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Remortgaging activity highest since 2008: UK Finance

Data from UK Finance reveals that homeowner remortgaging activity in October grew 23.2 per cent on an annual basis, numbering 50,500 new transactions and hitting £9.2bn in value, up 22.7 per cent annually.

Analysis of the data shows that, with a total of 400,700 remortgages having been completed from the start of the year to October, 2018 has been the most active year since 2008, when 773,000 homeowner remortgages were completed with the same time frame.

The data also shows first-time buyer lending and new homemover mortgages both grew in number and value during the month, too.

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A total of 32,900 FTBs completed mortgages, up 8.2 per cent on the year at a value of £5.5bn – growth of 12.2 per cent within the same time frame.

Regarding homemover mortgages, 33,400 transactions occurred in October – 4 per cent more than last October, and at £7.4bn, 8.8 per cent higher in value since late 2017.

In terms of buy-to-let, at 6,100 completed, 9 per cent fewer purchase mortgages were made than last October at a value of £0.8bn – another yearly fall, this time of 20 per cent.

However, there is better news in the BTL remortgaging sphere, with 15,700 completed, growth of 5.4 per cent in number, and at £2.5bn, an increase of 4.2 per cent year-on-year in terms of value.

UK Finance director of mortgages Jackie Bennett says: “Remortgaging has reached its highest level in almost a decade, as homeowners take advantage of a competitive market and lock into attractive deals.

“This also reflects the large number of fixed rate mortgages coming to an end, which is expected to continue into 2019.”

North London estate agent Jeremy Leaf comments: “Political shenanigans seem to be more of a preoccupation among buyers in the southeast than elsewhere. It remains to be seen how the turmoil of the past month or so plays out in the market but the signs are so far that early new year activity will continue in a relatively subdued manner, much as it has over the past few months.”

Meanwhile, Spicerhaart and Just Mortgages operations director John Phillips adds: “Last month’s estimate showed a downturn in remortgaging and I was quite surprised as it was not what we have been seeing at Just Mortgages. These figures are much more of a reflection of what we are seeing in the market.

“We can also see that home mover mortgages are up too, perhaps signalling that, now the initial reluctance to move amidst Brexit uncertainty is straight to waive slightly. There will probably be another dip in home mover activity as we go into 2019, but I think remortgaging will remain strong. There are lots of fixed-rate deals coming to an end, and people are keen to lock in good fixed rate deals now, before potential rate rises.

“Also in tougher times, when purchasing is down, lots of brokers start to focus more on their remortgaging business, which they should be doing anyway, and that has almost certainly impacted on the rise.”

Source: Gary Adams

21-day ultimatum for FG to resolve Apapa Gridlock

The Apapa Government Reserved Area Residents Association has given the Federal Government a 21-day ultimatum to clear all bridges and roads in the area of trucks to ease movement.

The residents on Friday told journalists that unless urgent steps were taken to resolve the traffic problems, they would mobilise and shut down the area completely.

The President of the association, Brig. Gen. Sola Ayo-Vaughan (retd), said the traffic congestion which had turned Apapa and other parts of the Lagos metropolis into one huge parking lot was as a result of government’s lack of planning and will to enforce its laws and policies.

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He noted that the continuous queues of trucks and tankers blocking the entire network of intersecting roads, bringing traffic in all directions to a standstill were no longer acceptable.

Ayo-Vaughan stated that the problem which was within Apapa had snowballed into a Lagos traffic, making movement in the area and its environs a nightmare.

He said, “The bridges which were built to facilitate movement of vehicles have been converted into a permanent parking lot for trailers and tankers, restricting vehicular movement. Turning bridges into a parking lot is unacceptable anywhere in the world because of the inherent danger that may consequently cause calamity.

“The government has been warned of the looming danger which is inevitable if this practice continues. It is a matter of time. It is worthy to note that government officials and the Chief Executive Officers of the companies, government parastatals operating in Apapa and Tin-Can Island ports do not reside in Apapa.”

According to Ayo-Vaughan, the government agencies and shipping companies operating in the area are aware of the situation but do not care because of the financial benefits they derive from it.

He alleged that shipping companies were feeding fat on unearned container deposit and demurrage while terminal operators were having a field day collecting crazy storage charges from importers by restricting trucks in ports under the guise of no network.

He added that truckers were also benefitting from the chaos by hiking their rates from N70, 000 within Lagos to N600, 000.

“Residents and workers in Apapa are in this mess alone and if we don’t stand up for ourselves, nothing will happen. Anything short of physical mobilisation at this point will be meaningless.  The Apapa gridlock is man-made and we are pressed beyond measures to do something about it,” he said.

“It is our belief that the government and its agencies in connivance with shipping companies deliberately refused to implement the policies meant to keep the trucks off our roads to force us out and turn the whole Apapa into port area,” he added.

N10bn revenue to be gotten from housing projects across Ogun in 2019, OPIC

As part of mission to further close perceived housing deficit and boost access to affordable housing facilities across the state, Ogun State Investment and Property Corporation (OPIC) has set N10 billion revenue target from the sales of housing units being constructed across.

The investment and property agency of the State government plans to spend N6 billion as capital expenditure to construct 200 units of various houses in Magboro New Town Estate in Ogun central and completes three-kilometre road in Agbara Estate, among other housing projects, which will complement other affordable housing units in New Makun City, Ogun east and Agbara Estate in Ogun west.

Consequently, Ogun State Property and Investment Corporation (OPIC) has proposed N6.635 billion as total expenditure for 2019 fiscal year, divided into N6 billion capital expenditure and N635 million recurrent expenditure, just as the agency targets N10 billion as total revenue for the year 2019.

Speaking during a 2019 budget defence session at the Ogun State House of Assembly Complex on Thursday, Babajide Odusolu, OPIC Managing Director said that the agency planned to build a 200-unit of various houses in Magboro New Town Estate.

Odusolu, who added that OPIC planned to complete the three -kilometres road in Agbara Estate next year in addition to the construction of second phase of the MTR Garden with 120 Units of two-bedroom apartment as well as continued provision of critical infrastructure across the frontier towns of the State.

According to Odusolu, the Magboro project would complement existing affordable housing projects in Agbara and new Makun City. ‘’ we have affordable houses in Agbara, the 1000 housing units in New Makun City is nearing completion and we will be doing more in Magboro by next year’’.

He assured that provision of infrastructure in all OPIC estates across the state would be sustained, to add value and allow its service compete favourably with its peers in the property industry, just as he restated the agency’s commitment to the provision of affordable houses across the spectrum of the state, tapping all identified commercial potentials and expand the revenue base,

Responding, the Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Victor Fasanya commended the efforts of the present administration in its drive to provide more affordable housing for the people, challenging the agency to redouble its efforts at developing the property sector, as such would be complementary to the ongoing massive infrastructural development in the state.


Homeless Rate in U.S. Down 13 Percent Since 2010 Market Crash

Rent Affordability Now a Growing Concern in Many U.S. Cities
Zillow is reporting this week that rising residential rents across the U.S. are burdening financially limited renters, and contributing to higher rates of homelessness in many of the nation’s least affordable housing markets. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 553,752 people nationwide experienced homelessness in 2017, based on a point-in-time count in January. Since 2010, the counted homeless population has fallen by about 13 percent.

However, prior research shows these counts are imprecise, and likely do not include the entire homeless population in the country. The actual number of people who were homeless is estimated to be closer to 661,000, or 21 percent higher than the officially reported population.

New research from Zillow, in collaboration with researchers at the University of New Hampshire, Boston University School of Social Work and University of Pennsylvania, shows that the homelessness rate accelerates much more quickly when the rent burden climbs above 32 percent. The research also identified distinct groups of communities respond similarly to changing rents and poverty levels, among other latent factors – all of this information can help policymakers and social-service organizations in otherwise disparate areas hone in on the most effective mitigation efforts by learning from the experiences of other areas in their peer group. This new research expands on Zillow research last year that examined the relationship between rising rents and homelessness.

Zillow Report Highlights Include:

  • If the rent burden increases by 2 percentage points, an additional 1,500 Americans will become homeless
  • An estimated 661,000 people were homeless in 2017, more than 100,000 more than were officially reported.
  • The expected homelessness rate in a community increases at an accelerated pace after rents reach 32 percent of the local median income.
  • The rent burden exceeds this 32 percent tipping point in about one-quarter of the regions analyzed.

Zillow further reports about 1,500 more people nationwide can be expected to experience homelessness when the rent burden increases by 2 percentage points. The effects of a larger rent burden are more extreme in already unaffordable areas where rent burdens are beyond the 32 percent tipping point. In Los Angeles, that 2-percentage point increase could force an additional 4,227 people into homelessness. In other communities, homelessness is predicted to decline despite increasing rent burdens.

Nationwide, a renter earning the median U.S. income and looking to rent the median-priced apartment should expect to spend about 28 percent of their income on rent, up from historic norms closer to 26 percent. But across the country, the rent burden already exceeds the 32 percent threshold in 100 of the 386 Continuums of Care included in this analysis, led by Monroe County in Florida, where the median market rate rent consumes 62.9 percent of the area’s median household income. Also on this list are Los Angeles (49 percent), Portland, Oregon (36.7 percent), and Seattle (34.2 percent), all of which have declared a homelessness “state of emergency.”

All of these areas fall into the same group of communities defined by high rates of homelessness, unaffordable housing and high rates of extreme poverty. This cluster is home to 15.1 percent of the total U.S. population, but 47.3 percent of the nation’s homeless population as officially reported by the 2017 HUD point-in-time count.

Conversely, a separate cluster, which includes areas like Pittsburgh and Cook County, Illinois, is characterized by a low homelessness rate, affordable housing, and the lowest rates of extreme property. This does not mean homelessness doesn’t exist in these areas, only that housing costs and low income play a smaller part in defining the challenge in these communities, and unobserved factors may be playing a bigger role.

“It’s undoubtedly good news that the overall level of homelessness has fallen nationwide, even as housing costs have increased. But that zoomed-out view obscures some very real, local tensions between housing affordability and homelessness, and ignores the reality that success in tackling homelessness in one community doesn’t necessarily have the same effect in another,” said Skylar Olsen, Zillow Director of Economic Research and Outreach. “This first-of-its-kind research both quantifies the true scale of the problem and reinforces the idea that every community has its own unique challenges. But there are similarities that can be identified, even among communities of wildly varying sizes and locations, and learning to be shared. The homelessness challenge itself is hugely multifaceted and nuanced from community to community, and requires local and national solutions that are equally flexible, nuanced and informed.”
Source: Michael Gerrity

How Improved access to affordable housing can benefit the common man

Shelter is one of the basic needs of man, and the idea of affordable housing to cater to this need is both practical and viable.

According to the The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), 30 per cent of the world’s urban population resides in slums, with deplorable conditions, where people suffer from several deficiencies, including lack of access to improved water, absence of sewage facilities, living in overcrowded conditions, and in buildings that are structurally unsound.

There are conflicting figures about Nigeria’s housing deficit, but experts often quote between 17 and 21 million.

With over 170 million people, Nigeria, the most populous country in black Africa, has a population of over 70 million low-income people.

Recently, a minimum wage of N30,000 was approved for the Nigerian workers, while the disposable income of majority of the fresh graduates (not the ones employed in blue-chip companies) is less than N60, 000 per month.

Affordable housing has remained elusive to the average Nigerian, in spite of numerous programmes to tackle affordable housing challenges in the country.

The low and middle income earners especially, are the most affected by this.

Due to affordability, they live in densely populated or informal ‘slum’ areas. The high income earners, 1% of the population, occupy a small percentage of the housing stock.

Therefore, the majority of newly built homes in city centres are left unoccupied. Thus, the problem of affordable housing remains a critical issue in the socio-economic wellbeing of Nigeria.

For example, in Lagos State, the price tags placed on the units of the Lagos HOMS Project cannot be classified as being for low-income earners, especially when considered from the United Nations standpoint, where an adult is not expected to spend more than 30 per cent of his/her income on housing (By international standards a house should not cost more than three times the occupiers’ annual income.)

Thirty per cent of the N4.3 million apartment is N1.29 million and monthly payment would be N25, 083.00, which is almost equal to the basic salary.

Since the United Nations said you should not spend more than 30 per cent of your income on housing, the 30 per cent of the basic annual income is N108, 000.

It means a Level One officer should not spend more that N108, 000 annually on housing, because it is assumed that from his earnings he would make provisions for transportation, school fees and feeding.

So, you know he cannot even afford it and it is not affordable. These prices or rents cut-off the masses who need the accommodation.

When you add the interest rate of about 9.5 per cent, the total sum goes to about N17m to N18 million to be paid over 10 years.

So, it is obvious you are not also planning for middle-income earners. So, the Lagos HOMS is still feeding the high-income earners.

A Level 14 officer should have put in an average of 10 years of service, but in spite of that, he cannot key into the state housing project.

For instance, someone is earning N150, 000 per month, minus 30 per cent present accommodation need, minus other needs, including school fees and feeding.

What would be left that would serve as disposable income that can be put into housing programme? So, first and foremost, I cannot afford the 30 per cent down payment from my salary.

It becomes a burden and one begins to wonder how long it would take to own a house in Lagos.

In view of the above, some steps to alleviating the problems of affordable housing delivery include concentrating on ways to provide the enabling environment for mass housing production.

Basic building materials should be given tax and duty relief and government could develop incentives to encourage both the public and private sectors to use indigenous building materials.

Other strategies may include granting tax holidays to developers and providing free land to them to reduce the cost of producing houses.

Sites and service plots could be provided to private sectors, housing cooperatives, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) and individuals.

The basis of allocation should strictly be one man one plot, members of (REDAN) should be encourage and motivated with tax incentives, subsidized building materials and discounted rate per square meter.

Plots allocated for affordable housing schemes must not be fraudulently used for medium or high income housing projects.

There should be sanctions and strict penalties for violation of terms and conditions stipulated on the letter of allocation.

For successful implementation of this scheme, it is imperative to study and assess the actual housing needs of the low income earners.

It should be known that before low-income earners can afford to buy or rent houses the price or rent must be low or subsidized by the government.

“Until we are able to provide housing that artisans can afford, that is when the people would say that there is affordable housing for the common man. With that, low-income earners would have some housing units targeted at them.


Affordable Housing Advocates Hope to Use the Democratic Majority in the House to Press for More Funding

The insufficient funding for public housing is leading to a decay of affordable housing stock.

Much of the focus at the event was on Washington, D.C.,where the results of the November 2018 election will give Democrats like Jeffries a new opportunity to fight for their legislative priorities. Affordable housing is near the top of the list—and Jeffries had a particular promise to make for public housing.

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The congressman also pledged to fight to strengthen the federal low-income housing tax credits offerings, Sec. 202 and Sec. 8 voucher program.

Federal action to come

The pledge by Rep. Jeffries comes after a surprisingly good year for the affordable housing industry. Twelve months ago, lawmakers in Congress considered proposals to curtail or shut down some of the most important federal programs to build and renovate affordable housing. That included the massive reform of the federal tax code. The administration of President Donald Trump also proposed to eliminate federal programs like HOME and the Community Development Block Grants and cut the funding for capital repairs at public housing down to zero.

“Who would have thought that was possible?” said David Dworkin, president and CEO of the National Housing Conference, speaking at a morning panel at the event. “We had never gotten that size of increase to the HUD budget in that time period.”

That success has given advocates for affordable housing new confidence, though the Trump Administration is likely to once again propose an austere federal budget to Congress, full of ideas like its proposals last year to give zero dollars in capital repair funding to public housing.

“Advocacy works,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Advocates like Yentel hope to use the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives to press for new funding for affordable housing—though any new spending will have be paid for with some new income.

“Under the Budget Control Act, they have minimal ability to propose new ideas,” said Yentel. “We are back under the really tight spending caps that we were under previously.”

Advocates vow to fight the decay of public housing

Rep. Jeffries promise to fight for public housing reflects a top priority for housing advocates.

That’s especially true in New York, where public housing is once again in the news. Heating systems failed for thousands of public housing residents over Thanksgiving weekend. That led to another series of humiliating headlines for the troubled New York City Housing Authority.

“Now stories start coming about water not running in public housing here in New York City… that’s what $50 billion in unmet public housing capital repair needs looks like,” according to Yentel.

For decades, federal budgets written by Congress have given local housing authorities less cash than federal officials said would be enough to maintain public housing. In the last 10 years, Congress cut that already insufficient amount of federal money in half, according to Dworkin. Public housing across the country now has $50 billion in unmet capital needs, such as roofs and heating systems that need to be replaced.

Source: Bendix Anderson

More Nigerians now engaged in construction sites than foreigners – Fashola

The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has disclosed that over 50,000 Nigerians are now engaged in 77 works and 50 housing construction sites across the country, while only 277 foreigners are working in the sites. According to Fashola, the figures are contained in the “Inception Report” the Ministry of Works, Power and Housing recently commissioned to “ascertain the number of foreigners employed on those sites and whether they have work permits for the work they are undertaking”.

Fashola disclosed this on Thursday in a speech titled: “Solid Infrastructural Backbone – A Catalyst for National and Sustainable Development,” which he delivered at Sheraton Hotels, Lagos during the 2018 Nigerian Infrastructure Development Awards Night and the unveiling of  Nigerian Infrastructure Development Magazine.
Fashola, who won the NIDA 2018 “Icon of National Infrastructure Development” Award, was represented at the occasion by Engr. Funsho Adebiyi, Director of Highways, South West.
“The Ministry has now commissioned a more detailed audit of all sites and we await the results and findings,” he stated.
The Minister explained that “while Government welcomes foreigners and investors, we expect that like in all law abiding countries, foreigners can only work after obtaining work permit.”
He explained further that while Nigeria took loans from overseas to execute some projects, “we did not sign away the rights of Nigerians to benefits from such projects”.
The Chairman of the occasion, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, who commended the organizers of NIDA Awards, said in his speech that infrastructure development of Nigeria is very critical and an issue that should be of concern to all.
Durojaiye said: “No nation develops above the level of infrastructural resources available to her.”
He also called for vibrant private and public sector players to partner in driving infrastructural revolution in order to fast track development on the country.
He said: We need more public budget investments, foreign capital and creative funding avenues to achieve this goal speedily as we cannot afford to be observers.
“As an emerging economy with growing population, we have to take the need to improve on our various infrastructure very seriously.”
In his welcome remarks, the Chairman of NIDA and Managing Director of Prospers Strategy Limited, Lanre Alabi, said the issue of infrastructure is very vital to national development as the state of infrastructure is a key determinant to gauge the health of nation.
Alabi explained: “NIDA was established to honour corporate organisations, government agencies and individuals who have made huge and outstanding impact in the Nigerian infrastructural development sector over the years.”
He added that with the debut of the first Nigerian Infrastructural Development focused magazine, a public platform to raise the bar on infrastructural awareness has been created.
He said: “The publication offers a credible avenue for both the public and private sector players to share ideas and to imbibe best practices that have helped other economies on infrastructure development.”

Family Homes Funds invest N20 billion in 5 housing projects for low income earners

Mr Femi Adewole, Managing Director, Family Homes Funds says that it has invested over N20 billion into five ongoing projects to enable the medium and low income earners in the society own their houses.

Adewole was speaking at the Fund Raising of the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Nigeria (REDAN) and Advocacy Lecture Series with the theme ” FHF Construction Finance-A New Hope of Financing Affordable Housing.

He said a lot of money is needed to target about 500,000 housing units for low-income earners.

He said thecurrent locations for the project are – the millinium city in Kaduna which is housing about 650 homes, the royal city in Kano of about 757 homes, in Asaba, Delta state of about 620 homes, Ogun state about1,074 homes and FCT about 580 homes.

He added that support had been received from the African Development Bank (AFDB) and the World Bank among others to address housing deficit in Nigeria.

“We have a strong commitment. We have invested over N20 billion to five housing projects to support Nigerians who are earning below N100,000. We are also providing financing for developers who will build homes ranging between N2.5 million to N5 million.

“In addition, we are providing some assistance to the buyers of those houses and we are given them a deferred loan for up to 40 per cent cost of the houses.

“We need a lot of money to house and achieve the target of 500,000 homes and that money is not going to come from the Federal Government alone.

“So, we are developing partnership with a whole range of development institutions, the African Development Bank, the World Bank are just two of the many institutions we are talking to who are providing support for us.

“We have invested over N20 billion into five housing projects which are ongoing. Those projects have about 3600 homes in them.”

Adewole noted that by the end of December, the organisation should have committed to another 20,000 homes which he said would commence construction in 2018.

Also, Mr Ugochukwu Chime, President, Real Estate Developers’ Association of Nigeria (REDAN) advocated for increased funding of the housing sector to enable the medium and low income earners own their houses.

Chime said the theme was coming at a time when housing in Nigeria required significant quantum of funds to provide housing for the low income earners in the society.

According to him, our concentration over the years on demand induced supply based on market forces has not yielded the desired dividends.

“This is because the value chain and transaction dynamics that will produce such effective linkage is non existent.

“While we note that there is housing gap in the economy and realise that income level is low, the social intervention initiative of the Federal Government via the instrumentality of the family homes funds need to be clearly understood.”

Chime added that REDAN was working hard towards ensuring that members acquire requisite knowledge in respect of the business of real estate development.

He further said that the association had went into partnership with Centre for Housing Studies of the University of Lagos to serve as a hub for training of members.

He, therefore, promised to work with stakeholders in the sector to ensure it move away from the learning curve to a higher pedestal of project feasibility, execution and closure.

Real estate: How to buy and sell at the same time

There are times when there is a need to make a strategic move regarding your real estate investment holdings. One of such strategic moves is buying and selling of a piece of real estate simultaneously or as near to this as possible. Strategic moves are for those who already own at least one real estate investment property but the information might also prove useful one day to those new in real estate investment.

Like someone said, the only constant thing in life is change. Buying and selling real estate almost simultaneously is an art worth learning.

The primary reason why a person might want to sell their real estate investment property and buy another one is usually due to a change in circumstance. This is a broad reason that can accommodate a lot of scenario. A change in circumstance could be in relation to the purpose of the property that is about to be sold. Take the true case of a very successful businessman who built a mansion of about twenty rooms with several meeting rooms, swimming pools and other amenities.

In his reasoning at that time was the need for a place that could host multiple meetings, personal functions and other family events. Twenty years after the children have moved on, he and his wife are older, and the house has now become a burden. Their decision to downsize to a more manageable home was a core reason why they wanted to sell the house and buy a smaller one.

Another reason could be that the location has now changed and provided you with an opportunity to make money that could be put to better use. This was the case of an investor who suddenly realised that where he was living was rapidly turning into a high-street for banks. The value of his property shot up astronomically while the area changed from its naturally quiet and peaceful environment to a noisy commercial area. He was approached by one of the banks and he made so much from the property sale that he was able to relocate to a more serene location and still keeps a good profit.

Downsizing might also be forced on an investor by the need to access the equity in the property, buy a cheaper one and access the extra capital. It is also possible for an investor to have extra cash and be willing to add all the funds coming in from the sale of a property in order to buy an investment property in a better location or with better prospect of a higher return on his or her investment. Navigating this season requires clarity, focus and discipline. If a person is careless at this stage it could mean losing his or her property and losing money.

It is always better to begin this journey with clarity as to why you want to sell and what you want to buy. If you have a team of professional and experienced advisers this is the time to discuss with them. You must have a clear road map before the money gets into your hand or you can easily be distracted. This is a good time to get your facts right and avoid assumptions. You should have a clear idea of how much your property is worth, where you would like to invest some or all of the money and what is the value of properties in your desired area. These are information that you should also reconfirm just before you make the sale.

It is highly recommended that you start with the sale first. Real estate is notoriously an illiquid asset. It is not easy to convert a real estate asset into cash in the same way that you do with shares and stocks. It usually requires marketing, waiting and negotiating before closing. You cannot specifically state when a property will be bought. It is therefore better that you are certain of the sale before you start negotiating with the seller of another property. If you put the purchase before the sale,  unless you have access to other sources of financing you might not be able to close those deals and also leave a long list of disappointed sellers on your track.

Astute real estate investors are decisive and discipline. You should be clear as to what you want to buy before the purchase price gets into your account. As much as possible avoid a situation where you have made the sale but the purchase is lingering for months. The temptation to overspend and be distracted from your original goal can be too great. Let the transactions be as close as possible to each other.

Source: Abiodun Doherty

The Real Estate Market, today and the future

You may have noticed the real estate market tightening and slowing in recent months. Homebuyers are becoming increasingly more cautious due to the feeling that they may be purchasing at the top of the market and will have to obtain a higher market interest rate compared to the past. This also translates to buyers being more difficult to secure in the marketplace for home sellers. This, in addition to an ever-rising interest rate market, is leading to more compression and more competition from lenders. And as the fight for consumers becomes ever more challenging, homebuyers who are in the market become ever more competitive to land for lenders. The fight for purchase business continues.

The Current Market

As many consumers have noticed, the current real estate market remains at a plateau. While we continue to see homes being bought and sold at a standard rate in the conventional markets, the move-up buyer — someone who buys a house that is larger and more expensive than the house they already own — is almost like a ghost.

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As interest rates climb and housing prices stay flat, the move-up buyer market will not gain traction. The reason for this is very simple: Most people who currently find themselves in a good equity position in their home and purchased their home between 2012 and 2015 are scratching their heads. Those who do want to potentially move into a home in a better location, or want more square feet or updated finishings, are pondering if it’s really worth the move.

And here’s the conundrum: If they purchased their home in 2011-2013, and that home was $500,000 and is now worth $800,000, and their current budget is $1.1-$1.3 million, they may be asking themselves, “What do I really get?” The answer is not much more. This is because a home bought four or five years ago has seen significant appreciation. Therefore, even with a higher budget today, what they can buy doesn’t yield much more than they already have.

Even though the budget is on the higher end, consumers may find themselves saying, “If this is all I get for this amount of money, I think I’d rather stay in my home.”

More importantly, the current interest rate they are paying may be in the mid to upper 3% range, yet current rates are looking closer to 5%. Facing the possibility of getting out of an incredible interest rate to jump up to 100-150 mortgage points, thereby increasing their monthly expenses significantly even if their loan amount stays the same, smart consumers are saying, “No. I’ll stay in my home. Maybe we’ll remodel it.” And that’s what I’ve observed across the board.

Looking To The Future

Consumers are hesitant in the current market — not with only with what is available compared to what they have to spend, but even more importantly, getting out of an all-time rock-bottom low interest rate in exchange for a higher interest rate.

For consumers in the FHA and conventional markets, we see demand continuing to be rather strong — maybe not as strong as in years past, but still a solid market. In the high-end luxury market, we are predicting a little slow down, but that market as well should remain decent over the next 12 months. This opinion and prediction is based off of the historical ebb and flow of the luxury market, in addition to high interest rates.

However, what’s hurting the market right now is the move-up buyer. Particularly in the Arizona market, for example, the move-up buyer from $500,000 to $1 million seems really hard to find. These homes are sitting on average over 130 days longer than I saw them listing for last year. This is happening because encouraging the move-up buyer to take on a higher interest rate for a larger home is not sustainable. The move-up buyer wants to stay where they are in this scenario. They are more interested in investing money into a home for a remodel, or even an addition, rather than taking on the cost of moving and a higher interest rate.

The only solution that would help this situation would be for interest rates to lower. This move-up buyer hold-out could damage the market because it initiates a sort of freeze where homes aren’t going on the market and buyers aren’t interested in looking for newer or larger homes. This causes a slow market without a lot of turnover.

Generally speaking, the market tends to cool this time of year as the leaves fall and temperatures drop as well. There is nothing to be alarmed about at this time, but awareness of the current climate is key to making the best decisions for all.

Source: Jason Mitchell

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