April 18, 2024

Should I Wait for Mortgage Rates To Come Down Before I Move?



If you’ve got a move on your mind, you may be wondering whether you should wait to sell until mortgage rates come down before you spring into action. Here’s some information that could help answer that question for you.

In the housing market, there’s a longstanding relationship between mortgage rates and buyer demand. Typically, the higher rates are, you’ll see lower buyer demand. That’s because some people who want to move will be hesitant to take on a higher mortgage rate for their next home. So, they decide to wait it out and put their plans on hold.

But when rates start to come down, things change. It goes from limited or weak demand to good or strong demand. That’s because a big portion of the buyers who sat on the sidelines when rates were higher are going to jump back in and make their moves happen. The graph below helps give you a visual of how this relationship works and where we are today:

 No Caption Received

 

As Lisa Sturtevant, Chief Economist for Bright MLSexplains:

“The higher rates we’re seeing now [are likely] going to lead more prospective buyers to sit out the market and wait for rates to come down.”

Why You Might Not Want To Wait

If you’re asking yourself: what does this mean for my move? Here’s the golden nugget. According to experts, mortgage rates are still projected to come down this year, just a bit later than they originally thought. 

When rates come down, more people are going to get back into the market. And that means you’ll have a lot more competition from other buyers when you go to purchase your next home. That may make your move more stressful if you wait because greater demand could lead to an increase in multiple offer scenarios and prices rising faster.

But if you’re ready and able to sell now, it may be worth it to get ahead of that. You have the chance to move before the competition increases.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about whether you should wait for rates to come down before you move, don’t forget to factor in buyer demand. Once rates decline, competition will go up even more. If you want to get ahead of that and sell now, let’s chat.

Posted in Mortgage, Moving
April 12, 2024

Builders Are Building Smaller Homes



There’s no arguing it, affordability is still tight. And if you’re trying to buy a home, that may mean you need to look at smaller houses to find one that’s still in your budget. But there is a silver lining: builders are focused on building these smaller homes right now and they’re offering incentives. And that can help give you more options that fit the bill.

Newly Built Homes Are Trending Smaller

During the pandemic, homebuyers wanted (and could afford) larger homes – and builders delivered. They focused on homes that were bigger, so people had more space for things like working from home, having a home gym, bonus rooms for virtual school, and more.

But with the affordability challenges buyers are facing today, builders are increasingly shifting their attention to bringing smaller single-family homes to the market. The graph below uses data from the Census to show how this trend has evolved over the last few years:

a graph of a number of blue bars

 

So, why the shift to less square footage? It’s simple. Builders want to build what they know will sell. Basically, they focus on where the demand is strongest. And once mortgage rates started climbing and consumers felt the challenges of affordability creeping in, it became clear there was (and is) a very real need for smaller homes. As the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) explains:

“After a brief increase during the post-covid building boom, home size is trending lower and will likely continue to do so as housing affordability remains constrained.”

A recent article in the Real Deal says this about how this helps buyers:

Even a slightly smaller home can be thousands of dollars cheaper — for both builders and buyers. . . In response to affordability challenges, major homebuilders are shifting priorities away from the big ticket homes and towards the cheaper set.”

What This Means for You

If you’re having a hard time finding something in your budget, it may help to look at smaller homes. And, if you consider new builds specifically, you may find a few other fringe benefits that can help on the affordability front – like price reductions or mortgage rate buy-downs. As NAHB says:

“More than one-third of builders cut home prices in 2023. NAHB expects builders to continue offering smaller homes and more affordable designs as housing affordability remains a barrier to homeownership.”

As Charlie Bilello, Chief Market Strategist, at Creative Planningexplains:

“Homebuilders are adapting to the lowest affordability on record by building smaller homes and offering more incentives/price cuts. The median square footage of a new single-family home in the US has moved down to its lowest level since 2010.”

If you explore these options, you’ll also get brand new everything, enjoy a house with fewer maintenance needs, and some of the latest features available. That’s worth looking into, right? 

Bottom Line

Builders building smaller homes can give you more affordable options at a time when you may really need it. If you’re hoping to buy a home soon, let’s connect to look at what’s available in our area.

April 2, 2024

Why Overpricing Your House Can Cost You



If you’re trying to sell your house, you may be looking at this spring season as the sweet spot – and you’re not wrong. We’re still in a seller’s market because there are so few homes for sale right now. And historically, this is the time of year when more buyers move, and competition ticks up. That makes this an exciting time to put up that for sale sign.

But while conditions are great for sellers like you, you’ll still want to be strategic when it comes time to set your asking price. That’s because pricing your house too high may actually cost you in the long run.

The Downside of Overpricing Your House

The asking price for your house sends a message to potential buyers. From the moment they see your listing, the price and the photos are what’s going to make the biggest first impression. And, if it’s priced too high, you may turn people away. As an article from U.S. News Real Estate says:

Even in a hot market where there are more buyers than houses available for sale, buyers aren't going to pay attention to a home with an inflated asking price.”

That’s because no homebuyer wants to pay more than they have to, especially not today. Many are already feeling the pinch on their budget due to ongoing home price appreciation and today’s mortgage rates. And if they think your house is overpriced, they may write it off without even stepping foot in the front door, or simply won’t make an offer if they think it’s priced too high.

If that happens, it’s going to take longer to sell. And ideally you don’t want to have to think about doing a price drop to try to re-ignite interest in your house. Why? Some buyers will see the price cut as a red flag and wonder why the price was reduced, or they’ll think something is wrong with the house the longer it sits. As an article from Forbes explains:

“It’s not only the price of an overpriced home that turns buyers off. There’s also another negative component that kicks in. . . . if your listing just sits there and accumulates days on the market, it will not be a good look. . . . buyers won’t necessarily ask anyone what’s wrong with the home. They’ll just assume that something is indeed wrong, and will skip over the property and view more recent listings.”

Your Agent’s Role in Setting the Right Price

Instead, pricing it at or just below current market value from the start is a much better strategy. So how do you find that ideal asking price? You lean on the pros. Only an agent has the expertise needed to research and figure out the current market value for your home.

They’ll factor in the condition of your house, any upgrades you’ve made, and what other houses like yours are selling for in your area. And they’ll use all of that information to find that target number. The right price will bring in more buyers and make it more likely you’ll see multiple offers too. Plus, when homes are priced right, they still tend to sell quickly.

Bottom Line

Even though you want to bring in top dollar when you sell, setting the asking price too high may deter buyers and slow down the sales process.

Let’s connect to find the right price for your house, so we can maximize your profit and still draw in eager buyers willing to make competitive offers.

Posted in Home Prices
March 28, 2024

Single Women Are Embracing Homeownership




In today's housing market, more and more single women are becoming homeowners. According to data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 19% of all homebuyers are single women, while only 10% are single men.

If you're a single woman trying to buy your first home, this should be encouraging. It means other people are making their dreams a reality – so you can too.

Why Homeownership Matters to So Many Women

For many single women, buying a home isn't just about having a place to live—it's also a smart way to invest for the future. Homes usually increase in value over time, so they’re a great way to build equity and overall net worth. Ksenia Potapov, Economist at First Americansays:

“. . . single women are increasingly pursuing homeownership and reaping its wealth creation benefits.”

The financial security and independence homeownership provides can be life-changing. And when you factor in the personal motivations behind buying a home, that impact becomes even clearer.

The same report from NAR shares the top reasons single women are buying a home right now, and the reality is, they’re not all financial (see chart below):

a blue and white diagram with white text

 

If any of these reasons resonate with you, maybe it’s time for you to buy too.

Work with a Trusted Real Estate Agent

If you’re a single woman looking to buy a home, it is possible, even in today’s housing market. You’ll just want to be sure you have a great real estate agent by your side.

Talk about what your goals are and why homeownership is so important to you. That way your agent can keep what’s critical for you up front as they guide you through the buying process. They’ll help you find the right home for your needs and advocate for you during negotiations. Together, you can make your dream of homeownership a reality.

Bottom Line

Homeownership is life-changing no matter who you are. Let's connect today to talk about your goals in the housing market.

March 21, 2024

Does It Make Sense To Buy a Home Right Now?



Thinking about buying a home? If so, you're probably wondering: should I buy now or wait? Nobody can make that decision for you, but here's some information that can help you decide.

What’s Next for Home Prices?

Each quarter, Fannie Mae and Pulsenomics publish the results of the Home Price Expectations Survey (HPES). It asks more than 100 experts—economists, real estate professionals, and investment and market strategists—what they think will happen with home prices.

In the latest survey, those experts say home prices are going to keep going up for the next five years (see graph below):

 a graph of green bars

 

Here’s what all the green on this chart should tell you. They’re not expecting any price declines. Instead, they’re saying we’ll see a 3-4% rise each year.

And even though home prices aren’t expected to climb by as much in 2025 as they are 2024, keep in mind these increases can really add up over time. It works like this. If these experts are right and your home's value goes up by 3.78% this year, it's set to grow another 3.36% next year. And another 3.87% the year after that.

What Does This Mean for You?

Knowing that prices are forecasted to keep going up should make you feel good about buying a home. That’s because it means your home is an asset that’s projected to grow in value in the years ahead.

If you’re not convinced yet, maybe these numbers will get your attention. They show how a typical home’s value could change over the next few years using expert projections from the HPES. Check out the graph below:

 a graph of growth in a chart

 

In this example, imagine you bought a home for $400,000 at the start of this year. Based on these projections, you could end up gaining over $83,000 in household wealth over the next five years as your home grows in value.

Of course, you could also wait – but if you do, buying a home is just going to end up costing you more. 

Bottom Line

If you're thinking it's time to get your own place, and you’re ready and able to do so, buying now might make sense. Your home is expected to keep getting more valuable as prices go up. Let’s team up to start looking for your next home today.

March 14, 2024

Your Home Is a Powerful Investment



Going into 2023, there was a lot of talk about a possible recession that would cause the housing market to crash. Some in the media were even forecasting home prices would drop by as much as 10-20%—and that might have made you feel a bit unsure about buying a home.

But here’s what actually happened: home prices went up more than usual. Brian D. Luke, Head of Commodities at S&P Dow Jones Indicesexplains:

“Looking back at the year, 2023 appears to have exceeded average annual home price gains over the past 35 years.”

To put last year’s growth into context, the graph below uses data from Freddie Mac on how home prices have changed each year going back to 1980. The dotted line shows the long-term average for appreciation:

 a graph showing the average of a home appreciation

 

The big takeaway? Home prices almost always go up.

As an article from Forbes says:

“. . . the U.S. real estate market has a long and reliable history of increasing in value over time.”

In fact, since 1980, the only time home prices dropped was during the housing market crash (shown in red in the graph above). Fortunately, the market today isn’t like it was in 2008. For starters, there aren’t enough available homes to meet buyer demand right now. On top of that, homeowners have a tremendous amount of equity, so they’re on much stronger footing than they were back then. That means there won’t be a wave of foreclosures that causes prices to fall.

The fact that home values went up every single year except those four in red is why owning a home can be one of the smartest moves you can make. When you’re a homeowner, you own something that typically becomes more valuable over time. And as your home’s value appreciates, your net worth grows

So, if you’re financially stable and prepared for the costs and expenses of homeownership, buying a home might make a lot of sense for you.

Bottom Line

Home prices almost always go up over time. That makes buying a home a smart move, if you’re ready and able. Let’s connect to talk about your goals and what’s available in our area.

March 7, 2024

Why There Won’t Be a Recession That Tanks the Housing Market



There’s been a lot of recession talk over the past couple of years. And that may leave you worried we’re headed for a repeat of what we saw back in 2008. Here’s a look at the latest expert projections to show you why that isn’t going to happen.  

According to Jacob Channel, Senior Economist at LendingTree, the economy’s pretty strong:

“At least right now, the fundamentals of the economy, despite some hiccups, are doing pretty good. While things are far from perfect, the economy is probably doing better than people want to give it credit for.”

That might be why a recent survey from the Wall Street Journal shows only 39% of economists think there’ll be a recession in the next year. That’s way down from 61% projecting a recession just one year ago (see graph below):

a graph of the economic growth of the economy

 

Most experts believe there won’t be a recession in the next 12 months. One reason why is the current unemployment rate. Let’s compare where we are now with historical data from Macrotrends, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and Trading Economics. When we do, it’s clear the unemployment rate today is still very low (see graph below):

 a graph of a graph showing the number of employment rate

 

The orange bar shows the average unemployment rate since 1948 is about 5.7%. The red bar shows that right after the financial crisis in 2008, when the housing market crashed, the unemployment rate was up to 8.3%. Both of those numbers are much larger than the unemployment rate this January (shown in blue).

But will the unemployment rate go up? To answer that, look at the graph below. It uses data from that same Wall Street Journal survey to show what the experts are projecting for unemployment over the next three years compared to the long-term average (see graph below):

 a graph of blue bars

 

As you can see, economists don’t expect the unemployment rate to even come close to the long-term average over the next three years – much less the 8.3% we saw when the market last crashed.

Still, if these projections are correct, there will be people who lose their jobs next year. Anytime someone’s out of work, that’s a tough situation, not just for the individual, but also for their friends and loved ones. But the big question is: will enough people lose their jobs to create a flood of foreclosures that could crash the housing market?

Looking ahead, projections show the unemployment rate will likely stay below the 75-year average. That means you shouldn't expect a wave of foreclosures that would impact the housing market in a big way.

Bottom Line

Most experts now think we won't have a recession in the next year. They also don't expect a big jump in the unemployment rate. That means you don’t need to fear a flood of foreclosures that would cause the housing market to crash.

Posted in Housing Market
Feb. 29, 2024

Why Today’s Housing Supply Is a Sweet Spot for Sellers




Wondering if it still makes sense to sell your house right now? The short answer is, yes. And if you look at the current number of homes for sale, you’ll see two reasons why.

An article from Calculated Risk shows there are 15.6% more homes for sale now compared to the same week last year. That tells us inventory has grown. But going back to 2019, the last normal year in the housing market, there are nearly 40% fewer homes available now:

a graph with red and blue squares

 

Here’s a breakdown of how this benefits you when you sell.

1. You Have More Options for Your Move

Are you thinking about selling because your current house is too big, too small, or because your needs have changed? If so, the year-over-year growth gives you more options for your home search. That means it may be less of a challenge to find what you’re looking for.

So, if you were holding off on selling because you were worried you weren’t going to find a home you like, this may be just the good news you needed. Partnering with a local real estate professional can help you make sure you’re up to date on the homes available in your area.

2. You Still Won’t Have Much Competition When You Sell

But to put that into perspective, even though there are more homes for sale now, there still aren’t as many as there’d be in a normal year. Remember, the data from Calculated Risk shows we’re down nearly 40% compared to 2019. And that large a deficit won't be solved overnight. As a recent article from Realtor.com explains:

“. . . the number of homes for sale and new listing activity continues to improve compared to last year. However the inventory of homes for sale still has a long journey back to pre-pandemic levels.”

For you, that means if you work with an agent to price your house right, it should still get a lot of attention from eager buyers and could sell fast.

Bottom Line

If you're a homeowner looking to sell, now's a good time. You'll have more options when buying your next home, and there's still not a ton of competition from other sellers. If you’re ready to move, let’s connect to get the ball rolling.

Feb. 13, 2024

Winning Plays for Buying a Home in Today’s Market




Some Highlights

 

Posted in Buying a Home, Economy
Feb. 8, 2024

Home Equity Can Be a Game Changer When You Sell



Are you on the fence about selling your house? While affordability is improving this year, it’s still tight. And that may be on your mind. But understanding your home equity could be the key to making your decision easier. An article from Bankrate explains:

Home equity is the difference between your home's value and the amount you still owe on your mortgage. It represents the paid-off portion of your home.
You'll start off with a certain level of equity when you make your down payment to buy the home, then continue to build equity as you pay down your mortgage. You'll also build equity over time as your home's value increases.”

Think of equity as a simple math equation. It's the value of your home now minus what you owe on your mortgage. And guess what? Recently, your equity has probably grown more than you think.

In the past few years, home prices skyrocketed, which means your home's value – and your equity – likely shot up, too. So, you may have more equity than you realize.

How To Make the Most of Your Home Equity Right Now

If you're thinking about moving, the equity you have in your home could be a big help. According to CoreLogic:

“. . . the average U.S. homeowner with a mortgage still has more than $300,000 in equity . . .”

Clearly, homeowners have a lot of equity right now. And the latest data from the Census and ATTOM shows over two-thirds of homeowners have either completely paid off their mortgages (shown in green in the chart below) or have at least 50% equity (shown in blue in the chart below):

 

 

That means roughly 70% have a tremendous amount of equity right now.

After you sell your house, you can use your equity to help you buy your next home. Here’s how:

  • Be an all-cash buyer: If you’ve been living in your current home for a long time, you might have enough equity to buy your next home without having to take out a loan. If that’s the case, you won’t need to borrow any money or worry about mortgage ratesInvestopedia states:
“You may want to pay cash for your home if you're shopping in a competitive housing market, or if you'd like to save money on mortgage interest. It could help you close a deal and beat out other buyers.
  • Make a larger down payment: Your equity could also be used toward your next down payment. It might even be enough to let you put a larger amount down, so you won’t have to borrow as much money. The Mortgage Reports explains:
Borrowers who put down more money typically receive better interest rates from lenders. This is due to the fact that a larger down payment lowers the lender’s risk because the borrower has more equity in the home from the beginning.”

The Easy Way To Find Out How Much Equity You Have

To find out how much equity you have in your home, ask a real estate agent you trust for a Professional Equity Assessment Report (PEAR). 

Bottom Line

Planning a move? Your home equity can really help you out. Let’s connect to see how much equity you have and how it can help with your next home.