Lower Alabama Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

May 27, 2020

Family Game Night

At-Home Family Night Activities During the past couple of months, families have been asked to stay at home. It can be challenging to keep everyone entertained when we aren’t able to go out of the house except to work in essential jobs, enjoy fresh air, and get groceries. Luckily, there are plenty of fun activities that the entire family can do together at home. Here are a few to inspire your own family to make lasting memories while spending quality time together at home.

1. Movie Night—This is a simple activity that everyone will enjoy. Every time you have a movie night, let a different family member pick their favorite. That way, everyone will have a turn choosing something to watch in the coming weeks. Better yet, consider a movie marathon over the weekend and allow each family member to choose one leg of the marathon. Don’t forget to bring popcorn and treats. In fact, make it part of the activity and make a delicious treat as a family to share during the movie.

2. Homemade Pizza—Many families have a tradition of ordering pizza once a week (or when no one feels like cooking). Do things a little different while you’re all at home together and learn to make pizza at home. Choose one type that everyone enjoys, or let everyone make a personal-sized pizza and add whatever toppings they’d like. Learning to make pizza at home is also an excellent opportunity to teach your kids a new skill.

3. Backyard Camping—Just because you can’t go out on vacation doesn’t mean you can’t have a family outing in nature. Involve the whole family in setting up the tents and sleeping bags in your yard. Have a campfire, sing songs, tell stories, and roast marshmallows. Before bed, take some time to admire the stars. The best part is that everyone can get ready for bed in the house, and it’ll be easy to make a delicious breakfast when everyone wakes up in the morning.

4. Dance Party—Make a playlist of your family members’ favorite songs. Gather together in one room and dance to your new playlist. It’ll be a great way to laugh together and let go of any stress you may be feeling at the moment. It’s also a great way to get moving and get some exercise!

5. Art Night—Bring out the crayons, pencils, watercolors, and paper. Come up with a theme, such as summertime, animal friends, or family portraits. It’ll be fun to see what everyone comes up with while allowing them to get creative.

During an uncertain time, it can be challenging to know how to keep your entire family entertained. However, it’s the perfect opportunity to make memories and do things that you don’t always have time to do together. Cherish these fleeting moments with your loved ones

Posted in Live Well
March 16, 2020

Yes, You Can Still Afford a Home

Yes, You Can Still Afford a Home

Yes, You Can Still Afford a Home | MyKCM

The residential real estate market has come roaring out of the gates in 2020. Compared to this time last year, the number of buyers looking for a home is up 20%, and the number of home sales is up almost 10%. The increase in purchasing activity has caused home price appreciation to begin reaccelerating. Many analysts have boosted their projections for price appreciation this year.

Whenever home prices begin to increase, there’s an immediate concern about how that will impact the ability Americans have to purchase a home. That thinking is understandable. We must, however, realize that price is not the only element to the affordability equation. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, recently explained:

“When demand increases for a scarce (limited or low supply) good, prices will rise faster. The difference between houses and other goods is that we buy them with a mortgage. So, it’s not the actual price that matters, but the price relative to purchasing power.”

While home prices have risen recently, mortgage interest rates have fallen rather dramatically. At the beginning of last year, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage stood at 4.46%. Today, that number stands over a full percentage point lower.

How does a lower mortgage rate impact your monthly mortgage payment?

Michael Hyman, a research data specialist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explained in a recent report that, even though home values have increased over the last year, the monthly cost of owning a home has decreased:

“With lower mortgage rates compared to one year ago, the payment as a percentage of income fell to 15.5%…from 17.1% a year ago.”

When purchasing a home, the price is not as important as its cost. Today, the monthly expense (cost) of purchasing the same house you could have purchased last year would be less. Or, you could purchase a more expensive home for the same monthly expense.

Fleming, looking at all aspects of the affordability equation (prices, wages, and mortgage rates), calculated the actual numbers in a recent blog post:

“Low mortgage rates and income growth triggered a 13.5% increase in house-buying power compared with a year ago.”

Since wages have increased and mortgage rates have dropped to historically low levels, this is a great time to buy your first home or move up to the home of your dreams. As Tendayi Kapfidze, Chief Economist at LendingTreerecently advised:

“If you are in a point in your life where you’re considering buying a home today, it’s a better time to buy than 10 years ago. If you can get a mortgage, you’re getting much lower interest rates, and it enables you to afford more.”

Bottom Line

Whether you’ve considered becoming a homeowner for the first time or have decided to sell your home and buy one that better suits your current lifestyle, now is a great time to get together and discuss your options.

Jan. 24, 2020

Make the Dream of Homeownership a Reality in 2020

Make the Dream of Homeownership a Reality in 2020

Make the Dream of Homeownership a Reality in 2020 | MyKCM

In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. led and inspired a powerful movement with his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Through his passion and determination, he sparked interest, ambition, and courage in his audience. Today, reflecting on his message encourages many of us to think about our own dreams, goals, beliefs, and aspirations. For many Americans, one of those common goals is owning a home: a piece of land, a roof over our heads, and a place where our families can grow and flourish.

If you’re dreaming of buying a home this year, the best way to start the process is to connect with a Real Estate professional to understand what goes into buying a home-that is where the professionals at Blackwell Realty will help guide you through the process. Once you have that covered, then you can answer the questions below to make the best decision for you and your family.

1. How Can I Better Understand the Process, and How Much Can I Afford?

The process of buying a home is not one to enter into lightly. You need to decide on key things like how long you plan on living in an area, school districts you prefer, what kind of commute works for you, and how much you can afford to spend.

Keep in mind, before you start the process to purchase a home, you’ll also need to apply for a mortgage. Lenders will evaluate several factors connected to your financial track record, one of which is your credit history. They’ll want to see how well you’ve been able to minimize past debts, so make sure you’ve been paying your student loans, credit cards, and car loans on time. Most agents have loan officers they trust that they can refer you to.

According to ConsumerReports.org,

Financial planners recommend limiting the amount you spend on housing to 25 percent of your monthly budget.”

2. How Much Do I Need for a Down Payment?

In addition to knowing how much you can afford on a monthly mortgage payment, understanding how much you’ll need for a down payment is another critical step. Thankfully, there are many different options and resources in the market to potentially reduce the amount you may think you need to put down up front.

If you’re concerned about saving for a down payment, start small and be consistent. A little bit each month goes a long way. Jumpstart your savings by automatically adding a portion of your monthly paycheck into a separate savings account or house fund. AmericaSaves.org says,

“Over time, these automatic deposits add up. For example, $50 a month accumulates to $600 a year and $3,000 after five years, plus interest that has compounded.”

Before you know it, you’ll have enough for a down payment if you’re disciplined and thoughtful about your process.

3. Saving Takes Time: Practice Living on a Budget

As tempting as it is to settle in each morning with a fancy cup of coffee from your favorite local shop, putting that daily spend toward your down payment will help accelerate your path to homeownership. It’s the little things that count, so start trying to live on a slightly tighter budget if you aren’t doing so already. A budget will allow you to save more for your down payment and help you pay down other debts to improve your credit score. A survey of Millennial spending shows,

“70 percent of would-be first-time homebuyers will cut spending on spa days, shopping and going to the movies in exchange for purchasing a home within the next year.”

While you don’t need to cut all of the fun out of your current lifestyle, making smarter choices and limiting your spending in areas where you can slim down will make a big difference.

Bottom Line

If homeownership is on your dream list this year, take a good look at what you can prioritize to help you get there. Let’s get together today to discuss the best steps you can take to start the process. Call us at 251-626-9570 or email at info@blackwellrealtyinc.com. Feel free to call, text or email any of our agents as well.

Posted in 2-27-19
Sept. 10, 2019

September 9, 2019

Home Sales Expected to Continue Increasing In 2020

Home Sales Expected to Continue Increasing In 2020 | MyKCM

Freddie MacFannie Maeand the Mortgage Bankers Association are all projecting home sales will increase nicely in 2020.

Below is a chart depicting the projections of each entity for 2019, as well as for 2020.Home Sales Expected to Continue Increasing In 2020 | MyKCMAs we can see, Freddie MacFannie Mae, and the Mortgage Bankers Association all believe homes sales will increase steadily over the next year. If you’re a homeowner who has considered selling your house recently, now may be the best time to put it on the market.

Aug. 15, 2019

Why Now is the Perfect Time to Sell Your House

Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Sell Your House

Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Sell Your House | MyKCM

As a homeowner, it’s always tempting to dream about the next big project you’re going to tackle. The possibilities are endless. Should I renovate? Should I refinance? Should I stay? Should I move? The list goes on and on.

In today’s housing market, it’s actually a great time to shift your thoughts toward selling your house and moving up into the home of your dreams. Here’s why:

Inventory is on the rise, but there’s still an overall shortage of houses for sale (less than a 6-month supply found in a more normal market), so homes are going under contract quickly. In fact, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Realtors® Confidence Index Survey reports that right now homes are only staying on the market for an average of 27 days. That’s less than one month, an even more accelerated pace from the 36-day trend we saw last spring.Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Sell Your House | MyKCMThe same report also indicates there are more interested buyers than active sellers today, which is one of the big factors driving home prices higher.Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Sell Your House | MyKCMWhy Now Is the Perfect Time to Sell Your House | MyKCMTake a close look at the stats for Alabama. This power combination provides an ideal environment for sellers aiming to close a quick sale and earn a big return as we wrap up the summer season.

Bottom Line

There’s still time to make a move before the school year starts and the fall weather sets in. Maybe it’s time to make a change. Let’s get together to determine if selling now is the right decision for your family.  It's easy to get in touch with us-you can call at 251-626-9570, text at 251-455-1172 or email at info@blackwellrealtyinc.com.

Posted in May 2019
Aug. 15, 2019

5 TV Real Estate Myths

5 Real Estate Reality TV Myths Explained

5 Real Estate Reality TV Myths Explained | MyKCM

Have you ever been flipping through the channels, only to find yourself glued to the couch in an HGTV binge session? We’ve all been there, watching entire seasons of shows like “Property Brothers,” “Fixer Upper,” and “Love It or List It,” all in one sitting.

When you’re in the middle of your real estate-themed TV show marathon, you might start to think everything you see on the screen must be how it works in real life. However, you may need a reality check.

Reality TV Show Myths vs. Real Life:

Myth #1: Buyers look at 3 homes and decide to purchase one of them.
Truth: There may be buyers who fall in love and buy the first home they see, but according to the National Association of Realtors, the average homebuyer tours 10 homes as a part of their search.  

Myth #2: The houses the buyers are touring are still for sale.
Truth: Everything is staged for TV. Many of the homes shown are already sold and are off the market. 

Myth #3: The buyers haven’t made a purchase decision yet.
Truth: Since there is no way to show the entire buying process in a 30-minute show, TV producers often choose buyers who are further along in the process and have already chosen a home to buy. 

Myth #4: If you list your home for sale, it will ALWAYS sell at the open house.
Truth: Of course, this would be great! Open houses are important to guarantee the most exposure to buyers in your area, but they are only one piece of the overall marketing of your home. Keep in mind, many homes are sold during regular showing appointments as well. 

Myth #5: Homeowners decide to sell their homes after a 5-minute conversation.
Truth: Similar to the buyers portrayed on the shows, many of the sellers have already spent hours deliberating the decision to list their homes and move on with their lives and goals.

Bottom Line

Having an experienced professional on your side while navigating the real estate market is the best way to guarantee you can make the home of your dreams a true reality.

July 29, 2019

How to Increase Your Equity Over the Next 5 Years

How to Increase Your Equity Over the Next 5 Years

How to Increase Your Equity Over the Next 5 Years | MyKCM

Many of the questions currently surrounding the real estate industry focus on home prices and where they are heading. The most recent Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES) helps target these projected answers.

Here are the results from the Q2 2019 Survey:

  • Home values will appreciate by 4.1% in 2019
  • The average annual appreciation will be 3.2% over the next 5 years
  • The cumulative appreciation will be 16.8% by 2023
  • Even experts representing the most “bearish” quartile of the survey project a cumulative appreciation of over 6.7% by 2023

What does this mean for you? 

A substantial portion of family wealth comes from home equity. As the value of a family’s home (an asset) increases, so does their equity.

Using the projections from the HPES, here is a look at the potential equity a family could earn over the next five years if they purchased a $250,000 home in January of 2019:How to Increase Your Equity Over the Next 5 Years | MyKCMBased on gains in home equity, their family wealth could increase by $42,000 over that five-year period.

Bottom Line

If you don’t yet own a home, now may be the time to purchase. Owning or moving up to your dream home could allow you to ride the increase in equity of a growing asset and we here at Blackwell Realty are prepared to help you with that process.  Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.  Call at 251-626-9570, email at info@blackwellrealtyinc.com or text at 251-455-1172, we would love to talk to you!

Home Price Expectation survey - Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts regarding their 5-year expectations for future home prices in the United States.
Posted in 2-27-19, 2-28-19
May 6, 2019

3 Expert Insights on Inventory on the Current Market

3 Expert Insights On Inventory In The Current Market

3 Expert Insights On Inventory In The Current Market | MyKCM

The current housing landscape presents greater home values, low interest rates, and high buyer demand. All of these factors point to the strong market forecasted to continue throughout the rest of the year.

There is, however, one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: an overall lack of housing inventory. Buyer demand naturally increases during the summer months, but the current supply is not keeping up.

Here is a look at what a few industry experts have to say:

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at National Association of Realtors

“Imbalance persists for mid-to-lower priced homes with solid demand and insufficient supply, which is consequently pushing up home prices.”

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist of First American

“Market conditions are ripe for increasing home sales with one glaring exception. The supply of homes for sale remains tight, keeping existing home sales below potential.”

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist of Realtor.com

“We're not seeing as many new listings come up on the market…It was only 18 months ago that the number of homes for sale hit its lowest level in recorded history and sparked the fiercest competition among buyers we've ever seen.”

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of selling, now may be the time. Demand for your house will be strong during a period when there is very little competition, ideally leading to a quick sale and a great return on your investment.

Posted in May 2019
Feb. 28, 2019

Sage Real Estate Advice

Do you ever ask yourself, "How Can I Increase My Family’s Net Worth?"

How Can I Increase My Family’s Net Worth? | MyKCM

There's a lot of information out there about whether owning real estate is beneficial, so here's some information that should help everyone quickly realize the fastest and most efficient way to increase your overall net worth. Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts their Survey of Consumer Finances. Data is collected across all economic and social groups. The latest survey data covers 2013-2016.

The study revealed that the median net worth of a homeowner is $231,400 – a 15% increase since 2013. At the same time, the median net worth of renters decreased by 5% ($5,200 today compared to $5,500 in 2013).

These numbers reveal that the net worth of a homeowner is over 44 TIMES GREATER than that of a renter.

Owning a home is a great way to build family wealth.

As we’ve said before, simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth by increasing the equity in your home.

That is why Gallup reported that Americans picked real estate as the best long-term investment for the fifth year in a row. According to this year’s results, 34% of Americans chose real estate. Stocks followed at 26%, and then gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds.

Bottom Line

If you want to find out how you can use your monthly housing cost to increase your family’s wealth, let’s get together to guide you through the process.  Contact us at 251-626-9570 or email at info@blackwellrealtyinc.com.  We would love to help you increase your net worth starting today!

Posted in 2-28-19, Market Updates
Feb. 25, 2019

Curious About Local Real Estate?

Receive the Latest Local Market Stats

Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates