Monday, July 27, 2015

Favorable Year for Sellers


It's crazy to realize the year is more than half way over! It's been a busy year for me personally and professionally and I honestly can't say where the time has gone. But I'm not complaining!

Nationally, it's said to be a good year for selling your home. Locally, I would have to agree. I've have listings sell in record time, buyers in multiple offer situations and above asking price sales. 
Below you'll see a chart with the June sales data for Montgomery County:

You'll see that both sales and prices rose in June! I suspect the same will be true for July.
RealtyTrac recently stated 3 reasons why it's a great time for sellers: 

1. Stronger Demand coming from Buyers. The pool of buyers are not only first time buyers, but also the boomerang and traditional owner occupants. FHA mortgages, which are common with first time buyers, is on the rise and accounted for 23% of all single family & condo sales. 
2. Home Prices are Skyrocketing. Single Family and condo owners sold average of 13% above their original purchase price.
"So far in 2015, [sellers] are realizing the biggest gains in home price appreciation since 2007," Daren Blomquist says. "In June, sellers sold for above estimated market value on average for the first time in nearly two years." Median sales prices of existing-homes pushed above the previous 2006 peak to a record high in June, the National Association of REALTORS® reported this week. The median existing-home price for all housing types was $236,400 in June – surpassing the peak median sales price set in July 2006 at $230,400. 
3. Sellers have less competition. Inventory is limited and results in buyers having to compete for the same home. 
This 3rd point is a very general statement. Some areas are still lacking inventory, while others have a lot to choose from throughout our Philadelphia region. 
Check out video with full details here:
http://www.realtytrac.com/news/realtytrac-videos/2015-great-year-to-sell-realtytrac-report/


Curious what your home is worth? Visit this site for help:

Monday, July 20, 2015

National Market Update

So many things define a "good" or "bad" economy. And it's always topic of discussion whether talking about finding a job, gas prices, or deciding when to buy or sell a home.
Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist and Senior VP recently wrote a blog giving us a recap of the year so far and a forecast for the 3rd and 4th quarters.
I took some highlights and shared them below.

The Economy
  • GDP growth was slightly negative in the first quarter but will pick up in the second half.  For the year as whole, GDP will expand at 2.1 percent.  Not bad but not great.  A slow hum.
  • Consumer spending will open up because of lower gasoline prices.  Personal consumption expenditure grew at 2.1 percent rate in the first quarter.  Look for 3 percent growth rate in the second half.
    • Auto sales dropped a bit in the first quarter because of heavy snow, but will ramp up nicely in the second half.
    • Spending for household furnishing and equipment has been solid, growing 6 percent in the first quarter after clocking 6 percent in the prior.  Recovering housing sector is the big reason for the nice numbers.
    • Spending at restaurants was flat.  That is why retail vacancy rates are not notching down.
    • Online shopping is up solidly.  That is why industrial and warehouse vacancy rates are coming down.
    • Spending for health care grew at 5 percent in the first quarter, marking two consecutive quarters of fast growth.  The Affordable Care Act has expanded health care demand.  The important question for the future is will the supply of new doctors and nurses expand to meet this rising demand or will it lead to medical care shortage?
  • Business spending was flat in the first quarter but will surely rise because of large cash holdings and high profits.
  • All in all, GDP will grow by 2.5 to 3 percent in the second half.  That translates into jobs.  A total of 2.5 million net new jobs are likely to be created this year.
    • Unemployment insurance filings have been rising in oil-producing states of Texas and North Dakota.
    • Unemployment insurance filings for the country as a whole have been falling, which implies a lower level of fresh layoffs and factory closings.  That assures continuing solid job growth in the second half of the year.
  • We have to acknowledge that not all is fine with the labor market.  The part-time jobs remain elevated and wage growth remains sluggish with only 2 percent annual growth.  There are signs of tightening labor supply and the bidding up of wages.  Wages are to rise by 3 percent by early next year.  The total income of the country and the total number of jobs are on the rise.
The Housing Market
  • Existing-home sales in May hit the highest mark since 2009, when there had been a homebuyer tax credit … remember, buy a home and get $8,000 from Uncle Sam.  This tax credit is no longer available but the improving economy is providing the necessary incentive and financial capacity to buy.  Meanwhile new home sales hit a seven-year high and housing permits to build new homes hit an eight-year high.  Pending contracts to buy existing homes hit a nine-year high.
  • Buyers are coming back in force.  One factor for the recent surge could have been due to the rising mortgage rates.  As nearly always happens, the initial phase of rising rates nudges people to make decision now rather than wait later when the rates could be higher still.
    • The first-time buyers are scooping up properties with 32 percent of all buyers being as such compared to only 27 percent one year ago.  A lower fee on FHA mortgages is helping.
  • There is no massive shadow inventory that can disrupt the market.  The number of distressed home sales has been steadily falling – now accounting for only 10 percent of all transactions.  It will fall further in the upcoming months.  There is simply far fewer mortgages in the serious delinquent stage (of not being current for 3 or more months).  In fact, if one specializes in foreclosure or short sales, it is time to change the business model.
  • The Federal Reserve will be raising short-term rates soon.  September is a maybe, but it’s more likely to be in October.  The Fed will also signal the continual raising of rates over the next two years.  This sentiment has already pushed up mortgage rates.  They are bound to rise further, particularly if inflation surprises on the upside.
  • Mortgage rates at 4.3% to 4.5% by the year end and easily surpassing 5% by the year end of 2016.

Keep in mind, this is national data. Philadelphia region and even specific neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia in PA & NJ have various housing markets. If you're looking to buy or sell, speak with a local professional that can help guide you. Contact me if you'd like more information! 

Monday, June 29, 2015

West Conshohocken (Conshy!)

Where to live, invest and possibly raise a family is a decision that shouldn't be taken lightly. Everyone has different wishes and needs,  so it's difficult to pursuade someone why one particular town may be the BEST.  It's a very subjective and personal decision.
What factors should you consider? How do you start narrowing it down? MoneyCrashers.com put together a list of things to think about that I find helpful, especially if you're relocating to a new town.


1. Affordability
No matter what your pay grade is, living comfortably and within your means should be your first concern. Affordability includes more than just housing expenses; the prices for consumable goods, like groceries, vary greatly from town to town. The price of gasoline, utility services including electric and water, and taxes, also varies.
2. Taxes
Consider local sales tax, income tax, and tax credits and exemptions when you’re looking for the perfect place to live. Did you know that there are five states that have no sales taxes? That’s right: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon don’t collect sales tax for retail sales and some services. In addition, Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming don’t collect individual income taxes.
3. Employment Opportunities
Do your research before you move, and ideally, find a job before you relocate. Employment opportunities vary from state to state and city to city, so spend some time researching the job markets in different areas of the country. Start by analyzing quality employment opportunities within your industry, then determine where the highest concentration of these jobs are located.
4. Real Estate Value
With real estate in a constant state of flux, it’s important to research current home prices, the length of time homes are for sale, the resale values of homes, and probable long-term value estimates.
In addition, carefully review local housing price trends. Websites like Zillow.com and Trulia.com can help you gain a grasp of the local real estate market. (and my website www.KellySteyn.com!)
5. Crime Rates and Statistics
By researching the crime rates and statistics for various areas, you can learn more about the safety of a town or neighborhood. You can also check out Crime Reports, which lets you review crime statistics for different neighborhoods.
Keep in mind that just because an area is safe today does not guarantee that it will be safe in the future. The long-term stability for a neighborhood can be a determining factor in how safe your surroundings are. Also, consider the future development of a particular location as you narrow down your choices.
6. Proximity to Family and Friends
Do you have a large extended family? Do you spend the holidays with your family and friends? These are important factors to consider when choosing where to live.
If extended family and friends are important to you, choose a place either within driving distance or within a reasonable distance by plane. 
7. Climate
The climate plays a large role in our lives as it impacts our hobbies, behavior, and sometimes even our jobs. Living in the climate in which you are most comfortable contributes to your mental health, so choose wisely!

8. Education System
Nonprofit websites like GreatSchools are a great source for parents looking for the ideal schools for their children. The quality of the public schools factors into your finances, too, since tuition for a private school can be extremely expensive.

9. Culture
If you crave constant cultural stimulation, you definitely want to choose a place that has a lot of cultural offerings. If you enjoy being around a specific religious or ethnic community with your same beliefs and interests, this should be a factor in where you choose to live.
10. Commute Time and Public Transportation Options
The length of time it takes to get to work can be a determining factor in the decision to move to a new locale. With gas prices rising and commute times becoming longer, utilizing public transportation options like light rail, train, or bus can be an inexpensive, time-saving way for you and your family to get around.

11. Food Options
If you’re a foodie, you may want to try to find a place to live near the ocean or near a metropolitan city center.

12. Town or City Size
If you enjoy a friendly wave from everyone you pass while driving to the post office, then a smaller town is definitely for you. If you wish to remain relatively anonymous, a larger town or a big city is better suited to your personality.

13. Healthcare Facilities
Easy access to good healthcare can increase your quality of life exponentially, so be on the lookout for towns and cities with good hospitals and medical schools.
14. Proximity to an Airport

If you travel a lot, you may need to live within close proximity of an airport. 

Read the full article:
http://www.moneycrashers.com/where-should-i-live-decide-best-places/

Recently, my town was ranked "Best Suburb to Buy a Home" but Niche.com. This was very exciting and I've been sharing with everyone! :)
Why did my husband and I decide to buy here? Top of the list was; property taxes, convenience to major roads, affordability, good schools and walking distance to things we like to do- restaurants & parks. The home needed work, but Location Location Location won us over!
Here are the Top 5 Towns that made the list:

Best Suburbs to Buy a Home
  1. West Conshohocken, PA
  2. Waukee, IA
  3. Centerton, AR
  4. Chapin, SC
  5. Fishers, IN
For more rankings, check out: https://local.niche.com/rankings/?source=release