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Category: For Buyers

Should I Rent or Buy a Home? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Should I Rent or Buy a Home? [INFOGRAPHIC] Simplifying The Market

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Some Highlights

  • While renting may be less expensive in some areas right now, there are two big benefits homeownership provides that renting can’t. ?
  • Owning a home means you get to say goodbye to rising rents and hello to stability. It also gives you the chance to gain equity as home values rise over time. 
  • If you’re ready to learn more about the perks of owning a home, connect with a local real estate agent.

#fidelityhomegroup, #floridamortgage, #floridamortgagerates, #mortgageflorida

The Number of Homes for Sale Is Increasing

The Number of Homes for Sale Is Increasing Simplifying The Market

There’s no denying the last couple of years have been tough for anyone trying to buy a home because there haven’t been enough houses to go around. But things are starting to look up.

There are more homes up for grabs this year. The graph below uses the latest data from Realtor.com to show in April 2024 there were more homes for sale than there were over the last few years (2021-2023):

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As Realtor.com explains:

There were 30.4% more homes actively for sale on a typical day in April compared with the same time in 2023, marking the sixth consecutive month of annual inventory growth.”

But does this growing inventory make house hunting easier? Yes and no.

Using the latest weekly data from Calculated Risk, the graph below shows, that even with the growth lately, there are still way fewer homes for sale than there were in the last normal year in the housing market:

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What Does This Mean for You?

If you’ve been looking to buy but put your plans on hold because you just couldn’t find what you were searching for, you might see more options now than you did over the past few years – but don’t expect a huge selection.

To check out your growing options, it’s a good idea to work with a local real estate agent you trust. Real estate is all about location. And an agent can help you get the scoop on the homes available in the area you’re interested in. Bankrate explains:

“In today’s homebuying market, it’s more important than ever to find a real estate agent who really knows your local area — down to your specific neighborhood — and can help you successfully navigate its unique quirks.”

Bottom Line

Team up with a local real estate agent who can keep you in the loop on everything that might impact your move, like how many homes are up for sale right now.

#fidelityhomegroup, #floridamortgage, #floridamortgagerates, #mortgageflorida

Why a Condo May Be a Great Option for Your First Home

Why a Condo May Be a Great Option for Your First Home Simplifying The Market

Having a hard time finding a first home that’s right for you and your wallet? Well, here’s a tip – think about condominiums, or condos for short.

They’re usually smaller than single-family homes, but that’s exactly why they can be easier on your budget. According to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), condos are typically less expensive than single-family homes (see graph below):

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So, if you’re comfortable with a smaller space and want to buy your first home this year, adding condos to your search might be easier on your wallet.

Besides giving you more options for your home search and maybe fitting your budget better, living in a condo has a bunch of other perks, too. According to Rocket Mortgage:

“From community living to walkable urban areas, condos are great options for first-time home buyers and people looking to enjoy homeownership without extensive upkeep.”

Let’s dive into a few of the draws of condos for first-time buyers from Bankrate:

  • They require less maintenance. Condos are great if you want to own your place but don’t want to mow the lawn, shovel snow, or fix the roof. Your real estate agent can help explain any associated fees and details for the condos you’re interested in.
  • They allow you to start building equity. When you buy a condo, you build equity and your net worth as you make your mortgage payments and as your condo’s value goes up over time.
  • They often come with added amenities. Your condo might come with access to amenities like a pool, dog park, or parking. And the best part? You don’t have to take care of any of them.
  • They provide you with a sense of community. Buying a condo means you’ll be living close to other people, which is nice if you enjoy having neighbors around and making friends. Many condo communities hold fun events like barbecues and parties during holidays for everyone to enjoy.


Remember, your first home doesn’t have to be the one you stay in forever. The important thing is to get your foot in the door as a homeowner so you can start to gain home equity. Later on, that equity can help you buy another place if you need something different.

Ultimately, owning and living in a condo is a lifestyle choice. And if it’s one that appeals to you, they could provide the added options you need in today’s market.

Bottom Line

It might be a good idea to think about condos in your home search. If you’re ready to see what’s out there, get in touch with a local real estate agent today.

#fidelityhomegroup, #floridamortgage, #floridamortgagerates, #mortgageflorida

Home Prices Are Climbing in These Top Cities

Home Prices Are Climbing in These Top Cities Simplifying The Market

Thinking about buying a home or selling your current one to find a better fit? If so, you might be wondering what’s going on with home prices these days. Here’s the scoop.

The latest national data from Case-Shiller and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) shows they’re going up (see graphs below):

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As you can see, home prices were rising for most of 2023. But over the course of December and January, they were virtually flat – which is pretty normal for that time of year.

But here’s what you need to know now. As of February, when the spring market kicked off, prices were on the rise again.

Home Prices Are Going Up in Most of America’s Top Cities

After seeing a jump in home prices nationally in February, you might be wondering if they’re going up in your area, too. While it depends on where you live, prices are rising in 18 of the top 20 cities Case-Shiller reports on in the monthly price index (see chart below):

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Most experts also think home prices will keep rising and end the year on a high note. Forbes explains why:

“Even as mortgage rates have reached their highest level since November, persistent demand coupled with limited housing supply are key drivers pushing home values upward.”

How This Impacts You

  • For Buyers: If you’re ready, willing, and able to buy a home, purchasing before prices go up even more might be a smart choice, since home values are expected to keep climbing.
  • For Sellers: Prices are going up because there still aren’t enough homes available for sale right now compared to today’s buyer demand. So, if you work with an agent to price your house right, you might receive multiple offers and sell quickly. 

Bottom Line

The data shows home prices are increasing nationally. Chat with a local real estate agent to see exactly what’s going on with prices in your neighborhood.

#fidelityhomegroup, #floridamortgage, #floridamortgagerates, #mortgageflorida

The Top 2 Reasons To Consider a Newly Built Home

The Top 2 Reasons To Consider a Newly Built Home Simplifying The Market

When you’re planning a move, it’s normal to wonder where you’ll end up and what your future home is going to look like. Maybe you’ve got a specific picture of that house in your mind. But unless you came into this process knowing you want to buy a newly built home, you may not have pictured new home construction.

A trusted real estate agent can help walk you through these two reasons you may want to reconsider that.

1. Adding Newly Built Homes Could Give You More Options

There are two types of homes on the market: new and existing. A newly built home refers to a house that was just built or is under construction. An existing home is one a previous homeowner has already lived in. Right now, the inventory of existing homes is tight. But there may be options for you on the new home side of things.

Data from the Census and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that newly built homes are a bigger part of today’s housing inventory than the norm (see graph below):

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From 1983 to 2019 (the last normal year in the market), newly built homes made up only 13% of the total inventory of homes for sale. But today that number has climbed to over 33%.

Rest assured, after over a decade of underbuilding, builders aren’t overdoing it today. Even with an increase in new construction today, there’s still a significant housing shortage overall. But for you, the uptick in new builds can be a game changer because it gives you more options for your search.

2. Newly Built Homes May Be More Affordable Than You’d Think

You may still be wondering if a new build could really be an option for you. If you’ve previously written them off because you thought they would be out of your budget, consider this. The price gap between a newly built home and an existing house is shrinking. Here’s why.

Builders are going to build what’s in demand. And they know people need more options right now, especially ones that are smaller and potentially more affordable. So, they’re focusing on building smaller homes at lower price points. The graph below shows the price difference between new and existing homes is shrinking as that happens:

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As LendingTree explains:

In the past, newly built homes have been much more expensive than existing homes — but that gap has been getting smaller recently. In some places today, you may find that the cost to build versus buy is roughly the same.”

And an article from CNBC says:

“While new builds are still sold for slightly more than existing homes, the price gap has significantly narrowed . . .”

Not to mention, some builders are even offering price cuts and mortgage rate buy-downs right now to sweeten the deal. Today there are many reasons new builds may be worth considering. Other buyers sure seem to think so. As Freddie Mac says:

“As the supply of existing homes for sale remains low and home prices continue to rise, more buyers are choosing to purchase new homes than in previous years.”

Just know that buying a newly built home isn’t the same as buying an existing one. Builder contracts have different fine print. So, partner with a local agent who knows the market, builder reputations, and what to look for in those contracts so you have an expert on your side to help you explore this option.

Bottom Line

If you want to find out what builders are doing in your area, connect with a real estate agent. And if you’re willing to cast a wider net to open up your options even more, that agent can talk to you about broadening your search to include other towns nearby.

#fidelityhomegroup, #floridamortgage, #floridamortgagerates, #mortgageflorida

How Buying or Selling a Home Benefits Your Community

How Buying or Selling a Home Benefits Your Community Simplifying The Market

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a house, it’s important to know it doesn’t just impact you—it helps out the local economy and your community, too.

Every year, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) puts out a report that breaks down the financial impact that comes from people buying and selling homes (see visual below):

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When a house is sold, it really boosts the local economy. That’s because of all the people needed to build, fix up, and sell homes. Robert Dietz, Chief Economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), explains how the housing industry adds jobs to a community:

“. . . housing is a significant job creator. In fact, for every single-family home built, enough economic activity is generated to sustain three full-time jobs for a year . . .”

It makes sense that housing creates a lot of jobs because so many different kinds of work are involved in the industry.

Think about all the people involved with selling a house—city officials, contractors, lawyers, real estate agents, specialists, etc. Everyone has a job to do to make your deal go through. So, each transaction is a big help to those who work and live in your community.

Put simply, when you buy or sell a home, you’re helping out your neighbors. So, when you decide to move, you’re not just meeting your own needs—you’re also doing something good for your community. Just knowing your move helps so many people around you can give you a sense of empowerment as you make your decision this year.

Bottom Line

Every time a home is sold, it really helps out the local economy. If you’re ready to move, get in touch with a local real estate agent. It won’t just change your life—it’ll also do a lot of good for the whole community.

#fidelityhomegroup, #floridamortgage, #floridamortgagerates, #mortgageflorida

Tips for Younger Homebuyers: How To Make Your Dream a Reality

Tips for Younger Homebuyers: How To Make Your Dream a Reality Simplifying The Market

If you’re a member of a younger generation, like Gen Z, you may be asking the question: will I ever be able to buy a home? And chances are, you’re worried that’s not going to be in the cards with inflation, rising home prices, mortgage rates, and more seemingly stacked against you.

While there’s no arguing this housing market is challenging for first-time homebuyers, it is still achievable, especially if you have professionals on your side.

Here are some helpful tips you may get from a pro.

1. Explore Your Options for a Down Payment

If a down payment is your #1 hurdle, you may have options to give your savings a boost. There are over 2,000 down payment assistance programs designed to make homeownership more achievable. And, that’s not the only place you may be able to get a helping hand. While it may not be an option for everyone, 49% of Gen Z homebuyers got money from loved ones that they used toward a down payment, according to LendingTree.

And chances are you won’t need to put 20% down (unless specified by your loan type or lender). So be sure to work with a trusted mortgage professional to explore your options, find out how much you’ll really need, and learn about any guidelines on getting a gift from loved ones.

2. Live with Loved Ones To Boost Your Savings

Another thing a number of Gen Z buyers are doing is ditching their rental and moving back in with friends or family. This can help cut down your housing costs so you can build your savings a whole lot faster. As Bankrate explains:

“. . . many have opted to stop renting and live with family in order to boost their savings. Thirty percent of Gen Z homebuyers move directly from their family member’s home to a home of their own, according to NAR.”

3. Cast a Broad Net for Your Search

When you’ve saved up enough, here’s how a pro will help you approach your search. Since the supply of homes for sale is still low and affordability is tight, they’ll give you strategies and avenues you may not have considered to open up your pool of options.

For example, it’s usually more affordable if you consider a rural or suburban area versus an urban one. So, while the city may be livelier and more energetic, the cost of living may be reason enough to look at something further out. And if you consider smaller homes and condos or townhouses, you’ll give yourself even more ways to break into the market. As Colby Stout, Research Analyst at Bright MLS, explains:

“Being flexible on the types of home (e.g., a condo or townhome versus a single-family home) and exploring more affordable neighborhoods is important for first-time buyers.”

4. Take a Close Look at Your Wants and Needs

And lastly, an agent can help you really think about your must-have’s and nice-to-have’s. Remember, your first home doesn’t have to be your forever home. You just need to get your foot in the door to start building equity. If you want to buy, you may find making some compromises is worth it. As Chase says:

“An open-minded approach to house-hunting may be one way for Gen Z homebuyers to maintain some edge. This could mean buying in areas that are less expensive. Differentiating needs vs. wants may help in this area as well.”

An agent will help you prioritize your list of home features and find houses that can deliver on the top ones. And they’ll be able to explain how equity can benefit you in the long run and make it possible to move into that dream home down the line.

Bottom Line

Real estate professionals have expertise on what’s working for other buyers like you. Lean on them for tips and advice on ways you can get ready to buy. As Directors Mortgage says, with that support you can make it happen:

 

The path to homeownership may not be a straightforward one for Gen Z, but it’s undoubtedly within reach. By adopting the right strategies, like exploring down payment assistance programs and sharing living costs with relatives, you can bring your dream of owning a home closer to reality.”

#fidelityhomegroup, #floridamortgage, #floridamortgagerates, #mortgageflorida

Builders Are Building Smaller Homes [INFOGRAPHIC]

Builders Are Building Smaller Homes [INFOGRAPHIC] Simplifying The Market

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Some Highlights

  • Having a hard time finding a home in your budget? ?Builders may have a solution that can help.
  • Builders are shifting their attention to what buyers want most right now – smaller, more affordable homes.
  • If you want to see what’s available locally and in other areas nearby, connect with an agent to explore your options together. 

#fidelityhomegroup, #floridamortgage, #floridamortgagerates, #mortgageflorida

Is a Multi-Generational Home Right for You?

Is a Multi-Generational Home Right for You? Simplifying The Market

Ever thought about living in the same house with your grandparents, parents, or other loved ones? You’re not alone. A lot of people are choosing to buy multi-generational homes where everyone can live together. Let’s check out why they think it’s a good idea to see if it might be a good fit for you, too.

Why People Are Choosing Multi-Generational Living

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), here are just a few key reasons buyers opted for multi-generational homes over the past year (see graph below):

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Two of the top reasons had to do with aging parents. 27% of buyers chose multi-generational homes so they could take care of their parents more easily. And 19% did it to spend more time with them. A lot of older adults want to age in place, and living in a home with loved ones can help them do just that. If your parents are hoping to do the same, but need a bit of help, a multi-generational home may be worth considering.

But buying a multi-generational home isn’t just about being close or taking care of the people you love—it can save you money, too. 22% of buyers say they picked a multi-generational home to cut down on costs, and 11% needed a bigger house multiple incomes could afford together.

Sharing costs like the mortgage and utilities can make owning a home more affordable. This is especially helpful for first-time homebuyers who might find it challenging to buy a place on their own in today’s market.

As Axios explains:

“Financial concerns and caregiving needs are two of the major reasons people live with their parents (and parents’ parents).”

How an Agent Is Key in Finding the Right Home for You

Looking for the perfect multi-generational home is a bit trickier than finding a regular house. You’ve got more people, which means more opinions and needs to think about. It’s kind of like putting together a puzzle where all the pieces need to fit perfectly.

If you’re into the idea of living with loved ones and want all the benefits that come with it, team up with a local real estate agent who can help you out.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re looking to save money or want to take care of your loved ones, buying a multi-generational home might be a good idea for you. If you want to find out more, talk to a local real estate agent.

#fidelityhomegroup, #floridamortgage, #floridamortgagerates, #mortgageflorida

The Best Way To Keep Track of Mortgage Rate Trends

The Best Way To Keep Track of Mortgage Rate Trends Simplifying The Market

If you’re thinking about buying a home, chances are you’ve got mortgage rates on your mind. You’ve heard about how they impact how much you can afford in your monthly mortgage payment, and you want to make sure you’re factoring that in as you plan your move.

The problem is, with all the headlines in the news about rates lately, it can be a bit overwhelming to sort through. Here’s a quick rundown of what you really need to know.

The Latest on Mortgage Rates

Rates have been volatile – that means they’re bouncing around a bit. And, you may be wondering, why? The answer is complicated because rates are affected by so many factors.

Things like what’s happening in the broader economy and the job market, the current inflation rate, decisions made by the Federal Reserve, and a whole lot more have an impact. Lately, all of those factors have come into play, and it’s caused the volatility we’ve seen. As Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, explains:

“Ongoing inflation deceleration, a slowing economy and even geopolitical uncertainty can contribute to lower mortgage rates. On the other hand, data that signals upside risk to inflation may result in higher rates.”

Professionals Can Help Make Sense of it All

While you could drill down into each of those things to really understand how they impact mortgage rates, that would be a lot of work. And when you’re already busy planning a move, taking on that much reading and research may feel a little overwhelming. Instead of spending your time on that, lean on the pros.

They coach people through market conditions all the time. They’ll focus on giving you a quick summary of any broader trends up or down, what experts say lies ahead, and how all of that impacts you.

Take this chart as an example. It gives you an idea of how mortgage rates impact your monthly payment when you buy a home. Imagine being able to make a payment between $2,500 and $2,600 work for your budget (principal and interest only). The green part in the chart shows payments in that range or lower based on varying mortgage rates (see chart below):

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As you can see, even a small shift in rates can impact the loan amount you can afford if you want to stay within that target budget.

It’s tools and visuals like these that take everything that’s happening and show what it actually means for you. And only a pro has the knowledge and expertise needed to guide you through them.

You don’t need to be an expert on real estate or mortgage rates, you just need to have someone who is, by your side.

Bottom Line

Have questions about what’s going on in the housing market? Connect with a real estate professional to take what’s happening right now and figure out what it really means for you. 

#fidelityhomegroup, #floridamortgage, #floridamortgagerates, #mortgageflorida