3 Things to Know in the Housing Market Today!

3 Things to Know in the Housing Market Today!

A lot is happening in the world, and it’s having a direct impact on the housing market. The reality is this: some of it is positive and some of it may be negative. Some we just don’t know yet.

The following three areas of the housing market are critical to understand: interest rates, building materials, and the outlook for an economic slowdown.

1. Interest Rates

One of the most important things to consider when buying a home is the interest rate you will be charged to borrow the money. In our recent post we posed the question, “Are Low Interest Rates Here To Stay?” The latest information from Freddie Mac makes it appear they are. We are currently at a 21-month low in interest rates.

2. Building Materials

Talk of tariffs could also affect the housing market. According to a recent article, the National Association of Home Builders reports that as much as $10 billion in goods imported from China are used in homebuilding. Depending on the outcome of the tariff and trade discussions between several countries, there could be as much as a 25% boost in the cost of building materials.

3. Economic Slowdown

In a prior blog post on this topic, we began the year with many economic leaders thinking we could expect a recession in late 2019 or early 2020. As spring approached, we reported that economists had started to push that projection past 2020. Now, three leading surveys indicate that it may begin in the next eighteen months.

Bottom Line

We are in a strong housing market. Wages are increasing, home prices are appreciating, and mortgage rates are the lowest they have been in 21 months. Whether you are thinking of buying or selling, it’s a great time to be in the market.

CLOSING COSTS WHEN BUYING A HOME

CLOSING COSTS WHEN BUYING A HOME

If you have saved up your down payment and are ready to start your home search, one other piece of the puzzle is to make sure that you have saved enough for your closing costs.

Freddie Mac defines closing costs as:
“Closing costs, also called settlement fees, will need to be paid when you obtain a mortgage.  These are fees charged by people representing your purchase, including your lender, real estate agent, and other third parties involved in the transaction. Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of your purchase price.”
We’ve recently heard from many first-time homebuyers that they wished that someone had let them know that closing costs could be so high. If you think about it, with a low down payment program, your closing costs could equal the amount that you saved for your down payment.
Here is a list of just some of the fees/costs that may be included in your closing costs, depending on where the home you wish to purchase is located:
Government recording costs
Appraisal fees
Credit report fees
Lender origination fees
Title services (insurance, search fees)
Tax service fees
Survey fees
Attorney fees
Underwriting fees

IS THERE ANY WAY TO AVOID PAYING CLOSING COSTS?
Work with your lender and real estate agent to see if there are any ways to decrease or defer your closing costs. There are no-closing mortgages available, but they end up costing you more in the end with a higher interest rate, or by wrapping the closing costs into the total cost of the mortgage (meaning you’ll end up paying interest on your closing costs).
Home buyers can also negotiate with the seller over who pays these fees. Sometimes the seller will agree to assume the buyer’s closing fees in order to get the deal finalized.

BOTTOM LINE
Speak with your lender and agent early and often to determine how much you’ll be responsible for at closing.Finding out you’ll need to come up with thousands of dollars right before closing is not a surprise anyone is ever looking forward to.

The Merry Month of May – places to go in Orange and Sussex Counties and ideas for your home

The Merry Month of May – places to go in Orange and Sussex Counties and ideas for your home

It is feeling more and more like summer every day! The merry month of May is that wonderful blend of summer-like weather, mixed with rain that brings everything green to life! Trees have blossomed, grass is green. And the farms, wooded areas, low lying mountain ranges and country roads beckon us with a beauty that is the backdrop to living in Orange and Sussex Counties. With almost a month to go before the official start of summer, here are ideas for outdoor and indoor living, and events and places to go in Orange and Sussex Counties.

Love spending time outside? Try these ideas for outdoor living…  

Homebnc.com has 42 Summer Porch Ideas to inspire you. And the wonderful thing about some of these ideas and projects are their flexibility. Use your imagination to customize them for your porch, deck, lawn, or even inside your home. If you like to garden and want to try raised beds, Homebnc.com as some terrific ideas to get your garden growing. Try one or more of their best DIY raised garden bed ideas.

…And for indoor living!

When the family spends a lot of time outside, eventually they have to come in. And we all know what a day of yard work, gardening, playing, or beach going means. Dirt, sand, mud, etc. into getting tracked in your spring-cleaned home! Again, Homebnc.com has the best mudroom ideas – even if you don’t have an actual mudroom!

Now that you’re back inside, Housebeautiful.com will inspire you with 18 Fresh Summer Paint Colors That Make Every Day Feel Like a Vacation.  Further, if you decide you’d like to take on another DIY Project, Housebeautiful.com has 10 Contact Paper Decorations Ideas to Spruce Up Your Home Without Overspending. From creating your own artwork, to updates in kitchens and more, contact paper and removable wallpaper can help beautify your home.

Orange and Sussex Counties – Things to Do, Places to Go

Woodstock’s Golden Anniversary!

It’s hard for some of us to believe that Woodstock was half a century ago! It seems like yesterday that some of the greatest musicians of our time got up on that stage at Bethel Woods and performed for over 400,000 people in a 3-day concert that helped define a generation. AAA Northeast has a good article about Woodstock in Your AAA Magazine. And, of course, visit the website for Bethel Woods Center for the Arts for program updates. While the celebration doesn’t take place until August, you might want to order your tickets for a concert or two now! While not in Orange County, the site of Woodstock is close to both Orange and Sussex Counties.

Farmer’s Markets

Support our local farmers and enjoy your own fresh and delicious farm to table meals. Orange County Tourism breaks down the Markets by the days they’re held and gives you opening dates and times of operation. And each market has its own distinct character. So you may want to visit a few of these.

Orange County Farmers Market 2019 Schedule

Sussex County Farmer’s Markets are listed by County in this list from NJMom.com.

And Yelp.com lists reviews of some great places in addition to the above. While the heading reads the Best 10 Farmers Markets in Sussex County, NJ, the list also includes places to go in adjoining Orange County as well.

Vernon Day Food Truck Festival!

This fun event features great food, local vendors and live music. So check it out on Sunday, June 2 from 1 to 4 p.m. 7 Sammis Rd in Vernon. Rain date is June 9.  Event is sponsored by Vernon PAL. So, for more information check their website.

Wineries

We are fortunate to have several local wineries in our area. They provide a relaxing way to enjoy an afternoon or evening. A glass or two of wine. Some offer food. And many offer entertainment during the summer months, so check their websites for schedules.

https://orangetourism.org/explore/attractions/wineries-and-breweries/wineries/

Yelp.com shares reviews by customers for Orange County Wineries.

Crystal Springs Resorts in Sussex, NJ shares some local wineries on their website. Again, because of the close proximity, some are Orange County wineries and are listed above. They also list Ventimiglia Vineyard in Wantage, NJ.

Memorial Day Events

Sometimes the meaning of Memorial Day gets lost in store sales, and a 3-day weekend for many. Let’s remember the reason for this day and think about those who gave their lives in the service of our nation… There are many events throughout Orange and Sussex Counties and surrounding areas…

New Jersey 101.5 Memorial Day Parades and Ceremonies in New Jersey

News12’s Guide to Memorial Day Parades in the Hudson Valley

Recordonline.com Memorial Day Events and Services, Orange County

In Warwick there will be a Memorial Day Remembrance at the Buckbee Center on Colonial Avenue on Thursday, May 23 from 7-8 p.m. Visit the Warwick Chamber of Commerce website for more details.

Green Team Realty’s 2019 Launch Competition Was a Big Success

Green Team Realty’s 2019 Launch Competition Was a Big Success

GT 2019 Launch Logo,

 

 

 

Green Team Realty’s Launch is a competition with a purpose. It provides incentives for Sales Associates to learn or improve their use of Green Team’s Customer Relationship Management system (“CRM”). The ultimate goal is providing the best in customer service and appreciation. By inputting and keeping track of the information and activities pertaining to client transactions, agents are better able to refine their client appreciation programs. Further, maintaining relationships with clients past, present and future in today’s challenging real estate market makes everyone a winner. Geoff Green, President of Green Team Realty, promotes the competition at the beginning of each year. He feels that agents who fully know and use the CRM can provide better services to their clients while also getting better control of their businesses and lives. Besides, a little friendly competition and generous prizes ensure some serious participation.

Thanks to the Team Leaders!

Before announcing the winning teams and individuals, Geoff Green first thanked the team captains for volunteering their time and effort. “These ladies went above and beyond to make this a fruitful competition for all of the Sales Associates. Great job to all team captains!” In the Warwick office, Angela Murphy volunteered to once again serve as a Launch team leader. And Kim Lesley stepped up as team leader of the opposing team.  At the Vernon office, Cathie Witte took on last year’s team leader and individual winner, Keren Gonen.  All four leaders did their best to inspire their teams to become proficient in using the CRM. And, of course, to score the points given for CRM activities.

Angela Murphy           Kim Lesley                  Cathie Witte                     Keren Gonen

The Winning Teams are:

In Warwick, Kim Lesley’s Rock’n’Rollers put up a valiant fight, but Angela’s Murphy’s Master Minds came out on top. And in Vernon, Cathie’s Witte’s Wonders came in with the most points, despite a great showing by Keren’s Gonen’s Greenies.

This year Geoff awarded cash prizes for each of the top ten Sales Associates on the winning teams.  Each sales associate had to have a minimum of 600 points from February 14 to March 31, the length of the Launch competition.

And the Individual Winners from those Winning Teams are:

Dean Diltz was not a member of the winning team. However, as the highest point earner in the Warwick office, he was awarded a special prize.

Looking forward to Launch 2020!

Will our team leaders step up for the challenge again? Which team will score the most points? And what incentives will Geoff offer to motivate everyone!  Stay tuned for February 14, 2020, when Launch 2020 will blast off!

April 2019 Housing Market Update

April 2019 Housing Market Update

The April 2019 Housing Market Update was held on Facebook Live Tuesday, April 16 at 2 p.m.  If you missed the live webinar, you can view it at your convenience by clicking here. You can also sign up for updates at GreenTeamRealty.com/HMU.

Geoff Green, President of Green Team Realty, began the update with some national statistics. Discussions have been going on for months as to what the 2019 would look like. And, for the most part, it’s roaring. At least that is the case in our area, the northeast.

National Housing Market Statistics

Total Existing Home Sales

This chart shows the total existing home sales for every two months, year over year. There was a dip, with things trending down, from the end of 2017 through 2018 nationally. But there is a bump at the beginning of 2019.  And it seems to be busy for everyone right now. The thinking is that this may be another banner year.

Median Price of Existing Home Sales

Prices have very consistently increased over the last 3 to 4 years. And there doesn’t seem to be a reason to anticipate any change in that trajectory any time soon.

Existing Home Prices by Region

Breaking down existing home prices in terms of regions, this shows where we are now versus last year. The Midwest is leading home prices increases, followed by the Northeast.

% Change in Sales

As prices have risen, there are fewer homes across the nation in the $0-$100,000 range. This low inventory has resulted in the change in sales for that price range. However, it is also interesting that on the very high end, transactions of $1 Million+ have faltered and slowed down. When you start to get into those metro areas where $1+ Million is not unusual, people may be starting to find it’s a little out of reach.

Housing Supply at the National Level

The lack of inventory has been seen as a reason for why the number of transactions was softening for the last 12, 14 months; The supply level peaked in 2018 and then came down towards the end of 2018. But it now looks like it may be coming up again. We really need this to happen to keep the transactions going.

Projected Home Price Appreciation

A panel of over 100 economists, real estate experts and investment and market strategists were interviewed for the most recent Home Price Expectations Survey. These experts have raised the projections they made in the 4th quarter of 2018 for 2019 and 2020. They are anticipating a better year than they first thought.

Mortgage Rate Projections

Despite a zooming market and a very solid economy, rates in Geoff’s view are still remaining low. Someone who was looking for a home a year and a half ago may now see rates up a point and think that they are now “high.” However, Geoff says that rates are still historically low. 

Local Housing Market Update

Orange County, NY – Units Sold

We seem to be holding even compared to last year. Perhaps a tick better. This is good news.

Orange County, NY – Average Sales Price

So far this year we’re basically even with last year.

Orange County, NY – Ask to Sold Ratio

Ratio at which a home sells versus the last asking price. The ratio seems to be trending higher which means that demand is still very high. People are willing to pay at or near asking, if not over asking. Bidding wars are still continuing.

Orange County, NY – Days on Market

The days on market continue to drop consistently. Homes are still selling fast, selling quicker each year. All signs point to a continued Seller’s Market.

Sussex County, NJ – Units Sold

Units sold in January and February were lower than in 2018. However, in March the number rose, coming in a tick higher than March 2018.

Sussex County, NJ – Average Price

Sales prices in Sussex have been a bit of a conundrum. Price hasn’t taken hold and there has been a significant one month drop from February to March. This will be an interesting analytic to watch as the year goes on.

Sussex County, NJ – Ask to Sold Ratio

Again, the higher the number, the closer things are selling towards the asking price and the less sellers are having to negotiate off those prices. We’re looking at some very strong numbers here.

Sussex County, NJ – Days on Market

Again, here the lower the number the stronger the market. Here was have a steady pattern of fewer days on the market. Homes are selling faster and faster.

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Meet the Panel

Geoffrey Green, Moderator
President, Green Team Realty                                                                                           

Vikki Garby,
Green Team
New York Realty

Keren Gonen,
Green Team
New Jersey Realty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laura Moritz,
Classic Mortgage

aura Moritz has been with Classic Mortgage for 18 years.

Geoff Green began the panel discussion by asking about the trends they’ve been seeing in the Housing Market Updates and in the market itself. Geoff recalled that the numbers were softening during 2018. Therefore, there was a lot of uncertainty about how the market would be in 2019. However, the numbers seem to be indicating a very good year.

He asked Vikki and Keren what their experiences were in the field. Vikki said that the general market conditions she sees in Orange County, specifically the Warwick, Goshen, Middletown area, indicate a really strong market. There is still a shortage of inventory, which feeds the demand. She has received several new buyers recently coming from outside the area. Plus, many sellers are staying in the area, adding to the number of prospective buyers.

She has noticed more For Sale by Owner signs lately, and has had buyers request to see some of those. Vikki noted that that’s fine; she’s able to show her clients the homes and guide them through the home purchasing process.  She then asked if Keren was seeing the same thing in Sussex County and if it’s a new trend. Keren said they are seeing the same thing in New Jersey.  With today’s technology, some sellers are thinking they can do it on their own. And as Vikki mentioned, there are no issues approaching a FSBO and arranging a showing for their buyers.

In regard to home prices plummeting in Sussex, Keren said a new wave of REO’s has been released. This hasn’t happened in a while. They’re also being more logical in their pricing. That may be why we’re seeing that drop. In addition, there is that same problem of inventory. Recently Keren had buyer request to see a newly listed home over the weekend.  However that home had an accepted offer on it before her clients could see it 4 days later. It’s still a seller’s market.

New Construction

Geoff agreed that there is clearly an inventory shortage. There is real, organic growth in the market. There are many people who can afford a home, and qualify. Yet there are more prospective buyers like this out there than there are suitable homes. In Warwick, in particular, there is a lot of new construction going on. He wondered if around our local counties there is enough new construction yet. He asked what the panelists were seeing. Had they noticed new subdivisions offering more options for their buyers?

Keren said in Sussex, there was Crystal Springs. A large halted construction site there had just been bought up, and there is new things going up. And there are a lot of people interested in them because there is not that much construction around. They also have those houses that have burnt down and had to be totally gutted. Those houses are getting a lot of activity as well.

Vikki is seeing a lot of new construction in the Warwick area specifically, and also in Goshen, Cornwall. She feels it’s a result of the lack of inventory. Geoff noted that he reads a lot of articles from economists, etc. He received an email from a loan company which urged homeowners to become more reasonable in their pricing. There has also been a lot of talk by economists about the importance of  municipalities needing to loosen up their zoning requirements and do what they can to speed up municipalities.

Geoff’s response to these? “Welcome to my world!” Planning boards have gotten tighter and tighter and people are concerned about their communities growing too fast. Regulations have gotten tighter, rather than loosening up. And while Geoff doesn’t believe these things are bad, he’s just saying it’s harder to develop in today’s day and age than it was 50, 60 years ago. There’s just a lot more red tape involved.

Geoff said it will be really interesting to see. America is the place to be. Globally, our economy is far outpacing any other country out there. We’re the “shining city on the hill” again and many people want to be here. Also, many people just don’t want to move.

What’s happening with mortgage financing?

Geoff then asked Laura Moritz where we are with mortgages and where she see rates  going, Further, he noted there seems there is a lot of loan  of money available, and a lot of loan programs. He doesn’t think that’s the problem. Laura responded that she really doesn’t see a problem at all as far as qualified buyers getting financing. Even a few mortgages were done this month for people with credit scores in the 500’s. Underwriting guidelines have really loosened up.  Borrowers may also have what’s called in banking compensating factors  =  their credit is not so great, but they have other factors, Laura is really not seeing any rejections. She also is not seeing houses not appraising for value. The market has been very steady.

Interest rates are very low now. She has locked in and closed some 30 year loans recently at 4-1/4% with 20% down and good credit. With 15 year loans , you’re looking at high 3’s%.

Geoff mentioned that we’ve talked about the appraisal situation often on the housing market updates. He said it was maybe a year or more that it wasn’t so certain that things would appraise and it was difficult. Now that we have in this steadily increasing medium price market appraisers can buy into the fact that this house is worth more than the one down the street because it’s selling six months later and it’s an increasing market. Where it’s hard on appraisers is on the turn, when the market is on its way up or on its way down.

Laura added that some high end properties with “fluff” amenities may not translate to an appraisal. However, ever her high-end appraisals have been coming in on point because they have the comps.

She doesn’t believe that rates will move in either direction very much over the next 6 to 9 months. However, as we know, one catastrophic event or something in the global economy can shift the bond market and it can change on a dime. It does look like rates will hold steady over the summer months.

Laura closed the discussion by noting that it’s a great time to buy a house. She’s seeing a lot of young people and couples trending towards buying a home before getting married in order to skip the renting stage. She loves hearing from them a few years later that they appreciated $70,000 gain and can now buy their forever home. It’s a great time to buy a home in the Northeast. Geoff added that even speaking to average price we’re still really not back to 2006 levels. As much as it’s a seller’s market now, there is still lots of room for growth in price appreciation in our local markets.

May Housing Market Update

The next Housing Market Update will be held on May 21 at 2 p.m. You can stay informed and sign up for Housing Market Updates. Just click here.

 

 

              

 

 

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