Katie McBride | Hopkinton Real Estate, Holliston Real Estate, Ashland Real Estate


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Some Highlights:

  • The average 30-year rate for all loans closed in August eclipsed 4.3% for the first time since October 2014.
  • The average FICO score for all closed loans in August reached a new yearly low at 724 (the lowest since February 2014!)
  • The average down payment of FHA loans closed was just 4%!

Each month, Quicken Loans releases their national Home Price Perception Index (HPPI). This month’s report revealed that the difference in appraiser home value opinions as compared to homeowner estimates is continuing to increase. Chief Economist Bob Walters explains:
"Many homeowners around the country are seeing the national headlines about home value increases and they are optimistic about their equity increasing. While some areas are seeing the same level of home appreciation, or even more, there are also some areas that have slower home value increases. This can lead to homeowners and appraisers not quite seeing eye-to-eye.”
Here is a chart showing the increasing difference in opinions: appraiser Though reports of home price increases have garnered many headlines over the last six months, most experts expect residential real estate values to start showing more historic levels of appreciation over the next five years. Walters addressed this issue:
“A slowing of home value increases adds to the misunderstanding of local home values. Appraisers are viewing the housing industry every day; they know when home values growth may be slowing. Homeowners may think values are still skyrocketing, when they have instead returned to more healthy appreciation in their area."

Bottom Line

When pricing your home, you should have a real estate professional help you fully understand where prices are and where they are headed in the future.

housevalues Last week, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Home Sales Report. The report announced that the median existing-home price in June was $236,400. That value surpasses the peak median sales price set in July 2006 ($230,400). This revelation created many headlines exclaiming that home prices had hit a “new record”:

Wall Street Journal: Existing-Home Prices Hit Record

USA Today: Existing home sales surge, prices hit record

Though the headlines are accurate, we want to take a closer look at the story. We do not want people to believe that this information is evidence that a new “price bubble” is forming in housing. NAR reports the median home price. That means that 50% of the homes sold above that number and 50% sold below that number. With fewer distressed properties (lower valued) now selling, the median price will rise. The median value does not reflect that each individual property is increasing in value. Below are the comments from Bill McBride, the author of the esteemed economic blog Calculated Risk. McBride talks about the challenges with using the median price and also explains that in “real” prices (taking into consideration inflation) we are nowhere close to a record.
“In general I'd ignore the median sales price because it is impacted by the mix of homes sold (more useful are the repeat sales indexes like Case-Shiller or CoreLogic). NAR reported the median sales price was $236,400 in June, above the median peak of $230,400 in July 2006. That is 9 years ago, so in real terms, median prices are close to 20% below the previous peak. Not close.”
Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal covered this issue in detail. In this story, Nick Timiraos explained that this rise in median prices is nothing to be concerned about:
“Does this mean we have another problem on our hands? Not really…There may be other reasons to worry about housing affordability by comparing prices with incomes or prices with rents for a given market. But crude comparisons of nominal home prices with their 2006 and 2007 levels shouldn’t be used to make cavalier claims about a new bubble.”

Bottom Line

Home values are appreciating. However, they are not increasing at a rate that we should have fears of a new housing bubble around the corner.

realestate Whether you are buying or selling a home, it can be quite an adventurous journey. You need an experienced Real Estate Professional to lead you to your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers think that they can For Sale by Owner or FSBO. The 5 Reasons You NEED a Real Estate Professional in your corner haven’t changed, but have rather been strengthened due to the projections of higher mortgage interest rates & home prices as the market continues to recover. 1. What do you do with all this paperwork? Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true Real Estate Professional is an expert in their market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality. 2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what? According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, who knows what these actions are to make sure that you acquire your dream. 3. Are you a good negotiator? So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a Real Estate Professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible), to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process. 4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth? It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to the National Association of REALTORS, “the typical FSBO home sold for $208,700 compared to $235,000 among agent-assisted home sales.” Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional. 5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market? There is so much information out there on the news and the internet about home sales, prices, mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a low-ball offer? Dave Ramsey, the financial guru advises:
“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”
Hiring an agent who has their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying/selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line:

You wouldn’t replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic. Why would you make one of your most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a Real Estate Professional? Let's get together and talk about your goals.

Family There has been recent press regarding whether or not it makes better financial sense to rent rather than buy in today’s housing market. As an example, the recently released June Summary of theBH&J Buy vs. Rent Index reported:
“…as of the end of the first quarter of 2015, the housing market in the U.S. and all cities in the index are trending either closer to renting being the superior option or strictly favoring renting over purchasing a home.”
The summary goes on to explain that:
“The index conducts a “horse race” comparison between an individual that is buying a home and an individual that rents a similar quality home andreinvests all monies otherwise invested in homeownership.” (emphasis added)
Though the math may be correct, we are not as sure of the conclusion. Even if you check the methodology offered by the BH&J report itself, you will find that they realize:
“…any extra savings from renting might be spent on non-wealth enhancing goods resulting in any benefits from renting versus owning disappearing in a cloud of consumption spending rather than savings.”

The Concept of ‘Forced Savings’ and Wealth Accumulation

Many believe the wealth accumulation of homeowners is tied into the concept of “forced savings”. The New York Times late last year published an editorial entitled, Homeownership and Wealth Creation, which discussed this concept. The article explained:
“Homeownership requires potential buyers to save for a down payment, and forces them to continue to save by paying down a portion of the mortgage principal each month.” “Even in instances where renters have excess cash, saving a substantial amount is difficult without a near-term goal, like a down payment. It is also difficult to systematically invest each month in stocks, bonds or other assets without being compelled to do so.”
Many of the points that were made in the article are on track with the research done by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which agrees that “forced savings” is a major advantage of homeownership. In a paper, The Dream Lives On: the Future of Homeownership in America, they concluded:
“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”

The Truth is in the Historical Data

Edwards Deming once said: “Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.” Let’s look at the data on this subject. The Federal Reserve has conducted a study titled: Survey of Consumer Finances. The study found that the average net worth of a homeowner ($194,500) is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($5,400).

Bottom Line

The New York Times editorial articulated it best:
“Homeownership long has been central to Americans’ ability to amass wealth; even with the substantial decline in wealth after the housing bust, the net worth of homeowners over time has significantly outpaced that of renters, who tend as a group to accumulate little if any wealth…As a means to building wealth, there is no practical substitute for homeownership.”
If you are a renter who is considering making a purchase, let's get together and discuss the benefits of signing a contract to purchase over renewing your lease!



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