Buying, Selling, or Refinancing?

If you are in the market to buy, sell, or refinance, you know mortgage rates are important. Make sure you are up to date on the most current mortgage rates! Here are the rates as of yesterday, July 19th.

7.20

Thank you Sidney Stonecypher at People’s Bank Home Loan Center for the rates. If you have mortgage questions you can reach her at 360-650-5365!

Demand for Homes to Buy Continues to Climb

Demand for Homes to Buy Continues to Climb | MyKCM

Across the United States, there is a severe mismatch between the low number of houses for sale and the high demand for those houses! First-time homebuyers are out in force and are being met with a highly competitive summer real estate market.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the inventory of homes for sale “has fallen year-over-year for 36 consecutive months,” and now stands at a 4.1-month supply. A 6-month supply of inventory is necessary for a balanced market and has not been seen since August of 2012.

NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun had this to say,

“Inventory coming onto the market during this year’s spring buying season – as evidenced again by last month’s weak reading – was not even close to being enough to satisfy demand.

That is why home prices keep outpacing incomes and listings are going under contract in less than a month – and much faster – in many parts of the country.”

Is There Any Relief Coming?

According to the CoreLogic’s 2018 Consumer Housing Sentiment Study, four times as many renters are considering buying homes in the next 12 months than homeowners who are planning to sell, “which is the crux of the available housing-supply imbalance.”

Demand for Homes to Buy Continues to Climb | MyKCM

As more and more renters realize the benefits of homeownership, the demand for housing will continue to rise.

Do homeowners realize demand is so high? With home prices rising across the country, homeowners gained over a trillion dollars in equity over the last 12 months, with the average homeowner gaining over $16,000!

The map below shows the breakdown by state:

Demand for Homes to Buy Continues to Climb | MyKCM

Many homeowners who have not thought about listing their homes may not even realize how much equity they have gained, or the opportunity available to them in today’s market!

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many homeowners across the country who hasn’t quite found their forever home, now may be a great time to list your house for sale and find your dream home! Give The Johnson Team a call today at (888) 713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.

4 REAL Reasons Why We Buy A Home!

Simple Pen Photo World Press Freedom Day Social Media Graphic

No matter what shape or size your living space is, the concept and feeling of home can mean different things to different people. Whether it’s a certain scent or a favorite chair, the emotional reasons why we choose to buy our own homes are typically more important to us than the financial ones.

1. Owning your home offers you the stability to start and raise a family

Between the best neighborhoods and the best school districts, even buyers without children at the time of purchase may have these things in mind as major reasons for choosing the locations of the homes that they purchase.

2. There’s no place like home

Owning your own home offers you not only safety and security, but also a comfortable place that allows you to relax after a long day!

3. You have more space for you and your family

Whether your family is expanding, an older family member is moving in, or you need to have a large backyard for your pets, you can take this all into consideration when buying your dream home!

4. You have control over renovations, updates, and style

Looking to actually try one of those complicated wall treatments that you saw on Pinterest? Tired of paying an additional pet deposit in your apartment building? Or maybe you want to finally adopt that puppy or kitten you’ve seen online 100 times? Who’s to say that you can’t do just that in your own home?

Bottom Line

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a move-up buyer who wants to start a new chapter in your life, now is a great time to reflect on the intangible factors that make a house a home. Let The Johnson Team help! Give us a call today at (888) 713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.

House-Buying Power at Near-Historic Levels

“Though unadjusted house prices have risen to record highs, consumer house-buying power stands at near-historic levels, as well, signaling that real house prices are not even close to their historical (1)

We keep hearing that home affordability is approaching crisis levels. While this may be true in a few metros across the country, housing affordability is not a challenge in the clear majority of the country. In their most recent Real House Price Index, First American reported that consumer “house-buying power” is at “near-historic levels.”

Their index is based on three components:

  1. Median Household Income
  2. Mortgage Interest Rates
  3. Home Prices

The report explains:

“Changing incomes and interest rates either increase or decrease consumer house-buying power or affordability. When incomes rise and/or mortgage rates fall, consumer house-buying power increases.”

Combining these three crucial pieces of the home purchasing process, First American created an index delineating the actual home-buying power that consumers have had dating back to 1991.

Here is a graph comparing First American’s consumer house-buying power (blue area) to the actual median home price that year from the National Association of Realtors (yellow line).

House-Buying Power at Near-Historic Levels | MyKCM

Consumer house-buyer power has been greater than the actual price of a home since 1991. And, the spread is larger over the last decade.

Bottom Line

Even though home prices are increasing rapidly and are now close to the values last seen a decade ago, the actual affordability of a home is much better now. As Chief Economist Mark Fleming explains in the report:

“Though unadjusted house prices have risen to record highs, consumer house-buying power stands at near-historic levels, as well, signaling that real house prices are not even close to their historical peak.”

If you have any questions on home prices, give The Johnson Team a call today (888) 713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.

Friday the 13th Pending Ratios!

35896987 - home for sale real estate sign in front of beautiful new house.If you have been following the local real estate market you know it’s active and inventory is low. If you are thinking of selling now is the time!

The number of real estate signs you see in yards can be deceiving as to the number of homes actually for sale WITHOUT offers on them. If you are seeing new signs around your neighborhood and curious if any of those homes already have offers on them, we have your answers!

Every week we keep track of how many homes are for sale around Bellingham and Whatcom County and how many of those homes have pending offers on them. Pending is the time frame between when an offer has been mutual accepted between the buyer’s and the seller’s of the home and when the title actually transfers hands. This give the buyer’s time to get the financing, do inspection, review the title reports and more.

As of Friday, July 13th, the pending ratio in Bellingham was 49%. Click the links to view a report of how many homes are for sale in each area by price range and how many of them are pending showing just how active certain sectors of the market are.

The Birch Bay Pending ratio was 26%

The Ferndale pending ratio was 47%

The Lynden pending ratio was 44%

The Sudden Valley pending ratio was 53%

If you are thinking of selling your home or property, Johnson Team Real Estate would love to help! We are here to help you will all your real estate needs! You can reach us toll free at 1-888-713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com

First-Time Home Buyers Continue to Put Down Less Than 6%!

According to the Realtors Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors, 61% of first-time homebuyers purchased their homes with down payments below 6% in 2017.

According to the Realtors Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors, 61% of first-time homebuyers purchased their homes with down payments below 6% in 2017.

Many potential homebuyers believe that a 20% down payment is necessary to buy a home and have disqualified themselves without even trying, but in March, 71% of first-time buyers and 54% of all buyers put less than 20% down.

Ralph McLaughlin, Chief Economist and Founder of Veritas Urbis Economicsrecently shed light on why buyer demand has remained strong,

“The fact that we now have four consecutive quarters where owner households increased while renters households fell is a strong sign households are making the switch from renting to buying.

Households under 35 – which represent the largest potential pool of new homeowners in the U.S. – have shown some of the largest gains. While they only make up a third of all homebuyers, the steady uptick in their homeownership rate over the past year suggests their enormous purchasing power may be finally coming to [the] housing market.”

It’s no surprise that with rents rising, more and more first-time buyers are taking advantage of low-down-payment mortgage options to secure their monthly housing costs and finally attain their dream homes.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many first-time buyers unsure of whether or not they would qualify for a low-down payment mortgage, let’s get together and set you on your path to homeownership! Give us a call today at (888) 713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.

10 home improvements to boost your home’s resale price

Are you thinking about the long term financial benefits of owning your own home? If so, you don’t want to miss out on these 10 home improvements to help boost your home’s resale price.  

TIP # 1
1. Doorways and decks:
First impressions count. New doors, entries and decks score with buyers.
2. Polish the landscape.
Prune bushes and trees, mulch beds, cut the grass.
3. Open up:
Remove non-structural walls to create the open floor plan buyers love.
4. Take care of maintenance:
plumbing, paintwork, siding, windows, doors, insulation, furnace, AC systems. Power wash the exterior.
5. Lighten up:
Brighten up small spaces to make them feel larger. Open curtains and blinds. Fix damaged windows. Add motion detectors for outdoor lights.
6. Floor them:
Repair damaged flooring. You could replace old wall-to-wall carpets and old vinyl and linoleum with new flooring.
7. Spiff up kitchen and bath:
Re-face cabinets and install up-to-date hardware, clean tile grout, apply fresh caulk, replace faucets, install comfort-height, low flush toilets.
8. Green all updates:
Make sure anything you replace is Energy Star rated.
9. Repaint rooms with neutral colors:
Touch up where you can.
10. Fix anything that stands out for the wrong reason:
Like old wallpaper, broken thresholds, cracked walkways.
 TIP # 10

Let us know what updates you have done! Do you have any questions about what your home may need before listing? Call The Johnson Team today at (888) 713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.

Looking for $500? PSE is here to help!

31692268 - modern electric water heater on the concrete wall

Water heaters use more energy than you realize! They could be  the last thing on your mind during warmer summer months, but now is a good time to be thinking about efficiency.

Upgrade to a high-efficiency heat pump water heater, and you can save up to 60% on your water heating energy costs now! That equals about $3,500 over the life of the water heater!

Puget Sound Energy is offering a $500 rebate on a qualifying model. Go to their website for more information.

Rising Interest Rates Have Not Dampened Demand

Rising Interest Rates Have Not Dampened Demand | MyKCM

Since the beginning of the year, mortgage interest rates have risen over a half of a percentage point (from 3.95% to 4.52%), according to Freddie Mac. Even a small rise in interest rates can greatly impact a buyer’s monthly mortgage payment.

First American recently released the results of their quarterly Real Estate Sentiment Index (RESI), in which they surveyed title and real estate agents across the country about the impact of rising rates on first-time homebuyers.

Real estate professionals around the country have not noticed a slowdown in demand for housing among young buyers; nearly 93% of all first-time homebuyers last quarter were between the ages of 21-35, with the largest share of buyers (51%) coming from those ages 26-30.

First American’s Chief Economist Mark Fleming had this to say,

“On a national level, mortgage rates would need to hit 5.6%, 1 percentage point above the current rate, before first-time homebuyers withdraw from the market.”

So, what is slowing down sales?

According to the last Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors, sales are now down 3.0% year-over-year and have fallen for the last three months. If rising interest rates aren’t to blame, then what is?

Fleming addressed the cause, saying that:

“The housing market is facing its greatest supply shortage in 60 years of record keeping, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. The ongoing housing supply shortage will make it difficult for first-time buyers to find a home to buy, even when they are financially ready.”

Bottom Line

First-time homebuyers know the importance of owning their own homes and a spike in interest rates is not going to keep them from buying this year! Their biggest challenge is finding a home to buy! Give The Johnson Team a call today at (888) 713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.

Why Should You Use A Professional to Sell Your Home?

Why Should You Use A Professional to Sell Your Home? | MyKCM

When homeowners decide to sell their houses, they obviously want to get the best possible pricefor their home with the least amount of hassles along the way. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is actually getting their homes sold.

In order to accomplish all three goals, a seller should realize the importance of using a real estate professional. We realize that technology has changed a buyer’s behavior during the home buying process. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2018 Home Buyer & Seller Generational Trends Report, the first step that “42% of recent buyers took in the home buying process was to look online at properties for sale.”

However, the report also revealed that 94% of buyers who used the internet when searching for homes ultimately purchased their homes through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% of buyers purchased their homes directly from a seller whom they didn’t know.

Buyers search for a home online but then depend on an agent to find the home they will buy (52%), to negotiate the terms of the sale (47%) & price (38%), or to help understand the process (60%).

The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers who reach out to real estate professionals to “connect the dots.” This is obvious, as the percentage of overall buyers who have used agents to buy their homes has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling your home, don’t underestimate the role a real estate professional can play in the process. Give The Johnson Team a call today at (888) 713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.