J. Kent Erickson, Broker Associate
Direct / 208.447.7848

Blog

Real Estate Tops Best Investment Poll for 5th Year Running

Posted by on Aug 13, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Real Estate Tops Best Investment Poll for 5th Year Running Every year, Gallup surveys Americans to determine their choice for the best long-term investment. Respondents are given a choice between real estate, stocks/mutual funds, gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds. For the fifth year in a row, real estate has come out on top as the best long-term investment! This year’s results showed that 34% of Americans chose real estate, followed by stocks at 26%. The full results are shown in the chart below. The study makes it a point to draw attention to the contrast in the sentiment over the last five years compared to that of 2011-2012, when gold took the top slot with 34% of the votes. Real estate and stocks took second and third place, respectively, while still in recovery from the Great Recession. Bottom Line As the real estate market has recovered, so has the belief of the American people in the stability of housing as a long-term...

read more

Home Inspections: What to Expect

Posted by on Aug 10, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Home Inspections: What to Expect So you made an offer, it was accepted, and now your next task is to have the home inspected prior to closing. Oftentimes, agents make your offer contingent on a clean home inspection. This contingency allows you to renegotiate the price you paid for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or even, in some cases, walk away. Your agent can advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed. How to Choose an Inspector Your agent will most likely have a short list of inspectors that they have worked with in the past that they can recommend to you. HGTV recommends that you consider the following 5 areas when choosing the right home inspector for you: Qualifications – find out what’s included in your inspection and if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties. Sample Reports – ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home. The more detailed the report, the better in most cases. References – do your homework – ask for phone numbers and names of past clients who you can call to ask about their experiences. Memberships – Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate your choice. Membership in one of these organizations often means that continued training and education are provided. Errors & Omission Insurance – Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. The inspector is only human after all, and it is possible that they might miss something they should have seen. Ask your inspector if it’s okay for you to tag along during the inspection, that way they can point out anything that should be addressed or fixed. Don’t be surprised to see your inspector climbing on the roof or crawling around in the attic and on the floors. The job of the inspector is to protect your investment and find any issues with the home, including but not limited to: the roof, plumbing, electrical components, appliances, heating & air conditioning systems, ventilation, windows, the fireplace and chimney, the foundation, and so much more! Bottom Line They say ‘ignorance is bliss,’ but not when investing your hard-earned money into a home of your own. Work with a professional who you can trust to give you the most information possible about your new home so that you can make the most educated decision about your...

read more

What If I Wait Until Next Year to Buy a Home?

Posted by on Aug 8, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

What If I Wait Until Next Year to Buy a Home? We recently shared that national home prices have increased by 6.7% year-over-year. Over that same time period, interest rates have remained historically low which has allowed many buyers to enter the market. As a seller, you will likely be most concerned about ‘short-term price’ – where home values are headed over the next six months. As a buyer, however, you must not be concerned about price, but instead about the ‘long-term cost’ of the home. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae all project that mortgage interest rates will increase by this time next year. According to CoreLogic’s most recent Home Price Index Report, home prices will appreciate by 5.2% over the next 12 months. What Does This Mean as a Buyer? If home prices appreciate by 5.2% over the next twelve months as predicted by CoreLogic, here is a simple demonstration of the impact that an increase in interest rate would have on the mortgage payment of a home selling for approximately $250,000 today: Bottom Line If buying a home is in your plan for this year, doing it sooner rather than later could save you thousands of dollars over the terms of your...

read more

4 Reasons Why Today’s Housing Market is NOT 2006 All Over Again

Posted by on Aug 6, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

4 Reasons Why Today’s Housing Market is NOT 2006 All Over Again With home prices rising again this year, some are concerned that we may be repeating the 2006 housing bubble that caused families so much pain when it collapsed. Today’s market is quite different than the bubble market of twelve years ago. There are four key metrics that explain why: Home Prices Mortgage Standards Mortgage Debt Housing Affordability 1. HOME PRICES There is no doubt that home prices have reached 2006 levels in many markets across the country. However, after more than a decade, home prices should be much higher based on inflation alone. Frank Nothaft is the Chief Economist for CoreLogic (which compiles some of the best data on past, current, and future home prices). Nothaft recently explained: “Even though CoreLogic’s national home price index got to the same level it was at the prior peak in April of 2006, once you account for inflation over the ensuing 11.5 years, values are still about 18% below where they were.” (emphasis added) 2. MORTGAGE STANDARDS Some are concerned that banks are once again easing lending standards to a level similar to the one that helped create the last housing bubble. However, there is proof that today’s standards are nowhere near as lenient as they were leading up to the crash. The Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center issues a Housing Credit Availability Index (HCAI). According to the Urban Institute: “The HCAI measures the percentage of home purchase loans that are likely to default—that is, go unpaid for more than 90 days past their due date. A lower HCAI indicates that lenders are unwilling to tolerate defaults and are imposing tighter lending standards, making it harder to get a loan. A higher HCAI indicates that lenders are willing to tolerate defaults and are taking more risks, making it easier to get a loan.” The graph below reveals that standards today are much tighter on a borrower’s credit situation and have all but eliminated the riskiest loan products. 3. MORTGAGE DEBT Back in 2006, many homeowners mistakenly used their homes as ATMs by withdrawing their equity and spending it with no concern for the ramifications. They overloaded themselves with mortgage debt that they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) repay when prices crashed. That is not occurring today. The best indicator of mortgage debt is the Federal Reserve Board’s household Debt Service Ratio for mortgages, which calculates mortgage debt as a percentage of disposable personal income. At the height of the bubble market a decade ago, the ratio stood at 7.21%. That meant over 7% of disposable personal income was being spent on mortgage payments. Today, the ratio stands at 4.48% – the lowest level in 38 years! 4. HOUSING AFFORDABILITY With both house prices and mortgage rates on the rise, there is concern that many buyers may no longer be able to afford a home. However, when we look at the Housing Affordability Index released by the National Association of Realtors, homes are more affordable now than at any other time since 1985 (except for when prices crashed after the bubble popped in 2008). Bottom Line After using four key housing metrics to compare today to 2006, we can see that the current market is not anything like the bubble...

read more

How Much Has Your Home Increased in Value Over the Last Year?

Posted by on Aug 1, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

How Much Has Your Home Increased in Value Over the Last Year? Home values have risen dramatically over the last twelve months. In CoreLogic’s most recent Home Price Index Report, they revealed that national home prices have increased by 6.7% year-over-year. CoreLogic broke down appreciation even further into four price ranges, giving us a more detailed view than if we had simply looked at the year-over-year increases in national median home price. The chart below shows the four price ranges from the report, as well as each one’s year-over-year growth from February 2017 to February 2018 (the latest data available). It is important to pay attention to how prices are changing in your local market. The location of your home is not the only factor that determines how much your home has appreciated over the course of the last year. Lower-priced homes have appreciated at greater rates than homes at the upper ends of the spectrum due to demand from first-time home buyers and baby boomers looking to downsize. Bottom Line If you are planning to list your home for sale in today’s market, let’s get together to go over exactly what’s going on in your area and your price...

read more

Why Home Prices Are Increasing

Posted by on Jul 30, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Why Home Prices Are Increasing There are many unsubstantiated theories as to why home values are continuing to increase. From those who are worried that lending standards are again becoming too lenient (data shows this is untrue), to those who are concerned that prices are again approaching boom peaks because of “irrational exuberance” (this is also untrue as prices are not at peak levels when they are adjusted for inflation), there seems to be no shortage of opinion. However, the increase in prices is easily explained by the theory of supply & demand. Whenever there is a limited supply of an item that is in high demand, prices increase. It is that simple. In real estate, it takes a six-month supply of existing salable inventory to maintain pricing stability. In most housing markets, anything less than six months will cause home values to appreciate and anything more than seven months will cause prices to depreciate (see chart below). According to the Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the monthly inventory of homes for sale has been below six months for the last five years (see chart below). Bottom Line If buyer demand continues to outpace the current supply of existing homes for sale, prices will continue to appreciate. Nothing nefarious is taking place. It is simply the theory of supply & demand working as it...

read more

Existing Home Sales Grow Despite Low Inventory

Posted by on Jul 27, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Existing Home Sales Grow Despite Low Inventory [INFOGRAPHIC] Some Highlights: According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors, sales grew 1.1% in March to an annual pace of 5.60 million. This is the strongest pace since November of 2017. Inventory levels dropped year-over-year for the 34th consecutive month and are now 7.2% lower than March 2017 levels, representing a 3.6-month...

read more

Short of a War of Stock Market Crash…

Posted by on Jul 25, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

“Short of a war or stock market crash…” This month, Arch Mortgage Insurance released their spring Housing and Mortgage Market Review. The report explained that an increase in mortgage rates and/or home prices would impact monthly payments this way: A 5% increase in home prices increases payments by roughly 5% A 1% rise in interest rates increases payments by roughly 13% or 14% That begs the question… What if both rates and prices increase as predicted? The report revealed: “If interest rates and home prices rise by year-end in the ballpark of what most analysts are forecasting, monthly mortgage payments on a new home purchase could increase another 10–15%. That would make 2018 one of the worst full-year deteriorations in affordability for the past 25 years.” The percent increase in mortgage payments would negatively impact affordability. But, how would affordability then compare to historic norms? Per the report: “For the U.S. overall, even if affordability were to deteriorate as forecasted, affordability would still be reasonable by historic norms. That is because the percentage of pre-tax income needed to buy a typical home in 2019 would still be similar to the historical average during 1987–2004. Thus, nationally at least, even with higher rates and home prices, affordability will just revert to historical norms.” What about home prices? A decrease in affordability will cause some concern about home values. Won’t an increase in mortgage payments negatively impact the housing market? The report addressed this question: “Even recent interest rate increases and higher taxes on some upper-income earners didn’t slow the market, as many had feared…Short of a war or stock market crash, housing markets could continue to surprise on the upside over the next few years.” To this point, Arch Mortgage Insurance also revealed their Risk Index which estimates the probability of home prices being lower in two years. The index is based on factors such as regional unemployment rates, affordability, net migration, housing starts and the percentage of delinquent mortgages. Below is a map depicting their projections (the darker the blue, the lower the probability of a price decrease): Bottom Line If interest rates and prices continue to rise as projected, the monthly mortgage payment on a home purchased a year from now will be dramatically more expensive than it would be...

read more

New Study Shows “Best States for Millennials”

Posted by on Jul 23, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

New Study Shows ‘Best States for Millennials’ A new study by WalletHub used “30 key metrics, ranging from share of millennials to millennial unemployment rate to millennial voter-turnout rate” to find out which states are the ‘Best States for Millennials.’ The Top 5 Best States for Millennials are: Washington, D.C. (also ranks highest in percentage of millennials already living there!) North Dakota (lowest unemployment rate) Minnesota (highest millennial homeownership rate) Massachusetts (highest percentage of millennials with health insurance coverage) Iowa (ranked #1 in lowest housing cost for millennials) Below is a map with the rankings for each of the 50 states: We recently reported on a study that set out to find out “How Much You Need to Make to Buy a Home in Your State,” which may have left you wondering what the average salaries are in each of the five states listed above. According to WalletHub’s research, the top 5 states with the Highest Average Millennial Salaries are: Washington, D.C. New York Massachusetts Washington California Every day, more and more millennials are aging into the ‘Responsibility Zone,’ the time in their lives when their responsibilities start to dictate their behaviors. For many, this includes buying a home. The top 5 states with the Highest Millennial Homeownership Rate are: Minnesota West Virginia Indiana Utah Delaware Bottom Line If owning a home is next on your list, let’s get together to answer any questions you may have and set you on the path to...

read more

Thinking of Selling Your Home? Why You Need a Pro in Your Corner

Posted by on Jul 20, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Thinking of Selling Your Home? Why You Need A Pro in Your Corner With home prices on the rise and buyer demand strong, some sellers may be tempted to try and sell their homes on their own (FSBO) without using the services of a real estate professional. Real estate agents are trained and experienced in negotiation and, in most cases, the seller is not. Sellers must realize that their ability to negotiate will determine whether or not they get the best deal for themselves and their families. Here is a list of some of the people with whom the seller must be prepared to negotiate if they decide to FSBO: The buyer who wants the best deal possible The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country) The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house The termite company if there are challenges The buyer’s lender if the structure of the mortgage requires the sellers’ participation The appraiser if there is a question of value The title company if there are challenges with certificates of occupancy (CO) or other permits The town or municipality if you need to get the CO permits mentioned above The buyer’s buyer in case there are challenges with the house your buyer is selling Your bank in the case of a short sale Bottom Line The percentage of sellers who have hired real estate agents to sell their homes has increased steadily over the last 20 years. Let’s get together and discuss all we can do to make the process easier for...

read more