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Remote Work Has Changed Our Home Needs. Is It Time for Your Home To Change, Too?

Over the past year, many homeowners realized what they need in a home is changing, especially with the rise in remote work. If you’re longing for a dedicated home office or a change in scenery, now may be the time to find the home that addresses your evolving needs.

Working from Home Isn’t a Passing Fad

Before the pandemic, only 21% of individuals worked from home. However, if you’ve recently discovered remote work is your new normal, you’re not alone.

A survey of hiring managers conducted by Statista and Upwork projects 37.5% of U.S. workers will work remotely in some capacity over the next 5 years (see chart below):Remote Work Has Changed Our Home Needs. Is It Time for Your Home To Change, Too? | Simplifying The Market

Working from Home Gives You More Flexibility and More Options

If you fall in that category, working from home may provide you with opportunities you didn’t realize you had. The ongoing rise in remote work means a portion of the workforce no longer needs to be tied to a specific area for their job. Instead, it gives those workers more flexibility when it comes to where they can live.

If you’re one of the nearly 23% of workers who will remain 100% remote, you have the option to move to a lower cost-of-living area or to the location of your dreams. If you search for a home in a more affordable area, you’ll be able to get more house for your money, freeing up more options for your dedicated office space and more breathing room. You could also move to an area you’ve always dreamed of vacationing in – somewhere near the beach, the mountains, or simply an area that features better weather and community amenities. Without your job tying you to a specific location, you’re bound to find your ideal spot.

If you’re one of the almost 15% of individuals who will have a partially remote or hybrid schedule, relocating within your local area to a home that’s further away from your office could be a great choice. Since you won’t be going into work every day, a slightly longer commute from a more suburban or rural area could be a worthy trade-off for a home with more features, space, or comforts. After all, if you’ll still be at home part-time, why not find a home that better suits your needs?

According to the latest Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate from The Counselors of Real Estate (CRE), many homebuyers are already taking advantage of their newfound flexibility:

“. . . after years of apparent but variant trends towards urbanization, the pandemic universally caused a movement away from urban cores, particularly for those with higher incomes who could afford to move and for lower-income individuals seeking lower costs of living.”

Bottom Line

If you’ve found what you’re looking for in a home has changed due to remote work, it may be time to make a move. Let’s connect today to start prioritizing your home needs.

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3 Charts That Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble

With home prices continuing to deliver double-digit increases, some are concerned we’re in a housing bubble like the one in 2006. However, a closer look at the market data indicates this is nothing like 2006 for three major reasons.

1. The housing market isn’t driven by risky mortgage loans.

Back in 2006, nearly everyone could qualify for a loan. The Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) from the Mortgage Bankers’ Association is an indicator of the availability of mortgage money. The higher the index, the easier it is to obtain a mortgage. The MCAI more than doubled from 2004 (378) to 2006 (869). Today, the index stands at 130. As an example of the difference between today and 2006, let’s look at the volume of mortgages that originated when a buyer had less than a 620 credit score.3 Charts That Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The MarketDr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, reiterates this point:

“There are marked differences in today’s run up in prices compared to 2005, which was a bubble fueled by risky loans and lenient underwriting. Today, loans with high-risk features are absent and mortgage underwriting is prudent.”

2. Homeowners aren’t using their homes as ATMs this time.

During the housing bubble, as prices skyrocketed, people were refinancing their homes and pulling out large sums of cash. As prices began to fall, that caused many to spiral into a negative equity situation (where their mortgage was higher than the value of the house).

Today, homeowners are letting their equity build. Tappable equity is the amount available for homeowners to access before hitting a maximum 80% combined loan-to-value ratio (thus still leaving them with at least 20% equity). In 2006, that number was $4.6 billion. Today, that number stands at over $8 billion.

Yet, the percentage of cash-out refinances (where the homeowner takes out at least 5% more than their original mortgage amount) is half of what it was in 2006.3 Charts That Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

3. This time, it’s simply a matter of supply and demand.

FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out) dominated the housing market leading up to the 2006 housing bubble and drove up buyer demand. Back then, housing supply more than kept up as many homeowners put their houses on the market, as evidenced by the over seven months’ supply of existing housing inventory available for sale in 2006. Today, that number is barely two months.

Builders also overbuilt during the bubble but pulled back significantly over the next decade. Sam Khater, VP and Chief Economist, Economic & Housing Research at Freddie Mac, explains that pullback is the major factor in the lack of available inventory today:

“The main driver of the housing shortfall has been the long-term decline in the construction of single-family homes.”

Here’s a chart that quantifies Khater’s remarks:3 Charts That Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The MarketToday, there are simply not enough homes to keep up with current demand.

Bottom Line

This market is nothing like the run-up to 2006. Bill McBride, the author of the prestigious Calculated Risk blog, predicted the last housing bubble and crash. This is what he has to say about today’s housing market:

“It’s not clear at all to me that things are going to slow down significantly in the near future. In 2005, I had a strong sense that the hot market would turn and that, when it turned, things would get very ugly. Today, I don’t have that sense at all, because all of the fundamentals are there. Demand will be high for a while because Millennials need houses. Prices will keep rising for a while because inventory is so low.”

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Experts Agree: Options Are Improving for Buyers [INFOGRAPHIC]

Experts Agree: Options Are Improving for Buyers [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • Buyers hoping for more homes to choose from may be in luck as housing inventory begins to rise. Many experts agree – new sellers listing their homes is great news for buyers and the overall market.
  • Although the supply increases are modest, more homes means more options for buyers. A rise in inventory may also help slow the price gains we’ve seen recently and could be a sign of good things to come.
  • If you’re searching for a home, rising inventory is welcome news. Let’s connect today to discuss new listings in our area.
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Housing Supply Is Rising. What Does That Mean for You?

An important factor in today’s market is the number of homes for sale. While inventory levels continue to sit near historic lows, there are indications we may have hit the lowest point we’ll see. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, recently said of our supply challenges:

It looks like inventory may have hit a bottom (we’ve seen this in the higher frequency data as well). Unsold inventory in May was at 2.5 months supply, up from 2.4.

To put it into perspective, the graph below shows levels of inventory rising since the beginning of the year:Housing Supply Is Rising. What Does That Mean for You? | Simplifying The MarketWe’re still not close to a balanced market, which would be a 6 months’ supply of homes for sale. However, we are seeing a slow but steady increase in homes coming up for sale. And that leaves many buyers and sellers wondering the same thing: what does that mean for me?

Buyers: More Options Are Arriving, so It’s Time To Act

If you’re a buyer, more inventory coming to market is a welcome sight. More supply means more options and less competition, which could mean fewer bidding wars.

According to the latest Monthly Housing Market Trends Report, supply levels are continuing to increase, which is different from the typical summer market:

“In June, newly listed homes grew by 5.5% on a year-over-year basis, and by 10.9% on a month-over-month basis. Typically, fewer newly listed homes appear on the market in the month of June compared to May. This year, growth in new listings is continuing later into the summer season, a welcome sign for a tight housing market.

If you’re having trouble finding your next home, this news should give you the hope and motivation to keep your buying process moving forward. Experts project mortgage rates will begin increasing, which will make purchasing a home less affordable as time passes. You can still capitalize on today’s low interest rates, so stick with your search as more homes come to market.

Sellers: Our Supply Challenges Aren’t Over Yet, so Now Is the Time To Sell

If you’ve been putting off selling your house, you shouldn’t wait much longer. The year’s month-over-month gains in homes for sale have helped buyers, but we’re still very much in a sellers’ market.

As the graph below shows, even with the number of homes for sale rising, we’re still well below the supply levels we’ve seen historically:Housing Supply Is Rising. What Does That Mean for You? | Simplifying The MarketOf course, more homes are coming to market now, and more are expected in the coming months. Selling your house this summer gives you the chance to get ahead of the competition and maximize your sales potential before more homes are put up for sale in your neighborhood.

Bottom Line

More homes for sale means more options for buyers and more competition for sellers. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, let’s connect today to discuss your options and why it’s still a good time to make your move.

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Why This Isn’t Your Typical Summer Housing Market

In real estate, it’s normal to see ebbs and flows in the market. Typically, the summer months are slower-paced than the traditionally busy spring. But this isn’t a typical summer. As the economy rebounds and life is returning to normal, the real estate market is expected to have an unusually strong summer season.

Here’s how this summer is stacking up against the norm and what it means for you.Why This Isn’t Your Typical Summer Housing Market | Simplifying the Market

Inventory is increasing.

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), inventory levels have been rising since February of this year. Looking at the graph below, there’s a clear upward trend, as shown in the green bars. Currently, there’s roughly a 2.5 months’ supply of homes for sale. And while inventory is trending up as more houses are coming to the market, it’s still much lower than several of the previous summers, as the orange bars indicate.Why This Isn’t Your Typical Summer Housing Market | Simplifying the MarketIf you’re looking to buy, some relief is on the way in the form of more homes coming to the market. Just remember, we still have less inventory than the norm, so be patient in your search.

If you’re thinking of selling, now is the time. Work with your agent to list your house before it has more competition on the market.

Time on the market is still shorter than normal.

Unlike the typical summer trend, time on the market is moving at the fastest speed we’ve seen since NAR started collecting this survey-based information in 2011. The most recent Realtors Confidence Index shows that the average home is on the market for just 17 days, as shown in green in the graph below. This means houses are selling at a much faster pace than a typical summer, which the orange bars represent.Why This Isn’t Your Typical Summer Housing Market | Simplifying the MarketIf you’re looking to buy, this means you need to be prepared to move fast. Brace for a quick pace and rely on your agent to stay in the know on the available homes in your area.

If you’re thinking of selling, data shows your house will likely sell quickly. If you’re worried about where you’ll go once your house sells, consider a newly built home as a good way to move up.

Price appreciation is still rising.

The last big factor making this an unusually strong market this summer is home price appreciation. According to the State House Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), we’re currently experiencing double-digit house price appreciation and have an average of 12.6% appreciation across the country. The graph below uses data from NAR to show a more granular view of how prices have changed month-to-month over the past few years. The green bars show the current price appreciation we’re experiencing today. Our current levels are well above what we’ve seen in recent summers, shown by the orange bars.Why This Isn’t Your Typical Summer Housing Market | Simplifying the MarketIf you’re looking to buy, competition and bidding wars are driving prices up. Getting pre-approved can show the seller you’re serious and help you know what you can afford. Once you do, work with your agent to make a strong offer that stands out.

If you’re thinking of selling, seize this opportunity to use your additional equity from this price appreciation to power your next move.

Bottom Line

This isn’t a typical summer. Whether you’re buying or selling, let’s connect to talk about how you can capitalize on today’s market conditions to sell your house or find your dream home.

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Your Home Equity Can Take You Places [INFOGRAPHIC]

Your Home Equity Can Take You Places [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • The amount of wealth Americans have stored in their homes has increased astronomically.
  • On average, homeowners gained $33,400 in equity over the last 12 months, and the average equity on mortgaged homes is now $216,000.
  • When it’s time to sell, your home equity can help accomplish your goals. Let’s connect to discuss how you can take advantage of today’s sellers’ market to get the most out of your home sale.
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A Look at Home Price Appreciation Through 2025

Home prices have increased significantly over the last year, which in turn has grown the net worth of homeowners. Appreciation and home equity are directly linked – as the value of a home increases, so does a homeowner’s equity. And with these recent gains, homeowners are witnessing their financial stability and well-being grow to record levels.

In more good news for homeowners, the most recent Home Price Expectations Survey – a survey of a national panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists – forecasts home prices will continue appreciating over the next five years, adding to the record amount of equity homeowners have already gained over the past year. Below are the expected year-over-year rates of home price appreciation from the report:A Look at Home Price Appreciation Through 2025 | Simplifying The Market

What Does This Mean for Homeowners?

Home prices are climbing today, and the data in the survey indicates they’ll continue to increase, but at rates that approach a more normal pace. Even still, the amount of household wealth a homeowner stands to earn going forward is substantial. This truly becomes clear when we consider a scenario using a median-priced home purchased in January of 2021 and the projected rate of appreciation on that home over the next five years. As the graph below illustrates, a homeowner could increase their net worth by a significant amount – over $93,000 dollars by 2026.A Look at Home Price Appreciation Through 2025 | Simplifying The Market

Home Price Appreciation and Home Equity

CoreLogic recently released their quarterly Homeowner Equity Insights Report, which tracks the year-over-year increases in equity. It shows an average annual gain of $33,400 per borrower over the past 12 months. In the report, Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, further explains:

Double-digit home price growth in the past year has bolstered home equity to a record amount. The national CoreLogic Home Price Index recorded an 11.4% rise in the year through March 2021, leading to a $216,000 increase in the average amount of equity held by homeowners with a mortgage.”

The expected, sustained growth of home prices means homeowners can continue to build on the past year’s record levels of home equity – and their financial prosperity. It also presents today’s homeowners with a unique opportunity: using their growing equity for a home upgrade. With so few homes available to purchase and strong buyer demand, there may not be a better time to sell your current house and move into one that better meets your needs.

Bottom Line

Home prices are expected to continue appreciating over the next five years, and the associated equity gains are the quickest way homeowners can build household wealth. If you’re a current homeowner who’s ready to take advantage of your built-up equity, let’s connect today to discuss your options.

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Home Builders Ramp Up Construction Based on Demand

If you’re thinking of buying a home, there really is no time like the present. With today’s low mortgage rates, you have a great opportunity to get more home for your money. The challenge is inventory. Like you, many buyers want to capitalize on these market conditions, and it’s leading to more buyer competition and bidding wars.

If you’re having a hard time finding a home to buy, it may be time to talk to your trusted real estate advisor about a newly built home. Early indicators show new-home construction is beginning to ramp up. While new homes alone won’t be able to fix all of the inventory challenges, this does mean you’ll soon have more options as you search for a home. As a buyer, a newly built home may be exactly what you’re looking for – it’s brand new, and with builder customization options, it’s uniquely yours from the ground up.

Here’s what industry experts are saying about new homes coming to market:

Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says recent research could indicate upward momentum when it comes to new home construction. Evangelou refers to the volume of new homes where construction began during a set period, known in the industry as housing starts.

According to that research, housing starts reached their highest level since 2006 in March of this year – an encouraging sign for the industry. While they dipped slightly in April, Evangelou reiterates that the level of housing construction is heading in a positive direction compared to recent years:

“…we are currently building 24% more homes than we typically have built in April in the last couple of decades. Thus, housing construction is trending upward with housing starts likely to reach 1.6 million for all of 2021 and rise further to 1.7 million in 2022.”

As new data pours in, it further confirms this trend. According to the latest Monthly New Residential Construction report from the U.S. Census Bureau, housing starts increased even more in May, which continues the ongoing upward trend (see graph below) and indicates that ground is being broken on even more new homes.Home Builders Ramp Up Construction Based on Demand | Simplifying the MarketRobert Dietz, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Economics and Housing Policy for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), singles out another encouraging sign:

“It is also worth noting that the number of single-family homes permitted but not started construction continued to increase in May, rising to 142,000 units.”

This insight that there’s also an uptick in single-family homes permitted serves as an additional sign that more new homes lie ahead. It’s important to realize that the construction doesn’t have to start on these homes before you may be able to purchase one. According to the Monthly New Residential Sales report from the U.S. Census Bureau, many new homes are selling before construction even begins (see graph below):Home Builders Ramp Up Construction Based on Demand | Simplifying the MarketThese signs are all good news for housing inventory. And as the recent challenges of rising lumber prices and dwindling lumber supply begin to improve, builders will be able to increase their production even more in the months ahead.

Bottom Line

While the inventory challenges we’re facing today won’t be solved overnight, the increase in new-home construction means your house may have more competition in the market. Let’s connect to talk about finding your dream home and the newly built homes available in our area.

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Are We in a Housing Bubble? Experts Say No.

The question of whether the real estate market is a bubble ready to pop seems to be dominating a lot of conversations – and everyone has an opinion. Yet, when it comes down to it, the opinions that carry the most weight are the ones based on experience and expertise.

Here are four expert opinions from professionals and organizations that have devoted their careers to giving great advice to the housing industry.

The Joint Center for Housing Studies in their The State of the Nation’s Housing 2021 report:

“… conditions today are quite different than in the early 2000s, particularly in terms of credit availability. The current climb in house prices instead reflects strong demand amid tight supply, helped along by record-low interest rates.”

Nathaniel Karp, Chief U.S. Economist at BBVA:

“The housing market is in line with fundamentals as interest rates are attractive and incomes are high due to fiscal stimulus, making debt servicing relatively affordable and allowing buyers to qualify for larger mortgages. Underwriting standards are still strong, so there is little risk of a bubble developing.”

Bill McBride of Calculated Risk:

“It’s not clear at all to me that things are going to slow down significantly in the near future. In 2005, I had a strong sense that the hot market would turn and that, when it turned, things would get very ugly. Today, I don’t have that sense at all, because all of the fundamentals are there. Demand will be high for a while, because Millennials need houses. Prices will keep rising for a while, because inventory is so low.”

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American:

Looking back at the bubble years, house prices exceeded house-buying power in 2006 nationally, but today house-buying power is nearly twice as high as the median sale price nationally…

Many find it hard to believe, but housing is actually undervalued in most markets and the gap between house-buying power and sale prices indicates there’s room for further house price growth in the months to come.”

Bottom Line

All four strongly believe that we’re not in a bubble and won’t see crashing home values as we did in 2008. And they’re not aloneGoldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and Merrill Lynch share the same opinion.

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What Do Experts See on the Horizon for the Second Half of the Year?

As we move into the latter half of the year, questions about what’s to come are top of mind for buyers and sellers. Near record-low mortgage rates coupled with rising home price appreciation kicked off a robust housing market in the first half of 2021, but what does the forecast tell us about what’s on the horizon?

Mortgage Rates Will Likely Increase, but Remain Low

Many experts are projecting a rise in interest rates. The latest Quarterly Forecast from Freddie Mac states:

We forecast that mortgage rates will continue to rise through the end of next year. We estimate the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will average 3.4% in the fourth quarter of 2021, rising to 3.8% in the fourth quarter of 2022.”

However, even as mortgage rates rise, the anticipated increase is expected to be modest at most, and still well below historical averages. Rates remaining low is good news for homebuyers who are looking to maximize their purchasing power. The same report from Freddie Mac goes on to say:

“While higher mortgage rates will help slow the pace of home sales and moderate house price growth, we expect overall housing market activity will remain robust. Our forecast has total home sales, the sum of new and existing home sales, at 7.1 million in 2021….”

Home Price Appreciation Will Continue, but Price Growth Will Likely Slow

Joe Seydl, Senior Markets Economist at J.P. Morgan, projects home prices to continue rising as well, indicating buyers interested in purchasing a home should do so sooner rather than later. Waiting for rates or home prices to fall may not be wise:

“Homebuyers—interest rates are still historically low, though they are inching up. Housing prices have spiked during the last six-to-nine months, but we don’t expect them to fall soon, and we believe they are more likely to keep rising. If you are looking to purchase a new home, conditions now may be better than 12 months hence.”

Other experts remain optimistic about home prices, too. The graph below highlights 2021 home price forecasts from multiple industry leaders:
What Do Experts See on the Horizon for the Second Half of the Year? | Simplifying The Market

Inventory Remains a Challenge, but There’s Reason To Be Optimistic

Home prices are rising, but they should moderate as more housing inventory comes to market. George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.com, notes there are signs that we may see the current inventory challenges lessen, slowing the fast-paced home price appreciation and creating more choices for buyers:

We have seen more new listings this year compared with 2020 in 11 of the last 13 weeks. The influx of new sellers over the last couple of months has been especially helpful in slowing price gains.”

New home starts are also showing signs of improvement, which further bolsters hopes of more options coming to market. Robert Dietz, Chief Economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), writes:

“As an indicator of the economic impact of housing, there are now 652,000 single-family homes under construction. This is 28% higher than a year ago.”

Finally, while it may not fundamentally change the market conditions we’re currently experiencing, another reason to be optimistic more homes might come to market: our improving economy. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, notes:

“A growing economy in the summer months has multiple implications for the housing market. Growing consumer confidence, a stronger labor market, and higher wages bode well for housing demand. While a growing economy and improving public health conditions may also spur hesitant existing owners to list their homes for sale, it’s unlikely to significantly ease the super sellers’ market conditions.

Bottom Line

As we look at the forecast for prices, interest rates, inventory, and home sales, experts remain optimistic about what’s on the horizon for the second half of 2021. Let’s connect today to discuss how we can navigate the market together in the coming months.