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  • Tips for Younger Homebuyers: How To Make Your Dream a Reality

    If you’re a member of a younger generation, like Gen Z, you may be asking the question: will I ever be able to buy a home? And chances are, you’re worried that’s not going to be in the cards with inflation, rising home prices, mortgage rates, and more seemingly stacked against you. While there’s no arguing this housing market is challenging for first-time homebuyers, it is still achievable, especially if you have professionals on your side. Here are some helpful tips you may get from a pro. 1. Explore Your Options for a Down Payment If a down payment is your #1 hurdle, you may have options to give your savings a boost. There are over 2,000 down payment assistance programs designed to make homeownership more achievable. And, that’s not the only place you may be able to get a helping hand. While it may not be an option for everyone, 49% of Gen Z homebuyers got money from loved ones that they used toward a down payment, according to LendingTree. And chances are you won’t need to put 20% down (unless specified by your loan type or lender). So be sure to work with a trusted mortgage professional to explore your options, find out how much you’ll really need, and learn about any guidelines on getting a gift from loved ones. 2. Live with Loved Ones To Boost Your Savings Another thing a number of Gen Z buyers are doing is ditching their rental and moving back in with friends or family. This can help cut down your housing costs so you can build your savings a whole lot faster. As Bankrate explains: “. . . many have opted to stop renting and live with family in order to boost their savings. Thirty percent of Gen Z homebuyers move directly from their family member’s home to a home of their own, according to NAR.” 3. Cast a Broad Net for Your Search When you’ve saved up enough, here’s how a pro will help you approach your search. Since the supply of homes for sale is still low and affordability is tight, they’ll give you strategies and avenues you may not have considered to open up your pool of options. For example, it’s usually more affordable if you consider a rural or suburban area versus an urban one. So, while the city may be livelier and more energetic, the cost of living may be reason enough to look at something further out. And if you consider smaller homes and condos or townhouses, you’ll give yourself even more ways to break into the market. As Colby Stout, Research Analyst at Bright MLS, explains: “Being flexible on the types of home (e.g., a condo or townhome versus a single-family home) and exploring more affordable neighborhoods is important for first-time buyers.” 4. Take a Close Look at Your Wants and Needs And lastly, an agent can help you really think about your must-have’s and nice-to-have’s. Remember, your first home doesn’t have to be your forever home. You just need to get your foot in the door to start building equity. If you want to buy, you may find making some compromises is worth it. As Chase says: “An open-minded approach to house-hunting may be one way for Gen Z homebuyers to maintain some edge. This could mean buying in areas that are less expensive. Differentiating needs vs. wants may help in this area as well.” An agent will help you prioritize your list of home features and find houses that can deliver on the top ones. And they’ll be able to explain how equity can benefit you in the long run and make it possible to move into that dream home down the line. Bottom Line Real estate professionals have expertise on what’s working for other buyers like you. Lean on them for tips and advice along the way. As Directors Mortgage says, with that support you can make it happen: “The path to homeownership may not be a straightforward one for Gen Z, but it’s undoubtedly within reach. By adopting the right strategies, like exploring down payment assistance programs and sharing living costs with relatives, you can bring your dream of owning a home closer to reality.” Let’s connect to get you set up for long-term success. The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

  • What's Motivating Your Move?

    Thinking about selling your house? As you make your decision, consider what's pushing you to think about moving. A recent survey from Realtor.com looked into why people want to sell their homes this year. Here are the top two reasons (see graphic below): Let's take a closer look and see if they’re motivating you to make a change too. 1. To Make a Profit If you’re thinking about selling your house, you probably have a lot of questions on your mind. Well, here's some good news – the latest data shows most sellers get a great return on their investment when they sell. ATTOM, a property data provider, explains: “. . . home sellers made a $121,000 profit on the typical sale in 2023, generating a 56.5 percent return on investment.” That’s significant. And here’s one contributing factor. During the pandemic, home prices skyrocketed. There was way more buyer demand than homes available for sale and that combination pushed prices up. Now, home prices are still rising, just not as fast. That ongoing appreciation is good news for your bottom line. Any profit you make can help offset some of today’s affordability challenges when you buy your next home. If you want to know how much your house is worth now and what's going on with prices in your area, talk to a local real estate agent. 2. For Family Reasons Maybe you want to be near relatives to help take care of older family members or to have more support nearby. Or maybe you’re just eager to spend time together on special occasions like birthdays and holidays. Selling a house and moving closer to the people who matter the most to you helps keep you connected. If the distance is making you miss out on some big milestones in their lives, it might be time to talk to a local real estate agent to find a place close by. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) says: “A great real estate agent will guide you through the home search with an unbiased eye, helping you meet your buying objectives while staying within your budget.” Bottom Line If you're thinking about selling your house, there’s probably a good reason for it. Let’s talk so you have help making the right move to reach your goals this year. The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

  • Builders Are Building Smaller Homes

    Having a hard time finding a home in your budget? Builders may have a solution that can help. Builders are shifting their attention to what buyers want most right now – smaller, more affordable homes. If you want to see what’s available locally and in other areas nearby, let’s connect and explore your options together.

  • What Is Going on with Mortgage Rates?

    You may have heard mortgage rates are going to stay a bit higher for longer than originally expected. And if you’re wondering why, the answer lies in the latest economic data. Here’s a quick overview of what’s happening with mortgage rates and what experts say is ahead. Economic Factors That Impact Mortgage Rates When it comes to mortgage rates, things like the job market, the pace of inflation, consumer spending, geopolitical uncertainty, and more all have an impact. Another factor at play is the Federal Reserve (the Fed) and its decisions on monetary policy. And that’s what you may be hearing a lot about right now. Here’s why. The Fed decided to start raising the Federal Funds Rate to try to slow down the economy (and inflation) in early 2022. That rate impacts how much it costs banks to borrow money from each other. It doesn't determine mortgage rates, but mortgage rates do respond when this happens. And that’s when mortgage rates started to really climb. And while there’s been a ton of headway seeing inflation come down since then, it still isn’t back to where the Fed wants it to be (2%). The graph below shows inflation since the spike in early 2022, and where we are now compared to their target rate: As the graph shows, we’re much closer to their goal of 2% inflation than we were in 2022 – but we’re not there yet. It's even inched up a hair over the last 3 months – and that’s having an impact on the Fed’s plans. As Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, explains: “Strong incoming economic and inflation data has caused the market to re-evaluate the path of monetary policy, leading to higher mortgage rates.” Basically, long story short, inflation and its impact on the broader economy are going to be key moving forward. As Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate, says: “It’s the longer-term outlook for economic growth and inflation that have the greatest bearing on the level and direction of mortgage rates. Inflation, inflation, inflation — that’s really the hub on the wheel.” When Will Mortgage Rates Come Down? Based on current market data, experts think inflation will be more under control and we still may see the Fed lower the Federal Funds Rate this year. It’ll just be later than originally expected. As Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), said in response to the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decision yesterday: “The FOMC did not change the federal funds target at its May meeting, as incoming data regarding the strength of the economy and stubbornly high inflation have resulted in a shift in the timing of a first rate cut. We expect mortgage rates to drop later this year, but not as far or as fast as we previously had predicted.” In the simplest sense, what this says is that mortgage rates should still come down later this year. But timing can shift as new employment and economic data come in, geopolitical uncertainty remains, and more. This is one of the reasons it’s usually not a good strategy to try to time the market. An article in Bankrate gives buyers this advice: “ . . . trying to time the market is generally a bad idea. If buying a house is the right move for you now, don’t stress about trends or economic outlooks.” Bottom Line If you have questions about what’s happening in the housing market and what that means for you, let’s connect. The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

  • The Perks of Buying over Renting

    Thinking about buying a home? While today’s mortgage rates might seem a bit intimidating, here are two solid reasons why, if you’re ready and able, it could still be a smart move to get your own place. 1. Home Values Typically Go Up Over Time There’s been some confusion over the past year or so about which way home prices are headed. Make no mistake, nationally they’re still going up. In fact, over the long-term, home prices almost always go up (see graph below): Using data from the Federal Reserve (the Fed), you can see the overall trend is home prices have climbed steadily for the past 60 years. There was an exception during the 2008 housing crash when prices didn't follow the normal pattern, but generally, home values kept rising. This is a big reason why buying a home can be better than renting. As prices go up and you pay down your mortgage, you build equity. Over time, this growing equity can really increase your net worth. The Urban Institute says: “Homeownership is critical for wealth building and financial stability.” 2. Rent Keeps Rising in the Long Run Here’s another reason you may want to think about buying a home instead of renting – rent just keeps going up over the years. Sure, it might be cheaper to rent right now in some areas, but every time you renew your lease or sign a new one, you’re likely to feel the squeeze of your rent getting higher. According to data from iProperty Management, rent has been going up pretty consistently for the last 60 years, too (see graph below): So how do you escape the cycle of rising rents? Buying a home with a fixed-rate mortgage helps you stabilize your housing costs and say goodbye to those annoying rent increases. That kind of stability is a big deal. Your housing payments are like an investment, and you've got a decision to make. Do you want to invest in yourself or keep paying your landlord? When you own your home, you're investing in your own future. And even when renting is cheaper, that money you pay every month is gone for good. As Dr. Jessica Lautz, Deputy Chief Economist and VP of Research at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says: “If a homebuyer is financially stable, able to manage monthly mortgage costs and can handle the associated household maintenance expenses, then it makes sense to purchase a home.” Bottom Line If you're tired of your rent going up and want to explore the many benefits of homeownership, let’s talk to explore your options. The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

  • What More Listings Mean When You Sell Your House

    The number of homes for sale is playing a big role in today’s housing market. And, if you’re considering whether or not to list your house, today’s limited supply is one of the biggest advantages you have right now. That’s because your house stands out more when the inventory is low, especially if it’s priced right. But the supply of homes for sale is growing. According to the latest data from Realtor.com, new listings (homeowners who just put their house up for sale) are trending up (see graph below): This graph shows more homeowners are putting that sale sign up in their yards compared to the same time last year. As Realtor.com says: “. . . sellers turned out in higher numbers this March as newly listed homes were 15.5% above last year’s levels. This marked the fifth month of increasing listing activity after a 17-month streak of decline.” What This Means for You If you’ve been putting off selling your house, maybe it’s time to start thinking about it again – before your neighbors do. While we’re not going to suddenly have a surplus of homes for sale, each house that pops on the market in your area runs the risk of pulling buyer attention away from yours. For example, if your neighbor gets in on the action and lists their house too, it means you’ll have competition right next door. You don’t want buyers to tour your house and fall in love with someone else’s. You want yours to be in the spotlight. A great agent can make that happen. They’ll help you get your house ready to list, draw attention to everything today’s buyers are looking for, and help you price it right. That way buyers are really drawn to your listing and eager to make it their home. If you’re ready and able to sell now, here’s your chance to get the best of both worlds. Since the supply of homes for sale is growing, you’ll have more options for your own move. But you’ll also be able to sell while your house will still stand out. Bottom L7ine Even though inventory is still low, you don’t want to wait for more competition to pop up in your neighborhood. Let’s connect to go over the perks of selling before more homes come to the market.

  • Now’s a Great Time To Sell Your House

    Thinking about selling your house? If you are, you might be weighing factors like today’s mortgage rates and your own changing needs to figure out your next move. Here’s something else to consider. According to the latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) from Fannie Mae, the percent of respondents who say it’s a good time to sell is on the rise (see graph below): Why Are Sellers Feeling so Optimistic? One reason why is because right now is traditionally the best time of year to sell a house. A recent article from Bankrate says: “Late spring and early summer are generally considered the best times to sell a house. . . . While today’s rates are relatively high, low inventory is still keeping sellers in the driver’s seat in most markets.” These are the seasons when most people move. That means buyer demand grows. And because there still aren’t enough homes for sale to meet that demand, sellers see some serious perks. According to Rocket Mortgage: “Homes that are listed at the end of spring and the beginning of summer typically sell faster at a higher sales price.” What Does This Mean for You? More sellers are coming to realize conditions are ripe for a move. And that’s one reason why we’re seeing more homeowners put their homes up for sale. If you think you might want to get in on the action, it’s a good idea to start preparing. A local real estate agent can help you get your house ready by offering advice on how best to fix it up and make it appealing to buyers in your area. They also know if you list during the peak buying seasons of spring and early summer, you might sell quickly and for a higher price. Bottom Line If you list during the spring and early summer, you might sell your house quickly and for a higher price. When you’re ready to make the most of today’s seller’s market, let’s get in touch. The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

  • Equity Can Make Your Move Possible When Affordability Is Tight

    Did you know the equity you have in your current house can help make your move possible? Once you sell, you can use it for a larger down payment on your next home, so you’re borrowing less. Or, you may even have enough to be an all-cash buyer. The typical homeowner has $298,000 in equity. If you want to find out how much you have, let’s connect for a Professional Equity Assessment Report.

  • Is a Multi-Generational Home Right for You?

    Ever thought about living in the same house with your grandparents, parents, or other loved ones? You're not alone. A lot of people are choosing to buy multi-generational homes where everyone can live together. Let's check out why they think it’s a good idea to see if it might be a good fit for you, too. Why People Are Choosing Multi-Generational Living According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), here are just a few key reasons buyers opted for multi-generational homes over the past year (see graph below): Two of the top reasons had to do with aging parents. 27% of buyers chose multi-generational homes so they could take care of their parents more easily. And 19% did it to spend more time with them. A lot of older adults want to age in place, and living in a home with loved ones can help them do just that. If your parents are hoping to do the same, but need a bit of help, a multi-generational home may be worth considering. But buying a multi-generational home isn’t just about being close or taking care of the people you love—it can save you money, too. 22% of buyers say they picked a multi-generational home to cut down on costs, and 11% needed a bigger house multiple incomes could afford together. Sharing costs like the mortgage and utilities can make owning a home more affordable. This is especially helpful for first-time homebuyers who might find it challenging to buy a place on their own in today's market. As Axios explains: “Financial concerns and caregiving needs are two of the major reasons people live with their parents (and parents’ parents).” How an Agent Is Key in Finding the Right Home for You Looking for the perfect multi-generational home is a bit trickier than finding a regular house. You've got more people, which means more opinions and needs to think about. It's kind of like putting together a puzzle where all the pieces need to fit perfectly. If you're into the idea of living with loved ones and want all the benefits that come with it, team up with a local real estate agent who can help you out. Bottom Line Whether you're looking to save money or want to take care of your loved ones, buying a multi-generational home might be a good idea for you. If you want to find out more, let’s talk. The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

  • Foreclosure Numbers Are Nothing Like the 2008 Crash

    If you’ve been keeping up with the news lately, you’ve probably come across some articles saying the number of foreclosures in today’s housing market is going up. And that may leave you feeling a bit worried about what’s ahead, especially if you owned a home during the housing crash in 2008. The reality is, while increasing, the data shows a foreclosure crisis is not where the market is headed. Here’s the latest information stacked against the historical data to put your mind at ease. The Headlines Make the Increase Sound Dramatic – But It’s Not The increase the media is calling attention to is a little bit misleading. That’s because it’s comparing the most recent numbers to a time when foreclosures were at historic lows. And that lopsided comparison is making it sound like a much bigger deal than it actually is. Back in 2020 and 2021, there was a moratorium and forbearance program that helped millions of homeowners avoid foreclosure during challenging times. That’s why numbers for just a few years ago were so low. Now that the moratorium has come to an end, foreclosures are resuming and that means numbers are rising. But it’s an expected increase, not a surprise, and not a cause for alarm. Just because foreclosure filings are up doesn’t mean the housing market is in trouble. To prove that to you, let’s expand the comparison out a bit more. Specifically, we’ll go all the way back to the housing crash in 2008 – since that’s what people worry may happen again. The graph below uses research from ATTOM, a property data provider, to show foreclosure activity has been consistently lower since the crash in 2008: What the data shows is that things now aren’t anything like they were surrounding the housing crash. The bars in red are when there were over 1 million foreclosure filings a year. In 2023, there were roughly 357,000. That’s a big difference. A recent article from Bankrate explains one of the reasons things aren’t like they were back then: “In the years after the housing crash, millions of foreclosures flooded the housing market, depressing prices. That’s not the case now. Most homeowners have a comfortable equity cushion in their homes.” Basically, foreclosure activity is nothing like it was during the crash. That’s because most homeowners today have enough equity to keep them from going into foreclosure. And that’s a really good thing for homeowners and for the market. The reality is, the data shows a foreclosure crisis is not where the market is today, or where it’s headed. The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein

  • The Best Way To Keep Track of Mortgage Rate Trends

    If you’re thinking about buying a home, chances are you’ve got mortgage rates on your mind. You’ve heard about how they impact how much you can afford in your monthly mortgage payment, and you want to make sure you’re factoring that in as you plan your move. The problem is, with all the headlines in the news about rates lately, it can be a bit overwhelming to sort through. Here’s a quick rundown of what you really need to know. The Latest on Mortgage Rates Rates have been volatile – that means they’re bouncing around a bit. And, you may be wondering, why? The answer is complicated because rates are affected by so many factors. Things like what’s happening in the broader economy and the job market, the current inflation rate, decisions made by the Federal Reserve, and a whole lot more have an impact. Lately, all of those factors have come into play, and it’s caused the volatility we’ve seen. As Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, explains: “Ongoing inflation deceleration, a slowing economy and even geopolitical uncertainty can contribute to lower mortgage rates. On the other hand, data that signals upside risk to inflation may result in higher rates.” Professionals Can Help Make Sense of it All While you could drill down into each of those things to really understand how they impact mortgage rates, that would be a lot of work. And when you’re already busy planning a move, taking on that much reading and research may feel a little overwhelming. Instead of spending your time on that, lean on the pros. They coach people through market conditions all the time. They’ll focus on giving you a quick summary of any broader trends up or down, what experts say lies ahead, and how all of that impacts you. Take this chart as an example. It gives you an idea of how mortgage rates impact your monthly payment when you buy a home. Imagine being able to make a payment between $2,500 and $2,600 work for your budget (principal and interest only). The green part in the chart shows payments in that range or lower based on varying mortgage rates (see chart below): As you can see, even a small shift in rates can impact the loan amount you can afford if you want to stay within that target budget. It’s tools and visuals like these that take everything that’s happening and show what it actually means for you. And only a pro has the knowledge and expertise needed to guide you through them. You don’t need to be an expert on real estate or mortgage rates, you just need to have someone who is, by your side. Bottom Line Have questions about what’s going on in the housing market? Let’s connect so we can take what’s happening right now and figure out what it really means for you. The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

  • What You Really Need To Know About Home Prices

    According to recent data from Fannie Mae, almost 1 in 4 people still think home prices are going to come down. If you’re one of the people worried about that, here’s what you need to know. A lot of that fear is probably coming from what you’re hearing in the media or reading online. But here’s the thing to remember. Negative news sells. That means, you may not be getting the full picture. You may only be getting the clickbait version. As 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.” Here’s a look at the data to set the record straight. Home Prices Rose the Majority of the Past Year Case-Shiller releases a report each month on the percent of monthly home price changes. If you look at their data from January 2023 through the latest numbers available, here’s what you’d see: What do you notice when you look at this graph? It depends on what color you’re more drawn to. If you look at the green, you’ll see home prices rose for the majority of the past year. But, if you’re drawn to the red, you may only focus on the two slight declines. This is what a lot of media coverage does. Since negative news sells, drawing attention to these slight dips happens often. But that loses sight of the bigger picture. Here’s what this data really says. There’s a lot more green in that graph than red. And even for the two red bars, they’re so slight, they’re practically flat. If you look at the year as a whole, home prices still rose overall. It’s perfectly normal in the housing market for home price growth to slow down in the winter. That’s because fewer people move during the holidays and at the start of the year, so there’s not as much upward pressure on home prices during that time. That’s why, even the green bars toward the end of the year show smaller price gains. The overarching story is that prices went up last year, not down. To sum all that up, the source for that data in the graph above, Case Shiller, explains it like this: “Month-over-month numbers were relatively flat, . . . However, the annual growth was more significant for both indices, rising 7.4 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively.” If one of the expert organizations tracking home price trends says the very slight dips are nothing to worry about, why be concerned? Even Case-Shiller is drawing your attention to how those were virtually flat and how home prices actually grew over the year. Bottom Line The data shows that, as a whole, home prices rose over the past year. If you have questions about what’s happening with home prices in our area, let's chat. The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

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