What Will the Housing Market Look Like in 2016

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This last year had a lot of firsts for the real estate market since the crash in 2008. It was a good year in terms of real estate for 2015. We saw some of the lowest mortgage rates since the 90’s and activity continued well into the “off season.” So where is the market headed now, especially since the Fed raised interest rates right before the year’s end? Many real estate forecasters expect 2016 to surpass 2015, even with increasing prices and higher mortgage rates. Here is what you can expect from the housing market in 2016.

Homeowners should expect another year of gains in housing prices. Since the housing market crash, lenders are cracking down on giving out loans to people who can’t afford them. Since the beginning of the recovery in 2012, housing prices have been going up, reaching peak levels. In 2016, it is expected that these prices will be stable because they are supported by homeowner incomes. Negative homeowner’s equity is also fading fast. At its worse, 17 million people owned homes that were worth less than their mortgages, by the year’s end that number is expected to drop to 5 million.

It is a sellers’ market. Current market conditions favor owners who are looking to sell. This is because there is a low inventory of homes. Sellers have been holding off on selling their home until prices rise back to where they were. Although it may be harder for buyers in this current market, the growing economy and low mortgage rates are expected to help. Mortgage rates are still around 4%, but buyers should be aware that this won’t last long. It isn’t all bad news for buyers, though, mortgage rates aren’t going to spike anytime soon and full employment is expected to return in the next few months.

2016 is going to be a difficult year for renters. Rents are at an all time high. This is because there is a high demand for rentals and not enough supply. The demand for rentals has increased so much because millennials are coming of age, looking for their own place and families who were foreclosed on are still renting. Builders are constructing more rentals, but this is still not keeping up with demand. Also, the demand for affordable housing in urban areas are still not being met.

For first-time buyers, 2016 is going to be their year. The Federal Housing Administration, which helps first-time buyers with getting a mortgage, has been cutting fees since last year. As the economy improves, this government agency is expected to cut fees even further. They are also working to lower the current credit bar that stops many potential buyers.

2016 looks like it will be the year of the seller, but buyers are also going to benefit from this year. The only ones that are going to have trouble are renters, as prices are not expected to level off anytime soon. If you are in the position to buy or have been contemplating buying, you should do so. Now is the best time to buy as mortgage rates are still low and easy to obtain. Also, many buyers are now putting down less than 20% as their down payment.

The 6 Major Steps in the Home Buying Process

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The homebuying process can be intimidating for anyone, especially first-time buyers. Buying a home is a major process, but with the right people, it doesn’t have to be a stressful process. Here are the major steps in the home buying process and what you can expect from each.

1. Before you decide to buy a home

The first thing you should start on before you even consider buying a home is to build good credit. After you build your credit up, you should start with a mortgage pre-approval and find out what type of mortgage is right for you. You should also be saving for the down payment, which can be anywhere from 10-20% of the property value. Don’t forget to save for the closing costs which can include taxes and other fees.

2.Find a Real Estate Agent

Finding a real estate is probably one of the most important steps. You want an agent that knows the area in which you are wishing to buy. You also want someone who has years of experience. Those years of experience will make all the difference, from knowing how to negotiate to filling out and filing the paperwork for you.

3. Finding the right property

Before you start looking you should make a list of everything you want in a home. Make sure your list is realistic. Sometimes first time home buyers feel as if they will never find their dream home because of unrealistic expectations. Make a list of needs vs wants, also a list of absolute deal breakers. Sometimes homes have funny quirks that you may hate at first, but over time, develop into a feature that makes your home, home.

4. Financing the right property

You’ll need to find a mortgage broker as well. Your realtor should have a list of contacts they would suggest. Mortgage brokers are important because they can help you find the right mortgage suited for you. If you have already been pre-approved, the lending process will be a lot easier.

5. Making an offer

Before you make the offer, make sure you have a licensed home inspector in place. Acquire title insurance and make sure the title is clear before you place an offer. Make sure you read and understand all contracts before you sign, if you have any questions, make sure to ask. Keep your credit score high throughout the entire process and wait for big-ticket purchases until long after you close. Remember, one offer makes a sale, so be prepared to move on if you offer is not accepted.

6. Closing and life after the big purchase

The first thing you should do after you close is protect your purchase, buy insurance, including disaster, fire, and flooding. Keep a record of all your files, either physically or digitally. This includes all warranties, insurance documents, contracts, etc. Set up bills in your name with your new address. Now that all the hard work is done, it’s time to enjoy your new place, go out, meet your neighbors, explore the neighborhood. If you had a positive experience with your realtor, recommend them to your family and friends who may have just begun their own real estate journey.