divider

Fournier Law Blog

Intelligent legal insight from our team of experienced attorneys.

separator


How Is Economic News Affecting Home Buyer’s Decisions?

/ 0 Comments

With news of rising interest rates and a possible recession on the horizon, it might seem the real estate market could expect prospective home buyers to back off their search and wait for a better time to buy a home.  However, according to Realtor.com, a new survey reveals that there are still many who plan to buy a home despite the current economic news.

The article summarizing this survey, published in Realtor.com, states, “… nearly 46% of would-be house buyers polled said they’re planning to go ahead and purchase a home in the next six months, even though recession fears are weighing on prospective buyers. That’s higher than the share of buyers who planned to buy in July 2019.”

Coming out of a red hot seller’s market, some of these would-be home buyers are feeling relief from soaring competition for homes over the summer.  Additionally, these home buyers are looking to purchase homes in smaller or rural towns, offering better affordability.  Overall, the median price of homes in the U.S. dropped $15,000 since June 2022. House hunters may, therefore, have a chance to find a home within their budget.

Of course, some buyers will still face challenges, such as credit score issues impeding the mortgage application process, finding homes within their budget and still, possibly, being outbid on their dream home.

Read the entire article.

Learn More
separator


This Autumn Might Be the Best Time to Sell and Buy a Home

/ 0 Comments

With the summer of 2022 officially over, homeowners and prospective homeowners may feel it is too late to sell or buy a house.  However, as mentioned in a recent article published by Realtor.com, “…the good news for buyers is that fall is typically the best time to buy a home—and this autumn is shaping up to be better than usual with a bumper crop of homes on the market with a longer shelf life than they’ve had in the past.”  Instead of the real estate market being defined specifically as a “buyers’ market” or “sellers’ market”, experts believe that both sides of the real estate transaction will be in great positioning.

The price of homes continues to rise and homeowners recognize that they have significant equity in their home, at these prices, and realize this is a great time to cash in.  However, the price increases are slowing a bit, offering some relief to those looking to buy home.   Additionally, prospective home buyers are seeing more homes for sale and more time on the market, reducing the frantic rush to put an offer in on a home before multiple offers are received.

Mortgage rates have continued to increase, up to 5.89% as of the beginning of September.  The higher prices coupled with rising rates is causing some would-be home buyers to attempt some negotiations and request concessions, despite the appearances of it being still a sellers’ market.  And, sellers seem to understand that they can still walk away with significant gains.  Simply stated, the article concludes, “In other words, buyers are driving a harder bargain than they could have during the raging sellers’ market of the past. And thanks to those high home prices, sellers who give a little still stand to gain a lot, creating that rare, beautiful possibility of a win-win scenario for all.” 

Read the entire article.

Learn More
separator


When Will Increases in Home Prices Ease?

/ 0 Comments

Real Estate and Mortgage professionals, as well as home buyers and sellers, are watching mortgage rates and home prices trying to determine what may be in store for the real estate market.  Sellers are trying to determine if it’s the right time to sell and buyers are deciding whether or not they can or should buy a home now. 

Mortgage rates have begun to climb, but according to an article published by Yahoo!Money, they remained steady in recent weeks.  However, rates are still 2.5 percentage points higher than the beginning of 2022.  These increases have not only caused some would-be home buyers to take pause, but even buyers looking to refinance are dwindling.

Unfortunately, the article indicates, “According to Erin Sykes, chief economist for Nest Seekers International, home buyers won’t see a reprieve in housing costs anytime soon as the Fed is expected to continue hiking interest rates to combat inflation.”  Although home prices won’t begin to settle down for several months, now may be the best time for home buyers to finalize their purchase in order to lock in a low rate.

Buyers that decide to hold off may still feel the pinch with the cost of renting increasing; rental price medians at $2000 a month.  These large monthly payments make it difficult for hopeful homeowners to begin saving money for their down payment.

However, the housing inventory seems to be making some gains with listings increasing by almost 20% last month.  Experts believe the increased inventory may allow home owners to “trade up” and increase the number of available entry level homes for first time home buyers.

Read the entire article

Learn More
separator


Will Inflation and Rising Mortgage Rates Cause Home Price Growth to Slow?

/ 0 Comments

“Supported by near-zero borrowing costs and a rush by existing homeowners to find more space, average U.S. house prices have soared by over one-third since the pandemic started,” according an article published by Yahoo! Finance. This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to any Americans who have been house hunting over the past several months and years.  With rising inflation costs and continued increases in mortgage rates, may experts are speculating what may be in store for home prices.

A poll of almost 30 property analysts revealed that Americans can expect to see home prices continue to increase by just over 10% in 2022.  Further, home prices are predicted to slow below increases of only 5% in the following year and again in 2024.  Reporters Indradip Ghosh and Prerana Bhat quote Brad Hunter, head of consultancy Hunter Housing Economics, “The rise in home prices has been staggering, and we do expect a significant slowdown going forward, particularly in the wake of a near-doubling of mortgage rates”.

Despite the slowing of home price growth, which is currently at a pace of 20% increase, affordability is predicted to still be an issue for many, specifically first time home buyers.  The rate of inflation, rising mortgages rates and, although declining, the steady continued rise in home prices are huge stumbling blocks for those looking to become home owners.  In fact, almost all of the 29 analysts polled predicted overall affordability will worsen over the next two years. 

Read the entire article.

Photo Credit: Mohd Azrin

Learn More
separator


House Hunting Stress and Anxiety on the Rise

/ 0 Comments

The idea of buying a new home is exciting as buyers begin to dream and envision themselves in the home of their dreams, beginning a new chapter of their lives.  However, the current state of the real estate market is causing some prospective homeowners to feel less excited, and more overwhelmed and stressed.  The process of scouring listings, trying to outbid other buyers while watching prices and rates rise is creating anxiety in some buyers. 

In a recent article published by Money.com, reporter Aly J. Yale states, “Andrea Anderson Polk, a licensed professional counselor in Northern Virginia, has even seen health issues arise due to housing stress. Her clients have experienced sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, chronic fatigue and more. Relationship problems are a common theme too.”

The article goes on to details ways homeowners can adjust their thinking and prepare for the process of searching for a home in order to make it less stressful.  For example, its suggested buyers set realistic expectations about the process to avoid disappointment or frustration.  Additionally, deciding to work with a good agent will help reduce stress because the agent can set expectations and guide the buyer through the process. Among one of the most important suggestions, buyers should pay attention to their mental health.  A therapist quoted in the article suggests, “Monitor your current mindset throughout the day and identify negative thinking patterns by avoiding ‘what if’ statements and imagining worst-case scenarios”. 

Read the entire article.

Learn More
separator


Will Home Prices Drop with the Rise in Rates?

/ 0 Comments

The 2021 real estate market was defined by low supply, low mortgage rate and high demand.  These factors set home values soaring month after month.  Now that the spring market of 2022 is in full swing, the news of rising mortgages rates leaves real estate buyers, sellers and professionals wondering how home prices may be impacted.

In an article published by MarketWatch.com, industry experts were asked just this question.  The predictions varied slightly, but a common theme emerged.  According to the reporter, Alisa Wolfson, one expert believes that the continued shortage in the supply of homes will be a factor in the continued rise in home prices.  Another opinion, with regards to rising mortgage rates, indicates that almost 30% of purchases are cash transactions, so rates don’t affect these buyers, so demand will continue to be high.  Further, experts believe that, even buyers that need to secure a mortgage have a sense of urgency to purchase a home.  These buyers may readjust their budget based on the increased rates, but will continue to search for and purchase homes.

It would appear that many experts agree, the data and trends support the belief that the real estate market will continue to see high demand and, therefore, rising home prices. The rise may cool off a bit but its highly unlikely prices will see drastic decreases.

Read the entire article.

Learn More
separator


Good News on Horizon for First Time Home Buyers?

/ 0 Comments

For the past several months, the news about the U.S. Housing market has repeated a very similar message month after month- high demand and low supply is driving up home prices.  In fact, the average annual home appreciation rate was recorded at 19.2% in January 2022, a record high increase.

In an article published by Fortune.com, it is stated that the number of mortgage applications recently decreased a bit, most likely in response to an increase in mortgage rates. Nevertheless, it isn’t anticipated that this will result in a significant decrease in demand for houses.  Reporter, Will Daniel, states, “After all, in March, active home listings in the U.S. were down roughly 18.6% compared to a year ago. And the U.S housing market is facing a shortage of nearly 6 million new single-family homes.”  It will take a bit more time for the housing market to balance out.

However, home buyers should remain optimistic.  Realtor.com surveyed prospective home sellers and reported that 64% of these home owners anticipate listing their home for sale within the 2022 calendar year.  The survey also might give the first time home buyers, who have largely been priced out of the market, a glimmer of hope. More than half of the homeowners who indicated they would be listing their home plan to list below $500,000, which some may consider “relatively affordable”. 

Those waiting for new construction homes may have to continue to be patient.  “We’re at the lowest level of inventory on record back at least 23 years,“ according to Redfin’s deputy chief economist Taylor Marr. “So housing starts are not quite making that large of a dent in terms of the inventory shortage just yet.”

Read the entire article.

Photo Credit: Tierra Mallorca

Learn More
separator


Mortgage Rate Increases Continue

/ 0 Comments

Americans who have been paying attention to the housing market realize that prices have been steadily climbing over the past several months. The fact that the supply of homes on the market has not been able to keep up with the demand for homes isn’t helping control housing prices.  Now, those looking to purchase are now going to have to face increased mortgage rates as well.

Since at least 2018, mortgage rates have not exceed 5% for a 30 year mortgage.  In reality, the rates above 5% in 2018 didn’t last long.  Prior to that short lived stint above 5% in 2018, the 30 year mortgage has remained below 5% since 2011.  Mortgage rates have been slowly increasing over the past several weeks as the U.S. responds to inflation and the economic impact on a global level due to the crisis in the Ukraine.  The 30 year mortgage now finally surpassed 5% having jumped to 5.02%.  According to an article published by CNBC.com, rates one year ago were at 3.38%.

With news of the continued rate increased coupled with the steady climb of housing prices, which have been reported to be up 20%  since February 2021, buyers will feel the hit and many might just be priced out of some markets.

Read the entire article.

Learn More
separator


Will the FHA Introduce a 40 Year Mortgage?

/ 0 Comments

In many respects, the COVID-19 pandemic appears to moving optimistically toward its end, with many aspects of American’s life returning to more normal activities.  Nevertheless, some American homeowners who were severely impacted by the shutdowns, and were able to take advantage of the forbearance, are still climbing their way out of the financial challenges. 

As these homeowners exit forbearance, the Federal Housing Administration wants to help them navigate the next phase.  In an article published by HousingWire.com, information about an FHA program where an option to enter a 40 year loan modification with partial claim is described.  Reporter, Flavia Furlan Nunes states, “In September, the FHA posted a draft mortgage letter proposing a 40-year loan modification combined with a partial claim. The goal is to help borrowers reach the targeted reduction of 25% of the monthly principal and interest portion of their mortgage payments.”

It goes on to detail a proposal from Ginne Mae (Government National Mortgage Associate- GNMA), to introduce a 40 year mortgage.  Michael Drayne, Ginnie Mae acting executive vice president, explains, “We have begun the work to make this security product available because an extended term up to 40 years can be a powerful tool in reducing monthly payment obligations with the goal of home retention.” This offer would follow a loan modification term of 40 years already offered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Read the entire article for more information about the programs and how homeowners have fared in paying some of their mortgage payments during forbearance.

Learn More
separator


Home Values Expected to Outpace Original Forecasts

/ 0 Comments

As 2022 neared, real estate professionals began to forecast the housing market for the spring of 2022.  Many experts predicted that the drastic increase to home values that Americans saw during the height of the pandemic, would begin to slow down significantly.

Nevertheless, as March 2022 approaches, some real estate experts are adjusting their predictions.  In an article published on Nasdaq.com, Marc Rapport reports that, for example, the Zillow economists adjusted their initial prediction of a 11% increase in home values for 2022 to a predicted 16.4% increase.  The report prepared by Zillow explained, “The robust long-term outlook is driven by our expectations for tight market conditions to persist, with demand for housing exceeding the supply of available homes.”

Yet, some economists don’t see that type of growth happening again this year.  Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors chief economist, predicts growth around 3-5% for 2022, continuing through 2023. “The good news is that home prices should begin to normalize later in 2022 as more homes come on the market,” Yun said in Rapport’s article.

Of course factors such as inflation, home price increase and mortgage rates affect affordability of home for many Americans.  Even as home prices level out, these other economic factors will surely impact what the future holds for the real estate market.    Read the entire article.

Learn More
separator