If you’re a homeowner, you might be torn on whether or not to sell your house right now. Maybe that’s because you don’t want to take on a higher mortgage rate on your next home. If that’s your biggest hurdle, understanding your equity may be exactly what you need to help you feel more comfortable making your move.
What Equity Is and How It Works
Equity is the current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan. And recently, that equity has been growing far faster than you may expect.Over the last few years, home prices rose dramatically, and that gave your equity a big boost very quickly. While the market has started to normalize, there’s still an imbalance between the number of homes available for sale and the number of buyers looking to make a purchase. And it’s because homes are in such high demand that prices are back on the rise today. Rob Barber, CEO of ATTOM, a property data provider, explains:
“Equity levels were high even during the recent downturn, and now they are going back up and better than ever.”
How Equity Benefits You in Today’s Market
With today’s affordability challenges, that equity can be a game changer when you move. Here’s why. Based on data from ATTOM and the Census, nearly two-thirds (68.7%) of homeowners have either paid off their mortgages or have at least 50% equity (see chart below):That means roughly 70% have a tremendous amount of equity right now.Once you sell your house, you can use your equity to help with your next purchase. It could be some (if not all) of what you’ll need for your next down payment. It may even be enough to allow you to put a considerably larger down payment on your next home, so you don’t have to finance quite as much. And, if you’ve been in your current house for years, you may have even built up enough equity to pay in all cash. If that’s true for you, you’d be able to avoid borrowing altogether, so you wouldn’t have to worry about today’s mortgage rates.
How To Find Out How Much Equity You Have
The best way to learn how much you have is to reach out to a trusted real estate agent for a Professional Equity Assessment Report (PEAR).
If you’re planning to make a move, the equity you’ve gained can make a big impact. To find out just how much equity you have in your current home and how you can use it to fuel your next purchase, let’s connect.
If you’re a homeowner, odds are your equity has grown significantly over the last few years. Equity builds over time as home values grow and as you pay down your home loan. And, since home prices skyrocketed during the ‘unicorn’ years, you’ve likely gained more than you think.According to the latest Equity Insights Report from CoreLogic, the average homeowner has more than $274,000 in equity right now. That much equity can help you achieve certain goals. In a recent article, Bankrateelaborates:
“While the pandemic created serious challenges, the silver lining for anyone who owned a home was the sizable equity gain. Understanding how home equity works, and how to leverage it, is important for any homeowner.”
Here are a few examples of how you can put your home equity to work for you.
1. Buy a Home That Fits Your Needs
If your current space no longer meets your needs, it might be time to think about moving to a bigger home. And if you’ve got too much space, downsizing to a smaller home could be just right. Either way, you can put your equity toward a down payment on a home that fits your changing lifestyle.A real estate agent can help you figure out how much equity you’ve got and how to use it when buying your next home.
2. Reinvest in Your Current Home
Renovations are a great option if you want to change your living space, but you aren’t yet ready to make a move. Home improvement projects give you the freedom to tailor your home to match your needs and personal style. But it’s important to consider the long-term benefits certain upgrades can bring to your home’s value. Lean on a real estate professional for the best advice on which improvement projects to prioritize in order to get the greatest return on your investment when you sell later on.
3. Pursue Personal Ambitions
Home equity can also serve as a catalyst for realizing your life-long dreams. That could mean investing in a new business venture, retirement, or funding an education. While you shouldn’t use your equity for unnecessary spending, using it responsibly for something meaningful and impactful can really make a difference in your life.
4. Understand Your Options to Avoid Foreclosure
Today the number of foreclosure filings remains below the norm, so there’s no need to fear a wave of foreclosed homes flooding the market. But unfortunately, there are still some homeowners who experience the foreclosure process each year. If you’re facing financial difficulties, having a clear understanding of your options and how your equity can help is crucial. Equity can act as a financial cushion that can be used in times of unexpected challenges or unforeseen circumstances that may disrupt your ability to make mortgage payments on time.In an article, Freddie Macexplains it this way:
“If exiting your home is the best option for you, selling with equity may be a good option. When selling with equity, you are using the proceeds from selling your home at a higher price than the amount you owe on your mortgage to pay off your remaining mortgage debt.”
Your equity can be a game changer in reinvesting in your needs, pursuing your goals, and even helping you avoid foreclosure during difficult times. If you’re unsure how much equity you have in your home, let’s connect so you can start planning your next move.
You may have heard some people say it’s better to rent than buy a home right now. But, even today, there are lots of good reasons to become a homeowner. One of them is that owning a home is typically viewed as a good long-term investment that helps your net worth grow over time.
Homeownership Builds Wealth Regardless of Income Level
You may be surprised to learn homeowners across various income levels have a much higher net worth than renters who make the same amount. Data from First American helps illustrate this point (see graph below):
What makes wealth so much higher for homeowners? A recent article from Realtor.comsays:
“Homeownership has long been tied to building wealth—and for good reason. Instead of throwing rent money out the window each month, owning a home allows you to build home equity. And over time, equity can turn your mortgage debt into a sizeable asset.”
Basically, the wealth you accumulate when you own a home has a lot to do with equity. As a homeowner, equity is built up as you pay down your loan and as home prices appreciate over time. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American,explains how this same benefit isn’t true for renters in a recent podcast:
“Renters as non-homeowners gain no wealth benefit as home prices rise. That wealth actually accrues to the landlord.”
Before you decide to sign another rental agreement, now is a good time to think about whether it would be better for you to buy a home instead. The best way to figure out what makes sense for you is to have a conversation with a real estate expert you trust. That professional can talk you through the benefits that come with owning to determine if that’s the right next step for you.
If you’re not sure whether to keep renting or to buy a home, know that owning a home, no matter how much money you make, can help build your wealth. Let’s connect now to get started on the path to homeownership.
Today’s higher mortgage rates, inflationary pressures, and concerns about a potential recession have some people questioning: should I still buy a home this year? While it’s true this year has unique challenges for homebuyers, it’s important to think about the long-term benefits of homeownership when making your decision.
Consider this: if you know people who bought a home 5, 10, or even 30 years ago, you’re probably going to have a hard time finding someone who regrets their decision. Why is that? The reason is tied to how home values grow with time and how, by extension, that grows your own wealth. That may be why, in a recent Fannie Maesurvey, 70% of respondents say they believe buying a home is a safe investment.
Here’s a look at how just the home price appreciation piece can really add up over the years.
Home Price Growth over Time
The map below uses data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to show just how noteworthy price gains have been over the last five years. And, since home prices vary by area, the map is broken out regionally to help convey larger market trends.
If you look at the percent change in home prices, you can see home prices grew on average by just over 56% nationwide over a five-year period.
Some regions are slightly above or below that average, but overall, home prices gained solid ground in a short time.And if you expand that time frame even more, the benefit of homeownership and the drastic gains homeowners made over the years become even clearer (see map below):
The second map shows, nationwide, home prices appreciated by an average of over 290% over a roughly 30-year span.
This nationwide average tells you the typical homeowner who bought a house 30 years ago saw their home almost triple in value over that time. That’s a key factor in why so many homeowners who bought their homes years ago are still happy with their decision.
And while you may have heard talk in late 2022 that home prices would crash, it didn’t happen. Even though home prices have moderated from the record peak we saw during the ‘unicorn’ years, prices are already rebounding in many areas today. That means, in most markets, your home should grow in value over the next year.
The alternative to buying a home is renting, and rental prices have been climbing for decades. So why rent and deal with annual lease hikes for no long-term financial benefit? Instead, consider buying a home.
If you’re questioning if it still makes sense to buy a home today, remember the incredible long-term benefits of homeownership. If you’re ready to start the conversation, let’s connect today.
You may see media coverage talking about a drop in homeowner equity. What’s important to understand is that equity is tied closely to home values. So, when home prices appreciate, you can expect equity to grow. And when home prices decline, equity does too. Here’s how this has played out recently.
Home prices rose rapidly during the ‘unicorn’ years. That gave homeowners a considerable equity boost. But those ‘unicorn’ years couldn’t last forever. The market had to moderate at some point, and that’s what we saw last fall and winter.
As home prices dropped slightly in the back half of 2022, equity was impacted. Based on the most recent report from CoreLogic, there was a 0.7% dip in homeowner equity over the last year. However, the headlines reporting on that change aren’t painting the whole picture. The reality is, while home price depreciation during the second half of last year caused equity to drop, the data shows homeowners still have near record amounts of equity.
The graph below helps illustrate this point by looking at the total amount of tappable equity in this country going all the way back to 2005. Tappable equity is the amount of equity available for homeowners to access before hitting a maximum 80% loan-to-value ratio (LTV). As the data shows, there was a significant equity boost during the ‘unicorn’ years as home prices rapidly appreciated (see the pink in the graph below).
But here’s what’s key to realize – even though there’s been a small dip, total homeowner equity is still much higher than it was before the ‘unicorn’ years.
And there’s more good news. Recent home price reports show the worst home price declines are behind us, and prices have started to go up again. As Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains:
“Home equity trends closely follow home price changes. As a result, while the average amount of equity declined from a year ago, it increased from the fourth quarter of 2022, as monthly home prices growth accelerated in early 2023.”
The last part of that quote is particularly important and is the piece of the puzzle the news is leaving out. To further emphasize the positive turn we’re already seeing, experts say home prices are forecast to appreciate at a more normal rate over the next year. In the same report, Hepp puts it this way:
“The average U.S. homeowner now has more than $274,000 in equity – up significantly from $182,000 before the pandemic. Also, while homeowners in some areas of the country who bought a property last spring have no equity as a result of price losses, forecasted home price appreciation over the next year should help many borrowers regain some of that lost equity.”
And even though Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, references a slightly different number, Kushi further validates the fact that homeowners have a lot of equity right now:
“Homeowners today have an average of $302,000 in equity in their homes.”
That means if you’ve owned your home for a few years, you likely still have way more equity than you did before the ‘unicorn’ years. And if you’ve owned your home for a year or less, the forecast for more typical price appreciation over the next year should mean your equity is already on the way back up.
Context is everything when looking at headlines. While homeowner equity dropped some from last year, it’s still near all-time highs. Let’s connect so you can get the answers you deserve from an expert who’s here to help as you plan your move this year.
Even though home prices have moderated over the last year, many homeowners still have an incredible amount of equity. But what is equity? In the simplest terms, equity is the difference between the market value of your home and the amount you owe on your mortgage. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains how your equity grows over time:
“Housing wealth (home equity or net worth) gains are built up through price appreciation and by paying off the mortgage.”
How Your Equity Can Help You Achieve Your Goals
The equity you build up over the years can be used to your advantage when you sell your current house and buy your next home. If you no longer have the space you need, it might be time to move into a larger home. Or it’s possible you have too much space and need something smaller. No matter the situation, your equity can be a powerful tool you can use to help you make a move in today’s market. That’s because it may be some (if not all) of what you need for your down payment on your next home.
And how much equity you have may surprise you. A recent survey from Realtor.comfinds many homeowners today estimate they’ve built up a significant amount of equity:
The latest data from CoreLogic helps solidify why homeowners are feeling so good about the equity they’ve likely gained over time. As Selma Hepp, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, says:
“While equity gains contracted in late 2022 due to home price declines in some regions, U.S. homeowners on average still have about $270,000 in equity, nearly $90,000 more than they had at the onset of the pandemic.”
How a Skilled Real Estate Agent Can Help
If you’re looking to leverage your equity to boost your buying power in today’s market, having a trusted agent by your side makes a difference.
A real estate professional can help you better understand the value of your home, so you’ll get a clearer picture of how much equity you likely have. As a recent article from Bankratesays:
“Hiring a skilled real estate agent can give you a realistic estimate of home prices in your area and how to price your current home. Using that figure, you can calculate how much equity you have and what your net proceeds will look like, so you can apply that money toward the down payment and closing costs of your new home.”
Having a solid understanding of your equity is key when it comes to making decisions about buying or selling your home. A skilled agent can help you navigate the often-complicated process of selling your house and ensure the transaction goes smoothly.
Today, many homeowners are sitting on a substantial amount of equity, and you may be one of them. Let’s connect so we can estimate how much equity you have and plan how you can use it toward the purchase of your next home.
One of the benefits of being a homeowner is that you build equity over time. By selling your house, that equity can be used toward purchasing your next home. But before you can put it to use, you should understand exactly what equity is and how it grows. Bankrateexplains it like this:
“Home equity is the portion of your home you’ve paid off – in other words, your stake in the property as opposed to the lender’s. In practical terms, home equity is the appraised value of your home minus any outstanding mortgage and loan balances.”
Majority of Americans Have a Large Amount of Equity
If you’ve owned your home for a while, you’ve likely built up some equity – and you may not even realize how much. Based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and ATTOM, the majority of Americans have a substantial amount of equity right now (see graph below):
And having such large amounts of equity is a benefit to homeowners in more ways than one. Rick Sharga, Executive Vice President of Market Intelligence at ATTOM, explains:
“Record levels of home equity provide security for millions of families, and minimize the chance of another housing market crash like the one we saw in 2008.”
Over time, your home equity grows. In addition to providing financial stability while you own your house, when you’re ready to sell it, that money could go a long way toward paying for your next home.
By selling your house and leveraging your equity, it can be easier to pay for your next home. Let’s connect today so you can find out how much home equity you have and start planning your next move.
A lot has changed over the past year, and you might be wondering what’s in store for the spring housing market. If you’re planning to sell your house this season, here’s what real estate experts are saying you should keep in mind.
1. Houses That Are Priced Right Are Still Selling
Houses that are updated and priced at their current market value are still selling. Jeff Tucker, Senior Economist at Zillow, says:
“. . . sellers who price and market their home competitively shouldn’t have a problem finding a buyer.”
The need to price your house right is so important today because the market has changed so much over the past year. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, explains:
“With a smaller pool of buyers today and more competition from other homes on the market, homesellers will likely need to adjust their price expectations in the market this spring.”
While this spring housing market is different than last year’s, sellers with proper expectations who lean on a real estate expert for the best advice on pricing their house well are still finding success. And that’s great news if you’re thinking about selling.
2. Buyers Are Still Out There
As mortgage rates have risen and remain volatile, some buyers have pressed pause on their plans. But there are still plenty of reasons people are buying homes today. Lisa Sturtevant, Chief Economist at Bright MLS, spells out the mindset of today’s buyers:
“For some buyers, higher mortgage rates simply means buying a home is out of the question unless home prices fall. For others, higher mortgage rates will be a hurdle but ultimately will not keep them from getting back into the market after sitting on the sidelines for months.”
That’s why, if you’re interested in selling your house this spring, it’s helpful to work with a real estate agent who can help connect you with those buyers who are ready to purchase a home.
There are still clear opportunities for sellers this spring. If you’re wondering if it’s the right time to make a move, let’s connect today.
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