Sunday, April 23, 2017

Latest from Zillow

Zillow has some great research tools and puts out regular research reports available for free to anyone interested in learning more about our housing market. They have reported that the three most perceived barriers to homebuying among renters are: inability to finance the down payment, qualifying for a mortgage, or dealing with existing debt. By far, the biggest concern in every major market was coming up with the down payment.

There are so many financing programs available for first-time homebuyers that it is truly remarkable that this fear exists. Many conventional financing programs allow for a down payment as low as 3-5.5%; allow for gifts from parents or loved ones; or even provide state-subsidized grants and tax credits that do not need repayment. Some programs such as VA loans for veterans and USDA for buying in rural areas provide 100% financing. The best way to find out if you can qualify for a mortgage is to speak with a mortgage lender.

In Seattle, home values are up 11 percent, while the selection of homes is down 10.5% from last year. "Low inventory, strong demand and tough competition will be the defining characteristics of this year's home shopping season," according to Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell.

Zillow also reported that the median mortgage payment in the US takes 15.8 percent of the median monthly income, while the monthly median rent payments takes 29.2 percent of the median monthly income. These statistics come from the largest-ever survey of US home buyers, sellers, owners and renters.

Zillow also analyzed the mortgage costs of moving to a three-bedroom home from a two-bedroom home, an estimated 50% increase on average in their monthly mortgage payout. In many coastal cities or hotter markets like Seattle, a family might expect this move to nearly double the monthly mortgage payment.

Bathroom count can also impact a home's price. Nationally, upgrading to a house with one extra bathroom, but the same number of bedrooms, can increase the monthly mortgage anywhere from $386-$838, depending on the size of the house. Adding an extra bedroom or bathroom to an existing home may be a cost-effective option for some families.

According to Zillow, 90% of the sellers who sold quickly and for more than list price worked with an agent, and two out for three began working with an agent from the very beginning of their sales effort.

The full 200-page Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends is available free at

Happy Investing!

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