Thursday, October 21st, 2021
It’s impossible to research the subject of buying a home without coming across a headline declaring that the fall in home affordability is a crisis. However, when we add context to the most recent affordability statistics, we soon realize that, though homes are less affordable than they have been over the last few years, they are more affordable than they historically have been.
Black Knight, a premier provider of data and analytics for the mortgage industry, just released their latest Monthly Mortgage Monitor which includes a new analysis of the affordability situation. Here’s what the report reveals:
“The monthly payment required to purchase the average priced home with a 20% down 30-year fixed rate mortgage increased by nearly 20% (+$210) over the first nine months of 2021, . . . It now requires 21.6% of the median household income to make the monthly mortgage payment on the average home purchase, the least affordable housing has been since 30-year rates rose to nearly 5% back in late 2018.”
Basically, the report shows that homes are less affordable today than at any other time in the last three years. However, in a previous report earlier this year, Black Knight calculated that the percentage of the median household income to make the monthly mortgage payment on the average home purchase over the last 25 years was 23.6% (see graph below):Today’s payment-to-income ratio is more affordable than the average over the last 25 years. Given that context, we can see that American households still have the same ability to be homeowners as their parents did 20 years ago.
This confirms the recent analysis of ATTOM Data resources where Todd Teta, Chief Product and Technology Officer, explains:
“The typical median-priced home around the U.S. remains affordable to workers earning an average wage, despite prices that keep going through the roof. Super-low interests and rising pay continue to be the main reasons why.”
It’s true that it’s less affordable to buy a home today than it has been the last few years. However, it’s more affordable to buy today than the average over the last 25 years. In other words, homes are less affordable, but they’re not unaffordable. That’s an important distinction.
Wednesday, October 20th, 2021
While today’s supply of homes for sale is still low, the number of newly built homes is increasing. If you’re ready to sell but have held off because you weren’t sure you’d be able to find a home to move into, newly built homes and those under construction can provide the options you’ve been waiting for.
The latest Census data shows the inventory of new homes is increasing this year (see graph below):With more new homes coming to the market, this means you’ll have more options to choose from if you’re ready to buy. Of course, if you do consider a newly built home, you’ll want to keep timing in mind. The supply shown in the graph above includes homes at various stages of the construction process – some are near completion while others may be months away.
According to Robert Dietz, Chief Economist and Senior VP for Economics and Housing Policy for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB):
“28% of new home inventory consists of homes that have not started construction, compared to 21% a year ago.”
Buying a home near completion is great if you’re ready to move. Alternatively, a home that has yet to break ground might benefit you if you’re ready to sell and you aren’t on a strict timeline. You’ll have an even greater opportunity to design your future home to suit your needs. No matter what, your trusted real estate advisor can help you find a home that works for you.
If you want to take advantage of today’s sellers’ market, but you’re not sure if you’ll be able to find a home to move into, consider a newly built home. Let’s connect today so you have a trusted real estate advisor to guide you through the sale of your house and discuss your homebuying options.
Tuesday, October 19th, 2021
If you’re looking to buy or sell a house, chances are you’ve heard talk about today’s rising home prices. And while this increase in home values is great news for sellers, you may be wondering what the future holds. Will prices continue to rise with time, or should you expect them to fall?
To answer that question, let’s first understand a few terms you may be hearing right now.
It’s important to note home prices have increased, or appreciated, for 114 straight months. To find out if that trend may continue, look to the experts. Pulsenomics surveyed over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts asking for their five-year projections. In terms of what lies ahead, experts say the market may see some slight deceleration, but not depreciation.
Here’s the forecast for the next few years:As the graph above shows, prices are expected to continue to rise, just not at the same pace we’ve seen over the last year. Over 100 experts agree, there is no expectation for price depreciation. As the arrows indicate, each number is an increase, which means prices will rise each year.
Bill McBride, author of the blog Calculated Risk, also expects deceleration, but not depreciation:
“My sense is the Case-Shiller National annual growth rate of 19.7% is probably close to a peak, and that year-over-year price increases will slow later this year.”
Ivy Zelman of Zelman & Associates agrees, saying:
“. . . home price appreciation is on the cusp of flipping to a decelerating trend.”
A recent article from realtor.com indicates you should expect:
“. . . annual price increases will slow to a more normal level, . . .”
What Does This Deceleration Mean for You?
What experts are projecting for the years ahead is more in line with the historical norm for appreciation. According to data from Black Knight, the average annual appreciation from 1995-2020 is 4.1%. As you can see from the chart above, the expert forecasts are closer to that pace, which means you should see appreciation at a level that’s aligned with a more normal year.
If you’re a buyer, don’t expect a sudden or drastic drop in home prices – experts say it won’t happen. Instead, think about your homeownership goals and consider purchasing a home before prices rise further.
If you’re a seller, the continued home price appreciation is good news for the value of your house. Work with an agent to list your house for the right price based on market conditions.
Experts expect price deceleration, not price depreciation over the coming years. Let’s connect to talk through what’s happening in the housing market today, where things are headed, and what it means for you.
Friday, October 15th, 2021
- The best advice carries across multiple areas of life. When it comes to homebuying, a few simple tips can help you stay on track.
- Because of increased demand, you’ll need to be patient and embrace compromises during your search. Then, once you’ve fallen in love, commit by putting your best offer forward.
- If you’re looking to buy a home this year, let’s connect so you have a dedicated partner and teammate to help you find the one.
Wednesday, October 13th, 2021
The last 18 months changed what many buyers are looking for in a home. Recently, the American Institute of Architects released their AIA Home Design Trends Survey results for Q3 2021. The survey reveals the following:
- 70% of respondents want more outdoor living space
- 69% of respondents want a home office (48% wanted multiple offices)
- 46% of respondents want a multi-function room/flexible space
- 42% of respondents want an au pair/in-law suite
- 39% of respondents want an exercise room/yoga space
If you’re a homeowner who wants to add any of the above, you have two options: renovate your current house or buy a home that already has the spaces you desire. The decision you make could be determined by factors like:
- A possible desire to relocate
- The difference in the cost of a renovation versus a purchase
- Finding an existing home or designing a new home that has exactly what you want (versus trying to restructure the layout of your current house)
In either case, you’ll need access to capital: the funds for the renovation or the down payment your next home would require. The great news is that the money you need probably already exists in your current home in the form of equity.
Home Equity Is Skyrocketing
The record-setting increases in home prices over the last two years dramatically improved homeowners’ equity. The graph below uses data from CoreLogic to show the average home equity gain in the first quarter of the last nine years:Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, quantifies the amount of equity homeowners gained recently:
“Remember U.S. households own nearly $35 trillion in owner-occupied real estate, just over $11 trillion in debt, and the remaining ~$24 trillion in equity. In inflation adjusted terms, homeowners in Q2 had an average of $280,000 in equity- a historic high.”
As a homeowner, the money you need to purchase the perfect home or renovate your current house may be right at your fingertips. However, waiting to make your decision may increase the cost of tapping that equity.
If you decide to renovate, you’ll need to refinance (or take out an equity loan) to access the equity. If you decide to move instead and use your equity as a down payment, you’ll still need to mortgage the remaining difference between the down payment and the cost of your next home.
Mortgage rates are forecast to increase over the next year. Waiting to leverage your equity will probably mean you’ll pay more to do so. According to the latest data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), almost 57% of current mortgage holders have a mortgage rate of 4% or below. If you’re one of those homeowners, you can keep your mortgage rate under 4% by doing it now. If you’re one of the 43% of homeowners with a mortgage rate over 4%, you may be able to do a cash-out refinance or buy a more expensive home without significantly increasing your monthly payment.
First Step: Determine the Amount of Equity in Your Home
If you’re ready to either redesign your current house or find an existing or newly constructed home that has everything you want, the first thing you need to do is determine how much equity you have in your current home. To do that, you’ll need two things:
- The current mortgage balance on your home
- The current value of your home
You can probably find the mortgage balance on your monthly mortgage statement. To find the current market value of your house, you can pay several hundreds of dollars for an appraisal, or you can contact a local real estate professional who will be able to present to you, at no charge, a professional equity assessment report.
If the past 18 months have refocused your thoughts on what you want from your house, now may be the time to either renovate or make a move to the perfect home.
Tuesday, October 12th, 2021
Today’s housing market is truly one for the record books. Over the past year, we’ve seen the lowest mortgage rates in history. And while those rates seemed to bottom out in January of this year, the golden window of opportunity for buyers isn’t over just yet. If you’re one of the buyers who worry they’ve missed out, rest assured today’s mortgage rates are still worth taking advantage of.
Even today, our mortgage rates are below what they’ve been in recent decades. So, while you may not be able to lock in the rate your friend got recently, you’re still in a great position to secure a rate well below what your parents and even grandparents got in years past. The key will be acting sooner rather than later.
In late September, mortgage rates ticked above 3% for the first time in months. And according to experts throughout the industry, mortgage rates are projected to continue rising in the months ahead. Here’s where experts say rates are headed:While a projected half percentage point increase may not seem substantial, it does have an impact when you’re buying a home. When rates rise even slightly, it affects how much you’ll pay month-to-month on your home loan. The chart below shows how it works:In this example, if rates rise to 3.55%, you’ll pay an extra $100 each month on your monthly mortgage payment if you purchase a home around this time next year. That extra money can really add up over the life of a 15 or 30-year loan.
Clearly, today’s mortgage rates are worth taking advantage of before they climb further. The rates we’re seeing right now give you a unique opportunity to afford more home for your money while keeping your monthly payment down.
Waiting for a lower mortgage rate could cost you. Experts project rates will continue to rise in the months ahead. Let’s connect so you can seize this opportunity before they increase further.
Tuesday, March 20th, 2018
We frequently get questions from clients who are taking on decorating and remodeling projects and want to ensure their dollars are invested wisely.
Which looks will last for years to come, and which ones will feel dated quickly? What colors and styles are most popular among buyers in our area? How can I add the most value to my home?
So we’ve rounded up some of the hottest trends in home design to help guide you through the process. Whether you’ve planned a simple refresh or a full-scale renovation, making smart and informed design choices will help you maximize your return on investment … and minimize the chance of “remodeler’s remorse” down the road.
WHAT’S HOT NOW
While 2017 was all about millennial pink, brass fixtures and bright white kitchens, this year we expect to see a move toward warmer, cozier elements throughout the home.
1. Warm Colors
A cool color scheme has dominated home design in recent years, but this year warm neutrals like brown and tan are back, along with rich jewel tones. While the pastel craze of last year is still hanging on, expect to see alternative color palettes featuring deep, saturated shades of red, yellow, green and navy. Grey will remain popular, but in warmer tones, often referred to as “greige.”
2. Cozy Elements
Along with warmer colors, we can expect to see a shift from stark, modern design to cozier looks. Velvet upholstery, woven textures and natural elements, like wood and stone, will heat things up this year.
3. Mixed Metals
It used to be considered gauche to mix finishes, however the look of mixed metals will be very big in 2018. Brass will continue to trend, along with matte black and classics like polished chrome and brushed nickel.
4. Bold Patterns
Expect to see a lot of bright, bold patterns in the form of geometric shapes and graphic floral prints. These will be featured on everything from furniture to throw pillows to tile.
5. Natural Elements
Look for the use of natural elements throughout the home, including wood, stone, plants, flowers and grass. Botanical patterns will also be seen in prints, wallpaper and upholstery. Concrete accents will complement these additions in an effort to bring the essence of the outdoors inside the home.
6. Feature Walls
Also called an accent wall, a feature wall is one that exhibits a different color or design than the other walls in the room. Expect to see an increased use of feature walls showcasing rich paint colors, bold patterned wallpaper, and textures brought in through millwork and shiplap.
7. Statement Lighting
Lighting will take center stage with distinctive fixtures, including local artisan and vintage pendants and chandeliers. And smart lighting technology will enable homeowners to customize their lighting experience based on time of day, activity and mood.
8. Hardwood Floors
Hardwood floors will continue to dominate the market. The trend is toward either very dark stains paired with light-colored walls or light stains with darker walls. Greyish tones will remain popular, as will matte finishes, which are easier to maintain than high gloss. Expect to see frequent use of wider and longer wood planks, as well as distressed and wire-brushed finishes, which add texture and dimension.
9. Smart Homes
Everything is getting “smarter” in homes, from locks and lights to thermostats and appliances. And with devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa, you can control many of these with voice activation from a central hub. We will see continued integration of and advancements in smart-home technology in 2018.
While white kitchens will remain popular in 2018, expect to see more color this year in everything from cabinets to tile to appliances.
1. Two-toned Cabinets
Two-toned cabinets are quickly overtaking the white-on-white look that has dominated kitchen design for the past few years. While white remains a classic, grey and bleached-wood cabinet variations are surging in popularity, along with darker neutrals like navy and green.
2. Quartz Countertops
Granite reigned as the top countertop choice for many years, but quartz is now king. It’s highly durable, low-maintenance and comes in a wide variety of styles and colors. It’s also heat resistant, scratch resistant and non-porous (unlike granite and marble) so it doesn’t need to be sealed.
3. Bold Backsplashes
After years of dominating backsplash design, the white subway tile is officially on its way out. Expect to see it replaced with more elaborate shapes, patterns, colors and textures. Tile that mimics the appearance of wood, concrete and wallpaper is also gaining in popularity.
4. Statement Sinks
While stainless steel and white porcelain are always safe bets, the trend is moving toward sinks that make more of a statement. Look for unexpected pops of color and materials like natural stone and copper. Touch-free faucets are expected to gain favor with homeowners this year, too.
5. Brass is (Still) Back
Brass fixtures came back in a big way over the past couple of years and will continue to be a popular choice in 2018 along with matte black, black nickel, polished chrome and brushed nickel. Missing from the list? Rose gold, which is decidedly “out” this year.
6. Multi-purpose Islands
Kitchen islands have evolved from simple prep-stations into the “workhorse” of the kitchen. Many feature sinks, built-in appliances and under-counter storage while also serving as a casual dining area. They have become the focal point of the kitchen, and we expect to see more of them in 2018 and beyond.
7. Black Stainless Steel
Black stainless steel is the hot new finish option for appliances, and it’s hitting the market in a big way. It offers a cutting-edge look and is easier to keep clean than traditional stainless steel. However, it’s harder to match finishes amongst different brands, so it’s probably only feasible as part of a complete appliance package.
8. Appliance Garages
Appliance garages are counter-level compartments designed to house small appliances like blenders, toasters and stand mixers. They make it convenient to have these items readily accessible, without the look of a cluttered counter.
Expect to see many of the same kitchen design preferences carry over into bathrooms this year, including two-tone cabinets, quartz countertops and brass fixtures.
1. Neutral Tones
Neutral shades will continue to dominate in the master bathroom as homeowners seek a soothing and relaxing retreat atmosphere. But expect to see more options than just white. Shades of brown, grey, blue, green and tan will help to warm things up.
2. Natural Elements
Natural materials are particularly hot right now in bathroom design. This includes the use of wood and stone on walls, cabinets, counters and backsplashes, as well as the incorporation of botanical design elements.
3. Large Tiles
We expect to see a lot more large and slab-sized tiles in bathrooms, which have less grout so they are easier to clean and maintain. Wood-look porcelain tiles are also a favorite in wet areas, as they offer the warmth and rustic appeal of wood with the durability of tile.
4. Stone Sinks
Sinks will continue to be an area where homeowners like to exhibit creativity, and hand-carved stone sinks are especially fashionable right now. These may be more suited to powder rooms, where functionality isn’t as crucial.
5. Freestanding Tubs
There’s been a tub resurgence in bathroom design after years of preference for stand-alone showers. Modern tastes are gravitating toward freestanding tubs that serve as a showpiece for the bathroom.
6. Smart Features
Smart technology has entered the bathroom with the addition of features like wireless shower speakers and high-tech toilets, as well as digital shower controls that automatically adjust to your preferences in temperature and spray intensity.
Style trends come and go, so don’t invest in the latest look unless you love it. That said, highly-personalized or outdated style choices can limit the appeal of your property for resale.
For major renovation projects, it’s always a good idea to stick to neutral colors and classic styles. It will give your remodel longevity and appeal to the greatest number of buyers when it comes time to sell. It will also give you flexibility to update your look in a few years without a total overhaul. Use non-permanent fixtures – like paint, furniture and accent pieces – to personalize the space and incorporate trendier choices.
If you’d like advice on a specific remodelling or design project, give us a call! We’re happy to offer our insights and suggestions on how to maximize your return on investment and recommend local shops and service providers who may be able to assist you.
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