June 22, 2018

Homes are More Affordable in 44 out of 50 States

With both home prices and mortgage rates increasing this year in Shasta County and in America, many are concerned about a family’s ability to purchase a major part of the American Dream – its own home. However, if we compare housing affordability today to the average affordability prior to the housing boom and bust, we are in much better shape than most believe.

In Black Knight’s latest monthly Mortgage Monitor, they revealed that in the vast majority of the country, it is actually more affordable to purchase a home today than it was between 1995 to 2003 when looking at mortgage payments (determined by price and interest rate) as compared to incomes. Home prices are up compared to 1995-2003, but mortgage rates are still much lower now than at that time. Today, they stand at about 4.5%. Here are the average mortgage rates for each of the years mentioned:

  • 1995 – 7.93%
  • 1996 – 7.81%
  • 1997 – 7.6%
  • 1998 – 6.94%
  • 1999 – 7.44%
  • 2000 – 8.05%
  • 2001 – 6.97%
  • 2002 – 6.54%
  • 2003 – 5.83%

On the other hand, wages have risen over the last twenty years.

Black Knight’s research revealed that, when comparing “the share of median income required to buy the median-priced home” today, to the average between 1995 to 2003, it is currently more affordable to purchase a home in 44 of 50 states.

Here is a state map of the percentage change in the price-to-payment ratio. Positive numbers indicate that it is less affordable to buy while negative numbers indicate that it is more affordable.

Bottom Line

Whether you are moving up to the home of your dreams or purchasing your first house, it is a great time to buy when looking at historic affordability data. As always, we here at Josh Barker Real Estate Advisors are here to help answer any questions you may have about buying or selling homes here in Redding and Shasta County. Feel free to give us a call at 530-222-3800 or email me at josh@reddinghomes.com.

Posted in Josh's Blog
June 20, 2018

How A Lack of Inventory Impacts the Housing Market

The housing crisis in Shasta County and the rest of America is finally in the rear-view mirror as the real estate market moves down the road to a complete recovery. Home values are up, home sales are up, and distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have fallen to their lowest points in years. The market will continue to strengthen in 2018.

However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory. Buyer demand naturally increases during the summer months, but supply is not keeping up.

Here are the thoughts of a few industry experts on the subject:

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at National Association of Realtors

“The worsening inventory crunch through the first three months of the year inflicted even more upward pressure on home prices in a majority of markets. Following the same trend over the last couple of years, a strengthening job market and income gains are not being met by meaningful sales gains because of unrelenting supply and affordability headwinds.”

Sam Khater, Chief Economist for Freddie Mac

“As we head into late spring, the demand for purchase credit remains rock solid, which should set us up for another robust summer home sales season. While this year’s high rates – up 50 basic points from a year ago – have put pressure on the budgets of some home shoppers, weak inventory levels are what’s keeping the housing market from a stronger sales pace.”

Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research for Realtor.com

“The dynamics of increased competition and buyer frustration are unlikely to change…In fact, the direction of the trend is pointing to a growing mismatch between the pool of prospective buyers and existing inventory.”

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling, now may be the time. Demand for your house will be strong at a time when there is very little competition. That could lead to a quick sale for a really good price. As always, we here at Josh Barker Real Estate Advisors are here to help answer any questions you may have about buying or selling homes here in Redding and Shasta County. Feel free to give us a call at 530-222-3800 or email me at josh@reddinghomes.com.

Posted in Josh's Blog
June 18, 2018

Are Lending Standards Too Loose…or Too Tight?

With home values appreciating at record rates in Shasta County and all across America, some are concerned that we may be heading for another housing bubble like the one we experienced a decade ago. One of the major culprits of that housing boom and bust was the loosening of standards for mortgage credit.

In a study done at the University of North Carolina immediately after the crisis, it was revealed that:

“Lenders began originating large numbers of high risk mortgages from around 2004 to 2007, and loans from those vintage years exhibited higher default rates than loans made either before or after.”

A study by John V Duca, John Muellbauer, and Anthony Murphy concluded that those risky mortgages caused the housing crisis:

“Our findings indicate that swings in credit standards played a major, if not the major, role in driving the recent boom and bust in US house prices.”

How do today’s mortgage standards compare to those from 2004 to 2007?

The Mortgage Bankers’ Association tracts mortgage standards in their Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI). A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index are indicative of loosening credit. While the chart below shows the index going back to that period between 2004 and 2007 when loose standards caused the housing bubble, we can see that, though the index has risen slightly over the last several years, we are nowhere near the standards that precipitated the housing crisis.

Bottom Line

If anything, standards today are too tight and are preventing some qualified buyers from getting the mortgage credit they deserve. As always, we here at Josh Barker Real Estate Advisors are here to help answer any questions you may have about buying or selling homes here in Redding and Shasta County. Feel free to give us a call at 530-222-3800 or email me at josh@reddinghomes.com.

Posted in Josh's Blog
June 15, 2018

Days on The Market Drops to New Low in April

According to recently released data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median number of days that a home spent on the market hit a new low of 26 days in April, as 57% of homes were on the market for under a month.

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, had this to say,

“What is available for sale is going under contract at a rapid pace. Since NAR began tracking this data in May 2011, the median days a listing was on the market was at an all-time low in April, and the share of homes sold in less than a month was at an all-time high.”

Strong buyer demand, a good economy, and a low inventory of new and existing homes for sale created the perfect storm to accelerate the time between listing and signing a contract.

The chart below shows the median days on the market from April 2017 to April 2018:

Bottom Line

If you are a homeowner who is debating whether or not to list your home for sale, know that national market conditions are primed for a quick turnaround! Let’s get together to discuss exactly what’s going on in our area, today!

As always, we here at Josh Barker Real Estate Advisors are here to help answer any questions you may have about buying or selling homes here in Redding and Shasta County. Feel free to give us a call at 530-222-3800 or email me at josh@reddinghomes.com.

Posted in Josh's Blog
June 11, 2018

Did Tax Reform Kill the Luxury Market? NOT SO FAR!

The new tax code limits the deduction of state and local property taxes, as well as income or sales taxes, to a total of $10,000. When the tax reform legislation was put into law at the beginning of the year, some experts felt that it could have a negative impact on the luxury housing market.

Capital Economics:

“The impact on expensive homes could be detrimental, with a limit on the MID raising taxes for those that itemize.”

Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics:

“The impact on house prices is much greater for higher-priced homes, especially in parts of the country where incomes are higher and there are thus a disproportionate number of itemizers, and where homeowners have big mortgages and property tax bills.”

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) predicted price declines in “high cost, higher tax areas” because of the tax changes. They forecasted a depreciation of 6.2% in New Jersey and 4.8% in Washington D.C. and New York.

What has actually happened?

Here are a few metrics to consider before we write-off the luxury market:

1. According to NAR’s latest Existing Home Sales Report, here is the percent change in sales from last year:

  • Homes sales between $500,000 – $750,000 are up 11.9%
  • Homes sales between $750,000 – $1M are up 16.8%
  • Homes sales over $1,000,000 are up 26.7%

2. In a report from Trulia, it was revealed that searches for “premium” homes as a percentage of all searches increased from 38.4% in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 41.4% in the first quarter of 2018.

3. According to an article from Bloomberg:

“Median home values nationally rose 8 percent in March compared with a year earlier, while neighborhoods of San Francisco and San Jose, California, have increased more than 25 percent.

Prices in affluent areas in Delaware and New York, such as the Hamptons, also surged more than 20 percent.”

Bottom Line

Aaron Terrazas, Zillow’s Senior Economist, probably summed up real estate’s luxury market the best:

“We are seeing the opposite of what was expected. We have certainly not seen the doomsday predictions play out.”

As always, we here at Josh Barker Real Estate Advisors are here to help answer any questions you may have about buying or selling homes here in Redding and Shasta County. Feel free to give us a call at 530-222-3800 or email me at josh@reddinghomes.com.

Posted in Josh's Blog
June 8, 2018

4 Reasons Why Summer Is a Great Time to Buy a Home!

Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home in Shasta County today instead of waiting:

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Insights reports that home prices have appreciated by 7% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.2% over the next year.

Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have increased by half a percentage point already in 2018 to around 4.5%. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by nearly a full percentage point by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

3. Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage

There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

4. It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer, or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

As always, we here at Josh Barker Real Estate Advisors are here to help answer any questions you may have about buying or selling homes here in Redding and Shasta County. Feel free to give us a call at 530-222-3800 or email me at josh@reddinghomes.com.

Posted in Josh's Blog
June 5, 2018

Shasta County Market Update - June 2018

Click Here to watch Josh's video blog for the month of June.


From The Desk Of Josh Barker @ RE/MAX

By now everyone has heard that interest rates will be increasing. For years and years, we have heard rumors of rate increases and yet, until now, they have remained relatively the same. As you can see in the graphic below, interest rates have started on an upward trajectory and are expected to continue to rise. If buyers neglect to pay close attention to the rising interest rates, they might find themselves priced out of the market. For every percentage point that the interest rate increases, purchasing power is impacted negatively by almost 10%! For example, if a buyer qualifies for a home purchase of $300,000 when interest rates are at 4%, the same buyer will only qualify for a $270,000 purchase if the rate jumps to 5%. As a result, the types of homes that are within a buyer’s budget will change. An interest rate increase will impact our local market.


As interest rates are on the rise, we are also seeing an increase in the availability of financing. The graphic below represents what the availability of financing looked like during the housing boom of 2005 and 2006. You can see how high it was back then before the market started to correct and decrease rapidly. Lenders responded quickly by tightening down on the availability of financing. But now we're beginning to see availability trend back up again. Although it is nothing like it was back then, you can see that lenders are beginning to loosen guidelines as they raise the interest rates. In part, this is an effort to keep the buyer market the same, in terms of demand versus supply, as interest rates rise.


As you can see in the graphic below, the rental market is still very tight. We have been talking about rentals frequently in our market updates. As you can see in the graphic below, the rental market is still very tight. If you were to go looking for a place to rent today, you're most likely going to find yourself competing against multiple tenants. There just aren't as many rentals available today as there have been in the past. As a result, we're seeing rent rates continue to increase and the availability of rentals decrease. This results in a tough experience for people looking to rent. If you're a homeowner who is thinking about selling your home and moving into a rental, keep this in mind as you consider your options and make sure there are properties available for you to rent throughout your relocation process. If you are considering moving from your current home, our instant property valuation tool can help at www.shastahomevalue.com.


Home sales for the month of May were up slightly compared to one year ago. In addition, the number of homes available for sale is also slightly higher compared to one year ago. In the graph below you can review the number of homes for sale and homes that have sold broken down by price range.

 


Home values in Shasta County are changing. Check out the value of your home instantly by using our free home valuation tool. Simply enter your property address and we will provide comparable sales to your home and project an estimated value instantly.

 

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me at josh@reddinghomes.com or contact me at 530-222-3800.

Have a great June!

Josh Barker

Posted in Newsletters
June 4, 2018

Will Home Prices Fall as Mortgage Rates Rise?

Mortgage interest rates have increased by more than half of a point since the beginning of the year. They are projected to increase by an additional half of a point by year’s end. Because of this increase in rates, some are guessing that home prices will depreciate.

However, some prominent experts in the housing industry doubt that home values will be negatively impacted by the rise in rates.

Mark Fleming, First American’s Chief Economist:

“Understanding the resiliency of the housing market in a rising mortgage rate environment puts the likely rise in mortgage rates into perspective – they are unlikely to materially impact the housing market…

The driving force behind the increase are healthy economic conditions…The healthy economy encourages more homeownership demand and spurs household income growth, which increases consumer house-buying power. Mortgage rates are on the rise because of a stronger economy and our housing market is well positioned to adapt.”

Terry Loebs, Founder of Pulsenomics:

“Constrained home supply, persistent demand, very low unemployment, and steady economic growth have given a jolt to the near-term outlook for U.S. home prices. These conditions are overshadowing concerns that mortgage rate increases expected this year might quash the appetite of prospective home buyers.”

Laurie Goodman, Codirector of the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute:

“Higher interest rates are generally positive for home prices, despite decreasing affordability…There were only three periods of prolonged higher rates in 1994, 2000, and the ‘taper tantrum’ in 2013. In each period, home price appreciation was robust.”

Industry reports are also calling for substantial home price appreciation this year. Here are three examples:

  • The Home Price Expectation Survey says that prices will appreciate by 5.8% this year.
  • The Freddie Mac Outlook Report is looking for home prices to appreciate by around 7% in 2018.
  • The CoreLogic HPI Forecast indicates that home prices will increase by 5.2% on a year-over-year basis.

Bottom Line

As Freddie Mac reported earlier this year in their Insights Report, “Nowhere to go but up? How increasing mortgage rates could affect housing,”

“As mortgage rates increase, the demand for home purchases will likely remain strong relative to the constrained supply and continue to put upward pressure on home prices.”

As always, we here at Josh Barker Real Estate Advisors are here to help answer any questions you may have about buying or selling homes here in Redding and Shasta County. Feel free to give us a call at 530-222-3800 or email me at josh@reddinghomes.com.

Posted in Josh's Blog
May 31, 2018

Millennials Are Skipping Starter Homes for Their Dream Homes

A new trend has begun to emerge. With home prices skyrocketing in the starter home category, many first-time homebuyers are skipping the traditional starter homes and moving right into their dream homes.

What’s a Starter Home?

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), simply put, a starter home is a one or two-bedroom home (sometimes even a small, three bedroom). “Prices vary widely by market but starters on average cost $150,000 to $250,000 while trade-up and premium homes cost upwards of $300,000.”

Finding Their Forever Homes Now

A recent CNBC article revealed that there are many factors that delayed older millennials (ages 25-35) from buying a home earlier in their lives. The aftereffects of the Great Recession teaming up with larger education costs forced many to either remain living in their parent’s homes or to rent.

With the economy continuing to improve, many millennials have been able to break into better-paying jobs which has helped spur down payment savings. As the dream of homeownership comes closer to reality, many millennials are saving for their forever homes.

According to the latest statistics from NAR, 30% of millennials bought homes for $300,000 or more this year (up from 14% in 2013). Diane Swonk, Chief Economist at Grant Thornton weighed in saying, “They rented for longer. Now they’re going to where they want to stay.”

More and more millennials are settling down, getting married, and starting families, which is a huge factor driving them to look for larger homes.

Increased competition in the starter home market has also been a driving force in waiting to afford their dream homes. Inventory in the starter home market is down 14.2% from last year, according to research from Trulia. This has driven prices up and has led to bidding wars.

Many first-time buyers who were originally looking for starter homes are realizing that for just a little bit more of an investment, they could afford trade-up or premium homes instead.

Bottom Line

If you plan on purchasing your first home this year, let’s get together to determine how much house you can afford. You may be pleasantly surprised. As always, we here at Josh Barker Real Estate Advisors are here to help answer any questions you may have about buying or selling homes here in Redding and Shasta County. Feel free to give us a call at 530-222-3800 or email me at josh@reddinghomes.com.

Posted in Josh's Blog
May 29, 2018

Why Have Interest Rates Jumped to a 7-Year High?

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have climbed from 3.95% in the first week of January up to 4.61% last week, which marks a 7-year high according to Freddie Mac. The current pace of acceleration has been fueled by many factors.

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist, had this to say:

“Healthy consumer spending and higher commodity prices spooked bond markets and led to higher mortgage rates over the past week.

Not only are buyers facing higher borrowing costs, gas prices are currently at four-year highs just as we enter the important peak home sales season.”

But what do gas prices have to do with interest rates?

Investopedia explains the relationship like this:

“The price of oil and inflation are often seen as being connected in a cause-and-effect relationship. As oil prices move up or down, inflation follows in the same direction.”

You may have noticed that filling your gas tank has become substantially more expensive in recent months. The average national gas price has climbed nearly $0.50 from the beginning of the year, leading to the highest price for Memorial Day weekend since 2014.

As rates go up, your purchasing power goes down, but don’t worry; rates are still well below the averages we’ve seen over the last four decades.

“Freddie Mac said this year’s higher rates have not yet caused much of a ripple in the strong demand levels for buying a home seen in most markets, but inflationary pressures and the prospect of rates approaching 5 percent could begin to hit the psyche of some prospective buyers.”

Buying sooner rather than later will help lock in a lower rate than waiting, as the experts believe rates will continue to climb. Even a small increase in interest rates can have a big impact on your monthly housing cost.

Bottom Line

If you are planning on buying a home this year, keep an eye on gas prices the next time you’re at the pump. If you start to feel a big jump in price, know that rates are probably on their way up, too. As always, we here at Josh Barker Real Estate Advisors are here to help answer any questions you may have about buying or selling homes here in Redding and Shasta County. Feel free to give us a call at 530-222-3800 or email me at josh@reddinghomes.com.

Posted in Josh's Blog