Report: US Home Prices On the Rise

Home Buying 5The National Association of Realtors recently announced the latest US real estate figures and the numbers are encouraging for anyone considering selling their home.

Evidently, home price growth accelerated in much of the country during the fourth quarter of 2014.

This is a fantastic development for anyone hoping to get a good price on their home for sale. Continue reading to learn more.

What You Should Know About US Home Sales

Here is an overview of the highlights of the most recent real estate market report:

  • The median price of an existing single-family home increased year-over-year in 86 percent of 175 metropolitan areas.
  • 24 areas had price gains of 10 percent or more.
  • That figure is up from 16 regions during the third quarter.
  • Meanwhile, prices declined in 24 areas.
  • Experts credit the home price acceleration at least in part to low mortgage rates and improving employment conditions.
  • Still, home price gains are reducing affordability in areas across the country, which had 25 percent growth on average over the last three years.
  • At the end of the fourth quarter, there were 1.85 million previously-owned homes listed for sale, down from 2.01 million a year earlier.
  • The number of markets that saw year-over-year price gains in the fourth quarter has increased.
  • The median price for an existing single-family home in the three months through December was $208,700, which is up 6 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013.

A Different Effect Seen in Canada

As US home prices have increased, a lot of Canadian cities are seeing declines in home prices.

According to the market data:

  • Home prices have started trending downward in several major Canadian cities, including Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary and Hamilton, Ont.
  • Still, at least two major cities showed gains. On an annual basis, home prices were up 7.4 percent in Toronto and up 5.1 percent in Vancouver.

When It Comes to Real Estate, Knowledge is Power

We take pride in being able to provide you with the most up-to-date market information so that you can make informed decisions as home buyers and sellers.

Check back soon for even more updates on the state of the national housing market and how that may impact you as a buyer or seller.

Raleigh Events : Ramblin’ Rose Triathlon

rose“Triathlon” is a very heavy word, especially for anyone who considers themselves a beginner or even moderate athlete. This year will be the 10th annual “Ramblin’ Rose” women-only triathlon series, coordinated by Endurance Magazine which is based in Durham. It started as a small event for only Chapel Hill. However, it has grown quickly and all venues sell out every year!

Here in the Triangle there are two options: Raleigh in May or Chapel Hill in October. The courses are short, specifically designed for women athletes of all abilities. The swim is in a pool – only 5 laps.  The bike is 10 miles, with some hills depending on the course & location.  The run – or walk – is 2 miles.  You can even complete the event as a team where one person swims, another bikes, and another runs.  Participating as a group makes it a great team building event for a worksite or just for a personal challenge with friends or family.

If you’ve ever wanted to challenge yourself in a way that is realistic, manageable, and attainable – this is the perfect course. It’s a hugely supportive venue with lots of cheering, hollering, and encouragement. It’s not a dog-eat-dog event where you will be run over and left behind! Of course, there are more seasoned participants who are striving to place in the top and beat their previous times. They will be fast, and probably faster than you if you are a beginner, but the feeling you get when you cross the finish line is something you can’t put into words.

You may even see some participants from Linda Craft & Team on the course, so be sure to say hello!

For your home buying and home selling needs, Linda Craft & Team REALTORS is your Triangle area expert. Call us today for a free consultation today! 919.235.0007

 

 

Krispy Kreme Challenge 2015

krispyFitness & Krispy Kreme donuts may not seem to go together – unless it’s in February! Coming up on Valentine’s Day is the 11th annual Krispy Kreme Challenge.

This race started in 2004 as a dare between NCSU students and has evolved into a charity run with thousands of participants that benefits North Carolina Children’s Hospital

 The route begins & ends at the Bell Tower at NCSU campus. It’s a 2.5 mile run out – with a short break to eat an entire box of one dozen donuts! – and then a 2.5 mile run (or walk, or crawl) back to the finish line. If that sounds a bit crazy to you, you don’t have to eat the donuts! That part is optional but does take some of the ”fun” out of the event. This is family friendly event and strollers ARE allowed. If you’re not quite up to running that distance but want to be involved, you can sign up to volunteer and help with various logistics. Click here to sign up as a volunteer

 This event always sells out, so sign up as soon as possible and make plans to attend next year’s event. Stay connected with their updates through their Facebook page.

For more information about local running clubs, check out a previous blog post of ours here!

For more information about the area and all it has to offer, please contact Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS. We are a full service real estate office located in Raleigh, NC. We are here to help you buy or sell your home. Let us help you reach your goals today! Call us at 919.235.0007

 

Wake County Public School Tips : Kindergarten Enrollment

happy kidsAs a parent of young children, it’s important to know about Kindergarten registration in the greater Raleigh area. If you or your friends, neighbors, or colleagues have a child who is 4 or 5 years old they will probably be ready for Kindergarten this fall (or summer if you’re on a year-round schedule). Wake County Public Schools has a comprehensive website with all the details that you need.   To enroll in Kindergarten the child must be 5 years old before August 31st

What are the basics that your young child needs to know and be able to do in order to be successful in a Kindergarten classroom? It’s important that they can play cooperatively and participate in group activities. Social and emotional development is taken into consideration as well as fine motor skills (like cutting with scissors) and gross motor skills (like jumping/running/throwing balls). Children must be immunized in order to be enrolled in the Wake County Schools. This link provides additional details and a wonderful video with further explanations about expectations for a student in Kindergarten.  

If you are interested in learning more about Early Enrollment, your child must be 4 years old by April 16th 2015. If you think your young child would qualify for early enrollment based on their development and abilities, there is a packet of information available through this link below. It provides the details about the process for applying early, the birthday deadlines, and additional developmental milestones.

Good luck for a successful year in Kindergarten!

 

For more Raleigh area tips and expert real estate advice, please visit LindaCraft.com or call 919.235.0007.

 

 

 

 

Young Buyers Returning to the US Housing Market En Masse

Home Buying 6A key factor in the housing market recovery is returning to the national market en masse, much to the elation of housing market analysts.

According to a recent Bloomberg article, more and more first-time home buyers are entering the market because they feel more confident about the economic recovery.

Faster economic growth and a labor market that’s approaching “full employment” (according to the Federal Reserve) are aiding in that rise in confidence among first-time home buyers.

Even if you’re not a first-time home buyer, this news is sure to benefit anyone who is navigating the national housing market right now.

Fannie Mae Economist Makes Positive Predictions for 2015

Douglas Duncan, a chief economist at Fannie Mae in Washington, made the following predictions about the year ahead:

  • There will be a 6.3 percent increase in mortgage lending for purchases this year.
  • This increase follows a 9.6 percent decrease in 2014.
  • Increasing confidence in the job market is the strongest indication that home sales will improve.

Thomas Reuters Consumer Sentiment Poll Reflects Similar Optimism

Recently Thomas Reuters partnered with the University of Michigan for a consumer sentiment poll and this is what they found:

  • Consumers expect an increase of 1.7 percent in their incomes in 2015, the highest since 2008.
  • Those under 45 years old expect the biggest gain at 4.7 percent.

More Encouraging Factors From The National Economy

Meanwhile, economic growth (bolstered by consumer spending as well as business investment) is increasing. In fact, the Commerce Department reported that the US grew by 5 percent in the third quarter, which is the fastest since 2003.

The Fed said it expects the economy will expand between 2.6 percent and 3 percent in 2015, up from 2.3 percent to 2.4 percent in 2014.

Plus, the economy added more than 2.7 million jobs in 2014, which is the most since 1999, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And the jobless rate will average 5.2 to 5.3 percent, which is at the level last seen before the financial crisis.

All of this job growth and creation means that the median household income in 2014 increased 1.6 percent to $53,880 through November. Experts say that rate should increase through 2015.

Which Brings Us Back to the First-Time Home Buyer

All of this growth and prosperity is driving young home buyers to the market. As they enter the market, more homes will change ownership, freeing up existing home owners to buy bigger and better homes.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: You need a regular stream of first-time home buyers to aid in the growth of any housing market. Thus, we’re thrilled that more and more first-time home buyers are coming back to the market.

Your #1 Resource for Real Estate News

We hope you found today’s news on first-time home buyers as encouraging as we did!

Check back here soon for more valuable information on the current state of the housing market and how it may impact you as a buyer or seller.

5 Predictions for the US Housing Market in 2015

PredictionAre you a current home owner who is considering listing your property on the market in 2015?

If so, then you’re likely to enjoy a lot of success!

After all, Realtor.com recently released its top predictions for the housing market in the New Year. And all of them seem to favor home sellers.

Let’s Take a Closer Look at National Housing Market Predictions

Millennials will enter the market en masse. This is something the housing market has needed for the last couple of years: More Millennials entering the market as first time home buyers. And according to projections, that’s what you can expect in the New Year, with more than two thirds of household formation being credited to this demographic. Helping matters is the fact that about 2.5 million jobs are expected to be added next year, improving home buying power.

There will be an increase in existing home sales. These sales are expected to increase 8 percent during the New Year. Meanwhile, as more people gain employment and increased incomes, distressed property inventory is expected to decline. All of this means a lower real estate inventory. This coupled with a surplus of buyers will create a seller’s market.

Home prices will rise. This generally follows when housing inventory shrinks. In fact, prices are expected to increase by an average of at least 4.5 percent in the coming year. Thus, if you’re thinking about possibly selling your home, 2015 is likely going to be a good year for doing so.

Mortgage rates will increase as well. For much of 2014, these rates have hovered around 4 percent and under. But with the previously mentioned factors and the Federal Reserve’s expected rate hike in the early part of 2015, residents can expect home loans to shoot up to 5 percent in 2015. If you have been thinking about re-financing, it makes sense to do it sooner rather than later since mortgage rates are likely to increase.

Home affordability will decline. With all of these changes on the market expected, home affordability is projected to decrease by 5 to 10 percent. This will be driven by price appreciation, mortgage rate hikes and tighter housing inventory. Again, if you’re thinking about possibly selling your home, 2015 is likely to be a good year for home sales.

See You In 2015!

We hope that as a home seller, you’ve found the above predictions encouraging.

We’ll be back in the New Year to discuss whether these real estate predictions come true and to revisit how they will impact buyers and sellers.

For now, we hope you and your family have a happy holiday season!

US Home Sales Rose In September, Report Shows

US Home Selling 7U.S. homes sold at a faster rate in September than any other time this year, a recent report from the National Association of Realtors said.

Evidently, sales of existing homes increased 2.4 percent from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.17 million.

Experts are saying that this increase is a great sign that the housing market is picking up and moving past the slowdown that started in mid-2013.

More Encouraging Signs on the National Housing Market

The National Association of Realtors provided some additional information that helps paint a more complete picture of the current state of the housing market:

  • The sales rate has dropped 1.7 percent over the past 12 months.
  • First-time home buyers comprised about 29 percent of all sales. This is below the historic average of roughly 40 percent.
  • Median home prices increased 5.6 percent over the last 12 months to $209,700.
  • September sales increased in the South and West compared to the previous month.
  • Meanwhile, sales increased slightly in the Northeast and dropped in the Midwest.
  • Nationally, the share of purchases by investors decreased from 19 to 14 percent year-over-year.
  • The report projects that 4.94 million existing homes will be sold this year, down 3 percent from 5.09 million in 2013.
  • Generally speaking, real estate experts say 5.5 million existing home sales is a healthy market.
  • Meanwhile, housing starts increased 6.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.017 million homes, although much of that was new apartment buildings.
  • Apartment construction has jumped 30.3 percent over the past 12 months, almost three times the rate of growth for single-family houses.

Many Forces Are at Work to Create These Conditions, Analysts Said.

For instance, over the last year, fewer investors have entered the market. Luckily, their pullback has been offset by existing homeowners who are moving up to more expensive properties or downsizing as empty nesters.

Meanwhile, some would-be buyers have been kept out of the market because of rising prices through much of 2013, weak income growth and tighter credit standards.

Experts are now predicting that the worst of the housing market recession is over but that the economy and housing market will likely grow in fits and starts.

One development that might help with this growth is the fact that the federal regulator overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is considering creating an option for lower down payments so more people can qualify for a mortgage.

And because the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped below 4 percent recently, experts are expecting more buyers to enter the market.

In Fact, Many Signs Suggest Now Is a Great Time to Be A Buyer

For instance, online real estate brokerage Redfin said that only 44 percent of its offers in October faced bidding wars. This is down form a high of 75 percent in March 2013.

Meanwhile, more homes are expected to become available on the market thanks to many investors’ plans to sell for tax reasons at the end of the year.

So if you’ve been sitting on the fence about whether to invest in property, now is a great time to do so!

Your #1 Real Estate Resource

We believe that knowledge is power and so we work hard to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information on the national housing market. Hopefully you found today’s report helpful!

Check back here soon for more valuable insight on the recent trends on the national housing market and how they may impact your efforts as a buyer or seller!

Report: Big Homes Are a Hot Trend on the National Real Estate Market

US Construction Big homes are a big deal on the national housing market, according to a recent article in USA Today.

Evidently, a growing number of home buyers are looking for larger homes to accommodate their every need and desire.

In fact, of the 569,000 homes built last year in the US, about 33 percent (or 188,000 homes) had three or more bathrooms. That’s the largest share since tracking of new construction homes started in 1987.

Meanwhile, 44 percent of last year’s total new homes (or 251,000 homes) featured four or more bedrooms – which is the largest share it’s been since 1973.

These homes also tend to come with a lot more amenities:

  • 53 percent of the homes built last year (301,000) had a patio
  • 63 percent (361,000) had a porch
  • And 22 percent (127,000) had a deck

It’s quite an interesting trend, especially given that at the same time, home ownership rates are remaining stable and the size of families and households is actually decreasing.

Let’s Take a Closer Look At This Recent U.S. Trend

Here are some recent real estate market statistics that will provide additional context on this trend:

  • The average square footage of new single-family homes in the United States jumped almost 57 percent to 2,598 in 2013, compared with 1,660 in 1973.
  • The Northeast boasts the second-highest average square footage, with that number jumping from 1,959 to 2,636 during that same time period. That’s an increase of 65 percent!
  • Meanwhile, the number of people actually living in these homes has continued to decrease. In fact, the average number of people per household in the US decreased from 3.01 in 1973 to 2.54 in 2013.
  • Specifically, families have decreased from 3.48 to 3.12 during that same time period.
  • As one might expect, bigger homes have caused a rise in the average sales price of new construction homes. In fact, that figure skyrocketed from $62,500 in 1978 to $324,000 in 2013.
  • The Northeast has the highest average sales price, which exploded from $63,000 in 1978 to $469,000 in 2013 – an increase of 646 percent.
  • Even within the short time frame of 2012 to 2013, sales prices still showed huge increases. For instance, the average sales price of newly built single-family homes jumped 20 percent – from $292,000 in 2012 to $324,000 in 2013.

Yet the income levels of individuals are not keeping pace with these bigger (and more expensive) homes. For instance, the median income in the US increased by 9 percent from 1978 to 2012 – from $56,975 to $62,241.

And the home ownership rate continued to decrease – from 65.4 percent during the fourth quarter of 2012 to 65.2 percent during the fourth quarter of 2013.

Experts say that those people in the higher income levels that are more active on the housing market. Maybe that’s why all-cash sales accounted for 42.7 percent of all U.S. residential property sales during the first quarter of 2014, up from 20 percent during the first quarter of 2011.

What Do You Make of This Recent Real Estate Trend?

We would love to hear your thoughts!

We certainly think that all of this market activity will have an overall positive impact on the U.S. real estate market.

For now, be sure to check back here soon for more valuable and up-to-date information that may impact you as a buyer or seller.

Report: Bigger is Better for National Home Buyers

US New Home ConstructionThe sluggish housing market over the last several years did not have an impact on Americans’ desire for bigger and fancier homes, according to a recent report from USA Today.

Evidently, demand continues to grow for these large estates, especially as the housing market across the nation improves.

This is a fascinating trend on the national housing market and one that is sure to impact both home buyers and sellers.

Americans Love to Own Large, Luxury Homes

The American Dream of owning a bigger and better home is still very much alive across the country.

In fact, as the recent USA Today article noted, many of today’s buyers still want a house that includes as many luxury amenities and features as they can think of – or at least afford.

This may include gourmet kitchens, deluxe bathrooms, spacious decks or screened-in porches.

While this is occurring, experts also note that homeownership rates have remained mostly stagnant. And income growth appears to be lagging behind the rising price of homes.

Meanwhile, the size of families and households continues to shrink, even though the houses themselves are getting bigger.

Experts say that this is because Americans still love the idea of owning a home that makes a statement about them, that demonstrates their status in society.

A Closer Look at This Housing Market Trend

Here is some relevant data on this housing market trend, based on US Census data:

  • The average square footage of newly built single-family homes in the U.S. jumped by nearly 57 percent, from 1,660 in 1973 to 2,598 square feet in 2013.
  • The Northeastern region of the country had the second-highest average square footage, which rose by 65 percent. Specifically, the square footage jumped from 1,959 to 2,636.
  • Meanwhile, the average number of people per household in the U.S. dropped from 3.01 in 1973 to 2.54 in 2013.
  • Specifically, families fell to 3.12 members from 3.48 during the same period of time.
  • As a result of the construction of larger homes, the average sales price of newly built single-family homes in the U.S. skyrocketed by 419 percent from $62,500 in 1978 to $324,500 in 2013.
  • Even if you consider inflation, that still quite a jump, experts say.
  • The Northeast is home to the highest average sales price, which increased by 646 percent from $63,000 in 1978 to $469,000 in 2013.
  • Between 2012 and 2013 alone, the average sales price of newly built single-family homes in the U.S. jumped by 20 percent: from $292,000 to $324,500.
  • Meanwhile, the U.S. homeownership rate continued to drop during the fourth quarter of 2013: from 65.4 during the fourth quarter of 2012 to 65.2 percent.

So What Do Home Owners Get With These Newly Built Homes?

A better question is: What don’t they get?

Here’s a breakdown of these new construction homes and what they offer to buyers:

  • Of the 569,000 homes built last year throughout the U.S., 188,000 (33 percent) contained three or more bathrooms.
  • Meanwhile, 251,000 (44 percent) of last year’s houses featured four or more bedrooms, which is the largest share since 1973..
  • Also, of the homes built last year, 301,000 (53 percent) came with a patio.
  • And 361,000 (63 percent) featured a porch.
  • Meanwhile 127,000 (22 percent) included a deck.
  • Another trend that experts are seeing is more finished basements for added space, according to the report.
  • These homes have mostly hovered around one and two stories, however, despite the increase in size. In fact, 233,000 (41 percent) of newly built homes last year were one story and 305,000 (54 percent) were two stories. Meanwhile, only 31,000 (5 percent) were three stories or more.

Follow Our Blog for More Valuable National Real Estate Data

Check back here soon for more pertinent information on the housing market and how it may impact you as a buyer or seller.

We’ve made it our goal to help you stay informed as you navigate the market. After all, the better informed you are, the better prepared you are for securing a successful outcome on the housing market.

Zillow Buys Out Trulia and How It Affects Raleigh Real Estate

untitledYou probably heard by now that Zilllow has purchased Trulia.  These are the two largest real estate websites used for national home searching.  Realtor.com, which has been around much longer, has dropped to third place due to the amazing marketing these sites have done.

Here are some things Raleigh area homeowners and homebuyers may like to know about these two giants merging:

  1. This acquisition will not have any negative affect on your home marketing with Linda Craft & Team, Realtors.  For years we have purchased the maximum exposure packages offered on both sites.  Most real estate companies allow the free download from MLS to these national sites but, do not invest additional marketing dollars.   Our advanced marketing package will continue on both Zillow and Trulia which will continue to showcase your home.
  2. The national news about the purchase is probably driving millions of new people around the world who may have not been using those sites for home searching.  The media may be increasing your exposure right now so we are excited to have our advanced marketing package in place.
  3. There are over 12,000 websites where home buyers may search for homes nationally.  Your Raleigh home  is on all of them because we know 95% of the buyers are shopping for homes online.   We are committed to making sure they see your home everywhere.
  4. All national sites including Realtor.com, Zillow and Truilia have a lot of incorrect data on their sites and they do not care.  Their focus is on selling advertising to Realtors, mortgage lenders, movers etc. not promoting and selling your home.  This is why we also invest in our own websites (over 100 domains) where your information is listed correctly.  For example those domains include www.lindacraft.com which had over 5 million impressions and 2.2 million page views last year.  We spend a lot of our marketing dollars on the Internet
  5. If you are searching for a new home DO NOT use the national sites.  Their information is outdated and incorrect.  Many of the houses on national sites are sold.  The best place to shop for accurate information is a local website that only features homes for sale in that market.   For example: www.lindacraft.com  has all homes for sale in the Triangle area only.  You can’t search California on www.lindacraft.com, but the Triangle home search feature is accurate and real time.

This may be more than you wanted to know about searching for homes on the Internet but file it away for the next time you hear of a family, friend or coworker shopping for a home.  They will be impressed with your knowledge and you may even help them find a great house by sharing this trivia and truth with them!

Here at Linda Craft & Team, we strive to give the utmost in customer service. We would love to help you so please call today (919.235.0007) to schedule a free buyer or seller consultation. We have a whole team of experts waiting to help you find your dream home!