Why Moving May Be Just the Boost You Need

Seb FreyBlog

As we look back over the past year, we’ve certainly lived through one of the most stressful periods in recent history. After spending so much more time at home throughout the health crisis, some are wondering if they should move to improve their mental health and well-being. This is no surprise since the U.S. Census Bureau reported an increase in the percentage of adults with symptoms of anxiety and depression in a recent Household Pulse Survey. There’s logic behind the idea that making a move could improve someone’s quality of life. When people change their scenery, they often feel happier. Catherine Hartley, an Assistant Professor at New York University’s Department of Psychology and co-author of a study on how new experiences impact happiness, mentioned: “Our results suggest that people feel happier when they have more variety in their daily routines—when they go to novel places and have a wider array of experiences.” If you’re looking for a new experience, planning a move into a new home may be something you’ve started to consider more carefully. If so, you’re not alone. The 2020 Annual National Movers Study by United Van Lines shows: “For customers who cited COVID-19 as an influence on their move in 2020, the top reasons associated with COVID-19 were concerns for personal and family health and wellbeing (60%); desires to be closer to family (59%); 57% moved due to changes in employment status or work arrangement (including the ability to work remotely); and 53% desired a lifestyle change or improvement of quality of life.” … Read More

Financial Fundamentals for Homebuyers [INFOGRAPHIC]

Seb FreyBlog

Some Highlights When you’re thinking about buying a home, there are a few key steps to take before you even start to look at houses. From saving for your down payment to getting pre-approved for a mortgage, you’ll want to make sure you keep your financial plan on track from the beginning. Let’s connect today to make sure you have an introduction to a trusted lender and the best possible real estate guidance as you begin your homebuying process.

Monterey & Carmel 2020 Real Estate Wrap-Up

sebfreyCharts and Statistics, North Monterey County Real Estate

There’s no question that 2020 was unlike any year in living memory, and 2021 certainly got off to a rocky start. I’m optimistic that much of the turbulence is behind us, and that we’ll be looking forward to a year of regrowth and relative normalcy. This Monterey & Carmel 2020 Real Estate Wrap-Up will be looking back on the year as a whole, rather than looking forward to what 2021 has in store. To begin, let’s take a look at the median single family home sale price in Monterey County between 1990 and 2020. As the chart below shows, home prices in Monterey County are at an all-time high, safely eclipsing the prior peak in 2005-2007. This next chart shows the amount of year-over-year median home price appreciation in all of Monterey County, in each year between 1994 and 2020. 2020 enjoyed the third-highest price gain in that time period, third only to 2004 and 2013. Check out this four year comparison of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. It shows a number of metrics for single family home sales in the Monterey-Carmel-Pebble Beach region. Now we’ll take a look at home price appreciation only in the Carmel & city of Monterey region, between 1998 and 2020. As you can see, the median price in 2020 exceeds the 2007 peak by a significant margin. And we’ll also look at that same data, but in terms of price per square foot rather than overall median price of homes themselves. This next chart shows the median house price change … Read More

Santa Clara County 2020 Real Estate Wrap-Up

sebfreyCharts and Statistics, Local, Silicon Valley Real Estate

There’s no question that 2020 was unlike any year in living memory, and 2021 certainly got off to a rocky start. I’m optimistic that much of the turbulence is behind us, and that we’ll be looking forward to a year of regrowth and relative normalcy. This Santa Clara County 2020 Real Estate Wrap-Up will be looking back on the year as a whole, rather than looking forward to what 2021 has in store. To begin, let’s compare the Santa Clara 2020 real estate market compared to the four years which preceded it: Next, check out this graph showing home price appreciation in Santa Clara County since 1990. As you can see, the median price in Santa Clara County set a record for 2020, just edging out 2018. Next, look at the median house price change since 1994, year over year. You’ll see that prices were up 10% year over year in Santa Clara County, after dipping 6% in 2019. 10% sounds like a lot, but it is considerably less than we’ve seen in other years. Santa Clara county is home to millions of people and there are many communities in it, so it’s helpful to break down the data into different communities and for different metrics. I find it’s very illustrative to look especially at the price per square foot, as in the chart below. The picture is less rosy when it comes to the condo market. The median condo price is down about 10% from its peak in 2018, and down slightly from 2019. The … Read More

Santa Cruz County 2020 Real Estate Wrap-Up

sebfreyCharts and Statistics, Local, Santa Cruz Real Estate

There’s no question that 2020 was unlike any year in living memory, and 2021 certainly got off to a rocky start. I’m optimistic that much of the turbulence is behind us, and that we’ll be looking forward to a year of regrowth and relative normalcy. However, this Santa Cruz County 2020 Real Estate Wrap-Up will be looking back on the year as a whole. To begin, let’s compare the Santa Cruz 2020 real estate market compared to the three years which preceded it: Santa Cruz County: 2020 vs. 2019, 2018, and 2017 Next, check out this graph showing home price appreciation in Santa Cruz County since 1990. As you can see, the median price in Santa Cruz County was considerably higher than any year in the past 30. Santa Cruz County Home Price Appreciation since 1990 Next, take a look at yearly home price increases in Santa Cruz County since 1994. Prices were up 10% in Santa Cruz county in 2020 compared to the year before – where prices were flat year over year. It’s worth nothing that while 10% is a healthy increase, it’s by no means record setting or even much higher than average. Yearly Santa Cruz County home price appreciation since 1994 One startling aspect of 2020 was the ease sellers experienced getting their homes actually sold, irrespective of price. This next chart shows the huge jump in the percentage of listed homes going under contract, broken down by month. You cans that the early pandemic months showed a drop but December showed … Read More

What Experts Are Saying about the 2021 Job Market

Seb FreyBlog

  Earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their most recent Jobs Report. The report revealed that the economy lost 140,000 jobs in December. That’s a devastating number and dramatically impacts those households that lost a source of income. However, we need to give it some context. Greg Ip, Chief Economics Commentator at the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), explains: “The economy is probably not slipping back into recession. The drop was induced by new restrictions on activity as the pandemic raged out of control. Leisure and hospitality, which includes restaurants, hotels, and amusement parks, tumbled 498,000.” In the same report, Michael Pearce, Senior U.S. Economist of Capital Economics, agreed: “The 140,000 drop in non-farm payrolls was entirely due to a massive plunge in leisure and hospitality employment, as bars and restaurants across the country have been forced to close in response to the surge in coronavirus infections. With employment in most other sectors rising strongly, the economy appears to be carrying more momentum into 2021 than we had thought.” Once the vaccine is distributed throughout the country and the pandemic is successfully under control, the vast majority of those 480,000 jobs will come back. Here are two additional comments from other experts, also reported by the WSJ that day: Nick Bunker, Head of Research in North America for Indeed: “These numbers are distressing, but they are reflective of the time when coronavirus vaccines were not rolled out and federal fiscal policy was still deadlocked. Hopefully, the recent legislation can help build a bridge … Read More

Owning a Home Is Still More Affordable Than Renting One

Seb FreyBlog, Buyers

If spending more time at home over the past year is making you really think hard about buying a home instead of renting one, you’re not alone. You may be wondering, however, if the dollars and cents add up in your favor as home prices continue to rise. According to the experts, in many cases, it’s still more affordable to buy a home than rent one. Here’s why. ATTOM Data Solutions recently released the 2021 Rental Affordability Report, which states: “Owning a median-priced three-bedroom home is more affordable than renting a three-bedroom property in 572, or 63 percent of the 915 U.S. counties analyzed for the report. That has happened even though median home prices have increased more than average rents over the past year in 83 percent of those counties and have risen more than wages in almost two-thirds of the nation.” How is this possible? The answer: historically low mortgage interest rates. Todd Teta, Chief Product Officer with ATTOM Data Solutions, explains: “Home-prices are rising faster than rents and wages in a majority of the country. Yet, home ownership is still more affordable, as amazingly low mortgage rates that dropped below 3 percent are helping to keep the cost of rising home prices in check.” In 2020, mortgage rates reached all-time lows 16 times, and so far, they’re continuing to hover in low territory this year. These low rates are a big factor in driving affordability. Teta also notes: “It’s startling to see that kind of trend. But it shows how both the cost … Read More

Should I Wait for Lower Mortgage Interest Rates?

Seb FreyBlog, Buyers, Mortgage

Historically low mortgage rates are a big motivator for homebuyers right now. In 2020 alone, rates hit new record-lows 16 times, and the trend continued into the early part of this year. Many hopeful homebuyers are now wondering if they should put their plans on hold and wait for the lowest rates imaginable. However, the reality is, acting sooner rather than later may be the actual win if you’re ready to buy a home. According to Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst for Bankrate: “As vaccines become more widely available and a return to normal starts to come into view, we’ll see mortgage rates bounce off the record lows.” While only a slight increase in mortgage rates is projected for 2021, some experts believe they will start to rise. Over the past week, for example, the average mortgage rate ticked up slightly, reaching 2.79%. This is still incredibly low compared to the trends we’ve seen over time. According to Freddie Mac: “Borrowers are smart to take advantage of these low rates now and will certainly benefit as a result.” Here’s why. As mortgage rates rise, the increase impacts the overall cost of purchasing a home. The higher the rate, the higher your monthly mortgage payment, especially as home prices rise too. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, says: “The forces behind the drop in rates have been shifting over the last few months and rates are poised to rise modestly this year. The combination of rising mortgage rates and increasing home prices will accelerate the decline … Read More

How to Make the Dream of Homeownership a Reality This Year

Seb FreyBlog, Buyers

In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired a powerful movement with his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Through his passion and determination, he sparked interest, ambition, and courage in his audience. Today, reflecting on his message encourages many of us to think about our own dreams, goals, beliefs, and aspirations. For many Americans, one of those common goals is owning a home: a piece of land, a roof over our heads, and a place where we can grow and flourish. If you’re dreaming of buying a home this year, start by connecting with a local real estate professional to understand what goes into the process. With a trusted advisor at your side, you can then begin to answer the questions below to set yourself up for homebuying success. 1. How Can I Better Understand the Process, and How Much Can I Afford? The process of buying a home is not one to enter into lightly. You need to decide on key things like how long you plan on living in an area, school districts you prefer, what kind of commute works for you, and how much you can afford to spend. Keep in mind, before you start the process to purchase a home, you’ll also need to apply for a mortgage. Lenders will evaluate several factors connected to your financial track record, one of which is your credit history. They’ll want to see how well you’ve been able to minimize past debts, so make sure you’ve been paying your student loans, credit cards, and car loans … Read More

Things to Avoid after Applying for a Mortgage [INFOGRAPHIC]

Seb FreyBlog, Mortgage

Some Highlights There are a few key things to make sure you avoid after applying for a mortgage to help make sure you still qualify for your loan at the closing table. Along the way, be sure to discuss any changes in income, assets, or credit with your lender, so you don’t unintentionally jeopardize your application. The best plan is to fully disclose your intentions with your lender before you do anything financial in nature.