The bulk of this month’s real estate blog will, obviously,  be devoted to the flight path and most efficient means by which Taylor Swift will be able to make it from Tokyo to Las Vegas in time for this weekend’s Super Bowl kickoff. However, before discussing such important issues, let me try to provide a quick overview of the current real estate market…

Mortgage Rates
I’ve referenced October 19th quite a number of times these past few months because it was such a monumental day. On that day, the rate of the thirty-year mortgage breached 8% for the first time since the year 2000. Well, just as quickly as the eight-handle peered over the foxhole embankments, it disappeared from view. Throughout late fall and early winter, the cost of borrowing money to purchase a home fell because bond market traders (remember, mortgage rates closely mirror the rate of the ten-year Treasury) were convinced that the Federal Reserve was drawing closer to hitting its target rate for inflation. This would then trigger the Fed to begin lowering rates- an event that many Wall Street inhabitants felt might happen as early as March. 

Well, on February 1st, mortgage rates dropped to 6.63%. The following day? Sadly, this early Valentine’s Day gift from bond market traders to would-be homebuyers was retracted and mortgage rates soared to 6.92%. Why? Data showed that the number of new jobs in the US expanded by 353,000 in the month of January- significantly better than the Dow Jones estimate of 185,000. Meanwhile, average hourly earnings increased 0.6%, double the monthly estimate. On a year-over-year basis, wages jumped 4.5%, well above the 4.1% forecast. 

It seems as though our stubborn economy may, once again, be proving stronger than expected and, in order to continue the fight on inflation, interest rates may need to remain elevated for longer than any of us would like. Along the way, Fed policies could be impacted by any number of geopolitical forces that may affect the US economy- constricted shipping lanes, the Houthi’s continued attack on international shipping vessels, the $300 billion collapse of China’s Everglade real estate conglomerate, the war in Ukraine, the war in Gaza, and the US presidential election. Is this a good time to pivot back to Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce?

Despite its challenges, property values in Monroe County continue to do well. In the past twelve months, we’ve enjoyed a 10.3% increase in the value of our homes. In the past three years, we’ve enjoyed a 40% jump in property value! is predicting another rise in residential real estate totaling 10.4% in the year to come. Constrained inventory remains the primary reason for these gains. Last year, only 6,224 single family homes were sold in our community. This is a significant decrease from 2022 when 7,207 homes were sold and even more astonishing when you realize that, five years ago, 8,129 single family properties transferred title. The month of January was abuzz with electronic watercooler conversations about homes throughout the area overrun by upwards of 90 prospective buyers, bidding wars that commanded 20 offers, and sales prices soaring more than $100,000 over the asking price. Currently, there are only 344 homes on the market for sale. The clear message, once again- If you’re thinking about selling this year, you might want to consider doing so now before more inventory comes on the market. 

Despite a slow start to the new year, it looks as though my team and I will have plenty of opportunity to catch up. Currently, we know of twenty-nine homes that we’ll be listing for sale in the next couple of months. Historically, this is far greater than we’re traditionally aware of this early on in the season. If you’re thinking about selling in the coming months, give me a call. I can easily be reached at 330-8750. As always, thank you for your support. In particular, we really appreciated the incredible outpouring of support as we launched Elysian Homes by Mark Siwiec and Associates!