Unemployment Hits Record Low as Home Prices Rise to Record High

 

Unemployment Hits Record Low as Home Prices Rise to Record High

As we transition from Q1 to Q2 This Week in Real Estate we do so on the heels of the median value of homes for sale reaching a record high, declining interest rates spurring a refinance surge and unemployment claims at the lowest level since December 1969. Below are a few highlights from the first week of April that influence our business:

Home Prices Hit a Record High. If you’re shopping for a cheap home this spring, good luck. The median value of homes listed for sale in March hit a record $300,000, according to realtor.com.”Despite a slowing growth rate, home prices will likely continue to set new records later this year,” said Danielle Hale, realtor.com’s chief economist. “Heading into spring, U.S. prices are expected to continue to rise and inventory is expected to continue to increase, but at a slower pace than we’ve seen the last few months as fewer sellers want to contend with this year’s more challenging conditions.” The number of homes for sale listed above $750,000 increased 11% year over year in March, while the number of entry-level homes priced $200,000 or below fell 9%.

Refinancing Activity Soars Due to Rate Declines. Amid growing concerns about housing affordability, the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) weekly mortgage applications survey show a surge in home refinancing, a week-to-week increase of 39% on a seasonally adjusted basis. The increase is contemporaneous with the fourth consecutive week of mortgage rates’ declining. Despite the widespread decrease in mortgage rates, changes in purchasing activity (i.e., purchases on new or existing homes) were not as sensitive to the drop as were applications to refinance. The data also show that purchase applications are almost 10% higher than they were a year ago, that refinance applications are 58% higher on a year-over-year basis, and that, combined, both purchase and refi applications are almost 30% higher than they were a year ago. Despite the tight lending environment of 2019, as anticipated by banks’ senior loan officers in the Federal Reserve’s Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey, the data show a rise in applications on a year-to-date and year-over-year basis, which may partially offset tighter lending standards. The mortgage applications for purchase index is usually a leading indicator for forthcoming home sales, but the latter may be conflated by other factors, such as all-cash sales. The prior few months’ data lean less to such a conclusion, as the upward trend of the purchase index in January 2019 was subsequently followed up by increases in new and existing home sales in February.

Weekly Jobless Claims Drop to the Lowest Level Since 1969. The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits dropped to a more than 49-year low last week, pointing to sustained labor market strength despite slowing economic growth. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 202,000 for the week ended March 30, the lowest level since early December 1969, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Job growth has slowed from last year’s roughly 225,000 monthly average pace. The pace of increase, however, remains more than sufficient to keep up with growth in the working age population, holding down the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate forecast is unchanged at 3.8 percent.


Central Oregon Weekend Planner April 5-7, 2019

 

CENTRAL OREGON WEEKEND PLANNER

APRIL 5-7, 2019

VERTFEST
FRI-SAT – The 7th Annual Verfest at Mt. Bachelor celebrates winter and backcountry culture with races, demos, clinics, and food specials.

FIRST FRIDAY
FRI – Walk around art galleries and view showcases from local talented artists while enjoying live music and drinks. View galleries with mediums like paintings, photography, fiber, printmaking, and mixed media.

THE SALMON RUN
SUN – The Salmon Run is Bend’s oldest race honoring the journey of Salmon with a half marathon.

BREWERY TASTINGS
FRI – Head to Sunriver Resort for a complimentary beer tasting from local breweries.

DON GIOVANNI OPERA
FRI – The Bend Opera presents Don Giovanni at the COCC Pinckney Center for the Arts. Enjoy music composed by Mozart, dark comedy and mayhem in Italian with English subtitles.

CINEMA VIVANT
SUN – Cinema Vivant is a celebration of innovation from a European filmmaker in The Hot Club of San Francisco. This story entertains viewers in the idyllic French countryside before World War II.

MOVIE TRIVIA
SUN – Head to the last Blockbuster in America to compete in the Ultimate Movie Trivia, enjoy movie food pairings like pizza and candy!

ICE SKATING SHOW
SAT – The Bend Ice Figure Skating Club celebrates the end of the season with showcases from group and solo routines.

FURNITURE FLIP
SAT – Bring your DIY expertise to the Construction Trashformations live event at Habitat for Humanity ReStore. This event hosts local artists, welders and DIY’ers with one-of-a-kind sculptures, artwork, and garden art.

BINGO
SUN –  Silver Moon Brewing hosts BINGO with a brunch menu and mimosa flights. A large portion of the bingo sales benefits Central Oregon Search and Rescue Foundation.

MOVIES OPENING THIS WEEKEND

  • The Best of Enemies
  • Pet Sematary
  • Shazam!
  • Amazing Grace
  • Billboard
  • High Life
  • Peterloo
  • The Public
  • Storm Boy
  • The Wind
  • Khalid: Free Spirit
Click here for movie times and theaters.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THIS WEEK’S OPEN HOUSES

FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF EVENTS IN THE AREA FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH, VISIT CENTRAL OREGON EVENTS

www.bhhsnw.com


Portland Metro Weekend Planner: April 5-7, 2019

 

PORTLAND METRO WEEKEND PLANNER
APRIL 5-7, 2019

DESIGN WEEK
THROUGH APRIL 13 – This city-wide series of programs hosts craft and design education with cultural, social, and community relevance.

TULIP FESTIVAL
THROUGH APRIL 29 – View 40 acres adorned with tulips and daffodils in full bloom. Enjoy a snack at the gift shop and café at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival.

ANTIQUE AUTO SWAP
THROUGH SUN – Head to the Portland International Raceway to browse from over 2,000 vendors and a road course. The Portland Swap Meet features the largest auto part swap meet in the West, at the Portland Expo Center.

FARMHOUSE & ALE FESTIVAL
FRI-SUN – The Glendoveer Golf Course hosts local breweries at the Farmhouse for the 7th Annual celebration of local ale.

DISNEY’S ALADDIN
THROUGH SUN – Head to Keller Auditorium for the Broadway hit that brings the magic of Disney to life, from the animated 1992 film Aladdin.

TECHFEST
FRI TechFestNW hosts a technology conference with guest speakers, tech demos, networking and more. Share your idea and get support at PitchFest.

JAPANESE FILM FESTIVAL
THROUGH APRIL 14 – The annual survey of contemporary Japanese cinema showcases feature films from Japanese artists at the Portland Art Museum, ranging from anime to documentary.

AN EVENING IN PARIS
SAT – Enjoy French food and drinks presented by a local restauranteur with a farm style feast incorporating the essence of Paris.

ALL CLASSICAL SYMPHONY
ONGOING – Don’t miss showcases of the season from All Classical Portland and the free Kids’ concert at Multnomah County Central Library on Sunday. Check the website for the latest schedule.

FLEA MARKET
SUN – The Spring Flea Market hosts vendors with leather, western wear, art, records, jewelry, clothing, and more!

OMSI EVENT
ONGOING – OMSI takes a behind the scenes glance at Pixar creations. Experience the science, technology, art, and concepts by Pixar artists for award-winning films.

HISTORIC CHINATOWN
ONGOING – Head to the Portland Chinatown Museum for a look beyond the gate. This exhibit uses rate objects and visuals to explain the history and old tales of Portland’s historic Chinatowns.

VANCOUVER METRO EVENTS

PACK OF LIES
THROUGH APRIL 13 – Magenta Theatre hosts Pack of Lies, a drama based on true events that occurring over the 1960s Cold War in London.

WOMEN’S SHOW
SAT-SUN – Head to the Women’s Show for live entertainment! Browse from over 80 vendors in the health, beauty, and fashion industry.  Learn from professionals in self-improvement and family help.

NIGHT MARKET
FRI – The Vancouver Night Market is back again for the first Friday of the month.

VANCOUVER FARMERS MARKET
ONGOING –  The Vancouver farmers market features local fresh produce and products.

MOVIES OPENING THIS WEEKEND

  • The Best of Enemies
  • Pet Sematary
  • Shazam!
  • Amazing Grace
  • Billboard
  • High Life
  • Peterloo
  • The Public
  • Storm Boy
  • The Wind
  • Khalid: Free Spirit
Click here for movie times and theaters.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THIS WEEK’S OPEN HOUSES
FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF EVENTS IN THE AREA FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH, VISIT

www.events12.com/portland


www.bhhsnw.com


The Best Time To List A Home

 

The Best Time To List A Home 

According to research released by realtor.com This Week in Real Estate, the best time to list a home for sale in the top 50 largest U.S. Metro areas is the first week of April. The research suggests the best week to go live for the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area is April 7, 2019 and for the Portland-Vancouver area is April 14, 2019, respectively. Below are a few highlights from the fourth week of March that influence our business:

New Home Sales Rise to 11-Month High in February. Sales of new U.S. single-family homes increased to an 11-month high in February and sales for January were revised higher. The Commerce Department said on Friday new home sales rose 4.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 667,000 units last month, the highest level since March 2018. January’s sales pace was revised up to 636,000 units from the previously reported 607,000 units. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate tumbled to a more than one-year low of 4.06 percent last week from an average of 4.28 percent in the previous week, according to data from mortgage finance agency Freddie Mac. Mortgage rates have been declining since the Federal Reserve signaled a long pause in interest rates increases this year. Lower borrowing costs, slowing house price inflation and rising wages have improved housing affordability.

The First Week of April is The Best Time to List a Home For Sale. The first week of April is the best time to list a home on the market in 2019. By listing during the week of March 31 – April 6, sellers are able to take advantage of a sweet spot in the season that offers high buyer demand, less competition, quick home sales, and strong prices. June is often considered the peak of home buying season, but our analysis found the first week of April is best for sellers looking to maximize list price, and also reduce the risk of price cuts and competition from other sellers. Given the time it takes from listing to close, putting a home on the market in early April positions sellers to attract buyers seeking to close and move before the beginning of school year. The analysis is based on trends in median listing prices, views per property on realtor.com, home price drops, median days on market, and number of listings on the market over the last three years. The market is bustling with buyers, but the number of homes hasn’t peaked yet, which means more demand for every listing. In fact, homes listed the first week of April see 14 percent more views, on average, and 5 percent less competition compared to the rest of the year’s weekly average. As a result, homes are likely to sell 6 days, or nearly 9 percent, faster on average. Another factor that’s likely to boost April buyer demand this year, is the surprising decline in mortgage rates that started in November 2018. Rates are now below 4.5 percent vs. nearly 5.0 percent in November 2018. These lower rates could entice demand earlier than usual and April sellers could see even more buyers trying to take advantage of this temporary window of affordability.

HPI for Largest Metro Areas: Growth Continues, But at a Slower Pace. CoreLogic Home Price Index appreciation slowed in recent months, with an annual appreciation of 4.4 percent in January 2019 compared with 6.1 percent in January 2018. This slowdown in home price growth comes after stellar appreciation when prices started increasing again after the housing market crash. National home prices through January were 6 percent above the pre-crisis peak hit in April 2006 and two-thirds of the 50 largest metros now have prices at or above their pre-housing-crisis peaks. While the 17 metros that have yet to regain home price losses are dispersed across the U.S., six of them are located in Florida. What does the future hold for home price growth? The CoreLogic HPI forecast predicts home price appreciation will continue to slow, with National appreciation over the next 12 months averaging 3.2 percent.


Central Oregon Weekend Planner March 29-31, 2019

 

CENTRAL OREGON WEEKEND PLANNER
MARCH 29-31, 2019

HIGH DESERT STAMPEDE
FRI-SAT – Top 40 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) hosts the High Desert Stampede entertains spectators with world champion athletes. Watch Steer Wrestling, Barrel Racing, Tie-Down Roping, Team Roping, Saddle Bronc Riding, Bareback Riding, and Bull Riding. 

GOLF SHOW
SAT-SUN – Meet with golf pros, test out new clubs, equipment and apparel or attend workshops from the industry’s best golfers.

ROCKET SCIENCE
THROUGH SAT – The Oregon Observatory presents the opportunity to assemble, decorate, and launch a large model rocket.

BREWERY TASTINGS
FRI – Head to Sunriver Resort for a complimentary beer tasting from local breweries.

BLACK LIGHT GOLF
FRI – Keep the party glowing with indoor black light golf at Sunriver Resort.  Flashing or rechargeable glow golf balls are added in for a fun night with the family. 

WHITEWATER RACE
SAT-SUN – Paddlers row up the Deschutes River during the Riverhouse Rendezvous Slalom whitewater kayaking race.

SKI WITH A RANGER
THROUGH SUN – Head to Mt. Bachelor to snowshoe or ski with a ranger on a groomed run.

RODEO DAY
SAT – Head to Hoodoo for Rodeo Day, enjoy the spirit of the wild west or a chili cook-off and free rides on a mechanical bull.

BIG AIR COMPETITION
SAT – Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort hosts a big air competition. Watch the industry’s top competitors battle for a $20k prize.

BINGO
SUN –  Head to Silver Moon Brewing for Bingo night! Win prizes, enter giveaways and enjoy a breakfast and lunch menu.

FIBER MARKET DAY
SAT –  The 22nd Annual Fiber Market Day holds demonstrations, sales, and raw products from wool, alpaca, mohair, and more.

MOVIES OPENING THIS WEEKEND

  • Fruits Basket
  • Working Woman
  • Lucifer
  • Diane
  • Dumbo
  • Hotel Mumbai
  • Junglee
  • Long Lost
  • Lost & Found
  • Notebook
  • Super Deluxe
  • The Brink
  • The Chaperone
Click here for movie times and theaters.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THIS WEEK’S OPEN HOUSES


www.bhhsnw.com


Portland Metro Weekend Planner: March 29-31, 2019

PORTLAND METRO WEEKEND PLANNER
MARCH 29-31, 2019

YOGATHON
SAT – Enjoy an hour-long Yoga class followed by a whole food plan based brunch prepared by famous Chef Ada, founder of Wholism. Proceeds will be donated to help youth and adults heal from trauma.

TULIP FESTIVAL
THROUGH APRIL 29 – View 40 acres adorned with tulips and daffodils in full bloom. Enjoy a snack at the gift shop and café at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival.

OREGON GHOST CONFERENCE
FRI-SUN –  Listen to guest speakers, take ghost tours, shop vendors and more at the Seaside Convention Center for the largest Paranormal convention in the Northwest.

WOMEN’S FILM FEST
THROUGH SUN – Watch silent films, documentaries, shorts, narratives, and more directed by successful women at the Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival.

PET CRAFT SHOW
SAT – The Spring Shopping Extravaganza has pet treats, vendors, art, soaps, and activities at the Doggie Craft fair.

TAKING STEPS
SUN – Lakewood Theatre Company presents Taking Steps, a comedy about an old haunted house and the misguided tenants.

TREASURE HUNT
SAT-SUN – The Portland Gold & Treasure Show hosts seminars, demonstrations, vendors, and kids activities. Try your hand at gold panning and metal detecting with industry professionals.

WHALE WATCHING
THROUGH SUN – Head to the coast for a weekend at the Depoe Day Whale Center to spot the 20,000 gray whales heading back to Alaska for the spring.

DERBY NIGHT
SAT – Join Kell’s for a high-stakes Derby night benefiting Donate Life Northwest, bringing hope to those who wait for organ donors.

ALL CLASSICAL SYMPHONY
ONGOING – Don’t miss showcases of the season from All Classical Portland. Check the website for the latest schedule.

GIRLS NIGHT IN
SAT – Join an amazing community of women for Girls Night In celebrating Women’s History month with conversation, food, and cocktails.

OMSI EVENT
ONGOING – OMSI takes a behind the scenes glance at Pixar creations. Experience the science, technology, art, and concepts by Pixar artists for award-winning films.

HISTORIC CHINATOWN
ONGOING – Head to the Portland Chinatown Museum for a look beyond the gate. This exhibit uses rate objects and visuals to explain the history and old tales of Portland’s historic Chinatowns.

 

VANCOUVER METRO EVENTS

 

PACK OF LIES
THROUGH APRIL 13 – Magenta Theatre hosts Pack of Lies, a drama based on true events that occurring over the 1960s Cold War in London.

QUILT SHOW
THROUGH SUN – The 44TH Annual Quilt Show hosts more than 300 quilts, 25 vendors, and local vendors.

DANCE CONVENTION
FRI-SUN – This national dance convention and competition tour showcases education and inspiration through the art of dance.

VANCOUVER FARMERS MARKET
ONGOING – The Vancouver farmers market features local fresh produce and products.

MOVIES OPENING THIS WEEKEND

  • Fruits Basket
  • Working Woman
  • Lucifer
  • Diane
  • Dumbo
  • Hotel Mumbai
  • Junglee
  • Long Lost
  • Lost & Found
  • Notebook
  • Super Deluxe
  • The Brink
  • The Chaperone
Click here for movie times and theaters.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THIS WEEK’S OPEN HOUSES
FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF EVENTS IN THE AREA FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH, VISIT

www.events12.com/portland


www.bhhsnw.com


March Fuels the Spring Selling Season

 

The real estate market is poised for a super ‘spring selling season’ fueled by increased inventory, more sustainable price appreciation and according to data released by Freddie Mac This Week in Real Estate, interest rates that have dramatically dipped since the start of the year. Below are a few highlights from the third week of March that influence our business:

Mortgage Rates Are In A Free Fall With No End In Sight. According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average slipped to 4.28 percent. It was 4.31 percent a week ago and 4.45 percent a year ago. “Mortgage rates fell this week and have yet to account for yesterday’s Fed’s announcement,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com. “Looking ahead to next week, we could see rates fall even further based on the decision to hold rates steady combined with guidance that emphasized patience.” The Federal Reserve did not increase its benchmark rate Wednesday and signaled it would not hike rates this year. “These developments almost certainly mean mortgage rates will be moving even lower in the coming days after remaining in a narrow range and hovering around 14-month lows for most of the past couple of months.”

Existing Home Sales Surge 11.8% in February. Existing-home sales rebounded strongly in February, experiencing the largest month-over-month gain since December 2015, according to the National Association of Realtors. Total existing-home sales completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, shot up 11.8 percent from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.51 million in February. However, sales are down 1.8 percent from a year ago (5.61 million in February 2018). Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, credited a number of aspects to the jump in February sales. “A powerful combination of lower mortgage rates, more inventory, rising income, and higher consumer confidence is driving the sales rebound.” Existing-home sales in the West rocketed 16.0 percent to an annual rate of 1.16 million in February, 7.9 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $379,300, up 3.0 percent from February 2018.

Builder Confidence Holds Steady in March. Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes held steady at 62 in March, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Builders report the market is stabilizing following the slowdown at the end of 2018, and they anticipate a solid spring home buying season. The HMI component charting sales expectations in the next six months rose three points to 71, the index gauging current sales conditions increased two points to 68, and the component measuring traffic of prospective buyers fell four points to 44. Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast posted a five-point gain to 48, the South was up three points to 66 and West increased two points to 69. The Midwest posted a one-point decline to 51.


Portland Metro Weekend Planner March 22-24, 2019

PORTLAND METRO WEEKEND PLANNER
MARCH 22-24, 2019

TULIP FESTIVAL
THROUGH APRIL 29 – View 40 acres adorned with tulips and daffodils in full bloom. Enjoy a snack at the gift shop and café at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival.

THE ELEPHANT MAN
THROUGH SUN Twilight Theatre introduces the story of a man living with a physical deformity and his journey through trials and tribulations.

ROMANTIC PLAY
FRI-SUN – The Alpenrose Opera House hosts We Met in Moscow, a story of a Russian scientist and a Portland professor falling in love in the post-cold war era.

FILM FESTIVAL
FRI-SUN – Encore screenings of the Portland International Film Festival is shown at the Art Museum.

QUILT SHOW
FRI-SAT – Head to the Portland Quilt Show to watch demonstrations, shop, and view hundreds of intricate quilts on display.

HORSE FAIR & EXPO
FRI-SUN – The Northwest Horse Fair and Expo combines education, entertainment and shopping by hosting performances, demonstrations, seminars, and vendors.

WHALE WATCHING
THROUGH MAR 31 – Head to the coast for a weekend at the Depoe Day Whale Center to spot the 20,000 gray whales heading back to Alaska for the spring.

THE TULIP RUN
SAT – The Tulip Trail run is a 5K, 10K, and half marathon at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm benefiting Oregon City High School Track and Field.

WINERY COMEDY NIGHT
FRI – Oak Knoll winery hosts the Winery Comedy Tour. Head to the vineyard to catch the sunset with a glass and enjoy laughs.

COSMIC SNOW TUBING
THROUGH FRI – Head to the best party on the mountain with over half a million LED lights, laser light shows and colored lights with a DJ as you enjoy tubing down the mountain. Check online for dates FRI-SAT through March 22nd at Mt. Hood Skibowl.

ALL CLASSICAL SYMPHONY
ONGOING – Don’t miss showcases of the season from All Classical Portland. Check the website for the latest schedule.

COMEDY IMPROV SHOW
THROUGH MAR 30ComedySportz is a fun, fast-paced improv comedy show for the whole family, everything is improvised and no two rounds are the same.

OMSI EVENT
ONGOING – OMSI takes a behind the scenes glance at Pixar creations. Experience the science, technology, art, and concepts by Pixar artists for award-winning films.

HISTORIC CHINATOWN
ONGOING – Head to the Portland Chinatown Museum for a look beyond the gate. This exhibit uses rate objects and visuals to explain the history and old tales of Portland’s historic Chinatowns.

VANCOUVER METRO EVENTS

PAINTING
SAT – The Vancouver Art Space hosts Wine and Paint Saturday with materials, instructions, and beverages included.

NIGHT MARKET
FRI – The Vancouver Night Market is back with over 85 vendors. Shop local, network, and enjoy incredible food.

ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW
SAT – Kiggin’s Theatre hosts fan favorite Rocky Horror Picture Show with a Shadow Cast acting out the movie as it’s being displayed.

COUVE CLOVER RUN
SAT – Vancouver paints the town green for a 3, 7, or 10 mile race in celebration of the Clover Run. Wear the most festive costume to win a prize!

VANCOUVER FARMERS MARKET
ONGOING – The Vancouver farmers market features local fresh produce and products.

MOVIES OPENING THIS WEEKEND

  • US
  • Shazam!
  • Wonder Park
  • Five Feet Apart
  • Hotel Mumbai
  • Ramen Soup
  • Sunset
Click here for movie times and theaters.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THIS WEEK’S OPEN HOUSES
FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF EVENTS IN THE AREA FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH, VISIT

www.events12.com/portland


www.bhhsnw.com

 


Home Price and Mortgage Rate Forecasts



Home Price and Mortgage Rate Forecasts 

According to the Federal Reserve’s Flow of Funds report that was released This Week in Real Estate the home equity percentage has reached its highest level since the second quarter of 2002. Below are a few highlights from the second week of March that influence our business:

Equity Rises for U.S. Homeowners. The home equity percentage reached a level that had not been seen since the second quarter of 2002. As of the fourth quarter of 2018, the equity percentage, on a non-seasonally-adjusted basis, stood at 60.1%. At the end of 2018, the market value of all owner-occupied real estate totaled $25.9 trillion, growing by 5.3% from the start of the year, and outstanding home mortgage debt totaled $10.3 trillion, growing by a lesser percentage of 2.6%. The trend in the market value of all owner-occupied real estate mirrors that of the Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index. Rising residential real estate prices are a good proxy for the increasing market value of homes in the U.S. As of the fourth quarter of 2018, homeowners collectively held 15.4 million home equity lines of credit, totaling a balance of about $0.4 trillion.

Home Price and Mortgage Rate Forecasts Suggest Smaller Gains in the Mortgage Payments Homebuyers Will Face This Year. While the nation’s median home sale price rose about 4 percent year over year in December 2018, the principal-and-interest mortgage payment on that median-priced home increased nearly three times as much because mortgage rates rose by more than half a percentage point over that period. However, some forecasts for home prices and mortgage rates indicate mortgage payments will rise at a much slower pace this year, which could help stoke home sales this spring. One way to measure the impact of inflation, mortgage rates and home prices on affordability over time is to use what we call the “typical mortgage payment.” It’s a mortgage-rate-adjusted monthly payment based on each month’s U.S. median home sale price. It is calculated using Freddie Mac’s average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 20 percent down payment. It does not include taxes or insurance. The typical mortgage payment is a good proxy for affordability because it shows the monthly amount that a borrower would have to qualify for to get a mortgage to buy the median-priced U.S. home.

Looking ahead, the CoreLogic Home Price Index Forecast suggests a 4.5 percent annual gain in home prices by this December, while the average among six rate forecasts indicates a small increase – 0.1 percentage points – in mortgage rates this December compared with December 2018. The CoreLogic HPI Forecast suggests the median sale price will rise 2.1 percent in real, or inflation-adjusted, terms over the year ending December 2019 (or 4.5 percent in nominal, or not-inflation-adjusted, terms). Based on that projection, coupled with the aforementioned consensus mortgage rate forecast, the real typical monthly mortgage payment would rise from $904 in December 2018 to $935 by December 2019, a 3.5 percent year-over-year gain , down from a 9.9 percent gain a year earlier. In nominal terms the typical mortgage payment’s year-over-year increase in December 2019 would be 6.0 percent, or about half the 12.1 percent gain a year earlier.

MBA Has a More Upbeat View on New Home Sales. Even though the January Census Bureau report on new home sales published on Thursday wasn’t all that encouraging for the spring market, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is predicting more upbeat news for February. The Association’s Builder Application Survey (BAS) shows a 6 percent increase in new home purchase applications from the previous month and a 3-point gain from February 2018. Those numbers are not seasonally adjusted. “The housing market remains poised for a strong spring, with last month’s increase in builder applications likely leading to a healthy 7 percent year-over-year rise in new home sales,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “We are starting to see signs of more new residential construction and inventory, which increases buying opportunities for the many home shoppers who have been hampered by the ongoing lack of supply.” Added Kan, “Slowing home-price growth, combined with stronger wage gains and lower mortgage rates, is translating to improving affordability conditions for spring buyers.”


Eco-Friendly Spring Gardening Tips

 

Eco-Friendly Spring Gardening Tips

The Pacific Northwest prides itself on maintaining our natural resources and keeping our lifestyles eco-friendly. According to the Planet Natural Research Center, 40-60% of nitrogen from fertilizer runoff ends up in ground and surface water. It’s important to read labels on chemicals and common lawn and garden fertilizer to create a safe and healthy home for your family. Here are our top chemical-free lawn and gardening tips for this Spring.

Want a Lush & Healthy Lawn?
Raise the blade on your mower 3 inches to allow for longer grass and reduce the stress on your lawn. Leave the lawn clippings to decompose as a natural fertilizer. This helps crowd out weeds and maintain moisture in the soil, keeping your lawn healthy. 

Ready to Plant Your Garden?
Become knowledgeable on your yard, notice where the afternoon shade lands and which areas have clay soil vs. rich mulch. Above ground garden beds are great alternatives for clay-rich soil. This advantage will determine the success of your plants and ensure longevity. The Portland Metro area’s last spring frost date falls around March 11th and the Seattle Metro area’s last frost falls after March 17th. Once frozen ground is no longer a threat, you can plant your starters in the garden.  

Alternatives to Roundup
Toxic weed killer is harmful to our water supply, crops, pests, and animals. Try safe alternatives like orange oil, a natural acid you can spot treat weeds with. Add one cup of orange oil to one gallon of vinegar and a tablespoon of dish soap. This method is more efficient in a sprayer and strong enough to kill tough poison ivy. Vinegar is a great alternative, but you may need to look for a stronger version for weeds. Look for horticultural strength vinegar, with 10-20% acetic acid, this will make a much better impact on stubborn weeds than the kind we use on our salad. Be sure to wear gloves and protection from potent vinegar burns.  

Alternatives to Fertilizer
Corn gluten meal is often something people keep off their plate, but it doubles as a clean fertilizer to use on a yard with children and pets. This pre-emergent weed control can be used in a spreader with a ration of 20 pounds of corn gluten meal to every 1,000 square feet of yard with a spreader opening of 95%. Because it acts as a pre-emergent, make sure you start this process early in the spring, before weeds appear to keep them away. 

Build a Pollinator Garden
Now that your home is a safe, pesticide-free area for plants and animals, you can build a pollinator garden. This will attraction will create a welcoming environment for honey bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Start by planting effervescent lavender, vibrant hibiscus, low maintenance sunflowers, and zinnias. If you’re looking to add pollinators to help your vegetable garden bloom, try adding basil, oregano, mint, and garlic chives to the area.


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