Tag Archives: real estate

How Federal Interest Rates Affect You

With interest rates at a crazy low, it is a great time to look at purchasing, refinancing or moving up-downsizing.  30 year fixed rates are 3.79% from what I read today at Noon (Bankrate.com). There is something significant happening today that may affect these ridiculous interest rates.

The Federal Reserve controls the open market operations, the discount rate, and reserve requirements. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is responsible for the discount rate and reserve requirements, and the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is responsible for open market operations. Using these three, the Federal Reserve influences the demand for, and supply of, balances that depository institutions hold at Federal Reserve Banks and in this way alters the federal funds rate. The federal funds rate is the interest rate at which depository institutions lend balances at the Federal Reserve to other depository institutions overnight.

Changes in the federal funds rate trigger a chain of events that affect other short-term interest rates, foreign exchange rates, long-term interest rates, the amount of money and credit, and, ultimately, a range of economic variables, including employment, output, and prices of goods and services.

The FOMC meets eight times per year, one of which is happening today. All indications are that interest rates will increase because of the current meeting. That makes it a valuable time to get approved, find a home, lock in, and enjoy low interest rates for the next 30 years, or until you decide to sell at 12% market increase annually, if numbers continue at the current rate (MetroTex).

Call me soon to discuss the current market, strategies and just to say hi. I look forward to working with you and helping you find your next home or investment.  

 

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Hottest Housing Markets for Early 2016

The overall national housing market in January mimicked the traditional seasonal trend of fewer homes on the market and slower sales, however the market is projected to increase into a possible record-breaking Spring season. According to Realtor.com, initial results from January documents positive growth at statistically significant higher numbers than January 2015. This should result in the positive growth in the residential real estate market in 2016, which is the prediction by almost all experts in the field.

Realtor.com noted in their report that the median days in inventory is now 100 days, which calculates to 6% longer to sell in January than in December, 4% faster than January 2015.

Here are the 20 hottest housing markets in January 2016, according to Realtor.com:

  1. San Francisco, California
  2. San Jose, California
  3. Dallas, Texas
  4. Vallejo, California
  5. San Diego, California
  6. Sacramento, California
  7. Nashville, Tennessee
  8. Stockton, California
  9. Denver, Colorado
  10. Los Angeles, California
  11. Santa Rosa, California
  12. Oxnard, California
  13. Palm Bay, Florida
  14. Yuba City, California
  15. Modesto, California
  16. Detroit, Michigan
  17. Midland, Texas
  18. Santa Cruz, California
  19. Tampa, Florida
  20. Fort Wayne, Indiana

And here’s Zillow’s top 10 of the hottest housing markets in 2016.

  1. Denver, Colorado
  2. Seattle, Washington
  3. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
  4. Richmond, Virginia
  5. Boise, Idaho
  6. Ogden, Utah
  7. Salt Lake City, Utah
  8. Omaha, Nebraska
  9. Sacramento, California
  10. Portland, Oregon

 

Austin-area home sales, prices hit monthly records in February 2015

Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) released real estate statistics for February 2015 – The following is the ABoR Press Released Report/ Statement: 

AUSTIN, Texas – March 20, 2015 – Austin-area single-family home sales and home prices hit an all-time high for the month of February according to the February 2015 Multiple Listing Service (MLS) report released by the Austin Board of REALTORS®.

Barb Cooper, 2015 President of the Austin Board of REALTORS®, explained, “The first two months of 2015 have broken monthly records for single-family home sales, yet nearly half of the homes sold in the Austin area in February 2015 were purchased outside of Austin’s city limits. This growing urban sprawl has put a strain on our region’s infrastructure. Long-term and sustainable solutions for statewide transportation funding in addition to policies that allow more affordable housing options inside Austin’s city limits will be critical to making Austin an affordable place to live for all residents.”

According to the report, 1,775 single-family homes were sold in the Austin area in February 2015, a year-over-year increase of five percent and the highest number of homes sold for the month of February. In February 2015, 69 percent of single-family homes sold in the Austin area were priced $200,000 or higher, outside of an affordable price range for many Austin homebuyers.

Home prices also set new records for the month of February. The median price for Austin-area homes in February increased eight percent year-over-year to $248,640 and the average price rose five percent to $307,928 during the same time period. While less than the double-digit price increases seen in previous months, the pace of home price appreciation in February 2015 remains higher than the historical norm of around four-and-a-half percent.

Austin-area monthly housing inventory ended February 2015 at 2.2 months, an increase of 0.2 months from the same time period last year but still only one-third of the 6.5 months inventory level the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University says equals a balanced housing market. Homes spent more time on the market in February 2015, increasing three days year-over-year to an average of 58 days.

Active listings in February 2015 rose nine percent year-over-year to 5,142 listings, while new listings increased three percent to 2,619 listings from the same time frame last year. Pending sales in the Austin area increased eight percent to 2,278 sales.

Cooper concluded, “The Austin area continues to see more homes on the market, rising housing inventory and homes spending more time on the market. While these trends would typically create more favorable market conditions for buyers, most all of the available housing stock within Austin proper continues to be unaffordable for the typical homebuyer. The Austin Board of REALTORS® urges statewide and city leaders to enact solutions now that will ensure the long-term sustainability of our region’s housing market and economy.”

February 2015 Statistics

  • 1,775 – Single-family homes sold, five percent more than February 2014.
  • $248,640 – Median price for single-family homes, eight percent more than February 2014.
  • $307,928 – Average price for single-family homes, five percent more than February 2014.
  • 58 – Average number of days single-family homes spent on the market, three days more than February 2014.
  • 2,619 – New single-family home listings on the market, three percent more than February 2014.
  • 5,142 – Active single-family home listings on the market, nine percent more than February 2014.
  • 2,278 – Pending sales for single-family homes, eight percent more than February 2014.
  • 2.2 – Months of inventory* of single-family homes, 0.2 months more than February 2014.
  • $546,572,200 – Total dollar volume of single-family properties sold, 10 percent more than February 2014.

The following sections describe trends in other sectors of the Austin real estate market.

Townhouses & Condominiums

The volume of townhouses and condominiums (condos) purchased in the Austin area in February 2015 was 201, a four percent decrease from February 2014. The median price for condos was $196,580, which is five percent less than the same month of the prior year. When compared to February 2014, these properties spent the same amount of time on the market, or an average of 50 days.

Leasing

In February 2015, a total of 1,265 properties were leased in Austin, which is 10 percent more than February 2014. The median price for Austin-area home leases was $1,450, which is four percent more than the same month of the prior year.

The Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) builds connections through the use of technology, education and advocacy to strengthen the careers of its 11,000 members and improve the lives of Central Texas families. We empower Austin REALTORS® to connect their clients to the region’s most complete, accurate and up-to-date listings data. For more, contact the ABoR Marketing Department at marketing@abor.com or 512-454-7636. For the latest local housing market listings, visit AustinHomeSearch.com.

* The inventory of homes for a market can be measured in months, which is defined as the number of active listings divided by the average sales per month of the prior 12 months. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University cites that 6.5 months of inventory represents a market in which supply and demand for homes is balanced.

Some Real Estate Fun Trivia

 Q: What 70-room East Coast mansion was built as a summer home and is known as a “Gilded Age cottage”?

A: Cornelius Vanderbilt’s “Breakers” Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, named for the waves crashing along the cliff that separates the property from the ocean.

 

Q: What trendy and highly unusual hotel must be totally rebuilt every year?

A: Sweden’s popular Ice Hotel, which has 60 double rooms, 25 suites and an interior temperature of 20 degrees, starts melting to the ground in May and is rebuilt every winter.

 

Q: What country of the world has the highest percentage of private housing?

A: Mongolia, where 100% of all properties are owner-occupied.

 

Q: Where would you go to visit the largest ancient castle in the world?

A :You would travel to Prague, Czech Republic, to see the Prague Castle, built in the 9th century, with a total surface area of 18 acres.

 

Q :What is the world’s most expensive Monopoly set?

A :San Francisco jeweler Sidney Mobell created an exclusive $2 million Monopoly set, with solid 23 carat gold houses, chimneys made of rubies and sapphires and dice with 42 full cut diamonds for spots 

Real Estate Market Trends In This Country

According to the 2014 Urban Land Institute report released at their annual planning conference in Chicago, we are about half way through the real estate recovery market. Or I think we are about 2/3 of the way there. It has been slow and painful, but there are some excellent markets out there that are thriving.

The report and conference highlighted a number of housing trends we can expect to see playing out over the next few years, based on surveys and interviews with real estate developers, investors, lenders, services and builders.

The Millennial generation are changing the market, and the real estate movers and shakers are increasingly interested in where this generation is headed. A number of the cities have seen increased economic activity in the real estate sector led by this generation, particularly Austin, Seattle, Portland and the Twin Cities in Minneapolis.

Investors, developers and builders are losing some interest in the so-called 24-hour gateway cities — San Francisco and New York City — and have developed more interest in cities like Dallas and Portland, where there are more housing deals to be had.

For example, in 2011 only New York City and Washington, D.C. had good prospects for real estate investors and developers, according to the ULI report, but now Austin, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Orange County, Portland, San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle make that list — and D.C. actually dropped out.

There’s optimism among those surveyed by ULI that lending standards will loosen next year. That is straight up conjecture in my opinion. The interesting thing that is happening to fill the void is a concept called “shadow banking”. Shadow banking is similar to traditional bank lending, but it’s done outside banks and can therefore get around bank regulations. Borrowers going this route will find a hodge-podge of private funds, wealthy individuals, family offices, and refugees from other lending markets, according to the report.

 

Austin’s Ever Changing Market

photo 2 (8)According to the September 2014 Multiple Listing Service (MLS) report released October 21, 2014 by the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR), Austin-area single-family home prices set a record for the month of September. Concurrently, the Austin-area single-family home sales rebounded from the previous two months of home sales declines, increasing 10% from September of last year.

The report further indicates that Austin-area homes continue to sell quickly with the average number of days single-family homes spent on the market at 44 days. This figure has remained consistent for two years and showed little change in the past four years. This along with continued gains in single-family home listings are having a positive effect on pending sales,

The report indicates that the volume of townhouses and condos purchased in Austin in September 2014 is down 4% from September 2013. However, in the same time period, the median price for condos was $205,500 indicating a 1% price increase in the same time period. These properties spent an average of 41 days on the market, two days fewer than last year and three days fewer than homes on the market. Leases in the Austin area are up 8% in September 2014 compared to last year.

The bottom line, people are still moving here in record numbers. This is the time to buy, sell or lease. Call me and let’s talk about this dynamic market. It is so incredibly dynamic. Inventory moves fast. I have to delete items out of carts on my MLS all the time because they are not there long. I have a lot of calls on properties that are already gone. Sometimes by the time they are marketed, they are already gone. This is definitely a seller’s market, but you have to buy to sell!

Mortgage Interest Rates Are Below 4%

Mortgage interest rates are below 4%. Texas sits at 3.86% today, which is up a bit from the previous week. Still, it is a good time to consider buying! This is a great time to make that move you have been considering, whether it is to a new area, or a smaller or larger home you have wanted.  September was a record month  for real estate sales in Austin making now a great time to make that move. Things are dynamic in this market and move fast, so you could easily be enjoying the holidays in your new home.

It can be very tricky to sell and buy at the same time, and not to mention stressful. Let me sweat the details and relieve some of that stress and make this move exciting and fun! Call me! The timing is right!

Are there any Good Investments for under $200,000 in Central Austin?

I get asked a lot if there are any places central for purchase for $150,000 range and also in the $200,000 range. The answer is yes! They may not be big or the newest, but they are there. The East Side of Austin has made some great changes and is the newest arts district. It is chic and a great investment. Also, there are a few small condos in the Clarksville and Tarrytown area in the $200,000 range. For a chick downtown condo, $400,000 is the opening mark that I have seen, but you can span your search just a little out into the campus areas and get something in the $200’s.  Call, text or email me!