Where Are Mortgage Rates Headed in 2018

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The interest rate you pay on your home mortgage has a direct impact on your monthly payment. The higher the rate the greater the payment will be. That is why it is important to know where rates are headed when deciding to start your home search.

Below is a chart created using Freddie Mac’s U.S. Economic & Housing Marketing Outlook. As you can see, interest rates are projected to increase steadily over the course of the next 12 months.

Where Are Interest Rates Headed? | Keeping Current Matters

How Will This Impact Your Mortgage Payment?

Depending on the amount of the loan that you secure, a half of a percent (.5%) increase in interest rate can increase your monthly mortgage payment significantly.

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, national home prices have appreciated 7.0% from this time last year and are predicted to be 4.2% higher next year.

If both the predictions of home price and interest rate increases become reality, families would wind up paying considerably more for their next home.

Bottom Line

Even a small increase in interest rate can impact your family’s wealth. Click here to contact us today to evaluate your ability to purchase your dream home.

Whether You Rent Or Buy, Either Way You’re Paying a Mortgage

There are some people who have not purchased homes because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize, however, that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business, explained in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich”:

“While renting on a temporary basis isn’t terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you’re serious about your finances. It won’t make you rich overnight, but by renting, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage. In effect, you’re making someone else rich.”

Christina Boyle, Senior Vice President and head of the Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management organization at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage as opposed to paying rent:

“With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.”

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ which allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person building that equity.

Interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. Freddie Mac’s latest report shows that rates across the country were at 4.22% last week.

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.

Bellingham native Heather Simpson joins The Muljat Group

Feb. 1, 2018 Heather Simpson, a Bellingham native with 12 years of real-estate experience in Whatcom County, has joined The Muljat Group as a broker. Simpson, a Squalicum High School...

The post Bellingham native Heather Simpson joins The Muljat Group appeared first on Muljat Group - Bellingham, Lynden, & Whatcom County Real Estate.

Wondering If You Can Buy Your First Home?

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There are many people sitting on the sidelines trying to decide if they should purchase a home or sign a rental lease. Some might wonder if it makes sense to purchase a house before they are married and have a family, others might think they are too young, and still, others might think their current income would never enable them to qualify for a mortgage.

We want to share what the typical first-time homebuyer actually looks like based on the National Association of REALTORS most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers. Here are some interesting revelations on the first-time buyer:

Wondering If You Can Buy Your First Home? | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

You may not be much different than many people who have already purchased their first homes. Click here to Contact us, your local real estate professional today so we can help determine if your dream home is within your grasp.

5 Reasons It’ll Pay to Sell Your Home Early in 2018

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It’s been nearly a decade since the Great Recession delivered the worst housing crash in modern memory. But these days, the fallout feels squarely in the rearview mirror. Markets have bounced back with fervor, and confidence is skyrocketing: From Charlotte, NC, to Stockton, CA—and everywhere in between—homes are flying off the market at record prices, and buyers are still clamoring to get in the game.

One thing is clear: It’s a great time to be a seller.

“We’ve seen two or three years of what could be considered unsustainable levels of price appreciation, as well as an inventory shortage that resulted in a record low number of homes for sale across the country,” says Javier Vivas, director of economic research for realtor.com®.

In other words: Today’s buyers are exhausted. And in many cases that means they’re willing to sacrifice to get a toehold in the market.

Sounds like the stuff of seller’s dreams, right? But know this: If you plan to sell in 2018—and you want to unload your home quickly and for maximum money—your window of opportunity may be rapidly narrowing. Here’s why you should get moving ASAP.

1. Rates are still historically low, drawing buyers into the market

We may not be enjoying the rock-bottom interest rates of yore, but by historical standards, today’s 30-year mortgage rates—hovering just above 4%—are still low. And experts agree mortgage credit will remain relatively cheap for most of the year.

That means the getting’s still good for buyers—and, subsequently, for sellers looking to unload their homes.

But rates are on the rise, and it’s been widely predicted that they’ll reach 5% before year’s end. Buyers know that the longer they wait to buy, the more expensive it will be.

Roughly translated, that means you’d be wise to list your home earlier in the year, before more rate hikes kick in. Not only will you capture the market of buyers scurrying to close a deal, but if you’re buying after you sell, you’ll also benefit from those lower rates.

2. Inventory remains tight—and demand high

Simply put, there are more buyers than available homes—particularly in red-hot markets where land is scarce and it isn’t cheap to build.

And the housing shortage will likely get worse before it gets better: Realtor.com data predict inventory will remain tight in the first part of this year, reaching a 4% year-over-year decline by March.

Sellers, that means this is your opportunity to be wooed. Buyers, their choices limited, are going to great lengths (and making some major concessions) to win the house, says Katie Griswold, a Realtor® with Pacific Sotheby’s in Southern California.

“We’re in a very favorable seller’s market,” she says. “We’re seeing bidding wars—which push up prices—and buyers are submitting offers with very pro-seller terms, like forgoing the repair request or waiving the appraisal contingency.”

And cash investors are in the mix, too, accounting for 22% of all home sales transactions in November 2017 (up from 20% in October), according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Those cash buyers are snapping up homes in an already tight market and keeping some first-time buyers at bay (sorry, buyers!). But if you’re selling, you stand a better shot at an all-cash offer—one you just might be crazy to refuse.

Of course, there’s a catch: Inventory levels are predicted to begin rising in the fourth quarter, marking the first inventory gain since 2015 and setting the stage for more dramatic housing gains to come. So if you’re thinking of selling, start preparing now in order to walk away with a sweet paycheck.

3. Home prices are still increasing

From coast to coast, home prices continue to rise—which translates to more money in your pocket when you sell.

But the gains are predicted to be more moderate than in years past. Realtor.com data suggest a 3.2% increase year over year, after finishing 2017 with a 5.5% year-over-year increase.

Bottom line: You still stand to make a pretty profit if you sell this year, but the earlier you can list, the better off you’ll be.

4. People have more money in their pocket

Record levels of consumer confidence, low unemployment, and stock market surges are setting the stage for high home buyer turnout in 2018. For the first time since the 1960s, the Fed has projected that the unemployment rate will drop below 4%, and the domestic stock market is enjoying a nearly unprecedented rally.

The housing market is already reflecting this boom: Existing-home sales soared 5.6% in November 2017 (the most recent month for which data are available) and reached their strongest pace in almost 11 years, according to the NAR.

“Incomes are growing and people are finding better and more stable jobs,” Vivas says. Buyers “are feeling pretty good about (their) finances.”

And thanks to the GOP tax legislation, which nearly doubles the standard deduction, we’ll see fewer people itemizing, says National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

“The income effect of that is that most people are getting a tax cut—which should help (buyer) demand,” Dietz says.

All of these factors combined mean more buyers could be on the hunt, with more money in their pockets to shell out on a home for sale—possibly yours!

5. Millennials are ready to commit

Millennials, often crippled by student debt, have been especially hampered by rising interest rates and high home prices.

But the aforementioned conditions are ripe in 2018 for these first-time buyers to take the plunge, and experts predict that millennials will make up a vital part of the buyer pool over the coming year: Millennials could account for 43% of home buyers taking out a mortgage in 2018 (a 3% year-over-year increase), according to realtor.com data.

“As people move into their 30s, they’re looking to move from renting to homeownership,” Dietz says. “And we predict that trend will continue even more this year.”

More home buyers flooding the market can only mean good things for sellers—at all price points.

 

If you are looking to sell your home, click here to contact us today.

 

Source:Realtor.com

5 Reasons Millennials Choose to Buy

5 Reasons Millennials Choose to Buy [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • “The majority of millennials said they consider owning a home more sensible than renting for both financial and lifestyle reasons — including control of living space, flexibility in future decisions, privacy and security, and living in a nice home.”
  • The top reason millennials choose to buy is to have control over their living space, at 93%.
  • Many millennials who rent a home or apartment prior to buying their own homes dream of the day when they will be able to paint the walls whatever color they’d like, or renovate an outdated part of their living space.

 

Click Here to Begin the Search for Your New Home

 

Why You Need a Professional on Your Team When Buying a Home

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Many people wonder whether they should hire a real estate professional to assist them in buying their dream homes or if they should first try to go through the buying process on their own. In today’s market: you need an experienced professional!

You Need an Expert Guide If You Are Traveling a Dangerous Path

The field of real estate is loaded with landmines; you need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a home that is priced appropriately and is ready for you to move into can be tricky. An agent listens to your wants and needs, and can sift through the homes that do not fit within the parameters of your “dream home.”

A great agent will also have relationships with mortgage professionals and other experts that you will need in order to secure your dream home.

You Need a Skilled Negotiator

In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

Realize that when an agent is negotiating his or her commission with you, they are negotiating their own salary; the salary that keeps a roof over their family’s head; the salary that puts food on their family’s table. If they are quick to take less when negotiating for themselves and their families, what makes you think they will not act the same way when negotiating for you and your family?

If they were Clark Kent when negotiating with you, they will not turn into Superman when negotiating with the buyer or seller in your deal.

Bottom Line

Famous sayings become famous because they are true. You get what you pay for. Just like a good accountant or a good attorney, a good agent will save you money…not cost you money.

The Neufeld Philosophy

As your agent, we will serve as your advocate. We will help you build a team of professionals who work with us along the way. We will provide you, our client, with friendly, knowledgeable service. Our goal is to help you make the best decision possible and help you secure the best deal available. We strive to provide a level of service that will make you proud to say, “Gordon and Shannon are MY Realtors!”

 

Whether you are looking to sell your home or buy a new home, we are here to serve you. Click Here to contact us now!

Bellingham Home Listings

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Tax Advantages Homeowners Get That Renters Don’t

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Homebuyers get a host of tax benefits that renters don’t -critical deductions that can lower your overall tax bill.

But how much do homeowners really save on their taxes? Using 2012 IRS data, the most recent available, we calculated that a homeowner who took the average for each of four tax benefits would claim $15,871 in home-related deductions (if he or she itemizes).

 

Homeowners Can Deduct the Interest They Pay on Their Mortgage (Average deduction: $9,540*)

The mortgage interest deduction lets homeowners deduct the interest on their home mortgage up to $1 million ($500,000 if you’re married filing separately).

In the first few years of a mortgage, about two-thirds of the monthly mortgage payment is interest. That can translate to a hefty tax deduction. -For example, with a $200,000, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4%, you’ll pay about $8,000 in interest the first year you own your home. Deducting that interest will save you $2,000 if you’re in a 25% income tax bracket ($8,000 x 0.25 = $2,000).

Since renters don’t have mortgages, they don’t get the mortgage interest deduction. The landlord gets the benefit while the renter typically pays the cost.

Homeowners Can Deduct Discount Points When They Buy (Average deduction: $611*)

When you buy a home, you can lower your interest rate by purchasing discount points.

Each point typically costs 1% of the loan amount, but you may be able to deduct that cost. So if you take out a $200,000 mortgage and buy one discount point for $2,000, you’d get a one-time $500 tax savings, assuming you’re in the 25% tax bracket ($2,000 x 0.25 = $500). Plus, you’ll be lowering your monthly mortgage payment because your interest rate will be lower.

Homeowners Can Deduct Property Taxes (Average deduction: $4,420*)

All homeowners pay taxes to their local jurisdictions, such as the county, city, or school district. Those property taxes are fully deductible. Renters aren’t eligible for a property tax deduction, even though their rental payments often help fund the property taxes their landlords pay. But only the landlord can take the deduction since he’s the owner.

A Tax Deduction That Helps Offset the Cost of Buying First Home (Average deduction: $1,300*)

Most first-time homebuyers want to make the smallest downpayment possible because saving up for it is one of the toughest hurdles to homeownership. A loan guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, VA, or FHA can help you buy a home with as little as 3.5% to 5% down instead of the typical 20%.

If you put down less than 20%, though, you’ll likely be required to buy mortgage insurance. The good news: You probably earned another tax deduction. The cost of mortgage insurance is deductible, based on income limits. You can deduct the full cost if your income is less than $100,000, and some of the cost if your income is between $100,000 and $109,999.

Note: The mortgage insurance deduction expired at the end of 2014, and Congress has yet to renew it for 2015. In past years, Congress has renewed it late in the year or early in the following year.

The Biggest Tax Benefit Homeowners Get

The capital gains exclusion is probably the biggest of all the tax benefits homeowners enjoy. Plus, they can use it more than once (but not more than once every two years) to be exempt from paying taxes on profits of up to $500,000 (filing jointly) from selling their home.

Balance this benefit with investing in stocks and bonds. Unless those investments are in a Roth IRA or some other tax-free account, you’ll likely pay capital gains tax of at least 15% on your profit when you cash in those assets. A $500,000 profit in the stock market is typically going to mean you’d owe $75,000 in capital gains taxes.

For more information or to find out what is going on in today’s market, click here to contact us now!


Source: homelogic.com

 

 

 

Trish Gale Joins The Muljat Group

Trish Gale, who has nearly four years of experience as a real-estate broker in Whatcom County, has joined The Muljat Group in Bellingham. Gale, a 12-year resident of Bellingham, soon...

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