Americans Are On The Move

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Expand Your Horizons

You’ve been searching for a long time for your new home, without success. Maybe you’re looking in the wrong place.

According to the Census Bureau’s 2017 American Housing Survey (AHS), 35% of people who had recently moved did so because they wanted a larger or higher-quality home – and that dream home may require moving to a different area. The AHS found that another 18% relocated to reduce their housing costs. Apparently, an affordable home that met their needs (or wants) wasn’t available in their immediate area.

Relocation can mean anything from moving across town to moving across the country. How far are you willing to move away from your current home to find a different one? You may not be able to make a long-distance move. Jobs, family responsibilities, or schools may keep you nearby – or maybe you really like your current area and don’t want to move far away.

A recent NerdWallet study shows varied home migration…

What’s The Best Time To Sell Your Home?

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New Data Shows When To List Your Home

Ah, springtime. Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping – and homes are selling. Are you planning to sell your home, too?

According to new research by Zillow, you should list your home during the first two weeks of May to get the most out of your home sale. On average, homes across the nation that listed between May 1 and May 15 sold six days faster than the typical home and yielded approximately 0.7% more money at sale. At Zillow’s current average home value of $226,300, that’s an increase of nearly $1,600.

When’s the worst time to sell? The winter holidays appear to depress the average sale price. Homes listed during the last two weeks of December sold for $2,500 less (around 1.1%) than the typical home.

Even the day of the week can matter. Homes listed on Saturdays had the largest number of views on Zillow within the first week – 20% more views than homes that listed on Tuesday, the worst day to…

Achieve Financial Literacy!

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April is National Financial Literacy Month. Why do we dedicate this calendar page to highlighting financial skills and education? The tax deadline? Sound financial decisions are important all year long, but most Americans never learned how to manage money or save for goals, so financial security is a bigger challenge than it needs to be.

Even if you can handle the math involved — and calculators can help if you can’t — things get complicated when making large (often emotional) financial decisions. Some of the most common pitfalls are described below. If you recognize any of them, you’re not alone. The good news is that you have an opportunity to improve your finances and save more money.

Emergency Preparedness

An emergency fund is essential because you need to absorb life’s surprises without making things worse. Without a stash of cash, you’ll have to take…

More Prospective Homebuyers Frustrated

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How long have you been searching for your new home? The latest Housing Trends Report from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) suggests that you’ve been looking for a while and may be getting frustrated in the process. You may be coming down with the homebuyer’s blues.

Potential homebuyers are being squeezed in multiple directions. The supply of affordable homes remains tight while home prices are rising. According to CoreLogic, home prices in December 2018 rose by 4.7% above the previous year, outpacing wage gains. Over the same time period, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows real (inflation-adjusted) wages only increased by 1.2%.

Add the threat of future interest rate hikes, and it’s easy to see why potential homebuyers are frustrated. The Housing Trends Report reflects that growing frustration. Approximately 72% of NAHB survey respondents expect their home search to get harder in the coming year, compared to 65% who felt that way last year….

Student Loans Keeping Young People From Buying Homes

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According to the New York Fed’s latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit, America’s student loan debt burden has reached a staggering $1.44 trillion as of September 2018. Has that burden kept younger Americans from buying homes?

A new Federal Reserve study suggests that educational debt isn’t the primary reason for the homeownership decline, but it does play a role.

America’s total homeownership percentage fell from 69% to 65% between 2005 and 2014, but homeownership for the age group 24-32 fell from 45% to 36% during the same period. Meanwhile, college debt per capita increased from $5,000 to $10,000 in the same time frame – a debt more likely to affect the age group in question. Are the two trends related?

Fed economists set up probability models to estimate the effect of increased debt on homeownership rates during the study period. According to the models, student loan debt was responsible for 1.8 percentage points out of the 8.8% total …

“Liar Loans” Return

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When it comes to dealing with risk, America’s housing market struggles with balance. How can lenders offer affordable home mortgages for more Americans and still maintain proper safeguards?

The Great Recession was driven in part by overly risky loans that were packaged as securities and sold to investors who were unaware of the underlying risk. The resulting housing market collapse led to the Dodd-Frank regulations that regulated mortgage lending and applied credit-tightening safeguards.

Most of those safeguards are still in place, but loan offers are starting to creep back into risky territory – and investors are happy to buy up those loans looking for returns.

Dodd-Frank instituted qualifying mortgage rules – a set of lending restrictions that must be met before loans can be purchased by the mortgage loan backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Riskier unqualified loans may still be granted, but lenders don’t receive protections associated with qualified …

Nearly 3 Of 4 Won’t Date People In Significant Debt

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Are you having trouble getting a date? Could be your rap, your looks, or your excessive debt.

According to a recent survey by Finder.com, 72% of respondents say they would re-think a relationship with a partner in significant debt. (That’s similar to the percentage in last year’s Finder.com survey, so don’t expect debt to become a desirable trend.)

“With 72% of Americans saying they’d reconsider a romantic relationship if the other person was in debt, singles with unsettled loans might want to sort out their balance sheets before hitting the dating scene,” says finder’s Consumer Advocate Jennifer McDermott.

According to the survey, “While debt is undoubtedly a turn off, not all debts are viewed as equally unappealing. For example, credit card debt is the number one …

It Takes More Than 7 Years To Save Up A Down Payment

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First-time homebuyers face many obstacles, but perhaps the most frustrating one is accumulating down payment money.

Traditional loans require a 20% down payment. Using Zillow’s $229,800 median home sale price for November 2018, that’s over $45,000 – and in many urban markets, a 20% down payment will easily top $100,000.

How long will it take you to save up a 20% down payment given today’s median homebuyer income of $72,500? According to Zillow Research, you’ll need 7.2 years on average with today’s median home prices. That’s 1.5 more years than it took in 1988, when the median home value was $79,400 and the median homebuyer income was $28,100.

Since 1988, the median home value has increased by a factor of 2.8 while median homebuyer income increased by a factor just below 2.6. However, overall debt obligations have exploded. America’s household…

More Homebuyers Turning To Parents For Down Payment Help

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First-time homebuyers face many challenges, but the biggest task may be coming up with a suitable down payment. Consumers in the early stages of their careers often face a fresh set of bills – and in some cases, mountains of student loan debt. A National Association of Realtors survey found that over half of recent homebuyers age 37 and younger cited student loan debt as the main down payment obstacle.

How can young Americans save up for a conventional 20% down payment, or even the 3.5% minimum down payment for FHA loans? Many have concluded that they can’t – and are asking for help from their parents.

The recent annual report from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) shows that over one-quarter (26%) of homebuyers with FHA-insured loans received some payment a…