The Ransom-McKenzie Team

The Civic Side of Homeownership

Are you involved in your community? As Realtors, Charlotte and Connie believe in the value of participating in events and organizations in your home town.  The Ransom-McKenzie Team would like to take a moment to share with you this current data which relates to home ownership and civic involvement.

The Impact of Homeownership on Civic Involvement | Keeping Current Matters

The National Association of Realtors recently released a study titled ‘Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing.’ The study confirmed a long-standing belief of most Americans:

“Owning a home embodies the promise of individual autonomy and is the aspiration of most American households. Homeownership allows households to accumulate wealth and social status, and is the basis for a number of positive social, economic, family and civic outcomes.”

Today, we want to cover the section of the report that quoted several studies concentrating on the impact homeownership has on the civic participation of family members. Here are some of the major findings on this issue revealed in the report:

  • Homeowners have a much greater financial stake in their neighborhoods than renters. With the median national home price in 2015 at $223,900, even a 5% decline in home values will translate into a loss of more than $11,195 for a typical homeowner.
  • Because owners tend to remain in their homes longer, they add a degree of stability to their neighborhood.
  • Homeowners also reap the financial gains of any appreciation in the value of their home, so they also tend to spend more time and money maintaining their residence, which also contributes to the overall quality of the surrounding community.
  • Homeowners were found to be more politically active than renters with 77% of homeowners saying they had at some point voted in local elections compared with 52% of renters.
  • There seems to be a greater awareness of the political process among homeowners. About 38% of homeowners knew the name of their local school board representative, compared with only 20% of renters.
  • There is a higher incidence of membership in voluntary organizations and church attendance among homeowners.
  • Homeownership does create social capital and provide residents with a platform from which to connect and interact with neighbors.
  • Owning a home means owning part of a neighborhood, and a homeowner’s feelings of commitment to the home can arouse feelings of commitment to the neighborhood, which, in turn, can produce interactions with neighbors.

Bottom Line

People often talk about the financial benefits of homeownership. As we can see, there are also social benefits of owning your own home. The City of Riverside is a great place to get out and get involved. Charlotte & Connie are involved in a number of organizations and would be happy to help you find the right group to help you get involved.  Give us a call today to discuss your civic involvement at 951-237-2044.

Calling All Sellers

In Riverside County the real estate world is experiencing a rather severe housing shortage. A healthy real estate market should have about a 5-6 month inventory.  Currently in Riverside we have less than a 2.5 month inventory. This means that if you are considering selling your home, now is the time to do it.

The Ransom McKenzie Team is here to help. Before your home hits the market, you’ll want to make sure that it is ready to make a good impression. Remember, you only have one chance to impress a buyer. Here is a helpful infographic with a checklist of ideas for preparing your home for sale:

20170120-tips-for-selling-kcm

If you follow some or all of these tips, when you list your home, you’ll be more likely to reach your goal of selling for the best price possible. Most of these items are small projects that don’t take a lot of time or money, but give you a good boost when your home is shown.

The Ransom-McKenzie team is also available to help you as you prepare your home for sale.  Call us today at 951-237-2044 for a free evaluation and consultation regarding selling your home.

What Do Higher Interest Rates Mean?

There are some who are calling for a decrease in home prices should mortgage interest rates begin to rise rapidly. Intuitively, this makes sense as the cost of a home is determined by the price of the home, plus the cost of financing that home. If mortgage interest rates increase, fewer people will be able to buy, and logic says prices will fall if demand decreases. However, history shows us that this has not been the case the last four times mortgage interest rates dramatically increased. Here is a graph showing what actually happened: Will Increasing Mortgage Rates Impact Home Prices? | Keeping Current Matters

Recently, in an article titled “Higher Rates Don’t Mean Lower House Prices After All, the Wall Street Journal revealed that a recent study by John Burns Real Estate Consulting Inc. found that:

“[P]rices weren’t especially sensitive to rising rates, particularly in the presence of other positive economic factors, such as strong job growth, rising wages and improving consumer confidence.”

The most recent jobs report was strong and the Conference Board just reported that the Consumer Confidence Index was back to pre-recession levels.

Bottom Line

We will have to wait and see what happens as we move forward, but a decrease in home prices should rates go up is anything but guaranteed.

Winter Buyers are Serious

The Ransom-McKenzie Team has been busy already this winter.  We’ve been experiencing a high volume of buyers who are ready to buy, now. While winter is often perceived as a down time for real estate, we’re currently seeing trends that indicate this might be a mis-guided perception. Winter buyers are Serious buyers.

riverside-winter

Riverside is gorgeous during the winter months!

A recent study of more than 7 million home sales over the past four years revealed that the season in which a home is listed may be able to shed some light on the likelihood that the home will sell for more than asking price, as well as how quickly the sale will close. It’s no surprise that listing a home for sale during the spring saw the largest return, as the spring is traditionally the busiest month for real estate. What is surprising, though, is that listing during the winter came in second!

“Among spring listings, 18.7 percent of homes fetched above asking, with winter listings not far behind at 17.5 percent. While 48.0 percent of homes listed in spring sold within 30 days, 46.2 percent of homes in winter did the same.”

The study goes on to say that:

“Buyers [in the winter] often need to move, so they’re much less likely to make a lowball offer and they’ll often want to close quickly — two things that can make the sale much smoother.”

Bottom Line

If you are debating listing your home for sale within the next 6 months, keep in mind that the spring is when most other homeowners will decide to list their homes as well. Listing your home this winter will ensure that you have the best exposure to the serious buyers who are out looking now! The study used the astronomical seasons to determine which season the listing date fell into (Winter: Dec. 21 – Mar. 20; Spring: Mar. 21 – June 20; Summer: June 21 – Sept 21; Autumn: Sept 21 – Dec. 20).

Orange Roots

The remarkable story of two trees, a pioneer town, and the University of California, Riverside

orange-roots-floral-display

Riverside’s relationship with the citrus industry runs deep. When the navel orange tree was introduced to our region in 1873, Riverside entered a new era. At one point at the turn of the century, Riverside was the wealthiest city per capita in the United States. Orange Roots, an expansive exhibit now running on the ground floor level of the Rivera Library on the UCR campus, tells the story of how the citrus boom changed our region forever.

This exhibit leads you through the history of the citrus industry in Riverside and how it relates to UC Regents decision to bring a UC campus to Riverside. In 1918 city leaders convinced the UC Regents to build a new  Citrus Experimentation Station on the location that is now one of the original campus buildings. It currently houses the Anderson Graduate School of Management.

orange-roots-citrus-station-ground-breaking

The pictures and artifacts in this exhibit are beautifully displayed in a custom exhibition set up created to mimic the look of the orange crates of yore. The exhibit includes pictures, orange labels, artifacts and news clippings that document the entire history of the citrus industry and the creation of UCR.

orange-roots-exhibit-display

The exhibit is running through January 17th, if you have time during the holidays to go on campus, while the students are on break, it would be well worth the effort.

Millenials vs Boomers

According to the Census Bureau, millennials have overtaken baby boomers as the largest generation in U.S. History. Millennials, or America’s youth born between 1982-2000, now represent more than one quarter of the nation’s population, totaling 83.1 million. There has been a lot of talk about how, as a generation, millennials have ‘failed to launch’ into adulthood and have delayed moving out of their family’s home. Some experts have even questioned whether or not millennials want to move out. The great news is that not only do millennials want to move out… they are moving out! The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers in which they revealed that 61% of all first-time home buyers were millennials in 2015! The median age of all first-time buyers in 2015 was 31 years old. Here is chart showing the breakdown by age:

first-time-home-buyers

If you recall from one of our posts last week, first time home buyers comprised 33% of all buyers in October 2016. The above chart gives you an idea as to how many of those buyers are from the younger generation. Many social factors have contributed to millennials waiting to buy their first home. The latest Census results show that the median age of Americans at the time of their first marriage has increased significantly over the last 60 years, from 23 for men & 20 for women in 1955, to 29 & 27, respectively, in 2015. Those who went to college and took out student loans are finally paying them off, as the terms on traditional student loans are 10 years. This means that a large portion of the generation is making its last loan payments and is working toward saving for a first home. As a whole, the first-time home buyer share increased to 35% of all buyers, up from 32% in 2014. Not all millennials are first-time buyers, they also made up 12% of all repeat buyers!

Bottom Line

Millennials will continue to drive the housing market next year, as well as in the years to come. As more and more realize that owning a home is within their grasp, they will flock to own their piece of the American Dream. Are you ready to buy your first or even second home? Give the Ransom-McKenzie Team a call and we’ll help you through the process.

Interest Rates Going UP in 2017

According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage interest rate jumped up to 3.94% shortly after the election last month. Interest rates had been hovering around 3.5% since June, and many are wondering why there has been such a significant increase so quickly.

Why did rates go up?

Whenever there is a presidential election, there is uncertainty in the markets as to who will win. One way that this is noticeable is through the actions of investors. As we get closer to the first Tuesday of November, many investors pull their funds from the more volatile and less predictive stock market and instead, choose to invest in Treasury Bonds. When this happens, the interest rate on Treasury Bonds does not have to be as high to entice investors to buy them, so interest rates go down. Once the elections are over and a President has been elected, investors return to the stock market and other investments, leaving the Treasury to raise rates to make bonds more attractive again. Simply put, the better the economy, the higher interest rates will go. For a more detailed explanation of the many factors that contribute to whether interest rates go up or down, you can follow this link to Investopedia.

The Good News

Even though rates are closer to 4% than they have been in nearly 6 months, they are still slightly below where we started 2016, at 3.97%. The great news is that even at 4%, rates are still significantly lower than they have been over the last 4 decades, as you can see in the chart below.

mortgage-rates-by-decades

Any increase in interest rate will impact your monthly housing costs when you secure a mortgage to buy your home. A recent Wall Street Journal article points out that, “While still only roughly half the average over the past 45 years, according to Freddie Mac, the quick rise has lenders worried that home loans could become more expensive far sooner than anticipated.” Tom Simons, a Senior Economist at Jefferies LLC, touched on another possible outcome for higher rates:

“First-time buyers look at the monthly total, at what they can afford, so if the mortgage is eaten up by a higher interest expense then there’s less left over for price, for the principal. Buyers will be shopping in a lower price bracket; thus demand could shift a bit.”

Bottom Line

Interest rates are impacted by many factors, and even though they have increased recently, rates would have to reach 9.1% for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates haven’t been that high since January of 1995, according to Freddie Mac.

The Ransom-McKenzie Team is here to help you through all of the details involved in buying or selling a home.  Give us a call today and let us help you!

Home Sales Continue UP

People often ask us how the world of real estate is doing in Riverside. Especially now that we’re closing in on another year, and are looking into next year with a new Presidential administration. We can honestly say that we have had a great 2016, and we are looking forward to more sales in 2017.

fall-2016-sales-infographic

The most telling fact in this infographic is that nationwide we’re still experiencing low inventory.  While this is driving sales, and has made October the 56th month that we have experienced year-over-year price gains, it has not been pushing prices up as high as one might think.  According to the Inland Valleys Association of Realtors Housing Data Report for October 2016 the median sales price in Riverside is $345,000 which is an increase of 5.8% from the previous year. This shows that we are experiencing steady growth in our marketplace.

A nationwide fun fact is that currently 33% of home buyers in October 2016 were first-time home buyers. This shows that the American Dream of home ownership is continuing to be important into the next generation.

The Ransom-McKenzie Team looks forward to assisting our friends and clients with their real estate needs as we look forward to the coming new year.  Give us a call if you have a questions about buying or selling  a home in Riverside. We Love Riverside!

Downtown Riverside is Growing Up

A vibrant downtown is dependent on creating a good balance of retail and living spaces where people can enjoy not only unique shopping and dining experiences but also can a walkable neighborhood where places are easily accessible.  We have watched Downtown as Riverside has become a vibrant economic driver for the city. However, our downtown still lacks spaces where people can live in the Downtown corridor.

The good news is Downtown Riverside will be experiencing a boom of development in the next three years adding over 500 residential, loft style units and nearly 40,000 square feet of unique commercial and office space.  The developments include places such as the Mission Inn Lofts, The Stalder Building, Imperial Hardware Lofts, and the Culver Lofts. All of these loft spaces will be centered around our downtown core. Artist renditions of the Mission Inn Lofts and the Imperial Hardware Lofts are shown here:

Bringing more residential living to the heart of Downtown will contribute to the already growing enthusiasm and activity taking place there.

In addition to more residential options downtown, there are also plans to bring more Urban Food venues to Riverside. The 12.000 square foot space adjacent to the Fox Theater is being developed into an Urban Food Hall that will be called the Riverside Food Lab. This location will feature up to 15 vendors and will focus on locally owned stores, no corporate chains allowed. Hopes are to have the Riverside Food Lab up and running in time for the Festival of Lights in 2017. Another unique food venue in the works is Chow Alley.  It will feature outdoor dining across from the Historic County Courthouse. The food purveyors here will serve out of cargo style containers, creating a food truck court atmosphere in the heart of the downtown business district.

chow-alley

Check out the City of Riverside’s video about these exciting things coming to downtown Riverside.

Downtown Update Video

There is a lot happening in Riverside! We’re excited to be on the cutting edge of this much-needed development.

Home Price Update: Where are Prices Going Nationwide?

CoreLogic released their most current Home Price Index last week. In the report, they revealed home appreciation in three categories: percentage appreciation over the last year, over the last month and projected over the next twelve months. Here are state maps for each category:

The Past – home appreciation over the last 12 months

The Past, Present & Future of Home Prices | Keeping Current Matters

The Present – home appreciation over the last month

The Past, Present & Future of Home Prices | Keeping Current Matters

The Future – home appreciation projected over the next 12 months

The Past, Present & Future of Home Prices | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Homes across the country are appreciating at different rates. In Riverside right now homes are appreciating slightly below the State average at about 5.6% per year. If you plan on relocating to another state and are waiting for your home to appreciate more, you need to know that the home you will buy in another state may be appreciating even faster.

Real Estate is truly a local market.  What is happening across the nation, may not necessarily reflect what is happening in your local area.  Even markets within a 60 – 100 mile radius can vary drastically.  When you’re looking to sell your home, or purchase a new home be sure you meet with a local real estate professional who can help you determine your next steps in your marketplace. The Ransom-McKenzie Team specializes in Riverside.  Give us a call today to receive a free evaluation of our local market.