Monday, November 23, 2015

Real Estate 2016: 4 Reasons To Move Now

2015 has been a remarkable year for the real estate market: buyers welcomed low mortgage rates; Gen Y continues to be the largest group of homebuyers, accounting for 32%; and median home prices grew at an annual rate of 6%, according to the National Association of Realtors. Many experts are anticipating additional positive growth in the real estate market for 2016, but prospective homeowners may want to take a leap into the market early on. Here are four reasons why you should make your real estate move in early 2016!

1. Mortgage Rates Expected To Climb
Home affordability has been at an all-time high because average home mortgage rates have hovered below 4% all year long. However, Freddie Mac, the government-owned holding company that sells and buys mortgage securities, issued their 2016 mortgage forecast predicting a rise. They are expecting to see the average rate steadily climb above 4%, with 30-year fixed mortgage rates near 5.2% by the end of 2016. The increase is stemming from the Federal Reserve's move to raise short-term interest rates because the economy is strengthening. This means that hopeful homeowners may want to jump on the home hunt now to secure a lower mortgage rate before they increase later in 2016.

2. Slower Median Home Price Growth
As mentioned above, 2015 saw an annual median home price growth rate of 6% and the chief economist at the National Association of Realtors is anticipating a slower and lower rate at 5% for the new year. This is good news to buyers in 2016 because median home prices will remain relatively affordable. On top of that, 39% of Gen Y buyers are looking to move out of rented spaces or their parents' homes, in favor of buying a home since the market is more affordable than ever.

3. Energy Efficiency Is All The Rage
84% of recent homebuyers said that heating and cooling costs are the most important environmental consideration, making new construction residences more desirable as they typically have the latest energy efficient features. In addition, the beginning of the year is typically less saturated with buyers and inventory, which means house hunters can take advantage of less competition and the influx of availability in new construction developments. Scoring an energy-efficient home early on in 2016 could be in the form of single-family homes, condos or new townhomes in NJ that have mass availability compared to previously-owned, older homes.

4. Make Settlement Before Spring 2016
According to the National Association of Realtors, homebuyers took an average of 10 weeks of searching for a home and toured a median of 10 homes before they made a purchase. Since home prices generally begin to increase in the spring, it's wise to make the decision before the prices go up. Additionally, buyers who used the internet were more likely to find more options on the market compared to buyers who did not use the internet, as they only searched for an average of 5 weeks and only toured a median of 5 homes.

As we near the end of the 2015, keep the above factors in mind so you can get the best deal on a new home in 2016! Consider looking into pre-approved mortgages, finding a real estate agent and scouting out new townhomes, condos and houses in your desired location so you can be ready for the market next year. 

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Friday, November 6, 2015

What Realtors Want You To Know About NJ Real Estate Market

The real estate market is constantly changing and if you are home hunting during the fall and winter, it is a little bit different than if you were looking during the spring and summer. While you can certainly purchase a home any time of the year, buyers might feel a little less pressure and stress during the cooler months for a number of reasons. This, of course, is good news to all the buyers who are currently searching for their next dream home! Read on to find out what realtors want you to know about the NJ real estate market during the fall and winter.

Autumn Slowdown
During the spring and summer, home sales are very robust and as we transition into the fall and winter, housing activity tends to slow down. The autumn slowdown usually happens as soon as the new school year starts because families with children would rather not move after they have settled into their academics. Also, this group generally makes up the largest pool of buyers and without them on the market, there's a reduction in buyer competition. Combine that with the upcoming holidays, then you also come across more people wanting to stay put. Nevertheless, what does this mean for buyers who are on the market now?

The good news:

  • The median list price for homes has been on the decline since its peak in July according to and that, of course, favors buyers.

The bad news:

  • Home inventory has also peaked for 2015 and buyers will see fewer choices on the real estate market through the end of the year.
While the bad news seems scary, buyers should realize there are still approximately 1,889,000 total listings in the United States, so chances are that you can still find perfect homes, condos and new townhomes in NJ!

Motivated Sellers
This next point goes hand-in-hand with the available inventory on the market – sellers may be more motivated to sell and that favors buyers tremendously. Buyers may have more wiggle room for negotiations since the seller will know this time of the year has a smaller buyer pool, thus making it more difficult for them. Keep this in mind when searching for homes because you may be the only interested buyer and that power can snag you a great deal.

Additionally, homes that are for sale around the holidays are from serious sellers. If they place a 'for sale' sign on their home, consider that a welcoming sign. The sellers are putting their holiday plans on hold during a time that's normally reserved for friends and family because they need to move for one reason or another. Take that as a consideration when they have their homes priced to sell because it can benefit you greatly.

Watch The Weather
New Jersey is one of the lucky states that experiences each season in the fullest and that can be a good thing for living here but not a good thing when buying a house during the slow season. For instance, if you are on the home hunt now, you'll want to tour open houses as soon as possible because there have been times where winter-like conditions have swept through the state well before the end of the fall season. That means snowfall could happen in the upcoming weeks, which makes it harder to inspect a home thoroughly. Snow can cover many defects, so try to find photos of the house before the white fluff covered it because this can help mitigate some risk.

Faster Turnaround
Lastly, buying a home during the fall and winter could produce faster turnaround services from lenders, inspectors and appraisers. Since we are in the autumn slowdown, there is less work, per se, for these services and that means you have the potential of getting into your new home a lot quicker. But don't expect to get lower interest rates on mortgages just because of the slow market; those rates have many variables that are not necessarily affected by season.

Home hunting can be an exciting process anytime of the year and now you know what to expect going further into the fall and winter months! 

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