Tracy Tidwell Real Estate Commercial

Monday, March 20, 2017

Real Estate This Spring: The Early Bird Wins

Entering real estate’s traditionally busiest time of year, the housing market is being buoyed by a stronger economy and consumer confidence. Job creation is 30 percent stronger this year compared to a year ago, unemployment is near a 9-year low, and wages and incomes are growing at the largest levels in about eight years, notes Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist.
Some buyers are in more of a hurry this season too. In the last two weeks, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose by nearly a quarter of a point. The Federal Reserve also has given strong indication that it plans to raise short-term rates later this week (even though mortgage rates aren’t directly tied to short-term rates, they do tend to have an influence). Smoke predicts three to four major increases in mortgage rates this year. He expects rates to rise by from 10 to 25 basis points in one- to two-week spurts, followed by some holding patterns.
“The upside of higher rates is that it is getting easier to get a mortgage,” Smoke says. Mortgage credit access has increased 6.5 percent since September, the Mortgage Bankers Association reports.
“Arguably the biggest challenge to buyers this spring will be simply finding a home to buy and getting it successfully under contract,” Smoke says. “That’s because the supply of homes for sale is at an all-time low, and yet demand is strong and getting stronger.”
In January, the nation saw the lowest inventory of homes available for sale ever at realtor.com®. Inventory did manage a 2 percent increase in February, but it's still down 11 percent compared to last year.
With lower inventories and higher demand, homes are selling faster. Twenty-seven percent of listings sold in less than 30 days in February, according to realtor.com®’s data.
“The early birds who decided to buy in the winter faced less competition and enjoyed lower rates than we are seeing now,” Smoke says. “It gets more expensive and more competitive going forward, but the early-ish buyer, at this point, is still likely to come out on top, when you consider that prices and rates are likely to be much higher later in the year.”
Source: “Forget the Snow: Spring Has Sprung in the Nation’s Housing Markets,” realtor.com® (March 13, 2017)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Home Price Expectations By State

REALTORS® expect modest price gains in home values over the next year. The median expected increase in home prices across the country is 3.5 percent, according to the REALTORS® Confidence Index January 2017 survey, based on the responses of more than 3,800 REALTORS® across the country.
“Looking at the values over time in selected states, the median expected price change appears to be increasing again from what was expected in the middle of 2016, indicating that respondents expect demand to remain strong,” according to the report. “In more than half of states, expected price change exceeds the price growth that was expected at the end of January 2016, even as home prices continue to rise.” The map below shows REALTORS®’ median expected price change over the next 12 months by state level.REALTORS® are most bullish about rising home price expectations in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado. Real estate pros in those states believe they will see 4 to 5 percent increases in values over the next year. Meanwhile, oil-producing states like Alaska, North Dakota, and West Virginia had the lowest median expected price changes over the next year.  

Source: “REALTORS® Confidence Index January 2017 Survey,” National Association of REALTORS® (Feb. 22, 2017) 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Where Buying Beats Out Renting the Most

More renters squeezed out by high rental payments may find that home ownership can be a more affordable option.
A new study by the National Association of REALTORS® finds several metro areas where renters earn enough to qualify to buy a home. Plus, with mortgage rates hovering near all-time lows, renters may find now is the perfect time to make their move into home ownership.
They identified the areas with employment gains above the national average that also have the largest share of renters who can afford to buy a home.Overall, housing affordability and the strength of the local job market can play a “pivotal role” in a renter’s decision on whether to buy a home or sign another lease to rent, according to NAR. The association recently reviewed employment growth, household income, and qualifying income levels in nearly 100 of the largest metro areas nationwide.
The top markets with the highest share of renters qualified to buy are all located in the Midwest and South, since home prices tend to be more affordable in those regions, NAR noted.
NAR identified the following 10 markets as having the highest share of renters who qualify to buy:
  1. Toledo, Ohio: 46%
  2. Little Rock, Ark.: 46%
  3. Dayton, Ohio: 44%
  4. Lakeland, Fla.: 41%
  5. St. Louis, Mo.: 41%
  6. Columbia, S.C.: 41%
  7. Atlanta: 40%
  8. Columbus, Ohio: 38%
  9. Tampa, Fla.: 38%
  10. Ogden, Utah: 38%
By REALTOR® Magazine

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Top Dates for Listing a Home Revealed

Home listings are most likely to debut on Thursdays and Fridays, with Fridays being the most common listing day by a slight margin, according to research by the National Association of REALTORS®.
The most popular month for new listings is April, followed by March, May, June, and July, according to NAR.What are the most popular dates to list? Half of all new listings in 2016 were first listed between March and July, which supports that the spring season is indeed real estate’s busiest time.
“While home closings exhibit a strong tendency to get done at the end of the month, listings are much steadier throughout the course of the month with a slight tendency to be posted earlier rather than later,” NAR researchers note at the Economists’ Outlook blog.
Source: “EHS in 2016 by the Numbers—Part 3—Popular Listing Dates,” National Association of REALTORS®’ Economists’ Outlook blog (Feb. 8, 2017)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Be a Happier Business Person: Here's How

What are the keys to happiness? Research reveals how you can be happier in your personal and professional life.
“Bad things happen to everyone, including happy people,” writes Travis Bradberry, co-writer of “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” and co-founder of TalentSmart. “Instead of complaining about how things could have been or should have been, happy people reflect on everything they’re grateful for.” Happy people tend to find the best solution to a problem and then move on, refusing to dwell on negative events.Stay positive.
Surround yourself with the right people.
You’ll build confidence and stimulate creativity by surrounding yourself with other upbeat people. Negative people, on the other hand, can zap away your energy.
Exercise more.
Even moving for as little as 10 minutes can help release a neurotransmitter that helps soothe your brain and keep you in control over your impulses. Schedule regular exercise into your daily life.
Slow down.
Don’t be so caught up in a routine that you forget to appreciate the little things in life. Enjoy a conversation or take a step outside to enjoy a fresh breath of air.
Have deep conversations.
Avoid gossip, small talk, and judging others. Have meaningful interactions by engaging with others on a deeper level and seek to build an emotional connection, Bradberry writes.
Help others.
Employees who helped others were 10 times more likely to be focused at work and 40 percent more likely to get a promotion, according to a study conducted by Harvard University. Those helping employees also were more likely to be happy during stressful times. “As long as you make certain that you aren’t overcommitting yourself, helping others is sure to have a positive influence on your mood,” Bradberry says.
Source: “10 Habits of Incredibly Happy People,” Forbes.com (Feb. 14, 2017)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Saving for a Down Payment? This is How Long It Will Take

Depending on where you live, saving for a down payment can take several years of financial planning. For example, in some markets, it may take the average person nearly a decade to save enough to buy a home. In California, that especially rings true.
SmartAsset scanned the data on median home prices and median household income in the 15 largest cities in the U.S. From there, researchers calculated how long it would take for a household to save enough for a 20 percent down payment if consumers saved 20 percent of their incomes. (Note: Buyers are not required to have 20 percent down for a mortgage. It’s often recommended, but buyers can take advantage of several other low-down payment loan offerings.)California is home to four of the five cities on a recent list by SmartAsset of the places where it takes the longest to save for a down payment: San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Diego.
Here’s how many years buyers can expect to wait to save enough to afford a 20 percent down payment in these cities:
  1. San Francisco, Calif.: 9.84 years
  2. Los Angeles, Calif.: 9.38
  3. New York, N.Y.: 9.27
  4. San Jose, Calif.: 7.20
  5. San Diego, Calif.: 7.01
  6. Chicago, Ill.: 4.59
  7. Austin, Texas: 4.17
  8. Philadelphia, Pa.: 3.80
  9. Phoenix, Ariz.: 3.45
  10. Dallas, Texas: 3.09
  11. Jacksonville, Fla.: 2.92
  12. Houston, Texas: 2.85
  13. Columbus, Ohio: 2.83
  14. Indianapolis, Ind.: 2.82
  15. San Antonio, Texas: 2.50
Source: “Years of Work Needed to Afford a Down Payment in 15 Cities,” SmartAsset.com (Jan. 31, 2017)

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Safety Checklist for Moving Into a New Home

Your clients have a lot to think about on moving day, but it's important that they have more than just organizing and unpacking on their to-do list, according to The Red Cross. The group recently featured several items home buyers should think about when settling in to a new house.
Create fire escape plans and meeting places.
The plan should include two ways to exit the home and set two different meeting places for family members. One might be a meeting area right outside of the home in case of a fire, while another would be a meeting place outside the neighborhood, in case the area is blocked in an emergency.
Create a survival kit.
Have enough food and water for each person for three days. The embedded video offers more tips on building a survival kit.
Identify your severe weather shelter.
Locate the safest spot in the home and designate it as your emergency weather shelter. The basement is the best spot.  If the home doesn't have a basement, designate an interior spot away from windows on the lowest floor of the home, such as a bathroom or closet.
Update your app alert locations.
Weather and safety apps may need to be notified of clients' new location details. For example, the Red Cross Emergency App offers alert preferences for all the locations and types of disasters users may want to monitor.
Decorate with earthquakes in mind.
This is not just a California problem anymore. Avoid hanging heavy items above seating areas, beds, and cribs. Secure furniture that could fall in a quake, such as bookshelves and televisions.
As clients are unpacking, they should be placing all flammable items at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters. Make sure they know not to run wiring under rugs or overload outlets and extension cords. Also, don’t forget to check the smoke alarms and make sure they’re working.
Assess your fire risks.
As clients are unpacking, they should be placing all flammable items at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters. Make sure they know not to run wiring under rugs or overload outlets and extension cords. Also, don’t forget to check the smoke alarms and make sure they’re working.
Source: “Checklist for Moving into a New Home,” the American Red Cross (Jan. 26, 2017)