More Homeowners Tackle Renovation Projects

Homeowners are sprucing up their properties and undertaking more remodeling and repair projects, according to a recent study.

The Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity, released by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, shows an annual growth in home improvement and repair expenditure this year that will remain above its long-term trend of 5 percent. Index authors, however, foresee a steady decline from 7.3 percent in the first quarter to 6.1 percent by the first quarter of 2018.

The National Association of Home Builders’ Remodeling Market Index also showed an increase in the first quarter of 2017, marking the highest reading in activity since 2015. The NAHB’s index shows that more remodelers are reporting that activity is higher now compared to the prior quarter. “A milder than usual winter has led to increased remodeling activity and a positive outlook for spring,” says Dan Bawden, the chairman of NAHB Remodelers. “Remodelers are seeing stronger market conditions with customers more willing to spend money on both small and large projects.”

—Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Hispanics Are a Growing Home Buying Force

While the national homeownership rate decreases, ownership rates among Hispanics are defying the trend with steady rises.

The Hispanic homeownership rate grew to 46 percent last year, topping previous highs of 45.6 percent in 2015 and 45.4 percent in 2014, according to the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals’ 2016 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report.

More than 7.3 million Hispanic households owned their homes in 2016, 330,000 of which were from new households formed in 2016. That comprises 38 percent of all households formed, according to the report.

“The significance of a strong desire for homeownership cannot be overstated,” the report notes.

More information at: “Hispanic Homeownership Rate Rises for Second Straight Year,” RISMedia (March 28, 2017)


Home Colors That Turn Off Buyers

Could the wrong shade of paint dampen interest in a home? As a real estate pro, we can point sellers in the right direction when they’re considering color updates.

First, take note of palettes consumers tell researchers they like: The favorite color combos for exteriors are white and gray, beige and taupe, and slate and black, according to the 2013 National Home Color Survey. On the inside, neutral wins too. The most popular 2016 colors include grays and shades of white, as well as natural-looking greens.

So, what are the paint chips your clients should avoid? highlights their findings based on studies of colors at: 4 Colors You Should Never Paint Your Home,” (Aug. 22, 2016)

The Best Time to Invest Is Now?

“Whether it’s stricter lending standards, a shift in attitudes among borrowers or simply the nation getting wiser about the risks of real estate, we’re hardly seeing irresponsible buying in 2016,” writes Reeves, who is also the editor of “What we are seeing is a healthy housing market that continues to steadily and organically appreciate.”

“Nobody should put all their savings into one or two properties, but in a diversified portfolio, there is a very good argument for real estate investments in 2016,” writes Reeves.

Companies are stepping in to help more people become investors too. For example, Investability, an online real estate marketplace, says it offers tools like cash flow calculators that allow those interested in investing to input estimated vacancy rates and rental incomes from potential properties.

Source: “This Is the Best Time in History to Invest in Real Estate,” MarketWatch (Aug. 23, 2016)



Buyers Prove Sensitive to Mortgage Rates

Even the slightest fluctuations in mortgage rates are having a big impact on application volume. Total mortgage applications, including for refinancings and home purchases, dropped 2.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis last week as rates rose slightly, the Mortgage Bankers Association report.

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage bumped up to 3.67 percent last week from a 3.64 percent average the previous week, MBA reports. Applications for refinancings dropped 3 percent last week. Still, refinancings are nearly 45 percent higher than the same week a year ago.

Applications for home purchases dropped slightly by 0.3 percent last week and are 7.7 percent higher than a year ago, MBA reports. However, applications for purchases are now at a six-month low.

Source: “Weekly Mortgage Applications Drop 2.1% as Rates Edge Higher,” CNBC (Aug. 24, 2016)

Tiny Homes Are Making a Bigger Mark

Tiny houses are trending bigger nationwide. Interest in small-home living among the public has gained momentum since the recession, and made some Americans crave a simpler, less expensive way to live, according to U.S. News & World Report.

These small homes, often built on a trailer and portable, tend to be under 700 square feet. They tend to cost a fraction of a typical home, as low as $10,000 or up to $100,000, depending on the size.

TV shows are giving viewers a peek at this new type of living, especially on networks that HGTV that have shows featuring small-home living such as “Tiny House Hunters,” “Tiny House Nation,” and “Tiny House, Big Living.”

Source: “The Big Impact of Tiny Homes: How Little Houses Are Changing Real Estate,” U.S. News & World Report (Aug. 5, 2016)

The Hottest Home Dream Features Most Often Touted

Must-have home features are constantly evolving. After all, just a half century ago, shag carpeting in all hues – gold, orange, and purple – were all “in.” But what’s hot with home owners and buyers now?® set out to find out, evaluating what must-have home features are hot right now by analyzing millions of listings for the most commonly used phrases of home features. Now, home dreams are made of—a mixture of classic favorites and rising stars.

View more information about the 20 “hottest” home features at®.

Source: “Garden Tubs Are In, Spa Tubs Are Out: The Hot List of Home Features,”® (Dec. 21, 2015)

In Past 15 Years, ‘Home-Buying Power’ Grew 44%

Falling mortgage rates have increased the purchasing power of home buyers by 44 percent since mid-2001, according to analysis by John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage plunged from 7.2 percent in June 2001 to 3.9 percent today – which has allowed home buyers to qualify for a 44 percent larger mortgage just due to falling mortgage rates, according to the analysis.

Still, home price appreciation has been outpacing wage growth in 28 of the 30 largest housing markets in the country, the analysis shows.

An interesting data chart highlights the nine markets where appreciation has exceeded income growth at analysis source: John Burns Real Estate Consulting


Appraisals Continue to Hamper Sales!

Low appraisals that come in below the purchase price are still delaying closings or killing some sales contracts, real estate professionals say in a survey from April.

One out of 10 real estate professionals–or 11 percent–say that low appraisals are causing home sales contracts to fall through. An additional 10 percent say low appraisals are delaying closings, according to an April survey by the National Association of REALTORS®. About the same number of real estate professionals reported the problems with low appraisals in a March survey.

About 14 percent of real estate professionals reported that appraisals below the purchase price are requiring extra negotiating in order to get the deal closed.

“Short sales and foreclosures are still priced too high by the lenders, who do not believe the agents information concerning actual market conditions,” said one real estate professional in the survey comments.

Source: “Appraisals Still Kill Home Sales,” (May 25, 2011) 

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TBWS Daily Show, “News Video”

Economy is recovering at a moderate pace?  

Fed’s to Keep Rates Artificially Low for Now?

Plus, flood insurance requirements may be deceiving?

Sacramento flood levees 100 years old?

The Federal Reserve says the economy is recovering at a moderate pace. Flood insurance requirements may be deceiving. In many cases it could be wise to buy it even if it’s not required. Getting a little down? Go buy yourself something!

Catch all of your real estate news and mortgage news with Frank Garay and Brian Stevens at:  

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