Financial Friday


January 12, 2018

Mortgage Applications Start Year Strong

Mortgage applications surged 8.3% from last week, for the week ending January 5, 2017.

  • The Refinance Index increased 11%
  • The Purchase Index increased 5%
  • FHA applications increased from 0.3% to 11.1%
  • VA applications remained unchanged at 11.4%
  • USDA applications decreased 0.1% to 0.7%

Differentiate Your Listings By Offering VR Tours

Virtual reality is becoming a tangible and integral part of the home buying process for a majority of Americans, according to Coldwell Banker’s 2018 Smart Home Marketplace Survey, with 77% of homebuyers stating that they would like virtual reality tours before seeing a prospective listing in person, and another 68% would like to use technology to see how their current furniture would look in a new home.

Offering this service and being familiar with smart home technology could get you more clients; 62% of Americans said they’d be more apt to choose a real estate agent who offered VR tours over an agent who didn’t and 42% of sellers said they’d look to their real estate agent for guidance on how staging their home with smart home products could draw in buyers.

Best Places for Investors to Buy Rental Properties This Winter

Single-family rental investors paid 6.6% less per square foot on the same property during the winter of 2017/2018 than they did during the 2017 spring and summer buying season. The following metro areas made HomeUnion’s list as best places to buy rental properties in the wintertime of 2018:

Metro Area Temp Fº Winter Price Summer Price Savings
Washington, D.C.  42  $265,000  $349,000  -24.3%
Charlotte  37  $127,000  $155,000  -18.1%
Dallas  39  $167,000  $201,900  -17.3%
Atlanta  36  $115,000  $135,000  -14.8%
Houston  30  $145,000  $168,500  -13.9%
Raleigh  38  $169,000  $192,500  -12.2%
Denver  39  $311,000  $346,000  -10.1%

Top Trends in Community Development, Home Styles, and Home Exteriors

Findings of the quarterly AIA Home Design Trends Survey indicate that market saturation in urban areas, which has shifted development back to suburban areas, has caused demand for some community features to level off.

  • Community Design Trends – High-density development with mixed-use facilities, followed by multi-generational housing and access to public transit.
  • Home Style Trends – Contemporary home styles, front/side porches, and smaller homes that place emphasis on style top the list, followed by simpler exterior detailing and single story homes.
  • Exterior Home Trends – Low maintenance materials and additional, larger windows top the list, followed by accent lighting, simple exteriors, fire-resistant materials and metal finishes.

4 Growth Areas for Homebuilding in 2018

A growing economy, supported by positive demographic trends, bodes well for the housing market in the new year, even as affordability challenges arise from an increase in prices and mortgage rates, according to®’s 2018 Housing Forecast, released this week at the National Association of Home Builders’ International Builders’ Show in Orlando, FL.

  1. Entry-level home construction offers a huge opportunity for growth due to the larger pool of buyers who can afford them and the more limited homes available for sale in this price range.
  2. Millennials are expected to gain market share in all home price segments. As they age into their peak family-forming years their housing priorities will likely shift from proximity to urban life to more space and quality schools.
  3. Strong economies and healthy building levels will help drive Southern markets to beat out the national average home sales growth.
  4. With the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the wealth and income effect of tax cuts will likely stimulate demand and increased production in the short term but could lead to fewer sales and impact prices negatively over time in markets with higher prices and property taxes.


Information Courtesy of Jason Browning – Certainty Home Loans 

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