The housing Market Had a Wild 2021. Here’s What Awaits in 2022


FROM CNN .COM: The US housing market has had a white hot 2021. Home sales are on track to reach the highest level in 15 years, with an estimated 6 million homes sold in 2021.

But whether you benefited from this surge depended a lot on if you were selling a home or buying one.
Homeowners saw average home prices skyrocket nearly 20% through the third quarter compared to a year ago, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. It was the largest annual home price increase in the history of the agency’s House Price Index. And, in some hot markets, the price increase was double that.

Homes also sold at a record pace, with sellers often fielding multiple competing bids and all-cash offers. Even homes that were disgusting or burned out sold quickly, and at amounts that were well over the asking price.

For buyers, it was a different story. While mortgage rates kicked off the year at record lows, it was difficult to even find a home to buy. Inventory of available homes reached an all-time low early in the year and competition was extremely stiff.
Many prospective buyers left the market dejected and without a home to call their own. As a result, demand for rentals surged and rents went up across the country.

“It was an insane year,” said Matt Holm, an agent with Compass in Austin. Last January, he put a smaller five-year-old home on the market at $425,000, higher than comparable sale prices, and was flooded with offers. “I stopped counting at 35 offers,” he said. The home sold for $545,000, a 30% increase over the list price.
Another buyer, who bought a lakefront luxury home for $6 million in 2020, was offered $9 million a few months later and $11 million two months after that by buyers desperate for a lakefront property, Holm said.
“My sellers said, that’s a lot of money,” Holm said. “They wanted to sell and get something as good or better. But they realized they shouldn’t sell because to get something a little bit nicer than what they had was going to cost $18 to $20 million. That is a remarkable jump for a calendar year.”
Without a doubt, the housing market was on a wild ride in 2021. Here’s what to expect as we head into the new year.

No more record low mortgage rates

The year began with the lowest interest rates on record, with average rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 2.65%. But they didn’t last long. By April 1, that had reached a 2021 peak of 3.18%. Rates have fluctuated since, with the 30-year fixed at 3.05% last week, according to Freddie Mac. And we can expect rates to move even higher in the new year.

The Federal Reserve has given several signals that its pandemic monetary policy will come to an end as it works to curb inflation. Ultimately, that will push interest rates higher.
The Fed’s revised policy won’t put a dent in the pockets of people looking to purchase a home within the next few months, but they might want to act soon, said Melissa Cohn, the regional vice president and executive mortgage banker of William Raveis Mortgage.
“Mortgage rates should remain range bound around 3% through the end of the year and hopefully through the first two months of 2022,” said Cohn, who anticipates rates to increase by up to a half a percentage point over the next couple of months.
Similarly, Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, expects the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to increase to 3.7% by the end of next year, but noted this will still be lower than the pre-pandemic rate of around 4%.
“Increased mortgage rates, coupled with inflation eating away at savings, will take a toll on buyers,” said Allison Salzer, a Compass agent in San Francisco. “It will affect the lower-priced and median-priced home purchasers more than the luxury buyers.”

Inventory will remain tight

Even though more properties became available as the spring home buying season heated up this year, there were also more people looking to buy, creating fierce competition and pushing prices skyward.
There were so few homes, people were taking extreme measures like offering to buy the seller’s next home for them, giving thousands of dollars to competing buyers to walk away and paying as much as $1 million over the home’s asking price. One home in Maryland received 76 all-cash offers.
Inventory was tightest at the lower end of the market. Homes priced under $200,000 have been hard to come by, with the number of available properties falling 19% this year compared to last year, while there was a 40% annual increase for homes above $600,000, according to HouseCanary, a real estate data company.
While the inventory picture is expected to improve in 2022, it isn’t expected to perk up by much. Inventory will remain limited and grow by only 0.3% in 2022, according to a forecast.
“The greatest factor I see affecting the 2022 housing market is the low inventory,” said Paulo Prietto, a Compass agent in Orange County, California. “While inventory remains low, buyers will become more accustomed to the lack of choices and will continue to aggressively compete to purchase homes.”
As long as that happens, prices will continue to go up.

Home prices will keep rising

Home prices rose nearly everywhere in the country in 2021.
While existing home sales reached a median price of $353,900 by November, up 13.9% from a year ago, new construction home prices were even higher. New construction homes hit a median price of $416,900 in November, according to the US Census Bureau, about 19% higher than a year ago, and another new record.
While we won’t see the double-digit gains that were made in the past year, prices are expected to keep rising in 2022 at a slightly more moderate pace.
A group of 20 top economic and housing experts brought together by the National Association of Realtors projected that median home prices will increase by 5.7% next year. The NAR survey participants said they expect the housing market and broader economy to normalize next year as the Fed tries to tame inflation.
“Slowing price growth will partly be the consequence of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve,” Yun said.

First-time buyers will continue to face challenges

The prevalence of all-cash offers, few available homes and skyrocketing prices pushed many first-time buyers out of the market in 2021.
By the end of November the share of first-time buyers had fallen to 26% from 32% a year before, the lowest level since the National Association of Realtors began tracking in 2008.
“We are creating a divided society,” said Yun. “People don’t feel like they are participating in what they consider to be American life through homeownership. All their work to build up savings can feel less meaningful in the face of rising prices.”
Not only were prices rising faster than people could save for a down payment, many mortgage types favored by new homebuyers, like FHA and VA loans, were often passed over for all-cash deals or conventional loans.

The inventory of homes at the lower end of the price range was so tight that the number of sales priced between $100,000 and $250,000 were down by nearly 20% in November, according to NAR.

And while new construction homes are now starting to come on line, most are priced outside of the typical first-time homebuyer’s budget.
“Builders are focusing more on high-priced houses, with the percent sold for under $300,000 falling to just 14% from 33% a year ago,” said Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union.

But many hopeful homebuyers are saying they will be back in the spring, armed with the knowledge they gained from a frustrated search this past year, according to a recent survey from

“Despite a challenging year, aspiring first-time homebuyers are surprisingly optimistic about 2022,” said George Ratiu,’s manager of economic research. “They’re looking at the new year as a fresh opportunity to make their dreams of owning a home come true.”


SUNDAY REMINDER: LA Marathon & Fall Clock Change


This coming Sunday, Nov 7th marks two events that ask for a bit of preparation and planning for us Angelenos: The LA MARATHON & the Fall Clock Change/ End of Daylight Savings

MARATHON FIRST: - here’s what you need to know, from KTLA’s Digital Staff writers (KATLA.COM):

The 2021 Los Angeles Marathon returns on Nov. 7, debuting a new 26.2-mile course that is expected to draw thousands of runners from around the world. 

The marathon’s new “Stadium to the Stars” course begins at Dodger Stadium, runs through West Hollywood and Beverly Hills before ending on Avenue of the Stars in Century City. ( click on photo to ENLARGE map)


That means that the course will follow its traditional route until Brentwood, where runners double back on San Vicente, Sepulveda and Santa Monica boulevards before finishing at Avenue of the Stars. Organizers say this will allow for a more interactive finish and greater spectator participation.


Road closures

The Marathon course will be closed to vehicular traffic for six hours and a half right after the last runner crosses the start line. The course will then begin reopening to vehicular traffic on a rolling basis.

Road closures will begin at 4 a.m., with some roads closed through the afternoon.

These roads will be closed:

  • Elysian Park Avenue: between Dodger Stadium and Sunset Boulevard (4 a.m. to 9 a.m.)
  • Sunset Boulevard: from Park Avenue to Figueroa Street (4 a.m. to 9:20 a.m.)
  • Cesar Chavez Ave: from Bunker Hill to Alameda Street (4 a.m. to 9:32 a.m.)
  • Broadway: from Cesar Chavez Avenue to Alpine Street (4 a.m. to 9:35 a.m.)
  • Alpine Street: from Hill to Alameda streets (4 a.m. to 9:35 a.m.)
  • Spring Street: from College to 1st streets (4 a.m. to 9:35 a.m.)
  • 1st Street: from hope to San Pedro streets (4 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.)
  • Los Angeles Street: from Temple to 5th streets (4 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.)
  • 4th Street: from Los Angeles to Main streets (4 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.)
  • Main Street: from 5th to Temple streets (4 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.)
  • 3rd Street: from San Pedro to Hill streets (4 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.)
  • Hill Street: from 4th to Temple streets (4 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.)
  • 1st Street: from San Pedro to Hope streets (4 a.m. to 10:05 a.m.)
  • Grand Avenue: from Cesar Chavez Avenue to 2nd street (4 a.m. to 10:05 a.m.)
  • Temple Street: from Alameda Street to Glendale Boulevard (4 a.m. to 10:20 a.m.)
  • Edgeware Road: from Temple to Boston streets (4 a.m. to 10:20 a.m.)
  • Bellevue Avenue: from Sunset to Glendale boulevards (4 a.m. to 10:20 a.m.)
  • Glendale Boulevard: from Temple Street to Sunset Boulevard (4 a.m. to 10:40 a.m.)
  • Sunset Boulevard: from Echo Park Avenue to Virgil Avenue (4 a.m. to 11:10 a.m.)
  • Hollywood Boulevard: from Hillhurst Avenue to La Brea (4 a.m. to 12 p.m.)
  • Orange Avenue: from Hollywood Boulevard to Sunset Boulevard (4 a.m. to 12 p.m.)
  • Sunset Boulevard: from Highland Avenue to Doheny Drive ( 5 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.)
  • San Vicente Boulevard: from Sunset Boulevard to Melrose Avenue (5 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
  • Santa Monica Boulevard: La Cienega Boulevard to Sierra Drive (5 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
  • Doheny Drive: from Nemo Street to Wilshire Boulevard (5 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
  • Burton Way: from Robertson Boulevard to Rexford Drive (5 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
  • S. Santa Monica Boulevard: from Rexford Drive to Moreno Boulevard (5 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
  • Rodeo Drive: from Santa Monica to Wilshire boulevards (5 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
  • Wilshire Boulevard: from Beverly Drive to Santa Monica Boulevard (5 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
  • Santa Monica Boulevard (WB and EB Lanes):  from Wilshire to Sepulveda boulevards (5 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • Sepulveda Boulevard: from Santa Monica Boulevard to Wilshire Avenue (5 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.)
  • Wilshire Boulevard (WB and EB Lanes): Sepulveda Boulevard to Barrington Avenue (5 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.)
  • San Vicente Boulevard: from Wilshire Boulevard to Saltair Avenue (5 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Some ramps along the north and southbound 110 Freeway will also be affected, so will some ramps on the southbound 405 Freeway.


Clocks officially “fall back” at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday in November to 1 a.m.

Daylights Savings Time  concludes at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021, when the clock will “fall back” one hour and in theory we get one extra hour of sleep.


The concept dates back more than a century when English architect William Willett proposed the idea to change the clocks in 1907 in The Waste of Daylight.

The suggestion of using daylight more efficiently can be traced to Benjamin Franklin. While visiting in Paris in 1784, he wrote a letter to the editors of the Journal of Paris calling for a tax on every Parisian whose windows were shuttered after sunrise to “encourage the economy of using sunshine instead of candles,” according to Michael Downing, author of Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time.

Photos by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash





Buying a flipped home? Here’s what you’ll have to be aware of

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Examine permits, check pricing and start with the right kind of inspection to spot shoddy work


The business of house flipping looms large in the American public imagination. Between reality television shows about the practice to infomercials promoting it as a get-rich-quick scheme, nearly everyone is familiar with the concept of buying, renovating and quickly reselling real estate at a profit.

But is house flipping a good deal for those who end up moving in long-term? And if you’re looking to buy one, how do you know if the pretty house with new paint and granite countertops is a great deal or a lemon?

These questions burned through my mind nearly a decade ago, when I bought my first house as a newlywed. An adorable, renovated ranch popped up at a reasonable price and caught my eye. But that price was double what it had sold for just months earlier. It was vacant, and while the renovations looked great I wasn’t sure if they justified a 100 percent increase in the asking price.

In the end, my wife and I pulled the trigger and the choice proved wise. The house served us well while steadily appreciating in value. Best of all, we moved in knowing it wouldn’t need any big-ticket makeovers for years.

“There is nothing wrong with buying a flipped house,” said Chris Egner, a home remodeler based in New Berlin, Wis., and president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. “You can buy an old house and hire someone to remodel it, or you can buy one somebody else remodeled and it’s already done and ready to move into. The caution is that, like any other endeavor, there are some people doing work that are not qualified to do it.”

There are strategies new home buyers can use to identify whether the house they’re looking at was flipped and, if so, whether the work was done by quality contractors.

Finding a flip

Once a prospective homeowner identifies a house they like, the first step is figuring out whether it has been flipped. There are several ways of doing this.
The first question is, does anyone live here?

“As a general rule, a flip usually is going to be vacant,” said Bruce Barker, a North Carolina-based home inspector and president of the American Society of Home Inspectors. “A flip is going to have fresh paint, at least on the inside. Probably new carpet, probably granite or quartz countertops and a new sink in the kitchen [but with] old cabinets. That’s almost a dead giveaway.”

Of course, not all vacant houses are flips. A second way to check is to see when the house was last sold, which can be done by checking with your local government or sometimes by looking through real estate websites like Zillow and Redfin. If the house was sold less than six months ago, there’s a good chance it was flipped.

Though Egner works in the home remodeling industry, he too warns consumers to watch out for shoddy work and corner-cutting with flipped houses. Often it’s the work consumers don’t see — the plumbing, the wiring inside the walls — that will cause trouble if a flip was done unprofessionally.

If it looks like renovation work was done on the home before it was put on the market, prospective buyers should always look to see if permits were pulled for the work, which can also be done through your local government.

If a flipped home doesn’t have permits, that may be a sign that the work was done as a do-it-yourself project. More importantly, it likely also means the work wasn’t professionally inspected.

When done well, he embraces the idea of renovating houses as a business.

“A lot of people don’t have time to buy a house, move in and then spend the next six months redoing the kitchen, bathrooms and whatever else,” said Egner. “If you can buy something that’s move-in ready, that’s awesome. People doing them right are doing a great service to society in general. What better way to reuse and recycle than to take an old, rundown house and turn it into a brand-new, functional and usable property?”

House hunting

Are flipped houses a good deal for the buyer? That depends on a lot of factors, according to Duluth, Minn.-based real estate agent Len Sarvela with Real Estate Masters.

“Many flipped houses are wonderfully done, with permits taken out, priced at fair market value and representing a great deal for the buyer,” said Sarvela, an agent with the National Association of Realtors. “But with the market we have now, with a shortage of inventory, buyers know what their money will get them.”

Sarvela advises comparing the sale price to what the house last sold for, which is usually a matter of public record, especially if it was last sold just a few months ago. Does the work done since that day really justify the price hike?

“If the sales price doubles, there better be a pretty good justification based on the materials and amenities that were put into the house,” said Sarvela.

Typically, a buyer can tell what has been renovated in a flipped house. The new countertops, sink, tile floors and other items usually stand out quite a bit given that the house itself is older. From there, a buyer can analyze and decide whether those new amenities justify the price hike.

Often a buyer can find older pictures of the house they’re looking at online from when it was sold before the flip. That was the case with the house I bought in 2013, the listing photos from before the flipper got it were still up on Zillow, so it was very easy to compare and see what they had done. This isn’t always the case, of course.

One of the biggest benefits of buying a renovated home is that it’s often move-in ready and won’t need any significant work done right away. The downside comes when that promise turns out to be false — if the buyer moves in only to find out that the roof needs replacing or the bathroom has no vapor barrier and mold is growing.

“Ask the buyer’s agent if they have experience with homes that have been flipped,” Savela said. “And ask that early in the process.”


Once you’ve decided you’re serious about a house and ready to commit to buying it, one of the most important remaining steps is to get a professional home inspection.

While this process is optional, and can be pricey, inspections can ultimately save the buyer money by finding problems ahead of time and asking the seller to cover the cost of repairs. If enough problems are found, the inspection can even be the impetus for a prospective buyer to walk away.

This is one place where I made the wrong choice. Rather than hiring a certified inspector, I went with a friend’s uncle-in-law who claimed that he built a lot of houses. It saved me $75 and he huffed around the house acting like an expert during his inspection.

Months later, I learned the flippers never reinstalled two of the six heating ducts under the house when they put new tile in the kitchen and bathrooms. They’d blown hot air into our crawlspace all winter! A friend and I went to Home Depot, rented some tools and hooked them back up, but it cost a lot more than $75, not to mention the effort, the headache and three months of higher heating bills.

“I inspected a house last week with new paint on the inside, new carpeting and kitchen countertops, but they hadn’t changed the bathrooms,” said Barker, the home inspector. “The water heater was older, the HVAC was older, the roof covering was at the end of its service life. Those are the kinds of things some flippers will do. They’ll do the cosmetic things to make it look good, but when you start digging into the details, that’s when you start finding things that are problematic.”

And the same level of scrutiny should be applied when finding the person who will inspect the home.

“When looking for an inspector, you definitely want to look for things like years of experience, certifications and a license if they’re in a jurisdiction that licenses inspectors,” Barker said. “Years of experience is about the only objective standard that you can go by. If you’ve done enough inspections you’ve seen most of what you’re going to see.”

Ideally, an inspection will be a simple process that finds only minor issues. Either way, it’s better to know for sure than to find out after the fact.

“Essentially, what you’re buying with a home inspection is peace of mind,” said Barker.

Getting a mortgage

The final step in purchasing a home, flipped or not, is obtaining a mortgage.

However, this process should begin before a home buyer even looks at their first house.

“We want to make sure buyers can get preapproved for a loan,” said Emanuel Santa-Donato, vice president of capital markets at New York-based Better Mortgage. “The first step is to identify what you can afford.”

While the two may not seem connected, a flipped house can become an issue when obtaining a mortgage. For buyers using a government-backed loan through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or the Department of Veterans Affairs, houses can’t change hands again less than 90 days from the previous sale.

“If it’s a very quick flip, FHA will not be an option,” said Santa-Donato. “That goes out to 180 days if the sale’s value doubles.”

For conventional loans there’s no set rule, as each lender will have their own criteria for what’s allowed. Santa-Donato said most banks do include a 90-day restriction, though not all.

And if the quality of work on a renovation is subpar, that can also affect a buyer’s ability to secure a mortgage.

“If the kitchen is unfinished you can’t lend on the house,” Santa-Donato said. “If you have exposed wires you can’t lend on the house. It’s a fairly clear health and safety bar that comes from the appraisal process. If there are obvious things missing, a loan can’t be made.”

While a turnaround of less than 90 days might be a warning sign of work that was done quickly and perhaps at a lower quality, in 2021’s hot housing market many buyers are still willing to take a look. Some lenders, including Better Mortgage, will make cash offers on behalf of clients, arrange for them to rent the house and then have them officially take on a mortgage after the new 90-day window closes.

Unfortunately for today’s buyers, that’s a big change from when I bought my flip in the last days of the Great Recession. They’ll have to be much quicker on their feet to land a contract.

“In some housing markets it might be different, but right now I don’t think sellers will be all that patient,” said Santa-Donato. “There’s a lot of demand out there.”

BUYERS: Avoid These Homebuying Traps You’ll Regret Later

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Four signs that buying a house in this market will lead to buyer’s remorse


It’s a tough time to be a homebuying hopeful. Sellers rule this market, and potential buyers are battling with one another over a high-price handful of homes. Buying a home is a weighty, long-term decision, and buying right now could lead to long-term regrets.

Roughly two-thirds (67%) of Americans who recently purchased their home say they have regrets, according to an August NerdWallet survey conducted online by The Harris Poll among 450 homeowners who bought their home in the past five years.

There are many reasons a buyer might regret their home purchase, or aspects of it. And in 2021, even more than in the past five years as a whole, the risk of buyer’s remorse is high. The heavily tilted seller’s market means most buyers are making sacrifices in order to successfully close on a home. Understanding the risks inherent in buying now can help either avoid future regrets or postpone the purchase until the stakes are lower.

Here are four potential regret traps of the current market and how to guard against them.

1. Rushing decisions in a frenetic real-estate market

Homebuying shouldn’t be rushed. But buying a house now is a frantic endeavor. Buyers are seeing homes hit the market and go under contract before they can even schedule a showing. Over the past five years, homes have typically been on the market for 41 days. As of July 2021, they’re available for 18 days, according to data from real-estate brokerage Redfin, which measures days on market as the time between a home being listed and it moving to pending or off-market. The speed at which homes enter and exit the market has been accelerating since June 2020.

Regret-busting tip: Potential buyers must act fast, but when the pressure is on to move quickly in a decision as weighty as homebuying, you need a game plan. Before jumping into the market, organize your budget and your wish list. Get specific: Know which features you’re willing to compromise on and what’s out of bounds in regards to sales price. Making decisions such as “Do we really need a third bedroom?” or “Can we afford another $50,000?” on the fly is risky, at best. Know how you’ll answer those questions before you begin.

2. Sacrificing big just to snap up something

The supply of homes being offered for sale is paltry, so buyers are unlikely to find one that satisfies their wish list. Being flexible is a must in this market, but sacrificing too much could leave you with a home that’s a far cry from the one you envisioned.

The number of homes on the market has fallen by about 55% from September 2019, when it last peaked, according to residential listing data from In March and April this year, inventory fell below half a million active listings after a three-year average of 1.3 million from 2017 through the end of 2019.

Regret-busting tip: What’s more important to you: buying a home or buying a home that checks off most items on your wish list? If the former, you may be successful in this market. However, if you have your heart set on a specific home type in a specific neighborhood, you may want to wait until there are more listings to choose from.

3. Competing with a win-at-all-costs attitude

Competition is brutal for the limited number of homes, and sellers are fielding multiple attractive offers. The average number of offers on sold homes peaked at just over 5 in April this year, and while it has fallen back down to 4.5, that’s still two more offers than homeowners typically saw in the pre-pandemic market, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.

Waiving contingencies, upping their offer price, writing love letters to sellers — buyers are having to work harder than ever to make their offer stand out from the rest. And even when they do all these things, they may be up against an unusual number of potential buyers making all-cash offers.

When pitted against an all-cash offer for asking price or above, buyers who must borrow might try to entice the seller by taking dangerous risks, like forgoing a home inspection. But 10% of homeowners who have purchased in the past five years regret not getting a pre-purchase home inspection, and 13% of these recent buyers say they regret discovering their home had significant problems in need of repair, according to the new NerdWallet survey.

Regret-busting tip: Winning isn’t everything. Don’t let the competition pressure you into forgoing important protections or going over budget. Know before you make an offer how far you’re willing to take it. Make an agreement with yourself, your partner or your real-estate agent that you’ll be willing to walk away at a certain threshold — whether it’s a dollar amount in a bidding war or problems uncovered at inspection — and then get used to the idea that you may have to walk away from several homes before you ultimately close on one.

4. Stretching the budget to the breaking point

While low mortgage rates save buyers considerably over the life of a home loan, they can’t always make up for a too-high sales price. Hot competition on a limited supply is propelling prices up, which is bound to push some buyers past a reasonable budget.

Five years ago, in July 2016, homes were selling for $245,100, or $278,100 in today’s dollars, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. Now, the typical sales price is $360,000, nearly $82,000 more. Incomes have not kept up.

What this means is a buyer’s money won’t go as far today. Add to that the ongoing costs of homeownership, and it’s clear how quickly home buyers can get in over their heads.

 Regret-busting tip: Your money won’t go as far in the current high-price market, and that’s important to understand before you begin house hunting. But don’t let sticker shock distract you from other cost considerations. Mortgage payments (including interest and taxes), homeowners insurance, homeowners association dues and repair and maintenance expenses all play into the total cost of homeownership — and 15% of homeowners who purchased within the past five years say they regret underestimating these costs, according to the survey. When settling on a budget for the purchase price of your new home, factor in ongoing homeownership costs so you’re not caught off guard once you’ve moved in. Struggling to keep up with these persistent financial obligations can stifle the initial joy of your new purchase.



REAL ESTATE: Market Forecast for the Rest of 2021, According To Realtors


FROM YAHOO FINANCE NEWS: It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has turned the real estate market into a wild domain. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, you’re likely eager to know how long this will last.

In June 2021, home prices across the U.S. surged 24.8% year-over-year — to a median sale price of $386,888 — according to Redfin. During the same time period, the number of homes sold increased 20.6% and the number of homes for sale tumbled 39.6%.

Mortgage rates have reached record lows during the pandemic and have once again been on the decline since late June. Specifically, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.02% on June 24, dropping to 2.78% on July 22.

While an economic upturn was predicted, the Delta variant could send that to a screeching halt. On July 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reinstated their recommendation that fully vaccinated people in areas of substantial or high transmission wear a mask indoors.

Only time will tell if additional COVID-19 restrictions will return, and how this could impact the housing market. However, several real estate agents and experts have weighed in with their opinion of what the market will look like for the rest of the year.

“The real estate market in the first half of 2021 bore the surging demand from a millennial reshuffling,” said Greg Toschi, CEO of Poplar Homes, a California-based real estate technology and services company. “Millions of older millennials are creating families and were planning to buy a home in 2022 to 2025.”

However, he said a lot people decided to make the move earlier, instead of following their original homebuying timeline.

“We saw this in the rental market with a 100% increase in the number of people moving to buy a home or change jobs,” he said. “All that demand was pulled forward and unleashed like a sling shot — alas, prices skyrocketed.”

Toschi said this also happened during what is typically the hottest season for homebuying, which contributed to the surge. Heading into the fall months, activity usually slows and prices tend to drop. Right now, he said many homebuyers are opting to wait to make a purchase because prices are too high.

“Inventory numbers are also climbing,” he said. “But prices probably won’t go down much as normal.”

While the enthusiasm of those who have been shopping for a new home for awhile might fade, he noted there are still tons of new buyers entering the market.

“If the COVID Delta variant leads to further lockdowns and quarantines, the real estate market will probably behave in a similar way as the last lockdown,” he said. “Though I’m not sure it will deter buyers who built up a lot of motivation during quarantine.”

Jason Gelios, a realtor in Southeast Michigan, said he’s starting to notice a bit of a difference in the market.

“There is a slight change happening in the current housing market where buyer demand has actually decreased,” he said. “In my market of Southeast Michigan, we are still seeing more buyers than homes available, however we aren’t seeing lines of people waiting to view a home.”

Despite the shift, Gelios predicted the real estate surge isn’t stopping anytime soon.

“We will see a slight increase in mortgage rates, probably 3.5% by mid-fall, and a slight increase in housing inventory as we approach the later part of 2021,” he said. “We don’t anticipate a full switch in the housing market until sometime in 2022 where it would be considered favoring buyers.”

Betsy Ronel, a licensed real estate salesperson with Compass in Westchester County, New York, said she thinks the market in her local area will soften slightly until the winter months, because buyers are discouraged.

“Then, depending on this Delta variant and mask laws, the market might quiet down until the spring,” she said. “I think either way we will have a stronger spring market, but we won’t be back to a more balanced market for some time.”

Ronel said she believes the market will be in recovery mode for the foreseeable future.

“It’s a national issue, so things are stalled everywhere in some way,” she said.

Of course, not every U.S. city has experienced a chaotic real estate market during the pandemic.

“While many suburban markets have enjoyed significant price appreciation due to COVID, some of the best cities in the country have been discounted — New York being one of them,” said Daren Herzberg, a licensed associate real estate broker and co-founder of The Babst + Herzberg Team at Compass in New York. “Now is the time to buy.”

He said a significant amount of people are returning to New York City and taking advantage of the double discounts rarely enjoyed on real estate, which is bringing the Big Apple back to life at record pace.

 “On top of that, outdoor dining, bike lanes and a brand new and better selection of retail will make the best city in America feel like the Roaring ’20s,” he said. “And on top of that, historically low interest rates and a vibrant economy should make a move into real estate compelling in any market — in spite of recent price increases.”

While the real estate market has largely been hot across the U.S., local market conditions vary and will continue to do so. If you’re planning to buy or sell a property this year, check with a licensed real estate agent in your area to learn more about regional trends.


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