Here’s Your New Year’s Resolution

Buy a Home Early in 2017

Let’s finish out the year with a holiday basket packed with good news: We’re ending 2016 in better economic shape than in recent years. Unemployment is down to 4.6%, its lowest level since August 2007; consumer confidence is higher than it has been since July 2007; and home values nationally and in more than half of the major markets in the country have recovered.

House keys

We’re employed, confident, and have recovered equity in our homes. The stock market is up and flirting with all-time highs. That sounds like the perfect backdrop to buy a home in 2017, whether it’s a first-time purchase, a move up, a downsize, or a relocation. Right?

What about the mortgage rates effect on home buying?

Maybe. But before you take the plunge, you’re going to have to come to grips with two factors that are now decidedly worse for buying than they were at the end of last year: Mortgage rates are higher, and the inventory of homes for sale is lower.

Mortgage rates are a bit more than a quarter of a point higher now than they were at the end of 2015. That translates into payments that are 3% higher. Still, that increase can be managed by most.

The key challenge for potential buyers is that rates are now likely to move up more—as much as three-quarters of a point in 2017. That would be increasing payments by an additional 9%.

Tight inventory levels have been a problem for more than four years. As sales have grown, supply has fallen. We’ve seen the age of inventory—how long homes sit on the market—drop dramatically as home buyers burn through the available stock.

We’ve had an abnormally strong autumn for home sales because frustrated buyers are keeping at it even after the end of peak buying season. We also saw more new buyers emerge later in the peak season. Then as mortgage rates started to move up in October and then accelerated their rise in November and December, a new sense of urgency was added to the mix.

As a result of this unusually strong demand in the slower time of the year, we will end this year with at least 10% fewer homes for sale than we had last year. And we thought last year was bad!

Get started on your home hunt now

If your New Year’s resolutions include buying a home, I would suggest getting an early start. January and February typically are the slowest months of the year for sales, as harsh weather in most of the country dissuades most potential buyers.

Buyers in January and February face far less competition from other buyers, yet inventory is only marginally lower than in the spring.

Since mortgage rates are likely to move up as the year progresses, the beginning of the year represents the best time to lock in rates before they get even higher.

Early-year buyers can use the holidays to get ready. Organize your financial information to make getting pre-approved for a mortgage easier.

robin-pointingIf you are looking to buy a new home or sell your current home in 2017, contact one of our professional Red Robin REALTORS® today. Or start your search directly from our website.

This article is a reprint from realtor.com® and authored by Jonathan Smoke, the chief economist of realtor.com where he analyzes real estate data and trends to develop market insights for the consumer.

posted: Dec 28, 2016 | No Responses

Posted by:  Melissa Wakamo

When Melissa Wakamo began her real estate career in 2004, her goal was to focus on her immediate area and get to know her neighbors. "I've had a lot of fun over the years helping my neighbors sell their homes and helping newcomers become a part of our community."

Melissa quickly became one of metro Atlanta's top producing agents and consistently performed in the top 1 of all Atlanta agents. By 2009, Melissa's real estate team had grown to include several agents and support staff, dedicated to providing exceptional service to buyers and sellers in Atlanta's intown neighborhoods.

In 2010, Melissa transitioned Red Robin REALTORS® into an independently owned boutique brokerage. Even in the tough real estate market during that time, Red Robin REALTORS® continued to outperform other small brokerages and was able to help buyers and sellers adapt to the rapid changes in the market.

Today, Melissa provides strategic oversight for Red Robin REALTORS®- ensuring that the brokerage maintains its focus and commitment to the intown market. Melissa also provides an exceptional training opportunity for agents. Under a philosophy that exceptional agents produce exceptional results, Melissa shares her marketing and business expertise with agents through the Red Robin Academy.

Melissa's active participation in various neighborhood organizations and charitable efforts, as well as her passion for antiques, cooking, and gardening, keep her busy and in touch with the community.

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