Last year, the Federal Reserve took action to try to bring down inflation. In response to those efforts, mortgage rates jumped up rapidly from the record lows we saw in 2021, peaking at just over 7% last October. Hopeful buyers experienced a hit to their purchasing power as a result, and some decided to press pause on their plans.
Today, the rate of inflation is starting to drop. And as a result, mortgage rates have dipped below last year’s peak. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, shares:
“While mortgage market activity has significantly shrunk over the last year, inflationary pressures are easing and should lead to lower mortgage rates in 2023.”
That’s potentially great news if you’re a buyer aiming to jump back into the housing market. Any drop in mortgage rates helps boost your purchasing power by bringing down your expected monthly mortgage payment. This means the lower mortgage rates experts forecast this year could be just what you need to reignite your homebuying goals.
While this opens up a window of opportunity for you, remember: you shouldn’t expect rates to drop back down to record lows like we saw in 2021. Experts agree that’s not the range buyers should bank on. Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate, explains:
“I think we could be surprised at how much mortgage rates pull back this year. But we’re not going back to 3 percent anytime soon, because inflation is not going back to 2 percent anytime soon.”
It’s important to have a realistic vision for what you can expect this year, and that’s where the advice of expert real estate advisors is critical. You may be surprised by the impact even a mild drop in mortgage rates has on your budget. If you’re ready to buy a home now, today’s market presents the opportunity to get a more affordable mortgage rate, find your dream home, and face less competition from other buyers.
The recent pullback in mortgage rates is great news – but if you’re ready to buy now, holding out for 3% is a mistake. Work with a local lender to learn how today’s rates impact your goals, and let’s connect to explore your options in our area.
Are you prepping to buy your first home? If so, one of the steps you should take early on is making sure you’re financially ready for your purchase. Here are just a few of the financial fundamentals you’ll need to focus on as you set out to buy a home.
Build Your Credit
Your credit is one element that helps determine which home loan you’ll qualify for. It also impacts your mortgage interest rate. While there are many factors that go into your mortgage application, a higher credit score could lead to a lower monthly payment in the long run.
So how do you make sure your credit is in the best shape possible when it’s time to buy? A recent article from NerdWallet lists a few tips you can use as you work to build and strengthen your credit. They include:
- Tracking your credit and disputing any errors that show up on your reports.
- Paying your bills on time. This includes making loan payments and paying down any open lines of credit.
- Keeping your credit card balances low. Paying more than your minimum monthly balance when you’re able can help.
Automate Your Savings for Your House Fund
You might also be wondering how you can achieve your down payment savings goals. Bankrate provides buyers with a number of tips to help you save, including searching for down payment assistance programs and ways you can save more, faster. As the article says:
“One of the best ways to save for anything — including a down payment — is to set it and forget it. If you receive a regular paycheck, ask your employer to direct a portion of that payment into a savings account. If you’re a freelance worker or independent contractor, set up a recurring transfer from a checking account to a savings account to establish the routine.”
As you prepare for your purchase, you’ll also need to have a good grasp on your budget and how much you’ll be able to borrow for your home loan. That’s where the preapproval process comes in.
Preapproval from a lender lets you know how much money you can borrow for your home loan. And having that knowledge, plus an understanding of your savings, can help you decide on your target price range for a house.
From there, you can start browsing for houses online and see what’s available in your area in that general price point. This can help you really understand your options so you can start to picture your future home.
For Customized Advice, Build a Team of Professionals
Finally, the best way to make you’re prepared for your purchase is to connect with trusted real estate professionals. Having expert advisors in the industry will help you make strong decisions throughout the homebuying process based on your specific goals, finances, and situation. They know the market and can guide you toward the home you deserve.
It doesn’t matter if you’re someone who closely follows the economy or not, chances are you’ve heard whispers of an upcoming recession. Economic conditions are determined by a broad range of factors, so rather than explaining them each in depth, let’s lean on the experts and what history tells us to see what could lie ahead. As Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate, says:
“Two-in-three economists are forecasting a recession in 2023…”
As talk about a potential recession grows, you may be wondering what a recession could mean for the housing market. Here’s a look at the historical data to show what happened in real estate during previous recessions to help prove why you shouldn’t be afraid of what a recession could mean for the housing market today.
A Recession Doesn’t Mean Falling Home Prices
To show that home prices don’t fall every time there’s a recession, it helps to turn to historical data. As the graph below illustrates, looking at recessions going all the way back to 1980, home prices appreciated in four of the last six of them. So historically, when the economy slows down, it doesn’t mean home values will always fall.
Most people remember the housing crisis in 2008 (the larger of the two red bars in the graph above) and think another recession would be a repeat of what happened to housing then. But today’s housing market isn’t about to crash because the fundamentals of the market are different than they were in 2008. According to experts, home prices will vary by market and may go up or down depending on the local area. But the average of their 2023 forecasts shows prices will net neutral nationwide, not fall drastically like they did in 2008.
A Recession Means Falling Mortgage Rates
Research also helps paint the picture of how a recession could impact the cost of financing a home. As the graph below shows, historically, each time the economy slowed down, mortgage rates decreased.
Fortune explains mortgage rates typically fall during an economic slowdown:
“Over the past five recessions, mortgage rates have fallen an average of 1.8 percentage points from the peak seen during the recession to the trough. And in many cases, they continued to fall after the fact as it takes some time to turn things around even when the recession is technically over.”
In 2023, market experts say mortgage rates will likely stabilize below the peak we saw last year. That’s because mortgage rates tend to respond to inflation. And early signs show inflation is starting to cool. If inflation continues to ease, rates may fall a bit more, but the days of 3% are likely behind us.
The big takeaway is you don’t need to fear the word recession when it comes to housing. In fact, experts say a recession would be mild and housing would play a key role in a quick economic rebound. As the 2022 CEO Outlook from KPMG, says:
“Global CEOs see a ‘mild and short’ recession, yet optimistic about global economy over 3-year horizon…
More than 8 out of 10 anticipate a recession over the next 12 months, with more than half expecting it to be mild and short.”
While history doesn’t always repeat itself, we can learn from the past. According to historical data, in most recessions, home values have appreciated and mortgage rates have declined.
Recently, we had the pleasure of working with McNair Custom Homes and The IMG Studio to put together a video about McNair Custom Homes and their building philosophy. We love the way it turned out. We hope you like as much as we do.
The video wtalks about some of the things that we already know about John McNair and McNair Custom Homes – their reputation for honesty and quality is well known and highly regarded in Texas. With some of the finest custom homes in San Antonio and surrounding areas, McNair Custom Homes focuses on you, the buyer, to bring you not just a dream home, but truly the home you deserve.
If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, you probably want to know what’s really happening with home prices, mortgage rates, housing supply, and more. That’s not an easy task considering how sensationalized headlines are today. Jay Thompson, a real estate industry consultant, explains:
“Housing market headlines are everywhere. Many are quite sensational, ending with exclamation points or predicting impending doom for the industry. Clickbait, the sensationalizing of headlines and content, has been an issue since the dawn of the internet, and housing news is not immune to it.”
Unfortunately, when information in the media isn’t clear, it can generate a lot of fear and uncertainty in the market. As Jason Lewris, Cofounder and Chief Data Officer at Parcl, says:
“In the absence of trustworthy, up-to-date information, real estate decisions are increasingly being driven by fear, uncertainty, and doubt.”
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Buying or selling a home is a big decision, and it should be one you feel confident making. To help you separate fact from fiction and get the answers you need, lean on a local real estate advisor.
A trusted expert is your best resource to understand what’s happening at the national and local levels. They’ll be able to debunk the headlines using data you can trust. And using their in-depth knowledge of the industry, they’ll provide context so you know how current trends compare to the normal ebbs and flows in the industry, historical data and more.
Then, to make sure you have the full picture, they’ll tell you if your local area is following the national trend or if they’re seeing something different in your market. Together, you’ll use all of that information to make the best possible decision for you.
After all, making a move is a potentially life-changing milestone. It should be something you feel ready for and excited about. And that’s where an agent comes in.
There are many people thinking about buying a home, but with everything affecting the economy, some are wondering if it’s a smart decision to buy now or if it makes more sense to wait it out. As Bob Broeksmit, President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), explains:
“The desire for homeownership is strong. Many prospective buyers are waiting for the volatility in mortgage rates to subside, as well as for a clearer picture of the economic outlook.”
If you’re in that position, remember that it’s important to consider not just what’s happening today but also what benefits you may gain in the long run.
There’s a lot of information out there about how homeownership helps build a homeowner’s net worth over time. But even today, many people think first about things like 401(k)s before they think of owning a home as a wealth-building tool. It’s especially important if you’re a young prospective homebuyer to understand how homeownership is another key way to invest in your future. An article from Bloomberg notes:
“Millennials have higher average 401(k) balances than Generation X did when they were the same age, but they’re not any better off financially. . . . A lot of that has to do with being less likely to own a home.”
To help you understand just how much owning a home can have a positive impact on your life over the years, take a look at what the data shows. The same Bloomberg article helps show the gap in wealth between renters and homeowners who are 65 years and older (see graph below). The difference is substantial, even when incomes are similar.
So, if you want to create wealth to help set you up for success later on, it may be time to prioritize homeownership. That’s because, whether you decide to rent or buy a home, you’ll have a monthly housing expense either way. The question is: are you going to invest in yourself and your future, or will you help someone else (your landlord) increase their wealth?
If you’re a young adult, you may be thinking about your goals and priorities for the months and years ahead. And if homeownership ranks high on your goal sheet, you’re in good company. Many of your peers are also pursuing their dream of owning a home. The 2022 Millennial & Gen Z Borrower Sentiment Report from Maxwell says:
“Many young adults have demonstrated their resolve to embark on the journey toward homeownership soon. More than half of millennials and Gen Zs plan to apply for a mortgage sometime within the next year.”
Let’s take a look at why homeownership makes the top of so many young buyers’ to-do list and what you need to consider to achieve your goals if you’re one of them.
Top Motivators To Buy a Home
Before you start the homebuying process, it’s helpful to know why homeownership is so important to you. The survey mentioned above sheds light on some of the top reasons why younger generations are looking to buy a home. It finds:
- 95% believe the cost of renting is too high
- 35% think owing a home is an important wealth building tool
- 16% seek the sense of security owning a home provides
- 37% plan to use it as an investment property
No matter which of these resonates the most with you, know there are many financial and non-financial reasons why you may want to buy a home. While your top motivator may be different than that of your friends, they’re all equally valid and worthwhile.
Key Obstacles and How To Overcome Them
Whether your homeownership goals come from the heart or are driven by financial aspirations (or both), it can still be hard to know where to start when you’re looking to buy a home. From understanding the homebuying process, to getting pre-approved, and exploring down payment options, it’s a lot to wrap your head around.
The same Maxwell survey also reveals key challenges for potential buyers. Thankfully, the knowledge and guidance of a trusted real estate professional can help you overcome both. Here’s a look at two of the hurdles potential homebuyers say they face:
The Mortgage Process Can Be Intimidating
In the Maxwell study, 33.37% said one of their obstacles was that the mortgage process is confusing or difficult to understand.
An article by OwnUp helps explain why the mortgage process is so challenging for buyers:
“There is a general lack of knowledge about home financing. Mortgages are a complicated topic with no one-size-fits-all answer. It’s difficult to understand the space, let alone determine what the right course of action is based on your unique financial picture.”
While you may be tempted to do a quick search online to find instant answers to your questions, it may not get you the information you need to understand the full picture. Especially when it comes to financial advice, you want to lean on a true expert. Having trusted professionals on your side can help you to learn what it takes to achieve your dream of homeownership. Not to mention, an expert can give you advice specific to your situation, not generic advice like you’ll find online.
It’s Hard To Know How Much You Need To Save
In the Maxwell study, 45.75% believe they don’t have enough saved to cover their down payment or closing cost expenses.
What you may not realize is that, today, there’s a growing number of down payment assistance programs available nationwide to help relieve this pressure. A report from Down Payment Resource says:
“Our Q3 2022 HPI report revealed a 1.6% uptick in the number of homebuyer assistance programs available to help people finance homes, raising the number of programs to 2,309, a net increase of 36 over the previous quarter.”
Additionally, as the housing market cools, buyers are regaining some negotiation power and more sellers are willing to work with buyers to help with closing costs. Understanding what’s out there and the options available may help you achieve your dream of homeownership faster than you thought possible.
There’s no denying mortgage rates are higher now than they were last year. And if you’re thinking about buying a home, this may be top of mind for you. That’s because those higher rates impact how much it costs to borrow money for your home loan. As you set out to make a purchase this winter, you’ll need to be strategic so you can find a home that meets your needs and budget.
Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, explains:
“The key to making a good decision in this challenging housing market is to be laser focused on what you need now and in the years ahead, . . . Another key point is to avoid stretching your budget, as tempting as it may be given the diminished purchasing power.”
In other words, it’s important to be mindful of what’s a necessity and what’s a nice-to-have when searching for a home. And the best way to understand this is to put together a list of desired features for your home search.
The first step? Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Pre-approval helps you better understand what you can borrow for your home loan, and that plays an important role in how you’ll craft your list. After all, you don’t want to fall in love with a home that’s out of reach. Once you have a good grasp of your budget, you can begin to list (and prioritize) all the features of a home you would like.
Here’s a great way to think about them before you begin:
- Must-Haves – If a house doesn’t have these features, it won’t work for you and your lifestyle (examples: distance from work or loved ones, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, etc.).
- Nice-To-Haves – These are features that you’d love to have but can live without. Nice-To-Haves aren’t dealbreakers, but if you find a home that hits all the must-haves and some of the these, it’s a contender (examples: a second home office, a garage, etc.).
- Dream State – This is where you can really think big. Again, these aren’t features you’ll need, but if you find a home in your budget that has all the must-haves, most of the nice-to-haves, and any of these, it’s a clear winner (examples: farmhouse sink, multiple walk-in closets, etc.).
Finally, once you’ve created your list and categorized it in a way that works for you, discuss it with your real estate advisor. They’ll be able to help you refine the list further, coach you through the best way to stick to it, and find a home in your area that meets your needs.
Highlights of the Winter Home Selling Checklist
- As you get ready to sell your house, focus on tasks that make it inviting, show it’s cared for, and boost your curb appeal.
- This list will help you get started, but don’t forget, a real estate professional will provide other helpful tips based on your specific situation.
- Let’s connect so you have advice on what you may want to do to get your house ready to sell this season.
If you’re trying to decide whether or not to sell your house, recent headlines about home prices may be top of mind. And if those stories have you wondering what that means for your home’s value, here’s what you really need to know.
What’s Really Happening with Home Prices?
It’s possible you’ve seen news stories mentioning a drop in home values or home price depreciation, but it’s important to remember those headlines are designed to make a big impression in just a few words. But what headlines aren’t always great at is painting the full picture.
While home prices are down slightly month-over-month in some markets, it’s also true that home values are up nationally on a year-over-year basis. The graph below uses the latest data from S&P Case-Shiller to help tell the story of what’s actually happening in the housing market today:
As the graph shows, it’s true home price growth has moderated in recent months (shown in green) as buyer demand has pulled back in response to higher mortgage rates. This is what the headlines are drawing attention to today.
But what’s important to notice is the bigger, longer-term picture. While home price growth is moderating month-over-month, the percent of appreciation year-over-year is still well above the home price change we saw during more normal years in the market.
The bars for January 2019 through mid-2020 show home price appreciation around 3-4% a year was more typical (see bars for January 2019 through mid-2020). But even the latest data for this year shows prices have still climbed by roughly 10% over last year.
What Does This Mean for Your Home’s Equity?
While you may not be able to capitalize on the 20% appreciation we saw in early 2022, in most markets your home’s value, on average, is up 10% over last year – and a 10% gain is still dramatic compared to a more normal level of appreciation (3-4%).
The big takeaway? Don’t let the headlines get in the way of your plans to sell. Over the past two years alone, you’ve likely gained a substantial amount of equity in your home as home prices climbed. Even though home price moderation will vary by market moving forward, you can still use the boost your equity got to help power your move.
As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, says:
“Potential home sellers gained significant amounts of equity over the pandemic, so even as affordability-constrained buyer demand spurs price declines in some markets, potential sellers are unlikely to lose all that they have gained.”
If you have questions about home prices or how much equity you have in your current home, contact one of our agents and they will be happy to sit down with you and crunch the numbers.