Orance County Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you! Call us today at 714-988-2198!

March 12, 2024

What Mortgage Rate Do You Need To Move?




If you’ve been thinking about buying a home, mortgage rates are probably top of mind for you. They may even be why you’ve put your plans on hold for now. When rates climbed near 8% last year, some buyers found the numbers just didn’t make sense for their budget anymore. That may be the case for you too.

Data from Bright MLS shows the top reason buyers delayed their plans to move is due to high mortgage rates (see graph below):

 a graph of blue rectangles with text

 

David Childers, CEO at Keeping Current Matters, speaks to this statistic in the recent How’s The Market podcast:

“Three quarters of buyers said ‘we’re out’ due to mortgage rates. Here’s what I know going forward. That will change in 2024.”

That’s because mortgage rates have come down off their peak last October. And while there’s still day-to-day volatility in rates, the longer-term projections show rates should continue to drop this year, as long as inflation gets under control. Experts even say we could see rates below 6% by the end of 2024. And that threshold would be a gamechanger for a lot of buyers. As a recent article from Realtor.com says:

Buying a home is still desired and sought after, but many people are looking for mortgage rates to come down in order to achieve it. Four out of 10 Americans looking to buy a home in the next 12 months would consider it possible if rates drop below 6%.”

While mortgage rates are nearly impossible to forecast, the optimism from the experts should give you insight into what’s ahead. If your plans were delayed, there’s light at the end of the tunnel again. That means it may be time to start thinking about your move. The best question you can ask yourself right now, is this:

What number do I want to see rates hit before I’m ready to move?

The exact percentage where you feel comfortable kicking off your search again is personal. Maybe it’s 6.5%. Maybe it’s 6.25%. Or maybe it’s once they drop below 6%.

Once you have that number in mind, here’s what you do. Connect with a local real estate professional. They’ll help you stay informed on what’s happening. And when rates hit your target, they’ll be the first to let you know. 

Bottom Line

If you’ve put your plans to move on hold because of where mortgage rates are, think about the number you want to see rates hit that would make you ready to re-enter the market.

 

Once you have that number in mind, let’s connect so you have someone on your side to let you know when we get there.

Posted in Mortgage News
Oct. 6, 2023

Mortgage Rates: Past, Present, and Possible Future



If you’re hoping to buy a home this year, you’re probably paying close attention to mortgage rates. Since mortgage rates impact what you can afford when you take out a home loan – and affordability is a challenge today – it’s a good time to look at the big picture of where mortgage rates have been historically compared to where they are now. Beyond that, it’s important to understand their relationship with inflation for insights into where mortgage rates might go in the near future.

Giving Context to the Sticker Shock

Freddie Mac has been tracking the 30-year fixed mortgage rate since April of 1971. Every week, they release the results of their Primary Mortgage Market Survey, which averages mortgage application data from lenders across the country (see graph below):

Looking at the right side of the graph, mortgage rates have increased significantly since the start of last year. But even with that rise, today’s rates are still below the 52-year average. While that historical perspective is good context, buyers have gotten used to mortgage rates between 3% and 5%, which is where they’ve been over the past 15 years.

That’s important because it explains why the recent jump in rates might have you feeling sticker shock even though they’re close to their long-term average. While many buyers have adjusted to the elevated rates over the past year, a slightly lower rate would be a welcome sight. To determine if that’s a realistic possibility, it’s important to look at inflation.

Where Could Mortgage Rates Go in the Future? 

The Federal Reserve has been working hard to lower inflation since early 2022. That’s significant because, historically, there’s been a connection between inflation and mortgage rates (see graph below):

This graph shows a pretty reliable relationship between inflation and mortgage rates. Looking at the left side of the graph, each time inflation moves significantly (shown in blue), mortgage rates follow suit shortly after (shown in green).

The circled portion of the graph points out the most recent spike in inflation, with mortgage rates following closely behind. As inflation has moderated a bit this year, mortgage rates haven’t yet made a similar move.

That means, if history is any guide, the market is waiting for mortgage rates to follow inflation and head back down. It’s impossible to accurately predict where mortgage rates will go for sure, but moderating inflation means mortgage rates going down in the near future would fit a well-established trend. 

Bottom Line

To understand where mortgage rates may be going, it’s helpful to look at where they’ve been in the past. There’s a clear connection between inflation and mortgage rates, and if that historical relationship holds true, the recent decline in inflation may mean good news for the future of mortgage rates and your homeownership goals.

Oct. 4, 2023

Remote Work Is Changing How Some Buyers Search for Their Dream Homes



The way Americans work has changed in recent years, and remote work is at the forefront of this shift. Experts say it’ll continue to be popular for years to come and project that 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely by 2025. To give you some perspective, that's a 417% increase compared to the pre-pandemic years when there were just 7 million remote workers.

If you’re in the market to buy a home and you work remotely either full or part-time, this trend is a game-changer. It can help you overcome some of today’s affordability and housing inventory challenges.

How Remote Work Helps with Affordability

Remote or hybrid work allows you to change how you approach your home search. Since you’re no longer commuting every day, you may not feel it’s as essential to live near your office. If you’re willing to move a bit further out in the suburbs instead of the city, you could open up your pool of affordable options. In a recent study, Fannie Mae explains:

Home affordability may also be a reason why we saw an increase in remote workers’ willingness to relocate or live farther away from their workplace . . .”

If you're thinking about moving, having this kind of location flexibility can boost your chances of finding a home that fits your budget. Work with your agent to cast a wider net that includes additional areas with a lower cost of living.

More Work Flexibility Means More Home Options

And as you broaden your search to include more affordable options, you may also find you have the chance to get more features for your money too. Given the low supply of homes for sale, finding a home that fits all your wants and needs can be challenging.

By opening up your search, you’ll give yourself a bigger pool of options to choose from, and that makes it easier to find a home that truly fits your lifestyle. This could include homes with more square footage, diverse home styles, and a wider range of neighborhood amenities that were previously out of reach.

Historically, living close to work was a sought-after perk, often coming with a hefty price tag. But now, the dynamics have changed. If you work from home, you have the freedom to choose where you want to live without the burden of long daily commutes. This shift allows you to focus more on finding a home that is affordable and delivers on your dream home features.

Bottom Line

Remote work goes beyond job flexibility. It's a chance to broaden your horizons in your home search. Without being bound to a fixed location, you have the freedom to explore all of your options. Let’s connect to find out how this freedom can lead you to your ideal home.

Posted in Home Buying
Oct. 2, 2023

Plenty of Buyers Are Still Active Today



Some Highlights

  • Holding off on selling your house because you believe there aren’t any buyers out there?
  • Data shows buyers are still active, even with higher mortgage rates. This goes to show, people still want to buy homes, and those who can are moving now.
  • Don’t delay your plan to sell for fear no one is buying. The opposite is true and buyer traffic is still strong today. Let’s connect to get your house in front of these buyers.
Sept. 28, 2023

Home Price Forecasts Revised for 2023



Some Highlights

  • Last year, some housing experts projected a decline in home prices by the end of 2023. But that didn’t happen – inventory was just too low.
  • While it’s normal for experts to re-forecast throughout the year, the good news for 2023 is that prices are no longer projected to decrease.
  • Let’s connect so you know what’s happening with home values in our local area.

 

Sources

 

Sept. 25, 2023

What Experts Project for Home Prices Over the Next 5 Years



If you're planning to buy a home, one thing to consider is what experts project home prices will do in the future and how that might affect your investment. While you may have seen negative news over the past year about home prices, they’re doing far better than expected and are rising across the country. And data shows, experts forecast home prices will keep appreciating.

Experts Project Ongoing Appreciation

Pulsenomics polled over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts in the latest quarterly Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES). The results show what the panelists project will happen with home prices over the next five years. Here are those expert forecasts saying home prices will go up every year through 2027 (see graph below):If you’re someone who was worried home prices would fall because of stories you’ve read online, here's the big takeaway. Even though home prices vary by local market, experts project prices will continue to rise across the country for years to come. And these numbers indicate the return to more normal home price appreciation.

And while the projected increase in 2024 isn’t as large as 2023, it’s important to recognize home price appreciation is cumulative. In other words, if these experts are correct, after your home’s value rises by 3.32% this year, it’ll appreciate by another 2.17% next year. This is a good example of why owning a home is a choice that wins big over time.

What Does This Mean for You?

Once you buy a home, price appreciation raises your home’s value, and that grows your household wealth. To see how a typical home's value could change in the next few years using the expert projections from the HPES, check out the graph below:In this example, let’s say you bought a $400,000 home at the beginning of this year. If you factor in the forecast from the HPES, you could potentially accumulate more than $71,000 in household wealth over the next five years.

So, if you're thinking about whether buying a home is a good choice, remember how it can be a powerful way to grow your wealth in the long run. 

Bottom Line

According to the experts, home prices are expected to grow over the next five years at a more normal pace. If you’re ready to become a homeowner, know that buying today can set you up for long-term success as home values (and your own net worth) grow. Let’s connect to start the homebuying process today.

Sept. 20, 2023

Why You May Still Want To Sell Your House After All



Even though you may feel reluctant to sell your house because you don’t want to take on a mortgage rate that’s higher than the one you have now, there’s more to consider. While the financial side of things does matter, your personal needs may actually matter just as much. As an article from Bankrate says:

Deciding whether it’s the right time to sell your home is a very personal decision. There are numerous important questions to consider, both financial and lifestyle-based, before putting your home on the market.”

So, ask yourself this: why did I want to move in the first place?

Chances are your primary motivation wasn’t just financial in nature. Why you’re really thinking about selling likely has more to do with something changing in your life or a shift in what you need out of your house.

Reasons Homeowners Still Need To Sell Today

Let’s explore some of the most common reasons sellers are moving today. A recent article from Builder Online helps shed light on this. In this research, they identified the following categories:

  • Marriage – If you just got married, you may find you either need more space than you currently have, or the two of you want to find a new place you picked out together.
  • Divorce – If you’re getting separated or are divorcing your partner, chances are it’ll be difficult to live under the same roof. Selling the place you have, so you can own get your own spot, may be necessary.
  • Births – If your household is growing, you may need more square footage, including more bedrooms. If you’re running out of room for everyone, you may not be able to wait to move.
  • Deaths – If you’ve recently lost a loved one, it can be hard to spend time in that home. You may need to move for financial reasons or because you no longer need all the space.
  • Retirement – If you’re in the process of retiring, or you just did, you may be looking to downsize to cut costs, relocate to be closer to loved ones, or move to a dream location. In this new phase of life, your current home may not be able to deliver what you need. 

You may find you share one of these top motivators. If any of these resonate with you, it may be time to move so you can find a house better suited to your changing needs. A survey from Realtor.com finds other sellers are in the same boat. It says, 1 in 4 sellers are choosing to move for personal reasons, even with current mortgage rates:

“. . . more than half of seller-buyers (56%) who are planning to sell in the next 12 months said they are waiting for rates to come down, while 25% need to sell soon for personal reasons.”

If you need to sell now because something in your own life has changed, don’t let rates hold you back from what you want. You have options to help make that move possible. You can use the equity you already have in your current home toward your next purchase. And with how much equity homeowners have right now, you may be able to finance less than you’d expect, or pay all cash to avoid borrowing at all.

Bottom Line

When you're ready to prioritize your changing needs, let’s connect. You need an expert on your side to help you list your house and find a home that delivers on everything you're looking for.

Sept. 18, 2023

Today’s Housing Market Has Only Half the Usual Inventory



Some Highlights

  • There are only about half the number of homes for sale compared to the last normal years in the market.
  • That means buyers don’t have enough options right now. So, if you work with an agent to list your house, it should be in the spotlight.
  • If you're thinking of selling, let’s connect so your house can stand out while there’s such a shortage of supply and buyers are craving more options. 
Sept. 11, 2023

Gen Z: The Next Generation Is Making Moves in the Housing Market



Generation Z (Gen Z) is eager to put down their own roots and achieve financial independence. As a result, they’re turning to homeownership. According to the latest Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 30% of Gen Z buyers transitioned straight from living under their parents' roofs to owning their own homes.

If you’re a member of this generation, and you’re interested in pursuing your own dream of homeownership, here’s some information you may find helpful on why and where your peers are buying.

The Reasons Gen Z Want To Become Homeowners

A recent survey by Rocket Mortgage identifies some of the top motivators driving Gen Z buyers to purchase a home:

Of those surveyed, 34% said that starting or growing their family was their main motivation to buy a home. . . . Along with growing a family comes establishing a home base.”

Another key reason the survey says Gen Z wants to buy is because homeownership can give them more stability (20.8%). That’s because 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 can lock in your monthly payment for the duration of your loan, often 15 to 30 years. If you keep renting, you don’t have that same benefit, and you won’t be protected from rising housing costs.

So, if you’re ready to start a new chapter in your life or if you’re craving more stability, know that your peers feel the same way, and those motivators are why they’re turning to homeownership.

Gen Z's Next Stop: Where Are They Making Their Moves?

If those reasons have you feeling ready to buy, here’s some information on where your peers are finding their homes that could help you with your search. According to a recent Lending Tree survey, Gen Z buyers are focusing on more affordable areas to help boost their buying power and offset the challenges that come with today’s mortgage rates.

Many Gen Z buyers still want the convenience and excitement of city life, but also value the affordability, open air, and space more suburban areas offer. Jacob Channel, Senior Economist at LendingTreeexplains:

. . . they want to live in a city, but they also want to be close to nature.”

Locating a home that offers both of those things requires expertise. Working with a trusted real estate professional can help you find a home in your budget and desired area. Your agent will know the most affordable neighborhoods to search in. They can also highlight the amenities and features that location offers and how those are aligned with your goals. They’ll also be able to walk you through how things like remote work can help you cast a broader net for your search

Bottom Line

If you’re a member of Gen Z and are just getting started on your homebuying journey, or if you want to learn more about the process, let’s connect. That way, you have a guide to help you find a home that fits both your lifestyle and your budget.

Sept. 6, 2023

Equity Is a Game Changer for Homeowners Looking To Sell



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).

Bottom Line

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.