The Return of Normal Seasonality for Home Price Appreciation

The Return of Normal Seasonality for Home Price Appreciation

The Return of Normal Seasonality for Home Price Appreciation Simplifying The Market

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.

After several unusual ‘unicorn’ years, today’s higher mortgage rates helped usher in the first signs of the return of seasonality. As Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains:

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.

Bottom Line

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.

Your Home Equity Can Offset Affordability Challenges

Your Home Equity Can Offset Affordability Challenges

Your Home Equity Can Offset Affordability Challenges Simplifying The Market

Are you thinking about selling your house? If so, today’s mortgage rates may be making you wonder if that’s the right decision. Some homeowners are reluctant to sell and take on a higher mortgage rate on their next home. If you’re worried about this too, know that even though rates are high right now, so is home equity. Here’s what you need to know.

Bankrate explains exactly what equity is and how it grows:

Home equity is the portion of your home that you’ve paid off and own outright. It’s the difference between what the home is worth and how much is still owed on your mortgage. As your home’s value increases over the long term and you pay down the principal on the mortgage, your equity stake grows.”

In other words, equity is how much your home is worth now, minus what you still owe on your home loan.

How Much Equity Do Homeowners Have Now?

Recently, your equity has been growing faster than you might think. To help contextualize just how much the average homeowner has, CoreLogic says:

“. . . the average U.S. homeowner now has about $290,000 in equity.”

That’s because, over the past few years, home prices went up significantly – and those rising prices helped your equity to accumulate faster than usual. While the market has started to normalize, there are still more people wanting to buy homes than there are homes available for sale. This high demand is causing home prices to go up again.

According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the Census, and ATTOM, a property data provider, nearly two-thirds (68.7%) of homeowners have either fully paid off their mortgages or have at least 50% equity (see chart below):

That means nearly 70% of homeowners have a tremendous amount of equity right now.

How Equity Helps with Your Affordability Concerns

With today’s affordability challenges, your equity can make a big difference when you decide to move. After you sell your house, you can use the equity you’ve built up in your home to help you buy your next one. Here’s how:

  • Be an all-cash buyer: If you’ve been living in your current home for a long time, you might have enough equity to buy a new house without having to take out a loan. If that’s the case, you won’t need to borrow any money or worry about mortgage rates. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) states:

“These all-cash home buyers are happily avoiding the higher mortgage interest rates . . .”

  • Make a larger down payment: Your equity could be used toward your next down payment. It might even be enough to let you put a larger amount down, so you won’t have to borrow as much money so today’s rates become less of a sticking point. Experian explains:

“Increasing your down payment lowers your principal loan amount and, consequently, your loan-to-value ratio, which could lead to a lower interest rate offer from your lender.”

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about moving, the equity you’ve built up can make a big difference, especially today. To find out how much equity you’ve got in your current house and how you can use it for your next home, get in touch with a trusted real agent.

Are More Homes Coming onto the Market?

Are More Homes Coming onto the Market?

Are More Homes Coming onto the Market? Simplifying The Market

An important factor shaping today’s market is the number of homes for sale. And, if you’re considering whether or not to list your house, that’s one of the biggest advantages you have right now. When housing inventory is this low, your house will stand out, especially if it’s priced right.

But there are some early signs that more listings are coming. According to the latest data, new listings (homeowners who just put their house up for sale) are trending up. Here’s a look at why this is noteworthy and what it may mean for you.

More Homes Are Coming onto the Market than Usual

It’s well known that the busiest time in the housing market each year is the spring buying season. That’s why there’s a predictable increase in the volume of newly listed homes throughout the first half of the year. Sellers are anticipating this and ramping up for the months when buyers are most active. But, as the school year kicks off and as the holidays approach, the market cools. It’s what’s expected.

But here’s what’s surprising. Based on the latest data from Realtor.com, there’s an increase in the number of sellers listing their houses later this year than usual. A peak this late in the year isn’t typical. You can see both the normal seasonal trend and the unusual August in the graph below:As Realtor.com explains:

“While inventory continues to be in short supply, August witnessed an unusual uptick in newly listed homes compared to July, hopefully signaling a return in seller activity heading toward the fall season . . .”

While this is only one month of data, it’s unusual enough to note. It’s still too early to say for sure if this trend will continue, but it’s something you’ll want to stay ahead of if it does.

What This Means for You

If you’ve been putting off selling your house, now may be the sweet spot to make your move. That’s because, if this trend continues, you’ll have more competition the longer you wait. And if your neighbor puts their house up for sale too, it means you may have to share buyers’ attention with that other homeowner. If you sell now, you can beat your neighbors to the punch.

But, even with more homes coming onto the market, the market is still well below normal supply levels. And, that inventory deficit isn’t going to be reversed overnight. The graph below helps put this into context, so you can see the opportunity you still have now:

Bottom Line

Even though inventory is still low, you don’t want to wait for more competition to pop up in your neighborhood. You still have an incredible opportunity if you sell your house today. Connect with a real estate agent to explore the benefits of selling now before more homes come to the market.

Plenty of Buyers Are Still Active Today [INFOGRAPHIC]

Plenty of Buyers Are Still Active Today [INFOGRAPHIC]

Plenty of Buyers Are Still Active Today [INFOGRAPHIC] Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • Holding off on selling your house because you believe there aren’t any buyers out there?
  • Data shows buyers are still active, even with higher mortgage rates. This goes to show, people still want to buy homes, and those who can are moving now.
  • Don’t delay your plan to sell for fear no one is buying. The opposite is true and buyer traffic is still strong today. Connect with a real estate agent to get your house in front of these buyers.
Why Is Housing Inventory So Low?

Why Is Housing Inventory So Low?

Why Is Housing Inventory So Low? Simplifying The Market

One question that’s top of mind if you’re thinking about making a move today is: Why is it so hard to find a house to buy? And while it may be tempting to wait it out until you have more options, that’s probably not the best strategy. Here’s why.

There aren’t enough homes available for sale, but that shortage isn’t just a today problem. It’s been a challenge for years. Let’s take a look at some of the long-term and short-term factors that have contributed to this limited supply.

Underbuilding Is a Long-Standing Problem

One of the big reasons inventory is low is because builders haven’t been building enough homes in recent years. The graph below shows new construction for single-family homes over the past five decades, including the long-term average for housing units completed:

For 14 straight years, builders didn’t construct enough homes to meet the historical average (shown in red). That underbuilding created a significant inventory deficit. And while new home construction is back on track and meeting the historical average right now, the long-term inventory problem isn’t going to be solved overnight. 

Today’s Mortgage Rates Create a Lock-In Effect

There are also a few factors at play in today’s market adding to the inventory challenge. The first is the mortgage rate lock-in effect. Basically, some homeowners are reluctant to sell because of where mortgage rates are right now. They don’t want to move and take on a rate that’s higher than the one they have on their current home. The chart below helps illustrate just how many homeowners may find themselves in this situation:

Those homeowners need to remember their needs may matter just as much as the financial aspects of their move.

Misinformation in the Media Is Creating Unnecessary Fear

Another thing that’s limiting inventory right now is the fear that’s been created by the media. You’ve likely seen the negative headlines calling for a housing crash, or the ones saying home prices would fall by 20%. While neither of those things happened, the stories may have dinged your confidence enough for you to think it’s better to hold off and wait for things to calm down. As Jason Lewris, Co-Founder and Chief Data Officer at Parclsays:

“In the absence of trustworthy, up-to-date information, real estate decisions are increasingly being driven by fear, uncertainty, and doubt.”

That’s further limiting inventory because people who would make a move otherwise now feel hesitant to do so. But the market isn’t doom and gloom, even if the headlines are. An agent can help you separate fact from fiction

How This Impacts You

If you’re wondering how today’s low inventory affects you, it depends on if you’re selling or buying a home, or both.

  • For buyers: A limited number of homes for sale means you’ll want to seriously consider all of your options, including various areas and housing types. A skilled professional will help you explore all of what’s available and find the home that best fits your needs. They can even coach you through casting a broader net if you need to expand your search.
  • For sellers: Today’s low inventory actually offers incredible benefits because your house will stand out. A real estate agent can walk you through why it’s especially worthwhile to sell with these conditions. And since many sellers are also buyers, that agent is also an essential resource to help you stay up to date on the latest homes available for sale in your area so you can find your next dream home. 

Bottom Line

The low supply of homes for sale isn’t a new challenge. There are a number of long-term and short-term factors leading to the current inventory deficit. If you’re looking to make a move, connect with a real estate agent. That way you’ll have an expert on your side to explain how this impacts you and what’s happening with housing inventory in your area.

Planning to Retire? Your Equity Can Help You Make a Move

Planning to Retire? Your Equity Can Help You Make a Move

Planning to Retire? Your Equity Can Help You Make a Move Simplifying The Market

Reaching retirement is a significant milestone in life, bringing with it a lot of change and new opportunities. As the door to this exciting chapter opens, one thing you may be considering is selling your house and finding a home better suited for your evolving needs.

Fortunately, you may be in a better position to make a move than you realize. Here are a few reasons why.

Consider How Long You’ve Been in Your Home

From 1985 to 2009, the average length of time homeowners stayed in their homes was roughly six years. But according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), that number is higher today. Since 2010, the average home tenure is just over nine years (see graph below):

This means many homeowners have been living in their houses even longer in recent years. When you live in a home for such a significant amount of time, it’s natural for you to experience changes in your life while you’re in that house. As those life changes and milestones happen, your needs may change. And if your current home no longer meets them, you may have better options waiting for you.

Consider the Equity You’ve Gained

And, if you’ve been in your home for more than a few years, you’ve likely built-up substantial equity that can fuel your next move. That’s because you gain equity as you pay down your loan and as home prices appreciate. And, the longer you’ve been in your home, the more you may have gained. Data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) illustrates that point (see graph below): 

While home prices vary by area, the national average shows the typical homeowner who’s been in their house for five years saw it increase in value by nearly 60%. And the average homeowner who’s owned their home for 30 years saw it almost triple in value over that time.

Whether you’re looking to downsize, relocate to a dream destination, or move so you live closer to friends or loved ones, that equity can help. Whatever your home goals are, a trusted real estate agent can work with you to find the best option. They’ll help you sell your current house and guide you as you buy the home that’s right for you and your lifestyle today.

Bottom Line

As you plan for your retirement, connect with a local real estate agent to find out how much equity you’ve built up over the years and plan how you can use it toward the purchase of a home that fits your changing needs.

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