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Real Estate: It’s Still a Lack of Supply, Not a Lack of Demand

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One of the major questions real estate experts are asking today is whether prospective homebuyers still believe purchasing a home makes sense. Some claim rapidly rising home prices are impacting demand and, by extension, leading to the recent slowdown in sales activity.

However, demand isn’t the real issue. Instead, it’s the lack of supply (homes available for sale). An article from the Wall Street Journal shows this is true for new home construction:

Home builders have sold more homes than they can build. Now they are limiting their sales in an effort to catch up.”

The article quotes David Auld, CEO of D.R. Horton Inc. (the largest homebuilder by volume in the United States since 2002), explaining how they don’t have enough homes for the number of buyers coming into their models:

“Through our history, to have somebody walk into our models and to tell them, ‘We don’t have a house for you to buy today’, is something that is foreign to us.”

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, also explains that, in the existing home sale market, the slowdown in sales was a supply challenge, not a lack of demand. Responding to a recent uptick in listings coming to market, she notes:

“. . . if these changing inventory dynamics continue, we could see a wave of real estate activity heading into the latter part of the year.”

Again, the buyers are there. We just need houses to sell to them.

If the slowdown in sales was the result of demand waning, we would start to see home prices beginning to moderate – but this isn’t the case. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist for First American, explains:

“There’s a lot of conversation around rising prices and falling quantity in the housing market, and there’s this concept, or this idea, that it’s a demand-side problem . . . . But, if demand were falling dramatically, we would actually see less price pressure, less home price growth.”

Instead, we’re seeing price appreciation accelerate throughout this year, as evidenced by the year-over-year percentage increases reported by CoreLogic:

  • January: 10%
  • February: 10.4%
  • March: 11.3%
  • April: 13%
  • May: 15.4%
  • June: 17.2%

(July numbers are not yet available)

There’s a shortage of listings, not buyers, and there are three very good reasons for purchasers to still be interested in buying a home this year.

1. Affordability isn’t the challenge some are claiming it to be.

Though home prices have risen dramatically over the last 18 months, mortgage rates remain near historic lows. Because of these near-record rates, monthly mortgage payments are affordable for most buyers.

While homes are less affordable than they were last year, when we adjust for inflation, we can see they’re also more affordable than they were in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and much of the 2000s.

2. Owning is a better long-term decision than renting.

A recent study shows renting a home takes up a higher percentage of a household’s income than owning one. According to the analysis, here’s the percentage of income homebuyers and renters should expect to pay now versus at the end of the year.Real Estate: It’s Still a Lack of Supply, Not a Lack of Demand | Simplifying The MarketWhile the principal and interest of a monthly mortgage payment remain the same over the lifetime of the loan, rents increase almost every year.

3. Owners build their wealth. Renters build their landlord’s wealth.

Whether you’re a homeowner or an investor, real estate builds wealth through growing equity year-over-year. If you own, your household is gaining the benefit of that wealth accumulation. Fleming says:

The major financial advantage of homeownership is the accumulation of equity in the form of house price appreciation . . . . We have to take into account the fact that the shelter that you’re owning is an equity-generating or wealth-generating asset.”

Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, elaborates in a recent article:

“. . . once the home is purchased, appreciation helps build equity in the home, and becomes a benefit rather than a cost. When accounting for the appreciation benefit in our rent versus own analysis, it was cheaper to own in every one of the top 50 markets, including the two most expensive rental markets, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.”

Today, that equity buildup is substantial. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports:

“The median sales price of single-family existing homes rose in 99% of measured metro areas in the second quarter of 2021 compared to one year ago, with double-digit price gains in 94% of markets.”

In 94% of markets, there was a greater than 10% increase in median price. That means if you bought a $400,000 home in one of those markets, your net worth increased by at least $40,000. If you rented, the landlord was the recipient of the wealth increase.

Bottom Line

For many reasons, housing demand is still extremely strong. What we need is more supply (house listings) to meet that demand.

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Agent Value

How To Determine if You’re Ready To Buy a Home

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If you’re trying to decide if you’re ready to buy a home, there’s probably a lot on your mind. You’re thinking about your finances, today’s mortgage rates and home prices, the limited supply of homes for sale, and more. And, you’re juggling how all of those things will impact the choice you’ll make.

While housing market conditions are definitely a factor in your decision, your own personal situation and your finances matter too. As an article from NerdWallet says:

“Housing market trends give important context. But whether this is a good time to buy a house also depends on your financial situation, life goals and readiness to become a homeowner.”

Instead of trying to time the market, focus on what you can control. Here are a few questions that can give you clarity on whether you’re ready to make your move.

1. Do You Have a Stable Job?

One thing to consider is how stable you feel your employment is. Buying a home is a big purchase, and you’re going to sign a home loan stating you’ll pay that loan back. That’s a big commitment. Knowing you have a reliable job and a steady stream of income coming in can help put your mind at ease when making such a large purchase.

2. Have You Figured Out What You Can Afford?

If you have reliable paychecks coming in, the next thing to figure out is what you can afford. That’ll depend on your spending habits, debt, and more. To be sure you have a good idea of what to expect from a number’s perspective, start by talking to a trusted lender.

They’ll be able to tell you about the pre-approval process and what you’re qualified to borrow, current mortgage rates and your approximate monthly payment, closing costs to anticipate, and other expenses you’ll want to budget for. That way you can make an informed decision about whether you’re ready to buy.

3. Do You Have an Emergency Fund?

Another key factor is whether you’ll have enough cash left over in case of an emergency. While that’s not fun to think about, it’s an important thing to consider. You don’t want to overextend on the house, and then not be able to weather a storm if one comes along. As CNET says:

“You’ll want to have a financial cushion that can cover several months of living expenses, including mortgage payments, in case of unforeseen circumstances, such as job loss or medical emergencies.”

4. How Long Do You Plan To Live There?

It was mentioned above, but buying a home involves some upfront expenses. And while you’ll get that money back (and more) as you gain equity, that process takes time. If you plan to move too soon, you may not recoup your investment. For example, if you’re looking to sell and move again in a year, it might not make sense to buy right now. As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

“Five years is a good, comfortable mark. If the price of your home appreciates considerably, then even three years would be fine.”

So, think about your future. If you plan to transfer to a new city with the upcoming promotion you’re working toward or you anticipate your loved ones will need you to move closer to take care of them, that’s something to factor in.

5. Above all else, the most important question to answer is: do you have a team of real estate professionals in place? 

If not, finding a trusted local agent and a lender is a good first step. The pros can talk you through your options and help you decide if you’re ready to take the plunge or if you have a few more things to get in order first.

Bottom Line

If you want to have a conversation about all the things you need to consider to determine if you’re ready to buy, connect with a local real estate professional.

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Agent Value

The Price of Perfection: Don’t Wait for the Perfect Home

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In life, patience is a virtue – but in the world of homebuying, waiting too long in hopes of finding the perfect home actually isn’t wise. That’s because the pursuit of perfection comes at a cost. And in this case, that cost may be delaying your dream of homeownership. As Bankrate explains:

“One of the most common first-time homebuyer mistakes is looking for a home that checks each of your boxes. Looking for perfection can narrow your choices and lead you to pass over good, suitable options for starter homes in the hopes that something better will come along.”

The Cost of Holding Out for Perfection

Nothing in life is ever perfect – and that’s true when you search for a home too. Unless you’re building a brand-new home from the ground up, chances are there are going to be some features or finishes you wouldn’t have picked yourself. It may be as simple as paint colors, a light fixture, or the tile in the bathrooms or kitchen. Or even that the backyard isn’t fenced in. It could also be that the home itself is great, but it’s not the ideal location you were hoping for.

But here’s the trade-off you’d be making without even realizing it. In all that time you’d spend searching for the perfect place, you’d overlook a lot of homes that would’ve worked for you. U.S. News explains:

“. . . you may miss opportunities if you enter the process with blinders on and aren’t open-minded . . . Countless potential buyers never buy because of this, and thus miss great investments or never move on to the next chapter of their lives.”

It’s Time To Redefine Perfection

Especially with affordability and inventory where they are today, buying a home that needs some updates, is a few neighborhoods away from your ideal location, or doesn’t have all your desired features can be a smart move. Here’s why.

For starters, these homes are usually more affordable, which is important at a time when some buyers are struggling to find options in their budget.

And they give you a chance to make the space your own or discover a whole new area of town. You may find out you actually love that neighborhood. Or, swapping out a feature here or there after move-in isn’t such a big deal. So, look past the green shag carpet and see the bones of the house. With a little vision and creativity, you can turn a good house into a fantastic home.

How an Agent Helps You Explore Your Options

If you’re open to a home that needs a little elbow grease or is a bit further out, let your agent know. They’ll be happy to show you how this can really open up your pool of homes to pick from. They’ll also help coach you through this process by:

1. Prioritizing Your Must-Haves: Your agent will want to revisit your wish list and separate your non-negotiables from your nice-to-haves. From there, they’ll focus on what’s really most important to you as they come up with a bigger list of options for you to choose from.

2. Coaching You To See the Potential: As you tour these added options, your agent will help you look beyond cosmetic flaws and imagine what the home could be with a little work. Simple updates like a fresh coat of paint or new flooring can make a big difference.

3. Connecting You with Local Pros: And an agent’s support goes one step further. If they know what you’re hoping to change after you move in, they can connect you with local pros who can get the job done. That way it’s less work for you, and you don’t have to worry about tracking down contractors.

Bottom Line

Remember, there is no perfect home. But with expert help and an open mind, an agent can find you the right home – even in today’s market. connect with a local real estate agent to see what’s out there.

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Buying Tips

Homeownership: The Heart of the American Dream

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Everyone’s vision for the future is personal and unique. But for many, common goals include success, freedom, and prosperity — values closely tied to having your own home and the iconic feeling of achieving the American Dream.

A recent survey by Bankrate reveals exactly that: homeownership is still a part of the American Dream. The results show, at 78%, that owning a home tops the list, surpassing other significant milestones such as retirement, having a successful career, and more (see below):No Caption Received

So, why is buying a home important to so many today? One reason is the financial and physical security it provides. Many people see homeownership as a way to reduce stress because owning a home with a fixed-rate mortgage stabilizes what is likely their largest monthly expense.

Another factor is the potential for building wealth. That’s because, over time, homeowners gain equity as they pay down their mortgage and as home prices appreciate, leading to longer-term financial stability.

But what about the responsibilities that come with owning and maintaining a home? According to a survey by Entrata, only 23% of renters feel homeownership is too much work, indicating the majority are open to the commitments and obligations that come with being a homeowner.

What Does This Mean for You?

While buying a home today might seem daunting due to higher mortgage rates and rising home prices, the long-term benefits can make it worthwhile. If you’re considering homeownership, remember that it’s more than just a financial investment — it’s a step toward securing your future.

Bottom Line

Owning a home is a significant and powerful decision that represents a big part of the American Dream. If you’re ready to take this step, start by reaching out to a local real estate agent who can guide you through the process and help you make your homeownership goals a reality.

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The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in these article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Let's Talk Real Estate and Keeping Current Matters, Inc. do 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. Let's Talk Real Estate and Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.