by HEIDI HANSEN
for the Sequim Association of Realtors®
“Right now is a fantastic time to buy, whether you are a first-time homebuyer, investor or looking for a second home. Rates are at historic lows and there are many financing options for clients. In addition to the standard loan types, there are now programs specifically targeting purchases of bank owned properties” says Aimee Dennis, branch manager with Cobalt Mortgage.
According to the National Association of Realtors:
• 45 percent of all buyers in 2012 used an open house as a source in their home search process.
Teri Ward, vice president of the mortgage department at First Federal, advises, “Homeowners have renewed confidence as they see homes starting to sell in less time and often with multiple offers. Construction inquiries are increasing as are requests for land loans, both of which First Federal offers. This is encouraging news.”
About half of homebuyers report that they have made some sacrifice, such as reducing spending on luxury items, entertainment and clothing, according to NAR. Twenty-three percent of buyers who financed their home purchase reported the approval process was somewhat more difficult than expected and 17 percent reported it was much more difficult than expected.
NAR also reported that sellers sold their homes at 95 percent of their listed price and 60 percent reported that they had reduced the asking price at least once. Locally, we are seeing current sales at 95 percent of the asking price as well.
“Most forecasters are predicting that mortgage rates will rise in 2013,” Al Krubbe, president of Peninsula Mortgage said. “While that same forecast for higher rates has been made at the end of the last two years, only to turn out wrong, I think that 2013 may be the year that forecasters are correct. Mortgage rates are already at all-time lows, so it’s hard to see them dropping further. The Federal Reserve is doing all it can to keep mortgage rates low by buying $85 billion a month in treasuries and mortgage-backed securities, so any rise in rates will be muted by their efforts,” Krubbe said.
“I see mortgage rates staying close to where they are now for the first half of 2013 and rising slightly through the remainder of 2013. With that in mind now is the best time to purchase or refinance your home if you haven’t already done so.
“Interest rates for a purchase of a primary residence or vacation home are presently in the mid-3 percent range. For investment properties, homes purchased to rent out, the rate is in the high 3 percent range.”
The Sequim area has long been sought as a vacation home location with buyers coming from Seattle and Canada as well as from all over. Investment buyers look for rental properties that “pencil out” — that is, the rental income will more than cover the costs associated with the purchase price.
For Sale By Owner (FSBO) sales as reported by NAR represented 9 percent of the residential sales. Of those, 33 percent of the sellers knew the buyers prior to the home purchase.
Eighty-eight percent of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent in the purchase of their home in 2012.
You will have questions and we will get you the answers.
2013 REALTOR® Nationwide Open House Information from the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers