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Archive for the ‘Pricing’ Category

Don’t Let the Latest Home Price Headlines Confuse You

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Don’t Let the Latest Home Price Headlines Confuse You Simplifying The Market

Based on what you’re hearing in the news about home prices, you may be worried they’re falling. But here’s the thing. The headlines aren’t giving you the full picture.

If you look at the national data for 2023, home prices actually showed positive growth for the year. While this varies by market, and while there were some months with slight declines nationally, those were the exception, not the rule.

The overarching story is that prices went up last year, not down. Let’s dive into the data to set the record straight. 

2023 Was the Return to More Normal Home Price Growth

If anything, last year marked a return to more normal home price appreciation. To prove it, here’s what usually happens in residential real estate.

In the housing market, there are predictable ebbs and flows that take place each year. It’s called seasonality. It goes like this. Spring is the peak homebuying season when the market is most active. That activity is usually still strong in the summer, but begins to wane toward the end of the year. Home prices follow along with this seasonality because prices grow the most when there’s high demand.

The graph below uses data from Case-Shiller to show how this pattern played out in home prices from 1973 through 2022 (not adjusted, so you can see the seasonality):

 

As the data shows, for nearly 50 years, home prices match typical market seasonality. At the beginning of the year, home prices grow more moderately. That’s because the market is less active as fewer people move in January and February. Then, as the market transitions into the peak homebuying season in the spring, activity ramps up. That means home prices do too. Then, as fall and winter approach, activity eases again and prices grow, just at a slower rate.

Now, let’s layer the data that’s come out for 2023 so far (shown in green) on top of that long-term trend (still shown in blue). That way, it’s easy to see how 2023 compares.

As the graph shows, moving through the year in 2023, the level of appreciation fell more in line with the long-term trend for what usually happens in the housing market. You can see that in how close the green bars come to matching the blue bars in the later part of the year.

But the headlines only really focused on the two bars outlined in red. Here’s the context you may not have gotten that can really put those two bars into perspective. The long-term trend shows it’s normal for home prices to moderate in the fall and winter. That’s typical seasonality.

And since the 49-year average is so close to zero during those months (0.10%), that also means it’s not unusual for home prices to drop ever so slightly during those times. But those are just blips on the radar. If you look at the year as a whole, home prices still rose overall.

What You Really Need To Know

Headlines are going to call attention to the small month-to-month dips instead of the bigger year-long picture. And that can be a bit misleading because it’s only focused on one part of the whole story.

Instead, remember last year we saw the return of seasonality in the housing market – and that’s a good thing after home prices skyrocketed unsustainably during the ‘unicorn’ years of the pandemic.

And just in case you’re still worried home prices will fall, don’t be. The expectation for this year is that prices will continue to appreciate as buyers re-enter the market due to mortgage rates trending down compared to last year. As buyer demand goes up and more people move at the same time the supply of homes for sale is still low, the upward pressure on prices will continue.

Bottom Line

Don’t let home price headlines confuse you. The data shows that, as a whole, home prices rose in 2023. If you have questions about what you’re hearing in the news or about what’s happening with home prices in your local area, connect with a trusted real estate professional.

Experts Project Home Prices Will Increase in 2024

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Experts Project Home Prices Will Increase in 2024 Simplifying The Market

Even though home prices are going up nationally, some people are still worried they might come down. In fact, a recent survey from Fannie Mae found that 24% of people think home prices will actually decline over the next 12 months. That means almost one out of every four people are dealing with that fear, and you might be, too.

To help ease that concern, here’s what experts forecast will happen with prices this year.

Experts Project a Modest Increase

Check out the latest home price forecasts from eight different sources (see graph below):

The blue bar on the left means, on average, experts think home prices will go up over 2% by the end of this year – not down.

Prices aren’t likely to depreciate in 2024 because inventory is still tight and lower mortgage rates are leading to strong buyer demand. Those two factors will keep pushing prices up as the year goes on. As Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains:

“With mortgage rates dropping, demand for homes in early 2024 is likely to be strong and will again put pressure on prices, similar to trends observed in early 2023 . . . Most markets will continue to reach new home price highs over the course of 2024.

What Does This Mean for You?

Experts are saying home prices will go up this year, and that’s good news if you’re thinking about buying a home. When you become a homeowner, you want the value of your house to go up. That appreciation is what builds equity and makes homeownership such a good investment over time.

Beyond that, expected home price appreciation also means if you’re ready, willing, and able to buy, waiting just means it will cost more later. 

Bottom Line

If you’re worried home prices will come down, don’t be. Many experts believe they’ll actually go up this year. If you have questions or worries about what’s happening with prices in your area, it’s a good idea to talk to a real estate agent.

3 Key Factors Affecting Home Affordability

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3 Key Factors Affecting Home Affordability Simplifying The Market

Over the past year, a lot of people have been talking about housing affordability and how tight it’s gotten. But just recently, there’s been a little bit of relief on that front. Mortgage rates have gone down since their most recent peak in October. But there’s more to being able to afford a home than just mortgage rates.

To really understand home affordability, you need to look at the combination of three important factors: mortgage rates, home prices, and wages. Let’s dive into the latest data on each one to see why affordability is improving.

1. Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates have come down in recent months. And looking forward, most experts expect them to decline further over the course of the year. Jiayi Xu, an economist at Realtor.com, explains:

“While there could be some fluctuations in the path forward … the general expectation is that mortgage rates will continue to trend downward, as long as the economy continues to see progress on inflation.”

And even a small change in mortgage rates can have a big impact on your purchasing power, making it easier for you to afford the home you want by reducing your monthly mortgage payment.

2. Home Prices

The second important factor is home prices. After going up at a relatively normal pace last year, they’re expected to continue rising moderately in 2024. That’s because even with inventory projected to grow slightly this year, there still aren’t enough homes for sale for all the people who want to buy them. According to Lisa Sturtevant, Chief Economist at Bright MLS:

“More inventory will be generally offset by more buyers in the market. As a result, it is expected that, overall, the median home price in the U.S. will grow modestly . . .”

That’s great news for you because it means prices aren’t likely to skyrocket like they did during the pandemic. But it also means it’ll probably cost you more to wait. So, if you’re ready, willing, and able to buy, and you can find the right home, purchasing before more buyers enter the market and prices rise further might be in your best interest.

3. Wages

Another positive factor in affordability right now is rising income. The graph below uses data from the Federal Reserve to show how wages have grown over time: 

If you look at the blue dotted trendline, you can see the rate at which wages typically rise. But on the right side of the graph, wages are above the trend line today, meaning they’re going up at a higher rate than normal.

Higher wages improve affordability because they reduce the percentage of your income it takes to pay your mortgage. That’s because you don’t have to put as much of your paycheck toward your monthly housing cost.

What This Means for You

Home affordability depends on three things: mortgage rates, home prices, and wages. The good news is, they’re moving in a positive direction for buyers overall.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about buying a home, it’s important to know the main factors impacting affordability are improving. To get the latest updates on each, connect with a trusted real estate agent.

Home Prices Forecast To Climb over the Next 5 Years [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Home Prices Forecast To Climb over the Next 5 Years [INFOGRAPHIC] Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • If you’re worried about what’s next for home prices, know the HPES shows experts are projecting they’ll continue to rise at least through 2028.
  • Based on that forecast, if you bought a $400,000 house this year, experts say it could gain over $72,000 in equity over the next five years. 
  • If you’re worried about falling home prices, don’t be. Many experts forecast they’ll keep rising for years to come. If you have questions, ask a local real estate agent.

Thinking About Buying a Home? Ask Yourself These Questions

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Thinking About Buying a Home? Ask Yourself These Questions Simplifying The Market

If you’re thinking of buying a home this year, you’re probably paying closer attention than normal to the housing market. And you’re getting your information from a variety of channels: the news, social media, your real estate agent, conversations with friends and loved ones, the list goes on and on. Most likely, home prices and mortgage rates are coming up a lot.

Here are the top two questions you need to ask yourself as you make your decision, including the data that helps cut through the noise.

1. Where Do I Think Home Prices Are Heading?

One reliable place you can turn to for information on home price forecasts is the Home Price Expectations Survey from Fannie Mae – a survey of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists.

According to the most recent release, the experts are projecting home prices will continue to rise at least through 2028 (see the graph below):

So, why does this matter to you? While the percent of appreciation may not be as high as it was in recent years, what’s important to focus on is that this survey says we’ll see prices rise, not fall, for at least the next 5 years.

And home prices rising, even at a more moderate pace, is good news not just for the market, but for you too. It means, by buying now, your home will likely grow in value, and you should gain home equity in the years ahead. But, if you wait, based on these forecasts, the home will only cost you more later on. 

2. Where Do I Think Mortgage Rates Are Heading?

Over the past year, mortgage rates spiked up in response to economic uncertainty, inflation, and more. But there’s an encouraging sign for the market and mortgage rates. Inflation is moderating, and here’s why this is such a big deal if you’re looking to buy a home.

When inflation cools, mortgage rates generally fall in response. That’s exactly what we’ve seen in recent weeks. And, now that the Federal Reserve has signaled they’re pausing their Federal Funds Rate increases and may even cut rates in 2024, experts are even more confident we’ll see mortgage rates come down.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.com, explains:

. . . mortgage rates will continue to ease in 2024 as inflation improves and Fed rate cuts get closer. . . . a key factor in starting to provide affordability relief to homebuyers.”

As an article from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:

Mortgage rates likely have peaked and are now falling from their recent high of nearly 8%. . . . This likely will improve housing affordability and entice more home buyers to return to the market . . .”

No one can say with absolute certainty where mortgage rates will go from here. But the recent decline and the latest decision from the Federal Reserve to stop their rate increases, signals there’s hope on the horizon. While we may see some volatility here and there, affordability should improve as rates continue to ease.  

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about buying a home, you need to know what’s expected with home prices and mortgage rates. While no one can say for certain where they’ll go, making sure you have the latest information can help you make an informed decision. Connect with a trusted local real estate agent so you can stay up to date on what’s happening and why this is such good news for you.

Home Prices Still Growing – Just at a More Normal Pace

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Home Prices Still Growing – Just at a More Normal Pace Simplifying The Market

If you’re feeling a bit muddy on what’s happening with home prices, that’s no surprise. Some people are still saying prices are falling, even though data proves otherwise. Part of that misconception is because people are getting their information from unreliable sources. But it’s also coming from some media coverage misrepresenting what the data really shows.

So, to keep things simple, here’s what you really need to know using real data you can trust.

Normal Home Price Seasonality Explained

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 the typical percent change for 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 when entering 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, prices still grow, just at a slower pace as activity eases again.

This Year, Seasonality Has Returned

Now, let’s look at how this year compares to that long-term trend (see graph below):

 

Here’s the latest data for this year from that same source. Just like before, the dark bars are the long-standing trend. The green bars represent what’s happened this year. As you can see, the green bars are beginning to fall in line with what’s normal for the market. That’s a good thing because it’s more sustainable price growth than we’ve seen in recent years.

In a nutshell, nationally prices aren’t falling, it’s just that price growth is beginning to normalize. Moving forward, there’s a chance the media will misrepresent this slowing of home price growth as prices falling. So don’t believe everything you see in the headlines. The data included here gives you the context you need to really understand what’s happening. So, if you see something in the headlines that’s confusing, don’t just take it at face value. Ask a trusted real estate professional for more information.

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

Home price appreciation is returning to normal seasonality and that’s a good thing. If you have questions about what’s happening with prices in your local area, connect with a real estate professional.

2024 Housing Market Forecast [INFOGRAPHIC]

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2024 Housing Market Forecast [INFOGRAPHIC] Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

The Latest 2024 Housing Market Forecast

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The Latest 2024 Housing Market Forecast Simplifying The Market

The new year is right around the corner, and you might be wondering if 2024 will be the right time to buy or sell a home. If you want to make the most informed decision possible, it’s important to know what the experts have to say about what’s ahead for the housing market. Spoiler alert: the projections may be better than you think. Here’s why.

Experts Forecast Ongoing Home Price Appreciation

Take a look at the latest home price forecasts from Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

 

As you can see in the orange bars on the left, on average, experts forecast prices will end this year up about 2.8% overall, and increase by another 1.5% by the end of 2024. That’s big news, considering so many people thought prices would crash this year. The truth is, prices didn’t come tumbling way down in 2023, and that’s because there just weren’t enough homes for sale compared to the number of people who wanted or needed to buy them, and that inventory crunch is still very real. This is the general rule of supply and demand, and it continues to put upward pressure on prices as we move into the new year.

Looking forward, experts project home prices will continue to rise next year, but not quite as much as they did this year. Even though the expected rise in 2024 isn’t as big as in 2023, it’s important to understand home price appreciation is cumulative. In simpler terms, this means if the experts are right, according to the national average, after your home’s value goes up by 2.8% this year, it should go up by another 1.5% next year. That ongoing price growth is a big part of why owning a home can be a smart decision in the long run.

Projections Show Sales Should Increase Slightly Next Year

While 2023 hasn’t seen a lot of home sales relative to more normal years in the housing market, experts are forecasting a bit more activity next year. Here’s what those same three organizations project for the rest of this year, and in 2024 (see graph below):

 

While expectations are for just a slight uptick in total sales, improved activity next year is a good thing for the housing market, and for buyers and sellers like you. As people continue to move, that opens up options for hopeful buyers who are looking for a home.

So, what do these forecasts show? The housing market is expected to be more active in 2024. That may be in part because there will always be people who need to move. People will get new jobs, have children, get married or divorced – these and other major life changes lead people to move regardless of housing market conditions. That will remain true next year, and for years to come. And if mortgage rates come down, we’ll see even more activity in the housing market.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about buying or selling, it’s important to know what the experts are forecasting for the future of the housing market. When you’re in the know about what’s ahead, you can make the most informed decision possible. Connect with a local real estate agent to chat about the latest forecasts, and craft a plan for your next move.

These Top Cities Show Home Prices Are Still Climbing

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These Top Cities Show Home Prices Are Still Climbing Simplifying The Market

If you’re considering buying a home or selling your current one to find something that better suits your needs, you may have questions about what’s happening with home prices today. Here’s what you need to know.

There’s still a lot of confusion and misinformation out there. So, no matter what you may have heard, the national data shows they’ve actually been climbing again (see graphs below):

 

As you can see, in the first half of 2022, home prices went way up. Those increases were dramatic and unsustainable. So, in the second half of 2022, prices adjusted. Those dips were small and didn’t last very long. Still, the news made a big deal about these slight declines, which may have made you worry.

But what’s important to know is that, in 2023, prices are going up again, and this time it’s at a more normal pace. The fact that all three reports now show more typical price increases this year is good news for the housing market.

Home Prices Are Rising Across the Top Cities in the U.S.

After seeing steady home price growth at the national level for the last several months, you may wonder if prices are going up in your local area, too. Know this: while this will vary from one area to the next, home prices are appreciating in these top cities Case-Shiller reports on in their monthly price index (see chart below):

 

That’s why so many experts are able to forecast home prices will end the year in the positive and continue going up in 2024.

Here’s How This Affects You

  • For Buyers: If you’ve been waiting to buy a home because you were concerned it might lose value, the fact that home prices are going up should ease your worries. Buying a home before prices climb higher can be a smart move since home values typically appreciate over time.
  • For Sellers: If you’ve been postponing selling your house because you were worried about how changing home prices would affect its value, now might be a good time to work with a real estate agent to put your house on the market. You don’t have to wait any longer because the data shows home prices are in your favor.

Bottom Line

If you delayed moving because you were concerned home prices could drop, don’t worry – the numbers show they’re going up nationally. To better understand how home prices are changing in your neighborhood, team up with a local real estate agent.