Fed elects to hold off on interest rate hike

As expected, the Federal Reserve released its decision to hold off on any increases to the federal funds rate in July.

The Federal Open Market Committee started its July meeting on Wednesday to discuss the current state of the U.S. economy. The committee voted to keep the federal funds rate at its current range between 1% and 1.25%.

In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1 to 1-1/4 percent The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting some further strengthening in labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2 percent inflation.

The FOMC stated that the labor market continued strengthening and that economic activity has been rising moderately this year.

“The Committee continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, and labor market conditions will strengthen somewhat further,” the committee said in its statement.

Most economists, including those at Fannie Mae, forecasted that the Fed would raise rates in June and December.

However, some believe this year has already seen the last of its interest rate increases. Financial Analyst Christopher Whalen predicted a rate hike in June, but he added that it might be the last one for a while since FOMC members are beginning to see the U.S. economy slow down.

Last year, Jason Obradovich, New American Funding executive vice president of capital markets, explained that for all its intentions, the Fed probably won’t be raising rates as much as it would like in 2017.

However, while the Fed failed to meet its goals for interest rate hikes in previous years, this year proved different.

In June, the Fed voted to raise interest rates for the second time this year. The first rate hike occurred in its March meeting.

And later, FOMC minutes showed raising the federal funds rate isn’t the only thing on the committee’s agenda. Members brought up the balance sheet in the meeting, saying they may begin to shrink it this year.

 

Posted on housingwire.com

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Buying this Spring? Be Prepared for Bidding Wars

Traditionally, spring is the busiest season for real estate. Buyers come out in force and homeowners list their houses for sale hoping to capitalize on buyer activity. This year will be no different!

Buyers have already been out in force looking for their dream homes and more are on their way, but the challenge is that the inventory of homes for sale has not kept up with demand, which has lead to A LOT of competition for the homes that are available.

A recent Bloomberg article touched on the current market conditions:

“It’s the 2017 U.S. spring home-selling season, and listings are scarcer than they’ve ever been. Bidding wars common in perennially hot markets like the San Francisco Bay area, Denver and Boston are now also prevalent in the once slow-and-steady heartland, sending prices higher and sparking desperation among buyers across the country.”

Sam Khater, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic went on to explain why buyers are flocking to the market in big numbers:

“In today’s market, many buyers think the trough in [interest] rates is over. If you don’t get in now, it’s just going to be worse later. Rates will be higher, prices will be higher, and maybe inventory selection will be lower.”

In some markets, “thirty-five percent of properties are selling within the first week or two of hitting the market.” Homes are selling at a rapid clip in places like:

  • Denver, CO
  • Seattle, WA
  • Oakland, CA
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Boise, ID
  • Madison, WI
  • Omaha, NE

Bottom Line

In today’s competitive atmosphere, you need a professional on your side who knows your exact market conditions and can help you take the steps you need to be able to secure your new home!

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

The Great News About Rising Prices for Homeowners

Recently there has been a lot of talk about home prices and if they are accelerating too quickly. As we mentioned before, in some areas of the country, seller supply (homes for sale) cannot keep up with the number of buyers out looking for a home, which has caused prices to rise.

The great news about rising prices, however, is that according to CoreLogic’s US Economic Outlook, the average American household gained over $11,000 in equity over the course of the last year, largely due to home value increases.

The map below was created using the same report from CoreLogic and shows the average equity gain per mortgaged home from June 2015 to June 2016 (the latest data available).

For those who are worried that we are doomed to repeat 2006 all over again, it is important to note that homeowners are investing their new-found equity in their homes and themselves, not in depreciating assets.

The added equity is helping families put their children through college, invest in starting small businesses, allowing them to pay off their mortgage sooner or move up to the home that will better suit their needs now.

Bottom Line

CoreLogic predicts that home prices will appreciate by another 5% by this time next year. If you are a homeowner looking to take advantage of your home equity by moving up to your dream home, contact an agent in your area to discuss your options!

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

Is This the Year to Move Up to Your Dream Home? If So, Do it Early

It appears that Americans are regaining faith in the U.S. economy. The following indexes have each shown a dramatic jump in consumer confidence in their latest surveys:

  1. The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index
  2. National Federation of Independent Businesses’ Small Business Optimism Index
  3. CNBC All-America Economic Survey
  4. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Survey

It usually means good news for the housing market when the country sees an optimistic future. People begin to dream again about the home their family has always wanted, and some make plans to finally make that dream come true.

If you are considering moving up to your dream home, it may be better to do it earlier in the year than later. The two components of your monthly mortgage payment (home prices and interest rates) are both projected to increase as the year moves forward, and interest rates may increase rather dramatically. Here are some predictions on where rates will be by the end of the year:

HSH.com:

“We think that conforming 30-year fixed rates probably make it into the4.625 percent to 4.75 percent range at some point during 2017 as a peak.”

Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s Chief Economist:

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the 30-year fixed mortgage rate hits 4.75 percent.”

Mark Fleming, the Chief Economist at First American:

“[I see] mortgage rates getting much closer to 5 percent at the end of next year.”

Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist:

“By this time next year, expect the 30-year fixed rate to likely be in the 4.5 percent to 5 percent range.”

Bottom Line

If you are feeling good about your family’s economic future and are considering making a move to your dream home, doing it sooner rather than later makes the most sense.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

Inadequate Inventory Driving Prices Up

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The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR)revealed a direct correlation between a lack of inventory and rising prices.

We are all familiar with the concept of supply and demand. As the demand for an item increases the supply of that same item goes down, driving prices up.

Year-over-year inventory levels have dropped each of the last 18 months, as inventory now stands at a 4.0-month supply, well below the 6.0-month supply needed for a ‘normal’ market.

The median price of homes sold in November (the latest data available) was $234,900, up 6.8% from last year and marking the 57th consecutive month with year-over-year gains.

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun had this to say:

“Existing housing supply at the beginning of the year was inadequate and is now even worse heading into 2017. Rental units are also seeing this shortage. As a result, both home prices and rents continue to far outstrip incomes in much of the country.”

But there is good news about rising prices. More and more homeowners are recovering from a negative equity situation and learning that they are able to sell their homes and either move up to their dream home or downsize to a property that will better suit their needs. Look for these homes to come to market soon.

Bottom Line

Buyer demand continues to outpace the supply of homes for sale. Listing your home in the winter attracts serious buyers who are looking to close the transaction quickly.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

Existing Home Sales Surge Through The Holidays [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights:

  • November’s Existing Home Sales report revealed that sales are now at an annual pace of 5.61 million which is “now the highest since February 2007 (5.79 million) and is 15.4% higher than a year ago (4.86 million).”
  • Total housing inventory (or the inventory of homes for sale) fell 8.0% from last month and is now 9.3% lower than November 2015.
  • Inventory has dropped year-over-year for the last 18 months.
  • The median price for all home sales in November was $234,900, up 6.8% from last year and marks the 57th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

Buying is Now 37.7% Cheaper Than Renting in the US

The results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

The updated numbers actually show that the range is an average of 17.4% less expensive in Honolulu (HI), all the way up to 53.2% less expensive in Miami & West Palm Beach (FL), and 37.7% nationwide!

Other interesting findings in the report include:

  • Interest rates have remained low, and even though home prices have appreciated around the country, they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation.
  • Home prices would have to appreciate by a range of over 23% in Honolulu (HI), up to over 45% in Ventura County (CA), to reach the tipping point of renting being less expensive than buying.
  • Nationally, rates would have to reach 9.1%, a 145% increase over today’s average of 3.7%, for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates haven’t been that high since January of 1995, according to Freddie Mac.

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. If you are one of the many renters out there who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, meet with a local real estate professional who can help you find your dream home.

Posted by The KCM Crew