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!

 

Jan. 11, 2019

The Cost Across Time

The Cost Across Time [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • With interest rates still around 4.5%, now is a great time to look back at where rates have been over the last 40 years.
  • Rates are projected to climb to 5.0% by this time next year according to Freddie Mac.
  • The impact your interest rate makes on your monthly mortgage cost is significant!
  • Lock in a low rate now while you can!
Jan. 9, 2019

Is the Recent Dip in Interest Rates Here to Stay?

Is the Recent Dip in Interest Rates Here to Stay? | MyKCM

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage climbed consistently throughout 2018 until the middle of November. After that point, rates returned to levels that we saw in August to close out the year at 4.55%, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

After the first week of 2019, rates have continued their downward trend. As Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist Sam Khater notes, this is great news for homebuyers. He states,

“Mortgage rates declined to start the new year with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dipping to 4.51 percent. Low mortgage rates combined with decelerating home price growth should get prospective homebuyers excited to buy.”

In some areas of the country, the combination of rising interest rates and rising home prices had made some first-time buyers push pause on their home searches. But with more inventory coming to market, continued price growth, and interest rates slowing, this is a great time to get back in the market!

Will This Trend Continue?

According to the latest forecasts from Fannie Maethe Mortgage Bankers Associationand the National Association of Realtors, mortgage rates will increase over the course of 2019, but not at the same pace they did in 2018. You can see the forecasts broken down by quarter below.

Is the Recent Dip in Interest Rates Here to Stay? | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Even a small increase (or decrease) in interest rates can impact your monthly housing cost. If buying a home in 2019 is on your short list of goals to achieve, let’s get together to find out if you are able to today.

Posted in Buyers, General News
Jan. 7, 2019

TIDBITS WEEK OF 1/7/19

LAST WEEK

I-Phone maker, Apple, was a downer this week as the company announced a surprise weak sales and earnings forecast for the first quarter of 2019.

Stocks and interest rates fell on the bad news, concerned that Apple, the first big tech firm to report weak growth in 2019, is the "canary in the coalmine" and that more companies will report weaker sales and earnings.

Regardless of Apple's current woes, the U.S. economy is still humming along as was evident in Friday's Jobs Report which showed an "eye-popping" 312,000 jobs created in December.

Adding to the good news in the Jobs Report was a 3.2% hike in wage gains year over year – the highest level in a decade.

Remember, jobs buy houses, not rates, so the positive jobs numbers and wage growth are great for housing.

But while we are on the subject of rates, the "bad Apple" news helped rates improve again this week to the lowest levels in nearly a year.

Rates have been steadily improving since early November. What happened in early November? Congress became divided. Bonds and home loan rates love uncertainty, chaos, stalemates and bad news – Congress can provide plenty of it from time to time.

LOOKING FORWARD

It will be back-to-business this week for the first full workweek of 2019 after the two-previous holiday shortened weeks.

The closely watched Consumer Price Index for December will be released with the Fed keeping close eyes on the inflation reading ahead of the January 30th Fed Meeting. Speaking of the Fed – as of right now, financial markets are pricing in a 91% probability the Fed Funds Rate will be unchanged in 2019 – meaning no more rate hikes this year.

The U.S. government may be enduring a partial shutdown, but that doesn't stop them from borrowing money to run our country and this coming week the U.S. Treasury will sell $78B worth of Bonds in that effort. With rates and bond yields at the lowest levels in a year, it will be interesting to see the investor appetite at these Treasury auctions. If investors demand more yield at the auctions, expect rates, including home loan rates, to tick higher.

Reports to watch...

  • The ISM Service Index will be released on Monday.

  • Weekly Initial Jobless Claims will be announced on Thursday.
  • On Friday, the Consumer Price Index will be released.
Jan. 4, 2019

Top Renovations to Complete Before You Sell Your House

I actually think they underestimate the bathroom.  And they missed the front door!  New front doors usually return much more than they cost.  No.  I don't know why.  If you've got old baths, kitchens, front doors - they'll return much more than shown here.

Top Renovations to Complete Before You Sell Your House [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • If you are planning on listing your house for sale this year, here are the top four home improvement projects that will net you the most Return on Investment (ROI).
  • Minor bathroom renovations can go a long way toward improving the quality of your everyday life and/or impressing potential buyers.
  • Upgrading your landscaping or curb appeal helps get buyers in the door. These upgrades rank as the 2nd and 4th best renovations for returns on investment.
Posted in General News, Sellers
Dec. 20, 2018

4 Quick Reasons NOT to Fear a Housing Crash

4 Quick Reasons NOT to Fear a Housing Crash | MyKCM

There is a lot of uncertainty regarding the real estate market heading into 2019. That uncertainty has raised concerns that we may be headed toward another housing crash like the one we experienced a decade ago.

Here are four reasons why today’s market is much different:

1. There are fewer foreclosures now than there were in 2006

A major challenge in 2006 was the number of foreclosures. There will always be foreclosures, but they spiked by over 100% prior to the crash. Foreclosures sold at a discount and, in many cases, lowered the values of adjacent homes. We are ending 2018 with foreclosures at historic pre-crash numbers – much fewer foreclosures than we ended 2006 with.

4 Quick Reasons NOT to Fear a Housing Crash | MyKCM

2. Most homeowners have tremendous equity in their homes

Ten years ago, many homeowners irrationally converted much, if not all, of their equity into cash with a cash-out refinance. When foreclosures rose and prices fell, they found themselves in a negative equity situation where their homes were worth less than their mortgage amounts. Many just walked away from their houses which led to even more foreclosures entering the market. Today is different. Over forty-eight percent of homeowners have at least 50% equity in their homes and they are not extracting their equity at the same rates they did in 2006.

4 Quick Reasons NOT to Fear a Housing Crash | MyKCM

3. Lending standards are much tougher

One of the causes of the crash ten years ago was that lending standards were almost non-existent. NINJA loans (no income, no job, and no assets) no longer exist. ARMs (adjustable rate mortgages) still exist but only as a fraction of the number from a decade ago. Though mortgage standards have loosened somewhat during the last few years, we are nowhere near the standards that helped create the housing crisis ten years ago.

4 Quick Reasons NOT to Fear a Housing Crash | MyKCM

4. Affordability is better now than in 2006

Though it is difficult to afford a home for many Americans, data shows that it is more affordable to purchase a home now than it was from 1985 to 2000. And, it requires much less of a percentage of your income today than it did in 2006.

4 Quick Reasons NOT to Fear a Housing Crash | MyKCM

Bottom Line

The housing industry is facing some rough waters heading into 2019. However, the graphs above show that the market is much healthier than it was prior to the crash ten years ago.

Dec. 13, 2018

No Bubble Here! How New Mortgage Standards Are Helping

No Bubble Here! How New Mortgage Standards Are Helping | MyKCM

Real estate is shifting to a more normal market; the days of national home appreciation topping 6% annually are over and inventories are increasing which is causing bidding wars to almost disappear. Some see these as signs that the market will soon come tumbling down as it did in 2008.

As it becomes easier for buyers to obtain mortgages, many are suggesting that this is definite proof that banks are repeating the same mistakes they made a decade ago. Today, we want to assure everyone that we are not heading to another housing “bubble & bust.”

Each month, the Mortgage Bankers’ Association (MBA) releases a measurement which indicates the availability of mortgage credit known as the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI). According to the MBA:

“The MCAI provides the only standardized quantitative index that is solely focused on mortgage credit. The MCAI is calculated using several factors related to borrower eligibility (credit score, loan type, loan-to-value ratio, etc.).” *

The higher the measurement, the easier it is to get a mortgage. During the buildup to the last housing bubble, the measurement sat at around 400. In 2005 and 2006, the measurement more than doubled to over 800 and was still at almost 600 in 2007. When the market crashed in 2008, the index fell to just over 100.

Over the last decade, as credit began to ease, the index increased to where it is today at 186.7 – still less than half of what it was prior to the buildup of last decade and less than one-quarter of where it was during the bubble.

Here is a graph depicting this information (remember, the higher the index, the easier it was to get a mortgage):

No Bubble Here! How New Mortgage Standards Are Helping | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Though mortgage standards have loosened somewhat during the last few years, we are nowhere near the standards that helped create the housing crisis ten years ago.

*For more information on the MCAI, including methodology, FAQs, and other helpful resources, please click here.

Dec. 12, 2018

Don't Get Caught in the Rental Trap

Don’t Get Caught in the Rental Trap in 2019

Don't Get Caught in the Rental Trap in 2019 | MyKCM

Every year around this time, we take time to reflect and plan for next year. If you are renting your current home but have dreams of homeownership, your plan for the new year may include buying, and you wouldn’t be alone!

According to the 2018 Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report, 74% of renters plan on buying in the next 5 years, with 38% planning to buy in the next 2 years!

When those same renters were asked why they disliked renting, 52% said that rising rental costs were their top reason, and 42% of renters believe that their rent will rise every year. The full results of the survey can be seen below:

Don't Get Caught in the Rental Trap in 2019 | MyKCM

It’s no wonder that rising rental costs came in as the top answer! The median asking rent price has risen steadily over the last 30 years, as you can see below!

Don't Get Caught in the Rental Trap in 2019 | MyKCM

There is a long-standing rule that a household should not spend more than 28% of its income on housing expenses. With nearly half of renters (48%) surveyed already spending more than that, and with their rents likely to rise again… why are they renting?

When asked why they haven’t purchased a home yet, not having enough saved for a down payment (44%) came in as the top response. The report went on to reveal that nearly half of all respondents believe that “a 20% down payment is required to buy a home.”

If the majority of those who believe they haven’t saved a large enough down payment believe that they need 20% down to buy, that means a large number of renters may be able to buy now!

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many renters who is fed up with rising rents but may be confused about what is required to buy in today’s market, let’s get together to help you on your path to homeownership.

Posted in Buyers
Nov. 26, 2018

Buyers: Don’t Be Surprised by Closing Costs!

Buyers: Don’t Be Surprised by Closing Costs! | MyKCM

Many homebuyers think that saving for their down payment is enough to buy the house of their dreams, but what about the closing costs that are required to obtain a mortgage?

By law, a homebuyer will receive a loan estimate from their lender 3 days after submitting their loan application and they should receive a closing disclosure 3 days before the scheduled closing on their home. The closing disclosure includes final details about the loan and the closing costs.

But what are closing costs anyway?

According to Trulia:

Closing costs are lender and third-party fees paid at the closing of a real estate transaction, and they can be financed as part of the deal or be paid upfront. They range from 2% to 5% of the purchase price of a home. (For those who buy a $150,000 home, for example, that would amount to between $3,000 and $7,500 in closing fees.)”

Keep in mind that if you are in the market for a home above this price range, your costs could be significantly greater. As mentioned before,

Closing costs are typically between 2% and 5% of your purchase price.

Trulia continues to give great advice, saying that:

“…understanding and educating yourself about these costs before settlement day arrives might help you avoid any headaches at the end of the deal.”

Bottom Line

Speak with your lender and agent early and often to determine how muchyou’ll be responsible for at closing. Finding out that you’ll need to come up with thousands of dollars right before closing is not a surprise anyone is ever looking forward to.

Posted in Buyers
Nov. 16, 2018

The Cost of Renting vs. Buying a Home

The Cost of Renting vs. Buying a Home

The Cost of Renting vs. Buying a Home [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Historically, the choice between renting or buying a home has been a tough decision.
  • Looking at the percentage of income needed to rent a median-priced home today (28.4%) vs. the percentage needed to buy a median-priced home (17.5%), the choice becomes obvious.
  • Every market is different. Before you renew your lease again, find out if you can put your housing costs to work by buying this year!
Posted in Buyers
Nov. 7, 2018

Why Has Housing Supply Increased as Sales Have Slowed Down?

Ok, so I thought this would happen this time last year.  Off by a year.  It took the interest rate to do it.  And since that appears to continue to be going up, it looks like moderation will continue.  Sadly, the pause in prices will be countered by an increased interest rate, which is something folks live with for 30 years.  Sigh.

Why Has Housing Supply Increased as Sales Have Slowed Down? | MyKCM

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the inventory of homes for sale this year compared to last year has increased for the last four months, all while sales of existing homes have slowed compared to last year’s numbers.

For over three years leading up to this point, the exact opposite was true; Inventory dropped as sales soared.

NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun shed some light on what could be contributing to this shift,

“This is the lowest existing home sales level since November 2015. A decade’s high mortgage rates are preventing consumers from making quick decisions on home purchases. All the while, affordable home listings remain low, continuing to spur underperforming sales activity across the country.”

Let’s take a deeper look:

Interest Rates

Since January, 30-year fixed mortgage interest rates have increased nearly a full percentage point (from 3.95% to 4.9%). Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the National Association of Realtors, and the Mortgage Bankers Association are all in agreement that rates will continue to increase to about 5.2% over the next 12 months.

“The rise in [mortgage] rates paired with this very strong price appreciation absolutely is slowing housing,” said Fannie Mae’s Chief Economist Doug Duncan.

Even though rates are higher than they’ve been in a decade, they still remain below the average for the 1970s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s!

Mismatch of Inventory

Elizabeth Mendenhall, President of NAR, said it best, “Despite small month over month increases, the share of first-time buyers in the market continues to underwhelm because there are simply not enough listings in their price range.”

Prices of starter and trade-up homes have appreciated faster than their higher-priced counterparts. Over the last 5 years, the lowest-priced homes have appreciated by 47% while the highest-priced homes have appreciated by only 24%.

According to the Institute of Luxury Home Market’s Luxury Market Report, the $1M-and-up price range is now experiencing a buyer’s market. This means that supply (inventory) has finally caught up with demand and buyers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to negotiations. Additionally, many listings in this price range have experienced price cuts in order to entice buyers to put in offers.

Natural Disasters

Although not fully to blame for the national shortage in sales and inventory, natural disasters like Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Michael, and the wildfires on the West Coast have certainly had an impact.

Bottom Line

Additional inventory coming to market could help normalize the housing market and allow incomes to catch up to home prices. For more information about sales and inventory in our area, let’s get together so we can help you make the best decision for you and your family.