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Courtney Mazal | What You Need to Know Blog

Tuesday, October 24, 2023   /   by Courtney Mazal

Why Home Prices Keep Going Up

Why Home Prices Keep Going Up

If you've ever dreamed of buying your own place, or selling your current house to upgrade, you're no stranger to the rollercoaster of emotions changing home prices can stir up. It's a tale of financial goals, doubts, and a dash of anxiety that many have been through.
But if you put off moving because you’re worried home prices might drop, make no mistake, they’re not going down. In fact, it's just the opposite. National data from several sources says they’ve been going up consistently this year (see graph below):
 

Here’s what this graph shows. In the first half of 2022, home prices rose significantly (the green bars on the left side of the graphs above). Those increases were dramatic and unsustainable.
So, in the second half of the year, prices went through a correction and started dipping a bit (shown in red). But those slight declines were shallow and short-lived. Still, the m. ...

Monday, May 1, 2023   /   by Courtney Mazal

3 Factors Affecting Home Affordability Today

The Three Factors Affecting Home Affordability Today


There’s been a lot of focus on higher mortgage rates and how they’re creating affordability challenges for today’s homebuyers. It’s true that rates climbed dramatically since the record-low we saw during the pandemic. But home affordability is based on more than just mortgage rates – it’s determined by a combination of mortgage rates, home prices, and wages.
Considering how each one of these factors is changing gives you the full picture of home affordability today. Here’s the latest.
1. Mortgage Rates
While mortgage rates are higher than they were a year ago, they’ve hovered primarily between 6% and 7% for nearly eight months now (see graph below):
As the graph shows, mortgage rates have experienced some volatility during that time. And even a small change in mortgage rates impacts your purchasing power. That’s why it’s so important to lean on your team of real est. ...

Wednesday, April 26, 2023   /   by Courtney Mazal

The Power of Pre-Approval

The Power of Pre-Approval


If you’re buying a home this spring, today’s housing market can feel like a challenge. With so few homes on the market right now, plus higher mortgage rates, it’s essential to have a firm grasp on your homebuying budget. You’ll also need a sense of determination to find the right house and act quickly when you go to put in an offer. One thing you can do to help you prepare is to get pre-approved.
To understand why it’s such an important step, you need to know what pre-approval is. As part of the process, a lender looks at your finances to determine what they’d be willing to loan you. From there, your lender will give you a pre-approval letter to help you understand how much money you can borrow.
Freddie Mac explains it like this:
“A pre-approval is an indication from your lender that they are willing to lend you a certain amount of money to buy your future home. . . . Keep in mind that the loan amount in the pr. ...

Thursday, April 20, 2023   /   by Courtney Mazal

Your Tax Refund Can Help You Achieve Your Homebuying Goals

Your Tax Refund Can Help You Achieve Your Homebuying Goals


Have you been saving up to buy a home this year? If so, you know there are a variety of expenses involved – from your down payment to closing costs. But there’s good news – your tax refund can help you achieve your goals by paying for some of these expenses.
SmartAsset estimates the average American will receive a $1,798 tax refund this year. The map below provides a more detailed estimate by state:
According to Freddie Mac, there are multiple ways your refund check can help you as a homebuyer. If you’re getting a refund this year and thinking about buying a home, here are a few tips to keep:
Saving for a down payment – One of the largest barriers to homeownership is saving for a down payment. You could reach your savings goal more quickly than expected by using your tax refund to help with your down payment.
Paying for closing costs – You have to pay fees to your lender, real estate. ...

Tuesday, April 18, 2023   /   by Courtney Mazal

Think Twice Before Waiting for Lower Home Prices

Think Twice Before Waiting for Lower Home Prices


As the housing market continues to change, you may be wondering where it’ll go from here. One factor you’re probably thinking about is home prices, which have come down a bit since they peaked last June. And you’ve likely heard something in the news or on social media about a price crash on the horizon. As a result, you may be holding off on buying a home until prices drop significantly. But that’s not the best strategy.
A recent survey from Zonda shows 53% of millennials are still renting right now because they’re waiting for home prices to come down. But here’s the thing: the most recent data shows that home prices appear to have bottomed out and are now on the rise again. Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, reports:
“U.S. home prices rose by 0.8% in February . . . indicating that prices in most markets have already bottomed out.”
And the latest data from Black Knight shows . ...
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