Gold Country CA Real Estate Blog and News

Your House Could Be the #1 Item on a Homebuyer's Wish List During the Holidays

Your House Could Be the #1
Item on a Homebuyer's Wish List During the Holidays | MyKCM

Each year, homeowners planning to make a move are faced with a decision: sell their house during the holidays or wait. And others who have already listed their homes may think about removing their listings and waiting until the new year to go back on the market.

The truth is many buyers want to purchase a home for the holidays, and your house might be just what they're looking for. Here are five great reasons you shouldn't wait to sell your house.

1. While the supply of homes for sale has increased this year, there still aren't enough homes on the market to keep up with buyer demand. As Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist & Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

There's still this gap between demand and supply because we were underbuilding for many years. . . . So now we see demand is slowing, but it still outpaces supply.

2. Serious homebuyers are out looking right now. Millennials are driving homebuying demand today, and many are eager to make a purchase. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, explains:

“While not the frenzy of 2021, the largest living generation, the Millennials, will continue to age into their prime home-buying years, creating a demographic tailwind for the housing market.

3. The desire to own a home doesn't...

What Buyers Need To Know About the Inventory of Homes Available for Sale

What Buyers Need To Know
About the Inventory of Homes Available for Sale | MyKCM

If you're thinking about buying a home, you're likely trying to juggle your needs, current mortgage rates, home prices, your schedule, and more to try to decide if you want to jump into the market.

If this sounds like you, here's one key factor that could help you with your decision: there are more homes for sale today than there were at this time last year. According to Calculated Risk, for the week ending in November 18th, there were 47.7% more homes available for sale than there were at the same time in 2021. And having more options for your home search may be exactly what you need to feel confident about making a move.

Here's a look at where the increased housing supply is coming from so you can get a better sense of what's happening in the market today and what it means for you.

What Caused the Growth in Housing Inventory This Year?

The increase we've seen in housing supply this year isn't from the source you think it is. Rather than an influx of recent homeowners listing their houses for sale (known as new listings),...

What Homeowners Want To Know About Selling in Today's Market

If you're thinking about selling your house, you're likely hearing about the cooling housing market and wondering what that means for you. While it’s not the peak intensity we saw during the pandemic, we're still in a sellers' market. That means you haven't missed your window. Realtor.com explains:

. . . while prospective home sellers may lament that they missed their prime window, in reality, this is still a terrific time to sell. In fact, according to a recent Realtor.com® home seller survey, 95% of sellers who sold their home in the past year got more than they paid for it.

Nonetheless, some of the more prominent pandemic trends have changed, so sellers might wish to adjust accordingly to get the best deal possible.

The key to success today is being realistic and working with a trusted real estate advisor who can help you set your expectations based on where the market is now, not where it was over the past few years.

Here are a few things experts say today's sellers need to consider.

Be Willing To Negotiate

At the peak of the pandemic frenzy, sellers held all the leverage because inventory was at record lows and buyers were willing to enter bidding wars over homes that were available. This year, the supply of homes for sale has increased as the market cooled. Even though inventory is still low overall, buyers today have more options, and with that comes more negotiation power.

As a seller, that means you may see more buyers getting an inspection, requesting repairs, or asking for help with closing costs today. You need to be prepared to have those conversations. As Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zonda, says:

Today's market is different than it was just six months ago....

Why It May Be Time To Add Newly Built Homes to Your Search

Why It May Be Time To Add
Newly Built Homes to Your Search | MyKCM

If you put a pause on your home search because you weren't sure where you'd go once you sold your house, it might be a good time to get back into the market. If you're willing to work with a trusted agent to consider a newly built home, you may have even more options and incentives than you realize. That may be why the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) says the share of buyers looking for new construction is increasing:

According to the quarterly Housing Trends Report, the popularity of new construction homes is continuing to rebound . . .

Here's a few reasons more buyers may be drawn to newly built homes.

More Options To Choose from and Potential Builder Incentives

When looking for a home, you can choose between existing homes (those that are already built and previously owned) and newly constructed ones. While the inventory of existing homes has increased this year, it's still below more typical years like 2019. Currently, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there is a 3.2-month supply at the current sales pace. For reference, a roughly 6-month supply is considered a balanced market, leaving us in a sellers' market today.

While it's a smaller segment of the overall inventory of homes...

VA Loans Can Help Veterans Achieve Their Dream of Homeownership

VA Loans Can Help Veterans
Achieve Their Dream of Homeownership | MyKCM

For over 78 years, Veterans Affairs (VA) home loans have provided millions of veterans with the opportunity to purchase homes of their own. If you or a loved one have served, it's important to understand this program and its benefits.

Here are some things you should know about VA loans before you start the homebuying process.

What Are VA Loans?

VA home loans provide a pathway to homeownership for those who have served our nation. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs describes the program like this:

VA helps Servicemembers, Veterans, and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. As part of our mission to serve you, we provide a home loan guaranty benefit and other housing-related programs to help you buy, build, repair, retain, or adapt a home for your own personal occupancy.

Top Benefits of the VA Home Loan Program

In addition to helping eligible buyers achieve their homeownership dreams, VA loans have several other great benefits for buyers who qualify. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs:

  • Qualified borrowers can often purchase a home with no down payment.
  • Many other loans with down payments under 20% require Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). VA Loans do not require PMI, which means veterans can save on their monthly housing costs.
  • VA-Backed Loans often offer competitive terms and mortgage interest rates.

A recent...

The Majority of Americans Still View Homeownership as the American Dream

The Majority of Americans
Still View Homeownership as the American Dream | MyKCM

Buying a home is a powerful decision, and it remains a key part of the American Dream. In fact, the 2022 Consumer Insights Report from Mynd found the majority of people polled still view homeownership as a key life achievement. Let's explore just a few of the reasons why so many Americans continue to value homeownership.

The Financial Benefits of Owning a Home

One possible reason homeownership is viewed so highly is because owning a home is a significant wealth-building tool, and it provides meaningful financial stability over renting by locking in your monthly housing payments for the length of your home loan. An article from Forbes explains:

Understanding the potential benefits of homeownership helps individuals see the value of owning property instead of renting. . . . household wealth among homeowners is a whopping 1,469% higher on average compared to renters, excluding home equity, making the allure of homeownership even more enticing.

Over time, owning a home not only helps boost your own net worth, but it also sets future generations up for success as you...

Sell Your Amador County Home Before the Holidays

Sell Your House Before the
Holidays | MyKCM

As you look ahead to the winter season, you're likely making plans and thinking about what you want to achieve before the year ends. One of those key decision points could be whether or not you want to move this year. If the location or size of your current home no longer meets your needs, finding a house that better suits your lifestyle may be a top priority for you. But with today's cooling housing market, is it really a good time to sell your house, or should you wait?

If you're ready to make your decision, here are three reasons you may want to consider selling before the holidays.

1. Get One Step Ahead of Other Sellers

Typically, in the residential real estate market, homeowners are less likely to list their houses toward the end of the year. That's because people get busy around the holidays and deprioritize selling their house until the start of the new year when their schedules and social calendars calm down.

Selling now, while other homeowners may hold off until after the holidays, can help your house stand out. Start the process with a real estate professional today so you can get your house on the market and get ahead of your competition.

2. Get in Front of Serious Buyers This Season

Even though housing supply has increased this year as buyer demand has moderated, it's still low overall. That means there aren't enough homes on the market today, especially as the millennial generation reaches their peak homebuying years. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist...

What Happens to Housing when There's a Recession?

What Happens to Housing
when There's a Recession? | MyKCM

Since the 2008 housing bubble burst, the word recession strikes a stronger emotional chord than it ever did before. And while there's some debate around whether we're officially in a recession right now, the good news is experts say a recession today would likely be mild and the economy would rebound quickly. 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.

To add to that sentiment, housing is typically one of the first sectors to rebound during a slowdown. As Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zonda, explains:

Housing is traditionally one of the first sectors to slow as the economy shifts but is also one of the first to rebound.

Part of that rebound is tied to what has historically happened to mortgage rates during recessions. Here's a look back at rates during previous economic slowdowns to help put your mind at ease.

Mortgage Rates Typically Fall During Recessions

Historical data helps paint the picture of how a recession could impact the cost of financing a home. Looking at recessions in this country going all the way back to 1980, the graph below shows each time the economy slowed down mortgage rates decreased.

What Happens to Housing when There's a Recession? | MyKCM...

Pre-Approval Is a Critical First Step on Your Homebuying Journey

Pre-Approval Is a Critical
First Step on Your Homebuying Journey | MyKCM

If you're planning to buy a home this year, one of the first steps on your journey is getting pre-approved. Especially in today's market when mortgage rates are higher than they were just a few months ago, getting a mortgage pre-approval can be a game changer. Here's why.

What Is Pre-Approval?

To better understand why pre-approval is key, it's important to know what pre-approval is. The Mortgage Reports explains it like this:

When you're ready to take the leap into homeownership, your first step is mortgage preapproval. . . . A mortgage preapproval is when a lender determines you're qualified for a home loan. Your preapproval letter shows the maximum loan amount you're approved for (your home buying budget), as well as the specific interest rate and loan term you can expect.

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 your true price range and 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 mortgage rates rising and impacting affordability, a solid understanding...

What's Ahead for Home Prices?

What's Ahead for Home Prices?
| MyKCM

As the housing market cools in response to the dramatic rise in mortgage rates, home price appreciation is cooling as well. And if you're following along with headlines in the media, you're probably seeing a wide range of opinions calling for everything from falling home prices to ongoing appreciation. But what's true? What's most likely to happen moving forward?

While opinions differ, the most likely outcome is we'll fall somewhere in the middle of slight appreciation and slight depreciation. Here's a look at the latest expert projections so you have the best information possible today.

What the Experts Are Saying About Home Prices Next Year

The graph below shows the most up-to-date forecasts from five experts in the housing industry. These are the experts that have most recently updated their projections based on current market trends:

What's Ahead for Home Prices? | MyKCM

As the graph shows, the three blue bars represent experts calling for ongoing home price appreciation, just at a more moderate rate than recent years. The red bars on the graph are experts calling for home price depreciation.

...

The True Strength of Homeowners Today

The True Strength of
Homeowners Today | MyKCM

The real estate market is on just about everyone's mind these days. That's because the unsustainable market of the past two years is behind us, and the difference is being felt. The question now is, just how financially strong are homeowners throughout the country? Mortgage debt grew beyond 10 trillion dollars over the past year, and many called that a troubling sign when it happened for the first time in history.

Recently Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, answered that question when she said:

U.S. households own $41 trillion in owner-occupied real estate, just over $12 trillion in debt, and the remaining ~$29 trillion in equity. The national “LTV” in Q2 2022 was 29.5%, the lowest since 1983.

She continued on to say:

Homeowners had an average of $320,000 in inflation-adjusted equity in their homes in Q2 2022, an all-time high.

What Is LTV?

The term LTV refers to loan to value ratio. For more context, here's how the Mortgage Reports defines it:

Your ‘loan to value ratio' (LTV) compares the size of your mortgage loan to the value of the home. For example: If your home is worth $200,000, and you have a mortgage for $180,000, your LTV ratio is 90% — because the loan makes up 90% of the total price.

You can also think about LTV in terms of your down payment. If you put 20% down, that means you're borrowing 80% of the home's value. So your LTV ratio is 80%.

...

What Experts Say Will Happen with Home Prices Next Year

What Experts Say Will Happen
with Home Prices Next Year | MyKCM

Experts are starting to make their 2023 home price forecasts. As they do, most agree homes will continue to gain value, just at a slower pace. Over the past couple of years, home prices have risen at an unsustainable rate, leaving many to wonder how long it would last. If you're asking yourself: what's ahead for the price of my home, know that experts are now answering this question, and its welcome news for homeowners who may have been led by the media to believe their home would lose value.

Historically, home prices have appreciated at a rate near 4%. For 2023, the average of six major forecasters noted below is 2.5%. While one, Zelman & Associates, is calling for depreciation, the other five are calling for appreciation. The graph below outlines each expert forecast to show where they project home prices are going in the coming year.

...

Three Things Buyers Can Do in Today's Housing Market

Three Things Buyers Can Do in
Today's Housing Market | MyKCM

It's clear the 2022 housing market has been defined by rising mortgage rates. With rates on the rise, it's also become more costly to purchase a home. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

Compared to one year ago, the monthly mortgage payment rose to $1,944 from $1,265, an increase of 53.7%.

If you're thinking of buying a home or have been trying to recently, that's a big increase in a monthly mortgage payment – and it may be causing you to press pause on your plans. This jump is making homes less affordable, especially compared to the last two years when mortgage rates were at historic lows.

The good news is you can navigate today's housing market and this rising rate environment with a few simple tips. Here are three things you may want to consider to help make your homeownership goals a reality.

1. Expand Your Search Area and Criteria

If you've been looking for a home in the city center or a specific area that's starting to feel out of your price range, you may want to try looking a little further out in a location that could be more affordable. Expanding your search location or re-prioritizing the items on your wish list can open up opportunities you haven't considered, and that could help you afford more of what you need (and want) in a home. As CNET notes:

Area growth is likely to keep pace with the market, which means that the outskirts of town might be hopping within five years. Consider stepping out of your ideal location by searching in the nearby cities. You may find better prices...

Should I Sell My House This Year?

Should I Sell My House This
Year? | MyKCM

There's no denying the housing market is undergoing a shift this season as buyer demand slows and the number of homes for sale grows. But that shift actually gives you some unique benefits when you sell. Here's a look at the key opportunities you have if you list your house this fall.

Opportunity #1: You Have More Options for Your Move

One of the biggest stories today is the growing supply of homes for sale. Housing inventory has been increasing since the start of the year, primarily because higher mortgage rates helped cool off the peak frenzy of buyer demand. But what you may not realize is, that actually could benefit you.

If you're selling your house to make a move, it means you'll have more options for your own home search. That gives you an even better chance to find a home that checks all of your boxes. So, if you've put off selling because you were worried about being able to find ...

How Owning a Home Builds Your Net Worth

How Owning a Home Builds Your
Net Worth | MyKCM

Owning a home is a major financial milestone and an achievement to take pride in. One major reason: the equity you build as a homeowner gives your net worth a big boost. And with high inflation right now, the link between owning your home and building your wealth is especially important.

If you're looking to increase your financial security, here's why now could be a good time to start on your journey toward homeownership.

Owning a Home Is a Key Ingredient for Financial Success

A report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) details several homeownership trends, including a significant gap in net worth between homeowners and renters. It finds:

. . . the net worth of a homeowner was about $300,000 while that of a renter's was $8,000 in 2021.

To put that into perspective, the average homeowner's net worth is roughly 40 times that of a renter's. This difference shows owning a home is a key step in achieving financial success.

Equity Gains Can Substantially Boost a Homeowner's Net Worth

The net worth gap between owners and renters exists in large part because homeowners build equity. When you own a home,...

New Homes May Have the Incentives You're Looking for Today

New Homes May Have the
Incentives You're Looking for Today | MyKCM

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this year, builders are on pace to complete more than a million new homes in this country. If you've had trouble finding a home to buy over the past year, it may be time to work with your trusted agent to consider a new build and the incentives that come with it. Here's why.

The Supply of Newly Built Homes Is Rising

When looking for a home, you can choose between existing homes (those that are already built and previously owned) and newly constructed ones. While the inventory of existing homes is on the rise today, it's still in tight supply, meaning it can be challenging to find just the right one.

The inventory of newly built homes, however, is also rising. And with more options available than there have been in years, a new home may be just the answer you're looking for. The graph below shows just how much the supply of newly built homes has grown this year.

New
Homes May Have the Incentives You're Looking for Today | MyKCM

And here's the thing – builders are also keeping a close eye on current market trends. With mortgage rates rising this year and, as a result, buyer demand softening, builders...

Buyers: You May Face Less Competition as Bidding Wars Ease

Buyers: You May Face Less
Competition as Bidding Wars Ease | MyKCM

One of the top stories in recent real estate headlines was the intensity and frequency of bidding wars. With so many buyers looking to purchase a home and so few of them available for sale, fiercely competitive bidding wars became the norm during the pandemic – and it drove home prices up. If you tried to buy a house over the past two years, you probably experienced this firsthand and may have been outbid on several homes along the way.

But here's the news you've been waiting for: data shows clear signs bidding wars are easing this year.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average number of offers on recently sold homes has declined considerably over the past few months (see graph below):

Buyers: You May Face Less Competition as Bidding Wars Ease | MyKCM

The graph shows homes were seeing...

Why You May Want To Start Your Home Search Today

Why You May Want To Start
Your Home Search Today | MyKCM

If you're thinking about buying a home, you likely have a lot of factors on your mind. You're weighing your own needs against higher mortgage rates, today's home prices, and more to try to decide if you want to jump into the market. While some buyers may wait things out, there's a reason serious buyers are making moves right now, and that's the growing number of homes for sale.

So far this year, housing inventory has been increasing and that's making the prospect of finding your dream home less difficult. While there are always reasons you could delay making a big decision, there are also always reasons to consider moving forward. And having a growing number of options for your home search may be exactly what you needed to feel more confident in making a move.

What's Causing Housing Inventory To Grow?

As new data comes out, we’re getting an updated picture of why housing supply is increasing so much this year. As Bill McBride, Author of Calculated Risk, explains:

We are seeing a significant change in inventory, but no pickup in new listings. Most of the increase in inventory so far has been due to softer demand – likely because of higher mortgage rates.

Basically, the inventory growth is primarily from homes staying on the market a bit longer (known as active listings). And that's happening because higher mortgage rates and home prices have helped moderate the peak frenzy of buyer demand.

The graph below uses data from realtor.com to show how much active listings have risen over the past five months as a result (shown...

Why Today's Housing Inventory Proves the Market Isn't Headed for a Crash

Whether or not you owned a home in 2008, you likely remember the housing crash that took place back then. And news about an economic slowdown happening today may bring all those concerns back to the surface. While those feelings are understandable, data can help reassure you the situation today is nothing like it was in 2008.

One of the key reasons why the market won't crash this time is the current undersupply of inventory. Housing supply comes from three key places:

  • Current homeowners putting their homes up for sale
  • Newly built homes coming onto the market
  • Distressed properties (short sales or foreclosures)

For the market to crash, you'd have to make a case for an oversupply of inventory headed to the market, and the numbers just don't support that. So, here's a deeper look at where inventory is coming from today to help prove why the housing market isn't headed for a crash.

Current Homeowners Putting Their Homes Up for Sale

Even though housing supply is increasing this year, there's still a limited number of existing homes available. The graph below helps illustrate this point. Based on the latest weekly data, inventory is up 27.8% compared to the same week last year (shown in blue). But compared to the same week in 2019 (shown in the larger red bar), it's still down by 42.6%.

Why
Today's Housing Inventory Proves the Market Isn't Headed for a Crash | MyKCM...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can use your equity to help you achieve your homeownership goals. Whether you want to downsize, move closer to...

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