Tag Archives: low inventory

Where is the Housing Inventory? Why are Less People Selling?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Would-be home sellers across the country are grappling with a once-in-a-lifetime problem: They have mortgage rates so absurdly low it would hurt them financially to sell.

Doing so would mean giving up an irresistible rate in exchange for a new mortgage carrying a rate up to a percentage point higher. Their monthly payments would be larger even for a house of the same price. That’s discouraging some people from selling, thereby limiting the supply of available homes and contributing to slower home sales.

It’s a significant shift from the way the U.S. housing market has worked for the past 30 years. For most of that time, whenever a homeowner decided to trade up to a better home, mortgage rates usually were lower than the last time they had bought. That helped make a new purchase seem more attractive.

But that is changing. The average rate on a 30-year mortgage fell below 4 percent in late 2011 and reached a record low level of 3.3 percent in November 2012. It didn’t top 4 percent again until mid-2013. Homeowners took advantage of the lower rates and a refinancing boom ensued.

More than one-third of homes with a mortgage now have rates below 4 percent, real estate data provider CoreLogic estimates. Yet mortgage rates now average 4.2 percent. That is still low by historical standards but up about three-quarters of a point from a year and a half ago. And should mortgage rates rise later this year and next, as many economists expect, even more homeowners will be affected.

As a result, many homeowners with low rates are staying put. Others are moving and buying new homes, but keeping their old ones and renting them. Both choices mean that fewer homes are listed for sale, which drives up prices. Higher prices and limited selection have put the brakes on a housing recovery that began in 2012.

read more at: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/downside-low-us-mortgage-rates-less-selling

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Creative Ways to Buy A House

Kevin and Patti Silva needed to buy a house – fast.

Along with their two children, three dogs and a cat, they had sold their house in Atlanta and were all packed, with the moving truck scheduled for late May, ready to move to the Bay Area for a job transfer.

When conventional house hunting with a real estate agent didn’t work out, Kevin Silva placed a detailed Craigslist ad describing their target neighborhood, price and house size. He netted five responses, one of which led to making a deal to buy a San Anselmo house directly from the owner.

Want to know what the value of the home you are thinking of purchasing is.  Contact the real estate appraisers at www.scappraisals.com for your home value and real estate appraisal questions.

While having all the stars and planets align so perfectly is rare, the Silvas’ story illustrates how many house hunters are coloring outside the lines to land a place in the overheated real estate market. Whether it be cold-calling homeowners with offers or placing ads in search of potential houses for sale, being creative is key, experts say.

Of course, the top strategy is both the simplest and the hardest – pay way over asking, in all cash.

Short of that, there are a variety of ways prospective buyers can find a house as well as rise to the top of the offer pile:

Placing an ad: Swooping in with an offer before a home is officially posted for sale is a top tactic, and it worked for the Silvas.

After being consistently outbid, they considered renting, but that market was too competitive. “I realized unless we got really aggressive, we would end up in my parents’ basement in San Mateo with the kids, the dogs, the cat and a really unhappy wife,” Kevin Silva said. In the end, a simple online ad labeled “Wanted to buy: House in San Anselmo or Fairfax” did the trick. A $1 million budget undoubtedly helped. He got one response from a man who, like Silva, was of Portuguese ancestry. They quickly bonded on the phone. Silva visited the three-bedroom house and liked it, and returned with a real estate agent friend who advised him that $1 million was a reasonable price. Attorneys helped draw up the paperwork in an amicable deal.

Read more at: http://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/Creative-ways-to-buy-a-house-4806993.php

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Here We Go Again? Boom Times Are Back, And So Are The Pitfalls


WASHINGTON — They’re back after barely a decade: escalation clauses in real estate contracts, “naked” contingency-free offers and lowball-priced listings designed to pull in dozens of bidders and turn routine sales transactions into auctions.

These are all techniques last seen with frequency during the frothiest months of the housing bubble in 2004-05, when prices were rising at double-digit rates, buyers thought they couldn’t lose money in real estate, and mortgage financing was available to anybody who could sign a loan application.

Want to know if the value is there or if the property will appraise.  Contact the appraisers at www.scappraisalscom for your appraisal questions.  Also want to wave the building inspection?  Contact the appraiser at www.scappraisals.com for your cost-to-cure questions.

Now they are reappearing in some of the hottest sellers’ markets from coast to coast — the byproduct of severe shortages in houses listed for sale combined with strong demand by qualified purchasers.

Nationwide, according to surveys of 800-plus local markets by Realtor.com, inventories are down by 16 percent from year-ago levels. But in the hottest areas, listings are down by double or even triple that and prices are moving up fast.

Buyers, meanwhile, are out in droves, scanning newspapers and online realty sites for the latest listings, and signing up for alert services provided by realty firms.

In the San Francisco Bay area, for example, agents say that realistically priced new listings are attracting dozens — sometimes even hundreds — of shoppers to open houses and stimulating bidding competitions with 30 to 50 or more participants.

Bidding wars are also increasingly frequent on well-priced listings in Washington and its Maryland and Virginia suburbs, much of California, Seattle, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Richmond, Boston and parts of Florida, among others.

Read more at: http://www.timesdispatch.com/business/local/columnists-blogs/the-nation-s-housing-boom-market-returns-with-potential-pitfalls/article_9adedb73-ce71-5101-892b-23ef9861f116.html

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