Gwinnett County Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local single family market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!  We are your local parkview and brookwood school real estate expert.  Give Harry a call at 404-213-6811 and find out how Harry Patel can help you sell your home for the most money and least hassle.

Jan. 5, 2022

Expand your horizons

Embrace your inner artist at Courthouse Craft Night, shape a masterpiece on a pottery wheel in Pinckneyville, or do the boogie-woogie at a 50s-inspired Sock Hop. Learn to play chess in Berkeley Lake or solve a Hitchcock-worthy mystery in Norcross. Browse unique artisan creations on the Chattahoochee in April at Jones Bridge Park or check out the gallery shows at the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse. Take a trip back in time on guided tours of historic sites, including Lawrenceville Female Seminary, Freeman’s Mill Park, and the Yellow River Post Office.

 

Register Here for Gwinnett Co. Activities for All Age Groups

 

Posted in Home Ownership
Dec. 4, 2021

Home Is Where the Heart Is More than Ever This Year

Home Is Where the Heart Is More than Ever This Year

Home Is Where the Heart Is More than Ever This Year | MyKCM

There’s no denying the financial benefits of homeownership, but what’s often overlooked are the feelings of gratitude, security, pride, and comfort we get from owning a home. This year, those emotions are stronger than ever. We’ve lived through a time that has truly changed our needs and who we are, and as a result, homeownership has a whole new meaning for many of us.

According to the 2021 State of the American Homeowner report by Unison:

“Last year, staying home became a necessity and that caused many homeowners to have renewed gratitude for the roof over their head.”

As a nation, we continue to work through the challenges of a pandemic that’s pushed us all to new limits. Over the past year and a half, we’ve spent more time than ever at home: working, eating, schooling, exercising, and more. The world around us changed almost overnight, and our homes were redefined. Our needs shifted, and our shelters became a place that protected us on a whole new level. The same study from Unison notes:

  • 91% of homeowners say they feel secure, stable, or successful owning a home
  • 64% of American homeowners say living through a pandemic has made their home more important to them than ever
  • 83% of homeowners say their home has kept them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic

It’s no surprise this study also reveals that homeowners are now more emotionally attached to their homes as well:Home Is Where the Heart Is More than Ever This Year | MyKCMAs we’ve learned throughout this health crisis, homeownership can provide the safety and security we crave in a time of uncertainty. That sense of connection and emotional stability genuinely reaches beyond just the financial aspect of owning a home. As JD Esajian, President of CT Homes, LLC, says:

“Aside from the financial factors, there are several social benefits of homeownership and stable housing to consider. It has long been thought that buying a home contributes to a sense of accomplishment. Still, most individuals fail to realize that homeownership can benefit your mental health and the community around you.”

 

Whether you’re thinking of buying your first home, moving up to your dream home, or downsizing to something that better fits your changing lifestyle, take a moment to reflect on what Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, notes:

“Buying a home is not just a financial decision. It's also a lifestyle decision.”

Conclusion

If you’re considering buying a home, it’s not entirely about the dollars and cents. Don’t forget to weigh the non-financial benefits that may truly change your life when you need them most.

Dec. 2, 2021

How To Think Strategically as a Buyer in Today’s Market

 

How To Think Strategically as a Buyer in Today’s Market | MyKCM

The game of chess can provide incredible lessons to apply to all aspects of life, including the homebuying process. Chess requires you to plan and think about your strategy from the very beginning of the game.

The homebuying process, like chess, requires strategy and planning. Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your plan is as strong as possible when you begin your home search.

Pre-Approval: the Best Opening Play To Make as a Homebuyer

It’s important to have a great opening play when you’re buying a home. And the best move you can make when you begin your home search is getting pre-approved by a lender. You’ve probably already heard this is an important step, but what exactly is pre-approval and what benefits does it provide you?

As Freddie Mac puts it:

“This pre-approval allows you to look for a home with greater confidence and demonstrates to the seller that you are a serious buyer.”

And while determining how much you can afford at the start of your search is critical, the pre-approval letter also serves another important purpose. Freddie Mac also notes:

“The pre-approval letter from your lender tells you the maximum amount you are qualified to borrow. Getting a pre-approval letter is not a loan guarantee, it simply states how much your lender is willing to lend you. . . .”

In the game of chess, a strong opening move signals to your opponent that you’re a serious competitor. As a homebuyer, your pre-approval letter signals to the seller that you’re a serious, interested buyer.

Homebuying: It’s a Team Game, Not a Single-Player Experience

Every step you take to create your strategy as a buyer is important in today’s market. Why? Mortgage rates are still low, but increasing. Prices are going up. There’s a limited supply of single family homes for sale. These are just a few key variables in today’s market you need to be prepared for.

That means leaning on expert guidance as you plan every move is more important than ever. Have a team of professionals – like your trusted real estate agent and a loan officer – every step of the way to make sure you make the right moves.

In Summary

Getting a pre-approval letter isn’t just good strategy, it can be game-changing. It allows you to get a full understanding of what you can afford, and it signals to sellers that you’re serious. 

 

Nov. 10, 2021

What’s Happening with Home Prices

What’s Happening with Home Prices? | MyKCM

Many people have questions about home prices right now. How much have prices risen over the past 12 months? What’s happening with home values right now? What’s projected for next year? Here’s a look at the answers to all three of these questions.

How much have home values appreciated over the last 12 months?

According to the latest Single family Home Price Index from CoreLogic, home values have increased by 18.1% compared to this time last year. Additionally, prices have gone up at an accelerated pace for each of the last eight months (see graph below):

https://www.harrypatelrealestate.com/cma/property-valuation/

The last year has shown tremendous home price appreciation, which is resulting in a major gain in wealth for homeowners through rising equity.

What’s happening with home prices right now?

All three indices mentioned above also show that while appreciation is in the high double digits right now, that price acceleration is beginning to level off (see graph below):What’s Happening with Home Prices? | MyKCMYear-over-year appreciation is still close to 20%, but it’s clearly plateauing at that rate. Many experts believe it will drop below 15% by the end of the year.

Keep in mind, that doesn’t mean home values will depreciate. It means the rate of appreciation will slow, yet stay well above the 25-year average of 5.1%.

What about next year?

The recent surge in prices is the result of heavy buyer demand and a shortage of single family homes available for sale. Most experts believe that as more housing inventory comes to market (both new construction and existing homes), the supply and demand for housing will come more into balance. That balance will bring a lower rate of appreciation in 2022. Here’s a look at home price forecasts from six major entities, and they all project future appreciation:

  1. Fannie Mae
  2. Freddie Mac
  3. Mortgage Bankers Association
  4. Home Price Expectation Survey
  5. Zelman & Associates
  6. National Association of Realtors

What’s Happening with Home Prices? | MyKCMWhile the projected rate of appreciation varies among the experts, due to things like supply chain challenges, virus variants, and more, it’s clear that home values will continue to appreciate next year.

In summary the bottom line is....

There have been historic levels of home price appreciation over the last year. That pace will slow as we finish 2021 and enter into 2022. Prices will still rise in value, just at a much more moderate pace, which is good news for the housing market.

Nov. 2, 2021

Sellers Have Incredible Leverage in Today’s Market

 

Sellers Have Incredible Leverage in Today’s Market | MyKCM

With mortgage rates climbing above 3% for the first time in months, serious buyers are more motivated than ever to find a home before the end of the year. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), puts it best, saying:

"Housing demand remains strong as buyers likely want to secure a home before mortgage rates increase even further next year."

But the sense of urgency they feel is complicated by the lack of homes for sale in today’s market. According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from NAR:

“From one year ago, the inventory of unsold homes decreased 13%. . . .”

Your Leverage Can Help You Negotiate Your Best Terms

These three buyer needs give homeowners a leg up when selling their house. You might already realize this leverage enables you to sell at a good price, but it also means you can negotiate the best terms to suit your needs.

And since buyer demand is still high, there’s a good chance you’ll get offers from multiple buyers who are willing to compete for your house. When you do, look closely at the terms of each offer to find out which one has the best perks for you.

If you have questions about what’s best for your situation, your trusted real estate advisor can help. They have the expertise and are skilled negotiators in all stages of the sales process.

What Does This Mean for Sellers Today?

With buyers eager to purchase but so few homes available, sellers who list their houses this fall have a tremendous advantage – also known as leverage – when negotiating with buyers. That’s because, in today’s market, buyers want three things:

  • To be the winning bid on their dream home.
  • To buy before rates rise
  • To buy before prices go even higher.

In Summary

Today’s buyers are motivated to purchase a home this year, and that’s great news if you’re thinking of selling. Let’s connect today to discuss how much leverage you have as a seller in today’s market.

Oct. 12, 2021

Don’t Wait for a Lower Mortgage Rate – It Could Cost You

 

Don’t Wait for a Lower Mortgage Rate – It Could Cost You | MyKCM

Today’s housing market is truly one for the record books. Over the past year, we’ve seen the lowest mortgage rates in history. And while those rates seemed to bottom out in January of this year, the golden window of opportunity for buyers isn’t over just yet. If you’re one of the buyers who worry they’ve missed out, rest assured today’s mortgage rates are still worth taking advantage of.

Even today, our mortgage rates are below what they’ve been in recent decades. So, while you may not be able to lock in the rate your friend got recently, you’re still in a great position to secure a rate well below what your parents and even grandparents got in years past. The key will be acting sooner rather than later.

In late September, rates inched up above 3% for the first time in months. And according to experts throughout the industry, mortgage rates are projected to continue rising in the months ahead. Here’s where experts say rates are headed:Don’t Wait for a Lower Mortgage Rate – It Could Cost You | MyKCMWhile a projected half percentage point increase may not seem substantial, it does have an impact when you’re buying a home. When rates go up even slightly, it affects how much you’ll pay month-to-month on your home loan. The chart below shows how it works:Don’t Wait for a Lower Mortgage Rate – It Could Cost You | MyKCMIn this example, if rates rise to 3.59%, you’ll pay an extra $100 each month on your monthly mortgage payment if you purchase a home around this time next year. That extra money can really add up over the life of a 15 or 30-year loan.

Clearly, today’s mortgage rates are worth taking advantage of before they climb further. The rates we’re seeing right now give you a unique opportunity to afford more home for your money while keeping your monthly payment down.

In Summary

Waiting for a lower mortgage rate could cost you. Mortgage Experts project rates will continue to go up in the months ahead. Let’s connect so you can seize this opportunity before they increase further.

Sept. 17, 2021

Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing

Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing?

Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing? | MyKCM

An important metric in today’s residential real estate market is the number of homes available for sale. The shortage of available housing inventory is the major reason for the double-digit price appreciation we’ve seen in each of the last two years. It’s the reason many would-be purchasers are frustrated with the bidding wars over the homes that are available. However, signs of relief are finally appearing.

According to data from realtor.com, active listings have increased over the last four months. They define active listings as:

The active listing count tracks the number of for sale properties on the market, excluding pending listings where a pending status is available. This is a snapshot measure of how many active listings can be expected on any given day of the specified month.”

What normally happens throughout the year?

Historically, housing inventory increases throughout the summer months, starts to tail off in the fall, and then drops significantly over the winter. The graph below shows this trend along with the month active listings peaked in 2017, 2018, and 2019.Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing? | MyKCM

What happened in 2020?

Last year, the trend was different. Historical seasonality wasn’t repeated in 2020 since many homeowners held off on putting their houses up for sale because of the pandemic (see graph below). In 2020, active listings peaked in April, and then fell off dramatically for the remainder of the year.Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing? | MyKCM

What’s happening 2021?

Due to the decline of active listings in 2020, 2021 began with record-low housing inventory counts. However, we’ve been building inventory over the last several months as more listings come to the market (see graph below):Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing? | MyKCMThere are three main reasons we may see listings continue to increase throughout this fall and into the winter.

  1. New construction is starting to take off – Though new construction is not included in the realtor.com numbers, as more new homes are built, there will be more options for current homeowners to consider when they sell. The lack of options has slowed many potential sellers in the past.
  2. Pent-up selling demand – Homeowners may be more comfortable putting their homes on the market as more and more Americans get vaccinated.
  3. The end of forbearance will create some new listings – Most experts believe the end of the forbearance program will not lead to a wave of foreclosures for several reasons. The main reason is the level of equity homeowners currently have in their homes. Many homeowners will be able to sell their homes instead of going to foreclosure, which will lead to some additional listings on the market.

Conclusion

If you’re in the market to buy a home, hang in there. There are new listings becoming available every day. If you’re thinking of selling your house, you may want to list your home before this additional competition comes to market.

Sept. 16, 2021

Atlanta Housing Market Update

Statistics Overview - August, 2021

August 2021 Sales and Average Sales Price Overview 

There were 7,803 closings for Residential Single Family Detached in August 2021. This reflects a decrease of  7% over August 2020. 

There were 1,634 closings for Residential Single Family Attached in August 2021. This reflects a decrease of  1% over August 2020. 

The average sale price for Residential Single Family Detached was $417,570 for August 2021 vs. $363,434 for  August 2020. 

The average sale price for Residential Single Family Attached was $326,755 for August 2021 vs. $291,288 for  August 2020. 

YTD 2021 Sales and Average Sales Price Overview 

There were 57,839 closings for Residential Single Family Detached for YTD 2021. This reflects an increase of  5% over YTD 2020. 

There were 13,313 closings for Residential Single Family Attached for YTD 2021. This reflects an increase of  26% over YTD 2020. 

The Residential Detached Average Sales Price YTD through August 2021 was $410,562 vs. $335,029 for YTD  2020. This represents an increase of 23% for YTD 2021 vs. YTD 2020. 

The Residential Attached Average Sales Price YTD through August 2021 was $320,351 for YTD through August  2021 vs. $284,856 for YTD 2020. This represents an increase of 12% for YTD 2021 vs. YTD 2020. 

August 2021 Active Inventory Overview 

Active inventory level for Residential Single Family Detached continues to drop with 8,246 active listings as of  the end of August 2021 vs. 11,196 active Residential Single Family Detached listings as of the end of August  2020. This represents drop in active inventory for Residential Single Family Detached of 26%. 

Active inventory level for Residential Single Family Attached continues to drop with 2,096 active listings as of the  end of August 2021 vs. 3,535 active Residential Single Family Attached listings as of the end of August 2020.  This represents drop in active inventory for Residential Single Family Attached of 41%. 

 Total Active Listings All Property Types 

 August 2021 16,849 

 July 2021 17,018 

 August 2020 22,968 

 

There were 13,118 new listings entered for all property types in August 2021 vs. 12,527 new listings entered for  all property types in August 2020. Total new listings entered for all property types in YTD 2021 was 99,905 vs.  95,774 new listings entered for all property types in YTD 2020.

Aug. 28, 2021

If Housing Affordability Is About the Money, Don’t Forget This.

If Housing Affordability Is About the Money, Don’t Forget This. | MyKCM

 

There are many non-financial benefits of buying your own home. However, today’s headlines seem to be focusing primarily on the financial aspects of homeownership – specifically affordability. Many articles are making the claim that it’s not affordable to buy a home in today’s market, but that isn’t the case.

Today’s buyers are spending approximately 20% of their income on their monthly mortgage payments. According to The Essential Guide to Creating a Homebuying Budget from Freddie Mac, the 20% of income that purchasers are currently paying is well within the 28% guideline suggested:

“Most lenders agree that you should spend no more than 28% of your gross monthly income on a mortgage payment (including principal, interest, taxes and insurance).”

So why is there so much talk about challenges regarding affordability?

It’s Not That Homes Are Unaffordable – It’s That They’re Less Affordable.

Since home prices are rising, it’s true that homes are less affordable than they have been since the housing crash fifteen years ago. Headlines making these claims aren’t incorrect; they just don’t tell the whole story. To paint the full picture, you have to look at how today stacks up with historical data. A closer analysis of affordability going further back in time reveals that homes today are more affordable than any time from 1975 to 2005.

Despite that, the chatter about affordability is pushing some buyers to the sidelines. They don’t feel comfortable knowing someone else got a better deal a year ago.

However, Are Homes Really Less Affordable if We Consider Equity?

In a recent post, Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, offers a different take on the financial components of housing affordability. Kushi proposes we should at least consider the impact equity build-up has on the affordability equation, stating:

“For those trying to buy a home, rapid house price appreciation can be intimidating and makes the purchase more expensive. However, once the home is purchased, appreciation helps build equity in the home, and becomes a benefit rather than a cost. When accounting for the appreciation benefit in our rent versus own analysis, it was cheaper to own in every one of the top 50 markets.”

Let’s look at an example. In the above-mentioned post, Kushi examines the rent versus buy situation in Dallas, Texas. Kushi chose Dallas because home prices there sit near the median of the top 50 markets in the nation.

Kushi first calculates the monthly mortgage payment on a median-priced home with a 5% down payment and a mortgage rate of 3% (see chart below):If Housing Affordability Is About the Money, Don’t Forget This. | MyKCMKushi then takes the monthly cost and subtracts the appreciation the home had over the previous twelve months. The average house price in Dallas increased 17.5% in the second quarter of 2021 compared to last year (this is in line with the national pace). That equates to an equity benefit of approximately $3,550 each month if the pace remains the same (see chart below):We can see the equity gained each month was greater than the monthly mortgage payment, resulting in a negative cost to own. The buyer could build their net worth by $1,830 each month – after paying their mortgage.

Kushi then compares the monthly cost of owning to the cost of renting (see chart below):If Housing Affordability Is About the Money, Don’t Forget This. | MyKCM

When adding equity build-up into the equation, the cost of renting is $3,140 more expensive than owning. Again, the First American analysis shows that it’s less expensive to own in each of the top 50 markets in the country when including the equity component.

In Summary

 

If you’re on the fence about whether to buy or rent right now, let’s connect so we can determine if the equity increase in our local market should impact your decision.

Aug. 27, 2021

What Do Experts Say About Today’s Mortgage Rates

 

What Do Experts Say About Today’s Mortgage Rates? | MyKCM

Mortgage rates are hovering near record lows, and that’s good news for today’s homebuyers. The graph below shows mortgage rates dating back to 2016 and where today falls by comparison.What Do Experts Say About Today’s Mortgage Rates? | MyKCMGenerally speaking, when rates are low, you can afford more home for your money. That’s why experts across the industry agree – today’s low rates present buyers with an incredible opportunity. Here’s what they have to say:

Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, points out the historic nature of today’s rates:

“As the economy works to get back to its pre-pandemic self, and the fight against COVID-19 variants unfolds, owners and buyers continue to benefit from some of the lowest mortgage rates of all-time.”

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americantalks about how rates impact a buyer’s bottom line:

“Mortgage rates are generally the same across the country, so a decline in mortgage rates boosts affordability equally in each market.”

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, also notes the significance of today’s low rates and urges buyers to carefully consider their timing:

Those who haven’t yet taken advantage of low rates to buy a home or refinance still have the opportunity to do so this summer.”

Hale goes on to say that buyers who don’t act soon could see higher rates in the coming months, negatively impacting their purchasing power:

“We expect mortgage rates to fluctuate near historic lows through the summer before beginning to climb this fall.”

Even small increases can have a big impact on what you pay each month. Trust the experts. Today’s rates give you opportunity and flexibility in what you can afford. Don’t wait on the sidelines and hope for a better rate to come along; the rates we’re seeing today are worth capitalizing on.

And while mortgage rates are still low today, the data from Freddie Mac indicates rates are fluctuating ever so slightly right now, as they moved up one week before inching slightly back down in their latest release. It’s important to keep in mind the influence rates have on your monthly mortgage payment.

In Summary

Mortgage rates hover near record lows today, but experts forecast they’ll rise in the coming months. Waiting could prove costly when that happens. Let’s connect today to discuss today’s rates and determine if now’s the time for you to buy.