If you are refinancing, purchasing or selling this is a must read. I tell all my clients to call me first and double check if they get any suspicious email or phone call. Do not let this happen to you!
Check out these articles for great information about our community and the real estate industry.
New home sales hit highest level in 9 years!
Millennials still believe in the homeownership dream even if they can’t afford to buy
Housing market across the U.S. finally starting to look healthy
MORTGAGE & FINANCE news
Salary needed to buy a home in 19 major U.S. cities
Tips for staying out of debt
Calculate how much house you can afford
King County’s eco-remodeling tool provide tips for going green for your next home renovation
Four colors that may hurt a home’s sales price
7 percent of Puget Sound homes are underwater, compared with 12 percent nationally
A teardown a day: Bulldozing the way for bigger homes in Seattle, suburbs
BLS stats show Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue is #7 Metro area for fastest job growth
What does Vancouver’s housing market implosion mean for Seattle?
Seattle home-sale market provides small hint of slowdown
You need an annual salary of $83K to afford a home in Seattle
Everett welcomes the film industry, an important economic driver for local businesses
WEEKLY DOSE OF awesomeness
I hope your week is a great one!
Jen Murrweiss | Remax Elite | 425-422-7243
Snohomish County Statistics as of November 30 2015
Down -29% November 2015 vs. November 2014
2125 available homes currently on market -700 vs. last month.
Up 30% November 2015 vs. November 2014
1513 units -200 vs. last month
+11% November 2015 vs. November 2014
1139 units -600 than last month
Days on Market
Snohomish County Active to pending 47 days vs. 55 a year ago up 3 day from last month.
Median home price in Snohomish County 350,000 +5% last year. -12,000 from last year.
Area price % based on last Quarter
Bothell + 6%, Edmonds/Lynnwood +11%. Everett/Mukilteo +5%
Snohomish/Monroe + 11%. Lake Stevens/Granite Falls -2 %.
KIRKLAND, Washington (October 5, 2015) – Scarce inventory, new rules for mortgage closings and affordability concerns will likely slow home sales around Western Washington during the remaining months of 2015 and into early 2016, according to spokespersons from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
The latest statistics from the MLS show a double-digit drop in inventory, a double-digit jump in closed sales, and a near double-digit increase in prices from a year ago, prompting one industry leader to say the trends aren’t sustainable. “We simply can’t sustain double-digit increases in sales when inventory levels continue to drop every month,” remarked OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. “We’re on the cusp of a housing market slowdown,” he predicts.
Northwest MLS director Darin Stenvers also expects a slowdown, pointing to new rules for mortgage closings and rising interest rates as culprits.
“With the introduction of the new TRID(1) banking and closing disclosure requirements we will see longer closing timeframes for the foreseeable future. This will lead to a slowdown in closings and thus may slow the market until early or mid-2016,” explained Stenvers, the office managing broker at John L. Scott in Bellingham. Layoffs and the possibility of higher interest rates result in unpredictability for both buyers and sellers, he suggested.
Despite an expected slowdown, closed sales through the first nine months of this year are running 16.6 percent ahead of the same period a year ago, with median prices up 9.2 percent.
The MLS report for September shows pending sales continue to outnumber new listings, resulting in inventory declines in most of the 23 counties in its service area. That imbalance leads to rising prices.
Northwest MLS members reported 9,574 pending sales (mutually accepted offers) in September for a 7.9 percent increase from the year-ago figure of 8,875. Compared to August, pending sales fell 9.7 percent.
Closed sales jumped 17.5 percent, with year-over-year sales rising from 7,020 finished transactions to 8,245. Twenty of the 23 counties reported double-digit gains from a year ago.
Prices showed more variation. Area-wide, the median price on last month’s closed sales of single family homes and condos was $312,000. That’s up nearly 9.5 percent from the year-ago figure of $285,000, but down slightly from August.
Compared to the system-wide gain, prices rose at more modest rates in three of the four counties in the Puget Sound region, with Pierce County being the exception. Year-over-year prices there jumped 11 percent. Prices in Kitsap County were up only 4 percent from a year ago; in King County the gain was about 4.8 percent and in Snohomish County it was about 7.5 percent.
Single family home prices across the 23 counties in the MLS report rose nearly 7.6 percent from a year ago, from $297,500 to $320,000. Single family homes in King County commanded the highest median price at $490,250, up 6.6 percent from the year-ago figure of $460,000, but down from June’s high of $500,000.
The condo market remained hot with both sales and prices up by double digits. Members reported 1,183 closed sales during September for a gain of nearly 30 percent from a year ago. Prices on last month’s sales jumped 13 percent, from $230,000 to $260,000.
“We’re coming off one of the hottest summer housing markets on record, and the second-best September on record for sales activity in the four-county area,” said J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott. He attributes part of the surge to an interest rates drop in May, and the anticipation of rates increasing in the near future.
Dwindling inventory continues to be a drag on activity, but some brokers believe new construction activity is encouraging. Stenvers said new housing starts could help boost inventory in many markets during the coming months.
For now, new listings are drawing “quick action” when they come on the market, said Scott, adding, “We are virtually sold out of inventory.”
MLS members added 8,772 new listings during September, down slightly from the year ago total of 8,878. At month end, there were 19,724 active listings in the database, down 23.3 percent from the same time a year ago when inventory totaled 25,717 properties.
“We’re selling everything before buyers can turn around,” commented Dick Beeson, principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma and a member of the Northwest MLS board of directors. Figures showing the ratio of listings to sales, known as months of supply, tend to support his belief.
For September, the MLS reported 2.39 months of supply system-wide, about the same as the figure for August. The shortages were most acute in King County, with about 1.4 months of supply, and Snohomish County, with about 1.9 months of supply. Industry experts use a range of four-to-six months as an indicator of a balanced market.
“The frenzied market on the Seattle side is taking a toll on Kitsap home prices,” said MLS chairman Frank Wilson, the branch managing broker at John L. Scott in Poulsbo. Prices there rose 4 percent from a year ago. He reported good traffic at open houses in Kitsap County, quick acting buyers when a new listing appears, many multiple offer situations, and an increase in investor interest.
“Since new listings coming to market usually slow during the fourth quarter, we are looking at a severe shortage of inventory heading in to the spring market of 2016,” Wilson remarked. Like others on the MLS board, he said serious buyers need to be prepared to take immediate action when they find a home they like.
“In preparation, buyers need to meet with a lender, find an inspector, check with their insurance agent, and get their financial house in order so they can move aggressively,” Wilson advised.
Scott said house-hunters who procrastinate may be disappointed. “If you’re looking for a home this winter, the number of listings coming on the market each month will drop approximately 50 percent every 30 days compared to spring and summer months,” he predicts.
Brokers say opportunities still exist for buyers who have missed out on homes during multiple offer situations.
Some buyers who are weary of bidding wars are looking in areas where multiple offers are less common, said MLS director George Moorhead. Also, buyers who consider homes that have been on the market more than 120 days are negotiating much better terms without the competition of other buyers,” he reported.
Scott also recommended alternatives for frustrated buyers. “There are still opportunities to take advantage of low interest rates by taking a second look at homes that have been on the market for more than a month. If you don’t mind doing some fix up, you can negotiate the price and avoid multiple offer scenarios,” he stated.
Beeson suggested inventory shortages could be eased if expired listings are re-listed. Not every home sells once it’s listed, he noted. His analysis shows more than 2,600 listings have expired in the tri-county area so far this year. “These are sellers who need coaching on pricing,” he believes.
Even though they’ll face longer commutes, Moorhead said buyers who are feeling squeezed by the lack of inventory are extending their search areas farther than before in hopes of finding a home at an affordable price. These buyers hope to sell the home in the outlying area within five years and purchase another home closer in. “This calculated move hasn’t really been a conversation in the past,” said Moorhead, the designated broker and owner at Bentley Properties in Bothell.
Bobbie Chipman, principal managing broker at John L. Scott’s Puyallup office, said statistics strongly indicate buyers must be strategic in the current market in order to be successful. “If buyers have a home to sell in order to purchase, they should consider selling, then prepare to live in temporary housing while looking for the right home to purchase,” she suggested.
Buyers without a home to sell may be better positioned to have their offer accepted, believes Chipman, a member of the Northwest MLS board of directors. “These buyers should look at both active status listings and contingent listings to expand their choices,” she explained.
Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 23,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in Washington state.
(1) TRID is the TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule that became effective 10/3/15. New forms are required for any transaction involving a mortgage. See: TRID.
Statistical Summary By Counties
Market Activity Summary and 4-County Puget Sound Region Pending Sales (PDF)
This information provided by the NWMLS.
Pittock Mansion in Oregon
INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE… It seems like more than a few observers are beating on the housing market trying to transform it into a disaster that it isn’t. For example, some jumped all over the 1% drop in the Pending Home Sales index for August. But this measure of contract signings is still above 100, considered an average level of activity, for the fourth month in a row. It’s also at the second highest level since last August. The National Association of Realtors chief economist sees contract signings holding steady, with fewer investors and distressed sales causing the dip. He said, “…the market is shifting more towards traditional and first-time buyers who rely on mortgages to purchase a home.”
U.S. home sales at six-year high in August
U.S. home price gains at slowest pace in 20 months
DID YOU KNOW?… The National Association of Realtors reports that last year, 27% of first-time home buyers received a cash gift from relatives or friends to come up with a down payment.
5 home buying trends for 2015
5 expenses every home buyer should expect
A few things to consider doing before you buy a home
Hope you take a look at one of all of these great articles and of course lets put in something fun! Since it is October how about
Quickly calculate if your home was a good investment
Top 10 things you need to know when buying a house
Buyers hope to make their offer stand apart with personal appeals to sellers
7 things buyers love and seller’s fail to mention
And just for fun do you know its the Great American Backyard Campout this weekend? If its not raining this weekend try it and have some fun!
Many potential buyers think they need near-perfect credit scores to get a home loan. But lenders may be loosening their tight underwriting standards.
WASHINGTON — Are you on the home-buying sidelines this spring because you think you won’t be able to qualify for a mortgage? Do you know what sort of FICO credit scores are being accepted by lenders at the moment — they’re lower than they were a year ago — and whether yours could now be good enough?
You may be part of the surprisingly large crowd of folks who fear the home-loan unknown. A new national consumer survey found that 56% of potential purchasers of homes say they’re out of the market because they don’t want to face the possibility of rejection by lenders. Even 30% of current homeowners believe that they wouldn’t pass muster today.
Using a statistical sample of 1,055 Americans 18 and older, survey research firm OmniTel, polling on behalf of mortgage lender LoanDepot, documented widespread uncertainty and lack of specific knowledge about current market conditions when it comes to qualifying to buy a home. According to the survey, 74% of potential buyers who would need a mortgage concede that they have not scoped out the current market or taken the steps needed to qualify.
Many potential buyers believe that they need near-perfect credit scores to get a home loan. Half of those surveyed said they had no idea what minimum FICO score is needed for a mortgage, and nearly a fifth (18%) said the minimum score might be 770 or higher.
Debt-to-income ratios are another insurmountable obstacle in many potential buyers’ eyes — enough so that they don’t even try to obtain a mortgage.
Most lenders use two forms of debt ratios: a “front end” ratio that compares the monthly costs of the proposed new mortgage and other housing expenses with the applicant’s monthly income, and a “back end” ratio comparing all recurring monthly debt obligations — housing expenses, student loans, credit cards and the like — with the applicant’s monthly income. Roughly a third of potential buyers on the sidelines believe that their debt ratios are too high.
But what’s the statistical reality on debt ratios, FICO score minimums and down payments? What are lenders approving?
The best answers come from a company called Ellie Mae, whose loan origination and tracking software is widely used by lenders. Every month Ellie Mae analyzes a huge sample of new mortgage originations nationwide and issues an overview report rich with the sort of detail that buyers sitting on the sidelines could use.
Here’s what it found in its report on March:
•Thirty-three percent of new loans last month had borrower FICO scores below 700. A year ago it was just 27%. (FICO scores max out at 850, which is considered excellent credit; applicants with scores under 700 present higher credit risks to lenders.) Federal Housing Administration-insured home purchase loans had an average FICO in March of 684. Conventional mortgages, those designed for purchase by investors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, still have relatively high FICOs — they averaged 755 in March, but that was down slightly from 759 a year before. Lenders are doing far fewer refinancings this year, so they are loosening up on FICO minimums for purchasers.
•Debt ratios also are more generous than many sidelined potential borrowers probably imagine. The FHA’s average front-end (housing costs) ratio last month for purchase loans was 28%. In other words, if your projected housing and mortgage-related costs represent 28% of monthly income, you’re average. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans averaged 22% ratios on the front end. Back-end (total recurring debt) ratios for FHA averaged 41%. For Fannie and Freddie it was lower — 34%.
•Down payments can be small if that’s what you need. FHA’s average down payment last month for home purchases was 5%, but many borrowers put down just 3.5%. Fannie and Freddie allow 5% down as well, provided that you can pay mortgage insurance premiums. VA loans can go to zero down if your veterans status allows you to qualify. Department of Agriculture home buyer loans, which are designed for people who live in small towns, also allow for no down payments.
The point here: If you’re on the sidelines, check out what’s really going on in the mortgage market. There may be more opportunities — even in an era of tighter underwriting — than you think.
Article by Ken Harvey