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.
Buying and owning your home can make a big difference in your life by bringing you joy and a sense of belonging. And with June being National Homeownership Month, it’s the perfect time to think about all the benefits homeownership provides.
Of course, there are financial reasons to buy a house, but it’s important to consider the non-financial benefits that make a home more than just where you live.
Here are three ways owning your home can give you a sense of accomplishment, happiness, and pride.
You May Feel Happier and More Fulfilled
Owning a home is associated with better mental health and well-being. Gary Acosta, CEO and Co-Founder at the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), explains:
“Studies have shown the emotional and psychological benefits that homeownership has on a person’s health and self-esteem . . .”
“Residential stability among homeowners is related to improved life satisfaction, . . . along with better physical and mental health.”
So, according to the experts, owning a home can improve your psychological wellness by making you feel happier and more accomplished.
You Can Engage in Your Neighborhood and Grow Your Sense of Community
Your home connects you to your community. Homeowners tend to stay in their homes longer than renters, and that can help you feel more connected to your community because you have more time to build meaningful relationships. And, as Acosta says, when people stay in the same area for a longer period of time, it can lead to them being more involved:
“Homeowners also tend to be more active in their local communities . . .”
After all, it makes sense that someone would want to help improve the area they’re going to be living in for a while.
You Can Customize and Improve Your Living Space
Your home is a place that’s all yours. When you own it, unless there are specific homeowner’s association requirements, you’re free to customize it however you see fit. Whether that’s small home improvements or full-on renovations, your house can be exactly what you want and need it to be. As your tastes and lifestyle change, so can your home. As Investopediatells us:
“One often-cited benefit of homeownership is the knowledge that you own your little corner of the world. You can customize your house, remodel, paint, and decorate without the need to get permission from a landlord.”
Renting can limit your ability to personalize your living space, and even if you do make changes, you may have to undo them before your lease ends. The ability homeownership gives you to customize and improve where you live creates a greater sense of ownership, pride, and connection with your home.
Owning your home can change your life in a way that gives you greater satisfaction and happiness. Let’s connect today if you’re ready to explore homeownership and all it has to offer.
You’re probably feeling the impact of high inflation every day as prices have gone up on groceries, gas, and more. If you’re a renter, you’re likely experiencing it a lot as your rent continues to rise. Between all of those elevated costs and uncertainty about a potential recession, you may be wondering if it still makes sense to buy a home today. The short answer is – it does. Here’s why.
Homeownership actually shields you from the rising costs inflation brings.
“Not only will buying today help you begin to build equity, a fixed-rate mortgage can stabilize your monthly housing costs for the long-term even while other life expenses continue to rise – as has been the case the past few years.”
Unlike rents, which tend to rise with time, a fixed-rate mortgage payment is predictable over the life of the mortgage (typically 15 to 30 years). And, when the cost of most everything else is rising, keeping your housing payment stable is especially important.
The alternative to homeownership is renting – and rents tend to move alongside inflation. That means as inflation goes up, your monthly rent payments tend to go up, too (see graph below):
A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to protect yourself from future rent hikes. With inflation still high, when your rental agreement comes up for renewal, your property manager may decide to increase your payments to offset the impact of inflation. Maybe that’s why, according to a recent survey, 73% of property managers plan to raise rents over the next two years.
Having your largest monthly expense remain stable in a time of economic uncertainty is a major perk of homeownership. If you continue to rent, you don’t have that same benefit and aren’t as protected from rising costs.
A stable housing payment is especially important in times of high inflation. Let’s connect so you can learn more and start your journey to homeownership today.
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.
Owning a home means having a place that’s solely your own and provides the space, features, and location you and your loved ones need. But what happens when your needs change? If this hits home for you, it may be time to make a move.
According to the latest Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average person has lived in their current house for ten years. If you’ve been in your home for a while, think about how much in your life has changed since you moved in. Even if you thought it would be your forever home when you bought it, it doesn’t have to be. Work with a local real estate agent to explore all your options in today’s market before settling for your current home.
That’s actually what a lot of homeowners are doing right now. A recent survey from Realtor.com finds that, of people who are considering selling in 2023, one in three are thinking about moving because their home no longer meets their needs. And according to the same report from NAR, that’s consistent with this year’s top reasons for selling, which include:
Want to move closer to friends or family
Moving due to retirement
Home is too small or too large
Change in family situation
If things in your life have changed, it may be time to make a move. And there’s good news: it’s still a great time to sell. Here’s why.
We’re in a strong sellers’ market. That means homes listed at market value and in good condition are getting attention from buyers and selling quickly. Lean on your expert real estate advisor for the best advice on getting your house ready to sell.
Your equity can power your next move. There’s a good chance you have a significant amount of equity right now thanks to record levels of price appreciation in recent years. When you sell, you can use that equity to help afford your next home. In fact, NAR’s report from above shows 38% of recent buyers used the money from the sale of their previous home to cover the down payment on their next one. Work with a local real estate agent to learn how much equity you have and what you can do with it in today’s housing market.
If your home no longer meets your needs, consider selling it so you can find your dream home. Let’s connect so you can learn about your options.
If you’re thinking about selling this spring, it’s time to get moving – the best week to list your house is fast approaching.
Experts at realtor.com looked at seasonal trends from recent years (excluding 2020 as an uncharacteristic year due to the onset of the pandemic) and determined the ideal week to list a house this year:
“Home sellers on the fence waiting for that perfect moment to sell should start preparations, because the best time to list a home in 2023 is approaching quickly. The week of April 16-22 is expected to have the ideal balance of housing market conditions that favor home sellers, more so than any other week in the year.”
If you’ve been waiting for the best time to sell, this is your chance. But remember, before you put your house on the market, you’ve got to get it ready. And if you haven’t started that process yet, you’ll need to move quickly. Here’s what you should keep in mind.
Work with an Agent To Determine Which Updates To Make
Start by prioritizing which updates you’ll make. In February, realtor.comasked more than 1,200 recent or potential home sellers what updates they ended up making to their house before listing it (see graph below):
As you can see, the most common answers included landscaping and painting. Work with a trusted real estate agent to determine what projects make the most sense for your goals and local market.
If Possible, Plan To Have Your House Staged
Once you’ve made any necessary repairs and updates to your house, consider having it staged. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 82% of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home. Additionally, almost half of buyers’ agents said home staging had an effect on most buyers’ view of the home in general. Homes that are staged typically sell faster and for a higher price because they help potential buyers more easily picture their new life in the house.
Are you ready to sell this spring? Let’s connect to plan your next steps. You can start by making a checklist of what you think your house needs to get ready. Then, we can work together to prioritize your list and move forward together.
Once you’ve made the decision to sell your house and have hired a real estate agent to help, they’ll ask how much access to your home you want to give potential buyers. Your answer matters more now than it did in recent years. Here’s why.
At the height of the buying frenzy seen during the pandemic, there was a rise in the number of homebuyers who put offers on houses sight unseen. That happened for three reasons:
Extremely low housing inventory
A lot of competition from other buyers wanting to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates
And general wariness of in-person home tours during a pandemic
Today, the market’s changing, and buyers can usually be more selective and take more time to explore their options.
So, in order to show your house and sell it efficiently, you’ll want to provide buyers with as much access as you can. Before letting your agent know what works for you, consider these five levels of access you can provide. They’re ordered from most convenient for a buyer to least convenient. Remember, your agent will be better able to sell your house if you provide as much access to buyers as possible.
Lockbox on the Door – This allows buyers the ability to see the home as soon as they are aware of the listing or at their convenience.
Providing a Key to the Home – This would require an agent to stop by an office to pick up the key, which is still pretty convenient for a buyer.
Open Access with a Phone Call – This means you allow a showing with just a phone call’s notice.
By Appointment Only – For example, you might want your agent to set up a showing at a particular time and give you advance notice. That way you can prepare the house and be sure you have somewhere else you can go in the meantime.
Limited Access – This might mean you’re only willing to have your house available on certain days or at certain times of day. In general, this is the most difficult and least flexible way to show your house to potential buyers.
As today’s housing market changes, be sure to work with your local agent to give buyers as much access as you can to your house when you sell.
Access can have a big impact on the sale of your house. Let’s connect today if you’re ready to make a move this spring.
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