Strong US Dollar Helps Housing Market…

It’s clear to see there “ain’t” much love in the process of the U.K. leaving the European Union (EU) in the so-called “Brexit.”

The long-awaited Brexit agreement was dealt a big blow this past Thursday when two top Brexit officials and four Jr Ministers quit – citing the deal Prime Minister Theresa May reached with the EU was no good.

What does it mean for housing?

The U.S. Dollar, U.S. Bonds and home loan rates benefited from the Brexit chaos as global investors parked their money in the relative safety of U.S. Dollar denominated assets (currency and Bonds) in what is called a “safe-haven” trade.

The U.S. Dollar had already been rising in value versus other global currencies and there are a couple of effects worth following:

  1. A strong U.S. Dollar tamps down inflation as it lowers commodity prices like oil. Have you noticed the recent price decline of gas at the pump? This is like a tax cut for the consumer looking to purchase a home.
  2. It makes U.S. imports cheaper. This along with lower oil keeps inflation down, which is good for long-term rates like mortgages.
  3. If the U.S. dollar strengthens further, the Fed may not raise rates as expected in 2019 because more hikes would further suppress inflation, which is already tame – again, good for home loan rates.

Bottom line – rates have improved from the worst levels of the year and it is quite possible that the highest rates of the year are behind us.

If you or someone you know has questions about home loans, give me a call. I’d be happy to help.

Forecast for the Week
 
The upcoming week is shortened due to the holiday with all U.S. markets closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving. On Friday, the Stock markets close at 1:00 p.m. ET while the Bond markets close at 2:00 p.m. ET.

This week is typically an uneventful low volume trading week, but with the Brexit headlines hitting the wires, we could see a sharp move based on positive or negative headlines. Remember, home loan rates improve on uncertainty and negative news. The opposite is true.

The economic reports will be crammed into Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and include reports on housing and consumer sentiment.

  • Housing news will come from Monday’s NAHB Housing Market Index, Tuesday’s Housing Starts and Building Permits with Existing Home Sales on Wednesday.
  • Weekly Initial Jobless Claims and Consumer Sentiment will be released on Wednesday.

 

Need help with Real Estate matters call, text, or email me anytime. Look me up at WWW.LISTWITHLANCE.com.

3 Mistakes When Staging your home to sell….

The living room tends to be a major area for social activity in the home, and how you arrange the furniture can either encourage or hamper that.
Image of bright living room with couch with rug, coffee table and chair

Every piece of furniture you own might not have a perfect spot in your house, but it does have a best spot, here are a few don’ts if your getting ready to sell:

1. Neglecting your focal wall.

The focal wall is the first thing a person sees when they enter the room, often featuring a fireplace, a picture window, or even a mounted TV.  The goal is to set up your room so that the majority of the seating is facing or angled toward the focal wall.

2. Cramming in too much furniture.

Most people recognize how easy it is to make a space feel smaller by trying to squeeze in too much furniture or items that are too big for the space, but homeowners might need a reminder. I suggest focusing the room around a couch. The sofa is usually the biggest, most important piece in the room. So it gets priority. Place the sofa in the space first and then reintroduce smaller pieces one by one to see if they work with the sofa. If not, move them out.

3. Pushing the couch up against a wall.

One of the most common mistakes I see are homeowners who push their sofa or other seating up against the wall. About the only time a sofa looks right when it’s placed against the wall is when it’s a corner section and it’s in a corner, I suggest pulling the sofa out from the wall at least 12 inches to create white space and to help make the room feel larger.

Contact me and find out how you can get your home staged for FREE!!!!

ListwithLance.com

Tax Breaks Open Up ‘Opportunity Zones’ for Investors…

Investors could be eligible for significant tax breaks when purchasing property in distressed economic areas across the country that the U.S. Treasury Department has labeled “opportunity zones.” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin predicts that the newly designated zones could attract up to $100 billion in investment.

Architect viewing blueprints with home owners

The goal is to draw capital to areas where investment has lagged since the Great Recession by allowing investors to avoid some taxes when they fund projects. Capital gains in a certified opportunity zone fund could avoid being taxed through the end of 2026 or when the investment is sold, whichever comes first. Any gains from the fund will be permanently shielded from taxes if the investment has been held for at least 10 years. Also, after seven years, the initial investment will be discounted by up to 15 percent for tax purposes.

The Treasury Department says that a large scale of projects could qualify for the tax break, too, such as capital for startup businesses in opportunity zone areas. Individuals, corporations, businesses, REITs, and estates and trusts are all eligible for the tax break. The Treasury Department will be issuing more guidance before the end of the year. Governors have designated eligible census tracts as opportunity zones in their communities. You can view the full list at the Department of Treasury’s website.

“The creation of opportunity zones is one of the most significant provisions of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act,” Mnuchin said earlier this year. “Incentivizing private investment into these low-income communities can be transformational, stimulating economic growth and job creation across the country. This administration will work diligently with states and the private sector to encourage investment and development in opportunity zones and other distressed communities so that they may enjoy the benefits of robust economic growth.”

4 Signs You’re Not Ready to Be a Homeowner—and What to Do About It…

  1. You Have Too Much Debt
    To get approved for a mortgage, you must show you can handle all of the expenses of owning a home (including the ones that aren’t rolled into your monthly mortgage payments). You also have to meet your other financial obligations, and that might be a challenge if you already have a mountain of debt on your plate, says Jennifer Beeston, branch manager and vice president of Mortgage Lending with Guaranteed Rate.

“A lot of people approach buying a home in terms of what’s the max they can afford,” Beeston says. “With lenders’ guidelines getting looser, some will accept a debt-to-income ratio of up to 50 percent, but that’s based on your mortgage payment and debts that show up on your credit report in relation to gross income.”

Beeston adds that DTI calculations don’t take into account expenses such as schooling, daycare, income taxes, healthcare and retirement savings.

How to overcome it: Pay down your debt to a manageable level. If you’ve accumulated a lot of debt over time, consider a personal loan to consolidate them into one streamlined, and preferably lower-interest, monthly payment. And avoid getting sucked into a new debt trap by cutting spending and diligently paying down debt. A debt consolidation calculator can help you determine how to strategically consolidate and pay down your debt.

  1. Your Credit Isn’t Stellar
    Your credit history and credit score are closely linked to the mortgage pricing you’ll receive—and that impacts your monthly payments for the life of the loan, says Dan Green, CEO of Growella, a mortgage news and advice website. A good starting point is to give yourself a credit check-up to see where you stand.

“If your credit score is not optimal, you’ll pay more for a mortgage,” Green says. “Your credit score today will have a huge impact on the homes you’re looking at and can afford. It may be sensible to wait to buy and work on your credit.”

Let’s do a quick calculation for two borrowers applying for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for $300,000 with 10 percent down. Jen has an excellent credit score and was offered a 4.75 percent interest rate, and Sarah, who has a lower score, was offered a 5 percent interest rate. Sarah’s monthly payments are roughly $41 more than Jen’s, but where she really gets dinged is in overall interest paid. She’ll pay nearly $15,000 more in interest of the loan’s lifetime because she didn’t get a lower interest rate.

How to overcome it: To boost your credit score, pay your credit cards and other debts on time. Ideally, credit cards should be paid off in full every month. Avoid opening new credit lines unless you’re establishing a credit history. Finally, keep your credit utilization ratio to 30 percent or less of your available credit limit for each credit account. In other words, your balances shouldn’t exceed 30 percent of your maximum credit limits.

If you’re emotionally and mentally ready to buy a home, there’s likely a home you can buy. The catch: you might have to settle for less than your ideal home if your credit and finances impact what you qualify for, Green points out.

  1. You Don’t Have Enough Savings
    Buying a house comes with a lot of upfront expenses that go beyond your monthly mortgage payment. Expect to pay 2 percent to 4 percent of a home’s purchase price in closing costs. Plus, there’s the down payment (anywhere from 3 percent to 20 percent of the purchase price, depending on your loan type) and moving expenses to factor in.

But it’s the hidden costs of homeownership that take many new homeowners by surprise. These might include homeowners association dues, condo/assessment fees, routine maintenance, utility bills and major repairs. Ideally, homeowners should save roughly 1 percent of the home’s purchase price each year for maintenance expenses, says Adam Smith, president of the Colorado Real Estate Finance Group.

Many people don’t have that kind of cash on hand. A recent Bankrate survey found that just 39 percent of Americans would pay for a $1,000 unexpected expense from savings.

How to overcome it: To save more, pay yourself first by depositing a set amount from each paycheck into a savings account. If you have to start small, that’s OK. Consider opening a high-yield savings account to accrue interest on your cash. Cut back on unnecessary spending such as monthly subscription services, eating out, impulse shopping and other financial vices. Depending on your income and credit profile, you may qualify for homebuyer assistance programs that can help you pay for down payment and closing costs for a home.

  1. You Want a Carefree Lifestyle
    If you’re someone who moves frequently, buying a home might not make financial or practical sense. Lifestyle plays a huge role in the decision to rent versus buy, Smith says. Remember that the bigger the house, the more maintenance and upkeep. If you want to keep things low-key, buying a condo or continuing to rent might make more sense until you’re ready for more responsibility.

Another thing to consider if you don’t tend to sit still: It might be a hassle to sell your home or rent it out eventually. Home values can go up or down over time so there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to sell.

How to overcome it: Take time to consider your lifestyle factors that impact your housing choices, including whether you plan to move around a lot, your ability keep up with and pay for ongoing maintenance, your commute and current or future family needs. And take care with buying a house with a partner if you don’t share similar financial and life goals…..

Questions contact Lance Martin (937)238-7933 / Listwithlance.com

Current Real Estate Situation…. A must READ…..

The time is now….

If you’ve been thinking of selling your home, you’ll want to keep reading.

That’s because this message will show you how to get a significant advantage over a lot of other home sellers around Dayton.

I’ll explain how in just a second. But first, let me give you a bit of background on the current conditions in the Dayton Ohio housing market:

1. Mortgage rates have hit a 7-year high.

Several weeks ago, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate broke through the 4.6%-mark, the highest level since May 2011.

This is part of an ongoing upward trend in mortgage rates, which started over a year ago.

The thing is, in spite of the rate increase, mortgage applications spiked in September. This is a signal that buyers expect rates to go up even more in the near future—something that’s very well possible given current conditions.

2. Affordability is dropping, and demand might soon follow.

For the past several years, home prices have increased at twice the speed of inflation.

For a while, this didn’t have too much of an effect on the market, because there was so much pent-up demand.

However, the continued price growth and the mortgage rate hikes might finally be getting to buyers.

Affordability is suffering—an estimate from early summer put current home affordability levels at a 10-year low.

This seems to be causing demand to soften as well. For example, the number of people requesting home tours has fallen by 6.1%, according to one measure this summer.

3. More home sellers are reducing prices.

Not surprisingly, the combination of sustained high prices, increasing mortgage rates, and a drop in demand is finally starting to have an impact on the real estate market.

While there are still no major signs of a real estate slowdown yet, there are some worrying indicators.

Crucially, more sellers are now reducing prices. More than a quarter of homes listed as of September 16 had a price drop. 

What does this all mean for you?

In short, if you’ve been thinking of selling your home, then the time to act is now.

In spite of the easing of demand, there are still many hungry buyers on the market and prices remain near all-time highs.

This means you can sell your home quickly and for top dollar.

However, all of the reasons I listed earlier mean this situation might not hold very long.

Demand might slack off even more, and then many more homeowners might decide to enter the market, driving down prices and really ushering in a buyer’s market.

That’s why it can make a lot of sense to move early—before this kind of awareness reaches the majority of homeowners.

If you are considering selling, you can get started now by getting an idea of what your home is worth in the current market. Simply try out this home value calculator, which is based on recent Dayton sales:

Enter your home address here to find out what your home is currently worth


And once you are ready to get the process rolling (so you can take advantage of this opportune moment), give me a call at 937-238-7933 I’m here to help.

Have a great day, 

Why Real Estate Deals Fall Apart….

According to the August 2018 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey—a survey of real estate professionals’ latest transactions—76 percent of contracts were settled on time, with only 20 percent delayed and just 5 percent terminated, in August.

For the transactions that did face delays, the holdups tended to be centered on finances. The survey says the reasons for the most common delays are:

Issues related to1810_warnings_pie_0.png

Obtaining financing: 36%
Appraisal issues: 18%
Home inspection/environmental issues: 17%
Titling/deed issues: 10%

The Week in the BOND MARKET…

The big news of the week – Bond prices went down, down, down, resulting in a sharp rise in interest rates to levels last seen in May 2011!!!

What caused Bond prices to drop? Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. First it was Wednesday’s ADP Report, which showed an amazing 230,000 private jobs created, well above expectations of 180,000. Remember that good news is bad news for Bonds and rates – so this strong and positive economic reading ignited the selloff in Bonds.

Then on Friday, the positive Jobs story was reconfirmed when the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the September Non-farm Payrolls number. The headline number showed a soft 134,000 jobs created. However, Hurricane Florence played a role at disrupting the figure and the markets discounted the reading. Grabbing the markets attention were big upward revisions to the July and August numbers, which added another 87,000, while the unemployment rate fell to 3.7% – the lowest since the “Summer of 69” …Thank you Bryan Adams. Overall – this was another solid Jobs Report.

And if the strong Jobs story wasn’t enough to push Bond prices lower, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell was out saying the U.S. economy “is too good to be true.” That single comment pushed Stocks to all-time highs earlier in the week, at the expense of Bonds.

Overall – while a rough week for interest rates, let’s all remember people buy homes because they are confident in the direction of the economy and the labor market – not because of the present home loan rate.