Current Information on the Local Market
Your Tax Refund and Stimulus Savings May Help You Achieve Homeownership This Year
If you’re planning to buy a home this year, saving for a down payment is one of the most important steps in the process. One of the best ways to jumpstart your savings is by starting with the help of your tax refund.
Using data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), it’s estimated that Americans can expect an average refund of $2,925 when filing their taxes this year. The map below shows the average anticipated tax refund by state:Thanks to programs from the Federal Housing Authority, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae, many first-time buyers can purchase a home with as little as 3% down. In addition, Veterans Affairs Loans allow many veterans to put 0% down. You may have heard the common myth that you need to put 20% down when you buy a home, but thankfully for most homebuyers, a 20% down payment isn’t actually required. It’s important to work with your real estate professional and your lender to understand all of your options.
How can your tax refund help?
If you’re a first-time buyer, your tax refund may cover more of a down payment than you realize.
If you take into account the median home sale price by state, the map below shows the percentage of a 3% down payment that’s covered by the average anticipated tax refund:The darker the blue, the closer your tax refund gets you to homeownership when you qualify for one of the low down payment programs. Maybe this is the year to plan ahead and put your tax refund toward the down payment on a home.
Not enough money from your tax return?
A recent paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that, of the households that received a stimulus check last year, “One third report that they primarily saved the stimulus money.” If you had the opportunity to save your Economic Impact Payments, you may consider putting that money toward your down payment or closing costs as well. Your trusted real estate professional can also advise you on the down payment assistance programs available in your area.
Saving for a down payment can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. This year, your tax refund and your stimulus savings could add up big when it comes to reaching your homeownership goals.
Should We Fear the Surge in Cash-Out Refinances?
Freddie Mac recently released their Quarterly Refinance Statistics report which covers refinances through 2020. The report explains that the dollar amount of cash-out refinances was greater in 2020 than in recent years. A cash-out refinance, as defined by Investopia, is:
“a mortgage refinancing option in which an old mortgage is replaced for a new one with a larger amount than owed on the previously existing loan, helping borrowers use their home mortgage to get some cash.”
The Freddie Mac report led to articles like the one published by The Real Deal titled, House or ATM? Cash-Out Refinances Spiked in 2020, which reports:
“Americans treated their homes like ATMs last year, withdrawing $152.7 billion amid a cash-out refinancing spree not seen since before the 2008 financial crisis.”
Whenever you combine the terms “spiked,” “homes like ATMs,” and “financial crisis,” it conjures up memories of the housing crash we experienced in 2008.
However, that comparison is invalid for three reasons:
1. Americans are sitting on much more home equity today.
Mortgage data giant Black Knight just issued information on the amount of tappable equity U.S. homeowners with a mortgage have. Tappable equity is the amount of equity available for homeowners to use and still have 20% equity in their home. Here’s a graph showing the findings from their report:In 2006, directly before the crash, tappable home equity in the U.S. topped out at $4.6 trillion. Today, that number is $7.3 trillion.
As Black Knight explains:
“At year’s end, some 46 million homeowners held a total $7.3 trillion in tappable equity, the largest amount ever recorded…That’s an increase of more than $1.1 trillion (+18%) since the end of 2019, the largest percentage gain since 2013 and – you guessed it – the largest dollar value gain in history, to boot. All in all, it works out to roughly $158,000 on average per homeowner with tappable equity, up nearly $19,000 from the end of 2019.”
2. Homeowners cashed-out a much smaller amount this time.
In 2006, Americans cashed-out a total of $321 billion. In 2020, that number was less than half, totaling $153 billion. The $321 billion made up 7% of the total tappable equity in the country in 2006. On the other hand, the $153 billion made up only 2% of the total tappable equity last year.
3. Fewer homeowners tapped their equity in 2020 than in 2006.
Freddie Mac reports that 89% of refinances in 2006 were cash-out refinances. Last year, that number was less than half at 33%. As a percentage of those who refinanced, many more Americans lowered their equity position fifteen years ago as compared to last year.
It’s true that many Americans liquidated a portion of the equity in their homes last year for various reasons. However, less than half of them tapped their equity compared to 2006, and they cashed-out less than one-third of that available equity. Today’s cash-out refinance situation bears no resemblance to the situation that preceded the housing crash.
Historic Prescott is HOT! We’ve been knocked off our feet by the prices that these properties started pulling by about June of 2020.
A home that our team sold recently commanded over $600 per square foot! Check it out here!
And another one we sold had multiple cash offers in just a few days. You can see photos here.
So what makes a Prescott home “historic?” As a local, and a Realtor here for more than a decade, I’d say that a “historic home” by our standards in Prescott is one built before 1950 that is located in and around downtown Prescott’s older streets. Truly historic homes, however, will be those built before World War II, and you will find lots of those of various stylings off the Courthouse Square (Victorian, Colonial Revival, Queen Anne, Ranch and Craftsman mostly, with a few Mission Styles and even a few Egyptian Revival styles thrown in) .
Look on Washington St, Mount Vernon St., Pleasant St, Union St. and Alarcon for these, with perhaps a few to be found on Park Avenue and some of its surrounding streets as well.
It’s fun to walk Prescott’s downtown streets and pass by the homes, taking time to read those that are on the National Register of Historic Places, if you can get close enough.
Why are these historic homes so desirable? These homes are gaining value as vacation rentals, since they are so close to the downtown area, and of course, older homes are popular among folks who have always dreamed of living in an historic home on an idyllic street in a mid-size town like Prescott. The historic district is in walking distance to grocery stores, the post office, the library, city buildings and the court house square with its shopping and restaurants — and it isn’t too far from the Prescott National Forest So the location is truly ideal.
What problems arise with old homes in Prescott? Old homes can come with problems that can cost tens of thousands of dollars to remedy. Typically, we see uneven floors, faulty foundations and settling cracks, as well as antiquated electrical, tiny kitchens, bad siding and old roofs. It’s also not uncommon to encounter encroachment issues left over from decades past. Homes that have been brought up to current codes and remodeled, of course, fetch a premium on the market, but any home that has not been modernized should undergo a thorough investigation prior to purchase. Be prepared to buy AS-IS, though, since many sellers are not willing to put in the work to bring an old house up to modern codes if they haven’t already.
Enjoy looking at these properties, and call us if you are considering buying in Downtown Prescott or if you need to Sell! We are local experts, working for you!
Search Results: 26 Properties
Yavapai Hills is a growing community at the very eastern edge of Prescott, Arizona. There are a number of available lots in the neighborhood – some with amazing views. It is close to shopping and in a perfect location that sits at the crux of three communities: Prescott, Prescott Valley and Chino Valley, for easy access to all three. There is an HOA, but it has minimal fees. You’ll love this neighborhood for its trees, views and location!
Here is a perfect building lot that affords great views and has a level building pad. Check it out here!
Search Results: 34 Properties
We are seeing a real estate buying frenzy right now due to low inventory. But a lot of sales are not making it to closing. Here Pam discusses why the highest bidder for a property may not be the best buyer.
Pam gives some interesting information on what is happening with real estate in the Prescott area. She explains why buyers are struggling to find homes right now and what buyers can expect to pay for housing in the Prescott area market. Interest rates: This is one bright spot for buyers! Interest rates are around 3%.