Thursday, June 14, 2018

Protocol for the Flag

The American flag is obviously a symbol of our country but it has come to remind us of every man and woman who has fought for the freedom that we enjoy. The emotions that are stirred by images of our flag can run from happiness to sadness to trust and everything in between.flag2.png

Most of us learned American flag etiquette or the Flag Code when we were young but occasionally, it is a good idea to review the guidelines so that the flag is treated with the respect it deserves.

  • The U.S. flag should not be flown at night unless a light is shown on it.
  • The U.S. flag should not be flown upside down except as a distress signal.
  • The flag should never touch the ground.
  • A U.S. flag should be displayed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff in mourning.
  • When displaying multiple flags of a state, community or society on the same flagpole, the U.S. flag must always be on top.
  • When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flag poles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor - to its own right. No flag should be higher or larger than the U.S. flag. The U.S. flag is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.
  • When the U.S. flag is flown with those of other countries, each flag should be the same size and must be on separate poles of the same height. Ideally, the flags should be raised and lowered simultaneously.

More information on flag etiquette can be found at the Veterans of Foreign Wars website.


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Home Sales Report for Clark County WA - April 2018

 Home Sales Staying Strong in Clark County WA for April 2018.

Although some parts of the County are showing weakness, that has been made up in Vancouver and Ridgefield. Here are the key highlights for April's results: 
  • Average-Sales Prices are on their way back up; with the 12-month/long-term trend line up 10.94% compared to April 2017,  and the 3-Month Moving Average is up 10.65% from last year; 
     
  • The Inventory for Resale Homes rose again to a healthier 1.6 Months Supply;
     
  • Approximately 526 Resale Homes were sold in the month, which is about 21 more (4.2%) homes than in 2017; although 4 fewer than last month.
     
  • REO/Bank Owned property sales were 9 units (1.7% of total); up from 6 (1.2%) in 2017. 
     
  • Short Sale /Pre-Foreclosure property sales were 0 units (0% of total); down from 4 (0.8%) in 2017.
The month-end, 30-year-fixed home loan benchmark interest rate is 4.47% (up from 4.44% last month) according to Freddie Mac; compared to 4.05% for April 2017.

Now we come to my custom graphs/charts prepared for Clark County. A very simple "smoothing" method is employed to easily show the short-term trend (3-month moving average in Red); and long-term trend (12-month moving average in Blue). 
Clark County Home Sales April 2018- Units Sold Clark County Home Sales - Units Sold Trend April 2018
The short-term trend-line shows the "bottom" for the year is behind us, with the activity picking up similar to the recent prior years. The long-term line is still below the peak level but is relatively level - a mode we expect to continue for the near future.

In the next chart for Average Sales prices shown in the next chart (below) have moving up strongly again with the "Spring Rush" of home sales. 


Clark County Home Sales April 2018- Average Sales Price Trends Clark County Home Sales - Average Sales Price Trend April 2018

The April short term Average sales price for Clark County is now up to $379,758. This is an increase of about $36,539 from the same month last year.
Charts of Vancouver WA Home Sales Trends in April 2018 Clark County Home Sales Inventory
& Days on Market - April 2018

Our final three graphs from RMLS show:

New Listings have eased slightly, while Pending and Closed sales have held steady. 

The second graph is showing the continued surge in the price for new listings, and the upward movement in Closed Sales prices.

Finally, for the Days on the Market, the Average dropped substantially, and the Median is now less than one week.

We also have more information from the RMLS published report on the Clark County real estate scene can be found here: RMLS Market Action Report on our website.


PS - This is now the High Season in our area, and may be an opportune time to List and Sell Your Home with Our Team for 2018; or, at least find out what your home is worth!  We offer a no-cost, no-obligation Clark County WA Home Valuation, and invite you to try it out!

PPS - You are invited to visit our web-page for Clark County WA  Homes For Sale where it is Quite Easy to search by City, Neighborhood or by Category, with homes and real estate listings from the entire RMLS.  Sign-up Not Required!  The property and home listings shown are provided via many updates each day, and you will be e-mailed hourly with any new matches once you've signed up for a home search.

We also have the MLS Listings for these great towns in Clark County:  Battle Ground WA Real Estate | Brush Prairie WA Homes | Camas WA Homes For Sale | Hockinson WA Homes | La Center WA Homes for sale | Ridgefield WA Homes for sale | Homes for sale in Vancouver Washington | Washougal WA Real Estate | Yacolt WA Homes | Amboy WA Homes


The information and charts in this Clark County WA real estate update (prepared by Vancouver WA Real Estate Broker, John Slocum, CRS, SFR, our resident statistician) are based on home sales recorded in the Clark County WA MLS system (RMLS), excluding sales of mobile home; and shows the purchase activity since 2009; charting the 3 month Moving average number of sales, and the 12 month Moving average.  This "smoothing" of the trend-data helps illustrate the short-term and longer term trends in Clark County's real estate market.

Disclaimer: as with any real estate statistics, we do our best to provide the best representation at the time the data was acquired and compiled.  The data and reports are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Real Estate for sale Clark County WA - February 2018 Market Report

Nice Up-Tick for Pre-Owned Home Sales in Clark County WA for February 2018.

Reversing the sluggish sales posted last month,  Clark County pre-owned real estate and home sales rallied and posted 33 more units-sold for February. Here are the key highlights for February's results: 

  • Average-Sales Prices are still slipping below their recent record highs, which is typical this time of year; the 12-month/long-term trend line is up 11.10% compared to February 2017,  and the 3-Month Moving Average is up 11.97% from last year; 
     
  • The Inventory for Resale Homes rose ever so slightly to 1.1 Months Supply;
     
  • Approximately 416 Resale Homes were sold in the month, which is about 33 more (8.6%) homes than in 2017; and 46 more than last month.
     
  • REO/Bank Owned property sales were 4 units (0.96% of total); down from 17 (4.4%) in 2017. 
     
  • Short Sale /Pre-Foreclosure property sales were 5 units (1.2% of total); up from 3 (0.8%) in 2017.

The month-end, 30-year-fixed home loan benchmark interest rate is 4.33% (up from 4.03% last month) according to Freddie Mac; compared to 4.17% for February 2017.

Next in line are the custom graphs/charts we have prepared for Clark County WA. A simple "smoothing" technique is used to better present the short-term trend (3-month moving average in Red); and long-term trend (12-month moving average in Blue). 

Clark County Home Sales February 2018- Units Sold Clark County Home Sales - Units Sold Trend February 2018

The still-declining short-term trend-line is now below its low for last year which may be reasonable to expect with such low available Inventory. The long-term line is showing a sideways move, as overall demand for housing is still reasonably strong.

Average Sales prices shown in the next chart (below) have slipped slightly below the long-term trend but, haven't gone as far as this time last year. 

Clark County Home Sales February 2018- Average Sales Price Trends Clark County Home Sales - Average Sales Price Trend February 2018


The February short term Average sales price for Clark County is now up to $359,647. This is an increase of about $38,448 from a year ago.


Charts of Vancouver WA Home Sales Trends in February 2018 Clark County Home Sales Inventory
& Days on Market - February 2018


Our final three graphs from RMLS show:

Closed Sales and New Listings have both moved up, with Pending sales actually dropping slightly. Even so, the available Inventory did not move up that much. 

The second graph is showing another strong spread between new-list prices and actual Closed sales prices.

Finally, for the Days on the Market, the Average increased 12 days to 61, and Median increased one day to 27.

More information from the RMLS published report on the Clark County real estate scene can be found here: RMLS Market Action Report on our website.
 


PS - This is without a doubt a great time to List and Sell Your Home with Our Team for 2018; or, at least find out what your home is worth!  We offer a no-cost, no-obligation Clark County WA Home Valuation, and invite you to try it out!

PPS - You are invited to visit our web-page for Clark County WA  Homes For Sale where it is Quite Easy to search by City, Neighborhood or by Category, with homes and real estate listings from the entire RMLS.  Sign-up Not Required!  The property and home listings shown are provided via many updates each day, and you will be e-mailed hourly with any new matches once you've signed up for a home search.

We also have the MLS Listings for these great towns in Clark County:  Battle Ground WA Real Estate | Brush Prairie WA Homes | Camas WA Real Estate | Hockinson WA Homes | La Center WA Homes | Ridgefield WA Homes | Vancouver WA Homes | Washougal WA Real Estate | Yacolt WA Homes | Amboy WA Homes



The information and charts in this Clark County WA real estate update (prepared by Vancouver WA Realtor, John Slocum, CRS, SFR, our resident statistician) are based on home sales recorded in the Clark County WA MLS system (RMLS), excluding sales of mobile home; and shows the purchase activity since 2009; charting the 3 month Moving average number of sales, and the 12 month Moving average.  This "smoothing" of the trend-data helps illustrate the short-term and longer term trends in Clark County's real estate market.

Disclaimer: as with any real estate statistics, we do our best to provide the best representation at the time the data was acquired and compiled.  The data and reports are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Fair Skies on the Home-Ownership-Horizon

Buyers who have been concerned about what might happen to the tax laws affecting home ownership should feel more comfortable about moving forward with their decision to purchase. The 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act passed by Congress and signed by the President continues to treat real estate as a favored investment.31496145-250.jpg
Whether it is for a home to live in as your principal residence or to use as rental property, the tax laws are in place but other dynamics to be concerned with are not; mortgage rates are expected to rise as well as prices.
Reasons to buy now:
  1. The mortgage interest deduction is intact for most taxpayers.
  2. The capital gain exclusion for principal residences up to $500,000 remains in place.
  3. Taxpayers can elect annually to take newly increased standard deduction or itemize deductions whichever will benefit them the most.
  4. The house payment with taxes and insurance is most likely cheaper than the rent.
  5. Rents will continue to rise making the difference even greater in the future.
  6. Lock-in the principal & interest payment with a fixed-rate mortgage.
  7. 30-year mortgage terms are available to most borrowers.
  8. Prices will likely increase due to lower inventories and several years of low housing starts.
  9. Section 1031 exchanges, capital gains and depreciation remain the same for rental properties.
For a summary of specific real estate provisions in the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, click here.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Historical Perspective on Home Loan Interest Rates

Current Home Loan Rates in the 4% Range are a Bargain for Clark County WA Home Buyers in 2018.

In 1968, mortgage rates were 8.5%. The next year, rates went down to 7%. Homeowners could buy a 15-20% larger home for the same payments if they could find someone to assume their mortgage.Mortgage rate history2a.png
FHA and VA mortgages were very popular in certain price ranges and they allowed anyone to assume the mortgage regardless of the credit. If you could find a person to take over your note, you were free to qualify for another mortgage.
In October 1981, mortgage rates reached 18.63%. A $250,000 mortgage had a monthly principal and interest payment of $3,896.46. As astronomical as that rate sounds, people were still buying homes and were good investments.
Four years later, they were still over 12%. The monthly payment was $2,571.53. Believe it or not, people were excited to be paying only 2/3 what they had to pay a few years earlier.
Fast forward to late 1991 when the rates went below 9% and that same payment was to $2,015.16. At the turn of the 21st century, rates were 8.15% and that made the payment $1,860.62. Not much change in rates during that decade.
If we look around the housing bubble, late 2008, the rates were 6.04% and the payment was $1,505.31. By 2009, mortgage rates had fallen below 5%. The lowest mortgage rate was 3.31% on November 2012 with a payment of $1,096.27.
Rates fluctuated for the next few years until now, and most of the experts are expecting them to be above 5% by the end of 2018.  Rates have increased each week for the last six weeks to 4.38% with payments of $1,240.12.
The average mortgage rate for the past 47 years is a little over 8%. The real estate and mortgage markets are cyclical. Rates have been historically low for a long period but will probably continue to rise. Most buyers don’t pay cash and mortgages enable them to purchase now. Based on history, even 8% would be an excellent rate. Until it reaches that point again, everything lower is a bargain.


PS - This is clearly a great time to List and Sell Your Home with Our Team for 2018; or, at least find out what your home is worth!  We offer a no-cost, no-obligation Clark County WA Home Valuation, and invite you to try it out!

PPS - You are invited to visit our web-page for Clark County WA  Homes For Sale where it is Quite Easy to search by City, Neighborhood or by Category, with homes and real estate listings from the entire RMLS.  Sign-up Not Required!  The property and home listings shown are provided via many updates each day, and you will be e-mailed hourly with any new matches once you've signed up for a home search.

We also have the MLS Listings for these great towns in Clark County:  Battle Ground WA Real Estate | Brush Prairie WA Homes | Camas WA Real Estate | Hockinson WA Homes | La Center WA Homes | Ridgefield WA Homes | Vancouver WA Homes | Washougal WA Real Estate | Yacolt WA Homes | Amboy WA Homes


The information and charts in this Clark County WA real estate update are provided by Vancouver WA Realtor, John Slocum, CRS, SFR.

Disclaimer: as with any real estate statistics, we do our best to provide the best representation at the time the data was acquired and compiled.  The data and reports are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Clark County WA Real Estate and Home Sales - January 2018 Market Report

Slight Drop in Pre-Owned Home Sales in Clark County WA for January 2018.

Starting the new year for Clark County pre-owned real estate and home sales we've tallied just 37 fewer units-sold for January. Here are some of the highlights for January's results: 

  • Average-Sales Prices have fallen slightly from recent record highs, as we'd expect this time of year; the 12-month/long-term trend line is up 10.66% compared to January 2017,  and the 3-Month Moving Average is up 12.48% from last year; 
     
  • The Inventory for Resale Homes continues falling and is now at a low 1.0 Months Supply;
     
  • Approximately 360 Resale Homes were sold in the month, which is about 37 fewer (-9.3%) homes than in 2017; and 156 fewer than last month.
     
  • REO/Bank Owned property sales were 0 units (0% of total); down from 1 (0.3%) in 2017. 
     
  • Short Sale /Pre-Foreclosure property sales were 0 units (0% of total); down from 1 (0.3%) in 2017.

The month-end, 30-year-fixed home loan benchmark interest rate is 4.03% (up from 3.95% last month) according to Freddie Mac; compared to 4.15% for January 2017.

Moving on to our custom graphs/charts for Clark County WA. We employ a simple "smoothing" technique to better present the short-term trend (3-month moving average in Red); and long-term trend (12-month moving average in Blue). 

Clark County Home Sales January 2018- Units Sold Clark County Home Sales - Units Sold Trend January 2018

The seasonally-declining short-term trend-line is now well below the longer-term trend-line, as expected in the Winter season. The long-term line is showing a slight wiggle upwards; which tends to counter the news stories that we are seeing a big drop in home sales.

Average Sales prices (shown in the chart below) are continuing their ever-so-slight decline, which is a much more moderate decline that we usually see this time of year; with the long-term trend showing little hesitation on its run upwards. 

Clark County Home Sales January 2018- Average Sales Price Trends Clark County Home Sales - Average Sales Price Trend January 2018


The January short term Average sales price for Clark County is now up to $362,053. This is an increase of about $40,180 from a year ago.


Charts of Vancouver WA Home Sales Trends in January 2018 Clark County Home Sales Inventory
& Days on Market - January 2018


These final three graphs from RMLS show:

Pending and New Listings have taken an unusually strong jump upwards early this year, with Closed sales obviously lagging behind. We should the Closed Sales tally to move up strongly in the immediate coming months. 

The second graph is posting the average list price at its highest level in the past 12 months; leaving little doubt as to where home sellers think prices are going.

Finally, for the Days on the Market, the Average stayed the same at 49 and Median dropped one day to 26.

More information from the RMLS published report on the Clark County real estate scene can be found here: RMLS Market Action Report on our website.
 


PS - This is clearly a great time to List and Sell Your Home with Our Team for 2018; or, at least find out what your home is worth!  We offer a no-cost, no-obligation Clark County WA Home Valuation, and invite you to try it out!

PPS - You are invited to visit our web-page for Clark County WA  Homes For Sale where it is Quite Easy to search by City, Neighborhood or by Category, with homes and real estate listings from the entire RMLS.  Sign-up Not Required!  The property and home listings shown are provided via many updates each day, and you will be e-mailed hourly with any new matches once you've signed up for a home search.

We also have the MLS Listings for these great towns in Clark County:  Battle Ground WA Real Estate | Brush Prairie WA Homes | Camas WA Real Estate | Hockinson WA Homes | La Center WA Homes | Ridgefield WA Homes | Vancouver WA Homes | Washougal WA Real Estate | Yacolt WA Homes | Amboy WA Homes



The information and charts in this Clark County WA real estate update (prepared by Vancouver WA Realtor, John Slocum, CRS, SFR, our resident statistician) are based on home sales recorded in the Clark County WA MLS system (RMLS), excluding sales of mobile home; and shows the purchase activity since 2009; charting the 3 month Moving average number of sales, and the 12 month Moving average.  This "smoothing" of the trend-data helps illustrate the short-term and longer term trends in Clark County's real estate market.

Disclaimer: as with any real estate statistics, we do our best to provide the best representation at the time the data was acquired and compiled.  The data and reports are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Homeowner Tax Changes

The new tax law that was signed into effect at the end of 2017 will affect all taxpayers. Homeowners should familiarize themselves with the areas that could affect them which may require some planning to maximize the benefits.
Some of the things that will affect most homeowners are the following:
  • Reduces the limit on deductible mortgage debt to $750,000 for loans made after 12/14/17. Existing loans of up to $1 million are grandfathered and are not subject to the new $750,000 cap.40009294-250.jpg
  • Homeowners may refinance mortgage debts existing on 12/14/17 up to $1 million and still deduct the interest, so long as the new loan does not exceed the amount of the existing mortgage being refinanced.
  • Repeals the deduction for interest on home equity debt through 12/31/25 unless the proceeds are used to substantially improve the residence.
  • The standard deduction is now $12,000 for single individuals and $24,000 for joint returns. It is estimated that over 90% of taxpayers will elect to take the standard deduction.
  • Property taxes and other state and local taxes are limited to $10,000 as itemized deductions.
  • Moving expenses are repealed except for members of the Armed Forces.
  • Casualty losses are only allowed provided the loss is attributable to a presidentially-declared disaster.
The capital gains exclusion applying to principal residences remains unchanged. Single taxpayers are entitled to $250,000 and married taxpayers filing jointly up to $500,000 of capital gain for homes that they owned and occupied as principal residences for two out of the previous five years.
Not addressed in the new tax law, the Mortgage Forgiveness Relief Act of 2007 expired on 12/31/16. This temporary law limited exclusion of income for discharged home mortgage debt for principal homeowners who went through foreclosure, short sale or other mortgage forgiveness. Debt forgiven is considered income and even though the taxpayer may not be obligated for the debt, they would have to recognize the forgiven debt as income.
These changes could affect a taxpayers’ position and should be discussed with their tax advisor.
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PS - don't forget that the generally LOWER TAX RATES will improve your Purchasing Power in 2018.  If your plans this year include Selling your current home and making a new purchase, please call us right away, and we'll help you put together a solid strategy!