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Friday, July 24, 2020   /   by Scott Shine

Texas housing sales remain strong despite pandemic

AUSTIN (Texas Realtors) – The mandatory shelter-in-place orders related to COVID-19 caused Texas home sales to decline in 2Q2020, while median price increased, according to Texas Realtors' Texas Quarterly Housing Report.
Home sales declined 9.9 percent to 91,970 homes sold. Statewide, the median price increased 2.9 percent to $252,000.
Of all the homes sold last quarter, 34.6 percent were priced from $200,000 to $299,999, the highest share of sales among all price-class distributions.
"With COVID-19 and the mandatory shut down, the Texas housing market performed as expected in Q2," said Real Estate Center Chief Economist Dr. Jim Gaines. "We have a tighter market compared with last year, causing prices to remain high. However, in June we saw demand pick up with buyers becoming more active and taking advantage of the low interest rates."
Active listings declined 22 percent to 88,337 listings. Texas homes spent an average of 57 days on the market during the same time frame, fiv ...

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020   /   by Scott Shine

6 Perks of Rental Properties for Retirement Income

By Brian Davis
When I was 22 and working in a miserable cubicle, it occurred to me that if I had enough rental income, I could retire by 30. Life didn't work out that way, but not because the premise wasn't sound. Unfortunately, it didn't work out because I invested all my money without knowing what I was doing.
Whether you want to retire at 30 or 80, rental income can help you get there faster. Here's how:
Ongoing Income
In the traditional 20th Century model, you save for retirement over the course of a 40-45 year career. Then you stop working, and gradually spend down your nest egg in retirement, hoping all the while that you don't run out of money before kicking the bucket.
That model comes with all manner of complications. You have to choose a withdrawal rate: what percentage of your nest egg to spend each year on living expenses. You have to worry about sequence risk: the risk of a market crash early in your retirement. All this because you're spending down ...

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Friday, July 17, 2020   /   by Scott Shine

Mortgage Rates fall below 3% for first time since 1971!

WASHINGTON (New York Times) – The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.98 percent this week, falling below 3 percent for the first time since Freddie Mac began tracking the metric in April 1971.
The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low of 2.48 percent. Rates have dropped almost 2 percentage points over the past year and a half, helping drive up homebuying demand and keeping home prices from dropping during the COVID-19-related recession.
For a mortgage in the amount of the national median home price (around $285,000), the rate drops this year would save a borrower more than $100 a month in payments and roughly $50,000 over the course of the loan.
Applications for home-purchase and refinance loans increased 5.1 percent in the past week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

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Monday, July 6, 2020   /   by Scott Shine

U.S. pending home sales see record increase in May

WASHINGTON (National Association of Realtors) – National pending home sales increased 44.3 percent in May—a new record, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
After two previous months of declines, pending home sales are showing a market rebound, with every major region recording a month-over-month increase.
According to NAR, the Pending Home Sales Index increased to 99.6 in May—the highest monthly growth since NAR began the series in January 2001. Since the same time last year, pending home sales have fallen 5.1 percent.
In the South—the region including Texas—pending sales increased 43.3 percent over the month and 1.9 percent over the year.
Real Estate Center Research Data Scientist Gerald Klassen said Texas also saw a surge in pending home sales in May and June.
"It looks like prospective buyers were able to continue virtual shopping during the lockdown and find homes they wanted to purchase," said Klassen. "When the lockdow ...

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Thursday, May 28, 2020   /   by Scott Shine

Texas Ranks High for LOW Taxes

Source: World Population Review - States with Lowest Taxes
We’ve all heard the adage, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes.”
We all know that we have to pay taxes if we live in the United States, but did you know that some states have lower tax rates than others? Some states also may eliminate certain taxes, but often, they’re merely paying more in other types of taxes. Adult citizens in the United States pay a variety of different taxes. We pay taxes to the federal government. We also pay local and state taxes. It isn’t just your annual state tax return, either. We pay property taxes, sales taxes, and other taxes that help fund things like schools, roads, and critical infrastructure.
The organization Tax Foundation released a report in 2018 that evaluated local taxes to determine which states were the most tax-friendly. This report showed that the states with the lowest taxes were:
South Dakota
Louis ...

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