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.

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!!

Housing Inventory Shortage persists

KIRKLAND, Washington (June 6, 2016) – Just as expected, the month of May had an uptick in new listings (12,272), but just as many buyers (12,275) made offers on homes during the month to keep inventory depleted, according to the latest figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

“Inventory is being squeezed from all directions,” reported Frank Wilson, branch managing broker at John L. Scott in Poulsbo. He said the pool of house-hunters includes young first-time buyers, renters whose rents are escalating, buyers who are returning to the market after recovering from a foreclosure or short sale, investors, and baby boomers who are purchasing for their retirement needs. Additionally, in Kitsap County where his office is located, there are military families who are transferring to a base there and want to buy.

By month end, member brokers reported 15,198 active listings in the Northwest MLS database. That’s down more than 22 percent from a year ago when buyers could choose from an inventory of 19,515 listings across the 23 counties served by the listing service.

“The May housing market was not just hot, it was frenzy hot,” commented J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. “Brokers are working like bees in a hive as the housing market creates a buzz of sales activity in the Seattle-Central Puget Sound area.”  By his analysis, 80 percent of the homes coming on the market in King and Snohomish counties are selling within the first 30 days. “Many sell within the first week,” Scott reported, adding, “A healthy/normal market would have 30 percent selling in the first 30 days.”

MLS figures show there is only 1.76 months of supply system-wide. In both King and Snohomish counties, there is barely more than one month of supply – well below the 4-to-6 months that many experts use as an indicator of a balanced market.

“With less than two months of inventory, every new listing seems to draw multiple offers,” Wilson remarked. He also said homeowners who want to move up in this same market know they face a conundrum: “If we sell today, will we be able to buy tomorrow?”

Buyers are becoming more and more aggressive with offers and pricing, and that concerns some brokers, said Northwest MLS director George Moorhead. As the gap between pricing and value widens, some would-be buyers may overextend themselves. Also, appraisers are struggling with a lack of comparable sales versus multiple offers that escalate well beyond the listing price, said Moorhead, the designated broker at Bentley Properties. Since lenders base loans on appraised values, buyers will likely need to make up the shortfall.

Even though brokers say paltry inventory is limiting sales, the year-over-year volume of pending sales rose more than 7.4 percent last month. Members reported 12,275 mutually accepted offers, up from the year-ago total of 11,425. MLS data going back to 2004 shows that one-month total is the highest on record.

Prices also rose. The median price area-wide for last month’s 8,630 closed sales of single family homes and condominiums (combined) was $339,950. That’s up more than 7.2 percent from twelve months ago when purchasers paid $317,000 for the median-priced home. Ten counties reported double-digit price hikes.

In King County, the median price jumped more than 11.7 percent, from $434,000 to $485,000. Prices on single family homes surged nearly 16.5 percent, rising from $480,942 to $560,000. Condo prices were up 9 percent, but finding one proved challenging as inventory dropped 29 percent in King County.

Former MLS board member Ken Anderson, the president/owner of Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty in Olympia, said last month set records for both pending and closed sales. “Low inventory coupled with the huge number of buyers has our market moving at a record pace,” according to his calculations. “Well-priced homes are selling in an average of just 12 days – a full month faster than the peak of the market in 2006,” he commented.

Brokers offer various suggestions to prospective buyers as they vie for scarce inventory:

  • “The best advice I can offer to potential first-time buyers is to think outside the box” said Gary O’Leyar, a past chairman of the Northwest MLS board. He encourages buyers to consider purchasing a “stepping stone” property. Since the close-in neighborhoods in Seattle and Bellevue hold little opportunity for first-time buyers, their best option is to look further out, he suggests. “Consider future growth, such as in areas near light rail or other transit services, and areas that have good public schools,” said O’Leyar, the owner and designated broker at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Signature Properties in Seattle. “Waiting on the sidelines to buy will likely lead to increasing rental costs, so why not make a real estate investment purchase and have some hedge against future inflation,” he added.
  • “Relationships are paramount in this market,” said Lennox Scott. “If you’re looking for a home, make sure your broker knows your story and can convey it in a compelling way.”
  • “Buyers must carefully study the market so they can make decisive but smart offers when new listings arrive on the market,” emphasized Anderson. “With the robust activity, success for buyers means making an offer that stands above the competition.” He also urges buyers to not forgo important protections like home inspection contingencies.

Wilson and other brokers do not see an easing in the inventory crunch “for some time to come.” Even if the Fed raises interest rates, he believes shortages will persist because of the backlog of buyers.

Moorhead noted new home construction is also seeing prices soar as many of the defunct projects from 2008 to 2012 are being completed and built out. “Finding land for new home plats is forcing more teardowns and pushing builders/developers farther out where services are not as prevalent. He said first-time buyers tend to be hardest hit since they’re priced out of many close-in areas and must look at commute times of 45 minutes or more.

“There’s good news for luxury homebuyers,” Scott suggests. It’s prime time to showcase such properties, he explains, and “this is the season when more luxury inventory hits the market. The good selection in King County is easing the pressure for homebuyers in the luxury ($1 million and above) market. A search of the MLS database shows there are currently more than 900 listings in King County with asking prices of $1 million or more.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership of nearly 2,100 member offices includes more than 25,000 real estate professionals. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in Washington state.

 

Real Estate news and more

Happy Friday! I hope you enjoy this Real Estate round up of our area and other interesting articles plus some fun stuff too.seattle

REAL ESTATE news

Real estate getting bubbly but unlikely to pop, Seattle “is on fire across every sector

 

Number of million-dollar homes in Seattle area has tripled since 2012

U.S. existing home sales rise for a second straight month

MORTGAGE & FINANCE news

3 financial apps that will transform how you manage money

Will Millennials ever be able to retire?

The 7 biggest investment mistakes celebrities make

 

 fireplace

HOME trends

From ceiling space to playroom

10 tips for budget-friendly lawn care

7 weird ways to stay cool this summer

LOCAL news

Massive frozen food recall in Washington State

Seattle No. 3 on top 25 best cities to find great jobs

Seattle to host 2018 Special Olympics

Is Seattle a better bicycle city than Portland?

Seattle homes selling faster than anywhere else in the U.S.

Seattle growth was 11th fastest according to just released Census data, now 18th on list of biggest U.S. cities

Facebook unveils Frank Gehry design for its new South Lake Union offices

Snohomish County looking to increase bike tourism

Snohomish county offers top teacher salaries in the state

City of Edmonds to develop an affordable housing strategy by 2019

WEEKLY DOSE OF awesomeness

House made from cardboard for is not your kid’s refrigerator box

 

 Have a spectacular weekend everyone! 

#snohomishcountyhomes