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Housing market forecast : Experts weigh in on 2018 real estate


We asked a few market pros to predict real estate matters in 2018 ... Clifford Rossi, a business professor at the University of Maryland, says this year’s market is ending on a strong note. “Home prices were up over six percent year-over-year in ...


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Posted 12/01/2017 by Erik JMartin Erik JMartin has written on real estate, business, tech and other topics for Reader’s Digest, AARP The Magazine, The Chicago Tribune and his blog, Martinspiration. 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We asked a few market pros to predict real estate matters in 2018Some were hopeful that conditions could improve for buyers — even those yearning for their first homeOthers expect a year similar to 2017That would mean continued high prices and low supply. Curious what the experts foresee? Read on for their insights and prognosesIt may help guide your choices in the near future. Verify your new rate (Dec 2nd, 2017) 2017 in quick review Clifford Rossi, a business professor at the University of Maryland, says this year’s market is ending on a strong note. “Home prices were up over six percent year-over-year in September 2017Median sales prices for existing homes are $247,000That’s up about 5.5 percent from last year ,” he says“And interest rates continue to be lowFreddie Mac is currently reporting fixed rates for 30-year loans at 3.92 percent.” Kurt Westfield, managing partner with WC Equity Group, agrees that 2017 marked a robust period for real estate. “The housing market has continued to rise since its historic collapse nearly a decade agoIt’s quite healthy today,” says Westfield. Looking ahead six to 12 months Many believe 2018 will continue these trends. “Home prices nationally are set to continue growing between three and six percentHome sales will be similar or down a little,” predicts DrRalph DeFranco, global chief economist with Arch Mortgage Group. Westfield remains bullish on the overall market. Harvard research: the future of home prices in 2017 and 2018 “Certain sectors and locations will perform better than others and retain core stabilityThere will likely be some softening in the market as interest rates continue to increase, as expected, and valuations continue to matureBut 12 months from now, valuations may cool down to a meager one percent increase,” says Westfield. Burke Smith, chief strategy officer for Realty ONE Group, also doesn’t see home prices coming down anytime soon. “The number of new homes for sale has started to increaseBut 2018 buyers won’t receive a break from inflated home prices in the early part of the year due to the overall inventory shortageAs in 2017, there will be too many buyers for too few listings,” says Smith. Other predictions Yet, “even the smallest increase in demand could encourage home builders to get out and build more homesThat mean things could look better for buyers by spring 2018,” Smith adds. Mike Pappas, president/CEO of The Keyes Company, isn’t so sure. “If more inventory does come onto the market, it will be quickly absorbedThis will be due to low interest rates and pent up demand by first-time buyers,” says Pappas.   if("undefined"==typeof window.datawrapper)window.datawrapper={};window.datawrapper["MUsAY"]={},window.datawrapper["MUsAY"].embedDeltas={"100":575,"200":525,"300":500,"400":500,"500":500,"600":500,"700":500,"800":500,"900":500,"1000":500},window.datawrapper["MUsAY"].iframe=document.getElementById("datawrapper-chart-MUsAY"),window.datawrapper["MUsAY"].iframe.style.height=window.datawrapper["MUsAY"].embedDeltas[Math.min(1e3,Math.max(100*Math.floor(window.datawrapper["MUsAY"].iframe.offsetWidth/100),100))]+"px",window.addEventListener("message",function(a){if("undefined"!=typeof a.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var b in a.data["datawrapper-height"])if("MUsAY"==b)window.datawrapper["MUsAY"].iframe.style.height=a.data["datawrapper-height"][b]+"px"}); Expect more homes to sit for longer on the market next year, too, notes Westfield. “Currently, homes are staying on the market for an average of three weeks ,” he says“But that length of time will start to creep upward as sellers push the envelope as to what their homes can be sold at.” The great rate debate Pappas and others foresee interest rates slowly inching higher next year. “Rates could rise to 4.5 and possibly five percent by the end of 2018,” says Pappas“Continued increases by the Federal Reserve and a possible rise in inflation due to a tight labor market could be the reasons why.” Craig Garcia, president of Capital Partners Mortgage, agrees. “The Mortgage Bankers Association and Freddie Mac have predicted gradual increases in 30-year fixed rates to 4.8 and 4.6 percent , respectivelyA rate of 4.6 percent seems a very reasonable speculation,” says Garcia. Rossi, on the other hand, only sees rates going up 30 to 50 basis points in 2018That equates to below 4.5 percent. Uncle Sam’s impact The government could also affect market mattersFor instance, Congress’ current push for tax reform could end up hurting housingThat’s because the mortgage interest deduction (MID) may be capped at $500,000 on new loans. Local and state property tax breaks could go awayAnd home sellers may have to pay more in taxes at closing. “Right now this tax plan looks bad for the real estate industryBuyers would lose incentives to buy a homeAnd owners will have lots of incentives to stay put to keep their full MID and wait out the exemption for their capital gains,” Smith says. “The bill also eliminates moving expense deductions.” Rossi concurs that the tax plan may dampen demand for homes in 2018, as it’s currently drafted. “But it should wind up having a limited impact on the market as owners adjust and offsets from lower tax rates kick in,” says Rossi. Other wildcards could suppress the market’s momentum as well. “These range from geopolitical disturbances to the 2018 midterm elections to the Fed’s direction in the wake of a number of new appointees,” Rossi notes. Buy or hold? Ask the pros and most will advise you to purchase if you afford it in 2018. “Major positives right now are job growth and the success of the stock market,” says Burke“These factors, combined with historically low interest rates, still make affording the American dream more attainable than ever.” DeFranco says there’s no time like the present. “If it’s the right time in your life to buy a home, buy something nowThe sooner someone is willing and able to make the jump from renting to owning, the better,” says DeFranco. Steps you can take The first step is to determine your price range and mortgage capacity, says Michael Goldrick, chief lending officer for PCSB Bank. “Also, make sure your credit report is correct and as strong as possible,” Goldrick says“And research programs you may qualify for offered by local banks, your home state, and the federal government.” Garcia’s advice? Consult with a mortgage expertThis pro can tell you what your current buying power is and estimate monthly payments. Check the Home Affordability Calculator to see how much home you can buy today “Ask them for tips on enhancing your credit score and paying down your debt,” says Garcia. Also, “identify a good real estate agent who can guide you on finding a home and preparing you for each step,” Rossi says. What are today's mortgage rates? While most experts agree that mortgage interest rates will be higher  next year, right now, they are still very affordableIn fact, current mortgage rates have changed very little in the entire last quarter of 2017, so far. Check with a few completing lenders now to see where you stand, and how well you can do. Verify your new rate (Dec 2nd, 2017) Erik JMartin The Mortgage Reports Contributor Erik JMartin has written on real estate, business, tech and other topics for Reader’s Digest, AARP The Magazine, The Chicago Tribune and his blog, Martinspiration. The information contained on The Mortgage Reports website is for informational purposes only and is not an advertisement for products offered by Full BeakerThe views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not reflect the policy or position of Full Beaker, its officers, parent, or affiliates. 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