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What Are Experts Predicting for the 2017 Real Estate Market?

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The end of 2016 is just a matter of weeks away and, just as we have come to expect this time of the year, real estate analysts have begun making predictions about what could be in store for the 2017 real estate market.  Many of these professionals and experts have similar expectations for the upcoming new year; some are based on anticipated changes that may be be ushered in as our new president takes office in January.

21523294814_04cbbd293f_oHousingwire.com journalist, Kelsey Ramirez, published a list of predictions made by Zillow.  Among the expectations for the 2017 real estate market that made this list: increased development of smaller homes located closer to urban areas with access to public transportation, an increased of number of millennials purchasing homes, an increase in the affordability of renting, and an increase in the cost of building homes.

Another Housingwire.com article written by Ben Lane details some predictions made by Redfin.  Lane indicates, “according to a new report from Redfin, homes will fly off the market in 2017, faster than any other year on record.”  Another prediction on the Redfin list is an expectation that the housing market growth will continue, but at a slower pace than we saw in 2016.  The company also predicts an increase in mortgage rates, yet do not expect a significant increase.

Read the entire article and find links to additional 2017 predictions.

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Homeowner Tax Breaks: Important Reminders and Potential Changes in 2017

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Most homeowners are aware, or at least should be aware, of tax breaks available to them via various homeowner tax laws.   The homeowner tax breaks are designed to make owning a home more appealing and, in many cases, more affordable to the home owner.

FotoFlexer_PhotoIn the article 2017 Mortgage Deduction: What Every Taxpayer Should Know published by FoxBusiness.com, the journalist details the types of tax breaks homeowners can take advantage of when filing their taxes each spring.   The most common, the mortgage interest deduction, journalist Dan Capinger describes by writing, “Homeowners can typically take the mortgage interest they pay for loans on their home and include it in their itemized deductions.” This can apply to the cost of buying or building your home; even major home improvements can qualify. The current restriction is that the principal balance falls below $1 million for tax payers that file jointly.

However, as the United States prepares to inaugurate president-elect Trump, changes to the mortgage interest deductions are anticipated.  During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump expressed interest in limiting itemized deductions to $200,000 for joint filer; subsequently resulting in a lower cap on mortgage interest deductions.

The potential changes aren’t expected to make any significant impact to most homeowners.  Therefore, homeowners should still look for many of these tax benefits to continue to be available, providing access to helpful tax cuts.

Read the entire article for additional details on tax laws available to homeowners.

 

 

Photo Credit:  Darren Shaw

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Court Ruling May Affect Business Practices for Dual Agents

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A recent ruling by the California Supreme Court might affect some real estate agents and their customers.   Specifically addressed in this court case are “dual agents” and the agent’s responsibility to serve the seller as well as the home buyer equally and ethically.

supreme-court-1-1224507In the case brought to the courts, a home buyer in California purchased a home in 2007.  The buyer’s real estate agent worked for the same real estate firm as the seller’s agent. Therefore, the real estate broker was, in fact, a dual agent in the real estate transaction.   It later came to light that the home’s square footage was actually significantly less than what was quoted on the flyer provided by the seller’s agent.    Based on evidence presented, the justices determined that the buyer’s agent “…breached his fiduciary duty by failing to communicate all of the material information he knew about the square footage.”

In an article published in OCRegister.com, the journalist, Marilyn Kalfus, describes how this ruling could affect both agents and consumers.   Specifically, some view this ruling a win for home buyers.  In essence, it will ensure home owners are provided thorough and detailed information about the home they plan on purchasing.    It doesn’t seem as though the ruling will end dual agent transactions, but it will require brokers to balance the communication they are providing to home buyers while protecting private information that may have been provided by the seller.

Read the entire article.

 

Photo Credit:  David Lat

 

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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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Time to Close, How Long Should You Expect to Wait?

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEarly on in 2016, the average time to close on a home mortgage loan had risen to an average of 50 days.  The delay was a direct result of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s  TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule which changed the type and complexity of loan information industry professionals had to pass on to borrowers.  Within the next few months, however, the time to close worked its way back down to a 12 month low of only 44 days.

Yet, the this figure has begun creeping back up again.  Ultimately, July 2016 Ellie Mae findings reported an average wait of 46 days.   According to an article published in HousingWire.com by Ben Lane, “…is this year’s increase in days to close just the industry fully settling into the post-TRID world and finally finding some semblance of normalcy, or is it more concerning than that? Only time will tell.”

The article goes on to provide additional figures from the Ellie Mae report.   For example, July 2016 closing rate for all loan rose to 71.6% and the 30-year mortgage rate reached its lowest since March 2015. For more details, read the entire article.

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July 2016 Real Estate Sales Data Released

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Real estate sales figures and activity for the month of July 2016 have been released.  Reports indicate July sales declined in comparison to both June 2016 and  last July.  In fact, sales were down in all but 4 of the major cities tracked in the study.

real estaeHowever, according to RE/MAX CEO and chairman of the board, it is important to note that, “After a June jump in home sales, it’s quite common to see July sales make a correction…”   He goes on to emphasize in an article published by National Mortgage Professional Magazine written by Phil Hall, that there are still a few months left in the “traditional home-buying season” and the summer real estate sales pattern often fluctuates month to month.

Despite the fact that overall sales were down, the median price dropped only 1.3 percent from June 2016 but is still up 4.7 percent from July 2015.   To add, the days on the market is down by a day from June 2016, and 4 days less than the figure from July 2015.

More good news to summarize the current state of the real estate market, overall prices are rising at a level consistent with historical average.  To see more details on the July 2016 real estate sales, read the entire article.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: myguysmoving.com

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Business Cards with Photos? Experts Weigh In.

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Many realtors make the choice to include a portrait of themselves on their business card.  Is it a good idea?  What are some words of advice for professionals who choose to put their photo on their business card?

According to an article published in The Wall Street Journal by Lettie Teague, California-based real-estate coach Tom Ferry tells his clients,  “If you choose to use your headshot on your business card and marketing, make sure it is up-to-date and resembles what you actually look like in real life.”

Other agents advise fellow real estate agents to be sure the photo on the card reflects their personality and the town they work in.  Whether that means keeping their portrait natural and casual in tone, having a photo taken outdoors in the town they represent, or utilizing a more formal but friendly theme.  The most important aspect of the photo is that it is a true representation of the agent.

An interesting note to consider with regards to portraits on business cards, based on results of a 2013 study of photography in real estate materials, Professor Sean Salter found, “everything else being equal, attractive agents are going to have an edge.”

Read the entire article.

 

 

Photo Credit:  Edwin Stemp

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Home Purchase and Closing Rates are Showing Improvement

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For the first time in the past nine months, mortgages for home purchases have accounted for more than 60 percent of all closed loans.  According to a report released by Ellie Mae, the rate of actually reached 62 percent in May.

Additionally, the rate of loans that closed improved to 70 percent.  Specifically, the rate of home purchase loans that closed was 75 percent, with the rate of refinancing closes lagging slightly at 67 percent.

The report also notes that home buyers who are financing their home purchase have seen an average of 45 days Keys and lock the door on the background of solar gardento close their loan, which is an increase of one day from last month.

The article published by REALTORMag on June 16, 2016 provides data from the Ellie Mae Report, and also discusses the percentage of home borrowers with “high” credit scores, which exceeded 80 percent for conventional loans.

Read the entire article for these details.

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