Love & Being Home for the Holidays

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Real Estate

"Home for the Holidays"- that expression has a different feel this year. The holidays are always memorable; this year will be no exception. In fact, it may be one of the oddest in memory with its lack of gathering with friends and family, or at least not the big extended family and friend get-togethers we are all accustomed to. We seem to be figuring it out though. An example is how at Thanksgiving I went to buy the Thanksgiving turkey. Most years I am trying to find a large 23-pound turkey, which as most of you know, is hard to find because everyone needs a big turkey. Not this year, the large turkeys were aplenty, finding the small turkey was the issue. It made me giggle at this strange sign of the times. The truth is, as we all know, this won’t last forever.

What can last forever is love, family, and the love of home. This year we have had the pleasure of working with some amazing families looking for their new home. Several couples had passed the half century mark of marriage. It was such a joy seeing how they communicated and worked as a team. I want to share one couple's story. This sweet couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in the Fall of 2020. They had been renting for years and decided 2020 is the year to own a home again. They needed a specific type of layout  because one of the spouses uses a wheelchair. With masks on and an ample supply of hand sanitizer we looked and looked and wrote several offers (as you know this is a seller’s market and it is very competitive) and they were outbid a few times. Then it happened! A house that had been under contract came back on the market. That day we made an appointment and went and saw the home. It was perfect, with its wide open kitchen, open living space, and no hallways to maneuver with a wheelchair. We quickly wrote an offer. The offer was accepted and the home went through inspections with flying colors. This couple, who demonstrated true love every time we met with them, stayed diligent in their search, and when the right house hit the market, they were ready; and now they are HOME for holidays.  

Like the song says, “Oh, there’s no place like home for the Holidays.” Ray and I wish you glad tidings while you are home for the holidays.

Happy Christmas and Merry New Year to you,

Ray & Mary

P.S. If 'Giving" is part of your year end tradition here are a few local charities that you might not know about. These non-profits do beautiful work...

Agape Flights-based in Venice -they fly aid where there is a need

Laurel Civic -provides help to underpriviledged kids

All Faiths Food Bank-- providing food to those in need

 Coldwell Banker Realty made this sweet Home for the Holiday's video.

  Real Estate Market News-

What Could 2021 Mean for the Housing Market?

This year has been nonstop uncertainty. The coronavirus pandemic led to shutdowns and major changes to our everyday lives. Those changes are likely to continue as we head into winter. Cities have been hard-hit, not only in terms of public health, but also economically.

Despite everything, the housing market is one thing that's been consistently strong this year. So, what do experts think next year will bring? Will that positivity hold steady, or are we in for a bust?

Rising Prices
If inventory remains low into early 2021, it's possible that home prices will continue to go up. The median asking price for properties in September 2020, according to, was $350,000. That's up 11% compared to last year. Inventory has declined 39% year-over-year, despite a quick burst of new listings in August. Increased demand and a dwindling supply are great for sellers but not so much for buyers.

Builder Confidence
Despite all of the headwinds and what feels like a barrage of negative information, there is some optimism in housing starts. Consumer confidence was high in September, and builder sentiment similarly seems to be at an all-time high.

Could There Be Downsides?
While there are some indicators of positivity, there are also potential negatives that could come into play. Unemployment numbers are still high, and rolling lockdowns throughout the winter could cause those numbers to rise. Some predict that foreclosures could also rise as a result.

When facing uncertainty and anxiety, there's a tendency among consumers and would-be homebuyers to hoard their cash. Personal savings rates have actually gone up recently, but that means there may be less spending going on, particularly on bigger items like houses.

Finally, while there are some unnerving indicators, we do know with almost certainty that record-low mortgage rates will hold. The fed has signaled their intention to keep rates low for the foreseeable future.

#MaryRayWestbrook #HomefortheHolidays