Consumers Still Overestimate Down Payment Requirements

Consumers Still Overestimate Down Payment Requirements


July 2021

The majority of consumers continue to mistakenly believe they need at least a 20% down payment to purchase a home,but the truth is the average down payment among all buyers is just 12%, according to National Association of REALTORS® data.

Younger buyers tend to put down the least: For example, those between the ages of 22 and 30 put down an average of 6%, and those between the ages of 31 and 40 make an average 10% down payment.

Financial experts often say a 20% down payment is ideal because it helps borrowers qualify for a mortgage and avoid the extra costs of private mortgage insurance.

But it’s not always practical advice, especially as affordability dwindles. For example, a 20% down payment on an entry-level single-family home in the Los Angeles area could be between $200,000 and $400,000.

Several conventional lenders allow buyers to purchase a home with a down payment as low as 3%, while some government-backed programs like through the VA issue loans with no money down.

Borrowers may find such options through FHA, USDA, or VA loans as well as down payment assistance programs.

5 Mortgage Trends to Watch


Young adults, in particular, may be missing out on key information to move forward in the housing market.

Two out of three recently surveyed say they are waiting for lower mortgage rates before starting the homebuying process, according to a survey of 1,000 millennials (ages 25 to 40) conducted by Lombardo Homes. However, economists have largely predicted that mortgage rates will edge upwards in the coming weeks. Further, one in four millennials underestimated their buying potential by $150,000 or more, the study finds.

Also, 59% of consumers say they did not know that the seller pays the real estate agents’ commission, the Lombardo Homes survey shows. Respondents also expressed confusion about many real estate terms, such as earnest money, FRM (fixed-rate mortgage), and PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance).

Real estate pros can educate buyers on common terms and financing resources.

After all, home buyers of all ages are more likely to contact a real estate agent before a mortgage lender when they begin the homebuying process, according to NAR’s 2021 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends report.

Source: Most Would-Be Home Buyers Are Wrong About the Down Payment They’ll Need,” The Ascent/Motley Fool (July 11, 2021)


Don’t hesitate to call the Sierra Lifestyle Team for evaluations of your home’s value or to tour homes on the market you have interest in. We are here for you, and Alisa (almost) always answers her cell phone, 530-559-4871.

Nevada County Market Update

Nevada County Market Update

Nevada County Market Update -August 2021

July 2021 was a Seller’s market*

Home For Sale in July 2021: 212 units.

•  Up 7.1% compared to last month
•  Down 26.9% compared to last year

Home Closed in July 2021: 190 units.

•  Up 6.7% compared to last month
•  Down 10.8% compared to last year

Home Placed under Contract in July 2021: 150 units.

•  Down 18.9% compared to last month
•  Down 31.2% compared to last year

*Buyer’s market: more than 6 months of inventory based on closed sales
 Seller’s market: less than 3 months of inventory based on closed sales
 Neutral market: 3 – 6 months of inventory based on closed sales

July 2021 Average For Sale Price is Neutral*

Average For Sale Price (in thousand) in July 2021:$784 

•  Down 2% compared to last month
•  Up 10.1% compared to last year

July 2021 Average Sold Price is Appreciating*

Average Sold Price (in thousand) in July 2021: $662 

•  Up 3.6% compared to last month
•  Up 18.2% compared to last year

*Based on 6 month trend – Appreciating/Depreciating/Neutral


The schools that serve your neighborhood can have a significant impact on your home’s market value.

You may already be familiar with the schools in your immediate area. The map in the link below will spell it all out for you as a quick reference.

For bonus points, click the info button next to each listing. You will find the number of students and staff, expenditures per student, and more.

Does your community make the grade?

A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Heidi Seavers
Loan Officer | NMLS # 724359

(530) 798-6200


Movement Mortgage
1744 E Main St | Grass Valley, CA 95945

Value Of A Good Agent?… Accurate Information!!

Market Minute


August 9, 2021

The economy posted strong signs of further improvement last week with just shy of 1 million new jobs created in July and the lowest level of unemployment since the onset of the pandemic.

In addition, interest rates fell back below 2.8% last week and recently released construction data shows that California is on track to build at least 30% more homes this year than it did in 2020. However, the public health numbers in the state continue to deteriorate at a rapid pace. In addition, buyers continue to become discouraged about housing even as new listings finally start to come online so hard work remains the mantra as the market continues to normalize.

Strong Jobs Report Despite COVID Rebound: Although California will not report on July jobs for several weeks, we can be optimistic because the U.S. jobs recovery last month accelerated with 943,000 new jobs and a post-crisis low for unemployment of 5.4%. That was the strongest month for job creation since last August and marks the second consecutive month with more than 900,000 new jobs. However, rising Coronavirus cases are likely to stifle growth in coming months and California has had two weeks in a row with over 100,000 new unemployment claims filed so the recovery still has a long way to go.

Interest Rates Fall a Bit More: Freddie Mac reported that the typical rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 2.77% last week from 2.80% the previous week. This follows the 10-year Treasury, which also declined to 1.21% last week. Overall, rates are now back to their lowest levels since February and are likely to remain relatively subdued as the effects of rising COVID cases are likely to bolster demand for Treasuries while also causing the Fed to be more cautious about taking too aggressive an approach to monetary policy on what may ultimately prove to be transitory inflation pressures.

California Building Permits Up 32% Through June: So far, California has permitted nearly 60,000 new residential units through the first 6 months of this year. Single-family permits are leading with a 36% increase, but multi-family units are rising by 27% on a year-to-date basis as well. Despite supply chain disruptions and significant increases in the cost of building materials, strong housing demand, Proposition 19, and a renewed passion for homeownership have lured builders back into the market to increase production after a relatively lackluster year in 2020.

Buyer Fatigue Intensifies in July: The number of California consumers that felt it was a good time to purchase a home fell to an all-time low of just 17% last month. This coincides with a new all-time high price in California of almost $820,000 and demonstrates the downside of having a market where new listings cannot keep pace with home sales for such a prolonged period. Rising prices, fierce competition for available homes, and most transactions closing above asking price continues to take its toll on would-be homebuyers in California. Combined with a modest uptick in new inventory and the pressure on each individual listing has also helped to normalize the market—45% of members had 3 or fewer offers on their last sale compared to less than 30% of REALTORS® back in May.

Mortgage Applications Down for 11th Consecutive Week: The number of new purchase applications ended July down 18% from the same week last year. This marks the 11th decline in a row on a year-to-year basis. However, at a value of 273, the index is only slightly behind the 2020 average of 283 and still well ahead of the 2019 annual average of 255. Low rates are helping to maintain demand at relatively high levels, but growth has clearly decelerated.

COVID Numbers Continue to Deteriorate in California: The number of new COVID-19 cases in California rose above 14,000 on Friday as the pace of infection rises. The positivity rate hit its highest level since February with nearly 7% of tests resulting in a positive result while the number of tests is also rising. Hospitalizations are also at their highest levels since early this year. Meanwhile, vaccinations in the state continue to hover in the low-60% range after an initial surge during the spring. Many parts of the state have re-implemented mask mandates and we expect the guidance to continue to evolve over the near term as the situation changes.


Don’t hesitate to call the Sierra Lifestyle Team for evaluations of your home’s value or to tour homes on the market you have an interest in. We are here for you, and Alisa (almost) always answers her cell phone, 530-559-4871.


Time to Act

Time to Act

Time to Act: ‘The State of America’s Housing Stock Is Dire’


June 16, 2021

A “once in a generation” response is needed to address the decades of underinvestment and underbuilding in the housing market, according to a report released on Wednesday by the National Association of REALTORS® and the Rosen Consulting Group.

The nation has faced a shortfall of 5.5 million to 6.8 million housing units since 2001.

The report, Housing Is Critical Infrastructure: Social and Economic Benefits of Building More Housing, highlights the causes of housing shortages and offers potential solutions for federal and local level policymakers.

“There is a strong desire for homeownership across this country, but the lack of supply is preventing too many Americans from achieving that dream,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

“It’s clear from the findings of this report and from the conditions we’ve observed in the market over the past few years that we’ll need to do something dramatic to close this gap.”

The report calls America’s housing stock situation “dire,” with a chronic shortage of affordable and available homes to support the nation’s population.

“A severe lack of new construction and prolonged underinvestment [have led] to an acute shortage of available housing … to the detriment of the health of the public and economy,” the report notes “The scale of underbuilding and the existing demand-supply gap is enormous … and will require a major national commitment to build more housing of all types.”

Policy recommendations outlined in the report call for lawmakers to remove construction barriers that could help incentivize new development.

Earlier this year, NAR also released a separate report, State and Local Policy Strategies to Advance Housing Affordability, which recommended that lawmakers pursue solutions through fiscal policy measures, policies aimed at increasing the supply of housing, and zoning and permitting policy reform.

“A number of factors from the past 20 years are responsible for the massive housing investment gap we see in America today, but what’s important now is that we find solutions that will get us out of this crisis and provide more stability in future markets,” said Charlie Oppler, NAR president.

He said increases in housing construction not only add much-needed housing inventory but also could add an estimated 2.8 million American jobs and $50 billion in new, nationwide tax revenue. “Additional public funding and policy incentives for construction will very clearly provide huge benefits to our nation’s economy, and our work to close this gap will be particularly impactful for lower-income households, households of color, and millennials,” Oppler said.


Housing Is Critical Infrastructure: Social and Economic Benefits of Building More Housing,” National Association of REALTORS® (June 16, 2021)  




Market Minute

June 14, 2021

Housing has been on the leading edge of economic growth since the recovery began, but several signs show that a hot market is causing the market to moderate earlier than normal.

Closed sales are likely to exhibit high double-digit growth for May and June, but the overall level of home sales is slipping from its decades-high level at years’ end.

Rapid growth in home prices has caused some buyers to become discouraged—even as rates dipped below 3% again.  Encouragingly, the number of new listings being added to the MLS each day has finally started to exceed closed sales and C.A.R. is still forecasting at least 10% growth in home sales this year.

Consumer Confidence Hits Post-Crisis High: 

Consumer confidence reached its highest level since the onset of the crisis as many get back to work and the economy in many parts of the nation starts to reopen. This is a vital component of overall GDP and more robust main street consumer spending will help to generate additional jobs recovery in the retail and restaurant sectors in coming months. 

California Unemployment Claims Drop to Post-Crisis Low: 

California ended May with its 9th consecutive week with fewer than 100,000 new claims for pandemic and traditional unemployment insurance. With less than 65,000 new unemployment claims filed, last week also marks the smallest number of claims since March of 2020. As the economy is poised to reopen this week, many of the service sector jobs, which bore the majority of the job losses, are expected to begin to come back as consumers participate more fully in the economy.

Signs of Optimism for the Fall Market: 

The number of active listings has started to rise as the number of listings being added to the MLS each day has started to increase. Although total active listings remains depressed relative to 2020 and 2019 levels, there has been more inventory on the market over the past 2 months after reaching a nadir back in March. The number of new listings coming onto the MLS is still down from normal levels, an increase in supply could help would-be buyers who are facing an incredibly competitive market environment and help to sustain an elevated number of home sales.

Rates Dip Slightly as 10-Year Treasuries Moderate: 

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) dipped slightly to 2.96% last week – remaining below the critical 3% threshold. The 10-year Treasury initially rose early last week after a decent jobs report, but began to slide during the second half – hitting just 1.45% to begin this week. However, spreads have widened, which may mean some ongoing softness in mortgage rates for the coming weeks, but the medium-term trend is likely towards higher rates.

COVID Numbers Moving in Wrong Direction as We Approach Reopening: 

After several months of ongoing improvement, California’s public health numbers have started to deteriorate again, albeit modestly. The 7-day moving average for new cases remains below 1,000 per day, but it has been rising for the past 4 days consecutively and the raw case volume was above 1,000 over the weekend. The immunization rate has begun to settle in the mid-50s, but varies significantly by county.  

Mortgage Applications Post Largest Drop in Over a Year: 

The number of new mortgage purchase applications fell 24% last week to their lowest level since January. After growing for 52 consecutive weeks on a year over year basis, new applications first began to decelerate in April. By mid-May, mortgage applications had begun to fall, and dropped by double digits the first week of June. This is consistent with both the C.A.R. and Fannie Mae home purchase sentiment indices released last week, which showed increasing pessimism amongst buyers as prices rise and competition over limited available listings remains fierce.

Cashing Out Amidst Double-Digit Price Growth: 

Freddie Mac’s quarterly report on cash out refinancing shows a marked increase in spending from home equity. Nearly $50 billion in home equity was cashed out in the most recent quarter. Some of this is driven by consolidation of other debt at low rates, but the percentage of loans resulting in a principal balance at least 5% higher than the original first mortgage has also risen to nearly 50% of mortgage originations. This still pales to the nearly $85 billion cashed out at the peak of last cycle, but it does represent a sizable shift from just $20 billion a few years ago.


Market Update June 2021

Market Update June 2021

June Market Update

Bryan Lynch
Certified Real Estate Appraiser


What a wild 2021 it has been!

I wanted to however give a quick update. It has been business as usual completing both lender and private appraisals. With private work I have been forced to stagger multiple weeks out to keep up with lender demand. While lender demand gets all the headlines, I am continuing to maintain private work demand.


Market Overview: 

As far as the market goes, we all know the story. Low inventory, excess buyer demand, multiple bids above list price, waived appraisals (at times!). I imagine it’s not easy for many buyers losing offer after offer. I’ve heard some buyers deciding to take a breather and wait. Maybe that is a good idea. The one thing I know is every cycle changes. We don’t know exactly when but it does.

Lenders are increasing fees and offering rush fees. Lenders have recognized demand and are regularly quoting higher fees to appraisers. This has likely increased the assignment acceptance by an appraiser vs. unassigned orders for weeks. I will always prioritize my primary lender clients, but when solicited by other lenders, I have noticed higher fee quotes at times.

I’m always available for questions or discussion about the market. Feel free to reach out.

Bryan Lynch
Certified Real Estate Appraiser

Office: 530-878-1688
Roseville Office : Auburn Office


Don’t hesitate to call The Sierra Lifestyle Team for evaluations of your home’s value or to tour homes on the market you have an interest in. We are here for you, and Alisa (almost) always answers her cell phone, 530-559-4871.


Check Out the Top 10 Buyer Priorities in a House

June 17, 2021

Extra space for extended family and pets and a home office have risen to the top of wish lists among house hunters. And that desire for more space is driving many home buyers’ decision to purchase a new home in the coming year, according to a new realtor.com® survey of 1,200 home shoppers.

Also, the eagerness for greater outdoor space is prompting terms like “fenced yard,” “acres,” “backyard,” “front porch,” “garage,” and “three-car garage” to see an increase in realtor.com® searches over the past year. Since more households became pet owners during the pandemic, the term “pet friendly” has also significantly increased in searches.

“The COVID pandemic ushered in a new way of thinking about what home means, and that is influencing much of what today’s home shoppers are looking for,” says George Raitu, realtor.com®’s senior economist. “Garages, large backyards, and space for pets always rank high on buyers’ wish lists, but those features have grown in importance. The survey results highlight that the pandemic has elevated our relationship with family as well as the need for our home to serve multiple purposes, especially the ability to work remotely. As a result, we are placing a premium on the need to accommodate extended family, and features like a home office and broadband internet.”

Buyers reported that the following 10 home features have become a priority as a result of the pandemic:

  • Quiet location: 28%
  • Updated kitchen: 25%
  • Garage: 24%
  • Large backyard: 24%
  • Outdoor living area: 20%
  • Space for pets: 18%
  • Updated bathrooms: 19%
  • Home office: 17%
  • Broadband internet capabilities: 17%
  • Open floor plan: 16%

What Will Homes Look Like in a Post-Pandemic World?

What’s more, 65% of buyers surveyed said they were considering their extended family when they shopped for a home.

Nearly a quarter said they planned to buy near family members. One-fifth of respondents said they would have extended family living with them full-time. Thirty percent said their new home would need to accommodate extended family staying with them part-time or visiting.

On the other hand, some home items have seen a decrease in importance since the pandemic—notably the need for a short commute time.

Also, a home with smaller square footage is also in less demand since the pandemic, the survey showed.

“Remodeled” homes dropped 88% year-to-date through May. “It appears that motivated buyers are making concessions in their home search” as home prices rise, the report notes. Fewer searches are occurring for otherwise popular features such as granite countertops (down 58%), theater/media rooms (down 65%), and bars (down 52%).

Buyers may be getting more realistic heading into the housing market, knowing that they might not be able to get everything on their wish list.

When they were asked to select which features they’d be willing to sacrifice if they had to reduce their budget, the following home amenities would be among the first to go:

  • Pool/spa: 24%
  • Man cave: 24%
  • Guest house: 23%
  • Mother-in-law suite: 23%
  • New construction: 22%
  • Solar panels: 21%
  • Finished basement: 20%
  • Home office: 18%
  • Large backyard: 17%
  • Guest room: 17%




Some Buy ‘Second Home’ Before Primary Residence

Some Buy ‘Second Home’ Before Primary Residence


April 14, 2021

Buying what is considered a second home before purchasing the more conventional first is beginning to appeal to some renters.

Those in metro areas are watching the red hot housing market and may be interested in a place of their own. With remote work trending, they can take advantage of the opportunity to spread out and buy a small getaway home with a vacation-first mentality, Apartment Therapy reports.

These second-home buyers may be drawn to country cottages or mountain cabins while they continue to rent apartments in the city.

They may search for their second home in a less competitive market than their current one, too.

© Cheryl Casey – Fotolia.com

Jamie Manning, founder of the real estate blog Exposed Brick DC, told Apartment Therapy that she and her husband didn’t expect to purchase a vacation home in Charlottesville, Va., before ever buying their first property in the Washington, D.C., area. “[We] see this as a true second home, somewhere we can spend weekends and possibly work remotely during the week,” Manning told the publication. “This idea had been on our radar because real estate costs are so high in D.C. that we felt buying here may not be realistic. We have been diligent and saved and were anxious to make some kind of real estate investment. We were craving a change of scenery and a different pace of life.”


Low interest rates may be attracting some renters to the thought of buying, but they may be priced out of their own area as many markets have seen escalating home prices over the past year.

A second home could offer these first timers a financial benefit and investment while they continue to rent in the city, financial analysts say. For example, Lisa Greene-Lewis, a certified public accountant, says that you can deduct mortgage interest on a vacation home similarly to a primary residence and deduct property taxes up to the cap. Some buyers may also decide to rent out their secondary home as a form of supplemental income.

“A lot of people were excited to purchase getaways during the pandemic because of limited travel options,” John Coleman, a real estate pro who works with many first-time home buyers, told Apartment Therapy. “Buying and renting out on Airbnb has been very lucrative for some, and it will be interesting to see if that can hold up moving forward.”


Buying a ‘Second Home’ First Might Be the Best Real Estate Move of 2021,” Apartment Therapy (April 13, 2021) and “Should You Buy a Second Home as Your First Home?” The Mortgage Source (2021)


Another driver of interest in Nevada County…Just need MORE inventory!

Nevada County Market Observations

Nevada County Market Observations

April 2021

It will come as no surprise to market watchers, and especially buyers, that lack of inventory in Nevada County continues. We see conditions nationally mirror Nevada County. Numbers are consistent with previous months. 359 houses for sale March 2020 vs 166 houses for sale March 2021, 53.8% lower year to year. Houses sold are up 21.5%, 156 Mar last year, 123 houses sold this January. 

Inventory reduction is from 2.9 months of inventory last January to 1.2 months of inventory this January, down 58,2%. A VERY, VERY STRONG SELLER’S MARKET continues, especially considering Nevada County’s attractiveness as one of the premier work-from-home communities.

The average SOLD price per square foot is up 21.9% year to year ($236 vs $293). Average price sold is up 14.6%, from $472,000 to $608,000 up 28.5%.  Higher list prices continue, driven by lack of inventory. 

Nevada County continues to be strongly attractive to buyers looking for safer havens, especially coupled with the myriad lifestyle opportunities and community connections the foothills offer. Days on market has fallen 24%, from 62 days last March to 54 days in March this year. Buyers are energized to immediately jump on good, well-priced houses especially given our current low inventory environment.

Buyer activity continues to be robust, with multiple offers often over ask. 

Don’t hesitate to call us for evaluations of your home’s value or to tour homes on the market you have interest in. We are here for you, and Alisa (almost) always answers her cell phone, 530-559-4871.


Hungry?  Here’s some essence of Spring!

Herbed Spring Salad With Egg and Walnuts

By David Tanis
  • YIELD4 servings
  • TIME20 minutes


David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

This bright, herby, fresh-tasting salad makes a very nice accompaniment to a pan-fried breaded pork chop. Cooked beets (preferably golden) thinly sliced radishes, celery and turnips are dressed, then tossed with a mixture of zesty salad greens — use a combination of watercress, dandelion, curly endive, escarole, radicchio, mizuna, spinach, or red sorrel leaves. The components can be prepared in advance, but wait until the last minute before dressing and serving.

Featured in: A Stirring Spring Menu, Fit For A Celebration





  • 2 tablespoons finely diced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon grated garlic (from 2 small cloves)
  •  Kosher salt and black pepper
  • ¼ cup walnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil


  • 6 ounces/4 cups lightly packed watercress or, preferably, a mixture of zesty salad greens
  • 3 medium golden beets, cooked, peeled and cut in wedges
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red radish (6 to 8 medium radishes)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced turnip (or use small kohlrabi or watermelon radish)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced celery heart, plus tender leaves (from the center of 1 celery head)
  •  Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped dill
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon leaves
  • 4 (7-minute) boiled eggs
  • 1 cup toasted walnut halves