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Ocean400 International Realty Blog

Thursday, August 25, 2016   /   by Ryan Critch

How Scary is the Housing Affordability Index?

Some industry pundits are saying that the housing market may be heading for a slowdown. One of the data points they use is the falling numbers of the Housing Affordability Index, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Here is how NAR defines the index:

“The Housing Affordability Index measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national level based on the most recent price and income data.”

Basically, a value of 100 means a family earning the median income earns enough to qualify for a mortgage on a median priced home, based on the price and mortgage interest rates at the time. Anything above 100 means the family has more than enough to qualify.
The higher the index the easier it is to afford a home.
Why the concern?
The index has been declining over the last several years as home values increased. Some are concerned that too many buyers could be price ...

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016   /   by Ryan Critch

Housing Market Slowing Down? Don’t Tell Builders!

Many experts have been calling upon home builders to ramp up construction to help with the lack of existing inventory for sale. For the past two months, new home sales have surged, with July’s total coming in at the highest since October 2007.
The latest estimates from the US Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development show that sales in July were 31.3% higher than this time last year, and 12.4% higher than last month, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 654,000. 
Zillow’s Chief Economist, Svenja Gudell, echoed the reaction of some as she commented:

“July(‘s) new home sales data was a surprise, but a welcome one. For years, the market has been practically begging builders to both ramp up their efforts overall and to put more focus on serving the less expensive end of the market. Today's data confirms both are happening in earnest.”

The National Associat ...

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016   /   by Ryan Critch

2 Myths About Mortgages That May Be Holding Back Buyers

Fannie Mae’s “What do consumers know about the Mortgage Qualification Criteria?” Study revealed that Americans are misinformed about what is required to qualify for a mortgage when purchasing a home.


Myth #1: “I Need a 20% Down Payment”
Fannie Mae’s survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 76% of Americans either don’t know (40%) or are misinformed (36%) about the minimum down payment required.
Many believe that they need at least 20% down to buy their dream home. New programs actually let buyers put down as little as 3%.
Below are the results of a Digital Risk survey of Millennials who recently purchased a home.




As you can see, 64.2% were able to purchase their home by putting down less than 20%, with 43.8% putting down less than 10%!
Myth #2: “I need a 780 FICO Score or Higher to Buy”
The survey r ...

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Monday, August 22, 2016   /   by Ryan Critch

Whether You Rent or Buy, You’re Paying a Mortgage

There are some people that have not purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent free, you are paying a mortgage - either yours or your landlord’s.
As The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return.  
That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

Christina Boyle, a Senior Vice President, Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Managementat Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage vs. paying rent:

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Friday, August 19, 2016   /   by Ryan Critch

‘Old Millennials’ Are Diving Head-First into Homeownership

Some Highlights:

> ‘Old Millennials’ are defined as 25-36 year olds according to the US Census Bureau.
> According to NAR’s latest Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the median age of all first-time home buyers is 31 years old.
> More and more ‘Old Millennials’ are realizing that homeownership is within their reach now!

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