Welcome! This blog tracks the real estate market in the Central Shenandoah Valley, featuring market data and analysis, an exploration of common buying and selling questions, and candid commentary on all things real estate.
If you are interested in discussing any of the topics on this blog, or the details of your specific real estate situation, call or e-mail me!
Fear not -- cheap money is still available. By that, I mean that the interest you will pay on a new mortgage still remains at record low levels. The current average mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is still at 3.58%, the same spot it was one month ago.
If I had to guess, I think we'll probably stay under 4% for the remainder of 2016. Crazy to imagine, I know, but that is my prediction. The low rates don't seem to be leaving very quickly.
Given continued low interest rates and some increase in home values, let's take a new look at the opportunities of buying versus renting.
RENT = $1000/m. There are regularly options for renting a two-story townhouse in Harrisonburg for approximately $1000 / month in Avalon Woods, Beacon Hill, Stonewall Heights, Liberty Square, etc.
BUY = $865/m. With a 95% loan, buying such a townhouse apparently may cost as little as $865 per month assuming a $140K purchase price and 3.875% interest rate per SunTrust Mortgage's payment calculator....
This shows an $135/month cost savings of buying instead of renting. If we then look at the difference between renting and buying over a five year time period, the advantages start to pile up.
As you can see, this builds a rather compelling case for buying instead of renting if you are going to be living in this potential townhouse for the next five years. Two other factors to keep in mind....
Mortgage interest rates have been at an average of 3.85 over the past 12 months. Fantastic, right?
But wait, they are currently hovering at 3.58%! Wow!
Perhaps this has been part of what has inspired so many buyers to sign contracts in recent months.
Money continues to be cheap. Mortgage money, that is. The average mortgage interest rate fell again (slightly) to 3.71%, after having risen for a few weeks. This is a good bit below the 12 month average of 3.853%. And, notably, interest rates continue to be below 4%, as they have been for most of the past year.
This is still a great time to lock in your long-term housing costs!
There seems to be a LEAP DAY SPECIAL on mortgage interest rates -- though the rates are diving down low, as opposed to leaping up high.
The current average mortgage interest rate (on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage) is an astonishing 3.62%. This is well below the average over the past year (3.86%) and in fact, is the lowest rate we have seen anytime in the past year!
Lock in your interest rate today -- and Happy Leap Year and Leap Day!
Many of my savvy investor clients wait for the winter months to acquire additional rental properties. Their reasons are pretty logical....
Of note -- this advice is most applicable to townhouse properties that might be purchased by investors or owner occupants. This does not necessarily apply to multi-family properties or student housing properties.
If you are looking for some advice on how to get started with real estate investing, check out HarrisonburgInvestmentProperties.com.
Fear not, interest rate watchers, while mortgage interest rates were on the rise -- climbing up above 4% at the end of December, they have now tumbled back down to 3.79%.
When the Fed raised its key interest rates, it seemed that mortgage interest rates might finally be leaving the sub-4% range for good.
Not so much.
It's anyone's guess where mortgage interest rates will end up in December 2016 -- but their recent trajectory (down, down, down) no longer has me worrying (as much) that we will see a steady increase through the year up to and beyond 5%.
So, after almost a decade, the Fed raised rates. What happened to mortgage interest rates? Per the graph above, not much has happened thus far. Rates have edged up a bit over the past few weeks, and have headed back into the 4-point-something territory, but we were there (and a bit higher) as recently as this past summer, so that's not necessarily new territory.
Maybe if we look back a bit further, we'll see that this rise to 4.01% is really disastrous?
Nope! If we look back over the past three years (2013-2015) we'll notice that there as a long time frame during those years (shaded in yellow) when the rates were above 4 percent.
So, we'll see where things go from here, but thus far, the Fed's actions do not seem to have resulted in an end to super low mortgage interest rates.
Who would have thunk it? Seriously!?!
When interest rates started rising from 3.65% in April up to 4.04% in June, it seemed that maybe, just maybe, interest rates were headed back up for good.
But no -- rates then generally declined, again, between June and November.
As shown above, for nearly all of 2015, interest rates have been between 3.75% and 4%. These rates are the average rate on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage.
Opportunities to finance your home purchase with a historically low (fixed!) mortgage interest rate continue -- perhaps on into 2016!
I know, I know, it's cold, you aren't thinking about being outside listening to great music and camping overnight -- but wait -- you should be! As of this morning (10AM) early bird tickets are now on sale for the Red Wing Roots Music Festival to be held on July 8 - 10, 2016 at Natural Chimneys.
It is definitely a highlight of our family's summer -- and I encourage you to make it a tradition in your summer as well.
Click here to go buy your early bird tickets via Eventbrite.
Location, location, location. Build your new home in the Keister school district, immediately adjacent to Hillandale Park, where hiking and biking and other recreational opportunities abound. You will be in close proximity to the JMU campus and downtown Harrisonburg.
Three lots are being sold, as shown above....
This Friday, 7:00 AM - 8:30 AM, you too can enjoy this delicious menu....
The Shenandoah Valley is full of tremendous entrepreneurial spirit. Ideas 2 Inspire is an opportunity to hear the stories of local Valley leaders who give tirelessly of themselves to improve the lives of their friends and neighbors. This is an event that honors leadership, purpose, and passion. Come listen as local leaders share authentic, human stories about their efforts to make our community better.
Tuesday, October 20th
Court Square Theater in Harrisonburg
Learn more at valleyi2i.com.
For years now I have been thinking (and sometimes saying) that mortgage interest rates were certain to rose. From time to time they would rise, a bit, and then drop back down again. As you can see from the graph above, the current average rate of 3.76% is a good bit lower than where we were one year and two years ago.
These low interest rates continue to make it a very compelling time for buyers to buy -- they can lock in tremendously low housing costs at historically low rates.
Mortgage interest rates are sure to rise soon -- or wait, maybe they won't!
If you spend much time in downtown Harrisonburg, you've no doubt noticed that in recent years it's experienced a rebirth. Businesses are opening and thriving, events are drawing ever greater crowds, and the streets are full of people. How did this come about?
TODAY, from 3:00—5:00, at the Capital Ale House in Harrisonburg, all are welcome to come and hear how Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance (HDR) has transformed the city's downtown from so-called lost cause to national prominence.
We'll hear about it from Eddie Bumbaugh, Executive Director of Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance and one of the primary architects of its transformation. Eddie's love for Harrisonburg's downtown has deep roots, starting in his childhood when his father ran a downtown business. He'll walk us through the branding insights and marketing strategies that are driving the new downtown.
WHERE: Capital Ale House, 41 Court Square, Harrisonburg.
WHEN: Tuesday, October 13, 2015, 3:00 - 5:00 pm. The program is from 3:30 to 4:30, with time for networking before and after.
COST: $10 for non-members, $5 for AMA members and students. This gets you one free beer ticket!
HOW: Buy your ticket at the door, or pre-register online here!
Night at the Museum - presented by the Explore More Discovery Museum - was voted one of the best charity events in the Shenandoah Valley by Virginia Living Readers
This year, it will take place on Saturday, December 5, 2015 @ 7 pm.
This extraordinary gala event is just for grownups and will feature a seasonal silent auction, music, and a live raffle. Featuring a "taste of downtown" with delicious food and drinks from favorite downtown restaurants in the downtown culinary district.
Buy your tickets, or become a sponsor by visiting iExploreMore.com/night
For the past few years everyone has been thinking, saying, predicting that interest rates would rise. We're going to get back to 6% -- maybe higher.
Or, maybe not.
Taking a look at average mortgage interest rates, as I do around the middle of each month, we find that we're still below four percent.
Thus, great opportunities still exist to lock in your housing costs at historically low levels relative to the interest rate on your fixed rate mortgage.
Let me know if you'd like a recommendation of a lender to speak with if you are considering a purchase or a refinance.
Here's to more low, low, super low interest rates!!!
If you were hoping to buy a new townhouse at The Townes at Bluestone in 2015, you only have one more opportunity to do so. These townhouses are selling fast, and there is only one remaining townhouse available that could be completed this year. There are plenty more in future sections of the community, but the next building will not be complete until Spring 2016 (+/-).
Feel free to walk through the model home, online, in 3D here.
Over the past three years (shown above) interest rates have fallen into three categories....
As you can see above, interest rates have spent the most time in the ABSURDLY LOW category over the past years -- and apparently interest rates will be going up "soon, but not now" per a Washington Post article about the recent Federal Reserve meeting....
The Federal Reserve made few waves when its top brass met in Washington last month for their regular policy-setting meeting. Its target interest rate — pegged at zero since the financial crisis — remained unchanged, and the central bank's official statement offered few clues of when it might rise.Read more in the full Washington Post article, This is how the Federal Reserve is preparing to raise interest rates.
Home buyers enjoyed mortgage interest rates below 4% for the first five months of this year -- and they even dropped as low as 3.6% in February. But after rates started rising in mid-April, they did not stop at 4% -- they kept on rising, and stayed largely above 4% for much of June and July.
But no longer! Just when you thought mortgage interest rates were going to keep on climbing, to 4.5%, 5%, 5.5%, 6% and beyond -- they dropped again! The average mortgage interest rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage has again been below 4% for the past two weeks.
Despite numerous false alarms of interest rates getting ready to go up, up, up over the past few years -- it still has not happened. I'm sure the rates will eventually go up, and yes, that will affect your monthly payment relative to your home's purchase price -- but for now, we can continue to enjoy these super (super) low interest rates below 4% -- yet again.
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