The Cost of a Home Is Far More Important than the Price

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Housing inventory is at an all-time low. There are 39% fewer homes for sale today than at this time last year, and buyer demand continues to set

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records. Zillow recently reported:

“Newly pending sales are up 25.5% compared to the same week last year, the highest year-over-year increase in the weekly Zillow database.”

Whenever there is a shortage in the supply of an item that’s in high demand, the price of that item increases. That’s exactly what’s happening in the real estate market right now. CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that values have increased by 5.5% over the last year.

This is great news if you’re planning to sell your house; on the other hand, as either a first-time or repeat buyer, this may instead seem like troubling news. However, purchasers should realize that the price of a house is not as important as the cost.  Let’s break it down.

There are several factors that influence the cost of a home. The two major ones are the price of the home and the interest rate at which a buyer can borrow the funds necessary to purchase the home.

Last week, Freddie Mac announced that the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 2.87%. At this time last year, the rate was 3.73%. Let’s use an example to see how that difference impacts the true cost of a home.

Assume you purchased a home last year and took out a $250,000 mortgage. As mentioned above, home values have increased by 5.5% over the last year. To buy that same home this year, you would need to take out a mortgage of $263,750.

How will your monthly mortgage payment change based on today’s lower mortgage rate?

This table calculates the difference in your monthly payment:

 

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That’s a savings of $61 monthly, which adds up to $732 annually and $21,960 over the life of the loan.

Bottom Line

Even though home values have appreciated, it’s a great time to buy a home because mortgage rates are at historic lows.

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For a hassle-free mortgage consultation, contact DJ Riley at United Family Mortgage in Elk River at 763-276-3960.  Or send him an email at djriley@unitedfamilymortgage.com

How Down Payment Assistance Opens the Door to Homeownership

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Many people are eager to buy a home right now while affordability continues to be a highlight of the current housing market. However, a recent survey by Sparks Research shows that 20% of first-time homebuyers cite a lack of financial education as a barrier to homeownership. This is definitely understandable. If you don’t feel comfortable with the financial process of buying a home, it’s hard to make a confident decision. In fact, four in five homebuyers say they need help to understand what they can even afford in the first place. This is why finding the right professionals to help you through the process is so important.

On top of that, the same survey reports over two-thirds of prospective home buyers believe they’ll need assistance to save enough for a down payment. What they may not realize is that there are a lot of down payment assistance programs at the state and regional levels, and many of them have funds available for potential buyers. Down Payment Resources recently released its Q3 2020 Homeownership Program Index, which explains:

 The number of total programs is 2,340, and over 81 percent (81.1%) of programs currently have funds available for eligible homebuyers.”

Down Payment Assistance Programs Are Not Only for First-Time Homebuyers

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Down Payment Assistance Programs are not only for first-time homebuyers.

Keep in mind, these programs aren’t just for first-time homebuyers, so it’s worth exploring your options no matter where you are in your homeownership journey. For example, if you’re working from home now, you may be thinking of relocating to a more affordable area where you can stretch your dollar further and have more space, inside and out. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

       Rural areas have mortgages (USDA loans) that don’t require down payments; and some workers who can work from home may want to consider outer suburbs or small towns where USDA home loans are available and where homes are very affordable.”

If affordability is on your mind and you’re expecting to be working from home long-term, the right home may be in an area you haven’t considered yet. In addition, the assistance program you need might be within reach too.

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If you’re interested in learning more about down payment assistance programs, additional information is available through Down Payment Resource.

For a hassle-free mortgage consultation, contact DJ Riley at United Family Mortgage in Elk River at 763-276-3960.  Or send him an email at djriley@unitedfamilymortgage.com 

 

Bottom Line

Thanks to a range of down payment assistance programs, affordable options are out there for today’s hopeful homebuyers. It’s important to get the financial education you need to understand the home buying process and accomplish your real estate goals.   For a hassle-free mortgage consultation, contact DJ Riley at United Family Mortgage in Elk River at 763-276-3960.  Or send him an email at djriley@unitedfamilymortgage.com

Is Now a Good Time to Move?

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How long have you lived in your current home?  If it’s been a while, you may be thinking about moving.  According to the latest Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), in 2019, homeowners were living in their homes for an average of 10 years.  That’s a long time to be in one place, considering the average length of time homeowners used to stay put hovered closer to 6 years.

With today’s changing homebuyer needs, especially given how the current health crisis has altered our daily lifestyles, many homeowners are reconsidering where they’re at and thinking about moving to a home with more space for their families.  Here’s why it might be a great time to make that happen.

The real estate market has changed in many ways over the past 10 years, and current homeowners are earning much more equity today than they used to have.  According to CoreLogic, in the first quarter of 2020 alone, the average homeowner gained approximately $9,600 in equity. If you’re considering selling your house right now, you may have accumulated more equity to put toward a move than you realize.

Dialing back 10 years, many homeowners also locked in a fairly low mortgage rate.  In 2010, the average rate was only 4.09%.  This motivated homeowners to stay in their houses longer than usual to keep their rate low, rather than moving.  Just last Thursday, however, average mortgage rates hit a new historic low at 2.86%. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac explains:

Mortgage rates have hit another record low due to a late summer slowdown in the economic recovery…These low rates have ignited robust purchase demand activity, which is up twenty-five percent from a year ago and has been growing at double digit rates for four consecutive months.”

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Ten years ago, we couldn’t have imagined a mortgage rate under 3%.  Looking at the math today, making a move into a new home and locking in a significantly lower rate than you have now could save you greatly on a monthly basis, and over the life of your loan (See chart below):

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As the example shows, you can save a substantial amount every month if you qualify for today’s low mortgage rate, and the savings can really add up over the life of a 30-year fixed-rate loan.

Bottom Line

As a homeowner, you have a huge opportunity to move up right now. Whether you want to save more each month or get more home for your money based on your family’s changing needs, it’s a great time to connect to discuss the market in our area. Buyers are actively looking for more homes to buy, and you can win big by making a move if the time is right for you.

For a hassle-free mortgage consultation, contact DJ Riley at United Family Mortgage in Elk River at 763-276-3960.  Or send him an mail at djriley@unitedfamilymortgage.com

Buyers: Are You Ready for a Bidding War?

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With businesses reopening throughout the country and some experts indicating early signs of a much-anticipated economic recovery, more

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homebuyers are actively entering the housing market this summer. Today, housing is truly driving the U.S. economy forward. With so many buyers looking for homes to purchase and so few houses for sale right now, there’s a disconnect between supply and demand. This imbalance is pushing home prices upward while driving more bidding wars and multiple-offer scenarios. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com explains:

“People are surprised that prices are rising, not falling, because in the last recession home prices fell, the difference this time is the severe shortage of homes for sale…We are seeing bigger price increases with [a limited] number of homes…That is likely to lead to more competition and potentially multiple offers and bidding wars.”

According to the recent Realtors Confidence Index (RCI) survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), this trend is growing:

“On average, there were about three offers on a home that closed in May, up from just about two in April 2020 and in May 2019 (2.3 offers).”

HousingWire also indicates:

“42% of homeowners who made a purchase during the January to May time period ended up in a bidding war, demonstrating the strong demand for homes amid low inventory.”

With more people returning to work we’ll continue to see the number of interested buyers increase. So, if you’re among the many people looking for a home to buy this summer, it’s important to ensure you have the right guidance from the start. This way, you make sure your offer stands out from the crowd when it really counts. Here are two tips to follow.

1.  Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

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When there are more buyers than sellers on the market, the process to find a home becomes much more challenging.  One way to show you’re serious about buying a home is to work with a lender to get pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.  With a pre-approval letter, sellers will see your true desire to buy this year, potentially helping your offer rise to the top.   For a hassle-free consultation and mortgage pre-approval, contact DJ Riley today at 763-276-3960.  

2. Hire a Trusted Local Expert

A trusted local real estate professional matters more than ever right now, as noted in a recent survey shared by NAR. In fact, according to respondents, 54% of buyers and 62% of sellers indicated that “Particularly during the pandemic, a real estate agent’s guidance is especially valued.”

We’re not in a normal market. We are in one of the greatest health crises our nation has ever seen. The pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the journey consumers must take to purchase a home. To successfully navigate the landscape today, you need a true expert on your side.

Bottom Line

If this is the year you’re ready to buy, let’s connect to get the process started so you can make sure your offer is a strong one when the competition heats up.

For a hassle-free consultation, contact DJ Riley at United Family Mortgage in Elk River at 763-276-3960.

What Are Experts Saying about Home Prices?

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Last week, a very well-respected real estate analytics firm surprised many with their home price projection for the next twelve months. CoreLogic, in their latest Home Price Index said:

“The economic downturn that started in March 2020 is predicted to cause a 6.6% drop in the HPI by May 2021, which would be the first decrease in annual home prices in over 9 years.”

The forecast was surprising as it was strikingly different than any other projection by major analysts. Six of the other eight forecasts call for appreciation, and the two who project depreciation indicate it will be one percent or less.

 

Here is a graph showing all of the projections:

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There’s a simple formula to determine the future price of any item: calculate the supply of that item in ratio to the demand for that item. In housing right now, demand far exceeds supply. Last week mortgage applications to buy a home were 33% higher than they were at the same time last year. The available inventory of homes for sale is 31% lower than it was last year. Normally, these numbers should call for homes to continue to appreciate.

Bottom Line

Because of the uncertainty with the pandemic, any economic prediction is extremely difficult. However, looking at the limited supply of homes for sale and the tremendous demand for housing, it is difficult to disagree with the majority of analysts who are calling for price appreciation.

Mortgage Rates Hit Record Lows for 3 Consecutive Weeks

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Over the past several weeks, Freddie Mac has reported the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropping to record lows, all the way down to 3.03%.  Last week’s reported rate reached the lowest point in the history of the survey, which dates back to 1971 (See graph below):best mortgage rates today Zimmerman, down payment assistance Elk River, down payment assistance Ramsey, down payment assistance Ramsey MN, down payment assistance Zimmerman, Fannie Mae home loans Ramsey

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What does this mean for buyers?

This is huge for homebuyers.  Those currently taking advantage of the increasing affordability that comes with historically low-interest rates are winning big.  According to Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac:

“The summer is heating up as record low mortgage rates continue to spur homebuyer demand.”

In addition, move.com notes:

“Summer home buying season is off to a roaring start. As buyers flooded into the market, realtor.com® monthly traffic hit an all-time high of 86 million unique users in June 2020, breaking May’s record of 85 million unique users. Realtor.com® daily traffic also hit its highest level ever of 7 million unique users on June 25, signaling that despite the global pandemic buyers are ready to make a purchase.”

Clearly, buyers are capitalizing on today’s low rates.  As shown in the chart below, the average monthly mortgage payment decreases significantly when rates are as low as they are today.

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A lower monthly payment means savings that can add up significantly over the life of a home loan.  It also means that qualified buyers may be able to purchase more home for their money.  Maybe that’s a bigger home than what they’d be able to afford at a higher rate, an increasingly desirable option considering the amount of time families are now spending at home given today’s health crisis.

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If you’re in a position to buy a home this year, let’s connect to initiate the process while mortgage rates are historically low.

For a hassle-free consultation, contact DJ Riley at United Family Mortgage in Elk River at 763-276-3960.

Be a Better Buyer: Ramp Up Your Homeownership Knowledge

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We’ve all heard it before — financial literacy and education is key to helping us become more prepared homebuyers. But, the internet is a big place. So, where do you begin? What experts should you follow?

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We pulled together a shortlist of resources recently highlighted at an Urban Institute seminar about Barriers to Accessing Homeownership.  Whether you want a person to be your guide or favor online tools, you’ll find something that fits your needs in this line-up.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

Did you know that data shows mortgage shopping can lead to an improved mortgage rate or solution? Before you make an offer on a home, check out the CFPB’s guide for owning a home, including resources on preparing to home shop and exploring loan choices. The CFPB also has a loan estimate explainer to help you navigate estimates from different lenders.

You can also learn about special loan programs for which you may qualify by contacting DJ Riley at United Family Mortgage in Elk River at 763-276-3960.

The CFPB includes information about HUD-approved housing counselors who can provide advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures, and credit issues. Search for one in your area.

NeighborWorks America

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If you are interested in a personal guide to help you prepare for homeownership, NeighborWorks can help you locate services in your area.  Their counselors are knowledgeable about homeownership programs. In fact, 83 percent of their buyers use some type of down payment assistance with their loans.  You can also check out their homebuyer tips.

Credit Smart curriculum

The CreditSmart curriculum, offered by Freddie Mac, includes financial education modules on credit, money management, homeownership, foreclosure avoidance, and more. The 12-module curriculum is available in five different languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese. Organizations can offer this curriculum in community settings or individuals can complete it online.

Better Money Habits

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Some lenders are introducing their own educational content. In partnership with Khan Academy, Bank of America has a financial education curriculum with 10 different categories.  The homeownership segment goes over budgeting, questions to ask lenders, credit score, and much more.

Trusted Advisors

In addition to online tools, cultivate a group of trusted advisors you can turn to during this process.  DJ Riley at United Family Mortgage in Elk River is an expert in down payment assistance programs in our area.  Contact DJ directly at 763-276-3960.

Learn more about the latest research on homeownership barriers and what the industry is doing to help.  Watch the full Urban Institute Seminar below.

 

Get Help with Down Payment Assistance

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Down payment help sounds great, but how does it actually work?  What process should you follow?

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While down payment programs vary greatly by state and community, there are some universal steps that will help you stay on track if a homeownership program is part of your home financing plan.  Let’s look at how it worked for one Florida buyer highlighted in Business Insider.

One buyer’s story

Willy Harris, 24, and his girlfriend used a Florida first-time homebuyer program to purchase a $204,000 new construction home in Jacksonville, FL. The program allows first-time homebuyers within the qualified income and purchase-price limits to receive up to $15,000 in secondary financing toward down payment and closing costs.  If the homebuyer lives in the home for five years, the secondary loan is forgiven. Harris used an FHA home loan that required a 3% down payment.

They put down a $1,000 deposit to reserve the lot, while the grant covered their $7,750 closing costs and $6,150 down payment.  The remaining amount of the grant went toward the principal of the home loan.  Because they put 3% down, they also paid a monthly mortgage insurance premium of $109.  Their first mortgage payment is currently $1,503 a month.

Harris recommends setting up a budget and savings plan and researching programs that can give you a boost.

 

Similar Down Payment Assistance Programs are available in Sherburne County and throughout Minnesota.

 

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Follow these steps to get the most of using a homeownership program:

• Do some upfront homework.  Research local homeownership education and counseling resources that can help you with the process.

• Determine your budget.  Figure how big a monthly mortgage payment you can afford on your salary. Don’t forget that your mortgage payment may include taxes and insurance too which you can estimate.

• Create a savings plan. Build a spreadsheet (or use an app) to track your expenses.

• Research down payment assistance programs in your area. Contact the agency offering the program or a homeownership counselor who can help you with the process.

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• Both the buyer and the home must qualify for the assistance. Find out the home price limits and any community or neighborhood boundaries for the program that may impact your home search. Find out if you can use the program on new construction.

• Get a list of participating lenders for the homeownership program, available on the program provider’s website. Not all lenders offer every program.

• Get prequalified for a loan so you can review the numbers and make an educated decision on the type of financing.

• Compare offers and ask lenders about any other programs for which you may qualify. You may even be able to layer programs, for example down payment assistance plus a tax credit.

• Review mortgage insurance options with your lender.

• Complete homebuyer education courses that are often required when using a down payment assistance program.

• Ask about your options for using the funds. Can they be used for down payment or closing costs, or both?

Unemployment Report is Good News for Home Buyers

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In early June, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released their May Employment Situation SummaryLeading up to the release, most experts predicted the unemployment rate would jump up to approximately 20% from the 14.7% rate announced last month.

The experts were shocked.

The Wall Street Journal put it this way:

“The May U.S. jobless rate fell to 13.3% and employers added 2.5 million jobs, blowing Wall Street expectations out of the water: Economists had forecast a loss of 8.3 million jobs and a 19.5% unemployment rate.”

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“The May gain was by far the biggest one-month jobs surge in U.S. history since at least 1939.”

Here are some of the job gains by sector:

  • Food Service and Bartenders – 1,400,000
  • Construction – 464,000
  • Education and Health Services – 424,000
  • Retail – 368,000
  • Other Services – 272,000
  • Manufacturing – 225,000
  • Professional Services – 127,000

There’s still a long way to go before the economy fully recovers, as 21 million Americans remain unemployed. That number is down, however, from 23FHA 203k lenders Ramsey, FHA 203k lenders Ramsey MN, FHA approved lenders Elk River, FHA approved lenders Ramsey, FHA loan application Ramsey, FHA mortgage interest rates Ramsey, home construction loans Elk River million just last month. And, of the 21 million in the current report, 73% feel their layoff is temporary. This aligns with a recent Federal Reserve Bank report that showed employers felt 75% of the job losses are temporary layoffs and furloughs.

The Employment Situation Summary was definitely a pleasant surprise, and evidence that the country’s economic turnaround is underway. The data also offers a labor-market snapshot from mid-May, when the government conducted its monthly survey of households and businesses. Many states did not open for business until the second half of May. This bodes well for next month’s jobs report.

Bottom Line

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We cannot rejoice over a report that reveals millions of American families are still without work. We can, however, feel relieved that we are headed in the right direction, and much more quickly than most anticipated.

Note: In its original report, the BLS explained that a misclassification error could have occurred over the last 3 months, starting in March of 2020. Readjusting for this error, the unemployment rate would actually show a drop from 19.7% in April to 16.3% in May. Nobody would say the original report of 13.3% unemployment was a good number, nor is the revised 16.3%. What is a positive move for our country and the economy is the significant drop in the rate from April to May, meaning more people are getting jobs than losing them. That’s the key takeaway.

Why This Summer Is the 2020 Home Buyer Season

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With stay-at-home orders starting to gradually lift throughout parts of the country, data indicates homebuyers are jumping back into the market. After many families put their plans on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what we once called the busy spring real estate season is shifting into the summer. In 2020, summer is the new spring for real estate.

Joel KanEconomist at The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) notes:

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“Applications for home purchases continue to recover from April’s sizable drop and have now increased for five consecutive weeks…Government purchase applications, which include FHA, VA, and USDA loans, are now 5 percent higher than a year ago, which is an encouraging turnaround after the weakness seen over the past two months.”

Additionally, according to Google Trends, which scores search terms online, searches for real estate increased from 68 points the week of March 15th to 92 points last week. As we can see, more potential homebuyers are looking for homes virtually.

What’s the Opportunity for Buyers?

Another reason buyers are coming back to the market, even with forced unemployment and stay-at-home orders, is historically low mortgage rates. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac indicates:

“For the fourth consecutive week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has been below 3.30 percent, FHA 203k lenders Ramsey, FHA 203k lenders Ramsey MN, FHA approved lenders Elk River, FHA approved lenders Ramsey, FHA loan application Ramsey, FHA mortgage interest rates Ramsey, home construction loans Elk River giving potential buyers a good reason to continue shopping even amid the pandemic…As states reopen, we’re seeing purchase demand improve remarkably fast, now essentially flat relative to a year ago.”

With mortgage rates at such low levels and states gradually beginning to reopen, there’s more incentive than ever to buy a home this summer.

What’s the Opportunity for Sellers?

Finding a home to buy, however, is still a challenge, as this spring sellers removed many listings from the market. Though more people are now putting their houses up for sale this month as compared to last month, current inventory is still well below last year’s level.home construction loans Monticello, home construction loans Monticello MN, home construction loans Ramsey, home construction loans Ramsey MN, home loans with no down payment Ramsey, home loans with no down payment Ramsey MN

According to last week’s Weekly Economic and Housing Market Update from realtor.com:

“Weekly Housing Inventory showed continued tightening. New Listings declined 28% compared with a year ago, as sellers grappled with uncertainty and hesitated bringing homes to market. Total Listings dropped 20% YoY, a faster rate than in prior weeks, leaving very few homes available for sale. As Time on Market was 15 days slower YoY, asking prices moved up 1.5% YoY.”

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Get a Mortgage Pre-Qualification Today Contact DJ Riley at 763-276-3960.

If you’re thinking of selling your house this summer, now may be your best opportunity. With so few homes on the market for buyers to purchase, this season may be the time for your house to stand out from the crowd. Trusted real estate professionals can help you list safely and effectively, keeping your family’s needs top of mind. Buyers are looking, and your house may be at the top of their list.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of selling, many buyers may be eager to find a home just like yours. Let’s connect today to make sure you can get your house in on the action this summer.