We are familiar with the term, single-family homes. Yet, only a few know what that means.
Terry defines single family homes as ones that:
- share no walls with neighboring homes
- have their own dedicated kitchen, not shared with any other home
- own the land that they sit on
- have private direct access to a street or a thoroughfare
- have dedicated utilities servicing the house
- are built as residences for single families, persons, or households, with undivided interest in that property.
The one big benefit of buying single-family homes is that you can do whatever you want with them, provided your city permits it.
Townhomes, on the flip side, have shared walls and strong limits on property modifications. (912)
Mortgage Fraud Up 12.4%
A recent report from CoreLogic shows a 12.4 percent year-over-year increase in mortgage fraud risk for the second quarter of 2018. The report notes that the fraud risk index has steadily climbed over the past seven quarters and that those states with heavy outside investment are at risk for significantly higher mortgage fraud.
New York, New Jersey, and Florida topped the list of fraudulent applications. Risk increased at each of the top 10 riskiest states, with the greatest increases in New Mexico, Mississippi, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Texas.
CoreLogic’s analysis showed that about one in 109 mortgage applications contained some type of fraud, up from one in 122 a year ago. Mortgage applicants incorrectly reported data on identity, income falsification, undisclosed real estate liabilities, credit repair issues, and questionable down-payment sources.
Terry notes that the recent upsurge in home prices has led to a situation where bona fide home buyers are “lying a little” on their mortgage applications to get approved for loans. (1017)
A recent CoreLogic report on April 2018 home prices, highlights 12 markets with the largest annual increases. This distinction could mean there is a danger of a housing bubble.
CoreLogic defines an overvalued market as one where home prices are at least 10% above long-term sustainable levels. Conversely, an undervalued market is one where home prices are at least 10% below sustainable levels. (618)
Here’s how you can protect yourself. Before you go to see a property for sale or rent, do an online search on its owner. If you meet someone at the house, ask the person you’re meeting for a copy of their driver’s license. If they claim to be an agent, ask them for the owner’s name and number. This way, you’ll know if you’re dealing with the owner or a scammer. (718)
Recent tariffs on lumber imports from Canada will increase construction costs by $9,000 per home. Additionally, tariffs on steel, aluminum, and other raw materials, will add to cost. Overall, Trump’s tariffs could increase construction costs by about $10,000 per home, on average. (718)
It’s called white-boxing, ever heard of it? White-boxing is when sellers on the luxury market strip out furnishings, rip out well-appointed bathrooms and kitchens and get the home down to its bare-bones structure. This creates a clean slate. It also caters to luxury buyers’ desires to uber-customize the homes they buy. White-boxing is also popular with older, outdated homes in upscale neighborhoods, where buyers will likely gut the house to build the home of their dreams. (518)
Luxury home buyers from colder northern climes are sharply driving up prices in Florida. According to Realtor.com’s May 2018 Luxury Home Index Report, the nation’s top 5 fastest growing luxury markets included Florida’s Sarasota, Collier, and Broward counties. Prices of entry-level luxury homes were up 19% in Sarasota, 14% in Collier, and 9% in Broward. (718)