Another year has passed, and while the last 5 of them have been rough for the housing market, we’ve now seen two consecutive quarters with most states showing incremental appreciation. Cause for celebration? Perhaps not, yet this is beginning to look like stabilization and that of course is the first step towards recovery.
What’s working in favor of prospective home buyers?
In a word – Affordability – Since 1963, it has cost an average of approximately 43% of “per capita” income to finance the cost of a median priced home (20% down payment and prevailing 30 year fixed rate mortgage). Right now it’s less than half that cost, and in many areas the monthly housing payments are less than an equivalent rental.
You can lock in your mortgage cost for life – Imagine if you could have locked in the price of gas back in 2001 when it was only about $1.50 per gallon or less? Think about that the next time you’re standing at the pump filling your tank with $4 gas. How smart would you feel if you knew your cost was forever lower? When it comes to a place to live, that same kind of opportunity is staring us in the face right now. Record low prices and record low rates are here now and plentiful. The beauty of a 30 year fixed rate loan is that it’s a 30 year fixed rate loan. If you lock it in now, it will never go up.
There is still uncertainty – yet there is also clarity that comes from knowing where things stand at present such as rates & prices. Above all else, the state of the market doesn’t change the fact that we need a place to live. Choosing to purchase is one of two options. The other one is to rent or to continue living with family if that’s where you are now.
The trouble is – renting amounts to little more than paying your landlord’s mortgage and in the end, there is nothing to show for that. Living at home gets old at the same rate as we do. The day comes when it’s time to leave and there’s never been a less expensive opportunity to do that than now. At some point, rates will rise and so too will prices. Being ahead of or behind that curve is all dependent on the action you choose to take today.
Real Estate Agents in Maine are finding new ways to generate business everyday Online. Studies indicate that over 80% of today’s home buyers visit the Internet long before seeking the professional assistance of a Real Estate Professional.
Below are some popular sites to visit and become familiar with their features and benefits.
Property Listings & More
1) Redfin.com: In addition to listings, this site offers information such as how long a home has been for sale, its last sales price, and its current value. It also provides virtual tours to listed homes.
2) Trulia.com: Like Zillow.com, which offers satellite views and the estimated values of each home, Trulia’s “heat maps” show how hot or cold an area is based on prices, sales, and popularity among its users. Trulia.com also has free tools real estate agents can easily add to their own websites to increase functionality and traffic.
3) Maps.Google.com and Bing.com/maps: For a bird’s-eye view, even 360 degrees in some cases, these amazing map sites offer a virtual perspective of available homes that’s truly hard to beat.
4) Walkscore.com: Is an interesting site that rates any address based on the walking distance of its nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, coffee shops etc.
5) SchoolMatters.com: A Standard & Poor’s company, this site offers parents (and potential home buyers) an objective rating of public schools and public school districts by region, including test scores and demographics. GreatSchools.net offers similar info and ratings on private schools based on region.
Government Websites: Government loan programs offer great opportunities for many consumers in many regions across the country, especially first-time buyers and veterans. The following websites are likely one of the first of many sites potential home buyers visit during this process:
1) HUD.Gov is the official website for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (H.U.D.) This site lists HUD homes and provides information for home buyers, including financing options and home buying programs available through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
2) Homeloans.va.gov: This site houses information about government home loan programs specifically for veterans.
Contact me if you think of any more sites I should add to my list. I look forward to developing ways that we can grow our business together.
Click the link here:Are Dual Agency Realtors Acting Ethically?.
It’s still a great time to refinance and the purchase market couldn’t be better for a buyer.
These rates are based on no points, rate and term refinance or a purchase, with qualifying income, loan to value and fico scores. **
FHA 30 Year Fixed 4.50%
FHA 15 Year Fixed 3.875%
30 Year Fixed 4.75%
15 Year Fixed 4.125%
Jumbo 15 year Fixed 4.50%
Jumbo 30 year Fixed 5.125%
Here’s a couple of neat things we can do or do better!
With the current economy and a lot of people struggling, some new products have become available to help these borrowers.
1. FHA loans with FICO scores as low as 540.
2. FHA loans with up to 2 mortgage late payments in last 12 months.
3. Conventional loans 620 minimum fico, 1 mortgage late in last 12 months
4. Conventional loans with only 3% down or 97% LTV, NO monthly mortgage insurance
5. Jumbo Loans In house at great rates (see above)
6. We now have Maine State Housing
7. We now do everything under one roof! Appraisal Ordering, Processing, Title, Underwriting and Closing!
For a FREE evaluation contact me today!
The national median existing single-family home price was $158,700 in the first quarter, down 4.6 percent from $166,400 in the first quarter of 2010. The median is where half sold for more and half sold for less. Distressed homes typically sold at a discount of about 20 percent, accounted for 39 percent of first quarter sales, up from 36 percent a year earlier.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist,said lower priced homes have seen the best sales performance. “The biggest sales increase has been in the lower price ranges, which are popular with investors and cash buyers,” he said. “The preponderance of sales activity at the lower end is bringing down the median price, so what we’re seeing is the result of a change in the composition of home sales.”
Although sales are slightly below a year ago, the volume of homes sold for $100,000 or less in the first quarter was 8.9 percent higher than the first quarter of 2010, creating a downward skew on the overall median price.
The share of all-cash home purchases rose to 33 percent in the first quarter from 27 percent in the first quarter of 2010.
How is Portland, Maine holding up?
Well ending March 31st 2011.. a total of 102 home and condo transactions transpired compared with 136 in 2010 and thus representing a somewhat significant volume decrease of 25% year over year! Despite the volume drop.. median prices continue to remain strong and actually showed a statistical 8% jump from $206,000 in the first quarter of 2010 compared with $222,000 this previous quarter. Buyers “from away” coupled with still many first time home buyers in the marketplace continue to help keep our market strong overall.