Fall Forecast Sees Improvement On The Horizon

There are many different factors that play a role in the housing market’s health. When home buyers and sellers decide that its time for them to make a move everything from their job security to the global economy has an effect. For example, economic instability half way around the world can move mortgage rates, which will affect how much house you can afford. But what you can afford is also affected by how much you earn and how secure you feel in your job. In short, there’s a lot to keep an eye on. That’s why it can be helpful to tune into expert forecasts and opinions, since most of us don’t have the time or inclination to weigh all of the moving parts that determine what it’ll cost to buy the home of our dreams. So what are the experts saying about the upcoming fall market? Well, according to Freddie Mac’s most recent outlook, there may be reason for optimism. That’s because, though they say fall buyers will face many of the same challenges that held summer sales back, Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater says there is good news to be found. “The good news is that the economy and labor market are very healthy right now, and mortgage rates, after surging earlier this year, have stabilized in recent months,” Khater says. “These factors should continue to create solid buyer demand, and ultimately an uptick in sales, in most parts of the country in the months ahead.” More here.

Remodeling Index Finds Home Repairs On The Rise

Maintenance is a big part of being a homeowner. Put simply, owning a home means having a never-ending to-do list and, depending on your level of know-how, some of it will require the help of a professional. These jobs can range from major renovations such as putting an addition on your house to basic upkeep and repairs like having ducts cleaned and fixing leaks. Essentially, you are your home’s temporary caretaker and how well you take care of it will affect not only how comfortable and enjoyable your home is to live in but also how much you can ask for it when you sell. These days, it seems Americans are increasingly interested in fixing up their homes. In fact, newly released data from the National Association of Home Builders shows home remodeling contractors are busy right now. So what kind of jobs are most in demand? Well, results show demand is highest for basic maintenance and repairs, while additions and alterations – both major and minor – saw slight declines during the second quarter. In short, Americans are tackling their to-do lists and fixing up their homes. This could be due to improved economic conditions and a stronger job market, though it may also be that current homeowners are tending to their homes in hopes of listing them someday soon. More here.

How Much Does Your Neighborhood Matter?

When you buy a house, you’re also buying the surrounding neighborhood. And, depending on your lifestyle and wishlist, the neighborhood may be even more important to you than the actual home you’re buying. After all, most of your life happens outside your home. So your proximity to schools, shopping, healthcare, recreation, and nature will have a large effect on how much you enjoy living in a particular house. In short, finding your dream house in the wrong neighborhood could make it a nightmare. Unconvinced? Well, a recent survey of Americans found large majorities who said the feel of a neighborhood was important when deciding where to live. In fact, 80 percent said the surrounding neighborhood had to fit their personality and an almost equal amount said they’d consider moving if they found they didn’t like their new neighborhood. In other words, when shopping for a new house, be sure to spend as much time considering the area around it as you do the areas inside it. It could even work out to be a better idea to find a smaller house in a great location than a big house somewhere you may grow to dislike. More here.

Why The New Home Market Matters To You

If you aren’t in the market for a new home, why should you care about the new home market? Well, for starters, it plays a very important role in the health of the housing market. And that affects all buyers, not just new home buyers. How? Simply put, new home construction is the quickest way to add homes for sale to the market. And, when more homes are added, buyers can be more choosy, which results in less competition and fewer home price spikes. In other words, when new homes are being built and sold, the overall real estate market benefits, including buyers looking for an existing home in a more affordable price range. So, if that’s true, how’s the new home market doing? According to the latest numbers from the Commerce Department, new home sales were 11.6 percent above last year’s level in April, which is good. But, though year-over-year numbers are positive, recent revisions to totals from the first three months of the year were revised downward, indicating some lingering weakness in the market. More here.

Most Counties More Affordable Than Historic Average

Pretty much anywhere you go there are parts of town that are more affordable than others. There are areas known for starter homes that attract young families and other parts where the homes come with higher price tags and significantly more square footage. Which part of town you end up buying a house in will be determined, in part, by what works for your lifestyle. But your budget and bottom line will ultimately have final say. Currently, with home prices and mortgage rates both trending upward, it may seem like there are fewer and fewer areas with affordable homes to choose from. This, however, is not entirely true. In fact, according to new numbers from ATTOM Data Solutions’ Q1 2018 U.S. Home Affordability Report, 59 percent of the 446 counties they analyzed were more affordable than their historic average. Furthermore, 27 percent of those counties actually posted a year-over-year increase in affordability – meaning prices were more affordable this year than last. Counties where this was true included Cook County (Chicago), Illinois; Harris County (Houston), Texas; Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona; Orange County, California; and Kings County (Brooklyn), New York. In short, though affordability conditions may have worsened generally, it’s always smart to look into what prices are doing in the neighborhoods that most appeal to you. More here.

New Construction or Existing Homes: The Pros and Cons of Both

Some people hate hand-me-downs; others like things with a history. When it comes to housing, new construction has a never-been-touched attraction, while existing homes have stories to tell. For every advantage of buying newly built and existing homes, there’s a flip side.
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