In my kitchen: A Summer Favorite — Cookies ‘n’ Cream Ice Cream

Refreshing and indulgent — just what Summer ordered!

If you haven’t made homemade ice cream before, I encourage you to try it! There is something quite special about making your own summer dessert, something industrious about getting out the ice cream machine, and something magical about lifting off the cover and seeing that your cream custard has transformed into a frozen treat!

The recipe I share below is fairly straightforward and has always produced great results.

This indulgent recipe has simple and rich ingredients.

Start with an egg custard cooked on the stove (it’s not as complicated as it sounds!).

Whole milk, sugar, egg yolks, and salt are cooked at a low simmer for 5 minutes, until thick.

After the custard has cooked, strain it to remove any solids from the eggs.

Yikes! Don’t skip this step!

Here you’ll mix in half-and-half, whipping cream, and vanilla, and chill for around an hour.

Chilling this mixture first helps the ice cream machine work better.

Next pour it into the canister, add ice & rock salt all around…and turn on the machine.

In less than an hour, you can have yummy, creamy deliciousness!

Isn’t it pretty? 🙂
This is about 20 Oreos, crushed.

After removing the paddle, fold in the crushed cookies. (Never works to add when the canister is spinning — the cookies just dissolve!) Then I pour the “soft-serve” into a shallow plastic container and freeze for 5-6 hours. You can also serve it just like this. It’s yummy either way.

Freeze 5-6 hours, or even better — overnight.
Enjoy!

Do you like to make homemade ice cream? What’s your favorite kind? I’d love to know — please leave a comment!

Low Mortgage Rates Benefit Many — Not Just Buyers

Mortgage rates are continuing to hold below 3% this spring. Rates were at record-breaking lows throughout most of 2020, during the unprecedented real estate market during the global pandemic. After rising a fraction in early 2021, the rates for a 30-year mortgage were averaging at 2.98%  on April 29, 2021. It’s natural to see homebuyers as reaping the real benefits from this. But consider others who benefit … even if you are not in the market for a new home, you could benefit from these low rates.

Advantage for buyers

It’s obvious that homebuyers are the most directly benefiting from the low interest rates. Says Realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale, “Today’s mortgage rates give home buyers a much needed boost in purchasing power that will help them navigate higher home prices, which nearly every housing market across the country is seeing right now.” Perhaps reluctant would-be homebuyers are actually ready to act now in response to the lower interest rates. With the usual springtime increase-in-inventory, the market is turning a little more friendly to buyers the coming months.

Now is also a great time for 2nd-home buyers to make their dreams come true. Even if a great purchase price bargain is hard to come by in today’s housing market, you can still lock in at a respectable low interest rate and save a lot of money in the process. If owning a beach condo has been a goal for your family, this is a great time to buy, as the market for condominiums is not quite as competitive as the market for single-family detached homes.


Advantage for sellers

The climate of today’s housing market is by far the most advantageous for the seller. Low mortgage rates spur buyer demand, plain and simple. The more buyers, the more bidding wars and the higher the sales prices go. This also gives more negotiating power to the seller. 

Houses are on the market for a shorter time right now, with the average days on the market (DOM) being 18, as compared to the average over the last few years being 35-50, depending on the city. Higher DOM can make buyers wonder what’s wrong with the home, and after a few weeks, as interest drops, the appeal of the home drops. 


Advantage for the homeowner not planning to sell 

Lower rates are a positive incentive for refinancing, which can reduce monthly mortgage payments.  An increase in the homeowner’s equity can result, as well as the possibility of eliminating the pesky mortgage insurance.

All this can enhance a homeowner’s overall financial status. Quoted on the CNBC.com website, Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst for LendingTree says, “One of the best things Americans can do right now is build up their savings while trimming their debt.” When any loan balance is high compared to the original borrowed amount, credit scores are lower. Eliminating debt leads to financial security and peace of mind.

Even an advantage for renters

Landlords may take advantage of refinancing their rental property, which can lower their monthly payment and thus eliminate the need for increased rents during the hard times of the pandemic.

Many Americans are purchasing rental properties, taking advantage of the low interest rates. This makes more homes and apartments available to renters. “There’s just been extraordinary demand for rental homes in a lot of these secondary cities, tertiary cities, suburban markets, where a lot of the single-family rental properties are located,” said Gary Beasley, CEO of Roofstock, a marketplace for buying and selling single-family rental properties. According to an article on money.com, large portion of rental purchasers are first-time investors and many of those are moving from renter to landlord. Many of these properties become short-term rentals, through Airbnb or VRBO platforms. Since the onset of the pandemic, there seems to be a move away from hotels and motels and a trend of vacationers choosing detached homes, or condominiums, which don’t require as many close physical interactions during the vacation stay.


What’s next?

Mortgage rates are inching upward monthly. March saw the first dramatic increase over the previous 12 months, but the trajectory has slowed back in the last month. Rates are expected to stay below 3.20%, which is still a relatively low rate compared to the last few years. 2021 looks to be a safe time to make that home purchase, or secondary home purchase. Still, it’s good to keep in mind, the market is volatile, and speculation is just that. But home value growth is sure to remain in 2021.



If you are interested in selling or buying a home, I’d love to be of help as your Harry Norman Realtor. As a seller listing your home with me, you can be assured that your home will have the best market exposure. Harry Norman properties are featured on thousands of real estate websites visited by millions of qualified viewers. No other Atlanta residential real estate brokerage offers greater local, national, and international exposure. We are relocation specialists, so your home will be marketed not just to local Georgians, but specifically to the thousands of buyers relocating to the Atlanta area. We will present your home in the best light, with an eye toward the shortest time on the market and the best selling price. As a buyer’s agent with Harry Norman, I will work closely with you, taking in to account your specific and individual needs in the home buying process and I will be your exclusive advocate. It is to your advantage as a buyer, especially in this erratic market, to have a realtor who can make sure your offer stands out from the others, and that the contract is aligned with your best interests.

If you have questions about your neighborhood housing market trends, or are interested in buying or selling, I’d love a chance to chat with you about it all. Please contact me via email at ElizabethKay.Pinder@HarryNorman.com so we can set up an in-person or phone appointment.

Elizabeth Kay Pinder, Realtor ~ Harry Norman, REALTORS ~ 404-394-4646, mobile ~ 404-394-2131, office ~ ElizabethKay.Pinder@HarryNorman.com ~ ElizabethKayPinderWeb.HarryNorman.com

Sources

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/28/the-fed-keeps-rates-near-zero-heres-how-you-can-benefit.html

https://www.realtor.com/news/real-estate-news/mortgage-rates-drop-home-prices-rise/

https://www.opendoor.com/w/blog/why-days-on-market-matter

https://money.com/historic-low-mortgage-rates-new-investment-property/

PANTONE Color of the Year = Springtime

PANTONE Color System is best known for its PMS (Pantone Matching System). This color matching system is used internationally among designers in graphic, interior, and product design, and printing. The system is used to assure that colors are accurate when products go into production regardless of the various equipment used, whether by professional designers or amateur artists.


Starting in 2000, PANTONE assigns a Color of the Year annually, to provide a cohesiveness across design industries. Complimenting lifestyles with color, they declare, “has always been an integral part of how a culture expresses the attitudes and emotions of the times.” All design industries immediately engaged in this approach and this resulted in a unified theme across genres of design, connecting color ideas in clothing, to interiors, to products and even printed materials.

When PANTONE announced its 2021 Color of the Year, they looked ahead, past the tumultuous condition of our lives over the last 12 months and offered an inspiring approach to 2021.


Last year’s color, Classic Blue (PANTONE 14-4052), offered peacefulness with a sense of elegance. Announced well before we were all sequestered by the pandemic, PANTONE still saw the need for “reassurance, confidence and connection that people may be searching for in an uncertain global milieu.” As the year unfolded, PANTONE executive director Leatrise Eiseman suggested how appropriate the themes of “tranquility,” “clarity,” and “restfulness” continued to be, and encouraged incorporating them into our lives through the Classic Blue color.


Looking ahead to 2021, this year offers much promise to many.  In presenting two independent colors, Illuminating Yellow (PANTONE 13-0647) and Ultimate Gray (PANTONE 17-5104), PANTONE hopes to encourage “people to look for ways to fortify themselves with energy, clarity, and hope to overcome the continuing uncertainty, spirited and emboldening shades satisfy our quest for vitality.”

“PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power. PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray is emblematic of solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation. The colors of pebbles on the beach and natural elements whose weathered appearance highlights an ability to stand the test of time, Ultimate Gray quietly assures, encouraging feelings of composure, steadiness and resilience.” PANTONE announcing 2021 Color of the Year


Even though the Color of the Year was announced in December 2020, the nature of the colors selected lend themselves to Springtime decorating! I’ve collected some images that may inspire you to incorporate these colors into your home decor. No need to change your whole design theme, just add these colors as you are inspired! When used as accents, they are harmonious with most palettes. For 2021, PANTONE offers “A marriage of color conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting.”

Let’s hear it for resilience and power! 



Atlanta’s Real Estate Resilience

What made the ATL real estate market resilient last year? How is it possible that we had a market boom during a pandemic? I believe the resiliency of the Atlanta real estate market was due to the very nature of our great city: the strong economy for jobs and growth, and the housing affordability of Metro Atlanta. Add to that the fortunate favorable mortgage rates, and you have a resilient real estate market.

Jobs and growth

Georgia showed impressive economic progress in the first half of 2020, despite alarming closures and job losses. And according to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, by the end of 2020, while jobless rates were still considerably lower than in 2019, employment rates were growing in 10 of the 14 metro areas. Labor commissioner Mark Butler spoke enthusiastically of “the resilience that Georgia has to offer during this economic rebound.” Where are all these jobs?

Buckhead’s Financial District employs over 13,000 — almost half the finance workers in metro Atlanta. Spanning across GA 400 and the MARTA rail system RED Line is the landmark Atlanta Financial Center.

There has been an increase in jobs in construction, legal, tech, finance, and the education and health industries. Many Atlantans already worked from home pre-pandemic, and this number certainly and necessarily increased in 2020. Last year many jobs were retained in Atlanta due to the flexibility of both employers and employees.

Tech Hub

1105 WEST PEACHTREE
A 410 foot tall multi-use development designed to offer “an unrivaled office community designed to help companies recruit and retain the best talent.”

Metro Atlanta has a significant and growing tech hub and home to 23 Fortune 500 companies. That equals a continual increase in jobs; many of them high-paying. Under construction now are Midtown Union, the new Invesco headquarters located at W. Peachtree and 17th Street; 1105 West Peachtree — a mixed use development which will include Google’s Southeast headquarters; and the Norfolk Southern 1.5 million sq. ft. headquarters, also located on W. Peachtree. Microsoft just announced its new hub in Atlantic Yards, bringing 2,500 jobs with it, and future plans for developing the mixed-use Quarry Yards in West Atlanta. These developments not only provide construction jobs now, but they guarantee thousands of jobs in the tech and hospitality industries and ultimately increase the demand for housing in Metro Atlanta.

Entertainment Industry

The entertainment industry loves Georgia — we rank #1 for film production. In 2019 over 400 feature films and tv shows were shot in Georgia. And despite the pandemic, in 2020 $2.2 billion was spent filming. Over 40,000 production workers will be employed on an expected 75 production projects during the next year, with 50 currently in production or filming prep.

Although still down from pre-pandemic levels, Metro Atlanta job-growth has doubled for the last few months. All these factors show Georgia’s economy to be resilient.



Lower Interest Rates

Mortgage rates are one of the primary drivers of the success of the housing market. Interest rates in 2020 reached lows not seen since the 1970s. Rates dipped as low as 2.66% in December for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. This factor alone can boost home sales dramatically. Millennials are leading the way for first-time homebuyers thanks to these low rates. Leading institutions indicate that although there will be increases in 2021, rates will remain relatively low, possibly reaching 3.4%. Rates are predicted to increase more in 2022, making 2021 a promising year for new mortgages.


Mortgage Interest Rates Forecast
Source
20212022
Fannie Mae2.7%2.9%
Freddie Mac2.9%3.2%
Mortgage Bankers Association3.4%3.9%
Harry Norman, REALTORS® Metro Atlanta Residential Real Estate Forecast


Metro Atlanta’s Affordable Housing

Even with housing prices increasing by an average of 8% last year, Metro Atlanta has remained an affordable place to live.  The national monthly average cost of home ownership is 30% of income. Metro Atlanta comes in at 23.8%. Compared to New York City (40%) Atlanta is in the upper tier of affordable cities with a large population. For many people relocating to Atlanta from more expensive real estate markets, the increase in the local cost of housing here was not an obstacle.

Over 20 homes at various stages of construction in a new neighborhood, Newbury Place, going up in Loganville, GA. The builder, Starlight Homes, based in Alpharetta, is popular with first-time homebuyers.

Affordable housing, a robust (but still unsettled) economy, and job growth are factors that combined last year for an expected increase in real estate demand. Add to this: changes in lifestyles, relocations for jobs, and the record-breaking low interest rates and the results speak for themselves. Atlanta has a booming real estate market. One plain obstacle to a thriving market in 2021 is the short supply of homes. But even that angle won’t slow the Metro Atlanta market. Although there are building materials supply challenges, new construction is expected to increase 9% in 2021, with a forecast for 50,000 new units (MetroStudy). In this exciting and profitable market, many would-be sellers are recognizing the opportunity and are ready to cash in on their equity.


What is your experience with the 2020 housing market? Do you have any stories to share? I’d love to read about them…please comment below!

Peachtree Corners, GA