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The VA Home Loan Process

by Trident Northwest Realty Group

Trident is dedicated to helping Joint Base Lewis–McChord veterans. We can answer any questions you have regarding your VA benefits and help you get the most out of the VA Loan Program. Trident has helped many Veterans purchase homes, are you next?

Here is a helpful video to help you understand the VA Home Loan Process courtesy of Veterans United.

2015 Market Forecast

by Trident Northwest Realty Group

Nine years after the housing bubble peaked and three years after home prices bottomed, the boom and bust still cast a long shadow. None of the five measures tracked in Trulia’s Housing Barometer is back to normal yet, though three are getting close. The rebound effect drove the recovery after the bust, but is now fading. Prices are no longer significantly undervalued and investor demand is falling. Ideally, strong economic and demographic fundamentals like job growth and household formation would take up the slack. But the virtuous cycle of gains in jobs and housing is relatively weak, and that will slow the recovery in 2015. All the same, consumers are optimistic, according to a Trulia survey of 2,008 American adults conducted November 6-10, 2014.

 Consumers Expect 2015 To Be Better, Especially for Selling a Home

The good news for real estate agents is that consumers are as optimistic about the housing market as at any point since the recovery started. Nearly three-quarters—74%—of respondents agreed that home ownership was part of achieving their personal American Dream— the same level as in the 2013 Q4 survey and slightly above the levels of the three previous years. Furthermore, 93% of young renters plan to buy a home someday. That’s unchanged from 2012 Q4 despite rising home prices and worsening affordability.

Which real estate activities do consumers think will improve in 2015? All of them—but especially selling. Fully 36% said 2015 will be much or a little better than 2014 for selling a home. In contrast, just 16% said 2015 will be much or a little worse, a difference of 20 percentage points. More consumers said 2015 will be better than 2014 for buying too. But the margin over those who said 2015 will be worse was not as wide. 

Still, it’s important to remember that, despite this optimism, barriers remain to homeownership. Saving for a down payment is still the highest hurdle, as it was last year, followed by poor credit and qualifying for a mortgage. Not having a stable job has become considerably less of an obstacle, dropping to 24% this year compared with 36% last year thanks to the recovering job market. But affordability has become a bigger obstacle. Some 32% of respondents cited rising home prices, compared with 22% last year. 

Recovery in 2015: Rebound Eect to Fade Before Fundamentals Can Take Over

When it comes to market recovery, It’s important to understand that different engines power each stage of the housing recovery. During the early years–roughly 2012 to 2014–the rebound effect drove the recovery. Investors and other buyers scooped up undervalued homes and took advantage of foreclosures and short sales, boosting overall sales volumes. Local markets hit hardest in the housing bust posted the largest price rebounds. Now, though, the rebound effect is fading. Price levels and price changes are both approaching normal, foreclosure inventories are dwindling, and investors are pulling back. 

 So what replaces the rebound effect in the next stage of the housing recovery? The market increasingly depends on fundamentals such as job growth, rising incomes, and more household formation. But here’s the hitch: These fundamental drivers of supply and demand haven’t returned to full strength. Importantly, the share of young adults with jobs is still less than halfway back to normal, many young adults are still living with their parents, and income growth is sluggish. This points to a tricky handoff, and means housing activity in 2015 might disappoint by some measures, though the rental market will remain vigorous.

So what major trends can you expect to come in 2015? Let’s take a look!

Price gains slow, but aordability worsens.

Price gains slowed in 2014 and we’ll see more of the same in 2015. In October 2014, prices increased 4% year-over-year, down from 10.6% in October 2013. The slowdown has been especially sharp in metros that had a severe housing bust followed by a big rebound. Now, prices nationwide are just 3% undervalued relative to fundamentals.

That leaves fewer bargains and scant room for prices to rise without becoming overvalued. What’s more, with consumers expecting 2015 to be a better year to sell than 2014, more homes should come onto the market, cooling prices further. Nevertheless, despite slowing price gains, home-buying affordability will worsen in 2015 for two reasons. First, even these smaller price increases will almost surely outpace income growth. In 2013, incomes rose just 1.8% year-over-year in nominal terms, and a negligible 0.3% after adjusting for inflation. Second, the strengthening economy and the Fed’s response should push up mortgage rates.

Single-family starts and new home sales could disappoint. 

 While apartment construction is breaking records, single-family housing starts and new home sales are still not much better than half of normal levels. They’ll improve in 2015, but not as much as we’d like. Our consumer survey suggests more people will try to sell existing homes. That would add to the supply on the market and possibly reduce demand for new homes. Also, the strongest source of housing demand will be young people getting jobs and forming households. But they’ll be moving into rentals and saving for a down payment rather than buying homes right away.

If these predictions for 2015 sound similar to our predictions for 2014, you’re right. As the rebound effect fades and fundamentals take over, the recovery gets slower and the market starts to look more similar from one year to the next. But there’s good news here. Even though the recovery remains unfinished, the housing market is becoming more stable and more certain for buyers, sellers, and renters.


As the rebound effect fades, our 10 markets to watch have strong fundamentals for housing activity. These include solid job growth, which fuels housing demand, and a low vacancy rate, which spurs construction. 

 In 2015, more markets will settle back into their long-term housing patterns. Fast-growing markets that boomed last decade, collapsed in the bust, and then rebounded are now leveling off. Even the markets that have been slowest to recover and have struggled longest are seeing foreclosure inventories decline and the sales mix moving back toward normal. At the same time, first-time homeownership, single-family starts, and new home sales won’t come close to fully recovering in 2015. But if 2015 brings strong job growth, big income gains, and the long-awaited jump in household formation, then 2016 could be the year when we see a major turnaround in homeownership and single-family construction.

 

This information was published by Trulia - 2015 Forecast: The Hottest Trends You Need to Know

Tacoma Open Houses 10/31 - 11/2

by Trident Northwest Realty Group

Tacoma Open Houses 10/25 & 10/26

by Trident Northwest Realty Group

It's Friday again and we have hand selected the best open house in the Pierce County area for you! If you plan on house hunting this weekend, make sure to take a look at these homes. If you need some company, we can help with that too. We'll even buy you a coffee or latte!

 

Tacoma Open Houses

by Trident Northwest Realty Group

Going house hunting today? Check out these awesome open houses!

New Vashon Island Listing!

by Trident Northwest Realty Group

Vintage Vashon Island Charm

This charming home is certain to steal your heart. Inviting grounds, gardens and courtyard give way to a vintage cottage. Massive fireplace, wood paneled walls, exposed beams, vaulted ceilings combine to create unrivaled ambiance. This one of a kind home was designed not simply to entertain guests, but to absolutely delight! Once inside, you are transported to another place and time. Summer's glow lasts longer here as you drink in the tranquility of inner Quartermaster Harbor.

View this listing here - 9216 SW Harbor Dr, Vashon, WA 98070

Thea Foss Waterway From Above

by Trident Northwest Realty Group

Our broker, Adam Wells, recently went out with a friend and a drone to take some amazing images of the Thea Foss Waterway and Downtown Tacoma. Everyone who lives in Tacoma knows how beautiful this city is and seeing downtown from above, gives a fresh perspective of it's beauty. 

From these shots you can see the Thea Foss Waterway, almost all of Downtown Tacoma, Commencement Bay, Museum of Glass, Washington State History Museum, and the Tacoma Art Museum.

Thank you Adam Henley of Axis Flight Systems for sharing these images with us! 

This might turn into a series, so stay turned for more aerial images of the area. You can also follow Trident Realty Group Northwest News! Follow us on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+ and PINTEREST!

21 Reasons Tacoma Is Awesome!

by Trident Realty Group Northwest

This week Q13 Fox shared 21 reasons why Tacoma is a great place to raise a family and Trident Realty Group Northwest agrees! Q13 Fox looked at the ranking and scratched their heads because most people who actually live in Tacoma with their families love it. So Tacoma was asked why is this city such an AWESOME place to raise a family and received a great response. Below, in no particular order, are some of the highlights Q13 heard on Facebook and elsewhere:

 

1. Miles of waterfront!

2. The grassy knoll at the Tacoma Rainiers.

3. Many of the businesses here are Mom and Pop places that have been here for decades.

4. We get all 4 seasons, somewhat in order.

5. If Tacoma doesn’t have it, a short drive in any direction and you’ll find it.

6. The Children’s Museum of Tacoma is FREE (pay what you can)!

7. You can jog/walk/bike from the glass museum, around to Ruston Way and all the way into Point Defiance.

8. Tons of street fairs.

9. The gorgeous views!

10. Hidden trails to walk and hike.

11. Close knit feel, you almost always end up knowing someone everywhere you go.

12. Hilltop Artists Program – glassblowing for middle schoolers.

13. Blue Mouse Theater.

14. Point Defiance Zoo has an actual zipline now.

15. Old architecture & the cobble stones alleyways.

16. Random art from official installments at parks or buildings to the street art stenciled all over or the knit bomber or the streets signs project and monkeyshines.

17. This is a creative city. It takes a little grit to make a pearl.

18. Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.

19. The combination of military and universities result in some really interesting activities, arts, shopping.

20. Tacoma School of the Arts and SAMI (Science and Math Institute) are both public high schools with really specific, amazing programs

21. The cost of living – you can get more for your money, especially in terms of homeownership.

 

So move to Tacoma already! If you already live in Tacoma, tell all your friends to move here too!

 

Stay up to date on Trident Realty Group Northwest News! Follow us on FACEBOOK, TWITTERGOOGLE+ and PINTEREST!

Suburban, Urban Or Rural: Which Is Right For You?

by Trident Northwest Realty Group

If you’re unfettered by a particular job in a particular locale, deciding where to live isn’t as easy as it may seem. Often, a battle ensues between our heads and our hearts. And the real estate mantra of “location, location, location” does nothing to help us decide which location we might prefer – the city, suburbs or a rural setting.

Whether you think that life on a farm is right for you or a penthouse view may be more to your liking, let’s take a look at suburban, urban and rural environments to see if we can shake loose a decision.

Suburban

Ah, the ‘burbs. Although Cicero referred to the hillside homes of Rome’s wealthy residents as “suburbani,” the suburban boom exploded in the U.S. during the 1950s, a by-product of both World War II and the baby boomer generation.

Returning soldiers, waving their G.I. Bill authorizations (now known as the VA loan), were met by more-than accommodating land developers, such as William Levitt, creator of the so-called Levittowns on the East Coast. Since these developments were located just outside the city, they were typically less expensive for veterans than renting a home inside city limits – thus their popularity.

By the 1960s suburbanites made up one-third of the nation’s population, according to the History Channel. Today, the trend is reversed, or so says Time’s Leigh Gallagher. She cites the “endless sprawl” of suburbia as one of the reasons “more and more Americans don’t want to live there anymore.”

The most significant characteristics of the suburbs are:

  • Subdivisions.
  • Shopping malls.
  • A greater population density and fewer agricultural acres than rural areas.

Examples of suburbs include Canoga Park in Los Angeles, Bayside in New York and Oak Park in Illinois. Smaller cities have suburbs as well, such as the many outlying areas of the Twin Cities in Minnesota.

The suburbs are ideal for those who want a small-town vibe with big-city amenities, a quick commute to work in the nearby city, and a yard of their own.

Urban

Urban is a word that connotes different things to different people. It can mean grunge, crime and congestion, or it can bring up images of energy, camaraderie and anonymity.

Urban areas are crowded. In fact, that’s part of the definition of a city: An increased density of humans and their structures make up the urban jungle. The 2010 census tells us that 82 percent of the country’s population lives in urban areas.

A study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B suggests that all this congestion plays havoc on a city dweller’s internal clock. “The researchers say these changes to their biological rhythms could lead to more health problems and shorter lives. The study also found that city living makes us active for longer and less rested,” according to The Independent.

Weigh that problem, however, against the stress of a long commute from the suburbs and it may all work out in the wash.

Examples of major urban areas include New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Medium-sized cities include Fort Wayne, Ind.; Cape Coral, Fla. and El Paso, Texas.

Urban areas are generally more expensive than rural areas, with higher food, housing and transportation costs. Cities are ideal for people who crave convenience, proximity to other people and instant gratification.

Rural

If it’s not a city and it’s not a suburb, and there are plenty of wide-open spaces, you are in a rural community. In fact, 98 percent of the United States is considered rural, yet only 25 percent of our population lives there.

Experts break down rural areas into villages, with a population between 200 and 800; hamlets, with populations less than 200 and isolated dwellings with just one or two buildings for a family – such as a farm.

Rural areas offer solitude and less crime than you’ll find in both urban and suburban settings. Agriculture is the primary industry here, so if you fancy yourself a rancher or farmer, this might be the ideal location for you.

Although most Americans live in cities, most of the world’s population lives in rural areas, according to National Geographic. Rural areas tend to be less expensive compared to urban and suburban areas.

Examples of our nation’s rural areas include Alpine County, Calif.; Lincoln County, Mont. and Addieville, Ill.

Deciding where to live has to do with your budget, your job and the type of lifestyle you’re seeking. Downtown, the lights are bright and the hustle and hum may be soothing to some. Others crave dark, starry nights and the sounds of wildlife. Still others want the best of both of those worlds and choose the spot in between.

Life is full of compromises and the debate over which offers more – suburban, urban or rural – will continue. In the end, it all comes down to individual preference.

 

Source: Realty 101

Should I Buy a Home Now?

by Trident Realty Group Northwest

I'm often asked if this is a good time to buy a home. Some clients are concerned that home prices may fall down the road, while others are convinced that home prices will go up.

Home prices are one factor in determining your cost of ownership, but so are interest rates and financing availability. Even though interest rates have fluctuated, they are still near historic lows. Since your monthly mortgage payment is a combination of paying down your principal and paying the interest owed, a one point rise in interest rates could cost tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage!

While a home is a major investment, it is also the center of your personal life. It's important to live in a home that reflects your taste and values, yet is within your financial "comfort zone." To that end, it may be more important to lock in today's relatively low interest rates while they are still available.

Please give me a call if I can be of any assistance in determining how much home you can afford in today's market.

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Trident Realty Group Northwest
Skyline Properties
702 S. Hill Park Dr #203
Puyallup WA 98374
Direct: (877) 300-7172