Are you having trouble finding a home that fits your needs and your budget? If so, you should know there’s an option worth considering – condominiums, also known as condos. According to Bankrate:
“A condo can be a more affordable entry point to homeownership than a single-family home. And as a homeowner, you’ll build equity over time and have access to tax benefits that a renter wouldn’t.”
That’s why expanding your search to include additional housing types, like condominiums, could help you accomplish your homeownership goals this spring, especially if you can be flexible about the space you need. Condos are typically smaller than a single-family home, but that’s part of what can make them more budget-friendly (see graph below):
In addition to providing more options in your home search and possibly your price point, there are several other benefits to condo living. They tend to require less upkeep and lower maintenance – and that can give you more time to spend doing the things you enjoy. Plus, since many condos are in or near city centers, they offer the added benefit of being in close proximity to work and leisure.
Remember,your first home doesn’t have to be your forever home. The important thing is to get your foot in the door as a homeowner so you can start building wealth in the form of home equity. In time, the equity you develop can fuel a future purchase if your needs change.
Ultimately, owning and living in a condo can be a lifestyle choice. And if that appeals to you, they could provide the added options you need in today’s market.
It could make a lot of sense to add condos to your home search. Let’s connect today if you’re ready to check out the options in our area.
You may have seen reports in the news recently saying it’s better to rent right now than it is to own your home. But before you let that impact your decisions, you should understand what these claims are based on.
A lot of the time, these reports are assuming things that aren’t realistic for the average household. For example, the methodology behind one of those reports says that renting is the smarter financial option because of the opportunity to invest money elsewhere. It assumes renters take the money they’d spend on costs tied to buying a home and put it in an investment portfolio.
But here’s the thing – most people who rent aren’t making those investments. Ken Johnson, Co-Author of the BH&J National Price-to-Rent Index, explains:
“One of the difficulties with the rent and reinvest model is many people . . . simply rent and spend the difference. . . . That’s wealth destroying.”
The reason homeownership is one of the best investments you can make is the wealth it helps you build. That’s why there’s a significant difference between the net worth of the average homeowner and the average renter (see graph below):
So, before you renew your rental agreement, think about the opportunity to build wealth that homeownership provides.
If you’re unsure whether to continue renting or to buy a home, let’s connect to help you make the best decision.
If you’re thinking about buying a home, you might be focusing on previously owned ones. But with so few houses for sale today, it makes sense to consider all your options, and that includes a home that’s newly built.
The Number of Newly Built Homes Is on the Rise
While there are more houses for sale right now than there were at this time last year, there’s still a historically low number of homes available on the market. One reason for that is years of underbuilding—meaning there haven’t been enough new homes built to keep up with demand.
The graph above shows how low the production of newly constructed homes has been over the past 14 years. But it also shows another important trend: the number of new homes being built each year is on the rise. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, shares, that’s good news for buyers:
“While existing-home inventory remains limited, the silver lining for home buyers is that new-home inventory is on the rise, and a new home at the right price is a pretty good substitute.”
Builder Incentives Can Provide a Boost
While there a growing number of new homes for sale, builders are slowing that pace until they sell more of their current inventory. According to Logan Mohtashami, Lead Analyst at HousingWire:
“The builders have to work off the backlog of homes, but instead of 3%-4% mortgage rates, they’re dealing with 6% plus mortgage rates, which means they have to provide many incentives to make sure those homes sell.”
Many builders are now offering incentives to help buyers purchase these homes. Fleming also explains:
“The National Association of Home Builders reported that nearly two-thirds of builders were offering incentives, including mortgage rate buydowns, paying points for buyers and price reductions, which could entice potential home buyers.”
A builder who’s willing to pay to reduce your mortgage rate could be a game changer. Ksenia Potapov, Economist at First American, puts it this way:
“A one percentage-point decline in mortgage rates has the same impact on affordability as an 11 percent decline in house prices.”
Should You Buy a Brand-New Home?
The best way to decide what type of home to buy is to work with a trusted real estate professional who can help you weigh the pros and cons of each option. They know which homes are available in your local market, and which builders might be offering incentives that make sense for you.
Even though there aren’t a lot of homes for sale today, new home inventory is on the rise, and many builders are offering incentives. Let’s connect so I can help you weigh the pros and cons of shopping for a new home versus an existing one.
One of the first steps in your homebuying journey is getting pre-approved. To understand why it’s such an important step, you need to understand what pre-approval is and what it does for you. Business Insider explains:
“In a preapproval [sic], the lender tells you which types of loans you may be eligible to take out, how much you may be approved to borrow, and what your rate could be.”
Basically, pre-approval gives you critical information about the homebuying process that’ll help you understand your options and what you may be able to borrow.
How does it work? As part of the pre-approval process, a lender will look at your finances to determine what they’d be willing to loan you. From there, your lender will give you a pre-approval letter to help you understand how much money you can borrow. That can make it easier when you set out to search for homes because you’ll know your overall numbers. And with higher mortgage rates impacting affordability for many buyers today, a solid understanding of your numbers is even more important.
Pre-Approval Helps Show You’re a Serious Buyer
Another added benefit is pre-approval can help a seller feel more confident in your offer because it shows you’re serious about buying their house. A recent article from Forbesnotes:
“From the seller’s perspective, a preapproval [sic] letter from a reputable local lender often can make the difference between accepting and rejecting an offer.”
This goes to show, even though you may not face the intense bidding wars you saw if you tried to buy during the pandemic, pre-approval is still an important part of making a strong offer. In fact, Christy Bieber, Personal Finance Writer at The Motley Foolexplains it may be the most important part of making an offer:
“Pre-approval maximizes the chances you’ll be able to actually close the deal – and sellers want to see that.
The fact that a pre-approval gives you a better chance of getting your offer accepted is undoubtedly the most important reason to complete this step . . .”
Getting pre-approved is an important first step towards buying a home. It lets you know what you can borrow and shows sellers you’re serious about purchasing their home. Connect with a local real estate professional and a trusted lender so you have the tools you need to purchase a home in today’s market.
If you’re a renter, you likely face an important decision every year: renew your current lease, start a new one, or buy a home. This year is no different. But before you dive too deeply into your options, it helps to understand the true costs of renting moving forward.
In the past year, both current renters and new renters have seen their rent go up based on information from realtor.com:
“Three out of four renters (74.2%) who have moved in the past 12 months reported seeing their rent increase. The strain from recent rent hikes isn’t exclusive to renters who have recently moved. Nearly two-thirds of renters (63.2%) who have lived in their current rental between 12 and 24 months, and likely renewed their lease, have also reported increases in their rent.”
And if you look back at historical data, that shouldn’t come as surprise. That’s because, according to the Census, rents have been rising fairly consistently since 1988 (see graph below):
So, if you’re considering renting as an option in 2023, it’s worth weighing whether this trend is likely to continue. The 2023 Housing Forecast from realtor.com expects rents will keep climbing (see graph below):
That forecast projects rents will increase by 6.3% in the year ahead (shown in green). When compared to the blue bars in the graph, it’s clear that the 2023 projection doesn’t call for an increase as drastic as the ones renters have seen over the past two years, but it’s still above the historical average for rent hikes between 2013-2019.
That means, if you’re planning to rent again this year and you’ve not yet renewed your lease, you may pay more when you do.
Homeownership Provides an Alternative to Rising Rents
These rising costs may make you reconsider what other alternatives you have. If you’re looking for more stability, it could be time to prioritize homeownership. One of the many benefits of owning your own home is it provides a stable monthly cost that you can lock in for the duration of your loan. As Freddie Macsays:
“Monthly rent payments may increase over time, but a fixed-rate mortgage will ensure that you’re paying the same amount each month. With a fixed-rate mortgage, your interest rate is locked in for the life of loan. Steady payments allow you to budget wisely and make plans for the future.”
If you’re planning to make a move this year, locking in your monthly housing costs for the duration of your loan can be a major benefit. You’ll avoid wondering if you’ll need to adjust your budget to account for annual increases like you would if you left your housing payment up to your landlord and their renewal cycle.
Homeowners also enjoy the added benefit of home equity, which has grown substantially. In fact, the latest Homeowner Equity Insight report from CoreLogic shows the average homeowner gained $34,300 in equity over the last 12 months. As a renter, your rent payment only covers the cost of your dwelling. When you pay your mortgage on a house, you grow your wealth through the forced savings that is your home equity.
If you’re thinking of renting this year, it’s important to keep in mind the true costs you’ll face. Let’s chat to see how you can begin your journey to homeownership today.
The 2022 housing market has been defined by two key things: inflation and rapidly rising mortgage rates. And in many ways, it’s put the market into a reset position.
As the Federal Reserve (the Fed) made moves this year to try to lower inflation, mortgage rates more than doubled – something that’s never happened before in a calendar year. This had a cascading impact on buyer activity, the balance between supply and demand, and ultimately home prices. And as all those things changed, some buyers and sellers put their plans on hold and decided to wait until the market felt a bit more predictable.
But what does that mean for next year? What everyone really wants is more stability in the market in 2023. For that to happen we’ll need to see the Fed bring inflation down even more and keep it there. Here’s what housing market experts say we can expect next year.
What’s Ahead for Mortgage Rates in 2023?
Moving forward, experts agree it’s still going to be all about inflation. If inflation is high, mortgage rates will be as well. But if inflation continues to fall, mortgage rates will likely respond. While there may be early signs inflation is easing as we round out this year, we’re not out of the woods just yet. Inflation is still something to watch in 2023.
Right now, experts are factoring all of this into their mortgage rate forecasts for next year. And if we average those forecasts together, experts say we can expect rates to stabilize a bit more in 2023. Whether that’s between 5.5% and 6.5%, it’s hard for experts to say exactly where they’ll land. But based on the average of their projections, a more predictable rate is likely ahead (see chart below):
That means, we’ll start the year out about where we are right now. But we could see rates tick down if inflation continues to drop. As Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate, explains:
“. . . mortgage rates could pull back meaningfully next year if inflation pressures ease.”
In the meantime, expect some volatility as rates will likely fluctuate in the weeks ahead. If we see inflation come back under control, that would be good news for the housing market.
What Will Happen to Home Prices Next Year?
Homes prices will always be defined by supply and demand. The more buyers and fewer homes there are on the market, the more home prices will rise. And that’s exactly what we saw during the pandemic.
But this year, things changed. We’ve seen home prices moderate and housing supply grow as buyer demand pulled back due to higher mortgage rates. The level of moderation has varied by local area – with the biggest changes happening in overheated markets. But do experts think that will continue?
The graph below shows the latest home price forecasts for 2023. As the different colored bars indicate, some experts are saying home prices will appreciate next year, and others are saying home prices will come down. But again, if we take the average of all the forecasts (shown in green), we can get a feel for what 2023 may hold.
The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. That means nationally, we’ll likely see relatively flat or neutral appreciation in 2023. As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:
“After a big boom over the past two years, there will essentially be no change nationally . . . Half of the country may experience small price gains, while the other half may see slight price declines.”
The 2023 housing market is going to be defined by mortgage rates, and rates will be determined by what happens with inflation. The best way to keep a pulse on what experts are projecting for next year is to lean on a trusted real estate advisor. Let’s connect.
Now that the end of 2022 is within sight, you may be wondering what’s going to happen in the housing market next year and what that may mean if you’re thinking about buying a home. Here’s a look at the latest expert insights on both mortgage rates and home prices so you can make your best move possible.
Mortgage Rates Will Continue To Respond to Inflation
There’s no doubt mortgage rates have skyrocketed this year as the market responded to high inflation. The increases we’ve seen were fast and dramatic, and the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate even surpassed 7% at the end of last month. In fact, it’s the first time they’ve risen this high in over 20 years (see graph below):
In their latest quarterly report, Freddie Macexplains just how fast the climb in rates has been:
“Just one year ago, rates were under 3%. This means that while mortgage rates are not as high as they were in the 80’s, they have more than doubled in the past year. Mortgage rates have never doubled in a year before.”
Because we’re in unprecedented territory, it’s hard to say with certainty where mortgage rates will go from here. Projecting the future of mortgage rates is far from an exact science, but experts do agree that, moving forward, mortgage rates will continue to respond to inflation. If inflation stays high, mortgage rates likely will too.
Home Price Changes Will Vary by Market
As buyer demand has eased this year in response to those higher mortgage rates, home prices have moderated in many markets too. In terms of the forecast for next year, expert projections are mixed. The general consensus is home price appreciation will vary by local market, with more significant changes happening in overheated areas. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, says:
“House price appreciation has slowed in all 50 markets we track, but the deceleration is generally more dramatic in areas that experienced the strongest peak appreciation rates.”
Basically, some areas may still see slight price growth while others may see slight price declines. It all depends on other factors at play in that local market, like the balance between supply and demand. This may be why experts are divided on their latest national forecasts (see graph below):
If you want to know what’s happening with home prices or mortgage rates, let’s connect so you have the latest on what experts are saying and what that means for our area.