Survey: Renters Rely Heavily on Web Reviews of Landlords

Consumers largely depend on online reviews and ratings websites when deciding where to rent a property, according to the 2019 Renter Insight & Digital Engagement survey, based on a survey of more than 1,000 adults who are searching for a rental.

“It is imperative that U.S. property owners and managers carefully monitor and evaluate their online reputation if they wish to remain competitive in today’s dense real estate market,” says Aaron Clifford, senior vice president of marketing at Binary Fountain, an online reputation management platform, that commissioned the study.

Sixty-four percent of renters said they used online reviews to search for a rental property at the beginning of their search, the study found. Most read between one and 10 reviews before making a decision on a rental property. Further, 85% of respondents said they looked at online ratings and reviews even after a friend or family member recommended a property.

Source: Binary Fountain and “More Renters Going Online to Rate Their Landlord,” Real Estate Weekly (June 28, 2019)

How Burglars Often Enter a Home

Cove, a home security firm, surveyed nearly 1,000 people who have experienced a break-in at least once to learn more about how burglars entered the home and what they wished they had done in hindsight to better protect their property.

Home invasions aren’t always random. Studies show that many break-ins are committed by a person who lives within two miles.

A broken window tended to be the most common point of entry for a burglar. The following chart breaks down how burglars most often gained access to a home.

“Research conducted with convicted home invaders shows burglars typically avoid breaking into homes they consider more complicated,” researchers note. “While an active alarm system is likely to deter a break-in, so are big dogs that might be considered aggressive or likely to defend the home.”

Interesting graphs at source: “Break-In Hindsight,” Covesmart.com (July 2019)

Interest Rates ‘Lowest Since 2016’

For the seventh time in the last nine weeks, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped, reaching the lowest average since November 2016, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey.

“Through late June, home purchase applications improved by five percentage points compared to the previous month. In the near term, we expect the housing market to continue to improve from both a sales and price perspective says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending June 27:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.73%, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 3.84% average. Last year at this time, it’s rates averaged 4.55%
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.16%, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 3.25% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 4.04%.
Source: Freddie Mac

New-Home Sales Plunge

While housing affordability has been getting a hand from lower mortgage rates, it didn’t lift new-home sales last month.

Sales of newly built single-family homes under performed in what is traditionally the busiest time of year in the housing sector. New-home sales dropped 7.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 626,000 units in May, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The number represents signed contracts, not closings.

Overall, the “May numbers are a big surprising given lower mortgage interest rates and solid builder confidence data,” says Robert Dietz, NAHB’s chief economist. “Based on these conditions, we expect June new home sales figures will show a rebound.”

Rates Hold at 2-Year Lows

“Mortgage rates were mostly unchanged from last week due to easing of trade tensions with Mexico, which helped stabilize markets,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “These historically low rates should provide continued opportunities for current homeowners to refinance their mortgages—which combined with new home buyer activity—will help sustain the momentum in the housing market in 2019.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending June 13:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.82%, with an average 0.6 point, unchanged from last week. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.62%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.26%, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 3.28% average. A year ago, rates averaged 4.07%.
Source: Freddie Mac

Rates Drop to 2-Year Lows

This marks the sixth consecutive weekly decline for mortgage rates, leaving some borrowers wondering how low will they go. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.82% this week, the lowest average since September 2017.

“While the drop in mortgage rates is a good opportunity for consumers to save on their mortgage payment, our research indicates that there can be a wider dispersion among mortgage rate offers,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “By shopping around and getting a single additional mortgage rate quote, a borrower can save an average of $1,500.”

Freddie Mac reports the following rates for the week ending June 6:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.82%, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 3.99%. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.54%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.28%, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 3.46% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 4.01%.
Source: Freddie Mac

Loan Rates Back in 3% Territory

For the first time since January 2018, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has dropped below 4%.

“Lower rates should, however, give a boost to the housing market, which has been on the upswing with both existing- and new-home sales picking up recently,” says Sam Khater, with Freddie Mac.

Freddie Mac reports the following for the week ending May 30:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgagesaveraged 3.99%, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 4.06% average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.56%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.46%, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 3.51% average. A year ago, they averaged 4.06%.
Source: Freddie Mac

Mortgage Rates Continue Decline

“Mortgage rates fell for the fourth consecutive week and continued the medium-term trend of lower rates since late 2018,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “The drop in mortgage rates is causing purchase demand to rise, and the mix of demand is skewing to the higher end as more affluent consumers are typically more responsive to declines in rates.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for the week ending May 23:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.06%, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 4.07% average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.66%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.51%, with an average 0.4 point, falling from a 3.53% average last week. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 4.15%.
Source: Freddie Mac

Who Needs to Downsize?

A growing number of baby boomers are choosing not to downsize in retirement. Instead, they’re opting to remain in the homes where they raised their children, USA Today reports. But their reluctance to move is contributing to low inventory across the country, says realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale.

Baby boomers “have refused to follow what the traditional expectations were,” Barbara Risman, a sociology professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told USA Today. Baby boomers, mostly between the ages of 54 to 73, are working longer and, therefore, putting retirement off longer than previous generations. Their millennial children increasingly are living at home with them and staying well into adulthood.

For baby boomers who do plan to move, 43% say they want their next home to be the same size as their current one. Twenty-two percent say they want their next home to be even larger, according to a January surveyof 50- and 60-year-olds by Del Webb.

Homeowners’ Top Neighborhood Gripes

The wrong neighborhood can make for an unhappy homeowner.

A new survey from Porch.com, a home remodeling website, surveyed about 1,000 consumers to find the biggest neighborhood turnoffs. Noise, traffic, and crime were the chief concerns of buyers. Noise topped the list of neighborhood turnoffs, with 41% of respondents citing it as their top gripe, according to the survey. In fact, noise proved to be an even bigger deterrent than a high crime rate.

More details on illustrations at source: “Moving Matters,” Porch.com (May 2019)