U.S. Home Values Are Rising at Their Fastest Pace in 12 Years

National home values have increased 8.7 percent since last April to a median value of $215,600, according to Zillow.

The rise in home prices has allowed more people to take cash-out of the homes when they refinance. Refinancing, where the home owner took additional cash out, rose to 61 percent in the first quarter — the highest rate seen since the third quarter of 2008, according to FHFA data.

The pace of appreciation seen by Zillow is the fastest since June 2006, when home values were rising nine percent annually.

San Jose home values appreciated 26 percent year-over-year. Las Vegas, Seattle, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Francisco, Tampa, Atlanta, Charlotte and Orlando all saw double digit a growth.

“The spring home shopping season has been a perfect storm of strong demand and tight supply,” said Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas. “Sluggish new construction has exacerbated the supply situation and homes that are hitting the market, are moving very quickly once they do. Americans are also in a spending mood, boosted by recent tax cuts and rising wages.”

In 21 of the 35 largest housing markets, home values have surpassed levels reached during the height of the housing boom over a decade ago.

source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-24/u-s-home-values-are-rising-at-their-fastest-pace-in-12-years?utm_source=yahoo&utm_medium=bd&utm_campaign=headline&cmpId=yhoo.headline&yptr=yahoo

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US sales of new homes slipped 1.5 percent in April

US sales of new homes slipped 1.5 percent in April

FILE- This May 4, 2018, file photo shows a house is under construction in Roseville, Calif. On Wednesday, May 23, the Commerce Department reports on sales of new homes in April. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of new U.S. homes fell 1.5 percent in April, held down by a shortage of affordable houses in the most desirable areas and sharp pullback in purchases in the western United States.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that new homes sold last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 662,000. Despite the setback, new-home sales so far this year are 8.4 percent higher than in 2017.

A solid job market and a shortage of existing homes for sale have led more people into the new home market, even though they are generally more expensive than existing homes. Sales last month occurred disproportionately at the higher end, where profit margins are often greater for builders.

Momentum in the U.S. housing market has overcome even a supply shortage because mortgage rates remain near historic lows. But average mortgage rates have been climbing in tandem with higher rates throughout the economy, reaching a seven-year high of 4.61 percent on a 30-year loan, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.

In April, new-home sales tumbled 7.9 percent in the West and were essentially unchanged in the Midwest and South. Sales improved 11.1 percent in the Northeast. The new-home sales figures are often volatile on a monthly basis and are often revised.

The median sales price of a new home rose 0.4 percent from a year ago, to $312,400. But that masks a broader change last month, which was more sales at luxury prices levels.

Ten percent of new homes purchased in April cost more than $750,000 — twice the percentage of homes bought last year in that range. As a result, the average price of a new home in April shot up 11.3 percent from a year ago, to $407,300.

source: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/us-sales-homes-slipped-1-140457520.html

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US sales of new homes shot up 4 percent in March

Sales of new U.S. homes jumped 4 percent in March, propelled by a surge of buying in the West.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that sales last month were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 694,000. The two prior months had their sales revised upward with the annual rate being 667,000 in February and 644,000 in January. For the first three months of 2018, sales are running 10.3 percent higher than a year ago.

Homebuyers are snapping up newly built houses as the economic outlook has continued to improve in recent months. Nor have the gains been derailed so far by 30-year mortgage rates climbing to their highest averages since early 2014.

Still, the solid sales growth for new homes also shows that many would-be buyers can’t find existing homes that are available to purchase. Listings for existing homes sank to the lowest levels on record for March, the National Association of Realtors reported on Monday.

New homes tend to cost more than older properties. The median sales price of a new home rose 4.8 percent from a year ago to $337,200, a nearly $87,000 premium on the median cost of an existing home.

Prices for a new home are increasingly concentrated at higher price points. In 2016, 53 percent of new homes cost more than $300,000. That figure climbed to 60 percent for new homes sold in March.

The March increase was driven almost entirely by a 28.3 percent leap in sales in the West. New-home purchases rose slightly in the South, fell in the Midwest and plunged in the Northeast. The new home sales report can be volatile on a monthly basis, causing the numbers to be revised later.

source: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/04/24/us-sales-new-homes-shot-up-4-percent-in-march.html

Freshen up your home for spring with these 7 steps

Whether it’s obvious by the weather, spring has sprung. As temperatures thaw, it’s also the perfect time to tackle those home improvement projects you’ve been putting off.

Lacking direction or don’t know where to start? These seven steps will help start your spring with a fresher home inside and out.

1. Install new house numbers  

Though they’re a small detail, house numbers can increase your home’s charm. A prime first impression for new visitors, your house numbers will be the first thing guests seek out when navigating to your address. So keep them fresh to boost your house’s curb appeal.

2. Paint your front door

Residential Front Door Of A Georgian House In Dublin

The front door can be your home’s most prominent first impression.  (iStock)

For those who glaze right over the house numbers, your front door will be a more prominent first impression. The centerpiece to your home, your front door can set the tone for the entire house. Bold colors are all the rage now. But regardless of the color, adding a layer of paint will make your whole home look freshened up. Learn how to paint your door here.

3. Deep clean

Shot of a handsome mature man and his daughter mopping the floors in their home as part of their spring cleaning

To get the deepest clean, follow steps like dishwashing vent covers, hosing down area rugs and using lots of baking soda.  (iStock)

You never realize how dirty something was until you see it clean. Deep cleaning your home can make your walls, floors and décor look brand new. To get the deepest clean possible, follow these steps from homehacks, like dishwashing vent covers, hosing down area rugs and using baking soda in more places than you ever thought you could.

4. Make the backyard your favorite escape

Quick fixes like oversized plants, DIY seating, an outdoor bar and a cohesive theme will transform your backyard from an extra grassy space to the perfect spot for both solitude and entertaining. These ideas from Lonny might spark your creativity.

5. Build a plant wall

Botanical living room with grey sofa, green pillows and bookcase

Give your home a wall of succulent boxes, framed moss or contemporary plant stands to usher in spring.  (iStock)

A vertical garden not only looks clean and modern, but also ups the air quality in your home. Whether you install succulent boxes, mount some framed moss or hang contemporary plant stands, the extra greenery will make your home instantly look alive and ready to usher in the season.

6. Paint ugly countertops

Can’t stand the look of laminate countertops? Before you shell out thousands of dollars for new ones, try a quick fix that will hold you over for a few years. With these step-by-step instructions, you can transform your laminate to look like woodstone or even granite.

7. Update hardware

Close up image depicting an antique oak cabinet with many drawers and many unique knobs of different colors and patterns. Room for copy space. Image taken on mobile device.

For a creative twist, try installing a statement knob or handle on a select cabinet door.  (iStock)

New kitchen and bathroom knobs are the easiest facelift a home can get. Spring offers the perfect chance to finally fix mismatched kitchen metals or update dated and worn-out handles and doorknobs. For a creative twist, try installing a statement knob or handle on a select cabinet or door.

RD Training Systems Is Coming to Orlando, Florida in April 2018

Rick Kurtz and RD Training Systems are bringing their real estate training to Orlando, Florida this coming April 2018.

ORLANDO FLORIDA,  — Rick Kurtz and RD Training Systems are bringing their real estate training to Orlando, Florida this coming April 2018. This groundbreaking real estate training is to help professional agents stay up-to-date and on the top of many competitors. This training will give the participants a lot of good tools that can help them become a thriving result. There are a lot of things to be expected during the meeting, including high power and minute-to-minute content-rich presentations. Rick Kurtz, the speaker, focuses on proven systems which are made by Realtors for Realtors.

This seminar will teach real agents how to run a real estate business.

If you would like to know how to come to this or any of our other events, please don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know.

Call us today at (844) 454-8787 or visit our website at http://rdtrainingsystems.com.

As real estate agents, we are constantly inundated with offers of training to improve upon our existing business plans from marketing to the service we provide. With all that we have to choose from, it can be a wild west of uncovering what will be of the most value and deliver us the most up to date and effective strategies. All of this while also anticipating what is next going to be at the forefront of the real estate industry.

Downsizing your home: How to determine if a smaller house is the right move

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PM Images | Getty Images

Tim and Tracey Kerin knew it was time to downsize soon after their grandson Maximus was born.

“We started to re-evaluate what’s important to us at this stage in life and decided that our health and family were more important than a larger home with a big backyard and pool,” says Tim, 58, who along with Tracey, 59, operate a commercial cleaning and construction business.

Last December, the Kerins packed up a two-story colonial replete with a beautifully landscaped garden in Damascus, Maryland, and moved to New Smyrna Beach, Florida, near their sons Justin, 35, and Jason, 33, and their families. And of course, they get to see Maximus, now 2. “We usually see Max a couple of times a week, and he spends one night every weekend, which we look forward to,” Tim says.

The Kerins are not alone in their quest for a simple life centered on happiness. According to a recent TD Ameritrade Survey, 42 percent of preretirees are likely to downsize if they haven’t done so already. Some 25 percent of respondents are moving to a warmer climate, and 17 percent are relocating closer to loved ones.

Another critical consideration is cost. “Retiring with a lower mortgage payment, property tax bill, smaller place to clean and maintain can be attractive,” says Dennis LaVoy, CFP of Telos Financial in Plymouth, Michigan.

Run the numbers

Before downsizing, homeowners should run the numbers to make sure it makes financial sense.

“Look at costs associated with selling the primary home, such as preparing the house for sale, agent’s commission, moving and buying a smaller home to get an idea of the fixed costs to relocate,” says Aaron Galileo, senior loan officer at Investors Home Mortgage in Howell, New Jersey.

Once a person decides to downsize, he or she must keep lifestyle in mind. “You need to save as much as you can for retirement to keep your lifestyle intact,” says Jeff White, a financial analyst at FitSmallBusiness.com. “If you can lower your monthly mortgage payment from $2,500 for the big home to $1,200 per month for a nice condo that fits you and your spouse, why not leap and invest the extra $1,300 into your retirement plan?”

Consider the space you need

The amount of space you have may also influence your decision to scale down. “If the kids have moved out and you’re an empty-nester, do you need all of that space?” asks Brian Graves, co-founder of Everything But the House, an online estate sale marketplace. He says factor in how much space you need based on your family dynamic and the frequency of out-of-town guests.

For some homeowners, maintaining a property, especially an older one, is no longer attractive. That was the case for Sean Dougherty, age 51, and his wife, Juliana V. Atinaja-Dougherty, 56. In February, they moved into a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment in Manhattan after living for more than 20 years in the 2,000-square-foot single-family ranch house in Clifton, New Jersey, where his wife grew up. “The house was run down in small, but noticeable ways, and we kind of lost the emotional energy to fix it up for sale, so we priced it to sell,” says Sean, a senior vice president at a public relations firm, and Juliana, an attorney. “Plus, we always wanted to move back to New York at some point, and having reached a point where we are more financially comfortable, it made sense.”

Factor in cost-of-living changes

Part of their decision was doing the math and figuring out they could afford to do it, especially given that the move to New York would increase their cost-of-living expenses substantially thanks to the rent they now pay. The other part was wanting to enjoy the entertainment and cultural experiences of big-city living.

“In my case, I wanted to do more in New York like seeing friends, taking in a Broadway show or going to a book reading without worrying about the frustrating commute back to New Jersey,” Sean says. Even still, they are happy with the move. “I put a ceiling on what we could afford, and I could still keep my job as my wife plans to retire soon,” Sean says.

His best advice for those thinking about downsizing: “Don’t wait too long. It’s easy to live in the status quo of your life, but then you deny yourself other experiences.”

source: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/09/downsizing-your-home-how-to-determine-if-a-smaller-house-is-the-right-move.html

 

Home Prices in 20 U.S. Cities Advance More Than Forecast

A limited number of properties for sale against a backdrop of steady demand helped keep home prices elevated in January, according to S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data released Tuesday.

HIGHLIGHTS OF HOME PRICES (JANUARY)

  • 20-city home-price index increased 6.4% y/y (est. 6.2%), after rising 6.3% y/y
  • National gauge of home prices rose 6.2% y/y
  • Seasonally adjusted 20-city index advanced 0.8% m/m (est. 0.6%)

Key Takeaways

Home prices continue to post solid gains across the country, with the largest advances occurring in the West. While demand is being spurred by robust job growth, inventory remains lean and is allowing sellers to raise asking prices. The number of previously owned houses on the market during the month was the lowest for any January in National Association of Realtors’ records back to 1999.

Higher property prices and mortgage rates near a four-year high, however, are putting a dent in affordability. New-home sales have declined for three straight months, according to government data released Friday, while first-time buyers of previously owned houses made up a smaller share of total purchases in February.

Economist Views

“The home price surge continues,” David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee, said in a statement. “Two factors supporting price increases are the low inventory of homes for sale and the low vacancy rate among owner-occupied housing.”

Other Details

  • All 20 cities in the index showed year-over-year gains, led by a 12.9 percent increase in Seattle and an 11.1 percent gain in Las Vegas
  • After seasonal adjustment, Seattle, San Francisco and Atlanta had the biggest month-over-month gains
  • Washington has the smallest month-over-month advance at 0.2 percent

 

source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-27/home-prices-in-20-u-s-cities-advance-more-than-forecast

 

US existing-home sales climbed 3% in February

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WASHINGTON — U.S. sales of existing homes rebounded in February after declining for the previous two months, a sign that many Americans are still looking to buy despite rising prices and a shrinking number of homes available on the market.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that sales rose 3% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.54 million. This increase after declining sales in January and December suggests that competition will be heated during the traditional spring home-buying season.

“The upward trend in home sales remains intact but there are headwinds in the way,” said Jennifer Lee, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.

The shortage of properties for sale is creating a challenge for would-be homebuyers. As sales listings have steadily declined, prices have been climbing at the same time as a stronger job market has elevated demand — and, also, competition — for purchasing homes. Higher mortgage rates this year might also cause even fewer people to list their homes for sale, which would make the current supply squeeze worse.

The median home sales price was $241,700 in February, a 5.9% increase over the past year.

Prices are climbing, in part, because the number of sales listings has dropped. The supply of homes for sale declined 8.1% from a year ago to 1.59 million.

In February, sales climbed in the South and West but fell in the Northeast and Midwest.

First-time buyers appear to face the greatest obstacles from the decline in listings, according to an analysis by the real estate company Trulia. Starter homes have seen the steepest price increases as well as sharp drops in inventory — and a greater proportion of them are fixer-uppers that require additional investment from buyers.

Mortgage rates have been rising after President Donald Trump signed tax cuts into law toward the end of last year. The average 30-year mortgage rate was 4.44% last week, up from an average as low as 3.78% in early September, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.

Real estate experts warn that higher rates could prompt more existing homeowners to keep their properties off the market, since selling their homes would require them to then buy a new home and pay more in mortgage interest.

 source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/real-estate/2018/03/21/us-existing-home-sales-climbed-3-percent-february/445184002/
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A booming housing market has realtors in a bind

Making a living as a realtor, which has never been easy, is becoming increasingly difficult. A record numbers of them are scrambling to broker a dwindling number of available properties in a hot market as housing prices continue to rebound from recession-era lows.

Membership in the National Association of Realtors topped 1.3 million in 2017, its highest level since the real estate market bubble burst a decade ago (the association’s members are called realtors). At the same time, however, the supply of homes for sale has contracted for more than two years as millennials, now the largest generation, enter their prime home-buying years. According to real estate brokerage firm Redfin, 607,836 homes were for sale in February, down from 754,160 in September 2017.

Not surprisingly, tight supplies are pushing up prices.

Real median home prices surged 29 percent between 2000 and 2016 and remain on a tear. Data from Redfin shows median home prices were $286,000 in February compared with $263,000 in the year-earlier period. As a result, even veteran realtors like Eric Billetta of Coldwell Banker face increased competition to land every sale when multiple offers are commonplace.

“A lot of realtors jumped out when that bubble burst,” said Billetta, who works in the Philadelphia suburbs. “You’re seeing a lot of younger agents coming in. You’re seeing a lot more part-timers coming into the business and take business from you.”

One of those new faces is Daniel Goldstein, who transitioned to real estate from the media several years ago. He understands the lengths realtors go through to land a sale because he has experienced it himself: His mother regularly receives unsolicited pitches from realtors interested in selling her house in California.

“She’s very happy where she is,” said Goldstein of Re/Max Town Center in Potomac, Maryland, outside of Washington, D.C. “She’s using equity from her house to convert some of the space into a rental unit. … It’s my first real estate development deal.”

Nationally, the inventory of homes on the market is at about a three-month supply, less than half the seven months worth in a typical healthy market, according to Boomer Foster, president of Long & Foster, the nation’s fourth-largest real estate brokerage. In many hot local markets, houses are on and off the market rapidly. The median number of days nationally is now 29, according to Redfin. In Seattle, that number is nine.

One reason for the boon in realtors is the profession’s low barrier to entry, requiring the passage of a state license to become a real estate agent at the minimum age of 18.

Demand for real estate license exams at the for-profit Hondros School of Business more than doubled between 2012 and 2017, forcing the school to add more locations, additional instructors and an online program, according to Marketplace.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the median salary for real estate brokers in 2016 was $56,970, and for agents it was $44,090. The top 10 percent earned more than $112,570.

Like everything else, however, the real estate profession isn’t as easy as it looks, especially in the current market, and many newcomers wind up quitting, according to Foster of Long and Foster. He figures 80 percent “wash out” in their first 18 months.

“It’s pretty much how it’s always been,” Foster said. “People look at our industry, and say ‘I like looking at houses, and I see how much my real estate agent made,’ and they think it’s easy. For the true real estate professional, it’s not easy — and they earn every penny they make.”

source: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/so-many-realtors-so-few-homes-for-sale/

Mortgage Rates Approach Four-Year High

Mortgage interest rates were are moving up, though not to the point where they are expected to dampen the demand for home ownership or curtail the strength of the U.S. housing market.

The rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage climbed to 4.5% at the end of January, close to a four-year high, according to Capital Economics.

Mortgage Rates Approach Four-Year High
ILLUSTRATION: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

This comes as the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury has risen as well. On Friday it was at 2.83%, up from 2.50% a month ago, as investors have begun to discount stronger growth and higher inflation.

Mortgage rates have climbed steadily as the economy has improved. The housing market remains strong, supported by tight inventory, good job growth and favorable credit conditions.

True, rates for 30-year fixed mortgages were below 4% in 2016.

But Susan Maklari, an analyst at Credit Suisse, points out that over the past 20 years, the average for a 30-year fixed mortgage is just under 6%.

Maklari doesn’t expect that the higher rates will impede the housing market.

Consider that the monthly payment for a $200,000 mortgage at 4.0% is $955. At 4.5%, it’s about $55 a month higher – probably not enough to break the bank.

Mortgage Rates Approach Four-Year High