Wishing you a happy and safe Independence Day.
In an annual Gallup poll, Americans chose real estate as the best long-term investment. And it’s not the first time it’s topped the list, either. Real estate has been on a winning streak for the past eight years, consistently gaining traction as the best long-term investment (see graph below):
Why Is Real Estate a Great Investment During Times of High Inflation?
With inflation reaching its highest level in 40 years, it’s more important than ever to understand the financial benefits of homeownership. Rising inflation means prices are increasing across the board. That includes goods, services, housing costs, and more. But when you purchase your home, you lock in your monthly housing payments, effectively shielding yourself from increasing housing payments. James Royal, Senior Wealth Management Reporter at Bankrate, explains it like this:
“A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to maintain the biggest portion of housing expenses at the same payment. Sure, property taxes will rise and other expenses may creep up, but your monthly housing payment remains the same.”
If you’re a renter, you don’t have that same benefit, and you aren’t protected from increases in your housing costs, especially rising rents.
History Shows During Inflationary Periods, Home Prices Rise as Well
As a homeowner, your house is an asset that typically increases in value over time, even during inflation. That‘s because, as prices rise, the value of your home does, too. And that makes buying a home a great hedge during periods of high inflation. Natalie Campisi, Advisor Staff for Forbes, notes:
“Tangible assets like real estate get more valuable over time, which makes buying a home a good way to spend your money during inflationary times.”
Housing truly is a strong investment, especially when inflation is high. When you lock in a mortgage payment, you’re shielded from housing cost increases, and you own an asset that typically gains value with time. If you want to better understand how buying a home could be a great investment for you, let’s connect today.
- There’s an influx of buyers looking for homes today, and that means your house is in high demand. Here are a few reasons why so many people are looking to buy a home.
- Buyers are motivated to beat rising mortgage rates, and many want to escape rising rents. There’s also additional demand from millennials who are reaching peak homebuying age.
- If you’re thinking about selling your house, today’s demand is great news. Let’s connect to begin the process of listing your house while buyers are ready to purchase.
A recent survey revealed that many consumers believe there’s a housing bubble beginning to form. That feeling is understandable, as year-over-year home price appreciation is still in the double digits. However, this market is very different than it was during the housing crash 15 years ago. Here are four key reasons why today is nothing like the last time.
1. Houses Are Not Unaffordable Like They Were During the Housing Boom
The affordability formula has three components: the price of the home, wages earned by the purchaser, and the mortgage rate available at the time. Conventional lending standards say a purchaser should not spend more than 28% of their gross income on their mortgage payment.
Fifteen years ago, prices were high, wages were low, and mortgage rates were over 6%. Today, prices are still high. Wages, however, have increased, and the mortgage rate, even after the recent spike, is still well below 6%. That means the average purchaser today pays less of their monthly income toward their mortgage payment than they did back then.
In the latest Affordability Report by ATTOM Data, Chief Product Officer Todd Teta addresses that exact point:
“The average wage earner can still afford the typical home across the U.S., but the financial comfort zone continues shrinking as home prices keep soaring and mortgage rates tick upward.”
Affordability isn’t as strong as it was last year, but it’s much better than it was during the boom. Here’s a chart showing that difference:
If costs were so prohibitive, how did so many homes sell during the housing boom?
2. Mortgage Standards Were Much More Relaxed During the Boom
During the housing bubble, it was much easier to get a mortgage than it is today. As an example, let’s review the number of mortgages granted to purchasers with credit scores under 620. According to credit.org, a credit score between 550-619 is considered poor. In defining those with a score below 620, they explain:
“Credit agencies consider consumers with credit delinquencies, account rejections, and little credit history as subprime borrowers due to their high credit risk.”
Buyers can still qualify for a mortgage with a credit score that low, but they’re considered riskier borrowers. Here’s a graph showing the mortgage volume issued to purchasers with a credit score less than 620 during the housing boom, and the subsequent volume in the 14 years since.
Mortgage standards are nothing like they were the last time. Purchasers that acquired a mortgage over the last decade are much more qualified. Let’s take a look at what that means going forward.
3. The Foreclosure Situation Is Nothing Like It Was During the Crash
The most obvious difference is the number of homeowners that were facing foreclosure after the housing bubble burst. The Federal Reserve issues a report showing the number of consumers with a new foreclosure notice. Here are the numbers during the crash compared to today:
There’s no doubt the 2020 and 2021 numbers are impacted by the forbearance program, which was created to help homeowners facing uncertainty during the pandemic. However, there are fewer than 800,000 homeowners left in the program today, and most of those will be able to work out a repayment plan with their banks.
Rick Sharga, Executive Vice President of RealtyTrac, explains:
“The fact that foreclosure starts declined despite hundreds of thousands of borrowers exiting the CARES Act mortgage forbearance program over the last few months is very encouraging. It suggests that the ‘forbearance equals foreclosure’ narrative was incorrect.”
Why are there so few foreclosures now? Today, homeowners are equity rich, not tapped out.
In the run-up to the housing bubble, some homeowners were using their homes as personal ATM machines. Many immediately withdrew their equity once it built up. When home values began to fall, some homeowners found themselves in a negative equity situation where the amount they owed on their mortgage was greater than the value of their home. Some of those households decided to walk away from their homes, and that led to a rash of distressed property listings (foreclosures and short sales), which sold at huge discounts, thus lowering the value of other homes in the area.
Homeowners, however, have learned their lessons. Prices have risen nicely over the last few years, leading to over 40% of homes in the country having more than 50% equity. But owners have not been tapping into it like the last time, as evidenced by the fact that national tappable equity has increased to a record $9.9 trillion. With the average home equity now standing at $300,000, what happened last time won’t happen today.
As the latest Homeowner Equity Insights report from CoreLogic explains:
“Not only have equity gains helped homeowners more seamlessly transition out of forbearance and avoid a distressed sale, but they’ve also enabled many to continue building their wealth.”
There will be nowhere near the same number of foreclosures as we saw during the crash. So, what does that mean for the housing market?
4. We Don’t Have a Surplus of Homes on the Market – We Have a Shortage
The supply of inventory needed to sustain a normal real estate market is approximately six months. Anything more than that is an overabundance and will causes prices to depreciate. Anything less than that is a shortage and will lead to continued price appreciation. As the next graph shows, there were too many homes for sale from 2007 to 2010 (many of which were short sales and foreclosures), and that caused prices to tumble. Today, there’s a shortage of inventory, which is causing the acceleration in home values to continue.
Inventory is nothing like the last time. Prices are rising because there’s a healthy demand for homeownership at the same time there’s a shortage of homes for sale.
If you’re worried that we’re making the same mistakes that led to the housing crash, the graphs above show data and insights to help alleviate your concerns.
While some homeowners may be tempted to hold off until spring to list their houses, you should know – homebuyers aren’t waiting. Demand is high today as more people are trying to beat rising mortgage rates. As a result, eager buyers are entering the market or moving their plans up so they can make their purchases as soon as possible.
The most recent Consumer Confidence Survey finds that, of those surveyed, the percentage of people planning to buy over the next six months has increased substantially since last fall (see graph below):
As the graph shows, the number of consumers fast-tracking their plans to purchase a home has crept up over the past three months. That indicates many buyers are evaluating their strategy and realizing they should act sooner rather than later. And for homeowners planning to sell, it’s a signal that now may be the time to list.
While more people are moving their plans up, others are actively putting theirs in motion. Time on the market is a great indication that homebuyers are motivated and moving quickly. According to a recent realtor.com report, the average home sold faster this January than any January on record.
Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, notes:
“Homes sold at a record-fast January pace, suggesting that buyers are more active than usual for this time of year.”
What Does That Mean for You?
Homebuyers are rethinking their strategies and moving their plans forward. Others are making their moves today. That means demand for your house isn’t just increasing – it’s high right now.
And because there are so few homes available for determined purchasers to choose from, if you’re planning to sell your house this year, doing so sooner means you can take advantage of high buyer demand before more houses are listed in your neighborhood. Why is this important? Because as more houses are put up for sale, buyers will have more options. But until then, your house will be in the spotlight.
With so many buyers eager to make a purchase, you could benefit by listing your house soon. To understand how strong buyer demand is in our area, let’s connect so you can start making your plans today.
If you’re planning to sell this year, you’re probably thinking about what you’ll need to do to get your house ready to appeal to the most buyers. It’s crucial to work with a trusted real estate professional who knows your local market to get your home ready to sell. But there are a few things you should consider when deciding what to renovate and update before listing this season. Here are three things to keep top of mind as you’re making your list of projects to tackle this year.
1. The Number of Homes for Sale Is Very Low
Housing inventory sits far below what is normally considered a balanced market. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the latest data indicates inventory is hitting an all-time low. Because there’s such a limited supply of homes available for sale, you’re in a unique position when you sell your house to benefit from multiple offers and a quick process.
But you want to do so while buyers are still scooping homes up as fast as they’re being listed. Spending time and money on renovations before you sell could mean you’ll miss your key window of opportunity. Of course, certain repairs may be important or even necessary. The best way to determine where to spend your time – and your money – is to work with a real estate advisor to confirm which improvements are truly needed and which ones aren’t likely to be deal-breakers for buyers.
2. Buyers May Be Willing To Take on Projects When They Purchase Your House
Today, many buyers are more willing to take on home improvement projects themselves to get the house they’re after, even if it means putting in a little extra work. A recent survey from Freddie Mac finds that:
“. . . nearly two-in-five potential homebuyers would consider purchasing a home requiring renovations.”
If more buyers are willing to tackle repairs on their own, it may be wise to let the future homeowners remodel the bathroom or the kitchen to make design decisions that are best for their specific taste and lifestyle. Depending on the structural condition of your house, your efforts may be better spent working on small cosmetic updates, like refreshing some paint and power washing the exterior to make sure the home stands out. Instead of over-investing in upgrades, the buyer may change anyway, work with a real estate professional to determine the key projects to tackle that will give you the greatest return on your investment.
3. Your Agent Will Help You Spotlight the Upgrades You’ve Made
Over the past year, many people made a significant number of updates to their homes. The most recent State of Home Spending report finds:
“Home improvement spending rose 25% year-over-year to $10,341. Homeowners who invested in home improvement did an average of 3.7 projects, up from 2.7 in 2020, . . .”
With more homeowners taking on more projects in the past 12 months, there’s a good chance you’ve already made updates to your home that could appeal to buyers. If that’s the case, your real estate advisor will find ways to highlight those upgrades in your listing.
The same is true for any projects you invest in moving forward. No matter what, before you renovate, contact a local real estate professional for expert advice on what work needs to be done and how to make it as appealing as possible to future buyers. Every home is different, so a conversation with your agent is mission-critical to make sure you make the right moves when selling this season.
In a sellers’ market like today’s, it’s important to spend your time and money wisely when you’re getting ready to move. Let’s connect today so you can find out where to target your efforts before you list.
Financial benefits are always a key aspect of homeownership, but it’s also important to understand that the nonfinancial and personal benefits are why so many people genuinely fall in love with their homes. When you own your home, you likely feel a sense of emotional attachment because of the comfort it provides, but also because it’s a space that’s truly yours.
Over the past two years, we’ve learned to love our homes even more as we’ve stayed home more than ever due to the ongoing pandemic. As a result, the personal and emotional benefits our homes provide have become even more important to us.
As the most recent State of the American Homeowner from Unison puts it:
“Despite the upheaval and uncertainty of the past year, one thing has stayed the same: the home continues to be of the utmost importance and a place of security and comfort.”
When the health crisis began, the world around us changed almost overnight, and our homes were redefined. Our needs shifted, and our shelters became a place that protected us on a whole new level. The same study from Unison notes:
- 91% of homeowners say they feel secure, stable, or successful owning a home
- 64% of American homeowners say living through a pandemic has made their home more important to them than ever
- 83% of homeowners say their home has kept them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic
It’s no surprise this study also reveals that homeowners now love their homes even more as our emotional attachments to them have grown:
That sense of emotional connection genuinely reaches far beyond the financial aspect of homeownership. Because they’re our shelters – ones that we can genuinely call our own. Our homes touch our hearts and can also positively impact our mental health.
As JD Esajian, President of CT Homes, LLC, says:
“Aside from the financial factors, there are several social benefits of homeownership and stable housing to consider. It has long been thought that buying a home contributes to a sense of accomplishment. Still, most individuals fail to realize that homeownership can benefit your mental health and the community around you.”
Whether you’re thinking of buying your first home, moving up to your dream home, or downsizing to something that better fits your changing lifestyle, take a moment to reflect on what Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, notes:
“Buying a home is not just a financial decision. It’s also a lifestyle decision.”
There are so many reasons to fall head over heels for homeownership. Your home will provide a place to customize and call your own, in addition to stability and security. If you’re ready to fall in love with homeownership, let’s connect so you can get started on your homebuying journey today.
- Even in today’s sellers’ market, there are still ways for buyers to win big.
- Build a team of trusted professionals and make strategic plays as you budget and pick your desired neighborhoods. Then, be ready for the competition by getting a pre-approval letter and leaning on your expert advisors to draft a winning offer.
- In a sellers’ market, you can still be the champion if you have the right team and strategy. Let’s connect today to make your game-winning play.
When you’re selling any item, you usually want to sell it for the greatest profit possible. That happens when there’s a strong demand and a limited supply for that item. In the real estate market, that time is right now. If you’re thinking of selling your house this year, here are two reasons why now’s the time to list.
1. Demand Is Very Strong This Winter
A recent article in Inman News explains:
“Spring, the hottest time of year for homebuyers and sellers, has started early, according to economists. . . . ‘Home shopping season appears to already be in full swing!’”
And they aren’t the only ones saying buyers are already out in full force. That claim is backed up with data released last week by ShowingTime. The ShowingTime Showing Index tracks the average number of monthly buyer showings on active residential properties, which is a highly reliable leading indicator of current and future trends for buyer demand. The latest index reveals this December was the most active December in five years (see graph below):
As the data indicates, buyers are very active this winter. Last December saw even more showings than December of 2020, which was already a stronger-than-usual winter. And remember – you want to sell something when there’s a strong demand for that item. That time is now.
2. Housing Supply Is Extremely Low
Each month, realtor.com releases data on the number of active residential real estate listings (listings currently for sale). Their most recent report reveals the latest monthly number is the lowest we’ve seen in any January since 2017 (see graph below):
And don’t forget, the best time to sell an item is when there’s a limited supply of it available. This graph clearly shows how extremely low housing supply is today.
Even Though Supply Is at a Historic Low, Home Sales Are at a 15-Year High
According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing-home sales totaled 6.12 million in 2021 – the highest annual level since 2006. This means the market is hot and homeowners are in a great place to sell now while sales are so strong.
NAR also reports available listings by calculating the current months’ supply of inventory. They explain:
“Months’ supply refers to the number of months it would take for the current inventory of homes on the market to sell given the current sales pace.”
The current 1.8-months’ supply is the lowest ever reported. Here are the December numbers over the last five years (see graph below):
The ratio of buyers to sellers favors homeowners right now to a greater degree than at any other time in history. Buyer demand is high, and supply is low. That gives sellers like you an incredible opportunity.
If you agree the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and supply is low, let’s connect to begin discussing the process of listing your house today.
As we celebrate Black History Month, we honor and recognize the past and present experiences of Black Americans. A significant part of this experience is investing in a home of their own. While equitable access to housing has come a long way, the path to homeownership is still steeper for households of color. It’s an important experience to talk about, along with how working with the right real estate experts can make all the difference for diverse homebuyers.
We know it’s a more challenging journey to achieve homeownership for some because there’s still a measurable gap between the overall average U.S. homeownership rate and that of non-white groups. Today, the lowest homeownership rate persists in the Black community (see graph below):
Homeownership is an essential piece for building household wealth that can be passed down to future generations. However, there are obstacles in the homebuying process that can negatively impact certain racial and ethnic groups, including the Black community. This can delay or prevent many from achieving homeownership, challenging their ability to grow their net worth. A report by Vanessa G. Perry of the George Washington University School of Business and Janneke Ratcliffe of the Urban Institute explains:
“. . . households of color have much lower homeownership rates than white households and consequently hold, at the median, just one-eighth the wealth of white households.”
On top of that, when Black households do become homeowners, research shows they pay more for those homes overall than the average household. Raheem Hanifa, a Research Analyst for the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, tells us:
“Black homeowners not only have primary mortgages with higher interest rates than white homeowners with similar incomes, they also have higher interest rates than white homeowners with substantially lower incomes, . . . Black homeowners have experienced systemic barriers to homeownership and wealth-building opportunities that have limited their ability to access credit, which is a key component in receiving low mortgage interest rates.”
For Black homebuyers, the inequity that remains in housing can be a point of pain and frustration. That’s why it’s so important for members of diverse groups to have the right team of experts on their sides throughout the homebuying process. These professionals aren’t only experienced advisors who understand the market and give the best advice. They’re also compassionate allies who will advocate for your best interests every step of the way.
Opportunities in real estate improve every day, but there are still equity challenges that many face. Let’s connect to make sure you have an advocate on your side as you walk the path to homeownership.