Should I Buy a House in 2018?

Young Woman Eating On Couch Thinking About Buying HouseBuying a home is a big part of the American dream and one of the most important decisions, and major investments, anyone can make. Many on-the-fence heroes are wondering: “Should I buy a house in 2018, wait until next year, or simply continue renting?”

Look at House Market Key Indicators

If the real estate market is your barometer, there are several key indicators to investigate:

Inventory Levels

Supply and demand plays a role. When there are not many homes for sale (low inventory), this often means home prices are higher, and the market becomes more competitive for buyers. This is the case in 2018. However, inventory levels have been steadily increasing June-August this year, and actually surpassed August 2017 levels. If inventory levels continue to increase, that’s a good sign for buyers for the remainder of 2018.

Monthly Total Existing Home Inventory

Home Pricing History

Inventory of homes for sale will affect pricing. More homes for sale will typically drive down prices, where as low inventory of homes for sale typically means there is higher buyer demand, and it will usually push prices up. This is the case in 2018 where most markets are experiencing low inventory and higher prices. The existing home price increase in August 2018 marks the 78th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains according to the National Association of Realtors. Some early estimates for 2019 show that home prices will continue to increase around 3% in most markets. Great if you’re selling a house, but challenging if you’re buying. It makes buying in 2018 look even better.

Monthly Median Existing Home Price

Number of Days Home is On the Market

House prices typically drop the longer a home stays on the market. When this happens, it’s a good sign the market is cooling off or correcting. This year, in most markets, homes have sold relatively fast. This means potential buyers need to have their ducks in a row so they can act fast on the home they want.

Market Seasonality

According to Realtor.com, it’s the perfect time to buy a house because fall and winter tend to be better for home buyers, and this year is no exception. Housing inventory is on the rise, and that may mean lower prices and more bargaining power for buyers. That, combined with sellers who are anxious to get the sale done before the holidays, makes fall and winter a great time to buy.

Interest Rates

The interest rate is a big topic of conversation this year, and probably one you’ve kept top of mind when asking, “Should I buy a house in 2018?” The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates a couple of times this year. Two or three more rate hikes are being predicted, which may mean a more expensive mortgage for you. In September, the rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage jumped to 4.88 percent, which is the highest level for the 30-year mortgage since 2011, according to Bankrate. But, you need to understand this is still well below the average over the past 45 years outlined below with FreddieMac data since 1972.

Annual Average Mortgage Rate 30 Year Fixed Mortgage Over Past 45 Years

Trying to time your home-buying decision to take advantage of low interest rates or a buyer’s real estate market are smart home-buying strategies, but the real question is: Is it the right time for you, personally, to buy a house or maybe it would be better to rent?

Renting vs Buying a House

Some of you may not be a current home owner and are probably asking yourself, “Should I buy a house in 2018 or rent?” In order to figure out whether it would be better to rent or buy a house, consider these factors in addition to the current interest rate and real estate market:

How is Your Credit?

The interest rate can be as low as it’s ever going to go, but if your credit score is shaky, you’re not going to be able to take advantage of that. People with lower credit scores pay higher interest rates, and the amount can add hundreds to your monthly mortgage payment. Improving your score, no matter what the market is doing currently, is the smarter way to go.

If you haven’t checked your credit lately, you might want to take a look at it. Last year, credit reporting companies announced they were changing the way they handle negative information, resulting in many people seeing a spike of up to 40 points on their credit score. This overhaul was caused by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which found problems with the reporting of collections and tax liens and as a result, that data has been removed from millions of credit reports.

However, particularly for home buyers, a tax lien or civil judgement can still interfere with your ability to get a loan. LexisNexis Risk Solutions found that people who have a tax lien or judgement are five and a half times more likely to go into pre-foreclosure or foreclosure, so mortgage lenders may well pull a LexisNexis report to find out, even if it no longer appears on your credit report.

FICO scores (credit scores) range from 300 to 850. If yours is 700 or above, you’ll qualify for a better interest rate on a loan, so that’s the score you’re shooting for.

If your score is less than 650, here are some ways to improve it:

    • Pay down your credit card bills to show only 10 percent of your limit. If your card’s limit is $1000, your balance should be no more than $100. Doing this will increase your score almost immediately.
    • Make all of your payments on time. One late payment can drop your score up to 100 points, but on-time payments will raise it.
    • Check your credit report for errors. If negative information exists and you don’t recognize the account or the charge, dispute it.
    • Never close a credit account. Even if you don’t use it, keep it open. Closing an account can negatively impact your score.
    • If you have an account in default, request a “pay for deletion.” It’s an agreement made with your creditors that you’ll pay a debt in full or an agreed-upon amount in exchange for them deleting the negative information on your credit report. Simply paying off your debt will not raise your score unless the creditor deletes it from your record.

How is Your Income?

Most financial experts agree that your housing costs should be no more than 30 percent of your income. Can you find an affordable home based on what you’re earning now? Also look at your debt-to-income ratio. If you’ve got a high amount of debt and a relatively low income, it will be more difficult to get a home loan. Pay down your debt before applying.

However, there has never been a better time to increase your income by finding a new job. Unemployment is at an 18-year low, which means it’s a job seeker’s market out there. Take a look at the average salary range for your position in your area to gauge how your employer stacks up.

Do You Have Enough for a Down Payment?

Experts recommend putting down 20 percent or more. Why? There are a few reasons. If you put less than 20 percent down, you’ll have to pay private mortgage insurance, which, on a $300,000 loan, will cost you an extra $250 each month. Another reason to make a larger down payment is to protect yourself in the event that you have to move shortly after you purchase the home, if you get a new job in another city or if your spouse is transferred, for example. With a small or nonexistent down payment, you might find yourself underwater, owing more than you can sell the home for, if real estate prices have fluctuated.

Do You Have Enough for Closing Costs?

In addition to the down payment, you’ll need money for closing costs. According to Motley Fool, you can expect to pay around 2 to 5 percent of the value of the property. So on that same loan of $300,000, you’ll pay in the neighborhood of $6,000 for closing.

And, if you’re still asking yourself, “Should I buy a house in 2018,” don’t forget to consider having enough cash on hand to cover your mortgage if you or your spouse loses a job, and have enough in savings for repairs if something goes wrong or breaks.

Bottom line, do your homework. Review these items and get to know your personal situation so you are prepared to discuss everything with a real estate and mortgage professional when your ready, whether it’s in 2018 or not.

Interested in doing a deeper dive? Here are some additional resources:
8 Advantages to Buying a House
First Time Home Buyer Tips
Wondering How to Get a Mortgage and Stop Paying Rent?
Financial Considerations When Buying a Home
Rent or Buy: The Great Debate

Ready to speak with a specialist, committed to heroes like you? Sign up and speak with one of our real estate or mortgage specialists in your area to learn more about how they can help you through the home-buying process and maximize your hero savings. Our heroes save, on average, more than $2,400 if they use our local specialists to purchase their home. There’s no obligation, and we guarantee the most hero savings among all national programs.

 

BLuke Feldbrugge

Snohomish County Statistics December 2017

December is known for being on the cold side and a sign of a slowing Real Estate market as everyone starts to enjoy the holidays. Not this year however! December was smoking hot. A new record of 16 days inventory pushed buyers to snatch up everything they could and quickly.

Active Inventory

 -2% December 2017 vs. December 2016

781 available homes currently on market -347 vs. last month.

Pending Transactions

-4% December 2017 vs. December 2016

1255 units -336 vs. last month

Sold Transactions

+12%!!! December 2017 vs. 2016

1516 units +101 than last month

Days on Market

Snohomish County Active to pending 34 days vs. 39 a year ago. Up 4 days from last month (normal with the holidays).

Median home price in Snohomish County 448,000 +12% last year.  Up $4,000 from last month.

Area price % based on last Quarter

All percentages are up and also include new construction

Bothell + 20%, Edmonds/Lynnwood +15%. Everett/Mukilteo +10%

Snohomish/Monroe+ 17%. Lake Stevens/Granite Falls + 15%.  Marysville +13%

King County Median home prices are $611,000 + 15% over last year and up $27k from last month.

Woodinville area Median price is $678!!

Of the more than 3,100 counties across the U.S., none saw a bigger net increase than Pierce and Snohomish in movers from other counties. Is this a reflection of people being priced out of King County?96961280-1033-11e7-92dc-5affb0e7ac5c

Weekly Real Estate Awesomeness

seattle

REAL ESTATE news

Latest report from the NWMLS

Why it’s now an empty nesters housing market

When buyers cannot afford Seattle most head north into Snohomish County therefore we keep a close eye on the housing market all over and these stories paint a clear picture of why so many are moving this way. 

Seattle’s scorching housing market positions it as a city on the rise.

What’s it like to buy and sell in Seattle’s crazy market 

Prices soar leading some to give up

Boarded up house in Ballard lists for $595K!!

MORTGAGE & FINANCE news

Crowdfunding your down payment: a new way to buy a home? 

3 steps to figure out how much mortgage you can afford 

HOME trends

Modern backyard cabin is an urban oasis

5 most popular landscape design trends for fall 2017

City of Seattle begins work on a proposal to encourage development of backyard cottages

Make it a great week.

Jen Murrweiss- www.snohomishcountyhomesinc.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homes For Heroes

Picture of who is elgible

I am privileged to announce that I have officially joined the Homes for Heroes organization in their mission to help heroes across the country save thousands of dollars in the process of buying or selling their home.

What is Home for Heroes?

Homes for Heroes is an organization that was formed after the tragic events of 9/11 as a way to say “Thank You” to the heroes of our nation. The Homes for Heroes organization is composed of a network of real estate professionals who are prepared to give real savings to those who serve their communities when they buy, sell, or refinance a home. This program is our way to say, “Thank you!”

Who qualifies as a hero?

Our core group of local heroes includes but is not limited to: Military personnel, Police Officers, Firefighters, First Responders, Educators, and Health Care Workers.  If you think you might qualify, please contact me and tell me about what you do for your community. When you are buying, selling or refinancing a home, let us say thank you for all that you do!

How much will I save?

The total amount you save will depend on the final selling or buying price of your home. Homes for Heroes Affiliate Realtors agree to rebate equal to 25% of the gross commission they receive on your transaction. Discounted lender fees are also offered on purchases and refinances with a Homes for Heroes lender. The savings can be thousands of dollars!

Are there a lot of extra applications, forms, and paperwork?

No! Homes for Heroes promises no extra forms, no red tape, no fine print, no hidden fees, and no catch!

Homes for Heroes offers me the chance to help our local community heroes achieve their dreams of home ownership.  If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, please contact me for more info or you can register now at www.snohomishcountyheroes.com to get started.

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November Real Estate Market.. HOT, HOT!

 

Snohomish County Statistics as of November 2016

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November is known for being on the cold side and normally signs of a slowing Real Estate market as everyone starts to buckle in for the winter and holidays. Not this year however! November was smoking hot with only 1.4 month of inventory and buyers were snatching up everything they could. I saw multiple offers skyrocketing and bidding wars with some homes being bid up 100K. The picture to the left is a Bothell home that had 32 offers and was bid up 95k! Crazy!!

Here are your local inventory stats.

 

Active Inventory

 +17% November 2016 vs. November 2015

1111 available homes currently on market -800 vs. last month.

Pending Transactions

Up 1% November 2016 vs. November 2015

1528 units -88 vs. last month

Sold Transactions

+27%!!! November 2016 vs. 2015

1452 units -182 than last month

Days on Market

Snohomish County Active to pending 33 days vs. 47 a year ago up 7 days from last month.

Median home price in Snohomish County 399,000 +14% last year.  Up $7,000 from last month.

Area price % based on last Quarter

All percentages are up and also include new construction

Bothell + 16%, Edmonds/Lynnwood +17%. Everett/Mukilteo +12%

Snohomish/Monroe+ 11%. Lake Stevens/Granite Falls + 17%.

Marysville +14%

King County Median home prices are $523,000 + 16% over last year and up $6k from last month.

Woodinville area Median price is $550!!

Snohomish County Statistics July 2016

Snohomish County HomeSnohomish County HomeSnohomish County Home

Active Inventory

Prices are up 5% over last year same time July 2016 vs. July 2015

2141 brand new listings in July that is up 53 from last month. 2141 total active at the end of the month.

Pending Transactions

Up +3% July 2016 vs. July 2015

2079 units went pending last month that is 62 less however than June.  

Sold Transactions

+9% July 2016 vs. July 2015.

1673 units +11 more than last month

Days on Market

Snohomish County Active to pending 25 days vs. 36 a year ago. Incredible!

Median home price in Snohomish County $387,000!!

Median home price in King County $523,000. Snohomish county is gaining however the gap between King and Snohomish is growing.

Months of inventory

If no additional homes would be put on the market, there would be no inventory left after 1.25 months in Snohomish County. In King County that figure is 1.2 months. A balanced “normal” market is 3-6 months. Buyers’ market more than 6 and Sellers less than 3 months.

Area price % growth based on last Quarter

Bothell + 14%, Edmonds/Lynnwood +5%. Everett/Mukilteo +11%

Snohomish/Monroe + 11%. Lake Stevens/Granite Falls/Arlington/Darrington +7 %. Marysville +7%

New Construction is included in these percentages.  

July 2016 Market Characteristics:

  • Sellers: position your home to get premium pricing.
  • Buyers: need to be Buyer-Ready, Day-One™ to get a home in today’s market.
  • The market continues to be more intense than during the same time in year 2015.
  • Sales activity in King and Snohomish County is lower than a year ago but July 2015 was the best July on record. If we had more homes for sale, we would have had more sales activity.
  • There’s a severe shortage of homes for sale close to job centers. We are virtually sold out, and each new property on the market is getting instant action and most of the time multiple offers.
  • More new listings will lead to a higher level of sales activity.
  • Prices are increasing in the price ranges and the market areas where 90 percent of the sales activity is taking place, leading to premium pricing for sellers in those areas.
  • Interest rates continue to be in the upper threes.
  • Multiple offer everything
  • More new listings come on market from March through October than November through February.
  • More selection but also more intense.