Home prices up 6.6%, outstripping income growth for many

Home prices up 6.6%, outstripping income growth for many

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America’s home prices keep rising, increasing unaffordability in many markets.

The latest HPI data from CoreLogic shows that home prices were up 6.6% year-over-year in May and 1.2% compared to April, as tightening inventory intensifies competition.

“For current homeowners, the strong run-up in prices has boosted home equity and, in some cases, spending,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “For renters and potential first-time homebuyers, it is not such a pretty picture. With price appreciation and rental inflation outstripping income growth, affordability is destined to become a bigger issue in most markets.”

The CoreLogic HPI forecast calls for a 5.3% annual increase in prices through May 2018 and for prices in the month from May to June 2017 to rise by 0.9%.

“While the market is consistently generating home price growth, sales activity is being hindered by a lack of inventory across many markets,” said Dr Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “This tight inventory is also impacting the rental market where overall single-family rent inflation was 3.1% on a year-over-year basis in May of this year compared with May of last year.”

With rents outpacing inflation and wage increases, this will further restrict the ability of potential first-time buyers to save for their ever-increasing downpayment target.

Mortgage applications higher, so are rates

Mortgage applications higher, so are rates

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There was a rise in mortgage applications in the week ending June 30 despite mortgage rates rising.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s composite index of weekly mortgage applications was up 1.4% increase (seasonally adjusted) and 1% rise (unadjusted) across all loan types.

Purchase loan applications were up 3% (adjusted and unadjusted) while refinance mortgage applications slipped 0.4%.

The increase in loan applications was despite mortgage rates rising last week. They have also continued higher this week.

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market shows the biggest jump in 30-year FRM rates since March; averaging 3.96% with an average 0.6 point for this week, up from 3.88% last week.

For a 15-year FRM the rate this week averaged 3.22% with an average 0.5 point, up from 3.17% a week ago. The average 5-year ARM rate was 3.21% with an average 0.5 point, up from 3.17% a week ago.

“Global interest rates turned up sharply over the last week. The 10-year Treasury yield was no exception, increasing 10 basis points in a holiday-shortened week. The 30-year mortgage rate followed suit, rising 8 basis points to 3.96 percent,” said Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Meanwhile, Bankrate.com’s weekly national mortgage survey of top 10 banks and thrifts in the top 10 markets, shows the 20-year FRM rate rising to an average of 4.16% with an average 0.25 point, compared to 4.07% last week.

A 15-year FRM averaged 3.37% (average 0.21 point) this week, up from 3.31% last week and the 5 year ARM rate averaged 3.58% (average 0.36 point) up from 3.52% last week.

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Existing-Home Sales Rise 1.1 Percent in May; Median Sales Price Ascends to New High

Source NAR:

WASHINGTON (June 21, 2017) — Existing-home sales rebounded in May following a notable decline in April, and low inventory levels helped propel the median sales price to a new high while pushing down the median days a home is on the market to a new low, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All major regions except for the Midwest saw an increase in sales last month.

Total existing-home sales1, https://www.nar.realtor/topics/existing-home-sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, climbed 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.62 million in May from a downwardly revised 5.56 million in April. Last month’s sales pace is 2.7 percent above a year ago and is the third highest over the past year.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says sales activity expanded in May as more buyers overcame the increasingly challenging market conditions prevalent in many areas. “The job market in most of the country is healthy and the recent downward trend in mortgage rates continues to keep buyer interest at a robust level,” he said. “Those able to close on a home last month are probably feeling both happy and relieved. Listings in the affordable price range are scarce, homes are coming off the market at an extremely fast pace and the prevalence of multiple offers in some markets are pushing prices higher.”

The median existing-home price2 for all housing types in May was $252,800. This surpasses last June ($247,600) as the new peak median sales price, is up 5.8 percent from May 2016 ($238,900) and marks the 63rd straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory3 at the end of May rose 2.1 percent to 1.96 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 8.4 percent lower than a year ago (2.14 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 24 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 4.7 months a year ago.

“Home prices keep chugging along at a pace that is not sustainable in the long run,” added Yun. “Current demand levels indicate sales should be stronger, but it’s clear some would-be buyers are having to delay or postpone their home search because low supply is leading to worsening affordability conditions.”

Properties typically stayed on the market for 27 days in May, which is down from 29 days in April and 32 days a year ago; this is the shortest timeframe since NAR began tracking in May 2011. Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 94 days in May, while foreclosures sold in 48 days and non-distressed homes took 27 days. Fifty-five percent of homes sold in May were on the market for less than a month (a new high).

Inventory data from realtor.com® reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in May were Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., 20 days; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., 24 days; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 25 days; and Salt Lake City, Utah and Ogden-Clearfield, Utah, both at 26 days.

“With new and existing supply failing to catch up with demand, several markets this summer will continue to see homes going under contract at this remarkably fast pace of under a month,” said Yun.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate(link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage decreased for the second consecutive month, dipping to 4.01 percent in May from 4.05 percent in April. The average commitment rate for all of 2016 was 3.65 percent.

First-time buyers were 33 percent of sales in May, which is down from 34 percent in April but up from 30 percent a year ago. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellersreleased in late 20164 — revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent.

Earlier this month, NAR hosted the Sustainable Homeownership Conference at University of California’s Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. A white paper titled, “Hurdles to Homeownership: Understanding the Barriers,”(link is external) was released, which honed in on the five main reasons why first-time buyers are failing to make up a greater share of the market.

“Of the barriers analyzed in the white paper, single-family housing shortages will be the biggest challenge for prospective first-time buyers this year,” said President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California. “Those hoping to buy an entry-level, single-family home continue to see minimal choices. The best advice for these home shoppers is to know what you can afford, lean on the guidance of a Realtor® and act fast once an ideal property within the budget is listed.”

All-cash sales were 22 percent of transactions in May, up from 21 percent in April and unchanged from a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 16 percent of homes in May, up from 15 percent in April and 13 percent a year ago. Sixty-four percent of investors paid in cash in May.

Distressed sales5 — foreclosures and short sales — were 5 percent of sales in May, unchanged from April and down from 6 percent a year ago. Four percent of May sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 20 percent below market value in May (18 percent in April), while short sales were discounted 16 percent (12 percent in April).

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales increased 1.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.98 million in May from 4.93 million in April, and are now 2.7 percent above the 4.85 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $254,600 in May, up 6.0 percent from May 2016.

Existing condominium and co-op sales climbed 1.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 640,000 units in May, and are 3.2 percent higher than a year ago. The median existing condo price was $238,700 in May, which is 4.8 percent above a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

May existing-home sales in the Northeast jumped 6.8 percent to an annual rate of 780,000, and are now 2.6 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $281,300, which is 4.7 percent above May 2016.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales fell 5.9 percent to an annual rate of 1.28 million in May, and are 0.8 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $203,900, up 7.3 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South rose 2.2 percent to an annual rate of 2.34 million, and are now 4.5 percent above May 2016. The median price in the South was $221,900, up 5.3 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West increased 3.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.22 million in May, and are now 3.4 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $368,800, up 6.9 percent from May 2016.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Fed announces rate hike decision


Source: HomeNews

As widely predicted, the Federal Reserve announced today that it would raise interest rates by a quarter of a percent.

“In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1 to 1-1/4 percent,” the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement. “The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting some further strengthening in labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2 percent inflation.”

The hike marks only the fourth time in a decade the Fed has raised its benchmark interest rate. The last hike came in March, with the central bank holding rates steady at its May meeting.

Today’s hike was widely expected by analysts. However, questions remain about whether the Fed will continue its plan of further hikes this year.

“Fed officials predicted three increases at the beginning of the year, but inflation has weakened in recent months,” Binyamin Appelbaum wrote in an analysis for the New York Times. “Investors will be looking for signs that the Fed is no longer quite so confident that the economy is ready for higher rates.”

The FOMC said in its statement that it “expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant gradual increases in the federal funds rate.” However, “the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run.”

Julia Corkey & Vickie Schoenfeld
Team Elite
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Making offers in today’s Market!

Have you been thinking about buying a house this year?  Making offers is very competitive right now! With supply of homes considerably so low compared to the demand, you most likely will find yourself in a bidding war with other buyers if you’re looking to make an offer on a home.
What can you do to set yourself apart and be the winning bid!?
 1.  Be Flexible – limit the amount of contingencies you’re adding to the contract, and go be very flexible on a closing date. Cutting down the hassles, will help you stand out  and be more attractive to sellers.
2. Use an Escalation Clause – this is an addendum to the contract that states you’re willing to increase your offer up to a certain limit if other offers come in that match or top your bid.  Be sure that you set your ‘walk-away, final’ price.
3. Have a solid pre- approval or pre qualify- Let your lender know you’re heading out looking and that they could be receiving a call to confirm your qualifications.
4. Work with a Professional Broker- Work with a full time Realtor that is experienced in negotiating and working in this types of markets.
Feel free to contact us anytime for help with this exciting time for you and your family!
Julia Corkey & Vickie Schoenfeld
Team Elite
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Real Estate Prices on the RISE!

Julia Corkey & Vickie Schoenfeld
Team Elite

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Update Your Cabinetry with New Paint instead of buying new ones!


If you’re ready to give your kitchen a face lift but are working under a tight budget, you can update your cabinetry with a new paint job. Have a fresh kitchen in a matter of days with a little preparation, dedication and a steady hand.

The first thing you will want to do is prepare your kitchen by removing everything that isn’t fixed in its place. Empty all contents from your cabinets and drawers. Cover the counter tops, back splash, widows and fixed appliances. Also, hang heavy plastic sheeting over the doorways to help control dust. Finally, build a workbench with two sawhorses and a sheet of plywood.

Working clockwise, remove all of the hardware from the frame and doors. Use your workbench to remove the pulls, knobs and hinges from your doors. Save everything in Ziploc bags, or for a fresher look, buy new hardware! Label and map everything for easy reassembly.

At this point, you will want your kitchen well ventilated. Open all of the windows and set up a box fan or two. Put on your safety goggles, breathing mask and rubber gloves. Use a liquid deglosser and an abrasive pad to scrub all of the cabinetry: the doors, frames, shelves and drawer fronts. Hold a rag under the abrasive pad to catch any drips, and follow over the pad with a separate deglosser-dipped rag to wipe away any residue.

Once de-glossed, sand everything by hand with 100-grit paper. Vacuum the doors and cabinets, then go over it all again with a tack cloth. Be thorough to ensure you pick up all of the dust.

Take a cabinet door to your local paint supply store and ask a professional for the best types of primers and paints for your cabinetry. They will be able to tell you how many coats you will need to apply, as well as the best brushes to use for your particular cabinets.

When priming, brush across the grain beginning at the top. Once covered, “tip off” the wet finish with a single brush stroke along the grain. Allow 24 hours to dry. Finally, use 220-grit paper on a random orbit sander to sand any flat surfaces and a medium-grit sanding sponge on any profiled surfaces.

Apply the paint the same way as you did with the primer. Begin at the top, painting across the grain then “tip off” with a single stroke along the grain. Use a new brush on the final coat. Allow the paint to dry, sand with 280-grit paper, vacuum and apply tack cloth to bring your cabinets to a smooth finish.

Reassemble your cabinets clockwise using the labels and map you made. First, reinstall the shelves. Next, install the hinges and pulls on the doors and drawers. Finally, install each door into its proper frame.

Now all that’s left to do is admire and celebrate your work!

Julia Corkey & Vickie Schoenfeld
Team Elite

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Understanding Eviction Process

First, before we get into the eviction 101 process, it is worth mentioning that the best way to handle evictions as a landlord is to avoid them all together. How do you do this? By doing a great job screening them, you can avoid these situations almost altogether.  We always do our best to help you with that process. We lend our thoughts and experiences as Brokers and Landlords ourselves.

Anyway, back to Eviction 101….

Evictions are emotional for the landlord and a legal process to the rest of the world. More specifically, the eviction process varies from state to state and that process has to be followed in order to streamline your eviction proceedings.

First off, what does the tenant have to do in order for you to want to evict them from your rental property? Well this list is by no means comprehensive but here are some reasons that may force you to seek an eviction:

  • The tenant stops paying their rent or pays their rent late all of the time
  • The tenant is neglecting the property
  • The tenant is causing or has caused damage to your rental property
  • The tenant is participating in illegal activity in your rental property
  • General breach of the lease agreement

With that said, what are some reasons that will cause you to lose your eviction proceedings (in most states)? Here are a few:

  • You filed because of normal “wear and tear” to the premises instead of real damage caused by the property tenant.
  • You just don’t get along with the tenant.
  • You mishandled your eviction notices or attempted to illegally evict the tenant by changing the locks or something similar.

In most states, the Courts generally favor the tenants unless you can prove that they really need to be kicked out into the streets. The Courts don’t want to be known for making people homeless and they are rightfully guarded about doing so.

The Eviction Process

The eviction process is important to know. Every notice, every opportunity to correct their wrong, everything…. Has to be documented and follow a predefined eviction pattern.  That pattern varies from state to state and we advise you to seek the expertise of an eviction attorney in your area in order to get the complete list of tasks required to get a LEGAL eviction. For the sake of being general, here is a little of what you can expect to do during your eviction process (seek the professional advice of an attorney before issuing any notice if you are going to follow through on this).

  1. Draft Your Notices and get them in your tenant’s hands in time.

    For example, in Illinois, you are required to furnish three different types of notices (5 day, 10 day, and 30 day notices) for evictions. Which notice you deliver depends on the circumstances.

    The five day notice is only allowed to be issued due to non-payment of rent. You are essentially declaring you have 5 days to pay your rent or you must vacate the rental property.

    The ten day notice should be hand delivered in the event that they have broken the terms of the lease, participated in illegal behavior, or have pets in there and they aren’t supposed to. In some locations in Illinois, the tenant is not even allowed to remedy the situation and your wish to have them evicted will most likely be upheld in Court.

    The thirty day notice can be issued to terminate a monthly lease or because you want them to leave due to other unauthorized behavior..

  2. You have to deliver the notice in a certain manner.

    You have to either:

    a) Hand deliver the notice to a teenager or older
    b) Place the notice in front of the tenant if he/she/they refuse to accept it
    c) Post the notice on the front door if the rental property appears to be vacant.

  3. Go get a notarized affidavit of service.

    This basically just states that your notice has been delivered. You will need this if you must go to court at a later date.

  4. Give the tenant the proper time frame to remedy whatever issue you are having.

    Again, this is most likely not required if illegal activity, extreme damage, or they have stopped paying their rent altogether. You will need to consult an attorney in order to find out your EXACT process.

  5. Go file your complaint with the Court if the tenant has not remedied the situation or if they haven’t left the rental property.

    File the eviction complaint with the County Clerk’s office where the rental property is located. They will charge you a fee and the amount of that fee varies. We’re not even going to guess at what that amount is.

  6. Show up in court and explain what is going on and why the tenant needs to be evicted from your apartment, condo, or rental unit.

    If you win, they will have to vacate between 14 and 21 days usually. The exact date will be determined by the judge.

  7. If you win and the tenant hasn’t left like they have been ordered to, have the Sheriff’s office remove them.

That’s pretty much it for now. Again, this post is just for educational purposes. We are not giving you sound legal advice or encouraging you to use our information to handle it yourself.

Team Elite
Julia Corkey & Vickie Schoenfeld



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What to Count on When Buying a Home!

In General….
A home purchase may be your largest financial transaction to date, so it’s important to make the right decisions and to keep an eye on the details. With the assistance of your Real Estate Agent and Loan Officer, it should be an efficient, pleasant, and ultimately rewarding experience.
Count On Your Real Estate Agent To:

  1. Preview available homes to weed out those that are overpriced, or undesirable in some other way.
  2. Present the homes that suit your needs as you’ve defined them.
  3. Help you determine the difference between a “good buy” and a property which, because of its nature (neighborhood, market appeal, etc.), might have to be discounted if you decide to sell in the future.
  4. Negotiate the best deal for you. With a Pre-Qualification letter from us in hand, your Real Estate Agent will be able to demonstrate that you are a qualified and capable borrower. This will strongly influence the Seller, and may make the difference between the Seller accepting your offer or someone else’s — even if your offer is lower!

Count On Your Mortgage Broker and Loan Officer To:

  1. Assist you in selecting the best loan to meet your personal situation and goals. (This single decision can save you thousands of dollars throughout the years!)
  2. Keep you informed of your loan status throughout the entire process.
  3. Keep your Real Estate Agent informed of our loan progress (Note: your personal information is always kept confidential between you and us; only deal points and progress are shared).
  4. Get the appropriate loan for you at the best rates and fees. This will save you significant money “up front” and throughout the years to come.

Count On Yourself To:

  1. Keep your Real Estate Agent informed of any questions or concerns as they develop.
  2. Keep the process moving by providing documentation and decisions as soon as reasonably possible. By doing so, many of the details are taken care of early in the process so you can comfortably concentrate on any last-minute details or events that require your attention.
  3. Enjoy purchasing your home, but do remain objective throughout — to make the business decisions that are best for you.
  4. Make sure you are pre-approved as early as possible. This will put the power of financing behind you so you can concentrate on selecting your home

Team Elite Baird & Warner Real Estate

Julia Corkey & Vickie Schoenfeld
630-286-9777 Main

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Fed announces rate hike decision

Rates are on

Fed announces rate hike decision

14 Dec 2016

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As expected, the Federal Reserve announced today that it would raise its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point.

“In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1/2 to 3/4 percent,” the Fed’s policy-making committee said in a statement. “The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting some further strengthening in labor market conditions and a return to 2 percent inflation.”

The move marks the first interest rate hike this year; the Fed last hiked rates in December of 2015. The Fed had tentatively planned on three incremental rate hikes throughout 2016, but planned hikes this year were continually stalled by less-than-stellar economic news.

A rate hike, of course, usually means a corresponding rise in mortgage rates. Just how big a rise is dependent on a couple of factors, according to bond expert Bryan McNee, president of McNeeSolutions.com.

“How much it impacts mortgage rates depends on two things. One is (the Fed’s) the dot-plot chart,” McNee told MPA. “The dot-plot chart indicates from all the members of the FOMC – not just the voting members – what their projections are of what future interest rates will be moving forward. As bond traders, we’ll be looking through that to see, ‘Do the majority of them see two rate hikes, or three or four?’ The more rate hikes we see over two next year, the worse it’ll be for mortgage rates. The fewer that we see, the better. It will mitigate the sell-off.”

But McNee warned that the chart is never really an accurate predictor of future rate increases.

“It’s just people’s projections; it’s not what ever really happens,” he said. “A lot of the dots are from people who have no vote, so they can’t cause a rate hike anyway.”

Ultimately, McNee said, mortgage rates are likely headed up regardless of the Fed’s actions, because traders are already acting in anticipation of President-elect Donald Trump’s economic policies.

“Bond traders have spoken. They’ve been selling off – not because of a perceived rate hike, but because they don’t think they’ll be able to get out at these prices next quarter,” he said. “They expect tax cuts. They expect financial regulatory reform. They expect pro-growth policies. And growth in the economy always equals inflation, and bonds don’t like inflation.”


Rates will rise in 2017 – but access to mortgages will increase, experts predict


Housing market growth will slow and mortgage rates will rise in 2017 – but more people will have access to mortgage credit. That’s according to predictions from Redfin data scientists and thought leaders asked to project what the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump will hold for the housing market in the new year.

“The Trump administration ushers in three major policies that could significantly affect the trajectory of the U.S. real estate market: infrastructure spending, tax cuts and changes to immigration policy,” Nela Richardson wrote for Redfin. “Next year, as these policies begin to take shape, their effect will mainly play out in new construction and mortgage rates.”

Redfin projects that mortgage rates will increase in the new year – but to no more than 4.3% on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. The 30-year FRM has already seen rates spike from 3.5% at the end of October to more than 4% following the presidential election.

“The recent rise in rates is largely attributed to Wall Street optimism regarding Trump’s proposals for increased infrastructure spending and tax cuts,” Richardson wrote.

Investors, optimistic about higher economic growth in 2017, are moving their money from bonds to stocks. And when bond prices fall, mortgage rates generally go up.

Redfin also predicts that the housing market will continue to grow – but affordability issues will slow that growth. Redfin’s experts predicted that affordable housing – already on the decline in America’s largest cities – will continue to become more scarce in 2017. And many homeowners who might be thinking about putting their homes on the market will hold off in 2017, they projected. That’s because millions of homeowners are currently locked into a mortgage rate under 4%, and rising rates will act as an incentive to stay in their homes and hold onto the lower mortgage payment.

But despite rising rates and slowing market growth, Redfin also predicted that more people would have access to mortgage loans in 2017. Fannie and Freddie recently announced increases in their loan limits, and the Federal Housing Administration has solidified its financial footing. That means “an increased likelihood that the White House will further lower FHA fees,” Richardson wrote.

Finally, several large financial institutions introduced mortgage programs this year that required as little as a 1% to 3% down payment. “We expect increases in the availability of low down payment mortgages to draw more millennial buyers into the housing market,” Richardson wrote.

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Prepare your home for The Spring Rain

The snow has (finally!) melted, and the spring rains are here. Preparing for these showers will help prevent basement flooding and standing water on your grass. Be proactive and take measures now to avoid potential disaster.

Gutters and Downspouts
Survey gutters for debris or leaves left over from fall and winter, and make sure downspouts allow water to flow away from your home freely.

Sump Pumps
If you have a sump pump, test it before the heavy rains come. Sump pumps have a habit of failing when they are needed the most. If yours seems to show signs of trouble, have a professional look at it ASAP.

Purchase Flood Insurance
If you live in a flood-prone area or near water, check your homeowner’s policy and purchase flood insurance if it is not already present. Don’t delay as many policies will not go into effect until 30 days after the purchase date. Better to spend a little money for protection than be caught with a flooded basement!

Know Where to Receive Emergency Weather Broadcasts
Familiarize yourself with radio and television stations that broadcast emergency notices for your area. Many smartphones are also able to receive emergency weather notices. Check with your carrier to see if your device receives automatic warnings.

Do not be caught out in the rain this spring!

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