National Housing Market Forecast

Is the Housing Market Going to Crash Before 2021 Is Over? What About 2022?

It’s pretty unlikely that the housing market will crash in the next two years. Remember, home prices have already seen a 23% increase in 2021, almost triple original predictions. That’s a good thing for the economy!

Back in 2020, experts projected that home prices would keep increasing in 2022, growing at a slightly slower rate of 5.5%. Well, they’re still thinking home prices will grow, but more slowly than they have this year—probably around 3% with a median purchase price of $334,000.20 But after seeing how far off predictions were for 2021 . . . well, who knows what will happen.

So, the question that’s always looming: When is the market expected to crash? Here’s the deal. As long as new buyers continue to enter the market and there aren’t enough homes for sale to meet demand, home sales and prices will continue going up, and the market should stay healthy.

On the other hand, if the number of houses for sale was crazy high and the number of buyers willing to buy them suddenly plummeted, home prices would get slashed—and that’s when a crash would be something to worry about. 

September Newsletter

It is officially September and the start to a new month!

In the September issue of our newsletter you will find events this month, featured listings, market predictions for 2021, and how to follow us on social media.

Click the attachment to check it out!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any of your real estate needs.

September Newsletter

Steps to Downsize Your Home or Declutter and Simplify

Bigger isn’t always better. In many cases, less is more – think of the tiny home trend and the overall popularity of downsizing. People downsize for many reasons. The most common ones we hear from our clients who downsize are to save money and to get rid of unused space. Downsizing your home can be the right move at any stage of life depending on your goals. You may find that purchasing a smaller home makes the most sense once you become an empty-nester, or maybe you’re a millennial who’d like more money to retire early or travel. Since there are so many reasons to downsize, we created a guide to help you learn how to downsize your home efficiently and live clutter-free.

1. Start As Soon As Possible And Pace Yourself

You should start the downsizing process as soon as possible to give yourself time to properly sort through your house without feeling overwhelmed. A general rule of thumb is that you’ll want to start at least 3 months before you plan to move but honestly, the sooner the better.

Aside from getting a jump on the downsizing process, you can also keep your home free of clutter and things you no longer need. There are some different organization methods that have gained popularity in recent years, like the KonMari method. Whatever method you choose, the goal is to find a balanced workflow and to end up with possessions that you actually need to keep around. Some popular methods include:

  • One-A-Day Method: Let go of one item per day or let go of the number of items that corresponds with the date (i.e. giving away 12 items on the 12th of a given month).
  • KonMari Method: Take on clutter by category (clothes, paper/books, miscellaneous items and then sentimental items). If an item no longer “sparks joy” then it’s time to get rid of it.
  • Four-Box Method: Restrict your options for what to do with a particular item by only giving yourself four options. Typically, these options are keep, donate, trash/recycle and sell. You should try to avoid putting items in storage.
  • Closet-Hanger Method: Face all closet hanger hooks away from you. Once you wear an item, turn the hanger hook toward you. After 6 months, donate any clothes that are still facing away.

2. Focus On One Room At A Time

The thought of decluttering or organizing your whole home might be daunting, so remember to take it one step at a time. You’re more likely to complete the whole process if you break it into multiple, more manageable projects. Try creating a plan or schedule broken down by room or smaller projects within a room to make sure that you stay on track but don’t get overwhelmed. Some example tasks to take on one at a time could include:

  • Go through DVDs and video games
  • Address the dreaded “junk drawer”
  • Pick shoes to give away and to keep
  • Trim down clothing in your closet
  • Tackle your dresser drawers
  • Organize small kitchen items
  • Match up containers, pots and pans with their lids

3. Measure Out Your New Space

In order to properly downsize, you have to know the size of the space you’re aiming to fit into. Ideally, you’ll know the square footage and shape of each room. This will help you figure out which large furniture pieces you should get rid of before the move. If you don’t have the exact measurements of your new place or don’t have a new place selected yet, focus on decluttering and getting rid of items you know you won’t need. Once you get more specifics, you can dig into those items that you were on the fence about.

Know that your current furniture might not fit in your space. Rather than squeezing large furniture into a smaller space, see what actually fits and take the opportunity to simplify and redesign your space.

4. Consider Your New Lifestyle

Aside from inch-by-inch measurements, you should also consider the bigger picture of what you’re hoping to gain from downsizing. You should be considering not just what will fit physically but what items fit in what you want out of your new space. Downsizing is a chance to reset and revamp – so take advantage of that!

Understanding your core reasoning and goals can help you stick to your plan and make you more excited about the process. Take it a step past the common answers of saving money and space and ask yourself the deeper “why.” Maybe you’re hoping to save money by downsizing, but “why?” Is it to be able to travel more or help send your grandchildren to college? Or maybe you want less home to maintain so you can spend more time with your partner or pick up a new hobby. The more specific your goals, the more effective they are in motivating you. Some questions to ask yourself include:

  • What are your top reasons for wanting to downsize?
  • What opportunities will downsizing create?
  • What will you miss the most about your old home?
  • Are there new hobbies or activities you’d like to explore?
  • What are you most excited about in this downsizing process?
  • What are you most nervous about in this process? Are there any steps you can take to help?
  • What is the first thing you want to do when you’re settled into your new home?

By setting your intentions and goals ahead of time, you’ll have a much clearer view of what items will fit into your new lifestyle and home.

5. Set Clear Decluttering Ground Rules

Once you start decluttering and combing through items, it could become easy to make exceptions here and there. Before you know it, all you’ve done is taken items from one place and moved them to another, instead of determining where they actually belong.

The best way to avoid this is by sticking to a strong set of ground rules and options for sorting your items. A common set of options could be:

  • Keep
  • Donate or sell
  • Trash or recycle
  • Pass it down or memorialize (through a photo)

Of course, categories can vary based on your specific needs and goals, but you should try to avoid categories that fall in between, as “maybes” can quickly stack up.

Whether you’re decluttering for the sake of organization or to move to a smaller space, try to remember to document the process and take before and after photos – this can help you reminisce and also encourage you to keep up your good habits once decluttering and downsizing is complete!

August Newsletter

It is officially August and the start to a new month!

In the August issue of our newsletter you will find events this month, featured listings, market predictions for 2021, and how to follow us on social media.

Click the attachment to check it out!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any of your real estate needs.

August Newsletter

Is Now a Good Time to Buy or Sell a Home?

The housing market is as hot as it’s ever been. In some areas, homes are going under contract almost as soon as they come on the market and prices keep going up, up, up. 

COVID-19 has impacted how people use their homes and where they want to live, and historically low interest rates have pushed thousands of additional buyers onto the market. Could prices keep going up? Many homeowners are wondering whether holding on to their homes until 2022 makes sense. 

We’ve spoken with experienced Realtors, and one thing is clear: if you’re on the fence about selling your home, don’t be. Now is a great time to sell a house, and things can change quickly: 2022 may not be the white-hot seller’s market that 2021 has been so far. Here’s what you need to know.

Should I sell my house? Rising interest rates indicate “Yes”

One of the big reasons buyers flooded the market this year – despite the uncertainty of a pandemic – was the historically low interest rates. 

Low mortgage rates meant that buyers could save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of their home loan, so many potential buyers who were waiting on the sidelines began searching for their dream home. The incredibly low rates also meant that people could upgrade from their old home into a larger one while maintaining the same monthly mortgage payments.

All pendulums eventually swing the other way, though, and Spring 2021 has seen mortgage rates begin to rise – and they likely will continue to do so, thanks to renewed economic activity. 

It’s smart to get on market while the rates are so low,” advises DC-based listing agent Angela Allison. “The rates are going to go up, they have to go up, and we’re going to start to see a turn in buyer demand. It’s so crazy how this market turns on a dime – it can shift that much, that quick. Get on now, because we really don’t know what’s going to happen in the fall.”

Allison is right: there is a clear relationship between interest rates and home buying activity. According to CNBC, when the interest rate for 30 year fixed-rate mortgages increased from 2.96% to 2.98% this February, mortgage applications fell by 5.1%.

Now imagine the drop of home loan applications the market might see if the mortgage rates rise by half a percentage point instead of .02, and you’ll begin to understand just how much of an impact the low rates have been having on the current housing market. When rates go up, buyers can’t qualify for the same amount of house as before. 

“Prices are at all-time highs. Rates are rising which will lower the buyer price points, which will stall the market,” explains Tampa-based listing agent Windy Back. “If we raise rates to a point where buyers are knocked out of being able to purchase, then yes, it’s going to create an issue.” 

Once mortgage rates rise significantly – and it’s not a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of “when” – thousands of home buyers are going to retreat from the market, softening some of the red-hot demand we’ve been seeing. 

“We’re definitely seeing some shifts in interest rates,” notes Baltimore-based listing agent June Piper-Brandon. “It starts to come out of the buyer’s pocket and it hurts more. With lower interest rates, people could get more home for the same price. That quarter of a point can be the difference between qualifying for the home of your dreams, and not qualifying for the home of your dreams.”   

 

mortgage-chart.jpeg?mtime=20210330162533#asset:37820
Chart via YChart shows 30 year mortgage rates rising above 3% this March

Supply is lower than ever… but will that hold?

Across the U.S., there are fewer homes on the market, period – and this is helping to push prices sky high. Housing inventory declined 39.6% on a national level in 2020, according to Fool.com. Sellers have all the bargaining power when there are so few homes to choose from, and low inventory often forces buyers to bid over asking price on homes. 

By selling now, you get to reap the benefits of a low inventory market. That means a better chance at getting multiple bids, cash offers, no contingency offers, and above-asking price offers. Once buyers have more options, they’ll also have greater leveraging power when it comes to the closing table – and you’ll be waiting longer for your home to sell. 

Some factors that can impact 2021/2022 housing inventory:

Backlog of foreclosures

When COVID-19 hit, the U.S. government issued foreclosure moratoriums to prevent people from losing their homes. Homeowners who were having trouble paying their mortgage could request an extended forbearance that would last until the end of June 2021. For this reason, very few foreclosures have been on the market in the past year – even fewer than usual. 

Eventually, though, the moratorium will end – and some people are not going to be able to hold onto their homes. “All the people that have been furloughed or laid off because of COVID – they’re going back to work but they may be making less than they were making before, or maybe they’re only back part time,” notes Piper-Brandon. And some foreclosures will happen for typical, non-COVID related reasons.

And once foreclosed homes hit the market, they tend to lower the value of nearby listing homes by way of affecting supply. Once there are more discounted homes that can be snapped up, there is decreased demand for homes listed at top dollar.

“There’s a backlog of foreclosures that have not hit the market. As soon as that shadow inventory starts hitting the market, your prices and your comps are going to start to drop,” explains Piper-Brandon. “And as a result, you’re no longer going to get the value that you would’ve gotten in the current market place.”

Home building is up 

Home building in the U.S. nosedived after the 2007 market crash and has only been slowly climbing up over the past decade – in other words, not yet keeping pace with how many people want homes. 

Today, though, home builders are feeling more confident in the market, and they’re starting to push out more homes than before.

 Data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that – with the exception of a short dip that occurred during the beginning of COVID-19 – more and more homes are being built every year to accommodate the growing population (chart: 800 = 800,000 homes).

housing-stock.jpeg?mtime=20210330161951#asset:37819

source: tradingeconomics.com

Coronavirus Restrictions are Ending

By June, anyone in the U.S. who wants a COVID-19 vaccine should be able to access one, according to the government’s current rollout timeline. 

Many homeowners were holding on to their homes due to the uncertainty of the market and their own lives – many people switched to working from home, which made commute considerations a thing of the past. And others had to deal with lost income that impacted their ability to buy a new home, and therefore move out of their old one.

As the national economy begins to approach normalcy again, though, many of the temporary reasons people were holding on to their homes will fade away.

“Buyers are exhausted right now; it’s been such a bidding war. I highly recommend getting on market now, before the dog days of summer. With the vaccine, everything’s opening back up; it’s going to be a more normal market this year and July and August are going to be really slow,” advises Allison.

Baby boomers will be aging out of their homes

Did you know that baby boomers (ages 57-75 approx.) currently hold about a third of the U.S. housing stock – or about 21 million homes? Over the next decade, millions of baby boomers will be entering retirement homes, dying, moving in with relatives, or downsizing, and the result will be thousands of additional homes entering the market each year. 

Your goal as a home seller should be to get in front of all these homes entering the market, rather than coming in at the middle and fighting to be seen. 

University of Arizona researchers also predict that there is a mismatch between the homes that will become available, and what younger homebuyers will be looking for:

“The study predicts that many baby boomers and members of Generation X will struggle to sell their homes as they become empty nesters and singles. The problem is that millions of millennials and members of Generation Z may not be able to afford those homes, or they may not want them, opting for smaller homes in walkable communities instead of distant suburbs.”

So: Is now a good time to sell a house? 

“If you want to get top dollar for your property, now is the time to sell.” -Listing agent Windy Back

“Now is a really great time to sell because six months down the road, a year down the road, the economy won’t be the same.” -Listing agent June Piper-Brandon

Numerous factors have contributed to this being one of the best times to sell a house over the past decade. Take advantage of the unusual opportunity while it’s still around, instead of kicking yourself when the market slows down and you go from a multiple-bid situation to accepting offers for $10,000 below your asking price. 

“Should I sell my house?” to recap, here’s why the answer is yes:

  • Rising interest rates
  • Backlog of foreclosures
  • Increased home building activity
  • End of COVID-19’s impact on market
  • Baby boomer homes will increase inventory

Today, there is significant demand for most homes due to a lack of inventory – but that demand can change, and when it does change it will change quickly, giving homeowners little time to react. The best time to get top dollar for your home may be today, rather than tomorrow.

July Newsletter

It is officially July and the start to a new month!

In the July issue of our newsletter you will find events this month, featured listings, market predictions for 2021, and how to follow us on social media.

Click the attachment to check it out!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any of your real estate needs.

July Newsletter

Home Renovation Projects

Find out how the top 5 home improvements rank, plus get tips on maximizing the return at resale!!

Bathroom Remodel

Average return at resale: 102 percent

It costs about $10,500 to replace the tub, tile surround, floor, toilet, sink, vanity and fixtures. You’ll get back an average of $10,700 at resale, a recoup rate of 102 percent.

If you can pipe a child’s name on a birthday cake, you can re-caulk a tub. Use a softener like CAULK-BE-GONE to get rid of the old caulk. Fill the tub with water after you’re done to stretch caulk while it dries.

If your old tub is too large to fit out the door, re-glaze it for a like-new finish. Cost: $300 to $400.

Remove dated wall coverings and apply a fresh coat of paint. For damaged walls, spray-on texture provides quick coverage.

Replace old shower doors or remove them to add the illusion of space. 

Landscaping

Average return at resale: 100 percent

The average homeowner spends about $3,502 for landscaping and $1,465 on a designer, according to the American Nursery Landscape Association.

Not sure where to start? Local garden centers often offer free design services, or ask the neighbors what works for them.

Sod costs about 30 to 35 cents a square foot, so a 5,000 sq. ft. yard would cost about $1,500 to sod. Budget for delivery fee if you buy less than 1,000 sq. ft. of sod.

A splash of color at the front of the house is an eye-catching plus. For maximum impact, use one color and vary the height of plants.

If your doorway is overwhelmed by greenery, get out the shears. Replace overgrown shrubbery with flowering foundation plants, mixing heights and colors for dramatic effect.

A charming focal point like a walkway and fountain adds major value to your property. Roll a sealant on flagstones for a permanent wet look that enhances the color.

Kitchen Remodel

Average return at resale98.5 percent

A minor kitchen remodel averages $14,913 for $14,691 at resale, a recoup rate of 98.5 percent. Do a minor remodel when your kitchen needs a cosmetic update and not a drastically different floor plan.

A $15,000 kitchen update covers 30 feet of re-facing for cabinets and drawers, a new wall oven, cooktop, sink and fixtures, laminate countertops and resilient flooring.

Put recessed lights 3’ to 5’ apart on center and 18″ from cabinets to light the countertops. Running the lights between two joists is easier than running through the joists.

If your home is worth more than $500,000, go with stone or trendy glass countertops.

Cover old vinyl with floor leveler so the pattern doesn’t bleed through. You can’t put a second layer of vinyl on if the subfloor is below-grade concrete.

Brighten up the kitchen by sanding and painting existing cabinets. It’s much less expensive than buying new ones. 

Add decorator detail without the cost by changing drapes and window molding. 

Exterior Improvements (Vinyl Siding, Paint, Updated Front Entry)

Average return at resale: 95.5 percent

The average national cost to replace 1,250 sq. ft. of vinyl siding: $7,239. Average return: $6,914, with a recoup rate of 95.5 percent.

A gallon of paint covers 400 sq. ft. of house.

Paint color cards take the guesswork out of choosing the right color combination for doors, trim and siding. 

If your house was painted before 1978, test for lead before sanding or scraping.

Upscale, fiber-cement siding costs $10,393 and returns $10,771 at resale, an even better recoup rate of 103.6 percent

If you need columns to hold up a pergola, purchase the load-bearing type. Fiberglass composite columns are popular and durable. Check salvage yards for unique historic columns.

For an updated look, remove old awnings from windows and doors.

Swap damaged wrought-iron railings for real wood supports for a more inviting entry.

Give a bare, charmless porch a dramatic makeover by adding a pergola and columns.

Deck, Patio or Porch Addition

Average return at resale: 90.3 percent

Adding a 16×20 ft. pressure-treated wood deck with a simple pattern costs about $11,000. At resale, you’ll get about $10,000 of that back, a recoup rate of 90 percent.

Add eye-appeal with decorative planters on the front porch, patio and decks.

Give a courtyard an impressive entry with an inviting gate, lighting and mature plantings. Small improvements will have a big impact at closing.

Use bold plantings to emphasize features, or to distract the eye from flaws.

Run-down stairs lower your profit margin, so make sure porch railings are safe and attractive.

Camouflage unattractive air conditioning units with a wooden trellis.

In the West, the recoup rate reaches nearly 100 percent, but it falls to 83 percent in the South.

 

These are some great projects and tips to increase the value of your home!

June Newsletter

It is officially June and the start to a new month!

In the June issue of our newsletter you will find events this month, featured listings, market predictions for 2021, and how to follow us on social media.

Click the attachment to check it out!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any of your real estate needs or questions.

June Newsletter

3.77 Acres – Ocala National Forest

Talk about hard to find…ACREAGE IN OCALA NATIONAL FOREST! Well we have an awesome 3.77 acre piece to offer buyers. Location is just South of Salt Springs on Hwy 19. This acreage includes 1000′ on paved road and minutes from Lake George and Silver Glen Springs. Lake George is the 2nd largest lake in state of Florida with 46,000 acres of water and connected on North and South end by the St. Johns River. Short boat ride to Salt Springs Run(swimming and campground), Silver Glen Springs, Juniper run and many restaurants and entertainment nearby. 

Located in the heart of the Ocala National Forest w/ beautiful Salt Springs swim area, boat launch and short ride to Lake George and the St. Johns River. Salt Springs is also home to miles and miles of ATV/SxS, Horseback and hiking trails. Great fishing year round in the many lakes, rivers and forest ponds, and don’t forget about the excellent hunting too. Close to local shopping including grocery store, Dollar General, hardware, gas station, great restaurants, entertainment and more. Only short 30 minute drive to Ocala or Palatka for all your needs. 

Schedule Your Private Showing Today!

Call, Text or Email Us! 

  • 4 parcels totaling 3.77 acres
  • Asking Price $45,000
  • Hwy 19 – 1000′ Paved Road Frontage 
  • Wooded property 

 

 

Household Budget & Money Saving Tips

Running a household is an expensive affair, but there are lots of things that you can do to minimize the costs. Lowering your expenses helps you stay within your budget and save for goals like buying a house or adding to your retirement income. Here are eight ways to reduce household expenses.

Bundle Your Services
Have internet, phone, and cable service? Move all of your accounts to one provider, and you could save $20 or more per month. Ask your current providers about bundling offers or visit ​allconnect.com to determine which company is offering the best service bundle in your area, then make the switch and save.
Cut Back on Extras
Do you really need unlimited data on your phone? How about the premium cable or satellite package that you subscribe to? Are you subscribed to multiple streaming services? You could alternate between them instead so you’re only subscribed to one or two at a time. Examine your list of monthly expenses, and determine what you can live without.
Clip Coupons and Shop Sales
Groceries can take a big bite out of a budget, but they don’t have to take a big bite out of yours. To reign in your grocery spending, start clipping coupons and shopping sales. If you’re a first-time couponer, you could save 15% or more. With time, that could increase to as much as 50%. Keep in mind that couponing only makes sense for items you would buy anyway. If you’re buying items you don’t usually shop for, it defeats the purpose.
Most retailers have sales periodically, but some sales are predictable. For example, summer clothes tend to go on sale by August to make room for fall items. Black Friday through Cyber Monday tends to be a good time to buy electronics.
Slash Your Insurance Premiums
Insurance is essential but costly. Shop around for a better auto insurance rate and you may shave hundreds of dollars off of your current premium. Can’t find a better rate? Talk to your current provider to see if there are discounts that you are missing out on. For example, they may offer a discount for having multiple policies, a ​good student discount, and/or a good driver discount. For even more savings, consider increasing your deductible or canceling comprehensive and collision coverage on older vehicles. If you have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, be sure to review those policies as well.
Get Energy Smart
Do you dread opening your utility bills each month? If so, there’s a lot that you can do to reduce your bill.
  • Install a smart thermostat and set it to run less when no one is home
  • Turn off lights when they aren’t in use
  • Wash your laundry in cold water
  • Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater
  • Only buy ​Energy Star appliances

Start looking around, and you’ll find many ways to reduce your energy consumption and energy bills.

Seek Cheap Thrills
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun, so examine your entertainment spending and see if there are places where you can make cuts. Could you stream movies instead of seeing them in the theater? Enjoy free concerts instead of paid concerts? Check out books at the library instead of buying them? Go on a picnic instead of eating out? Challenge yourself to have more fun for less money—every little bit adds up.
Pay Your Bills on Time
In the habit of paying your bills late? If so, you’re probably paying more than you need to. Start paying your bills on time and say goodbye to late fees and rate hikes.
One option for ensuring your bills are paid on time is using autopay. If your budget is too tight for autopay, consider using calendar reminders to prompt you to pay your bills. If you have access to bill pay through your bank, consider setting it up to make paying bills faster and easier.
Learn How to Do More Yourself
Develop your DIY skills so you can keep your home well maintained without all those pricey service calls. Consider learning tasks like handling clogs, lawn care, painting interior and exterior walls and more.
If home cooking isn’t your thing, consider learning. Try one or two simple recipes per week to build up your skills and confidence.