Rate setter Libor will end in 2021

DFW: In 2019, the average U.S. home seller saw a gain of $65,000, a 13-year high, according to Attom Data Solutions. In DFW the average sales gain was $78,437. Austin had the biggest average profit of $89,983. Less than 7% of DFW home trades were distressed sales, according to Attom Data. Only 3% of North Texas homes were sold to investors. Homeowners in the DFW area are staying in their properties for an average of 7.76 years. U.S. average home tenure is an all time high 8.2 years.

NAR: The National Association of Realtors has issued its 2019 profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Some highlights: First time buyers were 33% of all buyers; typical buyer was 47 years old; 61% of buyers were married couples, 17% single females, 9% single males, 9% unmarried couples; 29% said primary reason was to own a home of their own. Detached single-family homes were most common home type for 83% of buyers. Buyers expect to live in their homes for a median of 15 years and 20% said they were never moving. First step in the process for 44% was online look at properties; 16% first step was agent contact; 87% found agent good information source; 93% said most useful source was website; buyers typically searched for 10 weeks and looked at a median of 9 homes; buyers not using the internet spent four weeks searching and visited 4 homes. 89% of buyers bought through an agent, saying an agent helped find right home. 41% of buyers used an agent referred by a friend or relative and 12% used an agent they used in the past. Seventy-five percent of buyers interviewed only one agent during their search. Eight percent of homes were FSBO sales, near the lowest share since the report started in 1981. FSBO homes sold typically for less than other homes and lower than agent assisted sales. Median age of FSBO sellers was 60.  

London: Libor, the London Interbank Offer Rate, has been called “the world’s most important number,” used to calculate interest rates for everything from mortgages to government bonds. An estimated $200 trillion in contracts is riding on it. Next year will be its last and there is no universal agreement on what will replace it when it is phased out at the end of 2021. Interest rates on any given loan could be higher or lower than lenders or borrowers anticipated when they signed their deals. Fixed-rate loans are for stabilized properties with cash flow. A bridge loan for a construction loan would be a floating rate loan, typically pegged to Libor, plus a spread. Floating rates tied to Libor maturing in 2021 will be affected. Some lenders say if Libor is unavailable, interest rates will convert to prime, roughly 3% higher than Libor. Libor was devised as a benchmark resulting from complex financial products in the 70s and 80s. Each morning at 11 in London, top bank representatives are asked how much they expect to pay to borrow money from other banks — calculated from five different currencies and seven lending periods from overnight to a year. From these numbers, averages are determined and published at 7.a.m. Eastern time. The U.S. Federal Reserve is suggesting an alternative, the Secured Overnight Financed Rate, SOFR, which analyzes one day’s actual financial trades to set the next day’s rate. Central banks of Europe, England, Japan and Switzerland have proposed solutions of their own.  

DFW: Total housing value in DFW doubled in a decade to $589 billion, in an analysis by Zillow and reported by the Dallas Business Journal. Texas added more housing value than any other state in 2019. According to the data, in the eight years, the typical North Texas house value had increased 78%, or $100,000 in value. Factors include rapid appreciation in the last decade and large population growth of 17% through 2018.  

Cape Cod: An estate on Cape Cod is on the market for $25 million, making it the most expensive listing in the area. If sold for the asking price, it would set a record for the most expensive sale in Cape Cod. The prior record was in 2013 when billionaire Bill Koch paid $19.5 million for a home owned by Bunny Mellon, according to the Wall Street Journal. The 9.6 acre estate is on the Penzance Point peninsula in Woods Hole, on the southern tip of Cape Cod. It includes a traditional style main home, guest house, extensive grounds and gardens, a 36 foot swimming pool, boathouse with fireplace and a deep water dock.

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