Why Today's Foreclosure Numbers Are Nothing Like 2008
You’ve likely seen headlines about the number of foreclosures climbing in today’s housing market. That may leave you with a few questions, especially if you’re thinking about buying a house. Understanding what they really mean is mission-critical if you want to know the truth about what’s happening today.
According to a recent report from ATTOM, a property data provider, foreclosure filings are up 6% compared to the previous quarter and 22% since one year ago. As media headlines call attention to this increase, reporting on just the number could actually generate worry and may even make you think twice about buying a home for fear that prices could crash. The reality is, while increasing, the data shows a foreclosure crisis is not where the market is headed.
Let’s look at the latest information with context so we can see how this compares to previous years.
It Isn’t the Dramatic Increase Headlines Would Have You Believe
In recent years, the number of foreclosures has been down to record lows. That’s because, in 2020 and 2021, the forbearance program and other relief options for homeowners helped millions of homeowners stay in their homes, allowing them to get back on their feet during a very challenging period. And with home values rising at the same time, many homeowners who may have found themselves facing foreclosure under other circumstances were able to leverage their equity and ...
How Homeowners Win When They Downsize
Downsizing has long been a popular option when homeowners reach retirement age. But there are plenty of other life changes that could make downsizing worthwhile. Homeowners who have experienced a change in their lives or no longer feel like their house fits their needs may benefit from downsizing too. U.S. News explains:
“Downsizing is somewhat common among older people and retirees who no longer have children living at home. But these days, younger people are also looking to downsize to save money on housing . . .”
And when inflation has made most things significantly more expensive, saving money where you can has a lot of appeal. So, if you’re thinking about ways to budget differently, it could be worthwhile to take your home into consideration.
When you think about cutting down on your spending, odds are you think of frequent purchases, like groceries and other goods. But when you downsize your house, you often end...
One of the many reasons to buy a home is that it’s a major way to build wealth and gain financial stability. According to Freddie Mac:
“Building equity through your monthly principal payments and appreciation is a critical part of homeownership that can help you create financial stability.”
With spring approaching, now’s a great time to consider if buying a home makes sense for you. The best way to figure that out is to talk with a trusted real estate professional.
The Largest Part of Most Homeowners’ Net Worth Is Their Equity
You may be surprised to learn just how much of a homeowner’s net worth actually comes from owning their home. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) shares:
“Homeownership is the largest source of wealth among families, with the median value of a primary residence worth about ten times the median value of financial assets held by families. Housing wealth (home equity or net worth) gains are built up through price appreciation and by paying off the mortgage.”
In other words, home equity...
Over the past year, home prices have been a widely debated topic. Some have said we’ll see a massive drop in prices and that this could be a repeat of 2008 – which hasn’t happened. Others have forecasted a real estate market that could see slight appreciation or depreciation depending on the area of the country. And as we get closer to the spring real estate market, experts are continuing to forecast what they believe will happen with home prices this year and beyond.
Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, says:
“While 2023 kicked off on a more optimistic note for the U.S. housing market, recent mortgage rate volatility highlights how much uncertainty remains. Nevertheless, the continued shortage of for-sale homes is likely to keep price declines modest, which are projected to top out at 3% peak to trough.”
Additionally, every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts regarding their five-year expectations for future home prices in the United States. Here’s what they said most recently:
Are you planning to buy a home this spring? Though things are more balanced than they were at the height of the pandemic, it’s still a sellers’ market. So, when you find the home you want to buy, remember these four tips to make your best offer.
1. Lean on a Real Estate Professional
Rely on an agent who can support your goals. As Bankrate notes:
“. . . select the best real estate agent for your needs. They will be a critical part of your home buying process.”
Agents are local market experts. They know what’s worked for other buyers in your area and what sellers may be looking for in an offer. It may seem simple, but catering to what a seller needs can help your offer stand out.
2. Know Your Budget
Understanding your budget is especially important right now. As Sandy Higgins, Senior Wealth Advisor at Capstone Financial Advisors, puts it:
“Understand your current budget … what are your expenses, how’s your spending,...
The Big Advantage If You Sell This Spring
Thinking about selling your house? If you’ve been waiting for the right time, it could be now while the supply of homes for sale is so low. HousingWire shares:
“. . . the big question is whether we are finally starting to see the seasonal spring increase in inventory. The answer is no, because active listings fell to a new low last week for 2023 . . .”
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) confirms today’s housing inventory is low by looking at the months’ supply of homes on the market. In a balanced market, about a six-month supply is needed. Anything lower is a sellers’ market. And today, the number is much lower:
“Total housing inventory registered at the end of February was 980,000 units, identical to January and up 15.3% from one year ago (850,000). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down 10.3% from January but up from 1.7 months in February 2022.”
Why Does Low Inventory Make It a Good Time To Sell?
The less inventory there is on the market when you ...
Want To Sell Your House This Spring? Price It Right.
Over the last year, the housing market’s gone through significant change. While it’s still a sellers’ market, homes that are priced right are selling, and they get the most attention from buyers right now. If you’re thinking of selling your house this spring, it’s important to lean on your expert real estate advisor when it comes to setting a list price. As Realtor.com explains:
“Move-in-ready homes with curb appeal and in desirable areas—and that are priced to sell—are especially likely to move quickly this spring.”
In today’s market, how you price your house will not only make a big difference to your bottom line, but to how quickly your house will sell.
Why Pricing Your House Right Matters
Your asking price sends a message to potential buyers, especially today.
If it’s priced too low, you may leave money on the table or discourage buyers who may see a lower-than-expected price tag and wonder if that means something is wrong with the home.
If it’s priced too high, you run the risk of deterring buyers. When that happens, you may have to lower the price to drive interest when your house sits on the market for a while. But be aware that a...
How Changing Mortgage Rates Can Affect You
The 30-year fixed mortgage rate has been bouncing between 6% and 7% this year. If you’ve been on the fence about whether to buy a home or not, it’s helpful to know exactly how a 1%, or even a 0.5%, mortgage rate shift affects your purchasing power.
The chart below helps show the general relationship between mortgage rates and a typical monthly mortgage payment:
Even a 0.5% change can have a big impact on your monthly payment. And since rates have been moving between 6% and 7% for a while now, you can see how it impacts your purchasing power as rates go down.
What This Means for You
You may be tempted to put your homebuying plans on hold in hopes that rates will fall. But that can be risky. No one knows for sure where rates will go from here, and trying to time them for your benefit is tough. Lisa Sturtevant, Housing Economist at Bright MLS, explains:
“It is typically a fool’s errand for a homebuyer to try to time rates in this market . . . But volatility in mortgage rates right now can have a real impact on buyers’ monthly payments.”
That’s why it’s critical to lean on your expert real estate advisors to explore your mortgage options, understand...
Why Aren’t Home Prices Crashing?
There have been a lot of shifts in the housing market recently. Mortgage rates rose dramatically last year, impacting many people’s ability to buy a home. And after several years of rapid price appreciation, home prices finally peaked last summer. These changes led to a rise in headlines saying prices would end up crashing.
Even though we’re no longer seeing the buyer frenzy that drove home values up during the pandemic, prices have been relatively flat at the national level. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), doesn’t expect that to change:
“[H]ome prices will be steady in most parts of the country with a minor change in the national median home price.”
You might think sellers would have to lower prices to attract buyers in today’s market, and that’s part of why some may have been waiting for prices to come crashing down. But there’s another factor at play – low inventory. And according to Yun, that’s limiting just how low prices will go:
“We simply don’t have enough inventory. Will some markets see a price decline? Yes. [But] with the supply not being there, the repeat of a 30 percent price decline is highly, highly unlikely.”
As you can see in the graph below, we’ve been at or near record-low inventory levels for a few years now.
Lower Mortgage Rates Are Bringing Buyers Back to the Market
As mortgage rates rose last year, activity in the housing market slowed down. And as a result, homes started seeing fewer offers and stayed on the market longer. That meant some homeowners decided to press pause on selling.
Now, however, rates are beginning to come down—and buyers are starting to reenter the market. In fact, the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) shows mortgage applications increased last week by 7% compared to the week before.
So, if you’ve been planning to sell your house but you’re unsure if there will be anyone to buy it, this shift in the market could be your chance. Here’s what experts are saying about buyers returning to the market as we approach spring.
Mike Fratantoni, SVP and Chief Economist, MBA:
“Mortgage rates are now at their lowest level...