Why Buying a Home May Make More Sense Than Renting

Link

Some Highlights

  • If you’re trying to decide whether to rent or buy a home, consider the advantages homeownership offers.
  • Buying a home can help you escape the cycle of rising rents, it’s a powerful wealth-building tool, and it’s typically considered a good hedge against inflation.
  • If you’re ready to take advantage of the benefits of homeownership, talk with a trusted real estate professional at www.armstrongfield.com to explore your options.

Why Buying a Home May Make More Sense Than Renting [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Three Things Buyers Can Do in Today’s Housing Market

It’s clear the 2022 housing market has been defined by rising mortgage rates. With rates on the rise, it’s also become more costly to purchase a home. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“Compared to one year ago, the monthly mortgage payment rose to $1,944 from $1,265, an increase of 53.7%.”

If you’re thinking of buying a home or have been trying to recently, that’s a big increase in a monthly mortgage payment – and it may be causing you to press pause on your plans. This jump is making homes less affordable, especially compared to the last two years when mortgage rates were at historic lows.

The good news is you can navigate today’s housing market and this rising rate environment with a few simple tips. Here are three things you may want to consider to help make your homeownership goals a reality.

1. Expand Your Search Area and Criteria

If you’ve been looking for a home in the city center or a specific area that’s starting to feel out of your price range, you may want to try looking a little further out in a location that could be more affordable. Expanding your search location or re-prioritizing the items on your wish list can open up opportunities you haven’t considered, and that could help you afford more of what you need (and want) in a home. As CNET notes:

“Area growth is likely to keep pace with the market, which means that the outskirts of town might be hopping within five years. Consider stepping out of your ideal location by searching in the nearby cities. You may find better prices and more square footage.”

2. Explore Alternative Financing Options

Working with a trusted lender to learn about the different loan types and options is essential too. According to Nerd Wallet:

“A variety of mortgages are available with varying down payment and eligibility requirements.”

Experts know how to point you in the right direction when it comes to exploring ways to find the best home loan for your situation. With rising mortgage rates making it more costly to finance a home today, there may be an ideal option out there your loan officer can introduce you to. This could make a home purchase more affordable and within your financial reach over the life of your loan.

3. Look for Grants, Gift Funds, and Down Payment Assistance

There are also many options available when it comes to securing the funding you need to purchase a home. One valuable resource to explore is downpaymentresource.com. Searching for specific down payment assistance options available in your local community could be a game changer when it comes to taking your first step toward homeownership. As NAR indicates:

“Many local governments and non-profit organizations offer down-payment assistance grants and loans, targeted to area borrowers and often with specific borrower requirements.”

Plus, there are programs and special benefits for individuals working in certain professions or with unique statuses, including teachers, doctors and nurses, and veterans.

Ultimately, that means there are many federal, state, and local programs available for you to explore. The best way to do that is to connect with a local real estate professional and your lender to learn more about what’s available in your area.

Bottom Line

If you’ve been searching for a home and have found yourself stepping out of the process because you’re worried about rising costs, connect with a trusted real estate expert. Having a team of local advisors on your side may be just what you need to guide your search in a new and more affordable direction.

Expert Forecasts on Mortgage Rates

Expert Forecasts on Mortgage Rates

Expert Forecasts on Mortgage Rates | MyKCM

If you’ve been thinking of buying a home, you may have been watching what’s happened with mortgage rates over the past year. It’s true they’ve risen dramatically, but where will they go from here, especially as the market continues to slow?

As you think about your homeownership goals and decide if now’s the time to make your move, the best place to turn to for that information is the professionals. Here’s a summary of the latest mortgage rate forecasts from housing market experts.

Experts Project Mortgage Rates Will Stabilize

While mortgage rates continue to fluctuate due to ongoing inflationary pressures and economic uncertainty, experts project they’ll start to stabilize in the months ahead. According to the latest projections, mortgage rates are expected to hover in the low to mid 5% range initially, and then potentially dip into the high 4% range by later next year (see chart below):

Expert Forecasts on Mortgage Rates | MyKCM

That could bring you some welcome relief. So far this year, mortgage rates have climbed over 2% due to the Federal Reserve’s response to inflation, and that’s made it more expensive to buy a home. And wondering if the rise in rates will continue is keeping some prospective buyers on the sidelines.

But now that experts say mortgage rates should stabilize, this gives you a bit more certainty about what they think the future holds, and that may help you feel more confident about your decision to buy a home.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re looking to buy your first home, move up to a larger home, or even downsize, you need to know what’s happening in the housing market so you can make the most informed decision possible. Let’s connect to discuss your goals and determine the best plan for your move.

Jim Armstrong
Broker
Armstrong Field Real Estate

Buyers, you may face less competition as bidding wars ease

One of the top stories in recent real estate headlines was the intensity and frequency of bidding wars. With so many buyers looking to purchase a home and so few of them available for sale, fiercely competitive bidding wars became the norm during the pandemic – and it drove home prices up. If you tried to buy a house over the past two years, you probably experienced this firsthand and may have been outbid on several homes along the way.

But here’s the news you’ve been waiting for: data shows clear signs bidding wars are easing this year.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average number of offers on recently sold homes has declined considerably over the past few months (see graph below):

Buyers: You May Face Less Competition as Bidding Wars Ease | Keeping Current Matters

The graph shows homes were seeing a high of around five offers earlier this year. But the latest data shows that average was down to just shy of three offers per recently sold home. This shift is happening largely because rising mortgage rates moderated buyer demand and slowed home sales, resulting in a growing supply of homes on the market. Essentially, more choices for buyers.

What This Means for You

If you put your home search on pause because you were outbid last year or because you didn’t want to deal with the peak intensity of bidding wars, you can breathe a welcome sigh of relief. While it’s still a sellers’ market, an uptick in inventory gives you a window of opportunity to jump back in. You may still be competing with some buyers, but it likely won’t be anything like it was just a few short months ago.

Bottom Line

If you put your plans on pause because of intense bidding wars in recent years, it may be time to kick off your home search. Today, bidding wars are easing and that may mean less competition for you as a buyer. If you’re serious about buying a home or making a move, partner with a trusted real estate professional to get started today.

THE DREAM OF HOMEOWNERSHIP IS WORTH THE EFFORT

The Dream of Homeownership Is Worth the Effort | MyKCM
If you’re in the market to buy a home this season, stick with it. Homebuyers face challenges in any market, and today’s is no exception. But if you persevere, your decision to purchase a home will be worth the effort in the end. In fact, a recent survey from Bankrate shows homeownership is so powerful that:

Nearly three in four homeowners say they would still buy their current home if they had it to do [sic] all over again.”

That means the results – owning a home and the benefits that come with it – outweigh the effort needed to achieve their goal. If you’re a homebuyer, let that provide you with the confidence to know the work you’re putting in today will pay off for years to come. Here are a few reasons to stick with your search and focus on the outcome.

Homeownership Contributes Significantly to Your Financial Well-Being

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) lists several motivations to consider if you’re thinking about buying a home. One of the top financial reasons is the equity you build. As NAR says:

“Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity . . . Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan.”

Your equity is a powerful tool you can leverage in a number of ways. And with recent home price appreciation, homeowners are seeing record levels of equity today. That may be one reason why so many people view owning a home as a great investment and a top indicator of financial well-being. As the survey from Bankrate mentioned above shows:

“. . . Americans place a higher value on homeownership than on any other indicator of economic stability, . . .”

Owning a home ranks above other major accomplishments like retirement, having a successful career, and getting a college degree. That indicates just how impactful the financial benefits of homeownership truly are.

The Emotional Benefits of Owning a Home Are Powerful

Of course, homeownership is more than an investment. In their list of top reasons to buy a home, NAR also highlights some of the powerful, non-financial aspects of homeownership. Among them is the opportunity to customize your home to reflect your personality and needs. As they say:

“The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your lifestyle.”

Another benefit homeowners enjoy is the stability it provides. Homeowners typically stay put longer than renters. According to NAR, when you remain in one place longer than a few years, you can grow closer to your community. And that can enhance your sense of pride and lead to better relationships.

What Does That Mean for You?

The benefits of homeownership are powerful, as Leslie Rouda Smith, President of NAR, says:

“From building personal wealth and fostering communities, to strengthening social stability and driving the national economy, the value of homeownership is indisputable.”

Even if you face challenges in today’s market, the payoff when you succeed and purchase a home will be worth it.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning to buy a home this year, there are incredible benefits waiting for you at the end of your journey. Let’s connect to discuss everything homeownership has to offer.

Search for Massachusetts Homes

Ready to buy or sell a home?
Contact Jim Armstrong
Voice/Text: 978-394-6736
Email: jarmstrong@armstrongfield.com

Are You Wondering if This Is the Year To Buy a Home?

Are You Wondering if This Is the Year To Buy a Home? | MyKCM

Every year, many renters ask themselves the same question: Should I continue renting, or is it time to buy a home? If you’re a renter, chances are you’ve asked yourself that question at least once, and it’s likely because you’ve faced an increase in your monthly housing costs over time. After all, according to Census data, rents have risen consistently for decades.

To make an informed and powerful decision, the first step is understanding what’s happening in today’s housing market so you can determine which option is the better long-term financial decision for you.

Rents Are Going Up Again This Year

Rents are skyrocketing right now. Data from realtor.com shows just how much rental prices are surging throughout the country. The graph below highlights rental unit price increases over the past year:

Are You Wondering if This Is the Year To Buy a Home? | MyKCM

If you’re a renter and plan on signing a new lease, your monthly costs are likely to go up when you do. Those rising costs can have a big impact on your financial goals, including any plans you’re making to save for a home purchase.

Homeownership Offers Stable Monthly Costs

Of course, one of the key benefits of owning your home is that you’re able to lock in and stabilize your payments for the duration of your loan. That’s not the case when you rent.

While rents are already on the rise, there’s a good chance many people will see their rental costs increase even more this year. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comsays:

With rents already at a high and expected to keep going up, rental affordability will increasingly challenge many Americans in 2022. For those thinking about making the transition from renting to buying their first home, rising rents will remain a motivating factor. . . .”

So, if you’re ready to become a homeowner, waiting any longer may not make financial sense. Instead, escape the cycle of rising rents and enjoy the many benefits that come with homeownership today.

Bottom Line

Starting your journey towards homeownership can pay off significantly this year. If you’re financially ready today, let’s connect so we can discuss your options.

Jim Armstrong
Mobile 978-394-6736
REALTOR/Broker
Armstrong Field Real Estate
www.ArmstrongField.com
HomeinSalem.com

Spring 2022 Residential Real Estate Market Outlook

The spring 2022 market is right around the corner and many people are wondering what is in store for potential home buyers and sellers. Here is my brief take on it, with the caveat that it’s almost impossible to predict it with absolute accuracy, no matter how experienced a person is (and I have 20+ years as a real estate professional).

If you’re looking to buy:

  • Similar to last spring, low inventory and high demand will create a strong seller’s market, but it won’t be quite as intense as in 2021. Instead of a 20% hike in prices, you can expect appreciation to hover around 5%-6%.
  • You may still face bidding wars, but the good news is they aren’t likely to be as intense or frequent as more homes come on the market this spring.
  • However, you still need to head into the process with a hefty helping of patience and an open mind. The last thing you want to do is panic buy and end up with a home you and your budget regret. That said, consider all your options (single-family, townhome, condo, new construction) even if it’s a deviation from what you initially set out to purchase.
  • Mortgage rates jumped in early 2022 to an average of 3.92% by mid-February. Most housing experts agree rates will continue to inch upwards due to inflation, Federal Reserve tapering, and the war in Ukraine. That said, it’s essential to prepare now for buying a home. If you haven’t already, get pre-approved by a trusted mortgage lender.

If you’re looking to sell:

  • As mentioned above, this spring will be a strong seller’s market; however, you’ll need to keep both feet on the ground. Compared to 2021, you’re less likely to see a fierce bidding war drive up your sale price.
  • The sooner you can get your home on the market, the better. Sellers on the front end of the spring selling season are more likely to see their homes sell quickly as inventory hasn’t had time to build up. The further we get into the spring and summer, the more homes buyers will have to choose from.
  • Go ahead and prep your home for the market. Schedule any repairs or upgrades ASAP since things are taking longer to complete due to supply and labor shortages.

If you’re looking to buy or sell this spring or summer and need guidance along the way, I’d love to help. Give me a call at your convenience—I look forward to hearing from you.

Jim Armstrong
jarmstrong@armstrongfield.com
978-394-6736

AMERICANS CHOOSE REAL ESTATE AS THE BEST INVESTMENT

Americans Choose Real Estate as the Best Investment [INFOGRAPHIC]

Americans Choose Real Estate as the Best Investment [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • According to a Gallup poll, real estate has been rated the best long-term investment for eight years in a row.
  • Real estate tops the list because you’re not just buying a place to call home – you’re investing in your future. Real estate is typically considered a stable and secure asset that can grow in value over time.
  • Let’s connect today if you’re ready to make real estate your best investment this year.

Buyers Want To Know: Why Is Housing Supply Still So Low?

Buyers Want To Know: Why Is Housing Supply Still So Low? | MyKCM

One key question that’s top of mind for homebuyers this year is: why is it so hard to find a house to buy? The truth is, we’re in the ultimate sellers’ market, so real estate is ultra-competitive for buyers right now. The number of buyers searching for a home greatly outweighs how many homes are available for sale.

While low inventory in the housing market isn’t new, it’s a challenge that continues to grow over time. Here’s a look at two reasons why today’s housing supply is low and what that means for you.

1. New Home Construction Fell Behind for Several Years

The graph below shows new home construction for single-family homes over the past five decades, including the long-term average for housing units completed. Builders exceeded that average during the housing bubble (shown in red on the graph). The result was an oversupply of homes on the market, so home values declined. That was one of the factors that led to the housing crash back in 2008.

Since then, the level of new home construction has fallen off. For the last 13 straight years, builders haven’t been able to construct enough homes to meet the historical average (as illustrated in green on the graph). That underbuilding left us with a multi-year inventory deficit going into the pandemic.

Buyers Want To Know: Why Is Housing Supply Still So Low? | MyKCM

2. The Pandemic’s Impact on the Housing Market

Then, when the pandemic hit, it fueled a renewed appreciation and focus on the meaning of home. Having a safe space to live, work, school, and exercise became even more important for Americans throughout the country. So, as mortgage rates dropped to at or below 3%, buyers eagerly entered the market looking to capitalize on those low rates to secure a home that would fulfill their changing needs. At the same time, sellers hesitated to put their houses on the market as concerns about the pandemic mounted.

The result? The number of homes available for sale dropped even further. A recent article from realtor.com explains:

Last month, the number of home listings dropped 26.8% compared with the same time a year earlier. This meant there were about 177,000 fewer homes listed in what’s already typically a slower month due to the holidays and colder weather. . . .”

What Does All of This Mean for You?

For a buyer, low inventory can be a challenge. You want to find the home of your dreams, and you don’t want to settle. But what if there just aren’t that many homes to choose from?

There is some good news. Experts are projecting more homes will soon become available thanks to sellers re-entering the market. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, shares this hope, but offers perspective:

We expect that we’ll start to see a turnaround and inventory will stabilize and start to go up a little bit in 2022. . . . But that means we’re looking at inventory levels of roughly half of what we saw before the pandemic. For buyers, the market is likely to continue to move fast. If you see a home you like, you want to jump on it right away.

Basically, inventory is still low, even though more homes are coming. But you shouldn’t put your plans on hold because you’re waiting for those additional houses to hit the market.  Instead, stick with your search and persevere through today’s low inventory. You can find your next home if you’re patient and focused.

Remember your goals and why finding a home is so important. Those things should be the driving force behind your search. Share them with your agent and be clear about your priorities. Your trusted advisor is your greatest support as you navigate today’s low housing supply to find the home of your dreams.

Bottom Line 

If you’re planning to buy this year, the key to success will be patience given today’s low inventory. Let’s connect to discuss what’s happening in our area, what homes are available, and why it’s still worthwhile to prioritize your home search today.

What Do Past Years Tell Us About Today’s Real Estate Market?

As you follow the news, you’re likely seeing headlines discussing what’s going on in today’s housing market. Chances are high that some of the more recent storylines you’ve come across mention terms like cooling or slowing when talking about where the market is headed.

But what do these terms mean? The housing market today is anything but normal, and it’s still an incredibly strong sellers’ market, especially when compared to the few years leading up to the pandemic. With that in mind, what can previous years tell us about today’s real estate market and if it’s truly slowing?

We’re Still Seeing an Above Average Number of Sales
You may see headlines about a drop in home sales. But are those headlines telling the full story? The most recent Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) does show a drop of about 2% from July to August. But the month-over-month decline doesn’t provide the full picture (see graph below): Existing home sale vs pre-pandemic

 Today’s home sales are well ahead of some of the more normal years that led up to the health crisis. That means buyers are still in the market, which is great news if you’re planning to list your home.


Houses Are Selling Faster Than Usual
When headlines mention the market is slowing, sellers may naturally wonder if their house will sell as quickly as they’d like. According to the most recent Realtors Confidence Index from NAR, homes are still selling at record speed (see graph below)

Again, if we look back at data from previous years, we can see the average time on the market – 17 days – means homes are selling faster than a normal pace.

Bidding Wars Are Still the Norm
The Realtors Confidence Index from NAR also shows a drop in the average number of offers homes are receiving in August, and many headlines may simply focus there without providing the important context (see graph below)

Number of Offers are still above the average

Again, it’s important to compare today’s market to trends from recent years. Currently, the average number of offers per listing is higher than 39 of the previous 45 months. That means the likelihood of a bidding war on your home is still high. And the number of offers your house receives can have a major influence on the final sale price.

So, Is the Market Slowing Down?
While there are slight declines in various month-to-month data, it’s important to keep historical context in mind when determining what’s happening in today’s market. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, put it best recently, saying:

“It’s not the white-hot market from earlier in the year & it’s not the 2020 market benefiting from a wave of pent-up demand but make no mistake this is still a hot housing market.”

Bottom Line
Don’t let headlines make you rethink listing your home this fall. Selling today means you can still take advantage of high buyer demand, multiple offers, and a quick sale. If you’re thinking of selling your house, let’s connect and discuss why this fall is the perfect time to do so.