Preparing to Spring Forward

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Some Highlights: In the majority of the country, this weekend marks the start of Daylight Saving Time as we set our clocks forward an hour on Sunday at 2:00 AM EST. Whether you plan on buying or selling this spring, these tips could help you ‘spring ahead’ of your competition! Spring brings two things: more buyers & more sellers! Get prepared now to stand out in the crowd!

Why an Economic Slowdown Will NOT Crush Real Estate this Time

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Last week, the National Association for Business Economics released their February 2019 Economic Policy Survey. The survey revealed that a majority of the panel believe an economic slowdown is in the near future: “While only 10% of panelists expect a recession in 2019, 42% say a recession will happen in 2020, and 25% expect one in 2021.” Their findings coincide with three previous surveys calling for a slowdown sometime in the next two years: The Pulsenomics Survey of Market Analysts The Wall Street Journal Survey of Economists The Duke University Survey of American CFOs That raises the question: Will the real estate market be impacted like it was during the last recession? A recession does not equal a housing crisis. According to the dictionary definition, a recession is: “A period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters.” During the last recession, prices fell dramatically because the housing collapse caused the recession. However, if we look at the previous four recessions, we can see that home values weren’t negatively impacted: January 1980 to July 1980: Home values rose 4.5% July 1981 to November 1982: Home values rose 1.9% July […]

2 Reports That Say Now Is a Great Time to Sell

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Heading into the spring buying market, there are strong trends starting to emerge. The inventory of homes for sale has increased on a year-over-year basis for eight months in a row. Home price appreciation has continued to grow, although at a slower rate. The homeownership rate has reached heights last seen in 2014, with millennials and Generation X leading the way! Let’s dive a little deeper into some of the recent reports that have been released and what they mean for the spring buying season! 1. National Association of Realtor’s Existing Home Sales Report Sales of existing homes were down for the third consecutive month in January. Some of this can be explained by the natural seasonality that the real estate market experiences every year, and some can be explained even further by a lack of homes available for sale on the market. Inventory For the last eight months, the inventory of homes for sale has been higher when compared to the same month the year before. The challenge in the market is the mismatch of the type of home that is available for sale. First-time homebuyers looking for a starter home are often competing with other buyers to stand out, […]

How to Have a Unique Open House

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According to the National Association of Realtors, total inventory has been growing for six months straight, as has the number of buyers looking to find their dream home. In a market where inventory is increasing, you want to stand out in the crowd! This quote from Grandscope puts it well: “You can differentiate from competition by WOWing or exciting customers, not just trying to compete on price.” What better way than to be creative with your Open House! Here are a few ideas for how to do this in this era of technology. 1) Facebook Live Virtual Open House This can also work as a ‘preview’ before an official Open House. Let your agent walk potential buyers through your home using a webcam or cell phone, highlighting the unique features of your house and taking questions. This can be of great benefit, especially for those out-of-state buyers looking to relocate to your area. 2) Youtube Live Virtual Open House YouTube is forecasted to have 187.8 million video users in 2019 in the United States alone! One of those users might be the buyer you’re looking for! Like Facebook Live, allowing your agent to have a virtual open house will make it available, especially for all those first-time homebuyers house hunting on their phones! This allows access to your […]

The Housing Market Will “Spring Forward” This Year!

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Just like our clocks this weekend, in the majority of the country, the housing market will soon “spring forward!” Similar to tension in a spring, the lack of inventory available for sale has been holding back the market. Many potential sellers believe that waiting until Spring is in their best interest. Traditionally, they would have been right. Buyer demand has seasonality to it. Usually, this falls off in the winter months, especially in areas of the country impacted by arctic conditions. That hasn’t happened this year. Demand for housing has remained strong as mortgage rates have remained near historic lows. Even with an increase in rates forecasted for 2019, buyers are still able to lock in an affordable monthly payment. Buyers are increasingly jumping off the fence and into the market to secure a lower rate. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that in 2018 the top 10 dates sellers listed their homes all fell in April, May, or June. Those who act quickly and list now, before a flood of increased competition, will benefit from additional exposure to buyers. Bottom Line If you are planning on selling your home in 2019, meet with a local real estate professional to evaluate the opportunities in your market.

Home Prices Up 5.73% Across the Country!

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Some Highlights: The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently released their latest Quarterly Home Price Index report. In the report, home prices are compared both regionally and by state. Based on the latest numbers, if you plan on relocating to another state, waiting to move may end up costing you more!

No Worries… Home Prices Coming in for a SOFT Landing

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Home prices have appreciated considerably over the last five years. This has some concerned that we may be in for another dramatic correction. However, recent statistics suggest home values will not crash as they did a decade ago. Instead, this time they will come in for a soft landing. The previous housing market was fueled by an artificial demand created by mortgage standards that were far too lenient. When this demand was shut off, a flood of inventory came to market. This included heavily discounted distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales). Today’s market is totally different. Mortgage standards are tighter than they were prior to the last boom and bust. There is no fear that a rush of foreclosures will come to market. The Mortgage Bankers’ Association just announced that foreclosures are lower today than at any time since 1996. Case Shiller looks at the percentage of appreciation as compared to the same month the year prior. Here is a graph of their findings over the last ten months:   As we can see, home price appreciation is softening as more inventory comes to market. This shows that real estate prices are not crashing, but merely returning toward historic appreciation numbers of 3.6% annually. Bottom […]

Interest Rates Hit New 12 Month Low!

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According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at their lowest for 2019. Rates like these haven’t been seen since February 2018! Last week’s survey results reported an interest rate of 4.35%. This is a welcome change from the near 5% rates seen in mid-November. At 4.32%, the second week of February 2018 was the last time rates were this low. This can be seen in the chart below. Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist, Sam Khater, had this to say: “Mortgage rates fell for the third consecutive week, continuing the general downward trend that began late last year. Wages are growing on par with home prices for the first time in years, and with more inventory available, spring home sales should help the market begin to recover from the malaise of the last few months.” Bottom Line If you plan on buying a home this spring, meet with a local real estate professional who can help prepare you for today’s market before rates increase!

What are the Benefits of Becoming a Homeowner?

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Every family has a list of important dates. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, pet adoptions…and the list goes on. For 64.4 percent of households in the United States, this list includes the day they became a homeowner for the first time! Why is this date important? Homeownership is not just a roof over your head! It represents shelter, stability, wealth, and pride! For decades, homeownership has been an important part of the American Dream! However, many question if the next generations see the same benefits of homeownership as their predecessors. In case we have forgotten, some of those benefits are: Non-Financial Benefits 1) Educational Achievement: Homeownership has a positive impact on academic achievement, including reading and math performance in children 3-12 years old. 2) Civic Participation: “Owning a home means owning a part of the neighborhood.” Homeowners have a stronger connection to their neighborhood and are more committed to volunteer. 3) Health Benefits: Adjusting for a range of demographic, socioeconomic and housing-related characteristics, homeowners have a substantial health advantage over renters. 4) Public Assistance: The report shows 47% of homeowners use their home equity credit lines to help pay other debts, diminishing their need for public assistance. 5) Property Maintenance and Improvement: A well-maintained home not only generates benefits through consumption and […]

How Can I Increase My Family’s Net Worth?

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Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts their Survey of Consumer Finances. Data is collected across all economic and social groups. The latest survey data covers 2013-2016. The study revealed that the median net worth of a homeowner is $231,400 – a 15% increase since 2013. At the same time, the median net worth of renters decreased by 5% ($5,200 today compared to $5,500 in 2013). These numbers reveal that the net worth of a homeowner is over 44 times greater than that of a renter. Owning a home is a great way to build family wealth. As we’ve said before, simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth by increasing the equity in your home. That is why Gallup reported that Americans picked real estate as the best long-term investment for the fifth year in a row. According to this year’s results, 34% of Americans chose real estate. Stocks followed at 26%, and then gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds. Bottom Line If you want to find out how you can use your monthly housing cost to increase your family’s wealth, let’s get together to guide you through the process.