** Sell a Home **
Home Sales About to Surge? We May See a Winter Like Never Before.
Like most industries, residential real estate has a seasonality to it. For example, toy stores sell more toys in October, November, and December than they do in any other three-month span throughout the year. More cars are sold in the U.S. during the second quarter (April, May, and June) than in any other quarter of the year.
Real estate is very similar. The number of homes sold in the spring is almost always much greater than at any other time of the year. It’s even labeled as the spring buying season. Historically, the number of buyers and listings for sale significantly increase in the spring and remains strong throughout the summer. Once fall sets in, the number of buyers and sellers typically drops off.
Last year, however, that seasonality didn’t happen. The outbreak of the virus and subsequent slowing of the economy limited sales during the spring market. These sales were pushed back later in the year, and last fall and winter saw a dramatic increase in home sales over previous years. The only thing that held the market back was the extremely limited supply of homes for sale.
What About This Winter?
Some experts thought we’d return to the industry’s normal seasonality this winter with both the number of purchasers and houses available for sale falling off. However, data now shows that neither of those situations will likely occur. Buyer demand is still extremely strong, and it appears we may soon see a somewhat uncharacteristic increase in the number of homes coming to the market.
Buyer Demand Remains Strong
The latest Showing Index from ShowingTime, which tracks the average number of monthly showings on available homes, indicates buyer activity was slightly lower than at the same time last year but much higher than any of the three previous years (see chart below):
A report from realtor.com confirms buying activity remains strong in the existing home sales market:
“New housing data shows 2021’s feverish home sales pace broke a yearly record in October, . . . with last month marking the eighth straight month of buyers snatching up homes more quickly than the fastest pace in previous years. . . .”
Buyer activity for newly constructed homes is also very strong. Ali Wolf, Chief Economist for Zonda, recently reported that Stuart Miller, the Executive Chairman of Lennar, one of the nation’s largest home builders, said this about demand:
“There is still a great deal of demand at our sales centers with people lining up and not enough supply.”
The only question heading into this winter is whether the number of listings available could come close to meeting this buyer demand. We may have just received the answer to that question.
Sellers Are About To List – Right Now
Instead of waiting for the normal spring buying market, new research indicates that homeowners thinking about selling are about to put their homes on the market this winter.
Speaking to the release of a report on this recent research, George Ratiu, Manager of Economic Research for realtor.com, said:
“The pandemic has delayed plans for many Americans, and homeowners looking to move on to the next stage of life are no exception. Recent survey data suggests the majority of prospective sellers are actively preparing to enter the market this winter.”
Here are some highlights in the report:
Of homeowners planning to enter the market in the next year:
- 65% – Have just listed (19%) or plan to list this winter
- 93% – Have already taken steps toward listing their home, including working with an agent (28%)
- 36% – Have researched the value of their home and others in their neighborhood
- 36% – Have started making repairs or decluttering
The report also discusses the reasons sellers want to move:
- 33% – Have realized they want different home features
- 37% – Say their home no longer meets their family’s needs
- 32% – Want to move closer to friends and family
- 23% – Are looking for a home office
Data shows buyer demand remains unusually strong going into this winter. Research indicates the supply of inventory is about to increase. This could be a winter real estate market like never before.
If you’re thinking of selling or buying, now is the time to have a heart-to-heart conversation with a real estate professional in your market, as things are about to change in an unexpected way.
** Buy a Home **
Why You Shouldn’t Be Upset About 3% Mortgage Rates
With the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate from Freddie Mac climbing above 3%, rising rates are one of the topics dominating the discussion in the housing market today. And since experts project rates will rise further in the coming months, that conversation isn’t going away any time soon.
But as a homebuyer, what do rates above 3% really mean?
Today’s Average Mortgage Rate Still Presents Buyers with a Great Opportunity
Buyers don’t want mortgage rates to rise, as any upward movement increases your monthly mortgage payment. But it’s important to put today’s average mortgage rate into perspective. The graph below shows today’s rate in comparison to average rates over the last five years:
As the graph shows, even though today’s rate is above 3%, it’s still incredibly competitive.
But today’s rate isn’t just low when compared to the most recent years. To truly put today into perspective, let’s look at the last 50 years (see graph below):
When we look back even further, we can see that today’s rate is truly outstanding by comparison.
What Does That Mean for You?
Being upset that you missed out on sub-3% mortgage rates is understandable. But it’s important to realize, buying now still makes sense as experts project rates will continue to rise. And as rates rise, it will cost more to purchase a home.
As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, explains, “Rising mortgage rates, all else equal, will diminish house-buying power, meaning it will cost more per month for a borrower to buy ‘their same home.’”
In other words, the longer you wait, the more it will cost you.
While it’s true today’s average mortgage rate is higher than just a few months ago, 3% mortgage rates shouldn’t deter you from your homebuying goals. Historically, today’s rate is still low. And since rates are expected to continue rising, buying now could save you money in the long run. Let’s connect so you can buy more now.
** Finance a Home **
4 Ways Homeowners Can Use Their Equity
Your equity is a powerful tool that can help you achieve your goals as a homeowner. And chances are, your equity grew substantially over the past year. According to the latest Equity Insights Report from CoreLogic, homeowners gained an average of $51,500 in equity over the past year.
If you’re looking for the best ways to use your growing equity, here are four options:
1. Use Your Equity To Buy a Home That Fits Your Needs
If you’re finding you no longer have the space you need, it might be time to move into a larger home. Or, it’s possible you have too much space and would like something smaller. No matter the situation, consider using your equity to power a move into a home that fits your changing lifestyle. Moving into a larger home can provide extra space for remote work or loved ones. Downsizing, on the other hand, may mean saving time and money by caring for a smaller home.
2. Move to the Location of Your Dreams
If the size of your home isn’t a challenge but your current location is, it could be time to relocate to a new area. Maybe you enjoy vacationing in the mountains, at the beach, or another area, and you’re dreaming of living there year-round. Or perhaps the distance between you and your loved ones is greater than you’d like, and you want to close the gap. No matter what, your home equity can fuel your move to the location where you really want to live.
3. Start a New Business
If you’re not ready to move into a new home, you can use your equity to invest in a new business venture. As the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy says:
“There is an estimate of 31.7 million small business owners in the United States, many of them started their business with the equity they had in their home.”
While it’s not recommended that homeowners use their equity for unnecessary spending, leveraging your equity to start a business that you’re passionate about can potentially grow your nest egg further.
4. Fund an Education
Whether you have a loved one preparing to head off to college or you’re planning to go back to school yourself, the thought of paying for higher education can be daunting. In either situation, using a portion of your growing equity can help with those costs, so you can make an investment in someone’s future.
Your equity can help you achieve your goals. If you’re unsure how much equity you have in your home, let’s connect today so you can start planning your next move.
** Bottom Line **
There are opportunities to sell, buy, or refinance a home now. When you rely on a trusted professional for information and allow me to be your guide, you can make the best decisions for you and your family. If you or anyone you know is thinking about selling, buying, or financing a home, call me to start the conversation.
My family and I are truly grateful for the clients and partners who have placed their trust in Huntington Group and me this year. Every each and every customer makes a difference in our lives. We would like to wish you and your family the very happiest holiday season.