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Welcome to the premier resource for all real estate information and services in your area. I hope you enjoy your visit and explore everything my realty website has to offer, including Birmingham real estate listings, information for homebuyers and sellers, and more About Me, your professional Birmingham Realtor.

Looking for a new home? Check back here often to see our Featured Listings, or use my Dream Home Finder form and I'll conduct a personalized search for you.

If you're planning to sell your home in the next few months, nothing is more important than knowing a fair asking price. I would love to help you with a FREE Market Analysis. I will use comparable sold listings to help you determine the accurate market value of your home.

Testimonials

Kevin is an amazing realtor. Kevin and his team were there for my family every step of the way in our home buying process. He was accessible, knowledgeable, professional and overall fabulous to work with. He used his skills to negotiate a fair purchase price for our home. My husband and I could not have been happier and I would highly recommend Kevin to anyone looking for a realtor. Thank you for going above and beyond our expectations. Joanne and Jerrold Fisher
Kevin is very very knowledgeable about the area we were interested in (Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills). He was timely in his responses to our calls and emails and the entire purchase experience went very smoothly due to his diligence. I highly recommend him and will use his services again in the future. Carey Oven and Deven Ross
We are so appreciative of your efforts to help us, especially during such an emotional time, but most of all we value your friendship. James and Kevin… You are the best! John and Wendy Wilson
Thank you for helping us find our new home. We are so happy. We especially appreciate you both and your team making this special and stressful time run smoothly. Nichole and Rochelle Rudolph-Kaplan
Kevin and his team – James, Christopher, Virginia and Yelena - recently helped us buy a new home and helped us sell our previous home in three days! They were always available from the beginning to the end of our home buying and selling experience to answer every question and to quell any concern. They answered our calls day and night and helped us with all details whether it was visiting listings on short notice, staging our home or moving our pool table. Kevin and team exceeded our expectations and made sure everything happened with flawless execution. We could not be happier with the results! Brian and Gail Kozeliski
Kevin was wonderful. I would recommend him in a minute . He is the best in the business. He will work hard for you and will try his best to sell your home . His knowledge of real estate is like no other. Again I would highly recommend Kevin Cristbrook. Chitranjan and Mary Lall
Do not look elsewhere for a realtor. Kevin Cristbrook and his team, Yelena and Christopher are phenomenal! They work seamlessly together to sell your house. Kevin is an expert in real estate and has strong pricing sense. He is a strong relentless negotiator when the going gets tough. He NEVER leaves a stone unturned and fixes all problems that arise unexpectedly. We were lucky to work with such a talent. He is always available to you when you need to talk to just him. His communication and sales skills are very savvy. Emil Hunter and Jeanene Johnson
I had a wonderful experience with Kevin throughout the whole selling process. There were some challenges in selling my home and Kevin provided the expertise in closing my deal! I highly recommend him. David Morelli
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Real Estate News!!!

Latest Realty News from NAR

November 2018 Housing Affordability Index

At the national level, housing affordability is down from last month and down from a year ago. Mortgage rates rose to 4.99 percent this November, up 19.1 percent compared to 4.19 percent a year ago.

  • Housing affordability declined from a year ago in November moving the index down 10.6 percent from 161.0 to 144.0. The median sales price for a single family home sold in November in the US was $260,500 up 5.0 percent from a year ago.
  • Nationally, mortgage rates were up 80 basis point from one year ago (one percentage point equals 100 basis points).
  • The payment as a percentage of income was up from last month at 17.4 percent this November and up from 15.5 percent from a year ago. Regionally, the West has the highest payment at 23.8 percent of income. The Northeast had the second highest payment at 17.1 percent followed by the South at 16.8 percent. The Midwest had the lowest payment as a percentage of income at 13.7 percent.

  • Regionally, the Northeast recorded the biggest increase in home prices at 8.2 percent. The South had an increase of 3.8 percent while the West had a gain of 2.4 percent. The Midwest had the smallest growth in price of 1.6 percent.
  • Regionally, all four regions saw a decline in affordability from a year ago. The Northeast had the biggest drop in affordability of 14.4 percent. The South had a decline of 9.3 percent followed by the Midwest that fell 9.2 percent. The West had the smallest drop of 7.2 percent.
  • On a monthly basis, affordability is down from last month in all of the four regions. The Northeast region had the decline of 5.5 percent. The South had a decline of 2.0 percent followed by the Midwest with a dip of 1.8 percent. The West had the smallest dip in affordability of 0.7 percent.
  • Despite month-to-month changes, the most affordable region was the Midwest, with an index value of 181.9. The least affordable region remained the West where the index was 105.0. For comparison, the index was 148.8 in the South, and 146.4 in the Northeast.

  • Mortgage applications are currently up while credit availability is down. Rates are higher this month but are still historically low. Home prices are up 5.0 percent while median family incomes that are growing 3.0 percent. The job market is steady. More inventory is welcome on the lower end of the market whereas there is more supply of inventory for high priced homes.
  • What does housing affordability look like in your market? View the full data release here.
  • The Housing Affordability Index calculation assumes a 20 percent down payment and a 25 percent qualifying ratio (principal and interest payment to income). See further details on the methodology and assumptions behind the calculation here.

Throwback Thursday: First-Time Homebuyers Then and Now

In 1981 when NAR first started tracking the data, the average age of a first-time homebuyer was 29.  They made up 44 percent of all homebuyers.  Sixty-eight percent of first-time buyers were married couples, 12 percent were single female and 13 percent were single male (seven percent were other).

In contrast, in 2018, the average age of a first-time homebuyer was 46 and they accounted for 33 percent of all homebuyers.  Fifty-four percent were married couples, 18 percent were single female, 10 percent were single male, and 16 percent were unmarried couples (two percent were other).

In 1989, first-time buyers largely rented an apartment before they bought their home at 80 percent, and 15 percent lived with parents, relatives, or friends.  In 2018, the share of first-time buyers that lived in an apartment before they bought their home slipped to 71 percent while the share of those that had been living with parents, relatives, or friends previous to buying rose to 23 percent.

Planning to Buy a Home in 2019?

Mortgage rates are starting off 2019 at very good levels. In fact, mortgage rates declined, starting the new year with the 30-year fixed rate mortgage dipping to 4.5 percent last week from 5 percent a month ago, according to mortgage finance provider Freddie Mac[1]. After a year of gradual increases, mortgage rates are declining. Stock market volatility, global trade worries and the government shutdown are pushing rates down to their lowest levels since August.

But how do mortgage rates affect homebuyers? Fixed-rate mortgages are amortized over the life of the loan. That means that at the beginning of the loan term, most of the mortgage payment goes toward paying off interest. Over time, a larger percentage of the monthly payment is applied to the loan’s principal balance. Thus, when interest rates are low, homeownership is more affordable. If less is spent on interest, homebuyers may be able to afford a larger loan. However, higher rates increase the long-term cost of owning a house.

NAR calculated the monthly payment based on the mortgage rate in the first week of January (4.5 percent) and the rate (5.0 percent) that was previously expected. Nationwide, it is estimated that the monthly payment at 4.5 percent rate is $1,208, while a higher rate of 5.0 percent increases the monthly payments by $72 to $1,280.

The effect of the mortgage rates varies from location to location. In high-end areas, homebuyers are expected to benefit more from lower rates than homebuyers in other areas. For instance, in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA metro area, comparing the monthly payment at 4.5 percent and 5 percent rates, homebuyers pay $353 less every month for their payment at a 4.5 percent rate. However, at the low-end areas, in Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA, the monthly payment at 4.5 percent rate is $26 less compared to the payment at 5 percent rate.

The visualization below allows you to see how much the monthly payment changes at 4.5 and 5.0 percent rates for 178 metro areas:

We also calculated the monthly mortgage payment for 3,119 counties and county-equivalents in the United States. Please visit the following web page to see the monthly mortgage payment at the county level.

Thus, homebuyers can still benefit from lower rates. Although the average rate on the 30-year fixed rate sat just below 4 percent for a year in 2016, homebuyers should bear in mind that, back in 1982, the rate was over 17 percent for more than a year. Moreover, historically[2], the average mortgage rate is 8 percent. Therefore, rates are still historically low. Looking ahead, NAR is forecasting the 30-year fixed rate mortgage to average 4.9 percent for 2019 and 5.2 percent for 2020, respectively.

See below how the 30-year fixed mortgage rate has been trending since 1971:


[1] Primary Mortgage Market Survey, Freddie Mac.

[2] Between 1971 and 2019.

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