Category: Real Estate

Top 10 Cities with ‘Elastic’ Supply

Prices and demand for homes are rising. However, according to real estate listing website Trulia, builders are providing fewer new housing units as prices rise than they have in the past.

Long-run “elasticity” — a measure of the gap between growth in home prices and housing supply — was at 0.17 during the first quarter of 2016, down from 0.18 a year ago and below the 30-year average of 0.20.

Here’s National Mortgage News’ look at the top 10 housing markets challenging national trends. To determine the elasticity of these markets, Trulia compared the 20-year change in housing stock to the 20-year change in quality-adjusted home prices.

# 10: Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Fla.

Increase in Housing Stock: 73.4%
Increase in Housing Prices: 126.2%
Housing Supply Elasticity: 0.58

# 9: Washington, D.C.

Increase in Housing Stock: 78.0%
Increase in Housing Prices: 132.5%
Housing Supply Elasticity: 0.59

# 8: Greensboro-Winston Salem-High Point, N.C.

Increase in Housing Stock: 31.4%
Increase in Housing Prices: 47.0%
Housing Supply Elasticity: 0.67

# 7: Columbia, S.C.

Increase in Housing Stock: 44.7%
Increase in Housing Prices: 66.4%
Housing Supply Elasticity: 0.67

# 6: Indianapolis, Ind.

Increase in Housing Stock: 30.4%
Increase in Housing Prices: 44.3%
Housing Supply Elasticity: 0.69

# 5: Atlanta, Ga.

Increase in Housing Stock: 53.4%
Increase in Housing Prices: 68.9%
Housing Supply Elasticity: 0.77

# 4: Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, N.C.-S.C.

Increase in Housing Stock: 60.9%
Increase in Housing Prices: 76.1%
Housing Supply Elasticity: 0.80

# 3: Albuquerque, N.M.

Increase in Housing Stock: 37.5%
Increase in Housing Prices: 46.1%
Housing Supply Elasticity: 0.81

# 2: Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.

Increase in Housing Stock: 71.6%
Increase in Housing Prices: 87.2%
Housing Supply Elasticity: 0.82

# 1: Las Vegas, Nev.

Increase in Housing Stock: 87.8%
Increase in Housing Prices: 75.2%
Housing Supply Elasticity: 1.17

Is 2016 A Seller’s Market?

With fewer homes on the market to purchase, low interest rates keeping buyers intrigued, and home prices continuing to rise, experts say it is a seller’s market right now.

In its recent analysis, real estate marketplace finds homes are selling 7% faster than last year while home prices are breaking records. In April 2016, homes for sale spent a median 68 days between listing and contract, five days fewer than the same month in 2015. Six days faster than in March.
Tacoma real estate
Even though sellers are asking more for their homes, homes are selling at a faster pace. The median listing price in April was $245,000 – up 9% from last April and 2% higher than March. Inventory has slightly increased but is still down from a year ago.

The chief economist at says with housing demand up, strong employment rates across the country, and lower mortgage rates, we are in a strong and healthy real estate market – better than we’ve seen in a decade. also reported that the top housing markets are seeing homes sell 17 to 45 days faster than the rest of the country. San Francisco, the nation’s most expensive housing market, leads the “hot” list. The median home there spends only 25 days on the market.

Here’s the “hot” list:

  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Vallejo, CA
  3. Denver, CO
  4. Santa Cruz, CA
  5. Dallas, TX
  6. San Jose, CA
  7. Santa Rosa, CA
  8. Sacramento, CA
  9. San Diego, CA
  10. Stockton, CA
  11. Colorado Springs, CO
  12. Oxnard, CA
  13. Eureka, CA
  14. Modesto, CA
  15. Raleigh, NC
  16. Boston, MA
  17. Los Angeles, CA
  18. Boulder, CO
  19. San Luis Obispo, CA
  20. Lafayette, IN

If you’re ready to jump into the market in Tacoma, give me a call. We can get the process started today!

Sources: Consumer Affairs & (obtained May 2016)

Go Big Or Go Home?

They call it the Tiny House Movement. And it’s for real.

The typical American home is around 2,600 square feet, compared to a typical tiny house ranging between 100 and 400 square feet. Tiny houses come in all shapes, sizes, and forms, but those who are following this movement say they enable simpler living in a smaller, more efficient space.
tiny houses
This is more than downsizing. This is minimizing! The movement is catching on across the nation but it is definitely not for everyone.

Most Americans dedicate one third to one half of their monthly income to housing. For tiny house owners, that just doesn’t add up for their lifestyle. Nearly 70% of tiny house owners don’t even have a mortgage and more than half of them have more money in savings than the average American. Their focus tends to be on conservation of funds, their time and their environmental footprint.

Who is attracted to the idea of a tiny house? According to data compiled by “The Tiny Life,” a resource dedicated to helping those curious about the movement, here’s a quick look at the facts on tiny house owners:

  • 78% own their home.
  • More women (55%) than men (45%).
  • 2 out of 5 are over age 50.
  • Per capita income is approximately $42,000.
  • 65% have zero credit card debt.
  • Twice as likely to have a masters degree.

(If you have no idea what I’m talking about here, check out this page before reading further or catch the next episode of HGTV’s “Tiny House Hunters” on Monday nights.)

Owning a home is a big (or tiny) deal! I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about this movement. If you’d rather go big(ger) in Tacoma, I’m here to help you find a loan that fits! Give me a call at (253) 307-9099.


After You Buy: More Monthly Expenses

In my last posting, I talked about some hidden costs and fees when you purchase a home. Once you’re in the home, there are monthly expenses that previous renters may not have considered.

Let’s take a look at some of the more substantial monthly costs that come with owning a home.
monthly expenses

City, Water, and Trash

Combined to be commonly called “the water bill,” you’ll get an invoice every month from your local municipality for sewer, water, and trash pickup services. This bill can vary monthly, depending on the season and how much water you use. Many renters are not accustomed to paying for the entirety of this bill as many landlords cover a percentage of the utility.

It’s an especially important expense to consider if the region you live in will require the installation of sprinklers to maintain landscaping. If you don’t get enough rain to maintain a lawn, the use of low water plants and different color rocks and gravel can create a stunning landscape that’s easy on the water bill.


When you live in an apartment and something goes wrong, all you need to do is pick up the phone and alert the landlord or leasing management company and they will send someone around to fix the problem. When you own a home, the cost of maintenance is all on you. Depending on the age of the home and what goes wrong, repairs and normal maintenance can add up to a substantial bill when you least expect it.

The cost of replacing an air conditioner or heater runs into the thousands of dollars. Major appliances cost from several hundred to several thousands of dollars. If you need to hire someone to maintain your landscaping, that can easily be as much as a car payment each month.

You can consider buying a home warranty when you purchase an older house, but along with a monthly fee, you’ll also have to pay a deductible each time you need something repaired.

Homeowners Insurance and Taxes

Since it covers the structure as well as your personal belongings, the cost of homeowners insurance is understandably higher than renters insurance. Homeowners insurance also has a high deductible (1 or 2 percent of the coverage amount) to discourage frivolous claims for minor repairs.

Property taxes are another large expense that come due once a year to help your community pay for services like fire, police, roads, and libraries. Renters are not responsible for any of these taxes.

Utilities and HOAs

While most apartment complexes have you pay for your own electricity, some pay for things like cable, Internet, gas, trash, and water. It’s not unusual for each of those separate utilities to contribute $100 or more to the monthly expenses. Homeowner Association (HOA) dues are another area where you could find yourself having to deduct hundreds of dollars from your available monthly income.

Other Charges Add Up

When you become a homeowner, everything that makes a house a home is now your responsibility. When you see a television show about granite countertops and decide you must have them, or when you see cockroaches scatter in the middle of the night and call a pest exterminator, it all comes out of your wallet.

That new swimming pool, walk-in closet, hardwood flooring, and whirlpool tub are the kinds of things that everyone would like for their own home, but these extras add a significant expense to the cost of your slice of the American dream.

When you’re ready to move forward with buying a home, be sure to call me at (253) 307-9099 and we can talk more about your income and expenses so that you are in a home you can afford and love!

Buyers Beware These Hidden Costs

You may think you’re ready to purchase that first home with your down payment in line. But have you considered these 10 additional possible fees associated with buying a home?
buyers beware

  1. Inspection Fees – At the bare minimum, every sale will need a home inspector to visit the home, walk the premises, and examine the condition of the home. Depending on the area and the age of the home, other inspections may be necessary to search for things like wood ants, radon, lead-based paint, asbestos, termites, mold, etc. If the home fails any inspection, the problem will need to be resolved before the sale is completed. Afterwards, there will be another inspection.
  2. Appraisal Fee – The bank must evaluate the home for value to make sure it is worth what you want to pay.
  3. Realtor Fees – In order to gain access to every home on the market, particularly the ones that fit your specific wishes, you will need to use a Realtor. If they are able to get you in a home, then they get a commission from the sale.
  4. Origination Fee – For issuing you a loan, the lender will charge you a fee.
  5. Discount Points – To get a lower interest rate, you will be charged an additional fee.
  6. Title Services – You will need to buy Title Insurance to protect your lender against claims on the house.
  7. Property Taxes – Paid to your local government, this is a tax collected by your lender.
  8. Government Recording Fees – This is what the local government pays to record the sale.
  9. Initial Interest – You pay interest for the time between when you close and the end of the month.
  10. Private Mortgage Insurance – If your down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price of the home, you will have to purchase this insurance for your lender for protection against you potentially defaulting on the loan.

Add up all of these fees and you’re typically looking at costs that are somewhere around 2-5% of the purchase price of the home, though it can go as high as 8%. As an example, for a $200,000 home, that means you will need to have an additional $4,000 to $10,000 available on top of the down payment amount.

You may also want to consider that a lender will want to see that you have reserves left over in your bank account even after paying the down payment and the associated fees.

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, this list may be new and even overwhelming to you. Call me to discuss more details! I’m available at (253) 307-9099.

Help Me, Help You!

We all remember that scene from the movie Jerry Maguire, right? The guy is trying so hard to get it done for his client but he just needs a little more cooperation, effort, buy-in! He repeatedly yells, “Help me…help you!”
help me help you
Then something clicks. Teamwork starts. Magic happens. Gotta love it!

Well today, I’m boldly asking the same of you – my potential homebuyer. Help me, help you, please.

Don’t worry. I won’t shout or ask you to do the dance or score touchdowns. I just ask that you be prepared when it comes time to do loan paperwork. Getting all the documents to prove your financial status in line is one of the biggest parts of a loan application process. That’s where you can help me, help you!

Following is a list of the documents I may ask you in order to build your application. Be prepared by gathering these documents and scanning them into an electronic format so they can be easily shared.

  1. Tax returns for the past 2 years. This helps me get accurate information on your income and tax responsibility according to Uncle Sam.
  2. Bank statements. Shows proof of your incoming and outgoing cash flow.
  3. Brokerage account statements for things like money market accounts, IRAs, 401K and other investments. Again, shares a bigger picture of your net worth.
  4. W2s from all employers. Especially important for those who are self-employed or working for more than one employer.
  5. Pay stubs for at least one month. Again, knowing your accurate income is important!
  6. This is for those who are self-employed. I’ll need a profit-and-loss statement too.
  7. If you are using money given to you as a gift for your down payment, make sure you have a gift letter.
  8. Anything else I have discovered we need to take a look at as I’ve gotten to know your financial status.

It is quite the list, I know. But it’s a great start! I chose Skyline because they make closing loans quickly a priority. That means that for the most part, my clients are happy with how quickly and smoothly the loan process goes. A little extra help from you with having all this important info at hand goes a long way!

As always, call me at (253) 307-9099 with questions or clarification on any of the list above.

And…If you haven’t seen the Jerry Maguire movie, please download it this weekend and call me after to let me know how you liked it!

Sources: and

2016 – Year for New Home and Monkey

Chinese calendars might say 2016 is the Year of the Monkey, but according to CNN, 2016 is the year to buy a new home.
year for a new home
So, why a new home in 2016?

  1. Home prices are steadying. Home values, which have been on the rise over the last few years, are starting to settle and slow down.
  2. There’s more homes! With prices up and now steadying, more sellers will list their homes. Plus, builders have adjusted new home development to attract more starter and mid-value home buyers.
  3. Borrowing for cheap may change. Interest rates are expected to start climbing again during 2016. Though slight increases are expected, the longer a buyer waits, the more likely rates will be higher.
  4. Renting still bites. Rental fees keep climbing and taking a bigger bite out of budgets. Even with a slight interest rate increase, the cost of owning a home is predicted to be less than renting in most cities.

And, for those monkeys out there born in 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, and 2016… According to Chinese zodiac, you may want to purchase on the 14th or 28th of the month to be lucky. Purchase a home facing north, northwest or west and you might just have your best year yet!

If you’re ready to find out if 2016 is your year to buy and want to get the loan process started, contact me at (253) 307-9099 or We are ready to help you!

Sources: CNN and China Highlights

Interested in purchasing a fixer upper in Tacoma?

The Federal Housing Administration offers another loan known as the 203K that provides another option for homeowners not interested in purchasing a move in ready home. While the general FHA loan is designed to give home loans to homebuyers who might otherwise be overlooked, the 203K loans are designed to give loans to the properties that would otherwise be overlooked.

These are, to put it mildly, the fixer uppers. These loans are for homes and buildings that are in disrepair and buying them will involve investing in significant repairs that might seem otherwise daunting to some.
buying a fixer upper
When it comes to 203k loans the most important thing to keep in mind is the four R’s: Renovate, Repair, Remodel and Rehab.

There are two types of 203K loans available: standard and streamlined. Standard 203k loans are for homes that need structural repairs, and streamlined loans are for those homes that need non-structural repairs.

These loans are offered to both homebuyers and current homeowners. For example, if someone owns a home in Tacoma that has fallen into neglect, the 203K loan would allow the owner the opportunity to repair the damages.

How Does One Qualify for a 203K?

Because this program is designed to incentivize buyers into taking risks, 203K loans are easier to obtain as the eligibility requirements are less limiting than compared to other loan types. Here’s how it goes:

  1. The loan applicant must provide proof of income, proof of assets, and a credit report.
  2. The property is inspected by an approved appraiser who will look at the current value of the home and estimate what the home will be worth after the repairs are completed.
  3. The loan applicant must submit a detailed proposal of all the renovations.
  4. The loan applicant must intend to make the purchased property their primary place of residence after repairs are completed.

For a property to qualify as eligible for a 203K:

  1. It must be an existing property that is at least one year old.
  2. Single family, duplex, triplex and fourplex properties are all allowed.
  3. Condos must be approved by the FHA.
  4. In the case of a mixed use property, the loan can be applied if the residential portion is being purchased and repaired.
  5. If the home needs to be demolished and rebuilt, the property is eligible for the loan if part of the foundation remains intact.
  6. Homes that need to be moved to a new foundation are allowed, but with restrictions.

There are specific guidelines for which repairs are allowed. The loan application must not only factor in the cost of raw materials, but also the labor costs. The following repairs are covered by the loan:

  • Disability access
  • HVAC systems
  • plumbing
  • roofing
  • flooring
  • energy conservation
  • kitchen remodeling
  • new appliances
  • room additions
  • decks and patios
  • bathroom remodeling
  • second floor additions
  • new siding
  • finishing an attic or basement
  • site grading

This loan plays an important role in urban revitalization. By selling vacant homes and rehabbing neglected ones, neighborhoods can be refreshed and overall home property values can increase. If this is a loan you believe will work for yourself and your family begin the application process today!

Skyline Home Loans is not affiliated with the U.S. Government. Each is solely responsible for the products and services it offers.