With it looking like the real estate market is in recovery-mode, a lot of individuals are making the leap into buying or selling a home. The housing market is very different than it used to be; even as recently as six months ago. Read on to discover some of the ways it has changed since 2012 and what the changes may mean for you, as a buyer or seller.
- Fewer Distressed-homes for Sale – With the mortgage crisis fading, so are the cheap deals for buyers. Some of this is due to a back-log in the processing of foreclosed homes. Other reasons include banks giving homeowners more opportunities to keep their homes, some are being auctioned as rentals, and finally a large number of homes are being sold off in portfolios to investors rather than being listed for sale to individual buyers. This is all good news for sellers who should see an increase in their neighborhood property values.
- More New Construction – Due to lower interest rates and an upswing in hiring, the market is seeing more activity by builders. Many buyers are welcoming the chance to buy new and have it designed their way. However, the prices for new homes are also increasing. A greater supply of new homes in the future could help slow the pace of the increases.
- Lack of Inventory – Rates are good, but the home selection is not. The supply is the lowest it has been since the fall of 2005. Many homeowners still cannot get a sale price high enough to cover their debt and provide enough money to put down on a move-up home. This should change during the year. A high demand, low interest rates, and slowly increasing home prices should prompt more sellers to list their homes. Word to the wise, if you find a desirable home, move quickly or someone else will!
- Higher Home Prices – A slight improvement in the economy and lower interest rates are boosting buyer demand, decreasing the supply, and helping to raise prices. The past few months have shown a steady incline in the price of homes. The increases should be a bit more restrained this year, which is good news for buyers.
- Luxury Home Sales Stumble – Due to the capital gains tax increase in January, a lot of luxury homeowners rushed to sell their homes before the hike. Due to this mass sell-off and home buyers taking advantage of it, a slowdown is expected on luxury home sales this year. High-end buyers will have less to choose from, but will also have less competition.
- New Mortgage Rule – A new rule to protect buyers has been announced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Not effective until 2014, many lenders will be putting it into place this year. It will require buyers’ financial information to be supplied and verified, along with their debt-to-income ratio. Buyers will no longer be allowed to purchase homes they cannot afford. Lenders can no longer offer a “teaser” rate on mortgages to mask the true rate of the loan and Lenders must also ensure that the loan has no excessive points, fees, or “hidden” features where the principal amount increases.
- Home-Equity Loans Make a Come-back – These rates have fallen as well, allowing homeowners to do some long over-due remodeling. Gradually, lenders are becoming more willing to do these types of loans with the increase in home value; giving current homeowners more financing options.
- Rates Could Rise – After reaching record lows, rates are expected to increase slightly in 2013. Costs associated with certain types of loans may also see an increase. These small changes are not expected to deter buyers.
After years of bad news, the future of real estate is finally starting to look a little brighter!!
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