Real Estate Voted the Best Investment Eight Years in a Row

Real Estate Voted the Best Investment Eight Years in a Row | Simplifying The Market

In an annual Gallup poll, Americans chose real estate as the best long-term investment. And it’s not the first time it’s topped the list, either. Real estate has been on a winning streak for the past eight years, consistently gaining traction as the best long-term investment (see graph below):

Real Estate Voted the Best Investment Eight Years in a Row | Simplifying The MarketIf you’re thinking about purchasing a home this year, this poll should reassure you. Even when inflation is rising like it is today, Americans agree an investment like real estate truly shines.

Why Is Real Estate a Great Investment During Times of High Inflation?

With inflation reaching its highest level in 40 years, it’s more important than ever to understand the financial benefits of homeownership. Rising inflation means prices are increasing across the board. That includes goods, services, housing costs, and more. But when you purchase your home, you lock in your monthly housing payments, effectively shielding yourself from increasing housing payments. James Royal, Senior Wealth Management Reporter at Bankrate, explains it like this:

A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to maintain the biggest portion of housing expenses at the same payment. Sure, property taxes will rise and other expenses may creep up, but your monthly housing payment remains the same.”

If you’re a renter, you don’t have that same benefit, and you aren’t protected from increases in your housing costs, especially rising rents.

History Shows During Inflationary Periods, Home Prices Rise as Well

As a homeowner, your house is an asset that typically increases in value over time, even during inflation. That‘s because, as prices rise, the value of your home does, too. And that makes buying a home a great hedge during periods of high inflation. Natalie Campisi, Advisor Staff for Forbes, notes:

Tangible assets like real estate get more valuable over time, which makes buying a home a good way to spend your money during inflationary times.

Bottom Line

Housing truly is a strong investment, especially when inflation is high. When you lock in a mortgage payment, you’re shielded from housing cost increases, and you own an asset that typically gains value with time. If you want to better understand how buying a home could be a great investment for you, let’s connect today.

The Entire Menu At Dime Store In Detroit Is Made From Scratch Every Day

At Dime Store in downtown Detroit, you can satisfy your craving for breakfast and brunch all day long. The artisanal spot creates elaborate breakfast and lunch dishes and cocktails from scratch, infusing each plate with a dose of culinary creativity.

Dime Store is open 8:00 am to 3:00 pm every day but Wednesday. If you’re always craving eggs or can never decide between sweet and savory breakfast food, this restaurant is calling your name. In the chic space with an industrial design bent, you can sample breakfast flavors you never thought possible, all while sipping a mimosa, at any time of day.

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The Charming Bed And Breakfast In Small Town Michigan Worthy Of Your Bucket List

Northern Michigan seemingly has more than its share of small, charming towns and the Village of Bellaire ranks highly among them. The Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast, built more than 125 years ago, is a Bellaire landmark. The property offers six rooms for nightly bookings.

Jake and Leeann Chamberlain and their three children introduced themselves as the Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast’s new owners in a Jan. 31, 2022, Facebook post, expressing pride in the “iconic home, full of history, beauty, and so many memories.” Bellaire is 37 miles northeast of Traverse City. Torch Lake is 10 miles away and water activities are a big part of summer life in Bellaire, while snowmobiling and skiing are popular in the winter. For more information about visiting the town, see the Bellaire Chamber of Commerce website.

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What’s Driving Today’s High Buyer Demand? [INFOGRAPHIC]

What’s Driving Today’s High Buyer Demand? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

What’s Driving Today’s High Buyer Demand? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • There’s an influx of buyers looking for homes today, and that means your house is in high demand. Here are a few reasons why so many people are looking to buy a home.
  • Buyers are motivated to beat rising mortgage rates, and many want to escape rising rents. There’s also additional demand from millennials who are reaching peak homebuying age.
  • If you’re thinking about selling your house, today’s demand is great news. Let’s connect to begin the process of listing your house while buyers are ready to purchase.

Enjoy A Contemplative Stroll In An Old Growth Forest Along This Underrated Trail In Michigan

Does spending time in the great outdoors fill you with a sense of peace and serenity? If you’re like us, you’ve found countless moments of beauty and appreciation during natural excursions here in the Great Lakes State, whether they’ve happened along a rugged shoreline or within a thickly forested area. One unique old-growth forest trail in Michigan provides timeless memories and unbeatable scenery for the entire family, so lace up your hiking boots and prepare to get happily lost.

To learn more about this lovely old-growth forest trail in Michigan, click here. Have you and your family checked out Hartwick Pines State Park in all its glory during previous excursions in the area? Share your favorite memories with us by leaving a Facebook comment or recommend another beginner-friendly hiking trail in Michigan by filling out our nomination form.

If you’re searching for more outdoor excitement, be sure to read about this unique geological wonder in Michigan.

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The View From This Little-Known Overlook In Michigan Is Almost Too Beautiful For Words

Michigan is home to plenty of well-known vantage points, from the Empire Bluff Trail to the front porch of Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel. While we’re certainly keen on exploring the most famous attractions in Michigan, we also appreciate the chance to check out lesser-known outdoor gems. When you’re ready to experience some of the prettiest views imaginable without battling crowds of tourists, one little-known overlook in Michigan deserves your attention.

For additional information about the Manistee High Rollway Observation Deck, click here. Have you and your loved ones been fortunate enough to spend time at this lovely locale during previous visits to the area? What are some of your favorite photos or views? Share your memories with us by leaving a Facebook comment or recommend another little-known overlook in Michigan by completing our nomination form here.

Searching for another way to get outside? You’ll want to read about this year-round loop trail in Michigan.

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4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

A recent survey revealed that many consumers believe there’s a housing bubble beginning to form. That feeling is understandable, as year-over-year home price appreciation is still in the double digits. However, this market is very different than it was during the housing crash 15 years ago. Here are four key reasons why today is nothing like the last time.

1. Houses Are Not Unaffordable Like They Were During the Housing Boom

The affordability formula has three components: the price of the home, wages earned by the purchaser, and the mortgage rate available at the time. Conventional lending standards say a purchaser should not spend more than 28% of their gross income on their mortgage payment.

Fifteen years ago, prices were high, wages were low, and mortgage rates were over 6%. Today, prices are still high. Wages, however, have increased, and the mortgage rate, even after the recent spike, is still well below 6%. That means the average purchaser today pays less of their monthly income toward their mortgage payment than they did back then.

In the latest Affordability Report by ATTOM Data, Chief Product Officer Todd Teta addresses that exact point:

“The average wage earner can still afford the typical home across the U.S., but the financial comfort zone continues shrinking as home prices keep soaring and mortgage rates tick upward.”

Affordability isn’t as strong as it was last year, but it’s much better than it was during the boom. Here’s a chart showing that difference:

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

If costs were so prohibitive, how did so many homes sell during the housing boom?

2. Mortgage Standards Were Much More Relaxed During the Boom

During the housing bubble, it was much easier to get a mortgage than it is today. As an example, let’s review the number of mortgages granted to purchasers with credit scores under 620. According to credit.org, a credit score between 550-619 is considered poor. In defining those with a score below 620, they explain:

“Credit agencies consider consumers with credit delinquencies, account rejections, and little credit history as subprime borrowers due to their high credit risk.”

Buyers can still qualify for a mortgage with a credit score that low, but they’re considered riskier borrowers. Here’s a graph showing the mortgage volume issued to purchasers with a credit score less than 620 during the housing boom, and the subsequent volume in the 14 years since.

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

Mortgage standards are nothing like they were the last time. Purchasers that acquired a mortgage over the last decade are much more qualified. Let’s take a look at what that means going forward.

3. The Foreclosure Situation Is Nothing Like It Was During the Crash

The most obvious difference is the number of homeowners that were facing foreclosure after the housing bubble burst. The Federal Reserve issues a report showing the number of consumers with a new foreclosure notice. Here are the numbers during the crash compared to today:

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

There’s no doubt the 2020 and 2021 numbers are impacted by the forbearance program, which was created to help homeowners facing uncertainty during the pandemic. However, there are fewer than 800,000 homeowners left in the program today, and most of those will be able to work out a repayment plan with their banks.

Rick Sharga, Executive Vice President of RealtyTrac, explains:

“The fact that foreclosure starts declined despite hundreds of thousands of borrowers exiting the CARES Act mortgage forbearance program over the last few months is very encouraging. It suggests that the ‘forbearance equals foreclosure’ narrative was incorrect.”

Why are there so few foreclosures now? Today, homeowners are equity rich, not tapped out.

In the run-up to the housing bubble, some homeowners were using their homes as personal ATM machines. Many immediately withdrew their equity once it built up. When home values began to fall, some homeowners found themselves in a negative equity situation where the amount they owed on their mortgage was greater than the value of their home. Some of those households decided to walk away from their homes, and that led to a rash of distressed property listings (foreclosures and short sales), which sold at huge discounts, thus lowering the value of other homes in the area.

Homeowners, however, have learned their lessons. Prices have risen nicely over the last few years, leading to over 40% of homes in the country having more than 50% equity. But owners have not been tapping into it like the last time, as evidenced by the fact that national tappable equity has increased to a record $9.9 trillion. With the average home equity now standing at $300,000, what happened last time won’t happen today.

As the latest Homeowner Equity Insights report from CoreLogic explains:

“Not only have equity gains helped homeowners more seamlessly transition out of forbearance and avoid a distressed sale, but they’ve also enabled many to continue building their wealth.”

There will be nowhere near the same number of foreclosures as we saw during the crash. So, what does that mean for the housing market?

4. We Don’t Have a Surplus of Homes on the Market – We Have a Shortage

The supply of inventory needed to sustain a normal real estate market is approximately six months. Anything more than that is an overabundance and will causes prices to depreciate. Anything less than that is a shortage and will lead to continued price appreciation. As the next graph shows, there were too many homes for sale from 2007 to 2010 (many of which were short sales and foreclosures), and that caused prices to tumble. Today, there’s a shortage of inventory, which is causing the acceleration in home values to continue.

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

Inventory is nothing like the last time. Prices are rising because there’s a healthy demand for homeownership at the same time there’s a shortage of homes for sale.

Bottom Line

If you’re worried that we’re making the same mistakes that led to the housing crash, the graphs above show data and insights to help alleviate your concerns.

Visit The Mackinac House, A Beautiful Island Resort In Michigan

If you’re like us, you’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of your next vacation or getaway here in the Great Lakes State. There are so many choices when it comes to lodging in Michigan, but one spot offers a truly spectacular stay among luxurious and comfortable surroundings. When you’re ready to book an unforgettable adventure, check out this island resort in Michigan. You’ll be resting, relaxing, and appreciating the beauty of our state in no time at all.

For more information about The Mackinac House and its many impressive offerings, click here. Have you spent the night at this or another island resort in Michigan during previous years? Share your memories with us by leaving a Facebook comment or recommend another unique spot to stay by filling out our official nomination form here.

Searching for another awesome adventure? You’ll want to read about this beautiful treehouse lodge in Michigan.

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If There Are Only 5 Hikes You Ever Do In Michigan, Make Them These

You don’t have to be a full-blown outdoor fanatic to appreciate a beautiful hiking trail or unique walkway. Luckily for those of us who call the Great Lakes State home, we’ve got convenient access to all sorts of spectacular fresh air destinations, including some of the prettiest pathways imaginable. When you’re eager to stretch your legs while appreciating everything our region has to offer, be sure to check out these five best hikes in Michigan.

So, there you have it: five of the best hikes in Michigan. While we hope you’ll check out the spots on our list, we’re well aware that Michigan is chock full of trails and outdoor attractions – and it would be impossible to feature them all. If you’d like to recommend another great natural area in Michigan to explore, fill out our official nomination form here.

If you’re looking for even more fun, you’ll want to read our bucket list for natural wonders in Michigan.

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More People Are Planning To Buy a Home Soon

More People Are Planning To Buy a Home Soon | Simplifying The Market

While some homeowners may be tempted to hold off until spring to list their houses, you should know – homebuyers aren’t waiting. Demand is high today as more people are trying to beat rising mortgage rates. As a result, eager buyers are entering the market or moving their plans up so they can make their purchases as soon as possible.

The most recent Consumer Confidence Survey finds that, of those surveyed, the percentage of people planning to buy over the next six months has increased substantially since last fall (see graph below):

More People Are Planning To Buy a Home Soon | Simplifying The Market

As the graph shows, the number of consumers fast-tracking their plans to purchase a home has crept up over the past three months. That indicates many buyers are evaluating their strategy and realizing they should act sooner rather than later. And for homeowners planning to sell, it’s a signal that now may be the time to list.

While more people are moving their plans up, others are actively putting theirs in motion. Time on the market is a great indication that homebuyers are motivated and moving quickly. According to a recent realtor.com report, the average home sold faster this January than any January on record.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, notes:

“Homes sold at a record-fast January pace, suggesting that buyers are more active than usual for this time of year.”

What Does That Mean for You?

Homebuyers are rethinking their strategies and moving their plans forward. Others are making their moves today. That means demand for your house isn’t just increasing – it’s high right now.

And because there are so few homes available for determined purchasers to choose from, if you’re planning to sell your house this year, doing so sooner means you can take advantage of high buyer demand before more houses are listed in your neighborhood. Why is this important? Because as more houses are put up for sale, buyers will have more options. But until then, your house will be in the spotlight.

Bottom Line

With so many buyers eager to make a purchase, you could benefit by listing your house soon. To understand how strong buyer demand is in our area, let’s connect so you can start making your plans today.