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Millennials: Do You Need a Home with More Space?

Millennials: Do You Need a Home with More Space? | Simplifying The Market

If you’re a millennial, homebuying might be top of mind for you. Your generation is the largest group of homebuyers in the market today and has been since 2014, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). And while other millennials are looking to buy for the first time, you may be one of the many who are now discovering you’ve outgrown your home.

If that’s the case, you’re not alone. The past two years brought about significant changes for many people, and today, homeowners are reevaluating what they truly need in a home. As a recent report from the Wall Street Journal states:

“They say the pandemic and the emergence of remote work accelerated millennial home-buying trends already under way. . . . Millennials who already owned homes traded up for more space.”

So, if you’re working remotely now or simply have a growing need for additional space, it may be time to move. And even if you purchased your current home sometime over the last few years, you can still move into a different one that has the space and features you’re looking for. That’s because there’s a good chance you have more equity than you realize. As Diana Olick, Real Estate Correspondent for CNBC, notes:

The stunning jump in home values over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic has given U.S. homeowners record amounts of housing wealth. . . . Even homeowners who weren’t listing their properties for sale were gaining equity. About 42% of homeowners were considered equity-rich at the end of last year, meaning their mortgages were half or less than half the value of their home.”

Growing equity can be the key you need to fuel your next move, especially if you’re looking to purchase a larger home. When you sell your current house, the equity that comes back to you in the sale can be used toward the down payment on your next home.

In other words, your purchasing power may be greater than you realize, making a move to a larger home a realistic option. That, plus your changing needs, might make moving now more desirable than ever.

Bottom Line

If you’re a millennial thinking about moving this year, you’re not alone. Let’s connect today to discuss the equity you have in your current home and the opportunities it can create.

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The Difference Between Renting and Owning [INFOGRAPHIC]

The Difference Between Renting and Owning [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

The Difference Between Renting and Owning [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • If you’re deciding whether to rent or buy, consider the many financial benefits that come with owning a home.
  • As a renter, you build your landlord’s wealth and face rising costs. As a homeowner, you build your own net worth and can lock in your monthly payments for the length of your loan.
  • If you’re weighing your options, remember that owning a home is a decision that has considerable financial perks. If you want to learn more, let’s connect to talk about the perks of homeownership.
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The #1 Reason To Sell Your House Today

The #1 Reason To Sell Your House Today | Simplifying The Market

Almost every industry is currently struggling with supply chain disruptions. This also applies to the current U.S. housing market, where buyer demand far exceeds housing supply.

Purchaser demand is very strong right now. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) just released their latest Existing Home Sales Report which reveals that sales surged in January. Existing home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.5 million – an increase of 6.7% from the prior month, with sales up in all regions. However, there’s one big challenge.

Inventory Is at an All-Time Low

Because purchaser demand is so high, the market is running out of available homes for sale. The above-mentioned report states that the current months’ supply of inventory of homes for sale has fallen to 1.6 months. This prompts Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, to say:

“The inventory of homes on the market remains woefully depleted, and in fact is currently at an all-time low.”

Earlier this month, realtor.com released their inventory data for January. It helps confirm this point. Here’s a graph comparing inventory levels for January over the last six years:

The #1 Reason To Sell Your House Today | Simplifying The Market

As the graph shows, new listings coming on the market have decreased over the last four years (shown in blue in the graph). The graph also reveals that carry-over inventory has plummeted in recent years. This is because listings are now sold so quickly, they don’t stay on the market long enough to carry over month-to-month (shown in green in the graph). In other words, homes are not staying on the market for months as they had prior to the pandemic. In the report mentioned above, NAR reveals that:

“Seventy-nine percent of homes sold in January 2022 were on the market for less than a month.”

Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, explains it like this:

“A higher velocity of sales (lower [Days on Market]) helps to explain a housing market characterized by both higher sales & lower inventory. Many resale transactions are happening so quickly that they ‘flow’ in & then out of the ‘stock’ between the fixed monthly measurement of inventory.”

What Does This Mean for Sellers?

Anyone thinking of putting their home on the market shouldn’t wait. A seller will always negotiate the best deal when demand is high and supply is limited. That’s exactly the situation in the real estate market today.

Later this year, inventory (and by extension, your competition) will increase as many homeowners are waiting to put their homes on the market in the spring and early summer.

In addition, Len Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, says:

“Housing starts start off 2022 strong, just edging out 2021 for most in January since 2006.”

As these newly built homes are completed, they will also become competition for your house. This gives you a tremendous opportunity right now. Don’t wait for that increase in competition in your area. If you want to sell in 2022 and are ready to start the process, today is the day to list your house.

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to sell, let’s connect to get your house on the market while today’s inventory situation is in your favor.

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How Supply and Demand Can Impact Your Buying and Selling Goals

How Supply and Demand Can Impact Your Buying and Selling Goals | Simplifying The Market

In today’s housing market, there are far more buyers looking for homes than sellers listing their houses. Based on the concept of supply and demand, this means home prices will naturally rise. Why is that? When there are more people trying to buy an item than there are making that item available for sale, that drives prices up. And that’s exactly the case in today’s housing market. So, knowing what’s happening with the inventory of homes for sale and the demand for housing is crucial for today’s buyers and sellers.

Nationally, Demand Is High and Supply Is Very Low

The latest buyer and seller activity data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) indicates buyer traffic heavily outweighs seller traffic today, as shown in the maps below. There are far darker blues (strong buyer activity) on the left and much lighter blues (weak seller activity) on the right. In other words, this shows how the demand for homes is significantly greater than what’s available to purchase.

How Supply and Demand Can Impact Your Buying and Selling Goals | Simplifying The Market

What Does This Mean if You’re a Seller?

Supply is struggling to keep pace with demand. In fact, the inventory of homes for sale recently hit an all-time low. That gives you an incredible advantage when you sell your house. With so few listings, it’s likely more potential buyers will view your house – especially if you work with an agent to price it right. That means there’s a high chance you’ll receive multiple offers or buyers will enter a bidding war for your house. And that dynamic can drive the sale price of your home up.

What Does This Mean if You’re a Buyer?

As a buyer with fewer options available, you’re likely to see more competition, so you need to be strategic to win. First, make sure you have a trusted professional on your side. Your real estate agent will help you understand your local market and work with you to act quickly when the time is right. Even when it’s challenging to find a home, you can still succeed as a buyer today if you have a trusted advisor on your side every step of the way.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a homebuyer, seller, or both, knowledge truly is power. Let’s connect today so you can better understand what’s happening in our local market and achieve your homebuying and selling goals this year.

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The Perks of Owning More Than One Home

The Perks of Owning More Than One Home | Simplifying The Market

Many things have changed over the past couple of years, and real estate is no exception. One impact is an increased desire to own more than one home. According to the recent Luxury Market Report from Luxury Home Marketing:

“As trends such as remote working and flexi-hours took hold in 2021, so too did the flexibility of relocating as well as the growth of second homeownership.”

This may be because the pandemic has altered how we think about our homes. Where we live has become, more than ever, our safe space and our getaway. And with the rise in remote work, more people are reconsidering where they want to live and buying second homes to give them greater flexibility. If you fall in that category, here are just a few of the perks you’ll enjoy, and how owning a second home may be a great decision for your lifestyle and your future.

Enjoy a Change in Scenery (or Weather)

When you have two homes, you can alternate between them as the weather changes or as you crave different scenery. Do you want to live in an area with a particular season? Would alternating between a resort and a suburban setting be ideal? With two homes, you have those options. Being able to move between homes based on which location best suits you at the time gives you added flexibility and variety that can help increase your happiness.

Build Your Wealth Faster

You may have heard that home equity is skyrocketing, thanks to ongoing home price appreciation. CoreLogic reports that the average homeowner gained $56,700 in equity over the last year. With home prices projected to continue rising, if you purchase a second home, you could benefit from rising equity on both properties to build your wealth (and your net worth) even faster.

Be Closer to Loved Ones

The pandemic has also reignited the importance of being near our loved ones. One option worth exploring is whether you want your second home to be near the people who matter most in your life. This makes it easier to see your loved ones but still gives you your own dedicated, private space so you can be nearby for major life events or longer visits.

Lock in Your Expenses

Buying a second home today and locking in your mortgage rate may be a good option if you’re looking to stabilize your housing costs for the long haul. If you’re approaching retirement or are looking to use your second home as your permanent residence in the future, buying that house now with today’s rate and price may be a good financial decision. That way, no matter what happens with rates and prices in years ahead, your monthly payment is locked in for the next 15-30 years.

Bottom Line

Having multiple homes has considerable benefits. If owning a second home is something you’re interested in, let’s connect to explore your options, discuss the benefits, and take the next step to start your home search.

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Real Estate Voted the Best Investment Eight Years in a Row

Real Estate Voted the Best Investment Eight Years in a Row | Simplifying The Market

In an annual Gallup poll, Americans chose real estate as the best long-term investment. And it’s not the first time it’s topped the list, either. Real estate has been on a winning streak for the past eight years, consistently gaining traction as the best long-term investment (see graph below):

Real Estate Voted the Best Investment Eight Years in a Row | Simplifying The MarketIf you’re thinking about purchasing a home this year, this poll should reassure you. Even when inflation is rising like it is today, Americans agree an investment like real estate truly shines.

Why Is Real Estate a Great Investment During Times of High Inflation?

With inflation reaching its highest level in 40 years, it’s more important than ever to understand the financial benefits of homeownership. Rising inflation means prices are increasing across the board. That includes goods, services, housing costs, and more. But when you purchase your home, you lock in your monthly housing payments, effectively shielding yourself from increasing housing payments. James Royal, Senior Wealth Management Reporter at Bankrate, explains it like this:

A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to maintain the biggest portion of housing expenses at the same payment. Sure, property taxes will rise and other expenses may creep up, but your monthly housing payment remains the same.”

If you’re a renter, you don’t have that same benefit, and you aren’t protected from increases in your housing costs, especially rising rents.

History Shows During Inflationary Periods, Home Prices Rise as Well

As a homeowner, your house is an asset that typically increases in value over time, even during inflation. That‘s because, as prices rise, the value of your home does, too. And that makes buying a home a great hedge during periods of high inflation. Natalie Campisi, Advisor Staff for Forbes, notes:

Tangible assets like real estate get more valuable over time, which makes buying a home a good way to spend your money during inflationary times.

Bottom Line

Housing truly is a strong investment, especially when inflation is high. When you lock in a mortgage payment, you’re shielded from housing cost increases, and you own an asset that typically gains value with time. If you want to better understand how buying a home could be a great investment for you, let’s connect today.

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What’s Driving Today’s High Buyer Demand? [INFOGRAPHIC]

What’s Driving Today’s High Buyer Demand? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

What’s Driving Today’s High Buyer Demand? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • There’s an influx of buyers looking for homes today, and that means your house is in high demand. Here are a few reasons why so many people are looking to buy a home.
  • Buyers are motivated to beat rising mortgage rates, and many want to escape rising rents. There’s also additional demand from millennials who are reaching peak homebuying age.
  • If you’re thinking about selling your house, today’s demand is great news. Let’s connect to begin the process of listing your house while buyers are ready to purchase.
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4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

A recent survey revealed that many consumers believe there’s a housing bubble beginning to form. That feeling is understandable, as year-over-year home price appreciation is still in the double digits. However, this market is very different than it was during the housing crash 15 years ago. Here are four key reasons why today is nothing like the last time.

1. Houses Are Not Unaffordable Like They Were During the Housing Boom

The affordability formula has three components: the price of the home, wages earned by the purchaser, and the mortgage rate available at the time. Conventional lending standards say a purchaser should not spend more than 28% of their gross income on their mortgage payment.

Fifteen years ago, prices were high, wages were low, and mortgage rates were over 6%. Today, prices are still high. Wages, however, have increased, and the mortgage rate, even after the recent spike, is still well below 6%. That means the average purchaser today pays less of their monthly income toward their mortgage payment than they did back then.

In the latest Affordability Report by ATTOM Data, Chief Product Officer Todd Teta addresses that exact point:

“The average wage earner can still afford the typical home across the U.S., but the financial comfort zone continues shrinking as home prices keep soaring and mortgage rates tick upward.”

Affordability isn’t as strong as it was last year, but it’s much better than it was during the boom. Here’s a chart showing that difference:

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

If costs were so prohibitive, how did so many homes sell during the housing boom?

2. Mortgage Standards Were Much More Relaxed During the Boom

During the housing bubble, it was much easier to get a mortgage than it is today. As an example, let’s review the number of mortgages granted to purchasers with credit scores under 620. According to credit.org, a credit score between 550-619 is considered poor. In defining those with a score below 620, they explain:

“Credit agencies consider consumers with credit delinquencies, account rejections, and little credit history as subprime borrowers due to their high credit risk.”

Buyers can still qualify for a mortgage with a credit score that low, but they’re considered riskier borrowers. Here’s a graph showing the mortgage volume issued to purchasers with a credit score less than 620 during the housing boom, and the subsequent volume in the 14 years since.

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

Mortgage standards are nothing like they were the last time. Purchasers that acquired a mortgage over the last decade are much more qualified. Let’s take a look at what that means going forward.

3. The Foreclosure Situation Is Nothing Like It Was During the Crash

The most obvious difference is the number of homeowners that were facing foreclosure after the housing bubble burst. The Federal Reserve issues a report showing the number of consumers with a new foreclosure notice. Here are the numbers during the crash compared to today:

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

There’s no doubt the 2020 and 2021 numbers are impacted by the forbearance program, which was created to help homeowners facing uncertainty during the pandemic. However, there are fewer than 800,000 homeowners left in the program today, and most of those will be able to work out a repayment plan with their banks.

Rick Sharga, Executive Vice President of RealtyTrac, explains:

“The fact that foreclosure starts declined despite hundreds of thousands of borrowers exiting the CARES Act mortgage forbearance program over the last few months is very encouraging. It suggests that the ‘forbearance equals foreclosure’ narrative was incorrect.”

Why are there so few foreclosures now? Today, homeowners are equity rich, not tapped out.

In the run-up to the housing bubble, some homeowners were using their homes as personal ATM machines. Many immediately withdrew their equity once it built up. When home values began to fall, some homeowners found themselves in a negative equity situation where the amount they owed on their mortgage was greater than the value of their home. Some of those households decided to walk away from their homes, and that led to a rash of distressed property listings (foreclosures and short sales), which sold at huge discounts, thus lowering the value of other homes in the area.

Homeowners, however, have learned their lessons. Prices have risen nicely over the last few years, leading to over 40% of homes in the country having more than 50% equity. But owners have not been tapping into it like the last time, as evidenced by the fact that national tappable equity has increased to a record $9.9 trillion. With the average home equity now standing at $300,000, what happened last time won’t happen today.

As the latest Homeowner Equity Insights report from CoreLogic explains:

“Not only have equity gains helped homeowners more seamlessly transition out of forbearance and avoid a distressed sale, but they’ve also enabled many to continue building their wealth.”

There will be nowhere near the same number of foreclosures as we saw during the crash. So, what does that mean for the housing market?

4. We Don’t Have a Surplus of Homes on the Market – We Have a Shortage

The supply of inventory needed to sustain a normal real estate market is approximately six months. Anything more than that is an overabundance and will causes prices to depreciate. Anything less than that is a shortage and will lead to continued price appreciation. As the next graph shows, there were too many homes for sale from 2007 to 2010 (many of which were short sales and foreclosures), and that caused prices to tumble. Today, there’s a shortage of inventory, which is causing the acceleration in home values to continue.

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

Inventory is nothing like the last time. Prices are rising because there’s a healthy demand for homeownership at the same time there’s a shortage of homes for sale.

Bottom Line

If you’re worried that we’re making the same mistakes that led to the housing crash, the graphs above show data and insights to help alleviate your concerns.

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More People Are Planning To Buy a Home Soon

More People Are Planning To Buy a Home Soon | Simplifying The Market

While some homeowners may be tempted to hold off until spring to list their houses, you should know – homebuyers aren’t waiting. Demand is high today as more people are trying to beat rising mortgage rates. As a result, eager buyers are entering the market or moving their plans up so they can make their purchases as soon as possible.

The most recent Consumer Confidence Survey finds that, of those surveyed, the percentage of people planning to buy over the next six months has increased substantially since last fall (see graph below):

More People Are Planning To Buy a Home Soon | Simplifying The Market

As the graph shows, the number of consumers fast-tracking their plans to purchase a home has crept up over the past three months. That indicates many buyers are evaluating their strategy and realizing they should act sooner rather than later. And for homeowners planning to sell, it’s a signal that now may be the time to list.

While more people are moving their plans up, others are actively putting theirs in motion. Time on the market is a great indication that homebuyers are motivated and moving quickly. According to a recent realtor.com report, the average home sold faster this January than any January on record.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, notes:

“Homes sold at a record-fast January pace, suggesting that buyers are more active than usual for this time of year.”

What Does That Mean for You?

Homebuyers are rethinking their strategies and moving their plans forward. Others are making their moves today. That means demand for your house isn’t just increasing – it’s high right now.

And because there are so few homes available for determined purchasers to choose from, if you’re planning to sell your house this year, doing so sooner means you can take advantage of high buyer demand before more houses are listed in your neighborhood. Why is this important? Because as more houses are put up for sale, buyers will have more options. But until then, your house will be in the spotlight.

Bottom Line

With so many buyers eager to make a purchase, you could benefit by listing your house soon. To understand how strong buyer demand is in our area, let’s connect so you can start making your plans today.

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What Every Seller Needs To Know About Renovating This Year

What Every Seller Needs To Know About Renovating This Year | Simplifying The Market

If you’re planning to sell this year, you’re probably thinking about what you’ll need to do to get your house ready to appeal to the most buyers. It’s crucial to work with a trusted real estate professional who knows your local market to get your home ready to sell. But there are a few things you should consider when deciding what to renovate and update before listing this season. Here are three things to keep top of mind as you’re making your list of projects to tackle this year.

1. The Number of Homes for Sale Is Very Low

Housing inventory sits far below what is normally considered a balanced market. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the latest data indicates inventory is hitting an all-time low. Because there’s such a limited supply of homes available for sale, you’re in a unique position when you sell your house to benefit from multiple offers and a quick process.

But you want to do so while buyers are still scooping homes up as fast as they’re being listed. Spending time and money on renovations before you sell could mean you’ll miss your key window of opportunity. Of course, certain repairs may be important or even necessary. The best way to determine where to spend your time – and your money – is to work with a real estate advisor to confirm which improvements are truly needed and which ones aren’t likely to be deal-breakers for buyers.

2. Buyers May Be Willing To Take on Projects When They Purchase Your House

Today, many buyers are more willing to take on home improvement projects themselves to get the house they’re after, even if it means putting in a little extra work. A recent survey from Freddie Mac finds that:

“. . . nearly two-in-five potential homebuyers would consider purchasing a home requiring renovations.

If more buyers are willing to tackle repairs on their own, it may be wise to let the future homeowners remodel the bathroom or the kitchen to make design decisions that are best for their specific taste and lifestyle. Depending on the structural condition of your house, your efforts may be better spent working on small cosmetic updates, like refreshing some paint and power washing the exterior to make sure the home stands out. Instead of over-investing in upgrades, the buyer may change anyway, work with a real estate professional to determine the key projects to tackle that will give you the greatest return on your investment.

3. Your Agent Will Help You Spotlight the Upgrades You’ve Made

Over the past year, many people made a significant number of updates to their homes. The most recent State of Home Spending report finds:

“Home improvement spending rose 25% year-over-year to $10,341. Homeowners who invested in home improvement did an average of 3.7 projects, up from 2.7 in 2020, . . .”

With more homeowners taking on more projects in the past 12 months, there’s a good chance you’ve already made updates to your home that could appeal to buyers. If that’s the case, your real estate advisor will find ways to highlight those upgrades in your listing.

The same is true for any projects you invest in moving forward. No matter what, before you renovate, 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 a sellers’ market like today’s, it’s important to spend your time and money wisely when you’re getting ready to move. Let’s connect today so you can find out where to target your efforts before you list.