How an Expert Can Help You Understand Inflation & Mortgage Rates

If you’re following today’s housing market, you know two of the top issues consumers face are inflation and mortgage rates. Let’s take a look at each one.

Inflation and the Housing Market

This year, inflation reached a high not seen in forty years. For the average consumer, you probably felt the pinch at the gas pump and in the grocery store. It may have even impacted your ability to save money to buy a home.

While the Federal Reserve is working hard to lower inflation, the August data shows the inflation rate was still higher than expected. This news impacted the stock market and fueled conversations about a recession. It also played a role in the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise the Federal Funds Rate last week. As Bankrate says:

“. . . the Fed has raised rates again, announcing yet another three-quarter-point hike on September 21 . . . The hikes are designed to cool an economy that has been on fire. . .”

While their actions don’t directly dictate what happens with mortgage rates, their decisions have contributed to the intentional cooldown in the housing market. A recent article from Fortune explains:

“As the Federal Reserve moved into inflation-fighting mode, financial markets quickly put upward pressure on mortgage rates. Those elevated mortgage rates . . . coupled with sky-high home prices, threw cold water onto the housing boom.”

The Impact on Rising Mortgage Rates

Over the past few months, mortgage rates have fluctuated in light of growing economic pressures. Most recently, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate according to Freddie Mac ticked above 6% for the first time in well over a decade (see graph below):

How an Expert Can Help You Understand Inflation & Mortgage Rates | MyKCM

The mortgage rate increases this year are the big reason buyer demand has pulled back in recent months. Basically, as rates (and home prices) rose, so did the cost of buying a home. That pushed on affordability and priced some buyers out of the market, so home sales slowed and the inventory of homes for sale grew as a result.

Where Experts Say Rates and Inflation Will Go from Here

Moving forward, both of these factors will continue to impact the housing market. A recent article from CNET puts the relationship between inflation and mortgage rates in simple terms:

“As a general rule, when inflation is low, mortgage rates tend to be lower. When inflation is high, rates tend to be higher.”

Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, has this to say about where rates may go from here:

“Mortgage rates remained volatile due to the tug of war between inflationary pressures and a clear slowdown in economic growth. The high uncertainty surrounding inflation and other factors will likely cause rates to remain variable, . . .”

While there’s no way to say with certainty where mortgage rates will go from here, there is something you can do to stay informed, and that’s connect with a trusted real estate advisor. They keep their pulse on what’s happening today and help you understand what the experts are projecting. They can provide you with the best advice possible.

Bottom Line

Rising inflation and higher mortgage rates have had a clear impact on housing. For expert insights on the latest trends in the housing market and what they mean for you, reach out to Terry Belt and The Belt Team and let our 30+ years of experience work for you!

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

Pumpkin Patches and Fall Festivals in Northern Virginia

Now that Fall is here, it’s time to get out, celebrate and find that perfect pumpkin! Before you go, be sure to read below about some favorite Fall Festivals and pumpkin patches in the Northern Virginia area (and a little beyond). Let us know in the comments if you have any to add! Oh how we love fall in Virginia….

DePaul’s Urban Farm, 2599 Chain Bridge Road, Vienna, VA

Beautiful pumpkin patch, wide variety of mums, delicious apples, apple cider, Kettle Korn and more!

Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Reston Farms Garden Market Fall Fest 2022, 10800 Baron Cameron Avenue, Reston, VA

Open September 24 – October 30th. Tons of activities, fun and food! Visit their website to purchase tickets (tickets include access to the bounce houses, games, train ride, petting zoo and a free pumpkin for each paid child’s ticket). Extras (like balloon and face painting, animal feed, etc) can be purchased at a reduced cost).

Hours: Daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Meadows Farms Nurseries, various locations (visit the website for addresses)

Open October 1st – October 31st. Includes a pumpkin patch, moon bounce, giant “scarecrow”, haunted buses, straw mazes and more! They also have decorative gourds, face pumpkins, cornstalks, mini hay bales, straw, and various other Halloween décor.

Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday

Merrifield Garden Center, 8132 Lee Highway, Falls Church, VA or 12101 Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA

Pumpkins, wide variety of mums and other fall annuals, Fall and Halloween decor.

Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday

Krop’s Crops, 11110 Georgetown Pike, Great Falls, VA

Hayrides to the pumpkin patch, Winchester apples, fresh-pressed apple cider, fall squash and gourds, harvest and Halloween decorations, farm animals and a corn bin to play in.

Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Walk-in hayrides to pumpkin patch available weekends in October from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cox Farms Fall Festival, 15621 Braddock Rd, Centreville, VA

Open September 24th – November 8th. World-famous hayride, corny Conundrum, slides and more. Visit their website for more details and purchase tickets.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (5 p.m. in November), last entry one hour before closing. Festival open Thursday through Monday weekly. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday (except Tues, Nov 8th) but Market is open daily.

Burke Nursery & Garden Centre Fall Farm Market & Pumpkin Patch, 9401 Burke Road, Burke VA

Open October 1st – October 31st. Enjoy a pumpkin patch with Halloween-inspired backdrops, Halloween decorations, apples, gourds, hot chocolate, apple cider donuts and more! Pony rides offered Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday

Pumpkin Village, 19246 James Monroe Hwy, Leesburg VA

Open September 17th – November 6th. Fall Fest is full of family activities…hill slides, Kiddie zip line, pony rides, hay maze, moon bounces, wagon rides, pedal carts, weekend entertainment and more. Visit their website to see additional activities offered on weekends and Columbus Day and to get ticket information.

Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday & Thursday (closed Tuesdays). 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday. 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. OR 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (and Columbus Day).

Wayside Farm Fun, 5273 Harry Byrd Highway (Route 7), Berryville, VA

Open September 24th – October 30th. “Whether you are here to find the perfect pumpkin for carving Jack-o-lanterns, to find your way through our 10-acre corn maze, or to take in the scenery of our grounds while the kids enjoy all of our activities, our fun farm has something for everyone!” General admission information on their website.

Hours: Thursday – Sunday & Columbus Day (Oct 10)

Great Country Farms Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival, 34345 Snickersville Turnpike, Bluemont, VA

Open October 1st -October 31st. Many activities to choose from! Including…picking pumpkins, corn maze, pig races, cider pressing demonstrations, roasting marshmallows, barn animals, wagon rides and more! Visit their website for all activities (some offered on weekends only) and tickets information.

Hours: Daily 10am-5pm, weekends 9am-5pm (last entry to pick your own at 4pm)

Will My House Still Sell in Today’s Market?

If recent headlines about the housing market cooling and buyer demand moderating have you worried you’ve missed your chance to sell, here’s what you need to know. Buyer demand hasn’t disappeared, it’s just eased from the peak intensity we saw over the past two years.

Buyer Demand Then and Now

During the pandemic, mortgage rates hit record lows, and that spurred a significant rise in buyer demand. This year, as rates increased due to factors like rising inflation, buyer demand pulled back or softened as a result. The latest data from ShowingTime confirms this trend (see graph below):

Will My House Still Sell in Today’s Market? | MyKCM

The orange bars in the graph above represent the last few months of data and the clear cooldown in the volume of home showings the market has seen since mortgage rates started to rise. But context is important. To get the full picture of where today’s demand stands, let’s look at the July data for the past six years (see graph below):

Will My House Still Sell in Today’s Market? | MyKCM

This second visual makes it clear that, while moderating compared to the frenzy in 2020 and 2021, showing activity is still beating pre-pandemic levels – and those pre-pandemic years were great years for the housing market. That goes to show there’s still demand if you sell your house today.

What That Means for You When You Sell

The key to selling in a changing market is understanding where the housing market is now. It’s not the same market we had last year or even earlier this year, but that doesn’t mean the opportunity to sell has passed.

While things have cooled a bit, it’s still a sellers’ market. If you work with a trusted local expert to price your house at the current market valuethe demand is still there, and it should sell quickly. According to a recent survey from realtor.com, 92% of homeowners who sold in August reported being satisfied with the outcome of their sale.

Bottom Line

Buyer demand hasn’t disappeared, it’s just moderated this year. If you’re ready to sell your house today, let’s connect so you have expert insights on how the market has shifted and how to plan accordingly for your sale.

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

Wondering what your home is worth? Click Here for a FREE INSTANT home valuation!

Home Sale Statistics in Northern Virginia – August 2022

While the Northern Virginia Region remains in a Seller’s Market, we did see some slowing at the end of the summer.  Possible factors contributing to this include rising mortgage rates, inflation and economic uncertainty.  Low inventory remains an issue across our area and continues to be down year-over-year.  Also down more significantly at the end of August (compared to the same time last year) were the number of new homes coming on the market as well as the number going under contract.  However, sales prices are still up.   

Northern Virginia August 2022 home sales:

2,840 homes went under contract in the region. This is down 30% from the same time period in 2021.

47% of the homes that went to settlement in August 2022, sold in 10 days or less from when they hit the market.

• Average sold price was $676,011 (up 4.7% from the same time period in 2021).

3,300 homes came on the market. That’s down 29% from August 2021.

• Homes that sold (closed) averaged 18 days on market, 3 days slower than in August of 2021.

• There is currently a 1.1 month supply of homes (remember, in a balanced market – the demand from buyers equals the supply from sellers – there is a 5-6 months supply) in the Northern Virginia – and 3,750 homes for sale (townhouse, condo and single-family).

OVERALL: Northern Virginia remained in a Seller’s Market. Inventory decreased from the prior month and was down 4.6% year-over-year.  The number of homes going under contract and new homes coming on the market decreased as well…and both of these numbers continue to be down significantly from this time last year.  Average sold price was down from July but was up slightly compared to August last year.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, please reach out to The Belt Team and let us help you navigate this unprecedented market.

(703) 242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | or fill out our Contact Us form

To see what the conditions are like in your community, click on the link to your desired city below! 

Vienna: August 2022 Home Sales

Oakton: August 2022 Home Sales 

McLean: August 2022 Home Sales 

Great Falls: August 2022 Home Sales 

Reston: August 2022 Home Sales 

Falls Church: August 2022 Home Sales 

Arlington: August 2022 Home Sales

Alexandria: August 2022 Home Sales  

*Data compiled from SmartCharts, MarketStats by ShowingTime, whose data comes directly from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

2022 Fall Foliage Prediction Map

It’s that time of year again…time to start planning your leaf-peeping for the fall! If you are a fan of fall like we are, you’ll be excited to know that SmokyMountains.com has released it’s annual interactive fall foliage prediction map!

The 2022 Fall Foliage Map is the ultimate visual planning guide to the annual progressive changing of the leaves. While no tool can be 100% accurate, this tool is meant to help travelers better time their trips to have the best opportunity of catching peak color each year.

SmokyMountains.com

“What started as a fun side-project quickly became the most respected nationwide fall leaf map and one of the best fall resources in the country,” says David Angotti, the map’s creator, to Travel + Leisure’s Stacey Leasca. “Now, tens of millions of people use our map each year to plan vacations, weddings and photography trips.”

According to the Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia generally peaks between October 10th and 31st but can vary year to year based on things like temperatures, rain, wind, etc. As seen on the map below, between October 24th and the 31st is predicted to be peak for much of Virginia this year.

Some top spots to view fall colors in Virginia include:

Shenandoah National Park

Whitetop Mountain

Potomac Heritage Trail

And…head over to the Virginia.org’s travel blog to see many more options for leaf viewing throughout the state!

Some fun facts about autumn leaves:

  1. Why do leaves change their color? Both chlorophyll and carotenoids are present in the chloroplasts of leaf cells throughout the growing season. During this time, chlorophyll is produced and broken down, and leaves appear green. As days get shorter, chlorophyll production slows down until it stops. The green color is no longer visible, and other pigments present (carotenoids) with the chlorophyll are then revealed. During autumn, bright light and excess plant sugars produce anthocyanins within leaf cells.
  2. Why do leaves fall? In order to cope with the harsh winter temperatures, trees slowly close off the veins that carry water and nutrients to and from the leaves with a layer of new cells that form at the base of the leaf stem, protecting the limbs and body of the tree. Once this process is done, water and nutrients no longer flow to and from the leaf enabling the leaf to die and weaken at the stem, eventually falling gracefully to the ground.
  3. What happens to fallen leaves? When leaves fall to the ground, they begin to break down and eventually create a rich humus on the forest floor that absorbs dew and rainfall. This nutrient rich ‘sponge’ acts as a continual source of nutrients and water for trees and plants, helping to promote life and plant health in the next spring season.

Additional resources:

So get your calendars out and start planning this year’s fall foliage trip! And let us know your favorite place to view the autumn colors!

Sources: SmokyMountains.com; VA Department of Forestry; TravelandLeisure.com; Virginia.org

Expert Forecasts on Mortgage Rates

If you’ve been thinking of buying a home, you may have been watching what’s happened with mortgage rates over the past year. It’s true they’ve risen dramatically, but where will they go from here, especially as the market continues to slow?

As you think about your homeownership goals and decide if now’s the time to make your move, the best place to turn to for that information is the professionals. Here’s a summary of the latest mortgage rate forecasts from housing market experts.

Experts Project Mortgage Rates Will Stabilize

While mortgage rates continue to fluctuate due to ongoing inflationary pressures and economic uncertainty, experts project they’ll start to stabilize in the months ahead. According to the latest projections, mortgage rates are expected to hover in the low to mid 5% range initially, and then potentially dip into the high 4% range by later next year (see chart below):

Expert Forecasts on Mortgage Rates | MyKCM

That could bring you some welcome relief. So far this year, mortgage rates have climbed over 2% due to the Federal Reserve’s response to inflation, and that’s made it more expensive to buy a home. And wondering if the rise in rates will continue is keeping some prospective buyers on the sidelines.

But now that experts say mortgage rates should stabilize, this gives you a bit more certainty about what they think the future holds, and that may help you feel more confident about your decision to buy a home.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re looking to buy your first home, move up to a larger home, or even downsize, you need to know what’s happening in the housing market so you can make the most informed decision possible.

Contact Terry Belt and The Belt Team to discuss your goals and determine the best plan for your move.

703-242-3975 | Info@TheBeltTeam.com | Contact Us

Be sure to follow our blog, as well as our pages on Facebook & Instagram and our YouTube channel, to get our updates on the real estate market, community happenings and much more!

2022 Remodeling Impact Report – NAR Research

Are you thinking about renovating or remodeling? Before you do, you might what to check this out!

Earlier this year, NAR Research released the 2022 Remodeling Impact Report. This report goes in depth into topics like…

  1. Why homeowners take on remodeling projects
  2. The outcome of these projects
  3. Increased happiness once these projects are finished
  4. Typical costs of 19 remodeling/replacement projects (estimated by NARI members)
  5. How much positive effect they have on potential buyers (according to Realtors®)
  6. Estimated cost recovery if you sell your home (estimated by Realtors®)

Do you know what interior home projects give you the biggest bang for the buck (cost recovery)?? Here are the top 3…

  1. Hardwood Flooring Refinish
  2. New Wood Flooring
  3. Insulation Upgrade

Do those surprise you? If you are wondering where your next planned project ranks, Click Here to see full report.

NAR also recently spoke with Dr. Jessica Lautz, Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights for NAR Research and got her perspective of the results. Read the full interview here.

If you are thinking about doing some renovations to get your home ready to sell but still not sure which ones make the most sense, reach out to Terry Belt to get his expert advise given your home, your market and the current market conditions. He has 30+ years of experience with homeowners in the NOVA area and would be happy to help!

703-242-3975 | Info@thebeltteam

Source: 2022 Remodeling Impact Report – National Association of REALTORS® Research Group