Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Are Most Homeowners Happy About It?

It might come as a surprise but a whopping 72 percent of surveyed homeowners nationwide are satisfied with owning a home. The other 28 percent, not so. They say they're dissatisfied and that's likely due to the devaluation of their homes.
But surprisingly, of those who were satisfied with owning a home, only 24 percent said it was because of home appreciation. The majority, 76 percent, had many other reasons they were happy to own their own home including the one that proves the American Dream is alive and well: pride of homeownership. Following closely behind were the freedom to control their home improvements and upgrades. All this according to HomeGain's 2012 National Home Ownership Satisfaction Survey.
Of those who were unsatisfied with owning their home, 63 percent blamed depreciation as the root of their dissatisfaction. However, the cost of owning a home, such as paying for property taxes, homeowner's association fees, upkeep, and routine repairs, also sucked the joy out of homeownership and led this group of 37 percent to be unhappy about homeownership.
On the bright side, most - three out of four - are very happy with homeownership even in spite of such rocky real estate times where declines in home values have crippled some homeowners severely.
The survey polled homeowners all across the country. So you might be wondering is there a connection between where you live and how satisfied you are with owning a home?
The highest percentage of satisfied homeowners comes from the Northeast where there is 77-percent satisfaction, according to HomeGain. Pulling in at a close second is the Southeast at 73 percent satisfaction. The West and Midwest were at 71 percent and 68 percent, respectively.
Those who purchased their homes within a timeframe of the past three to eight years were the least satisfied. If they bought more than eight years ago, they tended to be more satisfied.
The higher-end market was the least satisfied with owning a home, especially if they paid more than $800,000 for it. This group's dissatisfaction rate was 69 percent. But those who purchased homes for under $75,000 are cheering. This group's satisfaction rate was 77 percent.
Of course, a lot of homes are sold through foreclosure and short sale, which, depending on the side of the sale you're on, can leave you satisfied or very dissatisfied. Those purchasing a foreclosed or short sale had the highest satisfaction ratings; 79 percent and 83 percent, respectively.
New and existing homes didn't fare so well with homeowners. They were fairly dissatisfied and showed it in a 73 percent and 71 percent rating, respectively. Most seemed to have expected an increase in the value of their home and when depreciation hit, this highly disappointed them, making this the primary reason for their dissatisfaction.
An interesting statistic may reflect the need for freedom from being tied down to a home and its maintenance as well as other costs. Homeowners ranging from 18 to 25 were the least satisfied (45 percent) with owning.
On the other end of the spectrum, those homeowners between 55 to 65, were the most satisfied with their homeownership. This group's satisfaction rating was 76 percent.
HomeGain collected some comments from some of the surveyed homeowners. Here's how one satisfied homeowner summarizes homeownership, "Just knowing I own it. I rented a house two times after owning a home for 16 years, and I do NOT like relying on, and dealing with, a landlord! I also feel pride in owning my home. I just bought a house 8 months ago and am very happy!" If we can help you feel the joy of ownership, please call the Spouses Selling Houses at 573-302-2313. Until next time!! Ebbie :)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Following weeks of rumors and speculation, President Barack Obama said he would be sending Congress a proposal to provide refinancing for underwater homeowners that will save borrowers up to $3,000 a year during his State of the Union Speech last week.

The announcement could not have come with better timing. Mortgage applications fell for the first time in three weeks for the week ending Jan. 20th, indicating that the housing market remains in a slowdown even after other government efforts have been made to reenergize the market, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The new refinancing plan would target underwater homeowners and reportedly allow a few million mortgage holders to refinance, reducing their monthly payments through the Federal Housing Administration.
The program, which needs Congressional approval to be launched, would broaden the availability of government backed mortgages to include borrowers whose mortgages are held by private banks and investment companies that are not guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
The bankers’ composite index of mortgage applications fell by 5% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. Refinances dropped 5.2% even after another new government sponsored program went into effect before the end of the year allowing many underwater mortgage holders to refinance home loans, despite loan to value levels.

Five years after the real estate market collapse, Obama also said during his speech that he would direct Attorney General Eric Holder to expand the federal government’s investigations of mortgage lenders and servicers.

Obama gave few specific details on his refinancing program, but said that the plan would be available to give “every responsible homeowner” a chance to save $3,000 a year off their mortgage payments by refinancing at lower mortgage rates. Obama said that the program would be funded by a “small fee on the largest financial institutions (that) will ensure that it won’t add to the deficit, and will give banks that were rescued by taxpayers a chance to repay a deficit of trust.”

The president also said he would seek additional regulations to curb the real estate finance industry from predatory lending practices, which regulators are working on as part of Dodd-Frank financial reform laws passed by Congress.

“We’ve all paid the price for lenders who sold mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them, and buyers who knew they couldn’t afford them,” Obama said. “That’s why we need smart regulations to prevent irresponsible behavior. Rules to prevent financial fraud, or toxic dumping, or faulty medical devices, don’t destroy the free market. They make the free market work better.”
For all of your Real Estate needs at the Lake of the Ozarks, just give the “Spouses Selling Houses” a call. Thank you!!! Ebbie :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Real Estate Trends / College towns to buy or rent?

If your child is on his or her way to college, you're already thinking about the big checks you'll have to write. There's little you can do about tuition at a top college or university, but what about the "room and board" part of the equation?

One of the hottest real estate trends is college students who opt out of living in the dorms and instead are paying "room and board" to their parents in the form of a mortgage payment. For those with the right amount of cash and a viable credit score, college town real estate might be a really interesting idea - whether your child is going to school there or not.

Many on top of this real estate trend, are focusing on middle-aged parents with college-bound children. According to the website, the average cost of room and board fees at a four-year college or university runs nearly $10,000 per year. Off-campus apartment housing can strain your budget even further, and in either case, there is no return on your investment. Once spent, that money is simply gone. With these figures in mind, a growing number of savvy parents are selecting another option.

With the comparatively low cost of buying a home, a growing number of concerned parents are opting to purchase a home for their students to live in while completing their education. Of course not all college towns are created equal when it comes to housing inventory or price appreciation (or depreciation), and some are certainly more affordable than others.

At the most affordable end of the spectrum were homes on and around the Ball State University campus in Muncie, Ind. Judged to be the least expensive locale to buy a single-family home, a four-bedroom, two-bedroom property carried an average listing price of just $105,000 in 2010. If you think about room and board running an average of $10,000 per year, purchasing a property that can be rented or sold after the kids have graduated seems like an attractive prospect.

At the other end of the spectrum, buying a home with the same dimensions near the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, Calif. runs a cost prohibitive (for most of us anyway) average of more than $1.3 million. That seems like an awful lot to cough up for what is basically temporary housing. Of course, the property could be leased or sold once the kiddies have graduated, but an expense like this would give most parents pause.

In fact, five of the top 10 most expensive college town markets can be found in the state of California: The aforementioned Stanford, UCLA in Los Angeles (average cost $833,087), USC in L.A. (again, $833,087), San Jose State University ($650,111) and UC Berkeley ($636,958).

At the same time, four of the least expensive campuses for home purchases can be found in Ohio: University of Akron ($139,711), Ohio University in Athens ($141,964), Kent State ($153,662) and University of Toledo ($155,286).

If the home is cheap enough and the return on investment is there, buying a home makes more sense to many parents than throwing money away on renting an apartment or dorm. Til next time thanks for readin. Ebbie :)