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Another Happy Client

by Craig Whitlock

One of my clients expressing their appreciation on Zillow!

Further Proof We're Not In A Bubble

by Craig Whitlock

Further Proof This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

Two weeks ago, we posted a blog which explained that current increases in home prices were the result of the well-known concept of supply & demand and should not lead to conversations of a new housing bubble. Today, we want to look at home prices as compared to current incomes.

Here is a graph showing the monthly mortgage payment on a median priced home in the U.S. over the last 25 years:

Further Proof This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

Mortgage payments are currently well below the historic average over that time period. Purchasers are not overextending themselves to buy a home like they did on the run-up to the housing crash.

Lawrence Yun, the Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors, recently explained in a Forbes article:

“Even though home prices are climbing far above people’s income, exceptionally low mortgage rates have permitted people to buy a home without overstretching their budget. For someone making a 20% down payment, the monthly mortgage payment at today’s mortgage rates would take up 15% of a person’s gross income. During the bubble years, it was reaching 25% of income. The long-term historical average is around 20%. Therefore, a middle-income household does not need to overstretch their budget much if at all to buy a typical home.”

Bottom Line

Due to low interest rates, demand for housing has dramatically increased. This has caused a jump in home prices. However, low interest rates have also allowed the monthly cost of buying a home to remain well below historic norms. We are in a strong housing market, not a housing bubble.

Lack of Inventory Challenging Many Housing Markets

by Craig Whitlock

Lack of Inventory Challenging Many Housing Markets | Simplifying The Market

Going into the 2016 spring market, the biggest challenge the real estate industry has is the lack of available housing inventory for sale. Here are a few experts and their thoughts on the subject:

David Crowe, Chief Economist for the National Association of Home Builders:

“Many sellers may not have an absolute decision as to whether to buy an existing home or a new home. So the low inventory of existing homes is locking them in place.”

Ralph McLaughlin, Chief Economist with Trulia:

“We are in a time of short supply, which is great news for sellers because they will likely be faced with multiple offers due to the little inventory out there…Buyers will be up against a lot of other people and against a short supply of existing homes.”

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist with NAR:

“First-time buyers in high demand areas continue to encounter instances where their offer is trumped by cash buyers and investors. Without a much-needed boost in new and existing-homes for sale in their price range, their path to homeownership will remain an uphill climb.”

Fitch Ratings:

“One important issue that has restrained sales and starts is inventory. On an absolute basis, inventory has not expanded as much as in past recoveries, leading to less selection for buyers. This is especially true for existing home sales but is evident for new home construction as well. When it comes to U.S. housing inventory, more is better." 

Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist for Realtor.com:

“The increase in sales is resulting in continued tighter-than-tight supply—measured by NAR to be four months in January.  For you non-economists out there, that metric measures the number of months it would take to sell the current inventory of available homes, at the current pace. Got it? Six to seven months’ worth of homes on the market is considered normal; four months is cray-cray.”

The Main Reason To Use A Realtor® When Selling Your Home

by Craig Whitlock

Every homeowner hopes to accomplish five goals when selling their home:

  1. Sell it for the best price
  2. Sell it within a predetermined time
  3. Sell it with the least amount of hassles
  4. Close on the sale the same day they move into their new home

The fifth reason is the most obvious and the most important:

  1. They want to make sure it sells.

In order to dramatically increase the chances that the house sells, a homeowner should list with a real estate professional in their market. Why? Because agents have access to the vast majority of the available buyers!!

According to the National Association of Realtors(NAR) recently released 2016 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, 87% of all buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker. And more that 8 out of 10 buyers in every age group used an agent (see chart below).

The Main Reason to Use a Real Estate Professional when Selling your House |Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

If you want your home sold, the best way is to go where the buyers are. The NAR study revealed that the vast majority of purchasers will use an agent when they buy. Let's get together to discuss the best plan for getting your house sold!

LA Westside Sales Highlights - February 2016

by Craig Whitlock

This report will provide a quick overview as to how the Westside micro-markets are currently performing and then compares that data to the same period a year ago.

Market momentum dips as lack of inventory persists across the Westside.  Pending sales activity is off from last year in all segments except Cheviot Hills and Santa Monica SFR.  Large price increases in some areas like Beverly Hills SFR and Condo, Pacific Palisades Condo and Santa Monica SFR are the result of competitive bidding which is driving market appreciation. 

Buyers continue to be very challenged to find a home they even like and then try to successfully compete to buy it.  Sellers on the other hand are enjoying a very favorable climate to sell for top dollar in a relatively shorter period of time.

The key market indicators are:

Pending Sales Activity - sometimes referred to as the 'Number of Properties Under Contract'. This is a forward-looking indicator of current sales activity where there has been an accepted offer and escrow has opened.

Median Sales Price - that point at which half of the properties have sold for a greater amount and half have sold for a lesser amount. This indicator pinpoints where in the price spectrum homes have sold rather than reflecting home value. There is a common misperception that a drop in the MSP directly indicates a drop in home value. It is far more likely that the drop indicates either smaller, older and/or homes in lower-priced areas have sold during the period.

Months Supply of Inventory (MSI) - a leading indicator of market supply, which directly impacts pricing. Generally, a five to six month supply indicates market equilibrium while anything less signals a 'seller's market' and anything above a 'buyer's market'.

LA Westside Sales Highlights - February 2016 © 2010–2016 10K Research and Marketing®

To view a portfolio of three additional reports trended over the past 12 months: Properties For Sale, Days On Market and New Properties For Sale, visit the Market Sales Data section. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this data at greater length, just drop me a note or give me a call.

Waiting To Buy Can Be Costly

by Craig Whitlock

What If I Wait Until Next Year To Buy A Home? | Simplifying The Market

As a seller, you will be most concerned about ‘short term price’ – where home values are headed over the next six months. As either a first-time or repeat buyer, you must not be concerned only about price but also about the ‘long term cost’ of the home.

Let me explain.

There are many factors that influence the ‘cost’ of a home. Two of the major ones are the home’s appreciation over time, and the interest rate at which a buyer can borrow the funds necessary to purchase their home. The rate at which these two factors can change is often referred to as “The Cost of Waiting”.

What will happen over the next 12 months?

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, prices are expected to rise by 5.5% by this time next year.

Additionally, Freddie Mac’s most recent Economic Commentary & Projections Table predicts that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will appreciate to 4.5% in that same time.

What Does This Mean to a Buyer?

Here is a simple demonstration of what impact these projected changes would have on the mortgage payment of a home selling for approximately $250,000 today:

What If I Wait Until Next Year To Buy A Home? | Simplifying The Market

The Differance An Hour Can Make

by Craig Whitlock

The Difference An Hour Makes This Spring [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Sunday, March 13th, we "Spring Forward" one hour for Daylight Savings Time (except for our friends in AZ).
  • Every hour in the United States, 624 homes will sell and 118 homes will regain positive equity.
  • The median home value will also increase each hour in the United States by $1.84.

Home Prices Are Rising But No Bubble!

by Craig Whitlock

We recently reported that home prices are continuing to rise across most of the nation. This has created concern in some pundits that a housing bubble, like we saw ten years ago, is forming again. We want to explain why these concerns are unfounded.

The current increase in home values can be easily explained by the theory of supply and demand. Right now, the number of families looking to purchase a home is greater than the supply of homes on the market.

Here is a chart that explains how the months’ supply of housing inventory impacts home values:

Yes, Home Prices Are Rising. No, a New Housing Bubble is NOT Forming | Simplifying The Market

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors, there is currently a four-month supply of inventory. That puts us in the blue section of the above graphic. Home prices should be appreciating.

The difference in 2006…

A decade ago, the demand for housing was artificially boosted by lending standards that were far too lenient. Today, the strength of the demand for housing is legitimate, as lending standards are nowhere near what they were a decade ago.

For proof of this, let’s look at a graph of the Mortgage Bankers’ Association’s Mortgage Credit Availability Index:

Yes, Home Prices Are Rising. No, a New Housing Bubble is NOT Forming | Simplifying The Market

The higher the number, the easier it was to get a mortgage. We can see that from June 2005 to June 2007, mortgage standards were much more lenient than they have been over the last nine years.

Bottom Line

Today’s price increases, unlike those a decade ago, are the result of qualified buyer demand exceeding the current inventory of homes available for sale. Once the supply increases, prices will level out.

1300 Midvale Ave., #408 Just Sold At Strongest Price In 10 Years!

by Craig Whitlock

Strongest sale price in 10 years!  Sold at 6% above asking price with 4 Backup offers which makes for another very happy client!

Is It Better To Buy Or Rent In Today's Market?

by Craig Whitlock

Study Again Finds Homeownership to be a Better Way of Producing Wealth | Simplifying The Market

Study Again Finds Homeownership to be a Better Way of Producing Wealth

According to the latest Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index homeownership is a better way to produce greater wealth, on average, than renting.

The BH&J Index is a quarterly report that attempts to answer the question:

Is it better to rent or buy a home in today’s housing market?

 

The index examines the entire US housing market and then isolates 23 major markets for comparison. The researchers use a “'horse race' comparison between an individual that is buying a home and an individual that rents a similar quality home and reinvests all monies otherwise invested in homeownership.”

Ken Johnson Ph.D., Real Estate Economist & Professor at Florida Atlantic University, and one of the index’s authors states:

The nation as a whole is in buy territory.  Continued near record low mortgage rates, unsteady stock market performance, and rents (on average) now out pacing the cost of ownership (maintenance, taxes, insurance, etc.) all combine to favor owning and building wealth through home equity over renting and reinvesting in a portfolio of stocks and bonds.

Dallas, Denver and Houston currently remain deep in rent territory but, “there is some degree of good news from these markets for homeowners as the cost of renting is now increasing at a faster rate than the cost of homeownership — reducing the advantage of renting over buying.”

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. Rents are predicted to increase substantially in the next year, so lock in your housing cost with a mortgage payment now.

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Photo of Craig Whitlock Real Estate
Craig Whitlock
COLDWELL BANKER BRENTWOOD
11661 San Vicente Blvd., 10th Floor
Los Angeles CA 90049
Mobile: (310) 488-4399
Fax: (310) 820-1457

Broker/Agent does not guarantee the accuracy of the square footage, lot size or other information concerning the conditions or features of properties provided by the seller or obtained from Public Records or other sources as presented in this website.  Interested parties are advised to independently verify the accuracy of all information through personal inspection and with appropriate professionals.  Information herein deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

CalBRE LIC 01827537