Where Have All the Houses Gone?

Seb FreyBlog

In today’s housing market, it seems harder than ever to find a home to buy. Before the health crisis hit us a year ago, there was already a shortage of homes for sale. When many homeowners delayed their plans to sell at the same time that more buyers aimed to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates and purchase a home, housing inventory dropped even further. Experts consider this to be the biggest challenge facing an otherwise hot market while buyers continue to compete for homes. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, explains: “With buyers active in the market and seller participation lagging, homes are selling quickly and the total number available for sale at any point in time continues to drop lower. In January as a whole, the number of for sale homes dropped below 600,000.” Every month, realtor.com releases new data showing the year-over-year change in inventory of existing homes for sale. As you can see in the map below, nationwide, inventory is 42.6% lower than it was at this time last year: Does this mean houses aren’t being put on the market for sale? Not exactly. While there are fewer existing homes being listed right now, many homes are simply selling faster than they’re being counted as current inventory. The market is that competitive! It’s like when everyone was trying to find toilet paper to buy last spring and it was flying off the shelves faster than it could be stocked in the stores. That’s what’s happening in the housing market: homes are … Read More

Home Mortgage Rates by Decade [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Some Highlights Mortgage interest rates have dropped considerably over the past year, and compared to what we’ve seen in recent decades, it’s a great time to buy a home. Locking in a low rate today could save you thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your home loan, but these low rates may not last forever. If you’re in a position to buy a home, let’s connect to determine your best move in today’s housing market while interest rates are still in your favor.

Will Low Mortgage Rates Continue through 2021?

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With mortgage interest rates hitting record lows so many times recently, some are wondering if we’ll see low rates continue throughout 2021, or if they’ll start to rise. Recently, Freddie Mac released their quarterly forecast, noting: “The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit a record low over a dozen times in 2020 and the low interest rate environment is projected to continue through this year. We expect interest rates to average below 3% through the end of 2021. While this is a modest rise from 2020 averages, the recent vote by the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates anchored near zero should keep rates low.” As shown in the graph below, Freddie Mac is projecting low rates going forward with a modest rise that’s expected to continue through 2022.Freddie Mac isn’t the only authority forecasting low rates with a slight rise. Fannie Mae, The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) also anticipate low rates with a small increase as 2021 continues on. Here’s the quarterly breakdown of their projections and how they’re expected to play out over the next year:It’s important to note that, while a small change in interest rates can have a substantial impact on monthly mortgage payments, these rates are still incredibly low compared to where they were just a couple of years ago. What does this mean for buyers? Low mortgage rates are creating an outstanding opportunity for current homebuyers to get more for their money while staying within their budget. As the economy gets stronger and we … Read More

3 Ways Home Equity Can Have a Major Impact on Your Life

Seb FreyBlog

There have been a lot of headlines reporting on how homeowner equity (the difference between the current market value of your home and the amount you owe on your mortgage) has dramatically increased over the past few years. CoreLogic indicated that equity increased for the average homeowner by $17,000 in the last year alone. ATTOM Data Solutions, in their latest U.S. Home Equity Report, revealed that 30.2% of the 59 million mortgaged homes in the United States have at least 50% equity. That doesn’t even include the 38% of homes that are owned free and clear, meaning they don’t have a mortgage at all. How can equity help a household? Having equity in your home can dramatically impact your life. Equity is like a savings account you can tap into when you need cash. Like any other savings, you should be sensible in how you use it, though. Here are three good reasons to consider using your equity. 1. You’re experiencing financial hardship (job loss, medical expenses, etc.) Equity gives you options during difficult financial times. With equity, you could refinance your house to get cash which may ease the burden. It also puts you in a better position to talk to the bank about restructuring your home loan until you can get back on your feet. Today, there are 2.7 million Americans who are currently in a forbearance program because of the pandemic. Ninety percent of those in the program have at least 10% equity. That puts them in a better position to get a … Read More

Millennials: Is It Time to Buy a Bigger Home?

Seb FreyBlog

In today’s housing market, all eyes are on millennials. Not only are millennials the largest generation, but they’re also currently between 25 and 40 years old. These are often considered prime homebuying years when many people begin to form their own households and invest in real estate. If you’re like many millennials who are spending much more time at home these days, you may have a growing need for more space or upgraded features, making moving more desirable than ever. For those millennials who already own a home, there’s a great opportunity to move up in 2021. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, explains: “Older millennials will be trade-up buyers with many having owned their first homes long enough to see substantial equity gains.” Even if you bought a home sometime in the last few years, you may have more equity than you realize, and that’s a big factor to consider when you’re thinking about moving. According to the Homeowner Equity Insights Report from CoreLogic: “In the third quarter of 2020, the average homeowner gained approximately $17,000 in equity during the past year. This marks the largest average equity gain since the first quarter of 2014.” Growing equity can be the driver you’re looking for to fund your next move, especially if what you need in a home is changing right now. As equity builds over time, it can be put toward the down payment on your next home. In addition to equity gains, today’s housing market affordability is powered by record-low mortgage rates, so moving … Read More

3 Ways You’ll Win When You Buy a Home This Year

Seb FreyBlog

There are so many great reasons to purchase a home, and over the past year, we’ve realized more of them than we ever thought possible. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, having a home of your own can give you a greater sense of security and accomplishment in a time that’s largely uncertain. If you’re a repeat buyer looking for your dream home, making a move might give you the space or features you need to find greater success and happiness in a new normal way of life. Whatever your motivations are, here are three reasons why becoming a homeowner now may help you win big in the long run. 1. Buying a Home Is a Great Investment Several recent reports indicate that real estate is still a good investment, topping other options such as gold, stocks, bonds, and savings. Why? Real estate helps you build equity, a type of forced savings that grows your net worth. According to the latest Equity Report from ATTOM Data Solutions: “The count of equity-rich properties in the fourth quarter of 2020 represented 30.2 percent, or about one in three, of the 59 million mortgaged homes in the United States. That was up from 28.3 percent in the third quarter of 2020, 27.5 percent in the second quarter and 26.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, despite the ongoing economic damage caused by the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic.” 2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Low The Primary Mortgage Market Survey from Freddie Mac indicates interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have fallen … Read More

Why It’s Easy to Fall in Love with Homeownership [INFOGRAPHIC]

Seb FreyBlog

Some Highlights Homeownership provides comfort, stability, and security, and it makes you feel more connected to your community. Your home is something to be proud of and is uniquely yours, so you can customize it to your heart’s desire. If you’re ready to fall in love with a home of your own, let’s connect to get you started on the path to homeownership.

47% of New Buyers Surprised by How Affordable Homes Are Today

Seb FreyBlog

Headlines matter. Right now, it’s hard to read about real estate without seeing a headline that suggests homes have become unaffordable for most Americans. In reality, there’s hard evidence that shows how owning a home is more affordable than renting in most parts of the country, as record-low interest rates are keeping monthly mortgage payments about 23% lower than the typical payment of 20 years ago. Despite the facts, misleading headlines persist, and they impact how hopeful homebuyers perceive the market. In a recent survey by realtor.com, home shoppers indicated they were surprised by what they could actually afford when buying their first home. In fact, 47% discovered their budget was larger than they expected. George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.com, explains: “For first-time buyers, especially, the drop in the 30-year mortgage rate…has provided unexpected leverage. Lower rates allowed many buyers to stretch and buy more expensive homes while keeping their monthly budget the same.” So why do these negative headlines that cast doubt on affordability continue to exist? Most analysts only look at two of the three elements that make up the affordability equation: price and income. It’s true that incomes haven’t kept up with the price of houses. However, affordability is about the cost of the home, not just the price. For that reason, mortgage rates, the third element of the affordability equation, are important to consider. For example, here’s the typical mortgage payment for assorted dates going back to 2000, as calculated by CoreLogic:Outside of the housing crash (when short sales and foreclosures … Read More

The Luxury Market Is Attracting Buyers in 2021

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As more people continue to identify their changing needs this year, some are turning to the upscale housing sector for more space or finer features. In their most recent Luxury Market Report, the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM) shares: “In a snapshot of 2020, despite the devasting effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the luxury real estate market has seen one of its strongest years since 2008. In comparison to experts’ predictions in early 2020, it is remarkable how significant demands for property type, location, and amenity preferences have changed amid the pandemic.” With more opportunities to work from home and a growing interest in having extra space for things like virtual school, working out, and cooking more meals, the desire to own a home that can meet these needs continues to increase. Additionally, record-low mortgage rates are creating opportunities for homebuyers to stretch their legs into higher price points or even expand their real estate portfolios. The ILHM report continues to say: “Experts believe that the demand for exclusive residential properties outside the metropolitan areas will continue well into 2021; even with the introduction of vaccines, the pandemic is far from over. For those who have moved to the suburbs and beyond, moving back to the city full time is unlikely while the work from home trend remains. Many of these affluent homeowners are now making their secondary properties their primary residences for the foreseeable future.” If you’re interested in buying a home this year, it appears that some higher-priced markets may have more homes … Read More

3 Reasons We’re Definitely Not in a Housing Bubble

Seb FreyBlog

Home values appreciated by about ten percent in 2020, and they’re forecast to appreciate by about five percent this year. This has some voicing concern that we may be in another housing bubble like the one we experienced a little over a decade ago. Here are three reasons why this market is totally different. 1. This time, housing supply is extremely limited The price of any market item is determined by supply and demand. If supply is high and demand is low, prices normally decrease. If supply is low and demand is high, prices naturally increase. In real estate, supply and demand are measured in “months’ supply of inventory,” which is based on the number of current homes for sale compared to the number of buyers in the market. The normal months’ supply of inventory for the market is about 6 months. Anything above that defines a buyers’ market, indicating prices will soften. Anything below that defines a sellers’ market in which prices normally appreciate. Between 2006 and 2008, the months’ supply of inventory increased from just over 5 months to 11 months. The months’ supply was over 7 months in twenty-seven of those thirty-six months, yet home values continued to rise. Months’ inventory has been under 5 months for the last 3 years, under 4 for thirteen of the last fourteen months, under 3 for the last six months, and currently stands at 1.9 months – a historic low. Remember, if supply is low and demand is high, prices naturally increase. 2. This time, housing … Read More