Are Rising Home Prices Pushing Borrowers Deeper in Debt?

BY  ON APRIL 12, 2018

Are rising home prices making homeownership more difficult for many potential buyers?  According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal (reprinted on, roughly one in five conventional mortgage loans made this past winter went to borrowers spending more than 45% of their monthly incomes on mortgage payments and other debts, the highest proportion since the housing crisis.  In addition, they report economists are saying rising debt levels are a symptom of a market where home prices are sharply rising in relation to incomes, which they blame on a lack of supply.

“Economists warn that lenders must tread carefully in making credit more available, given the role easy mortgages played in creating the last housing bubble. The share of new buyers with debt-to-income levels in the 46% to 50% range remains well below the peak of just under 37% registered in 2007, but is nearing the levels of 2004-05, the years leading up to the bubble, CoreLogic data show.”

The Wall Street Journal

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Nearly 8% of Millennials Rely on Family to Help Pay for Housing

BY  ON APRIL 11, 2018

We’ve had numerous posts about millennials, that generation born between 1982-2004.  It’s a fast moving demographic with a set of rules seemingly all their own.  With that in mind, a new report from found that 7.9% of non-student millennials receive help from parents with their monthly rent, and 17.1% expect help with a down payment when purchasing a home.  They got their numbers from over 13k respondents to a survey they conduct annually.  They also cited a recent USA Today/Bank of America poll where 40% of millennials received help from parents with everyday expenses, including rent, child care, phone bills and car payments.  Indeed….

“…Millennials face a housing market where rent and home prices have risen faster than incomes for decades. In cities such as Denver and Seattle, rents increased by over 70 percent from 2005 to 2016, and starter homes are in high demand but short supply. In order to keep up with rent and home prices, many millennials receive financial support from families…”

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Top 10 Affordable Small Towns

Logansport, Indiana (

Everybody loves a “small town,” right?  The charm, the people, you name it.  A lot of those notions are pure romanticized imagination but there are some aspects of small towns that make them attractive and therefore a great place to live and invest.  The folks over at put pen to paper and sent their folks out to find the best small towns in America where you can find affordable, good-looking housing, safe communities and fun things to do.   They looked at over 500 U.S. cities with populations between 10k-50k and came up with rankings based on items which  include:  median home price, unemployment rate, crime rate, overall housing costs and unique things (food, culture, activities, etc).  Indeed…

Here are’s top 10 “affordable” small towns:

  1. Logansport, IN
  2. Mexico, MO
  3. Guymon, OK
  4. Defiance, OH
  5. Albert Lea, MN
  6. Emporia, KS
  7. Lexington, NE
  8. Shewano, WI
  9. Dumas, TX
  10. Spencer, IA

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Nearly 60k Tear-Down Housing Starts in 2017

According to the NAHB’s Eye on Housing Blog, nearly 6.8% of single-family homes started (close to 60k) in 2017 qualified as “tear-down starts.”  While this estimated number is down 10.2% from 2016, it is significant because of an ongoing shortage of new entry-level housing, more and more homes that might be considered starter are being knocked down due to the increased value in land.  A tear-down start is defined as a home built on a site where a previous structure or evidence of a previous structure was present before the new home was started.

“Between 2016 and 2017, the number of single-family tear-down starts remained relatively constant in the Midwest and South Census regions, nearly doubled in the Northeast, and declined by nearly 75 percent in the West (after increasing by more than 200 percent the year before).”

Click here to read the full report on the NAHB’s Eye on Housing.

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American Homeowner Equity Continues to Grow

According to recent data published by the Mortgage Bankers Association, U.S. homeowners are seeing a dramatic increase in the amount of equity in their homes while at the same time seeing a big decline in the amount borrowed through home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) – the lowest since 2008.  Using data from the Federal Reserve, they report that estimates owners’ equity is $14.1 trillion.  However, they do suggest that as interest rates rise, HELOC’s might become more attractive to potential borrowers seeking to preserve the low rate of interest in their current mortgage.


MBA Source: Federal Reserve

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Complete Guide to Electrical for the House Flipper

Anyone who has ever flipped a house knows about the potential perils of what kind of wiring the house has and when was it last upgraded.  Depending on the age & condition of the house it could be extremely costly or maybe just a cheap fix.  However, you have to know what to look for and what you’re looking at.  Today’s infographic from John K McCraw Electrical discusses common items in older homes, what you might need a permit for, and some general due diligence items when flipping a home.   Happy Friday!!


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Airbnb Income Can Now be Counted When Refinancing

A new initiative being developed by Airbnb, in partnership with Fannie Mae and several lenders, would allow homeowners wishing to refinance their homes the ability to count, as income, funds generated from their properties listed on the homesharing site.  According to a recent article on Curbed, Airbnb will supply a Proof of Income statement that hosts can now include when applying with Quicken Loans, Citizens Bank, and Better Mortgage in order to  refinance an existing mortgage.

“This initiative was developed with Fannie Mae to identify new ways of recognizing home-sharing income, making it possible for homeowners to maximize their investment to better reach their financial goals,” Airbnb said in a statement. “The project is part of Fannie Mae’s work to find new, innovative ways to expand the availability of affordable mortgage credit.”

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Hempcrete Being Used as Building Material

In a recent episode of Real Estate News for Investors, Kathy Fettke talks about a corner of the hemp market that she says is “shaking up the construction industry.”  It’s called hempcrete (that’s right hemp + concrete) and it’s a green building material that dates back to the Roman times that is starting to become popular in the U.S.  And, before you ask, industrial hemp contains less than .03% THC (the stuff that gets you high)….marijuana typically contains between 5% and 35% THC.

“Not only is hemp used to create a concrete-like building material, it’s also a fast-growing, sustainable plant. Crops mature in about 4 months. The woody fibers are then mixed with water and lime. When they cure, the result is a strong, lightweight material that is resistant to fire, mold and bugs. It’s also breathable and non-toxic with no off-gassing, and provides exceptional insulation.”

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Four Home Renovations for Maximum ROI

Everyone has their favorite way to add value to their investment and get a great return.  The folks at Keeping Current Matters recently illustrated HouseLogic’s top four home renovations for maximum ROI.  Always remember to know your market! 

“While big projects like adding a bathroom or a complete remodel of a kitchen are popular ways to increase a home’s value, something as simple as updating landscaping and curb appeal can have a quick impact on a home’s value.”


Hat tip to Keeping Current Matters.

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Anatomy of a First-time Home Buyer

What makes up a first-time home buyer?  The National Association of Realtors recently put together this handy infographic using data from their 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.  So, what do they look like?

  • Age – 32 years old
  • Household income – $75k
  • Cost of home purchased – $190k
  • Down payment amount – 5%
  • Student loan debt – $29k
  • Type and location – Single-family home in a suburban area


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