Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

March 30, 2022

When is the BEST time to list your home?


Are you thinking about selling your house? If so, you may want to make it a priority to start the process soon. According to, the sweet spot for sellers is just around the corner. In a recent study, experts analyzed housing market trends by looking at data from the past several years (excluding 2020, since it was an atypical year). When applied to the current market, experts determined the ideal week to list a house this year. The research says:

“Home sellers on the fence waiting for that perfect moment to sell should start preparations, because the best time to list a home in 2022 is approaching quickly. The week of April 10-16 is expected to have the ideal balance of housing market conditions that favor home sellers, more so than any other week in the year.”

If you’ve been putting your move on the back burner waiting for the ideal time to sell, you should know your golden window of opportunity is coming up. If you’re able to get your house ready quickly, here’s what you can expect from that week.

You Should See More Buyer Activity

The article expects higher buyer demand based on what’s happened in previous years. This could result in increased competition among buyers and ultimately a bidding war over your house. And since mortgage rates recently ticked up over 4%, chances are good that analysis is right. When rates rise, experts say buyers often hurry to make their purchase before rates climb higher. As Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“. . . Buyers are rushing to lock in lower rates as the outlook is for even higher mortgage rates in the following months.”

Your House Is Expected To Sell Quickly

Additionally, the analysis shows houses sell even faster during this week of the year, likely due to the heightened buyer demand. If you work with a trusted real estate professional to price your house right, it should sell quickly. And when homes are already selling in just 18 days according to NAR, that could set you up for a big win.

Your House Will Be in the Spotlight

Since the beginning of the year, the number of homes available for sale has been at or near record lows. According to the study, the typical trend for this week of the year is that there will be even fewer sellers on the market. If you list when inventory is low, your house will be the center of attention for eager buyers craving options.

If you’re ready to move fast, you may want to shoot for April 10th-16th as your target goal. Just remember, even if you’re not ready to list within the next couple of weeks, rest assured this is still a hot sellers’ market. If you list later in April, you’ll still be in the driver’s seat.

Bottom Line

Ready to get the ball rolling? Let’s connect and schedule a time to go over your next steps. In the meantime, make a checklist of things you need to tackle to get your house ready. When we talk, we can prioritize your to-do list and get you on the road to selling your house.

Posted in Market Updates
March 24, 2022

Why is the Housing Supply Still So Low?

Demand is supposed to incentivize builders to provide the supply, so why are housing inventories still so low as we go through another year of a red hot housing market in Wisconsin and around the nation?

That’s a question many prospective home buyers have as they work to cope with a highly competitive seller’s market. Let’s take a look at a few potential answers:


We Were Behind Before the Demand Even Hit

New construction was behind the long-term average for more than 13 years since the recession when building new construction came to a stop.The increased demand in recent years has left builders unable to construct homes fast enough to meet demand. Increases in the costs of building materials and pandemic-related supply chain issues have created further roadblocks for builders as they scramble to play catch up.


Speaking of the Pandemic…

It’s not an excuse; the pandemic really has worked its tentacles into every facet of the economy and housing is no exception. The pandemic led to a renewed appreciation for the meaning of “home sweet home”, as people spent more time indoors with their loved ones. Buyers took advantage of low mortgage rates to enter the housing market to search for a home that met their family’s evolving needs.


What Does This Mean For You?

There’s no getting around it: low inventory is a challenge for buyers. Having a local real estate agent who understands the market is crucial for navigating a challenging time for home buyers. Get in touch with our team at Gail Rutkowski & Associates and tell us about your goals and priorities. We’ll take care of the rest.

Posted in Market Updates
Feb. 25, 2022

4 Reasons We Are Not in a Housing Bubble

“Prices have to come down eventually.”

“They can’t keep going up forever.”

“The bubble will inevitably burst.”


You do not have to look far these days to find someone equating the current housing market to the housing bubble that burst 15 years ago. Consumer beliefs are no substitute for facts and data. The following data points point to the conclusion that we are not in a bubble.


1. Homes Are Still Affordable


The affordability formula – the price of a home, wages earned by the purchaser and the mortgage rate – point to homes still being affordable. Yes, home prices are rising, but the average wage earner can still afford the typical home without spending more than 28% of their gross income on their mortgage payment.


2. Mortgage Standards are More Stringent


Measures put in place after the 2008 crash have resulted in fewer “high credit risk” borrowers being approved for mortgage loans.


3. Foreclosures Are Down Significantly Compared to 15 Years Ago


The burst housing bubble left millions of foreclosures in its wake. According to the NY Fed, there were 38,040 foreclosures in 2021 compared to 2,037,940 in 2009. Even factoring in the mortgage forbearance program in 2020 and 2021, foreclosure numbers are nowhere near where they were in the wake of the housing crash.


4. Inventory is Not Keeping Up With Demand


There was a surplus of homes on the market in the wake of the crash, resulting in plummeting home values. Today, inventory is struggling to keep up with consumer demand, resulting in increasing home prices.


The Bottom Line


The facts and data underline the fact that we are not in a bubble; we are in a highly competitive housing market. Having an experienced local realtor can make all the difference as you look to sell or purchase a home.


Posted in Market Updates
Jan. 23, 2022

What’s Going on With Home Prices In 2022?

The pandemic has been no match for a hot housing market, as 2020 and 2021 saw double-digit increases for home values. What does 2022 have in store for buyers and sellers? Let’s take a look at what the experts are saying.

The latest edition of CoreLogic’s Home Price Insights Report takes the position that, while home prices may be plateauing, appreciation has yet to slow down. In fact, appreciation has consistently hovered around 18% for the last five months data is available.

The S&P Case-Shiller Price Index and the FHFA Price Index take a similar but different position, pointing to a slight deceleration from this time last year. In other words, appreciation has continued but is not at the previously predicted rate. Even with that deceleration, all 20 metro areas that make up the Case-Shiller index had appreciation of 10% or higher during that period.

The initial predictions of deceleration were based on the idea that housing inventory would increase throughout 2021 and catch up or surpass demand. However, buyer demand did not slow as expected toward the end of 2021, leading to the continuing double-digit appreciation we are seeing. Additionally, new construction slowed down as a result of supply-chain bottlenecks and a predicted surge of foreclosures never materialized after the mortgage forbearance program came to an end.

The bottom line on home prices as 2022 continues is that, while appreciation might start to slow, you should not expect the drop off to be quick. Supply and demand still points to the housing market remaining hot for the foreseeable future.

If you are considering dipping your toes into the market as a buyer or seller in the Madison area, you can turn to the proven real estate professionals at Gail Rutkowski & Associates to show you the way.

Posted in Market Updates
Dec. 28, 2021

What Makes a House a Home

It has been proven that owning a home makes financial sense for most people, but the emotional side of homeownership is too often overlooked.

No matter what type of home you own, the non-financial benefits of homeownership can be just as important as the financial benefits. These benefits include:

·         The sense of accomplishment that comes from successfully reaching your goal of homeownership. Whether you are a first-time home owner, a real estate investor or purchasing your dream home, you deserve a pat on the back.

·         The sense of familiarity and comfort that comes from having a place to call home. Having a safe, comfortable place to relax, unwind and recharge can make all the difference in the world.

·         The ability to stretch out and make use of the additional space that comes with owning a home, whether that comes in the form of home gym, guest bedroom or an attached garage for your hobbies.

·         The freedom to make your home yours. When you own your own home you get to make all the decisions about renovations and how to invest your home improvement budget. Think of your home as your very own personalized Pinterest board.

Whether you are looking to purchase your first home, expand into a larger home due to your family’s needs, or even downsize after retirement, now is a great time to explore the red-hot housing market and find a place that truly feels like home.

Our experienced team at Gail Rutkowski & Associates can help you whenever you are ready to take the next step on your homeownership journey.

Posted in Market Updates
Dec. 20, 2021

Waiting To Buy Will Cost You

Purchasing a home is likely to be the largest purchase you will ever make. With mortgage terms of 15-30 years, many things will change during the time you are paying off your house. It is completely understandable that you want to be cautious, weigh all your options and make a prudent decision about your purchase.

It may surprise you to find out that waiting for the perfect situation is actually not the most financially prudent decision. In fact, waiting to purchase a home will cost you in numerous ways.


Home Prices Will Continue To Rise


Inflation is expected to continue in 2022 and home prices are expected to continue rising accordingly. Buying the same house a year from now could cost you as much as 7.4% more than today according to Fannie Mae projections.

Let’s take a look at an example. If the house you are considering today costs $350,000, waiting until next year to purchase an equivalent home would cost you $375,900.


Mortgage Rates Are Likely To Continue Rising

Mortgage interest is a crucial element in determining the cost of owning a home. 30-year fixed mortgages have been hovering around 3%. However, mortgage rates are expected to rise in 2022 with the Mortgage Bankers Association forecasting rates around 4%.

Using our previous example of a $350,000 home, your mortgage payment could rise $150-$200 per month based on next year’s projected rates. Over the course of your mortgage that means tens of thousands of dollars in extra costs.


The Choice Is Yours

It is ultimately up to you whether you buy a home and there is no right or wrong answer. But it is important to understand that, if you are fairly certain you will eventually purchase a home, there is a significant cost to waiting.

Our experienced team at Gail Rutkowski & Associates can help you whenever you are ready to get started.

Posted in Market Updates
Nov. 12, 2021

Should You Renovate Your Home Before Selling? Read Our Free Book To Learn How!

One of the most common questions we receive from homeowners is “what renovations should I make before listing my home?” The question homeowners should be asking is “does renovating my home make financial sense in my market?”

The answer is “it depends”.  


Do You Want To List In The Near Future?


If your timeline for listing your property is short, you will not have a lot of time to undertake major renovations like a kitchen remodel, finishing a basement or renovating bathrooms. Quicker fixes such as painting, updating light fixtures, staining your deck, and refreshing your kitchen cabinets are a better option if you have limited time.


Do Renovations Make Sense In Your Market?


Different buyers are looking for different things. Some buyers are looking for a move-in ready home; others are looking for a discounted home they can renovate and flip for a profit. Buyers looking for a move-in ready home will appreciate the added value of large-scale renovations like a kitchen remodel, while flippers would rather have a lower price and take care of the work themselves.

If houses are flying off the market in your area, renovations may not be necessary in order to get your ideal asking price. If you are located in a less active market or are competing with new construction, the costs of renovations could help you home stand out or compete.


Let Your Realtor Be Your Guide


No one knows the intricacies of your market like a local real estate agent. At Gail Rutkowski & Associates, we can walk you through your options and provide you with a customized plan for getting the most out of your home sale. We encourage you to read our book, "Home Improvements That Improve Values." Contact us today for your free copy.

Posted in Market Updates
Oct. 20, 2021

September Housing Market Snapshot

No, it’s not just your imagination. The real estate market continued on its hot streak even as the heat of summer gave way to the cool breezes of autumn.

According to the Wisconsin Real Estate Association, low inventories continued to drive up Wisconsin home prices in September even as overall sales fell 8.6% compared to a year ago. September marked the third straight month that home sales decreased relative to their levels last year.

However, despite the lower overall sales, prices increased 6.6% compared to a year ago. The tight inventories continue to provide a wonderful opportunity for home sellers to cash in, whether they are upgrading to new construction, downsizing, or moving to a new market due to the flexibility of remote work.

The terms for buyers are still favorable despite the price increase favoring sellers. Mortgage rates stayed under 3% for a fifth straight month, allowing borrowers to borrow more cheaply and potentially stretch their budgets. With affordability remaining steady over the course of 2021, qualified buyers with median family income have been able to avoid being priced out of the market.

Home sales are still 1.5% ahead of 2020’s record pace, with the low inventories unable to keep up with demand. This is somewhat disappointing coming on the heels of the first six months of 2021, where sales easily surpassed those of the first six months of 2020.

The bottom line is that home prices remain high even with demand showing some signs of leveling off amid a constrained supply of homes. Whether you are selling or buying, having an experienced realtor is a must to maximize your housing dollars.

Our team at Gail Rutkowski & Associates can answer your questions and show you the way. Contact us today to get started.

Posted in Market Updates
Sept. 30, 2021

Home Is The Office Of The Future (and Present). Is Yours Up For It?

Home Is The Office Of The Future (and Present). Is Yours Up For It?


Much has changed since early 2020 to say the least. For many professionals, the pandemic meant finding room for functional workspace or dedicated home office in order to effectively work from home while workplaces have closed.


It is now clear that working from home is not a passing fad; many employers made lease and purchase decisions based on the idea that a higher number of their workers would be working remotely. Other companies are continuing to delay their plans to have workers return to the office.


If you are still longing to have a dedicated home office or you have outgrown your temporary workspace, now is the time to find a home that addresses your evolving needs and positions you to make the permanent transition to remote work a successful one.


If You Are Working 100% Remotely


If you currently own your home, it may be time to broaden your horizons. Since you are no longer tied to a physical office location, you can be much more flexible when deciding what city or region you wish to live in. Perhaps that means moving to a lower cost of living area where your budget can purchase a home with more square footage. Or maybe you are ready to downsize some of your needs in exchange for living on the beach, in the mountains, or another part of the world you have always wanted to experience.


If You Are Working a Hybrid Schedule


If you are going to be working from home part of the time, you may wish to move further away from the office to take advantage of a lower cost of living. For example, you could move to a suburban or rural location that provides you with more features, space or comforts.


Bottom Line


If remote work is changing what you need in a home, let’s connect to find one that delivers on your new wish list.

Posted in Market Updates
Sept. 28, 2021

Consequences of the Home Shortage

If you are hoping to buy a home, you may be aware of a current issue: There is a significant shortage of homes for sale. As a result, prices are high, homes are quickly flying off the market and sellers have the upper hand in negotiations.


The Current Demand for Homes


Growth in remote work and other lifestyle changes triggered by the pandemic have increased the demand for homes substantially. In fact, between June 2020 and June 2021, nationwide home prices increased by 17.2%.


Additionally, some individuals are finding themselves in a good financial situation. While the pandemic has brought hardship to many, 73% of customers said they saved money due to the stay-at-home orders and ongoing restrictions on travel. This fact combined with the currently low interest rates, many people find themselves able to buy a home, despite rising home prices.


Unfortunately, lumber shortages have reduced the amount of new construction. This has furthered the challenge for home buyers. However, new flexibility may allow you to consider locations you would not have had access to before, and the low interest rates may allow you to afford more house than you could.


Why Buy Rather Than Rent?


Another reason why homes are not staying on the market, is because the advantages of buying rather than continuing to rent remain solid. Consider:

  1. Owning a home is a form of forced saving. When you have paid off your mortgage you will have equity and will have made money. However, if you rent, that money is gone for good.
  2. Rent prices tend to rice more quickly than mortgages. Rent is shooting up, faster than median incomes in many markets. With a fixed rate mortgage instead, you can budget for those payments...and add more if you are financially comfortable.
  3. Interest rates remain historically low.
  4. Loan amounts on conforming loan programs have been increased to cover the rising house prices.
  5. Tax deductions remain helpful, even with changes to the tax code.

There is no shortage of a demand for homes and buying a home is still a good idea. However, the lack of supply is pervasive. Without the correct guidance in your corner, it may be a challenge to find the home you want.  


To ensure your real estate transaction occurs picture perfectly, contact Gail Rutkowski and Associates. We constantly ensure our clients come out on top, whether they are buying, or selling a home.

Posted in Market Updates