7 per cent rise for US home prices
Home prices nationwide increased by almost 7 per cent in the year to December 2016 with the median price reaching $193,800, Zillow says.
The fastest pace of growth was in Portland at 13.8 per cent year-over-year with near-12 per cent gains for Tampa, Seattle and Dallas. Orlando and Detroit also saw price gains in double figures.
"Home values ended 2016 growing at their fastest pace of the year, which could be an indication of what to expect in 2017," said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. "Lack of inventory will remain a major concern for home buyers this year. Especially lack of available entry-level homes coupled with high demand will continue to rapidly drive up home values in the near future.
With supply down 4.6 per cent in December 2016 compared to a year earlier, while more first-timers may be tempted to become owners as rents rise, inventory will continue to be a barrier to homeownership. Dr Gudell says that there are some key things buyers should do.
“Buyers should make sure they get pre-approved for a mortgage, and be prepared to move quickly, especially in hot markets like Seattle and Portland. It's not uncommon for buyers to make at least two offers during their home search," he said.
BMO Harris Bank announces help for Illinois’ underwater owners
Homeowners in Illinois who owe more than the appraised value of their home can now get assistance from BMO Harris Bank which has announced its participation in the state’s I-Refi program.
The program allows eligible homeowners to reduce the balance on their mortgage by up to $50,000 and refinance into a new affordable loan based on their current appraised value.
"We want to encourage our customers who owe more on their mortgage than what their home is worth to speak with one of our BMO Harris Mortgage Bankers to learn more about this program," said Alexandra Dousmanis-Curtis, Group Head, U.S. Retail and Business Banking, BMO Harris Bank.
The I-Refi program is administered through the Illinois Housing development Authority.
Trump effect: More Americans eye homes north of the border
There’s been an increase in American searches for homes in Canada according to real estate brokerage Royal LePage.
The firm says searches surged 329 per cent the day after Donald Trump was elected and continued to outpace the previous year; 210 per cent up in the week following the election, 70 per cent higher for November and 40 per cent for the fourth quarter.
"The United States was already a top source for immigration into Canada, and now in the period following the recent U.S. election, we are witnessing a material bump in American interest in Canadian real estate," said Phil Soper, president and chief executive officer, Royal LePage.
Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec lead the regions searched for by potential homebuyers from the US.