A Look Back at 2022 & Happy New Year!

Here we are at the beginning of another year…where does the time go?! The 2022 real estate market had its ups and downs but one thing that was, and remains, consistent for The Belt Team is the trust & support from all of our clients, friends and family. And for that we are grateful!

As we reflected on this past year, we thought it would be fun to put together a short video of some of our favorite moments from 2022 for you to enjoy!

Sending each and every one of you our best wishes for a happy and healthy 2023!

Terry Belt and The Belt Team

The Cost of Waiting for Mortgage Rates To Go Down

Mortgage rates have increased significantly in recent weeks. And that may mean you have questions about what this means for you if you’re planning to buy a home. Here’s some information that can help you make an informed decision when you set your homebuying plans.

The Impact of Rising Mortgage Rates

As mortgage rates rise, they impact your purchasing power by raising the cost of buying a home and limiting how much you can comfortably afford. Here’s how it works.

Let’s assume you want to buy a $400,000 home (the median-priced home according to the National Association of Realtors is $389,500). If you’re trying to shop at that price point and keep your monthly payment about $2,500-2,600 or below, here’s how your purchasing power can change as mortgage rates climb (see chart below). The red shows payments above that threshold and the green indicates a payment within your target range.

The Cost of Waiting for Mortgage Rates To Go Down | MyKCM

As the chart shows, as rates go up, the amount you can afford to borrow decreases and that may mean you have to look at homes at a different price point. That’s why it’s important to work with a real estate advisor to understand how mortgage rates impact your monthly mortgage payment at various home loan amounts.

Are Mortgage Rates Going To Go Down? 

The rise in mortgage rates and the resulting decrease in purchasing power may leave you wondering if you should wait for rates to go down before making your purchase. Realtor.com says this about where rates could go from here:

“Many homebuyers likely winced . . . upon hearing that the Federal Reserve yet again boosted its short-term interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point—a move that’s pushing mortgage rates through the roof. And the already high rates are just going to get higher.

So, if you’re waiting for mortgage rates to drop, you may be waiting for a while as the Federal Reserve works to get inflation under control.

And if you’re considering renting as your alternative while you wait it out, remember that’s going to get more expensive with time too. As Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“There is no doubt that these higher rates hurt housing affordability. Nevertheless, apart from borrowing costs, rents additionally rose at their highest pace in nearly four decades.”

Basically, it is true that it costs more to buy a home today than it did last year, but the same is true for renting. This means, either way, you’re going to be paying more. The difference is, with homeownership, you’re also gaining equity over time which will help grow your net worth. The question now becomes: what makes more sense for you?

Bottom Line

Each person’s situation is unique. To make the best decision for you, reach out to Terry Belt & The Belt Team to explore your options.

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)

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

Planning To Retire? Your Equity Can Help You Reach Your Goal.

Whether you’ve just retired or you’re thinking about retirement, you may be considering your options and trying to picture a whole new stage of your life. And you’re not alone. Research from the Retirement Industry Trust Association (RITA) shows 10,000 Baby Boomers reach the typical retirement age (65) every day, and only 47% of the people in that generation have already retired.

If this sounds like you, one thing worth considering is whether or not your current home will suit your new lifestyle. If your home doesn’t have the features or benefits you’re looking for, the good news is, you may be in a better position to move than you realize.

That’s because, if you already own a home, you’ve likely built-up significant equity, and that can help you fuel your next move. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“A homeowner who purchased a typical home five years ago would have gained $125,300 from just price appreciation alone.”

In fact, over the last twelve months, CoreLogic reports the average homeowner in the United States gained roughly $64,000 in equity due to home price appreciation.

You can use your equity to help you achieve your homeownership goals. Whether you want to downsize, move closer to loved ones, or buy a home in a dream destination, your equity can help get you there. It may be some (if not all) of what you’d need as your down payment on a home that better fits your changing needs. 

Bottom Line

Retirement is a big step and so is buying or selling a home. As you move into this new phase of life, let’s connect so you have an expert to guide you through the process as you sell your current home and give you expert advice as you buy one that’ll better suit your needs.

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

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

Expert Housing Market Forecasts for the Second Half of the Year

The housing market is at a turning point, and if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, that may leave you wondering: is it still a good time to buy a home? Should I make a move this year? To help answer those questions, let’s turn to the experts for projections on what the second half of the year holds for residential real estate.

Where Mortgage Rates Will Go Depends on Inflation

While one of the big questions on all buyers’ minds is where will mortgage rates go in the months ahead, no one has a crystal ball to know exactly what’ll happen in the future. What housing market experts know for sure is that the record-low mortgage rates during the pandemic were an outlier, not the norm.

This year, rates have climbed over 2% due to the Federal Reserve’s response to rising inflation. If inflation continues to rise, it’s likely that mortgage rates will respond. Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrateexplains it well:

“Until inflation peaks, mortgage rates won’t either. Without improvement on the inflation front, we don’t know where the interest rate ceiling will be.” 

Whether you’re buying your first home or selling your current house to make a move, today’s mortgage rate is an important factor to consider. When rates rise, they impact affordability and your purchasing power. That’s why it’s crucial to work with a team of professionals, so you have expert advice to help you make an informed decision about your best move.

The Supply of Homes for Sale Projected To Continue Increasing

This year, particularly this spring, the number of homes for sale has grown. That’s partly due to more homeowners listing their houses, but also because higher mortgage rates have helped ease the intensity of buyer demand. Moderating buyer demand slows down the pace of home sales, which in turn helps inventory rise.

Experts say that growth will continue. Recently, realtor.com updated their 2022 inventory forecast. In the latest release, they increased their projections for inventory gains dramatically, going from a 0.3% increase at the beginning of the year to a 15.0% jump by the end of 2022 (see graph below):

Expert Housing Market Forecasts for the Second Half of the Year | MyKCM

More homes to choose from is great news if you’re craving more options for your home search – just know that there isn’t a sudden surplus of inventory on the horizon. Housing supply is still low, so you’ll need to partner with an agent to stay on top of what’s available in your market and move fast when you find the one. It’s not going to be easy to find a home, but it certainly won’t be as difficult as it has been over the past two years.

Home Price Forecasts Call for Ongoing Appreciation

Due to the imbalance between the number of homes for sale and the number of buyers looking to make a purchase, the pandemic led to record-breaking increases in home prices. According to CoreLogic, homes appreciated by 15% in 2021, and they’ve continued to rise this year.

Even though housing supply is increasing today, there are still more buyers than there are homes for sale, and that’s maintaining the upward pressure on home prices. That’s why experts are not calling for prices to decline, rather they’re forecasting they’ll continue to climb, just at a more moderate pace this year. On average, homes are projected to appreciate by about 8.5% in 2022 (see graph below):

Expert Housing Market Forecasts for the Second Half of the Year | MyKCM

Selma Hepp, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains why the housing market will see deceleration, but not depreciation, in prices:

“The current home price growth rate is unsustainable, and higher mortgage rates coupled with more inventory will lead to slower home price growth but unlikely declines in home prices.

For current homeowners looking to sell, know your home’s value isn’t projected to fall, but waiting to make your purchase does mean your next home could cost more as home prices continue to appreciate. That’s why, if you’re thinking about buying your first home or you’re ready to make a move, it may make sense to do so now before prices climb higher. But rest assured, once you buy a home, that price appreciation will help grow the value of your investment.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a homebuyer or seller, you need to know what’s happening in the housing market, so you can make the most informed decision possible. Let’s connect to discuss your goals and what lies ahead, so you can determine the best plan for your move.

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

FREE INSTANT HOME VALUATION – Want to know what your home is worth? Click Here to get our free instant home valuation!

What Does the Rest of the Year Hold for the Housing Market?

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a house, you’re at an exciting decision point. And anytime you make a big decision like that, one thing you should always consider is timing. So, what does the rest of the year hold for the housing market? Here’s what experts have to say.

The Number of Homes Available for Sale Is Likely To Grow

There are early signs housing inventory is starting to grow and experts say that should continue in the months ahead. According to Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com:

“The gap between this year’s homes for sale and last year’s is one-fifth the size that it was at the beginning of the year. The catch up is likely to continue, . . . This growth will mean more options for shoppers than they’ve had in a while, even though inventory continues to lag pre-pandemic normal.”

  • As a buyer, having more options is welcome news. Just remember, housing supply is still low, so be ready to act fast and put in your best offer up front.
  • As a seller, your house may soon face more competition when other sellers list their homes. But the good news is, if you’re also buying your next home, having more options to choose from should make that move-up process easier.

Mortgage Rates Will Likely Continue To Respond to Inflationary Pressures

Experts also agree inflation should continue to drive up mortgage rates, albeit more moderately. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First Americansays:

“… ongoing inflationary pressure remains likely to push mortgage rates even higher in the months to come.”  

  • As a buyer, work with trusted real estate professionals, including your lender, so you can learn how rising mortgage rate environments impact your purchasing power. It may make sense to buy now before it costs more to do so, if you’re ready.
  • As a seller, rising mortgage rates are motivating some homeowners to make a move up sooner rather than later. If you’re planning to buy your next home, talk to a trusted real estate advisor to decide how to time your move.

Home Prices Are Projected To Continue To Climb

Home prices are forecast to keep appreciating because there are still fewer homes for sale than there are buyers in the market. That said, experts agree the pace of that appreciation should moderate – but home prices won’t fall. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

“Prices throughout the country have surged for the better part of two years, including in the first quarter of 2022. . . Given the extremely low inventory, we’re unlikely to see price declines, but appreciation should slow in the coming months.” 

  • As a buyer, continued home price appreciation means it’ll cost you more to buy the longer you wait. But it also gives you peace of mind that, once you do buy a home, it will likely grow in value. That makes it historically a good investment and a strong hedge against inflation.
  • As a seller, price appreciation is great news for the value of your home. Again, lean on a professional to strike the right balance of the best conditions possible for both selling your house and buying your next one.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a homebuyer or seller, you need to know what’s happening in the housing market, so you can make the most informed decision possible. Let’s connect to discuss your goals and what lies ahead, so you can pick your best time to make a 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!

Sellers Have an Opportunity with Today’s Home Prices

As mortgage rates started to rise this year, many homeowners began to wonder if the value of their homes would fall. Here’s the good news. Historically, when mortgage rates rise by a percentage point or more, home values continue to appreciate. The latest data on home prices seems to confirm that trend.

According to data from CoreLogic, home price appreciation has been re-accelerating since November. The graph below shows this increase in home price appreciation in green:

Sellers Have an Opportunity as Home Prices Re-Accelerate | MyKCM

This is largely due to an ongoing imbalance in supply and demand. Specifically, housing supply is still low, and demand is high. As mortgage rates started to rise this year, many homebuyers rushed to make their purchases before those rates could climb higher. The increased competition drove home prices up even more. Selma Hepp, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogicexplains:

“Home price growth continued to gain speed in early spring, as eager buyers tried to get in front of the mortgage rate surge.”

And experts say prices are forecast to continue appreciating, just at a more moderate pace moving forward. A recent article from Fortune says:

“. . . the swift move up in mortgage rates . . . doesn’t mean home prices are about to crash. In fact, every major real estate firm with a publicly released forecast model . . . still predicts home prices will climb further this year.”

What This Means for You

If you’re thinking about selling your house, you should know you have a great opportunity to list your home and capitalize on today’s home price appreciation. As prices rise, so does the value of your home, which gives your equity a big boost.

When you sell, you can use that equity toward the purchase of your next home. And at today’s record-level of appreciation, that equity may be enough to cover some (if not all) of your down payment.

Bottom Line

History shows rising mortgage rates have not had a negative impact on home prices. Now is still a great time to sell your house thanks to ongoing price appreciation. When you’re ready to find out how much equity you have in your current home and what’s happening with home prices in your local area, let’s connect.

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!

Tip Tuesday! How to Make Sure Your Trees Are Healthy

5 things to look for to keep this from happening to your trees!

Huge thanks for Bonilla Tree Expert for taking such good care of our clients!

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