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January Housing Report


DENVER – Last month’s home sales posted the highest year-over-year gain for January in 11 years, increasing an average of 10.5% in the 54 metro areas covered by the report. Meanwhile, the 15.6% year-over-year drop in inventory was the largest decline since May 2017 and marked the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year shrinkage in the number of U.S. homes for sale.

Despite very low inventory, January and December (+13.5%) marked the first back-to-back months with double-digit year-over-year growth in home sales since June and July of 2015.

“Strong buyer demand continues to be the defining theme in the housing market,” said Adam Contos, CEO of RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. “January sales were encouraging, and were likely pushed in part by millennials coming into the market. It’s a massive group of people, with many of them forming households and looking to buy their first homes. Affordability and limited supply are still constraints, but overall, housing is in a much better place than it was a year ago.”

January’s Median Sales Price of $256,000 – though 3.4% below December – was 8.9% higher than January 2019 and extended the string of year-over-year price increases to 13 months.

In the nearly 12-year history of the report, three January records were set or tied last month:

  • Fewest Months Supply of Inventory: 3.1
  • Fewest Days on Market: 59 (tied with January 2019)
  • Highest Median Sales Price: $256,000

Closed Transactions 
Of the 54 metro areas surveyed in January 2020, the overall average number of home sales is down 26.9% compared to December 2019, and up 10.5% compared to January 2019.  Leading the year-over-year sales percentage increase were Los Angeles, CA at +31.9%, Burlington, VT at +28.7%, and New Orleans, LA at +22.5%.

Median Sales Price – Median of 54 metro median prices
In January 2020, the median of all 54 metro Median Sales Prices was $256,000, down 3.4% from December 2019, and up 8.9% from January 2019. Only one metro area, Wichita, KS at -2.8%, saw a year-over-year decrease in Median Sales Price. Thirteen metro areas increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages, with the largest increases seen in Trenton, NJ at +24.4%, Birmingham, AL at +18.6%, and Boise, ID at +16.6%.

Days on Market – Average of 54 metro areas
The average Days on Market for homes sold in January 2020 was 59, up six days from the average in December 2019, and equivalent to the average in January 2019. The metro areas with the lowest Days on Market were Nashville, TN at 34, Omaha, NE at 35, and a three-way tie between Birmingham, ALCincinnati, OH, and San Diego, CA at 43. The highest Days on Market averages were in Des Moines, IA at 107, Miami, FL at 105, and Augusta, ME at 93. Days on Market is the number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and a sales contract is signed.

Months Supply of Inventory – Average of 54 metro areas
The number of homes for sale in January 2020 was down 5.0% from December 2019 and down 15.6% from January 2019. Based on the rate of home sales in January 2020, the Months Supply of Inventory decreased to 3.1 compared to 3.6 in December 2019 and decreased compared to 4.5 in January 2019. A six months supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In January 2020, of the 54 metro areas surveyed, seven metro areas reported a months supply at or over six, which is typically considered a buyer’s market. The markets with the highest Months Supply of Inventory were Indianapolis, IN at 8.8, Miami, FL at 6.8, and Chicago, IL at 6.2. The markets with the lowest Months Supply of Inventory were Denver, CO at 1.2, San Francisco, CA at 1.3, and a four-way tie among Boise, IDCharlotte, NCPhoenix, AZ and Seattle, WA at 1.4.

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Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, find an experienced, top-producing agent on remaxallpro.com.

Ready to Buy a Home Together? 4 Scenarios to Talk Through with a Partner

Whether they’re not quite ready to tie the knot or would rather spend money on a down payment than a wedding, many couples are choosing to purchase a home with their partner prior to taking a trip down the aisle.

“Couples are deciding to buy a house rather than throw money away on rent, or they’re interested in the potential tax benefits of homeownership,” says Janen Ardia, Broker of Record for RE/MAX Heritage Properties in New Jersey. “All of those are very valid reasons.”

Yet she adds that there’s plenty for couples to think about before entering into a serious commitment like buying a home together, potentially even consulting a legal professional beforehand.

“That’s hard to do for someone with stars in their eyes because they think their love will last forever. And you hope it does! But just in case it doesn’t, it’s important to protect yourself,” Ardia says. “There are no defaults in place to protect unmarried couples, should a property need to be sold or the partnership ends. There are many scenarios that could affect the outcome.”

Below are four hypothetical scenarios of couples buying a home together without being married, and advice from real estate professionals for each situation.

HOMEBUYING COUPLE NO. 1: JENNA + MIKE, UNEQUAL FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTORS

Jenna has been talking about moving in with her boyfriend for a few months now. Instead of continuing to pay rent, she’d like to buy a condo. Jenna is able to contribute $10,000 to the down payment, and Mike is contributing $5,000.

Jenna and Mike’s first step? They may want to talk to a lawyer.

“We strongly recommend getting an attorney involved to draw up an agreement prior to buying a house together,” Ardia says. “It protects yourself, but also shows you really respect the other person in the partnership because it protects them as well.”

If they do decide to meet with an attorney, one thing Jenna and Mike will likely need to decide on is the type of tenancy they want to file for on the deed. The tenancy outlines the co-ownership agreement and what will happen when the property is sold, an interest in the property is transferred or sold, or if one of the owners dies.

“Tenants in Common” allows for different portions of ownership, which means the parties can decide to have their respective contribution reflected in their percentage of ownership in the property. “So if someone brings in 70 percent of the down payment and someone brings in 30 percent, proceeds from a post-breakup sale would be divided according to the percentage of ownership,” Ardia says.

“Joint Tenants with the Right of Survivorship” gives each buyer 50% ownership, with the other half automatically passing to the second owner if the first passes away (learn more about where this comes into play with Susan and Bill’s story, below).

For Jenna and Mike, this would mean that Jenna must split proceeds from a sale equally with Mike, despite putting more toward the down payment. Tenants in Common might be a better option.

HOMEBUYING COUPLE NO. 2: TOM + COREY, MISMATCHED INCOMES

After dating for a more than a year, the couple is ready for a place of their own. Tom makes significantly more than Corey, and the pair has discussed Tom contributing more to a monthly mortgage payment.

“Rarely do you have equal income for two partners who decide to buy a house together,” Ardia says. “Therefore, one person has been contributing a little bit more because their income is higher.”

In most states, it doesn’t matter how much (or little) each person pays toward a monthly mortgage payment. If both parties are named on the deed, it’s a 50/50 split if the couple breaks up and sells the house. The exception is if they outline different percentages of ownership when filing for Tenants in Common.

“You need to be careful, or that person who may not have contributed as much still walks away with half,” Ardia says.

Now let’s say the couple decides Tom will buy the townhome and the title will be in his name only. If Corey still contributes to the monthly mortgage payment, he likely would not be entitled to any of the equity he’s paid into the house should he decide to move out, the property is sold, the relationship ends or Tom dies.

HOMEBUYING COUPLE NO. 3: SUSAN + BILL, FROM EMPTY NEST TO LOVE NEST

Susan and Bill have been inseparable since they met at his retirement party a few years ago. Both divorced, they’re happy to spend their golden years in the dream mountain home they just purchased – without getting married.

“We’ve seen a tremendous upswing in older couples who are maybe divorced or widowed and really don’t want to get married again,” says Ardia. “They still may want to have an agreement in place.”

Without a will or pre-written agreement – and if the property was deeded as Tenants in Common – if Bill were to unexpectedly pass away, his percentage of ownership in the home would potentially transfer to his kids. If his children choose to sell the home, Susan could have to move out or buy the home from Bill’s heirs. Or worse, let’s say Bill doesn’t have kids and his portion of ownership passes to a distant relative. Susan’s fate may be up to a long-lost heir she’s never met.

What both Bill and Susan may want to consult with a lawyer about is creating a “Life Estate” for the surviving partner, in the case of the passing of the other. This allows the surviving partner to stay in the property ‘for life’ or until they choose to move out or marry someone else without the burden of anxious heirs wanting to sell. Their attorneys would clearly define who is responsible for the upkeep, the mortgage payments (if any), taxes, etc.

This is where a title deeded Joint Tenancy with a Right to Survivorship could apply. It means both Susan and Bill have a 50/50 stake in the home (including if the couple splits up and decides to sell). In the event of Bill’s death, Susan hypothetically inherits Bill’s stake in the home and would then have complete ownership.

There’s a downside to Joint Tenancy with a Right to Survivorship. Let’s say Susan and Bill break up, but Bill doesn’t want to sell the house. Because both parties still own the house 50/50, they may need to work out an arrangement for one party to acquire the other half. Both parties would potentially remain liable on any mortgage loan until their ownership interest is terminated by a deed. For example, if Bill lives in the home but stops paying the mortgage, the lender may come after Susan for payments.

HOMEBUYING COUPLE NO. 4: AMANDA + STEVE, PRE-WEDDING SHOPPERS

This engaged couple is eagerly planning their wedding, but they’ve found the right house within their budget – complete with the perfect backyard for their dog. Amanda is a self-employed freelance writer and Steve is a nurse at the local children’s hospital.

“Many self-employed people have multiple business and credit accounts open and may have a hard time demonstrating their income for loan approval. All of their debt may be weighing on the income of the other person,” say Mark Phillips, a loan originator with Motto Mortgage Alliance in Little Rock, Arkansas. “We might suggest that they submit a mortgage application with only one applicant on the loan. In many cases it might make qualifying for a loan easier.”

In addition to looking at a couple’s debt-to-income ratio, some loan programs – including many created for first-time homebuyers – have income limits. In this case, it may make sense to have one partner on the mortgage application and both on the title.

Phillips uses the example of a couple he recently helped where both had great credit scores and good jobs.

“Putting both of the borrowers on the loan application would have disqualified them from the loan program they wanted because adding their income together would have put them $30,000 over the max income limit,” Phillips says. “The couple decided to remove one of them from the loan application, but we did add that person to title. They both have ownership in the home – but only one is on the actual loan.”

All you need is love…and a mortgage?

Whatever a couple’s reasons for buying a home together may be, fortunately there may be a variety of options available when it comes to financing as well as options on how to take title to the home on the deed.

“Household dynamics have changed so much in the last 10 to 20 years,” Phillips says. “People wait to get married or they live together before getting married. People are taking different steps and doing things in a different order than they traditionally have in the past. There is not one way to do a loan. We may be able to make all sorts of loan scenarios work. This is great for consumers.”

Buying a home as a couple can really bring everything to the surface in a relationship. Couples will need to have frank discussions about debt, income and how much money they’re willing to spend each month. Some of these conversations can be difficult or even uncomfortable, but according to Shovkat Mamedov, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX 100 in New York City, going through the process before getting married can pay off.

“Finances are very important. It can bring down a lot of marriages,” Mamedov says. “If a couple can have these serious discussions and take on the responsibility of a house together, I think they’ve accomplished one of the biggest things in a relationship.”

And even after navigating legal agreements and the loan process, couples who buy a home together may still have to deal with everyday challenges of owning a home.

“When you’re renting, you’re not really taking care of all aspects of the house,” Mamedov says. “Once you own, you’re responsible for everything. That can be something simple or something big like the boiler breaking. You’ll see how your partner takes care of the house, and you’ll get to know each other better.”

Once a couple has weighed the pros and cons, and maybe talked to an attorney, there’s one person they can count on to help them find a home they’ll fall in love with: Their local RE/MAX agent.

“Couples choose to buy a home at different times in their commitment. Of course, we are there to help them at any time,” Ardia says.

New Year, New Home: 6 Resolutions for Buying a Home in 2020

For those looking to buy a home in 2020, it’s time to start planning. As a look ahead in the new year, real estate agents say making and keeping these resolutions will help set homebuyers up for success.

Resolution 1: Start planning and saving early

Gina Lorenzo, an agent with RE/MAX Executive in Charlotte, North Carolina, says she’s been working since November with clients who aren’t looking to purchase until the spring or summer. She calls these clients her A-players.“These are my planners,” Lorenzo says. “They fare best when it comes to purchasing a home in the upcoming year because they’re doing their homework now and getting the basics out of the way.”According to Lorenzo, many factors go into a buyer finding the right home, including researching neighborhoods and looking at the market to understand what is available within a budget.“There can be a learning curve of what your budget can actually get you,” she says. “Sometimes people need to adjust their expectations – or their budget.”According to Lorenzo, a mortgage payment is only part of the monthly cost of homeownership. There’s also the potential HOA fee, private mortgage insurance (typically required with a down payment of less than 20%), homeowners insurance and property taxes to consider.“When you add everything to your loan cost and come up with a final number, it narrows down your options,” Lorenzo says.

Resolution 2: Create a (realistic) monthly budget, including a potential mortgage payment

Once homebuyers have a feel for how much they are able to afford each month, they should work with a mortgage advisor to get pre-qualified for a loan that meets their needs and works with what they can afford monthly.“Getting pre-qualified allows you to know what your budget is before you go window shopping,” says Crystal Jenkins, a Sales Associate with RE/MAX Downtown in Orlando, Florida. “It’s always good to know how much money you have in your pocket to spend.”A lot of other variables can determine how big of a loan makes sense for each individual homebuyer, including type of loan (FHA, VA or Conventional, for example) or the current interest rates.“A lot of times, people qualify for more than they can afford,” Lorenzo says. “You need to look at your finances and determine, ‘What do I feel comfortable with?’”A rule of thumb is that housing costs shouldn’t exceed more than one-third of a homebuyer’s monthly income.

Resolution 3: Build a real estate dream team

Buying a first home is exciting and maybe a little intimidating. Working with the right real estate agent and mortgage broker can make life a lot easier – and more fun. An agent can help a homebuyer zero in on the right property during the search process and also advocate for homebuyers at the closing table.“Looking for the house is just one step,” Jenkins says. “Once you find a house you like, who’s helping you after that? A real estate agent is there to help you negotiate the best terms in purchasing a home that benefits you.”Jenkins says buying a home is not a simple DIY project – it’s important for homebuyers to work with a trusted advisor. In addition to helping buyers in the real estate process, an agent can recommend home inspectors, repair services, home warranties and other important services.“This is the biggest financial transaction of your life, why would you want to do it on your own?” says Jenkins “You need to find somebody you trust.”

Resolution 4: Get out more! Start browsing homes and neighborhoods

Once homebuyers have an idea of their ideal price range and have found an agent to work with, it’s time to start looking at different properties online and in person, potentially even attending an open house.“It’s really hard for people to make a decision about a house if they don’t have a point of reference,” Lorenzo says. “Say your budget is $500,000. What does $500,000 look like in your area? What you don’t want to do is have the first time you’re looking at houses be when you’re ready to pull the trigger.”When it comes to choosing the right neighborhood, Jenkins says to keep in mind three important things: “You have to think about it in terms of live, work, play. How close is it to grocery stores? The gym? Your work?” she says.If a buyer has a specific neighborhood in mind, Lorenzo stresses the importance of working with a professional who specializes in that community.“An agent can tell you about everything from traffic patterns to community events,” she says. “They may even know about some things buyers don’t think about, such as noise from overhead plane traffic.”

Resolution 5: Clean up your credit if possible

Having the opportunity to correct your credit is one way having time on your side is important in the home-buying process. It’s another reason Jenkins says it’s critical to start early. “Three to six months is a good timeline. If you start saving and taking steps to correct your credit now, by April you could be ready to close on a house in as little as 30 days,” she says.  Credit bureaus submit a new report each month, according to Jenkins. That means homebuyers can see a boost in their credit every 30 days as long as they continue to exercise good credit habits. Prospective homebuyers can take a number of steps to improve or maintain their credit score. Jenkins advises homebuyers to keep or pay down their credit balance to under at least 25% of available credit. “Avoid charging a lot on your credit card during the holidays,” Jenkins says. “Credit card debt can affect your debt-to-income ratio, which is an important consideration during the pre-approval process.”

Resolution 6: Plan for more than the down payment

In addition to the down payment, homebuyers will also need to pay thousands of dollars in closings costs before the deal is final. They also may have one final month of rent due at their current apartment, need to hire movers, or have to pay for temporary housing while waiting to move into the new home. The more money buyers have in their pocket when making an offer, the better shape they’ll be in. A buyer’s mortgage advisor or real estate agent can help buyers plan how much their savings goal should be. The start of a new year is always an exciting time. Staying focused on the goals above will help make the homebuying process exciting, too!

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Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, find an experienced, top-producing agent on remaxallpro.com.

December Housing Report

DENVER – December posted a record finish to a year and a decade, with a year-over-year increase in home sales of 13.5% in the 54 metro areas covered by the report. That was the highest increase of any month in 2019, and the highest for the month of December since 2009.

Also posting a record for 2019 was the inventory decline of 14.5% year-over-year, accompanied by corresponding drops in Months Supply of Inventory – 3.3 vs. 4.8 a year earlier – and Days on Market – 54 compared to 55 a year ago.

“It was good to see the year-over-year spike in December home sales, indicating robust homebuyer interest,” said Adam Contos, CEO of RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. “The strong December capped a solid second half of 2019, with year-over-year sales increases in four of the final six months. The gains were largely attributable to low interest rates and high demand, and with those factors still in place, we expect sales to continue at a solid pace into the first part of this year.”

Year-over-year, sales were up five months in 2019, with the majority occurring in the back half of the year. Inventory, meanwhile, grew year-over-year in each of the first six months, then shrunk in each of the last six months.

The Median Sales Price of $266,000 was 11.1% higher than December 2018 and the highest year-over-year increase for any month of 2019.

Closed Transactions
Of the 54 metro areas surveyed in December 2019, the overall average number of home sales is up 4.1% compared to November 2019, and up 13.5% compared to December 2018.  Leading the year-over-year sales percentage increase were Birmingham, AL at +34.3%, Burlington, VT at +26.7%, and Los Angeles, CA at +26.2%.

Median Sales Price – Median of 54 metro median prices
In December 2019, the median of all 54 metro Median Sales Prices was $266,000, up 3.8% from November 2019, and up 11.1% from December 2018. Only one metro area, Burlington, VT at -3.3%, saw a year-over-year decrease in Median Sales Price. Fourteen metro areas increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages, with the largest increases seen in Birmingham, AL at +19.9%, Trenton, NJ at +19.1%, and Honolulu, HI at +15.3%.

Days on Market – Average of 54 metro areas
The average Days on Market for homes sold in December 2019 was 54, up five days from the average in November 2019, and down one day from the average in December 2018. The metro areas with the lowest Days on Market were Omaha, NE at 24, Nashville, TN at 31, and Cincinnati, OH at 34. The highest Days on Market averages were in Des Moines, IA at 110, and a tie between Augusta, ME and Hartford, CT at 89. Days on Market is the number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and a sales contract is signed.

Months Supply of Inventory – Average of 54 metro areas
The number of homes for sale in December 2019 was down 13.7% from November 2019 and down 14.5% from December 2018. Based on the rate of home sales in December 2019, the Months Supply of Inventory decreased to 3.3 compared to 3.5 in November 2019, and decreased compared to 4.8 in December 2018. A six months supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In December 2019, of the 54 metro areas surveyed, two metro areas, Miami, FL at 8.9 and Augusta, ME at 6.4, reported a months supply at or over six, which is typically considered a buyer’s market. The markets with the lowest Months Supply of Inventory were San Francisco, CA at 1.4, Salt Lake City, UT at 1.6, and Denver, CO at 1.7.

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Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, find an experienced, top-producing agent on remaxallpro.com.

How to Choose the Right Real Estate Agent

Are you ready to buy a home but don’t know how the process begins? First and foremost – even if you’re already driving through neighborhoods or looking online – find a real estate agent. Sounds simple enough, right? With so many brokerages and agents to choose from, the challenge here isn’t just finding an agent but finding the right agent for you. Follow these tips to help make sure you hire the agent who best fits your needs.

Research the Options

Do some investigating! You can learn a lot about a real estate agent with a little online research. Check out their website, social media accounts and online reviews. Ask friends and family members if they recommend an agent they’ve enjoyed working with.

“An agent can tell someone all day long that they’ll work hard for them. But positive reviews from past clients really say it,” confirms Jeff Bowers, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Pro Realty in Charleston, South Carolina.

Interview and Ask the Right Questions

Interview multiple agents before selecting the one. This allows you to gauge their style, experience and whether or not your personalities work well together. Make sure to ask questions about what to expect during the home-buying process, and find out how often – and via what methods – they’ll be available for you to contact.

“Make sure you connect with the person, and make sure they know what you are looking for in a home and how they can help you find the home of your dreams,” says Kristen Long, an agent with RE/MAX Realty Associates in Champaign, Illinois.

Seek Out Experience

With the competitive nature of home buying and selling, having a productive, experienced agent who knows the ins and outs can be quite an advantage. The more confident your agent is, the more confident you can be.

“Experience in our industry is so important, as no transaction is like the others and with challenges popping up all the time. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an agent who already has the solution?” says Brian Teyssier with RE/MAX Real Estate Solutions in Pittsburgh. “Think of it this way, when you’re sick, do you want your doctor to have to research the cure or already know what to give you?”

Trust Your Gut

Once you’ve researched and interviewed your prospective agents, you’ll get a sense of who’s the right fit for you. Let your intuition guide you.

“It’s very important to work with an agent you connect with,” Long says. “You’re making one of the biggest financial decisions of your life, and you want that person to be in your corner 100%. Make sure your agent understands what you’re looking for and puts your interests first.”

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Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, find an experienced, top-producing agent on remaxallpro.com.

November Housing Report

DENVER – A fifth straight month of shrinking inventory year-over-year triggered several November records in the 11-year history of the RE/MAX National Housing Report: fewest Days on Market at 49, fewest Months Supply of Inventory at 3.3, and the highest Median Sales Price at $257,000.

In the 54 metro areas covered by the report, November home sales overall averaged 1.0% below November 2018 following significant year-over-year increases in September and October. Thus far, four months of 2019 posted year-over-year sales increases and seven, including November, have seen declines. Three of the monthly declines, however, were less than 2% below 2018 sales levels.

As inventory dropped 13.3% from November 2018, it took an average of 49 days to sell a home last month, compared to 51 days a year ago. The 3.3 months of inventory represented a sharp drop from 4.4 months a year ago.

“We continue to see favorable economic conditions and solid demand, but buyers coming into the market are being met with a progressively constrained supply of homes for sale,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “This has helped accelerate the pace of sales and push up prices, two factors that favor sellers. As we approach 2020, it seems likely that inventory will be the market’s main throttle next year – if more homes come on the market, sales should benefit; if that doesn’t happen, sales may be challenged. Buyers are out there and ready to go; we just need more listings to meet the demand.”

The November Median Sales Price of $257,000 marked a 7.9% year-over-year increase. It was the third-highest year-over-year increase thus far in 2019.  While prices declined month-to-month from June through September, price appreciation began to accelerate in October and the November Median Sales Price topped October by 0.7%. November prices have topped October’s for nine consecutive years, dating back to 2011.

Closed Transactions 
Of the 54 metro areas surveyed in November 2019, the overall average number of home sales is down 14.0% compared to October 2019, and down 1.0% compared to November 2018.  Leading the year-over-year sales percentage increase were Los Angeles, CA at +22.5%, Anchorage, AK at +14.5%, and Wichita, KS at +10.5%.

Median Sales Price – Median of 54 metro median prices
In November 2019, the median of all 54 metro Median Sales Prices was $257,000, up 0.7% from October 2019, and up 7.9% from November 2018. Only one metro area, Anchorage, AK at -2.2% saw a year-over-year decrease in Median Sales Price. Five metro areas increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages, with the largest increases seen in Trenton, NJ at +15.9%, Birmingham, AL at +15.3%, and Boise, ID at +13.7%.

Days on Market – Average of 54 metro areas
The average Days on Market for homes sold in November 2019 was 49, equal to the average in October 2019, and down two days from the average in November 2018. The metro areas with the lowest Days on Market were Omaha, NE at 23, Nashville, TN at 29, and Cincinnati, OH at 32. The highest Days on Market averages were in Des Moines, IA at 100, Augusta, ME at 85, and Miami, FL at 81. Days on Market is the number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and a sales contract is signed.

Months Supply of Inventory – Average of 54 metro areas
The number of homes for sale in November 2019 was down 10.9% from October 2019 and down 13.3% from November 2018. Based on the rate of home sales in November 2019, the Months Supply of Inventory held steady at 3.3 compared to October 2019, and decreased compared to 4.4 in November 2018. A six months supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In November 2019, of the 54 metro areas surveyed, two metro areas, Miami, FL at 7.9 and Indianapolis, IN at 6.3, reported a months supply at or over six, which is typically considered a buyer’s market. The markets with the lowest Months Supply of Inventory were San Francisco, CA at 1.4, and a three-way tie between Seattle, WA, Manchester, NH, and Denver, CO at 1.7.

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Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, find an experienced, top-producing agent on remaxallpro.com.

October Housing Report

DENVER – Home sales, which lagged during the first part of 2019, continued their recent rebound with another strong month in October. October 2019 sales finished 3.9% higher than in October 2018. At the same time, inventory posted a steep 9.0% year-over-year decline across the report’s 54 metro areas, while the Median Sales Price of $254,800 set an October record.

“October continued a recent win streak for home sales, and the market is positioned much better than it was a year ago,” said RE/MAX Holdings CEO Adam Contos.  “Demand is strong, due in part to low-interest rates, but buyers have limited options because inventory remains such a challenge. As a result, prices keep rising. Fortunately, key forecasts suggest an increase in new-homes moving onto the market next year, which would help address the inventory situation and potentially slow the steady price gains we’ve seen for so long.”

With May, July, and September already in the positive column, October became the fourth month of the past six to post a year-over-year increase in sales, which hadn’t happened for nine months prior to May.

Meanwhile, inventory resumed the skid that has dominated the last decade. October’s year-over-year decline of 9.0% was the largest for any month since May 2018. The downturn resulted in October’s Months of Inventory dropping to 3.1 – the lowest October amount in the report’s 11-year history. The 49 Days on Market was the second-lowest figure for October in report history, trailing only 2018’s 48.

The Median Sales Price of $254,800 set an October record for the report and the 8.4% increase year over year was the highest for the month since 2013.

Closed Transactions 
Of the 54 metro areas surveyed in October 2019, the overall average number of home sales is up 0.4% compared to September 2019, and up 3.9% compared to October 2018. Leading the year-over-year sales percentage increase were Los Angeles, CA at +24.4%, Charlotte, NC at +19.1%, and Burlington, VT at +16.1%.

Median Sales Price – Median of 54 metro median prices
In October 2019, the median of all 54 metro Median Sales Prices was $254,800, up 0.1% from September 2019, and up 8.4% from October 2018. Three metro areas increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages: Trenton, NJ at +20.9%, Albuquerque, NM at +15.8%, and Boise, ID at +10.9%. Two metro areas saw a year-over-year decrease in Median Sales Price: San Francisco, CA at -2.6% and Burlington, VT at -0.8%.

Days on Market – Average of 54 metro areas
The average Days on Market for homes sold in October 2019 was 49, up three days from the average in September 2019, and up one day from the average in October 2018. The metro areas with the lowest Days on Market were Omaha, NE at 21, Cincinnati, OH at 27, and Nashville, TN at 28. The highest Days on Market averages were in Des Moines, IA at 102, Augusta, ME at 96, and Miami, FL at 86. Days on Market is the number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and a sales contract is signed.

Months Supply of Inventory – Average of 54 metro areas
The number of homes for sale in October 2019 was down 5.5% from September 2019 and down 9.0% from October 2018. Based on the rate of home sales in October 2019, the Months Supply of Inventory decreased to 3.1 compared to 3.4 in September 2019 and decreased compared to 4.0 in October 2018. A six months supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In October 2019, of the 54 metro areas surveyed, only Miami, FL at 6.9, reported a month’s supply at or over six, which is typically considered a buyer’s market. The markets with the lowest Months Supply of Inventory were San Francisco, CA at 1.6 and a three-way tie among Denver, CO, Manchester, NH, and Phoenix, AZ at 1.8.

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Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, find an experienced, top-producing agent on remaxallpro.com.

5 Winning Tips for Writing an Offer Letter

In some hot housing markets, including a letter with your formal offer to buy a home is all but required. Unfortunately, Hallmark doesn’t make a card for the occasion (yet). Here are a few tips:

1. Get emotional.
Take advantage of this opportunity to sail beyond the facts and figures to convey a personal connection to the home. Pick one or two features and talk about how they fit into your vision of the perfect home. For example, “Holiday meals are important to my family. Your large kitchen has everything I need to re-create my grandmother’s recipes, and would fit all of my relatives who like to gossip while cooking.” Or, “During our showing my children escaped to climb trees in your backyard. They fell in love with the home as much as I did.”

2. Connect with the seller.
Find one or two similarities between your family and the seller’s, based on what you can discern from the home. Show you have something in common, but be careful not to dig too deep (nobody wants to sell to a stalker). For example: “We’re so excited that your home not only has a beautiful, fenced yard, but also a dog door. Our lives revolve around our two rescue pups, Sonny and Cher, who would literally leap for joy in a yard of their own.”

3. Don’t be afraid to flatter.
Tell the seller why you adore specific features that have been upgraded: “We love those colorful tiles you used on the kitchen backsplash. They remind us so much of our honeymoon in Portugal.”

4. Don’t whine.
This is not the place to play the sympathy card. No sob stories about why you sold your last place, or how many deals have fallen through. You want the seller to feel good reading your letter.

5. Grammar matters.
Check spelling and grammar. Have a grammar-nerd friend triple check it for you. You want the seller to know you put time and care into your honest appeal.

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, find an experienced, top-producing agent on remaxallpro.com.

From Summer Blues to Harvest Hues: Simple Ways to Transition a Backyard Into a Haven Buyers Will “Fall” in Love With

Daylight is dwindling, temperatures are dropping; it’s time to cover up the grill, toss the flowers and retire the patio furniture to the garage, right? Not so fast! Remember that backyard appeal can be just as important as curb appeal to potential buyers – all year long. With proper appointing, the backyard can remain a central hub all the way through the fall. Here are five easy ways to spice up any backyard to impress buyers, while simultaneously transitioning it from summer to fall.

  1. Say goodbye to vibrant petals – and hello to burgundy blooms!

Beautiful summer flowers have long since wilted, but that doesn’t mean plants are off-limits until spring. It’s time to transition into seasonally appropriate plants – you know, the ones that can handle cooler nights but still frame a back door with a pop of color. Pansies and garden mums are notorious for surviving signs of winter weather so they’re both stylish and practical. Feeling creative? Consider stacking this inexpensive wooden plant ladder with fresh herbs or fall flowers.

  1. Find the best seat in the house

Comfortable nooks are more desirable than sterile sitting parlors – that’s a given – so provide your backyard with that cozy versatility. Draping machine-washable throw blankets over outdoor seating acts as an invitation to curl up. And exchanging bold-colored summer pillows for durable outdoor pillows in shades like burgundy and burnt-orange, or even classic plaids, fosters a cabin-like feeling.

  1. Gather ’round the fire

Large bonfires may be a hit in the summertime, but compact fire pits are the perfect accompaniment to fall. There are wood-burning options for the fire-savvy, and gas-burning options for those who enjoy instant gratification. To ensure the safety of you and your neighbors, read up on fire safety protocols before purchasing a fire pit. If the thought of flames ablaze in your yard isn’t terribly appealing, consider a fuss-free heat lamp instead.

  1. Get your head in the game!

A home shouldn’t be too personalized during a showing – but it should show some signs of life. To make a backyard look like a place to lounge and play, include games and entertainment that double as decor. Cornhole is the perfect addition to the yard during the fall and it shows opportunity for people to engage with the outdoor space. Additionally, having a pair of binoculars sitting decoratively on a table or hanging on a hook encourages star-gazing on a crisp autumn night. These playful touches give the backyard character and show it can be a gathering place.

  1. Hang vintage bulbs for a modern feel

Who would have guessed that those oversized, old-fashioned light bulbs would come back in style – for patio fashion! Weather-proof string lights are now a staple for cultivating an appealing backyard during the day or night. Accent lights set the mood, creating a starry-ambiance and providing ample extra lighting on especially dark nights. These lights can wrap around porch railings, weave through a pergola or simply hang in the air.

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, find an experienced, top-producing agent on remaxallpro.com.

September Housing Report

DENVER – While signaling the end of 2019’s peak selling season, September home sales rose 8.1% year-over-year – the largest year-over-year increase since November 2016. Home purchases increased in 47 of the report’s 54 markets, forcing already tight inventory totals to drop 6.1% year-over-year for the biggest decline in over a year.

The year-over-year increase in September 2019 sales was the largest September increase since 2013. This was accompanied by an August-to-September decline of 17.0%, which – while larger than average – was significantly less than the month-to-month drop of 24.4% in September 2018, when sales sharply declined amid an uncertain interest rate environment.

September 2019 marked the third consecutive month of year-over-year inventory decline. That reversed the strongest 9-month-stretch of year-over-year inventory growth – from October 2018 to June 2019 – in report history. Meanwhile, the August-to-September seasonal inventory decline of 1.5% was less than the August-to-September 5-year average drop of 2.3%.

“It was encouraging to see the improvement in September home sales, especially given how tough last September’s results were,” said RE/MAX Holdings CEO Adam Contos. “The market still poses some challenges for buyers – framed by rising prices and shrinking inventory – but we’re moving into the fourth quarter on much better footing than we had a year ago. As we begin to lap the end of last year and its persistent sales declines, the housing market’s momentum increases the chances of seeing more months of strong year-over-year gains in sales.”

September’s Median Sales Price of $254,500 was a year-over-year increase of 4.5%, which is in line with the year-over-year average gain of 4.9% for 2019’s first nine months.

Closed Transactions 
Of the 54 metro areas surveyed in September 2019, the overall average number of home sales is down 17.0% compared to August 2019, and up 8.1% compared to September 2018. Leading the year-over-year sales percentage increases were Los Angeles, CA at +31.4%, Little Rock, AR at +24.2%, and Tulsa, OK at +22.1%.

Median Sales Price – Median of 54 metro median prices
In September 2019, the median of all 54 metro Median Sales Prices was $254,500, down 2.5% from August 2019, and up 4.5% from September 2018. Five metro areas increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages, with the largest increases seen in Detroit, MI at +15.6%, Birmingham, AL at +15.3%, and Charlotte, NC at +11.8%. Two metro areas saw a year-over-year decrease in Median Sales Price – San Francisco, CA at -2.1%, and Billings, MT at -0.5%.

Days on Market – Average of 54 metro areas
The average Days on Market for homes sold in September 2019 was 46, up one day from the average in August 2019, and equal to the September 2018 average. The metro areas with the lowest Days on Market were Omaha, NE at 19, Cincinnati, OH at 26, and Nashville, TN at 28. The highest Days on Market averages were in Des Moines, IA at 98, Miami, FL at 91, and Hartford, CT at 79. Days on Market is the number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and a sales contract is signed.

Months Supply of Inventory – Average of 54 metro areas
The number of homes for sale in September 2019 was down 1.5% from August 2019 and down 6.1% from September 2018. Based on the rate of home sales in September 2019, the Months Supply of Inventory increased to 3.2 compared to 3.0 in August 2019, and decreased compared to 4.2 in September 2018. A six months supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In September 2019, of the 54 metro areas surveyed, only Miami, FL at 7.5 and New York, NY at 6.3 reported a months supply at or over six, which is typically considered a buyer’s market. The markets with the lowest Months Supply of Inventory were Manchester, NH at 1.7 and Phoenix, AZ at 1.8.

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, find an experienced, top-producing agent on remaxallpro.com.