Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Look at 2014 Housing Predictions

By Miriam Engeln, Aruba blogger since 2004; and real estate sales agent at Century 21 Aruba.

As 2013 slips into the past, it's time to look forward to try to get a glimpse at what the coming year will hold for the housing market. The past year was definitely a year of recovery, with home prices gaining percentage and sales reaching a fever pitch in late spring. While a summer spike in interest rates took some of the momentum out of the market during the remainder of the year, economists are expecting good things for 2014. Here's a look at a few of those forecasts;
Increasing Inventory
Experts believe that inventory will increase in 2014 as rates move up and prices stabilize. "The pace of home value appreciation has leveled off and is beginning to slow down after peaking this summer. Much of this year's rapid growth in home values can be attributed to very strong demand, as low mortgage interest rates, relatively low home prices and a slowly improving economy helped draw buyers into the market,". "This slowdown in home value appreciation will contribute to a more balanced market and will help to ease some emerging affordability problems in a handful of very hot markets".
Rising Home Sales
"Despite rising mortgage rates and continued property-value appreciation, housing will remain generally affordable in most parts of the world."  "With household formations expected to pick up and new home completions gaining more slowly, for-sale inventories may remain tight and vacancies low."
Decreasing Affordability
Not everyone foresees an improvement in home price affordability for 2014 though. Even if prices do not accelerate as quickly as they did in 2013, some believe that inventory will not be able to catch up with demand in the coming year. "We've come off of record high housing affordability conditions in the past year, and are now at a five-year low, but conditions are still the fifth best in the past 40 years. While the median-income family in many areas will still be well positioned to buy a home in 2014, income is barely budging given growth in consumer prices."
Investors Replaced By Repeat Buyers
Analysts at a housing market data website expects investors to take a back seat to primary residence purchases in the coming year. "2013 was the year of the investor, but 2014 will be the year of the repeat home buyer." "Investors buy less as prices rise: higher prices mean that the return on investment falls and there's less room for future price appreciation." He went on to say that repeat buyers will fill in the gap left from retreating investors, because unlike first-time home-buyers, they often have enough for down payments from the current equity in their homes.
In sum, economists see 2014 as year of increasing home sales and a moderate rise in home prices. Inventory will increase but not fast enough. Investors will exit the scene as foreclosures continue to decline and provide fewer distressed and discounted properties on the market. And if the unemployment rate can continue to tick down and incomes can increase more, the housing market will be on solid footing by the end of next year.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Homes for sale in sell-ready condition:

Homes for sale in sell-ready condition: After the holidays, we like to clean out the old and welcome the new. If that means shopping around for a new home, then you’ll want to make sure the one you have now is in sell-ready condition. 1. Evaluate your home. It may seem like a no-brainer, but it is the most important step if you are looking to get a good return on your home. Remodeling your kitchen or bathrooms, for example, is a great idea to attract potential buyers and increase the value of your home; but be careful to not go overboard. moderate kitchen remodels can recoup 69% of costs. Excessive ones got back less than 60%. If you’re itching to sell fast, a better plan would be to fix and update the smaller things in your home. This can mean cleaning your tiles, replacing door and cabinet hardware, fixing faucets and other small but impactful parts of the house. These things add up, and going overboard too close to putting your home on the market can be more hassle than help. 2. Think about when you’re selling. In Aruba, we’re lucky enough to have green grass, blue skies and appealing lawns all year-round, but it’s still a good bet to show closer to springtime than directly after the holidays. Even serious buyers may be deterred due to post-holiday frenzy. You can either wait until a few weeks after New Year’s, or hold off showing until spring. The difference is fewer shoppers but more serious ones, versus multiple shoppers and competing with more homes on the market. 3. Be realistic with your pricing, today’s buyers are cautious. Pricing your home too high can deter them from even considering your home, when there are other more realistically-priced options nearby. Save yourself the time and hassle and price right the first time. 4. Make a good impression. Whenever you decide to sell, make sure you and your home are ready. Try to clear your home of any overly-personal style choices or room decorations. They may fit for your family, but potential buyers will have a hard time seeing past these bold arrangements. Clean up and put some things in storage, and make neutral everything you have left. Clean closets with a few linens and hangers are more sellable than ones covered in band posters and full of kids’ laundry. You never get a second first impression, so make sure shoppers are hooked when they walk through the door.

Homes for sale in sell-ready condition

Homes for sale in sell-ready condition

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