Homeownership Could Be in Reach with Down Payment Assistance Programs

Homeownership Could Be in Reach with Down Payment Assistance Programs | MyKCM

A recent survey from Bankrate asks prospective buyers to identify the biggest obstacles in their homebuying journey. It found that 36% of those polled said saving for a down payment is one of their primary hurdles to buying a home.

If you feel the same way, the good news is there are many down payment assistance programs available that can help you achieve your homeownership goals. The key is understanding where to look and learning what options are available. Here’s some information that can help you.

You Can Qualify Even if You’ve Purchased a Home Before

There are several misconceptions about down payment assistance programs. For starters, many people believe there’s only assistance available for first-time homebuyers. While first-time buyers have many options to explore, repeat buyers have some, too. According to the latest Homeownership Program Index from downpaymentresource.com:

“It is a common misconception that homebuyer assistance is only available to first-time homebuyers, however, 38% of homebuyer assistance programs in Q1 2022 did not have a first-time homebuyer requirement.

That means repeat buyers could qualify for over one-third of the assistance programs available. And if you’re a repeat buyer, you may still be able to take advantage of some first-time homebuyer programs, depending on your personal situation. That’s because downpaymentresource.com also notes many of the first-time homebuyer programs use the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s definition of a first-time homebuyer. Under their definition, you could qualify as a first-time buyer if you’re:

  • Someone who hasn’t owned a primary residence in 3 years.
  • A single parent who’s only ever owned a home with a former spouse.

That means no matter where you are in your homeownership journey, there could be an option available for you.

You May Be Eligible for Programs Based on Your Location or Profession

In addition to broader options available for repeat and first-time homebuyers, there are other types of down payment assistance programs that you could qualify for based on your location. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“Many local governments and non-profit organizations offer down-payment assistance grants and loans, targeted to area borrowers and often with specific borrower requirements.”

Plus, there are programs and special benefits for individuals working in certain professions or with unique statuses, including teachers, doctors and nurses, and veterans.

Ultimately, that means there are many federal, state, and local programs available for you to explore. The best way to do that is to connect with a local real estate professional and your lender to learn more about what’s available in your area.

Bottom Line

Down payment assistance programs have helped many homebuyers achieve their dreams, and if you qualify, they could help you too. Let’s connect today so you can begin exploring your options.

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.

The Average Homeowner Gained $64K in Equity over the Past Year

The Average Homeowner Gained $64K in Equity over the Past Year | MyKCM

If you own a home, your net worth likely just got a big boost thanks to rising home equity. Equity is the current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan. And today, based on recent home price appreciation, you’re building that equity far faster than you may expect – here’s how it works.

Because there’s an ongoing imbalance between the number of homes available for sale and the number of buyers looking to make a purchase, home prices are on the rise. That means your home is worth more in today’s market because it’s in high demand. As Patrick Dodd, President and CEO of CoreLogicexplains:

“Price growth is the key ingredient for the creation of home equity wealth. . . . This has led to the largest one-year gain in average home equity wealth for owners. . . .”

Basically, because your home value has likely climbed so much, your equity has increased too. According to the latest Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogicthe average homeowner’s equity has grown by $64,000 over the last 12 months.

While that’s the nationwide number, if you want to know what’s happening in your area, look at the map below. It breaks down the average year-over-year equity growth for each state using the data from CoreLogic.

The Average Homeowner Gained $64K in Equity over the Past Year | MyKCM

The Opportunity Your Rising Home Equity Provides

In addition to building your overall net worth, equity can also help you achieve other goals like buying your next home. When you sell your current house, the equity you built up comes back to you in the sale. In a market where homeowners are gaining so much equity, it may be just what you need to cover a large portion – if not all – of the down payment on your next home.

So, if you’ve been holding off on selling or you’re worried about being priced out of your next home because of today’s ongoing home price appreciation, rest assured your equity can help fuel your move.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning to make a move, the equity you’ve gained can make a big impact. To find out just how much equity you have in your current home and how you can use it to fuel your next purchase, let’s connect so you can get a professional equity assessment report on your house.

Why Achieving the Dream of Homeownership Can Be More Difficult for Some Americans

Why Achieving the Dream of Homeownership Can Be More Difficult for Some Americans | MyKCM

Today we take time to honor and recognize the past and present experiences of Black Americans. When it comes to real estate specifically, equitable access to housing has come a long way, but the path to homeownership is still steeper for households of color.

The Gap in Homeownership Rate in America

It’s a more challenging journey to achieve homeownership for some buyers, as shown by the measurable gap between the overall average U.S. homeownership rate and that of non-white groups. Today, Census data shows the lowest homeownership rate persists in the Black community (see graph below):

Why Achieving the Dream of Homeownership Can Be More Difficult for Some Americans | MyKCM

This graph clearly indicates there’s a gap that still exists in the percentage of people in each community who are able to achieve homeownership. 

How Homeownership Impacts Household Wealth 

One of the challenges that could make buying a home harder for these groups is how difficult it can be to accumulate wealth. Even today, there are obstacles certain racial and ethnic groups, especially the Black community, still face. A recent article from NextAdvisor explains:

“The median Black household earns 61 cents for every dollar earned by a comparable White household, according to the Economic Policy Institute. This not only makes it more difficult to afford a home, but also to accumulate and pass on generational wealth.”

This can delay or prevent many from achieving homeownership, challenging their ability to grow their net worth and build wealth that can pass down to future generations – a point that’s clear in a 2022 report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

Given that homeownership contributes to wealth accumulation and the homeownership rate is lower in minority groups, data shows that the net worth for these groups is also lower. At $188,200, the net worth of a typical white family was nearly 8 times greater than that of a Black family ($24,100) in 2019.”

It’s important to talk about the experience Black homebuyers may have and the challenges they may face as they pursue their dream of homeownership. The inequity that remains in housing can be a point of pain and frustration. That’s why it’s so important for members of diverse groups to have the right team of experts on their sides throughout the homebuying process.

These professionals aren’t only experienced advisors who understand the market and give the best advice. They’re also compassionate allies who will advocate for your best interests every step of the way. They can point you to important resources and tools that can help you throughout your journey to homeownership.

Bottom Line

Opportunities in real estate improve every day, but there are still equity challenges that many face. Let’s connect to make sure you have an advocate on your side to help you achieve your dream of homeownership.

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.

Is the Housing Market Correcting?

Is the Housing Market Correcting? | MyKCM

If you’re following the news, all of the headlines about conditions in the current housing market may leave you with more questions than answers. Is the boom over? Is the market crashing or correcting? Here’s what you need to know.

The housing market is moderating compared to the last two years, but what everyone needs to remember is that the past two years were record-breaking in nearly every way. Record-low mortgage rates and millennials reaching peak homebuying years led to an influx of buyer demand. At the same time, there weren’t enough homes available to purchase thanks to many years of underbuilding and sellers who held off on listing their homes due to the health crisis.

This combination led to record-high demand and record-low supply, and that wasn’t going to be sustainable for the long term. The latest data shows early signs of a shift back to the market pace seen in the years leading up to the pandemic – not a crash nor a correction. As realtor.com says:

The housing market is at a turning point. . . . We’re starting to see signs of a new direction, . . .”

Home Showings Then and Now

The ShowingTime Showing Index tracks the traffic of home showings according to agents and brokers. It’s a good indication of buyer demand. Here’s a look at that data going back to 2019 (see graph below):

Is the Housing Market Correcting? | MyKCM

The 2019 numbers give a good baseline of pre-pandemic demand (shown in gray). As the graph indicates, home showings skyrocketed during the pandemic (shown in blue). And while current buyer demand has begun to moderate slightly based on the latest data (shown in green), showings are still above 2019 levels.

And since 2019 was such a strong year for the housing market, this helps show that the market isn’t crashing – it’s just at a turning point that’s moving back toward more pre-pandemic levels.

Existing Home Sales Then and Now

Headlines are also talking about how existing home sales are declining, but perspective matters. Here’s a look at existing home sales going all the way back to 2019 using data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) (see graph below):

Is the Housing Market Correcting? | MyKCM

Again, a similar story emerges. The pandemic numbers (shown in blue) beat the more typical year of 2019 home sales (shown in gray). And according to the latest projections for 2022 (shown in green), the market is on pace to close this year with more home sales than 2019 as well.

It’s important to compare today not to the abnormal pandemic years, but to the most recent normal year to show the current housing market is still strong. First American sums it up like this:

“. . . today’s housing market looks a lot like the 2019 housing market, which was the strongest housing market in a decade at the time.”

Bottom Line

If recent headlines are generating any concerns, look at a more typical year for perspective. The current market is not a crash or correction. It’s just a turning point toward more typical, pre-pandemic levels. Let’s connect if you have any questions about our local market and what it means for you when you buy or sell this year.

More Americans Choose Real Estate as the Best Investment Than Ever Before

More Americans Choose Real Estate as the Best Investment Than Ever Before | MyKCM

Americans’ opinion on the value of real estate as an investment is climbing. That’s according to an annual survey from Gallup. Not only is real estate viewed as the best investment for the ninth year in a row, but more Americans selected it than ever before.

The graph below shows the results of the survey since Gallup began asking the question in 2011. As the trend lines indicate, real estate has been gaining ground as the clear favorite for almost a decade now:

More Americans Choose Real Estate as the Best Investment Than Ever Before | MyKCM

If you’re thinking about purchasing a home, let this poll reassure you. Even when inflation is high like today, Americans recognize owning a home is a powerful financial decision.

How an Investment in Real Estate Can Benefit You During High Inflation

Because inflation reached its highest level in 40 years recently, it’s more important than ever to understand the financial benefits of homeownership. Rising inflation means prices are increasing across the board, and that includes goods, services, housing costs, and more. When you purchase your home, you lock in your monthly housing payments, effectively shielding yourself from increases on one of your biggest budgetary items each month.

If you’re a renter, you don’t have that same benefit, and you aren’t protected from these increases, especially as rents rise. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, notes:

“Rising rents, which continue to climb at double-digit pace . . . and the prospect of locking in a monthly housing cost in a market with widespread inflation are motivating today’s first-time homebuyers.”

When Inflation Has Risen in the Past, Home Prices Have Too

Your house is also an asset that typically increases in value over time, even during inflation. That‘s because as prices rise, the value of your home does too. Mark Cussen, Financial Writer for Investopedia, puts it like this:

“There are many advantages to investing in real estate. . . . It often acts as a good inflation hedge since there will always be a demand for homes, regardless of the economic climate, and because as inflation rises, so do property values. . . .”

And since rising home values help increase your equity, and by extension your net worth, homeownership is historically a good hedge against inflation.

Bottom Line

Buying a home is a powerful decision. It’s no wonder why so many people view it as the best long-term investment, even when inflation is high. When you buy, you help shield yourself from increases in your housing costs and you own an asset that typically gains value with time. If you want to better understand how buying a home could be a great investment for you, let’s connect today.

The Top Reasons To Own Your Home [INFOGRAPHIC]

The Top Reasons To Own Your Home [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • June is National Homeownership Month, and it’s a great time to consider the benefits of owning your own home.
  • If you’re considering homeownership, know that it can give you privacy, comfort, and a place to express yourself. It can also provide financial stability and help you grow your net worth.
  • Are you ready to experience all the great benefits that come from purchasing a home? Let’s connect to begin the process today.

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.

The Dream of Homeownership Is Worth the Effort

The Dream of Homeownership Is Worth the Effort | MyKCM

If you’re in the market to buy a home this season, stick with it. Homebuyers face challenges in any market, and today’s is no exception. But if you persevere, your decision to purchase a home will be worth the effort in the end. In fact, a recent survey from Bankrate shows homeownership is so powerful that:

Nearly three in four homeowners say they would still buy their current home if they had it to do [sic] all over again.”

That means the results – owning a home and the benefits that come with it – outweigh the effort needed to achieve their goal. If you’re a homebuyer, let that provide you with the confidence to know the work you’re putting in today will pay off for years to come. Here are a few reasons to stick with your search and focus on the outcome.

Homeownership Contributes Significantly to Your Financial Well-Being

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) lists several motivations to consider if you’re thinking about buying a home. One of the top financial reasons is the equity you build. As NAR says:

“Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity . . . Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan.”

Your equity is a powerful tool you can leverage in a number of ways. And with recent home price appreciation, homeowners are seeing record levels of equity today. That may be one reason why so many people view owning a home as a great investment and a top indicator of financial well-being. As the survey from Bankrate mentioned above shows:

“. . . Americans place a higher value on homeownership than on any other indicator of economic stability, . . .”

Owning a home ranks above other major accomplishments like retirement, having a successful career, and getting a college degree. That indicates just how impactful the financial benefits of homeownership truly are.

The Emotional Benefits of Owning a Home Are Powerful

Of course, homeownership is more than an investment. In their list of top reasons to buy a home, NAR also highlights some of the powerful, non-financial aspects of homeownership. Among them is the opportunity to customize your home to reflect your personality and needs. As they say:

“The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your lifestyle.”

Another benefit homeowners enjoy is the stability it provides. Homeowners typically stay put longer than renters. According to NAR, when you remain in one place longer than a few years, you can grow closer to your community. And that can enhance your sense of pride and lead to better relationships.

What Does That Mean for You?

The benefits of homeownership are powerful, as Leslie Rouda Smith, President of NAR, says:

“From building personal wealth and fostering communities, to strengthening social stability and driving the national economy, the value of homeownership is indisputable.”

Even if you face challenges in today’s market, the payoff when you succeed and purchase a home will be worth it.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning to buy a home this year, there are incredible benefits waiting for you at the end of your journey. Let’s connect to discuss everything homeownership has to offer.