We have dealt a lot recently with historically low interest rates and their implications on not only the cost of housing and mortgages, but also implications for consumer credit and inflation. Although we have explained home price affordability in the San Francisco Bay Area before, we haven’t discussed the large variance in regional real estate prices.
As we occasionally point out here at Don’t Quit Your Day Job, inflation expectations are an interesting indicator that can be calculated from market data. They become even more interesting when we combine them with other measures. It becomes yet more interesting if you are in the market to refinance a mortgage or purchase a home. Read on for an interactive chart on the 30 year mortgage and the market’s 10-year inflation expectations.
A couple of weeks back, we here at DQYDJ tried to get some Bay Area street cred with our screed on how Bay Area house prices make more sense than one might think (please read that article if you are genuinely interested in our model). After being informed by the readers on the Bay Area home site Burbed that our definition of the Inner Bay Area (the ‘Real Bay Area’) was too large, we’re back for another pass. Thanks to Burbed’s super-intelligent head editor Madhaus and a huge amount of comments we’re back with two calculators we’re titling “The Burbed and DQYDJ Real Bay Area Calculators!”. Since all Bay Areans hope for 7.2% annual home value returns (check it – doubling every ten years!), we hope everyone will enjoy this little demonstration of the absurd amounts of wealth that the place we call home generates.
There is a mortgage strategy variously described in different corners of the internet where a mortgage is refinanced… and payments stay steady. For this strategy, a borrower is currently paying some monthly payment, and will continue to pay the exact same monthly payment after their mortgage is refinanced. The benefits are usually explained as an acceleration of mortgage payments and a “guaranteed investment return”. You may find yourself in a situation where you are considering this form of accelerated mortgage payments. Is it worth it? Let’s run the numbers and find out!
Conceptually, it’s easy to grasp why and when you should refinance your mortgage. In practice, inertia is the main reason people hold back from refinancing. With that in mind, we present these mortgage calculator which will allow you to see how your current mortgage will compare with the mortgage you are considering. Perhaps if the math is enticing, you’ll shop around? Enjoy!
Here at DQYDJ we’ve rambled on recently about the affordability of homes, and even tried to convince you that when mortgage interest rates are low it’s not necessarily a good time to purchase a house. We’ve tried to make the point that affordability in Real Estate seems conditioned on affording payments instead of the actual purchase price of a home. That said, we left our readers hanging by not graphing that affordability with changing interest rates.
For a deeper background, please visit “Rooting for Price Increases and Low Interest Rates” for a description of the DQYDJ Median Home Affordability Index, and “Home Price Affordability Calculator” to play with the affordability numbers yourself.
In our last article, we promised you a calculator so you can copy our methodology and calculate ‘affordable’ houses by determining what an acceptable monthly payment would be. In our current article, we deliver! Thanks to Ironman at Political Calculations for the calculator creation script, it was very useful once again!
I’ve mentioned it in previous posts, but I’ll say it here again: I purchased a house this year, against the advice of many (and to the delight of a select few). One of the things you will note if you undertake your own house hunt (or you’ll recall if you’ve ever purchased a house) is the massive information disparity which exists between the house-hunter (or seller) and Realtor(s). Even though, with few exceptions, real estate purchases are the largest purchases most of us will make in our lives, transparency is non-existent and bad advice abounds. For starters, and the purpose of this article, I’d like you to consider two statements: “it’s a good thing when home prices rise” and “It’s a good time to buy now, interest rates are low”. Let’s consider those, shall we?
Ever wonder how much better a house would be if it was in a better location? Ever complain about a house because of its proximity to a highway or main street? Throughout my housing search, I saw numerous houses which hit every mark – except being located on a busy street, or too near a highway. Post-house search, I saw an interesting web site linked from Redfin’s Bay Area forum. Yes, there actually is a study measuring how much an increase or decrease in average 24 hour day night sound levels, Ldn, affects the values of a home.
I recently purchased my first house here in the Bay Area, and I did it in a decidedly non-traditional way. For a few years I had been reading about a smaller real estate company known as Redfin which operated in a more hands-off way than a normal real estate firm. Redfin leverages technology and a slick user interface to help its users (most of which will not use Redfin to buy a home, but the search feature is that good) find homes on their own. Once a house is purchased, Redfin actually refunds some of the brokerage commission. In most places, 3% of the purchase prices goes to the seller’s agent, 3% to the buyers, and 1.5%, 50% of Redfin’s commission, goes back to the end user. So… what’s the catch?