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!

Jan. 12, 2021

Should You Sell This Winter?

This Winter is Projected to be one of The Best Ever in Home Sales!

 

Home sale peak season has traditionally been in the summer months and then slows down when kids start returning to school. This year has been the exception!

 

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), single-family home prices rose in all 181 metropolitan areas in the third quarter of 2020. Many of those areas saw double-digit growth from last year. The average median sales price of homes sold in October 2020 was up to $313,000.00. This was up $42,000 from last year.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says, “For all metro markets to experience a price gain is implying truly something magical is going on as regarding how people view a home. This winter home sales activity could be one of the best ever. “

So what do you need to know about the upcoming market if you are thinking about selling? 

Home Prices are expected to continue to rise while mortgage rates stay steady.

In 2020, mortgage rates hit record lows. At the end of November, Freddie Mac put the average for a 30-year mortgage at 2.7% with 0.7 points paid. Economists expect rates to stay at about 3%. A chief economist at a real estate data analytics firm predicts that home prices will be 6-8% higher at the end of this year. 

Homes are selling QUICKLY!

On average, homes sold in October went under contract in just 38 days. This is according to Re/Max National Housing Report. October was the fastest-paced month in the history of this report! If you are thinking about selling, be prepared to be packing boxes soon!

Bidding wars are on the rise, so agents advise sellers not to jump on the first offer they get. A better strategy may be to set a deadline for offers and then evaluate all the offers you get. It is also advised not just to look at the price offered but also to evaluate other details, such as cash versus mortgage offers. 

There is a short supply of homes on the market in many areas, so if you are also planning to buy, be prepared to make offers on four to five homes before you have one accepted. 

Hard to find deals

Due to the lack of supply versus demand, buyers will likely have a harder time getting discounts. Demand for new homes is also strong, and supply is lower in this market as well. Also, building supplies are more expensive than before the pandemic, so builders have increased prices as well.

With rising home prices, low mortgage rates, and low inventory, this winter might be the perfect time to sell! If you would like more information or would like to find out what your home is worth, send us a message, and we will happily answer any questions you have!

Bottom Line

If you’re considering selling a home this year, let’s connect and discuss trends in your area!

 

 

 

 

 

Nov. 24, 2020

10 Tips to Keep Your Home Show Ready!

 

Okay, so you’ve spent countless hours getting your home ready for beautiful pictures, a virtual tour, and an open house. You’re probably exhausted! If you were lucky enough to go under contract after that first open house or showing you can relax...a little (you still need to plan for inspections, appraisals, walkthroughs, etc.) If your home is going to remain active you need to be prepared for showings at all times. Usually, agents give you plenty of time to get ready but sometimes they have a client who needs to see your home on short notice. Keep yourself from getting overwhelmed and stressed by following these easy tips to keep your home clean and show-ready at all times. Make the beds every morning I like to keep my sheets and blankets tucked at the bottom so all I have do is pull up my comforter and toss my throw pillows on top.

Make The Beds Every Morning

I like to keep my sheets and blankets tucked at the bottom so all I have do is pull up my comforter and toss my throw pillows on top. 

Pick Up As You Go Through Your Day

This is key! Get in the habit of picking up after yourself (and encourage your family to do the same). Put shoes away when you take them off. Put dishes immediately in the dishwasher and hand wash and dry what you need to. Put away your toiletries after getting ready. These are habits you will appreciate even after you get into your new home. 

Wipe Down Bathroom Counters

Do a quick wipedown of bathroom counters each morning after you get yourself ready. See the next tip to make this easier!

Keep Cleaning Supplies In Each Bathroom And Kitchen

If you have supplies in each bathroom it makes it quick and easy to wipe down a counter or a toilet seat. I keep sanitizing wipes, toilet bowl cleaner, glass cleaner, and paper towels in each bathroom and under my kitchen sink.

Do A Load Of Laundry Every Day AND Put It Away

Keep those laundry baskets from becoming an unsightly mess by doing small loads every day. Another helpful tip is to fold the laundry in the appropriate closet or bedroom so you can put the clothes away immediately. If I don’t do this I tend to leave laundry baskets in the living room or at the bottom of the stairs for days on end! You do not want to be putting away clothes (or hiding full baskets) if you get a last-minute showing.

10 Minute Tidy

Before bed recruit the family and spend 10 minutes tidying up. Pick up any toys, shoes, throw blankets, etc that did not get picked up throughout the day. This is also a good time to put any dishes away that were left to dry. 

Kitchen Counter Wipe Down

Wipe down kitchen counters and tables at the end of every day. Don’t forget to wipe down your stovetop too!

Empty Garbage Daily

This includes bathroom trash cans. This will not only help keep your house looking good but smelling good as well!

Dusty Daily

Spend a few minutes each day dusting the main surfaces of your home. Coffee tables, end tables, etc. Staying on top of the dust in your home will go a long way in keeping your home looking clean.

Floors

Cleaning your floors can be a big, and long, job. Keep your floors maintained by vacuuming and sweeping daily. If you get a last-minute showing request you can just run a wet mop over your hard floors and you are ready to go! If you can, invest in a robotic vacuum cleaner so you can take this job off your list! 

The Bottom Line

Selling your home can be a stressful time. Follow these tips to help keep your home looking great and keep you from feeling overloaded with cleaning tasks right before a showing. You will thank yourself and you may even make some new habits to keep your next home sparkling! Happy Selling!

 

Posted in Uncategorized
Sept. 16, 2020

How to Expect the Unexpected for Your Interior Design Project

How to Expect the Unexpected for Your Interior Design Project

Have you recently thought about or even decided to start an interior design project? If you are working with a professional on your project, they will likely give you an estimate of the cost of the design you have chosen. Sometimes, however, unexpected costs come up that the pro may not make part of your proposal. This does not mean that you can’t plan for them. Keep reading to learn about the additional costs that may come so you can be as prepared as possible as you kick off your project.

Shipping is one of the things that may cause an additional expense because often times the vendor cannot calculate shipping until they weigh the inventory. They will calculate the weight and the distance it will travel to get to you. Once they have the shipping figured out, they would invoice you. And if you need those materials fast, be prepared to pay those extra fees for rush delivery. 

Have you seen the design shows where the homeowners walk in their newly designed home and get that “WOW” moment? We all love to see that before and after! To achieve that complete look when you first come back into your home, the designer may want to store your household goods so they can put everything together at the end for their walk through with you. Having your stuff out of the home can also help them complete certain design aspects. You definitely do not want paint to get on your sofa accidentally! 

Storage can cost extra but will be worth it when YOU get to experience that moment you have seen on television!

Not nearly as much fun as the “Wow” moment is the extra costs that may come from your insurance company. If you are having costly items shipped to you, make sure you discuss with your designer and your insurance carrier who would be covering those items if they were damaged or lost. As disappointing as it would be to have your design delayed (or not get that piece you really wanted), it would be much worse if you also had to pay out of pocket to replace the item or even go without it. 

If you have ever done any work to your home, you know that sometimes things come up that no one was expecting. Your designer will do his or her best to plan for all circumstances, but sometimes these unexpected things may lead to extra labor (and material) costs. Also, sometimes the planned labor can end up costing more than expected due to the scope of work increasing. The best thing you can do is to pad your budget a bit and be as flexible as possible.

You may not be aware of this, but sometimes vendors require a minimum purchase to process your order. Maybe you have picked out flooring for a small area and just need a little bit. Some wholesalers will require a minimum order or charge a minimum purchase fee if you do not meet their minimum requirements. Sometimes they will not include this in their quotes, so it can be a big surprise to the buyer if they are not prepared.  

Starting your home design project can be exciting and fun. The more prepared you are for the unexpected costs, the more flexible you can be with your budget and thus have lower stress throughout your project. Finishing within budget, or even under, can make that new space even more enjoyable for years to come!

 

 

Posted in Interior Design
May 4, 2020

U.S. Homeownership Rate Rises to Highest Point in 8 Years

 

For nearly two months, most of us have been following strict stay-at-home orders from our state and local governments. It is a whole new way of life that has put our daily lives on pause. On the other hand, many of us have also found a sense of comfort by slowing down and spending time at home, highlighting the feeling of security that comes with having a much-needed safe place for our families to live.

The latest results of the Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS) provided by the U.S. Census Bureau shows how Americans place immense value in homeownership, and it is continuing to grow in the United States. The results indicate that the homeownership rate increased to 65.3% for the first quarter of 2020, a number that has been rising since 2016 and is the highest we’ve seen in eight years (see graph below):

Why is the rate increasing? The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) explained:

“Strong owner household formation with around 2.7 million homeowners added in the first quarter has driven up the homeownership rate, especially under the decreasing mortgage interest rates and strong new home sales and existing home sales in the first two months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the economy.”

The NAHB also emphasizes the year-over-year increase in each generational group:

“The homeownership rates among all age groups increased in the first quarter 2020. Households under 35, mostly first-time homebuyers, registered the largest gains, with the homeownership rate up 1.9 percentage points from a year ago. Households ages 35-44 experienced a 1.2 percentage points gain, followed by the 55-64 age group (a 0.9 percentage point increase), the 45-54 age group (a 0.8 percentage point gain), and the 65+ group age (up by 0.2 percentage point).” (See chart below):

Homeownership is an important part of the American dream, especially in moments like this when many are feeling incredibly grateful for the home they have to shelter in place with their families. COVID-19 may be slowing our lives down, but it is showing us the emotional value of homeownership too.

Bottom Line

If you’re considering buying a home this year, let’s connect to set a plan that will help you get one step closer to achieving your dream.

May 1, 2020

How to Test-Drive a Neighborhood While Sheltering in Place

 

Some Highlights

  • Staying at home doesn’t mean your search for a new place needs to come to a standstill.
  • Check out these tips on how to explore other neighborhoods virtually in the homebuying process. You may find a spot that better suits your needs without ever leaving your living room!
  • Let’s connect today so you have help with all of the additional steps along the way, and you’re ready to make your next move.

April 30, 2020

Why the Housing Market Is a Powerful Economic Driver

 

With businesses starting to slowly open back up again in some parts of the country, it’s important to understand how housing can have a major impact on the recovery of the U.S. economy. As we’ve mentioned before, buying a home is a driving financial force in this process. Today, many analysts believe one of the first things we’ll be able to safely bring back is the home building sector, creating more jobs and impacting local neighborhoods in a big way. According to Robert Dietz in The Eye on Housing:

“The pace of new home sales will post significant declines during the second quarter due to the impacts of higher unemployment and shutdown effects of much of the U.S. economy, including elements of the real estate sector in certain markets. However, given the momentum housing construction held at the start of 2020, the housing industry will help lead the economy in the eventual recovery.”

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) notes the impact new construction can have on the job market:

“Building 1,000 average single-family homes creates 2,900 full-time jobs and generates $110.96 million in taxes and fees for all levels of government to support police, firefighters and schools, according to NAHB’s National Impact of Home Building and Remodeling report.”

These employment opportunities, along with the home purchase, drive the economy in a major way. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently shared a report that notes the full economic impact of home sales. This report summarizes:

“The total economic impact of real estate related industries on the state economy, as well as the expenditures that result from a single home sale, including aspects like home construction costs, real estate brokerage, mortgage lending and title insurance.”

Here’s the breakdown of how the average home sale boosts the economy:

As noted above in the circle on the right, the impact is almost double when you purchase new construction, given the sheer number of workers it requires to design, build, equip, and finalize the sale of the home. The NAHB paints a clear picture of these roles:

“The NAHB model shows that job creation through housing is broad-based. Building new homes and apartments generates jobs in industries that produce lumber, concrete, lighting fixtures, heating equipment and other products that go into a home remodeling project. Other jobs are generated in the process of transporting, storing and selling these products.

Additional jobs are generated for professionals such as architects, engineers, real estate agents, lawyers and accountants who provide services to home builders, home buyers and remodelers.”

The same NAR report also breaks down the average economic impact by state:

On an emotional level, what’s most important for today’s consumers to feel confident about is the safety component that goes into the process. Mitigating the risk of essential personnel at this moment in time is more crucial than ever as we all aim to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Fortunately, the NAHB has put immense effort into a plan that prioritizes the health and safety of home builders and contractors:

“This is why NAHB and construction industry partners have developed a Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Plan specifically tailored to construction job sites. The plan is customizable and covers areas that include manager and worker responsibilities, job site protective measures, cleaning and disinfecting, responding to exposure incidents, and OSHA record-keeping requirements.”

Bottom Line

Buying a home is a substantial economic driver today, and when new construction picks back up again, it will be an even stronger recovery force throughout the country. If you’re in a position to buy a home this year, you can have a significant impact on your local neighborhoods and safely make the move you’ve been waiting for. It’s a win-win.

April 29, 2020

Buying a Home Right Now: Easy? No. Smart? Yes.

 

Through all the volatility in the economy right now, some have put their search for a home on hold, yet others have not. According to ShowingTime, the real estate industry’s leading showing management technology provider, buyers have started to reappear over the last several weeks. In the latest report, they revealed:

“The March ShowingTime Showing Index® recorded the first nationwide drop in showing traffic in eight months as communities responded to COVID-19. Early April data show signs of an upswing, however.”

Why would people be setting appointments to look at prospective homes when the process of purchasing a home has become more difficult with shelter-in-place orders throughout the country?

Here are three reasons for this uptick in activity:

1. Some people need to move. Whether because of a death in the family, a new birth, divorce, financial hardship, or a job transfer, some families need to make a move as quickly as possible.

2. Real estate agents across the country have become very innovative, utilizing technology that allows purchasers to virtually:

  • View homes
  • Meet with mortgage professional
  • Consult with their agent throughout the process

All of this can happen within the required safety protocols, so real estate professionals are continuing to help families make important moves.

3. Buyers understand that mortgage rates are a key component when determining their monthly mortgage payments. Mortgage interest rates are very close to all-time lows and afford today’s purchaser the opportunity to save tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the loan.

Looking closely at the third reason, we can see that there’s a big difference between purchasing a house last December and purchasing one now (see chart below):

Bottom Line

Many families have decided not to postpone their plans to purchase a home, even in these difficult times. If you need to make a move, let’s connect today so you have a trusted advisor to safely and professionally guide you through the process.

April 28, 2020

Rise to the Top of the Pool by Selling Your House Today

 

With the release of the latest Economic Pulse Flash Survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), results show that people selling their houses today are holding strong on price. According to the most recent data, 74% of real estate agents noted that sellers are not dropping listing prices to attract more buyers.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, noted: 

“The housing market faced an inventory shortage before the pandemic. Given that there are even fewer new listings during the pandemic, home sellers are taking a calm approach and appear unwilling to lower prices to attract buyers during the temporary disruptions to the economy.”

This inventory shortage, which spread widely throughout the housing market going into today’s economic slowdown, created an environment where there were not enough homes for sale for those who wanted to buy them. With that backdrop setting the stage, Yun also notes:

“With the current quarantine recommendations in place, fewer sellers are listing homes, which will limit buyer choices.”

So, with buyer choices already limited going into this season, and more sellers removing listings today, if you’ve been thinking about listing your house, it’s a great time to do so. Many others in your neighborhood may be waiting to make a move or removing their listings, so staying on the market – or jumping into it – could work to your advantage.

Buyers today are serious ones, and with prices holding steady in this low-inventory market, you can feel confident about selling today. Embracing the process virtually, where available, could help your house hit the top of an eager buyer’s list. While your neighbors miss out on this opportunistic time, you don’t have to.

Bottom Line

If buyer choices are limited in your neighborhood, selling now may help your listing rise to the top of the pool. Let’s connect today to make sure you have the expert help you need to succeed in the selling process.

April 27, 2020

What Impact Might COVID-19 Have on Home Values?

 

A big challenge facing the housing industry is determining what impact the current pandemic may have on home values. Some buyers are hoping for major price reductions because the health crisis is straining the economy.

The price of any item, however, is determined by supply and demand, which is how many items are available in relation to how many consumers want to buy that item.

In residential real estate, the measurement used to decipher that ratio is called months supply of inventory. A normal market would have 6-7 months of inventory. Anything over seven months would be considered a buyers’ market, with downward pressure on prices. Anything under six months would indicate a sellers’ market, which would put upward pressure on prices.

Going into March of this year, the supply stood at three months – a strong seller’s market. While buyer demand has decreased rather dramatically during the pandemic, the number of homes on the market has also decreased. The recently released Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed we currently have 3.4 months of inventory. This means homes should maintain their value during the pandemic.

This information is consistent with the research completed by John Burns Real Estate Consulting, which recently reported:

“Historical analysis showed us that pandemics are usually V-shaped (sharp recessions that recover quickly enough to provide little damage to home prices).”

What are the experts saying?

Here’s a look at what some experts recently reported on the matter:

Ivy Zelman, President, Zelman & Associates

“Supported by our analysis of home price dynamics through cycles and other periods of economic and housing disruption, we expect home price appreciation to decelerate from current levels in 2020, though easily remain in positive territory year over year given the beneficial factors of record-low inventories & a historically-low interest rate environment.”

Freddie Mac

“The fiscal stimulus provided by the CARES Act will mute the impact that the economic shock has on house prices. Additionally, forbearance and foreclosure mitigation programs will limit the fire sale contagion effect on house prices. We forecast house prices to fall 0.5 percentage points over the next four quarters. Two forces prevent a collapse in house prices. First, as we indicated in our earlier research report, U.S. housing markets face a large supply deficit. Second, population growth and pent up household formations provide a tailwind to housing demand. Price growth accelerates back towards a long-run trend of between 2 and 3% per year.”

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist, First American

“The housing supply remains at historically low levels, so house price growth is likely to slow, but it’s unlikely to go negative.”

Bottom Line

Even though the economy has been placed on pause, it appears home prices will remain steady throughout the pandemic.

Posted in Market Updates, Sellers
April 24, 2020

Today’s Expert Insight on the Housing Market

 

Some Highlights

  • According to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, home prices are forecasted to rise.
  • Results from the Existing Home Sales Report note that home sales declined in March due to the coronavirus, but prices are still strong.
  • Let’s connect so you can better understand your home’s value today.