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How Has the U.S. Managed to Avoid Another Foreclosure Crisis?

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As the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread across the United States last spring and states announced shut downs, many Americans found themselves unemployed or underemployed.  As a result, the federal government took swift action to provide mortgage payment relief by allowing homeowners to enter forbearance.  A year later, as of March 2021, 2.5 million homeowners were still in forbearance, according to the Mortgage Bankers of America.

Realtor.com published an article, noting the opinions of experts who explain that, despite this alarming number of U.S. homeowners behind on payments, a potential foreclosure crisis is unlikely.  In the article, reporter Sharon Lurye explains, the current housing market conditions are likely to provide a safety net for many of homeowners.  Houses, in many parts of the United States, continue to be in high demand and the inventory remains low.  Coupled with low interest rates, homeowners behind on payments, possible nearing the end of their forbearance, could still decide to sell the home for a profit. Additionally, as Americans getting their footing and learn to adjust to the current conditions, forbearance rates dropping nationwide.

Nevertheless, there are still areas of the country where homeowners are not only seriously behind on payments, but the housing market is not as strong due to weak economies and lack of employment.  These homeowners will continue to need assistance by reaching out to their lender with the hopes of renegotiating the terms of their loan in a way that makes it feasible to make the payments.  Still, some may decide to just sell and move to a rental property, assuming they can find a property to rend. 

The good news, it seems that the U.S. isn’t headed toward a wide-spread foreclosure crisis, however there are Americans that continue to struggle and may for months and years to come.

Read the entire article.

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Tips for Selling a Home During the Winter of 2021

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The next few winter months are looking to be a pretty optimal time to sell a home.  The mortgage rates continue to remain very low, demand for homes is high and there continues to be a drop in inventory compared to inventory a year ago.  Chief economist at the National Association of Realtors®, Lawrence Yun proclaimed, “It will be one of the best winter sales years ever.”

Nevertheless, selling a home during a world-wide pandemic can offer challenges and sellers are still looking for ways to sell safely and for top dollar.  An article published by Realtor.com, reported Erica Sweeney, has detailed some tips for homeowners selling homes over the next few months.

From a safety perspective, it is important to have a virtual tour available on the listing.  This will allow shoppers to view the home online to get a better sense of the home layout and features.  Doing this will help to keep the number of in-person showings to a minimum.  When in-person showings are scheduled, masks and social distancing should be encouraged and larger time gaps between showings will help ensure the safety of all visitors.  Once the prospective home buyers and agents have left the house, sanitizing all high touch surfaces will keep the home clean for the residents of the home.

Sweeney also gave tips of preparing and pricing a home.  She reports, ‘According to a realtor.com report, the national median home listing price jumped 13.4% in December compared with last year, reaching $340,000, and price per square foot rose 15.9%.’  Sellers and their agents should ensure that they are pricing the house to align with the current market pricing.  To add, highlighting upgrades and updates that buyers won’t have to worry about upon moving in during the winter months as well as features that accommodate work from home and e-learning from home will appeal to buyers that are in the midst of spending more time than normal at home.

Read the entire article.

Photo Credit: Nathan Walker

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What Do Experts Predict for the 2021 Housing Market?

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As the new year rolled in, many have reflected on a year of unexpected and historic events and how they impacted many aspects of the lives of Americans.  The real estate market had its share of ups and downs as Americans adjusted to new realities of shutdowns, spending more time at home, and mortgage rates that continue to remain exceptionally low.  It leaves many real estate professionals and American homeowners and would-be home owners trying to predict what 2021 could possibly have in store for them.

In a piece published by Norada Real Estate Investments, written by Marco Santarelli, many questions for the future of the market in 2021 are posed and explanations and predictions are provided.  The article addresses questions Americans might have about a potential affordability crisis, if the value of homes will continue to rise, what the trends in new home construction might be and whether or not a housing market crash is predicted in 2021.

Santarelli indicates, “While we still face economic and health challenges ahead, it is no doubt that the nation will continue to recover from this pandemic and an improving economy will continue to prop up the housing market competition. Industry experts believe the housing market will remain strong and is set to break more records in 2021.”  He describes how it continues to be a seller’s market and a continued rise in home prices could lead to affordability issues.

To add, some experts, such as Zillow Economic Research, predict that home values will, in fact, continue to increase.  Some predictions call for a 3.6% increase over the next three months and appreciate of home value by up to 10% through the end of 2021. 

As the demands for houses continues to outpace the availability, new home construction attempts to fill the gap.  However, according to the article, “Land and material availability and a persistent skilled labor shortage will continue to place upward pressure on construction costs resulting in limited housing supply.”

Read the entire article for more predictions for 2021.

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Real Estate Experts Provide Advice for Investors

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Real Estate is a popular investment vehicle for American investors.  In fact, 89% of investors put their money into real estate, according to a report by Better Homes and Garden Real Estate.  In a recent article published by Forbes, real estate experts provide reminders and warnings regarding real estate investments in order to help insure a profitable investment.

One real estate professional, Lee Kiser, reminds investors to study the real estate taxes of a property before making the purchase.  Its important to understand what the upcoming tax liability may be down the road, and a real estate tax professional may be able to help an investor prepare accordingly.

Shelling out the money for a professional inspection and appraisal might not be top of the list for investors, but according to Angela Yaun of the Day Realty Group, it may help save more money for the investor later.  The investor may be able to get items covered under a home warranty if they are proven to be functioning at the time of the inspection.  It can also make the buyer aware of repair expenses they should plan for later.  A professional appraisal will provide the most accurate square footage and appraised value, important facts to have on hand when the investor is looking to sell their property.

The article goes on to detail the importance of understanding Home Owners Association restrictions, obtaining a Master Land Use plan for the area surrounding the property, and getting accurate and professional estimates for repairs, holding costs and closing costs.

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Photo Credit: Antonio Carlos Cascatrina

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Low Inventory is Concerning Real Estate Professionals

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The low inventory of homes for sale is causing some real estate companies to panic a bit.  The number of homes for sale March 2017 compared to March 2016 fell seven percent according to the National Association of Realtors.  In an article published by CNBC by Dian Olick, she quotes Glenn Kelman, CEO of Seattle-based Redfin, a real estate firm, “”The inventory is reaching historic lows. It’s never declined faster than it did last month. It’s freaking us out — it’s affecting our business; it’s limiting our sales.”  

The cause of this low inventory issue can be attributed to a few factors.  To begin, many homeowners are deciding to become landlords.  Instead of selling a home when moving on, homeowners are holding on to their home and renting it out.  Another reason is new home construction is declining.  On average, home builders are building about 18 percent fewer homes than the historic average.

The good news for home owners looking to sell, homes are selling quickly and some are even selling above list price.  Homes in April 2016 went under contract in 50 days, as of April 2017, that number decreased to 40 days.

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There are Twice as Many Vacant Foreclosures in the Chicago Area This Year, Find Out Why

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“A strong seller’s market along with political pressure has likely motivated lenders to complete the foreclosure process over the past year on many vacant properties that were lingering in foreclosure limbo for years,” Attom Senior Vice President Daren Blomquist said in a statement.3993310255_273389be94_o

As a result, the number of vacant bank-owned properties in the Chicago-land area has almost doubled since the third quarter of 2015; the number has increased from 1,245 in the third quarter of 2015 to 2,379 by the end of the second quarter of 2016.  The good news is, with an average market time of 92 days in the Chicago-land area, these foreclosures may not remain vacant for long.

According to an article written by Dennis Rodkin, published by Crain’s Chicago Business, another effect of the strong sellers’ market is a significant decrease in the number of “zombie foreclosures”.  Instead of delaying the foreclosure process longer, the banks are moving forward with seizing the property, and moving it through the pipeline.  Ultimately, a vacant foreclosure is more desirable than a zombie foreclosure.  “Assuming that the foreclosing lenders are maintaining these properties and paying the property taxes, they pose less of a threat to neighborhood quality than zombie foreclosures,” he said.

Read the entire article.

 

Photo Credit: BasicGov

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What’s in Store for Real Estate in the Second Half of 2016?

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house-question-1-1583653Thus far in 2016, the real estate market has seen mortgage rates hovering near record lows, increased home values and significant demand.  Also true of the market in the first half of 2016, a low inventory of homes for sale.

It is predicted that this low inventory will continue to be an issue for the rest of 2016.  Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at real estate data firm Trulia indicated, “That has been the biggest story in the last six months and it will continue to be a story for the rest of the year.”   The number of both existing homes for sale and new construction homes being built is, and will likely continue to remain, lower than the demand for these homes.

The good news is, mortgage rates are around 3.6 percent and there is no indication that they will be increasing significantly the second half of 2016.  In fact, some experts expect mortgage rates could reach all-time lows as a result of global economic factors.

Because of the enticing mortgage rates being offered, coupled with the supply and demand factors, home buyers can expect to pay close to asking price for a home they wish to purchase and should be prepared to act fast.  According to an article written by Samantha Sharf and by published by Forbes, “The typical home is selling in just 42 days…” and buyers are paying an average of 95.3% of asking price.

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Positive News about “Distressed” Home Sales

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FotoFlexer_PhotoForeclosures on homes in many U.S. cities lead to investors purchasing these “distressed” homes at deeply discounted prices.  Consequently, the value of the other homes in these cities declined as well.

However, some good news has been released about this sector of the real estate market.   According to an article published in DSNews.com by Brian Honea, there has recently been a decline in the number of distressed homes for sale.  More specifically, as of May 2016, the number of distressed homes for sale decreased by 4 percent over the year.  The lower inventory of foreclosed, REO and short sale homes has helped increase the demand for homes and, subsequently, increased the home values in those areas.

Honea quotes CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft,  “Overall, the homes-for-sale inventory remains relatively lean, while demand to buy homes has increased because of an improving labor market, more optimistic levels of consumer confidence, and continuing low mortgage rates.”

To learn more, read the entire article.

 

Photo Credit:  Taber Andrew Bain

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Existing-Home Sales Continue to Rise

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According to an article published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the sale of existing homes nationwide has increased 6 percent since April 2015.  Additionally, the median home price for existing homes is up 6.3 percent since last April.   Although the total housing inventory is showing some upward movement, it is still lower than it was a year ago.FotoFlexer_Photo

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, indicated “The temporary relief from mortgage rates currently near three-year lows has helped preserve housing affordability this spring, but there’s growing concern a number of buyers will be unable to find homes at affordable prices if wages don’t rise and price growth doesn’t slow.”

The supply of entry and mid-priced homes is still low and the market for these homes will likely be the most competitive in the coming summer months.  However, proposed changes to FHA condo rules could eliminate some of the obstacles that stifle condo sales.  These changes would allow more first time home buyers an opportunity to purchase a condo and enter the real estate market.

For more information, read the entire article.

 

Photo Credit: Marcel Suliman

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The Impact of Millennials on the Real Estate Market

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for-rent-sign-2-1147396It had been predicted that the Millennial Generation (18-34 year olds), would be key to a healthy rebound in the real estate market.  However, based on new survey data released by Redfin, they might actually be responsible for the low inventory of homes for sale.

Millennials are, for the most part, more optimistic about the housing market.   They have not seen home mortgage rates over 5 percent and have been able to build more equity than home owners of older generations.  Additionally, they are confident they will see an increase in home values over the next year.

Therefore, according to the survey, millennials are more apt to rent out their home instead of selling their starter home.  As a result, the supply of homes for sale will continue to remain low.  A recent article on DSNews.com by Brian Honea indicates “…28 percent of millennials plan to rent out their house instead of selling it, compared to only 4 percent of homeowners ages 55 and older.”

For more information, read the entire article 

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