According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at their lowest for 2019. Rates like these haven’t been seen since February 2018!
Last week’s survey results reported an interest rate of 4.35%. This is a welcome change from the near 5% rates seen in mid-November. At 4.32%, the second week of February 2018 was the last time rates were this low.
Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist, Sam Khater, had this to say:
“Mortgage rates fell for the third consecutive week, continuing the general downward trend that began late last year.
Wages are growing on par with home prices for the first time in years, and with more inventory available, spring home sales should help the market begin to recover from the malaise of the last few months.”
If you plan on buying a home this spring, meet with a local real estate professional who can help prepare you for today’s market before rates increase!
With home prices softening, some are concerned that we may be headed toward the next housing crash. However, it is important to remember that today’s market is quite different than the bubble market of twelve years ago.
Here are three key metrics that will explain why:
A decade ago, home prices depreciated dramatically, losing about 29% of their value over a four-year period (2008-2011). Today, prices are not depreciating. The level of appreciation is just decelerating.
Home values are no longer appreciating annually at a rate of 6-7%. However, they have still increased by more than 4% over the last year. Of the 100 experts reached for the latest Home Price Expectation Survey, 94 said home values would continue to appreciate through 2019. It will just occur at a lower rate.
Many are concerned that lending institutions are again easing standards to a level 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 quarterly index which,
“…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.”
Last month, their January Housing Credit Availability Index revealed:
“Significant space remains to safely expand the credit box. If the current default risk was doubled across all channels, risk would still be well within the pre-crisis standard of 12.5 percent from 2001 to 2003 for the whole mortgage market.”
Within the last decade, distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) made up 35% of all home sales. The Mortgage Bankers’ Association revealed just last week that:
“The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the fourth quarter was 0.95 percent…This was the lowest foreclosure inventory rate since the first quarter of 1996.”
After using these three key housing metrics to compare today’s market to that of the last decade, we can see that the two markets are nothing alike.
Want to sell your home in 2019 but now sure when is the best time? Actually, now is the best time and here is why:
• On average, more properties come on the market during April-June. If you can, avoid listing your property during these months because when selling your home, competition is not your friend. The more choices buyers have, the more they will negotiate to lower your price and/or get you to make more costly repairs on your house. Buyers are also more willing to walk away from negotiations if they don’t get their desired price because they know there are other properties to choose from.
• Right now there are buyers eager to become homeowners before interest rates go up and they projected to go up incrementally each quarter of 2019. Since inventory is still somewhat low right now, buyers are less willing to walk away from a transaction.
• If you are going to wait to sell your property at the end of the year to make more money, if you buy another property after the sale of your home, that future home is going to cost more at the end of the year than it would cost now.
• Since interest are predicted to go up, there will be fewer buyers able to purchase your home as the year progresses. The fewer buyers for your home, the less likely buyers will compete against each other to buy your home for top dollar.
If you’re thinking of making a move, call me today to start a conversation…
1) What are the local pet laws? Check state laws for breed restrictions and limits in the number of animals allowed in the home. Check the homeowners association if there are any pet weight limits.
2) Does the house have pet friendly floors? Carpets are bound to be destroyed by claws and dirt. Distressed hardwood floors would be the best bet.
3) Can your pet handle the stairs? Old or pets may have trouble getting up and down stairs.
4) Is the neighborhood safe for pets to roam. Check if the home is close to parks and trails. Check if there are coyote sightings. (Source: Realtor.com)
# Mortgage rates will continue to rise in 2019. Every time interest rates go up, buyers lose a little purchasing power, but the barrier maybe more psychological than financial. Buyers are starting to push back, they are saying “enough”.
# Homebuyers will have more negotiating power and sellers will need to make more compromises. Expect bidding wars to become less competitive, and price reductions to become more common.
# As price gains slow, home values will still appreciate at 2-3% depending on neighborhood
# Upscale neighborhoods will soften while demand for entry level housing remains high (source: forbes.com)
Thinking of selling your home? Let’s talk! 323-717-2262
# Los Angeles home sales declined by 24 percent year over year in September, with all local communities except the Eastside showing a decline in the third quarter, bringing 2018 housing market activity to 11 percent below last year.
# Following a strong start for higher-priced sales at the beginning of 2018, sales activity slowed in all price ranges in the third quarter, and sales of homes priced higher than $1 million are now trending with 2017 activity.
# Inventory is also 10 percent below last year’s levels, suggesting about 1,100 fewer homes on the market. South L.A. posted the largest inventory drop, down by 34 percent, followed by a 27 percent decline in Downtown L.A. and a 24 percent decrease in Foothill Communities.
# Despite slowing annual price growth of 2 percent, almost half of Los Angeles communities posted appreciation of more than 10 percent — particularly in Northeast L.A., Foothill Communities, Eastern Cities, and Beverly Hills.
# Price reductions rose by 3 percentage points, from 21 percent last September to 24 percent now. More reductions were seen in greater Malibu, Foothill Communities, the Eastside, the West Valley, and the South Bay.
# The rebalancing between buyers and sellers is being driven by affordability constraints and buyer fatigue.
Existing home sales slump to a near three year low as some home buyers back out. Home prices are still growing faster than wages, but the pace of price increases is decelerating steadily. Recent sluggishness seems increasingly driven by softer demand from would be home buyers in the face of two emerging trends: falling rents and rising mortgage rates.
There is still a lot of energy left in the housing market, but the rapid rise of the past few years has clearly begun to level off. On average, homes are taking longer to sell and are receiving fewer offers than before. (Source: marketwatch.com)
Buying a first home is scary, overwhelming and exciting. The largest hurdle is where and how to start. Most buyers do not know that realtor’s services are free to the buyer. So they are fearful to hire an agent. A realtor has fiduciary responsibilities to protect buyers. They assist buyers with everything from financing and finding that dream home to negotiating the best price, and a smooth close. Time to buy a home? Call today 323-717-2262