LOWER YOUR PHONE AND INTERNET BILLS WITH THESE TIPS

How much are you paying every month for phone and internet services? These bills have become part of the average person’s household necessities, just as essential as water, electric, and trash. Most people are paying upwards of $100 per month for phone and internet — and that number goes up further for those who have cable. When looking for areas to cut spending, this is one where a little savings can go a long way. Here are a few ways to decrease that monthly number.

Watch your usage. How often do you check how much data you’re actually using? Monitoring how often you use your phone can have two big benefits. First, it can show you what’s hogging your data, and whether or not it’s necessary. Even something as quick and easy as disabling background app updates can make a big difference in how much data you use. Second, it allows you to form better habits. Maybe you could scale down to a less expensive plan if you avoided checking Twitter while in line at the grocery store, or made sure to connect to wifi at work, businesses, or friends’ houses before using your phone. And of course, while slower upload and download speeds can be frustrating when watching Netflix or transferring files, most of us don’t need high internet speeds — it’s more of a luxury than a necessity. Depending on how you use your home internet, that convenience may not be worth what you’re paying for it.

Sign up for autopay. Most major carriers, like T-Mobile, Verizon, and Comcast offer a discount if you use autopay. This discount is usually around $10 per month, which means you’d be saving around $120 per year. Plus, autopay means you’re eliminating the risk of late fees, which could make the savings even greater.

Keep your phone longer. If you’re currently paying off a phone upgrade in monthly installments, your bill could be inflated by that shiny new device for up to two years — by which point you might already be ready for a newer model! As tempting as an upgrade may be, the longer you can stick with each device, the less you’ll end up shelling out each month. If your phone is running slow, there are plenty of things you can do to speed it up without replacing it. And even if you’re dealing with damage like a cracked screen, that repair could cost as little as $100, compared to the approximately $500 that the average new smartphone costs.

Buy your own modem and router. Most providers charge monthly for router and modem rental. Within about two years, buying your own equipment will pay itself off in comparison to the cost of renting. For most people, investing in a router and modem of your own is a smart idea for saving money in the long-term.

As with any utility bill, it’s easy to set it and forget it — which is more to the utility company’s benefit than yours. Even just reviewing your plan every six months or so can help make sure you’re taking advantage of deals and monitoring whether or not your plan still lines up with your current needs.
If you have any financial or market related questions, please text, email, or call us. We’re here to help!

Thanks to Sidney Stonecypher at Peoples Bank for this great information. If you have any mortgage questions, you can reach her at (360) 650-5365.

Wonder Why The Demand Is High? Look At These Rates!

Interest rates are the rates at which money can be borrowed for a set period of time. The higher the rate, the more money a borrower must pay in the form of interest on the loan. When mortgage rates are lower, this makes the purchasing of a home more affordable. Although the cost of mortgages is closely tied to the interest rate, the price at which homes are sold does not always appear in direct correlation.

Thank you Sidney Stonecypher at People’s Bank Home Loan Center for the rates. If you have any mortgage questions you can reach her at 360-650-5365!

Best Time to Sell? When Competition Is at an All-Time Low!

In a recent survey of home sellers by Qualtrics, 87% of respondents said they were concerned their home won’t sell because of the pandemic and resulting economic recession. Of the respondents, 51% said they are seriously worried. That concern seems reasonable considering the current condition of the economy. The data, however, is showing that home purchasers are still very active despite the disruptions American families have experienced this year.

The latest Existing Home Sales Report published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that 340,000 single-family homes sold in this country last month. NAR’s most recent Pending Sales Report (homes going into contract) surpassed last month’s number by over 44%, which far exceeded analysts’ projections of 15%. ShowingTime reported that appointments to see homes (both virtually and in-person) have increased in every region of the country and are up 21.4% nationwide over the same time last year.

While buyer activity is surging, the number of listings has fallen to an all-time low. Zelman Associates, in their latest residential real estate report, revealed that housing inventory as a percentage of households has fallen to 1.2%, which is half of the long-term average and lower than any other time in our history.

Bidding Wars Heating Up Again
With buyer demand growing and the supply of available homes shrinking, purchasers are again finding themselves needing to outbid other buyers. NAR, in a recent blog post, revealed:

On average, there were about three offers on a home that closed in May, up from just about two in April 2020 and in May 2019 (2.3 offers).

Bidding wars guarantee houses sell quickly at a price near or even slightly over the listing price.

Bottom Line
If you’re thinking of selling, don’t be concerned about putting your house on the market right now. There’s no better time to sell an item than when demand for it is high and supply is low. It is exactly at that time when you will negotiate your best possible deal. We are here for you and all your real estate needs. You can reach us toll free at 1-888-713-3056 or email us at info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com

Fireworks Are Going Off For Pending Ratios

Real Estate Update for Bellingham & Whatcom County

Every week we keep track of how many homes are for sale around Bellingham and Whatcom County and how many of those homes have pending offers on them. Pending is the time frame between when an offer has been mutual accepted between the buyer’s and the seller’s of the home and when the title actually transfers hands. This give the buyer’s time to get the financing, do inspection, review the title reports and more.

As of Friday, May 8th, the pending ratio in Bellingham was 48%. Click the links to view a report of how many homes are for sale in each area by price range and how many of them are pending showing just how active certain sectors of the market are.

The Birch Bay Pending Ratio was 48%

The Ferndale Pending Ratio was 47%

The Lynden Pending Ratio was 54%

The Sudden Valley Pending Ratio was 57%

If you are thinking of selling your home or property, Johnson Team Real Estate would love to help! We are here to help you will all your real estate needs! You can reach us toll free at 1-888-713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com

Starting the 4th Of July Weekend With Mortgage Rates

Thinking of buying, selling, or refinancing?  The mortgage rates are a must know!

Mortgage rates have hit another record low due to declining inflationary pressures, putting many homebuyers in the buying mood. However, it will be difficult to sustain the momentum in demand as unsold inventory was at near record lows coming into the pandemic and it has only dropped since then.

Interest rates are the rates at which money can be borrowed for a set period of time. The higher the rate, the more money a borrower must pay in the form of interest on the loan. When mortgage rates are lower, this makes the purchasing of a home more affordable. Although the cost of mortgages is closely tied to the interest rate, the price at which homes are sold does not always appear in direct correlation.

Thank you Sidney Stonecypher at People’s Bank Home Loan Center for the rates. If you have any mortgage questions you can reach her at 360-650-5365!

A Historic Rebound for the Housing Market

Pending Home Sales increased by 44.3% in May, registering the highest month-over-month gain in the index since the National Association of Realtors (NAR) started tracking this metric in January 2001. So, what exactly are pending home sales, and why is this rebound so important?According to NAR, the Pending Home Sales Index (PHS) is:

A leading indicator of housing activity, measures housing contract activity, and is based on signed real estate contracts for existing single-family homes, condos, and co-ops. Because a home goes under contract a month or two before it is sold, the Pending Home Sales Index generally leads Existing-Home Sales by a month or two.

In real estate, pending home sales is a key indicator in determining the strength of the housing market. As mentioned before, it measures how many existing homes went into contract in a specific month. When a buyer goes through the steps to purchase a home, the final one is the closing. On average, that happens about two months after the contract is signed, depending on how fast or slow the process takes in each state.

Why is this rebound important?

With the COVID-19 pandemic and a shutdown of the economy, we saw a steep two-month decline in the number of houses that went into contract. In May, however, that number increased dramatically (See graph):

This jump means buyers are back in the market and purchasing homes right now. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR mentioned:

This has been a spectacular recovery for contract signings and goes to show the resiliency of American consumers and their evergreen desire for homeownership…This bounce back also speaks to how the housing sector could lead the way for a broader economic recovery.

But in order to continue with this trend, we need more houses for sale on the market. Yun continues to say:

More listings are continuously appearing as the economy reopens, helping with inventory choices…Still, more home construction is needed to counter the persistent underproduction of homes over the past decade.

As we move through the year, we’ll see an increase in the number of houses being built. This will help combat a small portion of the inventory deficit. The lack of overall inventory, however, is still a challenge, and it is creating an opportunity for homeowners who are ready to sell. As the graph below shows, during the last 12 months, the supply of homes for sale has been decreasing year-over-year and is not keeping up with the demand from homebuyers.

Bottom Line

If you decided not to sell this spring due to the health crisis, maybe it’s time to jump back into the market while buyers are actively looking for homes. Let’s connect today to determine your best move forward. You can reach us toll free at 1-888-713-3056 or email us at info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com

Are New Homes Going to Be Available to Buy This Year?

In today’s economy, everyone seems to be searching for signs that a recovery is coming soon. Many experts agree that it may actually already be in motion or will be starting by the 3rd quarter of this year. With the housing market positioned the lead the way out of this recession, builder confidence might be a bright spark that gets the recovery fire started. The construction of new homes coming right around the corner is a huge part of that effort and it may drive your opportunity to make a move this year.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB):

New home sales jumped in May, as housing demand was supported by low interest rates, a renewed household focus on housing, and rising demand in lower-density markets. Census and HUD estimated new home sales in May at a 676,000 seasonally adjusted annual pace, a 17% gain over April.

In addition, builder confidence is also rising, opening up opportunity for newly constructed homes in the market. The NAHB also notes:

In a sign that housing stands poised to lead a post-pandemic economic recovery, builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes jumped 21 points to 58 in June, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Any reading above 50 indicates a positive market.

As noted above, this upward trend is supported by builders reporting an increase in demand for single-family homes in suburban neighborhoods with lower-density populations, a result of the COVID-19 health crisis.

Moreover, the most recent Monthly New Residential Construction Report from the U.S. Census indicates that authorized building permits for new residential construction increased by 14.4% month-over-month from April to May, and housing starts were also up 4.3% over the same time period. (See graph below):

Although housing permits and starts are both considerably lower than they were at this time last year, indicating the new construction market is still working on building its way back up, the trends are moving in the right direction when it comes to having an impact on the U.S. economy. They’re also poised to create the much-needed new homes for Americans to purchase in a time when inventory is so scarce.

Dean Mon, Chairman of the NAHB notes:

As the nations reopens, housing is well-positioned to lead the economy forward…Inventory is tight, mortgage applications are increasing, interest rates are low and confidence is rising. And buyer traffic more than doubled in one month even as builders report growing online and phone inquiries stemming from the outbreak.

The gap between homes to buy and the high demand from purchasers may be narrowed by new construction, and the data shows that these home are on their way into the housing market.

So, if you’ve debated whether or not to sell your house this year because you’re not sure where to move, a newly-build home — designed to your specific liking — may be your answer.

Bottom Line:
With new residential construction right around the corner, you can feel confident about selling your house and having a place to move into. Maybe it’s time to finally design the home you’ve always wanted. Let’s connect today to discuss selling your house while demand from eager buyers is high. You can reach us toll free at 1-888-713-3056 or email us at info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com

Thinking About The End Of June Pending Ratios?

Real Estate UPDATE for Bellingham & Whatcom County

Every week we keep track of how many homes are for sale around Bellingham and Whatcom County and how many of those homes have pending offers on them. Pending is the time frame between when an offer has been mutual accepted between the buyer’s and the seller’s of the home and when the title actually transfers hands. This give the buyer’s time to get the financing, do inspection, review the title reports and more.

If you have been following the local real estate market you know it’s active and inventory is low. If you are thinking of selling now is the time!

The number of real estate signs you see in yards can be deceiving as to the number of homes actually for sale WITHOUT offers on them. If you are seeing new signs around your neighborhood and curious if any of those homes already have offers on them, we have your answers!

As of Monday June 29th, the pending ratio in Bellingham was 52%. Click the links to view a report of how many homes are for sale in each area by price range and how many of them are pending showing just how active certain sectors of the market are.

The Birch Bay Pending ratio was 48%

The Ferndale pending ratio was 48%

The Lynden pending ratio was 52%

The Sudden Valley pending ratio was 58%

If you are thinking of selling your home or property, Johnson Team Real Estate would love to help! We are here to help you will all your real estate needs! You can reach us toll free at 1-888-713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com

What Are Experts Saying About the Rest of 2020?

One of the biggest questions on everyone’s minds these days is: What’s going to happen to the housing market in the second half of the year? Based on recent data on the economy, unemployment, real estate, and more, many economists are revising their forecasts for the remainder of 2020 – and the outlook is extremely encouraging. Here’s a look at what some experts have to say about key areas that will power the industry and the economy forward this year.

Mortgage Purchase Originations: Joel Kan, Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry ForecastingMortgage Bankers Association

The recovery in housing is happening faster than expected. We anticipated a drop off in Q3. But, we don’t think that’s the case anymore. We revised our Q3 numbers higher. Before, we predicted a 2 percent decline in purchase originations in 2020, now we think there will be 2 percent growth this year.

Home Sales: Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, National Association of Realtors

Sales completed in May reflect contract signings in March and April – during the strictest times of the pandemic lock down and hence the cyclical low point…Home sales will surely rise in the upcoming months with the economy reopening, and could even surpass one-year-ago figures in the second half of the year.

Inventory: George Ratiu, Senior Economist, realtor.com

We can project that the next few months will see a slow-yet-steady improvement in new inventory…we projected a stepped improvement for the May through August months, followed by a return to historical trend for the September through December time frame.”

Mortgage Rates: Freddie Mac

Going forward, we forecast the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to remain low, falling to a yearly average of 3.4% in 2020 and 3.2% in 2021.

New Construction: Doug Duncan, Chief Economist, Fannie Mae

The weaker-than-expected single-family starts number may be a matter of timing, as single-family permits jumped by a stronger 11.9 percent. In addition, the number of authorized single-family units not yet started rose 5.4 percent to the second-highest level since 2008. This suggests that a significant acceleration in new construction will likely occur.

Bottom Line

The experts are optimistic about the second half of the year. If you paused your 2020 real estate plans this spring, let’s connect today to determine how you can re-engage in the process. You can reach us toll free at 1-888-713-3056 or email us at info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com

Your Latest Low Mortgage Rates

As we approach the second half of this year, we may actually see home prices rise even higher given the lack of homes for sale. Locking in at a low rate today could save you thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your home loan.

Thank you Sidney Stonecypher at People’s Bank Home Loan Center for the rates. If you have any mortgage questions you can reach her at 360-650-5365!