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!

June 26, 2024

Housing Market Forecast: What’s Ahead for the 2nd Half of 2024




As we move into the second half of 2024, here’s what experts say you should expect for home prices, mortgage rates, and home sales.

Home Prices Are Expected To Climb Moderately

Home prices are forecasted to rise at a more normal pace. The graph below shows the latest forecasts from seven of the most trusted sources in the industry:

No Caption Received

The reason for continued appreciation? The supply of homes for sale. Jessica Lautz, Deputy Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

“One thing that seems to be pretty solid is that home prices are going to continue to go up, and the reason is that we don't have housing inventory.”

While inventory is up compared to the last couple of years, it’s still low overall. And because there still aren’t enough homes to go around, that’ll keep upward pressure on prices.

If you’re thinking of buying, the good news is you won’t have to deal with prices skyrocketing like they did during the pandemic. Just remember, prices aren’t expected to drop. They’ll continue climbing, just at a slower pace.

So, getting into the market sooner rather than later could still save you money in the long run. Plus, you can feel confident experts say your home will grow in value after you buy it.

Mortgage Rates Are Forecast To Come Down Slightly

One of the best pieces of news for both buyers and sellers is that mortgage rates are expected to come down a bit, according to Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and NAR (see chart below):

No Caption ReceivedWhen you buy, even a small drop in mortgage rates can make a big difference in your monthly payments. For sellers, lower rates will bring more buyers back into the market, which can help you sell faster and potentially at a higher price. Plus, it may help you get off the fence, if you’ve been hesitant to sell due to today’s rates.

Home Sales Are Projected To Hold Steady

For 2024, the number of home sales will be about the same as last year and may even rise slightly. The graph below compares the 2024 home sales forecasts from Fannie MaeMBA, and NAR to the 4.8 million homes that sold last year:

No Caption Received

The average of the three forecasts is about 5 million sales in 2024 – a small increase from 2023. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, explains why:

“Job gains, steady mortgage rates and the release of inventory from pent-up home sellers will lead to more sales.”

With more inventory available and mortgage rates expected to go down, a few more homes are expected to be sold this year compared to last year. This means more people will be able to move. Let's work together to make sure you’re one of them.

Bottom Line

If you have any questions or need help navigating the market, reach out.

Posted in Market Updates
April 29, 2024

What Every Homebuyer Should Know About Closing Costs

 




Before making the decision to buy a home, it's important to plan for all the costs you’ll be responsible for. While you're busy saving for the down payment, don't forget you’ll want to prep for closing costs too.

Here’s some helpful information on what those costs are and how much you should budget for them.

What Are Closing Costs?

A recent article from Bankrate explains:

Closing costs are the fees and expenses you must pay before becoming the legal owner of a house, condo or townhome . . . Closing costs vary depending on the purchase price of the home and how it’s being financed . . .”

Simply put, your closing costs are the additional fees and payments you have to make at closing. According to Freddie Mac, while they can vary by location and situation, closing costs typically include:

  • Government recording costs
  • Appraisal fees
  • Credit report fees
  • Lender origination fees
  • Title services
  • Tax service fees
  • Survey fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Underwriting Fees

How Much Are Closing Costs?

According to the same Freddie Mac article mentioned above, they’re typically between 2% and 5% of the total purchase price of your home. With that in mind, here’s how you can get an idea of what you’ll need to budget.

Let’s say you find a home you want to purchase at today’s median price of $384,500. Based on the 2-5% Freddie Mac estimate, your closing fees could be between roughly $7,690 and $19,225.

But keep in mind, if you’re in the market for a home above or below this price range, your closing costs will be higher or lower.

Make Sure You’re Prepared To Close

Freddie Mac provides great advice for homebuyers, saying:

“As you start your homebuying journey, take the time to get a sense of all costs involved – from your down payment to closing costs.”

The best way to do that is by partnering with a team of trusted real estate professionals. That gives you a group of experts to help you understand how much you’ll need to save and what you’ll want to be prepped for. It also means you have go-to resources for any questions that pop up along the way.

Bottom Line

Planning for the fees and payments you'll need to cover when you're closing on your home is important. Partnering with a local real estate professional can give you the guidance and confidence you need throughout the process.

Posted in Home Buying
April 22, 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:

“You won’t have time for any major renovations, so focus on quick repairs to address things that could deter potential buyers.”

Here are some specific examples from that article:

 a graph of a number of homes for sale

 

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.

Posted in Home Selling
April 15, 2024

Outdoor Projects Can Boost Curb Appeal When You Sell

 




a comparison of a bird house and a garden

Some Highlights

  • In real estate, a good first impression is key. If the outside of a house looks welcoming, more people will want to come in and see it.
  • Your agent helps you by giving advice on what you may want to prioritize, finding easy fixes that make a big difference, knowing what buyers in your area like, and showing off your updates in your listing.
  • Let’s connect so you have expert advice on what'll have the biggest impact in our area. 
Posted in Home Selling
April 8, 2024

Is It Easier To Find a Home To Buy Now?

 




One of the biggest hurdles buyers have faced over the past few years has been a lack of homes available for sale. But that’s starting to change.

The graph below uses the latest data from Realtor.com to show there are more homes on the market in 2024 than there have been in any of the past several years (2021-2023):

a graph of a number of homes for sale

 

Does That Mean Finding a Home Is Easier?

The answer is yes, and no. As an article from Realtor.com says:

There were nearly 15% more homes for sale in February than a year earlier . . . That alone could jolt the housing market a bit if more “For Sale” signs continue to appear. However, the nation is still suffering from a housing shortage even with all of that new inventory.

Context is important. On the one hand, inventory is up over the past few years. That means you’ll likely have more options to choose from as you search for your next home.

But, at the same time, the graph above also shows there are still significantly fewer homes for sale than there would usually be in a more normal, pre-pandemic market. And that deficit isn’t going to be reversed overnight.

What Does This Mean for You?

You might find a few more choices now than in recent years, but you shouldn’t expect a ton of options.

To help you explore the growing list of choices you have now, team up with a local real estate agent you trust. They can really help you understand the inventory situation where you want to buy. That’s because real estate is local. An experienced agent can share some smart tips they’ve used to help other buyers in your area deal with ongoing low housing supply.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about buying a home, let’s team up. That way, you’ll be up to date on everything that could affect your move, including how many homes are for sale right now.

Posted in Home Buying
April 1, 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.

Posted in Home Buying
March 25, 2024

What To Know About Credit Scores Before Buying a Home




If you want to buy a home, you should know your credit score is a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to qualifying for a mortgage. Lenders review your credit to see if you typically make payments on time, pay back debts, and more. Your credit score can also help determine your mortgage rate. An article from US Bank explains:

“A credit score isn’t the only deciding factor on your mortgage application, but it’s a significant one. So, when you’re house shopping, it’s important to know where your credit stands and how to use it to get the best mortgage rate possible.”

That means your credit score may feel even more important to your homebuying plans right now since mortgage rates are a key factor in affordability. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the median credit score in the U.S. for those taking out a mortgage is 770. But that doesn’t mean your credit score has to be perfect. The same article from US Bank explains:

“Your credit score (commonly called a FICO Score) can range from 300 at the low end to 850 at the high end. A score of 740 or above is generally considered very good, but you don’t need that score or above to buy a home.”

Working with a trusted lender is the best way to get more information on how your credit score could factor into your home loan and the mortgage rate you’re able to get. As FICO says:

“While many lenders use credit scores like FICO Scores to help them make lending decisions, each lender has its own strategy, including the level of risk it finds acceptable. There is no single “cutoff score” used by all lenders and there are many additional factors that lenders may use to determine your actual interest rates.”

If you’re looking for ways to improve your score, Experian highlights some things you may want to focus on:

  • Your Payment History: Late payments can have a negative impact by dropping your score. Focus on making payments on time and paying any existing late charges quickly.
  • Your Debt Amount (relative to your credit limits): When it comes to your available credit amount, the less you’re using, the better. Focus on keeping this number as low as possible.
  • Credit Applications: If you’re looking to buy something, don’t apply for additional credit. When you apply for new credit, it could result in a hard inquiry on your credit that drops your score.

Bottom Line

Finding ways to make your credit score better could help you get a lower mortgage rate. If you want to learn more, talk to a trusted lender.

Posted in Home Buying
March 18, 2024

The First Step: Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage




a screenshot of a website

Some Highlights

Posted in Home Buying
March 11, 2024

Why We Aren't Headed for a Housing Crash




If you’re holding out hope that the housing market is going to crash and bring home prices back down, here’s a look at what the data shows. And spoiler alert: that’s not in the cards. Instead, experts say home prices are going to keep going up.

Today’s market is very different than it was before the housing crash in 2008. Here’s why.

It’s Harder To Get a Loan Now – and That’s Actually a Good Thing

It was much easier to get a home loan during the lead-up to the 2008 housing crisis than it is today. Back then, banks had different lending standards, making it easy for just about anyone to qualify for a home loan or refinance an existing one.

Things are different today. Homebuyers face increasingly higher standards from mortgage companies. The graph below uses data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) to show this difference. The lower the number, the harder it is to get a mortgage. The higher the number, the easier it is:

a graph showing a line going up

 

The peak in the graph shows that, back then, lending standards weren’t as strict as they are now. That means lending institutions took on much greater risk in both the person and the mortgage products offered around the crash. That led to mass defaults and a flood of foreclosures coming onto the market.

There Are Far Fewer Homes for Sale Today, so Prices Won’t Crash

Because there were too many homes for sale during the housing crisis (many of which were short sales and foreclosures), that caused home prices to fall dramatically. But today, there’s an inventory shortage – not a surplus.

The graph below uses data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Federal Reserve to show how the months’ supply of homes available now (shown in blue) compares to the crash (shown in red):

a graph of a number of people

 

Today, unsold inventory sits at just a 3.0-months’ supply. That’s compared to the peak of 10.4 month’s supply back in 2008. That means there’s nowhere near enough inventory on the market for home prices to come crashing down like they did back then.

People Are Not Using Their Homes as ATMs Like They Did in the Early 2000s

Back in the lead up to the housing crash, many homeowners were borrowing against the equity in their homes to finance new cars, boats, and vacations. So, when prices started to fall, as inventory rose too high, many of those homeowners found themselves underwater.

But today, homeowners are a lot more cautious. Even though prices have skyrocketed in the past few years, homeowners aren’t tapping into their equity the way they did back then.

Black Knight reports that tappable equity (the amount of equity available for homeowners to access before hitting a maximum 80% loan-to-value ratio, or LTV) has actually reached an all-time high:

 a graph of a growing graph

 

That means, as a whole, homeowners have more equity available than ever before. And that’s great. Homeowners are in a much stronger position today than in the early 2000s. That same report from Black Knight goes on to explain:

“Only 1.1% of mortgage holders (582K) ended the year underwater, down from 1.5% (807K) at this time last year.”

And since homeowners are on more solid footing today, they’ll have options to avoid foreclosure. That limits the number of distressed properties coming onto the market. And without a flood of inventory, prices won’t come tumbling down. 

Bottom Line

While you may be hoping for something that brings prices down, that’s not what the data tells us is going to happen. The most current research clearly shows that today’s market is nothing like it was last time.

Posted in Market Updates
March 4, 2024

Why You Want an Agent’s Advice for Your Move




No matter how you slice it, buying or selling a home is a big decision. And when you’re going through any change in your life and you need some guidance, what do you do? You get advice from people who know what they’re talking about.

Moving is no exception. You need insights from the pros to help you feel confident in your decision. Freddie Mac explains it like this:

“As you set out to find the right home for your family, be sure to select experienced, trusted professionals who will help you make informed decisions and avoid pitfalls.”

And while perfect advice isn’t possible – not even from the experts, what you can get is the very best advice out there.

The Power of Expert Advice

For example, let’s say you need an attorney. You start off by finding an expert in the type of law required for your case. Once you do, they won’t immediately tell you how the case is going to end, or how the judge or jury will rule. But what a good attorney can do is walk you through the most effective strategies based on their experience and help you put a plan together. They’ll even use their knowledge to adjust that plan as new information becomes available.

The job of a real estate agent is similar. Just like you can’t find a lawyer to give you perfect advice, you won’t find a real estate professional who can either. That’s because it’s impossible to know everything that’s going to happen throughout your transaction. Their role is to give you the best advice they can.

To do that, an agent will draw on their experience, industry knowledge, and market data. They know the latest trends, the ins and outs of the homebuying and selling processes, and what’s worked for other people in the same situation as you.

With that expertise, a real estate advisor can anticipate what could happen next and work with you to put together a solid plan. Then, they’ll guide you through the process, helping you make decisions along the way. That’s the very definition of getting the best – not perfect – advice. And that’s the power of working with a real estate advisor.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, you want an expert on your side to help you each step of the way. Let’s connect so you have advice you can count on.