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!

Jan. 11, 2024

What Lower Mortgage Rates Mean for Your Purchasing Power

If you want to buy a home, it's important to know how mortgage rates impact what you can afford and how much you’ll pay each month. Fortunately, rates for 30-year fixed mortgages have come down significantly since the end of October and are currently under 7%, according to Freddie Mac (see graph below):

This recent trend is great news for buyers. As a recent article from Bankrate says:

“The rate cool-off somewhat eases the housing affordability squeeze.”

And according to Edward Seiler, AVP of Housing Economics and Executive Director of the Research Institute for Housing America at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA):

“MBA expects that affordability conditions will continue to improve as mortgage rates decline . . .”

Here’s a bit more context on how this could help with your plans to buy a home.

How Mortgage Rates Affect Your Search for a Home

Understanding the connection between mortgage rates and your monthly home payment is crucial for your plans to become a homeowner. The chart below illustrates how your ability to afford a home changes when mortgage rates shift. Imagine your budget allows for a monthly payment between $2,400 and $2,500. The green part in the chart shows payments in that range or lower (see chart below):

As you can see, even small changes in rates can affect your budget and the loan amount you can afford.

Get Help from Reliable Experts To Understand Your Budget and Plan Ahead

When you're looking to buy a home, it's important to get guidance from a local real estate agent and a trusted lender. They can help you explore different mortgage options, understand what makes mortgage rates go up or down, and how those changes impact you.

By looking at the numbers and the latest data together, then adjusting your strategy based on today's rates, you'll be better prepared and ready to buy a home.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to buy a home, you should know the recent downward trend in mortgage rates is good news for your move. Let’s connect and plan your next steps.

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

Posted in Mortgage Rates
Nov. 16, 2023

People Are Still Moving, Even with Today’s Affordability Challenges

If you're thinking about buying or selling a home, you might have heard that it’s tough right now because mortgage rates are higher than they’ve been over the past few years, and home prices are rising. That much is true. Take a look at the graph below. It breaks down how the current affordability situation stacks up to recent years.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains how to read the values on the graph:

“To interpret the indices, a value of 100 means that a family with the median income has exactly enough income to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home.”

The black dotted line represents that 100 value on the index. Essentially, the higher the bar, the more affordable homes are. As you can see, the orange bar for today shows higher mortgage rates and home prices have created a clear challenge. But, while affordability is definitely tighter right now, that doesn’t mean the housing market is at a standstill.

According to NAR, based on the pace of sales right now, just under 4 million homes will sell this year. With some simple math, let’s break down what that really means for you:

·         3.96 million homes divided by 365 days in a year = 10,849 houses sell each day

·         10,849 divided by 24 hours in a day = 452 houses sell per hour

·         452 divided by 60 minutes in an hour = about 8 houses sell each minute

 

So, on average, over 10,000 homes sell each day in this country. Whether you're a buyer or a seller, this goes to show there are still ways to make your move possible, even at a time when affordability is tight.

 

You may be wondering how other homebuyers and sellers are making this happen now. One of the biggest game-changers in today’s market is working with a trusted local real estate agent. Great agents are helping other people just like you navigate today’s market and the current affordability situation, and their insight is invaluable right now.

 

True professionals will be able to offer advice tailored to your specific wants, needs, budget, and more. Not to mention, they’ll also be able to draw on their experience of what’s working for other buyers and sellers right now. This could mean broadening your search, if needed, to include other housing types like condos, townhouses, or neighborhoods a bit further out to help offset some of the affordability challenges today.

 

 

Bottom Line

You might think there aren’t many people buying or selling homes right now since affordability is tighter than it’s been in quite some time, but that’s not the case. It’s true that buying a home has become more expensive over the past couple of years, but people are still moving.

 

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

 

Nov. 16, 2023

The Latest 2024 Housing Market Forecast

The new year is right around the corner, and you might be wondering if 2024 will be the right time to buy or sell a home. If you want to make the most informed decision possible, it’s important to know what the experts have to say about what's ahead for the housing market. Spoiler alert: the projections may be better than you think. Here’s why.

 

Experts Forecast Ongoing Home Price Appreciation

Take a look at the latest home price forecasts from Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

As you can see in the orange bars on the left, on average, experts forecast prices will end this year up about 2.8% overall, and increase by another 1.5% by the end of 2024. That’s big news, considering so many people thought prices would crash this year. The truth is, prices didn’t come tumbling way down in 2023, and that’s because there just weren’t enough homes for sale compared to the number of people who wanted or needed to buy them, and that inventory crunch is still very real. This is the general rule of supply and demand, and it continues to put upward pressure on prices as we move into the new year.

 

Looking forward, experts project home prices will continue to rise next year, but not quite as much as they did this year. Even though the expected rise in 2024 isn't as big as in 2023, it's important to understand home price appreciation is cumulative. In simpler terms, this means if the experts are right, according to the national average, after your home's value goes up by 2.8% this year, it should go up by another 1.5% next year. That ongoing price growth is a big part of why owning a home can be a smart decision in the long run.

 

Projections Show Sales Should Increase Slightly Next Year

While 2023 hasn’t seen a lot of home sales relative to more normal years in the housing market, experts are forecasting a bit more activity next year. Here’s what those same three organizations project for the rest of this year, and in 2024 (see graph below):

While expectations are for just a slight uptick in total sales, improved activity next year is a good thing for the housing market, and for buyers and sellers like you. As people continue to move, that opens up options for hopeful buyers who are looking for a home.

 

So, what do these forecasts show? The housing market is expected to be more active in 2024. That may be in part because there will always be people who need to move. People will get new jobs, have children, get married or divorced – these and other major life changes lead people to move regardless of housing market conditions. That will remain true next year, and for years to come. And if mortgage rates come down, we’ll see even more activity in the housing market.

 

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about buying or selling, it’s important to know what the experts are forecasting for the future of the housing market. When you’re in the know about what’s ahead, you can make the most informed decision possible. Let's chat about the latest forecasts together, and craft a plan for your next move.

 

Source: real estate with keeping current matters

Posted in Market Forecast
Nov. 16, 2023

These Top Cities Show Home Prices Are Still Climbing

If you’re considering buying a home or selling your current one to find something that better suits your needs, you may have questions about what’s happening with home prices today. Here’s what you need to know.

 

There’s still a lot of confusion and misinformation out there. So, no matter what you may have heard, the national data shows they've actually been climbing again (see graphs below):

As you can see, in the first half of 2022, home prices went way up. Those increases were dramatic and unsustainable. So, in the second half of 2022, prices adjusted. Those dips were small and didn't last very long. Still, the news made a big deal about these slight declines, which may have made you worry.

 

But what's important to know is that, in 2023, prices are going up again, and this time it's at a more normal pace. The fact that all three reports now show more typical price increases this year is good news for the housing market.

 

Home Prices Are Rising Across the Top Cities in the U.S.

After seeing steady home price growth at the national level for the last several months, you may wonder if prices are going up in your local area, too. Know this: while this will vary from one area to the next, home prices are appreciating in these top cities Case-Shiller reports on in their monthly price index (see chart below):

That’s why so many experts are able to forecast home prices will end the year in the positive and continue going up in 2024.

 

Here’s How This Affects You

For Buyers: If you've been waiting to buy a home because you were concerned it might lose value, the fact that home prices are going up should ease your worries. Buying a home before prices climb higher can be a smart move since home values typically appreciate over time.

For Sellers: If you've been postponing selling your house because you were worried about how changing home prices would affect its value, now might be a good time to work with a real estate agent to put your house on the market. You don't have to wait any longer because the data shows home prices are in your favor.

 

Bottom Line

If you delayed moving because you were concerned home prices would drop, don't worry – the numbers show they're going up nationally. To better understand how home prices are changing in your local area, let’s connect.

 

Source: real estate with keeping current matters

Posted in Home Prices
Oct. 23, 2023

How Buying a Multi-Generational Home Helps with Affordability Today

In today's world of rising housing costs, many buyers are looking for ways to still be able to buy a home. Some of them have found a solution in multi-generational living.

Multi-generational living is when two or more adult generations live together under one roof. This includes siblings, parents, or even grandparents. Here’s an in-depth look at why more buyers are choosing this option today, so you can see if it may be right for you too.

Reasons To Buy a Multi-Generational Home

According to a recent study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the top two reasons people are opting for multi-generational homes today have to do with affordability (see graph below):

Cost Savings: About 28% of first-time buyers and 11% of repeat buyers are deciding on a multi-generational home to save on costs. By pooling their resources, households can share the financial responsibilities like mortgage payments, utilities, property taxes, and maintenance, to make homeownership more affordable. This is especially helpful for first-time homebuyers who may be finding it tough to afford a home on their own in today's market.

 

More Space: Another 28% of first-time buyers and 18% of repeat buyers are doing it because they want a larger home they couldn’t afford on their own. For some of the repeat buyers who listed this as a main motivator, it could be because they find themselves taking care of older parents while also welcoming back young adults who've returned to the nest. With everyone chipping in and combining their incomes, suddenly, that big dream home with more space is within reach. As the Triangle Business Journal explains:

 

“Choosing multi-gen living allows people to purchase a home much larger than they could afford on their own by leveraging the combined income, credit and a down payment of those that they will be occupying the home with.”

Lean on an Expert

If you’re interested in this too, partner with a local real estate agent. Finding the perfect multi-generational home isn't as simple as shopping for a regular house. That’s because there are more people with even more opinions and needs that should be considered.

You've got to make sure everyone has their own space, find room for shared household time, and possibly even create adaptable areas for older relatives. It's a puzzle, and the pieces need to fit just right. Your real estate agent has the expertise and local knowledge to help you find that home where everyone can be comfortable without breaking the bank. As MoneyGeek.com puts it:

 

"Having a good multigenerational property can improve the prospects of success when living with loved ones. A multigenerational home should fit the specific needs of most family members regardless of age or health."

 

Bottom Line

Buying a multi-generational home can be a smart way to tackle some of today’s affordability challenges. When you team up to share expenses, you can make your dream of homeownership more attainable. If this sounds like an option for you and your loved ones, let’s connect to help you find a home that’s the perfect fit.

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

Posted in Multi-generational
Oct. 16, 2023

Growing Your Net Worth with Homeownership

Take a moment to imagine where you want to be in a few years. You might be thinking about your job, money, wanting more stability, or goals you want to reach soon. Is homeownership a part of that vision? If it is, you should know owning a home has a whole lot of financial benefits.

One of the many reasons to buy a home is that it’s a great way to build wealth and gain financial stability. That’s because the value of most homes increases over time, which in turn grows your net worth. Here’s how home values are rising right now. According to Zillow:

“The total value of the U.S. housing market – the sum of Zillow’s estimated value for every U.S. home – is now slightly less than $52 trillion, which is $1.1 trillion higher than the previous peak reached last June.”

Basically, homeownership is a tremendous wealth-building tool. And with home values back on the rise across the nation, now might be a good time to consider if owning a home is something you want to reach for.

Here’s a look at some data to see how much owning a home can really make a difference in your life.

Household Net Worth Is Rising

Data shows that while those in the top 1% saw the most dramatic net worth increase, people from every single tax bracket have seen their wealth grow over the past few years (see graph below):

For many of those people, the rising value of their home plays a big part in that.

Owning a Home Helps You Achieve Financial Success

You can tell homeownership had a lot to do with that growth because there’s a significant net worth gap between homeowners and renters. As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

 “. . . homeownership is a catalyst for building wealth for people from all walks of life. A monthly mortgage payment is often considered a forced savings account that helps homeowners build a net worth about 40 times higher than that of a renter.”

 

The big reason why? Homeowner’s build equity. Home equity is the value of your home minus the amount you owe on your mortgage. And for most homeowners, that’s the largest contributor to their net worth. Here’s the data from First American to prove it (see graph below):

The blue portion of each bar represents housing as a portion of net worth – and it’s clearly a bigger contributor than other investments like stocks, gold, and cryptocurrencies. As you can see, across different income levels, homeownership does more to build the average household’s wealth than anything else.

 

 

Bottom Line

One of the biggest benefits of owning a home is that it can provide an avenue to grow your net worth. Let’s connect so you can start investing in homeownership.

 

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

 

Posted in HOmeownership
Oct. 12, 2023

The Latest Expert Forecasts for Home Prices in 2023

Are you thinking about making a move? If so, all the speculation that home prices would crash this year may have you feeling a bit on edge about your decision. Let the data and the experts reassure you. Prices aren’t in a downward spiral and will actually finish the year strong.

Even though you may have heard talk that prices would drop 5, 10, or even 20% this year, that hasn’t happened. The big reason why is the supply of homes for sale is too low. There are just more buyers looking to buy than homes available, and that’s kept prices from falling.

To prove this year wasn’t a bust for home prices, let’s look at the latest 2023 forecast from a number of experts.

Most Experts Project Home Prices Will Net Positive this Year

 

The general consensus from industry experts is that home price appreciation will actually be positive for 2023. The graph below shows the latest 2023 year-end forecasts from six different organizations:

As you can see, all but one project nationally prices will net positive this year. That’s significant because it shows the majority are optimistic about home price growth.

If you’re still worried about the one red bar that shows an overall price drop for the year, think about this. The projection from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is for only a slight decline. It’s not the big crash all the headlines called for. Plus, if you average all six forecasts together, the expectation is that prices will net somewhere around 3.3% positive growth for the year.

If these 6 organizations aren’t enough to convince you that prices won’t come tumbling down, here’s something else to consider. One of the six forecasts represented in the graph is the Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES) from Pulsenomics. It combines survey results from over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. The HPES found that the average from all 100 of those experts is 3.3% price growth for the year.

If you look back at the graph above, you’ll notice the blue average for the forecasts in this graph is also 3.3%. While individual forecasts may vary, both the HPES survey and the average of these forecasts provide the same projection. And 3.3% appreciation is a completely different story than prices falling.

 

Bottom Line

If you’re worried about home prices falling this year, let the experts reassure you. Based on the average of the latest forecasts, home prices will actually show positive growth this year. If you have questions about what’s happening with home prices in our local area, let’s connect.

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

Posted in Home Prices
Oct. 6, 2023

How Remote Work Helps with Your House Hunt

While remote work peaked during the pandemic, many people still work from home today.

If you’re one of them, it could have an unexpected benefit when you’re looking to buy a home.

 

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

Posted in Work from Home
Sept. 29, 2023

Why Today’s Housing Inventory Shows a Crash Isn’t on the Horizon

You might remember the housing crash in 2008, even if you didn't own a home at the time. If you’re worried there’s going to be a repeat of what happened back then, there's good news – the housing market now is different from 2008.

One important reason is there aren't enough homes for sale. That means there’s an undersupply, not an oversupply like the last time. For the market to crash, there would have to be too many houses for sale, but the data doesn't show that happening.

 

Housing supply comes from three main sources:

·         Homeowners deciding to sell their houses

·         Newly built homes

·         Distressed properties (foreclosures or short sales)

Here’s a closer look at today's housing inventory to understand why this isn’t like 2008.

Homeowners Deciding To Sell Their Houses

Although housing supply did grow compared to last year, it’s still low. The current months’ supply is below the norm. The graph below shows this more clearly. If you look at the latest data (shown in green), compared to 2008 (shown in red), there’s only about a third of that available inventory today.

So, what does this mean? There just aren't enough homes available to make home values drop. To have a repeat of 2008, there’d need to be a lot more people selling their houses with very few buyers, and that's not happening right now.

Newly Built Homes

 

People are also talking a lot about what's going on with newly built houses these days, and that might make you wonder if homebuilders are overdoing it. The graph below shows the number of new houses built over the last 52 years:

The 14 years of underbuilding (shown in red) is a big part of the reason why inventory is so low today. Basically, builders haven’t been building enough homes for years now and that’s created a significant deficit in supply.

While the final blue bar on the graph shows that’s ramping up and is on pace to hit the long-term average again, it won’t suddenly create an oversupply. That’s because there’s too much of a gap to make up. Plus, builders are being intentional about not overbuilding homes like they did during the bubble.

Distressed Properties (Foreclosures and Short Sales)

The last place inventory can come from is distressed properties, including short sales and foreclosures. Back during the housing crisis, there was a flood of foreclosures due to lending standards that allowed many people to get a home loan they couldn’t truly afford.

 

Today, lending standards are much tighter, resulting in more qualified buyers and far fewer foreclosures. The graph below uses data from the Federal Reserve to show how things have changed since the housing crash:

This graph illustrates, as lending standards got tighter and buyers were more qualified, the number of foreclosures started to go down. And in 2020 and 2021, the combination of a moratorium on foreclosures and the forbearance program helped prevent a repeat of the wave of foreclosures we saw back around 2008.

The forbearance program was a game changer, giving homeowners options for things like loan deferrals and modifications they didn’t have before. And data on the success of that program shows four out of every five homeowners coming out of forbearance are either paid in full or have worked out a repayment plan to avoid foreclosure. These are a few of the biggest reasons there won’t be a wave of foreclosures coming to the market.

 

What This Means for You

Inventory levels aren’t anywhere near where they’d need to be for prices to drop significantly and the housing market to crash. According to Bankrate, that isn’t going to change anytime soon, especially considering buyer demand is still strong:

“This ongoing lack of inventory explains why many buyers still have little choice but to bid up prices. And it also indicates that the supply-and-demand equation simply won’t allow a price crash in the near future.”

 

Bottom Line

The market doesn’t have enough available homes for a repeat of the 2008 housing crisis – and there’s nothing that suggests that will change anytime soon. That’s why housing inventory tells us there’s no crash on the horizon.

 

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

 

Posted in Housing Inventory
Sept. 28, 2023

Your Home Equity Can Offset Affordability Challenges

Are you thinking about selling your house? If so, today’s mortgage rates may be making you wonder if that’s the right decision. Some homeowners are reluctant to sell and take on a higher mortgage rate on their next home. If you’re worried about this too, know that even though rates are high right now, so is home equity. Here’s what you need to know.

Bankrate explains exactly what equity is and how it grows:

Home equity is the portion of your home that you’ve paid off and own outright. It’s the difference between what the home is worth and how much is still owed on your mortgage. As your home’s value increases over the long term and you pay down the principal on the mortgage, your equity stake grows.”

In other words, equity is how much your home is worth now, minus what you still owe on your home loan.

How Much Equity Do Homeowners Have Now?

Recently, your equity has been growing faster than you might think. To help contextualize just how much the average homeowner has, CoreLogic says:

“. . . the average U.S. homeowner now has about $290,000 in equity.”

That’s because, over the past few years, home prices went up significantly – and those rising prices helped your equity to accumulate faster than usual. While the market has started to normalize, there are still more people wanting to buy homes than there are homes available for sale. This high demand is causing home prices to go up again.

According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the Census, and ATTOM, a property data provider, nearly two-thirds (68.7%) of homeowners have either fully paid off their mortgages or have at least 50% equity (see chart below):

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

 

How Equity Helps with Your Affordability Concerns

With today’s affordability challenges, your equity can make a big difference when you decide to move. After you sell your house, you can use the equity you've built up in your home to help you buy your next one. 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 a new house without having to take out a loan. If that's the case, you won't need to borrow any money or worry about mortgage rates. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) states:

“These all-cash home buyers are happily avoiding the higher mortgage interest rates . . .”

Make a larger down payment: Your equity could 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 so today’s rates become less of a sticking point. Experian explains:

“Increasing your down payment lowers your principal loan amount and, consequently, your loan-to-value ratio, which could lead to a lower interest rate offer from your lender.”

Bottom Line

If you're thinking about moving, the equity you've built up can make a big difference, especially today. To find out how much equity you've got in your current house and how you can use it for your next home, let’s connect.

 

Source: Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

Posted in Home Equity