HarrisonburgHousingToday.com :: Market Updates, Analysis and Commentary on Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Real Estatehttp://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/index.phpThis file is an RSS 2.0 file, please see: http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/index.php for more info.Inventory Levels Have Been Dropping For Almost An Entire DecadeHousing Inventory

At the end of last month there were only 127 homes for sale in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.

Five years ago, at the end of April 2017, there were 411 homes for sale.

Five years before that, at the end of April 2012, there were 733 homes for sale.

Home buyers over the past year have had fewer options of what to buy at any given point in time than ever before in the past decade, and possibly ever before, ever. 

The low inventory levels don't mean fewer buyers are buying –– in fact, more buyers are buying on an annual basis than ever before. 

The low inventory levels are an indication that there is much more buyer demand than seller supply, so new listings get scooped up (go under contract) within a matter of days –– thus, not contributing to the inventory levels at the end of the month.
 


Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2022/05/inventory-levels-have-been-dropping-for-almost-an-entire-decade_1652694661/index.php?f=1Mon, 16 May 2022 09:51:01 +0000Scott Rogers
Home Sales Steady in 2022, Prices Still Rising Quickly!Monthly Market Report

Happy Thursday morning, friends!

It's definitely spring in the Valley (cool mornings, warmer afternoons, lots of rain, lots of sun) and spring is a busy time for many! Busy times in the Rogers household these days include college visits with Luke, baseball games for Luke and track meets for Emily...

Run!

Whatever has you running around this spring, I hope you are enjoying all that this season in the Shenandoah Valley has to offer and are finding opportunities to spend time outdoors (ok, or indoors!?) with family and friends.

Before I get started on this month's market report, a few notes..

My Favorite Spots...

Each month in this space I highlight one of my favorite spots to enjoy a meal, a cup of coffee, or as with this month, an experience.

One of my favorite summer experiences is heading down to Natural Chimneys Park in Mt Solon for great music in the great outdoors at the Red Wing Roots Music Festival... a super relaxing and family friendly music festival featuring 40+ musical artists on five stages over three days, with great food, and activities for all, including camping, fun runs, bike rides, yoga, dancing and much more! 

Have you considered going to Red Wing but perhaps haven't been yet?  Maybe this summer is the time for you to make it one of your favorite family traditions.  I am looking forward to being there with my family and I'm hoping you'll join in on the fun... from June 24th through 26th.

If you're interested in going to Red Wing, and haven't purchased your tickets yet, I'm giving away a pair of three–day general admission tickets. Click here to enter!  I'll pick a winner in about a week.  If you don't win, you still better come to Red Wing... and you can buy tickets here.

Download All The Charts & Graphs...

Looking for ALL the numbers and charts and graphs?  Download a full PDF of my market report here.

Now, then, let's take a look through some of the graphs together to see what we can learn...

Monthly Market Report

Above you'll find many of the main market metrics I'm evaluating each month and there is plenty to note this month, with my notes below lining up with the numbers above...

[1]  We saw quite a few more sales this April than last April..  After only 120 last April, there was a 17.5% increase this April.  As you may recall, March home sales were a bit slow this year, which caused some to wonder if the market was cooling off.  Well, maybe it's not ready to cool off yet because April sales were hot, hot, hot!

[2]  Looking back at the first four months of the year there have been 450 home sales, compared to 447 sales during the same timeframe last year.  Thus, home sales activity is tracking very similarly to how things looked a year ago.

[3]  If we broaden our view a bit more, to a 12–month window, we'll find that there have been 1,675 home sales over the past 12 months... compared to only 1,572 in the 12 months prior to that.  Thus annual home sales activity has increased 6.55% over the past year.

[4]  The changes in sales prices over the past year is still somewhat staggering.  The median price in the first four months of 2022 is 18.6% higher than it was in the first four months of 2021!

[5]  Again looking at a longer timeframe, the median sales price over the past 12 months has been 12% higher than during the 12 months before that.  Sales prices are increasing quickly in our area!

[6]  Homes are selling faster, and faster, and faster yet.  The median days on market over the past year has been five days, which is 29% faster than the seven day median in the 12 months before that.

Wow!  So, about the same number of homes are selling as last year... but at much higher prices... and more quickly!  These quickly rising prices have caused to market metrics to pop over major (psychological) thresholds over the past 12 months...

Monthly Market Report

[1]  A year ago, the median sales price of a detached home was under $300K... at only $276K... and now it has risen above $300K to $309K.  That is to say that half of detached homes that are selling in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County are priced at or over $309K.

[2]  A year ago, the median sales price of attached homes was under $200K... at only $196K... and now it has risen above $200K to $235K.  That is to say that half of the attached homes that are selling in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County are priced at or over $235K.

The times, they are a changing!  Prices keep rising!

Diving back into the details a bit, April was another surprisingly strong month of home sales...

Monthly Market Report

The 98 home sales seen in February 2022 was a surprising jolt of energy for the early 2022 housing market, but then things cooled off a bit in March... or so it seemed.   Come April, the buyers were back, and the monthly market activity was once again surprising... with 141 home sales, well above the monthly sales in April of each of the past three years.

That extra burst of home sales in April caught 2022 back up with 2021...

Monthly Market Report

Year–to–date home sales through the end of March 2022 (dark red bar) had fallen a bit behind where things were a year ago at the end of March 2021.  But, then, enter April 2022.  A strong month of home sales in 2022 pushed this year back ahead of last year when looking at the first four months of the year.  Repeating the 1,672 home sales seen last year still seems like a might feat for 2022, but it is still seeming quite possible after four months of sales activity.

Of interest, as it relates to home sales activity, it does seem that we have come to the end of the line of ever increasing numbers of home sales in our area...

Monthly Market Report

From the start of Covid in mid–2020 to the end of 2021, we saw a rapid increase in the number of homes selling on an annual basis with that figure steadily increasing from 1,300–ish to 1,650–ish. 

Now, over the past nine months, we have seen the annual pace of home sales largely holding steady around 1,650 to 1,675 home sales per year. 

It seems unlikely that we will see another strong increase in the annual pace of sales, but it seems equally unlikely that we will see a rapid decline in the number of home sales in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.

Bouncing back to prices... which keep soaring higher and higher...

Monthly Market Report

Here's a tidbit for you to share with a friend, relative or neighbor the next time you are talking about the crazy local real estate market...

The median price of a single family (detached) home has increased by over $100,000 over the past... five years!

That's rather astonishing.  Just five years ago, the median price of a single family home was only $225K... and now it is up to $335K!

Starting to look ahead now, let's examine contract activity...

Monthly Market Report

Contract activity (as shown above) is a funny thing.  In theory, it measures when buyers made decisions to buy homes... but in times of low inventory (as in, now) contract activity has just as much to do with when sellers are ready to put their homes on the market.  Few sellers selling = few buyers buying.  No sellers selling = no buyers buying. 

That said, a year ago (in April 2021) there were 151 contracts signed on homes in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County and in the month that just concluded (April 2022) we saw... 150 contracts signed.  So, despite the monthly ups and downs that always do occur, we still seem to be pretty much on track in 2022 with how things were progressing in 2021.

Looking ahead, it seems likely that we'll see around 140 to 160 contracts per month over the next four to six months.

Now then, about those sellers and whether they are ready to sell...

Monthly Market Report

After quite a few years of inventory levels tumbling downward, it seems that things may have finally leveled off at an equilibrium of around 130 homes for sale in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. 

This is only somewhat of a relief... it's great that inventory levels aren't dropping further, but these current inventory levels still aren't doing buyers any favors.  In many or most price ranges and neighborhoods there is nothing or next to nothing available for sale at any given time.

For buyers to feel like things are improving, at all, we'd need to start to see a bit more inventory staying on the market at any given time.  We're not there yet.

Going hand in hand with very low inventory levels is the speed at which homes are going under contract...

Monthly Market Report

Indeed, as noted above, if your home has been on the market for more than a month... and is still not under contract.... hmmm.... Right now, 82% of homes (that sell) are under contract within 30 days, and 91% are under contract within 60 days!  The market is moving quickly, so if your house isn't moving quickly then you should have a chat with your Realtor to understand why.

This next metric also looks at median days on the market, and I think it will be the first metric to start shifting if or when the market starts to soften a bit...

Monthly Market Report

Over the past 12 months, the median "days on market" has been five days... and the market has been moving that quickly for almost a year now... since last July.  At some point we will likely see the speed of the market start to slow down a bit... and that will be OK!  If the median days on market of sold listings crept back up to seven days, or even (gasp!) ten days... the market would likely still (!!) be tipped in favor of sellers.  But, despite talk of possible softening or deceleration of the market... it doesn't seem to be happening yet.

And here is why some are thinking the pace of housing market activity could start to slow down a bit...

Monthly Market Report

After quite a few years below 4% (and even below 3%) the average mortgage interest rate has quickly risen over the past seven months... from right at 3% to just over 5%!  This can make a significant difference in the monthly payment that buyers will have to pay on their mortgage... so it has a good chance of impacting the amount of buyer interest in various houses at various price points. 

We haven't seen an overall market slowdown yet as a result of these rising rates, but it seems quite possible that if interest rates continue to rise we will see buyer enthusiasm dampen a bit.

And with that... we reach the end of my monthly ramblings about the state of the local housing market.  I hope the graphs above and my reflections herein have helped you have more clarity on the current happenings in our local housing market.

Before signing off, a few reminders...

[1]  Make plans to attend the Red Wing Roots Music Festival this year.  You won't regret it!  Enter to win a free pair of three–day general admission tickets here.

[2]  If you are planning to sell your home, or move, or buy a home, this spring or summer, let's chat.  I can swing by your house or we can start with a brief conversation by phone or email.  Call or text me at 540–578–0102 or email me here.

That's it!  I hope the balance of your month of May goes well.  Touch base anytime if I can be of any help to you or your family, friends or co–workers or colleagues... with real estate or otherwise.
 


Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2022/05/home-sales-steady-in--prices-still-rising-quickly_1652354438/index.php?f=1Thu, 12 May 2022 11:20:38 +0000Scott Rogers
If Your Home Has Been On The Market For More Than __ Days And Is Not Under Contract, Ask Yourself Why!Waiting... Waiting... Waiting...

Five short (long!?!) years ago –– back in 2017 –– the median days on market was 33 days.  That is to say that half of homes that sold were under contract within 33 days and half took longer than 33 days to go under contract.

So, back in 2017, if your house was on the market for more than 33 days, you had to start wondering why.  Why was it taking that long for your house to go under contract.

The same logic applies today, though the timeframe is quite a bit (!!!) shorter.

The median days on market is now just five days (over the past 12 months) which means that half of homes are going under contract in five or fewer days and half are going under contract in five or more days.

So... if your house is still on the market, and not under contract, a week after hitting the market (gasp!) you will probably want to ask yourself why a buyer has not contracted to buy it yet.

Is the price too high?  Did you not prepare the house well enough and some aspects of the condition of the house are making buyers less excited about it?  Is the marketing of your house selling it short? 

Or, is there some aspect of your house that you cannot change that will cause it to take longer to sell?

For better or for worse, within a week of having your house on the market you should have some very helpful feedback on your pricing, preparations and marketing.
 


Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2022/05/if-your-home-has-been-on-the-market-for-more-than--days-and-is-not-under-contract-ask-yourself-why_1652183715/index.php?f=1Tue, 10 May 2022 11:55:15 +0000Scott Rogers
Generally Speaking, The Larger The Home, The Lower The Price Per Square FootPrice Per Square Foot

If all other attributes of two houses are the same or similar (age, condition, finishes, location, lot size) then we will almost always see the price per square foot being lower for the larger of the two houses if there is a decent difference in the sizes of the two houses.

Stated differently, if we look at five homes that have sold in a neighborhood and we find the following...

House 1 = 2,000 SF and sold for $168/SF  ($336,000)
House 2 = 2,050 SF and sold for $167/SF  ($342,350)
House 3 = 1,985 SF and sold for $168/SF  ($333,480)
House 4 = 2,025 SF and sold for $169/SF  ($342,225)
House 5 = 2,003 SF and sold for $167/SF  ($334,501)

...and then if we looked at a sixth house in the neighborhood that is 3,000 SF, would it be reasonable to calculate the average price per square feet of the first five houses and then use that to calculate the value of the sixth house?

Average PPSF of First Five Houses = $167.80 / SF

Projected Value of Sixth House = 3,000 SF x $167.80 / SF = $503,400

So... is that reasonable?  Will this sixth house sell for $503,400 while surrounded by houses that are selling for $330K to $345K?

Probably not.

Generally speaking, the larger the home, the lower the price per square foot.  Thus, we can't reasonable use the PPSF of smaller homes to accurately predict the home value of a larger home. 

A seller would love to use the logic above to conclude that their home is worth $503,400 but buyers (and an appraiser) are not likely to agree.

The reverse is also true... we can't use the PPSF of larger homes to predict the value of a smaller home.

House 1 = 3,000 SF and sold for $152/SF  ($456,000)
House 2 = 3,050 SF and sold for $151/SF  ($460,550)
House 3 = 2,985 SF and sold for $150/SF  ($447,750)
House 4 = 3,025 SF and sold for $151/SF  ($456,775)
House 5 = 3,003 SF and sold for $151/SF  ($453,453)

...and then if we looked at a sixth house in the neighborhood that is 2,100 SF, would it be reasonable to calculate the average price per square feet of the first five houses and then use that to calculate the value of the sixth house?

Average PPSF of First Five Houses = $151 / SF

Projected Value of Sixth House = 2,100 SF x $151 / SF = $317,100

So... is that reasonable?  Will this sixth house sell for $317,100 while surrounded by houses that are selling for $445K – $465K?

Probably not.

Generally speaking, the smaller the home, the higher the price per square foot.  Thus, we can't reasonable use the PPSF of larger homes to accurately predict the home value of a smaller home. 

A buyer would love to use the logic above to conclude that the home they want to buy is only worth $317K but the property owner (and an appraiser) are not likely to agree.

There is a place for using price per square foot for analyzing home value... but it depends on most attributes of all of the homes being very similar... location, age, lot size, finishes, and yes, square footage!
 


Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2022/05/generally-speaking-the-larger-the-home-the-lower-the-price-per-square-foot_1652093062/index.php?f=1Mon, 09 May 2022 10:44:22 +0000Scott Rogers
Is The Harrisonburg Housing Market Nine Percent Overvalued?Housing Market

There's a good article to read over at Fortune from earlier this week...

FORTUNE: We're in a historically overvalued housing market, and these cities could see home prices drop 10%, Moody's says

In a nutshell...

[1]  Moody's Analytics believes the housing boom will wind down in the coming year, perhaps leading to no year–over–year home price growth a year from now.

[2]  Zandi, chief economist at Moody's, does not think we will see large price corrections, but some markets might.

[3]  Moody's ran an analysis of local housing markets within the context of local income levels to estimate which markets might be overvalued.

[4]  Of the 392 metropolitan statistical areas they studied, 149 markets are overvalued by at least 25%... with a high of 73% in Boise.

As you can see from the map above (embedded in the article at the link above) the analysis by Moody's indicates that the Harrisonburg market may be 9% overvalued within the context of income.

Read the entire article for much more commentary and further insights...

FORTUNE: We're in a historically overvalued housing market, and these cities could see home prices drop 10%, Moody's says
 


Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2022/05/is-the-harrisonburg-housing-market-nine-percent-overvalued_1651748337/index.php?f=1Thu, 05 May 2022 10:58:57 +0000Scott Rogers
If Home Sales Are Going To Slow, April Did Not Show ItHome Sales

Many wonder or suspect if home sales will slow in 2022 because of rising mortgage interest rates. 

That is certainly just one of the reasons why home sales could slow –– they could also slow because there aren't enough homeowners willing to sell their homes.  Low supply = slow sales.

Above, you'll see that we've seen just about the same number of home sales this year as last year during the first four months of the year.

Furthermore, home sales this April were stronger than last April!?

Finally, there are likely still some April home sales that closed this past Friday that aren't showing up in the MLS yet.

So... if home sales are really going to slow down in 2022, it doesn't seem that April sales figures are showing that.

Maybe things will slow down in May?

Or maybe not!
  


Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2022/05/if-home-sales-are-going-to-slow-april-did-not-show-it_1651660379/index.php?f=1Wed, 04 May 2022 10:32:59 +0000Scott Rogers
Home Buyer Demand, While Possibly Reduced Due To Higher Interest Rates, Seems To Still Exceed SupplyChanging Supply and Demand

This is totally anecdotal at this time, so I'll see what the data seems to indicate when I compile my market later this month, but thus far..

Home Buyer Demand, While Reduced Due To Higher Interest Rates, Seems To Still Exceed Supply

That is to that I suspect...

[1]  Buyer demand is decreasing, somewhat, due to higher mortgage interest rates.

[2]  The amount of buyer demand in the market is still greater than the amount of seller supply.

Case in point – the anecdote – would be two very (!!) similar properties that came on the market over the past few months...

The first property came on the market when the average 30–year fixed mortgage interest rate was around 4.3%.  There were six offers within 72 hours.

The second property came on the market when the average 30–year fixed mortgage interest rate was around 5.1%.  There were three offers within 72 hours.

So... yes, I think higher rates will reduce buyer demand, but that reduced demand might very well continue to exceed available supply for some time to come!
 


Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2022/05/home-buyer-demand-while-possibly-reduced-due-to-higher-interest-rates-seems-to-still-exceed-supply_1651573321/index.php?f=1Tue, 03 May 2022 10:22:01 +0000Scott Rogers
Take Them A Meal Launches New Mobile Friendly WebsiteTake Them A Meal

Most of the time, I'm helping folks buy and sell real estate.

But... in my "spare time" I help run a website that my friend, Adina, and I created 14 years ago... TakeThemAMeal.com.

What is Take Them A Meal?

It's an easy (and free!) online tool for coordinating the delivery of meals to loved ones. If someone is ill, elderly, or welcoming a new baby, oftentimes family, friends, co–workers, and church members will rally around these families to take them meals.

This past weekend we launched a totally new version of the website that has a fresh new design and is mobile friendly.

Read about the launch here or check out the website here.

Tomorrow, back to talking about real estate again.  ;–)
 


Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2022/05/take-them-a-meal-launches-new-mobile-friendly-website_1651496296/index.php?f=1Mon, 02 May 2022 12:58:16 +0000Scott Rogers
Folks Who Bought Homes In 2020 or 2021 Might Stay In Their Homes Longer Than ExpectedHooray!

Did you buy a home in 2020 or 2021?  I'm betting you might stay in that home longer than we might otherwise expect.  After all, who would want to give up that fixed mortgage interest rate that is SOOOO low!

For nearly all of 2020 and 2021, the average mortgage interest rate on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage was below 3.5%.  That is LOW.  For some months during that two year period, the rate was lower than 3%!

When home buyers from 2020 or 2021 think about selling five to seven years from now, I'm guessing a part of the though process of whether to sell will relate to whether they really want to give up that super, super, super low mortgage interest rate! 

Mortgage interest rates are currently hovering around 5%, and perhaps they'll stay there for much of the year, and beyond...

If, seven years from now, you would potentially be selling and paying off a mortgage with a 2.75% interest rate... in order to take out a new mortgage with a 5.25% interest rate... will you really want to do it? 

Certainly, our needs for housing (location, size, configuration, etc.) change over time... and that might supersede a desire to hold onto that fantastically low mortgage interest rate.

All that said, if you were fortunate enough to buy (or refinance) in 2020 or 2021, enjoy that super low interest rate, as it doesn't seem likely that we will see them anywhere near that low in the coming months and years.
 


Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2022/04/folks-who-bought-homes-in--or--might-stay-in-their-homes-longer-than-expected_1651230164/index.php?f=1Fri, 29 Apr 2022 11:02:44 +0000Scott Rogers
Can You Make a $300,000 Decision In Less Than An Hour?Ready, Set, Go!

It's a weird time to be a home buyer... in oh, so many ways!

But here's one of them...

Perhaps you are going to spend $300,000 on the home that you hope to purchase this year... or $400,000... or $500,000... or even more.

Given current market dynamics, this might be how you experience this home that you are going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars purchasing...

[1]  See the new listing online.

[2]  Drive by, slowing down, looking like a stalker.

[3]  Frantically call or text your Realtor to set up a time to see the house.

[4]  Spend 30 – 45 minutes walking around and through the home with your Realtor.

[5]  You'll have to make an offer quickly, so no time for a second showing.

[6]  You're competing with several other offers, so no chance of including an inspection contingency.

[7]  Diligently work through the buying process with your Realtor, lender and title company.

[8]  Walk through your home one last time –– oh wait, for just the second time –– on the morning of your closing.

[9]  Attend closing and pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the home in which you have only spent less than an hour of time thus far.

[10]  Move in, really get to know your home, and fall in love with it!? Hopefully!?  ;–)

The point is... in this fast moving, competitive market... most buyers will find themselves needing to make a decision about a very LARGE purchase very QUICKLY when that "perfect enough" house hits the market!
   


Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2022/04/can-you-make-a--decision-in-less-than-an-hour_1651143153/index.php?f=1Thu, 28 Apr 2022 10:52:33 +0000Scott Rogers
Home Price GROWTH Seems Likely To Decline In 2022Home Price Growth

It seems likely that we will see a decline in home price GROWTH in 2022.

Here are the changes in the median sales price over the past five years...

   2017 = +3%

   2018 = +7%

   2019 = +5%

   2020 = +10%

   2021 = +10%

While I don't think we will see the median home PRICE decline in 2022...

...I do think we will see the GROWTH in the median home price decline. 

Given quickly rising mortgage interest rates, it seems more likely than not that we will NOT see another 10% increase in the median sales price of homes in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County this year.

I think we are likely to still see the median sales price increase, but perhaps not as quickly as it has over the past two years.



Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2022/04/home-price-growth-seems-likely-to-decline-in-_1651054679/index.php?f=1Wed, 27 Apr 2022 10:17:59 +0000Scott Rogers
Buying A Home To Lock In Your Housing CostsLocking In Your Housing Costs

Yes, home prices are going up... and yes, interest rates are going up.

As a result, your mortgage payment (if you buy a house) will be higher now than if you had bought a home a year ago.

But... since I am not able to offer time travel services to my buyer clients... home buyers need be asking whether they should buy a home now within the context of how it compares to if they had bought a home a year ago...

...instead, they need to be asking...

...whether to buy a home today in the context of how it compares to continuing to rent a house for the next few years.

Options for would–be buyers would seem to be...

1.  Buy now (ish)
2.  Buy later
3.  Rent forever

Buy now... this will allow you to lock in the majority of your housing costs.  Your mortgage payment will almost certainly include principal and interest (on the loan) as well as property taxes and insurance... and the taxes and insurance portion can go up over time... but buying a home now with a fixed rate mortgage will allow you to lock in your housing costs.

Buy later... it seems likely prices will likely be higher with only a small chance that they will be lower... and mortgage interest rates will likely be higher with only a small chance that they will be lower... meaning your housing costs will likely be higher if you buy later rather than sooner.

Rent forever... rental rates keep going up, and up, and up... so if you don't buy a home, and keep renting a home, your housing costs will likely continue to go up over time.

Certainly, buying a home isn't the right choice for everyone in every situation... but buying a home does give you the benefit of locking in your housing costs when many of your other costs will otherwise continue to increase given the current inflationary climate!
  


Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2022/04/buying-a-home-to-lock-in-your-housing-costs_1650975532/index.php?f=1Tue, 26 Apr 2022 12:18:52 +0000Scott Rogers
If You Hope To Buy a Home and Have Not Talked To Your Lender Lately, Do So NOW!Oh my!

So, you've been planning to and trying to buy a home for the past four months... but despite having made multiple offers, nothing has worked out yet.

This is not as uncommon as you might think –– there still seem to be many more buyers in the market as compared to sellers –– and thus, plenty of would be buyers haven't been able to convert themselves into actual real life buyers yet.

As a conscientious and responsible buyer you likely talked to your lender before you started your home search –– four months ago –– and you became pre–approved for a loan.  Good work!

But... wait.... if you haven't talked to your lender since then... connect with them again ASAP!

Why, you might ask?  Because interest rates have increased quite a bit over the past four months!

Buying a $400K house four months ago with 20% down...
  • Interest Rate = 3.05%
  • Mortgage Payment = $1,358 (before taxes and insurance)
Buying a $400K house today with 20% down...
  • Interest Rate = 5.11%
  • Mortgage Payment = $1,739 (before taxes and insurance)
As you can see, this fictional buyers would now be paying $381 a month more than anticipated because interest rates have risen quite a bit over the past four months.

The buyer very likely can still afford the new mortgage payment and will still be pre–approved to buy the house of his or her dreams... but the payment will be higher than expected, and nobody likes surprises.

So, if you are in the market to buy and haven't talked to your lender lately to get an updated estimate of your mortgage payment with today's rates... do so NOW!
 


Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2022/04/if-you-hope-to-buy-a-home-and-have-not-talked-to-your-lender-lately-do-so-now_1650884018/index.php?f=1Mon, 25 Apr 2022 10:53:38 +0000Scott Rogers
Many Would Be Buyers Are Finding Zero Homes For Sale Right NowNothing For Sale!

It's a strange time right now –– there are quite a few segments of the market with absolutely no options for buyers.

For example, let's say you wanted to buy a resale home just east of Harrisonburg, in the Spotswood High School district, with at least 2,000 square feet, and four bedrooms...

...and you could spend up to $700,000...

...you should have plenty of options, right?

Nope. 

There are currently... zero homes for sale (that aren't under contract) in the Spotswood High School district, under $700K, with 2000+ SF and 4+ bedrooms. 

So, buyers, as much as you might want to buy –– you will be at the mercy of waiting for sellers to be ready to sell.

And sellers, these extraordinarily low inventory levels in many segments of the market may very well mean that you will have lots of early interest in your home... and you may very well secure a contract with very favorable terms!
 


Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2022/04/many-would-be-buyers-are-finding-zero-homes-for-sale-right-now_1650621844/index.php?f=1Fri, 22 Apr 2022 10:04:04 +0000Scott Rogers
Even Home Sellers of Newer Or Well Maintained Homes Enjoy Offers Without Inspection ContingenciesLook at that offer!

So, you're getting ready to make an offer on a super popular new listing.  You've heard that there have been 12 showings thus far, and there are already three offers on the table.

You're going through the list of contract terms that you'll propose...
  • offering price – high
     
  • escalation clause – probably
     
  • financing contingency – gotta be there
     
  • appraisal contingency – maybe not
     
  • inspection contingency – hmmmm....
Let's arbitrarily and inexactly throw all homes into one of two categories...
  1. Older and/or Poorly Maintained
     
  2. Newer and/or Well Maintained
Many buyers who are considering properties in the first category (older and/or poorly maintained) are hesitant – reasonably so – to skip the home inspection contingency.

Here's where things get interesting, though...

Some buyers who are considering properties in the second category (newer and/or well maintained) think that a seller of such a property probably doesn't mind an inspection contingency because, after all, their property is newer and/or well maintained.

And yes, that is true.  Those property sellers very likely don't mind a home inspection contingency all that much...

...but...
  1. Chances are, you're competing with other buyers who are not including an inspection contingency... because the property is newer and/or well maintained... and... as my title suggests...
     
  2. Even home sellers of newer or well maintained homes enjoy offers without inspection contingencies.  :–)
That's not to say that all buyers should be making offers without inspection contingencies as long as a property is newer and/or well maintained...

...but at some point you have to do the calculus of what offer terms are most likely to secure you a contract to actually buy a house.

Even if a home sellers has nothing to be worried about in home inspection category, they still enjoy be able to consider an offer without such a contingency!
 


Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2022/04/even-home-sellers-of-newer-or-well-maintained-homes-enjoy-offers-without-inspection-contingencies_1650534776/index.php?f=1Thu, 21 Apr 2022 09:52:56 +0000Scott Rogers
You Might Not Want To Think About This Aspect Of Escalation Clauses. Sorry!?Oof!

Escalation clauses are all the rage right now when would–be buyers are competing against multiple other offers on popular, well prepared, well priced, thoroughly marketed new listings. 

An escalation clause allows you to make an offer at one price, but have that offer price automatically increase to compete against other offers.

Yesterday, I pointed out that when it comes to escalation clauses...

If Your Downpayment Is Small, Your Escalation Clause Differential Should Likely Be Large

Today, I'd like to point out that sometimes, your offer with an escalation clause might escalate based on a competing offer that might make you groan when you see it after your offer escalates.

Here's the imagined scenario, on a house listed for $400,000...

Your Offer = $405,000 contingent on financing 75% of the purchase price, escalating to be $5,000 above any other offer up to $460,000.

Offer #2 = $400,000 contingent on financing 80% of the purchase price, escalating to be $1,000 above any other offer up to $410,000.  No biggie here –– your offer escalates to $415,000 and that probably seems reasonable.

Offer #3 = $400,000 contingent on financing 97% of the purchase price, contingent on a home inspection, contingent on the property appraising at or above the contract price, $500 deposit, contingent on the sale of a property that has not yet been listed for sale, from buyers who have not yet been prequalified, escalating to be $1,000 above any other offer up to $460,000.

Oof.  Offer #3 is not likely actually an offer that would be accepted by the seller... but it caused your offer to escalate all the way up to $460,000 –– which is $55K above your original offer, and $45K above how far it would have escalated based on Offer #2.

Pointing this out is not a recommendation that you make your escalation clause super complicated, as that might overwhelm or turn off the seller... but it is important to realize that competing offers that are extremely weak in almost every way except price might cause your offer to escalate just as much or more as a very strong competing offer would.

I suppose, at a minimum, in the situation above, your escalation clause could have at least stated that your offer wouldn't escalate if the competing offer had a home sale contingency? 
 


Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2022/04/you-might-not-want-to-think-about-this-aspect-of-escalation-clauses-sorry_1650450868/index.php?f=1Wed, 20 Apr 2022 10:34:28 +0000Scott Rogers
If Your Downpayment Is Small, Your Escalation Clause Differential Should Likely Be LargeNegotiating

Consider these scenarios of multiple offers on a house listed for $400,000...

Two offers...
  1. Offer of $405,000 contingent on financing 70% of the purchase price.
     
  2. Offer of $400,000 contingent on financing 95% financing, with an escalation clause to increase the offer to be $1,000 higher than other offers up to a maximum offer of $435,000.  This offer becomes an offer of $406,000 based on the escalation clause and the existence of the first offer.
In this scenario, a seller will almost always pick the first offer.  Most sellers would be just fine missing out on that final $1,000 being offered by the second buyers because they would rather work with a buyer with a larger downpayment that would appear to be more financially capable, more readily able to cure any appraisal shortages, etc.  Interestingly, the second buyer seemed happy to pay $435,000 for the house, but is not likely to get the house because the differential of their escalation clause was only $1,000.

Now, then, here is an alternative scenario that the second buyer could have created which might have changed the thought process of the seller...
  1. Offer of $405,000 contingent on financing 70% of the purchase price.
     
  2. Offer of $400,000 contingent on financing 95% financing, with an escalation clause to increase the offer to be $10,000 higher than other offers up to a maximum offer of $435,000.  This offer becomes an offer of $415,000 based on the escalation clause and the existence of the first offer.
In this version of the offer situation, the second buyer will at least (likely) get the seller to slow down and give their offer some serious thought.  Even if the seller doesn't like the 95% financing situation, and the possible ramifications of that high loan–to–value ratio, to ignore that second offer is potentially leaving $10,000 on the table.

So... if you have a small downpayment, you may want to consider a larger differential in your escalation clause... otherwise, you shouldn't be surprised if your offer is not seriously considered by a home seller with multiple strong offers.
 


Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2022/04/if-your-downpayment-is-small-your-escalation-clause-differential-should-likely-be-large_1650364339/index.php?f=1Tue, 19 Apr 2022 10:32:19 +0000Scott Rogers
Is FOMO Fueling Rising Home Prices?Home Values

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas indicates that there are signs of a brewing housing bubble... and FOMO (fear of missing out) might be a contributing factor.

You'll find the article from the Dallas Fed and some accompanying graphs here...

Real–Time Market Monitoring Finds Signs of Brewing U.S. Housing Bubble

Some summary points from that article...

[1]  If lots of home buyers believe current, large, housing price increases will continue, further and stronger buying can be fueled by FOMO – the fear of missing out – which can drive prices up even further.

[2]  The Dallas Fed calls this phenomenon described above "expectations–driven explosive appreciation" or "exuberance" and it seems to be happening in many housing markets right now.

[3]  The U.S. housing market has shown signs of exuberance for more than five consecutive quarters.

[4]  Since the beginning of 2020 there has been a divergence between home prices and rental rates... home prices have been going up much more quickly than rental rates.

[5]  Much of the data the Dallas Fed analyzed shows signs of "abnormal U.S. housing market behavior" –– which probably is not a surprising descriptor for anyone who has been in the market (buying or selling) over the past few years.

[6]  Factors contributing to the abnormal market behavior seem to include historically low interest rates, pandemic–related fiscal stimulus programs, Covid–19–related supply–chain disruptions among other factors.

So, that was most of the worrisome parts of the article, but this little paragraph towards the end is somewhat of a reassuring finale...

"Based on present evidence, there is no expectation that fallout from a housing correction would be comparable to the 2007–09 Global Financial Crisis in terms of magnitude or macroeconomic gravity. Among other things, household balance sheets appear in better shape, and excessive borrowing doesn’t appear to be fueling the housing market boom."

So... it's possible that there is a housing bubble (though every local market is different and will behave differently) and if there is a bubble, prices could flatten out or decline, but if they do it doesn't seem likely that it will have the same impact as the 2007–09 housing and financial crisis.

Happy Monday!?  ;–)
 
P.S.  Read the actual article yourself... it has some great additional commentary and context...

 


Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2022/04/is-fomo-fueling-rising-home-prices_1650281757/index.php?f=1Mon, 18 Apr 2022 11:35:57 +0000Scott Rogers
Real Estate Tax Rates Moving Up and DownReal Estate Tax Rates

Rockingham County – tax rate down 8%

The Rockingham County real estate tax rate is currently $0.74 per $100 of asssessed value, but the Board of Supervisors just approved a reduction in the tax rate to $0.68 per $100 of assessed value.

But... that is in the context of recently updated tax assessed value for all properties in Rockingham County, most of which increased significantly because the last reassessment took place four years ago before significant shifts in market values in this area.

As a result, most Rockingham County property owners will see an increase in their tax bill despite the reduction in the tax rate.

City of Harrisonburg – tax rate up 3%  (pending approval)

The Harrisonburg City Council will soon consider increasing the tax rate from $0.90 per $100 of assessed value to $0.93 per $100 of assessed value. 

The City of Harrisonburg updates their assessed values every year, so while many or most property owners recently received notice of the updated assessed value of their property, those values likely did not increase as drastically as assessed values did in Rockingham County.

As a result, almost all City of Harrisonburg property owners will see an increase in their tax bill because though small increases, their assessed value and tax rate are both likely to have gone up or to go up.
 


Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2022/04/real-estate-tax-rates-moving-up-and-down_1650020796/index.php?f=1Fri, 15 Apr 2022 11:06:36 +0000Scott Rogers
Current Mortgage Interest Rates in the Context of the Past DecadeMortgage Interest Rates

Mortgage interest rates keep on rising.  The graph above shows the average mortgage interest rate over the past decade.

Periods of Green = 3._% (somewhere between 3% and 4%)

Periods of Red = 4._% (somewhere between 4% and 5%)

Periods of Blue = 2._% (somewhere between 2% and 3%)

A few resulting observations...

[1]  We're getting ready to pop over 4.75%, it seems, which we've seen once (for a few months) in late 2018.

[2]  We might be headed all the way up towards 5%, which we haven't seen at all in the past ten years.

[3]  While we've spent most of the past decade below 4% (green+blue) we have certainly also seen long spells above 4% (red) as well.

[4]  We moved pretty quickly from 2._% to 3._% to 4._% and it almost seems like 5._% could be knocking on the door.

As mortgage interest rates rise, monthly mortgage payments (for new buyers) rise, which certainly creates the possibility that at some point rapidly rising home prices won't be rising quite as rapidly.
 


Have Any Questions? Contact Scott Rogers at 540-578-0102 or scott@funkhousergroup.com]]>
http://www.harrisonburghousingtoday.com/blog/archives/2022/04/current-mortgage-interest-rates-in-the-context-of-the-past-decade_1649932601/index.php?f=1Thu, 14 Apr 2022 10:36:41 +0000Scott Rogers