Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The phrase “going up” can mean many wonderful things in a variety of settings. It could be a euphemism for something positive, an escalation in greatness. In a Biblical setting, “going up” to Mount Sinai is the paradigm of height and achievement. Making aliyah, climbing the career ladder and increasing levels of spirituality are all examples that are enlightening and positive. However, there could be a negative connotation to the phrase in certain circumstances.

I daresay that unfortunately, “going up” in March 2022 has not been positive. Inflation is going up, mortgage interest rates are going up, and so is the cost of food, supplies, gas and all the commodities we depend on daily. It struck me as odd that there was a sign in Butterflake this past Shabbat alerting the consumers that a typical challah went from $4.99 to $5.69. Although the heads-up to the buyers was very helpful and appreciated, it was sadly apparent that it was the “sign” of the times.

I’ve already acclimated to my Amazon alerts of “OOPS … price just changed on you” and carry the guilt that it was not ordered in a timely way the night before at the “bargain” price. How many times have we seen items we wanted to purchase, pondered overnight if it was really needed, only to find out the next day that the price just went up another 50 cents, and you kick yourself that you didn’t just buy it the day before to beat the increase. Is this what we are coming to? Buy it now or you lose.

As a realtor, I easily compare the frightening supply-and-demand issues we are experiencing to the stability of the housing market. The rush to buy before it gets too late. “They win, we lose” syndrome. Perhaps one day in front of homes, we will see signs posted that yesterday the home cost $550,000, but there was an increase to $699,000 overnight, and competitive offers send the message that you lose if you don’t keep pace. I feel for the pain of escalation we all have to endure on many levels.

The question now looms on the effects of inflation.

Let’s go to our real estate report to assess market trends. Nationally, the real estate market remains hot, and existing home sales are up 6.7%. The growth is attributed to buyers’ motivation to lock down their home purchases in the midst of rising mortgage interest rates to avoid even steeper costs. The higher the rate, the lower the buying power. Mortgage rates have increased almost a full percentage point since December with the average 30-year fixed rate briefly exceeding 4% in February, the highest level since May 2019. In contrast, inventory was at an all-time low of 860,000 as February began, down 17% from a year ago. It is noted that houses priced at the lower end of the market are quickly disappearing and the shortage of homes is boosting demand even further, with bidding wars typical in perpetuating a highly competitive market.

But, as always, life is cyclical, we are just recovering from the two-year effects of COVID aftermath and it will balance out over time.

As advised, do the best you can with the parameters that you have but don’t try to predict the future. Do it now if you can, within the means that are available to you. Decision making with planning and prudence is always a challenge of life. Good luck in all you do and always remember, “Home is where the heart is,” so go for it!

Ruby Kaplan is a realtor licensed in both New Jersey and New York. Visit www.rubybobbyhomes.com  for more information. The Ruby and Bobby Kaplan team/United RE/ will promote your home with the best of social media and create alerts for your criteria of housing needs. Your Housing Needs Are Our Priority! Ruby can be reached at 201-314-4152 or on her cell at 917-576-4177 or at [email protected]

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