Generation X--adults ages 31 to 45--are expected to lead the recovery in the housing market, according to real estate experts at the National Association of Home Builders. The group highlighted results of a survey of 10,000 buyers in 27 metro areas.
While Generation X isn't the largest population group--making up 32% of the population compared to 41% of baby boomers--it's the most mobile age group, says Mollie Carmichael, principal of John Burns Real Estate Consulting in Irvine, Calif., the company that conducted the survey.
"They are in full force with their careers, and they need to accommodate growing families," Carmichael says.
This generation is coming with their own set of house preferences that may differ from other generations. Even though home sizes continue to shrink, first-time buyers and younger families are looking for more room to grow, Carmichael says. Nearly 50% said they prefer a home with a large lot and in a suburban development. Only 21% said they are looking for a traditional or "walkable neighborhood," according to the survey.
"They want something compelling, from a design or personalization standpoint," Carmichael says.
And many want "green," energy-efficient features, too. Regardless of age group, 70% of buyers said in the survey they are willing to pay $5,000 more for a home with "green" features.
Most buyers also said they'd be willing to pay a premium for such housing characteristics as dark wood cabinets, a separate tub and shower, and a fireplace in the living room.
via NAR and NAHB
Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors
Local home sales in February – for the second consecutive month – improved over a year ago. Sales last month totaled 963 compared to 945 in February from a year ago, for a 1.9% improvement. In addition, the February 2011 sales figure is 7.6% ahead of January sales (963 vs.895)
Home Sales Jan. Feb.
2011 895 963
2010 862 945
Year-to-date home sales (counting January and February) are up 2.82% over the similar 2-month period a year ago (1,858 vs. 1,807). The Cincinnati-area housing market, with a gain in sales, was one of the top metro areas in the state last month. The Cleveland/Akron, Columbus and Toledo markets saw a decrease in sales. "Real estate is always a local issue, and the fact that Cincinnati posted gains for the month shows the relative health of our region,” said Pete Kopf, president of the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors. Kopf cited three primary reasons why sales, in general, are on the upswing:
1) Buyers’ concerns that if home mortgage rates increase later in 2011, it is smarter to lock in attractive rates now instead of waiting for higher costs as the year progresses. A 30-year fixed rate loan slipped to 4.85% last week, but that isn’t expected to last through the summer.
2) Rent increases currently going on are making renters realize the tax benefits they could receive with home ownership compared to no tax benefits in renting. [Mortgage interest costs and property taxes are deductible on federal income tax returns for home owners.]
3) There currently is an ample inventory of homes to choose from, which offers attractive buying opportunities at all price levels.
“More home showings are happening early this year,” said Kopf. “That’s a positive sign the
housing market has stabilized and the pent-up demand for homes is being handled successfully.”
Summary of Single Family and Condominium Sales
Multiple Listing Service of Greater Cincinnati
Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors®
February Home Sales
Closings Gross Volume Average Price
Feb. 2011 963 $138,739,056 $144,070
Feb. 2010 945 $140,848,938 $149,046
Variance +1.90% -1.50% -3.34%
Year-to-Date Home Sales
Closings Gross Volume Average Price
Jan-Feb. 2011 1,858 $265,834,678 $143,076
Jan-Feb. 2010 1,807 $270,543,890 $149,720
Variance +2.82% -1.74% -4.44%
Nationwide, February home sales were down 9.6% from January on a seasonally
adjusted basis, and down 2.8% from February
Recent college graduates, including those earning postgraduate degrees, can now receive down payment and closing cost assistance and a favorable mortgage interest rate from an OHFA participating lender through the Grants for Grads Program. Eligible borrowers can use the grant to reduce the out-of-pocket expenses associated with buying a home.
If you are an income-eligible first-time homebuyer, graduated from an Ohio high school and have earned an associate, bachelor's, master's, doctorate or other postgraduate degree within the last 18 months, you can take advantage of the Grants for Grads Program.
Learn more here
Become a moisture detective to keep your investment in good repair and get rid of fusty household smells.
It’s time to see what winter’s wind, rain and snow have done to your home and make fixes quickly to head off water-related damage. First, head outside.
Spiff up the front entry. One way to stay on top of your home’s maintenance and protect your investment is to look at it as though you’re a stranger considering it for purchase. Perform repairs as the need arises and try each year to add a little to the home’s attractiveness on the outside. One good way to boost curb appeal, as real-estate agents call it, is to make the entrance more appealing. Once the weather is dry, check steps, decks and porches for wood rot and peeling paint. Repaint porch steps and railings yearly with durable deck paint. Wash winter grime and dust off the front door and door frame. Repaint or stain the front door to protect wood doors and give the whole home a little face lift. Consider using a fun accent color such as barn red, black, hunter green, navy blue or gold, depending on the other colors on your home’s exterior. You may want to add built-in planters to a deck or front porch and change the plants with the season.
Check for roof dams. Now that the worst of the weather is behind us, pull a ladder up to the roof to check the valleys and remove accumulations of sticks, leaves, tree needles and other storm debris. Similar to the dangers posed by melting snow on a roof, dammed-up debris can let moisture penetrate the roofing and reach into structural timbers and walls, causing rot and mold. Also, check the flashings, or metal seals, around roof joints, chimneys, skylights and other structures that penetrate a roof for holes or rust. Make repairs or call a professional.
Many consumers consider selling their home directly but eventually turn to REALTORS®. Smart home sellers realize they need the expertise in pricing their home, making connections with REALTORS® working with buyers, arranging and staffing open houses, and coordinating with other professionals in the sales process.
Only about half of all real estate agents are REALTORS® - the top half, in our not-so-humble opinion. REALTORS® work independently, for small agencies, or for large brokerages. They help people buy and sell residential or commercial properties, vacation homes, and land; they conduct appraisals; they operate in the United States and in other countries; some specialize in auctions; and others are buyer's representatives.
Renting is a very frustrating way of life. The money you pay every month disappears, leaving you with few benefits other than a roof over your head. Compared to owning a home, renting is a futile exercise that leaves you with nothing after your lease is up. It’s no surprise that people want to get out of the rent race, and here are 10 reasons why people decide to buy a home versus renting.
1. They Want to Build Equity
Homebuyers build equity as their property increases in value over time. This equity has many benefits, including the ability of a homebuyer to leverage equity in lines of credit to make repairs or additions to their home. Equity is a powerful thing and a natural consequence of home ownership. Renters never gain equity in their rental space, and at the end of their lease they are thrown out on the street with nothing to show for years of on time rental payments.
Wells Fargo & Co. has dramatically lowered credit score requirements for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgages, the first major lender to do so following pressure from the agency and housing advocates.
Beginning last month, Wells began accepting applications in its retail branches for FHA loans from borrowers with FICO scores as low as 500. Previously, it required a score of at least 600 for retail FHA borrowers. The minimum FICO score remains 640 at the company's wholesale and correspondent channels.
For borrowers with credit scores ranging from 500 to 579, a 10 percent down payment is required, and the down payment may not be a gift or be part of a down payment assistance program.
Borrowers with credit scores of 580 to 599 are required to put down 5 percent, and the down payment may not be a gift or part of a down payment assistance program.
Borrowers with a credit score of 600 or higher are required to have a 3.5 percent down payment, and a gift is acceptable. For all borrowers, seller concessions are limited to 3 percent.
FHA Commissioner David Stevens has been urging lenders in the federal mortgage insurance program to lower their minimum credit score overlays to reach more people.
Tom Goyda, a Wells spokesman, says the bank "is committed to responsibly serving a wide range of borrowers." Wells was one of 17 lenders – including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase – that agreed to meet with NCRC officials to discuss ways to comply with FHA's requirements.
By accepting lower FICO scores in the retail channel, Wells appears to have struck a compromise that allows big lenders to maintain credit overlays. Other major lenders are expected to follow Wells Fargo’s lead.
via Santa Ana Business News Examiner
Comey & Shepherd Realtors personalizes shopping for a home with it’s new Lifestyle Map Search Feature! Lifestyle search is available at www.mycityliving.com and www.comey.com within the Greater Cincinnati Property Search tool.
With nearly 90 percent of home buyers shopping online for their next house, the variety and competition among online search tools is steadily ramping up.
Among the latest: Lifestyle mapping and search engine features aimed at helping consumers go beyond traditional online searches that are typically limited to location and price.
At Mariemont-based Comey & Shepherd Realtors, the firm recently launched a Lifestyle Map Search option on its website, www.comey.com. The new tool compiles more than 100 levels of data meant to help home buyers personalize their search.
In addition to recently being named The 5th Most Affordable City in America, Cincinnati has been ranked as the 15th Most Undervalued Housing Market In The Nation. Both of these recent mentions speak volumes about how great of a city Cincinnati is to live in from a financial and real estate standpoint.
Thanks to a combination of affordable real estate and a healthy ratio of income to living costs Cincinnati is one of the Most Affordable Cities in America. At the same time, in being the 15th Most Undervalued Housing Market, you are getting more for your money in terms of real estate in Cincinnati. Read the below article on Cincinnati’s housing market being undervalued.
We are starting to hear from real estate professionals that a growing number of purchasers are young adults being persuaded to buy now. Who are the people selling them on the American Dream? Their parents! It seems that parents of some adult children are strongly suggesting that their children take advantage of the low cost of homeownership available today. Some moms and dads are helping financially and are even co-signing for the mortgage.
At first, we found this to be rather surprising. However, after thinking about it, it made complete sense. Here are the reasons why.
Do the Math
Let’s look at the financial aspects of renting vs. buying. With house prices falling and rental prices rising in many markets, the possibility that owning a home could cost less than renting one is growing.