John's Blog

North Atlanta Real Estate News & Market Trends - Alpharetta, Cumming and Suwanee Ga - By John Foster, Associate Broker at Keller Williams

You’ll find my blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local trends in home values, average days on market, how quickly home sales and much more.  I care about the community and want to be your Realtor for life so I will help you find the perfect place. Real Estate sign
I’d love to talk with you about you real estate needs so please call or text me at 770 722-7010 if you, or anyone you know plans on moving.
Follow me on You-tube to get to learn about the market and get to know me a little better.
I have personally helped hundreds of people sell their home and or buy their home.  View my Current Listings now.  If you want to view any of these homes, or any homes in our area, just let me know.
March 30, 2021

Real Market update for Cumming GA, 3/30/21

The data for Cumming (30041) shows it continues to be a Sellers market with home values going up.

Interest rates floated up which usually slows the market but I am not seeing that.  I am still seeing multiple offers on homes priced right based on the condition of the home.

Want to sell your home and net the most money possible - call John at 770 722-7010 today.

 

March 30, 2021

5 Common misconceptions about todays real estate market

The Real Estate Market today seems to change week by week. 

There is a lot of misconceptions about buying or selling a home today, making it challenging to know exactly how to navigate the current real estate landscape. So I am trying to offer a little clarity when it comes to 5 common myths about the 2021 housing market.  If you are considering buying or selling a home, let’s connect to discuss your needs and decipher facts from fiction in our local market.

2021 Real Estate Myth Buster [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Let us chat about your real estate needs - contact John at 770 722-7010 or John.Foster@kw.com

March 5, 2021

How Smart is it to Buy a Home Today

How Smart Is It to Buy a Home Today?

How Smart Is It to Buy a Home Today? | MyKCM

Whether you’re buying your first home or selling your current house, if your needs are changing and you think you need to move, the decision can be complicated. You may have to take personal or professional considerations into account, and only you can judge what impact those factors should have on your desire to move.

However, there’s one category that provides a simple answer. When deciding to buy now or wait until next year, the financial aspect of the purchase is easy to evaluate. You just need to ask yourself two questions:

  1. Do I think home values will be higher a year from now?
  2. Do I think mortgage rates will be higher a year from now?

From a purely financial standpoint, if the answer is ‘yes’ to either question, you should strongly consider buying now. If the answer to both questions is ‘yes,’ you should definitely buy now.

Nobody can guarantee what home values or mortgage rates will be by the end of this year. The experts, however, seem certain the answer to both questions above is a resounding ‘yes.’ Mortgage rates are expected to rise and home values are expected to appreciate rather nicely.

What does this mean to you?

Let’s look at how waiting would impact your financial situation. Here are the assumptions made for this example:

  • The experts are right - mortgage rates will be 3.18% at the end of the year
  • The experts are right - home values will appreciate by 5.9%
  • You want to buy a home valued at $350,000 today
  • You decide on a 10% down payment

How Smart Is It to Buy a Home Today? | MyKCMHere’s the financial impact of waiting:

  • You pay an extra $20,650 for the house
  • You need an additional $2,065 for a down payment
  • You pay an extra $116/month in your mortgage payment ($1,392 additional per year)
  • You don’t gain the $20,650 increase in wealth through equity build-up

The impact of interest rates plays a huge role in being able to afford a home.  If you want to discuss buying a home call John at 770 722-7010

Bottom Line

There are many things to consider when buying a home. However, from a purely financial aspect, if you find a home that meets your needs, buying now makes much more sense than buying next year.  Call John at 770 722-7010 to discuss your plans.

Feb. 22, 2021

Where have all the listings gone?

Where Have All the Houses Gone?

Where Have All the Houses Gone? | MyKCM

Last week I had a buyer ask me how to find homes for sale.  He was looking at all the real estate portals and I set him up for emails directly from the MLS.  He had heard of the shortage of homes for sale.  It did not hit him until he went to look at a home he wanted to see in Alpharetta and we waited in line to see it.  It was then he looked at me and asked "where have all the listings gone?"

In today’s housing market, it seems harder than ever to find a home to buy. Before the health crisis hit us a year ago, there was already a shortage of homes for sale. When many homeowners delayed their plans to sell at the same time that more buyers aimed to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates and purchase a home, housing inventory dropped even further. Experts consider this to be the biggest challenge facing an otherwise hot market while buyers continue to compete for homes. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comexplains:

“With buyers active in the market and seller participation lagging, homes are selling quickly and the total number available for sale at any point in time continues to drop lower. In January as a whole, the number of for sale homes dropped below 600,000.”

Every month, realtor.com releases new data showing the year-over-year change in inventory of existing homes for sale. As you can see in the map below, nationwide, inventory is 42.6% lower than it was at this time last year:Where Have All the Houses Gone? | MyKCM

Does this mean houses aren’t being put on the market for sale?

Not exactly. While there are fewer existing homes being listed right now, many homes are simply selling faster than they’re being counted as current inventory. The market is that competitive! It’s like when everyone was trying to find toilet paper to buy last spring and it was flying off the shelves faster than it could be stocked in the stores. That’s what’s happening in the housing market: homes are being listed for sale, but not at a rate that can keep up with heavy demand from competitive buyers.

In the same realtor.com report, Hale explains:

Time on the market was 10 days faster than last year meaning that buyers still have to make decisions quickly in order to be successful. Today’s buyers have many tools to help them do that, including the ability to be notified as soon as homes meeting their search criteria hit the market. By tailoring search and notifications to the homes that are a solid match, buyers can act quickly and compete successfully in this faster-paced housing market.”

The Good News for Homeowners

The health crisis has been a major reason why potential sellers have held off this long, but as vaccines become more widely available, homeowners will start making their moves. Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zondaconfirms:

“Some people will feel comfortable listing their home during the first half of 2021. Others will want to wait until the vaccines are widely distributed.”

With more homeowners getting ready to sell later this year, putting your house on the market sooner rather than later is the best way to make sure your listing shines brighter than the rest.

When you’re ready to sell your house, you’ll likely want it to sell as quickly as possible, for the best price, and with little to no hassle. If you’re looking for these selling conditions, you’ll find them in today’s market. When demand is high and inventory is low, sellers have the ability to create optimal terms and timelines for the sale, making now an exceptional time to move.

Bottom Line

Today’s housing market is a big win for sellers, but these conditions won’t last forever. If you’re in a position to sell your house now, you may not want to wait for your neighbors to do the same. Let’s connect to discuss how to sell your house safely so you’re able to benefit from today’s high demand and low inventory.

Feb. 18, 2021

Will Mortgage Rates stay low? Thoughts from John Foster, Realtor in Alpharetta GA

Will Low Mortgage Rates Continue through 2021?

Will Low Mortgage Rates Continue through 2021? | MyKCM

With mortgage interest rates hitting record lows so many times recently, some are wondering if we’ll see low rates continue throughout 2021, or if they’ll start to rise. Recently, Freddie Mac released their quarterly forecast, noting:

“The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit a record low over a dozen times in 2020 and the low interest rate environment is projected to continue through this year. We expect interest rates to average below 3% through the end of 2021. While this is a modest rise from 2020 averages, the recent vote by the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates anchored near zero should keep rates low.”

As shown in the graph below, Freddie Mac is projecting low rates going forward with a modest rise that’s expected to continue through 2022.Will Low Mortgage Rates Continue through 2021? | MyKCMFreddie Mac isn’t the only authority forecasting low rates with a slight rise. Fannie Mae, The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) also anticipate low rates with a small increase as 2021 continues on. Here’s the quarterly breakdown of their projections and how they’re expected to play out over the next year:Will Low Mortgage Rates Continue through 2021? | MyKCMIt’s important to note that, while a small change in interest rates can have a substantial impact on monthly mortgage payments, these rates are still incredibly low compared to where they were just a couple of years ago.

What does this mean for buyers?

Low mortgage rates are creating an outstanding opportunity for current homebuyers to get more for their money while staying within their budget. As the economy gets stronger and we recover from the challenges of 2020, it’s natural for rates to potentially rise in response to a healthier economy. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americanreminds us:

Rising interest rates reduce house-buying power and affordability, but are often a sign of a strong economy, which increases home buyer demand. By any historic standard, today’s mortgage rates remain historically low and will continue to boost house-buying power and keep purchase demand robust.”

With low rates fueling activity among hopeful buyers, there are a lot of people who are highly motivated and looking for homes to purchase right now. In this environment, it can be challenging to find a home to buy, so a local real estate agent will be key to your success if you’re thinking of buying too. Working with a trusted real estate professional to navigate the process while rates are in your favor might be the best move you can make.  How much of an impact does a change in rates have is illustrated in this chart:

Rates affect on Monthly Payment

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to buy a home, it may be wise to make your move before mortgage rates begin to rise. Let’s connect to discuss how today’s low rates can create more opportunities for you this year.

Feb. 17, 2021

Is now the Right time to Sell?

Today I tried to show a home and every showing slot between now and Saturday was taken.  You may ask why?  Two items are driving the Alpharetta, Cumming and Suwanee Real Estate Market (I call it North Atlanta).  

1.  Very low interest rates are motivating buyers - rates at 2.75% or lower - historically low rates.

2.  Very little homes for sale.  I call this a lack of inventory.

What does this mean for sellers?  It is a great time to sell - very little competition and lots of buyer means bidding wars and less time on the market.  If you are considering selling please call me at 770 722-7010.  

If now a good time to sell?

Jan. 29, 2021

Just Listed in Cumming

Just listed in the Popular Greystone Manor community, this lake front home is simply amazing.  Watch this 3 min 20 second video and if you, or anyone you know, is buying/selling their home please let me know at 770 722-7010

 

 

Luxury living in this spectacular lakefront home in the popular gated Greystone Manor community! This home offers many unique features and is on a "one-of-a -kind lot". Meticulously maintained & updated home.

The chef's kitchen on the main level has high end appliances, built in refrigerator, 2 dishwashers, warming drawer, beautiful granite counter top, tiled backsplash, huge island with gorgeous cabinetry, keeping room w/ stone fireplace & exposed beams, ice maker &  huge hidden walk-in pantry that must be seen to be believed (the pantry has its own access to the garage) and has a second refrigerator.  

The mudroom has built in cubbies, perfect for backpacks and kids stuff plus a second washer/dryer downstairs.

Master on the main level with walk-out onto to enjoy the covered porch w/ fireplace, which connects to the oversized deck overlooking a private backyard and runs the entire back of the home, with an orchard of several types of trees (figs, apple plum etc). Master bath has cave shower, travertine tile and large walk-in closets .(his and hers)  Enjoy amazing views and sunsets over the lake. You will love this very open floorplan with the main level built around the lake views. Beautiful custom cabinets throughout the home.

Two laundry rooms- the upstairs one is huge with lots of cabinets and is a central work area - great for crafts (see the photos). All bedrooms are large in size and have closet organizers. Full finished basement with a second kitchen with quartz counter tops, bedroom and full bath plus a half bath, exercise room, huge den, media room and lots of additional storage. Workshop with additional cabinets are outstanding. 3 car garage w/ built in cabinets plus a circular drive. This is a one of a kind home and is a perfect blend of comfort and sophistication.

Jan. 28, 2021

Coming Soon

COMING SOON!! 

Luxury Living in a spectacular lakefront home in the popular gated Greystone Manor Community.  This is a one of a kind home, with two kitchens, two laundrys, master on the main, finished basement w/ media room, orchard in the backyard - see the photos of this home and call John at 770 722-7010 to make your appointment.

1425 Manor Creek Ct

To see the video of this home click here  Video of 1425 Manor Creek Ct

Priced at $1,399,900 this unique home will sell quickly - call John at 770 722-7010 to schedule your tour today.

Dec. 2, 2020

With home values surging in Cumming - it is a good time to buy?

With Home Values Surging, Is it Still Affordable to Buy Right Now?

With Home Values Surging, Is it Still Affordable to Buy Right Now? | MyKCM

Housing inventory is at an all-time low. Realtor.com just reported that there are 39% fewer homes for sale today than there were last year. At the same time, buyer demand remains strong. In a recent newsletter, research analyst Ivy Zelman explained:

“Although the headwind of severe supply constraints in most markets has contributed to slight moderation in seasonally-adjusted and year-over-year new pending contract growth for two consecutive months (albeit still growing strongly), the underlying strength of buyer demandparticularly for this time of year, remains apparent.”

Whenever there’s a shortage in the supply of an item that’s in high demand, the price of that item increases. That’s exactly what’s happening in the real estate market right now. As a result, home values are surging.

This is great news if you’re planning to sell your house. On the other hand, as either a first-time or repeat buyer, this may instead seem like troubling news. Purchasers, however, should realize that the price of a house is not as important as the monthly cost. Here’s how it breaks down.

There are several factors that influence the cost of a home. Two of the major ones are:

  1. The price of the home
  2. The mortgage rate at which a buyer can borrow the funds necessary to purchase the home

How do these factors impact affordability?

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) produces a Housing Affordability Index which takes these factors into account and determines an overall affordability score for housing. According to NAR, the index:

“…measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national and regional levels based on the most recent price and income data.”

Their methodology states:

“To interpret the indices, a value of 100 means that a family with the median income has exactly enough income to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home. An index above 100 signifies that family earning the median income has more than enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a median-priced home, assuming a 20 percent down payment.”

So, the higher the index, the more affordable it is to purchase a home. Here’s a graph of the index going back to 1990:With Home Values Surging, Is it Still Affordable to Buy Right Now? | MyKCMThe blue bar represents today’s affordability. We can see that homes are more affordable now than they were from:

  • 1990 to 2008
  • 2017 to 2018

Buying a home today is just a little less affordable than it was last year, but still very affordable compared to historical housing market trends.

Note: During the housing crash from 2009 to 2015, distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) dominated the market. Those properties were sold at large discounts not seen before in the housing market.

Why are homes still affordable today?

The number one factor impacting today’s homebuying affordability is record-low mortgage rates. There’s no doubt that prices are on the rise. However, mortgage rates have fallen dramatically. Last week, Freddie Mac announced that the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 2.72%. Last year at this time, the average rate was 3.68%.

If you’re considering purchasing your first home or moving up to the one you’ve always hoped for, it’s important to understand how affordability plays into the overall cost of your home. With that in mind, buying while mortgage rates are as low as they are now may save you quite a bit of money over the life of your home loan.

Bottom Line

At this point, home purchase affordability is still in a historically good place. However, we need to watch price increases going forward. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, noted in a recent post:

“Faster nominal house price appreciation can erode, or even eliminate, the boost in affordability from lower mortgage rates, especially if household income growth doesn’t keep up.”

Posted in Market Updates
Nov. 10, 2020

The key to building Wealth

Homeownership Is a Key to Building Wealth

Homeownership Is a Key to Building Wealth | MyKCM

For years, real estate has been considered the best investment you can make. A major reason for this is due to the net worth a household gains through homeownership. In fact, according to the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finance Data from the Federal Reserve, for the average homeowner:

“…a primary home accounts for 90% of the total wealth of a family in the U.S.”

How do homeowners gain wealth?

Most large purchases, like cars and appliances, depreciate in value as they age, so it’s understandable to question how owning a home can increase wealth over time. In a simple equation, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains how the combination of paying your mortgage and home price appreciation grow overall wealth:

Principal Payments + Price Appreciation Gains = Housing Wealth Gain

As home values increase and you make payments toward your home loan, you’ll gain wealth through equity. The same article from NAR also addresses how wealth gains tend to play out over time:

“Housing wealth accumulation takes time and is built up by paying off the mortgage debt and by price appreciation. And while home prices can fall, home prices tend to recover and go up over the longer term. As of September 2020, the median sales price of existing home sales was $311,800, a 35% gain since July 2006 when prices peaked at $230,000.”

Taking a look at how equity has grown for the typical homeowner, it’s clear to see how real estate is a sound long-term investment. NAR notes:

“Nationally, a person who purchased a typical home 30 years ago would have typically gained about $283,000 as of the second quarter of 2020.” (See graph below):

Homeownership Is a Key to Building Wealth | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a current homeowner planning to put your equity toward a new home or have hopes of buying your first home soon, homeownership will always be a great opportunity to build your net worth and overall wealth. Owning a home is truly an investment in your financial future.