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!

Nov. 2, 2021

Prep Your Home To Sell Guide

Here is your guide to prepping your home to sell! 

 

Preparing your Florida home to sell

Click here to download

Posted in Home Seller Tips
Aug. 3, 2020

Homeownership Rate Continues to Rise in 2020

So far, it’s been quite a ride this year, and our nation has truly seen its fair share of hurdles. From COVID-19 to record unemployment and then the resulting recession, just to name a few, the second quarter of 2020 has had more than a few challenges. Amidst the many roadblocks, however, the U.S. homeownership rate rose again, signaling great strength in the recovery of the housing market and an indication that even in a time of crisis, Americans still feel confident about buying a home.

Yesterday, the U.S. Census Bureau announced:

“The homeownership rate of 67.9 percent was 3.8 percentage points higher than the rate in the second quarter 2019 (64.1 percent) and 2.6 percentage points higher than the rate in the first quarter 2020 (65.3 percent).”

The increase is also represented by race and ethnicity of the householder:

There are many reasons why the homeownership rate in this country is rising, and one of the key factors is historically-low mortgage rates. Rates hovering at all-time lows are helping to drive affordability and enabling more potential homeowners to enter the market today. According to Ralph McLaughlin, Chief Economist for Haus:

“Mortgage rates are the icing on the cake for households that were thinking about buying...They found an unexpected opportunity during the worst economic downturn America has seen since the Great Depression.”

In addition, many potential homebuyers have been using their time this year to search for homes that offer more space than their current rental apartments. Many of these homebuyers are younger and, as noted by Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, are the buyers driving the homeownership rate in an upward direction:

“Big jump in the homeownership rate today, mostly driven by younger households. We saw a spike in the number of owners, and a decline in the number of renters. This is the highest rate of homeownership since 2008.”

This growth is outstanding news for the housing market and for those who have recently found their new homes. If homeownership is on your shortlist this year, maybe now is a great time to meet with a real estate professional to evaluate your current situation. Perhaps historically low mortgage rates can help you to become a homeowner too.

 

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of buying a home this year, let’s connect today to take your dream one step closer to reality.

 

***Announcement from the census: As a result of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), data collection operations for the CPS/HVS were affected during the second quarter of 2020. In-person interviews were suspended for the duration of the second quarter and replaced with telephone interview attempts when contact information was available. If the Field Representative was unable to get information on the sample unit, the unit was made a Type A no interview (no one home, refusal, etc.). See the FAQ for more information.

July 1, 2020

What Are Experts Saying About the Rest of 2020?

 

One of the biggest questions on everyone’s minds these days is: What’s going to happen to the housing market in the second half of the year? Based on recent data on the economy, unemployment, real estate, and more, many economists are revising their forecasts for the remainder of 2020 – and the outlook is extremely encouraging. Here’s a look at what some experts have to say about key areas that will power the industry and the economy forward this year.

 

Mortgage Purchase Originations: Joel Kan, Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting, Mortgage Bankers Association

“The recovery in housing is happening faster than expected. We anticipated a drop off in Q3. But, we don’t think that’s the case anymore. We revised our Q3 numbers higher. Before, we predicted a 2 percent decline in purchase originations in 2020, now we think there will be 2 percent growth this year.”

 

Home Sales: Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, National Association of Realtors

“Sales completed in May reflect contract signings in March and April – during the strictest times of the pandemic lock down and hence the cyclical low point...Home sales will surely rise in the upcoming months with the economy reopening, and could even surpass one-year-ago figures in the second half of the year.”

 

Inventory: George Ratiu, Senior Economist, realtor.com

“We can project that the next few months will see a slow-yet-steady improvement in new inventory...we projected a stepped improvement for the May through August months, followed by a return to historical trend for the September through December time frame."

 

Mortgage Rates: Freddie Mac

“Going forward, we forecast the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to remain low, falling to a yearly average of 3.4% in 2020 and 3.2% in 2021.”

 

New Construction: Doug Duncan, Chief Economist, Fannie Mae

“The weaker-than-expected single-family starts number may be a matter of timing, as single-family permits jumped by a stronger 11.9 percent. In addition, the number of authorized single-family units not yet started rose 5.4 percent to the second-highest level since 2008. This suggests that a significant acceleration in new construction will likely occur.”

 

Bottom Line

The experts are optimistic about the second half of the year. If you paused your 2020 real estate plans this spring, let’s connect today to determine how you can re-engage in the process.

Posted in Market Updates
July 1, 2020

Consider Upgrading Before You List

Most people have wandered through new home developments and wished their own home looked as modern and chic. Model homes showcase the latest upgrades and decorating trends; for home sellers these homes are their competition, and it can feel daunting to offer an older floor plan and design.

While it might seem like a smart idea to simply offer a buyer credit and list, there are downsides to this plan, and taking the time to update a bit on your own first could mean thousands of dollars in your pocket.

Here are a few reasons why offering a credit might not be the best strategy:

  • Buyer Impression – A dated home looks old and not all buyers can see the potential.
  • Lower Offers – Offering a credit could be viewed as high seller motivation, resulting in lower offers.
  • Value Differences – You and your buyer might disagree on the value of needed upgrades. For example, you might feel $7,500 is a fair cost for a new countertop whereas your buyers might expect considerably more; this can lead to more negotiations and lower sales price.
  • Home Condition – A property that shows its age can prompt the buyer to worry about the overall condition.
  • Loan Approval – Lenders are wary of buyer credits; in fact, upgrade credits are no longer possible. You might have a buyer unable to take advantage of the credit at all and you could lose the buyer.

Home design trends change quickly. If you’re ready to sell, it could be tempting just to list your home in its current condition. Before you just add a credit to the listing, consider some simple updating so your buyers can see the value of your home. 

 

June 6, 2020

7 Cool Ways to Repurpose Old Furniture

Are you looking for a fun project that will add some pizzazz to your home – that doesn’t require a degree in carpentry? Before you leave your old furniture on the curb with a sign that says, “free to good owner,” here are 7 creative ideas that will revitalize that furniture and leave anyone feeling handy.

  1. Rustic Planter – Enhance any backyard space by painting an old bedroom side table with a fun color, pull out the drawer, and use it as a planter.
  2. Kitchen Island – No built-in island? Transform an old dresser by adding a custom countertop. The drawers will come in handy also.
  3. Crib Appeal – We all need more storage. Take off one of the side rails of that old crib and add a piece of glass or butcher block on top to make a cool bookcase or craft table.
  4. Cabinet Door Headboard – Reuse those old cabinet doors by creating a custom headboard for a guest bedroom. Paint white or multi-colors for a country chic look.
  5. Vanity Transformation – Remove the backing from an old dresser, add a sink, and you have a cool vanity for your bathroom.
  6. Bedspring Bottle Holders – No wine rack? No problem. Remove old mattress bedsprings, attach to a wood panel, and store your wine bottles with this cool rack.
  7. Pet Bed – Every pampered pet needs a bed. A drawer from an old dresser makes a cool pet bed. Attach some short furniture legs and add a cushion for indoor or outdoor use.

If you have some time on your hands and old furniture to get rid of, maybe you can repurpose them and spruce up your décor at the same time with these fun ideas.

June 6, 2020

Real Estate Home Inspections and Appraisals in the New Normal

Even during the COVID-19 outbreak, real estate transactions go on. Buyers and sellers still need to move, and the industry is looking for new ways to accommodate both the needs of the transaction and, of course, the safety of everyone.

Many traditional real estate activities can be performed virtually. While no one is suggesting that a buyer will be comfortable buying a home they have only seen during a Zoom visit, they can minimize the number of homes they physically visit by pre-screening these homes ahead of time through virtual tours.

There are a few vital pieces of the transaction that require in-person visits, however. Among these are home inspections and appraisals. Both of these professionals need access to the property to properly perform their duties, and it leaves some potential home sellers and buyers wondering if it’s even possible to conclude a real estate transaction right now.

While everyone should cautiously move forward according to their personal sense of comfort, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself, your family, and the professionals while they are in your home. Before setting the appointments, think through the parts of your home the inspector or appraiser will need to access and think through the process.

Contact the home inspector and appraiser and work out a plan together to keep everyone safe:

  • Communicate with them about off-limit areas, and what parts of the home they can access.
  • Have a notepad in which they can communicate what parts of the home they came in contact with, and offer hand sanitizer and wipes for them to use before and after touching parts of the home.
  • Finally, leave the home during the appointments, and clean properly once you return home.

Life does move on – if you are trying to buy or sell a home during this challenging time, it might take extra effort. However, working with your real estate team, you can conclude a successful real estate transaction amid the COVID-19 outbreak. 

June 6, 2020

Will Home Values Appreciate or Depreciate in 2020?

With the housing market staggered to some degree by the health crisis the country is currently facing, some potential purchasers are questioning whether home values will be impacted. The price of any item is determined by supply as well as the market’s demand for that item.

Each month the National Association of Realtors (NAR) surveys “over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions” for the REALTORS Confidence Index.

Their latest edition sheds some light on the relationship between seller traffic (supply) and buyer traffic (demand) during this pandemic.

Buyer Demand

The map below was created after asking the question: “How would you rate buyer traffic in your area?”Will Home Values Appreciate or Depreciate in 2020? | MyKCMThe darker the blue, the stronger the demand for homes is in that area. The survey shows that in 34 of the 50 U.S. states, buyer demand is now ‘strong’ and 16 of the 50 states have a ‘stable’ demand.

Seller Supply

The index also asks: “How would you rate seller traffic in your area?”Will Home Values Appreciate or Depreciate in 2020? | MyKCMAs the map above indicates, 46 states and Washington, D.C. reported ‘weak’ seller traffic, 3 states reported ‘stable’ seller traffic, and 1 state reported ‘strong’ seller traffic. This means there are far fewer homes on the market than what is needed to satisfy the needs of buyers looking for homes right now.

With demand still stronger than supply, home values should not depreciate.

What are the experts saying?

Here are the thoughts of three industry experts on the subject:

Ivy Zelman:

“We note that inventory as a percent of households sits at the lowest level ever, something we believe will limit the overall degree of home price pressure through the year.”

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist, First American:

“Housing supply remains at historically low levels, so house price growth is likely to slow, but it’s not likely to go negative.”

Freddie Mac:

“Two forces prevent a collapse in house prices. First, as we indicated in our earlier research report, U.S. housing markets face a large supply deficit. Second, population growth and pent up household formations provide a tailwind to housing demand.”

Bottom Line

Looking at these maps and listening to the experts, it seems that prices will remain stable throughout 2020. If you’re thinking about listing your home, let’s connect to discuss how you can capitalize on the somewhat surprising demand in the market now.

June 6, 2020

Why Home Equity Is a Bright Spark in the Housing Market

Given how we have seen more unemployment claims than ever before over the past several weeks, fear is spreading widely. Some good news, however, shows that more than 4 million initial unemployment filers have likely already found a new job, especially as industries such as health care, food and grocery stores, retail, delivery, and more increase their employment opportunities. Breaking down what unemployment means for homeownership, and understanding the significant equity Americans hold today, are important parts of seeing the picture clearly when sorting through this uncertainty.

One of the biggest questions right now is whether this historic unemployment rate will initiate a new surge of foreclosures in the market. It’s a very real fear. Despite the staggering number of claims, there are actually many reasons why we won’t see a significant number of foreclosures like we did during the housing crash twelve years ago. The amount of equity homeowners have today is a leading differentiator in the current market.

Today, according to John Burns Consulting, 58.7% of homes in the U.S. have at least 60% equity. That number is drastically different than it was in 2008 when the housing bubble burst. The last recession was painful, and when prices dipped, many found themselves owing more on their mortgage than what their homes were worth. Homeowners simply walked away at that point. Now, 42.1% of all homes in this country are mortgage-free, meaning they’re owned free and clear. Those homes are not at risk for foreclosure (see graph below)

In addition, CoreLogic notes the average equity mortgaged homes have today is $177,000. That’s a significant amount that homeowners won’t be stepping away from, even in today’s economy (see chart below)

In essence, the amount of equity homeowners have today positions them to be in a much better place than they were in 2008.

Bottom Line 

The fear and uncertainty we feel right now are very real, and this is not going to be easy. We can, however, see strength in our current market through homeowner equity that has not been there in the past. That may be a bright spark to help us make it through.

 

Posted in Home Seller Tips
June 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why Selling Your House on Your Own Is a Mistake

6 Reasons Why Selling Your House on Your Own Is a Mistake

There are many benefits to working with a real estate professional when selling your house. During challenging times like the one we face today, it becomes even more important to have an expert help guide you through the process. If you’re considering selling on your own, known in the industry as a For Sale By Owner or FSBO, please consider the following:

1. Your Safety Is a Priority

During this pandemic, your family’s safety comes first. When you FSBO, it is incredibly difficult to control entry into your home. A real estate professional will have the proper protocols in place to protect not only your belongings, but your family’s health and well-being too. From regulating the number of people in your home at one time to ensuring proper sanitization during and after a showing, and even facilitating virtual tours for buyers, agents are equipped to follow the latest industry standards recommended by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to help protect you and your family.

2. A Powerful Online Strategy Is a Must to Attract a Buyer

Recent studies have shown that, even before COVID-19, the first step 44% of all buyers took when looking for a home was to search online. Throughout the process, that number jumped to 93%. Today, those numbers have grown exponentially. Most real estate agents have developed a strong Internet and social media strategy to promote the sale of your house. Have you?

3. There Are Too Many Negotiations

Here are just a few of the people you’ll need to negotiate with if you decide to FSBO:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find challenges with the house
  • The appraiser, if there is a question of value

As part of their training, agents are taught how to negotiate every aspect of the real estate transaction and how to mediate the emotions felt by buyers looking to make what is probably the largest purchase of their lives.

4. You Won’t Know if Your Purchaser Is Qualified for a Mortgage

Having a buyer who wants to purchase your house is the first step. Making sure they can afford to buy it is just as important. As a FSBO, it’s almost impossible to be involved in the mortgage process of your buyer. A real estate professional is trained to ask the appropriate questions and, in most cases, will be intimately aware of the progress that’s being made toward a purchaser’s mortgage commitment.

Further complicating the situation is how the current mortgage market is rapidly evolving because of the number of families out of work and in mortgage forbearance. A loan program that was there yesterday could be gone tomorrow. You need someone who is working with lenders every day to guarantee your buyer makes it to the closing table.

5. FSBOing Has Become More Difficult from a Legal Standpoint

The documentation involved in the selling process has increased dramatically as more and more disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. In an increasingly litigious society, the agent acts as a third-party to help the seller avoid legal jeopardy. This is one of the major reasons why the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.

6. You Net More Money When Using an Agent

Many homeowners believe they’ll save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

A study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything by forgoing the help of an agent. In some cases, the seller may even net less money from the sale. The study found the difference in price between a FSBO and an agent-listed home was an average of 6%. One of the main reasons for the price difference is effective exposure:

“Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.”

The more buyers that view a home, the greater the chance a bidding war will take place.

Bottom Line

Listing on your own leaves you to manage the entire transaction yourself. Why do that when you can hire an agent and still net the same amount of money? Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house alone, let’s connect to discuss your options.

Posted in Home Seller Tips
May 29, 2020

How to Sell Your Home in Our New Normal

Posted in Home Seller Tips