If you’re thinking of making a move, one of the biggest questions you have right now is probably: what’s happening with home prices? Despite what you may be hearing in the news, nationally, home prices aren’t falling. It’s just that price growth is beginning to normalize. Here’s the context you need to really understand that trend.
In the housing market, there are predictable ebbs and flows that happen each year. It’s called seasonality. Spring is the peak homebuying season when the market is most active. That activity is typically still strong in the summer but begins to wane as the cooler months approach. Home prices follow along with seasonality because prices appreciate most when something is in high demand.
That’s why there’s a reliable long-term home price trend. The graph below uses data from Case-Shiller to show typical monthly home price movement from 1973 through 2022 (not adjusted, so you can see the seasonality):
As the data shows, at the beginning of the year, home prices grow, but not as much as they do in the spring and summer markets. That’s because the market is less active in January and February since fewer people move in the cooler months. As the market transitions into the peak homebuying season in the spring, activity ramps up, and home prices go up a lot more in response. Then, as fall and winter approach, activity eases again. Price growth slows, but still typically appreciates.
“High mortgage rates have slowed additional price surges, with monthly increases returning to regular seasonal averages. In other words, home prices are still growing but are in line with historic seasonal expectations.”
Why This Is So Important to Understand
In the coming months, you’re going to see the media talk more about home prices. In their coverage, you’ll likely see industry terms like these:
Appreciation: when prices increase.
Deceleration of appreciation: when prices continue to appreciate, but at a slower or more moderate pace.
Depreciation: when prices decrease.
Don’t let the terminology confuse you or let any misleading headlines cause any unnecessary fear. The rapid pace of home price growth the market saw in recent years was unsustainable. It had to slow down at some point and that’s what we’re starting to see – deceleration of appreciation, not depreciation.
Remember, it’s normal to see home price growth slow down as the year goes on. And that definitely doesn’t mean home prices are falling. They’re just rising at a more moderate pace.
While the headlines are generating fear and confusion on what’s happening with home prices, the truth is simple. Home price appreciation is returning to normal seasonality. If you have questions about what’s happening with prices in your local area, connect with a real estate professional.
If you’re looking to buy a home this fall, there are a few things you need to know. Affordability is tight with today’s mortgage rates and rising home prices. At the same time, there’s a limited number of homes on the market right now and that’s creating some competition among buyers. But, if you’re strategic, there are ways to navigate these waters. The first thing you’ll want to do is get pre-approved for a mortgage. That way you’ll know your numbers and can set yourself up for success from the start of your home search.
What Pre-Approval Does for You
To understand why it’s such an important step, you need to know what pre-approval is. As part of the homebuying 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 know how much money you can borrow. Freddie Macexplains 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. Why does this help you, especially today? With higher mortgage rates and home prices impacting affordability for many buyers right now, a solid understanding of your numbers is even more important so you can truly wrap your head around your options.
Pre-Approval Helps Show Sellers You’re a Serious Buyer
Let’s face it, there are more buyers looking to buy than there are homes available for sale and that imbalance is creating some competition among homebuyers. That means you could see yourself in a multiple-offer scenario when you make an offer on a home. But getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help you stand out from other hopeful buyers.
“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.”
Pre-approval shows the seller you’re a serious buyer that’s already undergone a credit and financial check, making it more likely that the sale will move forward without unexpected delays or financial issues.
Getting pre-approved is an important first step when you’re buying a home. The more prepared you are, the better chance you have of getting the home you want. Connect with a trusted lender so you have the tools you need to purchase a home in today’s market.
Buying and owning your own home can have a big impact on your life. While there are financial reasons to become a homeowner, it’s essential to think about the non-financial benefits that make a home more than just a place to live.
Here are some of the top non-financial reasons to buy a home.
According to Fannie Mae, 94% of survey respondents say “Having Control Over What You Do with Your Living Space” is a top reason to own.
Your home is truly your own space. If you own a home, unless there are specific homeowner association requirements, you can decorate and change it the way you like. That means you can make small changes or even do big renovations to make your home perfect for you. Your home is uniquely yours and by buying, you give yourself the freedom to tailor it to your individual style. Investopediaexplains:
“One often-cited benefit of homeownership is the knowledge that you own your little corner of the world. You can customize your house, remodel, paint, and decorate without the need to get permission from a landlord.”
When you rent, you might not be able to make your place really feel like it’s yours. And if you do make any modifications, you might have to change them back before you leave. But if you own your home, you can make it just the way you want it. That level of customization can give you a sense of pride in where you live and make you feel more connected to it.
Fannie Mae also finds 90% say “Having a Good Place for Your Family To Raise Your Children” tops their list of why it’s better to buy a home.
Another important factor to think about is what stage of life you’re in. U.S. Newsbreaks it down:
“For those with young children, buying a home and putting down roots is a major driver. . . . You don’t want the upheaval of a massive rent increase or a non-renewed lease to impact your sense of stability.”
No matter which of life’s milestones you’re in, stability and predictability are important. That’s because the one constant in life is that things will change. And, as life changes around you, having a familiar home and not worrying about moving regularly helps you and those who matter most feel more secure and more comfortable.
Lastly, Fannie Mae says 82% list “Feeling Engaged in Your Community” as another key motivator to own.
Owning your home also helps you feel even more connected to your neighborhood. People who own homes usually live in them for an average of nine years, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). As that time passes, it’s natural to make friends and build strong ties in the community. As Gary Acosta, CEO and Co-Founder at the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), points out:
“Homeowners also tend to be more active in their local communities . . .”
When you care deeply about the people you live near, you’ll do what you can to contribute to your local area.
Owning your home can make your life better by giving you a sense of accomplishment, pride, stability, and connectedness. If you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner and want to learn more, reach out to a local real estate agent today.
The way Americans work has changed in recent years, and remote work is at the forefront of this shift. Experts say it’ll continue to be popular for years to come and project that 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely by 2025. To give you some perspective, that’s a 417% increase compared to the pre-pandemic years when there were just 7 million remote workers.
Remote or hybrid work allows you to change how you approach your home search. Since you’re no longer commuting every day, you may not feel it’s as essential to live near your office. If you’re willing to move a bit further out in the suburbs instead of the city, you could open up your pool of affordable options. In a recent study, Fannie Maeexplains:
“Home affordability may also be a reason why we saw an increase in remote workers’ willingness to relocate or live farther away from their workplace . . .”
If you’re thinking about moving, having this kind of location flexibility can boost your chances of finding a home that fits your budget. Work with your agent to cast a wider net that includes additional areas with a lower cost of living.
More Work Flexibility Means More Home Options
And as you broaden your search to include more affordable options, you may also find you have the chance to get more features for your money too. Given the low supply of homes for sale, finding a home that fits all your wants and needs can be challenging.
By opening up your search, you’ll give yourself a bigger pool of options to choose from, and that makes it easier to find a home that truly fits your lifestyle. This could include homes with more square footage, diverse home styles, and a wider range of neighborhood amenities that were previously out of reach.
Historically, living close to work was a sought-after perk, often coming with a hefty price tag. But now, the dynamics have changed. If you work from home, you have the freedom to choose where you want to live without the burden of long daily commutes. This shift allows you to focus more on finding a home that is affordable and delivers on your dream home features.
Remote work goes beyond job flexibility. It’s a chance to broaden your horizons in your home search. Without being bound to a fixed location, you have the freedom to explore all your options. Reach out to a local real estate agent to find out how this freedom can lead you to your ideal home.
If you’re planning to buy a home, one thing to consider is what experts project home prices will do in the future and how that might affect your investment. While you may have seen negative news over the past year about home prices, they’re doing far better than expected and are rising across the country. And data shows, experts forecast home prices will keep appreciating.
Experts Project Ongoing Appreciation
Pulsenomics polled over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts in the latest quarterly Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES). The results show what the panelists project will happen with home prices over the next five years. Here are those expert forecasts saying home prices will go up every year through 2027 (see graph below):If you’re someone who was worried home prices would fall because of stories you’ve read online, here’s the big takeaway. Even though home prices vary by local market, experts project prices will continue to rise across the country for years to come. And these numbers indicate the return to more normal home price appreciation.
And while the projected increase in 2024 isn’t as large as 2023, it’s important to recognize home price appreciation is cumulative. In other words, if these experts are correct, after your home’s value rises by 3.32% this year, it’ll appreciate by another 2.17% next year. This is a good example of why owning a home is a choice that wins big over time.
What Does This Mean for You?
Once you buy a home, price appreciation raises your home’s value, and that grows your household wealth. To see how a typical home’s value could change in the next few years using the expert projections from the HPES, check out the graph below:In this example, let’s say you bought a $400,000 home at the beginning of this year. If you factor in the forecast from the HPES, you could potentially accumulate more than $71,000 in household wealth over the next five years.
So, if you’re thinking about whether buying a home is a good choice, remember how it can be a powerful way to grow your wealth in the long run.
According to the experts, home prices are expected to grow over the next five years at a more normal pace. If you’re ready to become a homeowner, know that buying today can set you up for long-term success as home values (and your own net worth) grow. Connect with a local real estate agent to start the homebuying process today.