If you’ve been thinking about buying a home, you likely have one question on the top of your mind: should I buy right now, or should I wait? While no one can answer that question for you, here’s some information that could help you make your decision.
Each quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a national panel of over 100 economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists to compile projections for the future of home price appreciation. The output is the Home Price Expectation Survey. In the latest release, it forecasts home prices will continue appreciating over the next five years (see graph below):
As the graph shows, the rate of appreciation will moderate over the next few years as the market shifts away from the unsustainable pace it saw during the pandemic. After this year, experts project home price appreciation will continue, but at levels that are more typical for the market. As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:
“People should not anticipate another double-digit price appreciation. Those days are over. . . . We may return to more normal price appreciation of 4%, 5% a year.”
For you, that ongoing appreciation should give you peace of mind your investment in homeownership is worthwhile because you’re buying an asset that’s projected to grow in value in the years ahead.
To give you an idea of how this could impact your net worth, here’s how a typical home could grow in value over the next few years using the expert price appreciation projections from the Pulsenomics survey mentioned above (see graph below):
As the graph conveys, even at a more typical pace of appreciation, you still stand to make significant equity gains as your home grows in value. That’s what’s at stake if you delay your plans.
If you’re ready to become a homeowner, know that buying today can set you up for long-term success as your asset’s value (and your own net worth) is projected to grow with the ongoing home price appreciation. Partner with a local real estate professional to begin your homebuying process today.
Over the last two years, the rate of home prices appreciated at a dramatic pace. While that led to incredible equity gains for homeowners, it’s also caused some buyers to wonder if home prices will fall. It’s important to know the housing market isn’t a bubble about to burst, and home price growth is supported by strong market fundamentals.
To understand why price declines are unlikely, it’s important to explore what caused home prices to rise so much recently, and where experts say home prices are headed. Here’s what you need to know.
The graph below uses the latest data from CoreLogic to illustrate the rise in home prices over the past year and a half. The gray bars represent the dramatic increase in the rate of home price appreciation in 2021. The blue bars show home prices are still rising in 2022, but not as quickly:
You might be asking: why did home prices climb so much last year? It’s because there were more buyers than there were homes for sale. That imbalance put upward pressure on home prices because demand was extremely high, and supply was record low.
While housing inventory is increasing and buyer demand is softening today, there’s still a shortage of homes available for sale. That’s why the market is seeing ongoing price appreciation. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, explains it like this:
“. . .we’re still well below normal levels of inventory and that’s why even with the pullback in demand, we still see house prices appreciating. While there is more inventory, it’s still not enough.”
As a result, experts are projecting a more moderate rate of home price appreciation this year, which means home prices will continue rising, but at a slower pace. That doesn’t mean prices are going to fall. As Selma Hepp, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic, says:
“The current home price growth rate is unsustainable, and higher mortgage rates coupled with more inventory will lead to slower home price growth but unlikely declines in home prices.”
In other words, even with higher mortgage rates, moderating buyer demand, and more homes for sale, experts say home price appreciation will slow, but prices won’t decline.
If you’re planning to buy a home, that means you shouldn’t wait for home prices to drop to make your purchase. Instead, buying today means you can get ahead of future price increases, and benefit from the rise in prices in the form of home equity.
Home prices skyrocketed in recent years because there was more demand than supply. As the market shifts, experts aren’t forecasting a drop in prices, just a slowdown in the rate of price growth. To understand what’s happening with home prices in your area, connect with a local real estate professional today.
As the spring housing market kicks off, you likely want to know what you can expect this season when it comes to buying or selling a house. While there are multiple factors causing some uncertainty, including the conflict overseas, rising inflation, and the first rate increase from the Federal Reserve in over three years — the housing market seems to be relatively immune.
Here’s a look at what experts say you can expect this spring.
Freddie Mac reports the 30-year fixed mortgage rate has increased by more than a full point in the past six months. And despite some mild fluctuation in recent weeks, experts believe rates will continue to edge up over the next 90 days. As Freddie Mac says:
“The Federal Reserve raising short-term rates and signaling further increases means mortgage rates should continue to rise over the course of the year.”
If you’re a first-time buyer or a seller thinking of moving to a home that better fits your needs, realize that waiting will likely mean you’ll pay a higher mortgage rate on your purchase. And that higher rate drives up your monthly payment and can really add up over the life of your loan.
There may be some relief coming for buyers searching for a home to purchase. Realtor.com recently reported that the number of newly listed homes has grown for each of the last two months. Also, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) just announced the months’ supply of inventory increased for the first time in eight months. The inventory of existing homes usually grows every spring, and it seems, based on recent activity, the next 90 days could bring more listings to the market.
If you’re a buyer who has been frustrated with the limited supply of homes available for sale, it looks like you could find some relief this spring. However, be prepared to act quickly if you find the right home.
If you’re a seller, listing now instead of waiting for this additional competition to hit the market makes sense. Your leverage in any negotiation during the sale will be impacted as additional homes come to market.
Prices are always determined by supply and demand. Though the number of homes entering the market is increasing, buyer demand remains very strong. As realtor.com explains in their most recent Housing Report:
“During the final two weeks of the month, more new sellers entered the market than during the same time last year. . . . However, with 5.8 million new homes missing from the market and millions of millennials at first-time buying ages, housing supply faces a long road to catching up with demand.”
What does that mean for you? With the demand for housing still outpacing supply, home prices will continue to appreciate. Many experts believe the level of appreciation will decelerate from the high double-digit levels we’ve seen over the last two years. That means prices will continue to climb, just at a more moderate pace. Most experts are predicting home prices will not depreciate.
While some people may believe a 1% increase in mortgage rates will impact demand so dramatically that home prices will have to fall, experts say otherwise. Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, says:
“What I will caution against is making the inference that interest rates have a direct impact on house prices. That is not true.”
Freddie Mac studied the impact that mortgage rates increasing by at least 1% has had on home prices in the past. Here are the results of that study:
As the chart shows, mortgage rates jumped by at least 1% six times in the last thirty years. In each case, home values increased.
So again, if you’re a first-time buyer or a repeat buyer, waiting to buy likely means you’ll pay more for a home later in the year (as compared to its current value).
There are three things that seem certain going into the spring housing market:
If you’re thinking of buying, act now before mortgage rates and home prices increase further. If you’re thinking of selling, your best bet may be to sell soon so you can beat the increase in competition that’s about to come to market.
If 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):
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.
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, contact a local real estate advisor.
If you’re a current homeowner, you should know your net worth just got a big boost. It comes in the form of rising home equity. Equity is the current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan. Today, you’re building that equity far faster than you may expect – and this gain is great news for you.
Here’s how it happened. Home values are on the rise thanks to low housing supply and high buyer demand. Basically, there aren’t enough homes available to meet this high buyer interest, so bidding wars are driving home prices up. When you own a home, the rising prices mean your home is worth more in today’s market. And as home values climb, your equity does too. As Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains:
“Home prices rose 18% during 2021 in the CoreLogic Home Price Index, the largest annual gain recorded in its 45-year history, generating a big increase in home equity wealth.”
The latest Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogic shed light on just how much rising home values have boosted homeowner equity. According to that report, the average homeowner’s equity has grown by $55,300 over the last 12 months.
Want to know what’s happening in your area? Here’s a breakdown of the average year-over-year equity growth for each state based on that data.
In addition to building your overall net worth, equity can also help you achieve other goals like buying your next home. It works like this: when you sell your house, the equity you built up comes back to you in the sale.
In a market where you’re gaining so much equity, it may be just what you need to cover a large portion – if not all – of the down payment on your next home. So, if you’ve been holding off on selling and worried about being priced out of your next home because of today’s home price appreciation, rest assured your equity can help fuel your move.
Equity can be a real game-changer if you’re planning to make a move. To find out just how much equity you have in your home and how you can use it to fuel your next purchase, connect with a trusted real estate advisor.
If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, chances are you’re focusing on the many extraordinary ways it’ll change your life. But do you know it has a large impact on your community too?
To measure that impact, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) releases a report each year to highlight just how much economic activity a home sale generates. The chart below shows how the sale of both a newly built home and an existing home impact the economy:
As the visual shows, a single home sale can have a significant effect on the overall economy. To dive a level deeper, NAR also provides a detailed look at how that varies state-by-state for newly built homes (see map below):
You may be wondering: how can a single home sale have such a major effect on the economy?
For starters, there are multiple industries that play a role in the process. Numerous contractors, specialists, lawyers, town and city officials, and so many other professionals are all necessary at various stages during the transaction. Every individual you work with, like your trusted real estate advisor, has a team of professionals involved behind the scenes.
That means when you buy or sell a home, you’re leaving a lasting impression on the community at large. Let the knowledge that you’re contributing to those around you while also meeting your own needs help you feel even more empowered when you decide to make your move this year.
Homebuyers and sellers are economic drivers in their community and beyond. Reach out to your trusted real estate advisor today if you’re ready to get started. It won’t just change your life; it’ll make a powerful impact on your entire community.
The “warning signs” look all too familiar.
Escalating home prices have both buyers & sellers worried that the market is just “too good to be true,” and agents across the U.S. are getting bombarded with the ultimate question: “Are we in a housing bubble?”
Let’s take a look at 3 key factors that suggest we’re not, so you can educate your clients and calm fears in your market.
Last year, home values appreciated an average of 15% across the nation. And while this year’s growth isn’t expected to match it, buyers and sellers are still worried that home prices are too high and that depreciation is likely to follow.
However, unlike the Housing Bubble years of the mid-2000s, the major factor driving up home values is that we’re also in a dire inventory shortage.
A balanced real estate market’s inventory sits around 6 months. Today’s current market is at 1.7 months, a historically low amount of homes for sale.
In comparison, the inventory level from 2005 and 2007 increased from 5 months to 11 months, a vast over-supply of homes that did not warrant the price appreciation that went along with it.
So, throwing it back to your high school economics class, the biggest driver of price appreciation is a simple case of supply and demand, hence what we’re seeing in the market today.
If you remember the housing boom of the mid-2000s, you know how crazy that time was in real estate. But if Robert Schiller, a fellow at the Yale School of Management’s International Center for Finance, could sum it up in one phrase, it’s this: irrational exuberance.
In other words, the buying and selling frenzy that contributed to the market collapse was fueled not by tactful, financial decisions but a country-wide case of FOMO (fear of missing out).
The mortgage industry fed into the frenzy, making it easy for people to obtain home loans much higher than they could afford.
Today’s real estate demand, however, is a very real thing. And lending standards have become much tighter since before the crash.
Plus, with escalating rent happening across the U.S., many Americans are opting for the financial stability that homeownership offers.
These factors, coupled with low mortgage rates, make purchasing a home today a good financial decision. So, not only is the demand very real, it’s also very smart.
Following the housing and economic crash of 2008, economists, financiers, and real estate industry experts have combed through data to figure out why the entire system crumbled the way it did.
Most will agree that one of the biggest pieces of that catastrophic equation came down to this: equity. Or in reality, a lack of it.
The mid-2000s saw a massive wave of homeowners cashing out the equity in their homes. In short, they were using their homes like ATMs to afford some of the finer things in life.
This led to a lot of negative equity situations: where the amount someone owed on their home was far more than what their house was worth. Many foreclosures and short-sales followed, depreciating home values nationwide.
Today is a much different equity picture. Cash-out refinance volume over the last three years is less than a third of what it was compared to the three years before the crash. Plus, escalating appreciation meant that homeowners gained an average of $55,300 in equity in the last 12 months alone. As prices continue to rise, equity will too.
This positive equity perspective puts the current housing market in a much stronger place, minimizing risk of foreclosure and stabilizing home values across the U.S.
The most important role of a real estate agent is to be the educator to their clients.
What that really means is analyzing data and insights, getting all sides of a story and then being able to communicate that so your clients can make the best real estate decision.
At the end of the day, knowledge is the most powerful tool you have in your business. Use it every chance you get!
And while you’re at it, download our free eGuide, How to Succeed in a Changing Real Estate Market, where we break down the best way to guide your clients through today’s challenges. That way you and your clients can navigate any shifting housing market.
There’s never been a truer statement regarding forecasting mortgage rates than the one offered last year by Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American:
“You know, the fallacy of economic forecasting is: Don’t ever try and forecast interest rates and or, more specifically, if you’re a real estate economist mortgage rates, because you will always invariably be wrong.”
Coming into this year, most experts projected mortgage rates would gradually increase and end 2022 in the high three-percent range. It’s only April, and rates have already blown past those numbers. Freddie Mac announced last week that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is already at 4.72%.
Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, tweeted on March 31:
“Continuing on the recent trajectory, would have mortgage rates hitting 5% within a matter of weeks. . . .”
Just five days later, on April 5, the Mortgage News Daily quoted a rate of 5.02%.
No one knows how swiftly mortgage rates will rise moving forward. However, at least to this point, they haven’t significantly impacted purchaser demand. Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zonda, explains:
“Mortgage rates jumped much quicker and much higher than even the most aggressive forecasts called for at the end of last year, and yet housing demand appears to be holding steady.”
Through February, home prices, the number of showings, and the number of homes receiving multiple offers all saw a substantial increase. However, much of the spike in mortgage rates occurred in March. We will not know the true impact of the increase in mortgage rates until the March housing numbers become available in early May.
Rick Sharga, EVP of Market Intelligence at ATTOM Data, recently put rising rates into context:
“Historically low mortgage rates and higher wages helped offset rising home prices over the past few years, but as home prices continue to soar and interest rates approach five percent on a 30-year fixed rate loan, more consumers are going to struggle to find a property they can comfortably afford.”
While no one knows exactly where rates are headed, experts do think they’ll continue to rise in the months ahead. In the meantime, if you’re looking to buy a home, know that rising rates do have an impact. As rates rise, it’ll cost you more when you purchase a house. If you’re ready to buy, it may make sense to do so sooner rather than later.
Mark Fleming got it right. Forecasting mortgage rates is an impossible task. However, it’s probably safe to assume the days of attaining a 3% mortgage rate are over. The question is whether that will soon be true for 4% rates as well.
Even if you haven’t been following real estate news, you’ve likely heard about the current sellers’ market. That’s because there’s a lot of talk about how strong market conditions are for people who want to sell their houses. But if you’re thinking about listing your house, you probably want to know: what does being in a sellers’ market really mean?
The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows housing supply is still very low. There’s a 2-month supply of homes at the current sales pace.
Historically, a 6-month supply is necessary for a normal or neutral market where there are enough homes available for active buyers. That puts today deep in sellers’ market territory (see graph below):
When the supply of houses for sale is as low as it is right now, it’s much harder for buyers to find homes to purchase. That creates increased competition among purchasers which can lead to more bidding wars. And if buyers know they may be entering a bidding war, they’re going to do their best to submit a very attractive offer upfront. This could drive the final price of your house up.
And because mortgage rates and home prices are climbing, serious buyers are motivated to make their purchase soon, before those two things rise further. That means, if you put your house on the market while supply is still low, it will likely get a lot of attention from competitive buyers.
The current real estate market has incredible opportunities for homeowners looking to make a move. Listing your house this season means you’ll be in front of serious buyers who are ready to buy. Connect with a local real estate professional so you can jumpstart the selling process.
If you’re buying or selling a home this year, you’re likely saving up for a variety of expenses. For buyers, that might include things like your down payment and closing costs. And for sellers, you’re probably working on a bit of spring cleaning and maintenance to spruce up your house before you list it.
Either way, any money you get back from your taxes can help you achieve your goals. Using a tax refund is a common tactic for buyers and sellers. SmartAsset estimates the average American will receive a $2,897 tax refund this year. The map below provides a more detailed estimate by state:
If you’re getting a refund this year, here are a few tips to help with your home purchase or sale this season.
According to American Financing, there are multiple ways your refund check can help you as a homebuyer. A few include:
This list is a great start, but it isn’t exhaustive of all the costs you may encounter as you set out on your homebuying journey. The best way to prepare is to work with a trusted real estate professional to make sure you understand what’s to come in the process.
If you own a home and are planning to sell this spring, your tax refund can help you make sure your home is ready to list. Here are a few ways current homeowners can put their tax refund to good use:
Of course, it’s important to talk with your trusted real estate advisor before taking on any projects. They’ll make sure you can focus on areas that’ll help you receive the best possible price when you sell.
Funding your home purchase or sale can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Your tax refund can help you reach your goals. Connect with a local real estate advisor today to discuss how you can start on your journey.
Buckle up. This spring market is going to be a busy one.
Homes are selling fast and inventory just can’t keep up with the demand.
But there are still some big questions surrounding the housing market right now holding back a lot of buyers and sellers.
And being able to answer them could make or break how successful you are this spring.
Here’s what you need to know so you can educate your sphere right now.
For the last number of decades, the real estate market has been broken down into seasons with spring reigning as the best time to sell a home. Traditionally, that’s how it’s been. But there’s a big shift happening now.
Recent years have seen that seasonality blur as more and more people decide to buy or sell a home no matter what time of year it is.
What we do know is that while we’ll probably see more homes hit the market this spring, supply is still too low to keep up with demand.
So, even if more homes do come on the market compared to previous months, there are plenty of willing and ready buyers waiting on the sidelines to scoop them up.
The best way to prepare your clients for this competitive market is to make sure they’re ready to move fast, be patient and stay flexible.
No one wants to buy at the top of the market. We saw how that played out in 2008, and it didn’t end well for a lot of homeowners.
But according to recent expert projections, we aren’t at the top of the market.
But before we dive a little deeper into that, we need to explain a couple of things.
First, with both Millenials and Gen Z now in the buyer group, there isn’t enough existing inventory to keep up with the amount of aspiring homeowners. Second, we didn’t build enough homes in the last decade to keep up with the demand.
This leads us directly to our next big question.
So, with existing inventory not being able to keep up with the number of buyers looking to own a home, we are seeing price appreciation that looks strikingly similar to what we saw in the years leading up to the crash.
The big difference between now and then is this: this price appreciation is a direct result of low inventory and high demand. Not high inventory and high demand like in the early 2000s.
Plus, earlier projections by top industry experts are already being revised to higher than originally anticipated. That means more likely than not, we could see another year of above-average price appreciation.
Inflation: one of the most unfortunate results of the pandemic. And there have obviously been many (let’s never forget the infamous toilet paper shortage).
But inflation isn’t new. And if we look all the way back to 1970, we actually see one big takeaway: homeownership is historically a great hedge against it.
For example, as rental prices continue to rise nationwide, locking in mortgage payments can keep your largest monthly cost the same. remain the same.
Another big takeaway: home price appreciation has outperformed inflation for decades.
So, if you have clients worried about how today’s inflation may affect the housing market, tell them this: at the very least, data shows that historically real estate gas outperformed inflation.
Like we covered above, industry experts are projecting that prices will only go up from here (and that’s not likely to change anytime soon).
There are many benefits to homeownership. But the biggest one you need to discuss with your clients right now is that it’s consistently been voted the best long-term investment a person can make in their life.
And waiting for the market to cool off or prices to go down means only one thing: paying more for the exact same house. Especially as experts project mortgage rates will continue to rise.
The best advice you can give any clients who are hesitant to hop into this hot market is this: you can wait, but it will probably cost you.
The defining factor between good agents and great agents is one thing: education.
This may be a competitive market for buyers and sellers. It’s also cutthroat for agents competing for listings. If you want to stand out from the crowd and prove yourself as the agent for the job, you need more than your license.
You need data, facts and expert insights to back up your answers and spread education throughout your sphere.
That’s why we created our How to Succeed in a Changing Market eGuide. Download it free and get tips and tactics to help you and your clients navigate today’s constantly changing and challenging housing market.
That’s what will show prospective clients that you are the trusted advisor to work with this spring.
Based on the Primary Mortgage Market Survey from Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has increased by 1.2% (3.22% to 4.42%) since January of this year. The rate jumped by more than a quarter of a point from just a week ago. Here’s a visual to show how mortgage rate movement throughout 2021 was steady compared to the rapid increase in mortgage rates this year:
Just a few months ago, Freddie Mac projected mortgage rates would average 3.6% in 2022. Earlier this month, Fannie Mae forecast mortgage rates would average 3.8% in 2022. As the chart above shows, rates have already surpassed those projections.
Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, explained in a press release last week:
“This week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased by more than a quarter of a percent as mortgage rates across all loan types continued to move up. Rising inflation, escalating geopolitical uncertainty and the Federal Reserve’s actions are driving rates higher and weakening consumers’ purchasing power.”
In a recent article by Bankrate, several industry experts weighed in on where rates might be headed going forward. Here are some of their forecasts:
“With inflation figures continuing to surprise to the upside, mortgage rates will remain above 4.0% on the 30-year fixed.”
“While higher short-term interest rates will push up mortgage rates, I expect some of this impact to be mitigated eventually through lower inflation. Thus, I expect the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to continue to rise, although we aren’t likely to see the big jumps that occurred over the past few weeks.”
“Mortgage rates are likely to continue to move higher throughout the balance of 2022, although the pace of rate increases is likely to moderate.”
In a recent realtor.com article, another expert adds to the conversation:
“. . . As markets digest the Fed’s updated economic projections, I anticipate a continued increase in mortgage rates over the next several months. . . .”
With both mortgage rates and home values expected to increase throughout the year, it would be better to buy sooner rather than later if you’re able. That’s because it’ll cost you more the longer you wait. But, there is a possible silver lining to buying a home right now. While you’ll be paying a higher price and a higher mortgage rate than you would have last year, rising prices do have a long-term benefit once you buy.
If you purchase a home today valued at $400,000 and put 10% down, you would be taking out a $360,000 mortgage. According to mortgagecalculator.net, at a 4.42% fixed mortgage rate, your mortgage payment would be $1,807 a month (this does not include insurance, taxes, and other fees because those vary by location).
Now, let’s put that mortgage payment into a new perspective based on the substantial growth in equity that comes with the escalation in home prices. Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts about their expectations for future home prices in the United States. Last week, Pulsenomics released their latest Home Price Expectation Survey. The survey reveals that the average of the experts’ forecasts calls for a 9% increase in home values in 2022.
Based on those projections, a $400,000 house you buy today could be valued at $436,000 by this time next year. If you break that down, that means the equity in your home would increase by $3,000 a month over that period. That’s greater than the estimated monthly payment above. Granted, the increase in your net worth is tied to the home, but it is one way to put the home price appreciation to use in a way that benefits you.
Paying a higher price for a home and a higher mortgage rate can be a difficult pill to swallow. However, waiting will just cost you more. If you’re ready, willing, and able to buy a home, now will be a better time than a year, or even six months from now. Connect with a real estate professional to begin the process today.
When it comes to buying a home, it can feel a bit intimidating to know how much you need to save and where to find that information. But you should know, you’re not expected to have all the answers yourself. There are many trusted professionals who can help you understand your finances and what you’ll need to budget for throughout the process.
To get you started, here are a few things experts say you should plan for along the way.
As you set your savings goal for your purchase, your down payment is likely already top of mind. And, like many other people, you may believe you need to set aside 20% of the home’s purchase price for that down payment – but that’s not always the case. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:
“One of the biggest misconceptions among housing consumers is what the typical down payment is and what amount is needed to enter homeownership. Having this knowledge is critical to know what to save . . .”
The good news is, you may be able to put as little as 3.5% (or even 0%) down in some situations. To understand your options, partner with a trusted professional who can go over the various loan types, down payment assistance programs, and what each one requires.
Another item you may want to plan for is an earnest money deposit. While it isn’t required, it’s common in today’s highly competitive market because it can help your offer stand out in a bidding war.
So, what is it? It’s money you pay as a show of good faith when you make an offer on a house. This deposit works like a credit. You’re using some of the money you already saved for your purchase to show the seller you’re committed and serious about their house. It’s not an added expense, it’s just paying some of that up front. First American explains what it is and how it works:
“The deposit made from the buyer to the seller when submitting an offer. This deposit is typically held in trust by a third party and is intended to show the seller you are serious about purchasing their home. Upon closing the money will generally be applied to your down payment or closing costs.”
In other words, an earnest money deposit could be the very first check you’ll write toward your purchase. The amount varies by state and situation. Realtor.com elaborates:
“The amount you’ll deposit as earnest money will depend on factors such as policies and limitations in your state, the current market, what your real estate agent recommends, and what the seller requires. On average, however, you can expect to hand over 1% to 2% of the total home purchase price.”
Work with a real estate advisor to understand any requirements in your local area and what they’ve recommended for other buyers in your market. They’ll help you determine if it’s something that could be a useful option for you.
The next thing to plan for is your closing costs. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defines closing costs as:
“The upfront fees charged in connection with a mortgage loan transaction. …generally including, but not limited to a loan origination fee, title examination and insurance, survey, attorney’s fee, and prepaid items, such as escrow deposits for taxes and insurance.”
Basically, your closing costs cover the fees for various people and services involved in your transaction. NAR has this to say about how much to budget for:
“A home costs more than just the sale price. For example, closing costs—which make up about 2% to 5% of the home’s purchase price—are a major added expense…Lenders provide a Closing Disclosure at least three business days prior to closing on a mortgage. But buyers will need to budget for these added costs ahead of time to avoid sticker shock days before closing.”
The key takeaway is savvy buyers plan ahead for these expenses so they can come into the process prepared. Freddie Mac sums it up like this:
“If you’re in the market to buy a home, your down payment is probably top of mind. And rightly so – it’s likely the biggest cost of homebuying. However, it is not the only cost and it’s critical you understand all your expenses before diving in. The more prepared you are for your down payment, closing and other costs, the smoother your homebuying journey will be.”
Knowing what to budget for in the homebuying process is essential. To make sure you understand these and any other expenses that may come up, partner with a real estate advisor for expertise on what to expect when you buy a home.
Since the number of homes for sale is low today, it can feel challenging to find one that checks all your boxes. But if you know which features are absolutely essential in your next home and which ones are just nice bonuses, you can land a home that fits your needs.
Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, explains it like this:
“Focus on the goal you set out for yourself, like your list of must-haves and nice-to-haves and your budget, . . . Stick to that. Be persistent.”
So how do you go about creating your list of desired features? The first step is to get pre-approved for your mortgage. Pre-approval helps you better understand your budget, and that plays an important role in how you’ll craft your list. After all, you don’t want to fall in love with a home that’s too far out of reach.
Once you have a good grasp of your budget, you can begin to list all the features of a home you would like. Here’s a great way to think about them before you begin:
Finally, once you’ve created your list and categorized it in a way that works for you, discuss it with your real estate advisor. They’ll be able to help you refine the list further, coach you through the best way to stick to it, and find a home in your area that meets your needs.
Crafting your home search checklist may seem like a small task, but it can save you time and money. It’s also one of the keys to being successful in today’s competitive market. Connect with a real estate professional so you can work together to find a home that fits your wants and needs.
Earlier this month, realtor.com announced the release of their initial Housing Recovery Index, a weekly guide showing how the pandemic has impacted the residential real estate market. The index leverages a weighted average of four key components of the housing industry, tracking each of the following:
The index then compares the current status “to the last week of January 2020 market trend, as a baseline for pre-COVID market growth. The overall index is set to 100 in this baseline period. The higher a market’s index value, the higher its recovery and vice versa.”
The graph below charts the index by showing how the real estate market started out strong in early 2020, and then dropped dramatically at the beginning of March when the pandemic paused the economy. It also shows the strength of the recovery since the beginning of May.It’s clear to see that the housing market is showing promising signs of recovery from the deep economic cuts we experienced earlier this spring. As noted by Dean Mon, Chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB):
“As the nation reopens, housing is well-positioned to lead the economy forward.”
The data today indicates the housing market is already on the way up.
Staying connected to the housing market’s performance over the coming months will be essential, as we continue to evaluate exactly how the housing market is doing in this uncharted time ahead.
Many still bear scars from the Great Recession and may expect the housing market to follow a similar trajectory in response to the coronavirus outbreak. But, there are distinct differences that indicate the housing market may follow a much different path. While housing led the recession in 2008-2009, this time it may be poised to bring us out of it.
For the first 6 decades after WWII, the housing sector led the rest of the economy out of each recession. Expect it to do so this time as well.
As the economy begins a recovery later in 2020, we expect housing to play a leading role. Housing enters this recession underbuilt, not overbuilt…Based on demographics and current vacancy rates, the U.S. may have a housing deficit of up to one million units.
“The CoreLogic Home Price Index recorded a quickening of home price gains during the fourth quarter of 2019, helping to boost home equity wealth. The average family with a mortgage had a $7,300 gain in home equity during the past year, and a total of $177,000 in home equity wealth.”
Over the past year, mortgage rates have fallen more than a full percentage point. This is a great driver for homeownership, as today's low rates provide consumers with some significant benefits. Here's a look at three of them:
Last year at this time, mortgage rates were 4.63% (substantially higher than they are today). If you're one who waited for a better time to make a move, market conditions have improved significantly. Today's low mortgage rates combined with increasing wages are making homes much more affordable than they were just one year ago, so it's a great time to get more for your money and consider a new home.
The chart below shows how much you would save based on today's rates, compared to what you would have paid if you purchased a house exactly one year ago, depending on how much you finance.
If you've been waiting since last year to make your move into homeownership, or to find a house that better meets your needs, today's low mortgage rates may be just what you need to get the process going. Let's get together to discuss how you can benefit from the current rates.
You’ve likely heard a ton about Millennials, but what about Gen Z? In the next 5 years, this generation will be between the ages of 23 and 28, and they’re eager to become homeowners faster than you may think.
According to realtor.com, “Nearly 80 percent of Generation Z members say they want to own a home before age 30,” and Concentrix Analytics said, “52% of prospective Gen Z buyers are already saving to buy a home.”
Wikipedia defines Generation Z (Gen Z) as “the demographic cohort after the Millennials. Demographers and researchers typically use the mid-1990s to mid-2000s as starting birth years.”
The report from Concentrix goes a little deeper on Gen Z, identifying the main reasons this cohort wants to own homes:
Although they’re eager to buy, this generation also perceives a few challenges ahead:
It is also interesting to note that 21% of Gen Zers think their parents will provide financial help, 17% will use a down payment assistance program, and 15% believe other family members will help them. One of the highlights of the report mentioned,
“More than half of Gen Zers who think they’ll receive help also think they will need to pay their parents back, compared to 40 percent of millennials.”
It is never too early to start saving for your own home, whether you are part of Gen Z or a different generation. If you would like to know where to start and how much you need to save to reach your goal of buying a home, let’s get together so you can better understand the process.