San Diego Real Estate and Community News

April 9, 2021

Americans Say Now's The Right Time To Sell

When there are more home buyers than homes for sale, that's a seller's market. Homeowners can get top dollar for their homes, since buyers have fewer options to choose from. That's the case in today's market. And, according to Fannie Mae's most recent Home Purchase Sentiment Index, Americans are noticing. In fact, the survey component measuring whether respondents think it's a good or bad time to sell a house saw a 13 percent increase in participants who said now is the right time to sell. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae's senior vice president and chief economist, says Americans are becoming more optimistic and it's pushing home-selling sentiment higher. “The significant increase in the HPSI in March reflects consumer optimism toward the housing market and larger economy as vaccinations continue to roll out, a third round of stimulus checks was distributed, and the spring home buying season began – perhaps with even more intensity this year, since 2020's spring home buying season was limited by virus-related lockdowns,” Duncan said. “Home-selling sentiment experienced positive momentum across most consumer segments – nearly reaching pre-pandemic levels and generally indicative of a strong seller's market.”

April 7, 2021

Extreme Weather A Factor In Buying Decisions

One of the primary purposes of a house is protection from the elements. After all, we all want to feel safe at home – and shelter from harsh weather is a big part of that. But how many home buyers are thinking about extreme weather conditions when looking at listings? Well, according to one new survey, quite a few. In fact, nearly 80 percent of participants said the frequency and intensity of extreme weather in an area would make them hesitant to buy a home there. And, among respondents who said they planned to move in the next year, almost half said extreme temperatures and natural disasters played a role in their decision to relocate. Of course, how likely you are to factor extreme weather conditions into your buying decision has a lot to do with where you're looking to buy. For example, fewer respondents in the Midwest were thinking about extreme weather than in other regions. Similarly, younger buyers were more likely to take environmental factors into account when shopping for a house to buy.

April 5, 2021

Homes Still Affordable In Majority Of Counties

Home prices have been increasing for a while now. But that doesn't necessarily mean homeownership is unaffordable. In fact, according to a recent report from ATTOM Data Solutions, buying a home in today's market is still more affordable than historical averages in 52 percent of counties. That means, a majority of the country's housing stock is within reach. Todd Teta, ATTOM's chief product officer, says low mortgage rates have helped. “The past year certainly has been an odd one for the U.S. housing market,” Teta said. “Home prices surged at a remarkable pace even as the virus pandemic damaged the U.S. economy, which dropped historical affordability levels. But average workers untarnished by the pandemic were still able to afford the typical home because wages and rock-bottom interest rates worked to their favor in a big way.” The report determined affordability by calculating the amount of income needed to pay homeownership expenses on a median-priced home and comparing it to average wage data. Among the 552 counties included in the report, counties in the Chicago, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Detroit area were the most affordable.

March 31, 2021

More Renters Are Ready To Buy Homes

When it comes time to make a move, you first have to decide whether you'll rent or buy your next place. For most of us, this decision is primarily a financial one. Surveys consistently show a majority of Americans say they hope to own their own home one day. Which means, many renters are doing so because they aren't financially ready yet to buy a home. It also means that, among current renters, there are many who are making plans to buy someday soon. And it seems, for an increasing number of them, that day has come. In fact, according to new research from Freddie Mac, renters were more likely than existing homeowners to buy homes last year, especially during the late summer and early fall. Additionally, Freddie Mac found that the likelihood that current homeowners would sell their homes has held steady at 18 percent since the beginning of the year, while the likelihood that renters would look to purchase a home has hovered around 35 percent. In other words, a lot of the current demand for homes is coming from renters who are now ready to buy.

March 29, 2021

Rates To Remain Low Despite Increases

Mortgage rates have recently started to increase again, after hovering at or just above record lows for months. And with most economists predicting the economy will boom – as more Americans are vaccinated and COVID-related restrictions are lifted – there is an expectation that they'll climb even higher. But despite those expectations, Fannie Mae's Economic and Strategic Research Group says it shouldn't be a major concern. “At the moment, economists' eyes are on interest rates given the size of the recent increases to Treasury and mortgage rates and the short time period over which those changes occurred,” Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae's senior vice president and chief economist, said. “Perspective is helpful here: While we forecast some continued upward movement, mortgage rates remain historically low, as they are still 0.8 percentage points below the 2019 average.” In other words, though rates have increased, they are still low when compared to what's been typical in years past. Fannie Mae expects any upcoming rate increases won't affect housing activity in the near term, though they do expect refinance demand to dip.

March 26, 2021

Typical House Sells In 20 Days In February

The typical home for sale was on the market just 20 days in February, according to new data released by the National Association of Realtors. That's a record low and down from 36 days last year at the same time. But while elevated demand from buyers plays a role, too few homes for sale is the chief reason homes are selling so quickly. The NAR's report shows that – while the number of homes for sale did improve month-over-month – nationally, it's down nearly 30 percent from where it was one year ago. According to Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, low inventory is also contributing to declining home sales. In fact, February sales of existing homes fell 6.6 percent from January. “Despite the drop in home sales for February – which I would attribute to historically low inventory – the market is still outperforming pre-pandemic levels,” Yun said. It's true. Despite slowing in February, sales are still 9.1 percent higher than last year. And with expectations that both inventory and the economy will improve as the year goes on, there's hope that home sales and listings will too.

March 24, 2021

The Best Strategies For Winning A Bidding War

In a today's market, buyers have to compete for available homes. That means, finding ways to make your offer stand out from others. Put simply, you can't expect to win a bidding war, if you aren't prepared to offer more than the next buyer. However, it's not just a matter of offering more money – though that's certainly part of it. There are other strategies as well, like waiving contingencies or promising a faster close. How you approach making your offer can be the difference between disappointment and purchasing your dream home. So what's the best strategy for winning a bidding war? Well, according to one recent analysis an all-cash offer improves a buyer's chances by 290 percent. This isn't surprising. It also isn't an option for most home buyers. The second most effective strategy was waiving the financing contingency, which protects the buyer in case they aren't able to secure a mortgage in time. But while it may improve your chances by 66 percent, it has its risks, including losing your earnest money deposit. Other popular strategies – including escalation clauses and waiving the inspection – are less risky but also less effective. Mostly, though, that's due to the fact that they're more common in a seller's market, where buyers are trying to outmaneuver each other.

March 22, 2021

Home Building Halts, But Is The Setback Temporary?

New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development shows the number of new homes that began construction in February was 10.3 percent lower than the month before. The decline marked the second consecutive month home building slowed. In a housing market starved for additional inventory, this may seem like discouraging news. After all, if home building slows and the number of homes for sale doesn't pick up, prices will continue to spike, affordability will suffer, and hopeful home buyers will have a harder time finding homes to buy. Fortunately, the numbers may be deceiving. How so? Well, for one, bitter cold and winter storms affected much of the country in February. And more than just typical winter weather in states accustomed to a February freeze, the storms and cold reached into Texas and much of the South. Because this likely caused home builders to pause construction, economists expect the setback will be temporary and new residential construction will rebound in the months ahead.

March 17, 2021

Lenders See Stable Credit, Higher Demand Ahead

Each quarter, Fannie Mae asks senior mortgage executives for their views on the upcoming mortgage market. Their Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey can be a good predictor of what's ahead for housing. So what are mortgage execs saying about the coming spring and summer market? Well, for starters, they expect access to credit to remain stable. After tightening last spring, credit standards have eased over the past year and are now at pre-COVID levels. That means, qualified buyers should feel confident in their ability to be approved for a loan. Lenders also expect buyer demand to remain high this year. In fact, the survey found “demand expectations over the next three months rose significantly across all loan types from last last quarter and remained similar to the levels seen in Q1 2020.” In short, lenders are expecting a hot purchase market. However, though optimistic about demand from buyers, lenders aren't as confident in refinance activity. With mortgage rates expected to increase from all-time lows, they predict there will be fewer homeowners looking to refinance as the year progresses.

March 15, 2021

Millennials Say They're Comfortable Buying Online

Traditionally, before you make an offer on a house, you go see it in person. After all, buying a home is a major financial transaction. You wouldn't want to make that kind of commitment without seeing exactly what you were purchasing. But these days, there are other ways to see a property and home buyers are becoming increasingly comfortable with them. In fact, digital and online tools have become more widely accepted among buyers since the coronavirus pandemic began – especially, younger ones. For example, according to a newly released survey, 59 percent of millennial buyers now say they would be, at least, somewhat confident making an offer on a home they only toured virtually. Additionally, 39 percent said they'd be comfortable buying a home entirely online. That's a significant percentage of buyers. But while substantial, it still leaves a majority of home buyers who wouldn't be comfortable making an offer sight unseen. Which means, most buyers probably prefer a mix of virtual and traditional access to the homes they're interested in seeing. It also means digital tools, like 3D-virtual tours, digital-floor plans, and self-tour technology, are likely here to stay