April 13 2017

New Homes Directory Adds New Amenities Filter

New Homes Directory Map Amenities Filter

New Homes Directory is always looking for ways to evolve and create a better quality experience for the homebuyers so we are excited to announce the new Amenities filter on the NHD website! Homebuyers that visit NewHomesDirectory.com currently have the ability to narrow down their new home search by filtering communities based on offered neighborhood amenities in Map View through the Filters bar. The filter allows visitors to focus on the features that are most important to them by sorting through home types, prices, and number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

NHD is excited about the newest addition to the filter bar which creates an even more focused search by displaying communities based on the amenities they offer such as pools, gated communities, parks, clubhouses, homes with views and golf courses to name a few. This new functionality is displayed on any “Map View” using the “Filters” bar and will create an overall greater experience for the NHD visitors.

 

 

 

 


April 30 2016

Reasons behind California's High Housing Costs

California Housing Cos

The state of California is known for its high cost in housing. We took a look at why and how the market can move forward to make home ownership more affordable in California. Here is what we found:

1. In the last 30 years, California has struggled to make housing affordable due to stagnate wages and high land costs. When the recession hit in the early 90s, this only accelerated the trend by increasing rent by 3% while the states’ income dropped by 6%.

2. As home prices rose, not only did it prevent lower income homeowners from moving up, it also kept out lower income workers from buying into the higher housing regions. This disturbs the region’s economy and affects the middle–income professionals like nurses and teachers. This puts jobs and incomes on the line and forces individuals to move elsewhere.

3. While the focus on making housing more affordable tends to lean toward reducing home prices, it may need to lean more towards increasing the local income. According to Kerry Vandell, an economics professor at UC Irvine, “In the middle, you’re in a position of instability.” There is just not enough growth for middle income individuals to afford homeownership.

4. When we talk about affordable housing, we are not just talking about the price tag for a new home. In fact, home prices have become much more affordable since the housing market bubble burst. But homeownership levels are down due to tight mortgage funding.

To improve the buying statistics, local incomes need to rise. This will be hard with a low volume of homes being built, which increases the demand and drives prices up even further, but it also slows down local economy with construction being down. New home construction offers the biggest employment opportunities and motivates the local economy. Overall, to increase the affordability of homeownership for the lower and middle class, people need to make the income to match the standard of living.


March 30 2016

Real Estate has Heated Up in March 2016

2016 Spring Home Sales

Like the weather, our nation’s real estate market is heating up. March real estate numbers show we will not have to wait for April showers to bring May flowers for this home buying season to be in full bloom.

Prices are continuing to climb as the inventory of homes, while steadily increasing, is not meeting the demand of home buyers. The national median listing price for a home during March was $238,000, an increase since February by 3%, and 8% since March last year. While it is normal to see an increase in home sales during spring, with demand growing faster than homes being built, homes are selling at a faster pace.

Returning to the market are homebuyers that tried last year to purchase a home but were either outbid or unable to find a home within their financial desires at the time. With home prices up, current homeowners are now in place where they can sell their current home and use the equity for a down payment to move up.

When the number of homebuyers increases this home buying season, along with the lowest amount of inventory in three years, homebuyers need to be ready to be competitive. As a buyer, make sure you are pre-approved and have all your documents and funds available for the loan process so you can act quickly when you find a new home.


March 23 2016

Guide to Buying New Construction Homes

New Home Construction

When in the market to buy a home, you may want to check out new construction homes. New homes range in many price points for those looking to move up to first time homebuyers, from both large national builders to small local builders. To find out if new construction is the right fit for you, here are a few pointers to keep in mind.

How to find a new home

Unlike resale, new homes usually are not listed on MLS. To cut down cost of sales, homebuilders hire on-site sales agents instead of local realtors. This means the sales agent may not be a member of the local MLS.

So how do you find new home construction? Homebuilders advertise their new communities online as well as billboards and street signs. Make sure if you are working with a realtor, you inform them you are interested in buying a new construction home, or search online for new homes in your area.

If you search for a new home online, you can take out most of the leg work by narrowing down the homes that fit your criteria before even stepping in a community sales office. You can search by price, square footage and bed and bathroom counts. Once you find a new home which fits your needs, you can fill out an interest request form right on the builder’s website, or print driving directions to visit the community.

Homebuilders may sell you a home before it’s built

Homebuilders often sell a new home before construction on the home starts. There are two reasons for this. The first is so the homebuyer can customize the home with the options they would like. Usually, as a new homebuyer, you will be able to pick out your cabinets, fixtures, appliances, and flooring, as well as other structural options such as taller ceilings, separate shower and tub and added den/guest room.

The second reason is the builder sets up a financial plan for how many homes they believe they will sell in a particular market before they break ground. This means they will need to sell as many homes as quickly as possible to make their financial goal.

How do you buy a home you have never even seen? The builder will build model homes of the floor plans they offer in that community. This allows you to walk through each floor plan and see the options that are offered to you. This allows you to get a feel of what your new home will look like. Once you pick a floor plan, you may be able to pick the lot you would like your home to be built. Most communities have certain models on certain lots in the community plan. This ensures that no two models are right next to each other and maintains the esthetics of the neighborhood.

Once you pick your floor plan and location within the community, the sales agent at that time will ask for a deposit. The deposit to hold the lot could be as little as a couple thousand dollars up to 10% of the purchase price.

New homes are sold in phases

Communities release homes available for purchase in phases. Although a home builder may build a total of 100 homes in a community, not all of the homes will be available at once.

Buying a home in the first phase can possibly save you money. If the first phase of homes sell quickly at their asking price and the real estate market is doing well, the builder may raise the price on the next phase of homes. Being the first buyers of a new community may get you the best discounts. A community may take years to sell out and the last phases of homes for sale are usually 10% more than the first phase.

Builders need to get the first set of homes under contract as quickly as possible so their community seems desirable for the next round of buyers. Plus, the quicker the first phase of homes sell, the better the community’s outcome looks for the builder’s investment.

Buying a new home in the first phase of sales does has some disadvantages. Being one of the first home buyers, you are committed to the success of the community. If the community struggles to sell and you choose not to continue with the purchase of the new home, you may lose your deposit. During the housing bubble burst in the early 2000’s, many buyers were stuck in communities that had stalled in sales.

You may be able to get discounts for upgrades

Say you missed the first phase of home sales and a community is coming to a close with only a few homes left. The builder may be more willing to negotiate to close out the community. These negotiations are not on the price, but on the upgrades. The builder will not want to have public record that they sold the last few homes at a reduced price so instead they offer the buyer upgraded packages, such as hardwood or tiled flooring or higher-end appliances. This could add up to thousands of dollars in upgrades, making it a better deal for the buyer.

Buying new construction has many perks; not only being the first person to live in a home, but having flexibility to pick your options and the peace of mind in knowing your new investment has a warranty that will keep you relatively worry free for quite some time. All in all, a wonderful option when looking to purchase your new home.


January 15 2016

5 Reasons 2016 is the Year to Buy a New Home

Buying a New Home in 2016

While you may have already made your New Year resolutions, I have one more for you to add to the list: buy a new home. Here are five home-buying reasons that make 2016 the year to buy while ringing in the New Year:

Reason No. 1: Even though we have been on the edge of our seats since the 3rd quarter of 2015, and we know they are going to sneak up any minute, interest rates are STILL at historic lows. Interest rates on home loans are low with a 30-year fixed-rate home loan still hovering around the 3.60% to 4% range.

Reason No. 2: Home prices are stabilizing and the trend of climbing costs has finally steadied. These leveling prices are allowing home buyers to have more negotiating power with sellers even in the competitive markets.

Reason No. 3: Rents are outpacing home values. While rent had skyrocketed in 2015, an 8% rent hike is predicted for 2016, according to Rento.com. When rent values rise above home values, it becomes more affordable to own then rent.

Reason No. 4: The FHA predicts a 37% annual premium cut. Many first time home buyers have less than 20% to put down on their home. This requires them to obtain mortgage insurance. However if you loan from the Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, your down payment can be as low as 3.5%, even with bad credit. The FHA offers fees from .85%, making your mortgage way lower than from a conventional loan. The FHA-predicted premium cut should welcome around 250,000 first-time home buyers into their first home in 2016. Why not be one of those new home buyers?

Reason No. 5: Tax breaks! Homeowners receive tax breaks on the monthly interest they pay on their home loan as well as on their property tax and any other home related cost.

This is your year to make those home buying dreams a reality!


September 30 2015

Home Mortgage Rates Fall Below 4%

The aftermath of financial economic news of China combined with the Federal Reserve and housing markets, leads to a 6 point drop in interest rates, making the average thirty-year mortgage rate only 3.98%. While interest rates had stayed relatively low during the first half of 2015, this marks the first time rates dipped below 4% since June.

According to the survey released by Freddie Mac, mortgage rates fell as followed:

•    15-year fixed loan rates, on average, rates are 3.17%, down 3.21% from last week and 3.25% from this time last year.
•    5-year Treasury-indexed adjustable loan rates are 2.95%, down 2.97% from last week and 3.01% from this time last year
•    1-year Treasury-indexed adjustable loan rates are 2.52% down 2.54% from last week and 2.38% from this time last year.

Since the housing bubble burst in 2007, rates have been at historic lows, however rarely dropped below 5% until 2009. The reason for this low rate is simple; it’s the combination of the Federal Reserve’s undefended interest rate plan, China’s volatile stock market and fall in home prices by 0.7% that negatively affected the housing market.

So how long with these 2015 record low interest rates last? The Federal Reserve plans to increase rates once they see an improvement in the economy, especially in the labor market. As of right now, 30-year mortgage rates remain in the balance with their associated Treasury bond rates and monetary policy. One thing for sure, now is the time to buy before rates go up. To search for new homes in your area, visit www.newhomesdirectory.com.


May 5 2015

Why Home Prices are Heating Up

Why Home Prices are Heating Up

Weather is not the only thing getting warmer this summer, so is the housing market. Starting in 2012, home prices started to rise, and by 2013 we saw double digit growth. While 2015 is at a slower pace than that of 2013, prices are still growing.

In the current market, it is common to see bidding wars and offers above asking price in many local markets. San Francisco’s current average median listed price is $1,099,000, yet 74% of homes are being sold within two months of being placed on the market. Some markets are exceeding prices of that during the housing boom, like Denver and Dallas. This may become an issue if home prices continue to rise while incomes and inventory stays stagnate.

Why are home prices increasing? The answer is simple: supply and demand. There are more homebuyers then homes available to purchase and current homeowners are not selling. In a normal real estate market, homeowners sell their homes to be able to move up or to downsize, creating inventory for first-time homebuyers. With little inventory of resale homes on the market, we see price increases in both resale and new homes for sale. 

Current homebuyers may be cautious to sell their homes for two reasons. One, they may be afraid they will not find a suitable new home available for purchase. Or, two, their current home may still be underwater or have low equity due to the housing market crash in 2008. Either way, without inventory on the existing side of home sale, first-time homebuyers are being shut out from the market.

Even if homeowners start to flood the market with “For Sale” signs, home builders are still not keeping up with demand. Builders are hesitant, and last year only one million new homes were built. A normal market will see around 1.6 million new homes.

When you combine rising prices with low inventory, you may have a formula for another housing bubble. Like in 2008, this new market is inflating from over demand and low supply. However, a major difference is, unlike the poor lending habits in the early 2000’s that allowed buyers to take on loans they could not afford, this market is backed by mortgages homebuyers can actually afford to pay off. Only time will tell if supply will be able to meet demand and if home prices will even out to a healthy market that both homebuyer and shoppers will benefit from.


March 30 2015

Home Sales Up 3% Making Spring A Great Start for the Housing Market

Home Sales Up this Spring

The housing market is in full bloom this season with pending home sales already up 3% in February. According to the National Association of Realtors, signed home contracts are up 12% from a year ago and the highest they have been in two years.

Chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, Lawrence Yun, said, “Pending sales showed solid gains last month, driven by a steadily-improving labor market, mortgage rates hovering around 4 percent and the likelihood of more renters looking to hedge against increasing rents.”

The only thing currently slowing down the market is low inventory. Lack of homes available for purchase is making for a highly competitive housing market and is increasing home prices. So far we are on track for a great home buying season!


March 12 2015

Survival Guide to the Home Buying Season – 5 Tips for Your Dream Home Hunt

Survival Guide to the Home Buying Season

Signs of spring are starting to arise; buds on the trees are sprouting, birds are singing…. and “For Sale” signs are starting to pop up on lawns across the country. Before you know it, house hunters will crowd the streets and the bidding wars will begin as the weather and home buying season heats up.

Here are 5 tips to help you survive the hunt for your dream home this spring.

Your Dream Home Hunt Tip #1: Know Your Market
Knowing your local housing market can save you a costly mistake. Perhaps there is a high demand for townhomes in your market or nearby new home communities are placing a premium price over resale homes. The quicker you know the value of the local housing market, the quicker you can make the smart home buying purchase.

Your Dream Home Hunt Tip #2: Have Your Laptop Charged and Your Car Gassed Up

A great place to start and narrow down your search for a new home is online; about 90% of home buyers began their home buying process on the Internet. Online directories are a quick way to find a home in the location you want, with the right size and the price range you are searching for. This saves you time and money instead of driving to several communities that may be out of your price range or don’t offer a floor plan that fits your needs.

Once you narrow done your search, it’s time to enjoy the warm weather as you visit each property. Make sure and hit the road running when you find a home that is the perfect fit. They don’t call it a home buying season for nothing. Inventory goes quickly during the warmer months and you will not want to miss out on placing a bid on your dream home.

Your Dream Home Hunt Tip #3: Take Advantage of the Low Mortgage Rates NOW!!!!
We may never see mortgage rates this low during a home buying season EVER again. In fact, rates are so low that in many neighborhoods, monthly mortgage payments are lower than rent! The longer you wait to purchase that dream home the higher the chances interest rates will rise and along with your mortgage payment. It has been predicted that we should see rates remaining low through spring.

Spring home buyers will also benefit from the Federal Housing Authority new lowered annual insurance premium that went from 1.35% to .85% of a home loan for those who make a low down payment. This should save home owners on average of $900 a year.

Your Dream Home Hunt Tip #4: Your Dream Home needs a Dream Team
First things first: make sure you have completed the mortgage application and know the amount you are prequalified for before you even start to shop. Once this is done and you found a home that was built for you, make sure you have a professional home buying team in your corner to avoid those costly bidding wars we see during this season. You will need a realtor, lender and inspector all ready and at your disposal for when that times comes to place a bid on your dream home.

Your Dream Home Hunt Tip #5: Winning the Bidding War
Ok, you did your research on the local housing market, you narrowed down your home search online, your dream team is ready and at your side and you finally found the home of your dreams up for sale… but now you are stuck in a bidding war with another home buyer. Here are some ways to help you win that war, without bidding more than you can afford.

One bidding war strategy that does not affect your pockets is a contingency clause. Are you willing to forego any contingencies in the terms of the contract, like home inspection or appraisal contingencies? Warning though; forgoing any of these is a risk to the home buyer. For a safer route, you can always add an escalation clause to the offer. An escalation clause is a set amount you are willing to pay over any other bid on the same home. Say you add an escalation clause of $1,000. If another home buyer places a bid for $200,000, your bid will automatically be $201,000.

There are little ways you can win over the seller as well. See if the seller has a close date they are aiming for and let them know you will make that deadline.

Now you are ready to swing into spring’s home buying season and find your dream home!


February 17 2015

The 10 Things Home Builders Expect to See 2015

Home Builders Outlook for 2015 - Multifamily Building

When 2014 came to a close, the National Association of Realtors reported sales of pre-owned homes fell short from 2013 totals. Yet, new home sales increase by 1.8%. Even though price gains slowed for previously owned homes, builder confidence remained high for the last 2 quarters of 2014.

Why are builders so optimistic with such unclear signals? Simply the data between pre-owned and new construction are showing a housing market that is shifting from a rapid recovery into a more stable market. Here are the 10 expectations of home builders for 2015 for this new stable market:

1. Builders Shift to more Affordable Homes
During the recovery, home builders switched their model to building fewer homes then selling those homes at a more expensive listing price. This was mostly due to the cost of land being out of reach to many home builders. Now that the recovery is over and land is more obtainable, home builders are going to try and push past the average sales mark of 450,000 per year to 500,000 in 2015. To do this they are going to need to sell more homes at a less expensive price. Having lenders willing to give out home loans to those with credit scores below 640 will help home builders reach this goal. The average home buyer will be able to afford the product the builder is offering and, in return, allow builders to meet their goal.

2. Say Good Bye to Investors, Hello Us Normal Folk
Great news for those looking to purchase a home in 2015 they actually plan on living in. The home buying process is going to get much easier for those looking to buy their own homes as investors leave the market and lenders make it easier to be approved for a home loan. While inventory stays low, it becomes harder to find a cheap bargain on home sales. This makes the investors and cash buyers back out of the market. Creating a healthy real estate that benefits both seller and buyers.
 
3. Interest Rates will Rise…?
The Mortgage Bankers’ Association predicts that interest rates will increase by 5% by the end of 2015. Yet in 2014, we heard the same prediction and at the end of the year the average rate for a conventional 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was only at 3.93%.

4. A Slow Growth in Home Price
There was a slow growth in 2014 when it came to home price increase and this trend is to remain the same in 2015. Unlike 2013, where we saw a 10.8% year-over-year price increase due to high inventory and investors, 2015 will bring a slow release of homes for sale and the exit of many investors. This new market will take away any dramatic increase in the average home price and will bring it to a nice slow and steady upward pace.

5. Affordability will Decrease
While a growth in home price may be slow, incomes will increase at an even slower pace. According to Realtor.com home affordability will decrease up to 10% in 2015 and with homes currently just undervalued at 3%, there is not much room before homes will be overvalued, making homes less affordable for those seeking to buy.

6. Millennials – The Next Generation of Homebuyers
Millennials (35 years in age or under) will surpass Gen X (those 35-50 years old) and will become the largest group of homebuyers by the end of 2015. Millennials have been delaying purchasing a home since this generation is known to wait longer then Gen X to get married and have children. While these two key factors are now approaching their desires, the decision to buy a home is becoming their main focus.

7. Rent Increases
In 2015 while Millennial will plan to buy a home within the next 5 years, they will need to save up for a down payment, making them look to renting until they can afford to purchase a new home. This will increase rent prices as Millenial’s dominate the renting market. In fact, it is forecasted that rent will rise 3.5% in 2015. However, this may push some of those Millennials to become home buyers. “As renters’ costs keep going up, I expect the allure of fixed mortgage payments and a more stable housing market will entice many more otherwise content renters into the housing market,” says Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow. The trend of increased rent will also increase the demand for more developments of condos and townhomes.

8. Multifamily will be in Demand
It’s predicted that more people are going to try and sell their homes in 2015. If this trend develops, it will flood the market with pre-owned homes and will make the low inventory of new homes available spike in price. This will push builders to meet the demand of Millennials by building multifamily housing (a more affordable option for new home buyers). Last year we saw a boom in multifamily development and it looks like 2015 will continue in this trend.

9. Foreclosure will Drop
In 2014, each passing month saw a dip from the previous year-over-year average in foreclosures. The trend is at a steady pace and we plan to see foreclosures at pre-disaster level within 2015.

10. The Essentials
In 2015, the real estate market will be driven by economic essentials: incomes, job growth and household growth. Gone are the days when homebuyers will be concerned about national economics and will now be more focused on their present family/personal economic status.

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