If you’re a homeowner thinking about selling your house, you’re probably looking for the best time to make your move. That means you’re likely balancing a number of factors, like your changing needs, where you’ll go when you sell, and today’s mortgage rates in order to time it just right.
According to recent data, that sweet spot could already be here. The latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) by Fannie Mae finds that 76% of consumers believe now is a good time to sell.
The graph below shows the percentage of survey respondents who say it’s a good time to sell a house. The big dip in March and April of 2020 reflects how consumer sentiment dropped at the beginning of the pandemic as uncertainty about the health crisis grew. Since then, the percentage has grown consistently as more people feel confident it’s a good time to sell.
In fact, survey respondents think it’s an even better time to sell a house today than they did in 2019, which was a strong year for the housing market. The latest survey results indicate one of the strongest peaks in seller sentiment in nearly three years (see graph below):
What Makes Today a Good Time To Sell?
One reason so many people think it’s a good time to sell is because there are still more buyers in today’s market than there are homes for sale. That’s driving home prices up, making it a good time to sell your house.
And if you’re on the fence about whether or not to sell because you don’t know where you’ll go once you do, know that you might have more options today than in previous months. That’s because the number of homes coming onto the market has grown each month since the start of the year. When more homes come onto the market, it gives you more opportunities to find one that meets your changing needs.
June is National Homeownership Month, and it’s the perfect time to reflect on how impactful owning a home can truly be. When you purchase a house, it becomes more than just a space you occupy. It’s your stake in the community, an investment, and a place you can put your stamp on.
If you’re thinking about buying a home this year, here are some of the benefits you’ll experience when you do.
The Emotional Benefits of Homeownership
Because it’s a place that’s uniquely yours, owning a home can give you a sense of pride and happiness in several ways.
Your Home Can Reflect Your Tastes and Personality
Investopedia puts it like this:
“One often-cited benefit of homeownership is the knowledge that you own your little corner of the world.”
That knowledge can lead to a powerful, emotional connection to the place where you live. But so can the realization that your home will grow with you. Because it’s yours, you have the freedom to make updates to it as your needs and tastes change. As Logan Mohtashami, Lead Analyst for HousingWire, says:
“The psychology is that this is yours and you’re going to make it as good as possible because you’re in for a long time, . . . “
And that can create a greater sense of ownership, pride, and connection with your home and your community.
It Can Enhance Your Neighborhood and Civic Engagement
Homeownership can lead you to get even more involved with your local area. After all, you’re putting your roots down in a location and will want to do what you can to help improve it, much like your home. In a recent report, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:
“Living in one place for a longer amount of time creates and [sic] obvious sense of community pride, which may lead to more investment in said community.”
The Financial Benefits of Homeownership
When you choose to become a homeowner, you’re making a financial decision as well. That’s because your home is also an investment.
It Can Help You Feel Financially Stable
Homeownership is truly one of the best ways to improve your long-term financial position. Not only will you have a predictable monthly housing expense that can benefit your budget in the short term, but you’ll also gain equity as your home appreciates in value and you make your monthly mortgage payment. As Freddie Mac says:
“Building equity through your monthly principal payments and appreciation is a critical part of homeownership that can help you create financial stability.”
It Can Grow Your Wealth
Because of your growing equity, you can build your net worth as a homeowner. And when you compare the difference in net worth between a renter and a homeowner, it’s clear that owning a home truly offers a great way to build your long-term financial position.
According to the latest data from NAR, the median household net worth of a homeowner is roughly $300,000, while the median net worth of renters is only about $8,000. That means a homeowner’s net worth is nearly 40 times that of a renter.
Soaring home prices continue to serve existing homeowners, with nearly 45% of all property owners now considered equity rich, a year-over-year jump that boosted 13% more homeowners into the prime position.
A homeowner is considered equity rich when they have at least 50% equity in their home, a feat more easily accomplished when skyrocketing home price appreciation widens the gap between what someone owes on their mortgage and the value of their house.
About 44.9% of mortgaged residential properties in the first quarter of 2022 had at least 50% equity in their property, according to ATTOM. The portion of mortgaged homes that were equity rich rose from 41.9% in the fourth quarter of 2021 and from 31.9% during the same period in 2021.
“Homeowners continue to benefit from rising home prices,” Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence for ATTOM, said in a statement. “Record levels of home equity provide financial security for millions of families, and minimize the chance of another housing market crash like the one we saw in 2008. But these higher home prices and rising interest rates make it extremely challenging for first time buyers to enter the market.”
In the first quarter of 2022, just 3.2% of mortgaged homes, or one in 31, were considered seriously underwater – meaning the owner owed at least 25% more than the property’s estimated market value. While that figure is largely unchanged from the 3.1% of seriously underwater homes in the prior quarter, it was a marked improvement from 2021’s 4.7%, or one in 21 properties.
The decade-long housing marketing boom, which continued from late 2021 into early 2022, largely has been attributed to the rise in home equity. But across the country, the median home price rose 2% during that period – to another record of $320,500, according to ATTOM. Market analysts say a glut of home buyers chasing a historically tight supply of properties also brought up prices even higher.
ATTOM expects the latest home equity trend to slow in the remaining months of this year.
“It’s likely that equity will continue to grow through the rest of 2022, although home price increases should moderate as the year goes on,” Sharga said. “Rising interest rates, the highest inflation in 40 years, and the ongoing supply chain disruptions due to the war in Ukraine are likely to weaken demand and slow down home price appreciation.”
Nationwide, 45 states saw equity rich levels rise from the fourth quarter of 2021. However, at the same time, the percentage of mortgaged homes that were seriously underwater increased in 28 states.
Idaho had the highest level of equity-rich properties with 68.8%, while Vermont (68%), Utah (63.6%) and Washington (60.9%) followed. Meanwhile, Mississippi ranked first for having the country’s biggest portion of mortgages seriously underwater at 17%. It was trailed by Louisiana (11.3%) and Wyoming (10%).
Buying your first home is a major decision and an exciting milestone. Even though it can feel daunting at times, it has the power to change your life for the better. If you’re looking to purchase your first home, you may be wondering what’s happening in the housing market today, how much you need to save, and where to start.
Here are three things that can help give you the information you need to confidently pursue your dream of homeownership.
1. Consider All Options When the Number of Homes for Sale Is Low
Today, there are far more buyers in the market than there are homes available for sale. When that happens, it’s a good idea to do what you can to increase your pool of options. That could mean expanding your search to include additional housing types. For first-time buyers, considering condominiums (condos) and townhomes can be an excellent way to increase your choices. According to Bankrate:
“Townhomes often cost less than single-family homes of a similar size in the same location.”
In another article, Bankrate also says:
“Buying a condo can be a great way to dive into homeownership without worrying about the upkeep that comes with single-family homes and townhouses.”
Condos and townhomes are both great entryways into homeownership. When you buy either one, you can start building equity which increases your net worth and can fuel a future move.
2. Know Your Down Payment Could Be More Within Reach Than You Think
Saving for a down payment can feel like one of the biggest obstacles for homebuyers, but that doesn’t have to be the case. As the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:
“One of the biggest misconceptions among housing consumers is what the typical down payment is and what amount is needed to enter homeownership.”
Data from NAR shows the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. The graph below breaks down the median down payment by age group for recent homebuyers according to the 2022 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report from NAR (see graph below):
Based on the data above, the median down payment for all homebuyers is only 13%. That’s well below the common misconception of 20%, and it’s even lower for younger buyers. This could mean you may not need to save as much for a down payment as you initially thought.
There are also down payment assistance programs available for many buyers. Not to mention, some loan options require as little as 3.5% (or even 0%) down for buyers who qualify. While there are advantages to putting 20% down, especially in today’s competitive market, know that you have options. To get more information on how much you may need to save and the help that’s available, talk with a professional.
3. Work with a Trusted Real Estate Advisor Throughout the Process
Finally, no matter where you’re at in your homeownership journey, the best way to make sure you’re set up for success is to work with a real estate professional.
If you’re just starting out, they can help you with the initial steps, like educating you on the process and connecting you with a trusted lender to get pre-approved. Once you’re ready to begin your search, a real estate professional can help you understand your local market and search for available homes. And when it’s time to make an offer, they’ll be an expert advisor and negotiator to help your offer stand out above the rest.
The numbers: U.S. home builders started construction on homes at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of roughly 1.79 million in March, representing a 0.3% increase from the upwardly-revised figures for the previous month, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday. Compared with March 2021, housing starts were up nearly 4%.
Permitting for new homes occurred at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of roughly 1.87 million, up 0.4% from February and 6.7% from a year ago.
Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected housing starts to occur at a median pace of 1.73 million and building permits to come in at a median pace of 1.82 million.
What happened: Single-family starts and permits declined compared with both the previous month and March of last year. Every region saw declines in these figures between February and March, aside from the Midwest where new single-family construction rose 7%.
Consequently, multifamily housing projects prevented both housing starts and building permits from declining. Permits for the construction of housing projects with five or more units rose 11% since February, and were up nearly 34% from the same time a year ago. Similarly, multifamily starts climbed 7.5% on a monthly basis and 28% from a year ago.
The construction backlog continued to grow, as the number of housing projects under construction rose 2.3% from the previous month and 24% from a year ago.
Looking ahead: “The shortage of skilled labor, materials, and lots are persistent headwinds to increasing the pace of new construction. According to the February housing starts report, the number of single-family homes authorized but not started was nearly 25% higher than one year ago because of supply-chain disruptions,” said Odeta Kushi, deputy chief economist at title insurer First American.
“Even with rising interest rates and ongoing issues surrounding geopolitical stability, supply chain issues, and inflation, the overall lack of inventory over the past year has continued to drive demand for more housing starts as builders continue to try to push inventory to market,” said Kelly Mangold, a principal with RCLCO Real Estate Consulting.
With today’s real estate market moving as fast as it is, working with a real estate professional is more essential than ever. They have the skills, experience, and expertise it takes to navigate the highly detailed and involved process of selling a home. That may be why the percentage of people who list their houses on their own, known as a FSBO or For Sale By Owner, has reached its lowest point since 1985 (see graph below):
Here are five reasons why selling with a real estate professional makes more sense, even in today’s hot market:
1. They Know What Buyers Want To See
Before you decide which projects and repairs to take on, connect with a real estate professional. They have first-hand experience with today’s buyers, what they expect, and what you need to do to make sure your house shows well.
If you don’t lean on their expertise, you may spend your time and money on something that isn’t essential. That’s because, in today’s low-inventory market, buyers are willing to take on more of the renovation work themselves. A survey from Freddie Mac finds that:
“. . . nearly two-in-five potential homebuyers would consider purchasing a home requiring renovations.”
A professional can help you decide what you need to tackle. It’s not canned advice you could find online – it’s recommendations specific to your house and your area.
2. They Help Maximize Your Buyer Pool
Today, the average home is getting 4.8 offers per sale according to recent data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and that competition is pushing prices up. While that’s promising for you as a seller, it’s important to understand your agent’s role in bringing buyers in.
Real estate professionals have an assortment of tools at their disposal, such as social media followers, agency resources, and the MLS to ensure your house is viewed by the most buyers. According to realtor.com:
“Only licensed real estate agents can list homes on the MLS, which is a one-stop online shop of sorts for getting a house seen by thousands of agents and home buyers. . . . This is certainly one of many good reasons why the majority of home sellers decide to employ the services of a listing agent rather than going it alone.”
Without access to these tools, your buyer pool is limited. And you want more buyers to view your house since buyer competition can drive your final sales price higher.
3. They Understand the Fine Print
Today, more disclosures and regulations are mandatory when selling a house. That means the number of legal documents you’ll need to juggle is growing. That’s why Investopedia says:
“One of the biggest risks of FSBO is not having the experience or expertise to navigate all of the legal and regulatory requirements that come with selling a home.”
A real estate professional knows exactly what needs to happen, what all the paperwork means, and how to work through it efficiently. They’ll help you review the documents and avoid any costly missteps that could occur if you try to handle them on your own.
4. They’re Trained Negotiators
If you sell without a professional, you’ll also be solely responsible for all the negotiations. That means you’ll have to coordinate with:
The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
The buyer’s agent, who will use their expertise to advocate for the buyer
The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find concerns with the house
The appraiser, who assesses the property’s value to protect the lender
Instead of going toe-to-toe with all these parties alone, lean on an expert. They’ll know what levers to pull, how to address everyone’s concerns, and when you may want to get a second opinion.
5. They Know How To Set the Right Price for Your House
If you sell your house on your own, you may over or undershoot your asking price. That could mean you’ll leave money on the table because you priced it too low or your house will sit on the market because you priced it too high. Pricing a house requires expertise. Investopedia explains it like this:
“. . . There is no easy or universal way to determine market value for real estate.”
Real estate professionals know the ins and outs of how to price your house accurately and competitively. To do so, they compare your house to recently sold homes in your area and factor in the current condition of your house. These factors are key to making sure it’s priced to move quickly while still getting you the highest possible final sale price.
Nearly 65% of homeowners planning to sell this year expect to list by the end of summer, which should provide a much-needed influx of inventory that should slow the explosive home price growth seen during the pandemic, according to a Realtor.com survey of prospective sellers.
Realtor.com Wednesday released the results of the online survey of 3,000 consumers conducted in February by HarrisX. More than six in 10 prospective 2022 sellers said they intend to put their homes on the market within the next six months, suggesting some upcoming relief to one of the worst housing shortages in history, it found.
“While sellers are expected to hold the upper hand in 2022, navigating the listing process remains a challenge – particularly for those also buying in today’s fast-paced market,” said George Ratiu, Senior Economist & Manager of Economic Research at Realtor.com. “Homeowners who are ready to move forward with pandemic-delayed plans will find plenty of opportunity this spring and summer. Although accelerating inflation is leading to higher housing costs and living expenses, many buyers remain interested in finding a home. At the same time, recent housing trends suggest demand is beginning to moderate as higher mortgage rates push monthly payments out of some buyers’ budgets, underscoring the long-term need for more affordable inventory.”
Whether the nearly two-thirds of potential sellers follow through with their plans to list in spring or summer will prove integral to buyers hoping to make a purchase before interest rates inch up even higher, according to the news release from Realtor.com.
“In a positive sign that homeowners are serious about listing, many sellers are already getting their home ready. However, they’re doing so with great expectations of the current market, which means buyers should prepare for sellers asking for high offer prices, quick closes, waived contingencies and more,” it said.
If you’re a first-time buyer looking to break into the housing market but struggling to find a home to buy, condominiums (or condos) could be a great alternative for you.
Here are a few reasons condos may be something you’ll want to consider.
Exploring Condos Could Add Options That Fit Your Budget
Supply challenges are a reality across the board in today’s housing market. Broadening your home search to include condos could increase your overall pool of options. Just keep in mind, condos generally differ from single-family homes in average space and floorplans.
“Condos are generally more affordable because they come with less space — you likely won’t have your own backyard, for example, and the interior tends to be smaller than the square footage of a single-family home.”
But if the size of a condominium meets your needs, they could match your budget as well. Data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the difference in the median price for both housing types. For single-family homes, the median price is $363,800. And for condominiums, the median price is lower at $305,400.
So, if budget is top of mind for you, a condominium could be a great fit within your target price range.
Not to mention, buying a condo is a great way to break into the market and start building equity that can help power a future move up. The condo you purchase today may not be your forever home, but it can be a great stairstep that can help you buy your dream home later on.
Find Out if Condo Living Is Right for You
In addition, owning and living in a condo is also a lifestyle choice. While it’s true they may be smaller than single-family homes, the amenities condos provide could be a draw for many buyers. Less space in your home might mean minimal upkeep, lower maintenance, and more time for you to spend doing the things you enjoy.
To understand if condo life is for you, Bankrate recommends asking yourself a few simple questions:
“Hate to mow the lawn and trim the hedges? What about pressure washing your driveway? Are your finances such that having to lay out $5,000 or more for a new roof will be a burden? . . . Condos tend to work best for those comfortable with most of the aspects of apartment living, minus the built-in maintenance.”
Ultimately, talking with an expert real estate advisor is the best first step to determining if condo living might work for you.
Single women aren’t postponing major life decisions until they tie the knot — including the decision to buy a home.
A solid majority of single women don’t plan on waiting until they’re married to pursue mortgages, according to recently released data from Bank of America. About 2 in 3 single women (65%) reported that they would rather not wait until they were married to buy homes, regardless of how old they were.
Nearly a third of all female homeowners in the US bought a home while unmarried. These numbers come as more women have become homeowners in the past three decades, marriage rates have declined dramatically in the past six decades, and a growing number of millennials and Generation Z adults say they don’t plan to have children, a decision that shapes home buying for many families.
Single women are also quietly dominating the housing market, with more single women owning homes than men in the biggest cities in the country.
80% of single women are actively excited about the prospect of owning a home themselves, the report says. They value homeownership as an adult milestone, with 92% agreeing that it would be a “great accomplishment” to buy a home without help, and 60% saying they’ll feel as if they “made it,” once they own a home.
That doesn’t mean that single women pursuing homeownership don’t want to get married — their views on the relationship between homebuying and marriage are simply shifting. 87% of respondents to the survey said that it was an “outdated” idea that someone must be married to buy a home, and 71% of single women said that if they bought a home while single, they would want to have their future partner move in with them.
After posting a double-digit gain in November, housing starts were up yet again in December, rising 1.4% month over month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.70 million according to a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.
This is the highest level housing starts have reached in the past nine months.
Construction of single-family homes dropped 2.3% from November to 1.172 million units, the construction of multifamily units again posted a sizable increase of 13.7% to 524,000 units.
“Housing starts had one last push in store to end 2021, rising modestly from November against expectations for a small decline — a fitting conclusion to a year of remarkable stability for housing starts,” Zillow senior economist Kwame Donaldson said in a statement. “Across the United States, homebuilders reliably broke ground on between 125,000 and 140,000 homes almost every month in 2021, and by one common measure, last year was the second-least volatile year for housing starts since 2005.”
Overall, an estimated 1,595,100 housing units were started in 2021, a 15.6% increase from 2020.
“Housing demand has outstripped supply since 2009,” First American deputy chief economist Odeta Kushi said in a statement. “The last housing starts report of 2021 is a positive step towards bridging the gap between supply and demand, as an estimated 1,337,800 housing units were completed in 2021 – 4.0% above the 2020 figure. 2021 was a strong year for construction.”
Experts are attributing the stability of housing starts this year to a slowly improving labor market, low mortgage rates, high demand for housing and an extremely low level of existing housing inventory.
Also showing an increase in December was the number of building permits issued, rising 9.1% from November to 1,873,000. But while this is good news for new housing construction, homebuilders still have plenty of obstacles to overcome.
“The shortage of skilled labor, materials and lots, are headwinds to increasing the pace of new construction,” Kushi said. “The good news in the December housing starts report is the number of single-family homes permitted, but not started declined to its lowest level since April 2021, but remains elevated compared to pre-pandemic. The price of labor, lots and lumber is increasing, and these rising costs are being passed on to home buyers in the form of rising new home prices during a time when mortgage rates are expected to rise.”
As a reflection of these concerns, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) measuring homebuilder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes, fell one point in January to 83.
Regionally, on a year-to-date basis, combined single-family and multifamily starts are 0.7% higher in the Northeast, 17.1% higher in the Midwest, 9.3% higher in the South and down 18.1% in the West, compared to a year prior.