Southern Oregon Real Estate News

Jan. 29, 2021

Selling Your Home Is About Timing

Is Right Now the Right Time to Sell?

Is Right Now the Right Time to Sell? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights

  • If you’re on the fence about selling your house, now is a great time to take advantage of sky-high demand, low supply, and fierce buyer competition.
  • With buyer demand rising and historically low inventory for sale, if you’re in a position to move, your house may really stand out from the crowd.
  • Reach out to a local real estate professional today to get your listing process underway.
Posted in Home Ownership
Jan. 23, 2021

Tips for Home Buyers

Financial Fundamentals for Homebuyers

Financial Fundamentals for Homebuyers [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights

  • When you’re thinking about buying a home, there are a few key steps to take before you even start to look at houses.
  • From saving for your down payment to getting pre-approved for a mortgage, you’ll want to make sure you keep your financial plan on track from the beginning.
  • Reach out to a local real estate professional and a trusted lender today to make sure you have the best possible guidance as you begin your homebuying process.
Posted in Home Ownership
Jan. 21, 2021

Mortgage Trends 2021


Housing Mortgage Trends 2021


In 2020, the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was expected to contract 5.2%, presenting the steepest global recession in many years. For many sectors, the negative effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to be long-lasting. However, there seems to be a market that benefited from the mayhem caused by the pandemic: the housing market.

During the COVID-19 peak in 2020, housing demand increased at an unprecedented rate following the lowering of mortgage rates starting around March 2020. People hoping to buy houses suddenly found themselves able to buy a home, increasing demand and, in the process, driving prices higher.

In this article, we look at the housing and mortgage trends going into 2021. It’s generally expected that the trends seen in 2020 will continue into 2021, even as a vaccine to contain the virus has started being rolled out. We forecast that mortgage rates are likely to remain low in the short-term. Supply will be tight, people will continue to leave the cities for the suburbs, and the popularity of virtual showings and open houses is likely to be sustained.

Continued Low Mortgage Rates

We believe that the effects of COVID-19 will continue into 2021, so you can expect mortgage rates to remain low, even though they will slightly rise in 2021. The U.S. government will want to do everything in its power to ensure that the economy returns to pre-COVID-19 levels once the rollout of a vaccine is well underway.

Mortgage-application-loan-agreementWe are not the only ones betting on continued low mortgage interest rates. The founder of MBS Highway (a supplier of tools and guidance for the mortgage industry) and author of Money in the StreetsBarry Habib, speculates that rates will go up by about 0.5% before they fall again. He believes that inflation signals are behind the upward pressure on mortgage rates.

Not everyone agrees that interest rates will go down in 2021. For instance, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and National Association of Realtors (NAR) predict that the rate will rise slightly, averaging 3.3% and 3% in 2021, respectively. Daryl Fairweather, Chief Economist at the real estate company, Redfin, predicts that there would be a slow rise from 2.7% to around 3% in mortgage rates in 2021.

Overall, we think that things will improve as the vaccine to stem the Coronavirus spread becomes more accessible. However, no one is under the illusion that things will go back to normal as fast as things went off the rails. So, the fundamentals that prevailed in 2020 are likely to be seen in 2021.

Changes in the Ability-to-Repay Rule? (an American personal finance firm) predicts that 2021 may see a revision of the Ability-to-Repay Rule (APR) passed by Congress following the 2007 to 2008 housing crises, stipulating that a mortgage repayment installment should not exceed 43% of a borrower’s income. This could result in a loan being perceived as being affordable to a consumer if its APR falls within two percentage points above the prevailing APR within a given week for a prime mortgage.

A Robust VA Loan Market, the financial publisher and comparison service, cites the director of education at Veterans United Home Loans, Chris Birk, who says that 2020 saw an explosion in mortgages sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This nearly doubled V.A. loan volume from 2019, making 2020 the biggest year in V.A. lending history, with more than one million loans issued.

Birk reports that V.A. loans now account for about 10% of the mortgage market. He notes that this increase has mostly been driven by younger veterans who “don’t need to spend years saving a down payment” or building a great credit profile. We expect this momentum to be sustained into 2021.

Tight Supply: Rising Home Prices and Sales

If the goal of lowering interest rates was to stimulate the housing market, the Federal Reserve was successful on that score. Low mortgage rates have caused an increase in demand in a market with a short supply of houses for sale, thus increasing their prices. But, are these home prices expected to keep going up in 2021?

Construction-site-of-a-new-built-houseMany expect that there would be a cooling down in home prices in 2021. For instance, Forbes quotes the president of InvesTech Research and Stack Financial Management’s James Stack, who says that the speculation created by the boom in 2020 creates risk. Home prices are likely to go down if rates were to increase.

If rates remain subdued into 2021, Stack’s fears of home prices going down may not be realized. Redfin believes that the increase in new property listings, combined with rising mortgage rates, will cause home prices to grow moderately slower in 2021.

Redfin predicts that the tight supply will continue into 2021. The company says that “Although the U.S. may be able to vaccinate most of its citizens by the end of 2021, many countries will struggle to distribute vaccines.” This means that the global economic recovery will be slower, “which would make U.S. mortgage-backed securities attractive to international investors, keeping mortgage rates low.”

Increased Use of Virtual Showings and Open Houses

With restrictions on movement due to government regulations, and the general public avoiding contact with others as much as possible, physical house viewing dropped. To meet the rising demand for people who wanted to view properties without any physical contact, realtors found themselves getting more creative by using virtual home tours.

Redfin reports a 560% increase in 3D walkthrough house viewing tours since February. Tours via video calls were now one in every ten home tour requests they receive. Before the pandemic, only 1% of potential homebuyers requested a video tour.

Going into 2021, it is likely that realtors and homebuyers will get more comfortable with virtual showings and open houses. The technology also comes with several advantages, including that homeowners or renters no longer have to allow a constant stream of strangers who want to view their house. As it becomes more popular, the technology is likely to keep improving.

Increased Migration Out of the Cities

In an article produced for, Peter Lane Taylor predicts that COVID-19 will change the housing market, not just into 2021, but forever. Taylor supports his views by saying that the shifts, this time around, are not just based on temporary factors like crashes in the markets, political turmoil, or financial speculation.


The changes brought about by COVID-19 are a result of a significant shift in how people feel about many aspects of their lives, such as where they shop and work, says Taylor. With these realizations, individuals are leaving the cities and heading to the suburbs.

Robert Dietz is the Chief Economist at the National Association of Home Builders. He is quoted by expressing the belief that Americans’ moving from major cities to suburbs and smaller cities is unambiguous. “It’s an acceleration of trends that were already in place,” he argues.

In support of the view that Americans are leaving the cities for the suburbs, Redfin reports that more than 14.5 million Americans will be moving to more affordable suburbs with more space. This is exacerbated by the fact that remote working becomes a more accepted practice post-COVID-19 pandemic living.

Some Will Struggle

The job and livelihood losses resulting from the pandemic are well documented. Many economists agree that it will take time for many countries’ economies to get back to where they were before the pandemic. This implies that many people will continue to be unemployed and struggle to pay their mortgages and rents.

To assist many of their customers, many lenders started working with their customers to help with forbearance. This is a system where the mortgage holder and the lender agree to some relief measures, including deferring or making lower payments for a certain period.

Even though some renters and mortgage holders got relief in 2020, these protections will come to an end at some point. The National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) reports that, by January 2021, landlords will be owed up to $34 billion in unpaid rent. In that case, it becomes clear that 2021 will still be a challenging year for many.

The Executive Director of NCSHA, Stockton Williams, says that the above “analysis is more proof that a huge wave of evictions and additional financial pain will crash on the American economy soon unless Congress authorizes emergency aid to renters.”

The Verdict for 2021

We can see from the views of various experts in the housing market that things will start changing for the better in 2021. However, it looks like this change will be slow, even as many countries across the world will be starting rolling out the vaccine to stem the spread of COVID-19.

As mortgage rates are expected to remain low, we envisage that existing supply will continue to fail to meet demand. Therefore, the fundamentals that prevailed in 2020 are likely to maintain their momentum in 2021.

We also expect that some technologies like virtual property tours will become more popular, even after COVID-19 has been brought under control. Many players in the housing market are likely to realize the advantage these technologies bring for both buyers and sellers, who can access the open houses 24/7.

Looking to Apply For a Mortgage Loan?

If you’re interested in applying for a mortgage loan or want to learn more about your homebuying options, contact us today with any questions you might have.

This article courtesy of


Posted in Home Ownership
Jan. 4, 2021

Market Stats December 2020

Southern Oregon Market Stats

Oct. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31st, 2020

By Jake Rockwell

This quarter was truly momentous! Our group was lucky enough to be able to help SO many people get into new homes and start a new chapter in their lives, nearly 100 in just the last three months of the year. We had our busiest months on record as we watched the interest rates continue to hold steady as record low rates and watched as home prices gradually rose more and more. 



Links to Stats:


Create a custom market report catered to your neighborhood or any specific area and criteria.

Want an instant market valuation for you property?

Dec. 16, 2020

3 Reasons to Be Optimistic about Real Estate in 2021


3 Reasons to Be Optimistic about Real Estate in 2021

This year will be remembered for many reasons, and optimism is one thing that’s been in short supply since the spring. We’re experiencing a global pandemic, social unrest, an economic downturn, and natural disasters, just to name a few. The challenges brought on by the health crisis have also forced many homeowners to reevaluate their space and what they need in a home going into 2021. So, experts are forecasting that next year is one in which we can be optimistic about real estate for three key reasons.

1. The Economy Is Expected to Continue Improving

Tim Duy from the University of Oregon puts it this way:

“There is nothing fundamentally ‘broken’ in the economy that needs to heal…there was no obvious financial bubble driving excessive activity in any one economic sector when the pandemic hit…With Covid-19 cases surging again, it is understandably hard to look optimistically to the other side of this winter…Don’t let the near-term challenges distract from the economic stage being set for next four years.”

2. Interest Rates Are Projected to Stay Low

In the latest projections from Freddie Mac, interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage are expected to remain at or near 3% next year. These low rates will continue to make homes more affordable, driving demand for housing in 2021.3 Reasons to Be Optimistic about Real Estate in 2021 | Keeping Current Matters

3. Future Home Sales Are Forecasted to Grow

While the economy improves and interest rates remain low, homes are also expected to continue appreciating as more people buy in the coming year. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comsays:

“We expect home sales in 2021 to come in 7.0% above 2020 levels, following a more normal seasonal trend and building momentum through the spring and sustaining the pace in the second half of the year.”

Bottom Line

Experts forecast that buyers and sellers are going to be active in 2021. If you’ve thought about buying or selling your home this year but have held off, now may be the time to take advantage of this market. Reach out to a local real estate expert to take the first step toward your new home today.

Posted in Home Ownership
Dec. 8, 2020

Southern Oregon Market Stats November

Southern Oregon Market Stats

Sept. 1st - Nov. 30th, 2020

By Jake Rockwell

The market is getting hotter by the day. Homes are moving faster and for more money. We are curious to see how the market will react to this winter, will we see a typical slow down or none at all like last December? Last winter was our busiest winter on record for the Rockwell Group and the way the market is, it doesn't show any signs of slowing. Our projections show staying as busy or busier and on pace to beat last years record setting numbers for the Rockwell Team. With new changes in lending coming down the pike, we are looking at for the first time it becoming more beneficial for people to sell their existing homes rather than just refinance, as many types of loans are only allowing for 90% equity withdrawal. 


Key Takeaways:

  • Areas that typically don't feel much change in the county like Ashland and Jacksonville are showing great numbers of change. Jacksonville dropped in average days on market from 326 in 2019 to 153 in 2020. 
  • Ashland's average days on market went from 253 in 2019 down to just 89 in 2020.
  • Jackson County totals for inventory went from 783 active in November 2019 to 287 in November 2020.



Links to Stats:


Create a custom market report catered to your neighborhood or any specific area and criteria.

Want an instant market valuation for you property?

Dec. 1, 2020

Knowledge Is Power on the Path to Homeownership

Knowledge Is Power on the Path to Homeownership

Homeownership is on the goal list for many young adults, but sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how to get there. From understanding the homebuying process to pre-approval and down payment assistance options, uncertainty along the way can ultimately hold some buyers back.

Today, there are over 75 million Millennials and 67 million Gen Z’ers in the U.S., making up a significant number of both current and soon-to-be homebuyers. According to a recent Fannie Mae survey of more than 2,000 of these individuals:

“88% said they are confident they will achieve homeownership someday.”

In addition, the survey also reveals that for younger generations, the motivation to own a home may be more emotional than financial compared to previous generations:

  • <50% say they want to use their home as an asset
  • 78% believe it’s the best way to live the way they want, without restrictions
  • 80% believe homeownership is the best way to make it on their own

Whether homeownership goals come from the heart or are driven by financial aspirations (or maybe both), the obstacles standing in the way don’t have to bring these dreams to a screeching halt. The same survey also reveals two key roadblocks for potential buyers. Thankfully, they’re both easily overcome with the power of knowledge and trusted advisors leading the way. Here’s a look at these two challenges potential homebuyers face today:

1. 73% of future homebuyers are unaware of low-down-payment mortgage options

For those who want to purchase a home, low-down-payment options are instrumental to affording one sooner rather than later, especially given the amount of debt many younger adults have accumulated. Fannie Mae also notes:

“Among the challenges they face is an unprecedented amount of debt, along with a lack of understanding of the mortgage process and their own purchasing power. Debt, in particular, creates many obstacles such as a limited ability to save and the fear of taking on more debt.”

Today, there are more than 2,340 down payment assistance programs available nationwide to help relieve this pressure. Understanding what’s out there and the options available may help many buyers become homeowners faster than they thought possible. In a year like this, with record-low mortgage rates making their mark in the history books, being able to take advantage of the opportunity buyers have right now is essential to long-term affordability.

2. 64% of buyers expect lenders and other real estate professionals to educate them about the mortgage process

While many people love to do a quick search online to find instant answers to their questions, it isn’t the only way younger generations want to consume information or build their knowledge base. As the survey mentions, having trusted professionals help them learn what it takes to achieve their dreams is definitely on their wish list too.

Bottom Line

If you’re aiming for homeownership someday, it may be in closer reach than you think. Contact a local real estate professional and your lender to learn about the process and get the guidance you need to make it happen.

Posted in Home Ownership
Nov. 19, 2020

Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year?


Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year?

In 2020, buyers got a big boost in the housing market as mortgage rates dropped throughout the year. According to Freddie Mac, rates hit all-time lows 12 times this year, dipping below 3% for the first time ever while making buying a home more and more attractive as the year progressed (See graph below):Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | Keeping Current MattersWhen you continually hear how rates are hitting record lows, you may be wondering: Are they going to keep falling? Should I wait until they get even lower?

The Challenge with Waiting

The challenge with waiting is that you can easily miss this optimal window of time and then end up paying more in the long run. Last week, mortgage rates ticked up slightly. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, explains:

Mortgage rates jumped this week as a result of positive news about a COVID-19 vaccine. Despite this rise, mortgage rates remain about a percentage point below a year ago.”

While rates are still lower today than they were one year ago, as the economy continues to get stronger and the pandemic is resolved, there’s a very good chance interest rates will rise again. Several top institutions in the real estate industry are projecting an increase in mortgage rates over the next four quarters (See chart below):Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | Keeping Current MattersIf you’re planning to wait until next year or later, Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), forecasts mortgage rates will begin to steadily rise:Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | Keeping Current MattersAs a buyer, you need to decide if waiting makes financial sense for you.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning to buy a home and want to take advantage of today’s low rates, now is the time to do so. Don’t assume they’re going to stay this low forever.

Posted in Home Ownership
Nov. 12, 2020

Winter Will Bring a Flurry of Activity to the Housing Market

Winter Will Bring a Flurry of Activity to the Housing Market

In the second half of this year, the housing market surged with activity. Today, real estate experts are looking ahead to the winter season and the forecast is anything but chilly. As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), notes:

“It will be one of the best winter sales years ever.”

The typical winter slowdown in the housing market is simply not on the radar. Here’s why.

While today’s historically low mortgage rates are expected to remain low, they won’t be this low for much longer. This could be the last chance for homebuyers to secure such low rates, and they’re ready to take action. In a recent articleBankrate explained:

“If you’re looking to buy a home…expect mortgage rates to remain low into 2021. However, the possibility of rates falling to 2.5 percent or lower has faded as the U.S. economy has rebounded.”

As long as we continue to see low interest rates, we’ll see hopeful buyers on the hunt for their dream homes. Yun confirmed:

“The demand for home buying remains super strong…And we’re still likely to end the year with more homes sold overall in 2020 than in 2019…With persistent low mortgage rates and some degree of a continuing jobs recovery, more contract signings are expected in the near future.”

The challenge, however, is the lack of homes available for sale. With that in mind, all eyes are on homeowners to see if they’ll sell this winter or wait until spring. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.comsays it’s best for sellers to capitalize on this moment sooner rather than later:

“We currently see buyers sticking around in the housing market much later than we usually do this fall. If that trend continues, we will see more buyers in the market this winter, too. So, this winter is likely to be a good time to sell.”

With buyers ready to stay active this winter, sellers who want to close a deal on the best possible terms shouldn’t wait until spring to put their homes on the market.

Bottom Line

Experts agree the winter housing market could potentially be bigger than ever. Whether you’re ready to buy or sell, contact a local real estate professional today so you can be in your dream home by the new year.

Posted in Home Ownership
Nov. 5, 2020

Why the 2021 Forecast Doesn’t Call for a Foreclosure Crisis

Why the 2021 Forecast Doesn’t Call for a Foreclosure Crisis

As the current forbearance mortgage relief options come to an end, many are wondering if we’ll face a foreclosure crisis next year. This is understandable, especially for those who remember the housing crisis that began in 2008. The reality is, plans have been put in place through forbearance to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself.

This year, homeowners are able to request 180 days of mortgage relief through forbearance. Upon expiration of that timeframe, they’re also entitled to request 180 additional days, bringing the total to 360 days of deferred payment eligibility. As forbearance expires, homeowners should stay in touch with their lender, because creating a plan for the deferred payments is a critical next step to avoiding foreclosure. There are multiple options for homeowners to pursue at this point, and with the right planning and communication with the lender, foreclosure doesn’t have to be one of them.

Many homeowners are concerned that they’ll have to pay the deferred payments back in a lump sum payment at the end of forbearance. Thankfully, that’s not the case. Fannie Mae explains:

You don’t have to repay the forbearance amount all at once upon completion of your forbearance plan…Here’s the important thing to remember: If you receive a forbearance plan, you will have options when it comes to repaying the missed amount. You don’t have to pay the forbearance amount at once unless you are able to do so.”

When looking at the percentage of people in forbearance, we can also see that this number has been decreasing steadily throughout the year. Fewer people than initially expected are still in forbearance, so the number of homeowners who will need to work out alternative payment options is declining (See graph below):Why the 2021 Forecast Doesn’t Call for a Foreclosure Crisis | Keeping Current MattersThis means there are fewer and fewer homeowners at risk of foreclosure, and many who initially applied for forbearance didn’t end up needing it. Mike Fratantoni, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), explains:

Nearly two-thirds of borrowers who exited forbearance remained current on their payments, repaid their forborne payments, or moved into a payment deferral plan. All of these borrowers have been able to resume – or continue – their pre-pandemic monthly payments.”

For those who are still in forbearance and unable to make their payments, foreclosure isn’t the only option left. In their Homeowner Equity Insights ReportCoreLogic indicates:

“In the second quarter of 2020, the average homeowner gained approximately $9,800 in equity during the past year.”

Many homeowners have enough equity in their homes today to be able to sell their houses instead of foreclosing. Selling and protecting the overall financial investment may be a very solid option for many homeowners. As Ivy Zelman, Founder of Zelman & Associates, mentioned in a recent podcast:

“The likelihood of us having a foreclosure crisis again is about zero percent.”

Bottom Line

If you’re currently in forbearance or think you should be because you’re concerned about being able to make your mortgage payments, reach out to your lender to discuss your options and next steps. Having a trusted and knowledgeable professional on your side to guide you is essential in this process and might be the driving factor that helps you stay in your home.

Posted in Home Ownership