How’s the Housing Market?


The number one question Terry & Tom are getting at the holiday parties this season is “How’s the housing market?”. 

That is an extremely broad question in our opinion. We know you want a straight forward and direct answer, but bottom line is that it depends.  It’s kind of like the stock market. That may be a bad subject for people over the last few weeks (sorry!), but it’s very similar in the way someone would answer the question “How’s the stock market?”.

If you’re talking about the stock market, just like the housing market, there’s never a bad time to buy, generally speaking. There are always highs and lows. But we need to dig a bit deeper to discuss the market as it pertains to the person asking specifically. So, our question to them would be, “What’s your situation? Are you needing to sell, wanting to sell? Are you needing to buy, wanting to buy? These all play a role in how the market is doing in regards to their specific situation. 

If you are currently in the market to buy a home you may have seen national headlines about how strong the market is right now. What market are those headlines referring to? Be sure to check out our latest video to hear about different buyer/seller scenarios and what a healthy market looks like. 

Thinking of buying or selling or knows someone who is? We want to help anyway we can! Feel free to drop your questions in the comments or reach out to us. 

Give us a call at 703-242-3975 or Email: info@thebeltteam.com 

Buyers & Sellers – Interest Rates Remain at Historic Lows . . . But for How Long?

If you’re pondering buying or selling NOW or waiting another year or two – you might want to take note of the latest info below from Keeping Current Matters!

Interest Rates Remain at Historic Lows… But for How Long? | MyKCM

The interest rate you pay on your home mortgage has a direct impact on your monthly payment; The higher the rate, the greater your payment will be. That is why it is important to look at where the experts believe rates are headed when deciding to buy now or wait until next year.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate has fallen half a percentage point since the beginning of the year and has remained at or below 3.5% for the last 11 weeks according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

The chart below shows how far rates have fallen this year (on the left), and uses an average of the projections from Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association and National Association of Realtors (on the right). As you can see, interest rates are projected to increase steadily over the course of the next 12 months.

Mortgage Rates - 30-Year Fixed Rate | MyKCM

How Will This Impact Your Mortgage Payment?

Depending on the amount of the loan that you secure, a half of a percent (.5%) increase in interest rate can increase your monthly mortgage payment significantly.

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, national home prices have appreciated 6.0% over the last year and are predicted to be 5.4% higher next year.

If both the predictions of home prices and interest rate increases become a reality, families will wind up paying considerably more for their next home.

Bottom Line

Even a small increase in interest rate can impact your family’s wealth.


Interest rate changes don’t just affect Buyers. They affect Sellers too. As rates rise, some Homebuyers are priced out of the market they want to move into. And they decide to stay where they are. Less Buyers means less demand and more competition. And that can put a downward pressure on prices.

If you’re wondering whether you should buy now or wait – or sell now or wait – there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. There are lots of things that should factor into your decision. Interest rates are just one. Call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. Our team is one of the top teams in the entire country, with lots of resources at your disposal, and we are more than happy to consult with you and help you and your family make the RIGHT move!

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Financial Markets Are Rumbling – Should I Sell Now or Later?

Credit: KCM
Credit: KCM

As summer comes to an end, children go back to school, and the days start getting shorter – we often get calls from folks who are thinking of selling in the Spring asking us to stop by to consult with them about what does and does not need doing between now and then.

Well – in light of the current upheaval in the financial markets, our phones are ringing a little more frequently than normal. And we are happy that our clients consider us to be part of their “financial health team”.

We have set up consultations this week to discuss our clients’ short and long term plans and where real estate fits into those plans. We have advised several to stay where they are because their plans are not likely to be influenced by a normal real estate cycle. We have also advised some to move up their timetable. If you would benefit from this type of consultation, ring us at (703) 242-3975 and we’ll set up a time to visit.

Here’s what CEO Terry Belt had to say last week when a past client in Vienna inquired about meeting over Thanksgiving in anticipation of selling next Spring:

CEO The Belt Team“To the extent that your plans for selling are certain, I recommend you go on the market before Spring – some time in late January or February.  Homes sell faster and for more in recent years at that time because of less competition.  I am particularly concerned about next Spring and Summer as I believe we are topped out in the current cycle and we are at the very beginning of a shift.  The inventory in Vienna has almost doubled in the past 6 months, price appreciation has flattened, the contract price to list price ratio has deceased, days on market to sell has lengthened, and buyer/showing activity levels have decreased. The current market is still what I consider very healthy, but I do see changes coming and if interest rates nudge up and the stock market adjusts, I think the trends we are seeing here will not favor Sellers. Interestingly, Gary Keller, the chairman of our company, went on record yesterday predicting a national shift in the market that we will start to feel in the next 6-8 months and a full downturn within 2 years.  He has predicted the last 3 housing cycles in advance very accurately.”

If you would like to speak to one of our Senior Listing Specialists about today’s market – call (703) 242-3975. We are happy to leverage the wisdom and experience we have gained in the previous downturns to YOUR benefit.

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4 Reasons to Buy A Home This Summer (and why you might want to wait)

Photo credit: Keeping Current Matters
Photo credit: Keeping Current Matters

Summer is here! The temperature isn’t the only thing heating up right now, so too is the housing market! Our friends at Keeping Current Matters have given us four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting. (See below). And we would also add that there are some reasons why you might want to wait. There’s no “one-size fits all” answer.

For example, if you are in a job where it’s likely you’ll get transferred in a year or two, and you will not be in the position to hold onto the home and rent it out, you may want to wait on buying. or perhaps you are in grad school and when you graduate next year, you’ll be moving to a different part of the country.

The best thing you can do is schedule a consultation with our Lead Buyer Specialist, as well as to speak directly to a lender. (You can schedule a consult online or call Tom Reilly at (703) 629-1263.) Our market in Northern VA is beginning to shift. There are even some areas that have moved back into being a Buyer’s Market. (For example, Great Falls.) So if you’re thinking of buying, it behooves you to consult with someone who writes LOTS of contracts and has his ear tuned in to the subtle changes happening.

The consultation will include what we call “7 Steps to YOUR Dream Home” and includes things like:

  • Lifestyle interview
  • Real estate market overview
  • Review of the homebuying process
  • Needs analysis
  • Wish list
  • Why you need an advocate
  • Tips & tricks for searching

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Here are Four Reasons to Buy NOW:

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 11.8% (most pessimistic) and 26.7% (most optimistic).

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have started to inch up, most experts predict that they will begin to rise even more over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will be up approximately three quarters of a percentage point over the next 12 months.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

3. Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage

As a recent paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But, what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe it is time to buy.

BOTTOM LINE

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

3 Reasons Why NOW May Be Your Time To Move Up

If you’ve been feeling like George Jefferson and thinking about “moving on up” (maybe you’ve outgrown your house or you’re just ready for a change), here are 3 reasons why NOW might be your perfect storm:

1. You might be able to have your cake & eat it too!

Have Your Cake

If you’re selling a home in the lower or mid price ranges (under $900,000) and moving into the over $1.2 million price range – you have a small window of opportunity that is open right now. The low-mid price ranges are moving swiftly. Housing supply is uber low. And that means values are rising. (Great for you when you sell your home!) On the other hand, the speedy market has not quite reached the upper ranges yet, at least not across the board, and so you may still have a quick window to buy above $1.2 million before prices rise in the same fashion as they have in your current home’s market. If you wait to make that move up, you may sell your current home for more than you could now (assuming prices continue to rise), BUT you would end up paying a LOT more for your new home when prices rise across the board.

Example:

If you sold now, you might sell your current home for $900,000, and buy your new home for $1.3 million. If you wait until next year, prices could rise 6%, netting you an additional $54,000 on the sale of your existing home; but costing you $78,000 more on your new home. You end up losing $24,000. (Note: Last year home prices in our area actually rose 7.12%.)

2. Interest rates continue to rise

Top Realtors Northern VA

This means unless you are paying cash, the price of your new home keeps getting more & more expensive. All of the major forecasters (Mortgage Bankers Association, FHLMC, Fannie Mae, etc) are predicting interest rates to exceed 5% by 2015. That’s about 1% higher than where rates are now. Keep in mind that a 1% rise in interest rates equals a 10% decrease in home price affordability. So moving up NOW may be much better than later in terms of your mortgage payment and how much house you can buy.

3. YOLO

Take A Leap

“YOLO” is the modern version of “carpe diem”. Seize the day. You only live once. While that sounds a bit cavalier, we actually say this from experience. People often wait so long for the “perfect time” that they miss it altogether. If the reason you’re moving up is that your family has grown and you really need more space, or maybe your in-laws are aging and moving in with you, or your children are back home after college – don’t miss this opportunity. While real estate is an investment and a huge part of your financial picture, family is everything and your home is where it all happens. So call your real estate agent, analyze the numbers and if it makes sense – take the leap. Our clients often tell us they wish they had leapt a long time before they did.

If you’re thinking of moving up – or moving down – call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. We’ll walk you through the process and help you analyze the “ins & outs” – where prices are in your current neighborhood & your dream neighborhood, whether you need to buy first or sell first, how you can find homes before they hit the market – there may even be some you haven’t though of!

If you’d like to maximize profits AND make your life easier – call (703) 242-3975 and ask for Terry Belt or Kevin Kleifges. We’ll help you construct a strategy to do so.

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Terry Belt on Real Estate Radio Washington: Northern Virginia “State of The Real Estate Market”

Terry Belt, CEO of The Belt Team, and nationally known Realtor, recently guested on Real Estate Radio Washington where he was asked about the state of the Northern Virginia real estate market. The discussion centered on whether you should buy or sell now, what’s happening with mortgage interest rates and more.

Tune in now!

(And if you’re looking to refinance your mortgage OR find out how much mortgage you can qualify for, contact The Belt Team and we will connect you with our mortgage experts at Churchill Mortgage.

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