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Dori Wick
REALTOR®
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Date Archives: October 2020

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October
14

From Our Lending Partners at Idaho Central Credit Union

 

 

Home Sales Surge Nationwide

 

Overview: Over the past week, the primary economic news came from the surprisingly strong housing sector. Mortgage rates experienced some volatility during the week but ended with little net change. 


The past week's housing data has again revealed that recovery from the economic impact of the coronavirus has been much faster than anticipated. In July, sales of previously owned (existing) homes, which make up about 90% of the market, unexpectedly jumped a record 25% from May to the best level since 2006. National median existing-home prices were up 9% from a year ago. A shortage of inventory remained the primary trouble spot, as the number of homes for sale was at just a 3.1-month supply nationally, well below the 6.0-month supply that is considered a healthy balance between buyers and sellers.

New home sales, which account for the remaining 10% of the market, also far exceeded the consensus forecast. In July, they too rose to the best level since 2006 and were 36% higher than a year ago. Unlike existing home sales, which are based on closings, new home sales measure contracts signed during the month.

On August 12, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) unexpectedly announced that a new refinance fee of 0.5% will be assessed for cash-out and no-cash-out refinances sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac after September 1. Many members of the mortgage industry quickly expressed strong disapproval of the new policy. In response, the FHFA announced on Wednesday that the implementation date for the new 0.5% fee will be postponed from September 1 to December 1 and that refinance loans with loan balances below $125,000 will be exempted.

Looking ahead, investors will continue focusing on news about medical advances to fight the pandemic, government stimulus programs, Federal Reserve monetary actions, and the pace of the reopening of the economy.

 

October
13

Ada County's Fast-Paced Real Estate Market Continued in September

 

Home Prices Rise Again in September

By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

 

Home prices in Ada County were up again in September — a result of the competitive housing market which is being fueled by low mortgage rates and limited supply compared to demand.

The overall median sales price, including existing and new home sales, reached $409,945 last month, an increase of 17.2% year-over-year.

According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was at 2.9% in September, a decrease of 19.7% compared to the same month a year ago. While the actual interest rate a borrower receives is based on a variety of factors, the very low rates, as well as increasing rents (as reported by BoiseDev) may be encouraging more people to consider a home purchase.

One way to measure that supply vs. demand relationship is with the Months Supply of Inventory metric (or MSI) with a balanced market tracking at 4-6 months of supply. In September, MSI was at just 0.4 months, meaning, if no additional homes were listed for sale, Ada County would run out of homes to buy in under two weeks.

Homes are also going under contract faster — another indicator of a competitive market. In September, existing homes spent an average of only 17 days on the market, compared to 26 days in September 2019.

REALTORS® are a homebuyer's best resource to help navigate inventory options and offer strategies, as well as help sellers' field multiple offers or coordinate a simultaneous sale and purchase. They can also help connect consumers with lenders and other financial resources. Whether you are just getting started and you need help finding a lender or down payment assistance, or if you're pre-approved and ready to find your next home, a REALTOR® can provide valuable expertise and guidance.

To view the Treasure Valley Market Report for September, CLICK HERE.

 

October
12

Zoo Boise - One of Idaho's Greatest Gems

 

History, Conservation, and Fun

There's a lot to see and do at Zoo Boise, whether you take a lunch-hour stroll, or make it a family outing. There's a fascinating history, as well as much to learn, too. You might even say Zoo Boise has definitely evolved. In fact, the zoo came about almost by accident.

 

Exotic birds and an escaped circus chimp!

In 1916, Zoo Boise began as a menagerie to house a collection of exotic birds and an escaped circus chimp. For the last 100 years, Zoo Boise has continued to grow, adding new exhibits and programs to become a community treasure that provides a wonderful educational and recreational opportunity for more than 340,000 visitors annually making Zoo Boise one of the largest attractions in the state.

Unfortunately, as Zoo Boise has grown, so have the threats facing animals in the wild.  Elephants, lions, tigers, rhinos, gorillas, pandas, polar bears, and countless others—all face extinction within a couple of decades.

For Zoo Boise, simply being a nice place to bring your family to learn about animals is no longer enough. We had to do more in order to address this crisis that threatens the world's most iconic species, the same species our children hold so dear.

 

Zoo Boise turns the act of visiting a zoo into a conservation action!

In 2007, Zoo Boise became the first zoo in the country to create a conservation fee. The 50¢ fee, charged in addition to the admission price, was designed to fund conservation projects taking place in Idaho and around the world. More importantly, it changed the purpose of a zoo visit—empowering visitors to help save the very creatures they were seeing.

Additional mechanisms were created, including a conservation fee on memberships, the chance to feed a giraffe or a bear in exchange for a small fee, the opportunity to take a conservation cruise to see monkeys or feed goats and sheep in our Zoo Farm. All these little conservation fees, multiplied by our hundreds of thousands of visitors, have now generated $3 million to date for the conservation of animals around the world.

While we all care about animals and want to protect them in the wild, knowing how to help can be a challenge. So, Zoo Boise has redefined itself as a vehicle to help our visitors save endangered species. Now, when families visit Zoo Boise, they don't just see animals, they help save them as well.

Learn more by visiting www.zooboise.org/conservation.

 

Gorongosa National Park Exhibit and other iconic species!

Zoo Boise is home to more than 100 different species including lions, tiger, giraffes, sloths, penguins, bald eagle, snow leopards, spider monkeys, Komodo dragon, and red pandas.

In 2019, Zoo Boise opened its brand new Gorongosa National Park Exhibit! Gorongosa was once one of the greatest parks in Africa but was destroyed during 25 years of war in Mozambique. Zoo Boise is part of a partnership to rebuild the park, increasing animal populations while also addressing the needs of the very poor people who live nearby.

Besides housing amazing animals like Nile crocodiles and baboons, the exhibit also tells the story of the agricultural, medical, and education programs that are in place to partner with the people of Mozambique.

Ever-evolving, Zoo Boise is a fantastic place for everyone in groups or by oneself. Make a plan to visit today!

*************

The City of Boise is closely monitoring COVID-19. Zoo Boise is following City recommended guidelines and policies for the safety of our guests, employees, and animal collection. Advance tickets may be required. Visit www.zooboise.org to learn more about current ticketing and operating guidelines and to find out what exhibits, animal encounters, buildings, and play structures are currently open or closed.

 

October
8

Trending: Antivirus Software

 

Steps to Keeping Your PC Safe from Viruses and Malware

From Your Friends at Integrity Computer Consulting and Repair

 

With our current and daily compounding reliance on technology and computers to work, pay bills, shop, attend school, etc., protecting your computer from viruses and malware is paramount, especially if you are using a PC that has Windows.  There are so many advertisements out there for so many different varieties of anti-virus software, so which do you choose?  What is the best way to keep your computer clean and your data, and, essentially, your identity, safe?

 

Your first line of defense is keeping your computer up to date. 

Do not ignore the notifications that pop up on the taskbar!  Windows Update and Security Center notifications are located down by the clock.  If you see the Windows Update notification displayed, left-click on it, and select your restart option to make sure updates are applied.  We do not recommend hiding the notification.  Click on Open Windows Update if you want to view the updates that are being installed. 

 

If there is a yellow exclamation on the Windows Security shield icon, right-click on it to open the Windows Security Center

Items or settings that need to be addressed will be listed on the next screen.

 

The second line of defense is having virus protection.

We recommend the free onboard virus protection that comes with Windows 10, Windows Defender.  It works very well with the firewall settings in Windows as it is a Microsoft product.  We often find that paid versions of antivirus software (McAfee, AVG, Norton, etc.) are not only system resource hogs that can and do bog down the performance of your PC, but they often cause issues with other programs and settings.  They also can be costly, and many try to rope you into automatic renewals that automatically charge your card, monthly, or yearly.  The free stuff in this case, works just as well, if not better, than the paid options.

 

The third line of defense is having malware removal software. 

Even with everyday, regular browsing on the internet, you can pick-up not only viruses, but straggler programs, junk, and malware; malware removal software will remove all those things.  We recommend the free version of MalwareBytes.  If you want real-time protection and can't commit to manually opening the program and scanning regularly, MalwareBytes has a paid version. However, the same applies here as well; it's a bit more of a hefty program and constantly runs in the background which can – and often does – affect a computer's performance.

 

If you have any questions about anything above, would like help with your Mac, need help installing or uninstalling any programs, removing malware, or viruses, you can always check in with us! These things can also be done remotely. Please contact our office via phone at 208.288.4345 or email info@integrityidaho.com if you need immediate assistance.

October
5

National Cookie Month: Bakeries in Boise You'll Love

Bakeries in Boise

Visiting Boise homes for sale and need something for your sweet tooth? You're in luck!

National Cookie Month is coming in October – and our real estate agents sure won't blame you for stopping at multiple bakeries to celebrate. After all, Boise is chock full of family-owned bakeries that provide delicious and imaginative cakes, cupcakes, and (of course) cookies.

If you're out on the town, you can visit your favorite bakery to enjoy all of the sights and smells that go into making your treat. Or, if you're in a hurry, many Boise bakeries now do local delivery and fast in-store pickup. Just call your order in or use the bakery website.

Warm, soft, delicious cookies will be waiting whenever you're ready!

With so many bakeries to choose from, it's hard to know where to start – especially if you just moved into the area. But we hope this list will help you find your new favorite bakery in Boise:

  1. Sweet Valley Cookie Co. – 4103 West State Street, Boise, ID 83703
    Sweet Valley Cookie Co. is a full-service bakery with local delivery. Most goods are sold by the dozen, including an array of unforgettable cookies: From chocolate chip to chocolate crinkle, frosted sugar, ginger, lemon burst, and more. One of the most popular products is the 18-inch Brookie ("brownie cookie"), which is emerging as a new mainstay for birthday parties.
  2. One Haute Cookie – 257 East State Street, Eagle, ID 83616
    Just about twenty minutes from Boise, minutes from Eagle homes for sale stands One Haute Cookie. Founded in 2010, it has established a dedicated following through its delightful cookie sets, special orders, and baking classes where you can learn cookie secrets from the pros. The fresh-baked cookie sets run the gamut from birthday, holiday, and housewarming themes with a range of classic flavors.
  3. Pastry Perfection – 5855 North Glenwood Street, Garden City, ID 83714
    A long-time local institution, Pastry Perfection has been around since 1983 and is still going strong. Right around the corner from Garden City homes for sale, "choice and variety" are the watchwords here. Pastry Perfection creates donuts, cookies, Danishes, coffee cakes, and much more every day. Don't miss out on the coconut macaroons, chocolate dipped butter cookies, or English crunch.
  4. Marsh Cakes – 611 East State Street, Eagle, ID 83616
    Best known for its award-winning wedding cakes, Marsh Cakes goes the extra mile in quality with everything it does. Its artisanal, small-batch cookies are based on its beloved cake recipes and reflect a creative approach to flavor. Sea salt chocolate chip is the Marsh Cakes take on America's most beloved cookie, while their birthday cake flavor brings the sugar cookie to a scrumptious new level.
  5. Goldy's Corner – 625 West Main Street, Boise, ID 83702
    Goldy's Corner is a hangout spot with a relaxed atmosphere. It welcomes leisurely visits to study, chat, or even hold a meeting. While you can find all kinds of drinks and snacks here, the pastry menu truly stands out. It offers a showcase of traditional, gluten-free, and vegetarian baked goods. Brownies, cakes, muffins, and even pastry bars round out the selection of more than a dozen cookie varieties.

Around Boise, Eagle, Garden City, and all throughout the area, you'll never find yourself far from a sweet indulgence. For fresh-baked information on local real estate opportunities, contact us today.

October
3

Lowest Mortgage Rates In History: What It Means for Homeowners & Buyers

In July, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell below 3% for the first time in history.1 And while many have rushed to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity, others question the hype. Are today's rates truly a bargain?

While average mortgage rates have drifted between 4% and 5% in recent years, they haven't always been so low. Freddie Mac began tracking 30-year mortgage rates in 1971. At that time, the national average was 7.31%.2 As the rate of inflation started to rise in the mid-1970s, mortgage rates surged. It's hard to imagine now, but the average U.S. mortgage rate reached a high of 18.63% in 1981.3

Fortunately for home buyers, inflation normalized by October 1982, which sent mortgage rates on a downward trajectory that would bring them as low as 3.31% in 2012.3 Since 2012, 30-year fixed rates have risen modestly, with the daily average climbing as high as 4.94% in 2018.4

So what's causing today's rates to sink to unprecedented lows? Economic uncertainty.

Mortgage rates generally follow bond yields, because the majority of U.S. mortgages are packaged together and sold as bonds. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to dampen the economy and inject volatility into the stock market, a growing number of investors are shifting their money into low-risk bonds. Increased demand has driven bond yields—and mortgage rates—down.5

However, according to National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, "the number one driver of low mortgage rates is the accommodating Federal Reserve stance to keep interest rates low and to buy up mortgage-backed securities." According to Yun, "we will see mortgage rates stay near this level for the next 18 months because of the significance of the Fed's stance."6

How do low mortgage rates benefit current homeowners?

Low mortgage rates increase buyer demand, which is good news for sellers. But what if you don't have any plans to sell your home? Can current homeowners benefit from falling mortgage rates? Yes, they can!

A growing number of homeowners are capitalizing on today's rock-bottom rates by refinancing their existing mortgages. In fact, refinance applications have surged over the past few months—and for a good reason.7 Reduced interest rates can save homeowners a bundle on both monthly payments and total payments over the lifetime of a mortgage.

The chart below illustrates the potential savings when you decrease your mortgage rate by just one percentage point. When it comes to refinancing, the bigger the spread, the greater the savings.

Estimated Monthly Payment On a 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage

Be sure to factor in any prepayment penalties on your current mortgage and closing costs for your new mortgage. For a refinance, expect to pay between 2% to 5% of your loan amount.8 You can divide your closing costs by your monthly savings to find out how long it will take to recoup your investment, or use an online refinance calculator. For a more precise calculation of your potential savings, we'd be happy to connect you with a mortgage professional in our network who can help you decide if refinancing is a good option for you.


How do low mortgage rates benefit home buyers?

We've already shown how low rates can save you money on your mortgage payments. But they can also give a boost to your budget by increasing your purchasing power. For example, imagine you have a budget of $1,500 to put toward your monthly mortgage payment. If you take out a 30-year mortgage at 5.0%, you can afford a loan of $279,000.

Now let's assume the mortgage rate falls to 4.0%. At that rate, you can afford to borrow $314,000 while still keeping the same $1,500 monthly payment. That's a budget increase of $35,000!

If the rate falls even further to 3.0%, you can afford to borrow $355,000 and still pay the same $1,500 each month. That's $76,000 over your original budget! All because the interest rate fell by two percentage points. If you've been priced out of the market before, today's low rates may put you in a better position to afford your dream home.

On the other hand, rising mortgages rates will erode your purchasing power. Wait to buy, and you may have to settle for a smaller home in a less-desirable neighborhood. So if you're planning to move, don't miss out on the phenomenal discount you can get with today's historically-low rates.


How low could mortgage rates go?

No one can say with certainty how low mortgage rates will fall or when they will rise again. A lot will depend on the trajectory of the pandemic and subsequent economic impact.

Forecasters at Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association predict 30-year mortgage rates will average 3.2% and 3.5% respectively in 2021.9,10 However, economists at Fannie Mae expect them to dip even lower to an average of 2.8% next year.11

Still, many experts agree that those who wait to take advantage of these unprecedented rates could miss out on the deal of a lifetime. It's hard to imagine that rates may drop even lower. Positive news about a vaccine or a faster-than-expected economic recovery could send rates back up to pre-pandemic levels.


How can I secure the best available mortgage rate?

While the average 30-year mortgage rate is hovering around 3%, you can do a quick search online and find advertised rates that are even lower. But these ultra-low mortgages are typically reserved for only prime borrowers. So what steps can you take to secure the lowest possible rate?

1. Consider a 15-Year Mortgage Term

Lock in a low rate by opting for a 15-year mortgage. If you can afford the higher monthly payment, a shorter mortgage term can save you a bundle in interest, and you'll pay off your home in half the time.12

2. Give Your Credit Score a Boost

The economic downturn has made lenders more cautious. These days, you'll probably need a credit score of at least 740 to secure their lowest rates.13 While there's no fast fix for bad credit, you can take steps to help your score before you apply for a loan:14

● Dispute inaccuracies on your credit report.
● Pay your bills on time, and catch up on any missed payments.
● Hold off on applying for new credit.
● Pay off debt, and keep balances low on your credit cards.
● Don't close unused credit cards (unless they're charging you an annual fee).

3. Make a Large Down Payment

The more equity you have in a home, the less likely you are to default on your mortgage. That's why lenders offer better rates to borrowers who make a sizable down payment. Plus, if you put down at least 20%, you can avoid paying for private mortgage insurance.

4. Pay for Points

Discount points are fees paid to the mortgage company in exchange for a lower interest rate. At a cost of 1% of the loan amount, they aren't cheap. But the investment can pay off over the long-term in interest savings.

5. Shop Around

Rates, terms, and fees can vary widely amongst mortgage providers, so do your homework. Contact several lenders to find out which one is willing to offer you the best overall deal. But be sure to complete the process within 45 days—or else the credit inquiries by multiple mortgage companies could have a negative impact on your credit score.16


Ready to take advantage of the lowest mortgage rates in history?

Mortgage rates have never been this low. Don't miss out on your chance to lock in a great rate on a new home or refinance your existing mortgage. Either way, we can help.

We'd be happy to connect you with the most trusted mortgage professionals in our network. And if you're ready to start shopping for a new home, we'd love to assist you with your search—all at no cost to you! Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.

 

Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 08/14/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 08/14/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of INTERMOUNTAIN MLS (last updated Sun 08/14/2022 8:13:58 PM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Coldwell Banker Tomlinson may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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