First time for everything, wild rent ride & financial flops


First-timers are driving the market according to Genworth Mortgage Insurance’s 2019 First-Time Home Buyer Market Report. Genworth Chief Economist and report author Tian Liu summarized his findings this way: “…growth in the first-time homebuyer market has accounted for virtually all of the growth in home sales and accounted for 65 percent of the growth in purchase loan originations. First-time homebuyers accounted for 39% of single-family home sales in 2018, up from 31% in 2014. It also was the highest level of first-time homebuyer[s] since 2000.”


Freddie Mac is hinting that a robust spring housing market is on the horizon. Rates for the 30-year fixed rate mortgage showed little to no movement in Freddie’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) for the week ending February 28. PMMS analysts also published a 5.3% week-over-week increase in the number of mortgage applications for the same week.


Average rents retreated in the final quarter of 2018 after reaching an all-time high in Q3. Nationwide median rents finished last year with the steepest quarterly decline in 30 years, which is the largest drop since the U.S. Census Bureau began keeping track in 1988. Median rents reached $1,003 before dropping back to $947. Nationwide median rents are still up year-over-year in spite of Q418’s rollback.


Home flipping shows aren’t necessarily reality TV according to online home improvement site Porch polled 370 people who flipped real estate in the last five years and uncovered some sobering stats for aspiring real estate moguls: 63.5% underestimated the cost of the project, 41.6% used personal funds to facilitate the flip and the average project cost was $100,000. Problems cited by flippers included lack of adequate funding, failure to inspect property and/or research the neighborhood and mistakes with fixtures, surfaces and landscaping.


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