Existing-home sales in 2020 surged to the highest level in 14 years, landing 22% higher than a year ago, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Friday. Existing-home sales—completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops—posted big gains year over year and rose by 0.7% in December 2020 compared to November 2020’s already unseasonably high rates.
“This momentum is likely to carry into the new year, with more buyers expected to enter the market,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Although mortgage rates are projected to increase, they will continue to hover near record lows at around 3%. Moreover, expect economic conditions to improve with additional stimulus forthcoming and vaccine distribution already underway.”
Existing-home sales in December 2020 reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.76 million. Still, home buyers are finding a limited number of homes for sale. Inventory levels are at record lows. That has placed continued pressure on home prices, which continue to post double-digit yearly gains.
The median existing-home price for all housing types in December 2020 was $309,800, up nearly 13% compared to December 2019, NAR reports. Every major region of the U.S. saw home prices rise last month.
Here’s a closer look at key housing indicators from NAR’s latest report:
Here’s a closer look at existing-home sales fared across the country in December 2020:
The CAAR market area for 2020 looks like it will be up about 1% over 2019 in the total number of sales for the year. The biggest increase was seen in Fluvanna where YTD sales are up about 8%. Albemarle is flat while Charlottesville and Greene are down about 4%. Given the fact that inventory is down considerably from 2019 it's somewhat surprising that the market has fared as well as it has. There are only about 330 active listings (this excludes "to be built" homes) in the four areas which translates to about 1 months worth of inventory. About 6 months worth of inventory is considered a balanced market which would translate to about 1900 active listings.
Statewide sales are up about 6.7% YTD, median sales prices are up about 7.8%, and days on the market are down 14%. Importantly, listing inventory is down nearly 40% from this time last year which translates to only about 1.4 months of supply. Clearly the issues we see in Charlottesville aren't specific to us and extend across the Commonwealth as well as the country.
We are extremely pleased to report that Montague Miller numbers continue to be strong. We are currently up about 18% in the number of sales compared to last year and up 7% in listings taken. Both of these numbers are considerably better than the market areas we work in as well as being better than the statewide averages.
The spring 2020 slowdown in sales has been followed by a surge in activity, as homebuyers returned to the market in force this summer. There has been widespread speculation that COVID-19 will lead homebuyers to look for homes outside of denser urban areas in more suburban and rural communities. Some families are concerned about the prevalence of COVID-19 and may want to move out of cities and urban suburbs to counties where the numbers of cases tend to be lower. Others have been working remotely during the pandemic and have decided that working from home will be a permanent situation. As a result, these families are eschewing homes with short commutes for places with more affordable housing options and reliable internet service.
So far, the evidence of a movement out of more urban areas has been largely anecdotal. Virginia REALTORS® has new data that suggests that the suburban/rural shift in the Commonwealth is real.
Back in June, we surveyed Virginia REALTORS® members and found that many REALTORS® thought COVID-19 was having an impact on the housing market. More than a third of survey respondents said that they thought COVID-19 was affecting the types of communities that home buyers were looking for. In particular, most respondents said they believe there would be growing interest in rural areas and suburban communities.
Housing market data through August provides the first compelling look at transactions that confirm that rural and suburban communities have been generating relatively more buyer interest than urban counties. Compared to last year, home sales this summer were up about 6.5% statewide, reflecting the shift of spring sales into the summer market. However, sales activity was significantly stronger in the state’s suburban and, especially, rural counties. The number of home sales was up 5.8% in urban counties, but sales jumped 11.9% in the state’s suburban counties and surged 15.2% in rural counties.
There was also greater price pressure in outlying communities, particularly in rural areas, where the median year-to-date sales price was up 12.7% compared to last year. Prices were up 7.2% in suburban counties and 7.0% in urban counties and cities.
It remains to be seen whether businesses and employees will embrace remote work over the long term. However, some workers clearly will be able to make their work-from-home situations permanent. As a result, demand for housing outside of major employment centers likely will continue well into 2021. The key factor for these working homebuyers will be access to reliable, high-speed internet. Neighborhoods with good internet access and good quality housing stock will be in high demand in the months to come.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - The Charlottesville Department of Utilities’ commitment to the community and to energy conservation continues by offering a new $200 attic insulation rebate. Utilities currently provides a variety of home energy conservation resources that help improve a home’s energy efficiency and reduce utility bills, and this $200 attic insulation rebate complements these existing offers. Upgrading the insulation in a home’s attic is one of the most cost effective ways for residents to increase comfort, improve their home’s energy efficiency, and lower heating and cooling bills.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that as much as 85% of the conditioned air in a home is lost through the attic, and that upgrading the insulation can lower heating and cooling costs by 10 to 50%. Over 21,000 homes in the Charlottesville area were built before 1970, the first year Virginia implemented code requirements for insulation. Many of these homes may be under-insulated, and may be good candidates for attic insulation improvement.
Requirements for the attic insulation rebate include:
For more information and a detailed explanation of requirements for the attic insulation rebate, as well as information on other rebates and energy conservation resources provided by the Charlottesville Department of Utilities, please visit www.charlottesville.gov/utilities or call 434-970-3812.
Irene PetersonUtilities Marketing & Outreach Manager434email@example.com
If you’re interested in removing a name from a mortgage, a big life change is likely happening. Whether it’s divorce, splitting up with your partner, or just wanting to have the mortgage in one person’s name to allow the other to have a little more financial flexibility, the circumstances compared to when you took out the mortgage have clearly changed. Getting the mortgage together no doubt had some clear advantages, including drawing on two incomes when determining how much you could get and/or utilizing the credit scores of two people to bring down your interest rate. It made sense at the time, but life happens and now, for whatever reason, you’ve decided it’s time to remove someone from the mortgage. Frankly, it’s not the easiest process in the world, but here are some steps and considerations that will help you get it done.
First things first, talk to your lender. They approved you once and they likely have the intimate knowledge of your finances necessary to decide if they want to do it again. However, you’re asking them to entrust the payment of your mortgage to one person instead of two, increasing their liability. Many borrowers don't realize that both people on a mortgage are responsible for the entire debt. For example, on a $300,000 loan, it’s not like both people are responsible for $150,000. You both are on the hook for the entire $300,000. If one of you can’t pay, the other person is still responsible for paying off the whole loan. So, if your lender simply took one of the names off the current mortgage, one of you would be getting off scot-free. As you may have guessed, lenders are not often keen on doing this.
ieswewasdfvb What your lender might,. ,k8 iuyghgjbnvncvbx78658677767- consider is refinancing your mortgage under a single name instead of both people currently on the mortgage. Keep in mind that the equation has changed in terms of approval, as the lender is looking only at the financial variables for one person instead of two. Do you have a high enough credit score – roughly 740 or higher – to make sure you get a reasonable interest rate as the sole name on the loan? Is your income (not household, but your individual income) high enough to convince the lender that you can make the mortgage payments on your own? How does your individual debt to income (DTI) ratio look? All the paperwork you did when you applied for the original mortgage – proof of income, credit history, outstanding debts, etc. – will need to be done again, as this really can be thought of as an entirely new loan. These and other factors will all go into the decision from your lender on whether they will allow you to remove the other person on the mortgage and let you go it alone.
So let’s say your lender approved the new mortgage to be in your name only – yay! Now it’s time to file a quitclaim deed. At this point, your spouse/partner/roommate’s name has been removed from the mortgage but they are still on the mortgage deed. The result of filing a quitclaim deed will be the transfer of the home solely to you. The other person that was previously on the mortgage and deed surrenders all rights to the property. If you have a lawyer, they can get you the necessary form, but you can also find it with a quick online search. After signing it in front of your lender, who will notarize it and file it with the country clerk, you are good to go.
Speaking of lawyers, consulting one as you go through this complex process is always a good idea. Removing a name from a mortgage is not simple, but it’s not insurmountable either. Like anything in life, financial and living situations often change and with those changes come new obstacles to overcome. Now that you have the knowledge and resources to tackle one of these obstacles, hopefully the other changes happening will become a little easier to bear
May 22, 2020
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage continued to near its lowest average on record. The lowest average on Freddie Mac records dating back to 1971 is 3.23%, which was set the week ending April 30. This week, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged close to that, at 3.24%.
“For the fourth consecutive week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has been below 3.30 percent, giving potential buyers a good reason to continue shopping even amid the pandemic,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “As states reopen, we’re seeing purchase demand improve remarkably fast, now essentially flat relative to a year ago. Going forward, mortgage rates have room to decline as mortgage spreads remain elevated.”
For Some, 30-Year Rates at 2.5% Are PossibleMortgage Applications Continue Surprising Rebound
For Some, 30-Year Rates at 2.5% Are Possible
Mortgage Applications Continue Surprising Rebound
Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending May 21:
Freddie Mac reports average commitment rates along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage.
Homeowners trying to sell during the pandemic will likely need some patience and a degree of expectation that the process could take longer. Homes are taking about an average of 15 days more to sell—or about 27% longer—than a year ago, according to realtor.com®’s data reflecting the week ending May 16. This marks the largest increase in the number of days that homes have spent on the market since 2013.
Days on the market have been gradually increasing since the pandemic began. During the first two weeks of March, prior to the outbreak’s growth in the U.S., homes were selling four days faster than a year ago.
“Mid-May is normally the time of year when homes sell the fastest,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “Today’s median time on the market is more like what we usually see in late February or November.”
But stay-at-home orders and unemployment have prompted a slowdown in the market. The National Association of REALTORS® reported on Thursday that existing-home sales dropped 17.8% in April compared to March. Many economists view the sales slump as temporary, particularly given the sudden uptick in mortgage applications for home purchases.
Prices Strong Despite Lockdowns Hindering April SalesMortgage Applications Continue Surprising Rebound
Prices Strong Despite Lockdowns Hindering April Sales
But, while days on the market have increased, consumers shouldn’t assume it’s a buyer’s market now, housing analysts say. Home prices are staying firm. NAR reports that existing-home prices for all housing types jumped 7.4% in April compared to a year ago.
“This may be surprising to a lot of people,” Hale says.
But a tight inventory of homes for sale persists. The number of new listings dropped 39% year over year for the week ending May 2.
Hale predicts that days on the market will drop again in the late summer as more cities loosen restrictions and more potential buyers return to work.
“Home Sellers Should Channel Patience as Time on Market Shoots Up During the Crisis,” realtor.com® (May 21, 2020
- Buyers take the first tour of appropriate homes online
- Realtor and clients narrow down number of homes to be visited to those most relevant and interesting to the buyer
- Sellers leave their property prior to and during showings
- Realtor and buyers drive in separate cars to tour a property
- Realtor opens doors and locks up after the showing
- All wear masks and gloves
- No one touches anything in the house
- Realtor and clients stay 6-20 feet apart
Realtor and clients discuss each home and the buyers thoughts and questions while outside at a distance (and/or by phone later)
An offer is made electronically
Negotiation occurs by phone and email
Final documents are signed electronically
In this way Realtors are able to assist their clients while supporting safety for all involved. I can help you navigate this unusual time for selling and buying. Please contact me at 434-996-0888 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is not surprising to hear leading economists discuss how real estate is the fundamental structure that holds up and brings back the economy. We are fortunate that the state of Charlottesville area's real estate market was strong at the outset of COVID-19 and that we remain in good condition compared to many other areas of the U.S. The real estate sales and prices in this area have a history of being among the last to go down in a bad economy and among the first to rebound as we recover.
Now Realtors are gaining recognition for the many other ways they help the market. Please read the article below that addresses one area where Realtors are making a big contribution:
May 14, 2020
Real estate will be essential to the nation’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, two congressional lawmakers said Wednesday during the virtual 2020 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and Sen. Tim Scott, both of South Carolina, said at the General Session that because homeownership is a primary means of building wealth, expanding access for buyers will be crucial for helping Americans recover financially from the current crisis. “I believe that the foundation upon which this democracy is built and people thrive is homeownership,” Clyburn said. “The real estate community ought to get creative and think about ways that tools can be created so that families can begin to build wealth early.”
The lawmakers thanked REALTORS® for their steadfast support of two major issues facing current and prospective homeowners today: access to broadband internet and remote online notarization. Lack of internet access in rural communities especially hinders schoolchildren who are now reliant on home computers for remote learning, Clyburn noted. This issue could stifle homeownership, dissuading prospective buyers from moving to smaller, more affordable communities around the country, he added.
The National Association of REALTORS® sent a letter to Capitol Hill on Monday calling for increased investment in broadband infrastructure and services. “COVID-19 has created an unprecedented need for reliable and affordable high-speed internet,” NAR President Vince Malta wrote in the letter. “REALTORS® support a comprehensive national policy to stimulate the deployment of broadband, increase data speeds, and lower broadband prices.”
Scott, who worked in the real estate industry before being elected to Congress, called remote notarization—an increasingly important step for completing closings without in-person contact—“the future.” He also noted that activity in many housing markets remains healthy, which speaks to the need for national remote notarization guidelines. The local MLS in his hometown of Charleston, S.C., he said, reported its highest number of contracts on record in the last week. “We’re working to make sure it’s easier for closings to happen” because owning a home means “you have skin in the game of America,” Scott said.
In March, NAR sent a letter to Congress in support of the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020. The bill would permit immediate nationwide use of RON, with minimum standards, and provide certainty for its interstate recognition.
Clyburn, chair of the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, said the HEROES Act, intended to provide another $75 billion in stimulus funds to Americans, would help homeowners directly. The bill, currently under consideration in the House, would “also protect the livelihoods of teachers, first responders, and other essential workers,” he said. “Direct payments are needed for all Americans to sustain themselves so losing your job doesn’t mean losing your home.”
On a personal note, Clyburn added, “I have interacted with your profession my entire career. You guys have been interconnected with the communities in which I work. Though I admire you professionally, I appreciate you personally.”
There are many valid reasons why purchasers are interested in buying a home. Those could be to start a family, more space, the perfect school district, a desire to be closer to family, or to achieve that good ole American Dream. There are also tax benefits to buying a home if tax deductions are itemized. Here are some benefits:
For much more tax information for homeowners, reference the IRS Publication 530 on Tax Information for Homeowners. This will surely come in handy for you and your clients.