Even if you haven’t been following real estate news, you’ve likely heard about the current sellers’ market. That’s because there’s a lot of talk about how strong market conditions are for people who want to sell their houses. But if you’re thinking about listing your house, you probably want to know: what does being in a sellers’ market really mean?
What Is a Sellers’ Market?
The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows housing supply is still very low. There’s a 2-month supply of homes at the current sales pace.
Historically, a 6-month supply is necessary for a normal or neutral market where there are enough homes available for active buyers. That puts today deep in sellers’ market territory (see graph below):
What Does This Mean for You When You Sell?
When the supply of houses for sale is as low as it is right now, it’s much harder for buyers to find homes to purchase. That creates increased competition among purchasers which can lead to more bidding wars. And if buyers know they may be entering a bidding war, they’re going to do their best to submit a very attractive offer upfront. This could drive the final price of your house up.
And because mortgage rates and home prices are climbing, serious buyers are motivated to make their purchase soon, before those two things rise further. That means, if you put your house on the market while supply is still low, it will likely get a lot of attention from competitive buyers.
The current real estate market has incredible opportunities for homeowners looking to make a move. Listing your house this season means you’ll be in front of serious buyers who are ready to buy. Connect with a local real estate professional so you can jumpstart the selling process.
If you’re in the market to buy a home this season, stick with it. Homebuyers face challenges in any market, and today’s is no exception. But if you persevere, your decision to purchase a home will be worth the effort in the end. In fact, a recent survey from Bankrate shows homeownership is so powerful that:
“Nearly three in four homeowners say they would still buy their current home if they had it to do [sic] all over again.”
That means the results – owning a home and the benefits that come with it – outweigh the effort needed to achieve their goal. If you’re a homebuyer, let that provide you with the confidence to know the work you’re putting in today will pay off for years to come. Here are a few reasons to stick with your search and focus on the outcome.
Homeownership Contributes Significantly to Your Financial Well-Being
“Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity . . . Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan.”
Your equity is a powerful tool you can leverage in a number of ways. And with recent home price appreciation, homeowners are seeing record levels of equity today. That may be one reason why so many people view owning a home as a great investment and a top indicator of financial well-being. As the survey from Bankrate mentioned above shows:
“. . . Americans place a higher value on homeownership than on any other indicator of economic stability, . . .”
Owning a home ranks above other major accomplishments like retirement, having a successful career, and getting a college degree. That indicates just how impactful the financial benefits of homeownership truly are.
The Emotional Benefits of Owning a Home Are Powerful
Of course, homeownership is more than an investment. In their list of top reasons to buy a home, NAR also highlights some of the powerful, non-financial aspects of homeownership. Among them is the opportunity to customize your home to reflect your personality and needs. As they say:
“The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your lifestyle.”
Another benefit homeowners enjoy is the stability it provides. Homeowners typically stay put longer than renters. According to NAR, when you remain in one place longer than a few years, you can grow closer to your community. And that can enhance your sense of pride and lead to better relationships.
What Does That Mean for You?
The benefits of homeownership are powerful, as Leslie Rouda Smith, President of NAR, says:
“From building personal wealth and fostering communities, to strengthening social stability and driving the national economy, the value of homeownership is indisputable.”
Even if you face challenges in today’s market, the payoff when you succeed and purchase a home will be worth it.
If you’re planning to buy a home this year, there are incredible benefits waiting for you at the end of your journey. Speak with a trusted real estate advisor today about everything homeownership has to offer.
When it comes to buying a home, it can feel a bit intimidating to know how much you need to save and where to find that information. But you should know, you’re not expected to have all the answers yourself. There are many trusted professionals who can help you understand your finances and what you’ll need to budget for throughout the process.
To get you started, here are a few things experts say you should plan for along the way.
1. Down Payment
As you set your savings goal for your purchase, your down payment is likely already top of mind. And, like many other people, you may believe you need to set aside 20% of the home’s purchase price for that down payment – but that’s not always the case. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:
“One of the biggest misconceptions among housing consumers is what the typical down payment is and what amount is needed to enter homeownership. Having this knowledge is critical to know what to save . . .”
The good news is, you may be able to put as little as 3.5% (or even 0%) down in some situations. To understand your options, partner with a trusted professional who can go over the various loan types, down payment assistance programs, and what each one requires.
2. Earnest Money Deposit
Another item you may want to plan for is an earnest money deposit. While it isn’t required, it’s common in today’s highly competitive market because it can help your offer stand out in a bidding war.
So, what is it? It’s money you pay as a show of good faith when you make an offer on a house. This deposit works like a credit. You’re using some of the money you already saved for your purchase to show the seller you’re committed and serious about their house. It’s not an added expense, it’s just paying some of that up front. First Americanexplains what it is and how it works:
“The deposit made from the buyer to the seller when submitting an offer. This deposit is typically held in trust by a third party and is intended to show the seller you are serious about purchasing their home. Upon closing the money will generally be applied to your down payment or closing costs.”
In other words, an earnest money deposit could be the very first check you’ll write toward your purchase. The amount varies by state and situation. Realtor.com elaborates:
“The amount you’ll deposit as earnest money will depend on factors such as policies and limitations in your state, the current market, what your real estate agent recommends, and what the seller requires. On average, however, you can expect to hand over 1% to 2% of the total home purchase price.”
Work with a real estate advisor to understand any requirements in your local area and what they’ve recommended for other buyers in your market. They’ll help you determine if it’s something that could be a useful option for you.
3. Closing Costs
The next thing to plan for is your closing costs. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defines closing costs as:
“The upfront fees charged in connection with a mortgage loan transaction. …generally including, but not limited to a loan origination fee, title examination and insurance, survey, attorney’s fee, and prepaid items, such as escrow deposits for taxes and insurance.”
Basically, your closing costs cover the fees for various people and services involved in your transaction. NAR has this to say about how much to budget for:
“A home costs more than just the sale price. For example, closing costs—which make up about 2% to 5% of the home’s purchase price—are a major added expense…Lenders provide a Closing Disclosure at least three business days prior to closing on a mortgage. But buyers will need to budget for these added costs ahead of time to avoid sticker shock days before closing.”
The key takeaway is savvy buyers plan ahead for these expenses so they can come into the process prepared. Freddie Macsums it up like this:
“If you’re in the market to buy a home, your down payment is probably top of mind. And rightly so – it’s likely the biggest cost of homebuying. However, it is not the only cost and it’s critical you understand all your expenses before diving in.The more prepared you are for your down payment, closing and other costs, the smoother your homebuying journey will be.”
Knowing what to budget for in the homebuying process is essential. To make sure you understand these and any other expenses that may come up, partner with a real estate advisor for expertise on what to expect when you buy a home.
For the first time in a long time, the number of newly listed homes is beginning to rise. In their latest monthly release, realtor.com reveals the number of existing homes entering the market has increased for two months in a row (this comes after six months of declines). Here’s a graph showing the monthly new listings going back to January of last year. The green bars indicate the first gains since June.
However, buying demand is still outpacing housing supply.
Though the increase in homes coming to the market is great news for prospective homebuyers, the number of buyers is still outpacing the number of homes available for sale. As realtor.com explains in their latest report:
“During the final two weeks of the month, more new sellers entered the market than during the same time last year. . . . However, with 5.8 million new homes missing from the market and millions of millennials at first-time buying ages, housing supply faces a long road to catching up with demand.”
In fact, according to the latest ShowingTime Showing Index, which tracks the average number of appointments received on active listings during the month, buyer demand was greater this January than any other January in the last five years (see graph below):
This prompted ShowingTime to say:
“The latest data from ShowingTime . . . shows a surge in home buyer demand in January. . . . This enormous activity occurred in a month when buyer activity typically slows and followed a historic 2021, where buyer demand across the country was extraordinarily strong.”
What does that mean for you?
Basically, as homes come to the market, they are quickly being purchased by eagerly awaiting buyers. So even though the number of newly listed homes is increasing, the number of active listings is still shrinking every month because buyers are purchasing homes almost as soon as they come up for sale. That means listings are coming on and off the market so fast that they don’t carry over to be counted in the active listing numbers the following month. Here’s a graph showing the number of active listings each month since last January using data released by realtor.com:
This graph shows that the number of active listings has decreased for each of the last five months even though the number of newly listed homes has increased over the last two months.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade to a home that will better suit your lifestyle or looking to purchase your first house, now is the time to team up with a local real estate professional. And be prepared to move immediately if a home fitting your needs hits the market. Your dream home may be one of those new listings that just became available, but if you don’t act quickly, it could be gone tomorrow.
Every year, many renters ask themselves the same question: Should I continue renting, or is it time to buy a home? If you’re a renter, chances are you’ve asked yourself that question at least once, and it’s likely because you’ve faced an increase in your monthly housing costs over time. After all, according to Census data, rents have risen consistently for decades.
To make an informed and powerful decision, the first step is understanding what’s happening in today’s housing market so you can determine which option is the better long-term financial decision for you.
Rents Are Going Up Again This Year
Rents are skyrocketing right now. Data from realtor.com shows just how much rental prices are surging throughout the country. The graph below highlights rental unit price increases over the past year:
If you’re a renter and plan on signing a new lease, your monthly costs are likely to go up when you do. Those rising costs can have a big impact on your financial goals, including any plans you’re making to save for a home purchase.
Homeownership Offers Stable Monthly Costs
Of course, one of the key benefits of owning your home is that you’re able to lock in and stabilize your payments for the duration of your loan. That’s not the case when you rent.
While rents are already on the rise, there’s a good chance many people will see their rental costs increase even more this year. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, says:
“With rents already at a high and expected to keep going up, rental affordability will increasingly challenge many Americans in 2022. For those thinking about making the transition from renting to buying their first home, rising rents will remain a motivating factor. . . .”
So, if you’re ready to become a homeowner, waiting any longer may not make financial sense. Instead, escape the cycle of rising rents and enjoy the many benefits that come with homeownership today.
Starting your journey toward homeownership can pay off significantly this year. If you’re financially ready today, work with a local real estate professional to discuss your options.
As a homebuyer, it’s important to plan and budget for the expenses you’ll encounter when you purchase a home. While most people understand the need to save for a down payment, a recent survey found 41% of homebuyers were surprised by their closing costs. Here’s some information to help you get started so you’re not caught off guard when it’s time to close on your home.
What Are Closing Costs?
One possible reason some people are surprised by closing costs may be because they don’t know what they are or what they cover. According to U.S. News and World Report:
“Closing costs encompass a variety of expenses above your property’s purchase price. They include things like lender fees, title insurance, government processing fees, upfront tax payments and homeowners insurance.”
In other words, your closing costs are a collection of fees and payments made to a variety of individuals and organizations who are involved with your transaction. According to Freddie Mac, while they can vary by location and situation, closing costs typically include:
Government recording costs
Credit report fees
Lender origination fees
Tax service fees
How Much Will You Need To Budget for Closing Costs?
Understanding what closing costs include is important, but knowing what you’ll need to budget to cover them is critical to achieving your homebuying goals. According to the Freddie Mac article mentioned above, the costs to close are typically between 2% and 5% of the total purchase price of your home. With that in mind, here’s how you can get an idea of what you’ll need to cover your closing costs.
Let’s say you find a home you want to purchase for the median price of $350,300. Based on the 2-5% Freddie Mac estimate, your closing fees could be between roughly $7,000 and $17,500.
Keep in mind, if you’re in the market for a home above or below this price range, your closing costs will be higher or lower.
What’s the Best Way To Make Sure You’re Prepared at Closing Time?
Freddie Mac provides great advice for homebuyers, saying:
“As you start your homebuying journey, take the time to get a sense of all costs involved – from your down payment to closing costs.”
The best way to understand what you’ll need at the closing table is to work with a team of trusted real estate professionals. An agent can help connect you with a lender, and together they can provide you with answers to the questions you might have.
In today’s real estate market, it’s more important than ever to make sure your budget includes any fees and payments due at closing. Work with a local real estate professional to be sure you have the knowledge you need to be confident going into the homebuying process.
You can’t read an article about residential real estate without the author mentioning the affordability challenges that today’s buyers face. There’s no doubt homes are less affordable today than they were over the last two years, but that doesn’t mean homes are now unaffordable.
There are three measures used to establish home affordability: home prices, mortgage rates, and wages. Let’s look closely at each of these components.
1. Home Prices
The most recent Home Price Insights report by CoreLogic shows home values have increased by 19.1% from last January to this January. That was one reason affordability declined over the past year.
2. Mortgage Rates
While the current global uncertainty makes it difficult to project mortgage rates, we do know current rates are almost one full percentage point higher than they were last year. According to Freddie Mac, the average monthly rate for last February was 2.81%. This February it was 3.76%. That increase in the mortgage rate also contributes to homes being less affordable than they were last year.
The one big, positive component in the affordability equation is an increase in American wages. In a recent article by RealtyTrac, Peter Miller addresses that point:
“Prices are up, but what about wages? ADP reports that job holder incomes increased 5.9% last year but rose 8.0% for those who switched employers. In effect, some of the higher cost to buy a home has been offset by more cash income.”
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) also recently released information that looks at income and affordability. The NAR data provides a comparison of the current median family income versus the qualifying income for a median-priced home in each region of the country. Here’s a graph of their findings:
As the graph shows, the median family income (shown in blue on the graph) is greater than the qualifying income needed to buy a median-priced home (shown in green on the graph) in all four regions of the country. While those figures may vary in certain locations within each region, it’s important to note that, in most of the country, homes are still affordable.
So, when you think about affordability, remember that the picture includes more than just home prices and mortgage rates. When prices rise and rates rise, it does impact affordability, and experts project both of those things will climb in the months ahead. That’s why it’s less affordable to buy a home than it was over the past two years when prices and rates were lower than they are today. But wages need to be factored into affordability as well. Because wages have been rising, they’re a big reason that, while less affordable, homes are not unaffordable today.
To find out more about affordability in your local area, reach out to a trusted real estate professional. They can help you understand where home prices are locally, what’s happening with mortgage rates, and can connect you with a lender so you’re able to make an informed financial decision. Remember, while less affordable, homes are not unaffordable, which still gives you an opportunity to buy today.
But even in a market like we have now, working with an agent to set the right asking price is critical, as pricing it too high or too low could have a negative impact on your final sale. Here’s why.
Pricing Your House Right Is Crucial Even in a Sellers’ Market
The price you set for your house sends a message to potential buyers. Price it too low and you might raise questions about your home’s condition or lead buyers to assume something is wrong with the property. Not to mention, you could leave money on the table, which decreases your future buying power if you undervalue your house.
On the other hand, price it too high and you run the risk of deterring buyers. When that happens, you may have to do a price drop to try to re-ignite interest in your house when it sits on the market for a while. But be aware that a price drop can be seen as a red flag for some buyers who will wonder why the price was reduced and what that means about the home.
In other words, think of pricing your home as a target. Your goal is to aim directly for the center – not too high, not too low, but right at market value. Pricing your house fairly based on market conditions increases the chance you’ll have more buyers who are interested in purchasing it. That makes it more likely you’ll see a bidding war, too. And when a bidding war happens, you’ll likely get an even higher final sale price. Plus, when homes are priced right, they tend to sell quickly.
To get a look into the potential downsides of over or underpricing your house and the perks that come with pricing it at market value, see the chart below:
Lean on a Professional’s Expertise To Price Your House Right
There are several factors that go into pricing your house and balancing them is the key. That’s why it’s important to lean on an expert real estate advisor when you’re ready to move. A local real estate advisor is knowledgeable about:
The value of homes in your neighborhood
The current demand for houses in today’s market
The condition of your house and how it affects the value
A real estate professional will balance these factors to make sure the price of your house makes the best first impression and gives you the greatest return on your investment in the end.
Even in a sellers’ market, pricing your house right is critical. Don’t rely on guesswork. Work with a trusted real estate advisor to make sure your house is perfectly priced.
Financial benefits are always a key aspect of homeownership, but it’s also important to understand that the nonfinancial and personal benefits are why so many people genuinely fall in love with their homes. When you own your home, you likely feel a sense of emotional attachment because of the comfort it provides, but also because it’s a space that’s truly yours.
Over the past two years, we’ve learned to love our homes even more as we’ve stayed home more than ever due to the ongoing pandemic. As a result, the personal and emotional benefits our homes provide have become even more important to us.
“Despite the upheaval and uncertainty of the past year, one thing has stayed the same: the home continues to be of the utmost importance and a place of security and comfort.”
When the health crisis began, the world around us changed almost overnight, and our homes were redefined. Our needs shifted, and our shelters became a place that protected us on a whole new level. The same study from Unison notes:
91% of homeowners say they feel secure, stable, or successful owning a home
64% of American homeowners say living through a pandemic has made their home more important to them than ever
83% of homeowners say their home has kept them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic
It’s no surprise this study also reveals that homeowners now love their homes even more as our emotional attachments to them have grown:
That sense of emotional connection genuinely reaches far beyond the financial aspect of homeownership. Because they’re our shelters – ones that we can genuinely call our own. Our homes touch our hearts and can also positively impact our mental health.
“Aside from the financial factors, there are several social benefits of homeownership and stable housing to consider. It has long been thought that buying a home contributes to a sense of accomplishment. Still, most individuals fail to realize that homeownership can benefit your mental health and the community around you.”
Whether you’re thinking of buying your first home, moving up to your dream home, or downsizing to something that better fits your changing lifestyle, take a moment to reflect on what Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, notes:
“Buying a home is not just a financial decision. It’s also a lifestyle decision.”
There are so many reasons to fall head over heels for homeownership. Your home will provide a place to customize and call your own, in addition to stability and security. If you’re ready to fall in love with homeownership, contact a real estate professional today to get started on your homebuying journey today
When you’re selling any item, you usually want to sell it for the greatest profit possible. That happens when there’s a strong demand and a limited supply for that item. In the real estate market, that time is right now. If you’re thinking of selling your house this year, here are two reasons why now’s the time to list.
“Spring, the hottest time of year for homebuyers and sellers, has started early, according to economists. . . . ‘Home shopping season appears to already be in full swing!’”
And they aren’t the only ones saying buyers are already out in full force. That claim is backed up with data released last week by ShowingTime. The ShowingTime Showing Index tracks the average number of monthly buyer showings on active residential properties, which is a highly reliable leading indicator of current and future trends for buyer demand. The latest index reveals this December was the most active December in five years (see graph below):
As the data indicates, buyers are very active this winter. Last December saw even more showings than December of 2020, which was already a stronger-than-usual winter. And remember – you want to sell something when there’s a strong demand for that item. That time is now.
2. Housing Supply Is Extremely Low
Each month, realtor.com releases data on the number of active residential real estate listings (listings currently for sale). Their most recent report reveals the latest monthly number is the lowest we’ve seen in any January since 2017 (see graph below):
And don’t forget, the best time to sell an item is when there’s a limited supply of it available. This graph clearly shows how extremely low housing supply is today.
Even Though Supply Is at a Historic Low, Home Sales Are at a 15-Year High
According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing-home sales totaled 6.12 million in 2021 – the highest annual level since 2006. This means the market is hot and homeowners are in a great place to sell now while sales are so strong.
NAR also reports available listings by calculating the current months’ supply of inventory. They explain:
“Months’ supply refers to the number of months it would take for the current inventory of homes on the market to sell given the current sales pace.”
The current 1.8-months’ supply is the lowest ever reported. Here are the December numbers over the last five years (see graph below):
The ratio of buyers to sellers favors homeowners right now to a greater degree than at any other time in history. Buyer demand is high, and supply is low. That gives sellers like you an incredible opportunity.
If you agree the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and supply is low, contact a local real estate professional to discuss listing your house today.