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.
If you are planning on buying a home this year in Lake Stevens, 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.
Source.. KCM Mike Kellogg and Sheli Kellogg blog
According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at 4.61%, which is still near record lows in comparison to recent history!
The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.
Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford to buy will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.
The chart below shows the impact that rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a home within the national median price range while keeping your principal and interest payments between $1,850-$1,900 a month.
With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be closer to 5% by this time next year.
Act now to get the most house for your hard-earned money.
Source.. KCM Mike Kellogg and Sheli Kellogg blog
In this extremely hot Lake Stevens real estate market, some homeowners might consider selling their homes on their own which is known as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). They rationalize that they don’t need a real estate agent and believe that they can save the fee for the services a real estate agent offers.
However, a study by Collateral Analytics reveals that FSBOs don’t actually save anything, and in some cases may be costing themselves more, by not listing with an agent.
In the study, they analyzed home sales in a variety of markets. The data showed that:
“FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.” (emphasis added)
Why would FSBOs net less money than if they had used an agent?
The study makes several suggestions:
- “There could be systematic bias on the buyer side as well. FSBO sales might attract more strategic buyers than MLS sales, particularly buyers who rationalize lower-priced bids with the logic that the seller is “saving” a traditional commission. Such buyers might specifically search for and target sellers who are not getting representational assistance from agents.” In other words, ‘bargain lookers’ might shop FSBOs more often.
- “Experienced agents are experts at ‘staging’ homes for sale” which could bring more money for the home.
- “Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.” If more buyers see a home, the greater the chances are that there could be a bidding war for the property.
Conclusions from the study:
- FSBOs achieve prices significantly lower than those from similar properties sold by Realtors using the MLS.
- The data suggests the average price was near 6% lower for FSBO sales of similar properties.
As Dave Ramsey, America’s trusted voice on money, explains:
“Research has shown that, between mistakes, lack of negotiating skills, pricing errors and general exposure on the market, you’ll cost yourself more than the real estate commission…You’ll come out slightly better and with a lot less hassle if you use a top-shelf agent.”
Source.. KCM Mike Kellogg and Sheli Kellogg blog
If you’re thinking of buying your dream home in Lake Stevens, consider the following:
Mortgage interest rates have risen by more than half of a point since the beginning of the year, and many assume that if mortgage rates rise, home values will fall. History, however, has shown this not to be true.
Where are home values today compared to the beginning of the year?
While rates have been rising, so have home values. Here are the most recent monthly price increases reported in the Home Price Insights Report from CoreLogic:
- January: Prices were up 0.5% over the month before.
- February: Prices were up 1% over the month before.
- March: Prices were up 1.4% over the month before.
Not only did prices continue to appreciate, the level of appreciation accelerated over the first quarter. CoreLogic believes that home prices will increase by 5.2% over the next twelve months.
How can prices rise while mortgage rates increase?
Freddie Mac explained in a recent Insight Report:
“In the current housing market, the driving force behind the increase in prices is a low supply of both new and existing homes combined with historically low rates. 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.”
If you are thinking about moving up to your dream home, waiting until later this year and hoping for prices to fall may not be a good strategy.
Source… KCM Mike Kellogg and Sheli Kellogg blog
Starting late last year, some predicted that the 2018 tax changes would cripple the housing market. Headlines warned of the potential for double-digit price depreciation and suggested that buyer demand could drop like a rock. There was even sentiment that homeownership could lose its coveted status as a major component of the American Dream.
Now that the first quarter numbers are in, we can begin to decipher the actual that impact tax reform has had on the real estate market.
1. Has tax reform killed off home buyer demand? The answer is “NO.”
According to the Showing Time Index which “tracks the average number of buyer showings on active residential properties on a monthly basis” and is a “highly reliable leading indicator of current and future demand trends,” buyer demand has increased each month over the last three months and is HIGHER than it was for the same months last year. Buyer demand is not down. It is up.
2. Have the tax changes affected America’s belief in real estate as a long-term investment? The answer is “NO.”
Two weeks ago, Gallup released its annual survey which asks Americans which asset they believed to be the best long-term investment. The survey revealed:
“More Americans name real estate over several other vehicles for growing wealth as the best long-term investment for the fifth year in a row. Just over a third cite real estate for this, while roughly a quarter name stocks or mutual funds.”
The survey also showed that the percentage of Americans who believe real estate is the best long-term investment was unchanged from a year ago.
3. Has the homeownership rate been negatively impacted by the tax changes? The answer is “NO.”
Not only did the homeownership rate not crash, it increased when compared to the first quarter of last year according to data released by the Census Bureau.
In her latest “Z Report,” Ivy Zelman explains that tax reform didn’t hurt the homeownership rate, but instead, enhanced it:
“We have been of the opinion that homeownership is most highly correlated with income and the net effect of tax reform would be a positive, rather than negative catalyst for the homeownership rate. While still in the early innings of tax changes, this has proven to be the case.”
4. Has the upper-end market been crushed by new State and Local Taxes (SALT) limitations? The answer is “NO.”
In the National Association of Realtors latest Existing Home Sales Report it was revealed that:
- Sales between $500,000 and $750,000 were up 4.5% year-over-year
- Sales between $750,000 and $1M were up 15.1% year-over-year
- Sales over $1M were up 17.3% year-over-year
5. Will the reforms in the tax code cause home prices to tumble over the next twelve months? The answer is “NO.”
According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Insights Report, home prices will appreciate in each of the 50 states over the next twelve months. Appreciation is projected to be anywhere from 1.9% to 10.3% with the national average being 4.7%.
The doomsday scenarios that some predicted based on tax reform fears seem to have already blown over based on the early housing industry numbers being reported.
If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, give us a call. We are real estate professionals in Lake Stevens and Snohomish.
Source.. KCM Mike Kellogg and Sheli Kellogg blog.