The Numbers Are In: Yup, 2016 Is Off to a Good Start in Home Sales

My two cents – As the 1st quarter comes to an end – we sit on bated breath on what the future will bring in our Bay Area Real Estate Market.  I have to say – the drop in the stock market has had a huge impact on buyer confidence and cash flow.  I’ve even noticed a few price reductions on a select properties that haven’t sold in the first two weeks as expected.  Could it be the market is shifting?  Are sellers going to have to be a bit more realistic when pricing their homes?  Are buyers going to anti-up there offers as they did last year?  My biggest surprise has come from the rental market.  I’ve been tracking several properties and many have rented for UNDER their original asking price.  Which I have to say – is nice to see since our rental prices have skyrocketed and the word “affordability” is the forefront on concern.  

What will this mean for our market?  We’ll have to see.

I’d love to know your thoughts too!  Enjoy this article by Realtor.com

 

The Numbers Are In: Yup, 2016 Is Off to a Good Start in Home Sales

 

We may be on the verge of spring, but housing and economic reports work on a bit of a lag time. We’ve only just gotten the major data reports for January, and it’s giving us a clear-eyed view of how the real estate market is measuring up this year.

And yeah, things are looking good.

Job creation—arguably the most important factor in housing demand—is moving apace. January saw 151,000 jobs created. That level of employment growth is below 2015’s monthly average, but unemployment is now near 10-year lows and is in line with the current macro forecast from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). This level of employment growth should translate into the 3% growth in housing sales we are expecting for the year.

Speaking of sales, January’s existing home sales report did not disappoint. Even though sales are taking longer to close, due to the implementation of new disclosure and closing forms and procedures, the pace grew 0.4% in January from December. Granted, that’s not a lot, but analysts had been expecting a decline. And from January 2015 to January 2016, existing hom 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.

This is driving prices higher and encouraging consumers who hope to buy this year to get started as soon as possible.

January’s new home sales and new home construction remained consistent with the pace of activity of the last several months. Still, the level of new construction still represents solid year-over-year growth, especially in single-family homes. The most encouraging sign: The median price of new homes is finally declining, as a result of the fact that builders are offering more affordable homes.

Finally, the most timely readings we can pass on come from our own observations at realtor.com that confirm that demand is growing rapidly at the start of the year, resulting in an acceleration in inventory movement that we typically do not see until March or April.

OK, not everything is rainbows and unicorns. The biggest negative trend impacting potential demand relates to the January and February declines in stock values, which have taken a toll on consumer confidence. But, even that negative trend has a silver lining: Mortgage rates are now substantially lower. The average 30-year conforming rate has stabilized at under 3.7%, giving buyers almost 5% more buying power than they had at the end of 2015, and strengthening their ability to meet the debt-to-income ratio requirement for a loan.

Net-net, pent-up demand appears stronger than any weakness caused by the financial markets. And the lower rates are encouraging would-be buyers to act sooner rather than later. With this strong start, 2016 should indeed see growth, but the biggest constraint will be the tight supply.

 

I read this article at: http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/2016-off-to-good-start-home-sales/

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522

Want Real Estate Info on the Go? Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

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Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008

 

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Top 6 Reasons to Not Buy a Home—Debunked

Top 6 Reasons to Not Buy a Home—Debunked

 

You? Buy a home? If that prospect sounds as unlikely as your becoming the next U.S. president—well, this campaign season has shown us that anything can happen.

Sure, amassing the funds and slogging through the necessary paperwork for your own piece of the real estate pie can be daunting, especially if you’re a less-than-stellar loan candidate. Still, if you just assume there’s no way you could buy a home, without doing any research, you could be missing out.

Here are some oft-cited reasons people don’t buy a home, and the reality checks showing why they shouldn’t give up hope.

Reason No. 1: ‘I don’t have enough money for a down payment’

This is probably the most common justification for not making the leap into homeownership. After all, few people have a huge chunk of cash lying around—and you need 20% down to buy a home, right? Wrong.

“Needing a 20% down payment has lingered as a myth for years and causes many potential home buyers, including those in the millennial generation, to miss out on getting into a home,” says Christina Bartning with National MI, a private mortgage insurer in Emeryville, CA.

AJ Smith, a personal finance expert at SmartAsset, points out that with a loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration or Department of Veterans Affairs, you can usually get by with a down payment of 3% to 5%.

In addition, “grants are an excellent way for young buyers with good credit and stable employment to subsidize their down payment,” says Realtor® Mike Murray of the Murray Home Team at Coldwell Banker in Annapolis, MD. “These can typically be obtained by taking homeownership courses or purchasing in designated community development areas.”

However, if you do put down less, keep in mind you’ll need private mortgage insurance until you pay down the loan to the 20% threshold.

Reason No. 2: ‘I can’t afford a mortgage payment’

“Some people don’t realize the amount they pay in rent is more than if they had a mortgage,” says Realtor Kenneth Cagan of the Cagan Team in Coral Springs, FL. “Landlords are trying to recoup their taxes, insurance, maintenance fees and still make a profit. When you buy, you’re investing in yourself.”

To find out if renting or buying makes more sense in your neighborhood, try realtor.com‘s Rent vs. Buy Calculator.

For first-time buyers with low to moderate incomes, organizations such as Neighborhood Housing Services of Richmond have plenty of experience in helping.

“Laniesha, a young mother of two, gave us every excuse in the book as to why she couldn’t purchase a home, from ‘I don’t make enough money’ to ‘I am not married,’” says Samuel Robinson, NHSR’s marketing and public relations officer. “After explaining that none of these issues could stop her, we worked with Laniesha to pay off her debts and raise her credit score. She’ll be purchasing her new home in 2016.”

Reason No. 3: ‘I don’t have good enough credit history to get a mortgage’

So you’ve made some late payments, or have other skeletons in your past that have dinged your credit score. That doesn’t put a mortgage out of reach.

“If you’ve paid down your credit cards and kept a steady job, your application may be approved,” says SmartAsset’s Smith. “Potential home buyers with bad credit can also explore options like lease-to-buy programs, financing through the seller, and loans from private lenders.”

Get this: Some private mortgage insurance programs allow for credit scores as low as 620, Smith says.

Meanwhile, you can slowly improve your credit score by paying your bills on time and keeping your balances and inquiries low, says Murray. A licensed loan officer should be able to set up a one-year outline to get your credit on track.

But there’s one substantial caveat: Typically, mortgages for people with a lower credit score do come with a higher mortgage rate. And a very low score may require a higher down payment.

Reason No. 4: ‘I don’t have any credit history at all’

Even without a credit card, there are ways to build credit history, says Anne Postic of Mortgages.com.

“If you’re a renter, ask your landlord about reporting your payments to establish a history. Experian makes it easy for your landlord to report your payments, or for you to do it yourself.”

Reason No. 5: ‘I haven’t been at my job long enough’

“Work history is important,” says Jeremy David Schachter with Pinnacle Capital Mortgage in Phoenix AZ. “But even if you recently changed jobs and have only been there for a month, you can get qualified depending on your income and field.” A letter from your boss or place of employment will go a long way, so be sure to ask if you fear your relatively brief employment history might be an issue.

Reason No. 6: ‘I can’t find a home I like in my price range’

“People often think they have to buy their last home first,” says Fort Myers, FL, Realtor Angeline Sackett. But making a dream home a reality takes time. After all, they call first homes “starters” for a reason, right?

Now that we covered this – why don’t you call The Caton Team and we can help you every step of the way!

I read this article at: http://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/reasons-to-not-buy-home-debunked/?identityID=9851214&MID=2016_0318_WeeklyNL-ctl&RID=353497822&cid=eml-2016-0318-WeeklyNL-blog_1_debunked-blogs_buy

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522

Want Real Estate Info on the Go? Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

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Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008

 

Cooling Ahead for High-End San Francisco Real Estate

The hottest topic these days is affordability and where the market is going.  I am at the edge of my seat watching the real estate market and wisely advising my clients.  This article touches on the high end of San Francisco Real Estate sales.  The million dollar range is still widely active for the few listings available.  I too am curious where this market is going.  And open to hear your thoughts.  

 

Cooling ahead for high-end San Francisco real estate

Nina Hatvany has worked for 25 years in San Francisco as a real estate agent concentrating on the high end of the market. Today, as a result of a reeling stock market and concerns about global economic stability and growth, the conversation with well-heeled clients has turned decidedly more cautious.

“I have a number of buyers who are just more hesitant,” Hatvany told CNBC. “They look and they talk and then they start arguing with me about the slow IPO market and overvalued unicorns. I feel like I have to argue with them about how nice the house is.”

As technology stocks slide — the Nasdaq is down 15 percent this year — and private tech valuations suffer, real estate brokers say the feverish clamor for high-end homes in San Francisco has quieted.

“Somebody who might have pulled the trigger at $5 million last year now might be a bit more cautious,” said Josh McAdam, a top producing real estate agent with Pacific Union in San Francisco. “It’s not the same environment.”

McAdam is quick to note that demand remains strong for homes selling in the $1 million range. But the high-end residences in the City by the Bay, if they are to attract buyers, now need to boast all the right finishes, he says.

For example, McAdam said only one home in the tony neighborhood of Noe Valley last year sold for over $5 million. The year before, he says a handful of homes sold in that price range and a couple even above $5 million.

Hatvany confirms the same trends. In the second quarter of last year, her firm said, 18 homes sold in San Francisco for $6 million or higher. That number dropped to nine in the fourth quarter.

One question: Will the more cautious tone now defining the ultra-high-end of the market spread to other price points?

Christopher Palmer — an associate professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, who specializes in the housing markets — said the biggest threat to price appreciation is a downturn in tech because so much of the Bay Area economy is reliant on the sector.

“Tech stocks have taken a beating in the past few months, and every time there is a stock market correction, people start to wonder if the spigot of capital that has fueled so much Bay Area growth is about to be turned off,” Palmer said.

Analysts at Fitch raise another concern, arguing that home prices in San Francisco have “risen to a level unsupportable by area income.” Fitch reports that home prices set a record last year and are now more than 60 percent above the post-crisis low of 2012.

Fitch estimates that the city’s current home prices are 16 percent overvalued relative to economic fundamentals.

Still, though home prices may fall in San Francisco, Palmer said a wave of mortgage defaults or foreclosures is extremely unlikely.

He notes that the average jumbo mortgage borrower in San Francisco had a nearly 40 percent down payment, implying that homeowners enjoy a lot of flexibility to navigate price declines before being underwater.

Palmer also highlights a benefit of decreasing home prices: “To many prospective homebuyers in the Bay Area, this is great news,” he said. “There is a substantial amount of young families that would appreciate a slowdown in appreciation to be able to get into a home.”

I read this article at: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/12/cooling-ahead-for-high-end-san-francisco-real-estate.html

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522

Want Real Estate Info on the Go? Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

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Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008

 

Rent Vs. Buy – California Edition

This is the hottest topic I’ve been chatting about. So I thought I would share this article from the California Association of Realtors regarding the Rent vs. Buy dilemma faced by us – Californians.  Of course, I am happy to sit down with anyone thinking of buying so we can determine the right course of action for your own personal goals.  Please feel free to call or email with questions, comments or concerns.  Sabrina – 650-568-5522 / Info@TheCatonTeam.com

 Rent Vs. Buy – California Edition

 The housing market across California has had large price gains over the past years, with statewide median prices attaining November 2007 highs. Consumers often contemplating whether it is more beneficial to buy a property now or continue renting. To assist with this decision, C.A.R. has looked at the costs and benefits of renting versus owning property in California and eight of its local regions over a seven year time horizon.

The costs of buying include the monthly mortgage payment, insurance and taxes, and improvements and repairs. These costs were offset by the benefits of buying: mortgage interest and property tax deductions, and investment appreciation. The costs of renting include the monthly rent payment and renter insurance, which were offset by the benefits of renting: the appreciation on investing the down payment in the stock market.

For the State of California, consumers can save 96.5 percent per month by buying a property. At the local level, buying in Los Angeles County will save you 96.4 percent per month.

In several counties, given price and rent appreciation, buying will net the individual income over the seven year time frame. For example, buying in San Francisco and Alameda will net the owner 119 and 106 percent respectively per month over the purchase time horizon.

These results are given with the caveat that the buyer must have on hand the standard 20 percent downpayment, and are driven by the large increases in both rental prices and home prices across the state. Again, over the 7-year horizon buying make sense financially in these counties.

Along with incorporating price levels, the analysis includes tax deduction benefits as many of the costs associated with homeownership general upkeep, inflation, insurance, mortgage rates; as well as the opportunity cost of not investing in the market, and general price levels. On the rental side, it annualizes average rent and rent increases for the county (eg. it would understate the benefit of renting a rent stabilized unit) and includes rental insurance, and security deposits.

Several webpages can provide more personalized recommendations given your own income, and local sitution with regards to purchase and rental prices. Feel free to use our assumptions on markets and prices to guide you: try the Realtor.com Rent Vs. Buy Calculator (click “advanced options” to tailor the analysis for your location.)

California Monthly Expenses Buy Rent
Mortgage/Rent $1,684 $1,803
Insurance & Taxes $509 $20
Improvements & Repairs $198 $0
MID & Tax Deduction Savings -$509 $0
Subtotal $1,881 $1,823
     
Investment appreciation -$1,842 -$711
Total $39 $1,112
Monthly Savings 98%

 

For more information, please check the methodology.

To help turn renters into buyers, please check out the Down Payment Resource, which is a search tool that can identify available down payment assistance programs.

I read this article at: http://www.car.org/marketdata/data/rvb/

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522

Want Real Estate Info on the Go? Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

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Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008

 

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5 Home Heating Faux Pas

5 Home Heating Faux Pas

Life at home is full of little mistakes. Recipes are messed up, carpets get stained and sometimes a few pests sneak inside. It’s never the end of the world, but there are some mistakes that you might not notice at all, like a heating faux pas! Unfortunately, these mistakes can wind up costing you a bundle of cash, so they’re worth avoiding if you can.

Awareness is the first step. Here are five common (and costly) home heating mistakes:

  1. Abusing Your Thermostat 

During a winter chill, it’s tempting to turn the inside of your home into a tropical oasis as soon you step inside, but cranking up your thermostat to warm up faster won’t do anything! Most furnaces pump out heat at a consistent rate, no matter how high the temperature is set.

  1. Letting Windows Leak

If left alone, drafts can consume up to 30 percent of your home’s energy usage. Check your windows by running your hand along their perimeters. If you feel cold air seeping in, it means that heat is leaking out! If locking your windows doesn’t stop the draft (locking them will pull your windows snug into their frames), seal these leaks with a line of caulk along your window’s seal.

  1. Closing Heating Vents in Unused Rooms

It may seem like the logical thing to do, but blocking heat access by closing vents is actually less efficient than heating unused rooms and won’t save you any money. Plus, doing this can imbalance your home’s entire heating system, which strains your furnace and creates the “cold room” effect. Generally, it’s better to leave vents and doors open and allow your home’s HVAC system to circulate evenly.

  1. Leaving your Bathroom Exhaust Fan On

Leaving this ventilation fan on longer than usual will do exactly the opposite of what you want on a cold, snowy day: it will take all of the warm, toasty air from your home and pump it outside! Don’t avoid using exhaust fans completely, though. Running your bathroom exhaust fan after a steamy shower prevents mold and mildew growth!

  1. Using a Dirty Air Filter

Dirty air filters will reduce the airflow in your home, forcing your furnace to work harder. Plus, it creates more dust and increases indoor air pollution in your home. Check and replace your air filters regularly so your furnace can heat your home as efficiently as possible.

I read this article at: https://brightnest.com/posts/5-home-heating-faux-pas?source=digest

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522

Want Real Estate Info on the Go? Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

VISIT OUR INSTAGRAM PAGE: http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me: http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008

 

 

Our Economist’s Top Tips for Buying a Home in 2016 – from Realtor.com

I am reading these economic predictions as much as you are.  Enjoy this one from Realtor.com

Our Economist’s Top Tips for Buying a Home in 2016

By: Cicely Wedgeworth

There’s a lot of tried-and-true advice out there for would-be home buyers (including our own). But the housing market is changing all the time, and if you’re on the hunt for a home, you need to stay aware of the latest trends—and how they’ll hit you where you live (literally).

In order to help buyers land their dream home in 2016, the realtor.com® economic data team has done its homework on the stats that matter to come up with a short list of its best advice.

“Buyers looking to close this year need to keep an open mind and be prepared to move quickly when they find a home that meets their needs,” says Jonathan Smoke, our chief economist, citing “fierce competition among buyers.”

Start your search early

The No. 1 tip that his team came up with, Smoke says, is to kick off your home search early.

“If you’re intending to purchase, based on the volume of house hunters who are just like you, consider doing it sooner rather than later—you’re likely to get a better price and a better mortgage rate,” he says, pointing out that there’s far more inventory available relative to the number of sales in the off-peak months.

More than 85% of buyers who plan to purchase in the next year intend to buy in the spring or summer of 2016, according to the most recent realtor.com survey. With roughly 50% more listings inventory relative to the number of potential home sales expected in January and February, buyers who start their search early face less competition with nearly the same number of homes.

Comparison shop for mortgages

“Work as hard on the mortgage as you do on finding a home—this will pay dividends over the life of the mortgage that you have,” Smoke says. “Don’t just assume that the 30-year fixed mortgage is the best for you.”

Mortgage rates are expected to reach 4.65% by the end of the year (while prices are predicted to rise 3% year over year), but many consumers aren’t aware of the variety in mortgage products that can affect what they pay, Smoke says.

A lower interest rate can make the difference in qualifying for a loan to buy a certain home—not to mention saving you thousands over the life of the loan. So make sure to shop around!

Consider a new home

If there’s anything that can ease the current housing crunch, it’s new construction. But many people just rule out the option, Smoke says.

“You either know about new homes or you don’t know about new homes,” he says. “The vast majority of people don’t, and they make the assumption that they’re not right for them because they’re too expensive, et cetera.”

Just keep an open mind, Smoke advises. After all, the number of new homes on the market is expected to grow more rapidly in 2016, resulting in a 16% increase in new-home sales year over year. But the lack of awareness about new homes means you’re likely to encounter less competition.

While new homes are typically more expensive, they also come with warranties on the structure and appliances—so you’re not likely to get stuck with any hefty repair bills for the first few years.

Markets where new homes will capture a higher share of sales include Boise, ID; Charleston, SC; Salt Lake City, UT; Nashville, TN; and Myrtle Beach, SC.

Picture yourself in the Midwest or the South

The biggest issue expected to hold buyers back this year is an inability to find a home in their price range. Buyers in the Midwest and South have an advantage there.

Local markets such as Dayton, OH; Birmingham, AL; Harrisburg, PA; Augusta, GA; and Des Moines, IA, offer buyers high affordability, increasing inventory, and favorable lending standards.

Of course, relocating depends on many factors, the most important being the availability of jobs in your field and a network of friends and/or family, but if you’re living from paycheck to paycheck in California, it’s worth checking out your options.

Check out the full 2016 realtor.com housing forecast BELOW.

 

Realtor.com® 2016 Housing Forecast Predicts Healthy Market with New Construction Driving Highest Level of Home Sales Since 2006

Millennials, Gen X’ers and retirees will account for majority of 6 million homes sold in 2016

Dec 1, 2015

SAN JOSE, Calif., Dec. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — New home construction and moderate gains in the existing home market will deliver the necessary one-two punch to push total home sales to the highest levels since 2006, according to the 2016 housing forecast issued today by realtor.com®, a leading destination of online real estate services operated by News Corp [NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc. The forecast also identifies the top 10 markets for growth, as well as expectations for home prices and sales, interest rates and new home sales and starts.

2016 national housing outlook 
The 2016 housing market is expected to be a picture of moderate, but solid growth as acceleration in existing home sales and prices both slow to 3 percent year over year due to higher mortgage rates, continuing tight credit standards, and lower affordability. The new construction market will see more significant gains in the coming year as new home starts increase 12 percent year over year and new home sales grow 16 percent year over year. Total sales for existing and new homes will reach 6 million for the first time since 2006, a result of a strong gross domestic product increase of 2.5 percent and continued job creation. These healthy economic indicators will be tempered by lack of access to credit and rising home prices, which will ultimately limit housing demand and growth. [See table 1 for full forecast.]

“Next year’s moderate gains in existing prices and sales, versus the accelerated growth we’ve seen in previous years, indicate that we are entering a normal, but healthy housing market,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for realtor.com®. “The improvements we’ve seen over the last few years have enabled a recovery in the existing home market, but we still need to make up ground in new construction, which we could begin to see in 2016. New home sales and starts will bring overall sales to levels we have not seen since 2006 and will help set the stage for a healthy new home market.”

Who are the 2016 home buyers?
Next year’s standout year in total sales will be driven by three distinct segments of home buyers – older millennials (25-34 years old), younger gen X’ers (35-44 years old), and retirees (65-74 years old), according to Smoke.

Millennials: They are expected make up the largest demographic of home buyers in 2016, having represented 30 percent of the existing home market. Driven by increasing income, millennials will seek out homes that meet the needs of their growing families – putting the most weight on the safety of the neighborhood and the quality of the home. Commute time and a preference for older homes have these buyers looking in city-centers and closer-in suburbs. According to realtor.com®’s proprietary research, the following markets are expected to be some of the most sought out markets for millennial home buyers in 2016 due to their large numbers of millennials, strong employment growth, and relative affordability.

1.    Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga.
2.    Pittsburgh
3.    Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark.
4.    Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H.
5.    Austin-Round Rock, Texas

 

Young gen X’ers: Accounting for 20 percent of home purchases in 2015, buyers between the ages of 35-44 will be back in the market again likely making up the second largest population of buyers in 2016. These buyers have rebounded from the financial crisis and are entering their prime family-raising and earning years. More than two-thirds of the buyers in this age group already own a home. They will be moving out of a starter home into a larger home or more desirable neighborhood. All the markets on this list are seeing an uptick in growing families, declining unemployment and growing household incomes.

1.    Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga.
2.    Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo.
3.    St. Louis, Mo-Ill.
4.    Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, N.C.-S.C.
5.    Columbus, Ohio

 

Individuals or couples looking to relocate or retire: This group is expected to make up the third largest home buying segment in 2016. Ages 65-74, they will be selling their current home in an effort to downsize and lower their cost of living. Last year, they represented 14 percent of home buyers. They will likely put their home up for sale at the start of the home-buying season in March or April, and aim to make a home purchase following the sale of their home. This age cohort has a very strong preference for newly constructed homes and put the most weight on their ability to customize their home. Homes in the following markets are expected to see the most retiree buying activity in 2016 due to a large share of population as well as rapidly rising home values.

1.    Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H.
2.    Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, Calif
3.    San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif.
4.    North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.
5.    Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.

 

Top 10 growth markets and other winners
According to Smoke, several markets are poised for substantial growth in prices and sales. Each market demonstrates strong demand dynamics, evidenced by 60 percent more listing page views on realtor.com® than the U.S. overall and inventory that moves 16 days faster than the U.S. average. Surging demand in each market can be attributed to growing household formation, a prosperous job market, and low unemployment rates as well as large populations of millennials, young gen-X’ers and retirees. Realtor.com®’s 10 hottest markets for 2016 are:

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1.       Providence-Warwick, RI-Mass.       6.     New Orleans-Metairie, La.
2.       St. Louis, Mo.-Ill.       7.     Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark.
3.       San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif.       8.     Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, N.C.-S.C.
4.       Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, Calif.       9.     Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va.-N.C.
5.       Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga.      10.    Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H.

 

Table 1: Realtor.com® Forecast for Key Housing and Economic Indicators

Housing Indicator Realtor.com® 2016 Forecast 2015 Expected Actuals
Home price appreciation 3% increase 6% increase
Mortgage rate Reaching 4.65% (30-year fixed) by end of year 4.15%
Existing home sales 5.4 million, 3% growth 5.26 million, 6% growth
Housing starts Overall 12% growth in home starts; 15% growth in single family home starts Overall 10% growth in home starts; 7% growth in single family home starts
New home sales Increase 16% with increased single family construction Increase 14% with increased single family construction
Home ownership rate Decreases slightly to 63.3% from forecasted 63.4% for 4Q 2015 63.4% for 4Q 2015

 

Economic Indicator Realtor.com® 2016 Forecast 2015 Expected Actuals
GDP 2.5% increase in GDP, uptick in growth 2.1% increase, declined from 2014’s 2.4%
Household income 2% growth 2.4% growth
Household formation 1.5 million increase, driven by millennials 1.4 million increase
Unemployment rate Decline to 4.8% by year-end Decline to 5% by year-end
Nonfarm employment Gain of 2.5 million jobs, an average of 208,333 per month Gain of 2.52 million jobs,  average of 210,000 per month

 

For more realtor.com data and trend information, please visit: http://www.realtor.com/data-portal/realestatestatistics/.

About Move, Inc. and realtor.com®

Move, Inc. operates the realtor.com® website and mobile experiences, which provide buyers, sellers and renters of homes with the information, tools and professional expertise they need to discover and create their perfect home. News Corp [NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] acquired Move in November 2014, and realtor.com® quickly established itself as the fastest growing online real estate service provider in the first half of 2015 as measured by comScore.

As the official website of the National Association of REALTORS®, consumers know they can look to realtor.com® for the most comprehensive and accurate information anytime, anywhere. With relationships with more than 800 multiple listing services (MLS), realtor.com® has more than 3 million for-sale listings, which account for more than 97 percent of all MLS-listed for-sale properties. More than 90 percent of the listings are updated every 15 minutes. Move’s network of websites provides consumers a wealth of innovative tools, including Doorsteps®, Moving.com™, SeniorHousingNetSM and others. Move supports real estate professionals by providing many services to grow their businesses in an increasing digital, on-demand world, including ListHub™, the nation’s leading listing syndicator and centralized intelligence platform for the real estate industry; TigerLead®; Top Producer® Systems; and FiveStreetSM and Reesio as well as many free services.

Forward-Looking Statements

This document contains certain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on management’s views and assumptions regarding future events and business performance as of the time the statements are made. Actual results may differ materially from these expectations due to changes in global economic, business, competitive market and regulatory and other factors. More detailed information about these and other factors that could affect future results is contained in News Corp’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The “forward-looking statements” included in this document are made only as of the date of this document and we do not have any obligation to publicly update any “forward-looking statements” to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as required by law.

SOURCE realtor.com

 

I read this article at: http://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/our-economists-top-tips-for-buying-a-home-in-2016/?identityID=9851214&MID=2016_01_MonthlyNewsletter-ctl&RID=353497822&cid=eml-2016-01-MonthlyNL-sub1_buying2016-blogs_buy

http://news.move.com/2015-12-01-Realtor-com-2016-Housing-Forecast-Predicts-Healthy-Market-with-New-Construction-Driving-Highest-Level-of-Home-Sales-Since-2006

 

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