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Opportunities in Real Estate: Learning from the Past

Remember your friends who bought a house right at the beginning of Covid 19? At the time, we thought it was risky, as time went on we see what an amazing opportunity it was to purchase. Similarly, we may be looking back at those friends who purchase in the first few months of 2024 in the same light. There’s hesitancy with Buyers right now between interest rates, an election year and uncertainty in the real estate market.

Our data points to a rising market. The Federal Reserve has already indicated they will ease interest rates in 2024. Waiting for lower rates, like the majority of Buyers will do, means you’ll likely pay more. That’s because as mortgage rates drop, housing demand will surge, driving prices up. As mortgage rates drop, Buyers will come flocking back into the market, driving up competition. So as prices rise, and competition rises, we will be back to multiple offers and Sellers back in the driver seat. There is a window now with a more balanced market. Over the next few months, Buyers don’t necessarily have to make a rushed decision with little due diligence period and reduced negotiating leverage, giving Buyers more time to make an informed decision.

Home prices in our area rose over 6% from the start of 2023. Home prices are expected to continue to rise throughout 2024. Several factors are contributing to home price appreciation in our area. Despite the new home construction that is going on all around us, the new home inventory is still falling short of the housing stock we need. This problem goes back to the recession of 2009-2011, home building came to a screeching halt. For 3 years, we didn’t see any new building, and builders haven’t closed that gap. Adding to that were supply chain issues caused by Covid 19, to some degree builders are still dealing with short supply and labor. There’s still not enough being built at a fast enough pace to meet demand. Couple this with the homeowners who are not willing to part with their 3% mortgage rate, there are not enough homes on the market. Supply and demand dictates prices. More supply of Buyers, less supply of homes equals rising prices. Additionally, we continue to have a healthy supply of Buyers relocating to our area from out of state, attracted to the lifestyle and affordability compared to many other metro areas. Many out of state Buyers purchase in the late Spring and Summer (choosing to move in between school sessions). Waiting will place you in direct competition with these Buyers who often have company support and a tight timeline, making for tough competition. Often they are willing to pay asking price or above to secure their housing quickly and get settled in their new job and state.

If you’re renting, and you’re financially able to purchase, you should consider buying now. The sooner you purchase a home, the sooner you start building equity through mortgage paydown and price appreciation. Your costs are fixed, unlike rent that is likely to be increased each year. And when mortgage rates fall, you can consider refinancing. There’s peace of mind having predictability with your monthly housing costs. Inflation, interest rates or a change in your landlord’s situation will not impact your housing or payment situation once you’ve locked into a fixed rate loan in your own home. There are tax advantages you may be missing as a renter as well. Consult with your CPA for how these tax breaks would apply to you as some income limitation may apply, here are a few common ones.
 Mortgage Interest- you can deduct your mortgage interest.
 Real Estate Taxes – you can deduct state and local taxes in the year you pay them.
 Home Office Deduction – if you’re a small business owner who works from home and use part of your home exclusively for the primary place of business, you can deduct many home expenses.

Opportunities in Real Estate: Learning from the Past

Tom Curtin Talks with Ben and Candice Thornton About First Time Homebuyers


Tom Curtin, CEO of the Curtin Team, and Ben and Candice Thorton from Capital Mortgage Solutions, LLC, actively discuss cooperative buying and aiding first-time homebuyers. They dispel myths regarding down payments and explore alternative financing methods. It is revealed that a primary residence can be purchased with as little as a 5% down payment, and some loan programs mandate even less. Furthermore, they delve into the possibility of gift funds, which parents, friends, or close family members can offer. Conventional guidelines dictate that gift funds must originate from a direct family member or fiancé. 401k loans are also an option for individuals who lack a family member or employer to help with the down payment. Borrowing from a 401k to make a down payment on a home has no impact on the debt-to-income ratio.

Check out our previous blog post about the real cost of waiting to buy –
https://www.curtinteam.com/the-real-cost-of-waiting/

Tom Curtin Talks with Ben and Candice Thornton About First Time Homebuyers

The Real Cost of Waiting

If you’re considering continuing to rent, maybe you think it’s best to wait until prices come down, or maybe you’re waiting for interest rates to come down. Or maybe you just don’t see the value in taking on the responsibility of owning a home. But did you know home ownership is one of the largest factors in building wealth? It is the differentiator between those that bought and those that continue to rent. How big of a difference can it really make, you ask? Let’s look at the tale of two friends, Harry and Randy, and really dive into the numbers to see what a difference buying a home now and continuing to rent will make in a 7-year period.

Harry Homeowner just purchased his new home for $400,000. He used FHA financing and put 3.5% down, or $14,000. His loan would be $392,755 because of the up-front 1.75% mortgage insurance that gets rolled into the loan on FHA loans. His monthly payment would be:

Principal & Interest – $2,613
PMI – $273.42
Estimated Taxes & Insurance – $474
Total payment = $3,360.76

After 7 years, Harry will have paid $181,546.66 in interest and $34,171.22 in principal, leaving a loan balance of $351,829.02. Harry has gained $34,171.22 in principal paydown, which can also be looked at as a forced savings. But wait – it gets better. Harry will also gain equity. The average equity increase annually is 4% (in metro Atlanta, it’s been 5% average.) After 7 years at an average of 4% annual appreciation, Harry’s home is now worth $526,327. That’s a gain of $126,327. Adding in the principal paydown of $34,171, Harry is sitting on a nice $160,498 gain. Harry could access some of this equity through a Home Equity Line of Credit and perhaps purchase an investment property (smart choice Harry!) or decide it’s time to upgrade and roll those gains into a new home and start the process over.
Another scenario that would likely have occurred for Harry is that because of the gain in the property value and equity, the PMI would drop off – most likely Harry would have refinanced his house and the payment would have reduced by $300-$400, so Harry’s payment in year 7 would be estimated to be around $2,900.

Randy Renter is renting a cool two-bedroom apartment in a hip, walkable location for just $2,000/mo. Instead of making a mortgage payment, Randy is a disciplined dude and he is saving the difference in his rent payment and what his friend Harry is making in a mortgage payment. So he’s saving $1,360 per month.
Randy is smart with his money, and he’s invested it in a mutual fund and was able to obtain an average annual return of 12%. Randy would now be sitting on a cool $167,000.
Aha you say: “So buying is not the right move! I’d actually have more money by saving money by renting (assuming you’re as disciplined as Randy) and not buying.”
However, we didn’t factor in that rent continues to increase every year. So in reality, Randy’s fixed cost of living continues to increase, while Harry’s fixed housing cost is locked in (and likely reduced when he refinances). Let’s rerun this scenario factoring the rent increases and consequently the savings decreases for Randy.
Average rents increase by 6% per year in our area. Randy’s two bedroom apartment rent looks like this over 7 years:
Year 1 $2,000
Year 2 $2,120
Year 3 $2,247
Year 4 $2,382
Year 5 $2,525
Year 6 $2,676
Year 7 $2,837
At the end of 7 years, again Randy is super disciplined and did not touch any of his savings, he now has $138,855 saved.

Let’s compare.
Harry has $160,498 in equity/net worth.
Randy has $138,855 in equity/net worth.
Harry has a fixed monthly housing payment.
Randy also has a monthly payment that will continue to rise and is beyond his control.
Randy can buy too, but the same house Harry bought 7 years ago will cost Randy a lot more.
It has been said “the best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago, the second-best time is today.” The same can be said of real estate. Don’t wait to buy real estate, buy real estate and wait!

The Real Cost of Waiting

Tom and Christy Discuss First Time Home Buyers

The Curtin Team’s CEO, Tom Curtin and Director of Sales, Christy Smith explain the benefits for first time home buyers in today’s market. One of the biggest advantages of buying a home today is the stability and equity you get. Waiting a year or two can cost you tens of thousands of dollars in equity loss. And as rental rates continue to rise, a fixed rate mortgage payment stays the same. Also, many sellers and lenders are now offering to pay closing costs and buy downs on rates. Large down payments often scare off first time homebuyers, but some loans require as little as 3.5% down. As an example, the down payment on a $400,000 house can be as low as $14,000. And there are many ways to get that down payment including finding places in your budget to cut back and save, loans from family, or loans against a 401K to cover some or all it. The news of interest rate hikes shouldn’t scare off potential home buyers either. If rates go down, refinancing is available and if rates go up, you’ll be glad you locked in a lower rate.

Tom and Christy Discuss First Time Home Buyers

Tom and Christy Explain Mortgage Rate Buy Downs

The Curtin Team’s CEO, Tom Curtin and Director of Sales, Christy Smith explain the benefits of mortgage rate buy downs for buyers and sellers. Like many practices in the world of Real Estate, mortgage hacks depend on Buyer/Seller goals, timelines, and preferences. Buy-downs are unique, though, because they offer direct benefits to both Buyers and Sellers in the short term and long term. They allow houses to be sold more efficiently, less stress with high monthly payments for Buyers, and less interest payment over time. If you are in the market to either buy or sell a home, don’t forget that there are ways for you to save money during the process.

Tom and Christy Explain Mortgage Rate Buy Downs

Ask Me Anything Invitation


The real estate market is constantly shifting. Do you know how to position yourself for success as a buyer or a seller? Our team of real estate experts will be available to answer your questions on August 10 at 10am (Eastern Time). Dial into our Zoom call and join us for an informative Q and A.

Register Here
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Impact of Interest Rates on The Real Estate Market

Are higher interest rates going to cause a real estate market crash? We’ve been getting some variation of this question a lot lately. The reality is no one knows exactly what will happen yet there are some fundamental truths to consider. I once heard someone say that an economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today. With that, let’s start with some facts.

This year, the Federal Reserve raised its interest rates by half of a percentage point. This is its largest rate increase since 2000 and the first time since 2006 that the Fed has increased rates in back-to-back meetings.
It’s important to understand why interest rates are rising. Primarily, raising interest rates is one of the most powerful tools the Federal Reserve has to control the economy and inflation. During a recent news conference, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell explained “inflation is much too high and we understand the hardship it is causing. We’re moving expeditiously to bring it back down.”
Bringing down inflation without causing a recession is a difficult task that requires careful precision. By raising rates, the Fed hopes to cool the housing market without stopping it altogether – quite the balancing act.
As rates increase for borrowers, some buyers are forced out of the market because they can no longer afford homes that have appreciated so much in value. But interest rates will have to go up significantly to soften housing prices and curb inflation. We don’t expect to see prices go backwards, but they also can’t keep appreciating at 20% per year.
Serious buyers view rising rates as a reason to buy sooner, not to wait any longer. When house hunting, budgeting with a higher rate in mind can be greatly beneficial. For example, base your expected payment assuming that it will eventually have a ½ percentage higher rate. If rates go up, you’ll be in budget, and if they don’t move, you’ll have a cushion built in.
Rental rates have increased, too, so first-time homebuyers are still looking to buy because purchasing a home is less expensive than renting in most cases. The most reliable hedge against inflation is a fixed housing cost in the way of a fixed mortgage. As a renter, there is no protection against rising costs of rent because of very few rent-control laws.
These factors lead many to wonder: Will rising interest rates cause an eventual price crash? With the financial crisis of 2008 still fresh in our memory, it’s easy to see why people might expect home prices to fall. This time, however, there are many differences. I remember back in 2006 when banks were handing out “no doc loans” that asked for your personal finances with no written proof. This created artificial demand by making it easy for just about anyone to “qualify” for a home loan or refinance their current home. Today, purchasers and those refinancing homes face much higher standards and stricter guidelines from mortgage companies. Because of this, purchasers can afford the mortgage they’re taking on and there are less defaults. The speculative buyers who were purchasing homes and reselling them six months later for quick gains are not as prolific as they were in 2005-2007. The price drop seen during The Great Recession was caused mainly by the financial crisis, which led to a foreclosure crisis. When foreclosures flooded the market, prices dropped. The fear of another huge foreclosure event in today’s market is just not as realistic as it was a decade ago.
There’s still a very real housing inventory shortage that is driving demand. Even with higher interest rates, buyers are relocating away from big cities and are viewing Northern Atlanta as valuable. With continued demand, supply issues delaying new construction for the foreseeable future, and relative affordability in housing in our area, we expect rising rates to slow real estate sales somewhat, but they will not be stopping completely any time soon.

Impact of Interest Rates on The Real Estate Market

Rising Mortgage Rates Still At Historic Lows

Mortgage rates rose today, but rates overall are at historical lows. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is 4.47%, according to Bankrate.com, and the average rate on a 15-year mortgage is 3.64%. On a 30-year jumbo mortgage, the average rate is 4.48%, and the average rate on a 5/1 ARM is 2.96%. These rates are just averages and subject to change daily. For current rates contact your preferred lender.

During the pandemic we had historically low rates. The factors that most affect the rate increases today are inflation and economic growth. But rates can change for various reasons. Overall though, rates are expected to continue to go up this year.

Does this mean you should cancel your home buying plans? Absolutely not! Even though rates are higher than in 2021 they are still very low. 30-year fixed rates were in the high 5%’s just a few years ago.

Buying a home isn’t just about interest rates though, it’s also about making a lifestyle choice. It’s best to find right house for you when the time is right for you. Home values have historically risen and now is a good time to get in to your dream home.

Rising Mortgage Rates Still At Historic Lows

Happy New Year! Melinda Nawn Hosting Home Buyers Workshop on January 26

Happy New Year from the Curtin Team!

It’s not business as usual, but it’s still a great time to BUY. Whether you are considering down sizing, right sizing or buying for the first time, Melinda Nawn, Curtin Team Buyer Agent, will show you the path to WINNING in 2022 real estate market. She will separate fears from facts, explain the realities of the current market, various financing options and the next steps to take to be in your new home.

The workshop will be hosted at 1255 Canton Street, Ste. A, Roswell, GA 30075 on Tuesday, January 26th from noon to 1pm. Light refreshments will be served. If you are unable to attend in person, a Zoom link is available.

SIGN UP TODAY

Happy New Year! Melinda Nawn Hosting Home Buyers Workshop on January 26

Ready for Relocation – Recording Available

In case you missed last week’s discussion on Relocation with Kanani Briggs, you can sign up to get a link to the ENTIRE video. Kanani and her guests discuss the reasons for relocation, the challenges many people face and the the top resources for helping you feel at home in your new city.

Zoom Class - Ready for Relocation Recording Sign Up 2021

Ready for Relocation – Recording Available