2020 was a year that no one could have anticipated. Though some industries were hit hard by the pandemic, the real estate industry stayed strong. Low mortgage interest rates led many buyers to pursue homeownership, while some sellers decided to upgrade to a larger home.
Hopefully, the events of 2021 won’t be as unexpected as last year’s, but there are still plenty of unknowns. Experts are predicting some trends for the new year, including these seven.
1. A Move to Smaller Cities and Towns
The pandemic has changed the way many of us work. Some haven’t been in their offices for months, and others have been notified that they will be able to work from home permanently. This has led to the rise of “Zoom Towns” — housing markets that are becoming more popular despite their distance from major metropolitan areas. Since some large employers such as Infosys, Coinbase, and Lambda School have already declared their employees will have the option to permanently work from home, the popularity of these towns will likely continue.
While Zoom Towns are appealing for some, others still crave a nearby big city’s excitement and opportunities. Those looking at Brookhaven homes get to take advantage of a quiet, safe suburb while maintaining easy access to everything Atlanta has to offer.
2. Increased Housing Inventory
Like most parts of the nation, the Atlanta area has been experiencing a seller’s market for the past few years. As your Brookhaven realtor will tell you, however, this won’t last forever. The market may start to shift in 2021 as the pandemic eases and more people are willing to put their homes on the market.
Buyers looking for Brookhaven homes will benefit from the increased inventory, which will cut down on competition and bidding wars. Sellers shouldn’t worry about the shift, though, as it’s likely not to happen until mid to late spring at the earliest, and they will still likely get offers on their homes quickly if they choose to list them in the new year.
3. Low Mortgage Interest Rates Continue
Interest rates on all types of mortgages hit record lows this year. In late 2020, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rate was 2.31%, the lowest ever recorded in the 30 years since Fannie May began tracking them. Though these low rates can’t last forever, most experts predict they will continue to stay around the 3% mark for the majority of 2021.
This makes the new year a perfect time to buy Brookhaven homes since buyers can save hundreds of dollars a month on their mortgage payments or afford to buy nicer houses. This is also good news for sellers, as there will be plenty of pre-approved buyers looking for homes. Sellers will also be able to qualify for these low mortgage rates to buy their next home. Buyers should take advantage of the rates as soon as possible — though experts think they’ll stay low throughout the year, they may begin to creep up as 2021 progresses.
4. Continued Reliance on Virtual Real Estate Options
2020 changed the way Brookhaven homes and those around the world were bought and sold. Your Brookhaven realtor now has more options than ever to assist buyers and sellers without ever having to see them in person. Homes can be shown online, and interested buyers can go on virtual tours of houses they’re interested in without ever having to leave their own living rooms.
Though real estate agents may not need to continue using virtual options once the pandemic eases, many will continue to do so because it’s so convenient. They can show homes to buyers who don’t live in the area, show multiple properties in a single day, and even provide closing and other document-based tasks remotely. Thanks to the time and money this saves agents, buyers, and sellers, virtual options are likely here to stay.
5. The Strong First-Time Homebuyer Market Will Continue
First-time homebuyers were at an advantage in 2020 due to low interest rates. This will continue in 2021, especially as a large group of millennials start hitting their 30s and settling down to buy Brookhaven homes. Many older millennials are getting ready to trade up from their first house. Those first-time homebuyers who can’t afford to put 20% down on their homes and need to pay for mortgage insurance won’t want to pass up the low interest rates that could make their monthly payments more affordable. As millennials continue to buy homes, the market will remain strong throughout 2021.
6. New Government Assistance for Home Buyers
Those familiar with the real estate industry predict the current administration will approve funding and legislation to assist minority home buyers. These will likely come in the form of tax credits or down payment/closing cost assistant programs. These government programs, along with continued low mortgage interest rates, will likely contribute to a year that is even stronger than the last when it comes to real estate activity. Potential Brookhaven home buyers who have not been able to make a purchase should check with their Brookhaven realtor to see if they will benefit from any of the government’s new programs once they’re rolled out.
7. Big City Home Prices Will Drop
As the work-from-home trend continues and some city dwellers settle in smaller “Zoom” towns, inventory in large metros is expected to open up. More inventory and fewer prospective buyers will lead to a drop in prices. This is good news for those who want to continue living near big cities like Atlanta and are interested in Brookhaven homes. By working with a Brookhaven realtor who can alert them when a price drop occurs, these individuals and families may find they’re able to afford a much nicer home in an affluent neighborhood than they previously expected.
No one can predict with 100 percent accuracy what the new year will bring. However, 2021 is likely to be another strong year for the real estate industry and could provide opportunities for prospective home buyers to get into the house of their dreams. If you’re interested in buying or selling, work with an experienced Brookhaven realtor like Erin Yabroudy to ensure your transaction is a success.