REAL ESTATE NEWS & MARKET TRENDS

Jan. 30, 2020

Strength of the Economy Is Surprising the Experts

Strength of the Economy Is Surprising the Experts

Strength of the Economy Is Surprising the Experts | MyKCM

We’re currently in the longest economic recovery in U.S. history. That has caused some to ask experts to project when the next economic slowdown (recession) could occur. Two years ago, 67% of the economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) for the Economic Forecasting Survey predicted we would have a recession no later than the end of this year (2020). The same study done just three months ago showed more than one third of the economists still saw an economic slowdown right around the corner.

The news caused concern among consumers. This is evidenced by a recent survey done by realtor.com that shows 53% of home purchasers (first-time and repeat buyers) currently in the market believe a recession will occur by the end of this year.

Wait! It seems the experts are changing their minds….

Now, in an article earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) revealed only 14.3% of those economists now believe we’re in danger of a recession occurring this year (see graph below):Strength of the Economy Is Surprising the Experts | MyKCMThe WSJ article strongly stated,

“The U.S. expansion, now in its 11th year, will continue through the 2020 presidential election with a healthy labor market backing it up, economists say.”

This optimism regarding the economy was repeated by others as well.

CNBC, quoting Goldman Sachs economists:

“Just months after almost everyone on Wall Street worried that a recession was just around the corner, Goldman Sachs said a downturn is unlikely over the next several years. In fact, the firm’s economists stopped just short of saying that the U.S. economy is recession-proof.”

Barron’s:

“When Barron’s gathers some of Wall Street’s best minds—as we do every January for our annual Roundtable—we expect some consensus, some disagreement…But the 10 veteran investors and economists who convened in New York on Jan. 6 at the Barron’s offices agree that there’s almost no chance of a recession this year.”

Washington Post:

“The U.S. economy is heading into 2020 at a pace of steady, sustained growth after a series of interest rate cuts and the apparent resolution of two trade-related threats mostly eliminated the risk of a recession.”

Robert A. Dye, Chief Economist at Comerica Bank:

"I expect that the U.S. economy will avoid a recession in 2020."

Bottom Line

There probably won’t be a recession this year. That’s good news for you, whether you’re looking to buy or sell a home.

Posted in Market Updates
Jan. 28, 2020

Should I Sell My House This Year?

Should I Sell My House This Year?

Should I Sell My House This Year? | MyKCM

If one of the questions you’re asking yourself today is, “Should I sell my house this year?” the current Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) Survey from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) should boost your confidence as it relates to the current selling sentiment in the housing market. Even with all the information overload in the media circling around talk of a possible recession, the upcoming 2020 election, and more, Americans feel good about selling a house now. That’s some news to get excited about!

As the graph below shows, as of Q4 2019, 75% of people surveyed indicate they believe now is a good time to sell a home:Should I Sell My House This Year? | MyKCMIn the case of those with a yearly salary of $100,000 or more, the results jumped even higher, coming in at an 82% positive sentiment.

When the study divided the outcomes by region, the results still consistently showed Americans feeling good about selling:

  • Northeast: 71% positive
  • Midwest: 76% positive
  • South: 72% positive
  • West: 81% positive

In addition to looking at income and region, the report also divided the results by generation, as shown in the graph below:Should I Sell My House This Year? | MyKCMAs you can see, many believe that, despite everything going on in the world, it is still a good time to sell a home.

According to NAR, the unsold inventory available today “sits at a 3.0-month supply at the current sales pace,” which is down from a 3.7-month supply in November. The current inventory is half of what we need for a normal or neutral housing market, which should have a 6.0-month supply of unsold inventory. This is good news for sellers, as Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, says:

“Home sellers are positioned well, but prospective buyers aren’t as fortunate. Low inventory remains a problem, with first-time buyers affected the most.”

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to list your home, you can feel good about the current sentiment in the market. Let’s get together today to determine the best next step when it comes to selling your house this year.

Posted in Sellers
Jan. 27, 2020

First-Time Buyers Are Searching for Existing Homes This Year

First-Time Buyers Are Searching for Existing Homes This Year

First-Time Buyers Are Searching for Existing Homes This Year | MyKCM

In the latest Housing Trends Report, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) measured the share of adults planning to buy a home over the next 12 months. The report indicates the percentage of all buyers that will be first-time buyers looking to purchase a home grew from 58% in Q4 2018 to 63% in Q4 2019.

The results revealed,

“Millennials are the most likely generation to be making plans to purchase a home within a year (19%), followed by Gen Z (13%) and Gen X (12%)…Prospective buyers in the youngest two generations are primarily first-time buyers:  88% of Gen Z buyers and 78% of Millennial buyers are reaching out to homeownership for the first time in their lives.”

With a high demand from first-time homebuyers and a shortage of inventory in the current market, selling your existing home this year might be your best move. Why? Because when homebuyers begin their search, they’re not all looking for new construction. Many are eager to find a little charm and character in a place to call home – possibly yours.

In fact, according to the same study, there is a significant demand for existing homes:

“In terms of the type of home these prospective home buyers are interested in, 40% are looking to buy an existing home and 19% a newly-built home. The remaining 41% would buy either a new or existing home.”

With showing activity up among buyers and more new construction coming to market, as a homeowner, you have the opportunity to sell your existing house now and move up into a new one, or downsize into a home that better fits your current and ever-changing needs.

Bottom Line

Not all buyers are looking for a newly built house. If you’re ready to take advantage of low mortgage rates and a high demand for your existing home, let’s get together to determine how we will market the charming details of your current house to potential buyers.

Posted in Sellers
Jan. 27, 2020

Real Estate Agents' 2020 Market Predictions

Real Estate Agents' 2020 Market Predictions

 

 

Will 2020 favor buyers or sellers? What will be the biggest barrier to homeownership this year? What can agents do to prepare first time buyers? We asked over 400 real estate agents across the country what they think will happen this year. Do their predictions match what's happening in your local area?

Will low inventory be a problem for buyers in 2020?

An overwhelming percentage of agents (71%) agree that low inventory will continue to cause a challenge for buyers in 2020. Ensure your clients have access to regularly updated search results and automated email alerts so that they know as soon as a listing that meets their criteria hits the market.

hdc agents 2020 market predictions

Will 2020 favor buyers or sellers?

With low inventory creating a concern for buyers, 46% of agents believe that 2020 will favor sellers. Twenty-eight percent believe it will be a balanced market and 26% believe buyers will come out ahead this year. Finding ways to help your buyers will be critical in 2020. Familiarize yourself with first-time buyer programs to help buyers pay for closing costs and explain the benefits of renovation loans that can help them afford repairs and upgrades on homes in their price range.

hdc agents 2020 market predictions 2

Will home prices rise or fall in 2020?

Most agents (53%) agree that home prices will rise in 2020, with a large percent also suggesting that home prices will stay the same (31%). With a continuing trend of low inventory, only 16% of agents believe home prices will fall. Rising home prices, while making it more difficult for buyers to enter the market, are a good sign for sellers. Focus on helping buyers and future buyers raise their credit scores this year so they can qualify for a mortgage.

hdc agents 2020 market predictions 3

What will mortgage rates look like in 2020?

Mortgage rates have fallen dramatically since the 2008 recession. Now, 74% of agents predict mortgage rates will stay about the same in 2020, meaning home buyers will continue to reap the benefits of low mortgage rates for at least another year. Low mortgage rates can also help buyers get into a better home, especially when fewer options due to low inventory might be prevalent in your market. Help your buyers get the best rate by encouraging them to save more for their down payment and clean up their credit score.

hdc agents 2020 market predictions 4

What will be the biggest barrier to homeownership in 2020? How can agents help buyers overcome that barrier?

According to our poll, the largest barriers to homeownership in 2020 will be low inventory, affordability, lack of savings, qualifying for a mortgage, debt, and fear.

  1. Low Inventory – More than a quarter of the agents surveyed cited low inventory as the biggest barrier to homeownership in 2020. According to Kansas real estate agent Susan Parker-Bonham, "Agents can help buyers overcome these issues by working harder to get more homes listed and to educate buyers on how to improve their credit scores. This effort will ultimately assist buyers in qualifying for the funds they need to purchase homes."
  2. Affordability – Affordable housing was often cited alongside low inventory as a barrier to homeownership this year. "The best thing agents can do to help buyers get their offers accepted is to learn contract writing strategies and creative ways to write them so that their buyer will stick out over others who just write normal 'samo samo' offers. You have to be aggressive, organized and ready to go!" says California agent Ginny Ritz.
  3. Savings – Buyers not having enough cash to cover their down payment and closing costs will also be a problem in 2020. With a market that's likely to favor sellers, buyers who want to win bidding wars won't be able to rely on seller concessions to get to the closing table. North Dakota real estate agent Mary Splichal suggests that "Agents can help buyers by introducing them to a lender that is familiar with state programs that assist buyers with down payment and closing costs."
  4. Qualifying/Credit – Agents also predict buyers will have trouble qualifying for loans, especially due to low credit scores. Laura Corbett in Ohio says that you should focus on "Overcoming all the obstacles! As an agent, advise your clients to take one step at a time. The deal is never done until the closing! Take nothing for granted."
  5. Student Loans/Debt – Debt-to-income ratios could also prove problematic for buyers in 2020, especially as a result of student loans. According to real estate agent Jenny Gibson of Louisiana, student loans "will continue to be the disqualification of so many potential homeowners. We as agents can start having more conversations with buyers through videos on social media and face-to-face buyer consultations 3-6 months prior to them wanting to make the purchase. Education is everything!!"
  6. Fear – Many agents also cited buyers could be afraid to make big purchases in 2020 due to fear of an economic crash or changes resulting from the upcoming election. Sean Preston of Massachusetts suggests that "Strong market knowledge, early planning, and experienced representation will help buyers be successful in 2020."

 

 

Much of what happens in 2020 is outside of your control, but you can choose who you want supporting your business. Homes.com has been a trusted industry partner for nearly 30 years. Hear what Homes.com subscribers are saying about us here.

To view the original article, visit the Homes.com blog.

Jan. 23, 2020

The #1 Reason It Is Difficult to Find Your Dream Home

The #1 Reason It Is Difficult to Find Your Dream Home

The #1 Reason It Is Difficult to Find Your Dream Home | MyKCM

The headlines in real estate today all revolve around one major point: there is a shortage of homes available for sale. Price appreciation is accelerating again because there is a shortage of homes available for sale. First-time buyers are taking longer to purchase a home because there is a shortage of homes available for sale in the lower price points. Boomers are staying in their current homes longer because there is a shortage of homes available for sale to which they would move. In certain markets, affordability is becoming more challenging because there is a shortage of homes available for sale.

What’s the major reason for this lack of housing inventory?

The issue was examined in a recent article by the National Home Builders Association (NAHB). In the article, Robert Dietz, Chief Economist for NAHB, explained:

“Home building in the 2010s was a story of the Long Recovery. After the Great Recession, the number of home builders declined significantly, and housing production was unable to meet buyer demand…Years of population and household formation growth, combined with relatively reduced levels of home building, have left the market with a critical supply shortage.”

Here are the single-family home construction starts by decade for the last six decades:The #1 Reason It Is Difficult to Find Your Dream Home | MyKCMObviously, there’s a current shortage of homes for sale because not enough houses were built over the last ten years. To add to the challenge, the U.S. population expanded by more than 20 million people during the 2010s.

Below is a graph showing the number of starts per every million in population. The last decade shows that starts per population were less than half the average of the previous five decades.The #1 Reason It Is Difficult to Find Your Dream Home | MyKCM

There’s good news coming!

The NAHB article explains that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

How confident home builders are in the housing market is a great indicator of how much building is about to get started. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair,” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average,” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as “good” than “poor.”

Here are the HMI readings going back to 2008:The #1 Reason It Is Difficult to Find Your Dream Home | MyKCMThe 2019 confidence reading of 76 was the highest since 1999. The January 2020 index came in one point lower at 75. These readings indicate we should see an increase in new residential construction in 2020. Just last week, NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde stated:

“Low interest rates and a healthy labor market combined with a need for additional inventory are setting the stage for further home building gains in 2020.”

The increase in housing starts has already begun. According to the January report from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, single‐family housing starts were up 11.2% and attained the highest level in thirteen years.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seller thinking of moving up or down, 2020 could be your year with more new construction homes coming to market.

Posted in Buyers
Jan. 22, 2020

2020 Buyer Trends

 

 

Another year has come and gone, and with a new year comes new goals. Whether you've decided this is the year you're going to sell your home or if you're just considering it, you need to know which buyer trends to expect in 2020. We've laid out the most important trends for this year and how it could affect your decision as a seller.

Trend #1: Millennials are still on the move

Millennials are anyone born between the years 1981 and 1997 and the largest majority of them will be turning 30 in 2020. This year, older millennials will be starting to think about settling down, having kids and buying their first home. By the time we're halfway through 2020, millennials will account for more than half of all mortgages taken out in the US which is greater than all other generations combined.

With millennials looking to buy this year, most older generations such as the baby boomers and Generation X aren’t going to be making moves anytime soon. Most may still be raising kids or not ready to retire yet, which means they are staying put. So for 2020, it's all about millennial homebuyers. 

 

What this means for sellers:

  •  If you’re considering making upgrades to your home before you sell, know what millennials want. The features at top of their lists include a patio, hardwood front exterior, a laundry room, and a walk-in pantry.
  • Millennials are less concerned with how big a home is and more concerned with how far it is from work and what school district the home is in. According to NAR, most millennials are less willing to compromise on the quality of the neighborhood and schools when buying a home.
  • Almost all millennials search online when looking for a home, and 80% of them actually found their home on their phone. Be sure that your online listing photos are high quality and your listing can easily be found on the major consumer search websites.

Trend #2: Prices & iBuyer's are on the rise

In 2018, home prices rose by 5%, in 2019 they rose by 3.3%, and in 2020 they are predicted to rise by 2.8% according to The Economic & Housing Research Group. Even though that’s not a whole lot, it’s still a steady increase each year. 

The iBuyer trend is also predicted to increase this year. An iBuyer is a real estate company that makes an offer on a home within days. According to REAL Trends, Zillow is planning to expand in 6 new markets with their iBuyer business, Zillow Offers.

 

What this means for sellers:

  •  With home prices still on the rise, you may make a profit on your home if you sell this year. It's also vital to keep in mind that some buyers may be priced out of the market, which potentially means fewer offers. Make your home really stand out and if you’re not in a hurry to sell, don’t be afraid to wait for the right offer.
  • Although "location, location, location" has been the slogan for the past few years, it seems that buyers (especially since millennials are now the largest group of homebuyers) are willing to comprise location for a more affordable option.
  • With iBuyer companies on the rise, it's important to know what you're up against. iBuyers basically take the human experience out of selling your home and you're likely to get a not-so-good offer. If you're not in an absolute rush, don't take the easy way out. 

Trend #3: Mortgage interest rates are on the decline 

Interest rates for mortgages have been dropping below 4% for some loans in 2019. Some say that for 2020, a 30-year loan should have a rate of 3.7%, and a 15-year loan will be at 3.2%. Just like anything in life, this isn’t a guarantee. Trade wars and tariffs could shift the economy causing an increase in interest rates to balance out the economy. But if mortgage rates do stay on the decline, this could be a motivation for more buyers.

 

What this means for sellers:

  • Lower interest rates means buyers will be more motivated to buy sooner rather than later. A mortgage is a huge financial commitment, so if someone has been thinking about buying and sees lower interest rates, this may push them to commit.
  • Nothing in life is certain so if rates do increase, be prepared for your home to be on the market longer than you expected. 
Posted in Buyers, Sellers
Jan. 22, 2020

How Buyers Can Win By Downsizing in 2020

How Buyers Can Win By Downsizing in 2020

How Buyers Can Win By Downsizing in 2020 | MyKCM

Home values have been increasing for 93 consecutive months, according to the National Association of Realtors. If you’re a homeowner, particularly one looking to downsize your living space, that’s great news, as you’ve likely built significant equity in your home.

Here’s some more good news: mortgage rates are expected to remain low throughout 2020 at an average of 3.8% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan.

The combination of leveraging your growing equity and capitalizing on low rates could make a big difference in your housing plans this year.

How to Use Your Home Equity

For move-up buyers, the typical pattern for building financial stability and wealth through homeownership works this way: you buy a house and gain equity over several years of mortgage payments and price appreciation. You then take that equity from the sale of your house to make a down payment on your next home and repeat the process.

For homeowners ready to downsize, home equity can work in a slightly different way. What you choose to do depends in part upon your goals.

According to HousingWire.com, for some, the desire to downsize may be related to retirement plans or children aging out of the home. Others may be choosing to live in a smaller home to save money or simplify their lifestyle in a space that’s easier to clean and declutter. The reasons can vary greatly and by generation.

Those who choose to put their equity toward a new home have the opportunity to make a substantial down payment or maybe even to buy their next home in cash. This is incredibly valuable if your goal is to have a minimal mortgage payment or none at all.

A local real estate professional can help you evaluate your equity and how to use it wisely. If you’re planning to downsize, keep in mind that home prices are anticipated to continue rising in 2020, which could influence your choices.

The Impact of Low Mortgage Rates

Low mortgage rates can offset price hikes, so locking in while rates are low will be key. For many downsizing homeowners, a loan with a shorter term is ideal, so the balance can be reduced more quickly.

Interest rates on 10, 15, and 20-year loans are lower than the rates on a 30-year fixed-rate loan. If you’re downsizing your housing costs, you may prefer a shorter-term loan to pay off your home faster. This way, you can save thousands in interest payments over time.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning a transition into a smaller home, the twin trends of low mortgage rates and rising home equity can kickstart or boost your plans, especially if you’re anticipating retirement soon or just want to live in a smaller home that’s easier to maintain. Let’s get together today to explore your options.

Posted in Buyers
Jan. 20, 2020

Make the Dream of Homeownership

Make the Dream of Homeownership a Reality in 2020

Make the Dream of Homeownership a Reality in 2020 | MyKCM

In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. led and inspired a powerful movement with his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Through his passion and determination, he sparked interest, ambition, and courage in his audience. Today, reflecting on his message encourages many of us to think about our own dreams, goals, beliefs, and aspirations. For many Americans, one of those common goals is owning a home: a piece of land, a roof over our heads, and a place where our families can grow and flourish.

If you’re dreaming of buying a home this year, the best way to start the process is to connect with a Real Estate professional to understand what goes into buying a home. Once you have that covered, then you can answer the questions below to make the best decision for you and your family.

1. How Can I Better Understand the Process, and How Much Can I Afford?

The process of buying a home is not one to enter into lightly. You need to decide on key things like how long you plan on living in an area, school districts you prefer, what kind of commute works for you, and how much you can afford to spend.

Keep in mind, before you start the process to purchase a home, you’ll also need to apply for a mortgage. Lenders will evaluate several factors connected to your financial track record, one of which is your credit history. They’ll want to see how well you’ve been able to minimize past debts, so make sure you’ve been paying your student loans, credit cards, and car loans on time. Most agents have loan officers they trust that they can refer you to.

According to ConsumerReports.org,

Financial planners recommend limiting the amount you spend on housing to 25 percent of your monthly budget.”

2. How Much Do I Need for a Down Payment?

In addition to knowing how much you can afford on a monthly mortgage payment, understanding how much you’ll need for a down payment is another critical step. Thankfully, there are many different options and resources in the market to potentially reduce the amount you may think you need to put down up front.

If you’re concerned about saving for a down payment, start small and be consistent. A little bit each month goes a long way. Jumpstart your savings by automatically adding a portion of your monthly paycheck into a separate savings account or house fund. AmericaSaves.org says,

“Over time, these automatic deposits add up. For example, $50 a month accumulates to $600 a year and $3,000 after five years, plus interest that has compounded.”

Before you know it, you’ll have enough for a down payment if you’re disciplined and thoughtful about your process.

3. Saving Takes Time: Practice Living on a Budget

As tempting as it is to settle in each morning with a fancy cup of coffee from your favorite local shop, putting that daily spend toward your down payment will help accelerate your path to homeownership. It’s the little things that count, so start trying to live on a slightly tighter budget if you aren’t doing so already. A budget will allow you to save more for your down payment and help you pay down other debts to improve your credit score. A survey of Millennial spending shows,

“70 percent of would-be first-time homebuyers will cut spending on spa days, shopping and going to the movies in exchange for purchasing a home within the next year.”

While you don’t need to cut all of the fun out of your current lifestyle, making smarter choices and limiting your spending in areas where you can slim down will make a big difference.

Bottom Line

If homeownership is on your dream list this year, take a good look at what you can prioritize to help you get there. Let’s get together today to discuss the best steps you can take to start the process.

Posted in Buyers
Jan. 8, 2020

The New Spring Real Estate Market is Here

The New Spring Real Estate Market is Here. Are You Ready?

The New Spring Real Estate Market is Here. Are You Ready? | MyKCM

Which month do you think most people who are considering buying a home actually start their search? If you’re like most of us, you probably think the surge happens in the spring, likely in April. Not anymore. According to new research, January 2019 was only 1% behind February for the most monthly views per listing on realtor.com.

So, what does that mean? The busiest season in real estate has just begun.

The same research indicates,

“Historically, April launched the kickoff of the home shopping season as buyers would come out of their winter hibernation looking for their new home. However, the spring shopping season now starts in January for many of the nation's largest markets.”

With the reality of fewer homes on the market in the winter, and that supply naturally increases as we head to the spring market, waiting for more competition to list in your neighborhood this year might put you behind the curve. Perhaps now is the time to jump into the market.

George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.com says,

“As shoppers modify their strategies for navigating a housing market that has become more competitive due to rising prices and low inventory, the search for a home is beginning earlier and earlier.”

There is a lot of speculation in the market about why the search for a home is shifting to an earlier start. The one thing we do know is if you’re thinking about buying or selling a home this year, the earlier you get started, the better.

Reminder: When should you sell something? When there is less of that item for sale and the greatest number of buyers are in the market. That’s exactly what is happening in real estate right now.

Bottom Line

The new spring market for real estate is underway. If you’re considering buying or selling, let’s connect, so you have the advantage in this competitive market.

Posted in Buyers, Sellers
Jan. 7, 2020

Big Demand for Small Homes

Big Demand for Small Homes | MyKCM

Movies, tv shows, and celebrities often have us dreaming of owning large homes, but the reality for most people is quite different.

Since 2015, the square footage of newly built houses has been shrinking, according to Yahoo Finances. This is not projected to change as we continue into the beginning of the year.

“We expect this downsizing trend to continue in 2020, driven by a confluence of economic and demographic trends.”

Why are smaller homes trending now?

As noted in the article, there are a few main reasons for this demand:

  • “Many of today's younger, millennial home buyers have expressed a preference for denser, more urban homes that are more walkable to shared amenities.”
  • “Today's older homeowners are expressing a desire for smaller, less maintenance-heavy and more accessible (read: less stairs) homes as they age and move into newer homes.”

With these two demographic groups surging through the market, the demand for this type of home is rising. If you’re a homeowner with a smaller-scale house, now may be a great time to sell, as the demand for this end of the market is surely on the rise.

Bottom Line

The demand for smaller houses will continue to rise throughout 2020. Let’s get together to discuss what the housing inventory looks like in your neighborhood. It might be time for you to take advantage of this trend!

Posted in Buyers