San Diego Real Estate and Community News

Sept. 20, 2021

How Many Bathrooms Do Buyers Want In A House?

The number of rooms a house has – and how they're distributed – is even more important than the overall size of the home. A huge home that packs all the bedrooms and bathrooms into one cramped corner of the house may not serve its owners as well as a smaller house with a better layout. But while determining the number of bedrooms you need is a fairly simple calculation, how many bathrooms you need can be less clear. An analysis of data from the Census Bureau's latest Survey of Construction offers some insight into what most home shoppers want. The numbers show – based on new homes that began construction in 2020 – the vast majority of newly built single-family homes had two bathrooms. In fact, 65 percent of homes built last year had two full bathrooms. Twenty-five percent of homes had three bathrooms, while 7 percent had four or more. Less than 3 percent had one bathroom. Based on those numbers, it's pretty clear that most home buyers want, at least, two bathrooms in their house.

Sept. 17, 2021

Mortgage Lenders See Calmer Days Ahead

Your mortgage lender is the first person you should talk to once you've decided to buy a home. After a preliminary review of your finances, they can tell you, not only whether you're qualified to borrow, but also what your potential price range will be. In short, they're your first step toward buying a house. That's why Fannie Mae conducts their quarterly Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey. Positioned at the start of the buying process, lenders are able to get a good read on the market and where it may be headed. So what do they expect in the months ahead? Well, according to the most recent survey, lenders expect buyer demand to continue to grow, though at a slower pace than before. “More lenders than not reported expectations that purchase mortgage demand will continue to grow, though the total share expecting such growth fell substantially compared to the previous quarter,” Mark Palim, Fannie Mae's deputy chief economist said. In other words, while buyer demand will remain high, the market should be a bit calmer than it's been in recent months.

Sept. 15, 2021

Early Fall May Be The Best Time To Buy

The best time to buy a house is when you're ready. But, once you're ready, picking the right time of year to start the process could be beneficial. It could even save you money. How? Well, when the market slows down and there are fewer active home buyers, price increases, bidding wars, and competition also slow down. That means, buying at the right time of year may mean better deals and less stress. And, according to a recent analysis from the National Association of Realtors' consumer website, the right time of year may be right now. “Home prices peaked in the summer, and new listings continue to come on the market helping slow the pace of sales – which is good news for homebuyers,” Danielle Hale, the site's chief economist, said. “As families across the county focus on getting back into school routines, there are fewer buyers in the market, creating a great opportunity especially for first-time home buyers to make a purchase with somewhat less competition.” The analysis found that, between September 12 and October 17, buyers could see prices $10,000 below their seasonal high.

Sept. 13, 2021

Mortgage Credit Availability Improves In August

If you want to be approved for a mortgage, you have to qualify. Which means, if you have too much debt, too little income, or bad credit, you may not be able to get a loan. Put simply, you have to have your finances in order, if you hope to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars. But the standards lenders use to determine whether or not you're qualified aren't fixed. Sometimes they're more lenient than others. That's why the Mortgage Bankers Association tracks mortgage credit availability. Their monthly index determines whether access to credit is loosening or tightening. Any increase means potential borrowers will have an easier time getting approved for a mortgage, while a decline means standards have gotten stricter. In August, the index increased 3.9 percent. Joel Kan, MBA's associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, says availability increased across the board. “Credit availability increased in August, driven by significant activity across all indexes,” Kan said. “Of note, jumbo credit availability increased 9 percent to its highest level since March 2020.” Conforming credit availability was up 5.1 percent. 


Sept. 10, 2021

Homeowners See Big 2nd Quarter Equity Gains

Equity is the difference between what you owe on your house and what it's worth. So, when home prices are growing, equity is too. And with the recent spike in home prices, equity has surged. In fact, according to Black Knight's most recent Mortgage Monitor Report, tappable equity – the amount available for homeowners to borrow against while still retaining at least 20 percent equity in their homes – grew 37 percent over year-before levels during the second quarter of this year. Ben Graboske, Black Knight's president, says homeowners have made big gains. “This is by far the strongest growth we've ever seen and equates to some $173,000 in equity available to the average mortgage holder, a $20,000 increase in just three months,” Graboske said. According to the report, tappable equity hit a record high at the end of the first quarter, reaching $8.1 trillion. During the second quarter, it added an additional $1 trillion to that total.

Sept. 8, 2021

More Americans Say It's A Good Time To Buy

Fannie Mae's Home Purchase Sentiment Index is based on a monthly survey gauging Americans' feelings about the housing market and overall economy. It asks respondents for their opinions about buying and selling a home, mortgage rates, home prices, their jobs and financial situation. In August, the index was largely unchanged from the month before. However, the share of participants who said they felt it was a good time to buy a home was up 7 percent. It was the first increase in buying optimism since March. Mark Palim, Fannie Mae's vice president and deputy chief economist, says buyers expect conditions to improve in the months ahead. “The 'good time to buy' component, while still near a survey low, did tick up for the first time since March, perhaps owing in part to the favorable mortgage rate environment and growing expectations that home price growth will begin to moderate over the next twelve months,” Palim said. Overall, 32 percent of respondents said they thought it was a good time to buy, while 73 percent said it was a good time to sell.

Sept. 7, 2021

How Building Material Costs Affect Home Buyers

The typical home buyer doesn't spend much time considering the price of gypsum products or ready-mix concrete. But the prices builders pay for building materials has an effect on buyers – even if they aren't shopping for a new home. That's because new home construction is the fastest way to boost inventory. And, when there are more homes for sale, home prices moderate. So, when more new homes are being built, it benefits all buyers because it helps keep prices in check. That's part of the reason prices have been rising so rapidly over the past year. Building material costs have been increasing at a fast pace. In fact, according to new numbers from the National Association of Home Builders, material costs have increased almost 20 percent over the past 12 months. That's made it more difficult for home builders to build the affordable homes needed to bring balance to the market and more choices to buyers

Sept. 3, 2021

Home Prices Increase Almost Everywhere

There are many gauges of U.S. home prices but the S&P Case-Shiller Indices is among the most closely followed. The index is constructed to accurately track the price path of a typical single-family home in each of the nine U.S. Census divisions. According to the most recent release, home prices are still increasing and the gains can be seen almost everywhere. In fact, Craig J. Lazzara, managing director and global head of index investment strategy at S&P, says prices have hit all-time highs everywhere but Chicago. “The last several months have been extraordinary not only in the level of price gains, but in the consistency of gains across the country,” Lazzara said. “Home prices in 19 of our 20 cities (all but Chicago) now stand at all-time highs, as do the National Composite and both the 10-and 20-City indices.” Fortunately for home buyers, the number of homes for sale has begun to improve and should help slow the rate of price increases in coming months.

Sept. 1, 2021

Lenders See Shift in Mortgage Loan Demand

For most of the past year, average mortgage rates have hovered at, or just above, historic lows. Favorable rates helped home buyers at a time when prices and bidding wars were on the rise. But while low rates were good for buyers, they were also good for homeowners who wanted to refinance their loans. The corresponding boom saw refinance activity up nearly 125 percent over year-before levels at the end of 2020. But now, according to new numbers from ATTOM Data Solutions, the market has shifted. In fact, during the second quarter of this year, refinance activity actually fell, dropping 15 percent quarter-over-quarter. At the same time, demand for home-purchase loans was up 22 percent. Todd Teta, ATTOM's chief product officer, says it's a significant change. “The demand for home loans across the country shifted significantly in the second quarter as refinancing activity receded and home-purchase and equity loans increased,” Teta said. “We haven't seen that pattern for several years.”

Aug. 30, 2021

Active Listings Up 16% From This Year's Low

For a prospective home buyer, the more homes there are for sale the better. After all, more available homes means more choices and a better chance at finding the one that meets your needs. Lately, though, inventory has been an issue. A lower than normal number of homes for sale has led to price spikes, more competition, and bidding wars between buyers. Which means, any news of improved inventory is good news for home buyers. That's why recently released numbers from one online real-estate portal are encouraging. The analysis found that active listings have now risen 16 percent above where they were at their 2021 low. And while they're still 23 percent below last year at the same time, that's the smallest decline since September 2020. In other words, the number of homes for sale is improving and it's helping buying conditions.