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Lower Mortgage Rates Are Bringing Buyers Back to the Market

Lower Mortgage Rates Are Bringing Buyers Back to the Market

As mortgage rates rose last year, activity in the housing market slowed down. And as a result, homes started seeing fewer offers and stayed on the market longer. That meant some homeowners decided to press pause on selling.

Now, however, rates are beginning to come down—and buyers are starting to reenter the market. In fact, the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) shows mortgage applications increased last week by 7% compared to the week before.

So, if you’ve been planning to sell your house but you’re unsure if there will be anyone to buy it, this shift in the market could be your chance. Here’s what experts are saying about buyers returning to the market as we approach spring.

Mike Fratantoni, SVP and Chief Economist, MBA:

Mortgage rates are now at their lowest level since September 2022, and about a percentage point below the peak mortgage rate last fall. As we enter the beginning of the spring buying season, lower mortgage rates and more homes on the market will help affordability for first-time homebuyers.”

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, National Association of Realtors (NAR):

The upcoming months should see a return of buyers, as mortgage rates appear to have already peaked and have been coming down since mid-November.”

Thomas LaSalvia, Senior Economist, Moody’s Analytics:

“We expect the labor market to remain robust, wages to continue to rise—maybe not at the pace that they did during the pandemic, but that will open up some opportunity for folks to enter homeownership as interest rates stabilize a bit.”

Sam Khater, Chief Economist, Freddie Mac:

“Homebuyers are waiting for rates to decrease more significantly, and when they do, a strong job market and a large demographic tailwind of Millennial renters will provide support to the purchase market.”

Bottom Line

If you’ve been thinking about making a move, now’s the time to get your house ready to sell. Contact a local real estate professional to learn about buyer demand in your area and the best time to put your house on the market.

Where Will You Go If You Sell? You Have Options.

Where Will You Go If You Sell? You Have Options.

There are plenty of good reasons you might be ready to move. No matter your motivations, before you list your current house, you need to consider where you’ll go next.

In today’s market, it makes sense to explore all your options. That includes both homes that have been lived in before as well as newly built ones. To help you decide which is right for you, let’s compare the benefits of each. Regardless of which option you choose to explore, working with a trusted real estate professional throughout the process is essential.

The Benefits of Newly Built Homes

First, let’s look at the benefits of purchasing a newly constructed home. With a brand-new house, you’ll be able to:

1. Build your dream home

If you build a home from the ground up, you’ll have the option to select the custom features you want, including appliances, finishes, landscaping, layout, and more. Bankrate puts it like this:

“Building means customizing. . . . instead of wishing your home had a certain kind of flooring, a sunroom or some other special amenity, you’ll be able to tailor the property to your exact needs. You also won’t be limited to a specific location or neighborhood.”

 

2. Take advantage of builder concessions

In today’s market, a lot of home builders are working hard to sell their current inventory before they add more to their mix. That means many of them are offering concessions and are more willing to negotiate with buyers. That could work to your advantage in the process.

3. Minimize home repairs

Many builders offer a warranty, so you’ll have peace of mind on unlikely repairs. Plus, you won’t have as many little improvement projects to tackle. As realtor.com says:

“. . . if something goes wrong with your new home, not only are there likely some manufacturer warranties in place, but many builders also include additional home warranties . . .”

4. Take advantage of energy efficiency

When building a home, you can choose brand-new, energy-efficient options to help lower your utility costs, protect the environment, and reduce your carbon footprint.

The Benefits of Existing Homes

Now, let’s compare those to the perks that come with buying an existing home. With a pre-existing home, you can:

1. Explore a wider variety of home styles and floorplans

With decades of homes to choose from, you’ll have a broader range of floorplans and designs available.

2. Appreciate that lived-in charm

The character of older homes is hard to reproduce. If you value timeless craftsmanship or design elements, you may prefer an existing home.

3. Join an established neighborhood

Existing homes give you the option to get to know the neighborhood, community, or traffic patterns before you commit. Plus, they have more developed landscaping and trees, which can give you additional privacy and curb appeal.

4. Move in faster

If you have a short timeframe to move or you just don’t want the process to take several months while your home is under construction, buying an existing home might make sense for you. U.S. News explains:

“When you’re choosing a home, existing or new, you should also consider how long it might take to move into that home. Just because you have a contract doesn’t mean that your new home will be completed (or even started) at the time you agree to the purchase. It can be a struggle waiting for the walls to go up as you wonder what your home will become.”

When thinking about where you’ll go after you sell your house, remember your options. As you start your search, think about what’s most important to you. By working with a trusted real estate agent, you can be confident you’re making the most educated, informed decision.

Bottom Line

If you have questions about the options in your area, meet with a local real estate professional to discuss what’s available and what’s right for you.

Pre-Approval in 2023: What You Need To Know

Pre-Approval in 2023: What You Need To Know

One of the first steps in your homebuying journey is getting pre-approved. To understand why it’s such an important step, you need to understand what pre-approval is and what it does for you. Business Insider explains:

“In a preapproval [sic], the lender tells you which types of loans you may be eligible to take out, how much you may be approved to borrow, and what your rate could be.”

Basically, pre-approval gives you critical information about the homebuying process that’ll help you understand your options and what you may be able to borrow.

How does it work? As part of the pre-approval process, a lender will look at your finances to determine what they’d be willing to loan you. From there, your lender will give you a pre-approval letter to help you understand how much money you can borrow. That can make it easier when you set out to search for homes because you’ll know your overall numbers. And with higher mortgage rates impacting affordability for many buyers today, a solid understanding of your numbers is even more important.

Pre-Approval Helps Show You’re a Serious Buyer

Another added benefit is pre-approval can help a seller feel more confident in your offer because it shows you’re serious about buying their house. A recent article from Forbes notes:

“From the seller’s perspective, a preapproval [sic] letter from a reputable local lender often can make the difference between accepting and rejecting an offer.”

This goes to show, even though you may not face the intense bidding wars you saw if you tried to buy during the pandemic, pre-approval is still an important part of making a strong offer. In fact, Christy Bieber, Personal Finance Writer at The Motley Fool explains it may be the most important part of making an offer:

“Pre-approval maximizes the chances you’ll be able to actually close the deal – and sellers want to see that.

The fact that a pre-approval gives you a better chance of getting your offer accepted is undoubtedly the most important reason to complete this step . . .”

Bottom Line

Getting pre-approved is an important first step towards buying a home. It lets you know what you can borrow and shows sellers you’re serious about purchasing their home. Connect with a local real estate professional and a trusted lender so you have the tools you need to purchase a home in today’s market.

What Are Your Goals in the Housing Market This Year?

What Are Your Goals in the Housing Market This Year?

If buying or selling a home is part of your dreams for 2023, it’s essential for you to understand today’s housing market, define your goals, and work with industry experts to bring your homeownership vision for the new year into focus.

In the last year, high inflation had a big impact on the economy, the housing market, and likely on your wallet too. That’s why it’s critical to have a clear understanding of not just the market today, but also what you want out of it when you buy or sell a home. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comexplains:

The key to making a good decision in this challenging housing market is to be laser focused on what you need now and in the years ahead, so that you can stay in your home long enough that buying is a sound financial decision.

Here are a few questions you can start thinking through as you fine tune your goals for 2023.

1. What’s Motivating You?

You’re dreaming about making a move for a reason – what is it? No matter what’s happening in the market, there are still many compelling reasons to buy a home today. Your needs may have changed in a way your current house can’t address, or you could be ready to step into homeownership for the first time and have a space that’s truly your own. Use what’s motivating you as a guidepost in partnership with an expert advisor to help make sure your move will give you a lasting sense of accomplishment.

2. What Does Your Next Home Look Like?

You know you want to move, but how would you describe your dream home? The available supply of homes for sale has grown, and that could mean more options to choose from when you buy. Just be sure to keep your budget in mind and work with a trusted real estate professional to balance your wants and needs. The better you understand what’s essential and where you can be flexible, the easier it can be to find the home that’s right for you.

3. How Ready Are You To Buy?

Getting clear on your budget and savings is essential before you get too far into the process. Working with a local agent and a lender early is the best way to make sure you’re in a good position to buy. This could include planning how much to save for a down payment, getting pre-approved for a home loan, and assessing your current home equity if your move involves selling your existing house.

A Professional Will Guide You Through Every Step of the Process

Buying or selling a home is a big process that takes expertise to navigate. If that feels a bit overwhelming, you aren’t alone. According to a recent Harris Poll survey, one in five respondents see a lack of information or knowledge about the homebuying process as a barrier from owning a home. Don’t let uncertainty hold you back from your goals this year. A trusted expert can bridge that gap and give you the best advice and information about today’s market.

Bottom Line

Work with a local real estate agent and build a team of industry professionals to plan how your dreams for 2023 can become a reality.

What Makes a House a Home?

What Makes a House a Home?

There’s no denying the long-term financial benefits of owning a home, but today’s housing market may have you wondering if now’s still the time to buy. While the financial aspects of buying a home are important, the non-financial and emotional reasons are too.

Home means something different to all of us. Whether it’s sharing memories with loved ones at the kitchen table or settling in to read a book in a favorite chair, the emotional connections to our homes can be just as important as the financial ones. Here are some of the things that make a house a home.

1. You Can Be Proud of Your Accomplishment

Buying a home is a major life milestone. Whether you’re setting out to buy your first home or your fifth, congratulations will be in order when you’ve achieved your goal. The sense of accomplishment you’ll feel at the end of your journey will truly make your home feel like a special place.

2. You Have Your Own Designated Happy Place

Owning your own home offers not only safety and security, but also a comfortable place where you can relax and unwind after a long day. Sometimes that’s just what you need to feel recharged and content.

3. You Can Find the Space To Meet Your Needs

Whether you want more room for your changing lifestyle (like retirement, dedicated space for a hobby, or a personal gym) or you simply prefer to have a large backyard for entertaining, you can invest in a home that truly works for your evolving needs.

4. You Can Customize Your Surroundings

Looking to try one of those decorative wall treatments you saw online? Tired of paying an additional pet deposit for your apartment building? Or maybe you want to create an in-home yoga studio. You can do all these things in your own home.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re planning to purchase your first home or you’re ready to buy a different home to meet your needs, consider the emotional benefits that can turn a house into a happy home. When you’re ready to make a move, connect with a local real estate advisor.

Planning to Retire? It Could Be Time To Make a Move.

Planning to Retire? It Could Be Time To Make a Move.

If you’re thinking about retirement or have already retired this year, you may be planning your next steps. One of your goals could be selling your house and finding a home that more closely fits your needs.

Fortunately, you may be in a better position to make a move than you realize. Here are a few things to think about when making that decision.

Consider How Long You’ve Been in Your Home

From 1985 to 2008, the average length of time homeowners typically stayed in their homes was only six years. But according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), that number is rising today, meaning many homeowners are living in their houses even longer (see graph below):

Planning to Retire? It Could Be Time To Make a Move. | Keeping Current Matters

When you live in a home for a significant period of time, it’s natural for you to experience a number of changes in your life while you’re in that house. As those life changes and milestones happen, your needs may change. And if your current home no longer meets them, you may have better options waiting for you.

Consider the Equity You’ve Gained

Additionally, if you’ve been in your home for more than a few years, you’ve likely built up significant equity that can fuel your next move. That’s because the longer you’ve been in your home, the more likely it’s grown in value due to home price appreciation. Data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) illustrates that point (see graph below):

Planning to Retire? It Could Be Time To Make a Move. | Keeping Current Matters

While home price growth varies by state and local area, the national average shows the typical homeowner who’s been in their house for five years saw it increase in value by over 50%. And the average homeowner who’s owned their home for 30 years saw it almost triple in value over that time.

Consider Your Retirement Goals

Whether you’re looking to downsize, relocate to a dream destination, or move so you live closer to loved ones, that equity can help you achieve your homeownership goals. NAR shares that for recent home sellers, the primary reason to move was to be closer to loved ones. Plus, retirement played a large role for those moving greater distances.

Whatever your home goals are, a trusted real estate advisor can work with you to find the best option. They’ll help you sell your current house and guide you as you buy the home that’s right for you and your lifestyle today.

Bottom Line

Retirement can bring about major changes in your life, including what you need from your home. Connect with a trusted real estate advisor to explore the opportunities in your local market.