Is Homeownership Still the American Dream?

Is Homeownership Still the American Dream? | Simplifying The Market

Defining the American dream is personal, and no one individual will have the same definition as another. But the feelings it brings about – success, freedom, and a sense of prosperity – are universal. That’s why, for many people, homeownership remains a key part of the American dream. Your home is your stake in the community, a strong financial investment, and an achievement to be proud of.

A recent survey from Bankrate asked respondents to rank achievements as indicators of financial success, and the responses prove that owning a home is still important to so many Americans today (see graph below):

Is Homeownership Still the American Dream? | Simplifying The Market

As the graph shows, homeownership ranks above other significant milestones, including retirement, having a successful career, and earning a college degree.

That could be because owning a home is a significant wealth-building tool and provides meaningful financial stability. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:

Homeownership builds financial security. With 65.5% of Americans owning homes, the net worth of a typical homeowner is nearly 40 times the net worth of a non-owner.”

There are other ways your home acts as more than just a roof over your head, too. The Mortgage Reports highlights a few of the many benefits homeowners enjoy, including:

Plus, homeowners tend to be more active in their community. Like 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.”

What Does That Mean for You?

If your definition of the American Dream involves greater freedom and prosperity, then homeownership could play a major role in helping you achieve that dream. When you set out to buy, know there are incredible benefits waiting for you at the end of your journey. You’ll have a place you can call your own, feel most comfortable, and grow your wealth.

First American puts it best, saying:

Homeownership remains central to the pursuit of the American Dream. It is a critical driver of economic mobility, delivering financial and social advantages. . . .”

Bottom Line

Buying a home is a powerful decision and a key part of the American Dream. And if homeownership is part of your personal dreams this year, let’s connect and start the process today.

Real Estate Consistently Voted Best Investment [INFOGRAPHIC]

Real Estate Consistently Voted Best Investment [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Real Estate Consistently Voted Best Investment [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • Based on a recent Gallup poll, real estate has been rated the best long-term investment for nine years in a row.
  • Owning real estate is more than just a place to call home. It’s also an investment in your future. That’s because it’s typically a stable and secure asset that can grow in value over time.
  • If you’re ready to buy a home and invest in your future, let’s connect.

A Key Opportunity for Homebuyers

A Key Opportunity for Homebuyers | Simplifying The Market

There’s no denying the housing market has delivered a fair share of challenges to homebuyers over the past two years. Two of the biggest hurdles homebuyers faced during the pandemic were the limited number of homes for sale and the intensity and frequency of bidding wars. But those two things have reached a turning point.

As you may have already heard, the number of homes for sale has increased this year, and even more so this spring. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, explains:

New listings–a measure of sellers putting homes up for sale–were up 6% above one year ago. Home sellers in many markets across the country continue to benefit from rising home prices and fast-selling homes. That’s prompted a growing number of homeowners to sell homes this year compared to last, giving home shoppers much needed options.”

This is encouraging news. More homes coming onto the market give you a greater chance of finding one that checks all your boxes.

Buyer Competition Moderating Helps Inventory Grow Even More

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, says inventory growth is happening not just because there’s an increase in the number of listings coming onto the market, but also because buyer demand has moderated some in light of higher mortgage rates and other economic factors:

There has been a pickup in the inventory that we’ve seen recently, but it’s not from a big increase in new listings . . . but rather a slowdown in the pace of sales. And remember that months’ supply measures the inventory of sale relative to the pace of sales. Same inventory, fewer sales, means more months’ supply.”

Basically, the market is shifting away from the frenzy of buyer competition seen during the pandemic, and that’s helping available inventory grow. In their latest forecast, realtor.com also mentions the moderation of demand as a key factor and projects the inventory growth should continue:

As rising inflation and mortgage rates bring U.S. housing demand back from the 2021 frenzy, . . . inventory will grow double-digits over 2021 and offer buyers a better-than-expected chance to find a home.”

How This Impacts You

The combination of more homes coming onto the market and a slower pace of home sales means you’ll have more options to choose from as you search for your next home. That’s great news if you’ve been searching for a while with little to no luck. Just remember, there isn’t a sudden surplus of inventory, just more homes to choose from than even a few months ago. So, you’ll still want to be decisive and move fast when you find the right home for you.

And when you do, you may be faced with less competition from other buyers too. If you’ve been waiting to jump into the market because the intensity of the bidding wars was intimidating or if you’ve been outbid on several homes, this moderation could help make the homebuying process a bit smoother. It’s not that it’ll be easy or that bidding wars are a thing of the past – that’s not the case. But it won’t feel nearly as impossible.

Bottom Line

As the housing market begins its shift back toward pre-pandemic levels, you could have a unique opportunity in front of you. With moderating levels of buyer competition and more homes actively for sale, your home search may have gotten a bit less challenging. Let’s connect to begin the process today.

Homeownership Is a Great Hedge Against the Impact of Rising Inflation

Homeownership Is a Great Hedge Against the Impact of Rising Inflation | Simplifying The Market

If you’re following along with the news today, you’ve heard about rising inflation. Today, inflation is at a 40-year high. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB):

“Consumer prices accelerated again in May as shelter, energy and food prices continued to surge at the fastest pace in decades. This marked the third straight month for inflation above an 8% rate and was the largest year-over-year gain since December 1981.”

With inflation rising, you’re likely feeling it impact your day-to-day life as prices go up for gas, groceries, and more. These climbing consumer costs can put a pinch on your wallet and make you re-evaluate any big purchases you have planned to ensure they’re still worthwhile.

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a home this year, you’re probably wondering if you should continue down that path or if it makes more sense to wait. While the answer depends on your situation, here’s how homeownership can help you combat the rising costs that come with inflation.

Homeownership Helps You Stabilize One of Your Biggest Monthly Expenses

Investopedia explains that during a period of high inflation, prices rise across the board. That’s true for things like food, entertainment, and other goods and services, even housing. Both rental prices and home prices are on the rise. So, as a buyer, how can you protect yourself from increasing costs? The answer lies in homeownership.

Buying a home allows you to stabilize what’s typically your biggest monthly expense: your housing cost. When you have a fixed-rate mortgage on your home, you lock in your monthly payment for the duration of your loan, often 15 to 30 years. James Royal, Senior Wealth Management Reporter at Bankrate, says:

A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to maintain the biggest portion of housing expenses at the same payment. Sure, property taxes will rise and other expenses may creep up, but your monthly housing payment remains the same. That’s certainly not the case if you’re renting.”

So even if other prices increase, your housing payment will be a reliable amount that can help keep your budget in check. If you rent, you don’t have that same benefit, and you won’t be protected from rising housing costs.

Investing in an Asset That Historically Outperforms Inflation

While it’s true rising home prices and higher mortgage rates mean that buying a house today costs more than it did even a few months ago, you still have an opportunity to set yourself up for a long-term win. That’s because, in inflationary times, you want to be invested in an asset that outperforms inflation and typically holds or grows in value.

The graph below shows how the average home price appreciation outperformed the average inflation rate in most decades going all the way back to the seventies – making homeownership a historically strong hedge against inflation (see graph below):

Homeownership Is a Great Hedge Against the Impact of Rising Inflation | Simplifying The Market

So, what does that mean for you? Today, experts forecast home prices will only go up from here thanks to the ongoing imbalance of supply and demand. Once you buy a house, any home price appreciation that does occur will grow your equity and your net worth. And since homes are typically assets that grow in value, you have peace of mind that history shows your investment is a strong one.

That means, if you’re ready and able, it makes sense to buy today before prices rise further.

Bottom Line

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home this year, it makes sense to act soon, even with inflation rising. That way you can stabilize your monthly housing cost and invest in an asset that historically outperforms inflation. If you’re ready to get started, let’s connect so you have expert advice on your specific situation when you’re ready to buy a home.

Things To Avoid After Applying for a Home Loan

Things To Avoid After Applying for a Home Loan | Simplifying The Market

Once you’ve applied for a mortgage to buy a home, there are some key things to keep in mind. While it’s exciting to start thinking about moving in and decorating, be careful when it comes to making any big purchases. Here are a few things you may not realize you need to avoid after applying for your home loan.

Don’t Deposit Large Sums of Cash

Lenders need to source your money, and cash isn’t easily traceable. Before you deposit any amount of cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer.

Don’t Make Any Large Purchases

It’s not just home-related purchases that could disqualify you from your loan. Any large purchases can be red flags for lenders. People with new debt have higher debt-to-income ratios (how much debt you have compared to your monthly income). Since higher ratios make for riskier loans, borrowers may no longer qualify for their mortgages. Resist the temptation to make any large purchases, even for furniture or appliances.

Don’t Co-Sign Loans for Anyone

When you co-sign for a loan, you’re making yourself accountable for that loan’s success and repayment. With that obligation comes higher debt-to-income ratios as well. Even if you promise you won’t be the one making the payments, your lender will have to count the payments against you.

Don’t Switch Bank Accounts

Lenders need to source and track your assets. That task is much easier when there’s consistency among your accounts. Before you transfer any money, speak with your loan officer.

Don’t Apply for New Credit

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new credit card or a new car. When you have your credit report run by organizations in multiple financial channels (mortgage, credit card, auto, etc.), it will have an impact on your FICO® score. Lower credit scores can determine your mortgage interest rate and possibly even your eligibility for approval.

Don’t Close Any Accounts

Many buyers believe having less available credit makes them less risky and more likely to be approved. This isn’t true. A major component of your score is your length and depth of credit history (as opposed to just your payment history) and your total usage of credit as a percentage of available credit. Closing accounts has a negative impact on both of those aspects of your score.

In Short, Consult an Expert

To sum it up, be upfront about any changes when talking with your lender. Blips in income, assets, or credit should be reviewed and executed in a way that ensures your home loan can still be approved. If your job or employment status has changed recently, share that with your lender as well. Ultimately, it’s best to fully disclose and discuss your intentions with your loan officer before you do anything financial in nature.

Bottom Line

You want your home purchase to go as smoothly as possible. Remember, before you make any large purchases, move your money around, or make any major life changes, be sure to consult your lender – someone who’s qualified to explain how your financial decisions may impact your home loan.

Why Achieving the Dream of Homeownership Can Be More Difficult for Some Americans

Why Achieving the Dream of Homeownership Can Be More Difficult for Some Americans | Simplifying The Market

Today we take time to honor and recognize the past and present experiences of Black Americans. When it comes to real estate specifically, equitable access to housing has come a long way, but the path to homeownership is still steeper for households of color.

The Gap in Homeownership Rate in America

It’s a more challenging journey to achieve homeownership for some buyers, as shown by the measurable gap between the overall average U.S. homeownership rate and that of non-white groups. Today, Census data shows the lowest homeownership rate persists in the Black community (see graph below):

Why Achieving the Dream of Homeownership Can Be More Difficult for Some Americans | Simplifying The Market

This graph clearly indicates there’s a gap that still exists in the percentage of people in each community who are able to achieve homeownership. 

How Homeownership Impacts Household Wealth 

One of the challenges that could make buying a home harder for these groups is how difficult it can be to accumulate wealth. Even today, there are obstacles certain racial and ethnic groups, especially the Black community, still face. A recent article from NextAdvisor explains:

“The median Black household earns 61 cents for every dollar earned by a comparable White household, according to the Economic Policy Institute. This not only makes it more difficult to afford a home, but also to accumulate and pass on generational wealth.”

This can delay or prevent many from achieving homeownership, challenging their ability to grow their net worth and build wealth that can pass down to future generations – a point that’s clear in a 2022 report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

Given that homeownership contributes to wealth accumulation and the homeownership rate is lower in minority groups, data shows that the net worth for these groups is also lower. At $188,200, the net worth of a typical white family was nearly 8 times greater than that of a Black family ($24,100) in 2019.”

It’s important to talk about the experience Black homebuyers may have and the challenges they may face as they pursue their dream of homeownership. The inequity that remains in housing can be a point of pain and frustration. That’s why it’s so important for members of diverse groups to have the right team of experts on their sides throughout the homebuying process.

These professionals aren’t only experienced advisors who understand the market and give the best advice. They’re also compassionate allies who will advocate for your best interests every step of the way. They can point you to important resources and tools that can help you throughout your journey to homeownership.

Bottom Line

Opportunities in real estate improve every day, but there are still equity challenges that many face. Let’s connect to make sure you have an advocate on your side to help you achieve your dream of homeownership.

The Top Reasons To Own Your Home [INFOGRAPHIC]

The Top Reasons To Own Your Home [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

The Top Reasons To Own Your Home [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • June is National Homeownership Month, and it’s a great time to consider the benefits of owning your own home.
  • If you’re considering homeownership, know that it can give you privacy, comfort, and a place to express yourself. It can also provide financial stability and help you grow your net worth.
  • Are you ready to experience all the great benefits that come from purchasing a home? Let’s connect to begin the process today.

What Are the Best Options for Today’s First-Time Homebuyers?

What Are the Best Options for Today’s First-Time Homebuyers? | Simplifying The Market

If you’re looking to buy your first home, you’re likely balancing several factors. Because both mortgage rates and home prices have risen this year, it costs more to buy a home than it did even just a few months ago. But that doesn’t mean you have to put your plans on hold.

If you partner with a trusted real estate advisor and hone your strategy, you can navigate today’s market and find the home you’re looking for. Here are two tips to help you get started.

Work with a Professional To Prioritize Your Wish List

If you’re having trouble finding a home in your budget that checks all the boxes, it may be worth taking another look at your lists of what you want and what you really need. According to the latest First-Time Homebuyer Metro Affordability Report from NerdWallet, your wish list can have as much impact on your search as your finances:

“Your budget isn’t all that you need to be concerned about; your wish list and desired location may carry just as much weight.”

It’s all about prioritization. If you’re serious about purchasing your first home soon, be flexible in what you’re looking for to open up your pool of options. Partner with a local real estate professional to better understand what’s available in today’s market and reprioritize your wish list. Remember, making a concession now doesn’t mean you’ll never have everything on your list. After you’ve moved in, you can always add certain features to make the home your own.

Increase Your Search Radius To Consider More Locations

Some areas may have more homes within your target price range than others, but it may require you to be flexible on your location. For example, if you’re a remote worker, you may be able to expand your search radius. As Fannie Mae explains:

“. . . continued remote work flexibility is likely giving many the ability to live farther away in more affordable areas.”

The decision to search in places with a lower cost of living could help you find a home that fits your budget and checks the most boxes off your wish list.

Bottom Line

If you’re serious about purchasing your first home this year, revisiting your wish list and desired location can help. Let’s connect to explore all the options in our local market – and beyond – so you can achieve your homeownership dreams.

How Homeownership Impacts You

How Homeownership Impacts You | Simplifying The Market

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.

Bottom Line

Homeownership is truly a way to find greater satisfaction and happiness and to build financial freedom. If National Homeownership Month has you dreaming about purchasing a home, then let’s connect to begin the process today.

What Does the Rest of the Year Hold for the Housing Market?

What Does the Rest of the Year Hold for the Housing Market? | Simplifying The Market

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a house, you’re at an exciting decision point. And anytime you make a big decision like that, one thing you should always consider is timing. So, what does the rest of the year hold for the housing market? Here’s what experts have to say.

The Number of Homes Available for Sale Is Likely To Grow

There are early signs housing inventory is starting to grow and experts say that should continue in the months ahead. According to Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com:

“The gap between this year’s homes for sale and last year’s is one-fifth the size that it was at the beginning of the year. The catch up is likely to continue, . . . This growth will mean more options for shoppers than they’ve had in a while, even though inventory continues to lag pre-pandemic normal.”

  • As a buyer, having more options is welcome news. Just remember, housing supply is still low, so be ready to act fast and put in your best offer up front.
  • As a seller, your house may soon face more competition when other sellers list their homes. But the good news is, if you’re also buying your next home, having more options to choose from should make that move-up process easier.

Mortgage Rates Will Likely Continue To Respond to Inflationary Pressures

Experts also agree inflation should continue to drive up mortgage rates, albeit more moderately. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First Americansays:

“… ongoing inflationary pressure remains likely to push mortgage rates even higher in the months to come.”  

  • As a buyer, work with trusted real estate professionals, including your lender, so you can learn how rising mortgage rate environments impact your purchasing power. It may make sense to buy now before it costs more to do so, if you’re ready.
  • As a seller, rising mortgage rates are motivating some homeowners to make a move up sooner rather than later. If you’re planning to buy your next home, talk to a trusted real estate advisor to decide how to time your move.

Home Prices Are Projected To Continue To Climb

Home prices are forecast to keep appreciating because there are still fewer homes for sale than there are buyers in the market. That said, experts agree the pace of that appreciation should moderate – but home prices won’t fall. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

“Prices throughout the country have surged for the better part of two years, including in the first quarter of 2022. . . Given the extremely low inventory, we’re unlikely to see price declines, but appreciation should slow in the coming months.” 

  • As a buyer, continued home price appreciation means it’ll cost you more to buy the longer you wait. But it also gives you peace of mind that, once you do buy a home, it will likely grow in value. That makes it historically a good investment and a strong hedge against inflation.
  • As a seller, price appreciation is great news for the value of your home. Again, lean on a professional to strike the right balance of the best conditions possible for both selling your house and buying your next one.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a homebuyer or seller, you need to know what’s happening in the housing market, so you can make the most informed decision possible. Let’s connect to discuss your goals and what lies ahead, so you can pick your best time to make a move.