Listing Courtesy of RE/MAX REALTY GROUP REHOBOTH
In Rehoboth Beach real estate, there are happy words (“sold!”) and there are troubling words (“default”). Because of the associations they conjure up, some phrases just automatically make us happier. Two of the leaders in the positive category are the magical words, ‘vacation home.’ All by themselves, they can trigger a smile. Why not? “Home” is comforting; “vacation” is fun. Put them together in “vacation home” and you’ve got a double positive. It’s a real estate equivalent of Jimmy Buffett’s Cheeseburger in Paradise.
As the economy recovers, some American families are doing more than just smiling at the idea. The Wall Street Journal says that vacation home sales jumped more than 50% in 2014—up from 717,000 the year before. Quicken Loans reports a jump “in both the number and dollar volume of second home mortgage applications.”
To a Rehoboth Beach homeowner with sufficient wherewithal, there are some practical, real life incentives for moving the idea from daydream to the ‘to do’ list. The primary motivation is what comes first to mind. Just as a vacation is a welcome respite from the day-to-day, a vacation home needs to qualify as a destination that is pleasurable in itself. Where that could be differs for everyone, but whether it be the beach, desert, mountain, lake, cultural metropolis or outdoor sporting mecca, any Rehoboth Beach homeowner’s vacation home should be a haven inherently suited to relieving the stress of the workaday world. Although it would seem to be properly classified as a pure luxury expense, vacation homes can be more financially sensible than that.
The Kiplinger web site has a number of observations for vacation home buyers. It finds that some mortgage interest rates on second homes have lowered to first-home rates. Another alternative is the “favorite source” for all-cash purchases: a home equity line of credit. According to Kiplinger, “Mortgage interest on a second home is deductible on as much a $1 million in principal for both homes combined.” If lenders calculate eligibility via the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidelines, a borrower’s total debt payments should not exceed 36% of gross income…but if the second home is to be rented, that income can be part of the calculation.
Which brings up some other possibilities. A vacation home can not only cut down on vacation expenses (hotel and restaurant prices are rising, after all); if rented out some of the time, it can contribute offsets to its cost. To take advantage of IRS rules regarding personal versus rental classification, you should consult a tax expert. Since a quarter of vacation homes are rented out at least some of the year, it’s a tactic that deserves investigation.
Perhaps the advantage that’s talked about most for second home buyers is the contribution it can make toward retirement. If a retiree ultimately converts a vacation home to principal residence, profits from the former home can make a handsome contribution to the retirement nest egg. And if by retirement time that vacation home has been paid for in whole, it can make for an even more pleasing financial picture.
For an Rehoboth Beach resident with sufficient resources, purchasing a vacation home can be a practical as well as emotionally sustaining venture. If it sounds like an idea worth investigating further, talk it over with your financial advisor—and I’ll be standing by to help with any and all real estate considerations! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at email@example.com, visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com.
On January 6, the Senate confirmed Janet Yellen to head the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, making it the first time ever that a woman has led the nation’s most important financial institution. In some respects, it makes her the most powerful woman in the United States.
As with every personnel change in the Fed, Yellen’s rise has fostered plenty of concerns about the direction the Federal Reserve will take under her leadership. Since it’s the institution that determines the federal funds rate—which in turn dictates how much businesses and individuals pay for their loans—any change in Federal Reserve policy has a significant impact on our local home loan rates. Sooner or later, those rates affect just about all of us.
So, what clues do we have about the direction Ms. Yellen is likely to lean? One came just before the financial crisis. Before the financial meltdown, Yellen expressed concerned. In 2005 she is quoted as saying, “Analyses do indicate that house prices are abnormally high, that there is a “bubble" element, even accounting for factors that would support high house prices."
Last year was an excellent one for Delaware real estate, yet according to the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Index, national housing prices are still 20% off the peaks set in 2006. Research from real estate website Trulia shows that U.S. housing is still 4% undervalued (compared with a 39% overvaluation reached at the 2006 peak). Happily, Yellen, an early identifier of the previous housing bubble, has not expressed similar concerns about today’s real estate market.
In 2012, the Federal Reserve’s previous leadership announced an unemployment threshold of 6.5% as the point at which it would consider raising interest rates. During Yellen’s first testimony as Chairman, she stated that the Federal open market committee would likely keep interest rates near zero well past that mark. In Yellen’s view, the “recovery in the labor market is far from complete.” As evidence, Yellen pointed to 7.1 million people who are mired in part time work but who would prefer full time jobs—and to the 3.6 million people who have been unemployed longer than six months.
For Delaware home loan rate watchers concerned that a rise in rates might dent real estate values, the new Chairman has sounded some reassuring notes. In her recent address to the Committee on Financial Services, Yellen explicitly stated that she expects “a great deal of continuity in the FOMC’s approach to monetary policy.” That could mean that interest rates for local home loans might gradually rise, it’s not likely to be precipitous.
The bottom line: dramatic rises in interest rates are unlikely under Yellen’s watch, but those considering getting a home loan who have not yet taken advantage of still low interest rates might do well to consider doing so.
Savvy shoppers; don’t sit on the sidelines, call/text 302-228-7871 or email me, Russell Stucki, REALTOR ® of Beach Real Estate Market to provide detailed information on Delaware homes for sale, investment and commercial properties, luxury and waterfront homes, condos/townhomes, new construction, lots and land, farms and equestrian properties located in but not limited to Bethany, Bethel, Bridgeville, Dagsboro, Delmar, Ellendale, Fenwick Island, Frankford, Georgetown, Greenwood, Harbeson, Laurel, Lewes, Lincoln, Milford, Millsboro, Millville, Milton, Ocean View, Rehoboth Beach, Seaford, Selbyville, Delaware.