Welcome to Christopher Garguilo’s Blog.

Welcome to my new blog.  I always wanted to have a professional looking blog, and have given this a lot of thought.  The template is called the “Hemingway Rewritten”, and I figured I always wanted to write and have lots of characteristics of this great American writer like a round belly and white beard.  But seriously, the header photo has a beautiful country image, a site that I enjoy seeing now living in Virginia.  But my roots are from Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in a land of concrete front lawns and the smell of asphalt on a hot summer morning.  And on that hot summer day, you cooled down by not going to a beach a few minutes from your house (I am right by Buckroe Beach), but by opening up a fire hydrant, (aka Johnny pump) and using a seared open tin soda can to jettison the water on your friends and oncoming cars.

I will always love Brooklyn, and do miss it (I spent 49 years there), but Hampton is now my home.  I’ve grown accustomed to say hello to strangers I pass on the street, enjoy having the beach 3 minutes away, enjoy a bit slower pace (but really not that much slower) and love not having to spend 45 minutes looking for a parking space.

After teaching for over 21 years in Brooklyn, my main profession now is Real Estate, (however, I was also a Real Estate Agent there as well) and my blog will be focused mostly on those matters. Sure I will talk about new listings, mortgage rates and new construction. But real estate is much more than that.  It is about what concerts, shows, and exhibits that are happening in the area as well as sporting events.  It is about new stores and restaurants and the local economy.  And that is what I am going to accomplish in my new blog.

But those who know me as friends, clients, students and social media friends, you know that I love comedy as well, so you will see some funny posts as well.

On my sidebar, I have listed centers of music, arts, plays, performers, etc.  The list will increase as I add more to my blog.  For me, the area to which you reside has to be fun, and entertaining.  I hope you agree.

I hope you enjoy, I hope you come back, often!

Is the Shifting Market a Challenge or an Opportunity for Homebuyers?

Is the Shifting Market a Challenge or an Opportunity for Homebuyers? | MyKCM

If you tried to buy a home during the pandemic, you know the limited supply of homes for sale was a considerable challenge. It created intense bidding wars which drove home prices up as buyers competed with one another to be the winning offer.

But what was once your greatest challenge may now be your greatest opportunity. Today, data shows buyer demand is moderating in the wake of higher mortgage rates. Here are a few reasons why this shift in the housing market is good news for your homebuying plans.

The Challenge

There were many reasons for the limited number of homes on the market during the pandemic, including a history of underbuilding new homes since the market crash in 2008. As the graph below shows, housing supply is well below what the market has seen for most of the past 10 years (see graph below):

Is the Shifting Market a Challenge or an Opportunity for Homebuyers? | MyKCM

The Opportunity

But that graph also shows a trend back up in the right direction this year. That’s because moderating demand is slowing the pace of home sales and that’s one of the reasons housing supply is finally able to grow. For you, that means you’ll have more options to choose from, so it shouldn’t be as difficult to find your next home as it has been recently.

And having more options may also lead to less intense bidding wars. Data from the Realtors Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows this trend has already begun. In their recent reports, bidding wars are easing month-over-month (see graph below):

Is the Shifting Market a Challenge or an Opportunity for Homebuyers? | MyKCM

If you’ve been outbid before or you’ve struggled to find a home that meets your needs, breathe a welcome sigh of relief. The big takeaway here is you have more options and less competition today.

Just remember, while easing, data shows multiple-offer scenarios are still happening – they’re just not as intense as they were over the past year. You should still lean on an agent to guide you through the process and help you make your strongest offer up front.

Bottom Line

If you’re still looking to make a move, it may be time to pick your home search back up today. Let’s connect to kick off the homebuying process.

Selling Your House? Your Asking Price Matters More Now Than Ever

Selling Your House? Your Asking Price Matters More Now Than Ever | MyKCM

There’s no doubt about the fact that the housing market is slowing from the frenzy we saw over the past two years. But what does that mean for you if you’re thinking of selling your house?

While home prices are still appreciating in most markets and experts say that will continue, they’re climbing at a slower pace because rising mortgage rates are creating less buyer demand. Because of this, there are more homes on the market. And in a shift like this one, the way you price your home matters more than ever.

Why Today’s Housing Market Is Different

During the pandemic, sellers could price their homes higher because demand was so high, and supply was so low. This year, things are shifting, and that means your approach to pricing your house needs to shift too.

Because we’re seeing less buyer demand, sellers have to recognize this is a different market than it was during the pandemic. Here’s what’s at stake if you don’t.

Why Pricing Your House at Market Value Matters

The price you set for your house sends a message to potential buyers. If you price it too high, you run the risk of deterring buyers.

When that happens, you may have to lower the price to try to reignite interest in your house when it sits on the market for a while. But be aware that a price drop can be seen as a red flag for some buyers who will wonder what that means about the home or if in fact it’s still overpriced. Some sellers aren’t adjusting their expectations to today’s market, and realtor.com explains the impact that’s having:

“. . . the share of listings with a price cut was nearly double its year ago level even as it remains well below pre-pandemic levels.”

To avoid the headache of having to lower your price, you’ll want to price it right from the onset. A real estate advisor knows how to determine that perfect asking price. To find the right price, they balance the value of homes in your neighborhood, current market trends and buyer demand, the condition of your house, and more.

Not to mention, pricing your house fairly based on market conditions increases the chance you’ll have more buyers who are interested in purchasing it. This helps lead to stronger offers and a greater likelihood it’ll sell quickly.

Why You Still Have an Opportunity When You Sell Today

Rest assured, it’s still a sellers’ market, and you’ll still get great benefits if you plan accordingly and work with an agent to set your price at the current market value. As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

Homes priced right are selling very quickly, but homes priced too high are deterring prospective buyers.”

Mike Simonsen, the Founder and CEO of Altos Research, also notes:

“We can see that demand is still there for the homes that are priced properly.”

Bottom Line

Home priced right are selling quickly in today’s real estate market. Let’s connect to make sure you price your house based on current market conditions so you can maximize your sales potential and minimize your hassle in a shifting market.

Why the Forbearance Program Changed the Housing Market

Why the Forbearance Program Changed the Housing Market | MyKCM

When the pandemic hit in 2020, many experts thought the housing market would crash. They feared job loss and economic uncertainty would lead to a wave of foreclosures similar to when the housing bubble burst over a decade ago. Thankfully, the forbearance program changed that. It provided much-needed relief for homeowners so a foreclosure crisis wouldn’t happen again. Here’s why forbearance worked.

Forbearance enabled nearly five million homeowners to get back on their feet in a time when having the security and protection of a home was more important than ever. Those in need were able to work with their banks and lenders to stay in their homes rather than go into foreclosure. Marina Walsh, Vice President of Industry Analysis at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), notes:

“Most borrowers exiting forbearance are moving into either a loan modification, payment deferral, or a combination of the two workout options.”

As the graph below shows, with modification, deferral, and workout options in place, four out of every five homeowners in forbearance are either paid in full or are exiting with a plan. They’re able to stay in their homes.

Why the Forbearance Program Changed the Housing Market | MyKCM

What does this mean for the housing market?

Since so many people can stay in their homes and work out alternative options, there won’t be a wave of foreclosures coming to the market. And while rising slightly since the foreclosure moratorium was lifted this year, foreclosures today are still nowhere near the levels seen in the housing crisis.

Forbearance wasn’t the only game changer, either. Lending standards have improved significantly since the housing bubble burst, and that’s one more thing keeping foreclosure filings low. Today’s borrowers are much more qualified to pay their home loans.

And while the majority of homeowners are exiting the forbearance program with a plan, for those who still need to make a change due to financial hardship or other challenges, today’s record-level of equity is giving them the opportunity to sell their houses and avoid foreclosure altogether. Homeowners have options they just didn’t have in the housing crisis when so many people owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth. Thanks to their equity and the current undersupply of homes on the market, homeowners can sell their houses, make a move, and not have to go through the foreclosure process that led to the housing market crash in 2008.

Thomas LaSalvia, Chief Economist with Moody’s Analyticsstates:

“There’s some excess savings out there, over 2 trillion worth. . . . There are people that have ownership of those homes right now, that even in a downturn, they’d still likely be able to pay that mortgage and won’t have to hand over keys. And there won’t be a lot of those distressed sales that happened in the 2008 crisis.”

Bottom Line

The forbearance program was a game changer for homeowners in need. It’s one of the big reasons why we won’t see a wave of foreclosures coming to the market.

Housing Market Forecast for the Rest of 2022 [INFOGRAPHIC]

Housing Market Forecast for the Rest of 2022 [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • The housing market is shifting away from the intensity of the past two years. Here’s what experts project for the remainder of 2022.
  • Home prices are forecast to rise more moderately than last year. Mortgage rates will respond to inflation, and home sales will be more in line with pre-pandemic years.
  • Let’s connect so you can make your best move this year.

Why It’s Still a Sellers’ Market

Why It’s Still a Sellers’ Market | MyKCM

As there’s more and more talk about the real estate market cooling off from the peak frenzy it saw during the pandemic, you may be questioning what that means for your plans to sell your house. If you’re thinking of making a move, you should know the market is still anything but normal.

Even though the supply of homes for sale has been growing this year, there’s still a shortage of homes on the market. And that means conditions continue to favor sellers today. That’s because the level of inventory of homes for sale can help determine if buyers or sellers are in the driver’s seat. Think of it like this:

  • buyers’ market is when there are more homes for sale than buyers looking to buy. When that happens, buyers have the negotiation power because sellers are more willing to compromise so they can sell their house.
  • In a sellers’ market, it’s just the opposite. There are too few homes available for the number of buyers in the market and that gives the seller all the leverage. In that situation, buyers will do what they can to compete for the limited number of homes for sale.
  • neutral market is when supply is balanced and there are enough homes to meet buyer demand at the current sales pace.

And for the past two years, we’ve been in a red-hot sellers’ market because inventory has been near record lows. The blue section of this graph highlights just how far below a neutral market inventory still is today.

Why It’s Still a Sellers’ Market | MyKCM

What Does This Mean for You?

Ed Pinto, Director of the American Enterprise Institute’s Housing Center, gives a perfect summary of what’s happening in today’s market, saying:

“Overall, the best summary is that we’ll move from a gangbuster sellers’ market to a modest sellers’ market.”

Conditions are still in your favor even though the market is cooling. If you work with an agent to price your house at market value, you’ll find success when you sell your house today. While buyer demand is softening due to higher mortgage rates, homes that are priced right are still selling fast. That means your window of opportunity to list your house hasn’t closed.

Bottom Line

Today’s housing market still favors sellers. If you’re ready to sell your house, let’s connect so you can start making your moves.

Buying a Home May Make More Financial Sense Than Renting One

Buying a Home May Make More Financial Sense Than Renting One | MyKCM

If rising home prices leave you wondering if it makes more sense to rent or buy a home in today’s housing market, consider this. It’s not just home prices that have risen in recent years – rental prices have skyrocketed as well. As a recent article from realtor.com says:

“The median rent across the 50 largest US metropolitan areas reached $1,876 in June, a new record level for Realtor.com data for the 16th consecutive month.”

That means rising prices will likely impact your housing plans either way. But there are a few key differences that could make buying a home a more worthwhile option for you.

If You Need More Space, Buying a Home May Be More Affordable

What you may not realize is that, according to the latest data from realtor.com and the National Association of Realtors (NAR), it may actually be more affordable to buy than rent depending on how many bedrooms you need. The graph below uses the median rental payment and median mortgage payment across the country to show why.

Buying a Home May Make More Financial Sense Than Renting One | MyKCM

As the graph conveys, if you need two or more bedrooms, it may actually be more affordable to buy a home even as prices rise. While this doesn’t take into consideration the interest deduction or other financial advantages that come with owning a home, it does help paint the picture that it may be more affordable to buy then rent for that unit size based on nationwide averages. So, if one of the factors motivating you to move is a desire for more space, this could be the added encouragement you need to consider homeownership.

Homeownership Also Provides Stability and a Chance To Grow Your Wealth

In addition to being more affordable depending on how many bedrooms you need, buying has two other key benefits: payment stability and equity.

When you buy a home, you lock in your monthly payment with your fixed-rate mortgage. And that’s especially important in today’s inflationary economy. With inflation, prices rise across the board for things like gas, groceries, and more. Locking in your housing payment, which is likely your largest monthly expense, can provide greater long-term stability and help shield you from those rising expenses moving forward. Renting doesn’t provide that same predictability. A recent article from CNET explains it like this:

“…if you buy a house and secure a fixed-rate mortgage, that means that no matter how much prices or interest rates go up, your fixed payment will stay the same every month. That’s an advantage over renting since there’s a good chance your landlord will raise your rent to counter inflationary pressures.” 

Not to mention, when you buy, you have the chance to build equity, which in turn grows your net worth. It works like this. As you pay down your home loan over time and as home values continue to appreciate, so does your equity. And that equity can make it easier to fuel a move into a future home if you decide you need a bigger home later on. Again, the CNET article mentioned above helps explain:

Homeownership is still considered one of the most reliable ways to build wealth. When you make monthly mortgage payments, you’re building equity in your home that you can tap into later on. When you rent, you aren’t investing in your financial future the same way you are when you’re paying off a mortgage.”

Bottom Line

If you’re trying to decide whether to keep renting or buy a home, let’s connect to explore your options. With home equity and a shield against inflation on the line, it may make more sense to buy a home if you’re able to.

3 Graphs To Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble

3 Graphs To Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | MyKCM

With all the headlines and buzz in the media, some consumers believe the market is in a housing bubble. As the housing market shifts, you may be wondering what’ll happen next. It’s only natural for concerns to creep in that it could be a repeat of what took place in 2008. The good news is, there’s concrete data to show why this is nothing like the last time.

There’s a Shortage of Homes on the Market Today, Not a Surplus

The supply of inventory needed to sustain a normal real estate market is approximately six months. Anything more than that is an overabundance and will causes prices to depreciate. Anything less than that is a shortage and will lead to continued price appreciation.

For historical context, there were too many homes for sale during the housing crisis (many of which were short sales and foreclosures), and that caused prices to tumble. Today, supply is growing, but there’s still a shortage of inventory available.

The graph below uses data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to show how this time compares to the crash. Today, unsold inventory sits at just a 3.0-months’ supply at the current sales pace.

3 Graphs To Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | MyKCM

One of the reasons inventory is still low is because of sustained underbuilding. When you couple that with ongoing buyer demand as millennials age into their peak homebuying years, it continues to put upward pressure on home prices. That limited supply compared to buyer demand is why experts forecast home prices won’t fall this time.

Mortgage Standards Were Much More Relaxed During the Crash

During the lead-up to the housing crisis, it was much easier to get a home loan than it is today. The graph below showcases data on the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The higher the number, the easier it is to get a mortgage.

3 Graphs To Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | MyKCM

Running up to 2006, banks were creating artificial demand by lowering lending standards and making it easy for just about anyone to qualify for a home loan or refinance their current home. Back then, lending institutions took on much greater risk in both the person and the mortgage products offered. That led to mass defaults, foreclosures, and falling prices.

Today, things are different, and purchasers face much higher standards from mortgage companies. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americansays:

Credit standards tightened in recent months due to increasing economic uncertainty and monetary policy tightening.” 

Stricter standards, like there are today, help prevent a risk of a rash of foreclosures like there was last time.

The Foreclosure Volume Is Nothing Like It Was During the Crash

The most obvious difference is the number of homeowners that were facing foreclosure after the housing bubble burst. Foreclosure activity has been on the way down since the crash because buyers today are more qualified and less likely to default on their loans. The graph below uses data from ATTOM Data Solutions to help tell the story:

3 Graphs To Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | MyKCM

In addition, homeowners today are equity rich, not tapped out. In the run-up to the housing bubble, some homeowners were using their homes as personal ATMs. Many immediately withdrew their equity once it built up. When home values began to fall, some homeowners found themselves in a negative equity situation where the amount they owed on their mortgage was greater than the value of their home. Some of those households decided to walk away from their homes, and that led to a wave of distressed property listings (foreclosures and short sales), which sold at considerable discounts that lowered the value of other homes in the area.

Today, prices have risen nicely over the last few years, and that’s given homeowners an equity boost. According to Black Knight:

In total, mortgage holders gained $2.8 trillion in tappable equity over the past 12 months – a 34% increase that equates to more than $207,000 in equity available per borrower. . . .”

With the average home equity now standing at $207,000, homeowners are in a completely different position this time.

Bottom Line

If you’re worried we’re making the same mistakes that led to the housing crash, the graphs above should help alleviate your concerns. Concrete data and expert insights clearly show why this is nothing like the last time.

Why Are People Moving Today?

Why Are People Moving Today? | MyKCM

Buying a home is a major life decision. That’s true whether you’re purchasing for the first time or selling your house to fuel a move. And if you’re planning to buy a home, you might be hearing about today’s shifting market and wondering what it means for you.

While mortgage rates are higher than they were at the start of the year and home prices are rising, you shouldn’t put your plans on hold based solely on market factors. Instead, it’s necessary to consider why you want to move and how important those reasons are to you. Here are two of the biggest personal motivators driving people to buy homes today.

A Need for More Space

Moving.com looked at migration patterns to determine why people moved to specific areas. One trend that emerged was the need for additional space, both indoors and outdoors.

Outgrowing your home isn’t new. If you’re craving a large yard, more entertaining room, or just need more storage areas or bedrooms overall, having the physical space you need for your desired lifestyle may be reason enough to make a change.

A Desire To Be Closer to Loved Ones

Moving and storage company United Van Lines surveys customers each year to get a better sense of why people move. The latest survey finds nearly 32% of people moved to be closer to loved ones.

Another moving and storage company, Pods, also highlights this as a top motivator for why people move. They note that an increase in flexible work options has helped many homeowners make a move closer to the people they care about most:

“. . . a shifting of priorities has also affected why people are moving. Many companies have moved to permanent remote working policies, giving employees the option to move freely around the country, and people are taking advantage of the perk.”

If you can move to another location because of remote work, retirement, or for any other reason, you could leverage that flexibility to be closer to the most important people in your life. Being nearby for caregiving and being able to attend get-togethers and life milestones could be exactly what you’re looking for.

What Does That Mean for You?

If you’re thinking about moving, one of these reasons might be a top motivator for you. And while what’s happening with mortgage rates and home prices in the housing market today will likely play a role in your decision, it’s equally important to make sure your home meets your needs. Like Charlie Bilello, Founder and CEO of Compound Capital Advisorssays:

Your home is your castle and should confer benefits beyond just the numbers.”

Bottom Line

There are many reasons why people decide to move. No matter what the reason may be, if your needs have changed, let’s connect to discuss your options in today’s housing market.

Three Reasons To Buy a Home in Today’s Shifting Market [INFOGRAPHIC]

Three Reasons To Buy a Home in Today’s Shifting Market [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • The housing market is moving away from the frenzy of the past year and it’s opening doors for you if you’re thinking about buying a home.
  • Housing inventory is increasing, which means more options for your search. Plus, the intensity of bidding wars may ease as buyer demand moderates, leading to fewer homes selling above asking price.
  • If you’re ready to buy a home, now may be the moment you’ve been waiting for. Let’s connect to start the homebuying process today.