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How an Expert Can Help You Understand Inflation & Mortgage Rates

How an Expert Can Help You Understand Inflation & Mortgage Rates | Simplifying The Market

If you’re following today’s housing market, you know two of the top issues consumers face are inflation and mortgage rates. Let’s take a look at each one.

Inflation and the Housing Market

This year, inflation reached a high not seen in forty years. For the average consumer, you probably felt the pinch at the gas pump and in the grocery store. It may have even impacted your ability to save money to buy a home.

While the Federal Reserve is working hard to lower inflation, the August data shows the inflation rate was still higher than expected. This news impacted the stock market and fueled conversations about a recession. It also played a role in the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise the Federal Funds Rate last week. As Bankrate says:

“. . . the Fed has raised rates again, announcing yet another three-quarter-point hike on September 21 . . . The hikes are designed to cool an economy that has been on fire. . .”

While their actions don’t directly dictate what happens with mortgage rates, their decisions have contributed to the intentional cooldown in the housing market. A recent article from Fortune explains:

“As the Federal Reserve moved into inflation-fighting mode, financial markets quickly put upward pressure on mortgage rates. Those elevated mortgage rates . . . coupled with sky-high home prices, threw cold water onto the housing boom.”

The Impact on Rising Mortgage Rates

Over the past few months, mortgage rates have fluctuated in light of growing economic pressures. Most recently, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate according to Freddie Mac ticked above 6% for the first time in well over a decade (see graph below):

How an Expert Can Help You Understand Inflation & Mortgage Rates | Simplifying The Market

The mortgage rate increases this year are the big reason buyer demand has pulled back in recent months. Basically, as rates (and home prices) rose, so did the cost of buying a home. That pushed on affordability and priced some buyers out of the market, so home sales slowed and the inventory of homes for sale grew as a result.

Where Experts Say Rates and Inflation Will Go from Here

Moving forward, both of these factors will continue to impact the housing market. A recent article from CNET puts the relationship between inflation and mortgage rates in simple terms:

“As a general rule, when inflation is low, mortgage rates tend to be lower. When inflation is high, rates tend to be higher.”

Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, has this to say about where rates may go from here:

“Mortgage rates remained volatile due to the tug of war between inflationary pressures and a clear slowdown in economic growth. The high uncertainty surrounding inflation and other factors will likely cause rates to remain variable, . . .”

While there’s no way to say with certainty where mortgage rates will go from here, there is something you can do to stay informed, and that’s connect with a trusted real estate advisor. They keep their pulse on what’s happening today and help you understand what the experts are projecting. They can provide you with the best advice possible.

Bottom Line

Rising inflation and higher mortgage rates have had a clear impact on housing. For expert insights on the latest trends in the housing market and what they mean for you, let’s connect.

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The True Strength of Homeowners Today

The True Strength of Homeowners Today | Simplifying The Market

The real estate market is on just about everyone’s mind these days. That’s because the unsustainable market of the past two years is behind us, and the difference is being felt. The question now is, just how financially strong are homeowners throughout the country? Mortgage debt grew beyond 10 trillion dollars over the past year, and many called that a troubling sign when it happened for the first time in history.

Recently Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, answered that question when she said:

“U.S. households own $41 trillion in owner-occupied real estate, just over $12 trillion in debt, and the remaining ~$29 trillion in equity. The national “LTV” in Q2 2022 was 29.5%, the lowest since 1983.”

She continued on to say:

“Homeowners had an average of $320,000 in inflation-adjusted equity in their homes in Q2 2022, an all-time high.”

What Is LTV?

The term LTV refers to loan to value ratio. For more context, here’s how the Mortgage Reports defines it:

“Your ‘loan to value ratio’ (LTV) compares the size of your mortgage loan to the value of the home. For example: If your home is worth $200,000, and you have a mortgage for $180,000, your LTV ratio is 90% — because the loan makes up 90% of the total price.

You can also think about LTV in terms of your down payment. If you put 20% down, that means you’re borrowing 80% of the home’s value. So your LTV ratio is 80%.”

Why Is This Important?

This is yet another reason we won’t see the housing market crash. Home equity allows homeowners to be in control. For example, if someone did need to sell their home, they likely have the equity they need to be able to sell it and still put money in their pocket. This was not the case back in 2008, when many owed more on their homes than they were worth.

Bottom Line

Homeowners today have more financial strength than they have had since 1983. This is a combination of how homeowners have handled equity since the crash and rising home prices of the last two years. And this is yet another reason homeownership in any market makes sense.

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Fall Home Selling Checklist [INFOGRAPHIC]

Fall Home Selling Checklist [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Fall Home Selling Checklist [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • When it comes to selling your house, you want it to look its best inside and out so it catches the attention of buyers. A real estate professional can help you decide what to do to make that happen.
  • Focus on tasks that can make it inviting, show it’s cared for, and boost your curb appeal.
  • Let’s connect so you have advice on what you may want to do to get your house ready to sell this season.
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What Experts Say Will Happen with Home Prices Next Year

What Experts Say Will Happen with Home Prices Next Year | Simplifying The Market

Experts are starting to make their 2023 home price forecasts. As they do, most agree homes will continue to gain value, just at a slower pace. Over the past couple of years, home prices have risen at an unsustainable rate, leaving many to wonder how long it would last. If you’re asking yourself: what’s ahead for the price of my home, know that experts are now answering this question, and its welcome news for homeowners who may have been led by the media to believe their home would lose value.

Historically, home prices have appreciated at a rate near 4%. For 2023, the average of six major forecasters noted below is 2.5%. While one, Zelman & Associates, is calling for depreciation, the other five are calling for appreciation. The graph below outlines each expert forecast to show where they project home prices are going in the coming year.

What Experts Say Will Happen with Home Prices Next Year | Simplifying The Market

To understand why experts are calling for appreciation next year, look to the economics of supply and demand. Dave Ramsey, Financial Expert, says this:

“The root issue of what drives house prices almost always is supply and demand . . .”   

Two things are driving home prices upward. First, the undersupply of homes on the market is an issue we continue to face in this country. We still don’t have enough homes on the market for the number of people that want to buy them. To further that point, we’re still in a sellers’ market nationally, and in that scenario, home prices tend to appreciate.

Second, millennials are moving through their peak homebuying years. Since they’re the largest demographic behind the baby boomers, demand isn’t going away any time soon.

Bottom Line

Experts are calling for home prices to appreciate next year, although at a slower pace than the previous three years. The reason for this is simple. The dynamics of supply and demand are playing out in real estate and will continue for many years to come.

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Top Reasons Homeowners Are Selling Their Houses Right Now

Top Reasons Homeowners Are Selling Their Houses Right Now | Simplifying The Market

Some people believe there’s a group of homeowners who may be reluctant to sell their houses because they don’t want to lose the historically low mortgage rate they have on their current home. You may even have the same hesitation if you’re thinking about selling your house.

Data shows 51% of homeowners have a mortgage rate under 4% as of April this year. And while it’s true mortgage rates are higher than that right now, there are other non-financial factors to consider when it comes to making a move. In other words, your mortgage rate is important, but you may have other things going on in your life that make a move essential, regardless of where rates are today. As Jessica Lautz, Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

Home sellers have historically moved when something in their lives changed – a new baby, a marriage, a divorce or a new job. . . .”

So, if you’re thinking about selling your house, it may help to explore the other reasons homeowners are choosing to make a move today. The 2022 Summer Sellers Survey by realtor.com asked recent home sellers why they decided to sell. The visual below breaks down how those homeowners responded:

Top Reasons Homeowners Are Selling Their Houses Right Now | Simplifying The Market

As the visual shows, an appetite for different features or the fact that their current home could no longer meet their needs topped the list for recent sellers. Additionally, remote work and whether or not they need a home office or are tied to a specific physical office location also factored in, as did the desire to live close to their loved ones.

The realtor.com survey summarizes the findings like this:

The primary reason homeowners decided to sell in the last year was the realization that, after so much time spent at home, they wanted different features and amenities, such as walkability, outdoor space, pool, etc. . . .

If you, like the homeowners they surveyed, find yourself wanting features, space, or amenities your current home just can’t provide, it may be time to consider listing your house for sale.

Even with today’s mortgage rates, your lifestyle needs may be enough to motivate you to make a change. The best way to find out what’s right for you is to partner with a trusted real estate professional who can provide expert guidance and advice throughout the process. They can help walk you through your options, so you can make a confident decision based on what matters most to you and your loved ones.

Bottom Line

While the financial reasons for moving are important, there’s often far more to consider. Non-financial reasons can also be a significant motivating factor. If you need help weighing the pros and cons of selling your house, let’s connect today.

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Watching the Stock Market? Check the Value of Your Home for Good News.

Watching the Stock Market? Check the Value of Your Home for Good News. | Simplifying The Market

While watching the stock market recently may have started to feel pretty challenging, checking the value of your home should come as welcome relief in this volatile time. If you’re a homeowner, your net worth got a big boost over the past few years thanks to rising home prices. And that increase in your wealth came in the form of home equity. Here’s how it works.

Equity is the current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan. Because there was a significant imbalance between the number of homes available for sale and the number of buyers looking to make a purchase over the past few years, home prices appreciated substantially. And while rising inventory and mortgage rates have cooled the market some in recent months, home prices nationally remain strong.

That’s why, according to the latest Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogic, the average homeowner equity has grown by $60,000 over the last 12 months. While that’s the national number, if you want to know what happened, on average, over the past year in your area, look at the map below from CoreLogic:

Watching the Stock Market? Check the Value of Your Home for Good News. | Simplifying The Market

Why This Is So Important Right Now

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), helps explain why this matters so much today:

“. . . the decline in the stock market has dented overall net wealth. It has fallen by $6 trillion from the first to the second quarter. Only housing wealth has held on, with homeowners’ real estate wealth (home value minus mortgage balance) rising by $1.2 trillion.”

While equity helps increase your overall net worth, it can also help you achieve other goals like buying your next home. When you sell your current house, the equity you built up comes back to you in the sale, and it may be just what you need to cover a large portion – if not all – of the down payment on your next home.

Bottom Line

There’s volatility in today’s stock market, but home equity is still incredibly strong. To find out just how much equity you have in your current home, let’s connect.

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Will My House Still Sell in Today’s Market?

Will My House Still Sell in Today’s Market? | Simplifying The Market

If recent headlines about the housing market cooling and buyer demand moderating have you worried you’ve missed your chance to sell, here’s what you need to know. Buyer demand hasn’t disappeared, it’s just eased from the peak intensity we saw over the past two years.

Buyer Demand Then and Now

During the pandemic, mortgage rates hit record lows, and that spurred a significant rise in buyer demand. This year, as rates increased due to factors like rising inflation, buyer demand pulled back or softened as a result. The latest data from ShowingTime confirms this trend (see graph below):

Will My House Still Sell in Today’s Market? | Simplifying The Market

The orange bars in the graph above represent the last few months of data and the clear cooldown in the volume of home showings the market has seen since mortgage rates started to rise. But context is important. To get the full picture of where today’s demand stands, let’s look at the July data for the past six years (see graph below):

Will My House Still Sell in Today’s Market? | Simplifying The Market

This second visual makes it clear that, while moderating compared to the frenzy in 2020 and 2021, showing activity is still beating pre-pandemic levels – and those pre-pandemic years were great years for the housing market. That goes to show there’s still demand if you sell your house today.

What That Means for You When You Sell

The key to selling in a changing market is understanding where the housing market is now. It’s not the same market we had last year or even earlier this year, but that doesn’t mean the opportunity to sell has passed.

While things have cooled a bit, it’s still a sellers’ market. If you work with a trusted local expert to price your house at the current market value, the demand is still there, and it should sell quickly. According to a recent survey from realtor.com, 92% of homeowners who sold in August reported being satisfied with the outcome of their sale.

Bottom Line

Buyer demand hasn’t disappeared, it’s just moderated this year. If you’re ready to sell your house today, let’s connect so you have expert insights on how the market has shifted and how to plan accordingly for your sale.

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Is the Real Estate Market Slowing Down, or Is This a Housing Bubble?

Is the Real Estate Market Slowing Down, or Is This a Housing Bubble? | Simplifying The Market

The talk of a housing bubble in the coming year seems to be at a fever pitch as rising mortgage rates continue to slow down an overheated real estate market. Over the past two years, home prices have appreciated at an unsustainable pace causing many to ask: are things just slowing down, or is a crash coming?

To answer this question, there are two things we want to understand. The first is the reality of the shift in today’s housing market. And the second is what experts are saying about home prices in the coming year.

The Reality of the Shift in Today’s Housing Market

The reality is we’re seeing an inflection point in housing supply and demand. According to realtor.com, active listings have increased more than 26% over last year, while showings from the latest ShowingTime Showing Index have decreased almost 17% from last year (see graph below). This is an inflection point for housing because, over the past two years, we’ve seen a massive amount of demand (showings) and not enough homes available for sale for the number of people that wanted to buy. That caused the market frenzy.

Today, supply and demand look very different, and the market is slowing down from the pace we’ve seen. This offers proof of the sudden slowdown so many people are feeling.

Is the Real Estate Market Slowing Down, or Is This a Housing Bubble? | Simplifying The Market

What Experts Are Saying About Home Prices in the Coming Year

Right now, most experts are forecasting home price appreciation in 2023, but at a much slower pace than the last two years. The average of the six forecasters below is for national home prices to appreciate by 2.5% in the coming year. Only one of the six is calling for home price depreciation.

Is the Real Estate Market Slowing Down, or Is This a Housing Bubble? | Simplifying The Market

When we look at the shift taking place along with what experts are saying, we can conclude the national real estate market is slowing down but is not a bubble getting ready to burst. This isn’t to say that a few overheated markets won’t experience home price depreciation, but there isn’t a case to be made for a national housing bubble.

Bottom Line

The real estate market is slowing down, and that’s causing many to fear we’re in a housing bubble. What we’ve experienced in the housing market over the past two years were historic levels of demand and constrained supply. That led to homes going up in value at a record pace. While some overheated markets may experience price depreciation in the short term, according to experts, the national real estate market will appreciate in the coming year.

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Getting Your House Ready To Sell? Work with an Agent for Expert Advice

Getting Your House Ready To Sell? Work with an Agent for Expert Advice | Simplifying The Market

In a market that’s shifting as fast as it is today, many homeowners wonder what, if anything, needs to be renovated before they sell their house. That’s where a trusted real estate professional comes in. They can help you think through today’s market conditions and how they impact what you should – and shouldn’t – do before selling your house.

Here are some considerations a professional will guide you through.

What You Need To Know About Your Local Market

Since the supply of homes for sale has increased so much this year, today’s buyers have more options than they had last year. That may mean you’re not able to ignore some of those repairs or cosmetic updates you could have skipped in previous months. As a recent article from realtor.com says:

“To stand out in the market, sellers should make their home attractive to buyers, which usually means some selective updates.”

The key word here is selective. Since it’s still a sellers’ market, focusing on a few key areas may be enough to make your house stand out from other options. And since inventory is still low overall, it’s also possible buyers may be willing to handle the renovations themselves once they move in. It all depends on buyer demand and the available inventory in your local area. For advice on what’s happening in your market and what to do to make your house show well, lean on a professional.

Not All Renovation Projects Are Equal

In addition to making sure your house makes a good first impression, you’ll also want to consider the return on your investment (ROI) for any renovations. According to the 2022 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), here are the projects that could net you the best return when you sell your house (see visual below):

Getting Your House Ready To Sell? Work with an Agent for Expert Advice | Simplifying The Market

Again, your real estate advisor is your best resource. When your agent comes to your house for a walk-thru and consultation, they’ll use their expertise to offer any insight into what you may need to repair, replace, or refinish. They also know what other sellers are doing before listing their homes and how buyers are reacting to those upgrades to help steer you in the right direction. As Dr. Jessica Lautz, Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights for NAR, explains:

“This year, the winner was hardwood flooring. Hardwood floor refinishing and putting in new wood flooring had the most significant value, . . .”

How To Draw Buyer Attention to the Upgrades You’ve Made

For any projects you’ve already completed or for those you plan to do before listing, make sure your real estate professional knows. They’re not just an advisor to help you decide where to focus your efforts, they’re also skilled at highlighting any upgrades in your listing. That way, potential buyers know about the features that may help sell them on the house.

No matter what, contact a local real estate professional for expert advice on what work needs to be done and how to make it as appealing as possible to future buyers. Every home is different, so a conversation with your agent is mission-critical to make sure you make the right moves when selling this season.

Bottom Line

In today’s shifting market, it’s important to spend your time and money wisely when you’re getting ready to move. Let’s connect to find out where to focus your efforts before you sell.

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Why It’s So Important To Hire a Pro [INFOGRAPHIC]

Why It’s So Important To Hire a Pro [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Why It’s So Important To Hire a Pro [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, you’ll want a trusted real estate professional on your side for their industry experience and expert insights.
  • The right advisor utilizes the latest technology and can help you navigate today’s home pricing and market values, the contracts and fine print, and the negotiations you’ll face.
  • Let’s connect so you have expert advice each step of the way.