The Perfect Storm

west virginia 2015 snow

This too Shall Pass

The last few days, we’ve all endured Alaskan-like winter weather, cold enough to break pipes, render all-wheel-drive vehicles useless and cancel school and work for many.

At Boggs & Associates, Inc., we try to stay optimistic.  We’re hoping Spring comes soon.

Not only will March, April and May bring with them warmer weather, grass and flowers, but these three months are predicted to shower us with a stronger-than-ever housing market.

During the past few weeks, we’ve uncovered various trends, results and data that backs up our West Virginia Real Estate theories.

Storms are Temporary

Yes, we realize we’re not out of the snow yet.  It is currently Wednesday morning and snow is blowing outside our office window, peppering the frozen roadways with a slippery blanket of white.  The sun is still hiding behind grey clouds.

Meteorologists predict sub-zero temperatures and more snow this week.

However, storms never last forever.

We believe the sun will soon kill the winter and light the path to a housing market revival unlike anything West Virginia has seen during the past decade.  Not to mention all the eager, cabin-fever-laden buyers and sellers just itching to jump into the housing market at the perfect time.

Always a Rainbow After the Storm

Realtors across West Virginia are preparing for a buyer/seller surge in the next few months.  Emphasis on strong marketing and heavy-hitting listings are becoming reality for many successful real estate companies.

To say we’re excited for Spring is an understatement.

Low mortgage rates, better employment rates, renewed homeownership pride and low gas prices are just a few ingredients making up a recipe for success.

The confidence remains “consistent with a modest, ongoing recovery,” said David Crowe, NAHB chief economist. “Solid job growth, affordable home prices and historically low mortgage rates should help unleash growing pent-up demand and keep the housing market moving forward in the year ahead.”

Overcoming the Storm

To effectively overcome any storm, one must know his adversary and how to prepare.  As real estate and banking professionals, our livelihood depends on this very fact.

The sun should soon shine its face on the real estate market.

Ask yourself:

  •  “What I am doing to prepare for and ensure victory?”
  • “Am I watching TV and drinking a hot chocolate or am I studying the market, anticipating the desires sellers and buyers will pursue?”
  • “Am I building an effective marketing strategy that caters to my potential Spring clients or am I just hoping the same old strategy brings them to me by fortunate coincidence?”
  • “If I work to supply for my family, is my work effective enough now to prepare for success in Spring?”

What you do now, will greatly impact the results you receive later.  Spring is coming, my friends.

Are you ready?

By Charles Boggs, Jr.
Owner, Boggs & Associates, Inc.

Housing Market Rebound Underway

A couple weeks ago we made the prediction that Spring 2015 will contain all the ingredients for a recipe of Real Estate success, both for buyers and sellers.

mortgage rates

Number of foreclosures Dwindling

More good news boosts our theory.

 HomeOwnership Rate to Rise

The resilient West Virginia housing market has prevailed when other states have failed.

The national homeownership rate fell to 63.9 percent at the end of last year.  This was the lowest level in two decades, according to numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

However, West Virginia’s home ownership rate planted itself at 77.5 percent.

Economic analysts believe the national rate will rebound this year.  If history proves true, then as the nation’s rate rises, so should West Virginia’s.

  Foreclosures Drop

The number of completed foreclosures dropped across the U.S. in 2014, according to statistics from CoreLogic.

States with the lowest number of foreclosures include South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming and, you guessed it: West Virginia!

Once again, the Mountain State’s resiliency shines.

“The steady decline in the number of completed foreclosures is a good sign of healing in the U.S. housing market,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic.

Fewer foreclosures show that more people are serious about homeownership and about making on-time payments and improvements.  This shows the love and pride owners are placing in their homes.

April is the best month to sell a home, according to a Consumer Reports survey of 300 real estate agents.

Spring (April, May and June) is the best overall time to sell, according to the publication.

 Renewed Pride in Homeownership

Spending on home projects could set records in 2015, many analysts agree.

A recent report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies found the amount of spending on home improvements rose by almost $6 billion between 2011 and 2013, the first increase since 2007.

According to the report, the average homeowner spent $2,500 in 2013 on improvements. The study predicts remodeling activity will continue to rise for several reasons:

  • Homeowners who can afford to move have decided to stay put
  • Federal and state incentives encourage energy-efficient improvements
  • Baby boomers are seeking accessibility improvements
  • Owners of rental properties are reinvesting to attract tenants

 What will Spring Bring?

Every real estate agent knows Spring is the busy season for both home buyers and home sellers.  History tells them that.

However, this Spring could bring with it an unprecedented surge in eager buyers and sellers.  With lower interest rates, better tax incentives, lower gas prices, higher employment rates, a rebounding economy and a renewed pride in homeownership, this season could bring with it a housing market revival we’ve only dreamed about.

By Charles Boggs, Jr. & Justin Waybright
Boggs & Associates, Inc.

Nitro Becoming Magnet for Young Families

map_of_nitro_wv

 Nitro, West Virginia has all the ingredients of a great place for young families, according to the California-based economic analyzer NerdWallet.

Wheeling grabbed the #1 spot, Hurricane #3 and Cross Lanes #6.

Home affordability, prosperity, growth, education and family-friendliness have pushed a city, within 5 minutes of most of your doorsteps, to be dubbed the 2nd best in the state for young families, the analysis stated.

The city’s average home value is $91,000, according to the study.  This number compliments the average family’s long-term income growth, which has increased by 38 percent since 1999.

In addition to the economic positives of Nitro, the local education system played a part in boosting the city to #2.  Nitro High School has consistently received recognition as a top school in the county, making its neighborhood appeal even more desirable.

For young families seeking relaxation and fun, the city is equipped.  Nitro’s Ridenour Lake and Park, Mardi Gras Casino, Museum, Antique Stores and countless community events provide something for the entire family, both young and old.

In a media market dominated by negative news, this is all a breath of fresh air.

For Nitro, this comes as an extra pat-on-the-back.  Last year, Nerd Wallet rated the city as the “2nd Best Place in West Virginia for Home Ownership.”

By Chuck Boggs

Boggs & Associates, Inc.

 

WV Housing Market Could Rebound in 2015

Lower Mortgage Rates & Lower FHA Insurance
Could Spur Housing Market Rebound

housing-statistics

Housing Market Rebound

 

Good news for the local housing market continues as mortgage rates are down nearly 1 percent from this time last year, and FHA Mortgage Insurance rates will drop a half-percent by the end of the month.

With the average interest rate hovering at 3.66 percent, many would-be homebuyers are taking the plunge into homeownership, already. They’re not waiting for the warmer weather of Spring. Applications for mortgages rose 49% last week, refinancing applications more than doubled and new-mortgage applications soared by 24 percent, according to a recent report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Why such a dramatic surge in mortgages?
It could have something to do with the average monthly mortgage payment on a U.S. home dropping by $50 due to lower interest rates.

Now, $50 per month may not sound like much to the average person. But, that’s an annual savings of $600. With gasoline prices below $2 in West Virginia, the monthly mortgage savings could result in 2 fill-ups for the average car.

That’s big.

If gasoline prices remain, the average family could witness an annual savings of more than $750 in fuel, alone. Combine lower gas prices with lower mortgage payments and you’re looking at an annual savings of $1,350.

That’s huge.

FHA: Double Savings

Many borrowers will enjoy even more savings with the help of the FHA. They will soon pay ½-percent less on their FHA Mortgage Insurance, and that leads to a savings of more than $900 annually.

President Obama announced the good news last week. He said rates will go drop from 1.35 percent to 0.85 percent by the end of January. The change will bring $75 in monthly savings to the average FHA mortgage insurance payment.

This all comes after the Federal Housing Administration worked with the president to lower the rates, making homeownership more accessible to lower and middle class Americans.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) estimates the reduction in FHA premiums has the potential to bring 90,000 to 140,000 additional home purchases this year.

The Perfect Recipe

Realtors and lenders should prepare for a buyer surge.
The ingredients are here. The signs are here. The numbers back them up.

If business is slow now, it could just be the calm before the perfect storm.

Remember, lower FHA Insurance rates and lower mortgage rates are not the only fuels fanning this fire. —Link to previous blog——All these ingredients seem to be working together to create a recipe for a Real Estate surge this Spring.

Are you ready?

By: Charles Boggs, Jr.
Boggs & Associates, Inc.

2015 & West Virginia’s Economic Future

2015|West Virginia’s Future

With 2014 dead and gone, 2015 promises hope for an economic revival across West Virginia.

Business, industry and financial professionals predict growth in the Mountain State’s housing market, employment rate, median income, population, minimum wage and consumer optimism.

A slew of aspects inspire a boost toward local economy.  Below, we will analyze some of the biggies.

Housing Market:

Single Family Homes: More than 2,200 single-family homes were started during 2013, a 23 percent increase over 2012. The cumulative number of homes started during the first half of 2014 declined nearly 14 percent, compared to the same period a year ago, The annual pace of single-family housing starts have increased 35 percent over the low point in 2011.

Multi-Family Units: Multi-family housing starts returned to their pre-recession level in early 2013, and are expected to continue to grow even more during 2015, further contributing to the economic recovery.

Home Improvements:  According to the Huntington Bank 3rd Annual Midwest Economic Index Survey, 60 percent of West Virginians said they plan to make home improvements in 2015.  That’s a jump of 38 percent, who planned improvements in 2014. This number points to an increased confidence in the local housing market and pride in homeownership.

“The consumer sentiment on the real estate market is in contrast to our analysis which indicates that housing prices in the states where surveyed consumers live are generally climbing and relatively stable,” said George Mokrzan, director of economics at Huntington Bank.  “The survey confirms the recovery we are seeing in our local markets as unemployment rates and, more recently, gas prices decrease.”

Home Prices: The decline in West Virginia home prices in 2014 was 6.8 percent, compared to 18 percent for the nation.  Since bottoming out in the second quarter of 2011, prices for single-family homes in West Virginia have rebounded 5.4 percent.  Not surprisingly, the strongest growth in house prices since mid-2012 has taken place in those parts of the state experiencing the healthiest gains in employment and population.

Employment:

West Virginia’s employment rate is expected to grow through 2015, leading to even more consumer confidence.

“Overall, we expect employment growth, income growth, and the unemployment rate to be stronger in the coming five years, compared to what we have observed over the past decade,” stated the Economic Outlook 2015, published by The Bureau of Business & Economic Research West Virginia.  “Employment in West Virginia is estimated to increase 0.9 percent per year through 2019.”

The Construction Sector is expected to add jobs at the fastest through 2015.

Minimum Wage:

In 2015, West Virginia will see minimum wages above the federal level, which has been unchanged for more than five years.  Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed the law raising the Mountain State’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.00 an hour and then bumping it to $8.75 in 2016.

Median Income:

Per capita personal income is expected to grow in 2015.  The Bureau of Business & Economic Research West Virginia predicts an average rate of growth to hover at 2.3 percent during the next five years.  This is up by nearly 1 percent from 2003 to 2013.  The Mountain State has witnessed a stronger growth over the past five years, compared to the rest of the nation.

Population:

West Virginia is expected to see a rise in the senior citizen population during the next five years.  The state’s under-65 age groups are predicted to shrink and the 65-and-over group is predicted to grow. Over the long term, this will eventually lead to nearly one in four West Virginia residents to be at least 65 years of age.

While the state overall is expected to lose population in coming years, 16 counties are expected to add residents. Population gains will be most heavily concentrated in North Central West Virginia and the

Eastern Panhandle, according to The Bureau of Business & Economic Research West Virginia predictions.

Consumer Optimism:

As gas prices decrease and minimum wage increases, West Virginians gain confidence in the local economy.  More area residents plan to make significant purchases in 2015, according to Huntington Bank’s 3rd Annual Midwest Economic Index Survey.  Some of these future purchases include new vehicles and major home improvements.

That’s good news for West Virginia car dealers.  About 16 percent of local residents say they will “definitely” purchase a new car in the coming year.  That’s up from just 3 percent, who said they would last year.

Home improvement stores and construction businesses have good news too.  About 60 percent of West Virginians say they plan to make home improvements in 2015.  That’s up from 38 percent, who planned improvements last year.

Just six percent of those surveyed in West Virginia and said they planned to sell their home in the coming year.  This points to an increased pride in homeownership throughout the Mountain State and a trust in the stability of the local housing market.

Consumer confidence is vital to inspire economic growth.  This confidence is evident throughout the survey.

“Fifty-six percent of West Virginians say they are better off financially now than they were five years ago, during the height of the recession,” the survey stated.  “As a result, more consumers say they are willing to make big-ticket purchases in the coming year.”

Conclusion:

Into the new year, we’re already seeing lower gases prices and an increase in minimum wages: early signs of an economic revival.  No one know what the future holds for West Virginia’s economy.  However, we can only hope that this early momentum leads to new jobs, lower unemployment rates, a jump in the housing market, new businesses eyeing the state, population growths and income boosts.  If consumer confidence is the key to unlocking this door, than West Virginia may just be crossing the threshold of an economic recovery.

Sources: 

Huntington Bank 3rd Annual Midwest Economic Index Survey

The Bureau of Business & Economic Research West Virginia

Charleston Daily Mail

Justin Waybright

Chuck Boggs

 

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