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Are Low Interest Rates Here to Stay?

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Are Low Interest Rates Here to Stay? | MyKCM

 

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have been on the decline since November, now reaching lows last seen in January 2018. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates came in at 4.12% last week!

This is great news for anyone who is planning on buying a home this spring! Freddie Mac had this to say,

“Mortgage interest rates have been steadily declining since the start of 2019. These lower mortgage interest rates combined with a strong labor market should attract prospective homebuyers this spring and could help the housing sector regain its momentum later in the year.”

To put the low rates in perspective, the average for 2018 was 4.6%! The chart below shows the recent drop, and also shows where the experts at Freddie Mac believe rates will be by the end of 2019.

Are Low Interest Rates Here to Stay? | MyKCM

Bottom Line

If you plan on buying a home this year, let’s get together to start your home search to ensure you can lock in these historically low rates today! Call The All-Star Team, REALTORS at 601-545-3900.

Updates and Changes

by DeLois Smith

Dear Friends and Extended Family,

     The hope and reassurance of Easter has been a special blessing this past weekend! All day, on Monday after Easter, I was hearing from clients and friends similar comments “It was such a glorious Easter service at our church” or “It was our best-ever Easter with family and special celebrations at our church!” After so many serious storms and losses of lives and property, we were blessed also by refreshing sunshine and clear skies. Beautiful pop-out roses, Louisiana irises, English dogwood blossoms, red amaryllis, Easter lilies, and gorgeous multi-colored snapdragons have been showing their splendor throughout our community and beyond.

     We are glad to welcome the beautiful milestone month of May once again. For our team and families, there are special birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day, new babies to be born, and significant graduations. Granddaughter Heather is expecting to add to our family on May 14th. Our final “grand” undergraduate from Mississippi State, Robert Lewis, will receive his B.A. on my birthday, May 3rd. What an achievement for the whole family, as he is the senior grandson and the 4th to march down the aisle. After exploring several departments, he finally decided to pursue his real talents of art and photography where he really excels. He makes us proud often when we are invited to events that showcase his work.

     Winds of Change- Emerging trends, challenges, and opportunities have been obvious every day of the first one-third of 2019!  As you review our Market Analysis, November-April 2019, it is obvious there is much competition for inventory $100,000- $299,900. Thankfully, our $300,000- $399,900 is relatively healthy, and the $400,000- $499,900 is healthier than a year ago. The over $500,000 is  8 transactions total closed. Christy McLemore, our team Listing Coordinator, does an outstanding job of always providing this market update as well as a wealth of well-researched information for each team listing appointment and responding to research requests from our buyer and seller clients on a day-to-day basis.  As a present or past client, feel free to call our office for current market data which interests you.

      The geographical size of our market has grown significantly with 386 agents currently serving our Hattiesburg Area Association of Realtors from Wiggins to Laurel and Columbia to Richton. Our jurisdiction extends to six counties- Forrest, Lamar, Marion, Covington, Perry, and Stone. To date, 468 properties, according to the executive officer of Hattiesburg, have closed this year.

       Local landmark changes… Preservation Crossing- Old Hattiesburg High School. This is a project we have hoped would happen for decades. This venture will transform this landmark on Main Street into apartments for seniors age 55 and older. There will be 74 apartments with 575-800 square feet per unit to provide affordable rental rates from $200-$600 per month.

       Former Greentree Apartments are being transformed into Oak Grove Place Apartments at 2000 Oak Grove Road. This project is 65% completed and occupied. Rents begin at $570 for one bedroom and $690 for a two-bedroom unit.

      Three hundred Regions Bank employees recently moved from downtown Hattiesburg to a new mortgage center at the corner of Lincoln Road Extension and Lamar Boulevard. They moved from three buildings downtown- The Kress, Front Street, and Forrest Tower. The Kress and Forrest Tower will be converted to downtown mixed-use facilities and studio and one-bedroom apartments by Rob and Craig Tatum. A new Regions customer service will open on Front Street.

      Do not miss the upcoming 10th anniversary Festival South productions! Sister Act by the incredible Hub City Players is the beginning event June 7th-9th. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony featuring the Festival South Orchestra with special guest violinist Matthew Hakkarainen will perform on June 13th. The King of Rock and Roll, a tribute featuring Victor Trevino, Jr., is June 14th. Finale is Linda Eder returning to the Saenger on June 22nd. All of this and much, much more you will want to enjoy during the #10 Festival South!

       The Power of the Team has never been more important to me and our team members than now. The complexity of the current market requires more creativity, flexibility, constant change, patience, and collaborative activities. Researchers at the University of Virginia have discovered that the proportion of an employee’s day spent communicating with colleagues and co-workers is a whopping 75%. Shawn Anchor’s new book Big Potential reaffirms the basic instinct that the “more you help people find their light, the brighter you both will shine.” Another conclusion worth considering: “the one thing that really predicts our long-term success and well-being is other people.” Almost every attribute of your potential- from intelligence to creativity to leadership to personality and engagement, is interconnected with others. The Power of the Team is best described as “the power of one made stronger by others.”

       As Christy McLemore, our attentive Listing Coordinator, continues to remind us with  market research, Our TEAM approach works! Among homes listed and sold up to $300,000 in our MLS in 2018, 78% of homes listed with The All-Star Team sold within 12 months! This is 16% higher on average than all competing brokerages. Our homes also sold in an average of 34 days, which is 32% faster than our competition!

Thank you for the privilege of serving as your Realtor Team! We are grateful for the opportunities you provide!

May the joy  and hope of Easter continue to bless you and your family!

DeLois and Team

 

No Worries… Home Prices Coming in for a SOFT Landing | MyKCM
 

Home prices have appreciated considerably over the last five years. This has some concerned that we may be in for another dramatic correction. However, recent statistics suggest home values will not crash as they did a decade ago. Instead, this time they will come in for a soft landing.

The previous housing market was fueled by an artificial demand created by mortgage standards that were far too lenient. When this demand was shut off, a flood of inventory came to market. This included heavily discounted distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales).

Today’s market is totally different. Mortgage standards are tighter than they were prior to the last boom and bust. There is no fear that a rush of foreclosures will come to market. The Mortgage Bankers’ Association just announced that foreclosures are lower today than at any time since 1996.

Case Shiller looks at the percentage of appreciation as compared to the same month the year prior. Here is a graph of their findings over the last ten months:

No Worries… Home Prices Coming in for a SOFT Landing | MyKCM

 

As we can see, home price appreciation is softening as more inventory comes to market. This shows that real estate prices are not crashing, but merely returning toward historic appreciation numbers of 3.6% annually.

Bottom Line

Home prices are leveling off. Long term, that is a good thing for the housing market.

Dancing in the Rain

by Linda Seifert

Most of us have heard the saying ‘Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain’.  This very appropriate quote is an incentive to me and many of you, I’m sure.  Life is busy, with days that are filled with work and family activities.  To help balance one’s life, we often look for some activity to enhance and add variety outside our routine.  Music is my ‘go to’ and has been a form of self-expression my whole life in one way or the other.  I learned to play the piano, the bass clarinet in my high school band for a while and sang in the church choir.  Now, I have added ballroom dancing to my musical repertoire.  It is in this musical medium where I have experienced the challenges of not only using muscles I forgot I had but using my memory for the many patterns of the various dances.  I have a special affinity for the Latin styles some of which are physically exhausting but so much fun and wonderful exercise!  You cannot help but smile when you are dancing!  Hattiesburg has a lively ballroom dance community with many fine instructors to fit your budget and your availability.  There are evening group classes taught as well as opportunities for private daytime or evening lessons.  You can go to the following websites to find out more about starting on a journey of self-expression and self-awareness that will enhance your life exponentially: msballroom.com, or search USA dance on Facebook. You may also call me at 601-549-4853 and I can be reached by email at linda@allstarteam.com      

What does this all have to do with real estate you ask?  It answers one of the many questions of my clients through the years as to ‘things to do’ in the greater Hattiesburg area.  ‘The Hub City’ as we are justifiably called, is well positioned to reach New Orleans, Mobile, The Mississippi Gulf Coast and Jackson, Ms. within two hours in any direction.  A quick getaway to a larger metropolitan area opens up infinite possibilities for a fun adventure when desired.  However, right here at home and in addition to the ever growing dance community, the University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey University offer theater productions, wonderful concerts, lifelong learning opportunities and so much more.  The local little theater groups have Broadway quality performers and present the community with wonderful theatrical productions throughout the year.  The Paul B. Johnson State Park is a beautiful facility offering family friendly entertainment such as boating, water skiing and camping.  Golf communities abound plus a number of festivals, music venues, farmers markets and a fabulous Zoo to name a few!  For upcoming events all year you can enter visithburg.org to select many forms of entertainment.  Above all, remember that The All-Star Team Realtors not only strive to serve your real estate needs but we want to be a source of information to our new arrivals as you navigate ‘The Burg’. 

Signing off with a favorite quote from Lord Byron:  “On with the dance!  Let joy be unconfined”!

Homeownership is a Cornerstone of the American Dream |MyKCM

 

“The rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

The famous quote attributed to Mark Twain can apply to homeownership in the United States today. During the housing bubble of the last decade, the homeownership rate soared to over sixty-nine percent. After the crash, that percentage continued to fall for the next ten years.

That led to speculation that homeownership was no longer seen as a major component of the American Dream. That belief became so widespread that the term “renters’ society” began to be used by some to define American consumers.

However, the latest report by the Census Bureau on homeownership shows that over the last two years, the percentage of homeowners has increased in each of the last eight quarters.

Homeownership is a Cornerstone of the American Dream |MyKCM

Going forward…

It appears the homeownership rate will continue to increase.

The 2019 Aspiring Home Buyers Profile recently released by the National Association of Realtors revealed that 84% of non-owners want to own a home in the future. That percentage increased from 73% earlier last year.

Bottom Line

In the United States, the concept of homeownership as part of the American Dream is very much alive and well.

 

According to data released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Americans can expect an estimated average refund of $3,143 this year when filing their taxes. This is down slightly from the average refund of $3,436 last year.

Tax refunds are often thought of as ‘extra money’ that can be used toward larger goals. For anyone looking to buy a home in 2019, this can be a great jump start toward a down payment!

The map below shows the average tax refund Americans received last year by state.

Your Tax Refund Is The Key To Homeownership! | MyKCM

Many first-time buyers believe that a 20% down payment is required to qualify for a mortgage. Programs from the Federal Housing Authority, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae all allow for down payments as low as 3%. Veterans Affairs Loans allow many veterans to purchase a home with 0% down.

If you started your down payment savings with your tax refund check this year, how close would you be to a 3% down payment?

The map below shows what percentage of a 3% down payment is covered by the average tax refund by taking into account the median price of homes sold by state.Your Tax Refund Is The Key To Homeownership! | MyKCM

The darker the blue, the closer your tax refund gets you to homeownership! For those in Oklahoma looking to purchase their first homes, their tax refund could potentially get them 85% closer to that dream!

Bottom Line

Saving for a down payment can seem like a daunting task. But the more you know about what’s required, the more prepared you can be to make the best decision for you and your family! This tax season, your refund could be your key to homeownership!

The Enormous Divide Between the Headline and the Truth | MyKCM

 

“I have observed that not the man who hopes when others despair, but the man who despairs when others hope, is admired by a large class of persons as a sage.” - John Stuart Mill (1840s)

Even back in the mid-1800s, people knew that negative news sells. That is still true today. All forms of media realize that they will get more eyeballs, clicks, likes, and engagement by posting something negative. However, they must realize that negative headlines impact markets.

Just last week, the National Association of Home Builders released a survey revealing:

“Negative media reports making buyers cautious was a significant problem for 48% of builders in 2018, but 62% expect it to be a problem in 2019.”

Even today, good news is headlined with a negative spin in order to get attention. Here are two recent examples from mainstream media:

Actual Headline #1Cash-out refis are back – will homes become ATMs again?

The real story: The headline is accurate - to a point. It is true that the percentage of refinances in which the homeowner received cash at the closing has increased to levels that existed in 2006. However, the actual amount of equity homeowners “cashed-out” compared to a decade ago isn’t close.

The dollar amount cashed-out last year was $63 billion. That seems like a really large number until we compare it to 2006, when homeowners cashed-out $321 billion. That is more than five times the current amount.

In 2006, people did use their homes as ATMs. They purchased new cars, boats, and lavish vacations. Today, the cashed-out equity is being used to consolidate debt, as seed capital for a new business, or to help a child with their college tuition.

Actual HeadlineConsumer Debt hits $4 Trillion. Americans are diving deeper and deeper into debt.

The real story: The first sentence of the headline is accurate. The second sentence couldn’t be further from the truth. Total consumer debt is the highest it has ever been. That’s because the population continues to grow, and so does the economy (prices and wages).

The important number is how that total debt ranks as a percentage of disposable personal incomeThat percentage is the lowest ever recorded!! People are not “diving deeper and deeper into debt”. The exact opposite is true. They have less debt now than ever before.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking about buying or selling a home, it is important that you have a true professional handling your real estate needs. Someone who knows the truth about the current economy and its potential impact on the housing market.

Last week, realtor.com released a survey of active home shoppers (those who plan to purchase their next home in 1 year or less). The survey asked their opinion on an impending recession and its possible impact on the housing market.

Two major takeaways from the survey:

  • 42% believe a recession will occur this year or next (another 16% said 2021)
  • 59% believe the housing market would fare the same or worse than it did in 2008

Why all the talk about a recession recently?

Over the last year, four separate surveys have been taken asking when we can expect the next recession to occur:

  1. The Pulsenomics Survey of Market Analysts
  2. The Wall Street Journal Survey of Economists
  3. The Duke University Survey of American CFOs
  4. The National Association of Business Economics

70% of all respondents to the four surveys believe that a recession will occur in 2019 or 2020 with an additional 18% saying 2021.

However, we must realize that a recession does not mean we will experience another housing crash. According to the dictionary definition, a recession is:

“A period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters.”

During the last recession, a dramatic fall in home values helped cause it.

However, according to research done by CoreLogic, home values weren’t negatively impacted as they were in 2008 during the previous four recessions:

Homebuyers Shouldn’t Worry About 2008 All Over Again | MyKCM

During the four recessions prior to 2008, home values depreciated only once (at a level that was less than 2%). The other three times home values appreciated, twice well above the historic norm of 3.6%.

Bottom Line

If there is an economic slowdown in our near future, there is no need for fear to set in. Most experts agree with Ralph McLaughlin, CoreLogic’s Deputy Chief Economist, who recently explained that there’s no reason to panic right now, even if we may be headed for a recession.

“We’re seeing a cooling of the housing market, but nothing that indicates a crash.”

5 Reasons to Sell Your House This Spring

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Here are five compelling reasons listing your home for sale this spring makes sense.

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing, and able to purchase… and are in the market right now! More often than not, multiple buyers are competing with each other for the same home.

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply needed for a normal housing market. This means that, in most of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers.

Historically, the average number of years a homeowner stayed in his or her home was six, but that number has hovered between nine and ten years since 2011. Many homeowners have a pent-up desire to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years due to a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners are granted the freedom to move.

Many homeowners were reluctant to list their home over the last couple of years for fear that they would not find a home to move in to. That is all changing now as more homes come to market at the higher end. The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until additional inventory comes to market before you to decide to sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Today’s competitive environment has forced buyers to do all they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. Buyers know exactly what they can afford before home shopping. This makes the entire selling process much faster and simpler. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the time to close a loan has dropped to 47 days.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If your next move will be into a premium or luxury home, now is the time to move up! The inventory of homes for sale at these higher price ranges has created a buyer’s market. This means that if you are planning on selling a starter or trade-up home, it will sell quickly, AND you’ll be able to find a premium home to call your own!

According to CoreLogic, prices are projected to appreciate by 4.6% over the next year. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

5. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to these questions. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

Congratulations! You’ve found a home to buy and have applied for a mortgage! You are undoubtedly excited about the opportunity to decorate your new home! But before you make any big purchases, move any money around, or make any big-time life changes, consult your loan officer. They will be able to tell you how your decision will impact your home loan.

Below is a list of 7 Things You Shouldn’t Do After Applying for a Mortgage! Some may seem obvious, but some may not!

1. Don’t change jobs or the way you are paid at your job! Your loan officer must be able to track the source and amount of your annual income. If possible, you’ll want to avoid changing from salary to commission or becoming self-employed during this time as well.

2. Don’t deposit cash into your bank accounts. Lenders need to source your money and cash is not really traceable. Before you deposit any amount of cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer.

3. Don’t make any large purchases like a new car or new furniture for your new home. New debt comes with it, including new monthly obligations. New obligations create new qualifications. People with new debt have higher debt to income ratios… higher ratios make for riskier loans… and sometimes qualified borrowers no longer qualify.

4. Don’t co-sign other loans for anyone. When you co-sign, you are obligated. As we mentioned, with that obligation comes higher ratios as well. Even if you swear you will not be the one making the payments, your lender will have to count the payment against you.

5. Don’t change bank accounts. Remember, lenders need to source and track assets. That task is significantly easier when there is consistency among your accounts. Before you even transfer money between accounts, talk to your loan officer.

6. Don’t apply for new credit. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new credit card or a new car. When you have your credit report run by organizations in multiple financial channels (mortgage, credit card, auto, etc.), your FICO score will be affected. Lower credit scores can determine your interest rate and maybe even your eligibility for approval.

7. Don’t close any credit accounts. Many clients have erroneously believed that having less available credit makes them less risky and more likely to be approved. Wrong. A major component of your score is your length and depth of credit history (as opposed to just your payment history) and your total usage of credit as a percentage of available credit. Closing accounts has a negative impact on both those determinants of your score.

Bottom Line

Any blip in income, assets, or credit should be reviewed and executed in a way that ensures your home loan can still be approved. The best advice is to fully disclose and discuss your plans with your loan officer before you do anything financial in nature. They are there to guide you through the process.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 173

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The All-Star Team, REALTORS®
Bringing you home...again and again!
4 Willow Bend, Suite 2A
Hattiesburg MS 39402
601.545.3900
800.335.6477

The All-Star Team, REALTORS brings you over 200 years of accumulated experience along with the most innovative marketing strategies in the real estate industry. We specialize in the real estate properties located in Hattiesburg, Oak Grove, Petal, Sumrall, Purvis, Columbia, and the entire Pine Belt region. Put The All-Star Team, REALTORS® to work for you as you consider your next home sale or purchase. Experience the team approach to real estate and make us your REALTOR® for life! See how The All-Star Team, REALTORS® really is bringing the Pine Belt home again and again.