Thursday, August 23, 2018

August Market Update

As we enter the second half of 2018, I wanted to share with you my perspective on a few key economic metrics and how they are affecting home buyers and sellers in today’s real estate market.

Mortgage interest. Rates are edging up, and many in the industry expect average mortgage rates around 5 percent in the near future. If you are in the market to buy a house, remember that interest charges have been much higher (up to the high teens in the early 1980s) and 5 percent is still historically low.

·         Why it matters: Buyers’ purchasing power diminishes when borrowing costs rise. With an ongoing shortage of homes on the market, it can take a while to find the right place to buy. Additionally, home prices are on the rise. If you are actively looking, working with a real estate professional (like me) and my mortgage partners can help expedite the process and potentially save you money.

Builder confidence. New homes sell quickly, with residences in the first-time-buyer range selling in the least amount of time. The National Association of Home Builders’ monthly survey of builder confidence was unchanged in July, at 68. Anything over 50 is favorable for growth.

·         Why it matters: Inventory levels are low and we need more homes to sell, so we generally view sentiment levels this high as a good thing. Will a new tariff structure compound issues that are squeezing builders’ margins, such as lumber and steel costs? It remains to be seen, but my team at Long & Foster and I will continue to track this important metric and keep you updated.

GDP. Real GDP is expected to end the year at 3 percent growth. In the second quarter, it rose by 4.1 percent, compared to 2.2 percent in the first quarter. This is the strongest growth in years.

·         Why it matters: Consumer spending is fueling expansion; people spend money when they feel confident and have more to spend. Unemployment is at 3.9 percent which is at its lowest in years, so more people have incomes. Private-sector employers are also on a 101-month hiring streak.

Consumer confidence. Sentiment rose slightly in July, showing fairly strong optimism.

·         Why it matters: Consumers report strong confidence levels when they are secure in their jobs and feel optimistic their situations are improving. This metric bodes well for the housing market, because making the biggest purchase of your life requires a sense of security in your financial future. Another number we are watching is the National Association of Realtors’ affordability index, which has declined to 134.8 in June from 162.4 in January. This essentially says a family with the average income can afford an average-priced home – for now. In our current low-supply, high-demand environment, buyers in more expensive areas could eventually be priced out if current trends continue.

As you can see, conditions are favorable for buyers and sellers in today’s real estate market. A professional Realtor like me, can help you get the most for your property if selling, and find your perfect place to call home if you are looking to buy. 

Reach out to me any time to discuss your situation further or get a free analysis of your home’s potential market value.

I look forward to hearing from you!

"Oh by the way… I’m never too busy for any of your referrals"!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

August Home Maintenance Checklist

August generally brings the hottest time of the year. Despite the warm weather, there always seems to be plenty to do in the garden this month. Whether you’ve planted a large plot of fruit and vegetables or just have a simple flower garden, August is the time to enjoy its bounty. With this month’s checklist, you can take care of your garden and be back to enjoying your barbecues and pool trips in no time.

Prune: Clear dead twigs and branches to make room for new growth. Trim perennials that have finished blooming down to four inches in height and divide groups of plants, such as irises, that are overcrowded, and plant the extras elsewhere.

Water Wisely: Prevent mildew by watering during the cool early morning, when roots can absorb water but excess moisture will evaporate as the day warms.

Mowing Tips: Set your lawn mower blade on the highest setting. Taller grass grows deeper roots, provides shade to the soil and prevents weeds from germinating. Don’t worry if parts of your lawn turn brown this time of year – it usually bounces back in a few days with ample water.

Control Weeds: Pull weeds for a few minutes each day to keep them from competing with your plants for water and nutrients. You’ll also avoid having to spend a few hours later removing overgrown weeds.

Prevent Insects: Eliminate standing water that has collected in empty flower pots or other containers as they can be a breeding ground for mosquitos. Wasps become more aggressive in late summer, so if you see a wasp nest, you’ll want to spray it as soon as possible.

Don’t forget to take pictures or make notes of plants you like while they are all at the peak of their growth.
Stay cool – enjoy your garden and the simple pleasures of summer this month.
Let me know if I can refer any of my top rated contractors… these are people I trust!
30+ years’ experience in The Triangle Area Real Estate Industry

“I’m Never Too Busy for Any of Your Referrals”
Eddie Brown