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Don’t Let the Latest Home Price Headlines Confuse You

Based on what you’re hearing in the news about home prices, you may be worried they’re falling. But here’s the thing. The headlines aren’t giving you the full picture. This is even more true in Brunswick County, North Carolina, even more so in the Southport and Oak Island NC area!

If you look at the national data for 2023, home prices actually showed positive growth for the year. While this varies by market, and while there were some months with slight declines nationally, those were the exception, not the rule. The trusted Realtors at Southport Oak Island Realty Group, know the truth about the Oak Island NC and Southport NC home prices and sales data.

The overarching story is that prices went up last year, not down. Let’s dive into the data to set the record straight. 

2023 Was the Return to More Normal Home Price Growth

If anything, last year marked a return to more normal home price appreciation. To prove it, here’s what usually happens in residential real estate in Southport North Carolina, Oak Island North Carolina as well as nationally.

In the housing market, there are predictable ebbs and flows that take place each year. It’s called seasonality. It goes like this. Spring is the peak homebuying season when the market is most active. That activity is usually still strong in the summer, but begins to wane toward the end of the year. Home prices follow along with this seasonality because prices grow the most when there’s high demand.

The graph below uses data from Case-Shiller to show how this pattern played out in home prices from 1973 through 2022 (not adjusted, so you can see the seasonality):

As the data shows, for nearly 50 years, home prices match typical market seasonality. At the beginning of the year, home prices grow more moderately. That’s because the market is less active as fewer people move in January and February. Then, as the market transitions into the peak homebuying season in the spring, activity ramps up. That means home prices do too. Then, as fall and winter approach, activity eases again and prices grow, just at a slower rate.

Now, let’s layer the data that’s come out for 2023 so far (shown in green) on top of that long-term trend (still shown in blue). That way, it’s easy to see how 2023 compares.

As the graph shows, moving through the year in 2023, the level of appreciation fell more in line with the long-term trend for what usually happens in the housing market. You can see that in how close the green bars come to matching the blue bars in the later part of the year.

But the headlines only really focused on the two bars outlined in red. Here’s the context you may not have gotten that can really put those two bars into perspective. The long-term trend shows it’s normal for home prices to moderate in the fall and winter. That’s typical seasonality.

And since the 49-year average is so close to zero during those months (0.10%), that also means it’s not unusual for home prices to drop ever so slightly during those times. But those are just blips on the radar. If you look at the year as a whole, home prices still rose overall. That is why the Realtors in Oak Island North Carolina, Realtors in Southport, North Carolina and the Realtors at Southport Oak Island Realty Group.

What You Really Need To Know

Headlines are going to call attention to the small month-to-month dips instead of the bigger year-long picture. And that can be a bit misleading because it’s only focused on one part of the whole story.

Instead, remember last year we saw the return of seasonality in the housing market – and that’s a good thing after home prices skyrocketed unsustainably during the ‘unicorn’ years of the pandemic.

And just in case you’re still worried home prices will fall, don’t be. Realtors on Oak Island NC know the expectation for this year is that prices will continue to appreciate as buyers re-enter the market due to mortgage rates trending down compared to last year. As Southport, NC and Oak Island, NC home buyer demand goes up and more people move around the Brunswick County NC area at the same time the supply of homes for sale is still low, the upward pressure on prices will continue. While Realtors on Oak Island, NC and Realtors in Southport, NC cant say so sure what is going to happen, Southport Oak Island Realty Group have seen that home sellers are getting the higher prices they are demanding as of now.

Bottom Line

Don’t let home price headlines confuse you. The data shows that, as a whole, home prices rose in 2023. If you have questions about what you’re hearing in the news or about what’s happening with home prices in our local area, connect with the top selling Realtors at Southport Oak Island Realty Group, Oak Island Realtors.

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Why So Many People Fall in Love with Home ownership

Chances are at some point in your life you’ve heard the phrase, home is where the heart is. There’s a reason that’s said so often. Becoming a homeowner is emotional and is even more true in Southport and Oak Island North Carolina! So, if you’re trying to decide if you’re ready to buy a home this year, here’s why it’s so easy to fall in love with homeownership in the Southport and Oak Island area.

Customizing to Your Heart’s Desire

Your house should be a space that’s uniquely you. And, if you’re a renter, that can be hard to achieve. When you rent, the paint colors are usually the standard shade of white, you don’t have much control over the upgrades, and you’ve got to be careful how many holes you put in the walls. But when you’re a homeowner, you have a lot more freedom. As the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:
“The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your coastal lifestyle.”
Whether you want to paint the walls a cheery bright color or go for a dark moody tone, you can match your interior to your vibe. Imagine how it would feel to come home at the end of the day and walk into a space that feels like you.

Greater Stability for the Ones You Love Most

One of the hardest things about renting is the uncertainty of what happens at the end of your lease. Does your payment go up so much that you have to move? What if your landlord decides to sell the property? It’s like you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Jeff Ostrowski, a business journalist covering real estate and the economy, explains how homeownership can give you more peace of mind in a Money Geek article:
“Homeownership means you are the boss and have the biggest say in your lifestyle and family decisions. Suppose your kids are in public school and you don’t want to risk having them change schools because your landlord doesn’t renew your lease. Owning a home would remove much of the risk of having to move.”

A Feeling of Belonging

You may also find you feel much more at home in the community once you own a house. That’s because, when you buy a home, you’re staking a claim and saying, I’m a part of this community. You’ll have neighbors, block parties, and more. And that’ll give you the feeling of being a part of something bigger. As the International Housing Association explains:
“. . . homeowning households are more socially involved in community affairs than their renting counterparts. This is due to both the fact that homeowners expect to remain in the community for a longer period of time and that homeowners have an ownership stake in the neighborhood.”

The Emotional High of Achieving Your Dream

Becoming a homeowner in the Southport or Oak Island NC area is a journey – and it may have been a long road to get to the point where you’re ready to take the plunge. If you’re seriously considering leaving behind your rental and making this commitment, you should know the emotions that come with this owning a home are powerful. You’ll be able to walk up to your front door every day and have that sense of accomplishment welcome you to your beach home.

Bottom Line

A home is a place that reflects who you are, a safe space for the ones you love the most, and a reflection of all you’ve accomplished. Let’s connect if you’re ready to break up with your rental and buy a home.
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Bridging the Gaps on the Road to Homeownership

Homeownership is a major part of the American Dream, which is even more true at the beach near Southport and Oak Island NC. But, the path to achieving this dream in the Southport and Oak Island NC area can be quite difficult. While progress has been made to improve fair housing access, households of color still face unique challenges on the road to owning a home. Working with the right real estate experts in Brunswick County North Carolina can make all the difference for diverse buyers. It’s clear that achieving homeownership is more challenging for certain groups because there’s still a measurable gap between the overall average U.S. homeownership rate and that of non-white groups. Today, Black households continue to have the lowest homeownership rate nationally (see graph below):
Homeownership is an important part of building household wealth that can be passed down to future generations. According to a report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), almost half of Black homebuyers in 2023 were first-time buyers. That means many didn’t have home equity they could use toward their home purchase. That financial hurdle alone makes buying a home more challenging, especially at a time when affordability is a major concern for first-time buyers. Jessica Lautz, Deputy Chief Economist at NAR says:
“It’s an incredibly difficult market for all home buyers right now, especially first-time home buyers and especially first-time home buyers of color.”
Because of these challenges, there are several down payment assistance programs specifically aimed at helping minority buyers fulfill their homeownership dreams in the Southport and Oak Island North Carolina area:
  • The 3By30 program offers valuable resources for Black buyers, making it easier for them to secure a down payment and buy a home.
  • For Native Americans, Down Payment Resource highlights 42 U.S. homebuyer assistance programs across 14 states that make homeownership more attainable by providing support with down payments and other costs.
  • Fannie Mae provides down payment assistance to eligible first-time homebuyers living in Latino communities.
Even if you don’t qualify for these programs, there are many other federal, state, and local options in Brunswick County North Carolina available to look into. And a real estate professional with Southport Oak Island Realty Group can help you find the ones that best meet your needs. For minority homebuyers, the challenges that remain can be a point of pain and frustration. That’s why it’s so important for members of diverse groups to have the right team of experts and the right Realtor on their sides throughout the homebuying process. These professionals aren’t only experienced advisors who understand the market and give the best advice, they’re also compassionate educators who will advocate for your best interests every step of the way in your home buying process in Southport and Oak Island North Carolina.

Bottom Line

Southport Oak Island Realty Group is here to help home ownership possible for everyone! Contact one of our expert Realtors to help make you home ownership dreams come true! Let’s connect to make sure you have the information and support you need as you walk the path to home ownership.
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Why Pre-Approval Is Even More Important This Year

On the road to becoming a homeowner in the Southport or Oak Island NC area? If so, you may have heard the term pre-approval get tossed around. Let’s break down what it is and why it’s important if you’re looking to buy a home in 2024 within the Southport and Oak Island North Carolina area.

What Pre-Approval Is

As part of the homebuying process, wheteher in the Southport and Oak Island area, or elsewhere, your lender will look at your finances to figure out what they’re willing to loan you. According to Investopedia, this includes things like your W-2, tax returns, credit score, bank statements, and more.

From there, they’ll 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 pre-approval letter is the lender’s maximum offer. Ultimately, you should only borrow an amount you are comfortable repaying.”

Now, that last piece is especially important. While home affordability in the Southport and Oak Island North Carolina area is getting better, it’s still tight. So, getting a good idea of what you can borrow can help you really wrap your head around the financial side of things. It doesn’t mean you should borrow the full amount. It just tells you what you can borrow from that lender.

This sets you up to make an informed decision about your numbers. That way you’re able to tailor your Southport and Oak Island NC home search to what you’re actually comfortable with budget-wise and can act fast when you find a home you love.

Why Pre-Approval Is So Important in 2024

If you want to buy a beach home in the Southport area this year, there’s another reason you’re going to want to be sure you’re working with a trusted lender to make this a priority.

While more homes in Southport and Oak Island North Carolina area are being listed for sale, the overall number of available homes is still below the norm. At the same time, the recent downward trend in mortgage rates compared to last year is bringing more buyers back into the market. That imbalance of more demand than supply creates a bit of a tug-of-war for you.

It means you’ll likely find you have more competition from other buyers as more and more people who were sitting on the sidelines waiting to buy a beach house when mortgage rates were higher decide to jump back in. But pre-approval can help with that too.

Pre-approval shows sellers you mean business because you’ve already undergone a credit and financial check. As Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate, says:

“Preapproval carries more weight because it means lenders have actually done more than a cursory review of your credit and your finances, but have instead reviewed your pay stubs, tax returns and bank statements. A preapproval means you’ve cleared the hurdles necessary to be approved for a mortgage up to a certain dollar amount.”

Sellers of beach homes love that because that makes it more likely the sale will move forward without unexpected delays or issues. And if you may be competing with another buyer to land your dream beach home, why wouldn’t you do this to help stack the deck in your favor?

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to buy a beach home in or near Southport or Oak Island NC in 2024, know that getting pre-approved is going to be a key piece of the puzzle. With lower mortgage rates bringing more buyers back into the beach house market, this can help you make a strong offer that stands out from the crowd.

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Houses Are Still Selling Fast

Have you been thinking about selling your house in the Southport or Oak Island North Carolina area? If so, here’s some good news. While the housing market isn’t as frenzied as it was during the ‘unicorn’ years when houses were selling quicker than ever, they’re still selling faster than normal.

The graph below uses data from Realtor.com to tell the story of median days on the market for every January from 2017 all the way through the latest numbers available. For Realtor.com, days on the market means from the time a house is listed for sale until its closing date or the date it’s taken off the market. This metric can help give you an idea of just how quickly homes are selling compared to more normal years:

When you look at the most recent data (shown in green), it’s clear homes are selling faster than they usually would (shown in blue). In fact, the only years when houses sold even faster than they are right now were the abnormal ‘unicorn’ years (shown in pink). According to Realtor.com:

“Homes spent 69 days on the market, which is three days shorter than last year and more than two weeks shorter than before the COVID-19 pandemic.”

What Does This Mean for You?

Homes in the Southport and Oak Island area are selling faster than the norm for this time of year – and your house may sell quickly too. That’s because more people are looking to buy now that mortgage rates have come down, but there still aren’t enough homes to go around. Mike Simonsen, Founder of Altos Research, says:

“. . . 2024 is starting stronger than last year. And demand is increasing each week.”

Bottom Line

If you’re wondering if it’s a good time to sell your home, the most recent data suggests it is. The housing market appears to be stronger than it usually is at this time of year. To get the latest updates on what’s happening in our local market, let’s connect. Contact us today!

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Buyer demand on the rise already for 2024!

best buyers agent in oak island nc

2024 is already off to a strong start. We are seeing a major increase of demand for homes in Southport and Oak Island North Carolina, it’s a great time to get your house in front of potential buyers. If the thought of selling has crossed your mind, this could be your golden opportunity to make a move. Let’s get your house sold!

Southport Oak Island Realty Group is here to help you through the home selling process, no matter what stage you are at. We know the Southport North Carolina and Oak Island North Carolina markets are unlike any other in the country. While yes we are just another beach town to some, we here at Southport Oak Island Realty Group know different!

Whether you are trying to move off of Oak Island, NC to the mainland, upgrading homes on the Island or moving into another phase of life we are here to help get you the most money for the sale of your home in the Southport and Oak Island North Carolina area.

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2 of the Factors That Impact Mortgage Rates

question marks with logo for southport oak island realty group in southport and oak island north carolina

If you’re looking to buy a home in the Southport or Oak Island North Carolina area, you’ve probably been paying close attention to mortgage rates. Over the last couple of years, they hit record lows, rose dramatically, and are now dropping back down a bit. Ever wonder why?

The answer is complicated because there’s a lot that can influence mortgage rates. Here are just a few of the most impactful factors at play.

Inflation and the Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve (Fed) doesn’t directly determine mortgage rates. But the Fed does move the Federal Funds Rate up or down in response to what’s happening with inflation, the economy, employment rates, and more. As that happens, mortgage rates tend to respond. Business Insider explains:

The Federal Reserve slows inflation by raising the federal funds rate, which can indirectly impact mortgages. High inflation and investor expectations of more Fed rate hikes can push mortgage rates up. If investors believe the Fed may cut rates and inflation is decelerating, mortgage rates will typically trend down.”

Over the last couple of years, the Fed raised the Federal Fund Rate to try to fight inflation and, as that happened, mortgage rates jumped up, too. Fortunately, the expert outlook for inflation and mortgage rates is that both should become more favorable over the course of the year. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.com, says:

“[M]ortgage rates will continue to ease in 2024 as inflation improves . . .”

There’s even talk the Fed may actually cut the Fed Funds Rate this year because inflation is cooling, even though it’s not yet back to their ideal target.

The 10-Year Treasury Yield

Additionally, mortgage companies look at the 10-Year Treasury Yield to decide how much interest to charge on home loans. If the yield goes up, mortgage rates usually go up, too. The opposite is also true. According to Investopedia:

“One frequently used government bond benchmark to which mortgage lenders often peg their interest rates is the 10-year Treasury bond yield.”

Historically, the spread between the 10-Year Treasury Yield and the 30-year fixed mortgage rate has been fairly consistent, but that’s not the case recently. That means, there’s room for mortgage rates to come down. So, keeping an eye on which way the treasury yield is trending can give experts an idea of where mortgage rates may head next.

Bottom Line

With the Fed meeting later this week, experts in the industry and Southport Oak Island Realty Group will be keeping a close watch to see what they decide and what impact it’ll have on the economy. To navigate any mortgage rate changes and their impact on your moving plans, it’s best to have a team of professionals on your side. While mortgage rates affect the whole nation, in Southport and Oak Island North Carolina, we here at Southport Oak Island Realty Group take pride on watching every aspect of the market, including interest rates!

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Will a Silver Tsunami Change the 2024 Housing Market?

Have you ever heard the term “Silver Tsunami” and wondered what it’s all about? If so, that might be because there’s been lot of talk about it online recently. Let’s dive into what it is and why it won’t drastically impact the housing market in the Southport NC or Oak Island NC markets.

What Does Silver Tsunami Mean?

A recent article from HousingWire calls it:

“. . . a colloquialism referring to aging Americans changing their housing arrangements to accommodate aging . . .”

The thought is that as baby boomers grow older, a significant number will start downsizing their homes. Considering how large that generation is, if these moves happened in a big wave, it would affect the housing market by causing a significant uptick in the number of larger homes for sale. That influx of homes coming onto the market would impact the balance of supply and demand and more.

The concept makes sense in theory, but will it happen in Southport? And if so, when?

Why It Won’t Have a Huge Impact on the Housing Market in 2024

Experts say, so far, a silver tsunami hasn’t happened – and it probably won’t anytime soon. According to that same article from HousingWire:

“. . . the silver tsunami’s transformative potential for the U.S. housing market has not yet materialized in any meaningful way, and few expect it to anytime soon.”

Here’s just one reason why. Many baby boomers don’t want to move to Southport or Oak Island, NC. Data from the AARP shows over half of the surveyed adults ages 65 and up plan to stay put and age in place in their current home rather than move (see chart below):

Clearly, not every baby boomer is planning to sell or move – and even those who do won’t do it all at once, which is not too good of new for Southport and Oak Island NC Realtors. Instead, it will be more gradual, happening slowly over time. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, says:

Demographics are never a tsunami. The baby boomer generation is almost two decades of births. That means they’re going to take about two decades to work their way through.”

Bottom Line

If you’re worried about a Silver Tsunami shaking up the housing market, don’t be. Southport NC Realtors know any impact from baby boomers moving will be gradual over many years. Fleming sums it up best:

 

“Demographic trends, they don’t tsunami. They trickle.”

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Why You May Want to consider a Newly Built Home!

selling your home in southport or oak isand nc?

Are you putting off your plans to sell your home in the Southport NC or Oak Island NC area because you are worried you won’t be able to find a home you like when you move? If so, it may be time to consider a newly built home and the benefits that come with one. Here is why.

Near-Record Percentage of New Home Inventory

Newly built homes are becoming an increasingly significant part of today’s housing inventory, this is certainly true in Brunswick County NC, specifically Bolivia, NC. According to the most recent report from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB):

Newly built homes available for sale accounted for 31% of total homes available for sale in November, compared to an approximate 12% historical average.”

That means the percentage of the total homes available to buy that are newly built is well over two times higher than the norm. And even more new homes are on the way.

Recent data from the Census shows there has been an uptick in both housing starts (where builders break ground on more new homes) and housing completions (homes where construction just wrapped).

And while some people may worry builders are building too many homes, that is not a concern – if anything, the recent increase is good news. As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

“Even more home building will be needed with the housing shortage persisting in most markets . . . Another 30% rise in home construction can easily be absorbed in the marketplace . . .”

How This Helps You 

Since the supply of existing home that are for sale in Southport NC and Oak Island NC is low right now, the increase of new-home construction can be a game changer because it gives you more options for your search.

Picture yourself in a home that is new from the ground up: new appliances, fresh paint, fewer maintenance needs because everything is new, and so much more. Doesn’t that sound nice?

And it may be more within reach than you ever imagined. In addition, some builders are offering things like mortgage rate buy-downs for homebuyers right now. This can help offset today’s affordability challenges while also getting you into your dream home. In a recent article, Patrick Duffy, Senior Real Estate Economist at U.S. News, explains:

“Builders have been using mortgage interest rate buydowns for many years as a sales incentive whenever interest rates are relatively high, . . .Today more builders are offering rate buydowns for the entirety of the loan, allowing buyers to finance more home for the same payment amount.”

Just remember, the process of buying from a builder is different from buying from a home seller, so it’s important to partner with a trusted real estate agent who knows the local market. They’ll be your go-to resource for coordinating with the builder, reviewing contracts, and more.

Bottom Line

If you’re trying to sell so you can make a move but you’re having a hard time finding a home you like, connect with our local real estate agents at Southport Oak Island Realty Group to explore all of your options, including the newly built homes in the Brunswick County NC, Southport NC and Oak Island NC area’s!

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Worried About Home Prices and Where They Are Going?

estimatedHomes prices over the next few years in southport nc
  • If you’re worried about what’s next for home prices in Southport NC and Oak Island NC areas, experts are projecting they’ll continue to rise at least through 2028!!!
  • Based on that forecast, if you buy a $400,000 house this year in Oak Island NC or Southport, NC, experts say it could gain over $72,000 in equity over the next five years.
  • If you are worried about falling home prices, do not be. Experts keep stating that they’ll keep rising for years to come. If you want to know more, ask one of our local real estate agents at Southport Oak Island Realty Group. We are now known as the Real Estate experts in the Southport NC, Oak Island NC and Bolivia NC areas!
  • Did you know that Brunswick County NC is now the number one fastest growing county in the United States?
  • We are Realtors here to help you purchase the property you want, at the right price!

If you are thinking about buying or selling you Southport NC or Oak Island NC home soon, you probably want to know what you can expect from real estate and housing market in 2024. In 2023, higher mortgage rates, confusion over pricing, and a lack of homes for sale created some challenges for buyers and sellers looking to make a move.

But what is on the horizon for the Brunswick County NC Real Estate Market in the new year????

The good news is, experts are optimistic we have turned a corner and are headed in a positive direction as far the future of the real estate market in the Brunswick County North Carolina and specifically the Southport NC and Oak Island NC areas!

Mortgage Rates Expected to begin to Ease in 2024, and have already!

Recently, mortgage rates have started to come back down. This has offered hope to buyers dealing with affordability challenges.

Jessica Lautz, Deputy Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), states:

“For home buyers who are taking on a mortgage to purchase a home and have been wary of the autumn rise in mortgage rates, the market is turning more favorable, and there should be optimism entering 2024 for a better market.”

The Supply of Homes for Sale in Brunswick County NC Will Grow

As rates ease, activity in the housing market should pick up because more buyers and sellers who had been holding off will jump back into action. If more sellers list, the supply of homes for sale will increase! We have already started to see this year, and its only January!  On top of that, Brunswick County NC, Southport NC, Oak Island NC and Bolivia NC have massive amounts of new home construction.

 Home Price Growth Should Begin To Moderate

Mortgage rates pulling back is not the only positive sign for the Brunswick County NC housing market. Home pricing, even in the rapidly growing Southport NC, Oak Island NC and Brunswick County NC area is expected to moderate too, as inventory improves but is still low overall.

In summation, experts project 2024 will be a better year for the housing market in Southport Nc and Oak Island NC. So, if you’re thinking about making a move to Brunswick County NC this year, know that early signs show we’re turning a corner.

So What Is The Bottom Line?

Experts are very optimistic about what 2024 holds for the housing market. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in the new year, the best way to ensure you’re up to date on the latest forecasts is to partner with a trusted real estate agent at Southport Oak Island Realty Group, Brunswick County’s Top Real Estate Agency. Proudly Serving Southport NC, Oak Island NC, Boiling Spring Lakes NC and Bolivia North Carolina.