Karen R. Brown
Karen R. Brown
RE/MAX Innovative Properties
603.321.7513
RE/MAX

Planning To Retire? Your Equity Can Help You Reach Your Goal.

Planning To Retire? Your Equity Can Help You Reach Your Goal | MyKCM

Whether you’ve just retired or you’re thinking about retirement, you may be considering your options and trying to picture a whole new stage of your life. And you’re not alone. Research from the Retirement Industry Trust Association (RITA) shows 10,000 Baby Boomers reach the typical retirement age (65) every day, and only 47% of the people in that generation have already retired.

If this sounds like you, one thing worth considering is whether or not your current home will suit your new lifestyle. If your home doesn’t have the features or benefits you’re looking for, the good news is, you may be in a better position to move than you realize.

That’s because, if you already own a home, you’ve likely built-up significant equity, and that can help you fuel your next move. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“A homeowner who purchased a typical home five years ago would have gained $125,300 from just price appreciation alone.”

In fact, over the last twelve months, CoreLogic reports the average homeowner in the United States gained roughly $64,000 in equity due to home price appreciation.

You can use your equity to help you achieve your homeownership goals. Whether you want to downsize, move closer to loved ones, or buy a home in a dream destination, your equity can help get you there. It may be some (if not all) of what you’d need as your down payment on a home that better fits your changing needs.

To find out how much equity to have in your home, reach out to a trusted real estate professional today.  

Bottom Line

Retirement is a big step and so is buying or selling a home. As you move into this new phase of life, let’s connect so you have an expert to guide you through the process as you sell your current home and give you expert advice as you buy one that’ll better suit your needs.

Want To Buy a Home? Now May Be the Time.

Want To Buy a Home? Now May Be the Time. | MyKCM

There are more homes for sale today than at any time last year. So, if you tried to buy a home last year and were outbid or out priced, now may be your opportunity. The number of homes for sale in the U.S. has been growing over the past four months as rising mortgage rates help slow the frenzy the housing market saw during the pandemic.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains why the shifting market creates a window of opportunity for you:

“This is an opportunity for people with a secure job to jump into the market, when other people are a little hesitant because of a possible recession. . . They’ll have fewer buyers to compete with.”

Two Reasons There Are More Homes for Sale

The first reason the market is seeing more homes available for sale is the number of sales happening each month has decreased. This slowdown has been caused by rising mortgage rates and rising home prices, leading many to postpone or put off buying. The graph below uses data from realtor.com to show how active real estate listings have risen over the past four months as a result.

Want To Buy a Home? Now May Be the Time. | MyKCM

The second reason the market is seeing more homes available for sale is because the number of people selling their homes is also rising. The graph below outlines new monthly listings coming onto the market compared to last year. As the graph shows, for the past three months, more people have put their homes on the market than the previous year.

Want To Buy a Home? Now May Be the Time. | MyKCM

Bottom Line

The number of homes for sale across the country is growing, and that means more options for those thinking about buying a home. This is the opportunity many have been waiting for who were outbid or out priced last year.

Wondering Where You’ll Move if You Sell Your House Today?

Wondering Where You’ll Move if You Sell Your House Today? | MyKCM

If you put a pause on your home search because you weren’t sure where you’d go once you sold your house, it might be a good time to get back into the market. That’s because today’s market is undergoing a shift, and the supply of homes for sale is increasing as a result. That means you may have a better chance of finding a home that will meet your current needs. Here are some options to consider.

Buying an Existing Home Can Give You That Lived-in Charm

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the supply of existing homes (a home that’s been previously owned) has steadily increased since the beginning of the year. The graph below indicates inventory levels are rising, and that’s largely due to more homes coming onto the market and the pace of sales slowing:

Wondering Where You’ll Move if You Sell Your House Today? | MyKCM

As the graph shows, if you’re looking for a home with lived-in charm, supply is rising, and that’s great news for you.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, gives insight into why more homeowners are listing their homes and adding to the growing supply of existing homes today:

“Home sellers in many markets across the country continue to benefit from rising home prices and fast-selling homes. That’s prompted a growing number of homeowners to sell homes this year compared to last, giving home shoppers much needed options. We’ve seen more homes come up for sale this year compared to last year . . .”

There are several benefits to buying an existing home. Many buyers want to purchase a home with history, and the character of older houses is hard to reproduce. Existing homes can often be part of an established neighborhood featuring mature landscaping that can give you additional privacy and boost your curb appeal.

Plus, timing can be a consideration as well. With an existing home, you can move in based on the timeline you agree to with the sellers, rather than building a new home and waiting for construction to finish. This is something to keep in mind, especially if you need to move sooner rather than later.

Just remember, while more sellers are listing their homes, supply is still low overall. That means you’ll have more options to choose from as you search for your next home, but you’ll still need to be prepared for a fast-moving market.

Purchasing a Newly Built or Under Construction Home Means Brand New Everything

Census data shows there’s an increasing number of new homes available for sale. It includes homes that are under construction, soon to be completed, and fully built. As the graph below highlights, the supply of new homes for sale has also grown this year:

Wondering Where You’ll Move if You Sell Your House Today? | MyKCM

When building a new home, you can create your perfect living space and customize it to your lifestyle. That could mean everything from requesting energy efficient options to specific design features. Plus, you’ll have the benefit of all new appliances, windows, roofing, and more. These can all help lower your energy costs, which can add up to significant savings over time.

The lower maintenance that comes with a newer home is another great advantage. When you have a new home, you likely won’t have as many little repairs to tackle, like leaky faucets, shutters to paint, and other odd jobs around the house. And with new construction, you’ll also have warranty options that may cover portions of your investment for the first few years.

Keep in mind, purchasing a new home could mean waiting a considerable amount of time before you can move. Robert Dietz, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Economics and Housing Policy at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), explains:

“New single-family home inventory remained elevated at a 7.7 months’ supply. . . . However, only 8.3% of new home inventory is completed and ready to occupy. The remaining have not started construction (25.9%) or are currently under construction.”

That’s an important factor when making your decision and one you should discuss with a trusted real estate advisor. They’ll help you think through all the pros and cons of both new and existing homes to help you arrive at your best decision.

Bottom Line

With the supply of homes for sale rising, you have options for your next home no matter what your preferences are. If you have questions or want help deciding what’s best for you, let’s connect and start the conversation today.

Homeownership Is a Great Hedge Against the Impact of Rising Inflation

Homeownership Is a Great Hedge Against the Impact of Rising Inflation | MyKCM

If you’re following along with the news today, you’ve heard about rising inflation. Today, inflation is at a 40-year high. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB):

“Consumer prices accelerated again in May as shelter, energy and food prices continued to surge at the fastest pace in decades. This marked the third straight month for inflation above an 8% rate and was the largest year-over-year gain since December 1981.”

With inflation rising, you’re likely feeling it impact your day-to-day life as prices go up for gas, groceries, and more. These climbing consumer costs can put a pinch on your wallet and make you re-evaluate any big purchases you have planned to ensure they’re still worthwhile.

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a home this year, you’re probably wondering if you should continue down that path or if it makes more sense to wait. While the answer depends on your situation, here’s how homeownership can help you combat the rising costs that come with inflation.

Homeownership Helps You Stabilize One of Your Biggest Monthly Expenses

Investopedia explains that during a period of high inflation, prices rise across the board. That’s true for things like food, entertainment, and other goods and services, even housing. Both rental prices and home prices are on the rise. So, as a buyer, how can you protect yourself from increasing costs? The answer lies in homeownership.

Buying a home allows you to stabilize what’s typically your biggest monthly expense: your housing cost. When you have a fixed-rate mortgage on your home, you lock in your monthly payment for the duration of your loan, often 15 to 30 years. James Royal, Senior Wealth Management Reporter at Bankratesays:

A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to maintain the biggest portion of housing expenses at the same payment. Sure, property taxes will rise and other expenses may creep up, but your monthly housing payment remains the same. That’s certainly not the case if you’re renting.”

So even if other prices increase, your housing payment will be a reliable amount that can help keep your budget in check. If you rent, you don’t have that same benefit, and you won’t be protected from rising housing costs.

Investing in an Asset That Historically Outperforms Inflation

While it’s true rising home prices and higher mortgage rates mean that buying a house today costs more than it did even a few months ago, you still have an opportunity to set yourself up for a long-term win. That’s because, in inflationary times, you want to be invested in an asset that outperforms inflation and typically holds or grows in value.

The graph below shows how the average home price appreciation outperformed the average inflation rate in most decades going all the way back to the seventies – making homeownership a historically strong hedge against inflation (see graph below):

Homeownership Is a Great Hedge Against the Impact of Rising Inflation | MyKCM

So, what does that mean for you? Today, experts forecast home prices will only go up from here thanks to the ongoing imbalance of supply and demand. Once you buy a house, any home price appreciation that does occur will grow your equity and your net worth. And since homes are typically assets that grow in value, you have peace of mind that history shows your investment is a strong one.

That means, if you’re ready and able, it makes sense to buy today before prices rise further.

Bottom Line

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home this year, it makes sense to act soon, even with inflation rising. That way you can stabilize your monthly housing cost and invest in an asset that historically outperforms inflation. If you’re ready to get started, let’s connect so you have expert advice on your specific situation when you’re ready to buy a home.

Home Price Deceleration Doesn’t Mean Home Price Depreciation

Home Price Deceleration Doesn’t Mean Home Price Depreciation | MyKCM

Experts in the real estate industry use a number of terms when they talk about what’s happening with home prices. And some of those words sound a bit similar but mean very different things. To help clarify what’s happening with home prices and where experts say they’re going, here’s a look at a few terms you may hear:

  • Appreciation is when home prices increase.
  • Depreciation is when home prices decrease.
  • Deceleration is when home prices continue to appreciate, but at a slower pace.

Where Home Prices Have Been in Recent Years

For starters, you’ve probably heard home prices have skyrocketed over the past two years, but homes were actually appreciating long before that. You might be surprised to learn that home prices have climbed for 122 consecutive months (see graph below):

Home Price Deceleration Doesn’t Mean Home Price Depreciation | MyKCM

As the graph shows, houses have gained value consistently over the past 10 consecutive years. But since 2020, the increase has been more dramatic as home price growth accelerated.

So why did home prices climb so much? It’s because there were more buyers than there were homes for sale. That imbalance put upward pressure on home prices because demand was high and supply was low.

Where Experts Say Home Prices Are Going

While this is helpful context, if you’re a buyer or seller in today’s market, you probably want to know what’s going to happen with home prices moving forward. Will they continue that same growth path or will home prices fall?

Experts are forecasting ongoing appreciation, just at a decelerated pace. In other words, prices will keep climbing, just not as fast as they have been. The graph below shows home price forecasts from seven industry leaders. None are calling for prices to fall (see graph below):

Home Price Deceleration Doesn’t Mean Home Price Depreciation | MyKCM

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, identifies a key reason why home prices won’t depreciate or drop:

In today’s housing market, demand for homes continues to outpace supply, which is keeping the pressure on house prices, so don’t expect house prices to decline.”

And although housing supply is starting to tick up, it’s not enough to make home prices decline because there’s still a gap between the number of homes available for sale and the volume of buyers looking to make a purchase.

Terry Loebs, Founder of the research firm Pulsenomics, notes that most real estate experts and economists anticipate home prices will continue rising. As he puts it:

“With home values at record-high levels and a vast majority of experts projecting additional price increases this year and beyond, home prices and expectations remain buoyant.”

Bottom Line

Experts forecast price deceleration, not depreciation. That means home prices will continue to rise, just at a slower pace. Let’s connect so you can get the full picture of what’s happening with home prices in our local market and to discuss your buying and selling goals.

Sellers Have an Opportunity with Today’s Home Prices

Sellers Have an Opportunity with Today's Home Prices | MyKCM

As mortgage rates started to rise this year, many homeowners began to wonder if the value of their homes would fall. Here’s the good news. Historically, when mortgage rates rise by a percentage point or more, home values continue to appreciate. The latest data on home prices seems to confirm that trend.

According to data from CoreLogic, home price appreciation has been re-accelerating since November. The graph below shows this increase in home price appreciation in green:

Sellers Have an Opportunity as Home Prices Re-Accelerate | MyKCMThis is largely due to an ongoing imbalance in supply and demand. Specifically, housing supply is still low, and demand is high. As mortgage rates started to rise this year, many homebuyers rushed to make their purchases before those rates could climb higher. The increased competition drove home prices up even more. Selma Hepp, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogicexplains:

“Home price growth continued to gain speed in early spring, as eager buyers tried to get in front of the mortgage rate surge.”

And experts say prices are forecast to continue appreciating, just at a more moderate pace moving forward. A recent article from Fortune says:

“. . . the swift move up in mortgage rates . . . doesn’t mean home prices are about to crash. In fact, every major real estate firm with a publicly released forecast model . . . still predicts home prices will climb further this year.”

What This Means for You

If you’re thinking about selling your house, you should know you have a great opportunity to list your home and capitalize on today’s home price appreciation. As prices rise, so does the value of your home, which gives your equity a big boost.

When you sell, you can use that equity toward the purchase of your next home. And at today’s record-level of appreciation, that equity may be enough to cover some (if not all) of your down payment.

Bottom Line

History shows rising mortgage rates have not had a negative impact on home prices. Now is still a great time to sell your house thanks to ongoing price appreciation. When you’re ready to find out how much equity you have in your current home and what’s happening with home prices in your local area, let’s connect.

Will Home Prices Fall This Year? Here’s What Experts Say.

Will Home Prices Fall This Year? Here’s What Experts Say | MyKCM

Many people are wondering: will home prices fall this year? Whether you’re a potential homebuyerseller, or both, the answer to this question matters for you. Let’s break down what’s happening with home prices, where experts say they’re headed, and how this impacts your homeownership goals.

What’s Happening with Home Prices? 

Home prices have seen 121 consecutive months of year-over-year increases. CoreLogic says:

Price appreciation averaged 15% for the full year of 2021, up from the 2020 full year average of 6%.”

So why are prices climbing so much? It’s because there are more buyers than there are homes for sale. This imbalance is expected to maintain that upward pressure on home prices because homes for sale are a hot commodity in today’s low-inventory housing market.

Where Do Experts Say Prices Will Go from Here?

Experts say the housing market isn’t set up for a price decline due to that ongoing imbalance between supply and demand. In the latest home price forecasts for 2022, they’re calling for ongoing appreciation throughout the year (see graph below):

Will Home Prices Fall This Year? Here’s What Experts Say | MyKCM

While the experts are forecasting more moderate price appreciation, the 2022 projections show price gains will remain strong throughout this year. First American explains it like this:

While house price growth is expected to moderate from the rapid pace of 2021, strong home buyer demand against a backdrop of historically tight inventory of homes for sale will likely keep appreciation positive in the coming year.”

What Does That Mean for You?

The biggest takeaway is that none of the experts are projecting depreciation. If you’re a homeowner thinking about selling, the higher price appreciation over the last two years has been great for your home’s value, but it’s also something you should factor in when planning your next steps. If you’ll also be buying a home after selling your current house, you shouldn’t wait for prices to fall. Waiting will only cost you more in the long run because climbing mortgage rates and rising home prices will have an impact on your next home purchase. Freddie Mac says:

“If you’re thinking about waiting until next year and that maybe rates are higher, but you’ll get a deal on prices – well that’s risky. It may be more advantageous to purchase this year relative to waiting until 2023 at this time.”

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of selling to move up, you shouldn’t wait for prices to fall. Experts say prices will continue to appreciate this year. That means, if you’re ready, buying your next home before prices climb further may make the most financial sense. Let’s connect to begin the process of selling your current home and looking for your next one before prices rise higher.

 

How To Approach Rising Mortgage Rates as a Buyer

How To Approach Rising Mortgage Rates as a Buyer | MyKCM

In the last few weeks, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate from Freddie Mac inched up to 5%. While that news may have you questioning the timing of your home search, the truth is, timing has never been more important. Even though you may be tempted to put your plans on hold in hopes that rates will fall, waiting will only cost you more. Mortgage rates are forecast to continue rising in the year ahead.

If you’re thinking of buying a home, here are a few things to keep in mind so you can succeed even as mortgage rates rise.

How Rising Mortgage Rates Impact You

Mortgage rates play a significant role in your home search. As rates go up, they impact how much you’ll pay in your monthly mortgage payment, which directly affects how much you can comfortably afford. Here’s an example of how even a quarter-point increase can have a big impact on your monthly payment (see chart below):

How To Approach Rising Mortgage Rates as a Buyer | MyKCM

With mortgage rates on the rise, you’ve likely seen your purchasing power impacted already. Instead of delaying your plans, today’s rates should motivate you to purchase now before rates increase more. Use that motivation to energize your search and plan your next steps accordingly.

The best way to prepare is to work with a trusted real estate advisor now. An agent can connect you with a trusted lender, help you adjust your search based on your budget, and make sure you’re ready to act quickly when it’s time to make an offer.

Bottom Line

Serious buyers should approach rising rates as a motivating factor to buy sooner, not a reason to wait. Waiting will cost you more in the long run. Let’s connect today so you can better understand your budget and be prepared to buy your home even before rates climb higher.

Where Are Mortgage Rates Headed?

Where Are Mortgage Rates Headed? | MyKCM

There’s never been a truer statement regarding forecasting mortgage rates than the one offered last year by Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American:

“You know, the fallacy of economic forecasting is: Don’t ever try and forecast interest rates and or, more specifically, if you’re a real estate economist mortgage rates, because you will always invariably be wrong.”

Coming into this year, most experts projected mortgage rates would gradually increase and end 2022 in the high three-percent range. It’s only April, and rates have already blown past those numbers. Freddie Mac announced last week that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is already at 4.72%.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comtweeted on March 31:

“Continuing on the recent trajectory, would have mortgage rates hitting 5% within a matter of weeks. . . .”

Just five days later, on April 5, the Mortgage News Daily quoted a rate of 5.02%.

No one knows how swiftly mortgage rates will rise moving forward. However, at least to this point, they haven’t significantly impacted purchaser demand. Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zondaexplains:

Mortgage rates jumped much quicker and much higher than even the most aggressive forecasts called for at the end of last year, and yet housing demand appears to be holding steady.”

Through February, home prices, the number of showings, and the number of homes receiving multiple offers all saw a substantial increase. However, much of the spike in mortgage rates occurred in March. We will not know the true impact of the increase in mortgage rates until the March housing numbers become available in early May.

Rick Sharga, EVP of Market Intelligence at ATTOM Datarecently put rising rates into context:

“Historically low mortgage rates and higher wages helped offset rising home prices over the past few years, but as home prices continue to soar and interest rates approach five percent on a 30-year fixed rate loan, more consumers are going to struggle to find a property they can comfortably afford.”

While no one knows exactly where rates are headed, experts do think they’ll continue to rise in the months ahead. In the meantime, if you’re looking to buy a home, know that rising rates do have an impact. As rates rise, it’ll cost you more when you purchase a house. If you’re ready to buy, it may make sense to do so sooner rather than later.

Bottom Line

Mark Fleming got it right. Forecasting mortgage rates is an impossible task. However, it’s probably safe to assume the days of attaining a 3% mortgage rate are over. The question is whether that will soon be true for 4% rates as well.

What You Can Expect from the Spring Housing Market

 

What You Can Expect from the Spring Housing Market | MyKCM

As the spring housing market kicks off, you likely want to know what you can expect this season when it comes to buying or selling a house. While there are multiple factors causing some uncertainty, including the conflict overseas, rising inflation, and the first rate increase from the Federal Reserve in over three years — the housing market seems to be relatively immune.

Here’s a look at what experts say you can expect this spring.

1. Mortgage Rates Will Climb

Freddie Mac reports the 30-year fixed mortgage rate has increased by more than a full point in the past six months. And despite some mild fluctuation in recent weeks, experts believe rates will continue to edge up over the next 90 days. As Freddie Mac says:

“The Federal Reserve raising short-term rates and signaling further increases means mortgage rates should continue to rise over the course of the year.”

If you’re a first-time buyer or a seller thinking of moving to a home that better fits your needs, realize that waiting will likely mean you’ll pay a higher mortgage rate on your purchase. And that higher rate drives up your monthly payment and can really add up over the life of your loan.

2. Housing Inventory Will Increase

There may be some relief coming for buyers searching for a home to purchase. Realtor.com recently reported that the number of newly listed homes has grown for each of the last two months. Also, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) just announced the months’ supply of inventory increased for the first time in eight months. The inventory of existing homes usually grows every spring, and it seems, based on recent activity, the next 90 days could bring more listings to the market.

If you’re a buyer who has been frustrated with the limited supply of homes available for sale, it looks like you could find some relief this spring. However, be prepared to act quickly if you find the right home.

If you’re a seller, listing now instead of waiting for this additional competition to hit the market makes sense. Your leverage in any negotiation during the sale will be impacted as additional homes come to market.

3. Home Prices Will Rise

Prices are always determined by supply and demand. Though the number of homes entering the market is increasing, buyer demand remains very strong. As realtor.com explains in their most recent Housing Report:

“During the final two weeks of the month, more new sellers entered the market than during the same time last year. . . . However, with 5.8 million new homes missing from the market and millions of millennials at first-time buying ages, housing supply faces a long road to catching up with demand.”

What does that mean for you? With the demand for housing still outpacing supply, home prices will continue to appreciate. Many experts believe the level of appreciation will decelerate from the high double-digit levels we’ve seen over the last two years. That means prices will continue to climb, just at a more moderate pace. Most experts are predicting home prices will not depreciate.

Won’t Increasing Mortgage Rates Cause Home Prices To Fall?

While some people may believe a 1% increase in mortgage rates will impact demand so dramatically that home prices will have to fall, experts say otherwise. Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Maesays:

“What I will caution against is making the inference that interest rates have a direct impact on house prices. That is not true.”

Freddie Mac studied the impact that mortgage rates increasing by at least 1% has had on home prices in the past. Here are the results of that study:

What You Can Expect from the Spring Housing Market | MyKCM

As the chart shows, mortgage rates jumped by at least 1% six times in the last thirty years. In each case, home values increased.

So again, if you’re a first-time buyer or a repeat buyer, waiting to buy likely means you’ll pay more for a home later in the year (as compared to its current value).

Bottom Line

There are three things that seem certain going into the spring housing market:

  1. Mortgage rates will continue to rise
  2. The selection of homes available for sale will modestly improve
  3. Home prices will continue to appreciate, just at a slightly slower pace

If you’re thinking of buying, act now before mortgage rates and home prices increase further. If you’re thinking of selling, your best bet may be to sell soon so you can beat the increase in competition that’s about to come to market.