Going Digital: Zillow offers 3D home tours

New technology is on the horizon that will make it easier to attend home tours. Zillow has created a new 3D virtual tour, that is available for consumers. Potential buyers will never have to leave their home to attend open houses again. It’s a free resource that real estate professionals can use to help them serve more clients at a lower cost.

Home prices seemed to be higher toward the beginning of the year, which has increased the Housing Price Index according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The FHFA monthly HPI is based off the home sale prices from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The HPI excludes cash sales and jumbo loans. Across the nine census divisions, the East South-Central Division saw a 1.4% rise in February. However, the Middle Atlantic Division didn’t experience any growth at all, as there was an appreciation decline of 1.2%.


Homeowners could be tapping into a nice amount of pent-up wealth in their homes. In the last quarter of 2018, US homeowners had a collective amount of attainable equity, close to 5.7 trillion dollars. According to Corelogic, at the end of 2018, homeowners only collected nearly 10,000 in equity. Many Americans are hesitant to do cash-out refinances as rates are said to play a major role. With rates taking a nudge upwards, this has a negative effect on home-owners.

New home sales are on the rise. According to Housing Wire, home sales rise 3% above 2018 levels. The momentum of home sales growth is credited to mortgage rates staying relatively low. The Census Bureau and The Department of Housing and Urban Development analysis shows, new home sales have increased 4.5% in March from February’s revised rate of 662,000.

According to the Urban Institute, the government had made mortgage credits available in the last several months in comparison to the last 10 years. The HCAI rose at the end of 2018, which means lenders are willing to tolerate defaults and take more risks. All of which makes a good environment for loan approval.


Betting on Real Estate


Photo Source: Instagram via @southernlivingmag

The Case-Shiller Home Price Index report came in yesterday morning and Detroit showed a whopping 7.9 percent gain in the value of residential Real Estate. That’s larger than the reported 6.5 percent annual gain shown for the National Index. While this means larger loan amounts will be needed to purchase that same house from a year ago, “getting a mortgage [still] remains incredibly affordable compared to paying rent each month.” Home prices might be on the rise but house-buying power has also increased by 14.3 percent since the end of 2011, when the rise in unadjusted house prices began. Household income has increased 19 percent. Let’s also not forget about the value of cash-out refinances to pay off debt by using that positive equity in the home. Housing remains to be a great investment.

During the first quarter of this year, 81 percent of first-time homebuyers used low-downpayment mortgages, a 1 percent decline from a year prior. However, despite the popularity of low-down options, the quarter showed the first pullback in housing demand among first-time homebuyers since 2014. A product of home prices rising at a fast pace. However, this pullback is short-lived and also a product of mortgage rates slightly rising—millennials are used to hearing about 3.5 percent rates and unfamiliar with any uptick still being considered very low, lending them to pause. Notice we said pause not stop.

Despite home prices being up and inventory remaining tight, investors are betting on real estate, with 6.2 percent of home sales in the first quarter appearing to be house flips.

Veterans and Active Military members don’t get enough recognition or benefits but one thing available is the 100 percent financing for purchasing a home. How many take advantage of these zero down mortgages? Fifty-six percent of active duty members and 41 percent of veterans who purchased a home. Find out more about buying a home with a VA loan by listening to this week’s Live on Real Estate.