Author Archive | JOHN RICE ASSOCIATE BROKER | REALTOR

    Experts Update Their Thoughts On The Economy

    Mainstream Concerns about an Economic Slowdown Revisited

    Mainstream Concerns about an Economic Slowdown Revisited | Simplifying The Market

    Recently, we reported that many experts believe a recession could happen within the next two years. We explained that 70% of economists and market analysts surveyed last year believe that a recession will occur in 2019 or 2020 and that 42% of consumers currently looking to purchase a home also agree that a recession will occur this year or next.

    However, the U.S. economy has performed well in the first quarter of 2019 and that has caused some experts to change their thinking on an impending economic slowdown.

    Here are a few notable examples:

    Anthony Chan, Chief Economist at JPMorgan Chase

    “I feel really comfortable that the economy is slowing down this year, but not going into a recession… It doesn’t look, to me, like the odds of a recession in 2020 are there.”

    Dean Baker, Senior Economist at the Center for Economic & Policy Research

     “To sum up the general picture, the U.S. economy is definitely weakening… However, with wages growing at a respectable pace, and job growth remaining healthy, we should see enough consumption demand to keep the economy moving forward. That means slower growth, but no recession.”

    Lisa Shalett, Chief Investment Officer, Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley

    “I’m not convinced a recession is coming soon… I see an improving housing market (low rates help), a rebound in bank lending, a tight labor market, higher oil prices and well-behaved credit markets. All these point to a stable U.S. economic outlook.”

    Bottom Line

    We are seeing a stronger economy than many had predicted. That has caused some experts to push off the possibility of a recession further into the horizon.

    Source: Michigan Real Estate Updates

    2343 Union Ave Se Alger Heights Open Sunday 2-4PM

    Located in the top ranked Alger Heights neighborhood, this wonderful 4 bedroom well maintained tudor offers loads of character nestled on the beautiful tree lined boulevard. A few of the many charming characteristics include: hardwood floors, ample closet spaces, sunroom, fireplace, updated kitchen featuring: incredible Thermador range, Quartz counter tops, stainless appliances, 2.5 stall over sized garage, fenced in yard, and sidewalk lined streets. Be within walking distance to some of the area top ranked restaurants, plus the library, local hardware store and more. Excellent location for easy access to shopping, dining, entertainment and everything Grand Rapids has to offer. Open Sunday May 5, 2-4PM. Offers due Monday May 6 by 5PM.

    Your Fabulous New Dream Home is Now Available

    Your Fabulous New Dream Home is Now Available

    Your Fabulous New Dream Home is Now Available |Simplifying The Market

    Over the last several years, many “baby boomers” have undergone a metamorphosis. Their children have finally moved out and they can now dream about their own future. For many, a change in lifestyle might necessitate a change in the type of home they live in.

    That two-story, four-bedroom colonial with three bathrooms no longer fits the bill. Taxes are too high. Utilities are too expensive. Cleaning and repair are too difficult. When they decide to travel to be with friends and family, locking up the house is too time-consuming and worrisome.

    Instead, a nice ranch home with 2-3 bedrooms and two baths might better fulfill their new needs and lifestyle. The challenge many “boomers” have faced when trying to downsize to the perfect new home has been a lack of inventory.

    The average number of years a family stays in their home has increased by fifty percent since 2008, causing fewer houses to come to the market. During the same time, new home builders were concentrating most of their efforts on large, luxury, expensive houses.

    However, that is starting to change.

    According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau, sales of newly built, single-family homes rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 692,000 units in March. The great news is that more of those homes were sold at the lower end of the price range.

    In a press release last week, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) explained that:

    “The median sales price was $302,700, with strong gains in homes sold at lower price points. The median price of a new home sale a year earlier was $335,400.”

    NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz offered further detail:

    “We saw a large gain at lower price points where demand is strong. In March of 2019, 50% of new home sales were priced below $300,000, compared to 39% in March of 2018.”

    Bottom Line

    If you are a “boomer” thinking of selling your old house in order to buy a new home that better fits your current lifestyle, now may be the perfect time!

    Source: Michigan Real Estate Updates

    New Study Reveals One Surprising Reason for the Inventory Shortage

    New Study Reveals One Surprising Reason for the Inventory Shortage

    New Study Reveals One Surprising Reason for the Inventory Shortage | Simplifying The Market

    There has been a great amount written on millennials and their impact on the housing market. However, the headlines often contradict each other. Some claim this generation is becoming the largest share of first-time home buyers, while others claim millennials don’t want to own a home, blaming them for the dip in homeownership rate.

    While it is true that millennials have achieved milestones like getting married, having kids, and buying homes later in life than their parents and grandparents did, they are not solely to blame for today’s housing market trends.

    Freddie Mac’s Insight Report explored the impact of the Silent and Baby Boomer Generations on the housing market.

    If millennials are unable to find a home to buy at a young age like their predecessors, then who is living in those homes?

    The answer: Seniors born after 1931 are staying in their homes longer than previous generations, instead choosing to “age in place.”

    Freddie Mac found that,

    “this trend accounts for about 1.6 million houses held back from the market through 2018, representing about one year’s typical supply of new construction, or more than half of the current shortfall of 2.5 million housing units estimated in December’s Insight.

    Older Americans prefer to age in place because they are satisfied with their communities, their homes, and their quality of life.”

    According to the National Association of Realtors, inventory of homes for sale is currently at a 3.5-month supply, which means that nationally we are in a seller’s market. A ‘normal’ housing market requires 6-7 months inventory, a level we have not achieved since August 2012.

    “The most important fundamental in today’s housing market is the lack of houses for sale. This shortage has been identified as an important barrier to young adults buying their first homes.”

    Bottom Line

    If you are one of the many seniors who desires to retire in the same area you’ve always lived, you’re not alone. Will your current house fit your needs throughout retirement? If you have any questions about demand for your house, let’s get together to discuss the opportunities available today!

    Source: Michigan Real Estate Updates

    Are Low Interest Rates Here to Stay?

    Are Low Interest Rates Here to Stay?

    Are Low Interest Rates Here to Stay? | Simplifying The Market

    Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have been on the decline since November, now reaching lows last seen in January 2018. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates came in at 4.12% last week!

    This is great news for anyone who is planning on buying a home this spring! Freddie Mac had this to say,

    “Mortgage interest rates have been steadily declining since the start of 2019. These lower mortgage interest rates combined with a strong labor market should attract prospective homebuyers this spring and could help the housing sector regain its momentum later in the year.”

    To put the low rates in perspective, the average for 2018 was 4.6%! The chart below shows the recent drop, and also shows where the experts at Freddie Mac believe rates will be by the end of 2019.

    Are Low Interest Rates Here to Stay? | Simplifying The Market

    Bottom Line

    If you plan on buying a home this year, let’s get together to start your home search to ensure you can lock in these historically low rates today!

    Source: Michigan Real Estate Updates

    3 Questions You Need To Ask Before Buying A Home

    3 Questions You Need To Ask Before Buying A Home

    If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are probably getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family have your best interests at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market.

    Ask yourself the following three questions to help determine if now is a good time for you to buy in today’s market.

    1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?

    This is truly the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with money.

    For example, a study by realtor.com found that “73% said buying in a good school district was “important” in their search.

    This report supports a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which revealed that the top four reasons Americans buy a home have nothing to do with money. The actual reasons are:

    • A good place to raise children and provide them with a good education
    • A place where you and your family feel safe
    • More space for you and your family
    • Control of that space

    What does owning a home mean to you? What non-financial benefits will you and your family gain from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

    2. Where are home values headed?

    According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median price of homes sold in February (the latest data available) was $249,500. This is up 3.6% from last year. The increase also marks the 84th consecutive month with year-over-year gains.

    Looking at home prices year over year, CoreLogic is forecasting an increase of 4.6%. In other words, a home that costs you $250,000 today will cost you an additional $11,500 if you wait until next year to buy it.

    What does that mean to you?

    Simply put, with prices increasing, it may cost you more if you wait until next year to buy. Your down payment will also need to be higher in order to account for the higher price of the home you wish to buy.

    3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?

    A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long-term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by even a small increase in mortgage rates.

    Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association and NAR have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase over the next twelve months, as you can see in the chart below:

    3 Questions You Need To Ask Before Buying A Home | Simplifying The Market

    Bottom Line

    Only you and your family will know for certain if now is the right time to purchase a home. Talking through these questions will help you make that decision.

    Source: Michigan Real Estate Updates

    Homeowners: Now Is A Good Time To Sell Your House

    Homeowners: Now Is A Good Time To Sell Your House

    Homeowners: Now Is A Good Time To Sell Your House | Simplifying The Market

    Every month, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) releases their Seller Traffic Index as a part of their Realtors Confidence Index. In the latest release, NAR reported that homeowners have been reluctant to sell their houses. This is reflected when broken down by state. Only 11 states have a stable level of seller traffic compared to the remainder of the country, which came in with a weak rating.

    As we can see in the following table, the number of people who moved last year is half of what the rate was in the 1980s.

    Homeowners: Now Is A Good Time To Sell Your House | Simplifying The Market

    This does not come as a surprise, as tenure length (the number of years someone owns a home before moving again) among existing homeowners has increased. It has risen from an average of 6 years from 1985 to 2008, up to 9.5 years over the last few years. This is shown in the graph below:

    Homeowners: Now Is A Good Time To Sell Your House | Simplifying The Market

    As we can see, there is a pent-up seller demand!

    What led to this change in behavior? Falling prices during the housing crisis led to many homeowners having negative equity in their home, meaning they owed more on their mortgage than the home was worth. Others were able to secure a low interest rate on their mortgage and have not been quick to obtain a new mortgage with a higher rate.

    Will this trend continue?

    Recently NAR reported that “69% of people believe now is a good time to sell a home.”

    With a strong economy, low interest rates, and wages continuing to rise, some homeowners will be ready to put their house on the market and move up to the home of their dreams!

    Bottom Line

    There is a great opportunity for sellers to take advantage of the current real estate market before new inventory comes to market. If you are considering selling your house or would like to know your options, let’s get together today to help you understand the possibilities available to you!

    Source: Michigan Real Estate Updates

    What to Consider When Choosing Your Home To Retire In

    What to Consider When Choosing Your Home To Retire In

    What to Consider When Choosing Your Home To Retire In |Simplifying The Market

    As more and more baby boomers enter retirement age, the question of whether they should sell their homes and move has become a hot topic. In today’s housing market climate, with low available inventory in the starter and trade-up home categories, it makes sense to evaluate your home’s ability to adapt to your needs in retirement.

    According to the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA), there are 7 factors that you should consider when choosing your retirement home.

    1.Affordability

    “It may be easy enough to purchase your home today but think long-term about your monthly costs. Account for property taxes, insurance, HOA fees, utilities – all the things that will be due whether or not you have a mortgage on the property.”

    Would moving to a complex with homeowner association fees actually be cheaper than having to hire all the contractors you would need to maintain your home, lawn, etc.? Would your taxes go down significantly if you relocated? What is your monthly income going to be like in retirement?

    2. Equity

    “If you have equity in your current home, you may be able to apply it to the purchase of your next home. Maintaining a healthy amount of home equity gives you a source of emergency funds to tap, via a home equity loan or reverse mortgage.”

    The equity you have in your current home may be enough to purchase your retirement home with little to no mortgage. Homeowners in the US gained an average of over $9,700 in equity last year.

    3. Maintenance

    “As we age, our tolerance for cleaning gutters, raking leaves and shoveling snow can go right out the window. A condominium with low-maintenance needs can be a literal lifesaver, if your health or physical abilities decline.”

    As we mentioned earlier, would a condo with an HOA fee be worth the added peace of mind of not having to do the maintenance work yourself?

    4. Security

    “Elderly homeowners can be targets for scams or break-ins. Living in a home with security features, such as a manned gate house, resident-only access and a security system can bring peace of mind.”

    As scary as that thought may be, any additional security is helpful. An extra set of eyes looking out for you always adds to peace of mind.

    5. Pets

    “Renting won’t do if the dog can’t come too! The companionship of pets can provide emotional and physical benefits.”

    Consider all of your options when it comes to bringing your ‘furever’ friend with you to a new home. Will there be necessary additional deposits if you are renting or in a condo? Is the backyard fenced in? How far are you from your favorite veterinarian?

    6. Mobility

    “No one wants to picture themselves in a wheelchair or a walker, but the home layout must be able to accommodate limited mobility.”

    Sixty is the new 40, right? People are living longer and are more active in retirement, but that doesn’t mean that down the road you won’t need your home to be more accessible. Installing handrails and making sure your hallways and doorways are wide enough may be a good reason to look for a home that was built to accommodate these needs.

    7. Convenience

    “Is the new home close to the golf course, or to shopping and dining? Do you have amenities within easy walking distance? This can add to home value!”

    How close are you to your children and grandchildren? Would relocating to a new area make visits with family easier or more frequent? Beyond being close to your favorite stores and restaurants, there are a lot of factors to consider.

    Bottom Line

    When it comes to your forever home, evaluating your current house for its ability to adapt with you as you age can be the first step to guaranteeing your comfort in retirement. If after considering all these factors you find yourself curious about your options, let’s get together to evaluate your ability to sell your house in today’s market and get you into your dream retirement home!

    Source: Michigan Real Estate Updates

    Home Buyer Demand Will Be Strong for Years to Come

    Home Buyer Demand Will Be Strong for Years to Come

    Home Buyer Demand Will Be Strong for Years to Come | Simplifying The Market

    There has been a lot written about millennials and their preference to live in city centers above their favorite pizza place. Some have even gone so far as to say that millennials are a “Renter-Generation”.

    And while this might be true for some millennials, more and more research has surfaced that shows for the vast majority, owning a home is a major part of their American Dream!

    New research shows that 66% of millennials who currently rent are determined to buy a home! Seventy-three percent of those surveyed by Pulsenomics plan to buy a home in the next five years, with 40% planning to do so within the next two years!

    Home Buyer Demand Will Be Strong for Years to Come | Simplifying The Market

    “Millennials want to own a home as much as prior generations,” Ali Wolf, Director of Economic Research at Meyers Research says. “We saw millennial shoppers scooping up homes in 2018—and 2019 will be no different.”

    Bottom Line

    You’re home maybe a perfect fit for this new wave of buyers. Let’s get together to review the best possible strategy for success for your housing dreams!

    Source: Michigan Real Estate Updates

    Why Pet-Friendly Homes Are in High Demand

    Why Pet-Friendly Homes Are in High Demand

    Why Pet-Friendly Homes Are in High Demand | Simplifying The Market

    One of the many benefits of owning your own home is the freedom to find your ‘furever’ friend. By pointing out the aspects of your home that make it ‘pet-friendly’ in your listing, you’ll attract these buyers, rather than alienating the 68% of American households that have a pet!

    If you are one of the many homeowners looking to list your home for sale, how do you stand out to the millions of pet parents searching for their dream home?

    Whether a dog person, a cat person, or someone who prefers the company of another pet species, 99% of pet owners say that they consider their animal to be family. When finding a home, 95% of animal owners believe it is important that a housing community allows animals.

    A study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that there are many aspects of the home buying, selling and owning experience that have been greatly impacted by our love for our pets.

    This should come as no surprise, as $72 billion was spent on pets in the U.S in 2018. NAR’s President William E. Brown shed some light on the impact of pet owners and their home search.

    “It is important to understand the unique needs and wants of animal owners when it comes to homeownership. REALTORS® understand that when someone buys a home, they are buying it with the needs of their whole family in mind; ask pet owners, and they will enthusiastically agree that their animals are part of their family.”

    The Power of Pets When Choosing the Right Home

    • 89% of pet owners say they would not give up their pet due to a housing restriction
    • 81% of Americans say their pets play a role in their housing situation
    • 31% of animal owners have refused to put in an offer on a home because it wasn’t a good fit for their animals
    • 19% of Americans say they would consider moving for their pet
    • 12% percent have moved for their pet

    New home builders have actually begun installing retractable pet gates that tuck away neatly inside door jams as a highly requested feature in new homes to attract pet-parents.

    So, if you are a homeowner looking to sell in today’s pet-friendly environment, point out the features of your home that will attract pet owners:

    • Fully fenced in backyard – (91% of pet owners ranked this as the most important feature of a home to accommodate their pet)
    • Locations of dog parks/walking paths/pet-friendly beaches in the area (71% ranked this as the top feature of any neighborhood they would consider)
    • Proximity to veterinarians/groomers/pet supply stores (31%)

    Bottom Line

    Americans love their pets and will look for pet-friendly features in the home they wish to buy, so take advantage of this knowledge by pointing out your home’s ability to meet their needs.

    Source: Michigan Real Estate Updates