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May 22, 2017

Selling Your Home in CT? Is Your Listing 'Pet-Friendly'?

Selling Your Home? Is Your Listing ‘Pet-Friendly’? | Keeping Current Matters

One of the many benefits of owning your own home in CT 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 alienate the majority of Connecticut households that have a pet!

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

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 recent 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 Connecticut's love for their pets.

This should come as no surprise as $66.75 billion was spent on pets in the U.S in 2016, with $70 billion projected for 2017. NAR’s President William E. Brown shed some light on the impact of pet owners and their home search,

“In 2016, 61 percent of U.S. households either have a pet or plan to get one in the future, so 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 in CT

  • 89% of pet owners say they would not give up their pet due to a housing restriction
  • 81% of Connecticut residents 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 CT residents say they would consider moving for their pet
  • 12% percent have moved for their pet

New home builders in CT 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, according to Builder.com.

So, if you are a CT 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

CT residents 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. Contact a Real Estate professional from Dave Jones Realty who can assist with all of your Real Estate needs!

Posted in Home Owner Tips
May 19, 2017

3 Reasons the CT Housing Market is NOT in a Bubble

 

3 Reasons the Housing Market is NOT in a Bubble | Keeping Current Matters

With CT housing prices appreciating at levels that far exceed historical norms, some are fearful that the market is heading for another bubble. To alleviate that fear, we just need to look back at the reasons that caused the bubble ten years ago.

Last decade, demand for CT housing was artificially propped up because mortgage lending standards were way too lenient. People that were not qualified to purchase were able to attain a mortgage anyway. Prices began to skyrocket. This increase in demand caused homebuilders in many markets to overbuild.

Eventually, the excess in new construction and the flooding of the market with distressed properties (foreclosures & short sales), caused by the lack of appropriate lending standards, led to the housing crash.

Where we are today…

1. If we look at lending standards based on the Mortgage Credit Availability Index released monthly by the Mortgage Bankers Association, we can see that, though standards have become more reasonable over the last few years, they are nowhere near where they were in the early 2000s.

3 Reasons the Housing Market is NOT in a Bubble | Keeping Current Matters

2. If we look at new construction, we can see that builders are not “over building.” Average annual housing starts in the first quarter of this year were not just below numbers recorded in 2002-2006, they are below starts going all the way back to 1980.

3 Reasons the Housing Market is NOT in a Bubble | Keeping Current Matters

3. If we look at CT home prices, most homes haven’t even returned to prices seen a decade ago. Trulia just released a report that explained:

“When it comes to the value of individual homes, the CT housing market has yet to recover. In fact, just 34.2% of homes nationally have seen their value surpass their pre-recession peak.”

Bottom Line

Mortgage lending standards are appropriate, new construction is below what is necessary and home prices haven’t even recovered. It appears fears of a housing bubble are over-exaggerated. Contact a Real Estate professional from Dave Jones Realty who can assist you with any of your Real Estate needs!

Posted in Market Activity
May 18, 2017

What You Need to Know About Qualifying for a Mortgage in CT

 

What You Need to Know About Qualifying for a Mortgage [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • Many CT buyers are purchasing a home with a down payment as little as 3%.
  • You may already qualify for a loan, even if you don't have perfect credit.
  • Take advantage of the knowledge of your Real Estate professionals from Dave Jones Realty who are there to help you determine how much you can afford.
Posted in CT Buyer Tips
May 17, 2017

Do You Know the Cost of NOT Owning Your Home in CT?

Do You Know the Cost of NOT Owning Your Home? | Keeping Current Matters

Owning a CT home has great financial benefits, yet many continue renting! Today, let’s look at the financial reasons why owning a CT home of your own has been a part of the American Dream for as long as America has existed.

Zillow recently reported that:

“With Rents continuing to climb and interest rates staying low, many renters find themselves gazing over the homeownership fence and wondering if the grass really is greener. Leaving aside, for the moment, the difficulties of saving for a down payment, let’s focus on the monthly expenses of owning a home: it turns out that renters currently paying the median rent in many markets could afford to buy a higher-quality property than the typical (read: median-valued) home without increasing their monthly expenses.”

What proof exists that owning in CT is financially better than renting?

1. The latest Rent Vs. Buy Report from Trulia pointed out the top 5 financial benefits of homeownership:

  • Mortgage payments can be fixed while rents go up.
  • Equity in your home can be a financial resource later.
  • You can build wealth without paying capital gain.
  • A mortgage can act as a forced savings account
  • Overall, CT homeowners can enjoy greater wealth growth than renters.

2. Studies have shown that a CT homeowner’s net worth is 45x greater than that of a renter.

3. Just a few months ago, we explained that a family buying an average priced CT home at the beginning of 2017 could build more than $42,000 in family wealth over the next five years.

4. Some argue that renting in CT eliminates the cost of taxes and home repairs, but every potential renter must realize that all the expenses the landlord incurs are already baked into the rent payment –along with a profit margin!!

Bottom Line

Owning a CT home has always been, and will always be, better from a financial standpoint than renting. Contact a Real Estate professional from Dave Jones Realty who can assist with any of your Real Estate needs!

Posted in CT Buyer Tips
May 16, 2017

Financial Planning: 4 Reasons to Buy a Ct House Today

Financial Planning: 4 Reasons to Buy a House Today | Keeping Current Matters

CT Home-ownership will always be a part of the American Dream. There are advantages to owning your own home (educational, health, social) that far transcend any economic impact. However, we want to look at several of the financial advantages of home-ownership in today’s post.

1. Buying is Cheaper Than Renting

The results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show that CT home ownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States. The report reveals that:

“Interest rates have remained low, and even though home prices have appreciated around the country, they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation…Rates would have to reach 9.1% for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates haven’t been that high since January of 1995, according to Freddie Mac.”

2. CT Home-ownership “Forces” You to Save

According to SavingAdvice.com, CT home-ownership is a great way to save. Their advice is quite simple:

“Homeownership is a “forced” savings account because you own the home, you have no choice – that monthly housing cost has got to be paid no matter what…Homeownership can be an outstanding way to force yourself to be more frugal in the rest of your spending so that you can save and build equity in your home.”

3. CT Home-ownership Offers Several Tax Deductions

According to the Tax Policy Center’s Briefing Book -“A citizen's guide to the fascinating (though often complex) elements of the federal Tax System” - there are several tax advantages to home-ownership. Here are three:

  1. CT homeowners who itemize deductions may reduce their taxable income by deducting any interest paid on a home mortgage.
  2. CT homeowners who itemize deductions may also reduce their taxable income by deducting property taxes they pay on their homes.
  3. Taxpayers who sell assets must generally pay capital gains tax on any profits made on the sale.

4. Experts Expect CT Home Price Appreciation to Continue

Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment & market strategists about where they believe prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.

Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate 3.22% per year on average and to grow by 17.3% cumulatively, according to Pulsenomics’ most recent Home Price Expectation Survey.

Bottom Line

Some are afraid that CT home values may have already peaked. However, we believe that purchasing a home now will prove to be a sound financial decision for years to come. As Warren Buffet said, “When others are greedy, be fearful. When others are fearful, be greedy.”

Contact a Real Estate professional from Dave Jones Realty who can assist wit hall of your Real Estate needs.

Posted in Market Activity
May 15, 2017

Is 2017 the Year to Move Up to Your Dream CT Home? If So, Do it Early!

 

Is 2017 the Year to Move Up to Your Dream Home? If So, Do It Early! | Keeping Current Matters

If you are considering moving up to your dream home in CT, it may be better to do it earlier in the year than later. The two components of your monthly mortgage payment (home prices and interest rates) are both projected to increase as the year moves forward, and interest rates may increase rather dramatically. Here are some predictions on where rates will be by the end of the year:

Freddie Mac

While full employment and rising inflation are signs of a strong economy, they also have the potential to push mortgage rates and house prices up. The higher rates and higher prices create significant affordability concerns, which may continue to characterize the housing market for the rest of 2017.”

Lynn Fisher, Vice President of Research & Economics for the Mortgage Bankers Association

By the time we get to the fourth quarter of this year, we will still be under 5 percent – we are thinking 4.7 percent…Something north of 5 percent by the time we get to 2018, and by the time we get to 2019, we show fourth-quarter rates hitting 5.5 percent.”

Mark Fleming, First American’s Chief Economist

Despite some regional disparities, title agents and real estate professionals do not expect increasing mortgage rates to have a significant impact on the housing market this spring. Continued good economic news, increasing Millennial demand and confidence that buyers will remain in the market even if rates exceed 5 percent bode well for 2017 real estate.

Len Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist for Freddie Mac

We will probably see rates higher at the end of year, around 4.5%.”

Bottom Line

If you are feeling good about your family’s economic future and are considering making a move to your dream home in CT, doing it sooner rather than later makes the most sense. Contact a Real Estate professional from Dave Jones Realty who can assist with all of your Real Estate needs!

Posted in CT Buyer Tips
May 12, 2017

Inventory Shortages Are Slowing Down the Ct Market

 

Inventory Shortages Are Slowing Down the Market | Keeping Current Matters

The CT real estate market is moving more and more into a complete recovery. Home values are up. Home sales are up. Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have fallen dramatically. It seems that 2017 will be the year that the housing market races forward again.

However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory. While CT buyer demand looks like it will remain strong throughout the summer, supply is not keeping up.

Here are the thoughts of a few industry experts on the subject:

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR:

"Sellers are in the driver's seat this spring as the intense competition for the few homes for sale is forcing many buyers to be aggressive in their offers. Buyers are showing resiliency given the challenging conditions. However, at some point — and the sooner the better — price growth must ease to a healthier rate. Otherwise sales could slow if affordability conditions worsen."

Tom O’Grady, Pro Teck CEO

“The lack of inventory is very real and could have a severe impact on home sales in the months to come. Traditionally, a balanced market would have an MRI (Months Remaining Inventory) between six and 10 months.

This month, only eight metros we track have MRIs over 10, compared to 27 last year and 48 two years ago—illustrating that this lack of inventory is not being driven by traditionally ‘hot’ markets, but is rather a broad-based, national phenomenon.”

Ralph McLaughlin, Chief Economist at Trulia

“Housing inventory dropped to its lowest level on record in 2017 Q1. The number of homes on the market dropped for the eighth consecutive quarter, falling 5.1% over the past year.”

Freddie Mac

“Tight housing inventory has been an important feature of the housing market at least since 2016. For-sale housing inventory, especially of starter homes, is currently at its lowest level in over ten years. If inventory continues to remain tight, home sales will likely decline from their 2016 levels. …all eyes are on housing inventory and whether or not it will meet the high demand.”

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling in CT, now may be the time. Demand for your house will be strongest at a time when there is very little competition. That could lead to a quick sale for a really good price. Contact a Real Estate professional from Dave Jones Realty who can assist with all of your Real Estate needs!

Posted in Market Activity
May 11, 2017

Gallup: CT Real Estate is the Best Long-Term Investment 4 Years Running

 

Gallup: Real Estate is Best Long-Term Investment 4 Years Running | Keeping Current Matters

Every year, Gallup surveys CT residents to determine their choice for the best long-term investment. Respondents are given a choice between real estate, stocks/mutual funds, gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds.

For the fourth year in a row, Real Estate has come out on top as the best long-term investment! This year’s results showed that 34% of CT residents chose real estate, followed by stocks at 26%. The full results are shown in the chart below.

Gallup: Real Estate is Best Long-Term Investment 4 Years Running | Keeping Current Matters

The study makes it a point to draw attention to the contrast of the sentiment over the last four years compared to that of 2011-2012, when gold took the top slot with 34% of the votes. CT real estate and stocks took second and third place, respectively, while still in recovery from the Great Recession.

Bottom Line

As the CT real estate market has recovered, so has the belief of the residents in the stability of housing as a long-term investment. Contact a Real Estate professional from Dave Jones Realty who can assist with any of your Real Estate needs!

Posted in Market Activity
May 10, 2017

Do You Know The Cost of Waiting in CT?

 

Do You Know the Cost of Waiting? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • The “Cost of Waiting to Buy in CT” is defined as the additional funds it would take to buy a home if prices and interest rates were to increase over a period of time.
  • Freddie Mac predicts that interest rates will increase to 4.8% by this time next year, while home prices are predicted to appreciate by 4.9% according to CoreLogic.
  • Waiting until next year to buy a home in CT could cost you thousands of dollars a year for the life of your mortgage!

Contact a Real Estate professional from Dave Jones Realty who can assist with all of your Real Estate needs!

Posted in CT Buyer Tips
May 5, 2017

Get All the Facts about PMI in CT

 

Get All the Facts about PMI | Keeping Current Matters

When it comes to buying a CT home, whether it is your first time or your fifth, it is always important to know all the facts. With the large number of mortgage programs available that allow buyers to purchase a home with a down payment below 20%, you can never have too much information about Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

What is PMI?

Freddie Mac defines PMI as:

“An insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. It's a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that is required for all conforming, conventional loans that have down payments less than 20%.

Once you've built equity of 20% in your home, you can cancel your PMI and remove that expense from your mortgage payment.”

As the borrower, you pay the monthly premiums for the insurance policy, and the lender is the beneficiary. Freddie Mac goes on to explain that:

“The cost of PMI varies based on your loan-to-value ratio – the amount you owe on your mortgage compared to its value – and credit score, but you can expect to pay between $30 and $70 per month for every $100,000 borrowed.” 

According to the National Association of Realtors, the average down payment for all CT buyers last year was 10%. For first-time buyers, that number dropped to 6%, while repeat buyers put down 14% (no doubt aided by the sale of their home). This just goes to show that for a large number of buyers last year, PMI did not stop them from buying their dream homes.

Here’s an example of the cost of a mortgage on a $200,000 home with a 5% down payment & PMI, compared to a 20% down payment without PMI:

Get All the Facts about PMI | Keeping Current Matters

The larger the down payment you can make, the lower your monthly housing cost will be, but Freddie Mac urges you to remember:

“It's no doubt an added cost, but it's enabling you to buy now and begin building equity versus waiting 5 to 10 years to build enough savings for a 20% down payment.”

Bottom Line

If you have questions about whether you should buy now or wait until you’ve saved a larger down payment, meet with a Real Estate Professional from Dave Jones Realty who can explain your market’s conditions and help you make the best decision for you and your family.

Posted in CT Buyer Tips