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Judi Ross
Re/Max Savannah

350 Hodgson CT
Savannah, GA 31406
Office:  912-355-7711
Judi's Direct Phone: 912-657-8070
Email: judi@judiross.com

Welcome & Thank You For Visiting
"Focused On What Matters Most To You"

Welcome to Savannah, Georgia's First City, a historic city with a revered past, a vibrant present and an exciting future. Savannah has an atmosphere and charm fostered by residents who have cherished and preserved its past. Our love of history is embodied in the beautifully restored homes, churches and public buildings that grace the city's unique, tree-filled squares, and that affection has given rise to a tourism industry that's boomed dramatically since the mid-90s. 
Energized by the upsurge in tourism and other positive economic factors, we have entered the 21st century in the enviable position of being able to use our past to enhance our present and future. Our Landmark Historic District is in the midst of a commercial revitalization that is spreading to the midtown Victorian District and spilling over into the eastside islands, the fast-growing Southside and the industrialized areas west of Savannah. 
Savannah is not only a top tourist destination but also an ideal city for business or family. Our diverse economy forms a strong business and employment base ranging from manufacturing to distribution, from tourism to military, from healthcare to port operations and retail sectors. Savannah is home to Hunter Army Airfield and Fort Stewart military bases. Combined the two bases employee more than 42,000 people and generate an annual direct federal expenditure of $1.4 billion dollars.


 


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simplifying the Market

How Scary is the Housing Affordability Index?

How Scary is the Housing Affordability Index? | Simplifying The Market

Some industry pundits are saying that the housing market may be heading for a slowdown. One of the data points they use is the falling numbers of the Housing Affordability Index, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Here is how NAR defines the index:

“The Housing Affordability Index measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national level based on the most recent price and income data.”

Basically, a value of 100 means a family earning the median income earns enough to qualify for a mortgage on a median priced home, based on the price and mortgage interest rates at the time. Anything above 100 means the family has more than enough to qualify.

The higher the index the easier it is to afford a home.

Why the concern?

The index has been declining over the last several years as home values increased. Some are concerned that too many buyers could be priced out of the market. Here is a snapshot of the index since 2009:

How Scary is the Housing Affordability Index? | Simplifying The Market

But, wait a minute…

Though the index has decreased over the last four years, we must realize that at that time there was an overabundance of housing inventory and as many as one out of three listings was a distressed property (foreclosure or short sale). All prices dropped dramatically and distressed properties sold at major discounts. Then, mortgage rates fell like a rock.

The market is recovering and values are coming back nicely. That has caused the index to fall.

However, let’s remove the crisis years and look at the current index as compared to the index from 1990 – 2008. We can see that, even though prices have increased, historically low mortgage rates have put the index in a better position than every year for the nineteen years prior to the crash.

How Scary is the Housing Affordability Index? | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

The Housing Affordability Index is in great shape and should not be seen as a challenge to the real estate market’s continued recovery.

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Housing Market Slowing Down? Don’t Tell Builders!

Housing Market Slowing Down? Don’t Tell Builders! | Simplifying The Market

Many experts have been calling upon home builders to ramp up construction to help with the lack of existing inventory for sale. For the past two months, new home sales have surged, with July’s total coming in at the highest since October 2007.

The latest estimates from the US Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development show that sales in July were 31.3% higher than this time last year, and 12.4% higher than last month, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 654,000. 

Zillow’s Chief Economist, Svenja Gudell, echoed the reaction of some as she commented:

“July(‘s) new home sales data was a surprise, but a welcome one. For years, the market has been practically begging builders to both ramp up their efforts overall and to put more focus on serving the less expensive end of the market. Today's data confirms both are happening in earnest.”

The National Association of Home Builder’s (NAHB) Chairman, Ed Brady, didn’t seem as surprised:

“This rise in new home sales is consistent with our builders’ reports that market conditions have been improving. As existing home inventory remains flat, we should see more consumers turning to new construction.”

NAHB’s Chief Economist, Robert Dietz, believes this is just the start for new home sales if market conditions continue:

“July’s positive report shows there is a need for new single-family homes, buoyed by increased household formation, job gains and attractive mortgage rates. This uptick in demand should translate into increased housing production throughout 2016 and into next year.”

The existing home sales numbers for July will be released today and will shed more light on the overall health of the housing market.

Bottom Line

New home sales hit their highest mark in over 9 years. Buyers are out in force to find a home that fits their needs. Many are turning to new construction, as the inventory of existing homes has not been able to keep up with demand.

20160824-STM-Share.jpg (image/jpeg, MB)

2 Myths About Mortgages That May Be Holding Back Buyers

2 Myths About Mortgages That May Be Holding Back Buyers | Simplifying The Market

Fannie Mae’s “What do consumers know about the Mortgage Qualification Criteria?” Study revealed that Americans are misinformed about what is required to qualify for a mortgage when purchasing a home.

Myth #1: “I Need a 20% Down Payment”

Fannie Mae’s survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 76% of Americans either don’t know (40%) or are misinformed (36%) about the minimum down payment required.

Many believe that they need at least 20% down to buy their dream home. New programs actually let buyers put down as little as 3%.

Below are the results of a Digital Risk survey of Millennials who recently purchased a home.

2 Myths About Mortgages That May Be Holding Back Buyers | Simplifying The Market

As you can see, 64.2% were able to purchase their home by putting down less than 20%, with 43.8% putting down less than 10%!

Myth #2: “I need a 780 FICO Score or Higher to Buy”

The survey revealed that 59% of Americans either don’t know (54%) or are misinformed (5%) about what FICO score is necessary to qualify.

Many Americans believe a ‘good’ credit score is 780 or higher.

To help debunk this myth, let’s take a look at the latest Ellie Mae Origination Insight Report, which focuses on recently closed (approved) loans. As you can see below, 54.1% of approved mortgages had a credit score of 600-749.

2 Myths About Mortgages That May Be Holding Back Buyers | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Whether buying your first home or moving up to your dream home, knowing your options will definitely make the mortgage process easier. Your dream home may already be within your reach.

2-Myths-STM.jpg (image/jpeg, MB)

Whether You Rent or Buy, You’re Paying a Mortgage

Whether You Rent or Buy, You’re Paying a Mortgage | Simplifying The Market

There are some people that have not purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent free, you are paying a mortgage - either yours or your landlord’s.

As The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return.  

That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

Christina Boyle, a Senior Vice President, Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage vs. paying rent:

“With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.”

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ which allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person with that equity.

Interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. Freddie Mac’s latest report shows that rates across the country were 3.43% last week.

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.

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Testimonials Page

When my husband and I first started our house search, we were not completely sure what we wanted. We met with Judi Ross and she spent a great deal of time with us to determine what we needed/wanted, after which she showed us several options (condos, houses), which helped narrow down our search. She expertly guided us through the real estate maze to help us discover the house that was perfect for us. Mrs. Ross has an incredible knowledge of the Savannah area and has an intuitive vision for expertly guiding her clients through the maze of real estate choices in this area. Her experience and vast familiarity of the greater tri-county area make Judi Ross is the consummate real estate agent. Scott and Elaine Nelson
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