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!

July 2, 2022

A Key Opportunity for Homebuyers

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There’s no denying the housing market has delivered a fair share of challenges to homebuyers over the past two years. Two of the biggest hurdles homebuyers faced during the pandemic were the limited number of homes for sale and the intensity and frequency of bidding wars. But those two things have reached a turning point.

As you may have already heard, the number of homes for sale has increased this year, and even more so this spring. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, explains:

“New listings–a measure of sellers putting homes up for sale–were up 6% above one year ago. Home sellers in many markets across the country continue to benefit from rising home prices and fast-selling homes. That’s prompted a growing number of homeowners to sell homes this year compared to last, giving home shoppers much needed options.”

This is encouraging news. More homes coming onto the market give you a greater chance of finding one that checks all your boxes.

Buyer Competition Moderating Helps Inventory Grow Even More

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, says inventory growth is happening not just because there’s an increase in the number of listings coming onto the market, but also because buyer demand has moderated some in light of higher mortgage rates and other economic factors:

“There has been a pickup in the inventory that we’ve seen recently, but it’s not from a big increase in new listings . . . but rather a slowdown in the pace of sales. And remember that months’ supply measures the inventory of sale relative to the pace of sales. Same inventory, fewer sales, means more months’ supply.”

Basically, the market is shifting away from the frenzy of buyer competition seen during the pandemic, and that’s helping available inventory grow. In their latest forecast, realtor.com also mentions the moderation of demand as a key factor and projects the inventory growth should continue:

“As rising inflation and mortgage rates bring U.S. housing demand back from the 2021 frenzy, . . . inventory will grow double-digits over 2021 and offer buyers a better-than-expected chance to find a home.”

How This Impacts You

The combination of more homes coming onto the market and a slower pace of home sales means you’ll have more options to choose from as you search for your next home. That’s great news if you’ve been searching for a while with little to no luck. Just remember, there isn’t a sudden surplus of inventory, just more homes to choose from than even a few months ago. So, you’ll still want to be decisive and move fast when you find the right home for you.

And when you do, you may be faced with less competition from other buyers too. If you’ve been waiting to jump into the market because the intensity of the bidding wars was intimidating or if you’ve been outbid on several homes, this moderation could help make the homebuying process a bit smoother. It’s

not that it’ll be easy or that bidding wars are a thing of the past – that’s not the case. But it won’t feel nearly as impossible.

Bottom Line

As the housing market begins its shift back toward pre-pandemic levels, you could have a unique opportunity in front of you. With moderating levels of buyer competition and more homes actively for sale, your home search may have gotten a bit less challenging. Let’s connect to begin the process today.

 Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

 

June 29, 2022

Two Reasons Why Today’s Housing Market Isn’t a Bubble

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You may be reading headlines and hearing talk about a potential housing bubble or a crash, but it’s important to understand that the data and expert opinions tell a different story. A recent survey from Pulsenomics asked over one hundred housing market experts and real estate economists if they believe the housing market is in a bubble. The results indicate most experts don’t think that’s the case (see graph below):

 

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As the graph shows, a strong majority (60%) said the real estate market is not currently in a bubble. In the same survey, experts give the following reasons why this isn’t like 2008:

The recent growth in home prices is because of demographics and low inventory

Credit risks are low because underwriting and lending standards are sound

If you’re concerned a crash may be coming, here’s a deep dive into those two key factors that should help ease your concerns.

1. Low Housing Inventory Is Causing Home Prices To Rise

The supply of homes available for sale needed to sustain a normal real estate market is approximately six months. Anything more than that is an overabundance and will causes prices to depreciate. Anything less than that is a shortage and will lead to continued price appreciation.

As the graph below shows, there were too many homes for sale from 2007 to 2010 (many of which were short sales and foreclosures), and that caused prices to tumble. Today, there’s still a shortage of inventory, which is causing ongoing home price appreciation (see graph below):

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Inventory is nothing like the last time. Prices are rising because there’s a healthy demand for homeownership at the same time there’s a limited supply of homes for sale. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, explains:

“The fundamentals driving house price growth in the U.S. remain intact. . . . The demand for homes continues to exceed the supply of homes for sale, which is keeping house price growth high.”

2. Mortgage Lending Standards Today Are Nothing Like the Last Time

During the housing bubble, it was much easier to get a mortgage than it is today. Here’s a graph showing the mortgage volume issued to purchasers with a credit score less than 620 during the housing boom, and the subsequent volume in the years after:

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This graph helps show one element of why mortgage standards are nothing like they were the last time. Purchasers who acquired a mortgage over the last decade are much more qualified than they were in the years leading up to the crash. Realtor.com notes:

 

“. . . Lenders are giving mortgages only to the most qualified borrowers. These buyers are less likely to wind up in foreclosure.”

Bottom Line

A majority of experts agree we’re not in a housing bubble. That’s because home price growth is backed by strong housing market fundamentals and lending standards are much tighter today. If you have questions, let’s connect to discuss why today’s housing market is nothing like 2008.

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

June 26, 2022

Homeownership Is a Great Hedge Against the Impact of Rising Inflation

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If you’re following along with the news today, you’ve heard about rising inflation. Today, inflation is at a 40-year high. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB):

 

“Consumer prices accelerated again in May as shelter, energy and food prices continued to surge at the fastest pace in decades. This marked the third straight month for inflation above an 8% rate and was the largest year-over-year gain since December 1981.”

With inflation rising, you’re likely feeling it impact your day-to-day life as prices go up for gas, groceries, and more. These climbing consumer costs can put a pinch on your wallet and make you re-evaluate any big purchases you have planned to ensure they’re still worthwhile.

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a home this year, you’re probably wondering if you should continue down that path or if it makes more sense to wait. While the answer depends on your situation, here’s how homeownership can help you combat the rising costs that come with inflation.

Homeownership Helps You Stabilize One of Your Biggest Monthly Expenses

Investopedia explains that during a period of high inflation, prices rise across the board. That’s true for things like food, entertainment, and other goods and services, even housing. Both rental prices and home prices are on the rise. So, as a buyer, how can you protect yourself from increasing costs? The answer lies in homeownership.

Buying a home allows you to stabilize what’s typically your biggest monthly expense: your housing cost. When you have a fixed-rate mortgage on your home, you lock in your monthly payment for the duration of your loan, often 15 to 30 years. James Royal, Senior Wealth Management Reporter at Bankrate, says:

“A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to maintain the biggest portion of housing expenses at the same payment. Sure, property taxes will rise and other expenses may creep up, but your monthly housing payment remains the same. That’s certainly not the case if you’re renting.”

So even if other prices increase, your housing payment will be a reliable amount that can help keep your budget in check. If you rent, you don’t have that same benefit, and you won’t be protected from rising housing costs.

Investing in an Asset That Historically Outperforms Inflation

While it’s true rising home prices and higher mortgage rates mean that buying a house today costs more than it did even a few months ago, you still have an opportunity to set yourself up for a long-term win. That’s because, in inflationary times, you want to be invested in an asset that outperforms inflation and typically holds or grows in value.

The graph below shows how the average home price appreciation outperformed the average inflation rate in most decades going all the way back to the seventies – making homeownership a historically strong hedge against inflation (see graph below):

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So, what does that mean for you? Today, experts forecast home prices will only go up from here thanks to the ongoing imbalance of supply and demand. Once you buy a house, any home price appreciation that does occur will grow your equity and your net worth. And since homes are typically assets that grow in value, you have peace of mind that history shows your investment is a strong one.

That means, if you’re ready and able, it makes sense to buy today before prices rise further.

Bottom Line

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home this year, it makes sense to act soon, even with inflation rising. That way you can stabilize your monthly housing cost and invest in an asset that historically outperforms inflation. If you’re ready to get started, let’s connect so you have expert advice on your specific situation when you’re ready to buy a home.

 

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

June 22, 2022

More Listings Are Coming onto the Market

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Worried you won’t be able to find your next home after you sell? You should know data from realtor.com shows more listings are coming onto the market each month this year.

Having additional options can make the search for your next home easier. But inventory is still low overall, which means your house should still stand out when you sell.

If your biggest question is where you’ll go if you sell, take this as encouraging news. Let’s connect to start the process today.

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Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

June 18, 2022

A Majority of Consumers Say It’s a Good Time To Sell Your House

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If you’re a homeowner thinking about selling your house, you’re probably looking for the best time to make your move. That means you’re likely balancing a number of factors, like your changing needs, where you’ll go when you sell, and today’s mortgage rates in order to time it just right.

 

According to recent data, that sweet spot could already be here. The latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) by Fannie Mae finds that 76% of consumers believe now is a good time to sell.

The graph below shows the percentage of survey respondents who say it’s a good time to sell a house. The big dip in March and April of 2020 reflects how consumer sentiment dropped at the beginning of the pandemic as uncertainty about the health crisis grew. Since then, the percentage has grown consistently as more people feel confident it’s a good time to sell.

In fact, survey respondents think it’s an even better time to sell a house today than they did in 2019, which was a strong year for the housing market. The latest survey results indicate one of the strongest peaks in seller sentiment in nearly three years (see graph below):

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What Makes Today a Good Time To Sell?

One reason so many people think it’s a good time to sell is because there are still more buyers in today’s market than there are homes for sale. That’s driving home prices up, making it a good time to sell your house.

And if you’re on the fence about whether or not to sell because you don’t know where you’ll go once you do, know that you might have more options today than in previous months. That’s because the number of homes coming onto the market has grown each month since the start of the year. When more homes come onto the market, it gives you more opportunities to find one that meets your changing needs.

Bottom Line

While the number of homes available for sale is growing and giving you more options for your move, inventory is still low overall. That could mean it’s a great time for you to sell. If you’re ready to address your changing needs and take advantage of today’s favorable conditions, let’s connect.

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

June 15, 2022

Is the Housing Market Correcting?

image 1If you’re following the news, all of the headlines about conditions in the current housing market may leave you with more questions than answers. Is the boom over? Is the market crashing or correcting? Here’s what you need to know.

 

The housing market is moderating compared to the last two years, but what everyone needs to remember is that the past two years were record-breaking in nearly every way. Record-low mortgage rates and millennials reaching peak homebuying years led to an influx of buyer demand. At the same time, there weren’t enough homes available to purchase thanks to many years of underbuilding and sellers who held off on listing their homes due to the health crisis.

This combination led to record-high demand and record-low supply, and that wasn’t going to be sustainable for the long term. The latest data shows early signs of a shift back to the market pace seen in the years leading up to the pandemic – not a crash nor a correction. As realtor.com says:

“The housing market is at a turning point. . . . We’re starting to see signs of a new direction, . . .”

Home Showings Then and Now

The ShowingTime Showing Index tracks the traffic of home showings according to agents and brokers. It’s a good indication of buyer demand. Here’s a look at that data going back to 2019 (see graph below):

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The 2019 numbers give a good baseline of pre-pandemic demand (shown in gray). As the graph indicates, home showings skyrocketed during the pandemic (shown in blue). And while current buyer demand has begun to moderate slightly based on the latest data (shown in green), showings are still above 2019 levels.

And since 2019 was such a strong year for the housing market, this helps show that the market isn’t crashing – it’s just at a turning point that’s moving back toward more pre-pandemic levels.

Existing Home Sales Then and Now

Headlines are also talking about how existing home sales are declining, but perspective matters. Here’s a look at existing home sales going all the way back to 2019 using data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) (see graph below):

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Again, a similar story emerges. The pandemic numbers (shown in blue) beat the more typical year of 2019 home sales (shown in gray). And according to the latest projections for 2022 (shown in green), the market is on pace to close this year with more home sales than 2019 as well.

It’s important to compare today not to the abnormal pandemic years, but to the most recent normal year to show the current housing market is still strong. First American sums it up like this:

 

“. . . today’s housing market looks a lot like the 2019 housing market, which was the strongest housing market in a decade at the time.”

Bottom Line

If recent headlines are generating any concerns, look at a more typical year for perspective. The current market is not a crash or correction. It’s just a turning point toward more typical, pre-pandemic levels. Let’s connect if you have any questions about our local market and what it means for you when you buy or sell this year.

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

June 10, 2022

Luxury Homes Are in High Demand

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As people realize their needs are changing, some are turning to luxury housing to find their dream home. Investopedia helps define what pushes a home into this category. In a recent article, they point out that a luxury home isn’t only defined by its price. Location is also an important factor. It could be a condo at a desirable city address, a spacious home on the water, or one with access to luxury activities like arts and entertainment, high-end shopping and dining, and more. The home itself will also boast some of the finest features available.

 

According to the Luxury Market Report from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, there’s been a substantial increase in how many buyers are purchasing luxury homes over the past two years. It says:

“. . . North America recorded the fastest growth of demand during the first year of the pandemic. Also, demand has . . . consistently increased, and even in April 2022, we saw a higher volume of sales compared to 2021.”

If you own a luxury home, it could be a great time to list your house today while demand is so high. But first, let’s understand where the demand is coming from.

What’s Driving the Heightened Buyer Demand for High-End Homes?

The same report says more people have reached a certain net-worth threshold, and that’s contributing to the increased interest in luxury housing:

“In 2020, we saw a 2.2% growth in the number of individuals with wealth of over $5 million in net value, but in 2021 that number grew by an outstanding 19.8%.

This total increase has resulted in the introduction of over 660,000 new individuals into the high net-worth bracket, which, combined with the existing affluent looking to both diversify and add new properties to their portfolio, provides a true insight into why the demand for luxury properties skyrocketed during 2021 and into 2022.”

So, if you’re looking to make changes to your real estate portfolio or are looking to sell your current house, it may be a great time to list and benefit from the high demand for luxury homes today.

Bottom Line

If you own a luxury home and want to know how strong demand is in your area, let’s connect so you can capitalize on current market conditions while buyer demand for upscale homes is so high.

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

 

June 8, 2022

Why the Growing Number of Homes for Sale Is Good for Your Move Up

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Are you thinking about selling your current home? If so, the biggest question on your mind may be: if I sell now, where will I go? If this resonates with you, there’s something you should know. The number of homes coming onto the market is increasing and that could make it easier for you to move up this summer.

According to the latest data from realtor.com, the number of homes being listed for sale, known as new listings, has increased consistently this year (see graph below):

 

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While this news has clear benefits for buyers who are craving more options for their home search, what does that mean for current homeowners like you? It gives you two distinct opportunities in today’s housing market.

Opportunity #1: Take Advantage of More Options for Your Move Up

If your current house no longer meets your needs or lacks the space and features you want, this gives you even more opportunity to sell and move up into the home of your dreams. As more options come to market, you’ll have more to choose from when you search for your next home.

Partnering with a local real estate professional can help make sure you see these listings as soon as they come onto the market. And when you do find the one, that professional can advise you on how to write a winning offer to seal the deal.

Opportunity #2: Sell Before You Have More Competition

Just know that, in order to make sure your house shines above the rest, it may make sense to put your home up for sale before your neighbors do the same, creating more competition in your area. The increase in the number of homes being listed for sale is expected to continue, and a recent study from realtor.com says two-thirds of homeowners looking to sell say they’ll do so by August.

A real estate professional can advise you on what you need to tackle to get your house ready to list so they can put that for sale sign up in your yard sooner rather than later. That’s because the process of getting a home ready to sell isn’t taking as long as you may think. As a result, you can capitalize on today’s sellers’ market and get ahead of the competition.

 

Bottom Line

If you’re a current homeowner looking to sell, let’s connect to begin the process. You have a unique opportunity to benefit from the additional homes being listed today and sell before your house has more competition.

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

June 3, 2022

Why Home Loans Today Aren’t What They Were in the Past

In today’s housing market, many are beginning to wonder if we’re returning to the riskier lending habits and borrowing options that led to the housing crash 15 years ago. Let’s ease those concerns.

 

Several times a year, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) releases an index titled the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI). According to their website:

“The MCAI provides the only standardized quantitative index that is solely focused on mortgage credit. The MCAI is . . . a summary measure which indicates the availability of mortgage credit at a point in time.”

Basically, the index determines how easy it is to get a mortgage. The higher the index, the more available mortgage credit becomes. Here’s a graph of the MCAI dating back to 2004, when the data first became available:

 

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As the graph shows, the index stood at about 400 in 2004. Mortgage credit became more available as the housing market heated up, and then the index passed 850 in 2006. When the real estate market crashed, so did the MCAI as mortgage money became almost impossible to secure. Thankfully, lending standards have eased somewhat since then, but the index is still low. In April, the index was at 121, which is about one-seventh of what it was in 2006.

Why Did the Index Get out of Control During the Housing Bubble?

The main reason was the availability of loans with extremely weak lending standards. To keep up with demand in 2006, many mortgage lenders offered loans that put little emphasis on the eligibility of the borrower. Lenders were approving loans without always going through a verification process to confirm if the borrower would likely be able to repay the loan.

An example of the relaxed lending standards leading up to the housing crash is the FICO® credit score associated with a loan. What’s a FICO® score? The website myFICO explains:

“A credit score tells lenders about your creditworthiness (how likely you are to pay back a loan based on your credit history). It is calculated using the information in your credit reports. FICO® Scores are the standard for credit scores—used by 90% of top lenders.”

During the housing boom, many mortgages were written for borrowers with a FICO score under 620. While there are still some loan programs that allow for a 620 score, today’s lending standards are much tighter. Lending institutions overall are much more attentive about measuring risk when approving loans. According to the latest Household Debt and Credit Report from the New York Federal Reserve, the median credit score on all mortgage loans originated in the first quarter of 2022 was 776.

The graph below shows the billions of dollars in mortgage money given annually to borrowers with a credit score under 620.

 

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In 2006, buyers with a score under 620 received $376 billion dollars in loans. In 2021, that number was only $80 billion, and it’s only $20 billion in the first quarter of 2022.

Bottom Line

In 2006, lending standards were much more relaxed with little evaluation done to measure a borrower’s potential to repay their loan. Today, standards are tighter, and the risk is reduced for both lenders and borrowers. These are two very different housing markets, and today is nothing like the last time.

 

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

 

 

May 31, 2022

What Does the Rest of the Year Hold for the Housing Market?

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a house, you’re at an exciting decision point. And anytime you make a big decision like that, one thing you should always consider is timing. So, what does the rest of the year hold for the housing market? Here’s what experts have to say.

 

The Number of Homes Available for Sale Is Likely To Grow

There are early signs housing inventory is starting to grow and experts say that should continue in the months ahead. According to Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com:

“The gap between this year’s homes for sale and last year’s is one-fifth the size that it was at the beginning of the year. The catch up is likely to continue, . . . This growth will mean more options for shoppers than they’ve had in a while, even though inventory continues to lag pre-pandemic normal.”

As a buyer, having more options is welcome news. Just remember, housing supply is still low, so be ready to act fast and put in your best offer up front.

As a seller, your house may soon face more competition when other sellers list their homes. But the good news is, if you’re also buying your next home, having more options to choose from should make that move-up process easier.

Mortgage Rates Will Likely Continue To Respond to Inflationary Pressures

Experts also agree inflation should continue to drive up mortgage rates, albeit more moderately. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, says:

“… ongoing inflationary pressure remains likely to push mortgage rates even higher in the months to come.” 

As a buyer, work with trusted real estate professionals, including your lender, so you can learn how rising mortgage rate environments impact your purchasing power. It may make sense to buy now before it costs more to do so, if you’re ready.

As a seller, rising mortgage rates are motivating some homeowners to make a move up sooner rather than later. If you’re planning to buy your next home, talk to a trusted real estate advisor to decide how to time your move.

Home Prices Are Projected To Continue To Climb

Home prices are forecast to keep appreciating because there are still fewer homes for sale than there are buyers in the market. That said, experts agree the pace of that appreciation should moderate – but home prices won’t fall. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

“Prices throughout the country have surged for the better part of two years, including in the first quarter of 2022. . . Given the extremely low inventory, we’re unlikely to see price declines, but appreciation should slow in the coming months.”

As a buyer, continued home price appreciation means it’ll cost you more to buy the longer you wait. But it also gives you peace of mind that, once you do buy a home, it will likely grow in value. That makes it historically a good investment and a strong hedge against inflation.

As a seller, price appreciation is great news for the value of your home. Again, lean on a professional to strike the right balance of the best conditions possible for both selling your house and buying your next one.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a homebuyer or seller, you need to know what’s happening in the housing market, so you can make the most informed decision possible. Let’s connect to discuss your goals and what lies ahead, so you can pick your best time to make a move.

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters