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Margaret Blanchard

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Margaret Blanchard

Olson Agency

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by Margaret Blanchard

August 11, 2020


by Keeping Current Matters
Today’s housing market is making a truly impressive turnaround, and it’s also setting up some outstanding opportunities for buyers and sellers. Whether you’re thinking of buying or selling a home this year, there are perks today that are rarely available, and definitely worth looking into. Here are the top two.The Biggest Perk for Buyers: Low Mortgage RatesThe most impressive buyer incentive today is the average mortgage interest rate. Just last week, mortgage rates hit an all-time low for the eighth time this year. The 30-year fixed-rate is now averaging 2.88%, the lowest rate in the survey’s history, which dates back to 1971 (See graph below):This is a huge advantage for buyers. To put it in perspective, it means that today you can get a lower rate than any of the past two generations of homebuyers in your family if you decide to . . .

July 28, 2020


by Keeping Current Matters
The residential real estate market is remaining resilient as the country still struggles to beat the COVID-19 pandemic. Three separate reports recently revealed how the housing market is still showing growth. Here’s a look at each one.1. Ivy Zelman’s Real Estate Broker SurveyThe survey explains that purchaser demand remains strong:“This month’s overall homebuyer demand rating…was easily the strongest sequential gain in our survey history…Strength continues to be led by the entry-level…While high-end demand is less robust in an absolute sense, there has also been relative improvement, with contacts attributing incremental improvement to the stock market’s rebound, record low mortgage rates and luxury customers trading out of high-priced cities.”2. The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market IndexThe index reveals . . .

July 21, 2020


by Keeping Current Matters
For months now the vast majority of Americans have been asking the same question: When will the economy turn around? Many experts have been saying the housing market will lead the way to a recovery, and today we’re seeing signs of that coming to light. With record-low mortgage rates driving high demand from potential buyers, homes are being purchased at an accelerating pace, and it’s keeping the housing market and the economy moving.Here’s a look at what a few of the experts have to say about today’s astonishing recovery. In more than one instance, it’s being noted as truly remarkable.Ali Wolf, Chief Economist, Meyers Research“The housing recovery has been nothing short of remarkable…The expectation was that housing would be crushed. It was—for about two months—and then it came roaring back.”Fannie Mae“Recent home . . .

July 13, 2020


by Keeping Current Matters
With businesses reopening throughout the country and some experts indicating early signs of a much-anticipated economic recovery, more homebuyers are actively entering the housing market this summer. Today, housing is truly driving the U.S. economy forward. With so many buyers looking for homes to purchase and so few houses for sale right now, there’s a disconnect between supply and demand. This imbalance is pushing home prices upward while driving more bidding wars and multiple-offer scenarios. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com explains:“People are surprised that prices are rising, not falling, because in the last recession home prices fell, the difference this time is the severe shortage of homes for sale…We are seeing bigger price increases with [a limited] number of homes…That is likely to lead to more competition and . . .

July 06, 2020


by Keeping Current Matters
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their latest Employment Situation Summary last Thursday, and it again beat analysts’ expectations in a big way. The consensus was for 3,074,000 jobs to be added in June. The report revealed that 4,800,000 jobs were added. The unemployment rate fell to 11.1% from 13.3% last month. Again, excellent news as the unemployment rate fell for the second consecutive month. However, there’s still a long way to go before the economy fully recovers as 17.8 million Americans remain unemployed.Here are two interesting insights on the report:What about a supposed misclassification?The BLS addressed this at length in a blog post last week, and concluded by saying:“Regardless of the assumptions we might make about misclassification, the trend in the unemployment rate over the period in question is the same; . . .

June 30, 2020


by Keeping Current Matters
One of the biggest questions on everyone’s minds these days is: What’s going to happen to the housing market in the second half of the year? Based on recent data on the economy, unemployment, real estate, and more, many economists are revising their forecasts for the remainder of 2020 – and the outlook is extremely encouraging. Here’s a look at what some experts have to say about key areas that will power the industry and the economy forward this year.Mortgage Purchase Originations: Joel Kan, Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting, Mortgage Bankers Association“The recovery in housing is happening faster than expected. We anticipated a drop off in Q3. But, we don’t think that’s the case anymore. We revised our Q3 numbers higher. Before, we predicted a 2 percent decline in purchase originations in 2020, . . .

June 22, 2020


by Keeping Current MattersAccording to the latest FreddieMac Quarterly Forecast, mortgage interest rates have fallen to historically low levels this spring and they’re projected to remain low. This means there’s a huge incentive for buyers who are ready to purchase. And homeowners looking for eager buyers can take advantage of this opportune time to sell as well.There’s a very positive outlook on interest rates going forward, as the projections from the FreddieMac report indicate continued lows into 2021:“Going forward, we forecast the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to remain low, falling to a yearly average of 3.4% in 2020 and 3.2% in 2021.” With mortgage rates hovering at such compelling places, ongoing buyer interest is bound to keep driving the housing market forward. Rates also reached another record low last week, so homebuyers are in what FreddieMac is . . .

June 08, 2020


by Keeping Current Matters
Last Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released their May Employment Situation Summary. Leading up to the release, most experts predicted the unemployment rate would jump up to approximately 20% from the 14.7% rate announced last month.The experts were shocked.The Wall Street Journal put it this way:“The May U.S. jobless rate fell to 13.3% and employers added 2.5 million jobs, blowing Wall Street expectations out of the water: Economists had forecast a loss of 8.3 million jobs and a 19.5% unemployment rate.”In addition, CNBC revealed:“The May gain was by far the biggest one-month jobs surge in U.S. history since at least 1939.”Here are some of the job gains by sector:Food Service and Bartenders – 1,400,000Construction – 464,000Education and Health Services – 424,000Retail – 368,000Other Services – 272,000Manufacturing . . .

June 01, 2020


by Keeping Current Matters
More than ever, our homes have become an integral part of our lives. Today they are much more than the houses we live in. They’re evolving into our workplaces, schools for our children, and safe havens that provide shelter, stability, and protection for our families through the evolving health crisis. Today, 65.3% of Americans are able to call their homes their own, a rate that has risen to its highest point in 8 years.June is National Homeownership Month, and it’s a great time to reflect on the benefits of owning your own home. Below are some highlights and quotes recently shared by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). From non-financial to financial, and even including how owning a home benefits your local economy, these items may give you reason to think homeownership stretches well beyond a sound dollars and cents investment . . .

May 27, 2020


by Keeping Current Matters
With stay-at-home orders starting to gradually lift throughout parts of the country, data indicates homebuyers are jumping back into the market. After many families put their plans on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what we once called the busy spring real estate season is shifting into the summer. In 2020, summer is the new spring for real estate.Joel Kan, Economist at The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) notes:“Applications for home purchases continue to recover from April’s sizable drop and have now increased for five consecutive weeks…Government purchase applications, which include FHA, VA, and USDA loans, are now 5 percent higher than a year ago, which is an encouraging turnaround after the weakness seen over the past two months.”Additionally, according to Google Trends, which scores search terms online, searches for real . . .
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