How do Buyers WIN in a Seller’s Market?

The New Normal: A Strong Housing Market Expected to Continue into 2021

“2020 will be known for a lot of things, and a record-breaking year for real estate will certainly be one of its more unexpected legacies,” prominent economist Daryl Fairweather said.1 And he’s right: most of us would have expected the housing market to suffer from circumstances like a once-in-a-hundred-years pandemic and historic inventory shortages.

 

But, rather than a slowdown, we are continuing to experience a surprisingly robust real estate market across the country. And experts estimate that these conditions are likely to last well into the new year. Fannie Mae Senior VP and Chief Economist Doug Duncan predicts that existing home sales will ultimately “be up a percent or more in 2021.” He believes home prices will continue to rise due to limited inventory, but he is confident the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates low into the future, which will be “very good for households.”2

 

Market conditions like fewer available listings, changing criteria for desired homes, and record-low mortgage rates are changing the way people buy and sell homes, most likely in a lasting way. But this sustained activity, even in the uncertainty that is 2020, proves that our country still views real estate as a sound investment. The only question now is how you can take advantage of the housing market’s “new normal.”

 

 

FEWER LISTINGS EQUALS A SELLER’S MARKET

 

Inventory, meaning the number of homes for sale, is at a record low across the country. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports there are fewer homes on the market today than the association has seen in data going all the way back to 1982.3 Currently, the total housing inventory is about 1.47 million units, which is a decline of 19.2% from one year ago.4

 

Experts do predict some relief on the horizon. MarketWatch had previously anticipated housing starts would occur at a pace of 1.45 million and building permits would come in at a pace of 1.52 million.5 But it turns out that the market exceeded expectations: compared with last year, housing starts are up 11% and permitting for new homes occurred at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.55 million. That represents a 5% increase from August and an 8% increase from a year ago.

 

For now, the fact that there are fewer listings creates an advantageous housing market for sellers. There are several reasons why.

 

For one, buyers have to act fast to snap up available homes. As a result, most properties that come on the market stay for an average of just 21 days before they are sold.6 “That is the fastest ever recorded in our monthly series,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

 

Another benefit is that sellers are enjoying higher net returns on their listings. This is thanks to the tough competition for homes, which often results in bidding wars between buyers. Nationwide, the median home price in September rose to $311,800. That translates to about $40,000 (15%) more than just a year ago.7

 

This seller’s market is not simply a product of the pandemic. In fact, in the country’s top 100 metro markets, inventory has been dwindling since the first quarter of 2020.8 This means that even with increased construction, buyers can’t simply wait for things to go back to normal before reentering the market. Rather, all signs indicate that this is the new normal.

 

What It Means for Homeowners:

These higher home prices show that buyers are willing to spend more on a home right now than they did last year. So, if there ever were a time to list for top dollar—and expect to receive asking price quickly—that time is now. Ask us for a free consultation of your home’s value today.

 

 

What It Means for Homebuyers:

Due to low inventory, buyers could easily find themselves in a bidding war. Time is of the essence in a seller’s market, so you’ll need to get your financing in order and be preapproved for a loan before you begin your home search. We can connect you with a trusted mortgage professional to get you started.

 

 

BUYERS BENEFIT FROM LOW MORTGAGE RATES AND A BIGGER PLAYING FIELD

 

Don’t worry, homebuyers. This “new normal” of real estate has benefits for you too.

 

For example, people used to base their next home purchase on how far the commute was to work or in which public school district it was. But now, thanks to the pandemic shifting the locus of jobs and work, they are free to consider what they need from a home to make it a place they truly want to be in as they work, teach, exercise, cook, and live.

 

Often, this equates to needing more space in different types of areas. Realtor.com consumer surveys show that people are desiring quieter neighborhoods, home offices, updated kitchens, and access to the great outdoors.9 The search for these criteria is driving residents out of densely populated metropolitan areas and into the suburbs.10 And this exodus from cities is good news for buyers: it opens up more possibilities for inventory that they could not have considered pre-pandemic.

 

Another advantage for buyers is the record-low mortgage rates. The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit a record low in mid-October when rates fell to 2.81%. That’s the lowest since Freddie Mac began conducting the survey in 1971, and well below last year’s 3.69%.11 Similarly, a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage can be had for as low as 2.35% compared to 3.15% a year ago.

 

Thanks to these rates, buyers are afforded the opportunity to buy nearly $32,000 more home than they could one year ago, while keeping their monthly payment the same.12 So even though home prices are high now, it is currently more affordable to buy a home now than it was last year.

 

If you want to take advantage of these rock-bottom mortgage rates, you need to act fast. Though rates are projected to stay low, housing economists predict that the window of opportunity to get the best rate could be closing in the coming months. Mike Fratantoni, chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association, said he expects the average rate on a 30-year mortgage to rise to 3.5% by the end of 2021.13

 

 

What It Means for Homeowners:

Record-low mortgage rates offer you the opportunity to lower your monthly payment—or even take out some equity—with a refinance. With those additional funds, you could even choose to invest in a second home in a new desirable location. Reach out to us for a referral to a trusted mortgage professional or an agent in those markets.

 

 

What It Means for Homebuyers:

The time is now to determine how much home you can comfortably afford and make a plan to find it. We can set up a search for you to find homes that best meet your new needs, even if they’re in neighborhoods you wouldn’t have considered before.

 

 

A RECORD-SETTING YEAR FOR HOME SALES IS JUST THE BEGINNING

 

Despite the seemingly adverse buyer conditions, 2020 experienced a 14-year high number of home sales, NAR reports. Existing-home sales, which include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 9.4% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.54 million.14 That’s a 21% increase from a year ago!

 

Every region of the country has seen a surge in sales activity. According to George Ratiu, senior economist for Realtor.com, part of the reason for these continued sales is that the pandemic has created a paradigm shift in the patterns of real estate.15 For example, housing needs are typically resolved by late summer and early fall to coincide with the commencement of the new school year. With homeschooling and remote work, however, buyers have been freed to continue their home search into the traditionally slow winter months.

 

Another reason for the robust market is that Millennials are finally putting their money into homeownership. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the homeownership rate for 25-to-34-year-olds rose to 40.7% by the end of last year.16 This is significant because Millennials, the generation of people in their mid-20s to late-30s, currently surpasses Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living adult generation. As the remaining percentage of this group starts investing in homes in the near future, demand will persist.

 

All of these factors indicate that the housing market is poised to remain strong as we head into the new year. And as Jonathan Woloshin, head of U.S. real estate at UBS Global Wealth Management, believes, they could “buoy the housing market for years to come.”17

 

 

What It Means for Homeowners:

It’s tempting to believe that homes will basically sell themselves in a market like this. But we’re still seeing properties that are overpriced and under-marketed sit unsold. We can help you optimize the process of selling your home so you can get the best possible offer.

 

 

What It Means for Homebuyers:

Preparation is key to success in a seller’s market like this, but don’t let yourself become paralyzed. We are here to answer your questions and offer sound advice to guide you through all the options that are available to you.

 

 

REAL ESTATE IS A SAFE BET

 

Your other investments might have been on roller coasters this year, but the real estate market has been steady, competitive, and strong throughout. That makes it a good choice for your financial future.

 

National real estate numbers can give us a pulse on the market, but real estate happens in our own backyard. As your local market experts, we can help you understand the finer points of the market that impact sales and home values in your own neighborhood.

 

If you’re considering buying or selling a home before the new year or in early 2021, contact me now to schedule consultation.  I will work closely with you to develop an actionable plan to meet your goals.

 

 

Sources:

  1. Redfin –
    https://www.redfin.com/news/housing-market-news-september-2020/
  2. Housing Wire –

https://www.housingwire.com/articles/fannie-maes-doug-duncan-offers-his-predictions-for-2021/

  1. CNBC –

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/22/september-existing-home-sales-jump-9point5percent.html

  1. NAHB –

http://eyeonhousing.org/2020/10/existing-home-sales-surge-despite-record-low-supply

  1. MarketWatch –

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-home-construction-slows-slightly-in-august-driven-by-pullback-in-multifamily-starts-2020-09-17

  1. National Association of Realtors –

https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/existing-home-sales-soar-9-4-to-6-5-million-in-september

  1. Business Insider – https://www.businessinsider.com/how-2020-broke-the-housing-market-inventory-could-run-out-2020-9
  2. Forbes –

https://www.forbes.com/sites/petertaylor/2020/10/11/covid-19-has-changed-the-housing-market-forever-heres-where-americans-are-moving-and-why/#74e7355761fe

  1. Realtor.com –
    https://www.realtor.com/research/top-consumer-home-features-coronavirus/
  2. Wealth Advisor – https://www.thewealthadvisor.com/article/covid-19-has-changed-housing-market-forever-heres-where-americans-are-moving-and-why
  3. Washington Post –

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/10/15/30-year-mortgage-rate-drops-record-low/

  1. Forbes –

https://www.forbes.com/advisor/mortgages/buying-a-home-low-mortgage-rates/

  1. BankRate –

https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/refinance-window-could-close-soon/

  1. National Association of Realtors –

https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/existing-home-sales-soar-9-4-to-6-5-million-in-september

  1. Forbes –

https://www.forbes.com/sites/petertaylor/2020/10/11/covid-19-has-changed-the-housing-market-forever-heres-where-americans-are-moving-and-why/#74e7355761fe

  1. TD Economics –

https://economics.td.com/us-falling-mortgage#:~:text=The%20homeownership%20rate%20among%20millennials,47.7%25%20at%20a%20comparable%20age.&text=This%20means%20that%201.4%20million,that%20of%20the%20older%20generation

  1. Axios Media –

https://www.axios.com/real-estate-market-819e3c85-3765-4014-91c0-b545be6d5935.html


Posted on November 4, 2020 at 10:57 pm
Sue Lunsford | Posted in Buyer Info | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

15 easy-as-pie seller projects that’ll help buyers fall in love

The place to start is, of course, at the curb. Here’s a checklist of curb appeal items to take into consideration prior to listing your home for sale.  Many involve inexpensive and straightforward fixes you or your landscaping person can undertake, now that temperate fall weather is here.

Ariel Skelley / Getty Images

Add finishing touches

Finally, while the weather holds, its a great time to take advantage of the opportunity to:

  • Reseed bare spots in the lawn
  • Revive planters with seasonal color
  • Replant and mulch the flower beds

Jon Lovette / Getty Images

4 ways to communicate ‘this is a well-maintained home’

Clear the gutters

Better yet, have gutter guards installed before leaves start to drop. And clear tree branches off the roof when the leaves are gone.

Touch up peeling paint

Nothing makes a house look shabbier than patches of bare wood surrounded by deteriorating paint. And it’s so easy to fix.

Rejuvenate the fences

Good fences make good neighbors — and an excellent first impression. Leaning, decaying fences? Not so much. If you can’t afford to replace a fence that’s seen better days, you (or your handyperson) can at least prop it up and power-wash/stain it.

Refresh the mailbox

Sellers tend to overlook practical items like the mailbox, which is the first thing buyers likely see. Generally, installing a new box (with house numbers!) is the easiest, fastest way to refresh this area without calling undue attention.

However, if it’s a prominent fixture, it’s best to install something in keeping with the home’s architecture and landscape the area, so it fits with the overall planting scheme.

2 ways to make it easy to find the property address

Its important to draw attention to your address, so buyers & agents are confident they’re in the right spot. Freshen paint on numerals stenciled on the curb. Larger numbers, where architecturally appropriate, do their job artfully — especially if you spotlight them.

Create an entry that wows in 3 easy steps

Amp up the hardscape

A vast expanse of driveway greets buyers driving up to most homes. Often, a path takes off from the driveway toward the front entry. But the residents rarely use it. 

You can immediately improve their curb appeal by power-washing all that concrete power and dressing up the path. Staining the concrete, lining the walkway with low hedges or other plantings, or installing stone or brick borders are all ways to quickly elevate the importance of the path the home’s buyers will be treading, whether you use it or not.

Spruce up the entry

Evaluate everything from the porch light, doormat, seating and plants to the front door and its hardware. At minimum, everything needs to be cleaned or replaced. Make sure that the lock works and that the doorknob looks like a medic just signed off on its cleanliness. 

Every window needs to sparkle, especially those at the entry. Replace every lightbulb near the entrance because the lower light of fall and winter often requires turning on the lights to welcome visitors on gloomy days. And they will burn out at the worst possible moment if they aren’t brand new.

Install decorative lighting

Restraint is essential where decorative lighting is concerned. But, done well, a pair of lighted evergreens flanking the front door, a candlelit lantern on a porch step, or a lighted seasonal wreath can extend a warm welcome right out to the street. 

I work with you to help maximize the home’s lighting as the days get shorter.

I am a fan of checklists as you’re less apt to forget a critical piece of the curb appeal puzzle if you’re using one. 

Let me know how I can assit you in preparing your home or the fall and winter selleing season!


Posted on October 19, 2020 at 6:46 pm
Sue Lunsford | Posted in Seller Info | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Do You Have Enough Money Saved for a Down Payment?

Do You Have Enough Money Saved for a Down Payment? | MyKCM

One of the biggest misconceptions for first-time homebuyers is how much you’ll need to save for a down payment. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t always have to put 20% down to buy a house. Here’s how it breaks down.

A recent survey by Point2Homes mentions that 74% of millennials (ages 25-40) stated they’re interested in purchasing a home over the next 12 months. The study notes, “88% say they have significantly less savings than the average US national down payment amount, which is $62,600.”

Thankfully, $62,600 is not the amount every buyer needs for a down payment in the United States. There are many different options available, especially for first-time homebuyers (millennial or not). That amount can also be significantly less, depending on the purchase price of the house.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), “The median existing-home price for all housing types in August was $310,600.” (These are the latest numbers available). NAR also indicates that:

“In 2019, the median down payment was 12 percent for all buyers, six percent for first-time buyers, and 16 percent for repeat buyers.” (See graph below):

Do You Have Enough Money Saved for a Down Payment? | MyKCMThat means if a qualified first-time buyer purchases a home at today’s median price, $310,600, with a 6% down payment, in reality, the down payment only amounts to $18,636. That’s nowhere near $62,600.

Knowing there are also programs like FHA where the down payment can be as low as 3.5% of the purchase price for a first-time buyer, that up-front cost could be significantly less – as little as $10,871 for the same home noted above. There are also other programs like USDA and loans for Veterans that waive down payment requirements.

The Point2Homes study also shares how much millennials have indicated they’ve saved for a down payment. As we can see in the graph below, 39% have already saved enough for a down payment on a median-priced home. Another 47% are close to reaching that goal, depending on the purchase price of the home.Do You Have Enough Money Saved for a Down Payment? | MyKCMhome. Unfortunately, the lack of knowledge about the homebuying process is keeping many motivated first-time buyers on the sidelines. That’s why it’s important to understand the requirements in our local area if you want to buy a home. I can refer you to a trusted mortgage loan officer/lender who can guide you through the process.

Bottom Line

Be careful not to let big myths about homebuying keep you and your family out of the housing market. Let’s connect to discuss your options today.


Posted on October 16, 2020 at 2:06 pm
Sue Lunsford | Posted in Buyer Info | Tagged ,

The Housing Market will “SPRING” forward this year!

Just like our clocks last weekend, the housing market will soon “spring forward!” Similar to tension in spring, the lack of inventory available for sale has been holding back the market. Many potential sellers believe that waiting until Spring is in their best interest. Traditionally, they would have been right.  Buyer demand has seasonality to it.  Usually, this falls off in the winter months, especially in the areas impacted by weather.

This hasn’t happened this year.  Demand for housing has remained strong as mortgage rates have remained near historic lows. Even with an increase in rates forecasted for 2019, buyer are still able to lock in an affordable monthly payment.  Buyers are increasingly jumping off the fence and into the market to secure a lower rate. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that in 2018 the top 10 dates sellers listed their homes fell in April, May or June.  Those who act quickly and list now, before the flood of increased competition, will benefit form additional exposure of buyers.

If you are planning on selling your home in 2019, let’s talk to evaluate the opportunities in your market.


Posted on March 13, 2019 at 6:54 pm
Sue Lunsford | Posted in Uncategorized |

Home prices are leveling off. Long term, that is a good thing for the housing market

No Worries… Home Prices Coming in for a SOFT Landing!

No Worries… Home Prices Coming in for a SOFT Landing | MyKCM
Home prices have appreciated considerably over the last five years. This has some concerned that we may be in for another dramatic correction. However, recent statistics suggest home values will not crash as they did a decade ago. Instead, this time they will come in for a soft landing.

The previous housing market was fueled by an artificial demand created by mortgage standards that were far too lenient. When this demand was shut off, a flood of inventory came to market. This included heavily discounted distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales).

Today’s market is totally different. Mortgage standards are tighter than they were prior to the last boom and bust. There is no fear that a rush of foreclosures will come to market. The Mortgage Bankers’ Association just announced that foreclosures are lower today than at any time since 1996.

Case Shiller looks at the percentage of appreciation as compared to the same month the year prior. Here is a graph of their findings over the last ten months:

No Worries… Home Prices Coming in for a SOFT Landing | MyKCM

As we can see, home price appreciation is softening as more inventory comes to market. This shows that real estate prices are not crashing, but merely returning toward historic appreciation numbers of 3.6% annually.

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Posted on February 28, 2019 at 3:41 pm
Sue Lunsford | Posted in Uncategorized |

Interest Rates Hit New 12 Month Low!

Interest Rates Hit New 12 Month Low! | MyKCM

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at their lowest for 2019. Rates like these haven’t been seen since February 2018!

Last week’s survey results reported an interest rate of 4.35%. This is a welcome change from the near 5% rates seen in mid-November. At 4.32%, the second week of February 2018 was the last time rates were this low. This can be seen in the chart below.

Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist, Sam Khater, had this to say:

“Mortgage rates fell for the third consecutive week, continuing the general downward trend that began late last year.

Wages are growing on par with home prices for the first time in years, and with more inventory available, spring home sales should help the market begin to recover from the malaise of the last few months.”

 

 


Posted on February 27, 2019 at 3:16 pm
Sue Lunsford | Posted in Uncategorized |

What are the Benefits of Becoming a Homeowner?

Home ownership is and will always be part of the American Dream! There are many financial and non-financial benefits to take advantage of when owning a home. If owning a home is part of your dream, contact me  to help you with the process!

What are the Benefits of Becoming a Homeowner? | MyKCM

Every family has a list of important dates. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, pet adoptions…and the list goes on. For 64.4 percent of households in the United States, this list includes the day they became a homeowner for the first time!

Why is this date important? Homeownership is not just a roof over your head! It represents shelter, stability, wealth, and pride! For decades, homeownership has been an important part of the American Dream!

However, many question if the next generations see the same benefits of homeownership as their predecessors.

In case we have forgotten, some of those benefits are:

Non-Financial Benefits

1) Educational Achievement: Homeownership has a positive impact on academic achievement, including reading and math performance in children 3-12 years old.

2) Civic Participation: “Owning a home means owning a part of the neighborhood.” Homeowners have a stronger connection to their neighborhood and are more committed to volunteer.

3) Health Benefits: Adjusting for a range of demographic, socioeconomic and housing-related characteristics, homeowners have a substantial health advantage over renters.

4) Public Assistance: The report shows 47% of homeowners use their home equity credit lines to help pay other debts, diminishing their need for public assistance.

5) Property Maintenance and Improvement: A well-maintained home not only generates benefits through consumption and safety, but a high-quality structure also raises mental health.

6) Pride of Ownership: This place is uniquely “yours.” You can customize it according to your likes and personality.

In addition to financial benefits, homeownership also brings significant social benefits. These not only pertain to the family, but extend to the communities, the state, and the country!

Financial Benefits

Buying a home is an investment in your future!

  1. Appreciation: On average, home prices are appreciating annually at a rate of 3.6%. This helps to create a safety net.
  2. Forced Savings: Your mortgage is like a forced savings plan! With each payment, you are reducing the principal of your loan.
  3. Home Equity: Homeownership builds equity every single month. You can later use that equity to start a business, send your children to college, etc.
  4. Net Worth: A homeowners’ net worth is 44x greater than renters! This gives you the financial freedom to invest.
  5. Stability: Rent prices increase 4% annually! A fixed mortgage payment allows you to save for future projects and guard against inflation.
  6. Tax Benefits: The government has created tax benefits to encourage customers to purchase. (Talk to your CPA to see which benefits apply to you).

 


Posted on February 26, 2019 at 7:22 pm
Sue Lunsford | Posted in Uncategorized |

Thinking of Buying a home this year? 3 great tips to reach your goal!

3 Tips for Making Your Dream of Buying A Home Come True [INFOGRAPHIC]

3 Tips for Making Your Dream of Buying A Home Come True [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Setting up an automatic savings plan that saves a small amount of every check is one of the best ways to save without thinking too much about it.
  • Living within a budget right now will help you save money for down payments while also paying down other debts that might be holding you back.
  • What are you willing to cut back on to make your dreams of homeownership a reality?

Posted on February 22, 2019 at 5:43 pm
Sue Lunsford | Posted in Uncategorized |

Why we are NOT heading toward a housing bubble or crash!

3 Reasons Why We Are Not Heading Toward Another Housing Crash

3 Reasons Why We Are Not Heading Toward Another Housing Crash | MyKCM

With home prices softening, some are concerned that we may be headed toward the next housing crash. However, it is important to remember that today’s market is quite different than the bubble market of twelve years ago.

Here are three key metrics that will explain why:

  1. Home Prices
  2. Mortgage Standards
  3. Foreclosure Rates

HOME PRICES

A decade ago, home prices depreciated dramatically, losing about 29% of their value over a four-year period (2008-2011). Today, prices are not depreciating. The level of appreciation is just decelerating.

Home values are no longer appreciating annually at a rate of 6-7%. However, they have still increased by more than 4% over the last year. Of the 100 experts reached for the latest Home Price Expectation Survey94 said home values would continue to appreciate through 2019. It will just occur at a lower rate.

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 quarterly 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.”

Last month, their January 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.”

FORECLOSURE INVENTORY

Within the last decade, distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) made up 35% of all home sales. The Mortgage Bankers’ Association revealed just last week that:

“The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the fourth quarter was 0.95 percent…This was the lowest foreclosure inventory rate since the first quarter of 1996.”

Bottom Line

After using these three key housing metrics to compare today’s market to that of the last decade, we can see that the two markets are nothing alike.


Posted on February 21, 2019 at 8:24 pm
Sue Lunsford | Posted in Uncategorized |

Interest Rates won’t be this low for long!

https://goo.gl/B5iaUx


Posted on March 17, 2017 at 2:26 pm
Sue Lunsford | Posted in Uncategorized |