The housing market has started off much stronger this year than it did last year. Lower mortgage interest rates have been a driving factor in that change. The average 30-year rate in 2019, according to Freddie Mac, was 3.94%. Today that rate is closer to 3.5%.
The Census Bureau also just reported the highest homeownership rate since 2014 for people under 35. This is evidence that owning their own home is becoming more important to Millennials as they reach the age where marriage and children are part of their lives.
According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index Survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer demand across the country is strong. That’s not the case, however, with seller demand, which remains weak throughout most of the nation. Here’s a breakdown by state:Demand for housing is high, but supply is extremely low. NAR also just reported that the actual number of homes currently for sale stands at 1.42 million, which is one of the lowest totals in almost three decades. Additionally, the ratio of homes for sale to the number purchased currently stands at 3.1 months of inventory. In a normal market, that number would be nearly double that at 6.0 months of inventory.
What does this mean for buyers and sellers?
Buyers need to remain patient in the search process. At the same time, buyers must be ready to act immediately once they find the right home.
Sellers may not want to wait until spring to put their houses on the market. With demand so high and supply so low, now is the perfect time to sell your house for the greatest dollar value and the least hassle.
The real estate market is entering the year like a lion. There’s no indication it will lose that roar, assuming inventory continues to come to market.
Homes priced in the top 25% of a price range for a particular area of the country are considered “premium homes.” At the start of last year, many of the more expensive homes listed for sale hadn’t seen as much interest, since much of the demand for housing over the past few years has come from first-time buyers looking for starter homes. It looks like buyer activity, however, is starting to show a shift in this segment.
According to the January Luxury Report from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM):
“In a snapshot of 2019, despite pessimism at the start of the year, the last quarter showcased a strengthening, with an upswing in the luxury market for sales in both the single family and condo markets.”
Momentum is growing, and those looking to enter the luxury market are poised for success in 2020 as well. With more inventory available at the upper-end, historically low interest rates, and increasing average wages, the stage is set for buyers with an interest in this tier to embrace the perfect move-up opportunity.
The report highlights the increase in buyer activity in this segment, resulting in growing sales toward the end of 2019:
“According to reports from many luxury real estate professionals, the significant increase in number of properties bought at the end of 2019 versus 2018 is reflective of an early 2019 holding pattern.
Many of early 2019’s prospective luxury buyers held off while waiting to see how prices would react to new tax regulations and other policy changes. Buyer confidence returned in late spring and compared to 2018, above average sales were reported in the final quarter of 2019.”
With evidence of strong buyer confidence, this is great news, as more homeowners are building equity and growing their net worth throughout the country:
“Many homeowners are now diversifying their wealth, owning several properties rather than a single mega mansion. In addition, there have been an increase number of home purchases taking place in smaller cities, reflecting the rising number of people relocating from major metropolises. Their property equity wealth or ability to pay high rental costs have afforded them the opportunity to purchase luxury properties in…secondary cities throughout North America.”
With a strong economy and a backdrop set for moving up this year, it’s a great time to explore the luxury market. Keep in mind, luxury can mean different things to different people, too. To one person, luxury is a secluded home with plenty of property and privacy. To another, it is a penthouse at the center of a bustling city. Knowing what characteristics mean luxury to you will help your agent understand what you’re after as you define the scope and location for the home of your dreams.
If you’re thinking about upgrading your current house to a luxury home, or adding an additional property to your portfolio, let’s get together to determine if you’re ready to make your move.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are some Northern Colorado stats we think you will love:
- Prices are up 3.5% compared to last year
- Inventory is up 10% which means there is more selection for buyers
- We just had the most active January in terms of closings in over 10 years
- Well over 13,000 residential properties representing $5.4 Billion of volume has sold in the last 12 months
If you would like to see a video recap of our annual Market Forecast you can watch that HERE.
Matt and I were talking about our investments and making good decisions and naturally this concept came up. After speaking with our financial advisors I’ve personally decided that you should invest in what you know but also diversify. Our financial advisors don’t like the idea of dumping everything into real estate because it’s not liquid enough, meaning, we can’t turn those homes into cash quickly. Being a Realtor, of course I want to dump it all into real estate because I know and understand real estate. That being said, I see their point. What I’ve come to take away is that real estate might not make you quite as much money compared to stocks but the difference is marginal and at the end of the day you still have the real estate that will either continue to grow or you can sell it and make up the difference. I like the idea of having something to show for my money rather than just having money. Full disclosure: All of these opinions are just that, opinions. I don’t know much about financial shtufff and you should NOT take my advice because this is NOT advice.
Matt found this video and I think it explains stocks versus real estate very well. Enjoy!
If one of the questions you’re asking yourself today is, “Should I sell my house this year?” the current Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) Surveyfrom the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) should boost your confidence as it relates to the current selling sentiment in the housing market. Even with all the information overload in the media circling around talk of a possible recession, the upcoming 2020 election, and more, Americans feel good about selling a house now. That’s some news to get excited about!
As the graph below shows, as of Q4 2019, 75% of people surveyed indicate they believe now is a good time to sell a home:In the case of those with a yearly salary of $100,000 or more, the results jumped even higher, coming in at an 82% positive sentiment.
When the study divided the outcomes by region, the results still consistently showed Americans feeling good about selling:
- Northeast: 71% positive
- Midwest: 76% positive
- South: 72% positive
- West: 81% positive
In addition to looking at income and region, the report also divided the results by generation, as shown in the graph below:As you can see, many believe that, despite everything going on in the world, it is still a good time to sell a home.
According to NAR, the unsold inventory available today “sits at a 3.0-month supply at the current sales pace,” which is down from a 3.7-month supply in November. The current inventory is half of what we need for a normal or neutral housing market, which should have a 6.0-month supply of unsold inventory. This is good news for sellers, as Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, says:
“Home sellers are positioned well, but prospective buyers aren’t as fortunate. Low inventory remains a problem, with first-time buyers affected the most.”
If you’re ready to list your home, you can feel good about the current sentiment in the market. Let’s get together today to determine the best next step when it comes to selling your house this year.
First-Time Buyers Are Searching for Existing Homes This Year
In the latest Housing Trends Report, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) measured the share of adults planning to buy a home over the next 12 months. The report indicates the percentage of all buyers that will be first-time buyers looking to purchase a home grew from 58% in Q4 2018 to 63% in Q4 2019.
The results revealed,
“Millennials are the most likely generation to be making plans to purchase a home within a year (19%), followed by Gen Z (13%) and Gen X (12%)…Prospective buyers in the youngest two generations are primarily first-time buyers: 88% of Gen Z buyers and 78% of Millennial buyers are reaching out to homeownership for the first time in their lives.”
With a high demand from first-time homebuyers and a shortage of inventory in the current market, selling your existing home this year might be your best move. Why? Because when homebuyers begin their search, they’re not all looking for new construction. Many are eager to find a little charm and character in a place to call home – possibly yours.
In fact, according to the same study, there is a significant demand for existing homes:
“In terms of the type of home these prospective home buyers are interested in, 40% are looking to buy an existing home and 19% a newly-built home. The remaining 41% would buy either a new or existing home.”
With showing activity up among buyers and more new construction coming to market, as a homeowner, you have the opportunity to sell your existing house now and move up into a new one, or downsize into a home that better fits your current and ever-changing needs.
Not all buyers are looking for a newly built house. If you’re ready to take advantage of low mortgage rates and a high demand for your existing home, let’s get together to determine how we will market the charming details of your current house to potential buyers.
It’s officially safe to hang up the bikes after all this snow! We Love our bikes in Fort Collins and some of us will pedal year round. For those of us who are a little less hardcore, below are some great tips for storing your bikes over the winter. Although I have to say, my bike is pretty but I don’t think I’ll be using it as wall art.
As the days shorten, you can mitigate many mid-winter headaches with some preemptive prep. Proper weatherizing can help protect your home from preventable damage, save money on energy costs, and, most importantly, keep you and your loved ones safe and warm throughout the winter season. Here is a useful checklist to manage your weatherization project. Setting aside some time on a couple of weekend days should be more than enough to knock this out:
Cracks & Leaks
Examine your entire house for any cracks and leaks, from your roof to your baseboards, to your basement and foundation. With unpredictable winter weather, these cracks and leaks are how the outside gets in, causing cold drafts and water damage.
Luckily, most cracks don’t require a professional to handle it. Depending on your house type and age, it’s likely you’ll be able to do it yourself with supplies from your local hardware store.
Windows & Doors:
Gaps and breaks in windows and doors is another way to let the winter in your home, and they can let heat escape, raising your heat bill throughout the season.
Make sure seals are tight and no leaks exist. If you have storm windows, make sure you put them on before the cold season begins. Additionally, add weather-strips and or a door sweep to prevent drafts and keep the heat in.
Clean your rain gutters of any debris. In colder climates, the buildup will cause gutters to freeze with ice, crack and then leak.
Once you have removed the residue from the drains, test them by running hose water to make sure cracks and leaks have not already formed. Even in warmer locales, the buildup can put undue stress on your roof and home.
Protecting your pipes from freezing should be your number one priority this winter. A burst pipe can quickly become a disaster in any home.
Remember to turn off your exterior water source and take in your hose. Internally, wrapping your pipes is a recommended precaution to take.
Annual checks are vital in avoiding dangers such as house fires. Replace filters if you use a furnace and clear out any vents and ducts that carry heat through them. If you have baseboard heat, wipe them of dust and remove any debris that might catch fire.
Fireplace & Wood Burning Stoves:
Make sure to have chimneys and air vents cleaned early in the season if you are planning on warming your home with a wood-burning source. When your fireplace is not in use make sure to close the damper, some resources estimate an open damper can increase energy consumption by as much as 30%, increasing your bill about $200.
Bring your patio furniture inside or cover it for the winter. Don’t forget other, smaller items such as your tools, including the hose and planting pots. Clear out any piles around the side of your house, checking for cracks and holes in your home and foundation as you go so to avoid providing shelter for unwelcome guests over the cold season.
If your property has large trees check for loose branches and call someone to trim back any limbs that may fall in your yard, on your roof or even damage a window.
Lastly, make sure your emergency kit is up to date with provisions, batteries, fresh water, food for animals, entertainment for kids – especially if you live in an area prone to power outages.
By: Mike Longsdon
There is nothing like enjoying retirement, as it allows us to explore our senior years with a new sense of freedom. After all, we’ve worked hard to get where we are today, and for many of us, it’s the perfect opportunity to discover new interests and hobbies. Of course, downsizing can be a large part of finding more time for this adventure, especially when purchasing a new home. Here’s some information to keep in mind during the process.
How Downsizing Can Improve Your Golden Years
Often, having a larger home in our golden years just doesn’t make sense. When you don’t have as many maintenance- and financial-related responsibilities, you have the opportunity to enjoy spending more time enjoying retirement. In fact, it takes longer each week to keep a larger home clean, as well as more money to maintain it. Both of these factors — time and money — could be better invested in doing things that you enjoy. Of course, there are ways to lower heating and cooling bills, but these tricks take work and time. At the end of the day, it’s worth considering downsizing and moving into the home of your dreams instead.
Exploring New Cities and Areas
This is the perfect opportunity to relocate to somewhere you’ve thought about your whole life. Still, we can’t just pack our bags and hit the road, so begin by doing your homework. When thinking of a specific city, you have to consider its weather, cost of living, quality of healthcare, and how active its senior community is. Then again, if it’s been a goal to explore another country, such as France, Spain, or Italy, your budget could go further. Indeed, there are plenty of places where you can not just survive, but thrive, on less than $3,000 a month.
Finding the Best Home for You
An accessible-ready home will be your best bet, but if you fall in love with a two-story home in need of a little renovation, you can still make it work. For instance, you might keep your bedroom on the ground floor, especially if there is a bathroom on that level. Moreover, you could also install a chairlift on the stairs to make things safe and provide easy access. Otherwise, prioritize homes that allow you to age comfortably. In particular, look for light switches that are easy-touch and 48 inches from the ground, hallways and rooms with walkways wide enough for mobility aids, and no-threshold showers to make bathing safe and effortless. If modifications are going to be a must, be sure to get a general idea of a home’s value so you know what you can expect to spend on the house, making it easier to budget for necessary upgrades. In Fort Collins, homes are currently selling for an average of around $399,000, but you can find a smaller-sized home for less.
Packing, Moving Day, and Organizing
To make moving day as easy as possible, the best thing you can do is declutter and donate any items you no longer need. This may seem difficult at first, particularly when we are attached to stuff no longer used, but remind yourself that memory associated with it is the most important. So, use it one last time, take a picture, and let it go. Without boxes bulging with possessions, packing and transportation will be much easier. As you do pack, don’t go room by room; instead, pack by category to keep similar items together. Lastly, to ensure moving day itself is as painless as possible, take extra care when researching Fort Collins moving companies. After all, you want to have faith that the movers will get your goods to your destination safely.
Finding a New Rhythm
A new house brings new routines, and the transition can sometimes be difficult. However, having an organized home can make things smoother, so don’t put off unpacking. When you arrive, do the main parts of your kitchen, enough to cook a few meals, then set up your bedroom. There’s nothing more priceless than having a place you can retreat to, so invest your energy here. Then, you can take your time and really think about where you’d like everything to go to make your home the sanctuary it should be.
Don’t let your house be a reason you don’t have the independence you deserve. With fewer chores and expenses, you’ll have a greater ability to find new sources of joy at this stage of life. A smaller home can open opportunities you might not have realized were available.
Image courtesy of Pixabay
Choosing between moving companies can be a difficult task: you need a reliable company that can do the work at a price that won’t break your bank. There are many companies on the market and with so many scams and bad experiences surrounding the industry, it is important to make sure you are choosing a reliable and vetted company.
- Check their online reputation
- Make sure they are transparent with the services they provide and what they do not provide
- Quality of service – for example, are they willing to come to your home and provide an in-home estimate?
For more information on the moving industry and choosing a reliable mover, please review this guide from Consumers Advocate: https://www.consumersadvocate.org/moving-companies