties included in MSA definitions is available at:  http://www.census.gov/population/estimates/metro-city/List4.txt (link is external).

Regional median home prices are from a separate sampling that includes rural areas and portions of some smaller metros that are not included in this report; the regional percentage changes do not necessarily parallel changes in the larger metro areas. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Quarter-to-quarter comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns.

Median price measurement reflects the types of homes that are selling during the quarter and can be skewed at times by changes in the sales mix. For example, changes in the level of distressed sales, which are heavily discounted, can vary notably in given markets and may affect percentage comparisons. Annual price measures generally smooth out any quarterly swings.

NAR began tracking of metropolitan area median single-family home prices in 1979; the metro area condo price series dates back to 1989.

Because there is a concentration of condos in high-cost metro areas, the national median condo price often is higher than the median single-family price. In a given market area, condos typically cost less than single-family homes. As the reporting sample expands in the future, additional areas will be included in the condo price report.

2According to NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, homes typically went under contract in 28 days during the second quarter.

3The seasonally adjusted annual rate for a particular quarter represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative sales pace for that quarter was maintained for four consecutive quarters. Total home sales include single family, townhomes, condominiums and co-operative housing.

4Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

Seasonally adjusted rates are used in reporting quarterly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, sales volume normally is higher in the summer and relatively light in winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and household buying patterns.

5Income figures are rounded to the nearest hundred, based on NAR modeling of Census data. Qualifying income requirements are determined using several scenarios on downpayment percentages and assume 25 percent of gross income devoted to mortgage principal and interest at a mortgage interest rate of 4.0%.

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

 

Posted in Mortage/ Finance News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loan Demand Gets a Lift From Rate Drop

Daily Real Estate News | Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Interest rates dropped last week, giving homeowners and home buyers more incentive to lock in a lower rate as they apply for a mortgage. Total mortgage application activity for home buying and refinancing rose 3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to the previous week, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday. Applications, however, are still down by 25 percent from a year ago.

Refinance applications saw the most activity last week, increasing 5 percent week over week. Still, refinance applications are down 44 percent from a year ago when mortgage rates were lower.

“Mortgage rates decreased last week, which led to the highest volume of refinance applications since mid-June,” says MBA chief economist Mike Fratantoni.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.14 percent last week, down from 4.17 percent the week prior, the MBA reports.

Meanwhile, mortgage applications for purchasing a home saw a 1 percent increase compared to the previous week.

“With rates trading in a narrow range, the purchase market continues to show strength, with application volume running about 7 percent ahead of last year,” Fratantoni says.

Source: “Drop in Rates Boosts Weekly Mortgage Applications 3 Percent,” CNBC (Aug. 9, 2017)

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

 

Posted in Mortage/ Finance News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mortgage Rates Aren’t Budging

Daily Real Estate News | Friday, August 04, 2017

Mortgage rates have mostly held steady the past few weeks, with the 30-year fixed-rate loan still averaging below 4 percent.

“The 10-year Treasury yield was relatively flat this week, as was the 30-year mortgage rate, which rose 1 basis point to 3.93 percent,” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Despite a strong advance estimate for second-quarter GDP, markets are erring on the side of caution.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Aug. 3:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.93 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from a 3.92 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.43 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.18 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 3.20 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.74 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.15 percent, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 3.18 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.73 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

 

Posted in Mortage/ Finance News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sellers Net Highest Profit in a Decade

Daily Real Estate News | Monday, July 31, 2017

Home sellers in the second quarter of this year sold their properties for an average $51,000 more than they paid for them when they bought them. That’s the highest price gain for sellers since the second quarter of 2007, when it was $57,000, according to a new report by real estate data form ATTOM Data Solutions. This represents an average return on investment of 26 percent.

The sellers had owned their homes an average of eight years, which is the longest tenure of homeownership since the first quarter of 2000, when ATTOM Data Solutions began tracking such data. However, “potential home sellers in today’s market are caught in a Catch-22,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. “While it’s the most profitable time to sell in a decade, it’s also extremely difficult to find another home to purchase, which is helping to keep homeowners in their homes longer before selling. And the market is becoming even more competitive, with the share of cash buyers in the second quarter increasing annually for the first time in four years.”

Out of 118 metro areas with at least 1,000 homes sales in the second quarter, ATTOM Data Solutions found that these cities had the highest percentage of sales in which sellers got top dollar:

  • San Jose, Calif.: 75%
  • San Francisco: 65%
  • Seattle: 63%
  • Modesto, Calif.: 62%
  • Denver: 62%
Posted in Real Estate News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fed Votes to Leave Key Rate Alone

Daily Real Estate News | Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that it will hold off on making any increases to its short-term interest rate, at least for a while longer. The Federal Open Market Committee voted to keep the federal funds rate at its current range between 1 percent and 1.25 percent.

“In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1 to 1 1/4 percent,” the committee said in a statement on Wednesday. “The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting some further strengthening in labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2 percent inflation.”

Fed Chair Janet Yellen recently indicated to Congress that Fed officials will continue to closely monitor inflation and hinted at a third rate hike sometime this year. Yellen has said that the Fed will continue to use its short-term rate as its main tool for controlling inflation or stimulating the economy.

“The Committee continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, and labor market conditions will strengthen somewhat further,” the committee released in a statement on Wednesday.

The Fed has raised its benchmark rate so far twice this year (in March and June).

Mortgage rates aren’t directly tied to the Fed’s short-term interest rates but they do tend to follow them.

Source: “Fed Elects to Hold Off On Interest Rate Hike,” HousingWire (July 26, 2017) and “Fed Stands Pat on Rates, Signals Sept. Cut in $4.5T Balance Sheet,” USA Today (July 26, 2017)

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

 

Posted in Mortage/ Finance News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Existing-Home Sales Retreat 1.8% in June

WASHINGTON (July 24, 2017) — Existing-home sales slipped in June as low supply kept homes selling at a near record pace but ultimately ended up muting overall activity, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Only the Midwest saw an increase in sales last month.

Total existing-home sales1, https://www.nar.realtor/topics/existing-home-sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, decreased 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.52 million in June from 5.62 million in May. Despite last month’s decline, June’s sales pace is 0.7 percent above a year ago, but is the second lowest of 2017 (February, 5.47 million).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the previous three-month lull in contract activity translated to a pullback in existing sales in June. “Closings were down in most of the country last month because interested buyers are being tripped up by supply that remains stuck at a meager level and price growth that’s straining their budget,” he said. “The demand for buying a home is as strong as it has been since before the Great Recession. Listings in the affordable price range continue to be scooped up rapidly, but the severe housing shortages inflicting many markets are keeping a large segment of would-be buyers on the sidelines.”

Added Yun, “The good news is that sales are still running slightly above last year’s pace despite these persistent market challenges.”

The median existing-home price2 for all housing types in June was $263,800, up 6.5 percent from June 2016 ($247,600). Last month’s median sales price surpasses May as the new peak and is the 64th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory3 at the end of June declined 0.5 percent to 1.96 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 7.1 percent lower than a year ago (2.11 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 25 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 4.6 months a year ago.

First-time buyers were 32 percent of sales in June, which is down from 33 percent both in May and a year ago. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellersreleased in late 20164 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent.

“It’s shaping up to be another year of below average sales to first-time buyers despite a healthy economy that continues to create jobs,” said Yun. “Worsening supply and affordability conditions in many markets have unfortunately put a temporary hold on many aspiring buyers’ dreams of owning a home this year.”

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate (link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage declined for the third consecutive month, dipping to 3.90 percent in June from 4.01 percent in May. The average commitment rate for all of 2016 was 3.65 percent.

Properties typically stayed on the market for 28 days in June, which is up from 27 days in May but down from 34 days a year ago. Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 102 days in June, while foreclosures sold in 57 days and non-distressed homes took 27 days. Fifty-four percent of homes sold in June were on the market for less than a month.

Inventory data from realtor.com® reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in June were Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., 23 days; Salt Lake City, Utah, 26 days; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 27 days; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., 29 days; and Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo., at 30 days.

“Prospective buyers who postponed their home search this spring because of limited inventory may have better luck as the summer winds down,” said President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California. “The pool of buyers this time of year typically begins to shrink as households with children have likely closed on a home before school starts. Inventory remains extremely tight, but patience may pay off in coming months for those looking to buy.”

All-cash sales were 18 percent of transactions in June, down from 22 percent both in May and a year ago, and the lowest since June 2009 (13 percent). Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 13 percent of homes in June, down from 16 percent in May and unchanged from a year ago. Fifty-six percent of investors paid in cash in June.

Distressed sales5 – foreclosures and short sales – were 4 percent of sales in June, down from both May (5 percent) and a year ago (6 percent) and matching last September as the lowest share since NAR began tracking in October 2008. Three percent of June sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales.

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales dipped 2.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million in June from 4.98 million in May, but are still 0.6 percent above the 4.85 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $266,200 in June, up 6.6 percent from June 2016.

Existing condominium and co-op sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 640,000 units in June (unchanged from May), and are 1.6 percent higher than a year ago. The median existing condo price was $245,900 in June, which is 6.5 percent above a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

June existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 2.6 percent to an annual rate of 760,000, but are still 1.3 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $296,300, which is 4.1 percent above June 2016.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales rose 3.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.32 million in June (unchanged from June 2016). The median price in the Midwest was $213,000, up 7.7 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South decreased 4.7 percent to an annual rate of 2.23 million (unchanged from a year ago). The median price in the South was $231,300, up 6.2 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West declined 0.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.21 million in June, but remain 2.5 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $378,100, up 7.4 percent from June 2016.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

NOTE:  For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services. Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

1Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample – about 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month – and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

3Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

4Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. Investors are under-represented in the annual study because survey questionnaires are mailed to the addresses of the property purchased and generally are not returned by absentee owners. Results include both new and existing homes.

5Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at Realtor.org.

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

 

Posted in Real Estate News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Could Be Wrecking Your Home & Not Know It

First-time homeowners often make these 9 common — and avoidable — mistakes. Don’t be one of them.

You haven’t felt like this since you were a teenager. You have a crush on your new house. (You’re officially a home buyer — wait — owner!)

It’s soooooo great. You love its quirks. It’s your very first home, and you want to do everything right.

The feeling is fun, but also scary: You remember too well how badly you screwed up that first crush as a teenager (so embarrassing. Don’t ask).

Could you screw this up too?

No need to freak out. You can make this love a lasting one. For now, keep an eye out for these common no-nos that can result from good intentions.

#1 Using Bleach as a Cure-All

If bleach is your chicken soup for whatever ails your home, proceed with caution.

Bleach can:

  • Eat through the sealant on stone surfaces like granite
  • Discolor laminate and colored grout
  • Fade enamel and acrylic tubs
  • Dissolve vinyl and linseed-based flooring like linoleum
  • Corrode seals within the disposal

In addition, bleach kills mold on non-porous surfaces, but can feed future mold growth on absorbent and porous materials, like grout. Yep, whitening grout with bleach creates a mold feeding ground. Whoops.

Better options? Water and vinegar are all you need for most cleaning jobs. If you’ve got a heftier mold or mildew issue, apply a commercial anti-fungal product.

And to clean your disposal, just dump cold water and ice cubes down the hatch.

#2 Training Ivy to Climb Your House

You’ve dreamed of living in an ivy-covered English cottage since childhood. Well, sorry for this, then:

“Anything that climbs on the house will damage it,” says Marianne Binetti, a speaker and author who leads garden tours around the world.

The horticulture expert made the mistake herself.

“It looked cool for a while, but it dug into the siding so even when we pulled it off, it left damage. And it climbed up the drain pipe and tore the gutter off the house,” she says.

By sending roots beneath siding and shingles, ivy enlarges tiny cracks in brick and wood, introducing entrances for moisture and insects, says Jay Markanich, a certified home inspector based in Bristow, Va.

#3 Relying on Chemical Drain Cleaners

Clogged sink! Again! Pay a plumber more than $100, or grab a $10 product at the store? You can totally handle this one yourself, right?

Possibly. But the most common active ingredients in these solutions, hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid, can erode your pipes.

Even the old baking-soda-and-vinegar medley can result in cracked pipes, as the reaction causes a build-up of pressure.

Old-fashioned “mechanical” methods — your plunger, a drain snake, or a handy $2 gadget called the Zip-It — are safer and more effective, according to “Consumer Reports.”

And if that fails, that call to the plumber doesn’t sound so bad compared to an eroded or busted pipe, no?

#4 Using Glass Cleaners on Mirrors

Your newfound house crush has you scrubbing and spritzing everything. Look at you being so lovingly domestic!

But be cautious with your mirrors. Spraying can lead to what’s ominously called “black edge” — created when a liquid seeps beneath the reflective backing and lifts it.

Instead, clean mirrors with a lint-free microfiber cloth, dampened with warm water — especially mirrors in expensive, installed items like vanities and closet doors.

Avoid the edges and dry immediately with a second cloth.

#5 Planting Trees ThisClose to Anything

Kind of like adopting an adorable, tiny piglet on a whim, you’ve got to remember how a baby tree is going to grow, and what it’s going to require at maturity.

You probably don’t want a 70-pound pig digging up your daisies, and you definitely don’t want a tree root pushing through your driveway, sidewalk or — so much worse! — your foundation.

And watch out for evergreens. If planted too close to the house, they cast too much shade, encouraging mold growth, Binetti says.

Position trees according to its maximum height, crown size, and root spread. For perspective, even a small tree reaching less than 30 feet tall needs at least 6 feet of clearance from any exterior wall, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.

#6 Using the Wrong Caulk

As a dutiful homeowner, when you see failing caulk, you fix it. But the term “caulk” is as broad as the word “glue.”

There’s kitchen and bath caulk, concrete caulk, gutter caulk, mortar caulk — and that’s just the tip of the caulk-berg. And just like you’d never fix broken pottery with a glue stick, you don’t want to pick the wrong caulk either.

Markanich sees plenty of damage done when the wrong caulk is used. Such as using silicone caulk (totally great on non-porous surfaces like bathtubs) on concrete or brick or other porous surfaces. It won’t adhere, and moisture can seep in, compromising the bond and the structure.

Before heading to the store, check an online buying guide to find the right match for the project you’re doing. Odds are there’s a specific caulk just for it.

#7 Over-Sealing Countertops

Take care of your countertop, but don’t smother the darn thing.

Applying sealant too frequently can create a cloudy or streaky appearance on surfaces like natural stone, concrete, butcher block, and glass, which typically only require occasional resealing to resist stains. (Quartz, laminates, and solid surfaces like Corian are best left sans-sealer.)

How to know it’s time to reseal? Drip some water on a high-use area of the countertop. If the water doesn’t remain beaded after 15 minutes, consider resealing.

But always defer to your manufacturer’s recommendations. Different materials can have different needs.

#8 Over-Mulching

Nothing feels closer to giving your home a hug than being elbow deep in a landscaping project. But when it comes to mulch (which is so great, for so many reasons), it turns out elbow deep is a little too much love.

A layer thicker than 3 inches can suffocate plants and prevent water from reaching roots, so spread thoughtfully.

#9 Piling Firewood Next to Your Exterior Wall

Your fireplace is the highlight of your home. You love it. That’s why you keep your firewood right outside the back door, for easy access.

Oops. Storing firewood against your home’s exterior walls is akin to opening a B&B for termites.

In fact, “anything that creates a dark, climate-controlled area near the house will invite termites” and other pests into your home, Markanich says.

In one of the worst termite cases he’s seen, he found an enormous termite colony on an exterior wall in a bathroom, which got its foothold in a pile of bricks outside.

Twenty feet is a safe distance from home for firewood — and still not too far to go to fuel your awesome fireplace.

Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this.  Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the National Association of Realtors®.

Posted in Real Estate News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mortgage Rates Push Above 4% Average

Daily Real Estate News | Friday, July 14, 2017

Average mortgage rates are moving up, posting increases for the second consecutive week.

“After fully absorbing the sharp increases in Treasury yields over the past couple of weeks, the 30-year mortgage rate has cleared the psychologically important 4 percent mark for the first time since May,” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending July 13:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.03 percent, with an average 0.5 point, increasing from last week’s 3.96 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.42 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.29 percent, with an average 0.5 point, increasing from last week’s 3.22 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.72 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.28 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 3.21 percent average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.76 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

 

Posted in Mortage/ Finance News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

84% of Americans See Homeownership as Good Investment

 WASHINGTON (July 12, 2017) — According to the National Association of Realtors®’ 2017 National Housing Pulse Survey, concerns over housing affordability show clear demographic divides especially among unmarried and non-white Americans. More than five out of 10 unmarried and non-white Americans view the lack of available affordable housing as a big problem, compared to only 40 percent of married and white Americans.

The survey, www.nar.realtor/reports/housing-pulse-surveys, measures consumers’ attitudes and concerns about housing issues in the nation’s 25 largest metropolitan statistical areas and found that 84 percent of Americans now believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision – the highest number since 2007. Yet six in 10 said that they are concerned about affordability and the rising cost of buying a home or renting in their area. Housing affordability was ranked fourth in the top-five issues Americans face in their area behind the lack of affordable health care; low wages and debt making it hard to save; and heroin and opioid drug abuse, and ahead of job layoffs and employment.

Nationally, 44 percent of respondents categorized the lack of available affordable housing as a very big or fairly big problem. In the top 25 densest markets, more than half see the lack of affordable housing as a big problem, an increase of 11 percentage points from the 2015 National Housing Pulse Survey. Low-income Americans, renters and young women most acutely feel the housing pinch. There is also greater concern about affordable housing among the working class (65 percent) than for public servants such as teachers, firefighters or police (55 percent).

“Despite the growing concern over affordable housing, this survey makes it clear that a strong majority still believe in homeownership and aspire to own a home of their own. Building equity, wanting a stable and safe environment, and having the freedom to choose their neighborhood remain the top reasons to own a home,” says NAR president William E. Brown, a second-generation Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties.

Eight out of 10 believe that the most important financial reason to own a home is that the money spent on housing goes towards building equity rather than to a property owner. Paying off a mortgage and owning a home by the time you retire is the next most important financial reason for buying a home followed by ownership being a good investment opportunity to build long-term wealth and increase net worth.

When asked about the amount of down payment needed for a mortgage, four in 10 respondents believe that a down payment of 15 percent or more is necessary. Seventy percent feel that a reasonable down payment should be 10 percent or less, according to the survey. Misperceptions about higher down payment requirements were most prevalent in bigger cities and by older adults.

Apparent confusion about down payment requirements most likely added to non-owners concerns about affordability. NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found that the median down payment for first-time buyers has been 6 percent for three straight years and 14 percent for repeat buyers in three of the past four years.

Over 50 percent of respondents strongly agree that homeownership helps build safe and secure neighborhoods and provides a stable and safe environment for children and family members.

The survey also found that four in 10 Americans say paying their rent or mortgage is a strain on their budget. Those most likely to say their mortgage is a strain have incomes under $60,000, are residents of New York City or the Pacific coast, are under the age of 50 and non-white. Just over half, 51 percent, of respondents said they were willing to strain their budget for a better living environment and would pick a neighborhood with better schools and job opportunities even if housing prices are a bigger strain on their budget. Those most willing to strain their budget are disproportionately married, upper income and living in the suburbs. Overspending on homes is more prevalent in Northeastern cities (36 percent), the Mountain West (34 percent) and the Pacific coast (33 percent).

The 2017 National Housing Pulse Survey is conducted by American Strategies and Myers Research & Strategic Services for NAR’s Housing Opportunity Program, which aims to position, educate and help Realtors® promote housing opportunities in their community, in both the rental and homeownership sectors of the market. The telephone survey polled 1,500 adults nationwide and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

 

 

Posted in Real Estate News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment