If you’re a buyer or a seller, sometimes it’s hard to think about what the perfect real estate journey may look like for you. It may take time to figure out what you truly want and need when it comes to the entire process. That’s okay. We’re here to help you every step of the way. We get that it may be a huge milestone in your life. Whether it be your first home or a home you’ve cherished for years, we are here to help you with that transition. We provide simply the best service because we believe in helping people achieve their dream goals in real estate and uplifting our community.
How to Get There
If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you may not know where to begin. Perhaps you’re wondering about how you may finance the purchase of your first home or don’t know whether you want two bedrooms or four. At BST Realty LLC, we are here to connect you with the resources you need to make the most informed decisions. And, we are also here to tour homes with you. That way, you can make a decision you’re comfortable with in the long run. Sometimes it takes touring a few homes to begin to realize what you want in your life.
If you’re a seller, maybe the first steps to putting your home on the market seem difficult. How could you put a price tag on the home that’s given you priceless memories? We have a team of agents that are experts at offering a competitive market analysis. This analysis offers a lens into what that value may look like.
It also goes for when it comes to offers on a home. If you’re a buyer, we have agents that will help put your strongest offer forward that also accomplishes your goals. If you’re a seller, we will make sure to present all the offers to you, so that way you can make the best decision for you. Our team is composed of seasoned negotiators. If it comes time to make tougher decisions, we will be there to add clarity. At BST Realty LLC, we are here to help guide you and advocate for you. So, let’s get started on this journey together. We can’t wait to help you achieve your real estate dreams!
Experts predict that with buyer demand being extremely strong, home sales are about to surge. It appears we may soon see a somewhat uncharacteristic increase in homes for sale. Like most industries, residential real estate has a seasonality to it. For example, toy stores sell more toys in October, November, and December than they do in any other three-month span throughout the year. More cars are sold in the U.S. during the second quarter (April, May, and June) than in any other quarter of the year.
Real estate is very similar. The number of homes sold in the spring is almost always much greater than at any other time of the year. It’s even labeled as the spring buying season. Historically, the number of buyers and listings for sale significantly increase in the spring and remains strong throughout the summer. Once fall sets in, the number of buyers and sellers typically drops off.
Last year, however, that seasonality didn’t happen. The outbreak of the virus and subsequent slowing of the economy limited sales during the spring market. These sales were pushed back later in the year, and last fall and winter saw a dramatic increase in home sales over previous years. The only thing that held the market back was the extremely limited supply of homes for sale.
Some experts thought we’d return to the industry’s normal seasonality this winter with both the number of purchasers and houses available for sale falling off. However, data now shows that neither of those situations will likely occur. Buyer demand is still extremely strong, and it appears we may soon see a somewhat uncharacteristic increase in the number of homes coming to the market.
Buyer Demand Remains Strong
The latest Showing Index from ShowingTime, which tracks the average number of monthly showings on available homes, indicates buyer activity was slightly lower than at the same time last year but much higher than any of the three previous years (see chart below):A report from realtor.com confirms buying activity remains strong in the existing home sales market:
“New housing data shows 2021’s feverish home sales pace broke a yearly record in October, . . . with last month marking the eighth straight month of buyers snatching up homes more quickly than the fastest pace in previous years. . . .”
Buyer activity for newly constructed homes is also very strong. Ali Wolf, Chief Economist for Zonda, recently reported that Stuart Miller, the Executive Chairman of Lennar, one of the nation’s largest home builders, said this about demand:
“There is still a great deal of demand at our sales centers with people lining up and not enough supply.”
The only question heading into this winter is whether the number of listings available could come close to meeting this buyer demand. We may have just received the answer to that question.
Sellers Are About To List – Right Now
Instead of waiting for the normal spring buying market, new research indicates that homeowners thinking about selling are about to put their homes on the market this winter.
Speaking to the release of a report on this recent research, George Ratiu, Manager of Economic Research for realtor.com, said:
“The pandemic has delayed plans for many Americans, and homeowners looking to move on to the next stage of life are no exception. Recent survey data suggests the majority of prospective sellers are actively preparing to enter the market this winter.”
Here are some highlights in the report:
Of homeowners planning to enter the market in the next year:
65% – Have just listed (19%) or plan to list this winter
93% – Have already taken steps toward listing their home, including working with an agent (28%)
36% – Have researched the value of their home and others in their neighborhood
36% – Have started making repairs or decluttering
The report also discusses the reasons sellers want to move:
33% – Have realized they want different home features
37% – Say their home no longer meets their family’s needs
32% – Want to move closer to friends and family
23% – Are looking for a home office
Data shows buyer demand remains unusually strong going into this winter. Research indicates the supply of inventory is about to increase. This could be a winter real estate market like never before.
Are houses less affordable than in years past? There are many headlines about how housing affordability is declining. The headlines are correct: it’s less affordable to purchase a home today than it was a year ago. However, it’s important to give this trend context. Is it less expensive to buy a house today than it was in 2005? What about 1995? What happens if we go all the way back to 1985? Or even 1975?
Obviously, the price of a home has appreciated dramatically over the last 45 years. So have the prices of milk, bread, and just about every other consumable. Prices rise over time – we know it as inflation.
However, when we look at housing, price is just one component that makes up the monthly cost of the home. Another key factor is the mortgage rate at the time of purchase.
Let’s look back at the cost of a home over the last five decades and adjust it for inflation by converting that cost to 2021 dollars. Here’s the methodology for each data point of the table below:
Mortgage Amount: Take the median sales price at the end of the second quarter of each year as reported by the Fed and assume that the buyer made a 10% down payment.
P&I: Use a mortgage calculator to determine the monthly principal and interest on the loan.
In 2021 Dollars: Use an inflation calculator to determine what each payment would be when adjusted for inflation. Green means the homes were less expensive than today. Red means they were more expensive.
As the chart shows, when adjusted for inflation, there were only two times in the last 45 years that it was less expensive to own a home than it is today.
Last year: Prices saw strong appreciation over the last year and mortgage rates have remained relatively flat. Therefore, affordability weakened.
2010: Home values plummeted after the housing crash 15 years ago. One-third of all sales were distressed properties (foreclosures or short sales). They sold at major discounts and negatively impacted the value of surrounding homes – of course homes were more affordable then.
At every other point, even in 1975, it was more expensive to buy a home than it is today.
So, are houses less affordable than before? If you want to buy a home, don’t let the headlines about affordability discourage you. You can’t get the deal your friend got last year, but you will get a better deal than your parents did 20 years ago and your grandparents did 40 years ago.
As we move into the second half of the year, one thing is clear: the current real estate market is one for the record books. The exact mix of conditions we have today creates opportunities for both buyers and sellers. Here’s a look at four key components that are shaping this unprecedented market.
“In June, newly listed homes grew by 5.5% on a year-over-year basis, and by 10.9% on a month-over-month basis. Typically, fewer newly listed homes appear on the market in the month of June compared to May. This year, growth in new listings is continuing later into the summer season, a welcome sign for a tight housing market.”
This is good news for buyers who crave more options. But even though we’re experiencing small gains in the number of available homes for sale, inventory remains a challenge in most states. That’s why it’s still a sellers’ market, giving homeowners immense leverage when they decide to make a move.
Buyer Competition and Bidding Wars
Today’s ongoing low supply, coupled with high demand, creates a market characterized by high buyer competition and bidding wars. Buyers are going above and beyond to make sure their offer stands out from the crowd by offering over the asking price, all cash, or waiving some contingencies. The number of offers on the average house for sale broke records this year – and that’s great news for sellers.
The latest Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says the average home for sale receives five offers (see graph below):For buyers, the best way to put a compelling offer together is by working with a local real estate professional. That agent can act as your trusted advisor on what terms are best for you and what’s most appealing to the seller.
Home Price Appreciation
The competition among buyers is driving prices up. Over the past year, we’ve seen home price appreciation rise across the country. According to the most recent Home Price Index (HPI) from CoreLogic, national home prices increased 15.4% year-over-year in May:
“The May 2021 HPI gain was up from the May 2020 gain of 4.2% and was the highest year-over-year gain since November 2005. Low mortgage rates and low for-sale inventory drove the increase in home prices.”
Rising home values are a big part of why real estate remains one of the top sought-after investments for Americans. For potential sellers, it also means it’s a great time to list your house to maximize the return on your investment.
A Rise in Home Values and Equity
The equity in a home doesn’t just grow when a homeowner pays their mortgage – it also grows as the home’s value appreciates. Thanks to the jump in price appreciation, homeowners across the country are seeing record-breaking gains in home equity. CoreLogic recently reported:
“…homeowners with mortgages (which account for roughly 62% of all properties) have seen their equity increase by 19.6% year over year, representing a collective equity gain of over $1.9 trillion, and an average gain of $33,400 per borrower, since the first quarter of 2020.”
That’s a major perk for households to leverage. Homeowners can use that equity to accomplish major life goals or move into their dream homes.
If you’re thinking about buying or selling, there’s no time like the present. Let’s connect to talk about how you can take advantage of the conditions we’re seeing today to meet your homeownership goals.
For many young or first-time homebuyers, purchasing a home can feel intimidating. A recent survey shows some homebuyers ages 25 to 40 may be unsure about the homebuying process and what they can afford. It found:
“1 in 4 underestimated their buying potential by $150k or more”
“1 in 4 underestimated the increase in value by $100k or more”
“47% don’t know what a good interest rate is”
Because they feel uncertain, many young homebuyers have given up on their search, or worse, they’ve decided homebuying isn’t for them and never started on their journey to begin with.
If you’re interested in buying but aren’t sure where to begin, here are three key concepts about homeownership you should understand before you get started.
1. What You Need To Know About Down Payments
Saving for a down payment is sometimes viewed as one of the biggest obstacles for homebuyers, but that doesn’t have to be the case. As Freddie Macsays:
“The most damaging down payment myth—since it stops the homebuying process before it can start—is the belief that 20% is necessary.”
According to the most recent Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median down payment for homes purchased between July 2019 and June 2020 was only 12%. That number is even lower when we control for age – for buyersin the 22 to 30 age range, the median down payment was only 6%.
2. You May Be Able To Afford More Home Than You Think
Working remotely, exercising, and generally spending more time than ever in our homes has changed what many people are looking for in their living space. However, some young homebuyers don’t feel they can afford a home that suits their growing needs and have decided to continue renting instead. That means they’ll miss out on some of the long-term benefits of owning a home. As an article recently published by NAR points out:
“Many young adults are underestimating how much they need for homeownership, the survey finds. Millennials underestimated how much home they can afford right now, how much interest they would pay over a 30-year mortgage, and how much home values appreciate, on average, over 10 years…”
Knowing how much home you can afford when starting the buying process is critical and could be the game-changer that gets you from renting to buying.
3. Homeownership Will Become Less Affordable the Longer You Wait
Finally, with mortgage rates starting to rise along with home prices appreciating, putting off buying a home now could cost you much more later. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac,notes:
“As the economy progresses and inflation remains elevated, we expect that rates will continually rise in the second half of the year.”
Most experts forecast interest rates will rise in the months ahead, and even the smallest increase can influence your buying power. If you’ve been on the fence about buying a home, there’s no time like the present.
If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of starting your home search, you’re not alone. Let’s connect today so we can talk more about the process, what you’ll need to start your search, and what to expect.
Over the past year, our homes have become an integral part of our lives more than ever. They’re much more than the houses we live in. They’re our workplaces, virtual schools, and safe havens that provide shelter, stability, and protection through the evolving health crisis. Thinking about homeownership today, 65.8% of Americans are fortunate enough to call their homes their own.
As we continue to think about the future, our goals for the year, and what we want to achieve well beyond 2021, it’s a great time to look at the benefits of owning a home. Below are some highlights and quotes on the benefits of homeownership shared by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). From feel-good motivations to economic and social impacts on the local community, these items may give you reason to believe homeownership stretches well beyond your financial investment.
Owning a home brings a sense of happiness, satisfaction, and pride.
Pride of Ownership: It feels good to have a place that’s truly your own, especially since you can customize it to your liking. “The personal satisfaction and sense of accomplishment achieved through homeownership can enhance psychological health, happiness and well-being for homeowners and those around them.”
Civic Participation: Homeownership creates stability, a sense of community, and increases civic engagement. It’s a way to add to the strength of your local area and drive value into your neighborhood.
Buying a home is also an investment in your financial future.
Net Worth: Homeownership builds your net worth. Today, the median household net worth of all homeowners is $254,900, while the median net worth of renters is only $6,270.
Financial Security: Equity, appreciation, and more predictable monthly housing expenses are huge financial benefits of owning a home. Homeownership is truly the best way to improve your long-term financial position.
Homeownership today is even a local economic driver.
Housing-Related Spending: An economic force throughout our nation, housing-related expenses accounted for more than one-sixth of the country’s economic activity over the past three decades.
Entrepreneurship: Homeownership is also a form of forced savings that can provide entrepreneurial opportunities. “Owning a home enables new entrepreneurs to obtain access to credit to start or expand a business and generate new jobs by using their home as collateral for small business loans.”
The benefits of homeownership go well beyond the basics. Homeownership is truly a way to build financial freedom, find greater satisfaction and happiness, and make a substantial impact in your community. If owning a home is part of your dream this year, let’s connect so you can begin the homebuying process today.
Want to build wealth? Every year, households across the country make the decision to rent for another year or take the leap into homeownership. They look at their earnings and savings and then decide what makes the most financial sense. That equation will most likely take into consideration monthly housing costs, tax advantages, and other incremental expenses. Using these measurements, recent studies show that it’s still more affordable to own than rent in most of the country.
There is, however, another financial advantage to owning a home that’s often forgotten in the analysis – the wealth built through equity when you own a home.
Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist for First American, discusses this point in a recent blog post. She explains:
“Once you include the equity benefit of price appreciation, owning made more financial sense than renting in 48 out of the 50 top markets, with the only exceptions being San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.”
What has this equity piece meant to homeowners in the past?
ATTOM Data Solutions, the curator of one of the nation’s premier property databases, just analyzed the typical home-price gain owners nationwide enjoyed when they sold their homes. Here’s a breakdown of their findings:The typical gain in the sale of the home (equity) has increased significantly over the last five years.
CoreLogic, another property data curator, also weighed in on the subject. According to their latest Homeowner Equity Insights Report, the average homeowner gained $17,000 in equity in just the last year alone.
What does the future look like for homeowners when it comes to equity?
Here are the seven major home price appreciation forecasts for 2021:The National Association of Realtors (NAR) just reported that today, the median-priced home in the country sells for $309,800. If homes appreciate by 5% this year (the average of the forecasts), the homeowner will increase their wealth by $15,490 in 2021 through increased equity.
As you make your plans for the coming year, be sure to consider the equity benefits of home price appreciation as you weigh the financial advantages of buying over renting. When you do, you may find this is the perfect time to jump into homeownership.
If you’re planning to buy a home, an appraisal is an important step in the process. It’s a professional evaluation of the market value of the home you’d like to buy. In most cases, an appraisal is ordered by the lender to confirm or verify the value of the home prior to lending a buyer money for the purchase. It’s also a different step in the process from a home inspection, which assesses the condition of the home before you finalize the transaction. Here’s the breakdown of each one and why they’re both important when buying a home.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:
“A home purchase is typically the largest investment someone will make. Protect yourself by getting your investment appraised! An appraiser will observe the property, analyze the data, and report their findings to their client. For the typical home purchase transaction, the lender usually orders the appraisal to assist in the lender’s decision to provide funds for a mortgage.”
When you apply for a mortgage, an unbiased appraisal (which is required by the lender) is the best way to confirm the value of the home based on the sale price. Regardless of what you’re willing to pay for a house, if you’ll be using a mortgage to fund your purchase, the appraisal will help make sure the bank doesn’t loan you more than what the home is worth.
This is especially critical in today’s sellers’ market where low inventory is driving an increase in bidding wars, which can push home prices upward. When sellers are in a strong position like this, they tend to believe they can set whatever price they want for their house under the assumption that competing buyers will be willing to pay more.
However, the lender will only allow the buyer to borrow based on the value of the home. This is what helps keep home prices in check. If there’s ever any confusion or discrepancy between the appraisal and the sale price, your trusted real estate professional will help you navigate any additional negotiations in the buying process.
Here’s the key difference between an appraisal and an inspection. MSNexplains:
“In simplest terms, a home appraisal determines the value of a home, while a home inspection determines the condition of a home.”
The home inspection is a way to determine the current state, safety, and condition of the home before you finalize the sale. If anything is questionable in the inspection process – like the age of the roof, the state of the HVAC system, or just about anything else – you as a buyer have the option to discuss and negotiate any potential issues or repairs with the seller before the transaction is final. Your real estate agent is a key expert to help you through this part of the process.
The appraisal and the inspection are critical steps when buying a home, and you don’t need to manage them by yourself. Let’s connect today so you have the expert guidance you need to navigate through the entire homebuying process.