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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

June 2014 - Strongest June in four years for Fraser Valley real estate market

Strongest June in four years for Fraser Valley real estate market

SURREY, BC – The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) processed 1,668 sales in June, an increase of 26 per cent compared to the 1,327 sales in June of last year and 2 per cent higher than sales in May. In terms of historical comparison, last month’s sales finished 7 per cent below the 10-year average for June with the previous best June occurring in 2010.
Ray Werger, President of the Board, says, “Recent news reports indicate that consumer optimism about real estate is at its highest level in a number of years and we’re experiencing that at the ground level.
“Over the last three months, we’ve seen a surge in demand specifically for single family homes and townhomes in most of our communities. Our number one buyer is families with children and they’re taking advantage of ultra-low interest rates combined with more affordable, stable prices in the Fraser Valley.”
In June, the benchmark price, as determined by the MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI), of a ‘typical’ residential home – detached, townhouse and apartment combined – was 1.3 per cent higher than June of last year. For the single family detached home, the HPI benchmark price in June was $568,600, an increase of 3 per cent compared to June 2013 when it was $552,200. This is a record high benchmark price for detached homes since the MLS® HPI began in January 2005.
The HPI benchmark price of Fraser Valley townhouses decreased by 0.3 per cent; going from $298,700 in June 2013 to $297,800 in June 2014. The benchmark price of apartments was $197,000 last month, a decrease of 2.7 per cent compared to $202,500 in June of last year.
Werger adds, “We’re essentially seeing two markets right now, so it’s important to get advice dependent on what you’re listing or buying. Competitively priced, mid-range single family homes are being snapped up quickly, on average in a little over a month, whereas condos and higher-end, executive homes in our region are taking as long as three months on average to sell. Talk to your REALTOR® to find out where you fit.”
The Board’s MLS® received 13 per cent more new listings in June, 2,974 compared to the 2,625 new listings received during June of last year. The month finished with 9,853 active listings, a decrease of 6 per cent compared to the 10,515 active listings available during June of last year.

Monday, 21 July 2014

5 Mistakes First-Time Home Buyers Make

5 Mistakes First-Time Home Buyers Make

First-timers can be eager to jump into home ownership. But real estate experts say they see them committing the same mistakes, time and time again. Here are some of the most common ones, as identified by experts in a recent CNBC article:
1. They’re unprepared to compete against all-cash offers. Buyers need to be ready to make a quick decision if they’re housing market is heating up. Buying a home is “really like finding a job – it’s going to take a lot of time to prepare,” says Cara Pierce, a certified housing counselor with ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions. “That way, when the deal comes along, you’re ready to pounce on it.” Housing experts say buyers should have already saved as much as possible for a downpayment, repaired any credit report blemishes, and gotten preapproved for a loan as they start their house hunt to put them in a better position to compete.
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2. They place a car ahead of the home. Lenders are going to scrutinize applicants’ debt-to-income ratio when assessing how well they can afford a mortgage payment. Consumers’ debt has gone on average from $40,000 in 2010 to $51,000 today, according to David Norris, president and COO of loanDepot, a non-bank mortgage lender. "It would be much easier to own a home if you can show a history of saving and not have gotten yourself into too much debt," Norris told CNBC.
3. They place too much emphasis on online loan information. Online sites can be good for finding out general information about loan products and estimated costs, but experts recommend visiting with mortgage lenders face-to-face to help demystify some of the process and to take into account your specific situationGo to different places and talk to loan officers to get a feel for what the differences are between similar types of loans," says Pierce. "Sometimes a company won't charge an origination fee, but then the interest rate is higher … and in some cases you can put many of the upfront costs—closing costs, title insurance—into the loan, which makes your balance larger."
4. They bank too much on online home values. Some real estate websites are giving buyers a false sense of home values, the CNBC article notes. "If a buyer believes that the actual value of the property is $1.1 million [as listed online] when it's really $1.3 million, it's a real disservice to the client,” says John Barrentine, co-founder and CEO of RED Real Estate Group. “You really should [spend time] with someone that understands the market, someone who's there day in and day out." Home buyers can get the best feel of the market by working with a real estate agent and driving around neighborhoods and get a sense of things about homes that may be less valuable or even more valuable than perceived online.
5. They forgo the home inspection. About 10 percent of homes recently purchased weren’t inspected by a home inspector, according to Bill Loden, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors. Some buyers were trying to cut down on the costs of hiring an inspector to investigate a home – which usually averages about $450 — but defects uncovered later could potentially result in the loss of thousands of dollars. "It takes a trained eye to be able to see the problems that can exist in a home," Loden said. "The inspection can also give the first-time buyer a bit of a schooling on the house and how to maintain it." Buyers should also be prepared to ask questions about conditions that are common to specific areas, such as radon in Midwest; sewers in California; and active clay soils in Dallas that can lead to foundation issues, the CNBC article notes. The home may require additional inspection from a specialist to rule out potential problems.
Source: “8 Biggest Mistakes First-Time Homebuyers Make,” CNBC (July 17, 2014)