hometrends The State of the Market December 2013

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1 hometrends The State of the Market December 2013 A letter from Joseph A. Horning, President of Shorewest, REALTORS Southeastern Wisconsin s solid real estate market started to slow in October; sales of existing homes saw just a 3.5% increase over October of Statewide existing home sales were down 0.1% in October, representing the first month that sales did not increase over the prior year month. On a positive note, the average sales price for Wisconsin increased by 5.6% in October. Existing homes being listed for sale in October saw an 8.6% increase in the Metro Milwaukee area. Despite the increase in number of homes coming to the market, the current months of inventory is at 7.5 months compared to 11.4 months last October. ( inventory is how long it would take to sell all homes currently on the market given the monthly sales pace.) This is a clear sign of a healthy real estate market. Sellers are feeling they will receive a competitive price for their homes so they are bringing them to market. The market is showing signs of reaching a balance point. Sellers can ask for a reasonable price and buyers know they can no longer demand deep discounts. The swing from a seller s market back to equilibrium will benefit all as sales return to a normal, seasonal pattern. The National Association of REALTORS conference was held the first week of November and Chief Economist Lawrence Yun made predictions for the 2014 national real estate market. He predicted single digit increases in home prices, a level sales pace and 1% increase in interest rates for These are national predictions for the overall direction going forward. Real estate is a local business and every local market is different. Shorewest, REALTORS is the expert in bringing buyers and sellers together. Let us explain the unique market conditions in your neighborhood. Real Estate is the Best Return on Your Investment Since the housing market fell, homeownership has been a less appealing avenue for acquiring wealth. Homeownership fell to lows as people were unable to pay their mortgages, and renting became their only option. Data from the Federal Reserve, as well as public records, show that the best return on investment can be seen by purchasing real estate. In the graph above, the return on investment for real estate from January 2000-September 2013 grew by 59.5%. Homeowners acquired greater than 20% more wealth compared with the next closest investment in the Dow Jones. In fact, NASDAQ investors saw their wealth shrink by 8.9%, making the divide between real estate and some stocks as high as 70%. Another important factor includes your actual cash investment. With real estate, the down payment is your only initial cash investment, whereas with the stock market, a full purchase must be made. With a $100,000 house, only $20,000 at the highest may be needed to invest, whereas a full $100,000 would be needed to purchase the equivalent amount of stock. Though the housing bust kept many away from investing in real estate, it continues to provide the most substantial way to build wealth in the United States.

2 Market Statistics 3Q MILWAUKEE COUNTY 3Q ,531 10,483 2,493 6,608 $125,000 4, ,598 10,336 2,188 5,973 $116,500 4, Q WAUKESHA COUNTY 3Q ,952 6,157 1,656 4,128 $237,000 2, ,636 5,935 1,459 3,643 $226,500 2, Q OZAUKEE COUNTY 3Q , $228, , $220, Q WASHINGTON COUNTY 3Q , ,352 $182, , ,039 $174,900 1, Q KENOSHA COUNTY 3Q , ,608 $125,000 1, , ,241 $120,000 1, Q RACINE COUNTY 3Q , ,665 $120,925 1, , ,430 $115,000 1, Q WALWORTH COUNTY 3Q , ,092 $157,950 1, , $152,250 1, Q JEFFERSON COUNTY 3Q , $165, , $147, Q DODGE COUNTY 3Q $121, $107, Q ROCK COUNTY 3Q , $122,143 1, , $119,133 1, Q BROWN COUNTY 3Q ,228 3, ,191 $140,000 1, , ,979 $137,000 1, Q SHEBOYGAN COUNTY 3Q , $132, , $118,900 1, Third Quarter Wisconsin Home Show Continued Growth Over the last quarter, Wisconsin home sales have been very strong, continuing the local and national real estate trends of According to the most recent housing report from the Wisconsin REALTORS Association (WRA), home sales increased 15.8% in September compared to that same month in 2012, representing an overall 13.6% increase through the first nine months of the year. Home sales have now increased for 27 consecutive months. Throughout Wisconsin, each specific region saw double-digit growth in September 2013 compared to the same month in The south central region of Wisconsin grew by over 19%, with southeastern Wisconsin showing 14% growth. home prices in Wisconsin increased as well. In fact, median home prices have grown in all but one of the last 19 months. Year-to-date, median home prices have increased 7.8% compared to the first nine months of Wisconsin s median price for homes for sale is $144,000. Michael Theo, WRA President and CEO, notes that inventories have tightened, which put upward pressure on our prices, the steady supply of new listings has kept prices from accelerating too quickly.

3 My Best Advice to Home Buyers From John Inzeo, Vice President, Wisconsin Mortgage Corporation For the past few years, I have tried to focus on Best Advice home financing for buyers. Today we continue that advice with a focus on new regulations that may affect your ability to qualify and/or increase the costs associated with acquiring financing. Familiarize yourself with these two new terms because they will change the landscape of Mortgage Lending for many years to come: The Qualified Mortgage (QM) and Ability To Repay (ATR) standards. Although we agree that most of these new reforms are necessary, we are concerned that the rush to implement new rules can create unintended consequences relative to economic recovery. Housing is a lead industry in America s economic recovery plans, and we want to make sure that new regulations, sometimes implemented without proper testing, don t create unintended negative impacts. The QM and ATR are new regulations born out of the Dodd Frank Financial Reform Law, signed into law in 2010 as a response to the late-2000s recession. Combined, they create many questions about what standards are included, and I hope to provide some answers for you. Qualified Mortgage standards include a stated maximum debt-to-income ratio (DTI) of 43%. QM also requires that borrowers pay no more than 3% of the proposed mortgage principal in total costs to acquire financing. Please note all aspects of pricing for each loan will require additional documentation reflecting the costs associated with the loan. Now consider the ATR standard. Among other things, this regulation will require all lenders to document every aspect of the loan much differently. Much like the math teacher who tells us it s not enough to show the right answer, you must show all of your work and demonstrate how you arrived at the answer. This will require many more work sheets for each mortgage file, as well as additional documentation from customers seeking financing. Meeting the ATR standard represents a massive legal risk to all parties again, without proper testing, this new standard could produce unintended consequences. What does this mean to homebuyers? You have time between now and January to take action and purchase a home before the next fog of regulation hits the markets. At a minimum, we know that some buyers who qualify today will, after January, likely pay higher costs to acquire financing and some will qualify for less of a home. Why wait to get tangled in the uncertainty of new regulations and risk paying even more to acquire financing? My advice is to work with a qualified lender now that can guide you through this process. With interest rates continuing to increase on top of regulatory concerns, the time to start towards your homebuying dreams is today. At Wisconsin Mortgage, we have been guiding home buyers through the financing journey for 30 years, and our focus is on people and their housing needs. Much will be changing in the mortgage industry for the next few years having a capable navigator will ensure your home buying success. Third Quarter Interest Rates Drop But On the Rise Again In late September, interest rates fell approximately a half point following the announcement that the Federal Reserve would continue their pace of bond purchases. The purchasing of bonds has acted as a stimulus package for the housing industry as it has kept mortgage interest rates at historic lows. However, rates are again inching upward. If you re considering buying a home, either as a first-time or move-up buyer, there s currently a window of opportunity to get a lower interest rate. Ben Bernake, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, indicated that the Fed may scale back purchasing as early as the end of the year, based on the overall outlook of the housing market. For buyers and sellers, this means that rates will likely increase starting in December.

4 Home Prices Continue to Increase With national and statewide home prices experiencing an increase, don t hold off buying until spring. A national survey recently reported that the majority of Americans believe that home prices will increase over the next 12 months. The numbers are even higher for upper-middle class Americans, where only 6% believe prices will fall in the next year. We ve seen this trend on the rise over the past two years, and again in the last quarter. Nationally, home prices rose an average of 12% in the last three months, and in Wisconsin, the numbers are even higher at 15.8%. Experts predict that 2014 home prices will rise to their spring 2004 levels. The S&P Case Shiller Home Price Index measures home prices across the United States in a variety of cities and compiles the data into a larger picture of home prices throughout America. The predictions for 2014 show the continued increases that the American public believes will occur in the next year. As homeowners, this means further appreciation of your assets and higher selling prices for future sellers. The Best Reasons to Buy Your Home Now Buying a home today saves you money with lower prices and lower interest rates. If you re looking to buy a $250,000 home at a current national interest rate of 4.22%, your monthly mortgage payment of principal and interest would be $1, Since mortgage rates are expected to keep climbing, we can assume next year you might pay a mortgage rate of 5.3%. For the same $250,000 home, assuming no price increases, your monthly principal and interest payment would be $ , a difference of $ each month. Yearly you would pay $ more. And, over the 30-year loan, this would total $58,000. That s huge for just waiting one year to purchase a home. Don t wait any longer; purchase your dream home today.

5 Levels are Steady, Yet Competitive The inventory troubles that held up the real estate market earlier this year subsided with the peak buying season of spring and summer. Though a lot of housing inventory was purchased during the season, sellers are continuing to list their homes for sale. more likely find a house in fewer days. Overall, supply and demand will start to even off and so will prices. What does this mean for buyers and sellers? Prices will continue to increase but at a slower pace. This also means unlike the beginning of the year, there won t be as much competition for each house on the market, and buyers will While inventory levels seen above show a drastic drop, much of that is due to a decreased level of distressed inventory. Distressed inventory comes to market as short sales and foreclosure, and the dips in distressed inventory levels seen above indicate the overall health of the real estate market. Shorewest Reports: Home Buyers Want One-Stop Shopping A recent National Association of REALTORS (NAR) study revealed that a vast majority of homebuyers want to work with a company that offers a full-range of real estate services for one-stop shopping. 78% of homebuyers said that one-stop shopping would save them money. 75% said it would make the process more manageable and efficient. 73% said that a one-stop real estate shop would prevent the details relevant to their transaction from falling through the cracks, as well as make the entire process more convenient. At Shorewest, we aim to provide you with quality with our in-house lender, title company, insurance company and our association with a home warranty provider. Our in-house lender Wisconsin Mortgage Corporation has been providing home loans for over 30 years, and the expertise of our loan officers is available to all of our clients, as well as our real estate offices. Heritage Title Services is one of the largest independent title companies in Wisconsin and works with our closing department to ensure a stress-free transaction from one property owner to another. With Shorewest Insurance Associates, you can secure the home, auto, life or RV insurance to fit your family s needs. Our association with HSA partners Shorewest with a qualified home warranty provider to help protect your new home investment. Whatever your real estate needs, Shorewest is ready to provide quality customer service throughout the homebuying and selling process. Contact a Shorewest real estate agent today to learn more about the in-house services we provide to turn your real estate dreams into reality.

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