Homeowners may be surprised at how some extra costs really add up. A new survey by Bankrate.com shows that the average homeowner spends an average of $2,000 per year on maintenance services.
Sixty-three percent of more than 2,200 respondents recently surveyed say they use at least one recurring maintenance provider. Thirty-five percent say they use two or more.
The most common services and their average monthly costs for homeowners are:
- Housekeeping: $285
- Homeowners’ association dues: $210
- Landscaping: $144
- Home security system: $130
- Pool care: $123
- Snow removal: $84
- Septic service: $67
- Private trash/recycling collection: $55
Further, researchers found that usage of such home maintenance services tends to increase with age and income.
“These figures illustrate the hidden costs of homeownership, and it’s important to note they don’t include repairs such as a broken refrigerator, washing machine, or air conditioner,” says Taylor Tepper, a Bankrate.com analyst. “These are just ongoing, routine tasks like keeping your house and yard clean. Make sure to factor these costs into your new budget when you buy a house. Or do them yourself to save thousands of dollars each year.”
In most parts of the United States, the long, dark and freezing winter nights are finally starting to let up. Winter is a time when people are particularly vigilant about the threat of home invasion but in actual fact, burglars prefer daylight. Break-ins become more common in the U.S. when the evenings get longer, spiking ten percent in June, July and August in particular. There is a belief that people leave their guard down, perhaps even becoming complacent, as the stretch in the evenings grows longer. While it’s true that some burglars use the darkness of night as cover, the chance of people being home during a winter break-in is higher. People leave their homes more often during bright weather spells and 60 percent of burglaries happen between 6am and 6pm, according to the FBI.
In 2016, 278,600 break-ins occurred at night with 486,006 happening during the day with $2,361 stolen on average. With spring on the horizon, which areas in the U.S. have to cope with the most serious burglary threat? The most recent FBI data shows that the South-Central states are worst affected with New Mexico experiencing the highest rate in 2016. It had 830.4 instances per 100,000 inhabitants, something that isn’t too surprising to many experts, considering how the Mexican drug trade passes through the state, especially Albuquerque. Arkansas came second on the FBI’s list with 795.5 burglaries per 100,000 inhabitants while Mississippi was third with 781.4. New York had the lowest rate of burglary per 100,000 inhabitants in 2016 with 201.7.
At the national level, housing affordability is practically flat from last month and down from a year ago. Mortgage rates increased to 4.22 percent this December, up 1.7 percent compared to 4.15 percent a year ago.
- Housing affordability declined from a year ago in December moving the index down 2.3 percent from 163.8 to 160.1. The median sales price for a single family home sold in December in the US was $247,900 up 5.7 percent from a year ago.
- Nationally, mortgage rates were up seven basis points from one year ago (one percentage point equals 100 basis points) while median family incomes rose 4.1 percent.
- Regionally, the West recorded the biggest increase in price at 8.6 percent. The Midwest had an increase of 7.5 percent while the Northeast had a gain of 6.7 percent. The South had the smallest incline in price of 5.8 percent.
- Regionally, all four regions saw a decline in affordability from a year ago. The Midwest had the biggest decline of 4.4 percent. The West followed with a decline of 4.0 percent. The South had a decline of 1.0 while the Northeast had the smallest decline of 0.8 percent.
- On a monthly basis, affordability is down from last month in two of the four regions. The Northeast had the biggest gain of 3.5 percent followed by the Midwest with a gain of 1.3 percent. The West had a decline of 0.1 percent. The South had the biggest drop in affordability of 0.9 percent.
- Despite month-to-month changes, the most affordable region was the Midwest, with an index value of 203.1. The least affordable region remained the West where the index was 111.5. For comparison, the index was 161.7 in the South, and 177.5 in the Northeast.
- Mortgage applications are currently up 0.7 percent. There are plenty of potential homebuyers interested entering in the housing market as rates continue to rise. There is job growth and incomes are rising but still not at the pace of home prices. New construction is on the rise however low inventory remains a concern due to the pressure it puts on home prices.
- What does housing affordability look like in your market? View the full data release here.
- The Housing Affordability Index calculation assumes a 20 percent down payment and a 25 percent qualifying ratio (principal and interest payment to income). See further details on the methodology and assumptions behind the calculation here.
Black is getting popular in home design. Black fixtures, appliances, and even black furniture are emerging as one of the hottest trends in the new year.
Black fixtures are replacing brass or rubbed bronze as a trendy home hardware in 2018.
Black makes a great finish because it goes with anything. In matted finishes, it can also be easier to clean than your lighter, polished metals–so that’s definitely an added perk for homeowners too.
Black cabinets in the kitchen are getting trendy too. To offset the darkness, some homeowners are mixing the black cabinets with lighter cabinets. Check out this one from Weston Lodge…
Black stainless appliances are also gradually gaining more momentum in the kitchen. Black stainless was once again being showed in the newest appliance models at CES 2018, the consumer electronics show this year. As more smudge proof, black stainless is proving itself as a trendy alternative to traditional stainless.
Mortgage rates are inching higher, and most home buyers seem unfazed by it. Only 6 percent of prospective home buyers recently surveyed said they would stop their home search if mortgage rates rose above 5 percent, according to a new survey released by the real estate brokerage Redfin of more than 4,000 consumers.
Mortgage rates hovered below 4 percent at the end of 2017, but in January the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage surpassed 4 percent. For the last five consecutive weeks, rates have been on the rise, with the 30-year mortgage rate averaging 4.32 percent in Freddie Mac’s most recent survey.
However, 27 percent of consumers who plan to buy a home in the coming year did say that a 5 percent mortgage rate would cause them to slow their plans to buy. A quarter of buyers said that an increase would have zero impact on their plans.
Higher rates may cause some buyers to rush their timelines. Twenty-one percent of potential buyers surveyed said that a rate bump to 5 percent would cause them to increase their urgency to buy. Another 21 percent said that such an increase would instead make them want to look in more affordable areas or to buy a smaller home.
Fed up with soaring prices that are increasingly putting home ownership, or even a decent rental, out of reach, Bay Area residents overwhelmingly say they want more housing built, according to a new poll. But it better not make their commutes worse.
Residents said they support everything from new single family homes to housing for the homeless in their communities, tossing aside NIMBY concerns that sometimes throw a wrench in building plans. But there were limits to their enthusiasm. Respondents balked at building anything that would cut into the Bay Area’s cherished open spaces or funnel more people onto crowded local freeways and public transit, making their treks to work longer.
The responses, in a five-county poll conducted for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and this news organization, left some housing advocates hopeful that public sentiment is shifting in favor of building more housing. But the survey also illustrates the hurdles the Bay Area faces in solving its housing shortage.
“I think as more people personally experience the crisis of the lack of affordable housing, we’re seeing public support gradually move upwards, including support for bringing new affordable housing into people’s own neighborhoods — which is a new trend in the 27 years I’ve been working in the field,” said Matt Schwartz, president and CEO of housing nonprofit California Housing Partnerships. “This feels like something different and new that is happening now.”
Tyler Young is one of many Bay Area residents feeling the impact of the region’s housing crunch first-hand. The 31-year-old lawyer moved his family to Dublin from San Francisco in 2015 when his landlord decided to raise the monthly rent by $700, asking $5,000 for a two-bedroom apartment near AT&T Park. Now Young, his pregnant wife and 2-year-old son rent a condo in Dublin for $3,000 a month.
“I do think it’s a serious issue,” Young said of the housing shortage. That’s why he supports building housing of all types, including in his own neighborhood.
“I welcome as much development as can happen,” he said, “but I understand that there are people who don’t feel that way.”
Of the 900 registered voters surveyed, 64 percent said they favor building significant quantities of new housing, and 53 percent said they would support new construction even if it changed the character of their neighborhood. But fewer than half — 46 percent — were willing to sacrifice open space for new development, and just 30 percent said they would support new housing that brought more people onto local roads and transit systems, making their commutes worse.
When speaking generally, 89 percent of people supported both building more low-income housing and more housing for the homeless. A slightly smaller percentage would welcome those developments into the communities where they live and shop and where their kids go to school. Seventy-eight percent of respondents supported building low-income housing in their own neighborhood, and 69 percent supported building homeless housing in their neighborhood.
Those numbers seem high to Laura Foote Clark, executive director of the pro-development organization YIMBY Action, but she said that support won’t necessarily translate into more building permits. Saying you support housing in a survey is one thing, she said. It’s quite another to show up at city meetings or email local elected officials to voice that opinion.
“There’s two fundamental problems,” Clark said. “Those people are not necessarily aware of how to engage with government in order to express that point of view. And then the second big problem is housing takes place in a particular place. So everyone might be supportive of housing in general, and then when you propose a specific project, that general support sometimes wanes.”
- Mortgage rates have not been at 5 percent since 2011.
- A 5 percent rate would cause more than a quarter of today’s homebuyers to slow their plans, according to a Redfin survey.
- Housing affordability is starting to hurt.
Mortgage rates are now at their highest level in four years and poised to move even higher. The timing couldn’t be worse, as the usually busy spring housing market kicked into gear early this year amid higher home prices and strong competition for a record low supply of homes for sale.
Add it all up, and affordability is starting to hurt.
The average rate on the popular 30-year fixed is now right around 4.50 percent, still low when looking historically, but buyers over the past six years have gotten more used to rates in the 3 percent range. Mortgage rates have not been at 5 percent since 2011.
A 5 percent rate would cause more than a quarter of today’s homebuyers to slow their plans, according to a Redfin survey of 4,000 consumers at the end of last year. Just 6 percent said they would drop their plans to buy altogether. About one-fifth of consumers said 5 percent rates would cause them to move with more urgency to purchase a home, fearing rates would rise even further. Another fifth said they would consider more affordable areas or just buy a smaller home.
Some have claimed that higher rates and the new tax law will put downward pressure on home prices, alleviating some of the current sticker shock, but other factors are fighting that assertion.
“Tight credit, lack of inventory and high demand are the major factors that tell us there’s no housing bubble, despite rapid price increases,” said Redfin’s chief economist, Nela Richardson. “There are still many more buyers than the current housing supply can support, with no major relief in sight.”
Unlike during the last housing bubble in the mid-2000s, mortgage lenders today are much more strict with regard to the borrower’s ability to repay the loan. They are required by new regulations in the industry to be that way. Higher mortgage rates may mean some borrowers on the margins will not qualify for the size of the loan they need or want.
Mortgage rates have been quite volatile in recent weeks especially given the wide swings in the stock market. Rates loosely follow the yield of the 10-year Treasury, which moved higher again Monday. Things could change Wednesday, with the release of the monthly read on the consumer price index.
“The most informative and disconcerting reaction would be a weak CPI reading followed by a knee-jerk rally that then gives way to more selling. That would be the worst case scenario in terms of implications for the bigger picture,” wrote Matthew Graham, chief operating officer of Mortgage News Daily. “Conversely, an eventual rally that follows stable or stronger CPI would suggest bonds are increasingly ready to hold their ground near current levels.”
At the end of 2017 properties sold at a quicker pace, despite inventory shortages and rising home prices. On average, homes sold in December were on the market for 40 days, down from 52 days a year ago, according to the December 2017 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey.
Since 2011, the median number of days on the market has been decreasing. In May 2011, properties were typically listed for three months. For all of 2017, properties were on the market for a median of just 35 days.
Realtor.com® reports that days-on-market dropped in 78 percent of the 500 places it tracked in December 2017. Cities in California continue to see some of the quickest sales in the country. The following metro areas saw properties spend the shortest amount of time on the market in December 2017 compared to a year ago:
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif: 37 days
- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.: 45 days
- Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.: 45 days
- Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn.: 46 days
- Ogden-Clearfield, Utah: 47 days
- Provo-Orem, Utah: 48 days
- Stockton-Lodi, Calif.: 48 days
- San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif.: 49 days
Thirty-four percent of properties sold at their original price or at a net premium from the list price in December, according to the REALTORS® Confidence Index. Seventy-one percent of contracts from October to December 2017 settled on time, up from 61 percent a year ago. REALTORS® surveyed report the biggest issues affecting transactions in December were “low inventory” and “tax reform.”
The highest mortgage rates in four years caused a pause in mortgage applications from home buyers and refinancers during a time when the market generally starts picking up in preparation for the spring season. Any shakeout from dips in the stock market in recent days will become more evident in mortgage demand in next week’s report from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Total mortgage application volume last week—which reflects home purchases and refinancings—barely budged at 0.7 percent higher on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to one week earlier, the MBA reported Wednesday. A hopeful sign for housing, however: Volume is still 5 percent higher than the same week a year ago.
Purchase applications were mostly unchanged last week while applications to refinance eked out a 1 percent gain during the week, the MBA reports.
The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.50 percent, the highest level since April 2014, the MBA reports.
“While the stock market leapt into the new year with strong gains, only to give it all back over the past few days, interest rates have generally moved higher, with the 10-year Treasury and 30-year mortgage rates about 30 basis points higher than where we started at the beginning of January,” says Mike Fratantoni, the MBA’s chief economist. “A strong job market, accelerating wage growth, and expectations of faster rate hikes from the Fed all have played roles in pushing up longer-term rates.”
At the start of this week, mortgage rates did recede slightly after volatility in the stock market sent investors flocking back to the bond market, CNBC reports. Mortgage rates loosely follow 10-year Treasury yields.
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage reached its highest average since December 2016, Freddie Mac reports. This is the fifth consecutive week that mortgage rates have been on the rise, increasing borrowing costs for home shoppers heading into the spring buying season.
“Following a turbulent Monday,financial markets settled down with the 10-year Treasury yield resuming its upward march. Mortgage rates have followed,” says Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac’s deputy chief economist. “Will higher rates break housing market momentum? It’s too early to tell for sure, but initial readings indicate housing markets are sustaining their momentum so far.”
Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Feb. 8:
- 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.32 percent, with an average 0.6 point, rising from last week’s 4.22 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.17 percent.
- 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.77 percent, with an average 0.5, up from a 3.68 percent average last week. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.39 percent.
- 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.57 percent, with an average 0.4 point, increasing from last week’s 3.53 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.21 percent.