If you’re looking to buy a home, you’ve probably been paying close attention to mortgage rates. Over the last couple of years, they hit record lows, rose dramatically, and are now dropping back down a bit. Ever wonder why?

The answer is complicated because there’s a lot that can influence mortgage rates. Here are just a few of the most impactful factors at play.

Inflation and the Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve (Fed) doesn’t directly determine mortgage rates. But the Fed does move the Federal Funds Rate up or down in response to what’s happening with inflation, the economy, employment rates, and more. As that happens, mortgage rates tend to respond. Business Insider explains:

“The Federal Reserve slows inflation by raising the federal…

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Have you ever heard the term “Silver Tsunami” and wondered what it's all about? If so, that might be because there’s been lot of talk about it online recently. Let's dive into what it is and why it won't drastically impact the housing market.

What Does Silver Tsunami Mean?

A recent article from HousingWire calls it:

“. . . a colloquialism referring to aging Americans changing their housing arrangements to accommodate aging . . .”

The thought is that as baby boomers grow older, a significant number will start downsizing their homes. Considering how large that generation is, if these moves happened in a big wave, it would affect the housing market by causing a significant uptick in the number of larger homes for sale. That influx of homes…

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The number of international buyers purchasing real estate in the top 5% of the market saw an estimated growth of 25% from 2022 to 2023, despite the negative headlines.  The Coldwell Banker 2024 Trends Report research found a different set of circumstances in analyzing the top 5% of homes by price in the U.S. market.  The report notes that international buyers usually pay in cash, and are less affected by the fluctuations of mortgage rates.

The location within the U.S. varies based on the need of the buyer, whether it is purely an investment or if they are searching for a primary residence.  China, Canada and the U.K. remain at the top of the international market:

Boston continues to be a top destination for international buyers.  The…

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HENRYs are High Earners, Not Rich Yet.  Though the phrase goes back to 2003, it has come to describe Gen Xers and millennials who earn over $250,000 per year but just recently reached that threshold and haven't been able to accumulate a sustained track record just yet.  Their average age is 43, and they are expected to hit the luxury housing market within the next 5 years. 

HENRYs tend to favor online shopping, and search for real estate digitally above any other medium.  They also tend to live in major metropolitan areas, such as Boston.

The amount of HENRYs has increased by 13% since 2021, and that rise is expected to continue.  Therefore, the number of luxury homebuyers in the Greater Boston market is also set to increase by that amount…

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been arguably the biggest disruptor of our society since the Internet itself.  As real estate professionals, my team and I often get asked about AI and how we feel it will affect real estate.  The 2024 Coldwell Banker Trends report takes a much deeper look into that topic.  

Though it is estimated the AI global market will grow by up to 54% year over year, as it makes information more readily available quicker than ever and especially cuts down on the translation time with international clients, there is no replacement for the human element in real estate.  The report also warns of the danger of trusting the technology too much, as the rise of deep fakes offers the potential for problems that a seasoned agent would…

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Boston has no shortage of branded luxury buildings: The Residences at the Four Seasons, the Four Seasons at One Dalton, the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, the Residences at Raffles Boston, the Residences at the Mandarin Oriental, the Residences at the St. Regis and more.  According to the 2024 Coldwell Banker Trends report, the branded luxury residential market is set to grow by 55% globally by 2026.  There are currently 324 branded luxury new construction projects underway worldwide, including the Ritz-Carlton Residences at South Station Tower, which is scheduled for completion in 2025.  

Worldwide, the Ritz-Carlton and the Four Seasons have the most active projects.  One of the latest trends has been fashion and jewelry houses collaborating…

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Tired of all the rock salt already?  There are several other solutions that are safer for your yard.  

You might not think coarsely grated sand would be much different, but it is actually 100% organic so it won't affect the health of any grass or plants.  If you don't have any, you can actually use coffee grounds or kitty litter for the same affect!

Installing a snow-melting system underneath hardscaping is not as quick of a solution and certainly costs more, but it is the most effective one.  Heated snow-melting mats have the same affect.  

If the weather is above freezing, pouring a gallon of hot water on your steps after snow removal will work as well.

You can read more creative solutions here.

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Inventory in the luxury market increased in Q4 of 2023

One of the defining characteristics of the post-pandemic Greater Boston real estate market has been low inventory.  According to the 2024 Coldwell Banker Trends Report, there are some indicators that this may be changing.  During Q4 of 2023, the amount of new inventory in the luxury market increased compared to the same point the year before:

Luxury single-family home sale prices nationwide also increased by 3.9%.  So while the perception may have been that there was a shift from a seller's market to a buyer's, what the Luxury Institute of Home Marketing found in 2023 from analysis of 126 U.S. metropolitan markets was that 60% of them were still exhibiting signs of sales list-to-price…

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If you’re looking to buy a home, the recent downward trend in mortgage rates is good news because it helps with affordability. But there’s another way this benefits you – it may inspire more homeowners to put their houses up for sale.

The Mortgage Rate Lock-In Effect

Over the past year, one factor that’s really limited the options for your move is how few homes were on the market. That’s because many homeowners chose to delay their plans to sell once mortgage rates went up. An article from Freddie Mac explains:

“The lack of housing supply was partly driven by the rate lock-in effect. . . . With higher rates, the incentive for existing homeowners to list their property and move to a new house has greatly diminished, leaving them rate locked.”

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Even though home prices are going up nationally, some people are still worried they might come down. In fact, a recent survey from Fannie Mae found that 24% of people think home prices will actually decline over the next 12 months. That means almost one out of every four people are dealing with that fear, and you might be, too.

To help ease that concern, here's what experts forecast will happen with prices this year.

Experts Project a Modest Increase

Check out the latest home price forecasts from eight different sources (see graph below)The blue bar on the left means, on average, experts think home prices will go up over 2% by the end of this year – not down.

Prices aren’t likely to depreciate in 2024 because inventory is still tight and…

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