Top 10 Threats to Real Estate in 2019

Top 10 Threats to Real Estate in 2019

June 14, 2018
storm cloud near roofline

Rising interest rates and the economy are the top two current issues to watch in real estate, according to the Counselors of Real Estate’s Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate 2018-2019, a list of the biggest threats to the housing market. For the first time, CRE broke its annual list down into current and longer-term issues to watch during the industry’s next year.

Top Current Issues to Watch

1. Interest rates and the economy: As interest rates rise, commercial and residential real estate markets are seeing several changes, such as decreasing demand for commercial property and higher home mortgage rates. Rate increases are making homes less affordable and are also limiting the value appreciation for commercial real estate. “Lack of wage growth for all but the wealthiest population segment is dampening housing demand, and limiting consumer spending that the economy needs for growth,” the report notes.

2. Politics and political uncertainty: Tax reform and policies aimed at balancing trade with other countries will have an impact on jobs, incomes, and both commercial and residential property, according to the report. “Congressional action to relax certain bank lending and asset management regulations was also among developing trends that may improve access to capital,” the report notes.

3. Housing affordability: The lack of affordable homes across income brackets, excluding the most wealthy, is being fueled by low wages, rising mortgage rates, and the underproduction of housing for nearly two decades, according to the report.

4. Generational change/demographics: Four distinct generations are exerting influence on commercial and residential real estate, such as in office design, student and elder housing, amenities, and location preferences.

5. E-commerce and logistics: Volatility in the retail sector, such as from the increase of e-commerce, is leading to a growth in warehouses.

Top Longer-Term Issues

1. Infrastructure: Roads, bridges, airports, water and sewer lines, electricity, and public transit are rapidly deteriorating, the report notes. An estimated $4.5 trillion is needed to improve critical infrastructure by 2025, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. “The lack of serious effort by the U.S. to address its condition and much-needed revitalization leads the list of broader and emerging issues affecting real estate,” the report notes.

2. Disruptive technology: The report highlights advances in robotic manufacturing and warehousing; driverless cars and trucks; the extensive availability and utilization of personal and transactional data (aimed at enhancing business decisions); “smart” building technology that enables efficiency; global connectivity; automated business processes; and information protection through cybersecurity. “Nearly every aspect of real estate is undergoing dramatic change as these types of technology are adopted,” the report notes.

3. Natural disasters and climate change: The ongoing threat of natural disasters and climate change can result in high-priced property and environmental damage. This includes everything from severe storms, wildfires, and floods to earthquakes, volcanic activity, and rising sea levels.

4. Immigration: “If reduced by law, will have a negative impact on new housing starts and home purchases as well as worsen the current skilled labor shortage in the U.S.,” the report cautions.

5. Energy and water: Natural resources that are vital to property and quality of life are being threatened by environmental damage (manmade and from changing climates) as well as “entangling state and local regulations that are complicating development and lack the standardization that national regulations would provide.”

CRE additionally notes several other issues making its “watch list,” including rising construction costs; urbanization/suburbanization (with suburbs adapting citylike development and amenities); tax cuts (which may positively impact commercial properties; legislation is still developing); and societal leadership (social activism among younger Americans that is fueling business and social reform at many levels).

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Existing-Home Sales Suffer Sharp Decline

Real Estate market

Existing-home sales declined for the second consecutive month in January and last month’s decrease was the sharpest in three years.

Total existing-home sales slumped by 3.2% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.38 million, according to the National Association of Realtors.  The annual rate during December 2017 was 5.56 million.

Sales are down by 4.8% compared to this time a year ago, which is the lowest annual drop since August 2014.

Once again, low inventory is at the forefront of the market’s problems. Housing inventory actually increased by 4.1% last month to 1.52 million existing homes available for sale. Good news, right? Sort of. Inventory is still 9.5% lower than a year ago and has fallen year-over-year for 32 consecutive months, according to the NAR. Unsold inventory is at a 3.4-month supply at the current sales pace.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun believes the market desperately needs a correction from a supply standpoint to satisfy rampant buyer demand.

“While the good news is that Realtors® in most areas are saying buyer traffic is even stronger than the beginning of last year, sales failed to follow course and far lagged last January’s pace,” Yun said. “It’s very clear that too many markets right now are becoming less affordable and desperately need more new listings to calm the speedy price growth.”

The good news for agents and sellers is that prices increased for the 71st consecutive month. The median existing-home price in January was $240,500, up 5.8% from January 2017.

Agents can seriously control the market by accumulating a sufficient inventory of listings. Not only can you grow your network by connecting with sellers and buyers, you’ll put yourself in a prime position to cash in on the current market conditions. Until supply meets demand, housing prices should continue to rise.

Keep generating leads and kicking the tires on prospective, hesitant sellers. Remember: those who list, last.

by Matt Barbato

What your clients should avoid during the home loan process

What your clients should avoid
during the home loan process
Make sure nothing gets in the way of achieving your clients’ home financing goals. Some DON’Ts may seem obvious, but others not so much. Check out this list to make sure your clients avoid the TOP 10 DON’Ts during the process of buying their new home.
  • Please don’t send any wire transfers throughout the loan process to anyone, without speaking directly to your Loan Officer on the phone first.
  • Transfer money between accounts, unless receiving complete documentation from your bank itemizing all transfers.
  • Withdraw or deposit large sums into your checking or savings accounts unless absolutely necessary.
  • Make any career moves.
  • Allow your bank accounts to go in the negative, even if you have overdraft protection.
  • Apply for new credit in any form, or apply for credit to consolidate.
  • Have a friend or relative pay for anything related to the purchase of the home (appraisal, earnest money, down payment, etc), since gifts are only allowed under certain guidelines.
  • Keep cash in a safe or an overseas account if you plan to use these funds as a down payment. Inquire about how and when would be the best time to put funds into your U.S. bank account if needed.
  • Close credit card accounts; if you close a credit card account, it may appear that your debt ratio has gone up.
  • Give your personal information to anyone else who might run your credit report as credit inquiries may hurt your score.
     
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Mortgage Rates

Mortgage Rates Fairly Steady to Begin Week

Mortgage rates were mostly flat again today, despite bond market weakness (lower bond prices generally mean higher rates).  Between MBS (the mortgage-backed-securities that underlie mortgage rate movement) and US Treasuries (the risk-free benchmark for all US debt/bonds), the latter fared worse.  In other words, mortgage bonds outperformed Treasuries.  That’s one of the reasons we didn’t see much movement in mortgage rates today.

The other reason was as simple as the shape of market movement on Friday.  Bonds improved throughout the course of the day but most lenders didn’t adjust rate sheets to reflect that improvement.  As such, today’s weaker bond market levels ended up being fairly close to those that were in effect when lenders last set rates on Friday morning.

The absence of change continues to be a good thing given that rates remain very close to their lowest levels in more than 8 months.  Only a handful of recent days have been any better.  4.0% is the most prevalently-quoted conventional 30yr fixed rate on top tier scenarios, though a few of the aggressive lenders remain at 3.875%.

Today’s Most Prevalent Rates

  • 30YR FIXED – 3.875-4.00
  • FHA/VA – 3.5-3.75%
  • 15 YEAR FIXED – 3.125-3.25%
  • 5 YEAR ARMS –  2.75 – 3.25% depending on the lender


Ongoing Lock/Float Considerations

  • Investors were relatively convinced that the decades-long trend toward lower rates had been permanently reversed after Trump became president, but such a conclusion would require YEARS to truly confirm
  • Instead of continuing higher in 2017, rates instead formed a narrow, sideways range, and held inside until April.  Investor perceptions are shifting such that fiscal reforms and other policy developments will need to live up to expectations in order to push rates higher.  Geopolitical risks would also need to avoid flaring up (more than they already have)
  • For the first time since the election, we’re in a rate environment where you wouldn’t be crazy not to lock at every little opportunity/improvement.  Until/unless it’s broken, the highest rates of early-2017 mark the ceiling, and we’re now waiting to see how much lower we can go from here.
  • Rates discussed refer to the most frequently-quoted, conforming, conventional 30yr fixed rate for top tier borrowers among average to well-priced lenders.  The rates generally assume little-to-no origination or discount except as noted when applicable.  Rates appearing on this page are “effective rates” that take day-to-day changes in upfront costs into consideration.

 

BY: MATTHEW GRAHAM

Downpayment Assistance Programs that Work with USDA

Nevada Home News

May 2017

What Do Rising Rates Mean For Homeownership?

What Do Rising Rates Mean For Homeownership In 2017?

The Fed raised interest rates last week, causing a ripple of concern among those who are worried about the effects on higher mortgage rates and the greater impact on the real estate market. But what do rising rates really mean for homebuyers? We’ve taken the temperature of several housing experts to get their take on the homebuying landscape for 2017.

Rates will continue to rise… or will they?

“When the rate was raised last week, the Fed predicted it would raise rates three more times in 2017, up from two in its previous forecast. But those predicted increases are just that – predictions, said the Berkshire Eagle. “A year ago, the Fed projected that it would raise rates four times in 2016 but has ended up doing so just once.”

Many housing authorities expect that rates will, indeed rise, and are eyeing a 5% benchmark.

“My forecast is for the 30-year fixed rate to rise above 4.5 percent by year’s end, and worst case scenario, knock on the door of 5 percent,” Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere, told Inman.

Rising rates will impact homeownership…or will they?

Realtor.com predicts that home prices will continue to rise next year, increasing 3.9 percent. Their estimation of how high mortgage rates will go: 4.5 percent. Will the combination of rising prices and rates kill housing market momentum? The Mortgage Reports doesn’t think so.


TFSThe good news of rising rates, they said, is that “home price increases could finally slow. Home shoppers may once again find ‘deals’ in the 2017 market. Home values have been catapulted upward by almost-free borrowing. Home buyers were getting 30-year fixed rates in the low 3s, and fifteen year rates solidly in the 2s. That’s lower than the rate of inflation is likely to be in coming years. Cheap money makes monthly payments lower. Homes are affordable, even at very high prices. In 2017, though, that trend could reverse. Rising payments could mean fewer bidding wars and over-market-price offers.”

That could mean that buyers “have a better chance at securing a home at a reasonable price. Affordability may continue its winning streak, despite rising rates. 2017 should remain a stellar year to be a home shopper.”

But OC Housing News isn’t so sure. “Higher mortgage interest rates lead to lower sales or lower prices, but most likely, lower sales. Mortgage rates fell from mid-2010 through early 2013 just to maintain a low level of demand,” they said. “When interest rates went up, in what was supposedly a strong market recovery, demand immediately dropped off. Assuming a consistent payment, higher mortgage rates decrease the size of the loan and reduce the amount borrowers can bid on real estate. If rising mortgage rates result in smaller loan balances, then either sales volumes will go down, or house prices will go down, or perhaps some combination of both – unless you believe rapid wage inflation is on the horizon.”


TREOJob growth will counteract the effects of rising rates and home prices…or will it?

It’s the prospect of job growth that has many people talking.

“November’s job growth outpaced October, indicating that the economy is growing at a healthy pace and should continue to do so,” said My Mortgage Insider. “The increase of jobs added is a sign that the economy is healthy. Another encouraging statistic is the decrease in the unemployment rate…from 4.9% to 4.6%. The strong economic conditions are likely going to (continue to) force mortgage rates higher. Generally speaking, mortgage rates are going to increase whenever the economy is doing well or whenever there is confidence in the market”.

The good news for those who are worried about rising rates is that “higher wage growth could offset the effect of higher mortgage rates,” said the Wall Street Journal. Although, for those who were thinking of relocating, the prospects may not sound sound so encouraging. “The fact that so many homeowners enjoy such low rates could also prove an economic brake, creating a disincentive for homeowners to move to a new city in pursuit of a new job if it means their mortgage might be more expensive,” said David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide Insurance.

 

 

WRITTEN BY JAYMI NACIRI

How to Bounce Back After Foreclo

How to Bounce Back After Foreclosure

Philip and Denise Powell lost their home in 2011 after Philip’s hours as a pastor were cut in half and Denise was sidelined by a surgery. But they were determined to become homeowners again, so they rolled up their sleeves and got to work.

The Highland, California, couple got financial counseling. They took control of their credit reports, tackled high-interest debts and cut spending. In 2015, they bought another home.

“We thought we’d never recover,” Philip Powell says, recalling the devastation they felt after losing their home. “No one in California was ready for the crash; it hit us hard.”

Their story is typical of the more than 9.3 million homeowners who lost a home through a distressed property sale from 2006 through 2014, according to the National Association of Realtors.

As rents rise, low mortgage rates persist and the economy gradually improves, some who lost their home in recent years will be able to re-enter the housing market. A 2015 study by the NAR found that 1.5 million previous homeowners might be eligible to buy within the next five years, based on the time it takes to boost credit scores and save for a down payment, as well as mandatory wait times to buy another house.

For those looking to put down homeownership roots once more, here are five tips:

1. Know your options: You no longer have to wait seven years after a bankruptcy or foreclosure to buy another home, says Ray Carlisle, president of the national nonprofit NID Housing Counseling Agency. For homeowners who had extenuating circumstances such as prolonged income loss or major medical expenses, Fannie Mae has shortened its waiting periods to two years after a pre-foreclosure sale — a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure — and to three years after a foreclosure. That’s down from the standard waiting periods of four and seven years, respectively.

To get a Federal Housing Administration loan after a foreclosure, the standard wait time is now three years — and as little as one year with extenuating circumstances, says April Brown, a spokeswoman for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

2. Change your bad money habits: Focus on paying down debt, creating a solid savings strategy and avoiding new splurge purchases. Ask yourself, “How much house can I afford?“ Saving for a down payment and closing costs is one of the biggest hurdles that homebuyers face. Start socking away bonuses, windfalls, tax refunds and other extra cash in a savings account. Setting up automatic deposits to your savings account is another way to grow your down payment reserves, and it removes the temptation to spend money unnecessarily.

3. Repair your credit: The FHA’s minimum credit score requirement for maximum financing is 580. Some lenders offer loans at that minimum, Carlisle says, but other mortgage lenders require a FICO score of 640 or higher. Paying off high-interest debt on time each month and not taking out new loans or running up your credit cards will help build your credit score. Also, ask your utility providers or landlord to report your on-time monthly payments to the major credit bureaus to have those count on your credit report, too.

4. Beware of predatory lenders: If you encounter lenders that try to seduce you with “special” zero-down home loans or real estate agents who recommend rosy rent-to-own or land contract agreements, run the other way. Carlisle says that 80% of NID’s clients are minorities who are disproportionately targeted by predatory lenders. Never sign any contract you’re unsure of, and have a housing counselor, real estate attorney or different lender look it over to get a second opinion.

5. Seek help from the pros: Not only can housing counselors help you address credit issues and set up a savings plan, they can connect you with state, local and private resources that can ease your path to homeownership, Brown says.

Next steps
If you’re looking to buy again, reach out to a HUD-approved housing counselor before you begin. Also, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling provides help to more than 3 million people each year. Find an NFCC-certified housing counselor to discuss your options.

By Deborah Kearns

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