Housing Sales Soften While Prices Escalate

This summer has been tumultuous for homebuyers and home sellers as they navigated blistering inflation, higher mortgage interest rates, and record home prices. But, the latest existing housing sales report from the National Association of REALTORS suggests that the market may be headed toward stabilization.   

Housing sales volume in July 2022 retreated 5.9% from the previous month and was 20.2% lower than in July 2021. Meanwhile, median home prices shrank from $413,800 in June to $403,800 in July, but prices were still 10.8% higher than a year ago in July 2021, marking 125 consecutive months of year-over-year price increases.

Among the reasons cited for the declines was mortgage interest rates that went above 6% in June, but have since fallen to nearly 5%. Compared to 2021 when the average commitment rate for a conventional 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 2.96%, consumers paid double that percentage (5.41%) for the same loan in July 2022.

Homes are staying on the market slightly longer – from 2.6 months of inventory on hand in July 2021 to 3.3 month’s supply in July 2022. Yet, housing sales are still brisk. Eighty-two percent of homes sold in July 2022 were on the market for less than a month.

Housing shortages still abound, which is why prices aren’t falling any more than they have. Exacerbating the shortage is a slowdown in new single-family home starts as home builders turn instead to multi-family projects.

If interest rates and home prices continue to drop, sales volume could heat up again. 

Don’t Trust Credit Reporting Agencies

When you apply for a mortgage loan, or any credit, the lender relies on information that is supplied by lenders, landlords, government agencies, courts, and credit card companies to three credit reporting bureau, EquifaxExperian, and TransUnion. Numerical values are assigned to defaults and late payments, income-to-debt ratios, types of credit and other data. The values are compiled into credit scores which provide a snapshot of your credit worthiness to anyone authorized to make inquiries.

According to a 2021 investigation by ConsumerReports.org, more than one-third of 6,000 surveyed consumers found at least one mistake in their credit reports and nearly as many found incorrect personal information such as names and addresses while 11 percent found account information errors. These errors can cause your credit scores to fall, making you pay more in interest for loans and credit lines, or in the worst cases, being denied credit altogether.

What can you do? Get a three-bureau report and check for errors. One bureau may have accurate data while another can have incorrect or outdated information that can lower your credit scores. Sometimes, the incorrect data comes from the data furnisher – the lender, landlord, lien holder, etc. You’ll have to contact the data furnisher with proof of payment or release of lien or other evidence. Obtain a written statement of resolution to give to the credit bureau and to your mortgage lender via certified mail to make sure they get it. 

Keep checking your credit at least once a year.

Design-it-Yourself Decorative Fabric

You want your home to reflect your personality, and one adventurous way to decorate it is by designing and printing your own fabric. As your own artist, you can personalize your home with unique colorways, designs and patterns for curtains, pillows, wall hangings, upholstery, or household items like table toppers, dish towels, pot holders and more.

ArtFabrics.com offers a way to you create your own design using their Pattern Lab. You can browse the site’s patterns or you can upload an image of your own, control how it repeats and the colors you prefer. At Zazzle.com, you may choose existing designs and modify colors, shapes and sizes of the prints to your needs. Spoonflower.com is a terrific source of artisan fabric if you prefer something original but don’t want to design it yourself.

Next, choose the fabric composition that you want – all cotton, linen, silks, polyesters and blends. The site will tell you which weaves and thicknesses are most appropriate for your project. You can order a sample book and feel the “hand” of the various samples to make your choice.

Digital printing on fabric is vivid and clear when it employs “reactive” rather than pigment printing methods. Reactive ink penetrates the fabric while pigment ink, a combination of color and glue adheres to the surface and is susceptible to fading, cracking and stiffness.

If you don’t know how to sew or reupholster a chair seat, look online for tutorials or you could hire someone to make your decorative items for you.