Monthly Archives: January 2023

More Home Sellers Offer Buyers Concessions

When the housing market was at its peak, home sellers had the advantage. It wasn’t uncommon for a homeowner with an attractive listing to receive multiple offers from interested buyers. Put simply, it was a sellers’ market. These days, things have obviously changed. Higher mortgage rates and more challenging affordability conditions mean home sellers have to work a little harder to entice potential buyers. It’s leading more of them to offer buyers concessions. But what are concessions? Well, they can be a lot of things, including mortgage rate buy-downs and covering closing costs or the cost of home repairs. They’re becoming more common as the market begins to find better balance. In fact, according to one recent analysis, 42 percent of home sellers who sold a home during the final three months of 2022 gave buyers concessions. That’s a high number and further proof that the housing market is beginning to tilt back toward buyers after many years of favoring sellers. (source)

Number Of Homes For Sale Up 55% In December

Inventory has been one of the housing market’s primary problems for years now. Too few available homes for sale, combined with an elevated number of buyers, pushed home prices higher and caused affordability issues, bidding wars, and frustration for home shoppers. But new numbers from the National Association of Realtors’ consumer website show the market beginning to balance after years of imbalance. In fact, the number of active homes for sale in December was 54.7 percent higher than it was at the same time the year before. And while inventory remains low compared to pre-pandemic averages, the improvement should be welcome news for anyone hoping to buy a home in 2023. Danielle Hale, the website’s chief economist, says the gains will help moderate price growth and bring buyers back to the market. “Moderation in home price growth may encourage more buyers to return to the market in the months ahead, and may also be welcome news for sellers aiming to sell and buy at the same time,” Hale said. (source)

Mortgage Rate Drop Spurs Loan Demand

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates fell across all loan categories last week. Rates were down from the week before for 30-year fixed-rate loans with both conforming and jumbo balances, loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, 15-year fixed-rate loans, and 5/1 ARMs. Joel Kan, MBA’s vice president and deputy chief economist, says the drop led to a boost in loan demand. “Mortgage rates declined last week as markets reacted to data showing a weakening economy and slowing wage growth …” Kan said. “There was an increase in refinance activity as a result of the 16-basis-point decline in rates, as both conventional and government refinance applications increased.” Demand for loans to buy homes, on the other hand, saw a slight decline, falling 1 percent from the week before. The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. (source)

What Motivates Americans To Make A Move?

Where you live is a reflection of what’s important to you. Which is to say, when making a move, you’re generally looking at areas that have, or are close to, things you value. That’s what one recent survey of movers found when asking participants what motivated their move. The survey found that the top motivation was a desire to live closer to family, with 35 percent of respondents naming it as the reason behind relocating. The second most popular answer was a new job or company transfer, which was cited by 33 percent of survey participants. Retirement rounded out the top three. Michael A. Stoll, an economist and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, says there are a few common factors behind most moves. “Key factors like retirement, wanting to be closer to family, and lifestyle changes influenced by the pandemic, along with current housing prices, drove moving patterns in 2022,” Stoll said. He’s right. Affordability was also a main motivator, as Americans – especially remote workers – continue to seek out areas to live where they can get more bang for their buck. (source)

More Americans Say It’s A Good Time To Buy

Home buyers were feeling a little more optimistic as 2022 came to a close, according to the most recent results of Fannie Mae’s monthly Home Purchase Sentiment Index. The survey – which asks Americans whether they think now is a good time to buy or sell a home, where they think mortgage rates and home prices are headed, and how secure they feel financially – found a rising number of respondents who said they think now is a good time to buy a home. In fact, the survey found an 8 percent month-over-month net increase in participants who said it’s a good time to buy. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s senior vice president and chief economist, says Americans expect mortgage rates and prices to come down over the next year. “In December, the HPSI inched upward slightly, as consumers reported increased expectations that mortgage rates and home prices may decrease over the next year – perhaps reflecting recently observed declines in mortgage rates and average home prices,” Duncan said. (source)

Hot Housing Markets To Turn For Buyers

During the pandemic, the housing market favored home sellers. Prices spiked as demand from buyers soared. Hopeful home shoppers faced competition, bidding wars, and the likelihood that the home they wanted would receive multiple offers and sell to a competing buyer. Last year, though, things changed. Now, many of the hottest pandemic housing markets are turning for buyers, with the number of homes available for sale growing significantly in 80 of the 100 largest markets, according to one recent analysis. With fewer home shoppers and more homes for sale, buyers will find conditions becoming more favorable in the days ahead – a trend that’s expected to continue. In fact, by the end of this year, 36 markets are forecast to be buyers’ markets, while 41 will remain sellers’ markets and 23 will be neutral. The top buyers’ markets will mostly be found in the West, where prices rose fastest during the pandemic. (source)

Loan Change Affects High-End Home Shoppers

If you’re shopping for a home over a certain price, you may need to get a jumbo loan. Jumbo loans cover larger loan balances and often have stricter standards, including requiring a higher credit score and a bigger down payment. But what is the amount over which you’ll need a jumbo loan? Well, it changes. At the end of 2022, it was $647,200. Any loan balance below that was considered conforming and balances above that required a jumbo loan. But the Federal Housing Finance Agency – the agency that sets conforming loan limits – recently announced the limits were rising, including to over $1 million in some high-cost markets. The change, according to one analysis, means more than two million homes across the country can now be purchased using a more accessible financing option, potentially opening up additional inventory for some high-end home shoppers. (source)

Mortgage Rates Increase To End 2022

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates increased during the final two weeks of 2022, with rates up for 30-year fixed-rate loans with both conforming and jumbo balances, loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, 15-year fixed-rate loans, and 5/1 ARMs. Higher rates – combined with the holiday season – led to a drop in demand for mortgage applications. Joel Kan, MBA’s vice president and deputy chief economist, says home purchase activity has slowed. “Purchase applications have been impacted by slowing home sales in both the new and existing segments of the market,” Kan said. “Even as home-price growth slows in many parts of the country, elevated mortgage rates continue to put a strain on affordability and are keeping prospective home buyers out of the market.” Demand for home purchase loans fell 12.2 percent over the past two weeks compared with two weeks prior. The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. (source)

What’s Ahead For Home Buyers In 2023?

The beginning of a new year always brings with it a sense that change is on the way. After all, this year won’t be the same as last year. Things will be different. But how? Well, if you’re a prospective home buyer, one recent forecast has some ideas. Released by a popular online real-estate portal, the forecast says 2023 should be an easier year for buyers, after two years of rapidly changing affordability conditions. Put simply, the housing market should begin to stabilize. Home price increases have slowed and values are expected to remain relatively flat in 2023. Prices may even fall slightly in markets where they skyrocketed over the past two years. Similarly, mortgage rates, after spiking in 2022, may also begin to calm – especially if inflation and labor market tightness continue to ease. With rates and prices more stable, home buyers should have an easier time determining how much they can afford and what to expect when house shopping this year. (source)


Home Price Appreciation Slows Year Over Year

Home prices have been climbing for a long time. In fact, prices began increasing just a few years after the housing crash in 2008. But according to a new analysis from the American Enterprise Institute’s Housing Center, the price boom that began over 10 years ago may have finally ended. The analysis found that home price appreciation was up 6.7 percent year-over-year in November. That’s a smaller increase than in October when prices were up 8.6 percent year-over-year. It’s also much lower than in March 2022 when prices were 18.3 percent higher than year-before levels. In other words, home prices have softened significantly from their post-pandemic peak reached last spring. How much they’ve softened, though, depends on a number of factors. Location is one. For example, homes on the west coast have seen sharper declines than other areas of the country. It also depends on the price tier, with high-end homes seeing bigger declines than more affordable homes. (source)

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