Buying A Home

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.

...

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...

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 Bankrate, says:

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...

Today's Housing Market Is Nothing Like 15 Years Ago

Today's Housing Market Is
Nothing Like 15 Years Ago | MyKCM

There's no doubt today's housing market is very different than the frenzied one from the past couple of years. In the second half of 2022, there was a dramatic shift in real estate, and it caused many people to make comparisons to the 2008 housing crisis. While there may be a few similarities, when looking at key variables now compared to the last housing cycle, there are significant differences.

In the latest Real Estate Forecast Summit, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), drew the comparisons below between today's housing market and the previous cycle:

Today's Housing Market Is Nothing Like 15 Years Ago | MyKCM

Looking at the facts, it's clear: today is very different than the housing market of 15 years ago.

There's Opportunity in Real Estate Today

And in today's market, with inventory rising and less competition from other buyers, there's opportunity right now. According to David Stevens, former Assistant Secretary of Housing:

So be advised…this may be the one and only window for the next few years to get into a buyer's market. And remember…as the Federal Reserve data shows…home prices only go up and always recover from recessions no matter how mild or severe. Long term homeowners should view this market…right...

The Truth About Negative Home Equity Headlines

The Truth About Negative
Home Equity Headlines | MyKCM

Home equity has been a hot topic in real estate news lately. And if you've been following along, you may have heard there's a growing number of homeowners with negative equity. But don't let those headlines scare you.

In truth, the headlines don't give you all the information you really need to understand what's happening and at what scale. Let's break down one of the big equity stories you may be seeing in the news, and what's actually taking place. That way, you'll have the context you need to understand the big picture.

Headlines Focus on Short-Term Equity Numbers and Fail To Convey the Long-Term View

One piece of news circulating focuses on the percentage of homes purchased in 2022 that are currently underwater. The term underwater refers to a scenario where the homeowner owes more on the loan than the house is worth. This was a huge issue when the housing market crashed in 2008, but it much less significant today.

Media coverage right now is based loosely on a report from Black Knight, Inc. The actual report from that source says this:

Of all homes purchased with a mortgage in 2022, 8% are now at least marginally underwater and nearly 40% have less than 10% equity stakes in their home, . . .

...

Mortgage Rates Are Dropping. What Does That Mean for You?

Mortgage Rates Are
Dropping. What Does That Mean for You? | MyKCM

Mortgage rates have been a hot topic in the housing market over the past 12 months. Compared to the beginning of 2022, rates have risen dramatically. Now they're dropping, and that has to do with everything happening in the economy.

Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains it well by saying:

Mortgage rates dropped even further this week as two main factors affecting today’s mortgage market became more favorable. Inflation continued to ease while the Federal Reserve switched to a smaller interest rate hike. As a result, according to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to 6.31% from 6.33% the previous week.

So, what does that mean for your homeownership plans? As mortgage rates fluctuate, they impact your purchasing power by influencing the cost of buying a home. Even a small dip can help boost your purchasing power. Here's how it works.

The median-priced home according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is $379,100. So, let's assume you want to buy a $400,000 home. If you're trying to shop at that price point and keep your monthly payment about $2,500-2,600 or below, here's how your purchasing power can change as mortgage rates move up or down (...

What's Going on with Home Prices? Ask a Professional.

What's Going on with Home
Prices? Ask a Professional. | MyKCM

If you're thinking about buying or selling a home this year, you may have questions about what's happening with home prices today as the market cools. In the simplest sense, nationally, experts don't expect prices to come crashing down, but the level of home price moderation will depend on factors like supply and demand in each local market.

That means, moving forward, home price appreciation will continue to vary by location, with more significant changes happening in overheated areas. Here's a quick snapshot of what the experts are saying:

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, says:

The major question on the minds of homeowners and aspiring buyers alike is what...

What You Want To Know If You're Pursuing Your Dream of Homeownership

What You Want To Know If
You're Pursuing Your Dream of Homeownership | MyKCM

If you're a young adult, you may be thinking about your goals and priorities for the months and years ahead. And if homeownership ranks high on your goal sheet, you're in good company. Many of your peers are also pursuing their dream of owning a home. The 2022 Millennial & Gen Z Borrower Sentiment Report from Maxwell says:

Many young adults have demonstrated their resolve to embark on the journey toward homeownership soon. More than half of millennials and Gen Zs plan to apply for a mortgage sometime within the next year.

Let's take a look at why homeownership makes the top of so many young buyers' to-do list and what you need to consider to achieve your goals if you're one of them.

Top Motivators To Buy a Home

Before you start the homebuying process, it's helpful to know why homeownership is so important to you. The survey mentioned above sheds light on some of the top reasons why younger generations are looking to buy a home. It finds:

  • 95% believe the cost of renting is too high
  • 35% think owing a home is an important wealth building tool
  • 16% seek the sense of security owning a home provides
  • 37% plan to use it as an investment property

No matter which of these resonates the most with you, know there are many financial and non-financial reasons why you may want to buy a home. While your top motivator may be different than that of your friends, they're all equally valid and worthwhile.

...

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 stop during the holidays....

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), the primary reason the supply...

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 for sale, the supply...

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 article from Veterans...

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 pass that wealth down....

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 of your numbers...

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.

While there...

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%.

Why Is This Important?...

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 and more square footage....

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 are slowing their...

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