What’s cooking in kitchen design in 2020? White kitchens, granite, and modern designs still reign supreme, according to a new study of 500,000 Instagram posts in the U.S., conducted by Wren Kitchens.
Instagram has emerged as a popular place to share home design pictures and offers insights into trends based on the most Insta-worthy kitchen styles, features, and colors, according to Wren Kitchens.
Mortgage Rates Dip Below 3%
July 17, 2020
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.98% this week, the lowest rate in Freddie Mac’s records dating back to 1971.
“The drop has led to increased home buyer demand and, these low rates have been capitalized into asset prices in support of the financial markets,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “However, the countervailing force for the economy has been the rise in new virus cases which has caused the economic recovery to stagnate, and this economic pause puts many temporary layoffs at risk of ossifying into permanent job losses.”
Freddie Mac reported the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending July 16:
- 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.98%, with an average 0.7 point, falling from a 3.03% average last week. A year ago, 30-year rates averaged 3.81%.
- 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 2.48%, with an average 0.7 point, falling from last week’s 2.51% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.23%.
- 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.06%, with an average 0.3 point, rising slightly from last week’s 3.02% average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.48%.
Freddie Mac reports average commitment rates along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining a mortgage.Source: Freddie Mac
‘Fierce Competition’ Ahead for Home Buyers
July 16, 2020
A shortage of homes for sale and record low interest rates are creating a competitive home shopping summer, realtor.com® notes in its Weekly Recovery Report ending July 11. The housing market is getting closer to pre-pandemic levels. Realtor.com®’s index reached 98.5 this week, which is just 1.5 points below its pre-pandemic baseline.
“Today’s market remains tipped in favor of sellers as would-be spring buyers are shopping well into what would normally be summer vacation season,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “Home buyers, trying to take advantage of record low mortgage rates and make up for lost time, are finding limited and more expensive options. Although sellers are slowly acclimating to this unexpected surge in buyer interest, inventory is still lagging behind demand, which is driving quick time on market and listing price growth on par with this time last summer.”
The West continues to lead the recovery, now pushing ahead of its pre-pandemic benchmark. The Northeast also is above its previous baseline, too. The South and Midwest continue to lag behind their pre-pandemic baselines and are showing some signs of losing momentum in the recovery, realtor.com® cautions.
Overall, realtor.com®’s recovery index is showing the greatest housing recovery in Seattle, Boston, Denver, Philadelphia, and New York.
However, housing shortages continue. Over the last three weeks combined, new listings are down an average of 14% from a year ago. Also, median listing prices continue to increase at 7.9% over last year, which is faster than the pre-pandemic pace, realtor.com® notes.
Don’t let your home buyers be caught off guard: They’re likely to face steep competition for the home they want. With a limited number of homes for sale and strong buyer demand, bidding wars are growing more commonplace.
Sixty percent of real estate agents reported bidding wars were on the rise in their market in June, according to a study of 2,000 real estate professionals from HomeLight.
A report from the brokerage Redfin shows that more than half of its offers—54%—saw multiple offers for homes in June. Single-family homes and townhouses were the most likely to receive multiple bids from buyers, moreso than condos, Redfin notes.
Taylor Morrison, the fifth largest homebuilder in the country, reports a record monthly gain in orders for new-home construction—and a rise of 94% annually—in June. The builder also reports record sales across 22 major housing markets and 11 states. “To experience our best sales month in company history amid a pandemic, amid transitioning our business to a virtual environment seemingly overnight, and amid the economic and psychological impact on consumers, speaks volumes to not only Taylor Morrison’s resiliency but our customers’ resiliency, too,” Sheryl Palmer, chair and CEO of the company, told CNBC.
Mortgage Applications Keep Rising Above Last Year’s Level
July 9, 2020
More home buyers are applying for loans, and they’re ready to close. Mortgage applications to purchase a home increased 5% last week and are now 33% higher than a year ago, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday.
Record low mortgage rates last week prompted a spike in activity. Home buyer demand has proven strong since mid-May as some states started to reopen after sheltering in place to slow the COVID-19 outbreak. Buyers reemerged and are rushing to take advantage of low mortgage rates. The MBA reported the average contract interest rate for a 30-year-fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 3.26% last week.
“Mortgage rates declined to another record low as renewed fears of a coronavirus resurgence offset the impacts from a week of mostly positive economic data, such as June factory orders and payroll employment,” says Joel Kan, an MBA economist.
The average purchase loan size rose to a high of $365,700, as borrowers contend with limited supply and higher home prices, Kan says.
Meanwhile, refinance activity last week nudged up just 0.4% from the previous week. Refinance applications, however, are sill 111% higher than a year ago. The MBA notes that refinancings are likely more muted because mortgage rates have been low for so long that many borrowers may have already taken advantage and refinanced to lock in lower monthly mortgage payments.Source: “Homebuyer Mortgage Demand Spikes 33% as Rates Set Another Record Low,” CNBC (July 8, 2020)Comment
3 Tips to Glam Up Your Curb Appeal
July 7, 2020
Curb appeal is even more important as more home buyers shop for homes from a distance and narrow the lists of which homes they want to view in-person. Realtor.com® recently consulted with Clint Robertson and Luke Caldwell of HGTV’s “Boise Boys” to learn how to increase a property’s curb appeal. Here are some of their ideas:
Pay attention to the driveway and walkways.
You can take steps to make even concrete look good. After all, the driveway and walkways are what lead the eye toward a home’s front door. Any cracks or weeds popping up can present an eyesore. Patch the concrete with caulk, Robertson says. Also, Robertson and Caldwell suggest finishing a concrete driveway and walkway with a clear, glossy sealer. Or, at the very least, hose down the driveway and walkway before photos, video, or in-person tours for a fresher look.
Fix up the garage.
The garage is often an after-thought but it takes up a big portion of a home’s curb appeal. Caldwell suggests painting the garage doors the same color as the home’s trim.
“Sometimes garages feel dark and scary,” Robertson told realtor.com®. Garage doors with a row of windows filter in more light and make it feel part of a home. Garage window kits are available for many models. You can swap out existing panels and add glass inserts.
Paint the front door.
Peeling paint or rusty hardware on the front door isn’t very welcoming to a potential home buyer. “If you’re going to spend money on one thing to add curb appeal, make it a new door,” Caldwell told realtor.com®.
Front doors with glass inserts can help create a more welcoming space. But for homeowners looking to save, a fresh coat of paint may suffice.
“A fresh pop of color in red, yellow, or blue can bring life to your house immediately and catches people’s eyes as well,” Caldwell says. “It feels like thoughtful consideration has been put into the home, and ultimately that’s what we’re trying to do—to let the home feel like a home that’s been loved and cared for and thought about. A home that’s been cared for stands out.”
Read more curb appeal tips at realtor.com®.Source: “When the Outside Matters More Than Ever: 6 Curb Appeal Tricks to Attract Buyers During Coronavirus,” realtor.com® (May 11, 2020)