What’s Happening in Real Estate
If you’re getting ready to put your house on the market or thinking of buying in the next several months, it may benefit you to be familiar with what’s happening in the regional and national real estate markets. The Daily Real Estate News/RealtorMag.com recently reported the top trends for the spring selling season. Their findings will help prepare you in your search and expectations.
Home Prices Are Surging – A lack of inventory is hampering the search for prospective buyers in many markets. Those looking for a new home should be prepared for increased competition due low housing this spring.
Sellers Are Needed – It’s still a seller’s market as total housing inventory increased just 1.6 percent at the end of February (nationally).
Buyers Want Move-In Ready Properties – A lack of inventory isn’t deterring buyers from being picky about property conditions and are expecting homes to be move-in ready. “Buyers don’t want to assume any risk with properties that need work, particularly first-time buyers with limited cash resources,” says Budge Huskey, chief executive officer at Coldwell Banker Real Estate.
Foreclosures Keep Slipping – After peaking in 2006, foreclosures are returning to significantly low levels across the country.
Investor Slowdown – Competition between regular buyers and investors is decreasing. Home prices are so high that the share of home sales to investor clients reached a four-year low.
Buying is Cheaper than Renting – A recent study by the National Association of Realtors found that rents are on the rise in many parts of the country. “In the past five years, a typical rent rose 15 percent while the income of renters grew by only 11 percent,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, said.
Financiers Focusing on First Time Buyers – New programs from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac seek to make it easier for first-time borrowers to buy a home. They recently introduced three-percent down payment mortgages – the first time down payments have been this low on Freddie Mac loans in nearly five years. Besides this, Freddie Mac launched the “Our Home Possible Advantage Program”, which is aimed at supporting first-time buyers by allowing no minimum from borrowers in contributions, which means that parents or relatives now can cover 100 percent of the down payment through gifts.