Will the Housing Market Turn Around This Year?

Today, many people are asking themselves if they should buy or sell a home in 2020. Some have shifted their plans or put them on hold over the past couple of months, and understandably so. Everyone seems to be wondering if the market is going to change and when the economy will turn around. If you’re trying to figure out what’s going to happen and how to play your cards this year, you’re not alone. This spring in the 2020 NAR Flash Survey: Economic Pulse, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has been tracking the behavior changes of homebuyers and sellers. In a reaction to their most recent survey, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, noted the beginnings of a turn in the market:

After a pause, home sellers are gearing up to list their properties with the reopening of the economy…Plenty of buyers also appear ready to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates and the stability that comes with these locked-in monthly payments into future years.

What does the survey indicate about sellers?

Sellers are positioning themselves to make moves this year. More than 3 in 4 potential sellers are preparing to sell their homes once stay-at-home orders are lifted and they feel more confident, which means more homes will start to be available for interested buyers.

Just this week, Zillow also reported an uptick in listings, which is great news for the health of the market:

The number of new for-sale listings overall has shown improvement, up 5.9% last week from the previous week. New listings of the most-expensive homes…are now seeing the biggest resurgence, up 8%. The uptick is likely a sign sellers are feeling more confident because of improving buyer demand, as newly pending sales have also jumped up during the same period.

What does the survey note about buyers?

The recent pandemic has clearly impacted buyer preferences, showing:

  • 5% of the respondents said buyers are shifting their focus from urban to suburban areas.
  • 1 in 8 Realtors report changes in desired home features, with home offices, bigger yards, and more space for their families becoming increasingly important.
  • Only 17% said buyers stopped looking due to concerns about their employment or loss of a job.

As we’ve mentioned before, buyer demand is strong right now, and many are simply waiting for more inventory to become available so they can make a move, especially as the country begins to reopen.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about putting your house on the market, let’s connect today. There’s a good chance an eager buyer is looking for a home just like yours.  

Feel better about having trusted advisor who will help you feel confident and informed at every turn. If you have any questions, give The Johnson Team a call at (888) 713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.

May 14th Mortgage Rates!

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

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 Surprising Shift to the ‘Burbs May Be on the Rise

While many people across the U.S. have traditionally enjoyed the perks of an urban lifestyle, some who live in more populated city limits today are beginning to rethink their current neighborhoods. Being in close proximity to everything from the grocery store to local entertainment is definitely a perk, especially if you can also walk to some of these hot spots and have a short commute to work. The trade-off, however, is that highly populated cities can lack access to open space, a yard, and other desirable features. These are the kinds of things you may miss when spending a lot of time at home. When it comes to social distancing, as we’ve experienced recently, the newest trend seems to be around re-evaluating a once-desired city lifestyle and trading it for suburban or rural living. George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.comnotes:

With the re-opening of the economy scheduled to be cautious, the impact on consumer preferences will likely shift buying behavior…consumers are already looking for larger homes, bigger yards, access to the outdoors and more separation from neighbors. As we move into the recovery stage, these preferences will play an important role in the type of homes consumers will want to buy. They will also play a role in the coming discussions on zoning and urban planning. While higher density has been a hallmark of urban development over the past decade, the pandemic may lead to a re-thinking of space allocation.

The Harris Poll recently surveyed 2,000 Americans, and 39% of the respondents who live in urban areas indicated the COVID-19 crisis has caused them to consider moving to a less populated area.

Today, moving outside the city limits is also more feasible than ever, especially as Americans have quickly become more accustomed to – and more accepting of – remote work. According to the Pew Research Center, access to the Internet has increased significantly in rural and suburban areas, making working from home more accessible. The number of people working from home has also spiked considerably, even before the pandemic came into play this year.

Bottom Line

If you have a home in the suburbs or a rural area, you may see an increasing number of buyers looking for a property like yours. If you’re thinking of buying and don’t mind a commute to work for the well-being of your family, you may want to consider looking at homes for sale outside the city. Let’s connect today to discuss the options available in our area.

If you’re considering buying a home this year or looking for the home in an open area, let’s connect to set a plan that will help you get one step closer to homeownership. Give The Johnson Team a call today at (888) 713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.

Whatcom County Current Pending Ratios

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 43%. 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 33%

The Ferndale Pending Ratio was 39%

The Lynden Pending Ratio was 51%

The Sudden Valley Pending Ratio was 34%

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

Look At The Most Current Mortgage Rates!

When mortgage rates are low, 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.

On the fence about refinancing or curious how much home you can realistically afford? Now might be a great time to check out the latest home mortgage and loan rates! They are still very low!

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!

Why Home Equity Is a Bright Spark in the Housing Market

Given how we have seen more unemployment claims than ever before over the past several weeks, fear is spreading widely. Some good news, however, shows that more than 4 million initial unemployment filers have likely already found a new job, especially as industries such as health care, food and grocery stores, retail, delivery, and more increase their employment opportunities. Breaking down what unemployment means for homeownership, and understanding the significant equity Americans hold today, are important parts of seeing the picture clearly when sorting through this uncertainty.

One of the biggest questions right now is whether this historic unemployment rate will initiate a new surge of foreclosures in the market. It’s a very real fear. Despite the staggering number of claims, there are actually many reasons why we won’t see a significant number of foreclosures like we did during the housing crash twelve years ago.

The amount of equity homeowners have today is a leading differentiator in the current market. Today, according to John Burns Consulting58.7% of homes in the U.S. have at least 60% equity. That number is drastically different than it was in 2008 when the housing bubble burst. The last recession was painful, and when prices dipped, many found themselves owing more on their mortgage than what their homes were worth. Homeowners simply walked away at that point. Now, 42.1% of all homes in this country are mortgage-free, meaning they’re owned free and clear. Those homes are not at risk for foreclosure (see graph below):

In addition, CoreLogic notes the average equity mortgaged homes have today is $177,000. That’s a significant amount that homeowners won’t be stepping away from, even in today’s economy (see chart below):

In essence, the amount of equity homeowners have today positions them to be in a much better place than they were in 2008.

Bottom Line

The fear and uncertainty we feel right now are very real, and this is not going to be easy. We can, however, see strength in our current market through homeowner equity that has not been there in the past. That may be a bright spark to help us make it through.

Do you have questions about your future real estate needs or wants? It never hurts to ask. We are here to help you will all your real estate questions! You can reach us toll free at 1-888-713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com

How To Declutter And Organize Your Home

Most of us are spending more time in the house these days than we’re used to. That means it’s more important than ever to make sure your home is organized and pleasant to live in. Research has shown that clutter isn’t just inconvenient, it can increase stress and dissatisfaction at home.

If you’re ready to spend some time curating an organized and livable space, here are a few tips for clearing the clutter and getting everything in order.

Pace yourself. Decluttering and organizing your entire home can feel like an unattainable task if you look at it all at once. Instead, plan to tackle it in stages. You might start by going through a specific closet, all the bookshelves, or your clothes — you don’t have to complete it all in one stroke. It may be a good idea to set a decluttering schedule that you can follow over the long-term, not just when you’re feeling inspired.

Give every item a home. Unless this is your first organization rodeo, you’ve probably already tried to give every item in your house a place where it belongs and form the habit of putting items back where they belong after use. But if you’ve found that it hasn’t stuck, it may be time to reevaluate. Choose places that make sense not just for what the item is, but how and when it’s used. For example, if your coat closet is far from the front door, you might choose to put up a coat rack by the door instead.

Learn to say goodbye. Tidying expert Marie Kondo has made a living out of teaching people to get rid of their unnecessary possessions with the KonMari Method. Think about when you last used an item, and ask yourself if it’s worth the space it takes up in your home. Don’t fall for the sunk cost fallacy, which says that you should keep something just because you invested a lot in it. Instead, try to keep only items that either serve a purpose or bring you happiness in some way. Sell, donate, and throw out the rest to clear up space in your home.

Get everyone on the same team. If you live with a partner, a roommate, family, or children, make sure they’re all on board for the decluttering squad. Instead of fighting an uphill battle tidying up while others redistribute the mess, work together to form a plan of action and set goals. This is a great opportunity to teach kids about the value of straightening up!

Once you’ve gotten everything in order, it’s also important to learn to maintain it. Try establishing a designated place for things that need to be dealt with (like mail, items that need to be returned to friends, things that need to be repaired, etc.) and then set a day that you’ll go through those things and deal with them, such as every Saturday.

Remember, decluttering shouldn’t be stressful — the goal is to reduce stress! Instead, learn to build it into your regular routine so you can feel more in control over your space in the long term. The more organized your space, the easier it is to enjoy being present there.If you have any financial or market related questions, please text, email, or call us. We’re here to help!

Thank you to Sidney Stonecypher at People’s Bank Home Loan Center for the great tips! Happy Decluttering!

Confused About the Economic Recovery? Here’s Why.

As we continue to work through the health crisis that plagues this country, more and more conversations are turning to economic recovery. While we look for signs that we’ve reached a plateau in cases of COVID-19, the concern and fear of what will happen as businesses open up again is on all of our minds. This causes confusion about what an economic recovery will look like. With this in mind, it’s important to understand how economists are using three types of sciences to formulate their forecasts and to work toward clearer answers.

  1. Business Science – How has the economy rebounded from similar slowdowns in the past?
  2. Health Science – When will COVID-19 be under control? Will there be another flareup of the virus this fall?
  3. People Science – After businesses are fully operational, how long will it take American consumers to return to normal consumption patterns? (Ex: going to the movies, attending a sporting event, or flying).

Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, says:

Although the uncertainty of the crisis means forecasts of economic activity are more unclear than usual, we expect that most of the economic damage from the virus will be contained to the first half of the year. Going forward, we should see a recovery starting in the second half of 2020.”

This past week, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released the advanced estimate for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the first quarter of 2020. That estimate came in at -4.8%. It was a clear indicator showing how the U.S. economy slowed as businesses shut down and consumers retreated to their homes in fear of the health crisis and of contracting COVID-19.

Experts agree that the second quarter of 2020 will be an even greater slowdown, a sign more businesses are feeling the effects of this health crisis. The same experts, however, project businesses will rebound, and a recovery will start to happen in the second half of this year.

Bottom Line

As time goes on, we’ll have more clarity around what the true economic recovery will look like, and we’ll have more information on the sciences that will affect it. As the nation’s economy comes back to life and businesses embrace new waves of innovation to serve their customers, the American spirit of grit, growth, and prosperity will be alive and well.

Do you have questions about your real estate future? It never hurts to ask. We are here to help you will all your real estate questions and needs! You can reach us toll free at 1-888-713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com

U.S. Homeownership Rate Rises to Highest Point in 8 Years

For nearly two months, most of us have been following strict stay-at-home orders from our state and local governments. It is a whole new way of life that has put our daily lives on pause. On the other hand, many of us have also found a sense of comfort by slowing down and spending time at home, highlighting the feeling of security that comes with having a much-needed safe place for our families to live. The latest results of the Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS) provided by the U.S. Census Bureau shows how Americans place immense value in homeownership, and it is continuing to grow in the United States. The results indicate that the homeownership rate increased to 65.3% for the first quarter of 2020, a number that has been rising since 2016 and is the highest we’ve seen in eight years (see graph below):

Why is the rate increasing? The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)explained:

Strong owner household formation with around 2.7 million homeowners added in the first quarter has driven up the homeownership rate, especially under the decreasing mortgage interest rates and strong new home sales and existing home sales in the first two months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the economy.

The NAHB also emphasizes the year-over-year increase in each generational group:

The homeownership rates among all age groups increased in the first quarter 2020. Households under 35, mostly first-time homebuyers, registered the largest gains, with the homeownership rate up 1.9 percentage points from a year ago. Households ages 35-44 experienced a 1.2 percentage points gain, followed by the 55-64 age group (a 0.9 percentage point increase), the 45-54 age group (a 0.8 percentage point gain), and the 65+ group age (up by 0.2 percentage point). (See chart below):

Homeownership is an important part of the American dream, especially in moments like this when many are feeling incredibly grateful for the home they have to shelter in place with their families. COVID-19 may be slowing our lives down, but it is showing us the emotional value of homeownership too.

Bottom Line

If you’re considering buying a home this year or looking for the home of your dreams, let’s connect to set a plan that will help you get one step closer to homeownership. Give The Johnson Team a call today at (888) 713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com.

How to Test-Drive a Neighborhood While Sheltering in Place

Check Out Neighborhood Publications and Local Social Media

  • Read print publications and join social media groups that connect local residents.

Take a Walk with Google

  • Google street view is a great way to see the neighborhood without leaving your couch.

Browse Websites with Neighborhood Data

  • Explore reviews from local residents, cost of living, statistics, and more.

Investigate Schools and Educational Data

  • Rankings and reviews are key when finding the right school for your family.

Check Safety Ratings

  • Crime rates can give you a picture of neighborhood safety, which can also impact home values.

Understand Your Daily Commute

  • How long you’ll spend getting to and from work every day is a big factor to consider.

Call a Real Estate Agent

  • Work with a trusted professional to make sure you’re always well informed by an expert.

Some Highlights:
Staying at home doesn’t mean your search for a new place needs to come to a standstill.Check out these tips on how to explore other neighborhoods virtually in the home buying process. You may find a spot that better suits your needs without ever leaving your living room!Let’s connect today so you have help with all of the additional steps along the way, and you’re ready to make your next move.

Give us a call today at 1-888-713-3056 or email us at Info@JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com if you have real estate questions and are trying to navigate the process virtually!