All about Real Estate

Thinking about selling or buying but you're not sure where to start? Here you have all the facts and hacks!

March 8, 2018

RhodeToRealEstate.com blog by Hill Harbor Group

Did declining sales in January slide into February?

Housing inventory is like "fuel oil" for real estate - it keeps the market moving. In January, closed Single Family sales in Rhode Island fell 9% from a year earlier while the Median Sale Price increased 9%. The limited housing inventory is clearly hindering sales activity in the Ocean State. Also, limited new construction over the last ten years has played a major role in the current "inventory crisis" that is driving prices upward.

- RI Single Family Jan 2018: 611 Sales with Median Sale Price of $244,900 at $187 per SF and 62 days on the market vs.

- RI Single Family Jan 2017: 672 Sales with Median Sale Price of $225,000 at $170 per SF and 47 days on the market.

Counterintuitively, when mortgage rates increase moderately in a good economy, prices appreciate as many prospective buyers immediately jump off the fence to guarantee they get the lower rate. In February, closed Single Family sales increased 2.7% from a year earlier, despite the low inventory, while the Median Sale Price increased 8%.

- RI Single Family Feb 2018: 576 Sales with Median Sale Price of $251,250 at $185 per SF and 50 days on the market vs.

- RI Single Family Feb 2017: 561 Sales with Median Sale Price of $232,000 at $166 per SF and 62 days on the market.

Bottom Line: Hill Harbor's Relocation Team is reporting buyer traffic is stronger than last year. And, if you are going to sell, now is the time to take advantage of the ready, willing, and able buyers that are still searching for a home like yours. Even if you are just "fact-finding," contact Hill Harbor Group today for a no obligation free home valuation. Please visit www.hillharbor.smarthomeprice.com to get you personalized home value estimate, instantly.

How is the Single Family market between $600,000 to $1,000,000 performing?

Over the past 6 months (9/2017 - 2/2018) 295 Single Family homes sold in Rhode Island with a Median Days on the Market of 70. During the same time period a year earlier (9/2016 - 2/2017) 201 Single Family homes sold with a Median Days on the Market of 100. 46.7% increase in units sold and 30% drop Days on Market.

Strictly looking at units sold and time on the market, overall this price segment has made substantial gains.


Bottom Line: This is a "broad brush” overview and every municipality in Rhode Island has a different story. Additionally this price segment overlaps with large inland homes and coastal homes, which are completely different. Please contact a Hill Harbor Realtor today to discuss your specific situation and future move.

Is now a good time to rent?

People often ask if now is a good time to buy a home, but nobody ever asks when it's a good time to rent. Regardless, we want to make certain that everyone understands that today is NOT a good time to rent in the Ocean State.

Rents have steadily increased and are showing no signs of slowing down. If you are faced with making the decision of whether or not you should renew your lease, you might be pleasantly surprised at your ability to buy a home of your own instead.


Bottom Line: When you rent, you transfer your wealth to your landlord by paying their mortgage. One way to protect yourself from rising rents is to lock in your housing expense by buying a home. If you are thinking about buying or selling, contact a Hill Harbor Realtor today for a no obligation consultation and free home valuation.

Posted in HillHarborGroup
Jan. 12, 2018

93% Believe Homeownership Is Important in Attaining the American Dream

93% Believe Homeownership Is Important in Attaining the American Dream | Simplifying The Market

Americans continue to believe that homeownership is important in achieving the American Dream. A recent survey by NeighborWorks America reported that:

“Owning a home remains a core element of the American Dream.”

When asked “How important a part of the American dream is owning a home?”

  • 18% of those surveyed said it was the most important part
  • 53% of those surveyed said it was very important
  • 22% of those surveyed said it was somewhat important

Homeownership and Financial Stability

“After about a two-year slowdown, rent growth is starting to pick back up across the nation…Looking into 2018, rent is expected to continue gaining.

More widespread rent growth could mean home buying demands stay high, as renters who can afford it move away from the unpredictability of rising rentstoward the relative stability of a monthly mortgage payment instead.”(emphasis added)

Bottom Line

Owning a home always has been, and always will be, a crucial part of attaining the American Dream.

 

Jan. 10, 2018

The Impact of Tight Inventory on the Housing Market

The Impact of Tight Inventory on the Housing Market | Simplifying The Market

 

The housing crisis is finally in the rear-view mirror as the real estate market moves down the road to a complete recovery. Home values are up, home sales are up, and distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have fallen to their lowest points in years. It seems that the market will continue to strengthen in 2018.
 
However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory. While buyer demand looks like it will remain strong throughout the winter, supply is not keeping up.
 
Here are the thoughts of a few industry experts on the subject:
National Association of Realtors

“Total housing inventory at the end of November dropped 7.2 percent to 1.67 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 9.7 percent lower than a year ago (1.85 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 30 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.4-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 4.0 months a year ago.”

Joseph Kirchner, Senior Economist for Realtor.com

“The increases in single-family permits and starts show that builders are planning and starting new construction projects, that’s a good thing because it will help to relieve the shortage of homes on the market.”

 
Sam Khater, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic

Inventory is tighter than it appears. It’s much lower for entry-level buyers.”

Bottom Line

 

If you are thinking of selling, now may be the time. Demand for your house will be strong at a time when there is very little competition. That could lead to a quick sale for a really good price.

 

Jan. 5, 2018

Time on the Market Drops to New Low in 2017

According to recently released data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median amount of time a home spent on the market hit an all-time low of only three weeks in 2017.

Strong buyer demand, a good economy, and a low inventory of new and existing homes for sale created the perfect storm to accelerate the time between listing and signing a contract. The time needed to sell a home has dropped substantially since its highest mark of 11 weeks in 2012.

The chart below shows the median weeks on the market from 1987 to today.

Time on the Market Drops to New Low in 2017 | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

If you are a homeowner who is debating whether or not to list your home for sale, know that national market conditions are primed for a quick turnaround! Let’s get together to discuss exactly what’s going on in our area, today!

 

Nov. 11, 2017

The #1 Reason to List Your House, NOW!

The #1 Reason to List Your House, NOW! | Simplifying The Market

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released the results of their latest Existing Home Sales Report which revealed that sales rose 0.7% month-over-month, but remain 1.5% lower than they were a year ago. Some may look at these numbers and think that now is not a good time to sell their house, but in fact, the opposite is true.

The national slowdown in sales is directly tied to a lack of inventory available for the buyers who are out in the market looking for their dream homes! The inventory of homes for sale has fallen year-over-year for the last 28 months and has had an upward impact on home prices.

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

“Home sales in recent months remain at their lowest level of the year and are unable to break through, despite considerable buyer interest in most parts of the country.

Realtors® this fall continue to say the primary impediments stifling sales growth are the same as they have been all year: not enough listings – especially at the lower end of the market – and fast-rising prices that are straining the budgets of prospective buyers.” (emphasis added)

The houses that are on the market are selling fast, too! According to NAR’s Realtors Confidence Index, the median number of days it took for a house to go from listed to under contract over the past three months was 34.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many homeowners who is debating listing your house for sale this year, the time is now! Let’s get together to discuss the specifics of our market!

Nov. 8, 2017

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional When Buying or Selling!

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional When Buying or Selling! | Simplifying The Market

Whether you are buying or selling a home, it can be quite an adventurous journey. This is why you need an experienced real estate professional to guide you on the path to your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers think that they can For Sale by Owner or FSBO.

The 5 reasons you NEED a real estate professional in your corner haven’t changed, but have rather been strengthened by the projections of higher mortgage interest rates & home prices as the market continues to pick up steam.

1. What do you do with all this paperwork?

Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true real estate professional is an expert in his or her market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.

2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?

There are over 180 possible steps that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, someone who knows what these actions are, to make sure that you achieve your dream?

3. Are you a good negotiator?

So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. After looking at the list of parties that you will need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll soon realize the value in selecting a real estate professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible), to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people who you will need to be knowledgeable of, and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the amount of time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to a study by Collateral Analytics, FSBOs achieve prices significantly lower than those from similar properties sold by real estate agents:

“FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.”

Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional.

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?

There is so much information out there on the news and on the internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively and correctly price your home at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a lowball offer?

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring an agent who has his or her finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying or selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line

You wouldn’t replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic. Why would you make one of the most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a real estate professional? 

Nov. 2, 2017

Moving-Up to a Luxury Home? Now’s the Time!

Moving-Up to a Luxury Home? Now’s the Time! | Simplifying The Market

If your house no longer fits your needs and you are planning on buying a luxury home, now is a great time to do so! We recently shared data from Trulia’s Market Mismatch Study which showed that in today’s premium home market, buyers are in control. 

The inventory of homes for sale in the luxury market far exceeds those searching to purchase these properties in many areas of the country. This means that homes are often staying on the market longer which can eventually lead to a price change.

Those who have a starter or trade-up home to sell will find buyers competing, and often entering bidding wars, to be able to call your house their new home.

The sale of your starter or trade-up house will aid in coming up with a larger down payment for your new luxury home. Even a 5% down payment on a million-dollar home is $50,000.

But not all who are buying luxury properties have a home to sell first.

In a Washington Post article, Daryl Judy, an associate broker with Washington Fine Properties, gave some insight into what many millennials are choosing to do:

“Some high-earning millennials save money until they are in their early 30s to buy a place and just skip over that starter-home phase. They’ll stay in an apartment until they can afford to pay for the place they want.”

Bottom Line

The best time to sell anything is when demand is high and supply is low. If you are currently in a starter or trade-up house that no longer fits your needs and you are looking to step into a luxury home, now’s the time to list your house for sale and make your dreams come true.

Oct. 26, 2017

Net Worth of Homeowners 44X Greater than Renters

Net Worth of Homeowners 44X Greater than Renters | Simplifying The Market

Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts their Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey data, covering 2013-2016 was released two weeks ago.

The study revealed that the 2016 median net worth of homeowners was $231,400 – a 15% increase since 2013. At the same time, the median net worth of renters decreased by 5% ($5,200 today compared to $5,500 in 2013).

These numbers reveal that the net worth of a homeowner is over 44 times greater than that of a renter.

Owning a home is a great way to build family wealth

As we’ve said before, simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth by increasing the equity in your home.

That is why, for the fourth year in a row, Gallup reported that Americans picked real estate as the best long-term investment. This year’s results showed that 34% of Americans chose real estate, followed by stocks at 26% and then gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds.

Greater equity in your home gives you options

If you want to find out how you can use the increased equity in your home to move to a home that better fits your current lifestyle, let’s get together to discuss the process.

Oct. 20, 2017

Millionaire to Millennials: Buy a Home Now!

Millionaire to Millennials: Buy a Home Now! | Simplifying The Market

In a CNBC article, self-made millionaire David Bach explained that “the single biggest mistake millennials are making” is not purchasing a home because buying real estate is “an escalator to wealth.”

Bach went on to explain:

“If millennials don’t buy a home, their chances of actually having any wealth in this country are little to none. The average homeowner to this day is 38 times wealthier than a renter.”

In his bestselling book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” Bach does the math:

“As a renter, you can easily spend half a million dollars or more on rent over the years ($1,500 a month for 30 years comes to $540,000), and in the end wind up just where you started — owning nothing. Or you can buy a house and spend the same amount paying down a mortgage, and in the end wind up owning your own home free and clear!”

Who is David Bach?

Bach is a self-made millionaire who has written nine consecutive New York Times bestsellers. His book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” spent 31 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He is one of the only business authors in history to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and USA Today bestseller lists.

He has been a contributor to NBC’s Today Show, appearing more than 100 times, as well as a regular on ABC, CBS, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Yahoo, The View, and PBS. He has also been profiled in many major publications, including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, USA Today, People, Reader’s Digest, Time, Financial Times, Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Working Woman, Glamour, Family Circle, Redbook, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Investors’ Business Daily, and Forbes.

Bottom Line

Whenever a well-respected millionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This millionaire gave simple advice – if you don’t yet live in your own home, go buy one.

Oct. 18, 2017

The Truth About Homeowner Equity

The Truth About Homeowner Equity | Simplifying The Market

A recent article from a reputable news source was titled: Here’s why some homeowners still can’t sell. In the opening bullets of the article, the author claimed, “Negative equity is one of the main reasons why there are so few homes for sale.” The article then goes on to soften that stance but we want to bring better clarity to the equity situation.

A recent report from CoreLogic (which was quoted in the article) revealed that over 80% of all homes now have “significant equity,” which means the home has over 20% equity. That level of equity allows the homeowner to sell their home if they so desire. (There was no reference to significant equity in the article.)

If eight out of ten homeowners now have significant equity in their homes, it is hard to make the claim that lack of equity is “one of the main reasons why there are so few homes for sale.”

Here is a map showing the percentage of homes in each state which currently have significant equity:

The Truth About Homeowner Equity | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

If you are one of many homeowners who is debating selling your home and are wondering how much equity you have accumulated, let’s get together to determine if now is the time to list.