Last week’s economic news included releases on new and pre-owned home sales and weekly readings on average mortgage rates and new unemployment claims.
Pre-owned Home Sales Fall, Due to Dwindling Inventory
5.48 million pre-owned homes were sold on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. Analysts expected 5.45 million sales based on January’s reading of 5.69 million sales. Lagging supplies of listed homes continue to cause home prices to rise as buyers compete for fewer available homes. First time buyers represented only 32 percent of sales as compared to the normal reading of 40 percent. First-buyers represent new demand for homes and they are important to sales of existing homes that allow current homeowners to move up to larger homes.
The available supply of pre-owned homes was 6.40 percent lower in February than for February 2016. Real estate pros reported that as of February 2017. There was a 3.80 months’ supply of available homes as compared to the normal range of six-month supply.
Regional Results for Existing Home Sales
Existing home sales declined in three out of four regions tracked by the National Association of Realtors®. Sales of previously owned homes fell by 13.80 percent in the Northeastern region; the Midwestern region posted a 7.00 percent decline in sales. The Western region reported a 3.20 percent decrease in sales. The Southern region posted a 1.30 percent increase in existing home sales.
Sales of new homes rose in February; 592,000 homes were sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to expectations of 571,000 sales and 558,000 new home sales in January. Sales were 6.1 percent higher than for January and were 12.80 percent higher year-over-year. February’s reading was the highest in seven months
Analysts said that the national median price of a new home was $296,000 in February, this was 3.90 percent lower than January’s reading and 4.90 percent lower year-over-year.
Mortgage Rates Fall, New Jobless Claims Rise
Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by seven basis points to 4.23 percent. The rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was six basis points lower at 3.4 percent. The rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was four basis points lower at 3.24 percent on average. Discount points for fixed rate mortgages averaged 0.50 percent; discount points for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 0.40 percent. Lower mortgage rates stood in contrast to the Fed’s decision to raise the federal funds rate last week.
New jobless claims jumped last week with a reading of 258,000 new claims as compared to the prior week’s reading of 243,000 new claims and expectations of 240,000 new claims. While week-to-week readings for jobless claims are notoriously volatile, the four-week rolling average of new jobless claims was higher by 5000 new claims at 246,000 new claims.
This week’s economic news includes Case-Shiller Housing Market Index and pending home sales. Also scheduled are readings on inflation and consumer confidence. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.
The idea of paying off your student loans and buying a home at the same time can seem like an impossible feat given the impact on your Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratio. However, there are ways it’s possible to have enough funds and good enough credit to make your dream of home ownership come true a little more quickly. If you’re currently considering how to manage both, here are some options you might want to consider.
Decrease Your Debt
Lenders will be looking at your DTI ratio in order to determine whether or not you’re a solid financial bet, so before throwing yourself into the market, it can be a good idea to minimize your debt load. While this doesn’t mean paying off all of your student loans, try putting more down over a period of a few months so you have additional wiggle room. By making a budget plan that you can stick to, you’ll slowly eat away at the principal and have a little more room to invest when the time comes.
Add Another Income
You’re probably working pretty hard in your post-student life to make ends meet and pay off debt, but one of the best ways to pay off two loans is to bump up your income. Whether you decide to find something part-time on the weekend or hone one of your skills for freelance profit, a little bit of extra money each month can make a huge dent in the amount you owe in no time at all.
Consider A Starter Home
It’s entirely possible that you’ve got your eye on your ideal home, but if you’re dealing with student debt there’s a pretty good chance that the monthly payment will be unattainable. Instead of choosing a home that’s out of your league, make your dream of ownership come true by picking something that will be affordable month to month. While it might not be exactly the house you’re dreaming of, you’ll still be putting equity into something so you’ll have money to invest down the road.
It’s certainly not an easy feat to take on student loans and mortgage debt at the same time, but by improving your income and paying down as much as possible before investing, you may be able to do both at once.
Taking on the task of renovating your home can seem like an awful lot of work, but there are ways to do this that require a lot less energy and just a little bit of money. Whether you’re looking for an instant home revamp or are readying your home to sell, here are some ideas for how you can improve your bedroom in no time.
Make It Clutter Free
It might sound too simple, but just clearing away the extraneous stuff that can accrue in your bedroom will instantly improve the look of your space. Instead of doing it over time, set aside an afternoon to go through the excess and clean up extra receipts, junk left in the corner and any unpacked boxes. Cleaning up the stuff that’s been lingering may seem like a small step, but it will give way for what comes next.
A Coat Of Paint
While adding a coat of paint may seem like a lot of work for little reward, there are few things that will improve the appearance of a room like a shiny coat of paint. It may be tempting to go for a bright shade, but choose a neutral tone that will age well and can be complimented with bright accents from pillows or a colorful throw. Getting out the paint may seem like a big job at first, but it’s one of the best ways to upgrade the look of your bedroom.
Find A Unique Piece
It’s one thing to have a great coat of paint and a clutter-free space, but having a unique piece of furniture or a lighting fixture that you can call your own will add that special touch to your space. While there are plenty of options to go with, you may want to choose a vintage item like a claw-footed night table or an embellished chandelier that will instantly dress up a lackadaisical room. Instead of going with something expensive, choose something that you can dress up or re-paint for a modern effect.
It’s often the case that renovating your home or your bedroom can seem like an expensive project, but there are ways it can be done that are both economical and will add instant spark. If you’re currently renovating your home and are planning to put it on the market in the future, contact your local real estate professional for more information.
The most popular time of year to buy a home is in the spring, and this means that if you’re preparing yourself for getting into the real estate market, you may be experiencing a time crunch. If you’re wondering if you’ll be ready to put your home up for sale in time to take advantage of the season, here are few things you’ll want to think about.
Have You Cleaned Up And De-cluttered?
Spring is not only an optimal time to put your home up for sale, it’s also an ideal time for spring-cleaning! Instead of leaving all of the de-cluttering and clearing away to the time when you know you’ll be moving, get prepared by going through your stuff and discarding anything that you don’t want to move. This will not only make the packing up procedure more streamlined, it will also make the basic cleaning duties like vacuuming a dusting a little easier to carry out.
Are You Prepared To Move?
A home can sit on the market for a few weeks or months, and it can also sell on the first day, so you’ll want to have a game plan for moving beforehand. If you don’t yet have a place to stay, determine a plan for yourself and your family so that you can start looking for a home to invest in or at least rental property. You don’t want to lose out on a good offer by not being prepared, so make sure you know where you’re going before getting into the market.
Do You Know The Market Conditions?
Spring is certainly the most popular time to buy, but if your home isn’t priced right for the conditions of the market, it may linger longer than you’d expect. If you’re selling on your own, you may want to take a look at the MLS listings to determine what similar homes in similar areas are selling for. It can also be a great idea to utilize the services of a local real estate agent who will have background knowledge of the market and be able to do the tough negotiating for you.
With spring being the best time to sell, it’s important to de-clutter your house ahead of time and be aware of the market conditions you’ll be dealing with. If you’re about to put your home up for sale, contact your trusted real estate professionals for more information.
From making sure the exterior looks impeccable to touching up the paint, there are a lot of things that go into the kind of open house that will draw in potential buyers. You may not know, though, that the senses can have a significant impact on how people will perceive your home, and scent can be highly powerful. Instead of leaving your home sale up to a clutter free space and an elegant exterior, try out the following aromatherapy scents to make an even better impression.
The Calming Influence Of Lemon
There’s a reason that lemon is one of the most common scents when it comes to cleaning products, and it’s no different when it comes to harnessing the power of aromatherapy. Instead of cleaning the tabletops with a lemon-scented cleaner, however, test out a lemon scent as a way to naturally calm the system. Not only does it assist in boosting circulation, it will also serve as a calming influence if your buyers happen to be anxious or having an off day.
Greater Retention With Rosemary
Most people are familiar with the herb of rosemary when it comes to cooking or baking, but its lively scent can also have a positive impact when it comes to your open house. Because rosemary can improve memory retention and wake up the body, it can be perfect for helping viewers remember a lot of the little details of your home. It can also help to improve fatigue and aches, which can help home buyers feel at ease in your space.
A Peppermint Energy Boost
The scent of peppermint may be more common around the holiday season, but a small dose of it can actually have a positive impact on a person’s overall well-being. Since peppermint is an instantly invigorating scent, it can work to boost energy and help with a person’s ability to reason. For someone who’s an interested buyer, it may very well help them see the benefits of your home and come to a conclusion more quickly.
There are many ways to make your home appeal to home buyers, but adding an aromatherapy scent can go a long way in engaging the senses and truly enriching a viewer’s experience of your home. If you’re currently looking for staging tips and are getting prepared to put your home on the market, contact your local real estate professional for more information.
Last week’s economic readings included reports on inflation and core inflation, the National Association of Home Builders Association Housing Market Index and Federal Reserve FOMC statement and press conference by Fed Chair Janet Yellen. The Commerce Department released reports on housing starts and building permits issued.
Home Builder Confidence, Housing Starts Rise
The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index for March rose by six points to an index reading of 71. Builders said that subsequent readings may ease as builders continue to face shortages of lots and labor. The President said that he would work to reduce regulations affecting builders, which likely contributed to March’s increased confidence reading. Housing industry leaders continue to monitor builder confidence as it could signal increased development and building. Home sales figures have been held back due to lack of available homes and industry leaders repeatedly say that building new homes is the only way to release the bottleneck in single-family home sales.
High demand for homes has created rapid escalation in home prices in high-demand metro areas; this sidelines first-time and moderate income buyers.
Housing starts rose in February according to the Commerce Department. 1.288 million starts were reported on a seasonally adjusted annual basis; January’s reading was 1.288 housing starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Building permits issued were lower in February with 1.213 million permits issued as compared to 1.293 million permits issued in January.
Mortgage Rates, Federal Funds Rate Higher
Although Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of average mortgage rates was completed prior to the Fed’s decision to raise its federal funds rate, mortgage rates were higher. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose nine basis points to 4.30 percent. The average rate for a 15-year mortgage fixed rate mortgage was eight basis points higher at 3.50 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable mortgage rose five basis points to 3.28 percent.
After it’s meeting concluded Wednesday, The Federal Open Market Committee, which sets monetary policy for the Federal Reserve announced its decision to raise the target federal funds range from 0.50 to 0.75 percent to 0.75 to 1.00 percent. The post-meeting statement cited stronger economic conditions that advanced the Fed’s dual mandate of achieving maximum employment and stable pricing. Inflation was noted to be nearing the Fed’s mid to long range goal of 2.00 percent annually and the national unemployment rate has held steady in the past several months.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a press conference that the federal funds rate may be raised two more times in 2017, but the FOMC statement and Chair Yellen said that FOMC members base monetary policy decisions on current information relating to domestic and global economic developments.
Inflation grew by 0.10 percent in February as compared to January’s growth rate of 0.60 percent. The core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors. Rose by 0.20 percent as expected and was lower than January’s reading of 0.30 percent growth.
The idea of embarking on home renovations may strike many homeowners as an expensive one, but there are plenty of ways that you can easily upgrade your home without spending a lot of money. If you’re looking for improvements that will truly (and frugally) improve the value of your home, here are a few do-it-yourself options you may want to consider.
Change The Lighting
There are few small fixes that will improve the look of your home like lighting, so one of the best things you can do for the overall look of your house is change out some of your bulbs. Instead of going for a light that will look dingy or orange, choose a tone that’s not too bright but will still illuminate your rooms and highlight their best features naturally. Much like a coat of paint, the right light can change everything about the way a visitor will view your home.
Consider A Cabinet Makeover
One of the most outdated features in a kitchen is the kitchen cabinets, and it’s also one of the first things that a potential homebuyer will notice when they enter the room. Fortunately, installing new cabinets doesn’t have to be a huge job that involves a lot of time. Instead of getting a floor-to-ceiling makeover and a construction crew, consider upgrading the doors and hinges or picking a new color for a difference that will instantly improve the room.
Pull Out The Paint Brush
Painting may be one of the least popular household tasks because it takes so much time, but outside of lighting, few things will improve the look of your home like a new coat of paint. While it’s important to ensure that you stick with a relatively neutral shade so that it doesn’t overwhelm the viewer, it will easily upgrade the look of your home and hide any unsightly damage to the wall. It’s also a good idea to remember the front door since it’s the first thing homebuyers will notice!
The word ‘renovation’ often makes people see dollar signs, but it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to upgrade your home. By adding a new coat of paint or upgrading the lighting, you’ll be well on your way to a more modern look. If you’re currently renovating your home and are hoping to put it on the market soon, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.
According to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index for March, builder confidence in market conditions reached its highest level in 12 years and was six points higher than February’s index reading of 65.
Housing market index readings are based on three components. Builder confidence in current market conditions for new single family homes rose seven points to 78; builder confidence in market conditions for the next six months increased five points to an index reading of 78. Most surprising was the reading for buyer traffic in new housing developments, which eight points to 54 in March. Buyer traffic readings typically don’t exceed the benchmark reading of 50, which indicates neutral builder sentiment. Builder confidence in buyer traffic for March surpassed 50 only twice since the housing bubble era.
Housing Market Index Readings Expected to Moderate in Coming Months
Robert Dietz, Chief Economist for NAHB, said that Housing Market Index readings will probably be more moderate in coming months as builders continue to face obstacles. Builders cited rising costs for materials and ongoing shortages of labor and lots. On the upside, builders surveyed said that a less regulatory environment contributed to higher confidence readings.
While home builder confidence is higher, the connection between confidence and building more homes isn’t matched by housing starts. Builders also said that rising mortgage rates are a barrier to buying new homes. The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee raised the target federal funds rate to 0.75 to 1.00 percent on Wednesday; federal rate hikes typically influence private lenders to raise consumer rates including mortgage rates.
In a post-meeting statement, Fed officials said that the federal funds rate remains accommodative and will continue to sustain economic growth and the Fed’s goal for a long-run inflation rate of 2.00 percent. The Fed cited its dual mandate of achieving maximum employment and price stabilization as supporting its decision to raise rates, but stated that actual decisions to raise the federal funds rate are based on close readings and information about global and domestic economic developments; future decisions could be impacted by emerging economic factors.
If you’re familiar with the real estate market, you’ve likely heard the term ‘refinancing’ and may be wondering what this can mean for your mortgage and your financial well-being. While refinancing can be a great benefit for those who are looking for a lower interest rate or a different mortgage type, here are the details on what it can offer and whether or not it will work for you.
Acquiring A Lower Interest Rate
The most common reason people consider refinancing their home is to take advantage of a lowered interest rate. While it might seem like a minimal savings each month, a lower interest rate can add up to considerable savings over time and help you pay off your home loan more quickly. It’s just important to ensure that you’re aware of all the associated costs with refinancing before pursuing this option.
Limiting Your Loan Term
Refinancing also offers homeowners the opportunity to change the term of their loan, which can offer improved financial stability much sooner than expected. Many homeowners may avoid this option because it can bump up their monthly payment, but the difference in cost can be relatively insignificant while still offering financial freedom in less time.
Changing Your Mortgage Type
There are benefits and drawbacks of adjustable-rate and fixed-rate mortgages, and that’s why many people make the decision to refinance and opt out of their rate profile. While fixed-rate mortgages offer stability since you’ll know what you’re paying, an adjustable-rate will move with the market and can actually mean more savings at the end of the day. The option that will work best for you is dependent upon how comfortable you feel with the market.
Consolidating Your Debt
For homeowners who have a high debt load, refinancing can be a means of paying less in order to pay down debt at a more rapid rate. However, it’s important before choosing this option to determine a budget plan you can stick with, as refinancing to consolidate your debt does not necessarily mean you’ll be successful at paying it down. Ensure you weigh your options and potential savings carefully before making a decision.
Refinancing may seem like a good financial decision, but there are costs that go along with this mortgage option so it’s important to crunch the numbers to ensure it will work in your favor. If you’re currently considering refinancing, contact your trusted real estate professionals for more information.
If you’re trying to buy a new home, few things are more frustrating than a hot real estate market. When home prices are climbing fast it can feel like you’ll never be able to save enough for your down payment. In today’s post we’ll share a few ways that you can get in – even if you’re feeling priced out.
Start Smaller And Upgrade Later
If you’re a single professional or a young couple, it might be wise to start with a smaller starter home. While a townhouse or condo might not feel as large as a detached house, they are more affordable options. Starting small allows you to build equity in your home. This, plus your increased earning power as you work for longer, can open up more home options later.
Another benefit of starting small is that you’ll already have a home. If the local real estate market experiences a quick change, you won’t need to scramble. You can plan to buy a larger home – that ‘perfect’ house – when the time is right.
Bring In Family As Investors
Do you have family members who might be willing to provide a loan or financing? If so, start the conversation with them to see if they are willing to co-invest in your new home.
There are many ways to bring in family as investors when you buy. They can provide a straight loan of funds to increase your down payment. Or if they want to be less involved, they can co-sign your mortgage, which will allow you to borrow a larger amount. In many areas, a family member or investor can also be a legal co-owner of the house or the property it sits on.
Make Use Of Experienced Professionals
Finally, don’t forget to ask the local experts for more advice. Real estate agents and mortgage brokers are in-tune with the local market. They spend each day helping buyers like you with understanding their options. If you’re short on ideas, a real estate professional is a great place to start.
It can be tough to stay positive when you’re feeling priced out of the local real estate market. But with a little ingenuity and planning, you can get out of the rental market and into a great new home.