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Real Estate Market Values Always Local

Location – Location – Location

By Rick Kahler CFP 

What investment asset class grabs the most attention of the average American?

My guess is that it isn’t the stock market, but a category many people don’t even think of as an investment—the local real estate market. While I don’t have data to back up this assumption, I find that people tend to be more interested in what’s happening in their local real estate markets than on national stock exchanges.

Why?

I think the reason is simple. Houses are tangible, understandable assets that we can see and touch. Most of us live in them, and some of us are in love with our homes. You likely know the ballpark value of your house from the annual assessed value you receive from the county. Chances are you know what repairs your home needs and have an idea of the rent you could charge for it. You probably have an idea of the price trends in your neighborhood or city. You know the best areas in which to live and the neighborhoods to avoid. You know these things because all real estate is local. There is no “national” real estate market.

Not so with common stocks. Because most of us own our stocks in mutual funds and exchange traded funds, we often don’t really know what companies we own, what town their headquarters are in, the price of the stock, the current yield, the trend of the company or sector, and any weaknesses or strengths of the company. Unlike real estate, publicly traded stocks are priced based on national rather than local influences. Further, we don’t work for or live in the companies in our portfolio. And few of us are in love with our portfolio of stocks.

It’s no wonder that most of us are far more interested in the economics of our homes than our stocks. This is even less of a surprise when we consider the average American has more invested in their home than they do the stock market.

Research

According to CoreLogic, the average annual price increase of real estate has slowed down in 2019. “During the first two months of the year, home price growth continued to decelerate,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic in an April 2, 2019 press release.

But that is just the average. Annual price changes range from an increase of 10.2% in Idaho to a decrease of -1.7% in North Dakota. South Dakota showed a 1.6% increase over the past 12 months.

Also according to CoreLogic, of the country’s top 100 housing markets, 35 percent are overvalued, 38 percent were at value, and 27 percent were undervalued. An under- or overvalued market is one in which home prices are at least 10 percent above or below the long-term sustainable level.

While my hometown of Rapid City, SD, is not among the top 100 markets, home prices are booming, according to Jeremy Kahler, a Realtor with Keller Williams of the Black Hills. He indicates that through April, the 12-month price increase in Rapid City is over 7%, which puts our local market into the top quartile for price increases on a national level. Zillow shows our average sales price as $204,100 compared with the national sales price of $226,800, so my hunch is that the Rapid City market might be at value to undervalued.

Assessment

However, I think it’s a reasonable generalization that most homes in flyover country are priced lower than their coastal cousins. Some of the reasons are what I call the snowflake discount, seasonal weather patterns, and the distance from major metropolitan areas. Those that can cope with those challenges are rewarded with lower housing costs.

Your thoughts are appreciated.

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Housing Wealth Continues to Rise

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Back to pre-financial-crisis levels?

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[By Josh Velazquez CMPS]

jvelazquez@bankingunusual.com

The amount of equity that Americans have in their homes has risen back up to pre-financial-crisis levels.

The interesting thing is that it still seems like there is room to grow because housing affordability is still very comfortably above its historical average (see chart below).

This is partly due to the fact that mortgage rates remain low and home ownership is still very affordable relative to renting a house.

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Bottom line: if you or someone you know missed the opportunity to purchase a home a few years ago, it may not be too late to ride this wave higher!

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Conclusion

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Video on Physician Loans and Doctor Mortgages [Why Over-Pay Big Banks?]

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Bank Offers a Zero Down Payment Physician Mortgage Loan in Kansas and Missouri

Doctors mortgage programs are offered as a benefit in many hospitals. Banks use these physician mortgage loans as an entry point to gain checking, savings, investment, and Home Equity Line of Credit accounts.

It’s important for physicians to realize that a Big banks objective is assets under management and not necessarily the best mortgage for them.

Many banks offered  special  zero down doctor loans and below market mortgages for physicians.  With the upheaval in the mortgage and secondary market requirements (the people who bought those special physician loans), most of the doctors mortgage programs advantages went away, or became no different than what is available to every other borrower.

Get a second opinion

For this reason, it is prudent for physicians to be aware of the changes in doctors loan programs and seek expert independent 2nd Opinions consultations.

Link: www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com

Assessment

Many physicians needlessly over pay $10’s of thousands of dollars in interest to big banks. Over a career of homes and refinances, this could add up to well over $100K that could stay in their account.

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygs81Rsk-Zw

Source: http://www.Physician-Loans.org

Assessment

Conclusion

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Short Sale versus Mortgage Foreclosure

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A Third Option?

By Lon Jefferies, CFP® MBA

An increasing number of homeowners – even some doctors – owe more on their mortgage than their property is worth. If the borrower doesn’t want to continue making payments, he could explore executing a short sale of the property, or foreclosing on their loan.

So, I’ve summarized some thoughts below.

Short Sale

A short sale enables a property owner to sell their home at market value, and the bank forgives whatever part of the loan isn’t covered by the proceeds of the sale. Some experts believe a bank will not begin discussing a short sale on a property until the owner stops making payments. However, there are reports of individuals obtaining an offer for their home and then negotiating with their lender, and the bank approving the short sale in an attempt to minimize its loss and property management responsibilities. There are even stories of people who were able to buy a new home before finalizing the short sale of their previous home. Of course, purchasing a new home wouldn’t likely be possible immediately after completing a short sale after suffering such a hit to one’s credit.

Before executing a short sale it is critical for the owner to determine whether the property is located in a recourse or nonrecourse state. In a recourse state, a bank may sue a borrower for the difference between a home’s selling price and the amount the seller still owes on a mortgage. As a result of this policy, in a recourse state a property owner may end up filing for bankruptcy even after the short sale. Consequently, a property owner might be better off keeping the home and paying off the mortgage. By contrast, in a nonrecourse state a bank that agrees to a short sale cannot recoup its full loss by suing the property owner. Find out whether your state is a recourse or nonrecourse state here (Utah is a nonrecourse state).

As you might expect, there are potential tax implications to a short sale. Usually, debt forgiven by a lender counts as taxable income. However, for the tax years 2007 through 2012, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act exempts homeowners from up to $2 million in forgiven debt on their primary residence. Note that the law doesn’t apply to business property, rental property or second homes, or to debt that was refinanced to pay off credit cards or other consumer debt. Additionally, beware that this law is set to expire at the end of this year.

Foreclosure

As an alternative to a short sale, foreclosure is another way to dispense with a property. With a foreclosure, the homeowner stops making the mortgage payments and the bank reclaims the house and then resells it in hopes of covering or offsetting the defaulted loan. Foreclosure requires very little from the defaulting borrower. Be aware, however, that in a recourse state a bank can sue the former homeowner for the difference between the amount owed and the resale price. The deficit could even be more than that in a short sale because the home’s post-foreclosure selling price may be hurt by vandalism, theft, or deterioration that can occur when a home stands empty.

Foreclosure also wrecks a defaulting borrower’s credit, making it very difficult for that person to get another loan at a reasonable rate. Experts say that outside of bankruptcy, foreclosure is the worst thing you can have on your credit report. For this reason, for most people a foreclosure should truly be a last resort.

As you might imagine, with both short sale and foreclosure situations an attorney and a real estate agent who specializes in such situations can be helpful, particularly if they have strong connections with the banking community.

A Third (Superior) Option

Lastly, before exploring a short sale or a foreclosure, a borrower should always attempt to work with their lender to modify their mortgage. Negotiating a reduction in the interest rate or principal can help some homeowners hang on to their property. There is no penalty for requesting a loan modification, so it is likely an appealing route to try before considering a short sale or foreclosure. Pursuing a loan modification is simply a matter of talking to your bank and informing them that you can’t meet your payment obligations as they stand.

Conclusion

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Selling into a House Poor Market

When the Local Real-Estate Market is Challenging

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By Rick Kahler MS CFP® ChFC CCIM www.KahlerFinancial.com

An exciting new medical practice opportunity in another state …. Health problems that make one-level living an urgent necessity …. The need to downsize quickly because of a hospitalist job loss ….

These are just a few of the reasons medical professionals might need to sell a home sooner rather than later. The real problem arises when the local real estate market is a challenging one. Here are a few suggestions for anyone looking to sell a house under difficult conditions.

1. Evaluate the urgency of your situation. If you can wait a few months without harming your career, your finances, or your health, that may be the wiser choice. If you can’t make payments, or you need to relocate right away and can’t buy a new house until you sell the current one, waiting to sell is usually a losing proposition.

2. Take a hard look at the costs of waiting. You often can cut your overall housing costs significantly by biting the bullet and selling, rather than paying for two homes until you get the price you want. In addition to mortgage payments, add up expenses like property taxes, maintenance, utilities, and commuting costs.

Example:

For example, suppose you paid $400,000 for a house that’s worth $300,000 in the current market. Selling it now would mean a loss of $100,000, but holding onto it costs $3000 a month. Suppose the market improves by 33% in three years, which of course is not something you can count on. You sell the house then for $400,000. In the meantime, keeping it has cost you $108,000. If you keep the house on the market for a year, then give up and sell at $300,000, you’ve added $10,800 to the original $100,000 loss. You’re often better off to cut your losses and sell.

3. Grit your teeth, hold your nose, and be realistic about the market value of the home you are selling. Your original purchase price has NOTHING to do with current reality. The market is the market, and buyers couldn’t care less about what you paid for the home. They only care about the competition and getting the most home for their money, just as you did when you bought the property.

You need to research the housing market in your area or hire competent help (like an appraiser) to help you determine the market value of your property. Real estate agents can help with pricing, but you must proceed carefully. Some agents practice a technique of “tell them what they want to hear, get the house listed, and then work on getting them to reduce the price.”

4. Think like a buyer as well as a seller. Many sellers forget that the pain of selling at a loss is eased if the replacement home they buy is also valued less than it was several years ago. The loss in the home being sold can often be offset by the bargain price of the home being purchased.

5. Do your best to negotiate with your lender. If your mortgage is more than the sale price of the house, you’ll owe money to the lender at closing. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to get the lender to accept a lower payoff. Before the closing date, find out exactly how much you’ll need to pay and know where you’re going to get it.

Assessment

Our reluctance to sell a property for less than the amount we’ve put into it is described as “sunk cost fallacy.” Holding on until we get our money back sometimes works. More often, though, all it does is sink us deeper into a financial hole.

Conclusion

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Is 2012 a Good Year to Buy a House?

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Doctors Appreciating the Reasons of Home Ownership

[By staff reporters]

There may be several reasons for a medical professional to buy a home. For example, you’re ready to practice and commit to a certain area and call it home. You’re ready to make a financial investment, or housing prices have dropped to an affordable level and the market is highly favorable for home buyers.

Rule of Thumb

But, how do you tell if it’s a buyer’s market? In a buyer’s market, the price of a home will be under 20 times a year’s worth of rent for an equivalent home. If the price of a home is more than 20 times the annual rent, it’s generally better to rent.

Current Climate

Today’s housing climate is better for home buyers. The average price of homes for sale in the US is currently around 19 times the average annual rent. The general housing climate is much friendlier than a few years ago, but still fluctuates greatly depending on your specific location. Some of the buyer’s markets in 2011 were Charlotte, Inland Empire, Phoenix, Raleigh, Sacramento, San Diego and San Jose.

Source: www.SeaHomes.com

Assessment

The decision to buy or rent also depends on your lifestyle and long-term goals. 2011 saw a resurgence in buyer’s markets across the country and that trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. It’s true that housing markets will fluctuate from year-to-year, but owning property usually remains a wise investment over time.

Conclusion

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