Date Archives: March 2022

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buying a home | 94 Posts
mortgage | 3 Posts
real estate news | 44 Posts
selling a home | 28 Posts
Uncategorized | 8 Posts
March
15

If you're thinking of selling your house this year, timing is crucial. After all, you'll want to balance getting the most out of the sale of your current home and making the best investment when you buy your next one.

If that's the case, you should know – you may be able to get the best of both worlds today. Here are four reasons why this spring may be your golden window of opportunity.

1. The Number of Homes on the Market Is Still Low

Today's limited supply of houses for sale is putting sellers in the driver's seat. There are far more buyers in the market today than there are homes available. That means purchasers are eagerly waiting for your house.

Listing your house now makes it the center of attention. And if you work with a real estate professional to price your house correctly, you can expect it to sell quickly and likely get multiple strong offers this season.

2. Your Equity Is Growing in Record Amounts

According to the most recent Homeowner Equity Insight report from CoreLogic, homeowners are sitting on record amounts of equity thanks to recent home price appreciation. The report finds that the average homeowner has gained $55,300 in equity over the past year.

That much equity can open doors for you to make a move. If you've been holding off on selling because you're worried about how rising prices will impact your next home search, rest assured your equity can help fuel your move. It may be just what you need to cover a large portion – if not all – of the down payment on your next home.

3. Mortgage Rates Are Increasing

While it's true mortgage rates have already been climbing this year, current mortgage rates are still below what they've been in recent decades. In the 2000s, the average mortgage rate was 6.27%. In the 1990s, the average rate was 8.12%.

For context, the current average 30-year fixed mortgage rate, according to Freddie Mac, is 3.85%. And while recent global uncertainty caused rates to dip slightly in the near-term, experts project rates will rise in the months ahead. Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, says:

"For homebuyers, we believe that borrowing costs will likely rise with the increase in mortgage rates…."

When that happens, it'll cost you more to purchase your next home. That's why it's important to act now if you're ready to sell. Work with a trusted advisor to kickstart the process so you can take key steps to making your next purchase before rates climb further.

4. Home Prices Are Climbing Too

Home prices have been skyrocketing in recent years because of the imbalance of supply and demand. And as long as that imbalance continues, so will the rise in home values.

What does that mean for you? If you're selling so you can move into the home of your dreams or downsize into something that better suits your current needs, you have an opportunity to get ahead of the curve by leveraging your growing equity and purchasing your next home before prices climb higher.

And, once you make your purchase, you can find peace of mind in knowing ongoing home price appreciation is growing the value of your new investment.

If you are thinking of selling your home this year, consider this...

If you want to win when you sell and when you buy, this spring could be your golden opportunity. Get connected with a trusted Montague Miller & Co real estate professional so you have the insights you need to take advantage of today's incredible sellers' market.

Resources: Freddie Mac, CoreLogic, Keeping Current Matters

March
9

Key Factors That Impact Affordability Today | MyKCM

You can't read an article about residential real estate without the author mentioning the affordability challenges that today's buyers face. There's no doubt homes are less affordable today than they were over the last two years, but that doesn't mean homes are now unaffordable.

There are three measures used to establish home affordability: home prices, mortgage rates, and wages. Let's look closely at each of these components.

1. Home Prices

The most recent Home Price Insights report by CoreLogic shows home values have increased by 19.1% from last January to this January. That was one reason affordability declined over the past year.

2. Mortgage Rates

While the current global uncertainty makes it difficult to project mortgage rates, we do know current rates are almost one full percentage point higher than they were last year. According to Freddie Mac, the average monthly rate for last February was 2.81%. This February it was 3.76%. That increase in the mortgage rate also contributes to homes being less affordable than they were last year.

3. Wages

The one big, positive component in the affordability equation is an increase in American wages. In a recent article by RealtyTrac, Peter Miller addresses that point:

"Prices are up, but what about wages? ADP reports that job holder incomes increased 5.9% last year but rose 8.0% for those who switched employers. In effect, some of the higher cost to buy a home has been offset by more cash income."

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) also recently released information that looks at income and affordability. The NAR data provides a comparison of the current median family income versus the qualifying income for a median-priced home in each region of the country. Here's a graph of their findings:

Key Factors That Impact Affordability Today | MyKCM

As the graph shows, the median family income (shown in blue on the graph) is greater than the qualifying income needed to buy a median-priced home (shown in green on the graph) in all four regions of the country. While those figures may vary in certain locations within each region, it's important to note that, in most of the country, homes are still affordable.

So, when you think about affordability, remember that the picture includes more than just home prices and mortgage rates. When prices rise and rates rise, it does impact affordability, and experts project both of those things will climb in the months ahead. That's why it's less affordable to buy a home than it was over the past two years when prices and rates were lower than they are today. But wages need to be factored into affordability as well. Because wages have been rising, they're a big reason that, while less affordable, homes are not unaffordable today.

Bottom Line

To find out more about affordability in our local area, let's discuss where home prices are locally, what's happening with mortgage rates, and get you in contact with a lender so you can make an informed financial decision. Remember, while less affordable, homes are not unaffordable, which still gives you an opportunity to buy today.

March
9

Down Payment Assistance Programs Can Help You Achieve Homeownership | MyKCM

For many homebuyers, the thought of saving for a down payment can feel daunting, especially in today's market. That's why, when asked what they find most difficult in the homebuying process, some buyers say it's one of the hardest steps on the path to homeownership. Data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows:

"For first-time home buyers, 29 percent said saving for a downpayment [sic] was the most difficult step in the process."

If you're finding that your down payment is your biggest hurdle, the good news is there are many down payment assistance programs available that can help you achieve your goals. The key is understanding where to look and learning what options are available. Here's some information that can help.

First-Time and Repeat Buyers Are Often Eligible

According to downpaymentresource.com, there are thousands of financial assistance programs available for homebuyers, like affordable mortgage options for first-time buyers. But, of the many programs that are available, down payment assistance options make up the large majority. They say 73% of the assistance available to homebuyers is there to help you with your down payment.

And it's not just first-time homebuyers that are eligible for these programs. Downpaymentresource.com notes:

"You don't have to be a first-time buyer. Over 38% of all programs are for repeat homebuyers who have owned a home in the last 3 years."

That means no matter where you are in your homeownership journey, there could be an option available for you.

There Are Local Programs and Specialized Programs for Public Servants

There are also multiple down payment assistance resources designed to help those who serve our communities. Teacher Next Door is one of those programs:

"The Teacher Next Door Program was designed to increase home ownership among teachers and other public servants, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination."

Teacher Next Door is just one program that seeks to help teachers, first responders, health providers, government employees, active-duty military personnel, and veterans reach their down payment goals.

And, most importantly, even if you don't qualify for these types of specialized programs, there are many federal, state, and local programs available for you to explore. And the best way to do that is to connect with a local real estate professional to learn more about what's available in your area.

Bottom Line

If saving for a down payment seems daunting, there are programs available that can help. And if you work to serve our community, there may be even more opportunities available to you. To learn more about your options, let's connect so you can start your homebuying journey today.

Resources: Keeping Current Matters, Teacher Next Door, Simplifying the Market, National Association of Realtors (NAR)

March
9

Highlights

  • Today's housing market is the direct result of low supply and high buyer demand. Here's what that means for you and your plans to buy or sell.
  • For buyers, expect competition, be ready to move fast, and be prepared to submit your strongest offer. For sellers,  know your house will be the center of attention  and that it'll likely sell quickly and get multiple offers.
  • If you're ready to move, let's connect to talk about our local area and how you can take advantage of today's unprecedented housing market.

Resources by Keeping Current Matters, NAR

March
3

The annual inflation rate in the United States is currently around 7.5%—the highest it has been since 1982.1 It doesn't matter if you're a cashier, lawyer, plumber, or retiree; if you spend U.S. dollars, inflation impacts you.

Economists expect the effects of inflation, like a higher cost of goods, to continue.2 Luckily, an investment in real estate can ease some of the financial strain.

Here's what you need to know about inflation, how it impacts you, and how an investment in real estate can help.

WHAT IS INFLATION AND HOW DOES IT IMPACT ME?

Inflation is a decline in the value of money. When the rate of inflation rises, prices for goods and services go up. Therefore, a dollar buys you a little bit less with every passing day. 

The consumer price index, or CPI, is a standard measure of inflation. Based on the latest CPI data, prices increased 7.5% from January 2021 to January 2022.1 A little bit of inflation is considered healthy for the economy, but 7.5% in a single year is high.

How does inflation affect your life? Here are a few of the negative impacts:

  • Decreased Purchasing Power We touched on this already, but as prices rise, your dollar won't stretch as far as it used to. That means you'll be able to purchase fewer goods and services with a limited budget.
  • Increased Borrowing Costs In an effort to curb inflation, the Federal Reserve is expected to raise the federal funds rate. Therefore, consumers are likely to pay a higher interest rate on new mortgages, car loans, and variable-rate credit cards.3
  • Lower Standard of Living  Wage growth tends to lag behind price increases. According to Moody Analytics, when adjusted for inflation, average weekly earnings in January were down 3.1% from a year earlier.4 As such, life is becoming less affordable for everyone. Inflation can force those on a fixed income, like retirees, to make lifestyle changes and prioritize essentials.
  • Eroded Savings  If you store all your savings in a bank account, inflation is even more damaging. As of February 2022, the national average interest rate for a savings account is 0.06%, not nearly enough to keep up with inflation. And economists don't expect that rate to go much higher.3

One of the best ways to mitigate these effects is to find a place to invest your money other than the bank. Even though interest rates are expected to rise, they're unlikely to get high enough to beat inflation. If you hoard cash, the value of your money will decrease every year and more rapidly in years with elevated inflation.

REAL ESTATE: A PROVEN HEDGE AGAINST INFLATION

So where is a good place to invest your money to protect (hedge) against the impacts of inflation? There are several investment vehicles that financial advisors traditionally recommend, including:

  • Stocks Some people invest in stocks as their primary inflation hedge. However, the stock market can become volatile during inflationary times, as we've seen in recent months.5
  • Commodities  Commodities are tangible assets, like oil, livestock, and minerals. The theory is that the price of commodities should climb alongside inflation. But the classic choice–gold–hasn't risen consistently during periods of inflation since the 1970s, according to data from Morningstar Direct.6
  • Inflation-Indexed Bonds Treasury inflation-protected securities, or TIPS, are U.S. government-issued bonds that are indexed to the inflation rate. Bonds are considered low risk, but the returns they offer are generally low, as well.7
  • Real Estate  Real estate prices across the board tend to rise along with inflation and often rise faster than inflation.8 That's one of the reasons demand for real estate is soaring right now.9

We believe real estate is the best hedge against inflation. Owning real estate does more than protect your wealth—it can actually make you money. For example, home prices rose nearly 17% from 2020 to 2021, 10% ahead of the 7% inflation that occurred in the same timeframe.10

Plus, certain types of real estate investments can help you generate a stream of passive income. In the past year, property owners didn't just avoid the erosion of purchasing power caused by inflation; they got ahead.

TYPES OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS

Though there are myriad ways to invest in real estate, there are three basic investment types that we recommend for beginner and intermediate investors. Remember that we can help you determine which options are best for your financial goals and budget.

Primary Residence

If you own your home, you're already ahead. The advantages of homeownership become even more apparent in inflationary times. As inflation raises prices throughout the economy, the value of your home is likely to go up concurrently. At the same time, you've locked in a set mortgage payment for the next 30 years, so you'll be immune to rising rental costs.

If you don't already own your primary residence, homeownership is a worthwhile goal to pursue.

Though the task of saving enough for a down payment may seem daunting, there are several strategies that can make homeownership easier to achieve. If you're not sure how to get started with the home buying process, contact us. Our team can help you find the strategy and property that fits your needs and budget.

Whether you already own a primary residence or are still renting, now is a good time to also start thinking about an investment property. The types of investment properties you'll buy as a solo investor generally fall into two categories: long-term rentals and short-term rentals.

Long-Term (Traditional) Rentals

A long-term or traditional rental is a dwelling that's leased out for an extended period. An example of this is a single-family home where a tenant signs a one-year lease and brings all their own furniture.

Long-term rentals are a form of housing. For most tenants, the rental serves as their primary residence, which means it's a necessary expense. This unique quality of long-term rentals can help to provide stable returns in uncertain times, especially when we have high inflation.

To invest in a long-term rental, you'll need to budget for maintenance, repairs, property taxes, and insurance. You'll also need to have a plan for managing the property. But a well-chosen investment property should pay for itself through rental income, and you'll benefit from appreciation as the property rises in value.

We can help you find an ideal long-term rental property to suit your budget and investment goals. Reach out to talk about your needs and our local market opportunities. 

Short-Term (Vacation) Rentals

Short-term or vacation rentals function more like hotels in that they offer temporary accommodations. A short-term rental is defined as a residential dwelling that is rented for 30 days or less. The furniture and other amenities are provided by the property owner, and today many short-term rentals are listed on websites like Airbnb and Vrbo.

A short-term rental can potentially earn you a higher return than a long-term rental, but this comes at the cost of daily, hands-on management. With a short-term rental, you're not just entering the real estate business; you're entering the hospitality business, too.

Done right, short-term rentals can be both a hedge against inflation and a profitable source of income. As a bonus, when the home isn't being rented you have an affordable vacation spot for yourself and your family!

Contact us today if you're interested in exploring options in either the long-term or short-term rental market. Mortgage rates are expected to rise, so you'll want to act fast to maximize your investment return.

 

WE'RE INVESTED IN HELPING YOU

Inflation is a fact of life in the U.S. economy. Luckily, you can prepare for inflation with a carefully managed investment portfolio that includes real estate. Owning a primary residence or investing in a short-term or long-term rental will help you both mitigate the effects of inflation and grow your net worth, which makes it a strategic move in our current financial environment.

If you're ready to invest in real estate to build wealth and protect yourself from rising inflation, contact us. Our team of real estate professionals at Montague Miller & Co, Realtors, can help you find a primary residence or investment property that meets your financial goals. 

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.

Sources:

  1. Bloomberg -
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-02-10/u-s-inflation-charges-higher-with-larger-than-forecast-gain
  2. CNN -
    https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/01/economy/inflation-prices-2022-preview/index.html
  3. CNBC -
    https://www.cnbc.com/2022/01/26/the-fed-sets-the-stage-for-a-rate-hike-heres-what-that-means-for-you.html
  4. Reuters -
    https://www.reuters.com/business/us-consumer-prices-rise-strongly-january-weekly-jobless-claims-fall-2022-02-10/
  5. NBC News -
    https://www.nbcnews.com/business/markets/market-slide-dow-falls-700-points-sp-enters-correction-territory-rcna13304
  6. CNBC -
    https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/20/gold-is-losing-its-status-as-an-inflation-hedge-two-traders-warn.html
  7. Morningstar -
    https://www.morningstar.com/articles/1079158/why-are-inflation-protected-bond-funds-losing-money
  8. The Washington Post -
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2022/01/04/heres-how-inflation-could-affect-your-next-real-estate-move/
  9. Bloomberg -
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-01-24/is-real-estate-a-good-investment-hedge-against-inflation-what-the-experts-say
  10. CNN -
    https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/20/homes/us-nar-home-sales-december-and-2021/index.html