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!

March 5, 2024

What To Know About Credit Scores Before Buying a Home

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 Market Updates
Feb. 5, 2024

There’s No Foreclosure Wave in Sight

There’s No Foreclosure Wave in Sight 




Some Highlights

  • Headlines saying foreclosures are rising might make you feel uneasy. But the truth is, there’s no need to worry.
  • If you look at the latest numbers, they’re still below pre-pandemic norms and way below what happened during the crash.
  • If you're worried about a flood of foreclosures, the data shows a foreclosure crisis is not where the market is today and is not where it’s headed.
Posted in Market Updates
Jan. 10, 2024

Homeownership Is Still at the Heart of the American Dream

Homeownership Is Still at the Heart of the American Dream




Buying a home is a powerful decision, and it remains at the heart of the American Dream. Unlike renting, owning a home means more than just having a place to live – it offers a sense of belonging, stability, and freedom. According to Nicole Bachaud, Senior Economist at Zillow:

The American Dream is still owning a home. There’s a lot of pent-up demand for ownership; that isn’t going to go away.”

Let’s explore just a few of the reasons why so many Americans continue to value homeownership. 

The Financial Benefits of Owning a Home

One possible reason homeownership is viewed so highly is because owning a home is a significant wealth-building tool. That may be why Jessica Lautz, Deputy Chief and VP of Research at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“Homeownership is the number one way to build wealth in America.”

Over time, owning a home not only helps boost your own net worth, but it also sets future generations up for success as you pass that wealth down. Habitat for Humanity explains:

“Overall, homeownership promotes wealth building by acting as a forced savings mechanism and through home value appreciation. Homeowners make monthly payments that increase their equity in their homes by paying down the principal balance of their mortgage. . . . In addition, owning a home promotes intergenerational homeownership and wealth building. Children of homeowners transition to homeownership earlier — lengthening the period over which they can accumulate wealth . . .”

It can also provide meaningful financial stability compared to renting. When you buy with a fixed-rate mortgage, you can lock in your monthly housing payments for the length of your home loan.

The Non-Financial Benefits of Homeownership

But, owning a home offers more than just financial benefits—it benefits you socially and emotionally too. Your home provides feelings of achievement, responsibility, and more. In a recent survey, Fannie Mae outlines just a few of these more emotionally-driven benefits, including:

“The top three were having control over what you do with your living space (94%) to having a sense of privacy and security (91%) and having a good place for your family or to raise your children (90%) . . .”

What Does That Mean for You?

If your idea of the American Dream involves greater freedom, security, and prosperity, homeownership could be a key player in bringing that dream to life. And with mortgage rates now on a downward trend, it might be a good time for you to consider making a move.

If you’re ready and able to buy, know that there are incredible benefits waiting at the end of your journey. You'll gain more than just a home – it's a place to grow your wealth and call your very own. Like Ksenia Potapov, Economist at First American says:

“...homeownership remains an important driver of wealth accumulation and the largest source of total wealth among most households.”

Bottom Line

Buying a home is a powerful decision and the cornerstone of the American Dream. If finding a place to call your own is part of your dream for this year, let’s connect to start the process today.

Posted in Market Updates
Dec. 24, 2023

These Non-Financial Benefits Turn a House into a Happy Home

These Non-Financial Benefits Turn a House into a Happy Home




There’s no denying the long-term financial benefits of owning a home, but today’s housing market may have you wondering if now’s still the time to buy. While the financial aspects of homeownership are important, the non-financial and emotional reasons are too. Here’s why.

The word home truly means something different to everyone. Whether it’s sharing memories with loved ones around the kitchen table or settling in to read a book in your favorite chair, the emotional connections we have to our homes can be just as important as the financial ones. Here are some of the things that turn a house into a happy home.

1. You Can Be Proud of Your Accomplishment

Buying a home is a major life milestone. Whether you’re ready to buy your first home or your fifth, congratulations will be in order once you’ve achieved your goal. The sense of accomplishment you’ll feel at the end of your journey will truly make your home feel like your special place. Go ahead and smile – you’ve earned it.

2. You Have Your Own Designated Happy Place

Owning your home offers not only safety and security, but also a comfortable place where you can relax and unwind after a long day. Sometimes that’s just what you need to feel refreshed and recharged.

3. You Can Find the Space To Meet Your Needs

Whether you want more room for your changing lifestyle (like a large backyard for entertaining or room for a home office) or you simply want to move closer to your loved ones, you can invest in a home that truly works for your evolving needs.

4. You Can Customize Your Surroundings

Looking to try one of those decorative wall treatments you saw online? Tired of paying an additional pet deposit for your apartment building? Or maybe you want to create an in-house yoga studio. You can do these things and much more when you own your home.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re planning to buy your first home, or you’re ready to move into a different one to meet your changing needs, think about the emotional benefits that can turn a house into a happy home. When you’re ready to make a move, let’s connect.

Posted in Market Updates
Dec. 3, 2023

When You Sell Your House, Where Do You Plan To Go?

When You Sell Your House, Where Do You Plan To Go?




If you’re thinking about selling your house, you may have heard the supply of homes for sale is still low, and that means your house should stand out to buyers who are craving more options. But you may also be wondering, once you sell, how does the current supply impact your own move? And, will you be able to find a home you want to buy with inventory this low?

One thing that can help you find your next home is exploring all your options, including both homes that have been lived in before as well as newly built ones. Let’s look at the benefits of each one.

The Pros of Newly Built Homes

First, let’s look at the advantages of purchasing a newly constructed home. With a brand-new home, you’ll be able to:

  1. Create your perfect home. If you build a home from the ground up, you’ll have the option to select the custom features you want, including appliances, finishes, landscaping, layout, and more.
  2. Cash-in on energy efficiency. When building a home, you can choose energy-efficient options to help lower your utility costs and reduce your carbon footprint.
  3. Minimize the need for repairs. Many builders offer a warranty, so you’ll have peace of mind on unlikely repairs. Plus, you won’t have as many little projects to tackle.
  4. Have brand new everything. Another perk of a new home is that nothing in the house is used. It’s all brand new and uniquely yours from day one.

 

The Pros of Existing Homes

Now, let’s compare that to the perks that come with buying an existing home. With a pre-existing home, you can:

  1. Explore a wider variety of home styles and floorplans. With decades of homes to choose from, you’ll have a broader range of floorplans and designs available.
  2. Join an established neighborhood. Existing homes give you the option to get to know the neighborhood, community, or traffic patterns before you commit.
  3. Enjoy mature trees and landscaping. Established neighborhoods also have more developed landscaping and trees, which can give you additional privacy and curb appeal.
  4. Appreciate that lived-in charm. The character of older homes is hard to reproduce. If you value timeless craftsmanship or design elements, you may prefer an existing home.

 

The choice is yours. When you start your search for the perfect home, remember that you can go either route – you just need to decide which features and benefits are most important to you. As an article from The Mortgage Reports says:

“When building, you gain more freedom to tailor the design, materials, and features, but it demands more time and involvement. Conversely, buying an established home offers immediate occupancy . . . yet may require compromises. Your choice should align with your budget, timeline, customization preferences, and the local real estate landscape.”

Either way, working with a local real estate agent throughout the process is mission-critical to your success. They'll help you explore all of your options based on what matters most to you in your next home. Together, you can find the home that’s right for you.

Bottom Line

If you have questions about the options in our area, let’s discuss what's available and what's right for you. That way you’ll be ready to make your next move with confidence.

Posted in Market Updates
Nov. 29, 2023

Are the Top 3 Housing Market Questions on Your Mind?

Are the Top 3 Housing Market Questions on Your Mind?




When it comes to what’s happening in the housing market, there’s a lot of confusion going around right now. You may hear one thing in conversation with your friends, see something totally different on the news, and read something on social media that contradicts both of those thoughts. And, if you’re thinking about making a move, that can leave you with a lot of lingering questions. That’s where a trusted local real estate agent comes in.

Here are the top 3 questions people are asking about today’s housing market, and the data to help answer them.

1. What’s Next for Mortgage Rates?

Mortgage rates are higher than they’ve been in recent years. And, if you’re looking to buy a home, that impacts how much you can afford. That’s why so many buyers want to know what’s ahead for mortgage rates. The answer to that question is: no one can say for certain, but here’s what we know based on historical trends.

There’s a long-standing relationship between mortgage rates and inflation. Basically, when inflation is high, mortgage rates tend to follow suit. Over the past year, inflation was up, so mortgage rates were as well. But inflation is easing now. And this is why the Federal Reserve has recently paused their federal funds rate hikes, which means many experts believe mortgage rates will begin to come down.

And in some ways, we’ve started to see hints of slightly lower mortgage rates in recent weeks. But it’s certainly been volatile and will likely continue to be that way going into next year. Some ongoing variation is to be expected, but the anticipation is, that in 2024, we’ll see a downward trend. As Aziz Sunderji, Strategist at Home Economics, says:

“The bottom line is that interest rates are likely to be lower-perhaps even lower than many optimists think - in the weeks and months to come.”

2. Where Are Home Prices Headed?

While there’s been a lot of concern prices would come crashing down this year, data shows that didn’t happen. In fact, home prices are rising in most of the nation. Experts say that trend will continue, just at a slower pace that’s much more normal for the housing market – and that’s a good thing.

To help show just how confident experts are in this continued appreciation, take a look at the Home Price Expectation Survey from Pulsenomics. It’s a survey of a national panel of over 100 economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists. As the graph below shows, the consensus is, that prices will keep climbing next year, and in the years to come.

 

 

3. Is a Recession Around the Corner?

While recession talk has been a common thing over the past few years, there’s good news on that front.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) polls experts on this topic regularly. And last year at this time, most of them thought a recession would have happened by now. But as experts look at all the leading indicators today, they’re changing their minds and saying a recession is getting less and less likely. The latest results show that more experts now think we’re not headed for another recession (see chart below):

 

 

This is big news for the housing market. And while the 48% to 52% split may seem close to half and half, the key thing to focus on is that the majority of these experts think we’ve avoided a recession already.

Bottom Line

The big takeaway? The data shows there isn’t cause for concern – there are actually more signs of hope. Let’s connect to talk more about the housing market questions on your mind as we head into the new year. 

Posted in Market Updates
Oct. 6, 2023

Growing Your Net Worth with Homeownership

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.

Posted in Market Updates
Sept. 6, 2023

Why It’s Still a Seller’s Market Today

Why It’s Still a Seller’s Market Today




Even though activity in the housing market has slowed from the frenzy that was the ‘unicorn’ years, it’s still a seller’s market because the supply of homes for sale is so low. But what does that really mean for you? And why are conditions today so good if you want to sell your house?

The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows housing supply is still astonishingly low. Housing inventory is measured by the number of available homes on the market. It’s also measured by months’ supply, meaning the number of months it would take to sell all those available homes based on current demand. In a balanced market, there’s usually about a six-month supply. Today, we have only about 3 months’ supply of homes at the current sales pace (see graph below): 

As the visual shows, given the current inventory of homes, it’s still a seller's market.

Today, we’re nowhere near what’s considered a balanced market. In fact, the current months’ supply is half of what’s typical of a normal market. That means there just aren’t enough homes to go around based on today’s buyer demand.

As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for NARsays:

“There are simply not enough homes for sale. The market can easily absorb a doubling of inventory.”

How Does Being in a Seller’s Market Benefit You?

Sellers, these conditions give you a real edge. Right now, there are buyers who are ready, willing, and able to purchase a home. And, because there's a shortage of homes up for sale, the ones that do hit the market are like magnets for those buyers.

If you work with a local real estate agent to list your house right now, in good condition, and at the right price, it could get a lot of attention. You might even end up with multiple offers.

Bottom Line

Today’s seller’s market sets you up with a big advantage when you sell your house. Because supply is so low, your house will be in the spotlight for motivated buyers who are craving more options. Let’s connect so you understand what’s happening in our local area as you get ready to enter the market.

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 15, 2023

Home Prices Are Back on the Rise

Home Prices Are Back on the Rise [INFOGRAPHIC]




Some Highlights

  • Looking at monthly home price data from six expert sources shows the worst home price declines are behind us, and they’re rising again nationally.
  • If you’ve put your plans to move on pause because you were worried about home prices crashing, this rebound is good news.
  • Let’s connect so you know what’s happening with prices in our area.
Posted in Market Updates
July 4, 2023

Americans Still View Homeownership as the American Dream

Americans Still View Homeownership as the American Dream




Everyone’s interpretation of the American Dream is unique and personal. But, for many people, it’s tied to a sense of success, freedom, and prosperity. These are all things that owning a home can help provide.

A recent survey from Bankrate asked respondents which achievements they feel most embody the American Dream. The responses prove owning a home is still important to so many Americans today (see graph below):

As the graph shows, homeownership ranks above other significant milestones, including retirement, having a successful career, and earning a college degree.

recent report from MYND helps shed light on why so many people value homeownership. It finds:

“. . . nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) see homeownership as a means of building intergenerational wealth.

That’s because, when you own a home, your equity (and net worth) grows over time as you pay down your home loan and as home prices appreciate. This can be a key factor in building intergenerational wealth and long-term financial stability.

To further drive home the difference homeownership can make in your life, a report from Fannie Mae says:

“Most consumers (87%) believe owning a home is important to ‘live the good life.’ . . . Notably, significantly more see ‘having less stress’ as a benefit achieved by owning than renting.”

Especially today, this could be because, when you own a home with a fixed-rate mortgage, you stabilize what’s likely your largest monthly expense (your housing cost), and that helps combat the impact of rising costs from inflation.

What Does This Mean for You?

While it may feel challenging to buy a home today with higher mortgage rates and home prices, if the time is right for you, know that when you buy a home, incredible benefits are waiting for you at the end of your journey.

Bottom Line

Buying a home is a significant and powerful choice, embodying the foundation of the American Dream. If you plan to make your homeownership dream a reality this year, let’s connect to start the process.

Posted in Market Updates