Spring 2013 Housing Market Highlights
For the most part, 2013 has been a year of sunshine for homeowners when it comes to housing market news. Here are a few recent developments.
- Up 9.3 percent year-to-year for all homes in February 2013, according to the April S&P/Case-Shiller report.
- Up 11.8 percent year-to-year for existing homes in March 2013, according to the National Association of REALTORS« (NAR).
CNBC lets you track home price activity in major cities throughout the U.S. with an interactive map. (Just click on the image to use the map.)
- Down to 62 days in March, from 91 days in March 2012, according to NAR.
- Up and down...
* The number of homes in the early stages of foreclosure was up 59 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to 2012.
* The number of homes in late-stage foreclosure (scheduled for auction) was down 25 percent year-to-year in the first quarter.
* The number of homes in some stage of foreclosure or bank-owned is down 32 percent since the peak in 2010.
(Foreclosure data courtesy of RealtyTrac«.)
- Down to nearly record-low levels. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate in early May was around 3.50 percent. (Click here or on the graph to see the live chart on BankRate.com.)
- Up 10 percent in 2013 and another 8 percent in 2014, according to Barclay's analyst Stephen Kim in a Wall Street Journal article.
- Down 6.2 percent in 2013 according to economist Gary Shilling, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.
- Up generally more than expected, according to a number of analysts now revising their previous forecasts based on recent market data.
As time has shown us, the only thing we know for sure about the housing market is that anything can happen. :) However, housing is as much subject to the laws of supply and demand as any other market, and right now there is unusually low supply combined with strong demand.
Why the low inventory? It's not just because of underwater mortgages. Homeowners mentally settled in for the long term when home values dropped, and now that the market has turned more quickly than expected, many who plan to move are still comfortable waiting a year or so for values to bump up further before they sell.
Winning Multiple Offer Tips
In any type of housing market it only takes one underpriced property to create a multiple offer situation. When that happens, what's the best way to make an offer stand out from the pack?
Most home sales are contingent on an inspection that occurs after the contract is signed around, and sellers know that this is one of the easiest ways for a buyer to back out.
Doing a pre-inspection allows you to write the offer without an inspection contingency because it's a moot point - you've already completed the inspection. You're essentially telling the sellers, "I already know everything that's wrong with this home, and I'm willing to pay 'x' amount for it."
Be Aware: This technique will have less pull with sellers who are convinced (rightly or wrongly) that their home would pass any inspection with flying colors.
2. Make Your Financing Pack a Punch
Some pre-approval letter default language is so full of disclaimers that it sounds as though you and the loan consultant just had a passing conversation on a bus. A strong pre-approval letter makes it clear that a mortgage professional has reviewed your credit score and financial status.
It is normal for the letter to state that final approval depends upon clear title, satisfactory appraisal, and no significant change in your financial condition prior to closing.
Tip: Getting your loan professional to call the listing agent on the day of the offer to confirm what a strong buyer you are can go a long way. Cash buyers can submit a bank statement (with account numbers inked out) showing proof of funds.
Be Aware: Listing agents are often leery of offers with financing from out-of-state lenders or financial institutions whose names end in ".com."
3. Know Your "Walk Away" Price
Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to multiple offers! Many people assume that being in a bidding war means paying above market value, but as long as you know the true market value of a home before making the offer, you know how high you can bid without paying too much.
We can get an excellent idea of how much a home is really worth in today's market by looking at similar properties that have recently sold, homes that are under contract, and those that are currently available.
Key Question: How much is the home worth to you? This might be more or less than market value. Ask yourself, "What is the price at which if the home were one dollar more I could walk away content, but if it were one dollar less and I didn't get it I would kick myself?"
Be Aware: Once the seller chooses an offer that's usually the end of the story, so try to imagine getting the phone call saying whether or not you got the home, and then do what you can to make sure you won't have regrets afterwards.
Are you planning to buy or sell a home, or do you know someone who is? Please call or email me - I'm never too busy to help you and the people you care about with real estate.
(What the lawyers make us say: The information in this newsletter is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Please always consult a qualified expert before making decisions based on this content. Nothing in this article is meant to be taken as expert legal, financial, or medical advice.)