Gulf Coast Real Estate and Community News

Thank you for joining me on this journey to explore the Gulf of Mexico beaches and communities! Whether you are a resident, planning a visit, or simply have a love for this beautiful area, I am here to share my knowledge and insights gained from over 30 years as a resident and Realtor.

Throughout our discussions, we will delve into a wide range of topics including events, restaurants, recipes, local issues, investment opportunities, resort and vacation ideas, and more. Whether you want to know about the best spots to dine in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Perdido Key, Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, and Navarre, or are interested in staying up to date with the latest news from our communities, this is the place to be.

Collage Gulf Coast

Living in this area has given me a deep appreciation for the Gulf coasts of Florida and Alabama, and I am excited to share that passion with all of you. Whether you are seeking information on the best places to visit, fun recommendations for activities, or insights into the real estate market, I am here to provide you with the knowledge and expertise you need.

Make sure to check back regularly to stay informed about the latest happenings and developments in our communities. I look forward to sharing this journey with you and providing you with valuable information about the Gulf of Mexico beaches and towns.

You can get reach me at pete@perdidopete.com or get details on the real estate market by going to my web site https://www.teamperdido.com

Or call me direct at +1 (850) 261-3938

May 24, 2024

Pricing to sell

Your Agent Is the Key To Pricing Your House Right [INFOGRAPHIC]




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Some Highlights

  • The asking price for your house can impact your bottom line and how quickly it sells.
  • Both under- and overpricing have drawbacks. So to find the right price for your house, lean on your agent for their expertise.
  • Don’t pick just any price for your listing. Trust your real estate professional to help you find the perfect price for your house.
May 23, 2024

Sellers' Questions

Questions You May Have About Selling Your House




There’s no denying mortgage rates are having a big impact on today’s housing market. And that may leave you with some questions about whether it still makes sense to sell your house and make a move.

Here are three of the top questions you may be asking – and the data that helps answer them.

1. Should I Wait To Sell?

If you’re thinking about waiting to sell until after mortgage rates come down, here’s what you need to know. So are a ton of other people.

And while mortgage rates are still forecasted to come down later this year, if you wait for that to happen, you may be dealing with a lot more competition as other buyers and sellers jump back in too. As Bright MLS says:

“Even a modest drop in rates will bring both more buyers and more sellers into the market.”

That means if you wait it out, you’ll have to deal with things like prices rising faster and more multiple-offer scenarios when you buy your next home.

2. Are Buyers Still Out There?

But that doesn’t mean no one is moving right now. While some people are holding off, there are still plenty of buyers active today. And here’s the data to prove it.

The ShowingTime Showing Index is a measure of how frequently buyers are touring homes. The graph below uses that index to show buyer activity for March (the latest data available) over the past seven years:No Caption Received

 

You can see demand has dipped some since the ‘unicorn’ years (shown in pink). That’s in response to a lot of market factors, like higher mortgage rates, rising prices, and limited inventory. But, to really understand today’s demand, you have to compare where we are now with the last normal years in the market (2018-2019) – not the abnormal ‘unicorn’ years. 

When you focus on just the blue bars, you can get an idea of how 2024 stacks up. And that gives you a whole new perspective.

Nationally, demand is still high compared to the last normal years in the housing market (2018-2019). And that means there’s still a market for your house to sell.

3. Can I Afford To Buy My Next Home?

And if you’re worried about how you’ll afford your next move with today’s rates and prices, consider this: you probably have more equity in your current home than you realize.

Homeowners have gained record amounts of equity over the past few years. And that equity can make a big difference when you buy your next home. You may even have enough to be an all-cash buyer and avoid taking out a mortgage altogether. As Jessica Lautz, Deputy Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“ . . . those who have earned housing equity through home price appreciation are the current winners in today's housing market. One-third of recent home buyers did not finance their home purchase last month—the highest share in a decade. For these buyers, interest rates may be less influential in their purchase decisions.”

Bottom Line

If you’ve had these three questions on your mind and they’ve been holding you back from selling, hopefully, it helps to have this information now. A recent survey from Realtor.com shows more than 85% of potential sellers have been considering selling for over a year. That means there are a number of sellers like you who are on the fence.

But that same survey also talked to sellers who recently decided to take the plunge and list. And 79% of those recent sellers wish they’d sold sooner.

If you want to talk more about any of these questions or need more information, let’s connect.

May 20, 2024

Mortgage rates and home prices

What’s Next for Home Prices and Mortgage Rates?




If you’re thinking of making a move this year, there are two housing market factors that are probably on your mind: home prices and mortgage rates. You’re wondering what’s going to happen next. And if it’s worth it to move now, or better to wait it out.

The only thing you can really do is make the best decision you can based on the latest information available. So, here’s what experts are saying about both prices and rates.

1. What’s Next for Home Prices?

One reliable place you can turn to for information on home price forecasts is the Home Price Expectations Survey from Fannie Mae – a survey of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists.

According to the most recent release, experts are projecting home prices will continue to rise at least through 2028 (see the graph below):

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While the percent of appreciation varies year-to-year, this survey says we’ll see prices rise (not fall) for at least the next 5 years, and at a much more normal pace.

What does that mean for your move? If you buy now, your home will likely grow in value and you should gain equity in the years ahead. But, based on these forecasts, if you wait and prices continue to climb, the price of a home will only be higher later on. 

2. When Will Mortgage Rates Come Down?

This is the million-dollar question in the industry. And there’s no easy way to answer it. That’s because there are a number of factors that are contributing to the volatile mortgage rate environment we’re in. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, explains:

“Every month brings a new set of inflation and labor data that can influence the direction of mortgage rates. Ongoing inflation deceleration, a slowing economy and even geopolitical uncertainty can contribute to lower mortgage rates. On the other hand, data that signals upside risk to inflation may result in higher rates.”

What happens next will depend on where each of those factors goes from here. Experts are optimistic rates should still come down later this year, but acknowledge changing economic indicators will continue to have an impact. As a CNET article says:

“Though mortgage rates could still go down later in the year, housing market predictions change regularly in response to economic data, geopolitical events and more.”

So, if you’re ready, willing, and able to afford a home right now, partner with a trusted real estate advisor to weigh your options and decide what’s right for you. 

Bottom Line

Let’s connect to make sure you have the latest information available on home prices and mortgage rate expectations. Together we’ll go over what the experts are saying so you can make an informed decision on your move.

May 17, 2024

Rent or Buy

Should I Rent or Buy a Home?




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Some Highlights

  • While renting may be less expensive in some areas right now, there are two big benefits homeownership provides that renting can’t. ​
  • Owning a home means you get to say goodbye to rising rents and hello to stability. It also gives you the chance to gain equity as home values rise over time.
  • If you’re ready to learn more about the perks of owning a home, let’s chat. 
May 16, 2024

Inventory of homes

The Number of Homes for Sale Is Increasing




There’s no denying the last couple of years have been tough for anyone trying to buy a home because there haven’t been enough houses to go around. But things are starting to look up.

There are more homes up for grabs this year. The graph below uses the latest data from Realtor.com to show in April 2024 there were more homes for sale than there were over the last few years (2021-2023):

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As Realtor.com explains:

There were 30.4% more homes actively for sale on a typical day in April compared with the same time in 2023, marking the sixth consecutive month of annual inventory growth.”

But does this growing inventory make house hunting easier? Yes and no.

Using the latest weekly data from Calculated Risk, the graph below shows, that even with the growth lately, there are still way fewer homes for sale than there were in the last normal year in the housing market:

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What Does This Mean for You?

If you’ve been looking to buy but put your plans on hold because you just couldn’t find what you were searching for, you might see more options now than you did over the past few years – but don't expect a huge selection.

To check out your growing options, it's a good idea to work with a local real estate agent you trust. Real estate is all about location. And an agent can help you get the scoop on the homes available in the area you're interested in. Bankrate explains:

“In today’s homebuying market, it’s more important than ever to find a real estate agent who really knows your local area — down to your specific neighborhood — and can help you successfully navigate its unique quirks.”

Bottom Line

Let's team up so you have someone who can keep you in the loop on everything that might impact your move, like how many homes are up for sale right now.

May 15, 2024

Condo for 1st time homebuyers

Why a Condo May Be a Great Option for Your First Home




Having a hard time finding a first home that's right for you and your wallet? Well, here's a tip – think about condominiums, or condos for short.

They're usually smaller than single-family homes, but that's exactly why they can be easier on your budget. According to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), condos are typically less expensive than single-family homes (see graph below):

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So, if you're comfortable with a smaller space and want to buy your first home this year, adding condos to your search might be easier on your wallet.

Besides giving you more options for your home search and maybe fitting your budget better, living in a condo has a bunch of other perks, too. According to Rocket Mortgage:

“From community living to walkable urban areas, condos are great options for first-time home buyers and people looking to enjoy homeownership without extensive upkeep.”

Let’s dive into a few of the draws of condos for first-time buyers from Bankrate:

  • They require less maintenance. Condos are great if you want to own your place but don't want to mow the lawn, shovel snow, or fix the roof. Your real estate agent can help explain any associated fees and details for the condos you’re interested in.
  • They allow you to start building equity. When you buy a condo, you build equity and your net worth as you make your mortgage payments and as your condo’s value goes up over time.
  • They often come with added amenities. Your condo might come with access to amenities like a pool, dog park, or parking. And the best part? You don’t have to take care of any of them.
  • They provide you with a sense of community. Buying a condo means you'll be living close to other people, which is nice if you enjoy having neighbors around and making friends. Many condo communities hold fun events like barbecues and parties during holidays for everyone to enjoy.

 

Remember, your first home doesn't have to be the one you stay in forever. The important thing is to get your foot in the door as a homeowner so you can start to gain home equity. Later on, that equity can help you buy another place if you need something different.

Ultimately, owning and living in a condo is a lifestyle choice. And if it’s one that appeals to you, they could provide the added options you need in today’s market.

Bottom Line

It might be a good idea to think about condos in your home search. If you're ready to see what's out there, let's get in touch today.

Posted in Buying a Home
May 13, 2024

Home Prices 2024

Home Prices Are Climbing in These Top Cities




Thinking about buying a home or selling your current one to find a better fit? If so, you might be wondering what's going on with home prices these days. Here's the scoop.

The latest national data from Case-Shiller and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) shows they’re going up (see graphs below):

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As you can see, home prices were rising for most of 2023. But over the course of December and January, they were virtually flat – which is pretty normal for that time of year.

But here's what you need to know now. As of February, when the spring market kicked off, prices were on the rise again.

Home Prices Are Going Up in Most of America's Top Cities

After seeing a jump in home prices nationally in February, you might be wondering if they’re going up in your area, too. While it depends on where you live, prices are rising in 18 of the top 20 cities Case-Shiller reports on in the monthly price index (see chart below):

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Most experts also think home prices will keep rising and end the year on a high note. Forbes explains why:

“Even as mortgage rates have reached their highest level since November, persistent demand coupled with limited housing supply are key drivers pushing home values upward.”

How This Impacts You

  • For Buyers: If you’re ready, willing, and able to buy a home, purchasing before prices go up even more might be a smart choice, since home values are expected to keep climbing.
  • For Sellers: Prices are going up because there still aren’t enough homes available for sale right now compared to today’s buyer demand. So, if you work with an agent to price your house right, you might receive multiple offers and sell quickly. 

Bottom Line

The data shows home prices are increasing nationally. Let's chat to see exactly what’s going on with prices in our neighborhood.

May 9, 2024

New Construction Advantages

The Top 2 Reasons To Consider a Newly Built Home




When you’re planning a move, it’s normal to wonder where you’ll end up and what your future home is going to look like. Maybe you’ve got a specific picture of that house in your mind. But unless you came into this process knowing you want to buy a newly built home, you may not have pictured new home construction.

A trusted real estate agent can help walk you through these two reasons you may want to reconsider that.

1. Adding Newly Built Homes Could Give You More Options

There are two types of homes on the market: new and existing. A newly built home refers to a house that was just built or is under construction. An existing home is one a previous homeowner has already lived in. Right now, the inventory of existing homes is tight. But there may be options for you on the new home side of things.

Data from the Census and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that newly built homes are a bigger part of today’s housing inventory than the norm (see graph below):

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From 1983 to 2019 (the last normal year in the market), newly built homes made up only 13% of the total inventory of homes for sale. But today that number has climbed to over 33%.

Rest assured, after over a decade of underbuilding, builders aren’t overdoing it today. Even with an increase in new construction today, there’s still a significant housing shortage overall. But for you, the uptick in new builds can be a game changer because it gives you more options for your search.

2. Newly Built Homes May Be More Affordable Than You’d Think

You may still be wondering if a new build could really be an option for you. If you’ve previously written them off because you thought they would be out of your budget, consider this. The price gap between a newly built home and an existing house is shrinking. Here's why.

Builders are going to build what’s in demand. And they know people need more options right now, especially ones that are smaller and potentially more affordable. So, they’re focusing on building smaller homes at lower price points. The graph below shows the price difference between new and existing homes is shrinking as that happens:

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As LendingTree explains:

In the past, newly built homes have been much more expensive than existing homes — but that gap has been getting smaller recently. In some places today, you may find that the cost to build versus buy is roughly the same.”

And an article from CNBC says:

“While new builds are still sold for slightly more than existing homes, the price gap has significantly narrowed . . .”

Not to mention, some builders are even offering price cuts and mortgage rate buy-downs right now to sweeten the deal. Today there are many reasons new builds may be worth considering. Other buyers sure seem to think so. As Freddie Mac says:

"As the supply of existing homes for sale remains low and home prices continue to rise, more buyers are choosing to purchase new homes than in previous years."

Just know that buying a newly built home isn’t the same as buying an existing one. Builder contracts have different fine print. So, partner with a local agent who knows the market, builder reputations, and what to look for in those contracts so you have an expert on your side to help you explore this option.

Bottom Line

If you want to find out what builders are doing in our area, let’s connect and check it out together. And if you’re willing to cast a wider net to open up your options even more, we can talk about broadening your search to include other towns nearby.

May 8, 2024

Real Estae Sales help your community

How Buying or Selling a Home Benefits Your Community




If you're thinking of buying or selling a house, it's important to know it doesn't just impact you—it helps out the local economy and your community, too.

Every year, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) puts out a report that breaks down the financial impact that comes from people buying and selling homes (see visual below):

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When a house is sold, it really boosts the local economy. That’s because of all the people needed to build, fix up, and sell homes. Robert Dietz, Chief Economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), explains how the housing industry adds jobs to a community:

“. . . housing is a significant job creator. In fact, for every single-family home built, enough economic activity is generated to sustain three full-time jobs for a year . . .”

It makes sense that housing creates a lot of jobs because so many different kinds of work are involved in the industry.

Think about all the people involved with selling a house—city officials, contractors, lawyers, real estate agents, specialists, etc. Everyone has a job to do to make your deal go through. So, each transaction is a big help to those who work and live in your community.

Put simply, when you buy or sell a home, you’re helping out your neighbors. So, when you decide to move, you're not just meeting your own needs—you're also doing something good for your community. Just knowing your move helps so many people around you can give you a sense of empowerment as you make your decision this year.

Bottom Line

Every time a home is sold, it really helps out the local economy. If you’re ready to move, let’s get in touch. It won’t just change your life—it’ll also do a lot of good for the whole community.

May 7, 2024

Why move?

What's Motivating Your Move?




Thinking about selling your house? As you make your decision, consider what's pushing you to think about moving. A recent survey from Realtor.com looked into why people want to sell their homes this year. Here are the top two reasons (see graphic below):

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Let's take a closer look and see if they’re motivating you to make a change too.

1. To Make a Profit

If you’re thinking about selling your house, you probably have a lot of questions on your mind. Well, here's some good news – the latest data shows most sellers get a great return on their investment when they sell. ATTOM, a property data provider, explains:

“. . . home sellers made a $121,000 profit on the typical sale in 2023, generating a 56.5 percent return on investment.”

That’s significant. And here’s one contributing factor. During the pandemic, home prices skyrocketed. There was way more buyer demand than homes available for sale and that combination pushed prices up.

Now, home prices are still rising, just not as fast. That ongoing appreciation is good news for your bottom line. Any profit you make can help offset some of today’s affordability challenges when you buy your next home.

If you want to know how much your house is worth now and what's going on with prices in your area, talk to a local real estate agent.

2. For Family Reasons

Maybe you want to be near relatives to help take care of older family members or to have more support nearby. Or maybe you’re just eager to spend time together on special occasions like birthdays and holidays.

Selling a house and moving closer to the people who matter the most to you helps keep you connected. If the distance is making you miss out on some big milestones in their lives, it might be time to talk to a local real estate agent to find a place close by. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:

“A great real estate agent will guide you through the home search with an unbiased eye, helping you meet your buying objectives while staying within your budget.”

Bottom Line

If you're thinking about selling your house, there’s probably a good reason for it. Let’s talk so you have help making the right move to reach your goals this year.

Posted in Selling Your Home