This is a short professional reading, audio blog or blogcast from the JasonHartman.com blog. You'll learn how to survive and thrive in today’s economy as business and real estate investment guru, Jason Hartman shows you innovative ways to "game the system" relating to the American economic mess, Wall Street scams, mortgage meltdown, inflation induced debt destruction, deflation and monetary policy. Jason shares his no-hype investment strategies for REO's / foreclosures, auctions, lease options, land contracts, mobile home parks, self-storage facilities, rental apartments, office, retail, industrial, tax liens, loan modifications, credit repair and commercial real estate. Jason Hartman is a self-made multi-millionaire with years of financial experience. He currently owns properties in several states and has been involved in thousands of real estate transactions. Subscribe now for free to learn how to follow in Jason's footsteps for a more abundant life.
CW Blogcast 79 -What’s the Home Buying “Freedom Threshold”?
While everyone’s attention has been focused on the Millennials and their housing choices, it turns out that it may be those famous Baby Boomers who wield more influence in today’s housing market.
According to new article from the Bryan Ellis Investing Letter, research from Merrill Lynch reveals that the “magic age” for housing choices is not those post college years, but one much farther away: age 61. That’s the age when, according to Merrill lynch analysts, people really feel free to choose where they want to live. This “Freedom Threshold” comes at a time when people are able to let personal preferences and not job or family responsibilities dictate where and how they live.
That “golden age” defined by Merrill Lynch falls on the threshold of the traditional American retirement age, typically either 62 or 65. At that point, homeowners are looking ahead to a retirement that’s potentially another quarter century or more long, and they want it to be on their own terms.
The freedom to choose exactly where you want to live isn’t easily accomplished at other ages. Factors like jobs, family obligations and money drive those kinds of decisions at younger ages. For the Millennials born between the 1980s and 2000 or so, choices about housing are driven partly by choice – as a group, they tend to fear being trapped by owning a home when other parts of their lives are subject to great change. But those choices are also limited by economic necessity, such as having to relocate for work, facing limited job opportunities or struggling with student debt.
Fast forward a few years, and somewhat older individuals are making housing choices based on jobs and family. Buying a house and staying in it may not be a matter of personal preference, but of factors like proximity to well paying work, schools or other amenities. Once the nest is empty, these homeowners may feel free to make other choices, but with growing families and career demands those choices end up being postponed.
That, say the researchers at Merrill Lynch, brings us to that magic age of choice, 61. But what people do with the freedom that lies ahead is as varied as the individuals themselves. Some might opt to downsize, selling off a large family home once children are grown and gone in favor of a smaller place. Others might choose the opposite route, upsizing from a small house to a larger one that can accommodate visits from family and friends.
And still others opt out of the homeowner role entirely, choosing to rent a place that offers amenities and takes care of repairs and lawn maintenance. Moving into a mobile home, or hitting the road in an RV or living abroad for a part of the year also appeal to some.
Whatever housing choices these new retirees and near retirees make, they mean movement in the housing market – more movement than in other age groups. And since the Baby Boom generation is second only to the Millennals in size, that “magic age” for housing choices has the potential to drive significant changes in the US housing market – and create new opportunities for investors in rental real estate.
People now nearing that Freedom Threshold aren’t looking for “retirement” or “active living” communities. Only seven percent of those surveyed by Merrill Lynch wanted that kind of living arrangement. They want to live in vibrant, diverse communities close to the amenities they want, such as shopping, dining and entertainment.
Though age related services are somewhat important, such as proximity to health care and the opportunity to stay at home rather than move into assisted living facilities, that’s not as much of a priority for this age group as you might expect. They’re active, engaged and eager to enjoy life.
That’s a trend worth watching for income property investors. The choices made by those who now have the freedo
CW Blogcast 78 - Solving Real Estate’s “Millennials” Problem
The Millennials have taken a lot of heat lately, criticized for poor work ethics, overdependence on technology and general lack of interest in notching up the traditional milestones of “adult” life. Now, as home sales continue to drop, market watchers are looking once again to the attitudes and behaviors of Millennials for explanations.
Millennials - those born between about 190 and 2000 – do account for 76 percent of first time homebuyers. But since as a group they’re postponing home buying and other major life decisions, their numbers aren’t doing much to change the overall slump in first time home purchases.
But according to new statistics reported by Real Estate Consulting, these young people aren’t saying “no” to home purchases as much as “not now.” And their reasons for doing so reflect not the much publicized slacker mindset, but a cautious one inspired by their parents’ struggle with tough economic times.
That wariness to commit to a long-term financial obligation combined with a changing social climate contributes to some of the stereotypes about Millennials’ preference for renting and budgeting for different needs than home buying. And because Millennials now make up the largest demographic group in the United States, second only to the famous Baby Boomers, investors in rental real estate may want to take a closer look at their reasons for doing so.
As just about everyone knows, one pressing problem for Millenials is the much publicized student loan debt. That burden, along with Millennials’ equally well-publicized struggles in the traditional workplace, creates the stereotype of the young college graduate forced to live at home with Mom and Dad while working at a low wage job.
But as Real Estate Consulting reports, that’s not the whole picture. In a culture where life spans are longer than ever and 60 is the new 40, Millennials are postponing all those so-called adult decisions to later points in their lives. They’re marrying later, and having children later too – if they have them at all. Jobs may take them to different places, so settling down can wait a while.
Behind some of those decisions is a very real fear of an uncertain future. Many in this generation have seen their parents and grandparents struggle through the last recession, with lost jobs, low wages, and an economic crash triggered by – what else? – the collapse of the housing market.
So it may not be too surprising that many Millennials see a house not as an investment or a step toward a more secure future, but as a millstone. Buy a home? What if you find a job in another city? What if a future spouse doesn’t like living there? What if you lose your job and can’t find another one to pay the mortgage? And what if you want to travel?
If fear is a factor driving the Millennial aversion to home buying, another, and potentially more important, one is simply shifting priorities. The world in which this generation came of age is simply a different one than that of their parents – not just financially, but culturally.
Not all Millennials are cash strapped and debt-burdened. They may have the ability to save for a down payment or manage a mortgage, but they’re choosing to put it toward other things such as technology and entertainment services. And they’re questioning the value of house payments when the same amount will cover a rental with amenities like pools, gyms and good location.
A good location too, means easy access to restaurants, shopping and work. Millennials as a group buy fewer cars than previous generations, partly because of debt, but also out of choice, so living close to those amenities is a major factor in choosing a place to live.
All these sometimes contradictory characteristics paint a picture of a generation that sees the world through a different lens than their parents do: cau
CW Blogcast 77 - Where Are The First Time Home Buyers?
The recovery from the much publicized housing crash of a few years ago may be hitting a wall, thanks to declining numbers of a group that’s essential to a robust housing market: first time home buyers.
Although the US housing market continues to show encouraging signs of emerging from the rubble of the 2008 collapse, its long term recovery depends on those first time buyers, who inject new life into the market not just by purchasing new and resale homes, but also by spending money after the purchase on a variety of consumer goods and services. Otherwise, the home buying and selling cycle becomes a closed loop that depends on existing homeowners making the move to sell their houses – and that’s slowing down too.
Overall, the number of US homeowners is at its lowest level in over two decades. And according to new figures reported by Business Insider, the number of first time buyers stands at just 29 percent, down from 40 percent in 1980. Although real estate professionals and market watchers cite a number of factors keeping people from buying their first home, the main reasons are both simple and hard to address: availability and affordability.
One sigh of a recovering housing market is the demand for homes to purchase, and in many areas of the country, demand is outstripping the inventory of available homes for purchase. That’s one reason for the steady rise in home prices – another sign of recovery.
But the scarcity of homes for purchase, along with those rising prices, mean that first time buyers can’t find homes that they can afford. The shortfall in available housing has its roots in the wave of foreclosures that followed the housing crash, which pushed millions of homeowners into foreclosure.
As those foreclosure proceedings crawled through the courts and financial institutions, the properties involved stayed off the market. The “foreclosure pipeline” cleared in fits and starts over the next few years, with some periods of higher inventory followed by shortfall.
The problem was complicated by the efforts of mortgage servicers and brokers holding title to those foreclosed properties. After the crash, institutions including government mortgage giant Fannie Mae and major banks auctioned off their foreclosure holdings quickly in batches to large domestic and foreign investment companies, which used them as rentals.
Those sales kept thousands of homes out of the hands of residential buyers as well as individual investors. What’s more, increasing numbers of existing homeowners, who might in past years have followed the typical pattern of buying a starter home and moving up to a bigger house as careers and finances matured, are opting to stay put.
These homeowners are choosing not to sell for a variety of reasons. Rising home prices may mean that a seller could lose money on a sale, thanks to changes in capital gains taxes and trends in home values. And current low interest rates make refinancing and holding onto an existing home a more attractive option than buying another one.
For those reasons, there’s a short supply of the lower priced starter homes most first time buyers can afford in the areas where they want to live.
Most first time buyers are younger, with a median age of around 30. They’re largely members of that cash strapped millennial generation that’s burdened with student debt and unsure about their employment future. They’re reluctant to take on the commitment of a mortgage and a permanent residence – and they’re putting off life steps like marriage and family.
For many, there are other hurdles too. Even though mortgage lending standards have loosened to encourage more first time buying, for those with heavy debt and uncertain finances, qualifying for a loan may be hard. And even if it’s possible to qualify, making that down payment requires resources they simply don’
CW Blogcast 76 - What’s Behind the Housing Shortage?
By a number of indicators, the US housing market is bouncing back after its massive collapse of 2008. But US homeowner rates are at near historic lows, with few first time buyers. Among the many factors contributing to those low rates are an often overlooked, but essential one: in many areas around the country, there’s a housing shortage: the supply of avaialble homes to buy is lower than the demand.
After the housing collapse put unprecedented numbers of homes into foreclosure and millions of homeowners into crisis, home prices have begun to rise, new regulations on the mortgage industry have reined in the reckless lending practices that contributed to the collapse and the recession that followed.
In the years that followed the collapse, the inventory of available houses for purchase ebbed and flowed, as foreclosures crawled through the legal system. And when they did, banks and other financial institutions often auctioned them off in batches to large domestic and foreign investment firms, without offering access to individual buyers and investors.
In some areas, too, the number of available homes to buy was affected by the “zombie: phenomenon: homes left abandoned by homeowners in trouble, but which hadn’t been formally foreclosed. Add to that a slow recovery for new home starts, and it’s easy to see how a chronic shortage of homes could shadow the nation’s recovery.
But there’s another, often overlooked reason for low inventories in many markets around the country: people who own homes now aren’t selling them – and that’s creating a bottleneck that cuts off first time buyers and high end sellers alike.
One aspect of the American dream of owning a home is the ”starter house.” In the traditional paradigm, young people save up enough to buy a modest first home – the starter where they’d begin raising children and creating a solid career.
Then, when things were looking up financially, they’d move up to a bigger, more lavish house. That pattern might repeat a time or two before retirement, when they’d once again begin contemplating either moving up again or downsizing into a more manageable empty nest.
But current economic conditions mean that that choice is less likely for many Americans. And, as a new article from Inman points out, understanding the dynamics behind the slowdown in selling is key to formulating predictions for the future of the housing supply and trends in home prices.
The rise in prices have an indirect effect of chilling home sales, One reason has to do with US capital gains tax laws, which underwent a major change in May 1997. Before then, if a homeowner sold a house for a profit, that profit was automatically subject to a whopping capital gains tax penalty.
The only way to avoid the capital gains tax was to put the sale money into a property if equal or higher value within two years.
In 1997, though, that all changed, thanks to the Taxpayer Relief Act, which allowed for a one time tax exemption of up to $125,000 in capital gains. That meant that homeowners could sidestep the tax if they bought another house. But as prices rose, fewer could opt to move up to a pricier dwelling because their gains on their existing property would exceed the tax cap and therefore end up costing them money.
Low interest rates also play a role in keeping homeowners from selling. If owners have refinanced a home thanks to those historic low rates it’s less likely they’ll be willing to put the property up for sale and risk facing higher rates on a new purchase. Those values are still not at peak, so as they continue to climb, those homeowners won’t be interested in selling. /
What’s more, according to Inman, changing property valuations since the crash sent those values plummeting could play a role in keeping houses off the market. Homeowners may be holding on to their prope
CW Blogcast 75 - Investing: 4 Trends For the Future
Fifteen years can seem like a pretty long time – and the year 2030 sounds like a date from a science fiction novel. But the future is now – and, as a recent article from Business Insider reports, today’s emerging trends will shape the investing landscape of tomorrow.
According to Business Insider, KPMG, the international tax and financial advisory consortium, recently released a report detailing likely changes in the financial and investing fields over the next fifteen years, and their potential impact on the world of investing in all its forms. While many of KPMG’s predictions are directed to investment firms and financial advisers, investors in income property can find new opportunities by following the future too.
The research conducted by KMPG finds four factors that shape megatrends in investing – and in just about every industry: changes in demographics, technology, social behavior and the availability of resources. Those “big picture” shifts affect a variety of smaller changes that lay the groundwork for a very different investing landscape.
The seeds of those megatrends have already been planted. Trends shaping the investing world of today are only expected to accelerate heading into the next decade and beyond. Among them: changing dynamics in the provider-consumer relationship, increased use of mobile technology and social media, and psycho-technological innovations like virtual reality applications and gamification.
We’ve already seen how the Internet and social media have changed the way people buy real estate. It’s possible to find properties online and do the entire buying process without the need for any kind of real estate professional. Buyers and renters can search for properties anywhere, anytime, and innovations in virtual reality technology allow them to take customized virtual tours and even “try on” various décor and remodeling options.
The use of social media and online contacts also points to a shift in attitudes about doing business. In a world where fraud and scams are easier than ever, trust and authenticity are essential – and businesses and individuals who cultivate credibility and honesty stand out.
It’s also a world of increasing audience engagement, as buyers and sellers become more independent and willing to educate themselves rather than depending on advisers and other professionals to make their decisions for them. In fact, by 2030, some financial professions may all but disappear, their place taken by independent consumers with the tools to do the job themselves.
The investing world of the future is also likely to be far more mobile and global than ever, as technology puts people in touch from around the globe and transactions can be conducted with the click of a mouse or the keys of a smartphone.
The investing world of a few years from now will also be affected by changes in available resources. Current climate events like the ongoing severe drought in California will push development and real estate prices in new directions, and the current shortage of available homes for purchase could create major changes in who buys homes, and where.
The availability (or lack thereof) of energy sources also plays a role. The recent drop in oil production hit some oil dependent cities hard, and other changes in the supply of energy and other resources, combined with other economic and social factors, could mean major changes in real estate and other kinds of investments.
Changing demographics, along with changes in societal values, may also mean big shifts in how people buy, save and allot their resources. In fifteen years, today’s “millennials” will be approaching midlife – and they’re now the largest demographic group in the US. Their choices – and those of other generations too – are shaped by changing values about consumerism, the environment and o
CW Blogcast 74 - Inflation: An Investor’s Friend?
The specter of inflation strikes chills into the hearths of many consumers – even more than its cousin, deflation. But not all inflation is created equal – and for both the economy at large and for income property investors, some inflation can be a very good thing indeed.
Consumers fear inflation because to them it means higher prices for the goods they buy every day. In oth4er words, the dollar doesn’t go as far as it once did. And most people don’t give much thought to inflation’s opposite number, deflation, which economists and financial experts consider far worse.
Inflation is measured a number of different ways. The Consumer Price Index tracks how much it costs in a given period to buy a specific amount of tangible goods. Those figures are expressed in two different kinds of inflation – headline and core.
Headline inflation is the kind most of us worry about – the rate of inflation in prices for all kinds of goods, both those with relatively fixed prices such as clothing and “volatile” goods like energy and food, whose prices can change considerably due to a variety of shifting factors.
Core inflation, on the other hand, measures the costs of stable goods only. It doesn’t take into account the prices of those volatile goods, and some economists consider it a more accurate representation of actual inflation. Others argue that since core inflation numbers exclude food and fuel, those stats give a skewed impression of that actual inflation that hits American consumers and drives monetary policy.
There are other models for tracking inflation, too, and some financial experts are calling for more investment into using them. But these models only chart how much inflation is affecting consumer buying power and business prosperity. They don’t reveal the effects of inflation on individuals and the economy – or what to do about it.
Inflation has a variety of causes. According to a recent Business Insider article on the history of inflation for over a century, the US economy underwent cycles of severe inflation after the two World Wars, and has gone through a number of milder cycles of inflation and deflation since then. Severe deflation led to the Great Depression of the thirties and is associated with other tough economic times over the years.
That’s why the Federal Reserve has decided that a little inflation is better for the economy than none at all. And though it may seem like callous disregard for the every day consumer, the Fed aims to keep the economy in a slight state of inflation – ideally, around two percent a year.
That rate, as the Fed sees it, is just enough to keep prices and wages relatively high and prevent a slide into deflation and ultimately recession as prices fall and so do wages in the dreaded deflationary spiral. To do this, the Fed sets federal fund rates, the rates for bank-to-bank lending. While that doesn’t impact consumers directly, its effects trickle down in the form of rates for long-term loans – such as mortgages.
If some inflation benefits the economy as whole, it can also be a boon for investors in income property, since real estate can be a hedge against inflation. Rising prices can increase the real value of property over time, and that means higher resale values.
A positive inflation model assumes higher wages along with higher prices, so investors in rental real estate can charge higher rents. But the most significant benefit of inflation for investors is the lower “cost” of a mortgage.
If you purchase an investment property with a long term fixed rate mortgage, as Jason Hartman recommends, your mortgage payment will stay the same, but it takes less of a bite over time. Higher prices and higher rents make it easier for those rents to cover mortgage payments, and the real value of the debt goes down. That’s another reason to leverage the power
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This blogcast format is the ideal thing for people like me who don’t have enough time to read the blog. Love it!
Love the blogcast format
The Creating Wealth blogcast saves me soo much time, espeically since I have long commute hours and can't spend a lot of time reading the blog. Thanks Jason! Fantastic idea.