Not much change in the market
| November 7, 2010 8:00 PM
As we continue to watch market conditions we see little change in local real estate since we last reported. Agents continue to report steady activity and attribute it in part to the attractive mortgage interest rates. In fact, we have seen stability in interest rates over the last several weeks as they appear to have settled at just under 4 percent. A Friday visit to the Idaho Housing and Finance Association website (IHFA.org) shows the same 3.75 percent 30-year rate that it has for the previous two weeks.
We are delighted to see that the low rates charged by home lenders have made it possible for many to enjoy home ownership for the first time, but the rates are having an impact on home sales not typically associated with first-time buyers. One of the encouraging items in our latest Multiple Listing Service statistics is the average three bedroom two bath home we often track to measure change. In September 2009, this statistically average home on less than an acre of land sold for $171,884 and took 104 days to sell.
Even with the reported declines in market prices over the last year (5 percent over all MLS reports) we see that the example 3/2 home sold in September of this year for $181,715 or nearly $10,000 dollars more.
It can be said that the homebuyer's tax credit incentive that expired earlier this year had something to do with buoying home sales. We do not deny that. But to maintain increases in our number of sales and to dramatically slow the price declines of recent years, other factors are in play.
Although types of financing are not something we track, we are willing to state that historically low interest rates are making it easier for people to transition, whether it is out of rentals and into their own homes, or out their own homes into different homes.
Let's look at the difference a year can make. If you purchased a $200,000 home in October 2009 it is likely you would pay a low rate of 5.25 percent on a 30-year note. Your monthly payment then would be $1,104.41. Not bad. If you bought that home this year at 4 percent your payment would be $954.83 a savings of $150.42 per month or $1,805.04 per year. Most of us can figure out somewhere to spend an extra $1,800. A $100,000 loan in 2009 would have cost $552.20 per month where today, that payment would be $477.12 or less than the average two-bedroom apartment's rent!
What is even more illustrative of what the interest adjustment means to your financial health over the 30-year term is hard to ignore. The difference between the 2009 rate and the today rate over the course of the loan means a savings of nearly $27,000 on a $100,000 home. The MLS currently shows 177 homes available for under $100,000.
With financing options like our illustration it is no wonder we have seen some stability in the market. With low priced housing inventory in all price ranges and types of homes, many people are finding it in their best financial interest to move and to do it now, while interest rates are low.
For a safe trip home, call a Realtor. Call your Realtor or visit www.cdarealtors.com to search properties on the Multiple Listing Service or to find a Realtor member who will represent your best interests.
Kim Cooper is a real estate broker and the spokesman for the Coeur d'Alene Association of Realtors. Kim and the association invite your feedback and input for this column. You may contact them by writing to the Coeur d'Alene Association of Realtors, 409 W. Neider, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83815 or by calling (208) 667-0664 with your questions or commentary.