Wednesday, November 29, 2006

October - Residential Home Sales Activity

Trendsetters in the Real Estate Market


Vito Boscaino
Help-U-Sell North High Realty of Columbus
(614) 447-3050

Trendsetters in the Real Estate Market
Help-U-Sell North High Realty in Columbus gives insight on the latest trends in the industry

Columbus, OH (Grassroots Newswire) November 28, 2006 -- When putting your property on the market, it is important to stay abreast of real estate trends that are taking place in the country, according to Vito Boscaino of Help-U-Sell North High Realty of Columbus the country’s leading fee-for-service real estate company. He offers several current trendsetters that property owners should keep in mind when trying to sell a house.

“First of all, the homebuyers of the 21st century are setting new standards for the way Realtors do business,” said Boscaino. “Young Americans that make up Generations X and Y are purchasing homes in ways that would never be dreamed of 50, even 20, years ago.”

Recent studies from the U.S. Census and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) show that Generation X and Y households account for 55 percent of all home purchases. And, about 64 percent of them intend on buying a home in the next two years.

These homebuyers are the fastest trendsetters, having a desire for greater space and more sophisticated amenities such as automated lighting controls, built-in security systems, pools, home offices, libraries, gyms, sound systems and even home theaters. Other studies indicate that they prefer a four or more bedroom home and want a home 50 percent larger than their current residence.

“Bigger and better seems to be their motto -- and, this is good news for consumers,” Boscaino said. “As these homebuyers enter the real estate market as first-time buyers, they will look for homes in the higher price ranges. That will be a vital factor in keeping markets strong around the country.”

On the same note, second-time homebuyers, mostly the baby boomers, are also setting trends in the industry. Baby boomers have a higher rate of homeownership than the national average; one out of four own more than one property. From the very wealthy to the ranks of the economically comfortable, there are 44 million second homes in the country. Baby boomers, who are in peak earning years, are at an age that vacation homes may also double as retirement homes in the future.

Baby boomers are spending more money to have more free time and enjoy a better quality of life. And, they are propelling the second-home market beyond worries of market slow-downs.

A recent NAR survey says 35 percent of investment property owners plan to buy one or more properties in the next two years and one in ten vacation homeowners plan to sell a vacation home in the next two years.

Realtors today have to watch many homeowner statistics to stay on top of their market and one last trend that is gaining in importance is the rise in minority homeownership, particularly Hispanic and Asian homeowners. Many Realtors are now hiring agents who are fluent in multiple languages to meet the needs of their newest and fastest growing customer base.

Recent real estate data shows that the Hispanic and Asian populations have doubled in the past 10 years and tripled since 1970.

“They are changing the face of the American homeowner,” Boscaino said. “Upwardly mobile, entrepreneurial, focused on family, education and faith -- they are the new American homeowners living the American dream.”

For more information, please contact Vito Boscaino at (614) 447-3050.

About Help-U-Sell
Help-U-Sell Real Estate is the country’s leading provider of fee-based brokerage services in the real estate market. Help-U-Sell provides consumers access to information and choice, and offers a set-fee alternative to paying the traditional commission. Help-U-Sell differs from traditional brokers, not in the level of services provided by its licensed brokers throughout the country, but in the dollar amount that the consumer pays for those services. With approximately 1,000 offices throughout the United States, Entrepreneur magazine ranked Help-U-Sell Real Estate as the fastest growing real estate franchise for 2005. For the sixth consecutive year, the company was ranked in the Top 50 across all industries in the magazine’s 26th Annual Franchise 500. For more information, please visit

Monday, November 06, 2006

Mortgage Rates forecast to remain stable. . . .

Near future perspective on interest rates looks very stable for the next two years. This is great news for Buyers as current rates are still very low by historical standards. As well, Sellers should benefit as Buyers will have minimal incentive to "wait" for lower rates, thereby postponing purchase activities, instead they should be motivated to move more quickly to take advantage of the current high inventory levels, which has caused prices to soften. Net/net the picture looks reasonably bright, assuming there are no negative "shocks" to the economy.

Vito Boscaino
Help-U-Sell North High Realty

Fixed mortgage rates should stay grounded
Good news for those with looming resets: 30-year loan at 6.7% in 2007

MarketWatch Last Update: 6:59 PM ET Oct 24, 2006

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) -- Those who anticipate getting a mortgage or refinancing one anytime soon listen up: Fixed mortgage rates aren't expected to spike dramatically in the next few years, according to a forecast released Tuesday.
Fixed-rate mortgages should remain at about 6.3% to 6.4% through the rest of the year, according to the most recent Mortgage Bankers Association forecast. Rates are expected to rise to about 6.7% by the end of 2007 and to about 6.8% by the end of 2008.

"We expect long-term rates to remain low this year, helping to cushion the slowing in residential housing activity that has been underway for more than a year," said Doug Duncan, MBA chief economist. Interest rates are expected to stay "quite low by historical standards," he said. The group released the forecast at its annual convention in Chicago.

In a question-and-answer session with reporters, Duncan also estimated that between $1.1 trillion and $1.5 trillion in adjustable-rate mortgages will be eligible for reset in 2007.

The MBA predicts that $600 billion to $700 billion of those loans will be refinanced and between $500 billion and $800 billion will actually reset with new interest rates. Economists are concerned about the impact that added mortgage spending will have on consumer behavior and economic growth. So the lower mortgage rates stay, the better off consumers will be as they face those higher payments.

The MBA forecast also painted a picture of a "normalizing" home market.
Existing-home sales should decrease by 9% in 2006 and go down another 8% in 2007, Duncan said. The number of new-home sales should decrease by 18% and also decline another 8% in 2007.

But after that, the decline is expected to reverse: The number of new- and existing-home sales should increase modestly in 2008, the forecast showed.

Median price gains in existing homes are estimated to reach 2.5% in 2006, while median new-home price gains are expected to be about 1%, according to the MBA, down sharply from their recent double-digit pace. Appreciation rates should be similar in 2007 and could even strengthen in 2008.

Big picture
MBA statistics and estimates regarding the mortgage industry also showed evidence of a softening housing market.
Residential mortgage production is forecast to reach $2.46 trillion in 2006, down 19% from an estimated $3.03 trillion in 2005, but still the fifth-highest level on record.

Next year, mortgage production is expected to slip a little more, down to $2.12 trillion, according to the forecast. In 2008, mortgage production should hold at the same level.

Regarding the national economy, the group predicts that economic growth will continue to slow through the rest of 2006 but should return to near normal in 2007 and 2008. Real GDP growth will average about 3.1% in 2006; it should average about 3.0% in 2007 and 3.2% in 2008, the MBA said.

"Despite sluggish growth, largely due to declining residential investment and auto production in the second half of this year, we are optimistic about a rebound in 2007," Duncan said. "Long-term interest rates have remained low in the face of rising short-term rates, equity prices have risen nearly 20%, capital expenditures remain strong, the trade sector has turned from a big drag on growth to a modest stimulus, and energy prices have dropped sharply."

The MBA expects that the Federal Reserve will keep the Fed funds rate steady at 5.25% through 2008, Duncan said.

"Although we expect core inflation to moderate going forward, we believe that the currently elevated rate will keep the Fed from lowering interest rates despite signs of slowing economic activity," he said.