Real Estate, Home Ownership and Living in Coastal Virginia
Last week’s economic releases on inflation, core inflation, and retail sales. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.
Inflation and Retail Sales Ease in December
Consumer prices fell from November’s reading of 0.40 percent growth to o.10 percent growth in December, which matched expectations. The Core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, dropped to 0.30 percent from November’s growth rate of 0.40 percent. Analysts expected a Core CPI reading of 0.20 percent for December.
Retail sales were lower in December as compared to November’s reading of 0.90 percent growth month-to-month; December’s retail sales grew by 0.40 percent. Core retail sales, which excludes automotive sales grew by 0.40 percent in December as compared to November’s growth rate of 0.90 percent. Analysts expected retail sales to increase by 0.50 percent. Retail sales excluding automotive sales also grew by 0.40 percent as compared to an expected reading of 0.30 percent and November’s growth rate of 1.30 percent.
Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise
Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week with rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaging four basis points higher at 3.99 percent. Mortgage rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage were six basis points higher at an average of 3.44 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was one basis point higher at an average of 3.46 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
First-time jobless claims rose to 268,000 filings as compared to 248.000 new claims expected and 258,000 new jobless claims filed the prior week. Last week’s new jobless claims.
This week’s economic releases include readings from the National Association of Home Builders, Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued and a report on consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan.Read More
These gray, dreary winter days can really sap your energy and dull your enjoyment of life. To survive the winter doldrums, brighten your home.
Use These Easy Tips:
- Open your home’s window treatments during the day to let the light brighten and warm your room. Close them again as soon as night falls to retain heat.
- Brighten dark rooms with few windows by placing spotlights on the floor behind furniture.
- Add a mirror. Wherever a mirror reflects light in a room, it visually doubles that light. Place a mirror opposite a window to immediately brighten your space. No window? Hang a large mirror above a console table and place a pair of lamps in front of the mirror.
- Install higher watt bulbs in rooms that tend to be dark.
- Eliminate dark corners by adding recessed lighting.
- Use full spectrum lighting in areas where you read, knit or do other up-close work.
- Lighten living areas with colorful throws and pillows.
- Lift the winter blues by adding flowers and plants to your decor. Colorful indoor blooming plants include the African violet, Cyclamen, Orchid and desert cactus. Use tropical flowers to transport yourself mentally to climates where the sun always shines.
- Do A Little Winter Cleaning:
- Wash the inside of your windows. Fireplace and candle soot coats windows with a dingy film that blocks the sun.
- Polish your furniture. Shiny furniture reflects ambient light.
- Wash ceiling light fixtures in soapy water. Light is muted when filtered through dirty light fixtures.
Lighting can change how you (and potential buyers) feel about your home. It’s one of the easiest and least expensive ways to quickly improve the ambiance of your home.
If you’d like to sell your home, I can help. Contact your real estate professional today.Read More
Have you been thinking about listing your house or condo for sale? As you are likely aware, the seasons play a role in our local real estate market and how busy it is. Nicer weather brings out the most in any real estate market, with buyers spending their evenings and weekends touring open houses and finalizing shortlists. Many markets cool off a bit in the winter, but that does not mean that the buyers disappear.
In today’s blog post we will explore why selling your home during the winter can beat waiting for the real estate market to warm up in the spring.
Interest Rates Are On The Way Up
One key consideration this year is that interest rates are trending upward. While it is impossible to predict the movements that the Federal Reserve will make, there is every sign that rates will tick upward soon. Mortgage interest rates tend to rise along with the Federal Reserve’s upward movements, so selling now means selling while mortgages are a bit cheaper.
There Is Less Competition In The Market
Another great feature of listing your home for sale during the winter is that you are likely to face less competition from other home sellers. Fewer homes in the local inventory mean fewer options for buyers that need to close on a home quickly. If your house is clean, in top condition and adequately staged, you can rest assured that it will stand out from the other available options.
It is true that there may be fewer potential buyers shopping for a new home during the winter. However, you will tend to find that winter buyers are serious about finding and purchasing a home. They are much less likely to be ‘window shopping’ or passing through viewing open houses.
Holiday Staging Is That Much More Fun
Finally, it is worth mentioning that staging can be a lot more fun during the holidays. Selling your home in the summer means trimming the lawn, keeping the garden looking clean and maintaining your curb appeal. Selling your home over the holidays means Christmas lights, decorations, baked goods and a more festive atmosphere.
Selling your home in the winter might seem a bit counter”intuitive, but with the market easing up and less inventory available you will find serious, interested buyers. When you are ready to list your home for sale, contact us. Our friendly real estate sales team is ready to help ensure that you receive top dollar for your home.Read More
Last week’s economic releases included readings on new and pending home sales, Case-Shiller index readings for September, and construction spending. Weekly readings on new jobless claims and mortgage rates were also released.
Home Price Growth Driven by Shortage of Homes for Sale
Case-Shiller Home Price Indices reported 6.20 percent growth in home prices year-over-year in September as compared to August’s reading of 6.00 percent year-over-year growth for August. September’s reading was the highest for national home price growth since 2014.
According to the 20-City Home Price Index, Seattle, Washington held on to first position with 12.90 percent home price growth year-over-year. Analysts noticed that the month-to-month reading for Seattle home prices dipped by 0.30 percent, which could indicate that home price growth may be cooling. Las Vegas, Nevada achieved second position for home price growth with a year-over-year reading of 9.00 percent. San Diego, California held third position with year-over-year home price growth of 8.20 percent.
High demand for homes coupled with the low inventory of homes for sale continued to drive home prices up in 16 of 20 cities charted in Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index.
New and Pending Home Sales Rise in October
Sales of new homes rose to 685,000 on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis to their highest reading in 10 years. The reading for new home sales year to date rose by 8.90 percent as compared to the same period in 2016. Analysts expected a reading of 620,000 new home sales as compared to September’s revised reading of 645,000 new homes sold. As of October, there was a 4.90 months supply of new homes for sale, as compared to September’s 5.20 months supply of new homes on the market.
The Commerce Department reported 3.50 percent growth in pending home sales in October as compared to September’s negative reading of -0.40 percent. In a further sign of confidence in housing markets, construction spending rose by 1.40 percent in October as compared to September’s reading of 0.30 percent and analysts” expectation of an increase of 0.40 percent in construction spending.
Mortgage Rates Mixed, New Jobless Claims
Mortgage rates were mixed last week with average rates for fixed rate mortgages dropping two basis points. A 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.90 percent; rate; rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.30 percent and rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose two basis points to 3.32 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
First-time jobless claims dipped by 2000 new claims to 238,000 initial claims filed. Analysts expected new jobless claims to hold steady at the prior week’s reading of 240,000 new claims filed.
This week’s scheduled economic releases include ADP payrolls, and Commerce Department readings on Farm Payrolls and the national unemployment rate. Consumer sentiment will be updated next week along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.Read More
Have you decided that it is time to move on from renting? If you are single and living alone, you may be wondering whether or not homeownership is right for you. Let’s have a look at a few key factors that you will need to be aware of when taking out a mortgage as a single person.
It’s A Commitment – But Not For A Lifetime
Some single people shy away from the idea of buying a home as it is a significant financial commitment. When you are single, especially if you are young and early in your career, flexibility can be valuable. You might decide to move to a new city to take a new job, or you may find a partner and decide to start a family.
Keep in mind that homeownership – and your mortgage – aren’t permanent. If you decide to buy a house, condo or apartment, you can always sell it later if you need to move or upgrade to a larger home.
You’ll Need To Be Disciplined
As you will only have one income stream coming in to support you in managing your monthly finances, you will need to be disciplined. Living paycheck to paycheck is not really an option as you will end up in trouble if an emergency occurs. Some financial experts advise having at least 6 to 12 months of monthly expenses saved up, in case of a job loss or an unexpected health issue that takes you out of work.
Don’t forget that there are also mortgage insurance products that can help to cover some of your costs in the event of an emergency. These may be an option to consider as a backup plan.
Starting Small Versus Going Big
Do you need a lot of space? If not, investing in a small ‘starter’ home is an excellent option. You can buy just enough home to suit your needs without buying anything extravagant. A helpful advantage that you gain purchasing a less-expensive home is that it comes with a smaller mortgage that can be paid off faster.
Questions? Get Professional Advice
If you have questions about purchasing a home as a single person, you’re not alone. Give our professional real estate team a call. We will be happy to share our guidance and expertise.Read More
Home prices continued to rise in September according to Case-Shiller National and 20-City home price index reports. According to the National Home Price Index, national home prices rose 0.70 percent month for the three months ending in September. The National Index regained its pre-housing bubble peak and surpassed it by 5.90 percent as of September.
The 20-City Home Price Index rose 0.50 percent from August’s reading. Analysts forecast a growth rate of 0.40 percent month-to-month. The 20-City Home Price Index indicates a home price growth rate 0f 6.20 percent year-over-year. The 20-City Index remained 1.50 percent below its peak in 2006.
The 20-City Home Price Index showed 16 of 20 cities posted gains in home price growth. Seattle, Washington, which has consistently held the top spot for year-over-year home price growth, posted slower growth for September. Seattle held on to its lead for year-over-year home price growth with a reading of 12.90 percent. Las Vegas Nevada held second place in the 20-City Index with a year-over-year home price growth of 9.00 percent. San Diego, California held third place with a year-over-year reading of 8.20 percent appreciation in home prices.
Case–Shiller Home Prices: Not the Whole Story
Analysts caution that while Case-Shiller Home Price Index reports are intended as a tool for real estate investors, they may not reflect all factors impacting U.S. housing markets. An analysis published in May by Trulia indicated that only 38 percent of U.S, homes have recovered their post-recession values. Some analysts say that methodology used for calculating the Case-Shiller home price index readings does not reflect individual or local factors impacting home prices.
In an unrelated report, the Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that home prices for properties with mortgages sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were up 6.50 percent from the third quarter of 2016 to the third quarter of 2017.
FHFA reported that the District of Columbia and all 50 states posted higher home price gains for the period between Q3 2016 and Q3 2017. The top three year-over-year home price gains were held by Washington, D.C at 11.60 percent; the state of Washington held second place with a gain of 11.50 percent and Hawaii and Arizona tied for third place with year-over-year home price gains of 10.00 percent.
FHFA reported home price growth in all 100 areas it tracks and said that the Seattle, Washington region held the highest year-over-year growth rate of 14.60 percent.Read More