To sell your home this spring, it may need more preparation than it would have a year or two ago. Today’s housing market has a different feel. There are more homes for sale than there were at this time last year, but inventory is still historically low. So, if a house has been sitting on the market for a while, that’s a sign it may not be hitting the mark for potential buyers. But here’s the thing. Right now, homes that are updated and priced at market value are still selling fast.
Today, homes with curb appeal that are presented well are still selling quickly, and sometimes over asking price. According to Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com:
“In a market where costs are still high and buyers can be a little choosier, it makes sense they’re going to really zero in on the homes that are the most appealing.”
With the spring buying season just around the corner, now’s the time to start getting your house ready to sell. And the best way to determine where to spend your time and money is to work with a trusted real estate agent who can help you understand which improvements are most valuable in your local market.
One way to prioritize updates that could bring a good return on your investment is to find smaller projects you can do yourself. Little updates that boost your curb appeal usually work well. Investopedia puts it this way:
“Curb-appeal projects make the property look good as soon as prospective buyers arrive. While these projects may not add a considerable amount of monetary value, they will help your home sell faster—and you can do a lot of the work yourself to save money and time.”
Small cosmetic updates, like refreshing some paint and power washing the exterior of your home, create a great first impression for buyers and help it stand out. Work with a real estate professional to find the low-cost projects you can tackle around your house that will appeal to buyers in your area.
When deciding what you need to do to your house before selling it, remember you’re making these repairs and updates for someone else. Prioritize projects that will help you sell faster or for more money over things that appeal to you as a homeowner.
The 2022 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) highlights popular home improvements and what sort of return they bring for the investment (see graph below):
Remember to lean on your trusted real estate advisor
for the best advice on the updates you should invest in. They’ll know what
local buyers are looking for and have the latest insights of what your house
needs to sell quickly this spring.
As we approach the spring season, now’s the time to
get your house ready to sell.
Let’s connect today so you can find out which updates make the most sense.
If you’re thinking about buying a home, you might be focusing on previously owned ones. But with so few houses for sale today, it makes sense to consider all your options, and that includes a home that’s newly built.
The Number of Newly Built Homes Is on the Rise
While there are more houses for sale right now than there were at this time last year, there’s still a historically low number of homes available on the market. One reason for that is years of underbuilding—meaning there haven’t been enough new homes built to keep up with demand.
“While existing-home inventory remains limited, the silver lining for home buyers is that new-home inventory is on the rise, and a new home at the right price is a pretty good substitute.”
Builder Incentives Can Provide a Boost
While there a growing number of new homes for sale, builders are slowing that pace until they sell more of their current inventory. According to Logan Mohtashami, Lead Analyst at HousingWire:
“The builders have to work off the backlog of homes, but instead of 3%-4% mortgage rates, they’re dealing with 6% plus mortgage rates, which means they have to provide many incentives to make sure those homes sell.”
Many builders are now offering incentives to help buyers purchase these homes. Fleming also explains:
“The National Association of Home Builders reported that nearly two-thirds of builders were offering incentives, including mortgage rate buydowns, paying points for buyers and price reductions, which could entice potential home buyers.”
A builder who’s willing to pay to reduce your mortgage rate could be a game changer. Ksenia Potapov, Economist at First American, puts it this way:
“A one percentage-point decline in mortgage rates has the same impact on affordability as an 11 percent decline in house prices.”
Should You Buy a Brand-New Home?
The best way to decide what type of home to buy is to work with a trusted real estate professional who can help you weigh the pros and cons of each option. They know which homes are available in your local market, and which builders might be offering incentives that make sense for you.
Even though there aren’t a lot of homes for sale today, new home inventory is on the rise, and many builders are offering incentives. Let’s connect so I can help you weigh the pros and cons of shopping for a new home versus an existing one.
If you’re thinking about making a move this year, a turnaround in the housing market could be exactly what you’ve been waiting for. Let’s connect to talk about the latest trends in our area.
With the rapid shift that’s happened in the housing market this year, some people are raising concerns that we’re destined for a repeat of the crash we saw in 2008. But in truth, there are many key differences between what’s happening today and the bubble in the early 2000s.
One of the reasons this isn’t like the last time is the number of foreclosures in the market is much lower now. Here’s a look at why there won’t be a wave of foreclosures flooding the market.
After the last housing crash, over nine million households lost their homes due to a foreclosure, short sale, or because they gave it back to the bank. This was, in large part, because of more relaxed lending standards where people could take out mortgages they ultimately couldn’t afford. Those lending practices led to a wave of distressed properties which made their way into the market and caused home values to plummet.
But today, revised lending standards have led to more qualified buyers. As a result, there are fewer homeowners who are behind on their mortgages. As Marina Walsh, Vice President of Industry Analysis at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), says:
“For the second quarter in a row, the mortgage delinquency rate fell to its lowest level since MBA’s survey began in 1979 – declining to 3.45%. Foreclosure starts and loans in the process of foreclosure also dropped in the third quarter to levels further below their historical averages.”
While you may have seen recent stories about the number of foreclosures rising today, context is important. During the pandemic, many homeowners were able to pause their mortgage payments using the forbearance program. The program gave homeowners facing difficulties extra time to get their finances in order and, in many cases, work out a plan with their lender.
With that program, many were concerned it would result in a wave of foreclosures coming to the market. That fear didn’t materialize. Data from the New York Fed shows there are still fewer foreclosures happening today than before the pandemic (see graph below):
That means, while there are more foreclosures now compared to last year (when foreclosures were paused), the number is still well below what the housing market has seen in a more typical year, like 2017-2019.
And most importantly, the number we’re seeing now is still far below the number we saw during the market crash (shown in the red bars in the graph). The big takeaway? Don’t let a headline in the news mislead you. While foreclosures are up year-over-year, historical context is essential to understanding the full picture.
Many homeowners today have enough equity to sell their homes instead of facing foreclosure. Due to rapidly rising home prices over the last two years, the average homeowner has gained record amounts of equity in their home. And if they’ve stayed in their homes even longer, they may have even more equity than they realize. As Ksenia Potapov, Economist at First American, says:
“Homeowners have very high levels of tappable home equity today, providing a cushion to withstand potential price declines, but also preventing housing distress from turning into a foreclosure. . . the result will likely be more of a foreclosure ‘trickle’ than a ‘tsunami.’”
A recent report from ATTOM Data explains it by going even deeper into the numbers:
“Only about 214,800 homeowners were facing possible foreclosure in the second quarter of 2022, or just four-tenths of one percent of the 58.2 million outstanding mortgages in the U.S. Of those facing foreclosure, about 195,400, or 91 percent, had at least some equity built up in their homes.”
If you see headlines about the increasing number of foreclosures today, remember context is important. While it’s true the number of foreclosures is higher now than it was last year, foreclosures are still well below pre-pandemic years. If you have questions, let’s connect.
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