Real Estate Market News – Gig Harbor Real Estate
“There’s no place like home.” News from the housing sector was front and center, and with rates remaining near historic lows, great opportunities remain for those looking to purchase or refinance.
Housing Starts sizzled in December, rising 4.4 percent from November to 1.089 million annualized units, coming in above expectations. The rise in Housing Starts was the strongest annual pace in seven years and it was led by a jump in starts for single-family homes, which reached their highest level since early 2008.
Building Permits, a sign of future construction, did decrease by nearly 2 percent in December but still came in at a strong 1.03 million. Both Building Permits and Housing Starts figures were also revised higher in November.
Also of note, the January National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index was 57. Readings above 50 are considered positive sentiments about market conditions. Meanwhile, December Existing Home Sales rose from November. However, sales in 2014 were lower compared to 2013 due to a sluggish start in the beginning of the year. Overall, the housing sector continues to improve.
In news overseas, the European Central Bank has announced that it will enact a massive Quantitative Easing, or QE, style of Bond purchases to fight off deflation and promote economic growth in the region. The news has caused extreme volatility in U.S. markets. However, Mortgage Bonds and home loan rates (which are tied to Mortgage Bonds) remain near historic best levels.
Gig Harbor Real Estate: April Rates Bring May
In mid-April, investors fled the Stock market by moving their money over to Bonds, which resulted in the lowest home loan rates seen in a month. Were they enough to get more buyers signing on the dotted line?
Despite the mid-April decline in home loan rates, the number of new home loan applications did not recoup the first quarter’s weak application figures as reported by the industry’s leading lenders. Applications for home loan refinances were still down 70 percent from a year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, while applications to purchase a home were down 14 percent from the same time period in 2013, when rates were almost 1 percent lower.
Good News for Homebuyers
Recent lower rates welcomed homebuyers ahead of the spring season. Reports surfaced that many homebuyers and especially first-timers were getting squeezed out of a competitive buying market. And while rising home prices and more strict lending guidelines—in the form of higher credit and asset requirements—had prevented many from home ownership, we hope that the lower rates will stay low for the season to come.
For homebuyers, it’s important to have a solid pre-approval in place prior to home shopping. With less homes available on the market for sale nationwide, competition for desirable homes will be fierce. Thus, it’s more important than ever for qualified homebuyers to prove their ability to follow through on purchase offers. Home supply will hopefully see signs of improvement as home builders increase housing starts.
Lower rates may also help those homeowners who have not yet refinanced or missed earlier opportunities to do so.
The Bottom Line
Home loan rates remain attractive compared to historical rates and good deals are available in many parts of the country. If you have any questions about your personal situation or would like to inquire about housing and home loans, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Thelma Channon www.thelma4harborhomes.com
Gig Harbor Real Estate – Chinese Real Estate Rush to Seattle?
Chinese Real Estate Rush to Accelerate in Seattle? Canada Cuts Off “Buy a Green Card” Immigration Policy
Vancouver, British Columbia has been a favorite international destination of Chinese real estate investors for decades. Immigration laws in Canada have allowed for wealthy foreign investors to “buy” citizenship through a direct investment in the domestic economy, and Vancouver was the poster child for Asian investment.
That investment appeal is now shifting South toward Seattle, as Canada’s immigration policies have abruptly changed this year and altered the benefits of buying in these two nearby cities. Canada has ended their policy of granting citizenship to foreign investors, while the United States has recently streamlined its investment program, allowing for an easier route to a “green card” for foreigners.
The U.S.’s EB-5 program has been in existence for years, but its application and review process had previously been painstakingly slow. Created to generate job growth, its applications numbered only in the hundreds per year and investors were wary of being tied up in bureaucracy. Recent changes to the program promise to cure those bottlenecks, though, and as applications are now rising into the thousands per year, it appears that the timing couldn’t be better with the change in international interest.
In the simplest terms, the EB-5 requires foreign investors to:
- Make a $1,000,000 investment
- Create or preserve 10 jobs locally
There are some exceptions, but these rules apply to most applicants. The applicants receive in return:
- Conditional permanent resident visas for applicant and dependents
- 2 years to prove the creation of those jobs and the investment
As thousands of applications pour in every year now, the numbers will likely balloon as Chinese investment shifts to the Puget Sound region. Real estate prices are significantly lower in Seattle than they are in Vancouver, and the ability to buy a luxury home, get a world-class education for your children, and live in a healthy, beautiful, and safe area like Greater Seattle is unmatched. Foreign home buyers on the Eastside already make up a significant portion of the buying market today. The trend will likely accelerate moving forward if the immigration policies of the two countries continue on their current courses.
Canterwood Market Update – Winter’s Grip on the Housing Sector
Home sales have been in a major rut for much of this year around the country and Gig Harbor real estate and Canterwood is no exception.
The good news is that winter’s grip on the housing sector is starting to lessen after a dismal winter around most of the country.
The next few months are important for the housing industry as springtime often sees an uptick in buying. Families like to move in the summer so their kids can get a fresh start at school in late summer.
Economists expect the next few months to improve as pent up demand catches up to the housing sector.
Look for more SOLD signs in Canterwood in the months to come!
Current Canterwood Inventory: 40 active listings
Homes Pending/Sold in January- April: 9 homes
See more at: http://www.thelma4harborhomes.com/homes-for-sale-featured for our current invenory on Canterwood and Gig Harbor.