Happy New Year to you and yours! We are kicking off the new year with some serious demand for housing in the Northern Virginia real estate market. Anecdotally based upon the last two weeks of the year with our franchise, we are looking at a market that mirrors the nuttiness of last Spring with one notable exception. The inventory shortage is even more acute. On New Year’s Eve, I ran the numbers for our market once again, and we are now at another all-time low for inventory of resale homes in Northern Virginia. In the counties of Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria, Loudoun, Prince William, and Fauquier, there are only 1,119 properties for sale. People say, “oh, it is just that time of year; inventory is always low now.” Looking back over the last five years, we have averaged 2,901 houses for sale this week—a huge difference, especially with all of the demand. I believe we will be in for quite a ride in real estate in 2022.
Here are my predictions for 2022 in real estate: (remember these are specific to the NOVA area)
- Inventory will remain low – if you have nothing to buy, you won’t sell, so inventory will stay low
- Homeowners will continue to renovate/remodel as a result of low inventory despite the damaging inflationary times we find ourselves in
- Demand will remain strong – 45 million Millennials between the ages of 26 and 35, which are prime home-buying years
- New home sales will be flat as construction costs, labor constraints and oppressive approval processes will hold sales down
- Prices will increase once again – it was 9.5% in 2021; I think we will be closer to the 6%-7% range in 2022
- Interest rates will increase but only slightly – They were 3.11% at year-end 2021; I think they will go to 3.75%, which is still below pre-pandemic levels
- Inflation will remain high…I see the 6-7% range in 2022 which is borderline disastrous for those on fixed incomes
- That inflation, coupled with the rise in prices and modest rise in rates will, by the 3rd quarter, seriously impact the ability of first time buyers to get into the market
- Demand for rentals will remain strong, and prices for rentals will continue to rise
- Covid will continue to be an issue, especially regarding things like the supply chain. But the reality of it’s ongoing existence and the acceptance of that fact will dovetail with the pragmatic need to return to something approximating normalcy to produce just that. That should be calming for the real estate markets.
So, there you have it – let’s check back in January of 2023 to see how I did on my predictions.
It’s a good life.
3 Ways to Get Financially Prepared for 2022
What better time than now to get fiscally fit? The end of the year is the perfect time to get a checkup on your personal finances. Taking the pulse of your financial wellness not only helps ensure that you’ve been doing the right things throughout the year, it can also put you on a sound financial path for the new year.
Here are three steps to help you position yourself for great financial health in 2022:
Set SMART Goals: According to our recent Next Step survey, one in 10 consumers will make at least one financial resolution for 2022. Ever notice how people set lofty goals at the start of the year, then completely abandon them? It happens all the time. Often, this is because their resolutions are not realistic.
If you want to achieve your financial objectives, try setting SMART goals — in other words, goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based. For example, our survey found that 44% of people are making finance-related resolutions in 2022 to get out of debt by year’s end. This is an admirable ambition. To stick to this resolution, it helps to be more specific. It’s better to start small and set goals that are more attainable, such as, “I want to cut my credit card debt by 20% within the first six months of the year.” Then, once you have set such a goal, measure your progress. You can do this effectively by creating a budget and prioritizing your spending.
Form Good Money Habits: Here’s some encouraging math: saving just $125 every month will net you $15,000 in just 10 years. And that’s not including interest. Better still, socking away at least $125 every month is not as hard as it may sound. Have a close look at your spending and you’ll see numerous opportunities to save. Take that morning latte, for example. The average American worker spends around $1,100 annually
on coffee. Just a few visits to your local coffeehouse really add up. Instead, think about brewing your coffee at home and treating yourself to that fancy latte on special occasions. At the end of the week or month move the money you saved to your savings account.
Also, consider setting up automatic deposits to your savings account. Make paying yourself a priority by putting away a certain portion of your income each month. Do this before you spend even a penny on discretionary items like entertainment and restaurants. Most banks make it easy to make an automatic deposit to your savings account on payday.
Get Organized: The good news is that getting your financial house in order is easier than ever, thanks to a wide variety of digital tools that help you track your expenses, pay down debt and find deals on everyday expenses. Many banks also provide user-friendly financial-management tools for budgeting, saving, investing and more.
Take some time at the end of the year to investigate the various online tools, apps and calculators that can help you organize your spending and reach your financial goals. Some apps offer cool features that make saving fun and motivating, such as the ability to create joint goals with family or friends. You can also set up various rules related to your spending, just as you would for your life goals.
Remember: while the new year is a great time to assess your personal-finance habits, it’s not the only time. In fact, you should think about setting up a financial calendar with monthly to-do items. January, for instance, is a good time to look at how you did last year, then set expectations for the coming year based on the lessons you’ve gleaned. And March is a good month to meet with an accountant and discuss retirement contributions before you prepare your taxes.
Chocolate Pecan Skillet Cookie
www.tasteofhome.com | Prep time: 15 min, Bake time: 35 min | Serves 12
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate baking chips
1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a 12-in. cast-iron skillet, heat butter in oven as it preheats. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together sugar and brown sugar. When butter is almost melted, remove skillet from oven and swirl butter until completely melted. Stir butter into sugar mixture; set skillet aside.
2. Beat eggs and vanilla into sugar mixture. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into sugar mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Spread mixture into buttered skillet.
3. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs and top is golden brown, 35-40 minutes. Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream if desired. Enjoy!
7 Ways to Live a Minimalist Lifestyle Without Getting Bored
Think of minimalist home styling as Mid-Century Modern and Contemporary’s cooler, older sister: it blends several elements of modernity, yet gives a fresh, mature perspective on materialistic value.
You’ve heard of the phrase, “less is more,” right? Well, that’s exactly what minimalism is — living a simplistic lifestyle while placing value on your ‘everyday’ necessities. It’s all about being grateful for the items that serve you best and saying ‘thank you’ by utilizing them to their fullest potential! Think of minimalist home styling as Mid-Century Modern and Contemporary’s cooler, older sister: it blends several elements of modernity, yet gives a fresh, mature perspective on materialistic value. Minimalism is often seen as a way to reduce stress, save money and care for the planet — but in a consumer-driven society, it can also be seen as too restrictive or “boring.” And better yet, oftentimes minimalism is portrayed as getting rid of everything you own in one large, yet overwhelming gesture. Minimalism’s reputation just can’t seem to win!
When it comes to your home, there are so many benefits to embracing minimalism… but if you’re looking to spice up your minimalist lifestyle, or just don’t know where to start, we’ve got seven ways to make the transition into minimalist living at home (without the overwhelming gestures or sacrificing the excitement!):
Write down your intention/goal: As you make the shift to minimal living, setting your mindset must be your first priority. Ask yourself, “why do I want to live minimally? What’s my goal?” Whether you reflect internally, through journaling or with those living in your home, this step is crucial. As you decide what’s most important to you, you’ll find the process is more overwhelming than you might’ve anticipated. Having a set goal and timeline for yourself, your home, and your life to always turn to in these moments will ease the process for you!
Assign value to your items: After deciding what your goal is, take a look around and assign meaning to your items. And we’re not talking about your “big ticket” must-have items — but your “do I really need this?” ones. And if you’re anything like me with a huge “attachment to unnecessary things issue…” let this be a reminder that just because an item is “cute” and “trendy” doesn’t mean it adds value to your life in the way you may believe. Trends come and go unbelievably quickly these days, so the best way to break the trend cycle is to fill your home with sleek, simple pieces that stand the test of time.
Take things room by room: Decluttering is incredibly overwhelming. Maintaining a clean and tidy space can be even more overwhelming. Set time aside each day to tidy up your space — if you put off cleaning until your home is turned upside down, it only discourages you from cleaning even more. Creating a checklist can help you stay on track.
Decide on a few focal points: Not every aspect of your home needs to be a focal point, but even in a minimalist mindset, there’s room for your favorite artwork, bookshelf or floral arrangements.
Re-use, re-use! Do you really need extra coffee mugs or that extra mixer that was a wedding gift? Though letting go can be difficult, one of the best ways to celebrate minimalism is coming up with new uses for your items. This not only keeps your decor functional, yet interesting, but helps create that value that’s foundational to minimalist living. Multi-purposeful items are a great way to ensure you’re not ditching the items you love most. Better yet, up-cycling is also an excellent, sustainable option — tap into your creative side and create exciting DIY projects!
Save up for high quality pieces: While seasons and trends come and go, if you’re someone who struggles with the need to constantly update your home decor, we’ve got the perfect solution for you. Instead of filling your space with fluctuating pieces, opt for durable decor and storage that are built to last. Splurging on quality pieces may not be in the cards for everyone, but if minimalism is truly your end goal, switching to more expensive, quality home items now will save you down the road. Plus — no matter how old you get, there’s an inherent excitement you feel when saving up for something you really, really want!
Embracing minimalism doesn’t mean you have to be restrictive, it’s all about finding what tips and styling work for YOU. But if you find minimalist living isn’t your cup of tea, that’s okay too!