State of Torrance Real Estate Market As We Head into 2020

Welcome to our Torrance real estate update for the coming year.   2020 is looking to be another banner year for home sellers as the combination of seemingly endless demand and historically low interest rates means more people will be looking to purchase a home.

View the current homes for sale in Torrance California.

In general the real estate market seems to be slowing down heading into 2020 but for a very odd reason…..each month there are fewer homes hitting the market.  Fewer listings mean fewer home sales.  January saw a very slight uptick in the number of listings so we’re hopeful that is a trend that continues.  Other than that small bump in January, the number of homes for sale has dropped every month since May of 2019

According to Torrance realtor Keith Kyle, “It’s clear that the market is cooling off as there has been an increase in new listings coupled with fewer sales and homes going into escrow since summer.”  The chart above shows that the number of active listings has held pretty steady between 150 and 170 since summer, but the number of sold homes as well as new escrows has continued to decrease.  If this trend continues the market will shift more in favor of buyers and less in favor of sellers.  It’s clearly been a sellers market over the past few years.

The chart below shows the upward trend over the past few months with avarage “months of inventory” of unsold homes on the rise.

What Exactly Is Debt To Income Ratio

One of the key items that a lender takes into consideration when you’re getting pre approved for a loan and during the underwriting process is your debt to income ratio. This tells the lender how much money you owe each month compared with your monthly income to come up with a ratio to determine how much of a risk you are to them.  This ratio comes from adding up all of your debts including mortgages, auto laons, student loans, credit card balances and any other debt you pay off each month to your pre-tax income each month. Lenders have different thresholds that they’ll allow so it’s always good to talk with several lenders.  If you’re not comfortable getting the process started we would be happy to give you several lenders that we’ve worked with and that have earned our trust.

Info On Down Payments for Torrance Home Buyers

One of the big misconceptions with home buyers, especially first time home buyers, is that you need at least 20% down.  That’s often not the case with lenders offering FHA loans with as little as 3.5% down and traditional lenders funding loans with as little at 5%.  The lower amount is much easier if it’s a single family home but there are options:

5 Mortgage Musts for Torrance CA Homebuyers

There are a number of things a buyer needs to do to get a mortgage and the earlier these are done in the process the less stressful the process.  Knowing about your financing abilities eliminates many challenges and stresses that may come up in the home buyer process in Torrance and the loan process for any Southern California home.  Also see how a change in your rate can greatly impact how much of a home you qualify for.  Here are 5 essential steps to successfully navigating the mortgage process:

  1. Get pre-approved:  In a highly competitive housing market, it’s imperative to be pre-approved to give yourself the best chance of an offer being considered.  Most realtors and sellers won’t even consider an offer with financing if a preapproval letter isn’t included.
  2. Choose a realtor that can help mitigate appraisal problems.  A good realtor will meet the appraiser with the most current information in hand.  As a local real estate expert often knows more than the appraiser, the realtor may have insight and information not readily available to the appraiser.
  3. Know your credit score:    It’s not only important to have good credit and know your credit score, but equally important that your credit score stays the same throughout the escrow process.  No big purchases, no opening numerous new credit lines and no late or missed payments.
  4. Review the closing disclosure forms or CD.  Due to regulations, lenders must provide you with a closing disclosure at least 3 days before closing in order to see fees, details, etc.
  5. Make it through underwriting:  Before you get loan clearance and final approval, your mortgage has to go through the underwriting process.  Be ready and supply the underwriters with all requested documents quickly to avoid the stress of needing to ask the seller for extra time.  Most loan contingency periods are 21 days or shorter so time is of the essence in the loan process.

As Interest Rates Rise….how Does it Impact Torrance Home Buyers?

Many prospective home buyers are concerned with rising interest rates.  While the Torrance interest rates in 2018 are still historically very low, the concern is justified.  Higher interest rates mean reduced buying power.  With every slight rise in interest rates, the monthly payment increases reducing the price of a home that a buyer can qualify for.  See the chart below for an idea of how different interest rates impact monthly payment and what a buyer’s income needs to be to qualify.