This summer has been tumultuous for homebuyers and home sellers as they navigated blistering inflation, higher mortgage interest rates, and record home prices. But, the latest existing housing sales report from the National Association of REALTORS suggests that the market may be headed toward stabilization.
Housing sales volume in July 2022 retreated 5.9% from the previous month and was 20.2% lower than in July 2021. Meanwhile, median home prices shrank from $413,800 in June to $403,800 in July, but prices were still 10.8% higher than a year ago in July 2021, marking 125 consecutive months of year-over-year price increases.
Among the reasons cited for the declines was mortgage interest rates that went above 6% in June, but have since fallen to nearly 5%. Compared to 2021 when the average commitment rate for a conventional 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 2.96%, consumers paid double that percentage (5.41%) for the same loan in July 2022.
Homes are staying on the market slightly longer – from 2.6 months of inventory on hand in July 2021 to 3.3 month’s supply in July 2022. Yet, housing sales are still brisk. Eighty-two percent of homes sold in July 2022 were on the market for less than a month.
Housing shortages still abound, which is why prices aren’t falling any more than they have. Exacerbating the shortage is a slowdown in new single-family home starts as home builders turn instead to multi-family projects.
If interest rates and home prices continue to drop, sales volume could heat up again.
Hot market or not, the agent you have representing you truly makes all of the difference in how your transaction will play out. The latest installment in our Responding To Today series addresses how to fix, or better yet avoid, mistakes that can have a serious impact on your checkbook!
Real Estate in 2021: How to Avoid – and Fix – Costly Mistakes
For those buying or selling a home in today’s ultra-competitive real estate market, time is not a luxury afforded to most. Decisions are made quickly, with many buyers in particular left to worry that they’re setting themselves up to make a costly mistake. And while homeowners seemingly have the upper hand in this universally hot sellers’ market, the myriad of factors that play a role in a frenzied sales and negotiation scenario leaves much room for error.
So what’s a buyer or seller to do in this unprecedented market? We sat down with two leaders in the industry-Christy Budnick, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and Allan Dalton, SVP of Research and Development for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices-to hear their recommendations for avoiding, or fixing, many common and current real estate missteps.
Q: A recent Wall Street Journal article chronicles the regrets and mistakes of recent buyers who rushed into a purchase-but in this market, many buyers feel that’s the only option. How can would-be buyers feel confident that they’re buying the right house at the right price?
Christy Budnick: Ifs normal for buyers to feel this type of stress in such a strong sellers’ market. But I would encourage them to look at the big picture and the benefits of a real estate purchase in the long term. With interest rates at historic lows, if a buyer plans on staying in a home for 10 years, the average appreciation of that home, plus the tax advantages of home ownership, will typically make the higher-than-normal sales price more than worth it.
Allan Dalton: In a highly competitive, multioffer environment, you want to be able to buy on the best terms, but you don”! want to lose it. So as you’re figuring out what your top offer number will be, ask yourself this question: “Am I willing to deprive myself or my family of this lifestyle because of $100 a week, $50 a day, $50 a week?” I never want to be cavalier with money, but the point I’m trying to make is that I’ve never bought a home I wouldn’t have paid more for. If you’re investing in your lifestyle and you break the numbers down in that manner, it’s much easier to answer that question and understand if you actually feel like you’d be paying too much.
Aside from the money side of things, don’t use a competitive market as an excuse not to do your due diligence. I would never buy a home without going back five or six times, parking in front of the home in the morning and also in the evening to see what traffic is like. Make sure you walk around the neighborhood and talk to the neighbors, especially the next-door neighbors if possible. If you’re buying from out of town, have your realtor do that work for you. I once bought a home from across the country and had my realtor take videos at 5:00 in the morning, 6:00 in the morning, 7:00 in the morning. That drove the realtor crazy, but the safety of my family is worth it to me. Before you make that offer, ensure there·s nothing that you could know that you don’t know-about the town, the schools, the home, the neighborhood, values, zoning restrictions. Because these are the things that end up making people think they made a mistake in buying a home.
Q: Many sellers have been waiting to list their homes, potentially hoping to capture the apex of the market. What steps can these sellers take to avoid missing the right moment to list?
Christy Budnick: This is such a debatable topic. The critical consideration in this decision is the relationship between supply and demand, and what can we anticipate about what might happen to supply and demand? Right now, supply and demand is completely in the favor of sellers. But what might happen to the frothy market as economic conditions change? By every indication, the strength of the economy and !he anticipation of inflation probably means that interest rates will continue to go up. Well, as rates continue to go up, fewer and fewer buyers will have the ability to afford the homes that they want to buy. As fewer buyers are in the marketplace, the relationship between supply and demand starts to level out, which will result in a cooling of home price appreciation. The summer is also a traditional time of the year where homes come on the market for sale. So you·ve got this combination of fewer buyers in the market moving forward and more homes for sale as we move forward. Those two things will most likely and I think undoubtedly create a cooling of home price appreciation.
Allan Dalton: When the market is moving and changing so fast, it’s more valuable than ever to have a real estate agent-particularly if you are a seller in a competitive bidding war scenario. Let me give you an analogy: If you were a great football player and about to become a free agent, would you do that without the help of an agent? Of course not! When you have an asset that has great appeal and great demand, that’s when a realtor has the greatest value in maximizing that demand. It’s always better to rely on somebody who can navigate and manage and negotiate on your behalf-and create even more demand.
Q: Some homeowners are waiting to list because they’re worried they’ll pay too much for their next home. Do you think this is a mistake or a good strategy?
Christy Budnick: I just feel like now, 2021, is really the time to consider a sale and purchase, especially because of where I see interest rates going. Consider this: A buyer might be paying
$30,000, $40,000 or even $50,000 more for a house today than they potentially could by waiting until next year. But wait. what are they getting for the home that they’re selling? Assuming the home you are selling is less expensive than the one you are buying, are you going to get $15,000. $20,000 or $25,000 more today than you might next year? So now I’m paying $50,000 more for the home I’m buying, but I’m earning $25,000 more for the home I’m selling, so my net differential is $25,000 negative to me. What”s the monthly payment differential?
And if that seller takes a short-term hit to their equity-let’s say they buy at $50,000 right at the top of the market and it corrects-well, if they’re buying a home that they’re going to be in for eight, 10, 13 years, what does that appreciation annually need to look like, even if there’s a short-term blip in the value for the first one, two or three years that they own? It is so critical for people to think about these scenarios of value, payment and equity in a holistic way to make the right decision. Using a real estate professional with extensive knowledge of the local market is critical here in understanding the entire equation and its impact on your finances in the long term.
If you are anything like me, you missed out on the Bitcoin market early on. I mean really, crypto-currency? Can that even be a thing? Well, apparently it is and the value is only going up! Read on for the latest from our newsletter…
In April 2021, Bitcoin hit an all-time high in the price of its coins, virtual trader Coinbase went public with a valuation of $86 billion, and Venmo, owned by PayPal, announced it’s adding support for cryptocurrencies. All of these give access to customers who can now easily buy, sell and pay for items with cryptocurrencies for lower fees, more privacy and more security than they currently get through traditional banking.
Coinbase.com explains that cryptocurrencies are simply decentralized monies to be used over the Internet. No governments, banks, companies or other entities are in charge of it, allowing anyone who wants to participate to be able to. Transactions are safer as they don’t include personal information to merchants, lenders, payment processors, advertisers, or credit reporting agencies.
While the coins are volatile, you can even turn your virtual coins into dollars, as one homebuyer did in Texas in 2017 using Bitpay at the seller’s request. According to CNBC.com, all you need is for the buyer and seller “to agree on exchanging bitcoin for the property.” Or another cryptocurrency if you prefer. All transactions are public and transparent through an open book technology called the blockchain.
If you don’t have enough bitcoin cash to buy a home, no worries. You can start saving for your down payment by using USD Coin, which is tracks 1:1 with the U.S. dollar. Customers who hold USDS coins can earn rewards, an alternative to a traditional savings account, says Coinbase, so start saving for your down payment now.
Home prices rose 1.4 percent in the first quarter of 2017, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI). The HPI year-over-year— based on prices for homes with Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-backed mortgages— was up 6.0 percent.
“The steep, multi-year rise in U.S. home prices continued in the first quarter,” said Andrew Leventis, deputy chief economist for the FHFA, in a statement. “Mortgage rates during the quarter remained slightly elevated relative to most of last year, but demand for homes remained very strong. With housing inventories still languishing at extremely low levels, the strong demand led to another exceptionally large quarterly price increase.”
Per the Index, quarterly home price changes ranged from 1.0 percent in the Middle Atlantic Census division to 2.0 percent in the Pacific Census division.
Many within today’s generation of teens, 21 million strong, say they’ll be willing to give up modern luxuries for a more mainstream view of the American dream of homeownership, according to a new study from Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, which reveals the home ownership wish lists of children ages 13 to 17, part of Generation Z. Eighty-nine percent of Gen Z teens surveyed say owning a home is part of what they believe the American dream is, followed by graduating from college (78%); getting married (71%); and having children (68%).
They’re optimistic that they’ll become home owners one day, too. Ninety-seven percent say they’ll own a home one day, and they say they’d even be willing to make some unusual sacrifices in order to put them on the path to home ownership.
For example, 53 percent say they’d be willing to give up social media for a year or would be willing to do twice as much homework every night in order to become a home owner one day. Forty-two percent would go to school seven days a week, and 39 percent would even be willing to take their mom or dad to their prom if it meant they could be a home owner one day, the survey showed.
Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate remarked, “Today’s teens are fiscally literate and realistic when it comes to their future. It’s quite profound that a generation that has never known a world without social media is willing to give up such a staple in their modern lives to achieve their dream home.”
For more information on the real estate forecast, contact us at 703-836-1464.
Slowly but surely, Americans are regaining confidence in the housing market and keeping the American dream of owning a home alive.
The new quarterly Prudential Real Estate Outlook Survey revealed that nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents had a favorable perception of the U.S. housing market, a 4-point jump from the first-quarter 2012 survey and a 12-point increase from first quarter 2011. As a matter of fact, nearly seven out of 10 Americans surveyed (69%) also indicated that real estate is a good investment – that’s up 6% from first-quarter 2012 survey results and 17% from first quarter 2011.
Homeownership remains at the core of the American dream, with a solid 78% of respondents believing that owning a home is still very important. A full 98% said homeownership was at least somewhat important. In addition to historically low interest rates, one of the factors dominating the desire to own a home is centered on the family. More than financial security, tax benefits and a good investment, respondents prioritized owning a home as a place to raise a family and have control over their space.
Americans are dreaming with both feet on the ground.
Given the challenges and complexity of today’s real estate market, Americans remain cautious about the home-buying process, with 30% strongly agreeing that the housing crisis taught them to assert careful planning when buying or selling a home.
Cautiousness has also brought with it the willingness and openness to seek professional help in the process. A notable 74% of survey respondents think it’s more important than ever to work with a good agent for the best success in buying or selling a home, up from 72% in the first quarter 2012 survey.