After mortgage rates dropped in the U.S. for the second week in a row, borrowing costs hit their lowest rate yet for 2014. This week, the average rate shifted from 4.12% to 4.1% for a 30 year fixed mortgage. Although the percentage shift may be small, when added up over 30 years, even the smallest changes can greatly impact the cost of home ownership. A 30 year rate has not been this low since the end of October last year. 15 year mortgages also saw price reductions, slipping from 3.24% to 3.23% this month. The 30 year rate has been consistently declining since it had hit a two year high of 4.58% last August. Experts foresee the lower rates supporting and fostering home demand. July trends support these expert’s claims, as previously owned homes sold at an annualized rate of 5.15 million this July, up 2.4% from June. The longer the rates stay low, the more activity can be expected in the future of the US housing market.
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A new dog park will be coming to Bozeman. The park will provide off-leash options, which is even better news for dog owners. The new park will be located at Rocky Creek Farm off of Frontage Road. Starting today, owners will be able to visit the fully fenced 2-acre park. The 2-acre park will allow for dogs off leash and is only the first phase in an effort to create a much larger dog park with both off leash and on-leash options. Soon, new trails will be created that will provide dog owners with on-leash hiking options as well. The park is now accessible thanks to West Paw Design, who finished installing a new bridge, opening up access to the park. West Paw Design also chipped in $6,000 worth of fencing and other small projects to get the dog park starting strong. Dog owners can now look forward to another beautiful park to take their dogs. Having a park with off-leash access will also provide the dogs with a fun, friendly environment to meet other dogs and not be constantly on-leash in public. Having a dog in the home has become even more worry free in Bozeman with this additional dog park, providing a place for home owners to get their dogs out of the house and burning some of that seemingly never ending dog energy.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. has done a recent study on Habitat for Humanity families evaluating the amount a family’s life changes when they move into a home. The results ultimately found that families who own a home are healthier, happier and more financially secure.
- 89% said their lives improved since they moved into their homes.
- 86% said they’re happier since owning a home.
- Children’s school performance improved, they saw signs of increased confidence, improved behavior and enjoyment for studying and social activities.
- 75% said their health had improved since becoming home owners.
"There is evidence from numerous studies that attest to the benefits [of home ownership] accruing to many segments of society,” according to Canadian researchers. “Home ownership boosts the educational performance of children, induces higher participation in civic and volunteering activity, improves health care outcomes, lowers crime rates and lessens welfare dependency."
April saw a sharp fall in
Straight–Forward Good News:
The two more stable measurements, single-family home starts, fell only 2% allowing the overall stat to remain 21% above last year’s levels. In addition, near-record low mortgage rates in combination with the drop in foreclosures and by extension a constricting of the new
Take the good news with the bad but don’t get too carried away by either side!
- PRICE IS RIGHT- Single-family home prices are at a decade low with their median reaching $154,600 in January! During the house market’s peak, this same figure was $230,900.
- BUYING V. RENTING BALANCE– As many of my blogs have been emphasizing, the balance that is ever shifting between home-ownership and renting is firmly on the side of home-ownership. Rents are on a sharp rise and home affordability is as well. Two trends that make a big statement.
- INVENTORIES– Inventories are shrinking. “When excess supply dries up, people start building more new houses, which has the virtuous effect of reducing the unemployment rate and increasing the economy generally,” according to a USA Today article.
- MORTGAGE RATES– The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage (most popular choice for hoem buyers) is 3.59% just above the all time record setting rate of 3.49% that was recorded in July.
Overall, recent housing reports have shown that the housing market is picking up across the country.
"Excluding distressed sales, home prices in March and April are improving at a rate not seen since late 2006 and appreciating at a faster rate than during the tax-credit boomlet in 2010," says Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. "Nationally, the supply of homes in current inventory is down to 6.5 months, a level not seen in more than five years, in part driven by the ‘locked in’ position of so many home owners in negative equity."
Source: “CoreLogic: Phoenix Leads the Nation in Home Value Gains,” Phoenix Business Journal Online (June 5, 2012)’
Home inventories of for-sale listings continue to fall, which may help raise overall housing prices as demand picks up.
Inventory of for-sale single-family homes, condos, townhouses, and co-ops dropped by 18.85 percent in April compared to a year ago, according to housing data of 146 metro markets tracked by REALTOR.com.
“These key indicators continue to suggest the housing market may be at a turning point and headed towards a broad-based recovery,” REALTOR.com notes in a release on its April housing data. “Lower inventories, combined with faster moving markets and relatively stable median listing prices are indicative of the kind of balanced housing market that has not been seen in many years.”
On a national basis, the median age of inventory dropped nearly 12 percent year-over-year.
“Buying a home cannot get any cheaper than it is right now.” Headlines like this will not be as frequent in the year to come according to predictions made by housing experts. Housing prices are down 34% nationally since 2006. Chief economist for PNC Financial Services expects these historical rates to flatten by the third quarter of this year.
- Decline in Foreclosures: The process is being streamlined and buyers are getting less trigger shy with snagging foreclosures up.
- Job Growth: Rising unemployment rates increase the confidence in the economic market as well as the housing market. This translated as more aggressive and determined buyers are looking to buy.
- Better Access to Mortgages: Costco is even into the mortgage game!
- Basic Supply/Demand: Buying is cheaper than renting. Listings are not staying on the market. Demand is spiking and the supply is dwindling.
Dirt: "The No. 1 biggest mistake is not getting the home in the best possible condition. That's huge," says Goldwasser. "I won't even represent sellers at this point unless they are fully aware of how important it is to get their home in the absolute best condition that they've ever had it in." Steam cleaning, carpet cleaning or even replacement, and attention to detail will change the first impression. (
Old Fixtures: Updates on fixtures are not too pricey but newer lighting will bring a world of difference to your rooms.
Odors: The old trick is to bake cookies on the day of a showing and this comes from the need to have the home smell welcoming when buyers-to-be walk in. Pets are a biggie in the scent department (READ MORE DOGS, CATS, OTHER). Smokers ought to be similarly handled.
"Interestingly, next to the kitchen, the smelliest room in the house is actually the living room," Dana says. "That's typically the room that has the most fabric, so that is where odors get absorbed."
Popcorn Acoustic Ceilings: This trend is long past and dates a house so much that it can be lethal to the selling vitality. Even in the 60’s and 70’s, this style was a hit or miss with home buyers. They are a pain to remove, but it has to be done. Most buyers will not want to stomach the expense.
Neighbors: If you are in a residential area, be sure to schedule showings at a time that best represents the surrounding neighborhood. Snoopy neighbors, music blasters, and even new construction in the area all add or detract from the ambiance so try to use it to your benefit.
Despite the doom and gloom of the past few years, there is a silver lining in the housing market! The good news is that today’s market offers unprecedented opportunities for homebuyers—if you understand today’s market and the new rules. After the explosion of bad decisions, overspending, and badly structured mortgage programs, the smoke has cleared to reveal a new market of real estate standards and practices that provides a safer, more secure and healthier climate for homebuyers and homeowners.
So why should you consider buying now? Let's go over my list of five great reasons:
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