Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Chicago's Mortgage Choice - July 28, 2015 Real Estate Report - Lower Gas Prices on the Way?

Even before the Iran deal was announced, market analysts were predicting that lower gas prices were on the horizon. Certainly, the optimism over the Iran deal has increased this speculation. In reality, the deal might help more Iranian oil get to western markets, yet we know that this agreement still has to go through the "political process." That does not stop optimism, and CNN/Money recently published a story saying that we could see gas prices at $2.00 per gallon, especially after the summer driving season comes to an end. Again, even without the deal being implemented, analysts were bullish on lower gas prices as world production was rising. The next question is--will that hurt or help our economy? On the plus side, lower gas prices should bolster consumer spending, while lowering the threat of inflation. This could help moderate future rate increases. On the negative side, our energy sector would be negatively affected and areas dependent upon those sectors would be hurting as well. The overall effect would definitely be positive. We should remember that the energy sector affects all industries. There has even been a recent study that has indicated that falling gas prices can shorten the time it takes a house to sell and can increase the selling price. The study was published by Florida Atlantic University and Longwood University. We certainly understand that lower gas prices can affect demographics with more moving closer to cities when gas prices are higher. Will gas prices fall and by how much? That remains to be seen but the possibility is intriguing. Keith Stewart 773-529-7000

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Chicago's Mortgage Choice - July 21, 2015 Real Estate Trends - Could Rising Rents Hurt Ownership?

The prevailing opinion is that rising rents will cause more consumers to purchase homes. This is absolutely the case as you have seen statistics published time and time again that show it is actually cheaper to own in most areas of the country as opposed to renting. In addition, the stats continue to show rents rising from month-to-month and year-to-year. So how could rising rents hurt home ownership? If you are a renter, you are likely spending a greater portion of your income towards your rent. Therefore, as rents rise, it is harder and harder to save for a down payment. That is why many Millennials are staying at home with their parents and when they move out, they are purchasing instead of renting. But for others, it gets harder. What does this mean? For most, it means that the faster you become a homeowner, the better. Once you are a homeowner, you are protected from inflationary increases in payments as only a small portion of your payment (taxes and insurance and association fees) is subject to annual increases. Eventually, more apartments will be built and the rent/ownership equation should even out. For now, we are seeing first time homebuyers starting to awaken to the fact that sooner is better with regard to home ownership. Keith Stewart 773-529-7000