Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

April 23, 2024

Is It Getting More Affordable To Buy a Home?

Over the past year or so, a lot of people have been talking about how tough it is to buy a home. And while there’s no arguing affordability is still tight, there are signs it’s starting to get a bit better and may improve even more throughout the year. Elijah de la Campa, Senior Economist at Redfin, says:

“We’re slowly climbing our way out of an affordability hole, but we have a long way to go. Rates have come down from their peak and are expected to fall again by the end of the year, which should make homebuying a little more affordable and incentivize buyers to come off the sidelines.”

Here’s a look at the latest data for the three biggest factors that affect home affordability: mortgage rates, home prices, and wages.

1. Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates have been volatile this year – bouncing around in the upper 6% to low 7% range. That’s still quite a bit higher than where they were a couple of years ago. But there is a sliver of good news.

Despite the recent volatility, rates are still lower than they were last fall when they reached nearly 8%. On top of that, most experts still think they’ll come down some over the course of the year. A recent article from Bright MLS explains:

“Expect rates to come down in the second half of 2024 but remain above 6% this year. Even a modest drop in rates will bring both more buyers and more sellers into the market.”

Any drop in rates can make a difference for you. When rates go down, you can afford the home you really want more easily because your monthly payment would be lower.

2. Home Prices

The second big factor to think about is home prices. Most experts project they'll keep going up this year, but at a more normal pace. That’s because there are more homes on the market this year, but still not enough for everyone who wants to buy one. The graph below shows the latest 2024 home price forecasts from seven different organizations:

These forecasts are actually good news for you because it means the prices aren't likely to shoot up sky high like they did during the pandemic. That doesn’t mean they’re going to fall – they'll just rise at a slower pace.

 

3. Wages

One factor helping affordability right now is the fact that wages are rising. The graph below uses data from the Federal Reserve to show how wages have been growing over time:

Check out the blue dotted line. That shows how wages typically rise. If you look at the right side of the graph, you'll see wages are climbing even faster than normal right now.

 

Here’s how this helps you. If your income has increased, it's easier to afford a home because you don't have to spend as big of a percentage of your paycheck on your monthly mortgage payment.

 

Bottom Line

If you stack these factors up, you’ll see mortgage rates are still projected to come down a bit later this year, home prices are going up at a more moderate pace, and wages are growing quicker than normal. Those trends are a good sign for your ability to afford a home.

 

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

 

Posted in Affordability
April 19, 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:

As Lisa Sturtevant, Chief Economist for Bright MLS, explains:

“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.

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

Posted in Mortgage
April 8, 2024

The Financial Consequences of Setting Too High a Price for Your Home

Considering selling your home this spring? It’s an opportune moment, as the current market heavily favors sellers due to the limited housing inventory. Traditionally, springtime also sees a surge in buyer activity, heightening competition and making it an ideal time to display that ‘For Sale’ sign.

However, even in such favorable conditions, it’s crucial to price your property wisely. Overpricing can lead to adverse outcomes over time.

The Pitfalls of Setting a High Listing Price

Your home’s listing price communicates volumes to prospective buyers. It’s the combination of the price tag and the visual appeal of your property photos that forms the initial impression. A price set too ambitiously can discourage interest. As noted by U.S. News Real Estate:

“In a bustling market with more buyers than available homes, an excessively high price will not attract attention.”

Buyers are cautious about overpaying, particularly in the current economic climate marked by rising home values and mortgage rates. An overpriced home risks being disregarded, with potential buyers not even considering a visit, let alone making an offer.

An overpriced property often results in a protracted sales period. Ideally, you’d want to avoid the necessity of a price reduction to revive interest in your property. Buyers might perceive a price drop as a warning sign, speculating on the reasons for the reduction or assuming defects in the property if it lingers on the market. Forbes magazine elaborates:

“An overpriced home’s negative impact isn’t just about the price. The longer a listing remains unsold, accumulating days on the market, the less appealing it becomes… Buyers may not inquire about the reasons; they might simply presume issues exist and move on to newer listings.”

The Importance of Your Agent in Pricing

To avoid these issues, setting a price at or slightly below the market value is a sound approach. But how do you determine the right price? This is where professional real estate agents come in. They possess the expertise to assess the current market value of your home accurately.

Agents consider various factors, including your home’s condition, any improvements made, and the selling prices of similar homes in your area. This information helps them pinpoint the optimal price. A well-priced home not only attracts more buyers but also increases the likelihood of receiving multiple offers. Moreover, appropriately priced homes typically sell swiftly.

In Conclusion

While the goal is to maximize earnings from your home sale, an inflated asking price can repel buyers and slow down the sale. Partnering with a professional to establish the correct price can ensure a profitable sale while still attracting competitive bids from interested buyers.

Posted in Housing Prices
April 8, 2024

The Best Week To List Your House Is Almost Here

Are you thinking about making a move? If so, now may be the perfect time to start the process. That’s because experts say the best week to list your house is just around the corner.

A recent Realtor.com study looked at housing market trends over the past several years (with the exception of 2020, since it was an unusual year), and found the best week to put your house on the market this year is April 14-20:

“Every year, one week stands out from the rest as that perfect stretch of time when it’s great to be a home seller. This year, the week of April 14–20 is the best time to sell—that is, if sellers want to see lots of interest in their homes, sell quickly, and pocket some extra cash, according to Realtor.com® data.”

Here’s why this matters for you. While the spring market is a great time to sell no matter the week, this may be the peak sweet spot. And if you’ve been putting your plans on the back burner and waiting for the right time to act, this could be the nudge you need to make your move happen. As Hannah Jones, Senior Economic Research Analyst at Realtor.com explains:

“The third week of April brings the best combination of housing market factors for sellers. The best week offers higher buyer demand, lower competition [from other sellers], and fewer price reductions than the typical week of the year.”

But, if you want to get in on the action, you’ll need to move quickly and lean on the pros. Your local real estate agent is the perfect go-to when it comes to figuring out a plan to prep your house and get it on the market.

They’ll be able to offer advice to balance your target listing date with what you need to do from a repair and renovation standpoint. And they can walk you through exactly how to prioritize your list so you know what to tackle first.

For example, if your house is already in good shape, you’ll be able to really focus in on the smaller things that are easy to do and make a big impact. As an article from Investopedia says:

Here are some specific examples from that article:

Just remember, even if you’re not ready to list within the next couple of weeks, that’s okay. The window of opportunity doesn’t close when this week ends. Spring is the peak homebuying season and it’s still a seller’s market, so you’ll be in the driver’s seat all season long.

 

Bottom Line

Ready to get the ball rolling? Let’s connect and schedule a time to go over your next steps.

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

Posted in Home Selling
March 29, 2024

What Are Experts Saying About the Spring Housing Market?

If you’re planning to move soon, you might be wondering if there'll be more homes to choose from, where prices and mortgage rates are headed, and how to navigate today’s market. If so, here's what the professionals are saying about what’s in store for this season.

Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist, First American:

“. . . it seems our general expectation for the spring is that we will see a pickup in inventory. In fact, that already seems to be happening. But it won’t necessarily be enough to satiate demand.”

Lisa Sturtevant, Chief Economist, Bright MLS:

“There is still strong demand, as the large millennial population remains in the prime first-time homebuying range.”

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist, Realtor.com:

“Where we are right now is the best of both worlds. Price increases are slowing, which is good for buyers, and prices are still relatively high, which is good for sellers.”

Skylar Olsen, Chief Economist, Zillow:

“There are slightly more homes for sale than this time last year, and there is still plenty of competition for well-priced houses. Buyers should prep their credit scores and sellers should prep their properties now, attractive listings are going pending in less than a month, and time on market will shrink in the weeks ahead.”

Jiayi Xu, Economist, Realtor.com:

“While mortgage rates remain elevated, home shoppers who are looking to buy this spring could find more affordable homes on the market than they saw at the same time last year. Specifically, there were 20.6% more homes available for sale ranging between $200,000 and $350,000 in February 2024 than a year ago, surpassing growth in other price ranges.”

If you’re looking to sell, this spring might be your sweet spot because there just aren’t many homes on the market. Sure, inventory is rising, but it’s nowhere near enough to meet today’s buyer demand. That’s why they’re still selling so quickly.

If you’re looking to buy, the growing number of homes for sale this spring means you’ll have more choices than this time last year. But be prepared to move quickly since there’ll be plenty of competition with other buyers.

 

Bottom Line

No matter what you're planning, let’s team up to confidently navigate the busy spring housing market.

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

Posted in Housing Market
March 26, 2024

What’s the Latest with Mortgage Rates?

Recent headlines may leave you wondering what’s next for mortgage rates. Maybe you’d previously heard there were going to be cuts this year that would bring rates down. That refers to the Federal Reserve (the Fed) and what they do to their Fed Funds Rate. While cutting, or lowering, the Fed Funds Rate doesn’t directly determine mortgage rates, it does tend to impact them. But when the Fed met last week, a cut didn’t happen — at least, not yet.

There are a lot of factors the Fed considered in their recent decision and most of them are complex. But you don’t need to be bogged down by those finer details. What you really want is the answer to this question: does that mean mortgage rates aren’t going to fall? Here’s what you need to know.

Mortgage Rates Are Still Expected To Drop This Year

While it hasn’t happened yet, that doesn’t mean it won’t. Even Jerome Powell, the Chairman of the Fed, says they still plan to make cuts this year, assuming inflation cools:

“We believe that our policy rate is likely at its peak for this tightening cycle and that, if the economy evolves broadly as expected, it will likely be appropriate to begin dialing back policy restraint at some point this year.”

When this happens, history shows mortgage rates will likely follow. That means hope isn’t lost. As a recent article from Business Insider explains:

“As inflation comes down and the Fed is able to start lowering rates, mortgage rates should go down, too. . .”

What This Means for You

But you don’t necessarily want to wait for it to happen. Mortgage rates are notoriously hard to forecast. There are so many factors at play and any one of those can change the projections as the economy shifts. And it’s why the experts offer this advice. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, says:

“Well, mortgage rate projections are just that, projections, not promises and don't forget how hard it is to forecast them. . . So my advice is to never try to time the market . . . If one is financially prepared and buying a home aligns with your lifestyle goals, then it could be the right time to purchase. And there's always the refinance option if mortgage rates are lower in the future.”

Basically, if you’re looking to move and trying to time the market, don’t. If you’re ready, willing, and able to move, it may still be worth it to do it now, especially if you can find the home you’ve been searching for.

 

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to buy a home, let’s connect so you have someone keeping you up-to-date on mortgage rates and helping you make the best decision possible.

 

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

Posted in Mortgage
March 19, 2024

The Latest Trends in Housing

Posted in Housing Market
March 12, 2024

What Mortgage Rate Do You Need To Move?

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home, mortgage rates are probably top of mind for you. They may even be why you’ve put your plans on hold for now. When rates climbed near 8% last year, some buyers found the numbers just didn’t make sense for their budget anymore. That may be the case for you too.

Data from Bright MLS shows the top reason buyers delayed their plans to move is due to high mortgage rates (see graph below):

David Childers, CEO at Keeping Current Matters, speaks to this statistic in the recent How’s The Market podcast:

“Three quarters of buyers said ‘we’re out’ due to mortgage rates. Here’s what I know going forward. That will change in 2024.”

That’s because mortgage rates have come down off their peak last October. And while there’s still day-to-day volatility in rates, the longer-term projections show rates should continue to drop this year, as long as inflation gets under control. Experts even say we could see rates below 6% by the end of 2024. And that threshold would be a gamechanger for a lot of buyers. As a recent article from Realtor.com says:

“Buying a home is still desired and sought after, but many people are looking for mortgage rates to come down in order to achieve it. Four out of 10 Americans looking to buy a home in the next 12 months would consider it possible if rates drop below 6%.”

While mortgage rates are nearly impossible to forecast, the optimism from the experts should give you insight into what’s ahead. If your plans were delayed, there’s light at the end of the tunnel again. That means it may be time to start thinking about your move. The best question you can ask yourself right now, is this:

 

What number do I want to see rates hit before I’m ready to move?

The exact percentage where you feel comfortable kicking off your search again is personal. Maybe it’s 6.5%. Maybe it’s 6.25%. Or maybe it’s once they drop below 6%.

Once you have that number in mind, here’s what you do. Connect with a local real estate professional. They’ll help you stay informed on what’s happening. And when rates hit your target, they’ll be the first to let you know.

 

Bottom Line

If you’ve put your plans to move on hold because of where mortgage rates are, think about the number you want to see rates hit that would make you ready to re-enter the market.

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

Posted in Mortgage
March 1, 2024

Expert Home Price Forecasts for 2024 Revised Up

Over the past few months, experts have revised their 2024 home price forecasts based on the latest data and market signals, and they’re even more confident prices will rise, not fall.

So, let’s see exactly how experts’ thinking has shifted – and what’s caused the change.

2024 Home Price Forecasts: Then and Now

The chart below shows what seven expert organizations think will happen to home prices in 2024. It compares their first 2024 home price forecasts (made at the end of 2023) with their newest projections:

The middle column shows that, at first, these experts thought home prices would only go up a little this year. But if you look at the column on the right, you'll see they've all updated their forecasts and now think prices will go up more than they originally thought. And some of the differences are major.

There are two big factors keeping such strong upward pressure on home prices. The first is how few homes are for sale right now. According to Business Insider:

“Low home inventory is a chronic problem in the US. This has generally kept home prices up . . .”

A lack of housing inventory has been pushing prices up for a long time now – and that’s not expected to change dramatically this year. But what has changed a bit is mortgage rates.

Late last year when most housing market experts were calling for home prices to rise only a little bit in 2024, mortgage rates were up and buyer demand was more moderate.

Now that rates have come down from their peak last October, and with further declines expected over the course of the year, buyer demand has picked up. That increase in demand, along with an ongoing lack of inventory, is what’s caused the experts to feel the upward pressure on prices will be stronger than they expected a couple months ago.

A Look Forward To Get Ahead of the Next Forecast Revisions

Real estate experts regularly revise their home price forecasts as the housing market shifts. It’s a normal part of their job that ensures their projections are always up-to-date and factor in the latest changes in the housing market.

That means they’ll continue to revise their projections as the housing market changes, just as they’ve always done. How those forecasts change next is anyone’s guess, but pay attention to mortgage rates.

If they trend down as the year goes on, as they’re expected to do, that could lead to more buyer demand and even higher home price forecasts.

Basically, it’s all about supply and demand. With supply still so limited, anything that causes demand to go up will likely cause prices to go up, too.

Bottom Line

At first, experts believed home prices would only go up a little this year. But now, they've changed their minds and forecast prices will grow even more than they originally thought. Let’s connect so you know what to expect with prices in our area.

 

Source: Real Estate With Keeping Current Matters

Posted in Housing Prices
Feb. 27, 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:

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.

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

Posted in Housing Inventory