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!

Sept. 20, 2018

Is the Real Estate Market Finally Getting Back to Normal?

Is the Real Estate Market Finally Getting Back to Normal? | MyKCM

The housing market has been anything but normal for the last eleven years. In a normal real estate market, home prices appreciate 3.7% annually. Below, however, are the price swings since 2007 according to the latest Home Price Expectation Survey:

After the bubble burst in June 2007, values depreciated 6.1% annually until February 2012. From March 2012 to today, the market has been recovering with values appreciating 6.2% annually.

These wild swings in values were caused by abnormal ratios between the available supply of inventory and buyer demand in the market. In a normal market, there would be a 6-month supply of housing inventory.

When the market hit its peak in 2007, homeowners and builders were trying to take advantage of a market that was fueled by an “irrational exuberance.”

Inventory levels grew to 7+ months. With that many homes available for sale, there weren’t enough buyers to satisfy the number of homeowners/builders trying to sell, so prices began to fall.

Then, foreclosures came to market. We eventually hit 11 months inventory which caused prices to crash until early 2012. By that time, inventory levels had fallen to 6.2 months and the market began its recovery.

Over the last five years, inventory levels have remained well below the 6-month supply needed for prices to continue to level off. As a result, home prices have increased over that time at percentages well above the appreciation levels seen in a more normal market. 

That was the past. What about the future?

We currently have about 4.5-months inventory. This means prices should continue to appreciate at above-normal levels which most experts believe will happen for the next year. However, two things have just occurred that are pointing to the fact that we may be returning to a more normal market.

1. Listing Supply is Increasing

Both existing and new construction inventory is on the rise. The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors revealed that inventory has increased over the last two months after thirty-seven consecutive months of declining inventory. At the same time, building permits are also increasing which means more new construction is about to come to market. 

2. Buyer Demand is Softening

Ivy Zelman, who is widely respected as an industry expert, reported in her latest ‘Z’ Report:

 “While we continue to expect a resumption of growth in resale transactions on the back of easing inventory in 2019 and 2020, our real-time view into the market through our Real Estate Broker Survey does suggest that buyers have grown more discerning of late and a level of “pause” has taken hold in many large housing markets.

Indicative of this, our broker contacts rated buyer demand at 69 on a 0- 100 scale, still above average but down from 74 last year and representing the largest year-over-year decline in the two-year history of our survey.”

With supply increasing and demand waning, we may soon be back to a more normal real estate market. We will no longer be in a buyers’ market (like 2007-February 2012) or a sellers’ market (like March 2012- Today).

Prices won’t appreciate at the levels we’ve seen recently, nor will they depreciate. It will be a balanced market where prices remain steady, where buyers will be better able to afford a home, and where sellers will more easily be able to move-up or move-down to a home that better suits their current lifestyles.

Bottom Line

Returning to a normal market is a good thing. However, after the zaniness of the last eleven years, it might feel strange. If you are going 85 miles per hour on a road with a 60 MPH speed limit and you see a police car ahead, you’re going to slow down quickly. But, after going 85 MPH, 60 MPH will feel like you’re crawling. It is the normal speed limit, yet, it will feel strange.

That’s what is about to happen in real estate. The housing market is not falling apart. We are just returning to a more normal market which, in the long run, will be much healthier for you whether you are a buyer or a seller.

Sept. 13, 2018

Are Homebuyers Starting to Hit the ‘Pause’ Button?

 

Are Homebuyers Starting to Hit the ‘Pause’ Button? | MyKCM

For the last several years, buyer demand has far exceeded the housing supply available for sale. This low supply and high demand have led to home prices appreciating by an average of 6.2% annually since 2012.

With this being said, three of the four major reports used to measure buyer activity have revealed that purchasing demand may be softening. Here are the four indices, how they measure demand (methodology), what their latest reports said, and a quick synopsis of the report.

The Foot Traffic Report
by the National Association of Realtors

Methodology: Every month SentriLock, LLC provides NAR Research with data on the number of properties shown by a REALTOR®. Lockboxes made by SentriLock, LLC are used in roughly a third of home showings across the nation. Foot traffic has a strong correlation with future contracts and home sales, so it can be viewed as a peek ahead at sales trends two to three months into the future.

Latest Report“Foot Traffic climbed 3.2 points to 55.8 mid-summer in July. Additionally, the diffusion index is higher than last year by 13.5 points. Despite a healthy economy and labor market, supply and new construction remains unable to keep up with buyer demand.”

Synopsis: Buyer demand remains strong.

The Showing Index
by ShowingTime

Methodology: The ShowingTime Showing Index® tracks the average number of buyer showings on active residential properties on a monthly basis, a highly reliable leading indicator of current and future demand trends.

Latest Report“Showing activity throughout the country increased by 0.3 percent year over year in July, the third consecutive month that the U.S. ShowingTime Showing Index recorded buyer interest deceleration compared to the previous year. The June 2018 figures revealed a 0.0 percent change in showing traffic from 2017, while May showed a 1.2 percent year-over-year increase. The 12-month average year-over-year increase was 4.6 percent.”

Synopsis: Buyer demand is softening

Realtors Confidence Index
by the National Association of Realtors

Methodology: The REALTORS Confidence Index is a key indicator of housing market strength based on a monthly survey sent to over 50,000 real estate practitioners. Practitioners are asked about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions.

Latest Report“REALTORS reported slower homebuying activity in July 2018…The REALTORS® Buyer Traffic Index registered at 62, down from the same month one year ago (69). This is the fifth straight month (since March 2018) that Realtors reported a decline in buyer activity compared to conditions one year ago.”

Synopsis: Buyer demand is softening

The Real Estate Broker Survey
in the ‘Z’ Report by Zelman and Associates(subscription needed)

Methodology: Proprietary survey results of real estate executives.

Latest Report“While we continue to expect a resumption of growth in resale transactions on the back of easing inventory in 2019 and 2020, our real-time view into the market through our Real Estate Broker Survey does suggest that buyers have grown more discerning of late and a level of “pause” has taken hold in many large housing markets. Indicative of this, our broker contacts rated buyer demand at 69 on a 0-100 scale, still above average but down from 74 last year and representing the largest year-over-year decline in the two-year history of our survey.”

Synopsis: Buyer demand is softening

Bottom Line

Again, three of the four most reliable measures of buyer activity are reporting that demand is softening. We had a strong buyers’ market directly after the housing crash which was immediately followed by a strong sellers’ market over the last six years.

If demand continues to soften and supply begins to grow (as is projected to happen), we will return to a more neutral market which will favor neither buyers nor sellers. This “more normal” market will be better for real estate in the long term.

Sept. 13, 2018

Prep Your Home for Sale

Parents Can Prep a Home for Sale With Minimal Effort and Costs: Here’s How 

 

When you think of prepping a home for sale, you may think you need to spend a lot of time and money to get it right. The truth is, you don’t need to wreck your budget or your schedule to get your home ready to be put on the market. If you are looking for some ways to stage your home and save money, then look no further than these helpful hacks.

Re-do Walls in Neutral Colors

 

Vibrant colors and decals are a wonderful way to add a personal feel to your home. However, they can be very distracting for people when they view your home. Prospective buyers are likely to have trouble envisioning themselves in your home if there are lots of bright colors on your walls. The best bet is to repaint the interior of your home, and make sure you use neutral paint colors to do so. You can keep costs down on paint and painting supplies by searching for online discounts at home improvement stores. Lowe’s offers weekly sales and cashback rewards, which puts more money back in your bank account.

 

Swap Personal Photos for Basic Decor

 

Another way you can create a blank canvas for potential buyers is to remove photos and personal items from your home. Putting these items away will also keep them safe during busy open houses and showings. To keep your photos from distracting buyers but still keep decor on the walls, try looking for inexpensive, basic wall art and decor to swap into spaces. Retailers such as At Home always have budget-friendly options, as well as online offers, and you won’t feel bad about parting with them once your home is sold.

 

Dust and Clean Every Room

 

Before you list your home or have photos taken, you need to make sure it is as clean as it can be. You also need to keep it that way. With kids around, that can be much easier said than done. The simplest approach may be to schedule a one-time deep cleaning. You can look for discounted cleaning offers on sites like Groupon. Then, create a regular cleaning schedule to maintain order for showings and open houses. Make sure you have everything you need to clean your best, including dusters, mops, and cleaners. Try looking online for coupons to save money on the cleaning supplies you need.

 

Clean Out Storage Areas

 

When people look through your home, you can bet they will look through every inch. That includes storage spaces such as garages, pantries, and closets. If your storage areas are filled with old toys, try taking some time to declutter and get rid of what you no longer need. You can look into renting a storage unit if you need extra room for your belongings, and even look for discounted rates too. Once you have the contents streamlined, use containers and bins from Dollar Tree to get things really organized. Potential buyers will love seeing the potential in your storage areas, and getting organized will make life easier for your family too.

 

Focus Upgrades on Your Kitchen and Master Bath

 

If your home is fairly new, you may not need to make any major renovations to help it sell. You should take care of any home repairs before you list it, especially ones that are visible. You can typically do small repairs yourself to save money and find discounts for any tools needed. If you do want to make some upgrades to help your home sell, focus your efforts on the kitchen and master bathroom. These are the rooms potential buyers pay attention to the most. You can pick up new hardware for cabinets at retailers like World Market, and also earn savings and rewards. When a big change is in order, try researching online to get the best price from contractors.

 

Getting your house ready to sell doesn’t have to take time or money away from your family. With some simple tasks, you can successfully stage your home and make sure buyers want to make an offer ASAP.

 

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Posted in Sellers
Aug. 30, 2018

Why are Existing Home Sales Down?

Why are Existing Home Sales Down? | MyKCM

The latest Existing Home Sales Report issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that home sales have decreased for four consecutive months and are at their slowest pace in over two years. This has some industry leaders puzzled considering the fact that the economy is strengthening, unemployment is down, and wages are beginning to rise. This begs the question: “Where are the buyers?”

Actually, agents in the field of most communities are still seeing strong desire from prospective purchasers. They have a list of potential buyers ready to go if the right houses come on the market and they claim it is not a shortage of demand, but is instead a shortage of inventory that is causing the market to soften.

Why is there a shortage of inventory?

You only need to look at the graph below to understand:

Why are Existing Home Sales Down? | MyKCM

 

New construction sales over the last ten years are far below historic numbers from 1995-2002.

A recent industry report looked at building permits and concluded:

“If construction over the past decade matched historic norms, accounting for population change, the country would have had 2.3 million more single-family home permits.”

That decade of not building enough homes is the primary reason for the concerns about today’s market.

Wait, weren’t we talking about ‘existing’ home sales?

Some may argue that NAR’s sales report deals with existing home sales and not new construction, and they would be correct. However, reports have shown that one of the main reasons why existing homeowners are not selling is because they can’t find homes that meet the needs of their current lifestyles. Historically, the upgrades in a newly constructed home were the answers to those needs.

Over the last decade, however, there were fewer homes built to satisfy this move-up seller. Consequently, there are many homeowners who stayed in their homes for a longer tenure, instead of putting their homes up for sale.

Bottom Line

As more new homes are being built, there will be more housing inventory to satisfy current demand which will cause prices to moderate and sales volumes to increase.

Aug. 27, 2018

Rent or Buy: Either Way You’re Paying A Mortgage!

Rent or Buy: Either Way You’re Paying A Mortgage! | MyKCM

There are some people who have not purchased homes because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize, however, that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business, explained in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich”:

“While renting on a temporary basis isn’t terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you’re serious about your finances. It won’t make you rich overnight, but by renting, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage. In effect, you’re making someone else rich.”

With home prices rising, many renters are concerned about their house-buying power. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americanexplained:

Over the last three years, renter house-buying power has increased fast enough to keep pace with house price appreciation, so the share of homes that a renter can afford to buy has remained the same since 2015.

Although mortgage rates are expected to rise, they are still low by historic standards, and real household incomes are the highest they have ever been. Assuming this trend continues, our measure of affordability, which takes into account income, interest rates, and house prices, indicates that homeownership is still within reach for renters.”

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ which allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person building that equity.

Interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. Freddie Mac’s latest report shows that rates across the country were at 4.51% last week.

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.

Posted in Buyers, General News
Aug. 23, 2018

What Does the Recent Rash of Price Reductions Mean to the Real Estate Market?

What Does the Recent Rash of Price Reductions Mean to the Real Estate Market? | MyKCM

Last week, in a new report from Zillow, it was revealed that there has been a rash of price reductions across the country. According to the report:

  • There are more price cuts now than a year ago in over two-thirds of the nation’s largest metros
  • About 14% of all listings had a price cut in June
  • Since the beginning of the year, the share of listings with a price cut increased 1.2%
  • This is the greatest January-to-June increase ever reported, and more than double the January-to-June increase last year

Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas further explained:

“A rising share of on-market listings are seeing price cuts, though these price cuts are concentrated at the most expensive price-points and primarily in markets that have seen outsized price gains in recent years.”

What this DOESN’T MEAN for the real estate market…

This doesn’t mean home values have depreciated or are about to depreciate.

A seller may put a home worth $300,000 on the market for $325,000 hoping a bidding war will occur and an overanxious buyer will pay more than its actual value. That has happened often over the last few years. If the seller gets no offers and reduces the price to $300,000, it doesn’t mean the home dropped in value. It is still worth $300,000.

Home prices will continue to appreciate over the next 12 months. In this same report, Terrazas remarks:

“It’s far too soon to call this a buyer’s market, home values are still expected to appreciate at double their historic rate over the next 12 months, but the frenetic pace of the housing market over the past few years is starting to return toward a more normal trend.”

What this DOES MEAN for the real estate market…

This does mean that sellers should be more conservative when it comes to the price at which they list their homes – especially sellers in the upper end of each market.

Sellers have been listing their homes at inflated prices hoping a super-hot market will deliver a buyer willing to pay virtually any price to ensure they don’t lose the house. That strategy has worked somewhat successfully over the last two years. However, the time that strategy would have worked may have passed.

Again, quoting Aaron Terrazas in the report:

“The housing market has tilted sharply in favor of sellers over the past two years, but there are very early preliminary signs that the winds may be starting to shift ever-so-slightly.”

Bottom Line

Prices are not depreciating. However, if you want to sell your house quickly and with the least amount of hassles, pricing it correctly from the beginning makes the most sense.

Aug. 6, 2018

Millionaire to Millennials: Owning Your Home Can Help You Retire Sooner!

Millionaire to Millennials: Owning Your Home Can Help You Retire Sooner! | MyKCM

In a CNBC article, self-made millionaire David Bach explained that: “Buying a home is the escalator to wealth in America. Homeownership can also help you retire early, that is, if you pay your mortgage off.

Bach suggests that homebuyers should, “Take out a 30-year mortgage, but with the intention of paying it off in 25, 20 or ideally, 15 years.”

How does he suggest you do this? Here’s the secret:

“…If you were paying $1,000 a month, now you’re going to make $1,100 payments every month. Inform the bank that you are doing this and that you want the extra $100 a month to be applied to the principal (not the interest).”

What will happen to your mortgage?

Bach explains that, “If you keep this up, you’ll wind up paying off your 30-year mortgage in about 25 years. Increase your monthly payment by 20 percent, and you’ll have that mortgage retired in about 22 years.”

Bottom Line

Whenever a well-respected millionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This millionaire gave simple advice – buy a home and pay off your mortgage early so that you can retire sooner with the money you will have saved!

Who is David Bach?

Bach is a self-made millionaire who has written nine consecutive New York Times bestsellers. His book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” spent 31 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He is one of the only business authors in history to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and USA Today bestseller lists.

He has been a contributor to NBC’s Today Show, appearing more than 100 times, as well as a regular on ABC, CBS, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Yahoo, The View, and PBS. He has also been profiled in many major publications, including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, USA Today, People, Reader’s Digest, Time, Financial Times, Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Working Woman, Glamour, Family Circle, Redbook, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Investors’ Business Daily, and Forbes.

Posted in Buyers, General News
Aug. 3, 2018

Home Buying Myths Slayed

Home Buying Myths Slayed [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM
Posted in Buyers
July 26, 2018

4 Reasons Why We Are Not Heading Toward Another Housing Bubble

4 Reasons Why We Are Not Heading Toward Another Housing Bubble | MyKCM

With home prices continuing to appreciate above historic levels, some are concerned that we may be heading for another housing ‘boom & bust.’ It is important to remember, however, that today’s market is quite different than the bubble market of twelve years ago.

Here are four key metrics that will explain why:

  1. Home Prices
  2. Mortgage Standards
  3. Foreclosure Rates
  4. Housing Affordability

1. HOME PRICES

There is no doubt that home prices have reached 2006 levels in many markets across the country. However, after more than a decade, home prices should be much higher based on inflation alone.

Last week, CoreLogic reported that,

“The inflation-adjusted U.S. median sale price in June 2006 was $247,110 (or $199,899 in 2006 dollars), compared with $213,400 in March 2018.” (This is the latest data available.)

2. MORTGAGE STANDARDS

Many are concerned that lending institutions are again easing standards to a level that helped create the last housing bubble. However, there is proof that today’s standards are nowhere near as lenient as they were leading up to the crash.

The Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center issues a monthly index which,

“…measures the percentage of home purchase loans that are likely to default—that is, go unpaid for more than 90 days past their due date. A lower HCAI indicates that lenders are unwilling to tolerate defaults and are imposing tighter lending standards, making it harder to get a loan. A higher HCAI indicates that lenders are willing to tolerate defaults and are taking more risks, making it easier to get a loan.”

Their July Housing Credit Availability Index revealed:

“Significant space remains to safely expand the credit box. If the current default risk was doubled across all channels, risk would still be well within the pre-crisis standard of 12.5 percent from 2001 to 2003 for the whole mortgage market.”

3. FORECLOSURE RATES

A major cause of the housing crash last decade was the number of foreclosures that hit the market. They not only increased the supply of homes for sale but were also being sold at 20-50% discounts. Foreclosures helped drive down all home values.

Today, foreclosure numbers are lower than they were before the housing boom. Here are the number of consumers with new foreclosures according to the Federal Reserve’s most recent Household Debt and Credit Report:

  • 2003: 203,320 (earliest reported numbers)
  • 2009: 566,180 (at the valley of the crash)
  • Today: 76,480

Foreclosures today are less than 40% of what they were in 2003.

4. HOUSING AFFORDABILITY

Contrary to many headlines, home affordability is better now than it was prior to the last housing boom. In the same article referenced in #1, CoreLogicrevealed that in the vast majority of markets, “the inflation-adjusted, principal-and-interest mortgage payments that homebuyers have committed to this year remain much lower than their pre-crisis peaks.”

They went on to explain:

“The main reason the typical mortgage payment remains well below record levels in most of the country is that the average mortgage rate back in June 2006, when the U.S. typical mortgage payment peaked, was about 6.7 percent, compared with an average mortgage rate of about 4.4 percent in March 2018.”

The “price” of a home may be higher, but the “cost” is still below historic norms.

Bottom Line

After using these four key housing metrics to compare today to last decade, we can see that the current market is not anything like that bubble market.

July 24, 2018

Existing-Home Sales Slip, but Inventory Stirs

Barely budging against imbalanced inventory, existing-home sales slipped at the start of summer, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reports. Activity in June declined 0.6 percent to 5.38 million, down 2.2 percent from the prior year; however, inventory increased 4.3 percent to 1.95 million, and is 0.5 percent higher than the prior year—the first increase year-over-year since June 2015.

“It’s important to note that despite the modest year-over-year rise in inventory, the current level is far from what’s needed to satisfy demand levels,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR. “Furthermore, it remains to be seen if this modest increase will stick, given the fact that the robust economy is bringing more interested buyers into the market, and new-home construction is failing to keep up.

“There continues to be a mismatch since the spring between the growing level of homebuyer demand in most of the country in relation to the actual pace of home sales, which are declining,” Yun says. “The root cause is without a doubt the severe housing shortage that is not releasing its grip on the nation’s housing market. What is for sale in most areas is going under contract very fast, and, in many cases, has multiple offers. This dynamic is keeping home price growth elevated, pricing out would-be buyers and ultimately slowing sales.”

Currently, inventory is at a 4.3-month supply. In June, existing homes averaged 26 days on market, two days less than the prior year. All told, 58 percent of homes sold were on the market for less than one month.

In June, the metropolitan areas with the fewest days on market and the most realtor.com® views, according to realtor.com’s Market Hotness Index, were Midland, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Boise City, Idaho.

The median existing-home price for all house types (single-family, condo, co-op and townhome) was $276,900, a 5.2 percent increase from the prior year. The median price of an existing single-family home was $279,300, while the median price for an existing condo was $258,100.

Existing-home sales in the single-family space came in at 4.76 million in June, a 0.6 percent decrease from the 4.79 million in May, and a 2.3 percent decrease from the 4.87 million the prior year. Existing-condo and -co-op sales came in at 620,000, no different from May, but a 1.6 percent decrease from the prior year.

Twenty-two percent of existing-home sales in June were all-cash, with 13 percent by individual investors. Three percent were distressed.

Two of the four major regions in the U.S. experienced higher sales: the Midwest, increasing 0.8 percent to 1.27 million, at a median $218,800; and the Northeast, increasing 5.9 percent to 720,000, at a median $305,900. There were no gains in the South and the West, with sales in the South down 2.2 percent to 2.25 million, at a median $237,500, and sales in the West down 2.6 percent to 1.14 million, at a median $417,400.

Additionally, first-time homebuyers comprised 31 percent of existing-home sales, no different from May.

“REALTORS® throughout the country continue to stress that there’s considerable pent-up demand for buying a home among the millennial households in their market,” says Yun. “Unfortunately, they’re just not making meaningful ground, and continue to be held back by too few choices in their price range, and thereby missing out on homeownership and wealth gains.”

“The modest uptick in new listings last month is perhaps good news for would-be buyers who are still in the market after a highly competitive spring buying season,” says NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall. “As summer winds down, the number of home shoppers begins to decrease. Listings are still scarce—especially for entry-level homes—but patience may yield a positive result for those looking to buy in the months ahead.”

For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.

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