Why Gallagher and Henry Buyers are Selecting the Fremont

Since being introduced in 2019, the Fremont has been one of Gallagher and Henry’s most popular home plans across its eight southwest suburban communities. The 2,280-square foot ranch home has been the choice of buyers downsizing from larger, multi-story homes as well as those drawn to the appeal, ease, and convenience of one-story living modernized for 21st century lives.

Even Bigger Than it Seems…
With its wide-open floor plan dominated by a 700-square foot great room-dining room-kitchen combination, the Fremont plays much bigger than its listed 2,280 square feet. With a three-car garage, mudroom, and standard partial basement, the Fremont brings impressive size to ranch living.

Pragmatic Living…
Ranch-style homes surged in the mid-20th century as home ownership across the country soared and functionality reigned. Though ranch homes faded in popularity in the 1990s and into the Millennium, they have enjoyed a renaissance of late as buyers appreciate the functionality, the unpretentious, enduring style, and the open layouts and more casual living environments one-level living fosters. Yet more, the ability to age in place also proves appealing. That the Fremont pairs these pragmatic elements with a dynamic, contemporary design makes the home all the more attractive to Gallagher and Henry homebuyers.

An Entertainer’s Delight…
If the spacious, open floor plan and practical considerations weren’t enough, the Fremont’s kitchen features two islands, including one with a sink and dishwasher. The dual islands invite guests to gather around and enjoy conversation, food, and drink when hosting others. Given how many homeowners cite the ability to entertain as one of their top priorities when selecting a home, the Fremont’s open layout punctuated by a spacious, premium kitchen holds undeniable appeal.

Some Farmhouse Style in Suburbia…
Farmhouse chic is one of the day’s most notable housing design trends and the Fremont embraces it with two distinct farmhouse-inspired exterior elevations. The dynamic look is paired with something pragmatic Midwesterners relish, too: an all-brick exterior that speaks to durability and low maintenance.

Indoor-Outdoor Living Space…
The Fremont answers buyers’ growing desire for outdoor living space as it features an 11-by-15-foot covered concrete patio in the rear of the home. The cozy outdoor area provides homeowners valuable outdoor living space to enjoy a morning coffee, dinner, or evening conversation with family and friends. Gallagher and Henry can easily convert the patio into a screened-in sunroom as well for those who appreciate some protection from the elements.

You can visit the Fremont model at 9050 Gloucester Road in Woodridge. Please call the Farmingdale Village community sales office at 630-985-9500 for additional information or to schedule an appointment.

What to Expect in the 2023 Housing Market

As we settle back into life after the holidays, housing and real estate prognosticators – of which there are many – are out in full force projecting the coming year.

While nothing is certain and unforeseen circumstances can easily and swiftly alter industry winds, there seems to be a consensus that 2023 will be a year of settling after a global health pandemic, a rush on homebuying unseen in well over a decade, 124 consecutive weeks of rising home prices in the Chicago area, bidding wars, and fast-rising mortgage rates.

What else might 2023 bring?

Buyers Viewing the Home as a Place to Live, Not an Investment to Flip

Speculation and investment will forever be a part of the real estate market, but it’s slowing amid higher interest rates and rising consumer focus on stability and practicality. Homeowners, in fact, are staying longer in their homes than during any other time in recent history – an average of more than 15 years in the Chicago area, according to a study from Redfin. Many industry analysts expect that number to continue ticking upward as buyers settle in their homes for the long haul and evaluate home purchases, including new construction, more on lifestyle decisions than investment potential.

Low Inventory Numbers Linger

In September 2022, there were fewer than 20,000 active property listings in the greater Chicagoland area, according to data from the Federal Reserve. That’s half the number of listings typically found during early autumn. With people staying in their homes longer and the slowing pace of sales given interest rates, forecasters predict housing inventory levels will remain weak in 2023.

With slim inventory, buyers unable to find a home suiting their needs are expected to turn an eye toward new construction and building a home to fit their needs, as can be accomplished with Gallagher and Henry.

Easing Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates emerged a hot topic in the second half of 2022 and that shows no signs of slowing in 2023. At the start of 2022, the average 30-year mortgage rate hovered right above 3 percent. By September, it had doubled to 6 percent. By November, it neared 7 percent.

Many predict mortgage rates will drop in 2023, though it might take some time. The Mortgage Bankers Association forecasts rates to end 2023 at around 5.4 percent. Not the glorious rates of early 2022, but an improvement that will arm buyers with more purchasing power.

Continued Attention to Outdoor Living Spaces

Outdoor living was en vogue before the pandemic but surged in popularity thereafter.

The appeal of outdoor spaces will remain high in 2023, various analysts predict, as homeowners seek outdoor environments where they can relax, entertain, and even work. It’s a trend crossing nearly every homebuyer demographic, too, from empty nesters wanting a peaceful place to unwind to young families seeking to increase living space.

Universal Design Becomes More Universal

Universal design seeks to balance aesthetics and functionality. Though a familiar concept, it’s become more important as homeowners embrace the idea of the “forever home” and increasingly favor practicality.

Universal design includes elements like walk-in showers with benches, wide hallways, and attached garages—things that make the home easier to live in and navigate. Combined with the surging popularity of ranch homes, something Gallagher and Henry has observed with its Amberwood and Fremont home plans, universal design helps homeowners commit to their home for the long term, even as accessibility or mobility needs might change.

A Finer Focus on Flexibility

With work entering the home at an unprecedented level in the post-pandemic world, homebuyer interest in flexible spaces has accelerated. Buyers like the idea of blank-canvas spaces, such as flex rooms, studies, or basements, capable of bending to the needs of the home at any given time.

While all six of Gallagher and Henry’s six Lifestyle Series home plans feature a basement, five of the plans have a main-level living space that can transform to accommodate the homeowners’ needs – from a children’s play area to a study room, from an extra TV room to a home office.

A ‘Lot’ to Think About: A Primer for Picking the Right Homesite

You’ve chosen your ideal Gallagher and Henry community and identified the right floor plan. Perhaps you have even begun contemplating modifications to the single-family home’s design and gathering ideas for the cabinets, paint colors, flooring, and other finishing touches that will enliven and personalize your home.

The homebuilding process prompts plenty of excitement and energy. Before any work begins, however, there’s one critical decision to be made before closing time: picking your homesite. And on this front, there’s plenty to consider.

#1: Where do you want your home to sit in the community?
This is often a matter of personal preference, though lot availability in a given community and cost often play a role. Some like the idea of living closer to a community’s entrance, which decreases commute times and makes for easier access to local amenities and conveniences. Others prefer to be deeper within a community, where traffic and noise might be reduced, or are most intrigued by a lot near a community park or walking path.

A valuable Tip: Earnestly reflect on your preferences, your pet peeves, and your needs to target a general vicinity within the community that most appeals to your lifestyle and desires.

#2: What specific type of lot is most appealing?
Every Gallagher and Henry community features a diverse array of lot types, all of which possess their own unique benefits. Cul-de-sac homesites often encounter less traffic and can feel more private. Some lots might have smaller street-facing frontage and front yards but feature massive backyards that can easily be divided up into distinct zones for recreation and relaxation. A lot on the community’s edge, meanwhile, might overlook a scenic meadow.

A valuable Tip: An overview of the community’s site plan as well as satellite image of the community can provide interesting perspective, while a visit to the community for some firsthand observation of a specific lot can also help you get a sense of its feel. A Gallagher and Henry community consultant can also answer questions about adjacent land and its potential future.

#3: What type of terrain do you want?
Suburban Chicagoland might not be filled with peaks and valleys, but it does feature some gently rolling hills. Gallagher and Henry communities across the southwest suburbs embrace this terrain and it could influence the positioning of your home on a particular lot.

A valuable Tip: Would you prefer a lot that drops to the rear so that you have a walk-out basement? Or might you prefer level land that lends itself to soccer games or makes for easier lawn mowing? Reflecting on your priorities will help you identify a homesite that allows for the uses you envision.

#4: How much do you like the sun?
The direction your home faces can have a significant impact on your day and how you enjoy your home. While eastern exposure captures the morning sun, western exposure invites the afternoon sun. Do you relish the sun upon your face as you enjoy your morning coffee or cook dinner on the grill or do you welcome shade during those daily moments? Are you an avid gardener eager to maximize sunlight to maximize yields? Are you an early riser who enjoys the sun serving as a de facto alarm clock?

A Valuable Tip: For some, the sun is a welcome friend. For others, it’s an uncomfortable reality. Consider how sunlight and the sun’s rays will influence some of your daily activities, not just for outdoor activities but also indoor living.

Ready to Build

Couple excited to begin construction of new single-family home in Gallagher and Henry’s Kingston Hills community in Homer Glen

Call it Lisa and Tina’s big adventure.

On July 17, the couple signed their contract to build a new single-family home in Homer Glen’s Kingston Hills community.

“We’ve been together 15 years and this is our next adventure together,” Lisa says. “We couldn’t be more excited.”

Changing Needs and a Chaotic Market

Eight years ago, the couple purchased a not-quite 1,000-square foot, two-bedroom condo in Crestwood. Though initially planning to live in the condo for about five years, they grew comfortable in the space until the COVID-19 pandemic made it seem as if the walls were closing in. With both Lisa and Tina working regularly from home in a professional field – counseling – where confidentiality is essential, their “once-manageable” residence became a burdensome environment.

“We needed out,” Tina says.

The couple began searching for a new home in the resale market a year ago but found a chaotic scene. Homes, even those in need of significant updating and renovations, were selling quick and well over asking. The process grew tiring and frustrating.

“Even if we found a home that checked a few of our boxes, we were still paying through the nose for it,” Lisa says. “We needed to re-evaluate and find a different end game.”

Turning to New Construction

While neither Lisa nor Tina had considered new construction, the circumstances pushed them to investigate homebuilders. They were surprised to learn building new was a viable option.

“Honestly, it was 1,000 times better than settling for something else on the resale market,” Tina says.

Interested in the southwest suburbs, an area in between their respective parents, they found Gallagher and Henry’s Kingston Hills community and immediately appreciated its balance between wooded seclusion and suburban amenities, including shopping, Interstate 355, and many of the couple’s favorite restaurants.

“It’s a community in which we could feel comfortable,” Lisa says.

Choosing Their Home Plan

After carefully selecting their precise lot at Kingston Hills, Lisa and Tina then picked their home plan. They quickly eliminated ranch plans and targeted a pair of distinct two-story homes from Gallagher and Henry’s Lifestyle Series: the Briarcliffe and the Danbury. Tours of both models quickly determined a clear winner.

“The Danbury offers a beautiful floor plan, but when I walked into the Briarcliffe’s open foyer for the first time, it took my breath away,” Tina says. “I could immediately see myself coming home to a safe, cozy space.”

Lisa, meanwhile, relished the Briarcliffe’s open layout and the many windows that flooded the home with natural light. It represented a stark counter to the condo living she stood eager to escape.

“We had so few windows in our condo, it could feel like a dungeon,” she says. “The Briarcliffe was the complete opposite: a bright, refreshing home.”

Excited to Break Ground

With four bedrooms, Lisa and Tina can each have their own offices and still have a guest bedroom. The Briarcliffe’s second-floor laundry room, three-car garage, and luxurious master suite were also enticing features.

“We can’t wait to get into a home that will give us everything we need and more,” Tina says.

The couple is now plotting their exterior and interior selections as well as exploring different modifications to the Gallagher and Henry-supplied floor plan with the help of Kingston Hills sales associate Tina Plastiak. They are considering a full wooden staircase, extra lighting, and eliminating the walk-in closet in two bedrooms to enlarge the room and gain additional wall space.

“We both fashion ourselves interior design fans, so we’re excited to customize and build the home in our image,” Lisa says.

How Kingston Hills became Gallagher and Henry’s hottest-selling community of 2022

While Gallagher and Henry’s Kingston Hills community in Homer Glen has long attracted single-family homebuyers, 2022 has been a year unlike any other for the Will County mainstay.

Spurred by diverse housing choices, Gallagher and Henry’s 68-year track record of quality construction, and Homer Glen’s favorable appeal, sales have surged at the 410-acre community in southwest suburban Homer Township.

Valuing Choice

One major reason for the upswing in activity at Kingston Hills: diverse options.

The latest phase of development at the mature community located near the intersection of Bell Road and 151st Street features dozens of available homesites, including some lots nestled in the rear of the subdivision as well as wooded homesites. And with lot sizes averaging 75-by-100 feet, buyers savor the opportunity to secure a significant plot of land in a picturesque community.

Recent buyers, meanwhile, have taken advantage of Gallagher and Henry’s distinct home plans as well as the trusted homebuilder’s ability to customize floor plans to accommodate each homebuyer’s individual needs and vision. Recent sales at Kingston Hills have included all six of Gallagher and Henry’s Lifestyle Series home plans while buyers are also choosing different elevations and exterior looks.

The diversity of both the homesites and the individual residences provides prospective homebuyers rich optionality and also protects the integrity of the community as well as individual home values.

The Draw of Homer Glen

Gallagher and Henry opened its first phase of construction at Kingston Hills in 1993 and has remained committed to seeing the community remain a vibrant, premium residential destination in Homer Glen. Kingston Hills is fully developed with streetlights and parkway trees as well as Kingston Hills Park and a community biking trail.

Kingston Hills residents can take advantage of everything Homer Glen has to offer, including award-winning schools and its safe, suburban atmosphere. Both Homer Community Consolidated School District 33C and Lockport Township High School District 205 outpace state averages in English Language Arts, Math, and Science proficiency scores.

In the National Citizen Survey, more than 90 percent of Homer Glen residents rated the village as a “good” or “excellent” place to live and raise a family and nine out of 10 residents said they would recommend living in Homer Glen to others. In particular, current residents awarded Homer Glen high marks for safety, ease of travel, K-12 education, and the natural environment.

Interested in learning more about Kingston Hills? The sales office is open Thursday-Sunday from 9am-5pm. To schedule a visit or to request additional information, please contact the Kingston Hills sales office at (708) 301-1999.

Decoding the Key Closing Documents

Do you understand the closing process when you purchase a home, particularly the documents you will see at the closing table?

If not, you’re far from alone.

In survey of 1,000 homebuyers conducted by Qualia, only one in five homebuyers said they comprehended all the documents they signed at closing, while one in four future homebuyers reported they don’t understand the closing process at all. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many homebuyers often name the closing process as one of the most stressful parts of purchasing a new home.

“It’s understandable given how big of an investment buyers are making and how emotionally involved buyers are when they purchase a new home,” says Nancy Kroll of Chicago Title.

Kroll says the closing process has become increasingly complex over recent decades given a swelling number of laws at the state and federal level, many of which were crafted to protect consumers and ensure a legitimate process. In the 1990s, Kroll says, the typical closing package might include 15 documents. Today, it is four times that amount.

With more than 36 years of experience at the closing table, Kroll outlines the key closing documents buyers should understand:

Master Statement
The master statement features the transaction’s final financial numbers, which includes charges from the lender, attorney, seller, and title company. It contains the figure buyers need to bring to closing and dictates how the title company distributes funds to all involved parties.

The deed conveys the property from the seller to the purchase. The title company records the document, which then becomes public record as its ownership.

The survey shares legal descriptions of the land, including its boundary lines and other elements that make up the property. It is a critical document for all homeowners to have and often necessary if you wish to make improvements down the line, such as adding a pool or fence.

Owner’s Title Policy
This document, which the title company provides 6-8 weeks after closing, confirms ownership of the property. It features details like the purchase price and lender’s name, while denoting that you have a free and clear title to the property.

And if you are purchasing the home with the help of a lender, Kroll also encourages buyers to carefully review three additional documents:

Preliminary Closing Disclosure
A consumer protection measure, this important document will actually hit your hands before the closing table. Here, the lender identifies all estimated fees. You have three business days to review this document and ensure the loan details match what you expected.

The note is your promise to pay back the loan. The document lists the interest rate and the mortgage terms.

The mortgage document states your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. The title company takes this document and records it after the deed, which protects the lender. It creates a lien on the property, which prevents transfer of the property unless the mortgage is paid in full.

Front Yards Become Gathering Places and Enliven Gallagher and Henry Communities

Back in September 2018, Gallagher and Henry noted the trend of homeowners embracing their front yards as a place for relaxation, recreation, and camaraderie. We were seeing it more and more in our single-family home communities and soon discovered it had emerged a national trend as well.

Seeking a more robust sense of community in an increasingly digital age and a growing recognition of the benefits of being in nature and among others, the so-called Front Yard People were ditching backyards with privacy fences – valuable and practical as those might be at times – for a visible spot in front of the home.

Parking chairs on the driveway, sitting on their porches, or playing games in the front yard, residents waved hello to neighbors, engaged in spontaneous conversations, and generated stronger ties to their community. Being out front, many found, prompted a deeper connection to the neighborhood, heightened safety, and gave a positive boost to daily life. As we noted back in 2018, numerous studies over the years have tied outdoor time as well as interpersonal connections to improved energy, creativity, stress, and overall health.

Over the past two years, this trend has only accelerated further as social distancing, Zoom meetings, and quarantines became all too commonplace. For many, the pandemic proved isolating, disconnecting them from their traditional social circles. For many others, the pandemic stirred an increased focus on personal relationships and mental health, both of which can be aided by being outdoors and connecting with others.

The Front Yard People movement we continue to see in our Gallagher and Henry communities stands a lively counter to the challenges of the past two years.

While the backyard still serves as an important space – and many of our homebuyers have created vibrant spaces out back packed with outdoor kitchens, hot tubs, and children’s games – the emergence of the front yard as a gathering spot offers a dynamic alternative to the privacy of the backyard.

As people yearn for simpler times, genuine connections with others, and a richer sense of community, the front yard becomes a place for socialization, inclusion, and good neighborhood vibes to take flight. In Gallagher and Henry communities like Farmingdale Village in Woodridge, Covington Knolls in Lemont, and Radcliffe Place in Tinley Park, we have seen neighbors huddled around a fire pit and kids playing hide and seek. It’s an inspiring sight for our family-owned business.

With spacious lots and front yards, driveways, and walkable streets, our Gallagher and Henry communities provide residents the opportunity to be out front and build stronger ties to their neighborhood and one another. That’s important in today’s age and we are proud to help cultivate that with thoughtful community design.

As warmer weather approaches, we hope we continue to see residents in our communities welcome new neighbors, expand their social circles, and enrich their lives.

For many years, Gallagher and Henry has said that we build the best homes in the best communities. It is becoming more and more true each day.

What You Can Expect from the Housing Market in 2022 – and How It Might Shape Your Homebuying Plans

The year 2021 took homebuyers on a wild ride.

Home prices soared some 20 percent year over year, the single largest jump ever recorded in the history of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Despite those accelerated prices, homebuyers nevertheless scooped up an estimated 6 million homes in 2021, the highest figure in 15 years.

Homes, meanwhile, sold at a record pace. As the availability of existing properties plummeted from 2020, bidding wars, all-cash offers, and no contingency deals became commonplace in 2021.

On the plus side for buyers, mortgage rates remained at historically low levels, a positive reality that aided buying power and helped facilitate home ownership for many.

Compared to 2021’s adventurous turns, industry insiders expect a more subdued 2022, though many acknowledge that the past year’s shadow will continue to loom in significant ways.

Here are three things you can expect from the real estate market in 2022 and the potential impact it could have on your housing plans:

#1: Mortgage Rates Will Climb.

At the start of 2021, the average rate on a 30-year mortgage sat at a ridiculously low 2.93 percent, according to Bankrate’s national survey of lenders. While rates escalated throughout 2021, the year ended at a still favorable 3.27 percent average. Many observers say the record-low rates fueled last year’s homebuying surge even more than pandemic-sparked lifestyle changes.

Given rising inflation and consumer spending, mortgage rates are expected to increase throughout 2022. The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts 30-year mortgage rates will reach 4 percent by the close of this year.

What it means: Even at 4 percent, the rate on a 30-year mortgage is still undeniably appealing and empowering for buyers – just ask those a generation ago who endured rates in the high teens and even low 20s. But those who act soon will capture noticeable savings and gain added purchasing power if rates rise as expected. If you put 20 percent down on a $400,000 purchase, your monthly payment at a 3.3 percent rate is $1,730. If you wait and that rate swells to 4 percent, though, then your monthly payment jumps $126 to $1,856. Over the course of the 30-year mortgage, that’s more than $45,000 entering someone else’s pocket.

#2: Housing Inventory Will Improve Yet Remain Low.

In 2021, Chicago area homebuyers encountered inventory levels about half of what they could expect to see in a typical year. With a slim number of existing homes for sale, competition for available properties soared, especially given the number of homebuyers pulled into the market by those favorable interest rates and new housing needs or lifestyle changes.

According to Realtor.com, inventory levels are expected to improve throughout 2022, though the gains will be modest – about 0.3 percent – and continue pushing prices on existing properties upward. A National Association of Realtors report projects median home prices to jump nearly 6 percent this year. To be certain, that’s a cooling of prices on the resale market from 2021, but still a sizable increase that means buyers will be paying more.

What it means: As inventory of existing properties remains low, bidding wars aren’t going anywhere. The resale market will remain a competitive space demanding swift, decisive action from buyers. For some, that will undoubtedly increase the appeal of new construction, where buyers can enjoy a more transparent, straightforward process without pressure to make hurried decisions. Those who investigate new construction with Gallagher and Henry, for instance, will find a clear course of action and immediate value in building a new home.

#3: The Shine on the Suburbs Will Intensify.

Since the pandemic untethered people from their urban offices and enabled remote work, the suburbs have become an increasingly attractive residential destination. Buyers appreciate that they can get more bang for their housing buck in the suburbs alongside larger homes that can accommodate their new work-from-home or hybrid work needs, not to mention home gyms, three-car garages, flex rooms, and blank-canvas basements.

Industry insiders expect the suburbs to continue attracting homebuyers, even those who once swore their allegiance to urban life. With worry about commute times evaporating and suburban communities presenting a broader spectrum of residential opportunities, including new construction, the suburbs will emerge a more compelling option than ever before.

What it means: Homeowners have long prized suburban communities for the added space, contemporary amenities, and family friendly vibes they provide. As more prospective homebuyers explore what Chicago area suburbs like Lemont, Tinley Park, or Homer Glen have to offer, the appeal of suburban life will increase further. With new construction, in particular, those who act early in 2022 will be able to secure their preferred lots in single-family home communities and position themselves for a fall closing.

How the Pandemic Shifted Homebuyers’ Wish Lists

The COVID-19 pandemic changed so many aspects of daily life. From how we gather in groups to how we dine, from how children attend school to how we feel about germs, the pandemic has put new spins on our lives and unlocked new perspectives.

It has also changed what we want in our home and from our home.

Single-family homes have become that much more attractive.
Single-family homes have long been the preferred housing choice of many Americans. The pandemic, however, accelerated the appeal of single-family detached housing, which offers homebuyers their own space to spread out. According to data from Zillow, only one in five recent buyers have purchased a townhouse or condo, a clear sign that single-family homes are in exceptionally high demand.

And those single-family homes shouldn’t be small.
During the second half of the 2010s, there was a noticeable trend toward smaller homes in new construction. The pandemic flipped that script and a desire for larger homes continues resonating. At the close of 2020, the average size of a newly built single-family home was 2,473 square feet, according to U.S. Census data. The average is now pushing its way toward 2,600 square feet as homeowners crave additional space for living, remote work, recreation, and more.

Work-from-home spaces are a must.
Make no mistake, work-from-home spaces are prized in the post-pandemic era. According to Zillow’s 2021 Consumer Housing Trends Report, 30 percent of homebuyers moved recently because they were working remote more often. By 2025, an estimated 70 percent of the U.S. workforce will be working remotely as least five days a month. The shifting dynamics of workplaces have altered our housing needs with private spaces for work, whether spare bedrooms, flex rooms, or dedicated offices, becoming that much more important to homebuyers.

Storage gains heightened emphasis.
When Gallagher and Henry surveyed prospective homebuyers to inform the creation of its Lifestyle Series home plans in 2010, buyers identified storage as one of their top priorities. The value of storage has only accelerated since. In 2019, 64 percent of buyers labeled “ample storage” as “very important” or “extremely important” in assessing properties, Zillow reports. In 2021, that figure swelled to 75 percent. Extra storage space helps a home from feeling cluttered and helps facilitate organization. Storage space also enables homeowners to shift their physical spaces with the seasons or holidays to boost mood.

Outdoor living takes on added importance.
As many Americans spend more time at home, functional outdoor living space is becoming more and more appealing. Yards and patios offer opportunities for adults to gather and children to play. Homeowners are also decking these spaces out with outdoor kitchens and built-in firepits as well as pools and hot tubs for outdoor relaxation or recreation. While only 24 percent of buyers in 2019 called a hot tub or pool important in their home search, that figure jumped to 35 percent in 2021, according to Zillow.

Colorful kitchens bring energy to pandemic-era living.
The all-white kitchen delivers a timeless look, but a growing number of buyers are adding some energy to their kitchens with colorful cabinets and countertops, and especially so in new construction where homebuyers are less likely to be concerned about resale value compared to the fixer-up crowd planning to buy, renovate, and move. For many, the jolt of color serves a creative expression of their personality and a way to inject some added flair into the heart of the home.

Should I Save or Should I Buy?

Way back in 1982, British punk rock band The Clash famously wondered “Should I stay or should I go?”

These days, many prospective homebuyers are wondering something similar, albeit with a little twist: Should I save or should I buy?

While there are certain benefits to waiting it out and saving, including building up cash reserves to make a greater down payment or allowing your current home to ride the real estate market’s anticipated rise, getting in the homebuying game now with some decisive action has a few clear benefits.

The Case for Buying Now: You Gain Enhanced Buying Power.

Interest rates are still remarkably favorable for homebuyers, but they are climbing, according to data from Freddie Mac. Fueled by inflation and the Federal Reserve, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has jumped from 2.77 percent in August 2021 to 3.55 percent at the end of January 2022. That’s a 28 percent increase in six months.

Let’s say you want your monthly mortgage payment – excluding any taxes or insurance – to be $2,000. At a 3.5 percent interest rate on a 30-year mortgage with the standard 20 percent down payment, you could afford a home around $540,000.

Now, let’s say the rate jumps a modest half percent, a realistic projection given many industry forecasts. If you want to stick around that same $2,000 monthly payment, your housing budget now tops out at about $504,000.

If interest rates rise even a bit as this example shows, sitting on the sidelines will cost you $36,000 in buying power.

The Case for Buying Now: There’s an Actual Cost to Inaction.

If rates continue on their current trajectory – again, no guarantee, but strictly for illustrative purposes – your monthly mortgage payment, excluding taxes and insurance, on a $450,000 home with a 3.75 percent interest rate and a 20 percent down payment would be $1,667.

Let’s say you wait a bit and the interest rate you secure is 4.25 percent. The monthly payment on that same $450,000 home now rings in at $1,771. That means you’ll be paying:

• $104 more per month
• $1,248 more per year
• $37,440 more over the life of your 30-year mortgage

Today’s interest rates are advantageous for buyers. Tomorrow’s rates, while still comparatively low are unlikely to be as advantageous.

The Case for Buying Now: Savings Rates Can’t Keep Pace with Rising Prices.

The truth of the matter is that the value of home prices and inflation (currently running about 7 percent) will far outpace that of your savings account, money market, or certificate of deposit, all of which deliver meager returns.

But what of the stock market and its growth potential, you rightfully ask?

While there’s no way of knowing what the stock market is going to do in 2022, it’s possible home prices could well outpace Wall Street as well, especially if the close of 2021 is any indication. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained a robust 18.7 percent in 2021, the year’s fourth quarter saw slower growth of 7.4 percent. The first four weeks of 2022, meanwhile, saw the Dow Jones tumble more than 6 percent from its record high.

Experts predict prices of homes on the resale market will rise upwards of 11 percent in 2022. In short, stocking money away in savings or investments, frequently a sound idea, could prove unfavorable for prospective homebuyers as returns slow and costs escalate.