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.
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.
If you’re a homeowner, you might be torn on whether or not to sell your house right now. Maybe that’s because you don’t want to take on a higher mortgage rate on your next home. If that’s your biggest hurdle, understanding your equity may be exactly what you need to help you feel more comfortable making your move.
What Equity Is and How It Works
Equity is the current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan. And recently, that equity has been growing far faster than you may expect.
Over the last few years, home prices rose dramatically, and that gave your equity a big boost very quickly. While the market has started to normalize, there’s still an imbalance between the number of homes available for sale and the number of buyers looking to make a purchase. And it’s because homes are in such high demand that prices are back on the rise today. Rob Barber, CEO of ATTOM, a property data provider, explains:
“Equity levels were high even during the recent downturn, and now they are going back up and better than ever.”
How Equity Benefits You in Today’s Market
With today’s affordability challenges, that equity can be a game changer when you move. Here’s why. Based on data from ATTOM and the Census, nearly two-thirds (68.7%) of homeowners have either paid off their mortgages or have at least 50% equity (see chart below):
That means roughly 70% have a tremendous amount of equity right now.
Once you sell your house, you can use your equity to help with your next purchase. It could be some (if not all) of what you’ll need for your next down payment. It may even be enough to allow you to put a considerably larger down payment on your next home, so you don’t have to finance quite as much. And, if you’ve been in your current house for years, you may have even built up enough equity to pay in all cash. If that’s true for you, you’d be able to avoid borrowing altogether, so you wouldn’t have to worry about today’s mortgage rates.
How To Find Out How Much Equity You Have
The best way to learn how much you have is to reach out to a trusted real estate agent for a Professional Equity Assessment Report (PEAR).
If you’re planning to make a move, the equity you’ve gained can make a big impact. To find out just how much equity you have in your current home and how you can use it to fuel your next purchase, connect with a trusted real estate advisor.
If you’re a homeowner, odds are your equity has grown significantly over the last few years. Equity builds over time as home values grow and as you pay down your home loan. And, since home prices skyrocketed during the ‘unicorn’ years, you’ve likely gained more than you think.
According to the latest Equity Insights Report from CoreLogic, the average homeowner has more than $274,000 in equity right now. That much equity can help you achieve certain goals. In a recent article, Bankrateelaborates:
“While the pandemic created serious challenges, the silver lining for anyone who owned a home was the sizable equity gain. Understanding how home equity works, and how to leverage it, is important for any homeowner.”
Here are a few examples of how you can put your home equity to work for you.
1. Buy a Home That Fits Your Needs
If your current space no longer meets your needs, it might be time to think about moving to a bigger home. And if you’ve got too much space, downsizing to a smaller home could be just right. Either way, you can put your equity toward a down payment on a home that fits your changing lifestyle.A real estate agent can help you figure out how much equity you’ve got and how to use it when buying your next home.
2. Reinvest in Your Current Home
Renovations are a great option if you want to change your living space, but you aren’t yet ready to make a move. Home improvement projects give you the freedom to tailor your home to match your needs and personal style. But it’s important to consider the long-term benefits certain upgrades can bring to your home’s value. Lean on a real estate professional for the best advice on which improvement projects to prioritize in order to get the greatest return on your investment when you sell later on.
3. Pursue Personal Ambitions
Home equity can also serve as a catalyst for realizing your life-long dreams. That could mean investing in a new business venture, retirement, or funding an education. While you shouldn’t use your equity for unnecessary spending, using it responsibly for something meaningful and impactful can really make a difference in your life.
4. Understand Your Options to Avoid Foreclosure
Today the number of foreclosure filings remains below the norm, so there’s no need to fear a wave of foreclosed homes flooding the market. But unfortunately, there are still some homeowners who experience the foreclosure process each year. If you’re facing financial difficulties, having a clear understanding of your options and how your equity can help is crucial. Equity can act as a financial cushion that can be used in times of unexpected challenges or unforeseen circumstances that may disrupt your ability to make mortgage payments on time.
“If exiting your home is the best option for you, selling with equity may be a good option. When selling with equity, you are using the proceeds from selling your home at a higher price than the amount you owe on your mortgage to pay off your remaining mortgage debt.”
Your equity can be a game changer in reinvesting in your needs, pursuing your goals, and even helping you avoid foreclosure during difficult times. If you’re unsure how much equity you have in your home, connect with a local real estate professional so you can start planning your next move.