Older Americans Face Challenges When Aging

Freddie Mac released today its Insight for February, which outlines challenges, costs and potential solutions of addressing the desire of older Americans to age in place. Survey data shows half of all 55+ Americans and three quarters of 75+ Americans are impacted by at least one physical functional limitation, heightening the growing demand for retrofitting.

Insight Highlights: 1)The Freddie Mac survey of the 55+ population indicates almost two-thirds of homeowners — 43 million people — wish to age in place. 2)Two-thirds of survey participants report their homes are not accessible for someone with arthritis, limited mobility, or in a wheelchair. 3)About 1.5 million older households today need some retrofitting, and that number rises to 2.0 million per year by 2030. 4)If a major retrofit is required, it can be 40 times more expensive than a simple retrofit such as adding some grab bars and new drawer handles. Retrofitting may be too expensive for many of those who wish to age in place.

Study Reveals Best Real Estate Pricing Strategy

Set the asking price just below a round number – that’s the best technique for pricing a home for sale, according to new research published in the Journal of Housing Research.

“Our study suggests that by using the just below pricing strategy sellers can price their home slightly higher without driving away potential buyers,” says Eli Beracha, one of the study’s author. “As a result, they end up selling their house for more.”

“We tested the age-old debate concerning the best technique to price a home when listing it for sale,” Seiler says. “We find that using a price just below a round number works best, particularly in connection to the left-most digit in the price. So, $199,000 works better than $200,000.”

Source: “Left Digit in Sales Price Affects Home Buyers Most,” BUILDER (Aug. 11, 2016)

School Location Still Key for Home Buyers

You may want to share more information with your clients about the school options near your listings. Buyers say it’s critical to their decision-making.

More than 75 percent of parents say their child’s education is an important factor in their search for home, according to a new survey conducted by Bank of America of 1,000 home buyers. 53 percent say they would buy a new home in a specific neighborhood to get their child into a better school.

Sixty-four percent of parents say that knowing the quality or ranking of nearby schools is extremely important to them before purchasing a new home. Also, 37 percent of parents say the school’s extracurricular reputation is also important in their decision.

View more data at Source: Bank of America

Factors Boosting Housing Market This Month

Four current housing market factors that will likely translate into greater sales this April:

1. Low mortgage rates: Mortgage rates have moved lower this month and are hovering near the lowest averages in the past three years. Lower mortgage rates help boost home buyers’ purchasing power as well as buyers’ ability to qualify for a mortgage.

2. More urgency: Many buyers were frustrated last year with their inability to buy. This spring, they’re heading to the housing market more determined. Loan applications for purchases are up 20 percent.

3. More searching: Realtor.com® reports a record number of people searching and looking at its website for homes. Nevertheless, there are 2 percent fewer homes for sale that they’ll find when compared to last year.

4. Faster sales: The time that listings spend on the market has dropped dramatically. Nationwide, the median days on the market dropped 14 days in the first two weeks of April compared to the first two weeks of March.

Source: “Mid-April Forecast: Warm Weather Will Bring Out Home Buyers,” realtor.com® (April 15, 2016)

Mortgage Rates Stay Near Yearly Lows

For the third consecutive week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage held steady, with borrowing costs for home buyers and refinancers remaining near its lows for the year.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending Sept. 4:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.10 percent, with an average 0.5 point, holding the same as last week. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.57 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.24 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 3.25 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.59 percent.
  •  5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.97 percent, with an average 0.5 point, holding the same average from last week. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.28 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Sacramento Foothills Regional “Home Prices” Update!

Home prices continued to fall during the month of May all over the tri-county region. According to DataQuick that keeps up with all these numbers the median selling price of a home in Sac County last month was $160,000 which was 11.6 percent lower than May of 2010.

(The median price is the point at which half the home sales were above and half below.) 

Placer County’s median selling price at $255,000 was 6.8 percent less than a year ago and El Dorado County’s median home price of $259,000 was down 10.4 from May of 2010. El Dorado County still maintains the highest median priced home in the eight county region.

The number of home sales for the region declined 7 percent from last year same month.

“There wasn’t much in the latest sales data to suggest the overall market will pull out anytime soon,” said John Walsh, president of DataQuick.

On the positive side of the real estate news….inventory continues to fall. Available homes for sale are 23 percent less this month than a year earlier. Foreclosures and short sales account for half the sales but the number of actual foreclosures is declining.  

Portion of article by: Ken Calhoon, Real Estate Broker, Placerville, California.

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