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hottest-markets-august-16

By
Cicely Wedgeworth

Much like that last glorious weekend at the beach before the humdrum schedule of school and work kicks in, August typically sees one last burst of home-buying activity before the busy summer real estate season comes to a close.

So it’s no surprise that with September around the corner, a preliminary analysis of our data here at realtor.com® shows that we’re having the hottest August in a decade—in real estate terms, that is. (It was pretty darn hot weather, too.) Homes for sale are moving off the market 2% more quickly than this time last year, and prices are hitting new record highs.

And continuing a winning streak that’s as amazing to us as those of Michael PhelpsSimone Biles, and Usain Bolt put together, Vallejo, CA, remains atop the hot list for the fourth month in a row. It’s followed by the bull markets in Dallas, Denver, and good old San Francisco.

The median home on realtor.com was listed for $250,000—8% higher than one year ago and virtually the same as last month—a record high for August. And it wasn’t the only new record.

“Realtor.com’s traffic growth has been particularly strong in August, even surpassing record highs set in July, making this an extended summer with unprecedented interest in buying,” our chief economist, Jonathan Smoke, said in a statement.

“With the school year starting now in most of the country, we’re seeing some drop-off in immediate buying interest,” he added. “The current conditions provide more opportunity for any frustrated buyers still in the market to face less competition as we close out the summer.”

Smoke and his team looked at the median number of days homes spent on the market to gauge the supply of homes for sale, and the number of listing views per market to arrive at a list of the 20 hottest real estate markets in the country—where homes are selling fast and there’s plenty of interest from buyers.

Not all the names on our hot list are familiar ones. New to this month’s list are Kennewick, WA, and Waco, TX. We’ve actually noted the surprising appeal of Waco before; Kennewick looks to be a charming inland town sitting on the bend of a river, equidistant from Portland and Seattle.

And Detroit was the biggest gainer, moving up four spots to crack the top 10. Check out the rest:

The hot list

20 Hottest Markets August Rank July Rank
Vallejo, CA 1 1
Dallas, TX 2 2
Denver, CO 3 3
San Francisco, CA 4 4
Stockton, CA 5 5
San Diego, CA 6 7
Columbus, OH 7 6
Waco, TX 8 New to list
Detroit, MI 9 13
Sacramento, CA 10 9
Fort Wayne, IN 11 14
Yuba City, CA 12 11
Modesto, CA 13 12
San Jose, CA 14 15
Fresno, CA 15 17
Colorado Springs, CO 16 16
Santa Cruz, CA 17 8
Kennewick, WA 18 New to list
Santa Rosa, CA 19 10
Nashville, TN 20 19

 

Source www.realtor.com

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By: Erik Sherman

Buying your first home conjures up all kinds of warm and fuzzy emotions: pride, joy, contentment. But before you get to the good stuff, you’ve got to cobble together a down payment, a daunting sum if you follow the textbook advice to squirrel away 20% of a home’s cost.

Here are five creative ways to build your down payment nest egg faster than you may have ever imagined.

1. Crowdsource Your Dream Home
You may have heard of people using sites like Kickstarter to fund creative projects like short films and concert tours. Well, who says you can’t crowdsource your first home? Forget the traditional registry, the fine china, and the 16-speed blender. Use sites like Feather the Nest and Hatch My House to raise your down payment. Hatch My House says it’s helped Americans raise more than $2 million for down payments.

2. Ask the Seller to Help (Really!)
When sellers want to a get a deal done quickly, they might be willing to assist buyers with the closing costs. Fewer closing costs = more money you can apply toward your deposit.
“They’re called seller concessions,” says Ray Rodriguez, regional mortgage sales manager for the New York metro area at TD Bank. Talk with your real estate agent. She might help you negotiate for something like 2% of the overall sales price in concessions to help with the closing costs.
There are limits on concessions depending on the type of mortgage you get. For FHA mortgages, the cap is 6% of the sale price. For Fannie Mae-guaranteed loans, the caps vary between 3% and 9%, depending on the ratio between how much you put down and the amount you finance. Individual banks have varying caps on concessions.
No matter where they net out, concessions must be part of the purchase contract.

3. Look into Government Options
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, offers a number of homeownership programs, including assistance with down payment and closing costs. These are typically available for people who meet particular income or location requirements. HUD has a list of links by state that direct you to the appropriate page for information about your state.
HUD offers help based on profession as well. If you’re a law enforcement officer, firefighter, teacher, or EMT, you may be eligible under its Good Neighbor Next Door Sales Program for a 50% discount on a house’s HUD-appraised value in “revitalization areas.” Those areas are designated by Congress for homeownership opportunities. And if you qualify for an FHA-insured mortgage under this program, the down payment is only $100; you can even finance the closing costs.
For veterans, the VA will guarantee part of a home loan through commercial lenders. Often, there’s no down payment or private mortgage insurance required, and the program helps borrowers secure a competitive interest rate.
Some cities also offer homeownership help. “The city of Hartford has the HouseHartford Program that gives down payment assistance and closing cost assistance,” says Matthew Carbray, a certified financial planner with Ridgeline Financial Partners and Carbray Staunton Financial Planners in Avon, Conn. The program partners with lenders, real estate attorneys, and homebuyer counseling agencies and has helped 1,200 low-income families.

4. Check with Your Employer
Employer Assisted Housing (EAH) programs help connect low- to moderate-income workers with down payment assistance through their employer. In Pennsylvania, if you work for a participating EAH employer, you can apply for a loan of up to $8,000 for down payment and closing cost assistance. The loan is interest-free and borrowers have 10 years to pay it back. Washington University in St. Louis offers forgivable loans to qualified employees who want to purchase housing in specific city neighborhoods. University employees receive the lesser of 5% of the purchase price or $6,000 toward down payment or closing costs.
Ask the human resources or benefits personnel at your employer if the company is part of an EAH program.

5. Take Advantage of Special Lender Programs
Finally, many lenders offer programs to help people buy a home with a small down payment. “I would say that the biggest misconception [of homebuying] is that you need 20% for the down payment of a house,” says Rodriguez. “There are a lot of programs out there that need a total of 3% or 3.5% down.”
FHA mortgages, for example, can require as little as 3.5%. But bear in mind that there are both upfront and monthly mortgage insurance payments. “The mortgage insurance could add another $300 to your monthly mortgage payment,” Rodriguez says.
Some lender programs go even further. TD Bank, for example, offers a 3% down payment with no mortgage insurance program, and other banks may have similar offerings. “Check with your regional bank,” Rodriguez says. “Maybe they have their own first-time buyer program.”
Not so daunting after all, is it? There’s actually a lot of help available to many first-time buyers who want to achieve their homeownership dreams. All you need to do is a little research — and start peeking at those home listings!

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