Lower Mortgage Rates Are Bringing Buyers Back to the Market

Lower Mortgage Rates Are Bringing Buyers Back to the Market | MyKCM

As mortgage rates rose last year, activity in the housing market slowed down. And as a result, homes started seeing fewer offers and stayed on the market longer. That meant some homeowners decided to press pause on selling.

Now, however, rates are beginning to come down—and buyers are starting to reenter the market. In fact, the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) shows mortgage applications increased last week by 7% compared to the week before.

So, if you’ve been planning to sell your house but you’re unsure if there will be anyone to buy it, this shift in the market could be your chance. Here’s what experts are saying about buyers returning to the market as we approach spring.

Mike Fratantoni, SVP and Chief Economist, MBA:

Mortgage rates are now at their lowest level since September 2022, and about a percentage point below the peak mortgage rate last fall. As we enter the beginning of the spring buying season, lower mortgage rates and more homes on the market will help affordability for first-time homebuyers.”

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, National Association of Realtors (NAR):

The upcoming months should see a return of buyers, as mortgage rates appear to have already peaked and have been coming down since mid-November.”

Thomas LaSalvia, Senior Economist, Moody’s Analytics:

“We expect the labor market to remain robust, wages to continue to rise—maybe not at the pace that they did during the pandemic, but that will open up some opportunity for folks to enter homeownership as interest rates stabilize a bit.”

Sam Khater, Chief Economist, Freddie Mac:

“Homebuyers are waiting for rates to decrease more significantly, and when they do, a strong job market and a large demographic tailwind of Millennial renters will provide support to the purchase market.”

Bottom Line

If you’ve been thinking about making a move, now’s the time to get your house ready to sell. Let’s connect so you can learn about buyer demand in our area the best time to put your house on the market.

Where Will You Go If You Sell? You Have Options.

Where Will You Go If You Sell? You Have Options. | MyKCM

There are plenty of good reasons you might be ready to move. No matter your motivations, before you list your current house, you need to consider where you’ll go next.

In today’s market, it makes sense to explore all your options. That includes both homes that have been lived in before as well as newly built ones. To help you decide which is right for you, let’s compare the benefits of each. Regardless of which option you choose to explore, working with a trusted real estate professional throughout the process is essential.

The Benefits of Newly Built Homes

First, let’s look at the benefits of purchasing a newly constructed home. With a brand-new house, you’ll be able to:

1. Build your dream home

If you build a home from the ground up, you’ll have the option to select the custom features you want, including appliances, finishes, landscaping, layout, and more. Bankrate puts it like this:

“Building means customizing. . . . instead of wishing your home had a certain kind of flooring, a sunroom or some other special amenity, you’ll be able to tailor the property to your exact needs. You also won’t be limited to a specific location or neighborhood.”

2. Take advantage of builder concessions

In today’s market, a lot of home builders are working hard to sell their current inventory before they add more to their mix. That means many of them are offering concessions and are more willing to negotiate with buyers. That could work to your advantage in the process.

3. Minimize home repairs

Many builders offer a warranty, so you’ll have peace of mind on unlikely repairs. Plus, you won’t have as many little improvement projects to tackle. As realtor.com says:

“. . . if something goes wrong with your new home, not only are there likely some manufacturer warranties in place, but many builders also include additional home warranties . . .”

4. Take advantage of energy efficiency

When building a home, you can choose brand-new, energy-efficient options to help lower your utility costs, protect the environment, and reduce your carbon footprint.

The Benefits of Existing Homes

Now, let’s compare those to the perks that come with buying an existing home. With a pre-existing home, you can:

1. Explore a wider variety of home styles and floorplans

With decades of homes to choose from, you’ll have a broader range of floorplans and designs available.

2. Appreciate that lived-in charm

The character of older homes is hard to reproduce. If you value timeless craftsmanship or design elements, you may prefer an existing home.

3. Join an established neighborhood

Existing homes give you the option to get to know the neighborhood, community, or traffic patterns before you commit. Plus, they have more developed landscaping and trees, which can give you additional privacy and curb appeal.

4. Move in faster

If you have a short timeframe to move or you just don’t want the process to take several months while your home is under construction, buying an existing home might make sense for you. U.S. News explains:

“When you’re choosing a home, existing or new, you should also consider how long it might take to move into that home. Just because you have a contract doesn’t mean that your new home will be completed (or even started) at the time you agree to the purchase. It can be a struggle waiting for the walls to go up as you wonder what your home will become.”

When thinking about where you’ll go after you sell your house, remember your options. As you start your search, think about what’s most important to you. By working with a trusted real estate agent, you can be confident you’re making the most educated, informed decision.

Bottom Line

If you have questions about the options in our area, let’s discuss what’s available and what’s right for you, so you’re ready to make your next move with confidence.

Why You Shouldn’t Fear Today’s Foreclosure Headlines

Why You Shouldn’t Fear Today’s Foreclosure Headlines | MyKCM

If you’ve seen recent headlines about foreclosures surging in the housing market, you’re certainly not alone. There’s no doubt, the stories in the media can be pretty confusing right now. They may even make you think twice about buying a home for fear that prices could crash. The reality is, the data shows a foreclosure crisis is not where the market is headed, and understanding what that really means is mission critical if you want to know the truth about what’s happening today. Here’s a deeper look.

According to the Year-End 2022 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report from ATTOMforeclosure filings are up 115% from 2021, but down 34% from 2019. As media headlines grab onto this 115% increase, it’s more important than ever to put that percentage into context.

While the number of foreclosure filings did more than double last year, we need to remember why that happened and how it compares to more normal, pre-pandemic years in the market. Thanks to the forbearance program and other relief options for homeowners, foreclosure filings were down to record-low levels in 2020 and 2021, so any increase last year is — no surprise — a jump up. Rick Sharga, Executive VP of Market Intelligence at ATTOM, notes:

“Eighteen months after the end of the government’s foreclosure moratorium, and with less than five percent of the 8.4 million borrowers who entered the CARES Act forbearance program remaining, foreclosure activity remains significantly lower than it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems clear that government and mortgage industry efforts during the pandemic, coupled with a strong economy, have helped prevent millions of unnecessary foreclosures.”

Clearly, these options meant millions of homeowners could stay in their homes, allowing them to get back on their feet during a very challenging period. With home values rising at the same time, many homeowners who may have found themselves facing foreclosure under other circumstances were able to leverage their equity and sell their houses rather than face foreclosure, and that trend continues today.

And remember, as the graph below shows, foreclosures today are far below the record-high 2.9 million that were reported in 2010 when the housing market crashed.

Why You Shouldn’t Fear Today’s Foreclosure Headlines | MyKCM

So, while foreclosures are rising, keeping perspective in mind is key. As Bill McBride, Founder and Author of Calculated Risknoted just last week:

“The bottom line is there will be an increase in foreclosures over the next year (from record low levels), but there will not be a huge wave of distressed sales as happened following the housing bubble. The distressed sales during the housing bust led to cascading price declines, and that will not happen this time.”

Bottom Line

Right now, putting the data into context is more important than ever. While the housing market is experiencing an expected rise in foreclosures, it’s nowhere near the crisis levels seen when the housing bubble burst, and that won’t lead to a crash in home prices.

The 3 Factors That Affect Home Affordability

The 3 Factors That Affect Home Affordability | MyKCM

If you’ve been following the housing market over the last couple of years, you’ve likely heard about growing affordability challenges. But according to experts, the key factors that determine housing affordability are projected to improve this year. Selma Hepp, Executive, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogicshares:

“. . . with slowly improving affordability and a more optimistic economic outlook than previously believed, the housing market could show resilience in 2023.”

The three measures used to establish home affordability are home prices, mortgage rates, and wages. Here’s a closer look at each one.

1. Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates shot up to over 7% last year, causing many buyers to put their plans on hold. But things are looking different today as rates are starting to come down. George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.comexplains:

“Let’s celebrate some good news. . . . mortgage rates are down. With inflation showing a tangible slowdown, I do expect mortgage rates to follow suit in the months ahead.”

Even a small change in rates can impact your purchasing power. Nadia Evangelou, Director of Forecasting for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), gives this context:

“With a 6% rate instead of 7%, buyers pay about $2,700 less every year on their mortgage. As a result, owning a home becomes affordable to about 1.4 million more renters and 4.3 million more homeowners.”

If 7% rates paused your homebuying plans last year, this could be the opportunity you need to get back in the game. Be sure to work with a team of experts who know the latest on mortgage rates and can give you the best advice for the current market.

2. Home Prices

The second factor at play is home prices. Home prices have made headlines over the past few years because they skyrocketed during the pandemic. When discussing home prices in 2023, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, says:

“After a big boom over the past two years, there will essentially be no change nationally . . . Half of the country may experience small price gains, while the other half may see slight price declines.”

So, while prices will likely be flat this year in some markets, others could see small gains or slight declines. It all depends on your local area. For insight into what’s happening in your market and how prices are impacting affordability, reach out to a trusted real estate professional.

3. Wages

The final component in the affordability equation is wages. The graph below uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to show how wages have increased over time:

The 3 Factors That Affect Home Affordability | MyKCM

When you think about affordability, remember the full picture includes more than just mortgage rates and prices. Wages need to be factored in as well. Because wages have been rising, many buyers have renewed opportunity in the market.

While affordability hurdles are not completely going away this year, based on current trends and projections, 2023 should bring some sense of relief to homebuyers who have faced growing challenges. As Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), says:

“Rates are expected to move lower for the year, and home price growth is expected to cool, both of which will help affordability challenges.”

Bottom Line

If you have questions, let’s connect. You’ll also want to make sure you have a trusted lender so you can explore your financing options. You may be closer to owning a home than you think.

What’s Really Happening with Home Prices? [INFOGRAPHIC]

What’s Really Happening with Home Prices? [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • If you’re thinking about selling your house, recent headlines about home prices falling month-over-month may have you second guessing your decision—but perspective matters.
  • While home prices are down slightly month-over-month in some markets, home values are still up almost 10% nationally on a year-over-year basis. A nearly 10% gain is still dramatic compared to the more normal level of appreciation, which is 3-4%.
  • Let’s connect to find out how much equity you have in your current home and how you can use it to fuel your next purchase.

Pre-Approval in 2023: What You Need To Know

Pre-Approval in 2023: What You Need To Know | MyKCM

One of the first steps in your homebuying journey is getting pre-approved. To understand why it’s such an important step, you need to understand what pre-approval is and what it does for you. Business Insider explains:

“In a preapproval [sic], the lender tells you which types of loans you may be eligible to take out, how much you may be approved to borrow, and what your rate could be.”

Basically, pre-approval gives you critical information about the homebuying process that’ll help you understand your options and what you may be able to borrow.

How does it work? As part of the pre-approval process, a lender will look at your finances to determine what they’d be willing to loan you. From there, your lender will give you a pre-approval letter to help you understand how much money you can borrow. That can make it easier when you set out to search for homes because you’ll know your overall numbers. And with higher mortgage rates impacting affordability for many buyers today, a solid understanding of your numbers is even more important.

Pre-Approval Helps Show You’re a Serious Buyer

Another added benefit is pre-approval can help a seller feel more confident in your offer because it shows you’re serious about buying their house. A recent article from Forbes notes:

“From the seller’s perspective, a preapproval [sic] letter from a reputable local lender often can make the difference between accepting and rejecting an offer.”

This goes to show, even though you may not face the intense bidding wars you saw if you tried to buy during the pandemic, pre-approval is still an important part of making a strong offer. In fact, Christy Bieber, Personal Finance Writer at The Motley Fool explains it may be the most important part of making an offer:

“Pre-approval maximizes the chances you’ll be able to actually close the deal – and sellers want to see that.

The fact that a pre-approval gives you a better chance of getting your offer accepted is undoubtedly the most important reason to complete this step . . .”

Bottom Line

Getting pre-approved is an important first step towards buying a home. It lets you know what you can borrow and shows sellers you’re serious about purchasing their home. Connect with a local real estate professional and a trusted lender so you have the tools you need to purchase a home in today’s market.

Have Home Values Hit Bottom?

Have Home Values Hit Bottom? | MyKCM

Whether you’re already a homeowner or you’re looking to become one, the recent headlines about home prices may leave you with more questions than answers. News stories are talking about home prices falling, and that’s raising concerns about a repeat of what happened to prices in the crash in 2008.

One of the questions that’s on many minds, based on those headlines, is: how much will home prices decline? But what you may not realize is expert forecasters aren’t calling for a free fall in prices. In fact, if you look at the latest data, there’s a case to be made that the biggest portion of month-over-month price depreciation nationally may already behind us – and even those numbers weren’t significant declines on the national level. Instead of how far will they drop, the question becomes: have home values hit bottom?

Let’s take a look at the latest data from several reputable industry sources (see chart below):

Have Home Values Hit Bottom? | MyKCM

The chart above provides a look at the most recent reports from Case-Shiller, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Black Knight, and CoreLogic. It shows how, on a national scale, home values have changed month-over-month since January 2022. November and December numbers have yet to come out.

Let’s focus in on what the red numbers tell us. The red numbers are the change in home values over the last four months that have been published. And if we isolate the last four months, what the data shows is, in each case, home price depreciation peaked in August.

While that doesn’t guarantee home price depreciation has hit bottom, it confirms prices aren’t in a free fall, and it may be an early signal that the worst is already behind us. As the numbers for November and December are released, data will be able to further validate this national trend.

Bottom Line

Home prices month-over-month have depreciated for the past four months on record, but there’s a strong case to be made that the worst may be behind us. If you have questions about what’s happening with home prices in our local market, let’s connect.

Think Twice Before Waiting for 3% Mortgage Rates

Think Twice Before Waiting for 3% Mortgage Rates | MyKCM

Last year, the Federal Reserve took action to try to bring down inflation. In response to those efforts, mortgage rates jumped up rapidly from the record lows we saw in 2021, peaking at just over 7% last October. Hopeful buyers experienced a hit to their purchasing power as a result, and some decided to press pause on their plans.

Today, the rate of inflation is starting to drop. And as a result, mortgage rates have dipped below last year’s peak. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Macshares:

“While mortgage market activity has significantly shrunk over the last year, inflationary pressures are easing and should lead to lower mortgage rates in 2023.”

That’s potentially great news if you’re a buyer aiming to jump back into the housing market. Any drop in mortgage rates helps boost your purchasing power by bringing down your expected monthly mortgage payment. This means the lower mortgage rates experts forecast this year could be just what you need to reignite your homebuying goals.

While this opens up a window of opportunity for you, remember: you shouldn’t expect rates to drop back down to record lows like we saw in 2021. Experts agree that’s not the range buyers should bank on. Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrateexplains:

“I think we could be surprised at how much mortgage rates pull back this year. But we’re not going back to 3 percent anytime soon, because inflation is not going back to 2 percent anytime soon.

It’s important to have a realistic vision for what you can expect this year, and that’s where the advice of expert real estate advisors is critical. You may be surprised by the impact even a mild drop in mortgage rates has on your budget. If you’re ready to buy a home now, today’s market presents the opportunity to get a more affordable mortgage rate, find your dream home, and face less competition from other buyers.

Bottom Line

The recent pullback in mortgage rates is great news – but if you’re ready to buy now, holding out for 3% is a mistake. Work with a local lender to learn how today’s rates impact your goals, and let’s connect to explore your options in our area.

What Past Recessions Tell Us About the Housing Market

What Past Recessions Tell Us About the Housing Market | MyKCM

It doesn’t matter if you’re someone who closely follows the economy or not, chances are you’ve heard whispers of an upcoming recession. Economic conditions are determined by a broad range of factors, so rather than explaining them each in depth, let’s lean on the experts and what history tells us to see what could lie ahead. As Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankratesays:

“Two-in-three economists are forecasting a recession in 2023 . . .”

As talk about a potential recession grows, you may be wondering what a recession could mean for the housing market. Here’s a look at the historical data to show what happened in real estate during previous recessions to help prove why you shouldn’t be afraid of what a recession could mean for the housing market today.

A Recession Doesn’t Mean Falling Home Prices

To show that home prices don’t fall every time there’s a recession, it helps to turn to historical data. As the graph below illustrates, looking at recessions going all the way back to 1980, home prices appreciated in four of the last six of them. So historically, when the economy slows down, it doesn’t mean home values will always fall.

Most people remember the housing crisis in 2008 (the larger of the two red bars in the graph above) and think another recession would be a repeat of what happened to housing then. But today’s housing market isn’t about to crash because the fundamentals of the market are different than they were in 2008. According to experts, home prices will vary by market and may go up or down depending on the local area. But the average of their 2023 forecasts shows prices will net neutral nationwide, not fall drastically like they did in 2008.

A Recession Means Falling Mortgage Rates

Research also helps paint the picture of how a recession could impact the cost of financing a home. As the graph below shows, historically, each time the economy slowed down, mortgage rates decreased.

What Past Recessions Tell Us About the Housing Market in 2023 | MyKCM

Fortune explains mortgage rates typically fall during an economic slowdown:

Over the past five recessions, mortgage rates have fallen an average of 1.8 percentage points from the peak seen during the recession to the trough. And in many cases, they continued to fall after the fact as it takes some time to turn things around even when the recession is technically over.”

In 2023, market experts say mortgage rates will likely stabilize below the peak we saw last year. That’s because mortgage rates tend to respond to inflation. And early signs show inflation is starting to cool. If inflation continues to ease, rates may fall a bit more, but the days of 3% are likely behind us.

The big takeaway is you don’t need to fear the word recession when it comes to housing. In fact, experts say a recession would be mild and housing would play a key role in a quick economic rebound. As the 2022 CEO Outlook from KPMG, says:

“Global CEOs see a ‘mild and short’ recession, yet optimistic about global economy over 3-year horizon . . .

 More than 8 out of 10 anticipate a recession over the next 12 months, with more than half expecting it to be mild and short.”

Bottom Line 

While history doesn’t always repeat itself, we can learn from the past. According to historical data, in most recessions, home values have appreciated and mortgage rates have declined.

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home this year, let’s connect so you have expert advice on what’s happening in the housing market and what that means for your homeownership goals.

Key Terms To Know When Buying a Home [INFOGRAPHIC]

Key Terms To Know When Buying a Home [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • Buying a home is a major transaction that can seem even more complex when you don’t understand the terms used throughout the process.
  • If you’re looking to become a homeowner this year, it’s important to know these housing terms and how they relate to the current market so you feel confident throughout the homebuying process.
  • Let’s connect so you have expert answers for any questions as they come up.