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Today’s Housing

WHAT’S THE STATE of the property market? Here are the latest statistics:

  • Home prices rose 4.7% in 2018, as measured by S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index. Among major cities, Las Vegas saw the largest increase, climbing 11.4%. Meanwhile, San Diego notched the smallest gain, up 2.3%. Nationally, home prices are up 53.2% since the early 2012 market low, but are just 11.2% above the mid-2006 peak.
  • Existing single-family homes sold for a median $260,500 in November 2018, up 5% from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors. Meanwhile, existing condos sold for $236,400, down 1.3% from November 2017. These averages disguise huge variations, with even modest homes in cities on the two coasts often costing three or five times as much.
  • At year-end 2018, a 30-year fixed rate mortgage cost 4.6%, up from 3.92% at year-end 2017. While interest rates climbed in 2018, the rate rise reversed late in the year and into 2019, heralding lower mortgage rates for 2019’s mortgage borrowers.
  • Housing affordability deteriorated during 2018, calculates the National Association of Realtors. Affordability is assessed by looking at the typical home price, typical family income and current mortgage rates. Home prices and mortgage rates rose during 2018, but so too did median incomes, which somewhat offset the hit to affordability.
  • Just 21% of homeowners plan to move in the next five years, according to a Bankrate.com report. Meanwhile, 62% say they never plan to move again. The survey also found that 35% of homeowners plan to remodel their homes in the next five years.
  • Based on an analysis of 22 remodeling projects, homeowners would recoup between 50.4% (upscale master suite addition) and 97.5% (garage door replacement) of a project’s cost if they sold their home within a year, according to an analysis by Remodeling magazine. Translation: These homeowners would get back less than $1 for every $1 spent—usually much less.
  • How much does a good school district add to a home’s value? A 2016 Realtor.com study found that homes within the boundaries of higher rated public school districts are, at an average $400,000, 49% more expensive than the national median and 77% more expensive than homes in lower ranked districts.
  • Homeownership has been declining over the past dozen years but remains widespread, with 63.7% of American families owning their home and 13.8% owning a place that isn’t their main residence, according to the Federal Reserve’s 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances. That 13.8% includes second homes, rental properties and time shares. The survey also found that, among homeowners, 65.7% have a mortgage or other debt that’s secured by their home.
  • Homes are a major asset for the typical American family—far more significant than stocks, which are owned by just half of all households. As of 2018’s fourth quarter, the Federal Reserve puts the value of U.S. households’ real estate holdings at $25.9 trillion. For comparison, there’s $7.7 trillion in 401(k) and other employer-sponsored defined contribution plans, and $9.2 trillion in individual retirement accounts, according to the Investment Company Institute.

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