Monday, May 1, 2023 / by Courtney Mazal
The Three Factors Affecting Home Affordability Today
There’s been a lot of focus on higher mortgage rates and how they’re creating affordability challenges for today’s homebuyers. It’s true that rates climbed dramatically since the record-low we saw during the pandemic. But home affordability is based on more than just mortgage rates – it’s determined by a combination of mortgage rates, home prices, and wages.
Considering how each one of these factors is changing gives you the full picture of home affordability today. Here’s the latest.
1. Mortgage Rates
While mortgage rates are higher than they were a year ago, they’ve hovered primarily between 6% and 7% for nearly eight months now (see graph below):
As the graph shows, mortgage rates have experienced some volatility during that time. And even a small change in mortgage rates impacts your purchasing power. That’s why it’s so important to lean on your team of real est. ...
Wednesday, April 26, 2023 / by Courtney Mazal
The Power of Pre-Approval
If you’re buying a home this spring, today’s housing market can feel like a challenge. With so few homes on the market right now, plus higher mortgage rates, it’s essential to have a firm grasp on your homebuying budget. You’ll also need a sense of determination to find the right house and act quickly when you go to put in an offer. One thing you can do to help you prepare is to get pre-approved.
To understand why it’s such an important step, you need to know what pre-approval is. As part of the process, a lender looks at your finances to determine what they’d be willing to loan you. From there, your lender will give you a pre-approval letter to help you understand how much money you can borrow.
Freddie Mac explains it like this:
“A pre-approval is an indication from your lender that they are willing to lend you a certain amount of money to buy your future home. . . . Keep in mind that the loan amount in the pr. ...
Thursday, April 20, 2023 / by Courtney Mazal
Your Tax Refund Can Help You Achieve Your Homebuying Goals
Have you been saving up to buy a home this year? If so, you know there are a variety of expenses involved – from your down payment to closing costs. But there’s good news – your tax refund can help you achieve your goals by paying for some of these expenses.
SmartAsset estimates the average American will receive a $1,798 tax refund this year. The map below provides a more detailed estimate by state:
According to Freddie Mac, there are multiple ways your refund check can help you as a homebuyer. If you’re getting a refund this year and thinking about buying a home, here are a few tips to keep:
Saving for a down payment – One of the largest barriers to homeownership is saving for a down payment. You could reach your savings goal more quickly than expected by using your tax refund to help with your down payment.
Paying for closing costs – You have to pay fees to your lender, real estate. ...
Tuesday, April 18, 2023 / by Courtney Mazal
Think Twice Before Waiting for Lower Home Prices
As the housing market continues to change, you may be wondering where it’ll go from here. One factor you’re probably thinking about is home prices, which have come down a bit since they peaked last June. And you’ve likely heard something in the news or on social media about a price crash on the horizon. As a result, you may be holding off on buying a home until prices drop significantly. But that’s not the best strategy.
A recent survey from Zonda shows 53% of millennials are still renting right now because they’re waiting for home prices to come down. But here’s the thing: the most recent data shows that home prices appear to have bottomed out and are now on the rise again. Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, reports:
“U.S. home prices rose by 0.8% in February . . . indicating that prices in most markets have already bottomed out.”
And the latest data from Black Knight shows . ...
Tuesday, April 11, 2023 / by Courtney Mazal
The Big Advantage If You Sell This Spring
Thinking about selling your house? If you’ve been waiting for the right time, it could be now while the supply of homes for sale is so low. HousingWire shares:
“. . . the big question is whether we are finally starting to see the seasonal spring increase in inventory. The answer is no, because active listings fell to a new low last week for 2023 . . .”
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) confirms today’s housing inventory is low by looking at the months’ supply of homes on the market. In a balanced market, about a six-month supply is needed. Anything lower is a sellers’ market. And today, the number is much lower:
“Total housing inventory registered at the end of February was 980,000 units, identical to January and up 15.3% from one year ago (850,000). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down 10.3% from January but up from 1.7 months in February 2022.&rd; ...