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NAR Reports

Where are home buyers getting money for down payments, what delays savings?

Home buyers say that navigating the mortgage process is intimidating and difficul, so agents should understand how home buyers are reacting with their finances.

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home buyers

The 2015 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers has just been released, and we’ve learned that home sellers averaged $40k in equity this year, that the average buyer is a 44 year old married white couple, and the challenges home buyers face.

Now, in a market where 86 percent of buyers finance their home purchase, agents must understand this flow of money to better meet their clients’ needs.

First time versus repeat buyers

It is interesting to note that last year, 88 percent financed their home purchase, so that number has slid a bit. What remains steady is the fact that younger buyers are more likely to finance their home.

First-time buyers who financed their home financed 94 percent of their home compared to repeat buyers at 86 percent.

The report notes that “Unmarried couples that were first-time home buyers financed their homes the most at 98 percent whereas single females that were repeat buyers only financed 75 percent of the time.”

Where did those down payments come from?

NAR reports that for 60 percent of buyers, the source of their down payment came from their savings. Fully 38 percent of buyers cited using the proceeds from the sale of a primary residence was the next most commonly reported way of financing a home purchase.

“For repeat buyers, this was the most common way to finance a home at 53 percent,” the study states. “This number is up from 47 percent last year and more than double the 25 percent used in 2012, likely due to the increase in property values allowing buyers to use equity from their previous home at higher rates.”

Time it took to come up with a down payment

For all buyers who saved for a downpayment, 46 percent saved in less than six months, which is up from 37 percent last year.

Fully 54 percent of buyers did not need to make any sacrifices, consistent with last year. For those who did, the most common sacrifices reported were cutting spending on luxury goods, entertainment, and clothes shopping.

“Single males had the highest percent of savings used for the down payment at 74 percent.

What delayed savings?

Saving for a down payment was cited as a challenge for home buyers, and of buyers who said saving for this was difficult, 51 percent blamed student loans (up from 46 percent just last year).

But it wasn’t just student loans holding people back, 47 percent cited credit card debt, which is good news, as that slid down from 50 percent last year. Fully 35 percent cited car loans (down from 38 percent) as a challenge.

“Nearly a quarter of buyers were delayed in purcashing a home by more than five years if they had debt that delayed them,” indicates the study.

The median length of time buyers waited to buy a home while saving for downpayment was four years.

Challenges in the application process

You would think only first timers have trouble with the application process, but no. A full 45 percent of first time buyers said that the mortgage application and approval process was somewhat to much more difficult than expected compared to 37 percent of repeat buyers.

Single female buyers were more likely to report the process was easier than expected for them.

Fixed rate mortgages are still the most common (91 percent of buyers this year); 59 percent of buyers chose a conventional loan to finance their home, down from 61 percent last year.

Twenty-three percent of buyers reported securing FHA loan and 11 percent chose a VA loan. First-time buyers sought FHA loans more commonly than repeat buyers at 34 percent to 16 percent. Repeat buyers largely used conventional loans at 66 percent.

The bottom line about home buyers

Difficult or not, home buyers continue to see purchasing a home as a good financial investment. Fully 80 percent (up from 79) reported they view a home purchase as a good investment.

Agents should understand the anxiousness involved in the process and answer to those objections and needs in advance to better serve consumers.

#HomeBuyers

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The Real Daily and sister news outlet, The American Genius, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

NAR Reports

Home sales on the rise – don’t call it a comeback (okay, do)

(REAL ESTATE) Inventory levels continue to fall as prices rise, making for a competitive market. After a tough winter, February saw considerable gains in home sales.

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For years, inventory levels have been sinking, and prices have been growing, making the home buying process increasingly complex and sometimes discouraging. But after two consecutive months of declining sales, existing-home sales made a comeback in February, rising 3.0 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Sales are now 1.1 percent higher than February of last year. #GoodNews

Although home sales in the Midwest and Northeast saw a dip in this period, the South and West regions skyrocketed, boosting the national numbers.

Dr. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist noted that “The very healthy U.S. economy and labor market are creating a sizeable interest in buying a home in early 2018. However, even as seasonal inventory gains helped boost sales last month, home prices – especially in the West – shot up considerably. Affordability continues to be a pressing issue because new and existing housing supply is still severely subpar.”

Added Yun, “The unseasonably cold weather to start the year muted pending sales in the Northeast and Midwest in January and ultimately led to their sales retreat last month. Looking ahead, several markets in the Northeast will likely see even more temporary disruptions from the large winter storms that have occurred in March.”

Click to enlarge.

In February, the median home price rose to $241,700, a 5.9 percent increase from February 2017, and the 72nd straight month of annual gains. The average days on market fell to 37, down from 41 in January, and 45 last February. That’s what we call a competitive market.

NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall comments on the difficulty first-time buyers are seeing in this competitive market. “Realtors® in several markets note that entry-level homes for first-timers are hard to come by, which is contributing to their underperforming share of overall sales to start the year. Prospective buyers should start conversations with a Realtor® now on what they want in a new home. Even with the expected uptick in new listings in coming months, buyers in most markets will likely have to act fast on any available listing that checks all their boxes.”

Regional performance varied, with sales in the West outperforming all other regions. While sales fell in the Northeast by 12.3 percent, and dropped 2.4 percent in the Midwest, they skyrocketed 11.4 percent in the West, and 6.6 percent in the South.

february existing home sales

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NAR Reports

Existing home sales surged in October, what’s next?

(REAL ESTATE NEWS) Existing home sales rose in October despite continually tight inventory levels and rising home values.

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starter homes debt existing home sales

Despite the challenges of ongoing political uncertainty, extremely tight inventory conditions, and home values that continue to rise, existing home sales rose 2.0 percent in October, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

This marks the strongest home sales pace since June, yet are 0.9 percent below October 2016. October’s average days on market was 34, down from 41 days on this month last year.

The median price has risen 5.5 percent in the last year to $247,000 with October marking the 68th consecutive month of annual increases. Nearly half of all homes on the market in October sold in under 30 days.

Dr. Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist said, “While the housing market gained a little more momentum last month, sales are still below year ago levels because low inventory is limiting choices for prospective buyers and keeping price growth elevated.”

Added Yun, “The residual effects on sales from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are still seen in parts of Texas and Florida. However, sales should completely bounce back to their pre-storm levels by the end of the year, as demand for buying in these areas was very strong before the storms.”

Regional performances varied with sales rising in the Northeast by 4.2 percent, in the West by 2.4 percent, the South by 1.9 percent, and 0.8 percent in the Midwest.

Prices also varied depending on region, with the median price in the West rising 7.8 percent above October 2016 (to $375,100), 6.6 percent in the Northeast (to $272,800), 7.1 percent in the Midwest (to $194,700), and 4.6 percent in the South (to $214,900).

Dr. Yun expects conditions to remain competitive through the winter, but housing is experiencing a tremendous hanging chad right now – what will politicians do to the tax deductions that incentivize homeownership in the first place?

NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall, says the pending tax reform legislation in both the House and Senate is a direct attack on homeowners and homeownership, with the result being a tax increase on millions of middle-class homeowners in both large and small communities throughout the U.S.

“Making changes to the mortgage interest deduction, eliminating or capping the deduction for state and local taxes and modifying the rules on capital gains exemptions poses serious harm to millions of homeowners and future buyers,” said Mendenhall. “With first-time buyers struggling to reach the market, Congress should not be creating disincentives to buy and sell a home. Furthermore, adding $1.5 trillion to the national debt will raise future borrowing costs for our children and grandchildren.”

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NAR Reports

Sustained lull in signed contracts means pullback in home sales

(REAL ESTATE NEWS) Existing home sales aren’t looking super hot this month, but it’s not the bad news that you’re thinking – let’s discuss!

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Existing home sales slide in June

Low supply has kept home sales muted, with existing home sales dipping 1.8 percent in the month of June, albeit 0.7 percent above June of 2016, according to the National Association of Realtors. The Midwest region is the current bright spot as the only area sales actually rose during this period.

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Dr. Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist, says the previous three-month lull in contract activity translated to a pullback in existing sales in June.

“Closings were down in most of the country last month because interested buyers are being tripped up by supply that remains stuck at a meager level and price growth that’s straining their budget,” said Yun.

He added, “The demand for buying a home is as strong as it has been since before the Great Recession. Listings in the affordable price range continue to be scooped up rapidly, but the severe housing shortages inflicting many markets are keeping a large segment of would-be buyers on the sidelines.”

There’s a silver lining

“The good news is,” observes Yun, “that sales are still running slightly above last year’s pace despite these persistent market challenges.”

The median price for an existing home rose 6.5 percent over the last year to $263,800, surpassing May as the new peak, and the 64th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Housing inventory declined 0.5 percent from the previous month, and 7.1 percent over the last year. Average days on market rose one day from May to 28 in June, which is down from 34 days in June 2016.

Supply and demand challenges

First time buyers were 32 percent of sales in June, down one percent from both in May and a year ago. Yun says “It’s shaping up to be another year of below average sales to first-time buyers despite a healthy economy that continues to create jobs,” said Yun.

“Worsening supply and affordability conditions in many markets have unfortunately put a temporary hold on many aspiring buyers’ dreams of owning a home this year,” noted Yun.

Spicy sales in the Midwest

In the Midwest, sales rose 3.1 percent from May but remain unchanged from this time last year. The median price rose 7.7 percent in the last year to $213,000.

In the Northeast, existing home sales actually fell 2.6 percent, but are 1.3 percent above a year ago (the median price was $296,300, up 4.1 percent for the year).

The South saw a 4.7 percent dip in sales ((unchanged from a year ago) and the median price in the South was $231,300, up 6.2 percent from a year ago.

Sales in the West declined 0.8 percent but are 2.5 percent above June 2016. The median price in the West was $378,100, up 7.4 percent from June 2016.

#HomeSales

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