Uncategorized January 24, 2023

The 3 Factors That Affect Home Affordability

The 3 Factors That Affect Home Affordability Simplifying The Market

If you’ve been following the housing market over the last couple of years, you’ve likely heard about growing affordability challenges. But according to experts, the key factors that determine housing affordability are projected to improve this year. Selma Hepp, Executive, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic, shares:

“. . . with slowly improving affordability and a more optimistic economic outlook than previously believed, the housing market could show resilience in 2023.”

The three measures used to establish home affordability are home prices, mortgage rates, and wages. Here’s a closer look at each one.

1. Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates shot up to over 7% last year, causing many buyers to put their plans on hold. But things are looking different today as rates are starting to come down. George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.com, explains:

“Let’s celebrate some good news. . . . mortgage rates are down. With inflation showing a tangible slowdown, I do expect mortgage rates to follow suit in the months ahead.”

Even a small change in rates can impact your purchasing power. Nadia Evangelou, Director of Forecasting for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), gives this context:

“With a 6% rate instead of 7%, buyers pay about $2,700 less every year on their mortgage. As a result, owning a home becomes affordable to about 1.4 million more renters and 4.3 million more homeowners.”

If 7% rates paused your homebuying plans last year, this could be the opportunity you need to get back in the game. Be sure to work with a team of experts who know the latest on mortgage rates and can give you the best advice for the current market.

2. Home Prices

The second factor at play is home prices. Home prices have made headlines over the past few years because they skyrocketed during the pandemic. When discussing home prices in 2023, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, says:

“After a big boom over the past two years, there will essentially be no change nationally . . . Half of the country may experience small price gains, while the other half may see slight price declines.”

So, while prices will likely be flat this year in some markets, others could see small gains or slight declines. It all depends on your local area. For insight into what’s happening in your market and how prices are impacting affordability, reach out to a trusted real estate professional.

3. Wages

The final component in the affordability equation is wages. The graph below uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to show how wages have increased over time:

The 3 Factors That Affect Home Affordability | Simplifying The Market

When you think about affordability, remember the full picture includes more than just mortgage rates and prices. Wages need to be factored in as well. Because wages have been rising, many buyers have renewed opportunity in the market.

While affordability hurdles are not completely going away this year, based on current trends and projections, 2023 should bring some sense of relief to homebuyers who have faced growing challenges. As Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), says:

“Rates are expected to move lower for the year, and home price growth is expected to cool, both of which will help affordability challenges.”

Bottom Line

If you have questions, let’s connect. You’ll also want to make sure you have a trusted lender so you can explore your financing options. You may be closer to owning a home than you think.

Uncategorized January 23, 2023

Want To Sell Your House? Price It Right.

Want To Sell Your House? Price It Right. Simplifying The Market

Last year, the housing market slowed down in response to higher mortgage rates, and that had an impact on home prices. If you’re thinking of selling your house soon, that means you’ll want to adjust your expectations accordingly. As realtor.com explains:

“. . . some of the more prominent pandemic trends have changed, so sellers might wish to adjust accordingly to get the best deal possible.”

In a more moderate market, how you price your house will make a big difference to not only your bottom line, but to how quickly your house could sell. And the reality is, homes priced right are still selling in today’s market.

Why Pricing Your House Appropriately Matters

Especially today, your asking price sends a message to potential buyers.

If it’s priced too low, you may leave money on the table or discourage buyers who may see a lower-than-expected price tag and wonder if that means something is wrong with the home.

If it’s priced too high, you run the risk of deterring buyers. When that happens, you may have to lower the price to try to reignite interest in your house when it sits on the market for a while. But be aware that a price drop can be seen as a red flag by some buyers who will wonder what that means about the home.

To avoid either headache, price it right from the start. A real estate professional knows how to determine that ideal asking price. They balance the value of homes in your neighborhood, current market trends, buyer demand, the condition of your house, and more to find the right price. This helps lead to stronger offers and a greater likelihood your house will sell quickly.

The visual below helps summarize the impact your asking price can have:


Want To Sell Your House? Price It Right. | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Homes that are priced at current market value are still selling. To make sure you price your house appropriately, maximize your sales potential, and minimize your hassle, let’s connect.

BuyersSellers January 20, 2023

What’s Really Happening with Home Prices? [INFOGRAPHIC]

What’s Really Happening with Home Prices? [INFOGRAPHIC] Simplifying The Market

What’s Really Happening with Home Prices? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • If you’re thinking about selling your house, recent headlines about home prices falling month-over-month may have you second guessing your decision—but perspective matters.
  • While home prices are down slightly month-over-month in some markets, home values are still up almost 10% nationally on a year-over-year basis. A nearly 10% gain is still dramatic compared to the more normal level of appreciation, which is 3-4%.
  • Let’s connect to find out how much equity you have in your current home and how you can use it to fuel your next purchase.
Sellers January 19, 2023

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

A Majority of Consumers Say It’s a Good Time To Sell Your House Simplifying The MarketIf 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):

A Majority of Consumers Say It’s a Good Time To Sell Your House | Simplifying The Market

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.

BuyersSellers January 18, 2023

Have Home Values Hit Bottom?

Have Home Values Hit Bottom? Simplifying The Market

Whether you’re already a homeowner or you’re looking to become one, the recent headlines about home prices may leave you with more questions than answers. News stories are talking about home prices falling, and that’s raising concerns about a repeat of what happened to prices in the crash in 2008.

One of the questions that’s on many minds, based on those headlines, is: how much will home prices decline? But what you may not realize is expert forecasters aren’t calling for a free fall in prices. In fact, if you look at the latest data, there’s a case to be made that the biggest portion of month-over-month price depreciation nationally may already behind us – and even those numbers weren’t significant declines on the national level. Instead of how far will they drop, the question becomes: have home values hit bottom?

Let’s take a look at the latest data from several reputable industry sources (see chart below):

Have Home Values Hit Bottom? | Simplifying The Market

The chart above provides a look at the most recent reports from Case-Shiller, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Black Knight, and CoreLogic. It shows how, on a national scale, home values have changed month-over-month since January 2022. November and December numbers have yet to come out.

Let’s focus in on what the red numbers tell us. The red numbers are the change in home values over the last four months that have been published. And if we isolate the last four months, what the data shows is, in each case, home price depreciation peaked in August.

While that doesn’t guarantee home price depreciation has hit bottom, it confirms prices aren’t in a free fall, and it may be an early signal that the worst is already behind us. As the numbers for November and December are released, data will be able to further validate this national trend.

Bottom Line

Home prices month-over-month have depreciated for the past four months on record, but there’s a strong case to be made that the worst may be behind us. If you have questions about what’s happening with home prices in our local market, let’s connect.

Buyers January 17, 2023

Think Twice Before Waiting for 3% Mortgage Rates

Think Twice Before Waiting for 3% Mortgage Rates Simplifying The Market

Last year, the Federal Reserve took action to try to bring down inflation. In response to those efforts, mortgage rates jumped up rapidly from the record lows we saw in 2021, peaking at just over 7% last October. Hopeful buyers experienced a hit to their purchasing power as a result, and some decided to press pause on their plans.

Today, the rate of inflation is starting to drop. And as a result, mortgage rates have dipped below last year’s peak. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, shares:

“While mortgage market activity has significantly shrunk over the last year, inflationary pressures are easing and should lead to lower mortgage rates in 2023.”

That’s potentially great news if you’re a buyer aiming to jump back into the housing market. Any drop in mortgage rates helps boost your purchasing power by bringing down your expected monthly mortgage payment. This means the lower mortgage rates experts forecast this year could be just what you need to reignite your homebuying goals.

While this opens up a window of opportunity for you, remember: you shouldn’t expect rates to drop back down to record lows like we saw in 2021. Experts agree that’s not the range buyers should bank on. Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate, explains:

“I think we could be surprised at how much mortgage rates pull back this year. But we’re not going back to 3 percent anytime soon, because inflation is not going back to 2 percent anytime soon.

It’s important to have a realistic vision for what you can expect this year, and that’s where the advice of expert real estate advisors is critical. You may be surprised by the impact even a mild drop in mortgage rates has on your budget. If you’re ready to buy a home now, today’s market presents the opportunity to get a more affordable mortgage rate, find your dream home, and face less competition from other buyers.

Bottom Line

The recent pullback in mortgage rates is great news – but if you’re ready to buy now, holding out for 3% is a mistake. Work with a local lender to learn how today’s rates impact your goals, and let’s connect to explore your options in our area.

BuyersSellers January 16, 2023

What Past Recessions Tell Us About the Housing Market

What Past Recessions Tell Us About the Housing Market Simplifying The Market

It doesn’t matter if you’re someone who closely follows the economy or not, chances are you’ve heard whispers of an upcoming recession. Economic conditions are determined by a broad range of factors, so rather than explaining them each in depth, let’s lean on the experts and what history tells us to see what could lie ahead. As Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate, says:

“Two-in-three economists are forecasting a recession in 2023 . . .”

As talk about a potential recession grows, you may be wondering what a recession could mean for the housing market. Here’s a look at the historical data to show what happened in real estate during previous recessions to help prove why you shouldn’t be afraid of what a recession could mean for the housing market today.

A Recession Doesn’t Mean Falling Home Prices

To show that home prices don’t fall every time there’s a recession, it helps to turn to historical data. As the graph below illustrates, looking at recessions going all the way back to 1980, home prices appreciated in four of the last six of them. So historically, when the economy slows down, it doesn’t mean home values will always fall.

What Past Recessions Tell Us About the Housing Market | Simplifying The Market

Most people remember the housing crisis in 2008 (the larger of the two red bars in the graph above) and think another recession would be a repeat of what happened to housing then. But today’s housing market isn’t about to crash because the fundamentals of the market are different than they were in 2008. According to experts, home prices will vary by market and may go up or down depending on the local area. But the average of their 2023 forecasts shows prices will net neutral nationwide, not fall drastically like they did in 2008.

A Recession Means Falling Mortgage Rates

Research also helps paint the picture of how a recession could impact the cost of financing a home. As the graph below shows, historically, each time the economy slowed down, mortgage rates decreased.

What Past Recessions Tell Us About the Housing Market | Simplifying The Market

Fortune explains mortgage rates typically fall during an economic slowdown:

Over the past five recessions, mortgage rates have fallen an average of 1.8 percentage points from the peak seen during the recession to the trough. And in many cases, they continued to fall after the fact as it takes some time to turn things around even when the recession is technically over.”

In 2023, market experts say mortgage rates will likely stabilize below the peak we saw last year. That’s because mortgage rates tend to respond to inflation. And early signs show inflation is starting to cool. If inflation continues to ease, rates may fall a bit more, but the days of 3% are likely behind us.

The big takeaway is you don’t need to fear the word recession when it comes to housing. In fact, experts say a recession would be mild and housing would play a key role in a quick economic rebound. As the 2022 CEO Outlook from KPMG, says:

“Global CEOs see a ‘mild and short’ recession, yet optimistic about global economy over 3-year horizon . . .

 More than 8 out of 10 anticipate a recession over the next 12 months, with more than half expecting it to be mild and short.”

Bottom Line 

While history doesn’t always repeat itself, we can learn from the past. According to historical data, in most recessions, home values have appreciated and mortgage rates have declined.

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home this year, let’s connect so you have expert advice on what’s happening in the housing market and what that means for your homeownership goals.

Buyers January 13, 2023

Key Terms To Know When Buying a Home [INFOGRAPHIC]

Key Terms To Know When Buying a Home [INFOGRAPHIC] Simplifying The Market

Key Terms To Know When Buying a Home [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • Buying a home is a major transaction that can seem even more complex when you don’t understand the terms used throughout the process.
  • If you’re looking to become a homeowner this year, it’s important to know these housing terms and how they relate to the current market so you feel confident throughout the homebuying process.
  • Let’s connect so you have expert answers for any questions as they come up.
Sellers January 12, 2023

Is It Time To Sell Your Second Home?

Is It Time To Sell Your Second Home? Simplifying The Market

During the pandemic, second homes became popular because of the rise in work-from-home flexibility. That’s because owning a second home, especially in the luxury market, allowed those homeowners to spend more time in their favorite places or with different home features. Keep in mind, a luxury home isn’t only defined by price. In a recent article, Investopedia shares additional factors that push a home into this category: location, such as a home on the water or in a desirable city, and features, the things that make the home itself feel luxurious.

A recent report from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM) explains just how much remote work impacted the demand for second and luxury homes:

“The unprecedented ten-fold increase towards remote work since the pandemic is an historic development that will continue to fuel second home demand for many years to come.”

But what if you bought a second home that you no longer use? If you’re now shifting back into the office or are seeing your priorities and needs change, you may find you’re not utilizing your second home as much. If so, it may be time to sell it.

And if you own what’s considered a luxury home, buyer demand for it may be even greater. In another report, the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing explains:

“. . . the last few years have left their legacy for the luxury market. While it might only represent a small percentage of the overall real estate market, luxury homeownership’s influence is growing. Not only has the purchase of homes valued over $1 million (a figure considered by the National Association of Realtors to be a benchmark for luxury) tripled from 2.6% to 6.5% since 2018, but demand for multiple luxury properties has soared over the last two years.

This phenomenal increase has been driven by a growing affluent demographic who consider owning a luxury property a necessity in their asset portfolio. All indications are that this trend is here to stay, albeit that demand is set to return to a more sustainable level.”

If you own a luxury second home that isn’t being used as much anymore, now’s the time to sell. There are still buyers in the market who are looking for a home like yours today.

Bottom Line

Let’s connect to explore the benefits of selling your second home this year.

BuyersSellers January 11, 2023

Today’s Housing Market Is Nothing Like 15 Years Ago

Today’s Housing Market Is Nothing Like 15 Years Ago Simplifying The MarketThere’s no doubt today’s housing market is very different than the frenzied one from the past couple of years. In the second half of 2022, there was a dramatic shift in real estate, and it caused many people to make comparisons to the 2008 housing crisis. While there may be a few similarities, when looking at key variables now compared to the last housing cycle, there are significant differences.

In the latest Real Estate Forecast Summit, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), drew the comparisons below between today’s housing market and the previous cycle:

Today’s Housing Market Is Nothing Like 15 Years Ago | Simplifying The Market

Looking at the facts, it’s clear: today is very different than the housing market of 15 years ago.

There’s Opportunity in Real Estate Today

And in today’s market, with inventory rising and less competition from other buyers, there’s opportunity right now. According to David Stevens, former Assistant Secretary of Housing:

“So be advised…this may be the one and only window for the next few years to get into a buyer’s market. And remember…as the Federal Reserve data shows…home prices only go up and always recover from recessions no matter how mild or severe. Long term homeowners should view this market…right now…as a unique buying opportunity.”

Bottom Line

Today’s housing market is nothing like the real estate market 15 years ago. If you’re a buyer right now, this may be the chance you’ve been waiting for.