Oops! Home Prices Didn’t Crash After All

During the fourth quarter of last year, many housing experts predicted home prices were going to crash this year. Here are a few of those forecasts:

Jeremy Siegel, Russell E. Palmer Professor Emeritus of Finance at the Wharton School of Business:

“I expect housing prices fall 10% to 15%, and the housing prices are accelerating on the downside.”

Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody’s Analytics:

“Buckle in. Assuming rates remain near their current 6.5% and the economy skirts recession, then national house prices will fall almost 10% peak-to-trough. Most of those declines will happen sooner rather than later. And house prices will fall 20% if there is a typical recession.”

Goldman Sachs:

“Housing is already cooling in the U.S., according to July data that was reported last week. As interest rates climb steadily higher, Goldman Sachs Research’s G-10 home price model suggests home prices will decline by around 5% to 10% from the peak in the U.S. . . . Economists at Goldman Sachs Research say there are risks that housing markets could decline more than their model suggests.”

The Bad News: It Rattled Consumer Confidence

These forecasts put doubt in the minds of many consumers about the strength of the residential real estate market. Evidence of this can be seen in the December Consumer Confidence Survey from Fannie Mae. It showed a larger percentage of Americans believed home prices would fall over the next 12 months than in any other December in the history of the survey (see graph below). That caused people to hesitate about their homebuying or selling plans as we entered the new year.

 

The Good News: Home Prices Never Crashed

However, home prices didn’t come crashing down and seem to be already rebounding from the minimal depreciation experienced over the last several months.

In a report just released, Goldman Sachs explained:

“The global housing market seems to be stabilizing faster than expected despite months of rising mortgage rates, according to Goldman Sachs Research. House prices are defying expectations and are rising in major economies such as the U.S.,. . . ”

Those claims from Goldman Sachs were verified by the release last week of two indexes on home prices: Case-Shiller and the FHFA.

 

Home values seem to have turned the corner and are headed back up.

Bottom Line

The housing market is much stronger than many think. To get a true evaluation of your local market, reach out to a trusted real estate professional.

Keys to Success for First-Time Homebuyers

Buying your first home is an exciting decision and a major milestone that has the power to change your life for the better. As a first-time homebuyer, it’s a vision you can bring to life, but, as the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shares, you’ll have to overcome some factors that have made it more challenging in recent years:

“Since 2011, the share of first-time home buyers has been under the historical norm of 40% as buyers face tight inventory, rising home prices, rising rents and high student debt loads.”

That said, if you’re looking to purchase your first home, here are two things you can consider to help make your dreams a reality.

Save Money with First-Time Homebuyer Programs

Being able to pay for the initial costs and fees associated with homeownership can feel like a major hurdle. Whether that’s getting a loan, being able to put together a down payment, or having money for closing costs – there are a variety of expenses that can make buying your first home feel challenging.

Fortunately, there are a lot of public and private first-time homebuyer programs that can help you get a loan with little-to-no money upfront. CNET explains:

A first-time homebuyer program can help make homeownership more affordable and accessible by offering lower mortgage rates, down payment assistance and tax incentives.”

In fact, as Bankrate says, many of these programs are offered by state and local governments:

Many states and local governments have programs that offer down payment or closing cost assistance – either low-interest-rate loans, deferred loans or even forgivable loans (aka grants) – to people looking to buy their first house . . .”

To take advantage of these programs, contact the housing authority in your state and browse sites like Down Payment Resource.

The Supply of Homes for Sale Is Low, So Explore Every Possibility

It’s a sellers’ market, meaning there aren’t enough homes on the market to meet buyer demand. So, how can you be sure you’re doing everything you can to find a home that works for you? You can increase your options by considering condominiums (condos) and townhomes. U.S. News tells us these housing types are often less expensive than single-family homes:

Condos are usually less expensive than standalone houses . . . They are also less expensive to insure.”

One reason why they may be more affordable is because they’re often smaller. But they still give you the chance to get your foot in the door and achieve your dream of owning and building equity. Beyond that, another major perk is they typically require less maintenance. As U.S. News says in the same article:

The strongest reason for purchasing a condo is that all external maintenance is usually covered by the condo association, such as landscaping, pool maintenance, external painting, paving, plowing and more. This fee also covers some internal maintenance, such as gas, electric, plumbing, HVAC and other mechanical systems.” 

Townhomes and condos are great ways to get into homeownership. Owning your home allows you to build equity, increase your net worth, and can fuel a future move.

The best way to make sure you’re set up for success, especially if you’re just starting out, is to work with a trusted real estate agent. They can educate you on the homebuying process, help you understand your local area to find options that are right for you, and coach you through making an offer in a competitive market.

Bottom Line

Today’s housing market provides some challenges for first-time homebuyers. But, there are still ways to achieve your goals, like utilizing first-time homebuyer programs and considering all of your housing options. Connect with a local real estate professional so you have an expert on your side who can help you navigate the process.

The Worst Home Price Declines May Be Behind Us

The Worst Home Price Declines Are Behind Us [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights

  • While home prices vary by local area, they’ve already hit their low point nationally, and now they’re starting to rise again.
  • Last July, prices started to decline, but around February, they began climbing back up.
  • If you put your plans to move on hold waiting to see what would happen with home prices, let’s connect to discuss if now’s the right time to jump back in.

Why Today’s Housing Market Is Not About To Crash

Why Today’s Housing Market Is Not About To Crash

There’s been some concern lately that the housing market is headed for a crash. And given some of the affordability challenges in the housing market, along with a lot of recession talk in the media, it’s easy enough to understand why that worry has come up.

But the data clearly shows today’s market is very different than it was before the housing crash in 2008. Rest assured, this isn’t a repeat of what happened back then. Here’s why.

It’s Harder To Get a Loan Now

It was much easier to get a home loan during the lead-up to the 2008 housing crisis than it is today. Back then, banks had different lending standards, making it easy for just about anyone to qualify for a home loan or refinance an existing one. As a result, lending institutions took on much greater risk in both the person and the mortgage products offered. That led to mass defaults, foreclosures, and falling prices.

Things are different today as purchasers face increasingly higher standards from mortgage companies. The graph below uses data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) to show this difference. The lower the number, the harder it is to get a mortgage. The higher the number, the easier it is.

Unemployment Recovered Faster This Time

While the pandemic caused unemployment to spike over the last couple of years, the jobless rate has already recovered back to pre-pandemic levels (see the blue line in the graph below). Things were different during the Great Recession as a large number of people stayed unemployed for a much longer period of time (see the red in the graph below):

Here’s how the quick job recovery this time helps the housing market. Because so many people are employed today, there’s less risk of homeowners facing hardship and defaulting on their loans. This helps put today’s housing market on stronger footing and reduces the risk of more foreclosures coming onto the market.

There Are Far Fewer Homes for Sale Today

There were also too many homes for sale during the housing crisis (many of which were short sales and foreclosures), and that caused prices to fall dramatically. Today, there’s a shortage of inventory available overall, primarily due to years of underbuilding homes.

The graph below uses data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Federal Reserve to show how the months’ supply of homes available now compares to the crash. Today, unsold inventory sits at just a 2.6-months’ supply. There just isn’t enough inventory on the market for home prices to come crashing down like they did in 2008.

Equity Levels Are Near Record Highs

That low inventory of homes for sale helped keep upward pressure on home prices over the course of the pandemic. As a result, homeowners today have near-record amounts of equity (see graph below):

And, that equity puts them in a much stronger position compared to the Great Recession. Molly Boesel, Principal Economist at CoreLogic, explains:

Most homeowners are well positioned to weather a shallow recession. More than a decade of home price increases has given homeowners record amounts of equity, which protects them from foreclosure should they fall behind on their mortgage payments.”

Bottom Line

The graphs above should ease any fears you may have that today’s housing market is headed for a crash. The most current data clearly shows that today’s market is nothing like it was last time.

Jim Armstrong
Broker/owner
Armstrong Field Real Estate
978-394-6736

Ways To Overcome Affordability Challenges in Today’s Housing Market

Some Highlights

  • With so few homes on the market right now, widening the scope of your search to include nearby areas could help you find more options in your budget.
  • You can also work with a trusted lender to consider alternative financing options and search for down payment assistance.
  • If you’ve been searching for a home but are concerned about rising costs, make sure you have a team of trusted real estate professionals for expert advice.

The Power of Pre-Approval

White jigsaw puzzle pieces are forming a house shape on blue background. Horizontal composition with copy space. Clipping path is included.

If you’re buying a home this spring, today’s housing market can feel like a challenge. With so few homes on the market right now, plus higher mortgage rates, it’s essential to have a firm grasp on your homebuying budget. You’ll also need a sense of determination to find the right house and act quickly when you go to put in an offer. One thing you can do to help you prepare is to get pre-approved.

To understand why it’s such an important step, you need to know what pre-approval is. As part of the process, a lender looks at your finances to determine what they’d be willing to loan you. From there, your lender will give you a pre-approval letter to help you understand how much money you can borrow.

Freddie Mac explains it like this:

A pre-approval is an indication from your lender that they are willing to lend you a certain amount of money to buy your future home. . . . Keep in mind that the loan amount in the pre-approval letter is the lender’s maximum offer. Ultimately, you should only borrow an amount you are comfortable repaying.”

Basically, pre-approval gives you critical information about the homebuying process that’ll help you understand how much you may be able to borrow so you have a stronger grasp of your options. And with higher mortgage rates impacting affordability for many buyers today, a solid understanding of your numbers is even more important.

Pre-Approval Helps Show You’re a Serious Buyer

That’s not the only thing pre-approval can do. Another added benefit is it can help a seller feel more confident in your offer because it shows you’re serious about buying their house. And, with sellers seeing a slight increase in the number of offers again this spring, making a strong offer when you find the perfect house is key.

As a recent article from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) says:

If you plan to use a mortgage for your home purchase, preapproval should be among the first steps in your search process. Not only can getting preapproved help you zero in on the right price range, but it can give you a leg up on other buyers, too.”

Bottom Line

Getting pre-approved is an important first step when you’re buying a home. It lets you know what you can borrow for your loan and shows sellers you’re serious. Connect with a local real estate professional and a trusted lender so you have the tools you need to purchase a home in today’s market.

Think Twice Before Waiting for Lower Home Prices

modern landscaped new construction home with blue sky and puffy white clouds. Covered front porch with three car garage

As the housing market continues to change, you may be wondering where it’ll go from here. One factor you’re probably thinking about is home prices, which have come down a bit since they peaked last June. And you’ve likely heard something in the news or on social media about a price crash on the horizon. As a result, you may be holding off on buying a home until prices drop significantly. But that’s not the best strategy.

A recent survey from Zonda shows 53% of millennials are still renting right now because they’re waiting for home prices to come down. But here’s the thing: the most recent data shows that home prices appear to have bottomed out and are now on the rise again. Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, reports:

“U.S. home prices rose by 0.8% in February . . . indicating that prices in most markets have already bottomed out.”

And the latest data from Black Knight shows the same shift. The graph below compares home price trends in November to those in February:

So, should you keep waiting to buy a home until prices come down? If you factor in what the experts are saying, you probably shouldn’t. The data shows prices are increasing in much of the country, not decreasing. And the latest data from the Home Price Expectation Survey indicates that experts project home prices will rise steadily and return to more normal levels of appreciation after 2023. The best way to understand what home values are doing in your area is to work with a local real estate professional who can give you the latest insights and expert advice.

Bottom Line

If you’re waiting to buy a home until prices come down, you may want to reconsider. Work with an agent to make sure you understand what’s happening in your local housing market.

The Benefits of Home Ownership

Homeownership is a dream for many people. It is a sign of success, independence, and stability. There are numerous benefits of owning a home, from financial security to emotional well-being. In this article, we will outline the advantages of homeownership and show you why making the commitment to invest in real estate is a smart choice.Buying a home makes more sense than renting

1. Building equity
When you own a home, you are building equity. This means that as you make mortgage payments, you are increasing your ownership in the property. Additionally, property values in most areas tend to increase over time, meaning that the longer you own your home, the more equity you will build.

2. Tax benefits
Homeownership comes with some tax benefits that renters do not have access to. Most notably, you can deduct certain portions of your mortgage interest and property taxes from your taxable income. This can result in significant savings, depending on the size of your mortgage and the location of your property.

3. Control over your living space
As a homeowner, you have complete control over your living space. You can make any modifications to your home that you want without having to ask a landlord for permission. This allows you to personalize your living space and create a home that truly reflects your personality and lifestyle.

4. Stability
Owning a home provides a sense of stability that renters do not have. When you own a home, you do not have to worry about rising rents or lease renewals. You have the security of knowing that you can live in your home for as long as you want, as long as you continue to make your mortgage payments.

5. Investment
A home is an investment. While there are no guarantees that your property value will increase over time, history shows that real estate tends to increase in value over time. This means that homeownership can be a smart long-term investment that can provide a significant return on your investment.

6. Social and emotional benefits
Owning a home can provide social and emotional benefits as well. Homeownership allows you to establish deep roots in a community, build strong relationships with neighbors, and feel a sense of pride in your property. Additionally, studies have shown that homeowners generally have better mental health and higher levels of life satisfaction than renters.

In conclusion, owning a home provides financial, social, and emotional benefits that renters do not have access to. While it can be a big commitment, the benefits of homeownership make it a smart choice for those who are ready to make the investment. If you are considering purchasing a home, speak with a professional REALTOR to learn more about the process and find the home that is right for you.

Search for homes at www.ArmstrongField.com