Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Return of house flipping eases housing crunch in some states

Source: Chicago Tribune

While house flipping helped fuel the housing crisis a decade ago, industry experts say a current wave of house flipping is helping to ease a shortage of affordable housing in some parts of the country. The resurgence of flipping, or selling a house less than a year after buying it, comes as the construction of affordable single-family houses fails to keep up with demand, as builders concentrate on multi-family housing.
In some states like Florida and Nevada, which have large stocks of cheap, foreclosed houses, flipping is boosting the housing supply for homeowners and for investors who want to rent out the properties. The renovated homes are helping to bring downtrodden neighborhoods back to life, while making homeownership possible for some first-time and low-income buyers.
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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Before you buy that home, avoid utility bill shock

Source: CNBC
Housing affordability isn't just about your monthly mortgage or rent payment. Utility bills can also add up.
Median spending on utilities is $2,715 per year – or $226 per month – for single-family homes, according to a new analysis from real estate website Trulia. Even when you're comparing homes of similar sizes and prices in the same region, it found, energy costs can vary widely based on factors like the local utility providers' rates, the age of your home and the size of the lot it sits on.
To avoid a surprise, ask about utilities during your hunt. Real estate listings often include estimates, but it's smart to ask for a copy of recent statements to see real numbers.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Housing demand picks up steam

Source: DS News
Demand for single-family housing reached its highest level since June 2013, having picked up momentum after Labor Day, according to Redfin’s Housing Demand Index for September 2016.
According to Redfin, buyer demand rose by 13.3 percent over-the-month in September up to a level of 105, its highest level in three-plus years, after nearly 32 percent more potential buyers toured homes and nearly 27 percent more potential buyers made offers.
A reading of higher than 100 for the Redfin Housing Demand Index indicates stronger or higher-than-expected demand, while a reading of lower than 100 indicates weak demand. For September 2015, the reading was 101. This data indicates that there is a healthy pool of buyers ready and willing to purchase a home as long as they find the right one, according to Redfin.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Market Matters

Making California housing affordable again will require new laws Source: Orange County Register
California can increase the number of homes that people can afford by giving more money to cities that build sufficient affordable housing, some said at a housing summit last week in Los Angeles by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Or cutting off funding to those that don’t.
Or by allowing developers to bypass the local process in cities and counties with insufficient affordable housing. Allowing single-family homeowners to build and rent out granny flats. And by streamlining the approval process for affordable housing projects.
Joel Singer, the association’s longtime chief executive, spelled out two stark facts threatening the Golden State: California ranks 49th in the nation in homeownership rates. And 50th in affordability rates. “Where are our children going to live?” Singer asked.

Californians fleeing high cost of housing
Source: Mercury News

For every home buyer coming into California, another three are selling their homes, packing up and moving out, according to data analysis firm CoreLogic.The trend of out-migration was also noted in a separate trio of reports released earlier this year by Beacon Economics. Beacon noted that 625,000 more U.S. residents left California between 2007 and 2014 than moved into the state. The vast majority ended up in Texas, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and Washington.

The search for more affordable housing is sending low and middle-income workers out of the state, while higher-wage workers continue to move in, which argues against the theory that high taxes are driving people away. Home prices and rents have been rising steadily for more than four years.

Is home equity still a retirement failsafe?
Source: RISMedia
A recent study by the Urban Institute explored homeownership as a viable path to a secure retirement, but many older homeowners missed the prime opportunity to leverage that equity before the recession. How much usable equity can older homeowners now expect in retirement, given the rebound in home values?
Homeowners aged 65 or older, according to the study’s findings, could have used their home’s equity to grow their retirement income by over 50 percent (up to $60,000) pre-recession, either by borrowing a home equity line of credit, selling their home at a profit, or taking a cash-out refinance or second mortgage. That percentage dropped to 40 percent (up to $49,000) by 2012, despite accumulating an average 10 percent more equity then than in 1998. Home values, still, grew 3 percent by 2014. Monetarily, the average older homeowner’s equity stake increased from $117,000 to $166,000 between 2000 and 2006, then decreased to $129,000 by 2012.
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