What to do, what to do, what to do? COVID-19 has brought uncertainty into our housing market. Some of my sellers decided to list now, while others preferred to wait things out. Likewise, I have buyers who are actively looking and some who are cautiously waiting to see if prices drop.
Many of my existing homebuyers have taken advantage of the low refinance rates. One client is saving upwards of $400/month! My wife and I locked a rate in the high 2% range at 0 points. We are very happy we did not miss the boat on this.
Everyone will have to approach the crossroads. If you're a seller, pricing is always important. However, showing your home safely is equally important too. If your property is owner occupied, it is critical safety measures are put in place so you and others cannot get the virus. If the property is tenant occupied, sellers should be more mindful about the tenant's situation.
Buyers needs to determine if their employment and finances are steady. If both are steady, buyers need to know if they want to purchase at the bottom, middle, or max of their preapproved amount. Mortgage rates are low. However, do you take the cheap money and really lever up?
Existing homeowners need to analyze how long they will own the property and where they are in their current mortgage. For example, if you are 25 years into your mortgage, it might not make sense to refinance. Likewise, if you don't plan on owning the property for the long term, refinancing might not be an optimal strategy either. If you are a candidate to refinance, you want to minimize your closing costs and you pray for a high appraised amount.
There's never a dull moment in real estate. The other year, I helped my clients purchase their forever home in East Honolulu. I had just recovered from the flu and I attended an open house on their behalf. What's the catch? They live on the mainland.
Using FaceTime, I was able to show the property to my clients via my iPhone. Within a few days, they flew to Honolulu to see the property in person. Despite living in a different state, the transaction went well. We used a local lender too.
Technology is a great thing! I cannot imagine what it was like to sell real estate without cell phones and internet. Then again, I heard stories about how agents used typewriters.
With big box retail closing, Simon Property Group is reportedly working with Amazon to turn some of its large retail space into distribution hubs. Due to the recent e-commerce boom, Amazon probably could use more distribution hubs closer to residential areas.
.50% Point Adder
In an interesting move, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac added a .50% "Adverse Market Refinance Fee." Due to massive pushback, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced it was delaying the implementation until later this year.
August Home Prices
The Honolulu Board of Realtors recently released August's home statistics. The median sales price for single family homes and condos both increased from the same time last year. Low interest rates could be driving sales. Interestingly, August's housing data is not reflective of our struggling local economy.
Stay safe and healthy.