David Grant

Understanding the Recent NAR Settlement: What It Means for Home Buyers

The real estate landscape is evolving, and recent changes due to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) settlement are set to impact the home buying process significantly. If you're in the market for a new home, it's essential to understand these changes and how they affect you. Here's what you need to know.

The NAR Settlement: A Quick Overview

The NAR settlement stems from legal actions addressing the transparency and practices within the real estate industry. The aim is to foster greater clarity and fairness in real estate transactions. One of the most significant outcomes of this settlement is the requirement for all buyers to sign a buyer agreement before they can view any properties.

What is a Buyer Agreement?

A buyer agreement is a formal contract between a home buyer and a real estate agent. This agreement outlines the scope of services the agent will provide, the duration of the agreement, and the compensation details. Essentially, it ensures that both parties have a clear understanding of their working relationship.

Types of Buyer Agreements

Understanding the different types of buyer agreements can help you choose the one that best suits your needs:

  1. Exclusive Buyer Agreement:

    • Definition: This agreement binds you to work exclusively with one real estate agent.
    • Pros: The agent will dedicate more time and resources to your home search, knowing you are committed to them.
    • Cons: You cannot work with other agents during the term of the agreement.
  2. Non-Exclusive Buyer Agreement:

    • Definition: This agreement allows you to work with multiple agents simultaneously.
    • Pros: You have the flexibility to receive assistance from different agents, increasing your chances of finding the perfect home quickly.
    • Cons: Agents might be less motivated to prioritize your search since there is no guarantee of earning a commission.
  3. Transactional Buyer Agreement:

    • Definition: This agreement is more limited in scope and focuses on facilitating a specific transaction rather than establishing an ongoing relationship.
    • Pros: It's suitable for buyers who have already found a property and need help with the transaction process.
    • Cons: It doesn't offer the same level of personalized service or ongoing support as the other types of agreements.

How Commissions Were Traditionally Paid

Traditionally, the commission for real estate agents was paid by the seller. This commission was negotiable but typically covered both the listing agent and the buyer's agent. The seller would agree to a total commission rate, which was then split between the two agents involved in the transaction. This system meant that buyers did not usually have to worry about paying their agent directly.

Changes Due to the NAR Settlement

With the recent changes, not all sellers are offering compensation for buyer's agents. This shift means that in some cases, the responsibility for paying the buyer's agent may fall on the buyer. It’s critically important for buyers to understand the value their agent brings to the table and to know how their agent is going to be compensated when making an offer.

Why is This Change Important?

  1. Transparency: The buyer agreement increases transparency in real estate transactions. Buyers will have a clear understanding of the services they will receive and the associated costs upfront.

  2. Commitment: By signing a buyer agreement, both the buyer and the agent are committing to work together. This mutual commitment often leads to a more dedicated and focused effort from the agent.

  3. Protection: The agreement protects both parties' interests. Buyers can be assured of receiving professional services, and agents can work confidently, knowing their efforts will be compensated.

How Will This Affect You as a Buyer?

1. Prior Preparation: Before you start viewing properties, you'll need to sign a buyer agreement. This means you'll have an initial meeting with your real estate agent to discuss your needs, preferences, and the terms of your working relationship.

2. Informed Decisions: With the buyer agreement in place, you'll have a clearer understanding of the process, which can help you make more informed decisions. Knowing the terms and expectations upfront can reduce surprises and enhance your overall home buying experience.

3. Enhanced Service: Real estate agents, knowing they have a committed client, can tailor their services more effectively. This often results in a more personalized and efficient home search process.

4. Understanding Compensation: Knowing whether the seller will cover the buyer's agent's commission or if it will be your responsibility is crucial. Discuss this with your agent early on to avoid any surprises. Understanding the value your agent brings will help you see the importance of their role, regardless of who pays the commission.

Steps to Take Before Signing a Buyer Agreement

  1. Research: Understand the basics of a buyer agreement and what it entails.
  2. Ask Questions: During your initial meeting with the agent, ask any questions you might have about the agreement and how their compensation will be handled.
  3. Review the Terms: Carefully review the terms of the agreement. Ensure you understand the services offered, the duration of the agreement, and the compensation details.
  4. Seek Clarification: If any part of the agreement is unclear, seek clarification before signing.

The recent NAR settlement brings about a significant change in the home buying process, emphasizing transparency and commitment. By requiring a buyer agreement, the real estate industry aims to enhance the experience for buyers, ensuring they receive the professional services they deserve. As you embark on your home buying journey, understanding these changes, the different types of buyer agreements, and how agent commissions are handled will help you navigate the process more effectively and make informed decisions.

Send any questions that you have to info@northconwayrealty.com

Your North Conway Buyer Agent

 

If you are looking for a buyer agent to help with your purchase, here are a few ways I can help you.

Here are some review from past clients (Facebook) | (Zillow) | Google Business Profile

  • Fast responses to all of your questions - slightly slower during hockey season :)

  • A full time broker 

  • A great negotiator (4 kids is good training at that!)

  • Over 17 years of vacation rental experience to help with your decisions

  • Honest assessments of your goals and if a property will meet them

  • A fun, low stress (as much as possible!) real estate experience

  • ABR certified - The Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) designation is for real estate professionals who have a passion for working with buyer-clients and want to take their excellence and service to the next level.

  • RSPS certified - The Resort and Second-Home Property Specialist (RSPS) certification is for REALTORS® who specialize in buying, selling, or management of properties for investment, development, retirement, or second homes in resort, recreational, and/or vacation destinations.

  • STRSI certified - The Short-Term Rental Safety Inspector (STRSI) program to help individuals to identify and eliminate safety hazards at short-term rental properties. This program was developed based on our 90+ years of industry experience, data analysis on insurance accidents, and information from several safety resources

Conway's Rental Licensing Program Update: First Fines Could be Coming

As October approaches, Conway's rental licensing program gears up to issue its first violation notices to property owners not in compliance. This follows the passing of Article 24 on April 9, allowing the town to inspect and regulate long- and short-term rentals. Deputy Town Manager Paul DegliAngeli and Zoning Enforcement Officer Nicholas DeVito outlined the program's progress and next steps in a recent interview with the Sun.

Key Elements of the Rental Licensing Program

  • Life Safety Inspections: The program mandates that rental properties undergo life safety inspections conducted by DeVito and fire officials. This step is crucial to ensure properties meet basic safety standards, such as having functional smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. DeVito highlighted the surprising number of properties lacking these essential safety features.

  • Registration and Compliance: Landlords must file registration paperwork to be considered compliant. To date, 560 rental applications have been submitted, including those granted and pending. Property owners had the option to submit self-affidavits until January 26.

  • Enforcement Timeline: The enforcement process is set to intensify with public hearings on the fine schedule expected in August. Following these hearings, violation letters may be sent out in October, with subsequent fines issued approximately two weeks later.

Addressing Violations

DeVito outlined a structured approach to handling violations. Initially, a notice of violation will be issued to non-compliant property owners, followed by fines if there is no response within a specified period. The selectmen will determine the exact fines and response times, but the process aims to be fair, providing ample time for owners to address issues.

Challenges and Legal Considerations

Despite its life safety benefits, the program has faced resistance, with groups like the Mt. Washington Valley Association for Responsible Rentals questioning its legality. DeVito remains confident in the program's due diligence and its alignment with legal standards, although he acknowledges ongoing legal scrutiny.

Looking Ahead

As the program evolves, DeVito expects an increase in inspections, particularly as one-year self-affidavits begin to expire. The town's commitment to ensuring rental properties meet safety standards remains steadfast, even as they navigate challenges and potential pushback.

Stay informed about the latest developments in Conway's rental licensing program as the town works to balance safety, compliance, and property owner responsibilities.

Read the full story in the Conway Daily Sun

 

Madison Homeowners Sue Town Over Short-Term Rental Ban

In Madison, NH, two couples are taking legal action against the town's zoning board for denying their request to use their property as a short-term rental. The case, "Chad and Brittney Ardizzoni and Aaron and Tiffany Clymer v. the Town of Madison and the Town of Madison Zoning Board of Adjustment," is now being reviewed by Judge Michael Klass in Manchester.

Background:

  • The couples, from Londonderry and Hooksett, purchased a home at 13 Lucerne Drive in Eidelweiss in June 2022.
  • Madison banned new short-term rentals (STRs) in March 2022, but homes rented before 1987 are grandfathered.
  • The zoning board considers STRs in Eidelweiss as commercial activity, which is prohibited in the residential district.

Legal Arguments:

  • The homeowners argue their property has been used for short-term rentals since 2017 and should be grandfathered.
  • They are represented by Matt Johnson, who claims the town's definition of "dwelling unit" is vague and unconstitutional.
  • The ZBA upheld the violation notice, stating the property does not meet zoning ordinance definitions.

Current Status:

  • The town must respond to the lawsuit by August 6.
  • The homeowners seek to overturn the ZBA's decision or have the case reheard with new instructions.

This case highlights ongoing tensions between property owners and local zoning regulations regarding short-term rentals.

Click here to read the full article in the Conway Daily Sun

Beach Access Neighborhoods Around North Conway

There are several beach-access neighborhoods near North Conway.  Here are just a few!

 

 

Cranmore Shores in Conway, NH

Here is a quick look at Cranmore Shores in Conway.  This private community is a mixture of primary and vacation homes.  All owners have use of a sandy beach on Pequawket Pond.  The beach has a boat rack for canoes/kayaks and some amazing mountain views.
15-20 minutes to downtown North Conway
30 minutes to Story Land
30 minutes to Jackson
15 minutes to King Pine Ski Area

Click here to see properties for sale in Cranmore Shores

Click here for the association website

Scary Statistics on Smoke Alarms in New Hampshire

As we dive into the heart of summer, many of us are enjoying time with family and friends, hosting gatherings, or welcoming rental guests into our homes. It's a season filled with joy and activity, but it's also a time to be vigilant about safety, especially fire safety. Recent statistics from the New Hampshire Division of Fire Safety underscore a stark reality: working smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in the event of a fire.

The Alarming Statistics

According to the latest data as of June 26, 2024, New Hampshire has experienced 11 fatal fires this year, resulting in 13 tragic fatalities. Of these, only three homes had working smoke alarms. This means a staggering 8 out of 11 homes where fatalities occurred lacked adequate smoke detection.

The Lifesaving Importance of Smoke Alarms

The data paints a clear picture: working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms save lives. Here are some essential tips to ensure your home is protected:

  • Install Smoke Alarms on Every Level: Make sure there is a smoke alarm on every floor of your home, including the basement. Each bedroom and outside sleeping areas should also have alarms.
  • Regular Maintenance: Replace smoke alarms every ten years and test them monthly to ensure they are functioning correctly.
  • Carbon Monoxide Alarms: Alongside smoke alarms, CO alarms are crucial, especially in homes with fuel-burning appliances.

Safety for Rental Properties

If you rent out your property, either seasonally or year-round, ensuring it is equipped with adequate and functioning smoke and CO alarms is not just a legal obligation but a moral one. Your guests' safety is paramount, and providing a safe environment can prevent tragedies and protect you from liability.

Fire can spread rapidly, and you may have less than three minutes to escape once an alarm sounds. This brief window highlights the urgency of having an effective alert system in place. Let's take these statistics as a wake-up call to review and enhance the fire safety measures in our homes. Protect your loved ones, guests, and yourself by ensuring your smoke and CO alarms are in optimal working condition.

Stay safe, be vigilant, and enjoy a worry-free season with peace of mind knowing your home is well-protected.

For more information and resources, visit the New Hampshire Division of Fire Safety website or contact your local fire department.

New Disc Golf Course Open at King Pine Ski Area

Exciting news for disc golf enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers alike! The King Pine Ski Area has just unveiled its newest attraction – the Kings Mark Disc Golf Course. This 18-hole course is a must-visit, utilizing the beautiful trails and pine forest located on the "backside" of the ski area.

Designed by the locally renowned disc golf course designer Dennis Grzywacz, in collaboration with Kings Mark Course Manager Aaron Morong, the course promises a high-quality, dynamic experience. Aaron Morong, a fifth-generation member of the Hoyt Family, who own Purity Spring Resort and King Pine Ski Area, brings a rich history and passion to this project.

The course spans an impressive 6800-7300 feet from the blue tees, offering advanced players a challenging game. Featuring DGA Mach X baskets and packed stone surface tee pads, it ensures a top-notch playing experience. While the blue tees cater to advanced players, the development of white tees is underway to accommodate beginner and intermediate players.

Starting and finishing at the mountain’s “backside” Milt’s Lodge base area, the course is easily accessible. It’s not just open to the general public but is also conveniently located for guests of Purity Spring Resort and nearby Danforth Bay Camping & RV Resort.

King Pine aims to make the Kings Mark Disc Golf Course a vibrant gathering place for locals and regional players to socialize, play, and learn the sport. Stay tuned for more developments, including local league play, tournaments, and a pro shop.

Whether you're a seasoned player or new to disc golf, the Kings Mark Disc Golf Course offers an exciting and scenic adventure. Come out and enjoy a round at King Pine Ski Area!

Follow this link for more information

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Be Cautious of Fake Real Estate Listings - If it's too good to be true.... it probably is!

In today’s fast-paced real estate market, buyers need to be vigilant about the growing threat of fraudulent real estate listings. Recently, a Kansas City couple discovered their $1 million home falsely listed on Zillow for a mere $10,200. This shocking scenario underscores the increasing sophistication of scammers who prey on unsuspecting homebuyers.

Here’s what happened: The Bertrams had no intention of selling their home when friends alerted them to a suspicious “for sale by owner” listing on Zillow. The scammer initially listed the home at its market value to bypass Zillow’s fraud detectors, then drastically reduced the price to lure in bargain hunters, claiming it they needed the tax break and were being charitable.

The fraudulent listing instructed interested buyers to contact the owner and send $200 via an online banking app to arrange a home viewing. This led to multiple people showing up at the home, eager to tour the house. Despite the owners’ efforts to report the scam and provide proof of ownership, Zillow’s response was sluggish, leaving the couple to deal with the fallout alone.

Such scams are not isolated incidents. Similar fraudulent listings have appeared in multiple states, often targeting high-value properties. Scammers typically steal photos and descriptions from legitimate posts and advertise homes at incredibly low prices to attract victims. Once contacted, they request personal information or upfront payments.

How to Protect Yourself:

  1. Verify Listings: Always confirm the authenticity of a listing before engaging. Look for inconsistencies in the listing price and seller information.
  2. Research the Seller: Use public records to verify the property owner’s identity.
  3. Avoid Wire Transfers: Never send money to people you haven’t met in person or to unverified accounts.
  4. Meet in Person: Only fill out applications and make payments after meeting the property manager or owner.
  5. Know the Market: Be familiar with local rental and property prices to spot suspiciously low offers.
  6. Check Reviews: Look for online reviews and testimonials from previous tenants or buyers.
  7. Be Wary of Red Flags: Be cautious if a seller requests payment via cashier’s check or wants to conduct transactions while out of the country.

According to the FBI, over 9,500 people fell victim to real estate fraud in 2023 alone. Protect yourself by staying informed and vigilant. For more tips on spotting and avoiding scams, visit Zillow’s website or consult the FBI’s guidelines on real estate fraud.

If you are ever in doubt, reach out to North Conway Realty and we'll help you do some research and fact finding!

The Safety Dangers of Bunk Beds

Bunk beds can be a fantastic space-saving solution, especially in homes with multiple children or in short-term rental properties where maximizing sleeping arrangements is often necessary. However, it's essential to be aware of the safety dangers associated with bunk beds, particularly for young children. This awareness is critical not only for parents but also for property owners who offer short-term rentals.

Understanding the Risks

Bunk beds present several safety risks, primarily due to their height and the possibility of falls. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that bunk bed-related injuries result in about 36,000 emergency room visits each year. A significant portion of these injuries involves children under the age of 10. The majority of injuries are due to falls from the top bunk, which can lead to serious harm such as fractures, concussions, and internal injuries.

The Importance of Guard Rails

Federal law mandates that bunk beds be equipped with guard rails on the upper bunk to prevent falls. These guard rails are not just a recommendation—they are a critical safety feature that significantly reduces the risk of injury. Properly installed and used guard rails can help prevent many of the accidents associated with bunk beds.

Bunk Bed Safety in Short-Term Rentals

For property owners who offer short-term rentals, ensuring that bunk beds are safe should be a top priority. Guests may include families with young children, and it is the responsibility of the property owner to provide a safe environment. Here are some steps to enhance bunk bed safety in your rental property:

  1. Install Guard Rails: Make sure that both sides of the upper bunk have sturdy guard rails that extend at least five inches above the mattress surface.
  2. Check for Stability: Ensure that the bunk bed is stable and not wobbly. Regularly check the bolts and screws to ensure they are tight and secure.
  3. Educate Guests: Provide clear instructions to guests about the proper use of bunk beds, including the importance of using the guard rails and the dangers of horseplay.
  4. Age Restrictions: Consider setting age restrictions for the top bunk, recommending that only children over the age of six use it.

While bunk beds can be a practical solution for maximizing sleeping space, it's crucial to recognize and mitigate the associated safety risks. By adhering to federal safety regulations and taking proactive steps to ensure the safe use of bunk beds in your short-term rental, you can help prevent accidents and provide a secure environment for your guests. Remember, a few simple precautions can go a long way in ensuring the safety and well-being of everyone who stays in your property.

Stay safe and responsible, and ensure your vacation home or short-term rental is a haven for all guests—especially the little ones.

Window Shopping in North Conway.... When Looking for a Vacation Home

When you think of "window shopping," you might picture strolling through quaint town centers, admiring the displays of charming boutiques and cozy cafes. But when it comes to buying a vacation home in North Conway, window shopping takes on a whole new meaning—especially when it comes to paying attention to egress windows.

North Conway is known for its beautiful, chalet-style homes, many of which were built long before modern building codes were established. While these older homes offer character and charm, they may not meet today's safety standards, particularly regarding egress windows. Here's why it's crucial to consider egress when shopping for your dream vacation home.

Understanding Egress Windows

Egress windows are windows designed to provide an emergency exit in case of fire or other emergencies. They are required by building codes in certain areas of a home, such as basements and bedrooms, to ensure that occupants have a safe and accessible escape route. These windows must meet specific size and operational requirements to be considered compliant.

The Importance of Egress Windows in North Conway

  1. Safety First The primary purpose of egress windows is to provide a safe exit in emergencies. In older homes that lack proper egress, the risk of being trapped in a fire increases significantly. When you're shopping for a vacation home, especially if you plan to host family and friends, ensuring that all bedrooms and living spaces have proper egress windows can give you peace of mind.

  2. Compliance with Modern Building Codes Homes built before the enforcement of egress window requirements might not meet current safety standards. While these homes are grandfathered into the code, bringing them up to date with modern safety features, including egress windows, is a wise investment. Not only does this enhance safety, but it also makes the property more attractive to future buyers should you decide to sell.

  3. Increased Home Value Properties with updated safety features, including egress windows, can see an increase in value. Buyers today are more informed and often seek homes that meet or exceed current building codes. By ensuring your vacation home has proper egress windows, you could see a higher return on investment in the long run.

  4. Insurance Benefits Homes that meet current building codes, including those with proper egress windows, may qualify for better insurance rates. Insurance companies often provide discounts for homes with enhanced safety features, which can save you money on premiums.

  5. Peace of Mind Knowing that your vacation home is equipped with the necessary safety features allows you to relax and enjoy your time in North Conway. Whether you're hitting the slopes, hiking through the White Mountains, or simply unwinding with a good book, the assurance that your home is safe and up to code is invaluable.

  6. Regulatory Requirements for Short-Term Rentals While Bartlett does not currently require short-term rental licensing, surrounding towns like Conway and Jackson are beginning to enforce stricter regulations. These towns require proper egress windows before issuing permits for short-term rentals. Regardless of whether a permit is required, it's crucial not to rent out an unsafe space to guests. Ensuring your property meets safety standards, including having proper egress windows, protects your guests and your reputation as a responsible property owner.

What to Look For

When shopping for a vacation home in North Conway, keep the following in mind regarding egress windows:

  • Location: Ensure that all bedrooms, basements, and living areas have egress windows.
  • Size and Accessibility: Egress windows must meet specific size requirements and be easily accessible in an emergency. The minimum opening area is typically 5.7 square feet, with a minimum opening height of 24 inches and a minimum opening width of 20 inches.
  • Operation: The windows should open easily without the need for keys or tools. Casement windows, which swing open, and double-hung windows, which slide up and down, are popular choices.
  • Professional Inspection: Consider hiring a professional home inspector to evaluate the property and ensure all safety features, including egress windows, meet current standards.

Ossipee NH now requires STR permit

The Town of Ossipee has implemented a new short-term rental ordinance, effective from June 4, 2024. This move comes as a response to the growing popularity of short-term rentals and aims to ensure the safety of occupants while minimizing disruptions to neighborhoods. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of what you need to know about this new ordinance.

Purpose

The ordinance was passed to regulate short-term rentals (STRs) in Ossipee, aiming to balance the interests of property owners with the concerns of the community. The primary goals are to ensure the safety of occupants and to prevent disturbances in residential areas.

Definition

A short-term rental in Ossipee is defined as any individually or collectively owned single-family house, dwelling unit, condominium, cooperative, or timeshare that is rented out for less than 30 consecutive days. This definition excludes campers, camping trailers, and tents.

Permit Requirements

Starting June 4, 2024, all short-term rental units must have a permit issued by the town. Here’s the process:

  1. Application: Property owners must submit an application, available at the Town Hall or on the town’s website.
  2. Approval: The application must be signed by the Selectboard or its designee.
  3. Validity: Permits are valid for two years and must be renewed before expiration to avoid interruptions in rental operations.
  4. Fee: A permit fee is required, as determined by the Board of Selectmen’s fee schedule.

Terms and Conditions

Several conditions must be met to operate a short-term rental in Ossipee:

  1. Guest Limits: The maximum number of guests is determined by the number of bedrooms, with a limit of two people per bedroom plus two additional guests.
  2. Tax Compliance: Homeowners must provide proof of a current NH Rooms and Meals Tax license or the rental agency details if taxes are paid through an agency.
  3. Trash Management: Homeowners must ensure that trash is regularly removed and does not accumulate.
  4. Occupancy Limits: These limits must not be exceeded.
  5. Safety Inspection: A safety inspection by the Zoning Officer/Building Inspector is required before a permit is issued.
  6. Non-Transferability: Permits are not transferable; new owners must obtain their own permits.
  7. Signage and Parking: Signage must comply with the Ossipee Sign Ordinance, and all vehicles must be parked in designated areas on the property.
  8. Noise and Conduct: Guests must adhere to town ordinances and state laws, and avoid causing noise disturbances.

Safety Inspection

The safety inspection process ensures the following:

  • Functioning smoke and CO detectors.
  • Proper emergency egress windows and doors.
  • Functional fire extinguishers in kitchen areas.
  • Handrails and railings that conform to the NH State Building Code.
  • Compliance with codes in effect at the time the building was constructed, particularly for older homes.

Prohibitions

There are specific activities prohibited under this ordinance:

  • Incidental Camping: No camping or sleeping in tents, travel trailers, or recreational vehicles on the property.
  • Subletting: Guests cannot sublet the rental property.
  • Special Events: The property cannot be used for special events.

Enforcement and Revocation

Violations of the ordinance can lead to significant consequences:

  • Fines: Violators can be fined $1,000 per violation, with each day constituting a separate violation.
  • Permit Revocation: The Board of Selectmen can revoke permits for repeated violations, after notice and a public hearing.
  • Complaints: Three validated noise complaints within one year can result in permit revocation.
  • Reapplication: If a permit is revoked, the homeowner cannot reapply for one year.

Ossipee’s new short-term rental ordinance is designed to regulate the increasing number of short-term rentals in the town, ensuring they operate safely and without disturbing the community. Property owners looking to rent their properties on a short-term basis must comply with these regulations to continue their operations legally and responsibly. For more detailed information or to access the application form, visit the Town of Ossipee’s official website.

Summary of Economic Developments from Fannie Mae

For those who love numbers!  Here is a summary of Fannie Mae's May update.  Full article here.

Look like home prices are expected to stay strong and we're stuck with rates around 7 for a while!

  1. Economic Overview:

    • The economy is expected to grow slowly, with GDP growth at 1.8% for 2024 and 1.9% for 2025.
    • Job growth is slowing, and the unemployment rate might rise to 4% by the end of the year.
    • Interest rates have been volatile but are expected to stay high, with potential rate cuts from the Federal Reserve starting in September if inflation decreases.
  2. Housing Market:

    • Home Sales:
      • Total home sales for 2024 are forecasted to be 4.89 million, slightly down from previous predictions but still showing a gradual increase.
      • For 2025, total home sales are expected to reach 5.29 million.
      • The number of active home listings has increased by 30% compared to last year, suggesting that significant declines in home sales are unlikely.
    • Mortgage Rates:
      • The forecast for the 30-year fixed mortgage rate is now averaging 7.0% for 2024 and 6.7% for 2025.
      • High mortgage rates are a key reason for the slight downgrade in home sales and mortgage originations forecasts.
    • Mortgage Originations:
      • Mortgage origination volumes are revised down to $1.73 trillion for 2024 and $2.08 trillion for 2025, reflecting the higher mortgage rate expectations.
      • Purchase mortgage originations for 2024 are expected to be $1.4 trillion, with 14% growth from 2023 but $35 billion lower than last month's forecast. In 2025, purchase volumes are expected to grow by another 13%.
      • Refinance volumes are also revised downward to $368 billion for 2024 and $539 billion for 2025 due to the higher interest rate outlook.
    • Existing Home Sales:
      • Existing home sales fell to an annualized pace of 4.19 million in March but are expected to trend upward over time.
      • Despite generally rising mortgage rates, the steady flow of new listings suggests that further significant declines in sales are unlikely.
    • New Home Sales:
      • New single-family home sales rose by 8.8% in March, reaching a pace of 693,000.
      • The forecast for new home sales is lowered slightly due to higher interest rates, but demand remains supported by the limited inventory of existing homes.
    • Home Prices:
      • Home prices grew by 6.6% in 2023 and are expected to rise by 4.8% in 2024 and 1.5% in 2025.
    • Housing Starts:
      • Single-family housing starts have pulled back slightly but are expected to continue at a solid pace due to the lack of existing homes available for sale.
      • Multifamily housing starts are forecasted to decline due to muted rent growth, a large number of units near completion, and higher interest rates.
  3. Consumer Spending and Labor Market:

    • Consumer spending was strong earlier in the year but didn't match income growth, reducing savings and increasing personal debt interest payments.
    • Higher interest rates are causing financial stress for some consumers, with increased credit card and auto loan delinquencies.
    • Job growth is slowing, which is likely to limit future consumption growth.

Overall, while the economic growth is expected to be slow and interest rates remain high, the housing market shows resilience with a gradual increase in sales and a solid pace of new home construction due to limited existing home supply. Home prices will continue to rise, though at a slower rate, and mortgage originations are adjusted downwards due to higher mortgage rates.

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