Historical Interest Rates

I receive interest updates from several sources all the time. Recently, one source posted some historical interest rates along with the current interest rates. Thought I would share.

Currently, a 30-year fixed Mortgage rate is 2.77%, 3 basis points lower versus last week! 15-year fixed rate is 2.1%, unchanged versus one week ago.

Now for the historic interest rates:

  • Average 30-year Interest Rate in the 2010’s: 4.1%
  • Average 30-year Interest Rate in the 2000’s: 6.9%
  • Average 30-year Interest Rate in the 90’s: 8.1%
  • Average 30-year Interest Rate in the 80’s: 12.7%

Interest rates have an affect on home prices, as you might expect. When I purchased a home in the early 1980’s in South Orange County, it cost $157,000. That’s about what I could afford with a 12% interest rate! If rates were lower at the time, I, along with thousands of other buyers, could afford more home! It would most likely have driven up home prices (supply and demand).

Return on a Kitchen Remodel

I recently spoke with a long-time client of mine about a kitchen remodel they were contemplating. She wanted to know what kind of return she would get on her investment of a complete kitchen remodel. I told her she could expect about 98%, but it could be more!

If you were able to do some of the work yourself or maybe refurbish the cabinets rather than replace, you most likely would get that 100% return.

I also think it has a lot to do with size of home, and even the area where the home is located. If you have a larger home, and live in a more upscale area, you would most likely get more than the 98% return on your complete kitchen remodel, in my opinion. Buyers of those larger, more expensive homes, expect a beautiful updated kitchen. And they are usually willing to pay extra for it.

Naturally, the remodel has to be functional as well as beautiful. Installing a small range in a large chef’s kitchen won’t make sense. Likewise, you would want to install a vent/hood that will definitely do the job over a large six-burner range. And don’t skimp on cupboard and storage space! Making mistakes like this in a remodel can be costly when it comes time to resell.

Nothing is wrong with style or adding personal touches in a kitchen, but it must be functional first! The kitchen is usually the heart of the home, and being functional is key to longevity in your remodel. Trends and styles can come and go, but function and usability are forever.

Staged and Sold in Irvine

I love helping folks buy and sell their homes here in Orange County. One thing I truly enjoy is helping them stage their home as needed.

Earlier this year, a past client called me to help sell this home. This was the third property I would sell for them! It was a wonderful, newer home, three bedrooms and three baths and nicely updated! But they wanted to move out during the selling process, so the home would be empty. I knew it would sell for more if it were staged, so I went to work staging the entire home and the patio.

You can see that before there was no dining table, so I added a dining table. And there was plenty of room to spare for ample seating in the living area. Living plants add life and a wonderful feel to any home. Bright, happy colors like orange also make a statement. In almost all my staging, I add orange!

There were MANY showings, and we received over a dozen offers, all over the asking price of $835,000. It sold for $880,000, higher than any home like it in the neighborhood had sold before!

When I listed this home for sale in April of 2021, it was a strong seller’s market in Irvine. I could have just listed and sold it empty, but the extra effort ALWAYS pays off. My staging is offered as part of my agent services package to the seller.

See the virtual tour of this beautiful home below.

OC Housing Market – Still Strong

When housing is surging with seemingly no end in sight, society cannot help but flashback to 2001 through 2006. In 2004 and 2005, the Case-Shiller U.S. Home Price Index showed red-hot home price appreciation between 10% and 14.5%. Everybody knows what happened next, the housing bubble eventually popped and led to double digit home price depreciation in 2008 and 2009. In May of this year, U.S. home price appreciation reached 14.6%, its highest level since tracking began in 1988. Yet, today’s housing market is glaringly different than the run-up to the Great Recession. That housing stock was built on the backs of easy credit, pick-a-payment plan, subprime lending, zero-down loans, easy qualifying, and fraudulent lending. Prior to the bubble deflating, there were obvious signs of a pending housing collapse: way too much supply of available homes to purchase and diminished year over year demand. The simple Econ 101 principle of supply and demand painted the inevitable housing plunge.

Today, it is completely different. There is no credit bubble like before. It is not easy credit that is the catalyst to the highest appreciation on record. Buyers cannot merely fog a mirror to obtain financing. Instead, they must qualify for loans, prove that they can afford the monthly payment. The process is intentionally cumbersome to prevent a repeat of 2007 to 2011. The current housing boom is quite simply due to supply and demand. Everyone is acutely aware of the current plight of the housing market: there just are not enough available homes to purchase. Supply is low. Recently the supply has been rising, up 14% in the past 4 weeks, but still at historical lows. At 2,528 homes, it is 46% less than last year’s level of 4,645, which was muted due to COVID-19. In comparing it to the 5-year average from 2015 to 2019 of 6,820 homes, it is 63% less. There are just not enough homes to satisfy the immense buying demand. That is the real issue, the supply side of the equation. For comparison purposes, in 2008 there were 18,000 available homes in Orange County. In 2006, a year before the start of the Great Recession, there were 16,000.

How about the demand side of the equation? It is elevated due to the historically low mortgage rate environment. After COVID-19 hit, mortgage rates achieved 17 record lows, starting with 3.29% in March 2020. It dropped to 2.65% during the first week of January this year. The record prior to last year was achieved in November 2012 at 3.31%. Last Thursday, July 8th, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey®, rates dropped to 2.9%. Prior to COVID, rates were hovering around 3.75%. Combine today’s low rates with a strongest demographic patch of First-Time home buyers in decades, and it is easy to see where all the demand is coming from. Even as values rise, homes are still affordable when factoring in rates and incomes.

Recently, demand has been dropping, shedding 10% in the past 4-weeks, but it remains elevated compared to prior years. Demand, the last 30-days of new pending sale activity, is at 2,761. It is 9% less than last year’s 3,050 pending sales, but last year’s numbers were skewed because of COVID. In comparing it to the 5-year average from 2015 to 2019 of 2,699 homes, it is 2% more. And, today’s level is being achieved with a muted supply and a lot fewer homeowners placing their homes on the market. There are 1,910 fewer FOR-SALE signs this year compared to the 5-year average between 2015 to 2019, 8% less. More homes would have translated to higher demand readings.

It is important to also mention that there is not going to be a wave of foreclosures that will hit the market as soon as Forbearance comes to an end for a variety of sound economic reasons. Many doomsayers point to Forbearance and simply state that there will be a flood of foreclosures, and values will plunge like the Great Recession. The facts do not support this claim. There have been 7.2 million homeowners who have taken advantage of Forbearance. Of the 5.2 million homeowners who have exited Forbearance, 90% either are currently paying on time or paid off their loan. Of the 2 million homeowners with an active Forbearance, 90% have at least 10% equity, enough to sell their homes if they remain in a financial pickle.