Discounted condos create opportunity for first-time homebuyers

Robust appetite for more living space and privacy is keeping a lid on condominium prices, spurring sales in some metros as buyers take advantage of the discounts.

A recent Redfin showed that, on average, the typical US single-family home sold this year was purchased for a premium of $58,000 or 17.3% more than the typical condo – marking the largest premium since Redfin began tracking this data since at least 2013.

Despite a white-hot US housing market amid COVID-19, the condo market “has missed out on much of the gains as homebuyers have left dense cities in search of more space and privacy AKA single-family homes,” Redfin said.

The same is true of Seattle’s housing market, where single-family homes are selling for a 17.9% premium, according to local Redfin real estate agent Forrest Moody.

“Before the pandemic, it was challenging to find a condo in Seattle for less than $500,000,

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Loans And Down Payment Grants For First-Time Home Buyers

Buying a new home can be hard, especially for a first-time homebuyer, and trying to navigate the terminology and determine what programs are best for you can be difficult. Here are some of the most helpful loans and programs for a first-time homebuyer.

FHA Loan

The FHA loan is one of the more popular loan programs in the country, especially for a first-time buyer with lower credit. The FHA loan allows borrowers to get a home without needing a 20 percent down payment; with it, you need as little as 3.5 percent for the down payment. This loan program will allow you to buy a home with a credit score of around 580, much lower than some of the other programs available, and some lenders will give you a  loan with a debt-to-income ratio as high as 55 percent.

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Streamlining a first-time home purchase in a fast-moving market

Amanda and John-Paul Adrian were outbid on three properties in the Washington area while searching for their first home and felt like giving up.

a person walking down a sidewalk in front of a building: Buying a first home can be difficult in normal circumstances, let alone a pandemic. But John-Paul and Amanda Adrian, seen here with their 3-year-old daughter Olivia and their dog Coach, managed to buy this townhouse in Alexandria, Va., through careful planning and budgeting.

© Matt McClain/The Washington Post
Buying a first home can be difficult in normal circumstances, let alone a pandemic. But John-Paul and Amanda Adrian, seen here with their 3-year-old daughter Olivia and their dog Coach, managed to buy this townhouse in Alexandria, Va., through careful planning and budgeting.

Purchasing a home, particularly in the Washington area, can be challenging even during normal times for first-time buyers. Throw in a pandemic and an abnormally hot market — driven by historically low mortgage rates that are exacerbating low inventories and high demand — and it can get downright daunting.


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“This market, in particular, is so competitive,” says Amanda, 34. “I was feeling a little disheartened.”

Still, many first-time buyers are breaking through. By planning carefully, exercising

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The 12 myths of first-time home buying

. —Lesley Becker/Globe staff; Adobe Stock

Here’s what Andrew Hall said about his experience buying his first home: “Annoying.’’

“There was a lot of hearsay’’ in the deal, Hall explained in an e-mail. “I kept wishing I could speak directly with the seller, but he was the fourth party that I was negotiating with: I was the first, my realtor was the second, his realtor was the third, and he was the fourth.’’

Boston-based Lindy Chapman, CEO of DOSS Social Agents and a relocation strategist who knew Hall from when both lived in Dallas, helped him find a new agent in Akron, Ohio, after he decided not to work with his first, whom he found on a listing aggregator website. She said the way today’s first-time buyers approach the process of buying a home is completely different from how the industry actually works.

“Today’s consumer is used to having Uber

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Rollercoaster economy makes Edmonton affordable for first-time buyers

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Driving national averages upward are the traditionally high-priced markets in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, Victoria, and Toronto with its surrounding areas. For example, the Fraser Valley saw apartment condo prices rise over the five-year span by 104 per cent to $437,300 on average. And in the Niagara Region, the benchmark single-family home price rose by 95 per cent over the last five years, or a $239,300 jump in value.

That’s the highest among the segment nationally. In Alberta, Calgary has experienced a similar fate to Edmonton, Haw says.

“Unfortunately, it’s been a rollercoaster in the last decade,” she says about both markets, which were among the hottest in the nation when oil prices were around $100 US a barrel up to the third quarter of 2014.

Both markets, she adds, were showing signs of recovery at the start of the year. Then came COVID-19.

“COVID, unfortunately, pushed Alberta

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Grand Rapids is No. 1 city in America for first-time home buyers, report says

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Looking to buy your first home? Grand Rapids is the place to do it.

That’s according to the financial tech company SmartAsset, which compared 185 of the largest U.S. cities across 12 metrics to determine the best places for first-time home buyers and found Grand Rapids was No. 1.

Metrics were grouped into four categories:

  • Home market favorability (price-to-rent ratio, five-year home value appreciation and foreclosure rate)
  • Affordability (under-45 homeownership rate, down payment-to-income ratio, housing costs as a percentage of income and effective property tax rate)
  • Livability (concentration of dining and entertainment establishments, average commute time and violent crime rate)
  • Employment (unemployment rate and five-year change in median household income).

“With mortgage rates at all-time lows and Americans saving more than ever, now may be a good time for individuals and families considering homeownership to take a serious look at their options,” the report reads. “Buying

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Leasing-Planning for First-time Apartment Rental Expenses

Either you are downsizing, relocating to another city or just ready to move out of your parent's home and you've realized that saving solely for the apartment deposit and credit check fee is not going to allow you to rent that trendy apartment you have been eyeing online. That's usually because first time renters have concentrated solely on the apartment rental expense and do not realize that there are many first-time costs they haven't calculated in their apartment search budget. While some items may vary, depending on the city and regional area you have chosen, the following worksheet lists some of the most common up-front costs.

Up-Front Expenses

    Credit Check fee for apartment application $ _____ Deposit for apartment $ _____ Deposit for pets (if any) $ _____ Deposit for electric service $ _____ Deposit for gas service $ _____ Deposit for telephone service $ _____ Installation fee for cable
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