Will Low Mortgage Rates Continue through 2021?

Will Low Mortgage Rates Continue through 2021? | MyKCM

With mortgage interest rates hitting record lows so many times recently, some are wondering if we’ll see low rates continue throughout 2021, or if they’ll start to rise. Recently, Freddie Mac released their quarterly forecast, noting:

“The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit a record low over a dozen times in 2020 and the low interest rate environment is projected to continue through this year. We expect interest rates to average below 3% through the end of 2021. While this is a modest rise from 2020 averages, the recent vote by the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates anchored near zero should keep rates low.”

As shown in the graph below, Freddie Mac is projecting low rates going forward with a modest rise that’s expected to continue through 2022.Will Low Mortgage Rates Continue through 2021? | MyKCMFreddie Mac isn’t the only authority forecasting low rates with a slight rise. Fannie Mae, The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) also anticipate low rates with a small increase as 2021 continues on. Here’s the quarterly breakdown of their projections and how they’re expected to play out over the next year:Will Low Mortgage Rates Continue through 2021? | MyKCMIt’s important to note that, while a small change in interest rates can have a substantial impact on monthly mortgage payments, these rates are still incredibly low compared to where they were just a couple of years ago.

What does this mean for buyers?

Low mortgage rates are creating an outstanding opportunity for current homebuyers to get more for their money while staying within their budget. As the economy gets stronger and we recover from the challenges of 2020, it’s natural for rates to potentially rise in response to a healthier economy. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americanreminds us:

Rising interest rates reduce house-buying power and affordability, but are often a sign of a strong economy, which increases home buyer demand. By any historic standard, today’s mortgage rates remain historically low and will continue to boost house-buying power and keep purchase demand robust.”

With low rates fueling activity among hopeful buyers, there are a lot of people who are highly motivated and looking for homes to purchase right now. In this environment, it can be challenging to find a home to buy, so a local real estate agent will be key to your success if you’re thinking of buying too. Working with a trusted real estate professional to navigate the process while rates are in your favor might be the best move you can make.

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to buy a home, it may be wise to make your move before mortgage rates begin to rise. Let’s connect to discuss how today’s low rates can create more opportunities for you this year.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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January 2021 Blog for Saginaw, Texas, Homes

When I checked the Multiple Listing Service for active listings in Saginaw on February 4, 2021, only six homes were available although 26 were under contract.  These numbers do not include new construction.  This incredibly low inventory is driving the market and controlling every aspect of currently buying and selling, including time on the market, multiple offers, average prices, and search time for buyers.

Only 22 homes sold in Saginaw in January.  The oldest two homes sold are in Rancho North and were built in 1963 and 1964.  The newest home was constructed in 2017.  Only three homes were built after 2010, which demonstrates how homeowners are choosing to remain in their current homes now.  The average year built for homes sold Saginaw was 1993.

The average price for a Saginaw home was $240,077 and the average size was 1809 square feet.  The price ranges from $153,000 to $305,000 and the size from 910 square feet to 2783 square feet.  Only one home sold for more than $300,000.  Four sold for less than $200,000.

The low inventory affected the time to sell and negotiated prices for sellers. Twelve of the 22 houses sold in the first week, and fifteen sold in 14 days or less.  The average days on the market was only 16 days.  The average seller received 100.06% of list price, and fourteen received full price or more.  Sellers are frequently receiving multiple offers, or buyers are initially submitting offers above the list price if the list price is fair.  Sales prices less than the list price sometimes reflect a low bank appraisal, and not the buyer’s willingness to pay the list price.

If you are considering buying or selling a home, call me and let’s talk.  I will give you the latest information on our local market and tell you how I can help you.  The current market gives you a wonderful opportunity to sell your current home, and I can help you plan a strategy for moving to your next residence. Now might be the time to follow your dreams. Call me today!

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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Turn to an Expert for the Best Advice, Not Perfect Advice

Turn to an Expert for the Best Advice, Not Perfect Advice | MyKCM

As we approach the anniversary of the hardships we’ve faced through this pandemic and the subsequent recession, it’s normal to reflect on everything that’s changed and wonder what’s ahead for 2021. While there are signs of economic recovery as vaccines are being issued, we still have a long way to go. It’s at times like these we want exact information about anything we’re doing. That information brings knowledge, and this gives us a sense of relief and comfort in uncertain times.

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home today, the same need for information is very real. But, because it’s such a big step in our lives, that desire for clear information is even greater in the homebuying or selling process. Given the current level of overall anxiety, we want that advice to be truly perfect. The challenge is, no one can give you “perfect” advice. Experts can, however, give you the best advice possible.

Let’s say you need an attorney, so you seek out an expert in the type of law required for your case. When you go to her office, she won’t immediately tell you how the case is going to end or how the judge or jury will rule. If she could, that would be perfect advice. What a good attorney can do, however, is discuss with you the most effective strategies you can take. She may recommend one or two approaches she believes will be best for your case.

She’ll then leave you to make the decision on which option you want to pursue. Once you decide, she can help you put a plan together based on the facts at hand. She’ll help you achieve the best possible resolution and make whatever modifications in the strategy are necessary to guarantee that outcome. That’s an example of the best advice possible.

The role of a real estate professional is just like the role of a lawyer. An agent can’t give you perfect advice because it’s impossible to know exactly what’s going to happen throughout the transaction – especially in this market.

An agent can, however, give you the best advice possible based on the information and situation at hand, guiding you through the process to help you make the necessary adjustments and best decisions along the way. An agent will lead you to the best offer available. That’s exactly what you want and deserve.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of buying or selling this year, let’s connect to make sure you get the best advice possible.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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What Does 2021 Have in Store for Home Values?

What Does 2021 Have in Store for Home Values? | MyKCM

According to the latest CoreLogic Home Price Insights Report, nationwide home values increased by 8.2% over the last twelve months. The dramatic rise was brought about as the inventory of homes for sale reached historic lows at the same time buyer demand was buoyed by record-low mortgage rates. As CoreLogic explained:

“Home price growth remained consistently elevated throughout 2020. Home sales for the year are expected to register above 2019 levels. Meanwhile, the availability of for-sale homes has dwindled as demand increased and coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks continued across the country, which delayed some sellers from putting their homes on the market.

While the pandemic left many in positions of financial insecurity, those who maintained employment and income stability are also incentivized to buy given the record-low mortgage rates available; this is increasing buyer demand while for-sale inventory is in short supply.”

Where will home values go in 2021?

Home price appreciation in 2021 will continue to be determined by this imbalance of supply and demand. If supply remains low and demand is high, prices will continue to increase.

Housing Supply

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the current number of single-family homes for sale is 1,080,000. At the same time last year, that number stood at 1,450,000. We are entering 2021 with approximately 370,000 fewer homes for sale than there were one year ago.

However, there is some speculation that the inventory crush will ease somewhat as we move through the new year for two reasons:

1. As the health crisis eases, more homeowners will be comfortable putting their houses on the market.

2. Some households impacted financially by the pandemic will be forced to sell.

Housing Demand

Low mortgage rates have driven buyer demand over the last twelve months. According to Freddie Mac, rates stood at 3.72% at the beginning of 2020. Today, we’re starting 2021 with rates one full percentage point lower than that. Low rates create a great opportunity for homebuyers, which is one reason why demand is expected to remain high throughout the new year.

Taking into consideration these projections on housing supply and demand, real estate analysts forecast homes will continue to appreciate in 2021, but that appreciation may be at a steadier pace than last year. Here are their forecasts:What Does 2021 Have in Store for Home Values? | MyKCM

Bottom Line

There’s still a very limited number of homes for sale for the great number of purchasers looking to buy them. As a result, the concept of “supply and demand” mandates that home values in the country will continue to appreciate.

Please contact me for more information about buying and selling and how I can help you.  Let my local expertise work for you.  I am here to serve you!

-Kathleen Wheeler –

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December 2020

December sales for previously owned homes in Saginaw sold through our multiple listing service followed the trends of recent months.  Twenty-eight homes sold which was less than the thirty-seven sold in November.  In December Saginaw homes were even more expensive and sold faster than in November.

More than half of the homes sold last month were built between 1995 and 2005. The oldest four homes were built in the 1970’s, and the newest, most expensive three homes were the only sales for homes five years old or less.  The least expensive home cost $169,000.  Only three homes sold for less than $200,000.  The subdivisions of Rancho North and Saginaw North contain the oldest homes, and Creekwood, Saginaw Springs and Basswood Crossing have the newest, most costly with three houses selling for more than $350,000.  The Creekwood home sold for $399,900, the highest price.

The average sales price of a home was $251,411 in December, up from $243,719 in November.  Although home prices are trending upward, these numbers are slightly misleading. The average home sold in December was 1958 square feet instead of the 1884 square feet of those sold in November. Generally, the price increases along with the size of a home.  The average age was also two years newer than in November, and newer homes are usually more expensive.

Limited inventory and historically low mortgage rates drove quick sales as the average time on the market went down to thirteen days.  Twenty-two homes sold in less than two weeks, and seventeen sold in less than a week.

The average seller received 99.91% of the list price as the final sales price, and six sellers sold for more than the sales price.  The scarcity of homes for sale is forcing buyers to entice sellers with their attractive offers when they finally find a home they wish to purchase.  An interesting fact is the information that the homes that sold for less than list price were the oldest houses and the newest houses. Three of the homes built in the 1970’s sold for less than their list prices because buyers were probably considering repair costs when calculating their purchase prices.  The newest, most expensive homes have price competition from new construction.

Let’s plan for a great 2021 when your housing dreams come true!  Please contact me for more information about buying and selling and how I can help you.  Let my local expertise work for you.  I am here to serve you!

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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3 Must-Do’s When Selling Your House This Year

3 Must-Do’s When Selling Your House This Year | MyKCM

It’s exciting to put a house on the market and to think about making new memories in new spaces. However, despite the anticipation of what’s to come, we can still have deep sentimental attachments to the home we’re leaving behind. Growing emotions can help or hinder a sale depending on how we manage them.

When it comes to the bottom line, homeowners need to know what it takes to avoid costly mistakes when it’s time to move. Being mindful and prepared for the process can help you stay on the right track when selling your house this year.

1. Price Your Home Right

When inventory is low, like it is in the current market, it’s common to think buyers will pay whatever we ask when setting a listing price. Believe it or not, that’s not always true. Don’t forget that the buyer’s bank will send an appraiser to determine the fair value for your house. The bank will not lend more than what the house is worth, so be aware that you might need to renegotiate the price after the appraisal. A real estate professional will help you set the true value of your home.

2. Keep Your Emotions in Check

Today, homeowners are living in their houses for a longer period of time. Since 1985, the average tenure, or the time a homeowner has owned their home, has increased from 5 to 10 years (as shown in the graph below):3 Must-Do’s When Selling Your House This Year | MyKCMThis is several years longer than what used to be the historical norm. The side effect, however, is when you stay in one place for so long, you may get even more emotionally attached to your space. If it’s the first home you bought or the house where your children grew up, it very likely means something extra special to you. Every room has memories, and it’s hard to detach from the sentimental value.

For some homeowners, that makes it even harder to negotiate and separate the emotional value of the house from the fair market price. That’s why you need a real estate professional to help you with the negotiations along the way.

3. Stage Your Home Properly

We’re generally quite proud of our décor and how we’ve customized our houses to make them our own unique homes, but not all buyers will feel the same way about your design. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you stage your house with the buyer in mind.

Buyers want to envision themselves in the space so it truly feels like it could be their own. They need to see themselves inside with their furniture and keepsakes – not your pictures and decorations. Stage and declutter so they can visualize their own dreams as they walk down the hall. A real estate professional can help you with tips to get your home ready to stage and sell.

Bottom Line

Today’s sellers’ market might be your best chance to make a move. If you’re considering selling your house, let’s connect so you have the help need to navigate through the process while prioritizing these must-do’s.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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2021 Housing Forecast

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The Do’s and Don’ts after Applying for a Mortgage

The Do’s and Don’ts after Applying for a Mortgage | MyKCM

Once you’ve found the right home and applied for a mortgage, there are some key things to keep in mind before you close. You’re undoubtedly excited about the opportunity to decorate your new place, but before you make any large purchases, move your money around, or make any major life changes, consult your lender – someone who is qualified to tell you how your financial decisions may impact your home loan.

Below is a list of things you shouldn’t do after applying for a mortgage. They’re all important to know – or simply just good reminders – for the process.

1. Don’t Deposit Cash into Your Bank Accounts Before Speaking with Your Bank or Lender. Lenders need to source your money, and cash is not easily traceable. Before you deposit any amount of cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer.

2. Don’t Make Any Large Purchases Like a New Car or Furniture for Your New Home. New debt comes with new monthly obligations. New obligations create new qualifications. People with new debt have higher debt-to-income ratios. Higher ratios make for riskier loans, and then sometimes qualified borrowers no longer qualify.

3. Don’t Co-Sign Other Loans for Anyone. When you co-sign, you’re obligated. With that obligation comes higher ratios as well. Even if you promise you won’t be the one making the payments, your lender will have to count the payments against you.

4. Don’t Change Bank Accounts. Remember, lenders need to source and track your assets. That task is significantly easier when there’s consistency among your accounts. Before you transfer any money, speak with your loan officer.

5. Don’t Apply for New Credit. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new credit card or a new car. When you have your credit report run by organizations in multiple financial channels (mortgage, credit card, auto, etc.), your FICO® score will be impacted. Lower credit scores can determine your interest rate and maybe even your eligibility for approval.

6. Don’t Close Any Credit Accounts. Many buyers believe having less available credit makes them less risky and more likely to be approved. Wrong. A major component of your score is your length and depth of credit history (as opposed to just your payment history) and your total usage of credit as a percentage of available credit. Closing accounts has a negative impact on both of those determinants of your score.

Bottom Line

Any blip in income, assets, or credit should be reviewed and executed in a way that ensures your home loan can still be approved. If your job or employment status has changed recently, share that with your lender as well. The best plan is to fully disclose and discuss your intentions with your loan officer before you do anything financial in nature.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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The Holidays Aren’t Stopping Homebuyers This Year

The Holidays Aren’t Stopping Homebuyers This Year | MyKCM

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us, yet finding the perfect holiday gifts for friends and family is certainly still top of mind for many right now. This year, there’s another type of buyer that’s very active this holiday season – the homebuyer.

Each month, ShowingTime releases their Showing Index which tracks the average number of appointments received on active U.S. house listings. The most recent index notes:

“The Showing Index reported a 60.9 percent jump in nationwide showing traffic year over year in October, the sixth consecutive month to see an increase over last year.”

Here’s the breakdown of the latest activity by region of the country compared to this time last year:

  • The Northeast increased by 65.5%
  • The West increased by 64.7%
  • The Midwest increased by 55.7%
  • The South increased by 54.7%

Why is the traffic so active?

The health crisis definitely put homebuying plans on pause for many earlier this year. Buyers, however, are in the market and making moves well past the typical busy homebuying seasons of spring and summer.

One of the main reasons buyer traffic has continued to soar in the second half of 2020 is how dramatically mortgage rates have fallen. According to Freddie Mac, the average mortgage rate last December was 3.72%. Today, the rate is a full percentage point lower.

Bottom Line

There are first-time, move-up, and move-down buyers actively looking for the home of their dreams this winter. If you’re thinking of selling your house in 2021, you don’t need to wait until the spring to do it. Your potential buyer is very likely searching for a home in your neighborhood right now.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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November 2020

November 2020 Saginaw Home Sales

The Saginaw real estate market went along as if the general economy and state of the nation were normal.  Thirty-seven homes belonging to previous owners sold last month through the local multiple listing service.  These sales do not include new construction because new construction is not reflected accurately in the data available to Realtors.

Statistically the sales for the month of November looked much like other months in 2020 except for the surprising sales of five homes in Basswood Crossing that were built in 2018. Homeowners customarily own homes for more than two years before selling, but a change in circumstances can make a move necessary.  Eight homes constructed before 1980 sold, giving a meaningless average year built of 1998.

Most Saginaw homes sold quickly with the average of 23 days on the market.  Twenty- three houses sold in less than two weeks.  The days on the market increased for homes listed for more than $280,000 because these homes have price competition from new construction.  The newer homes in Basswood Crossing generally sold more slowly than older, less expensive homes.

The average Saginaw home sold for $243,719 with two houses selling for more than $300,000. One is in Basswood Crossing and the other in Saginaw Springs.  Four houses cost less than $200,000.  They are in the older Saginaw North and Rancho North neighborhoods.

November is not traditionally the time of year when families with children move, and the sales statistics for the size of the homes purchased verified this trend this year.  The average sized home was 1884 square feet with a range from 1351 square feet to 3034 square feet. Buyers purchased only three homes of more than 2500 square feet.

Competition for Saginaw homes continued because of the limited inventory of homes for sale.  Sellers received an average of 100.10% of list price.  Only ten sellers accepted less than their list price as their selling price.

Homes are still selling well, and I am here to help you buy and sell.  Please give me a call or send me a text message or e-mail if I can help you in any way.  Now is not too soon to make plans for buying and selling next spring or summer when the economy might improve, and sellers might feel safer selling their homes.  I am here to answer your questions and to help you plan wisely.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

 

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Why Working from Home May Spark Your Next Move

Why Working from Home May Spark Your Next Move | MyKCM

If you’ve been working from home this year, chances are you’ve been at it a little longer than you initially expected. Businesses all over the country have figured out how to operate remotely to keep their employees healthy, safe, and productive. For many, it may be carrying into next year, and possibly beyond.

While the pandemic continues, Americans are re-evaluating their homes, floorplans, locations, needs, and more. Some need more space, while others need less. Whether you’re renting or own your home, if remote work is part of your future, you may be thinking about moving, especially while today’s mortgage rates are so low.

A recent study from Upwork notes:

“Anywhere from 14 to 23 million Americans are planning to move as a result of remote work.”

To put this into perspective, last year, 6 million homes were sold in the U.S. This means roughly 2 – 4X as many people are considering moving now, and there’s a direct connection to their ability to work from home.

The same study also notes while 45.3% of people are planning to stay within a 2-hour drive from their current location, 41.5% of the people who are citing working from home as their primary reason for making a move are willing to look for a home more than 4 hours away from where they live now (See graph below):Why Working from Home May Spark Your Next Move | MyKCMIn some cases, moving a little further away from your current location might mean you can get more home for your money. If you have the opportunity to work remotely, you may have more options available by expanding your search. Upwork also indicates, of those surveyed:

“People are seeking less expensive housing: Altogether, more than half (52.5%) are planning to move to a house that is significantly more affordable than their current home.”

Whether you can eliminate your daily commute to the office, or you simply need more space to work from home, your plans may be changing. If that’s the case, it’s time to connect with a local real estate professional to assess your evolving needs and determine your path together.

Bottom Line

This has been a year of change, and what you need in a home is no exception. Let’s connect today to make sure you have expert guidance on your side to help you find a home that fits your remote work needs.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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October 2020

Saginaw Residential Resale Homes for October 2020

Only 30 homes sold in Saginaw in October.  The time of the year, nervousness about the election, and Covid 19 all contributed to a low inventory.  With few homes for sale, few buyers could purchase homes despite low interest rates and an eagerness to buy a home.

The list prices ranged from $169,900 to $285,000. The most expensive home was in Willow Creek Estates and sold for list price.  The median list price was $237,450.  Smaller homes were the rule for October with the average being 1939 square feet. The only 3000 square foot home sold was in Heather Ridge.  This home also had a pool and sold for $284,000. Sales includes four houses with pools last month.

The ages of the homes sold is interesting.  Six homes that were built before 1980 sold.  These sales are often investors who are cashing in on the phenomenal appreciation of recent months or homeowners who have become burdened by the maintenance responsibilities of older homes.  Eight homes were sold between 1990 and 2000.  Twelve were built between 2000 and 2010, years when Saginaw saw exploding growth.  Only four homes sold were built between 2010 and 2020.

In September homes were selling for 99.61% of list price, but in October the average home sold slightly above list price.  Of the 30 sales, 18 houses sold for list price or more.  In the current Saginaw market buyers should plan to pay above list price for a home they love if the list price is fair.  Homes sold quickly, too.  Of the 30 homes sold, 17 sold in two weeks or less with an average days on the market of 21 days.

If you are considering buying or selling, please contact me to learn how I can serve you.  I would like to talk to you about your plans and special situation and how I can help you.  Please call me, text me or send me an e-mail.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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4 Reasons Why the Election Won’t Dampen the Housing Market

4 Reasons Why the Election Won’t Dampen the Housing Market | MyKCM

Tomorrow, Americans will decide our President for the next four years. That decision will have a major impact on many aspects of life in this country, but the residential real estate market will not be one of them.

Analysts will try to measure the impact feasible changes in regulations might have on housing, the effect of a possible first-time buyer program, and any number of other situations based on who wins. The housing market, however, will remain strong for four reasons:

1. Demand Is Strong among Millennials

The nation’s largest generation began entering the housing market last year as they reached the age to marry and have children – two key drivers of homeownership. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported:

“Millennials, long viewed as perennial home renters who were reluctant or unable to buy, are now emerging as a driving force in the U.S. housing market’s recent recovery.”

2. Mortgage Rates Are Historically Low

All-time low interest rates are also driving demand across all generations. Strong demand created by this rate drop has countered other economic disruptions (e.g., pandemic, recession, record unemployment).

In addition, Freddie Mac just forecasted mortgage rates to remain low through next year:

“One of the main drivers of the strong housing recovery is historically low mortgage interest rates…Given weakness in the broader economy, the Federal Reserve’s signal that its policy rate will remain low until inflation picks up, and no signs of inflation, we forecast mortgage rates to remain flat over the next year. From the third quarter of 2020 through the end of 2021, we forecast mortgage rates to remain unchanged at 3%.”

3. Prices Continue to Appreciate

The continued lack of supply of existing homes for sale coupled with the surge in buyer demand has experts forecasting strong price appreciation over the next twelve months.

4. History Says So

Though it’s true that the market slows slightly in November when it’s a Presidential election year, the pace returns quickly. Here’s an explanation as to why from the Homebuilding Industry Report by BTIG:

“This may indicate that potential homebuyers may become more cautious in the face of national election uncertainty. This caution is temporary, and ultimately results in deferred sales, as the economy, jobs, interest rates and consumer confidence all have far more meaningful roles in the home purchase decision than a Presidential election result in the months that follow.”

Ali Wolf, Chief Economist for Meyers Research, also notes:

“History suggests that the slowdown is largely concentrated in the month of November. In fact, the year after a presidential election is the best of the four-year cycle. This suggests that demand for new housing is not lost because of election uncertainty, rather it gets pushed out to the following year as long as the economy stays on track.”

Bottom Line

There’s no doubt this is one of the most contentious presidential elections in our nation’s history. The outcome will have a major impact on many sectors of the economy. However, as Matthew Speakman, an economist at Zillowexplained last week:

“While the path of the overall economy is likely to be most directly dictated by coronavirus-related and political developments in the coming months, recent trends suggest that the housing market – which has basically withstood every pandemic-related challenge to this point – will continue its strong momentum in the months to come.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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Selling Your House Is the Right Move, Right Now

Selling Your House Is the Right Move, Right Now [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • Demand from homebuyers has skyrocketed this year, which means today’s sellers are poised to win big. This ideal moment in time to sell your house won’t last forever, though.
  • With more sellers coming to the market in the spring, waiting until next year means buyers will have more choices, so your home may not stand out from the crowd.
  • Let’s connect today to discuss why now may be the right time to make a move on your terms.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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Do You Need to Know More about Forbearance and Mortgage Relief Options?

Do You Need to Know More about Forbearance and Mortgage Relief Options? | MyKCM

Earlier this year when the nation pressed pause on the economy and unemployment rates jumped up significantly, many homeowners were immediately concerned about being able to pay their mortgages, and understandably so. To assist in this challenging time, two protection plans were put into place to help support those in need.

First, there was a pause placed on initiating foreclosures for government-backed loans. This plan started on March 18, 2020, and it extends at least through December 31, 2020. Second, homeowners were able to obtain forbearance for up to 180 days, followed by a potential extension for up to another 180 days. This way, there is a relief period in which homeowners have the opportunity to halt payments on their mortgages for up to one year.

Not Everyone Understands Their Options

The challenge, according to Matt Hulstein, Staff Attorney at non-profit Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, is, “A lot of homeowners aren’t aware of this option.”

There’s definitely traction behind this statement. In a recent survey by The National Housing Resource Center, housing counselors from across the country noted that many homeowners really don’t know that there is help available. The following graph indicates the reasons why people who are in this challenging situation are not choosing to enter forbearance:Do You Need to Know More about Forbearance and Mortgage Relief Options? | MyKCMThe Urban Institute explained:

“530,000 homeowners who became delinquent after the pandemic began did not take advantage of forbearance, despite being eligible to ask for the plan…These responses reflect a need to provide better information to all homeowners. (Lump-sum payment is not the only repayment option.)

Additionally, 205,000 homeowners who did not extend their forbearance after its term ended in June or July became delinquent on their loans. We need to examine who these people are and why are they not extending their option.”

Clearly, a more focused effort on education about forbearance and relief programs may make a big difference for many people, and a clear understanding of their options is mission-critical. Some communities, however, have been impacted by the economic challenges of the pandemic more so than others, further confirming the need to deliver education more widely. The Urban Institute also indicates:

“Black and Hispanic homeowners have been hit harder than white homeowners…nearly 21 percent of both Black and Hispanic homeowners missed or deferred the previous month’s mortgage payment, compared with 10 percent of white homeowners and about 13 percent of all homeowners with payments due.”

Options Available

It’s important to note that any homeowner experiencing financial hardship has the right to request forbearance. If you’re unfamiliar with the plans available, contact your mortgage provider (the company you send your mortgage payment to each month) to discuss your options. It is a necessary next step, as you may qualify for mortgage relief options or forbearance.

One option many homeowners may not realize they have is the ability to sell their house in this time of need. With the growing equity that homeowners have available today, making a move might be the best option to protect your financial future.

Bottom Line

If you need additional information on your options, you can review the Protect Your Investment guide from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Homeowner’s Guide to Success from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). For the majority of people, our home is the most important asset we have, and you should use all the help available right now to be able to preserve your investment.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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September 2020

Saginaw Residential Resale Homes for September 2020

Imagine my amazement when this month’s total Saginaw home sales was only 27 homes!  Compare this number to the 57 homes that sold in August and 56 that sold in July.  Even May had 30 sales, and these sales were often initiated when businesses shut down because of Covid.  I went all the way back to August of 2012 to find a month when only 25 houses sold in Saginaw.  This was a time when we were coming out of the Recession, and many of these sales were foreclosures.

The houses that sold ranged in price from $165,000 to $320,000.  The most expensive home was 4007 square feet and was the only home that sold for more than $300,000 last month.  Only four homes sold for more than $265,000. The average sold price in Saginaw was $229,522 with 1998 as the average year built.  These averages demonstrate that older, less expensive homes are selling, and the owners of these homes are the people who are moving. Landlords and investors are selling these older homes, too. Four homes that sold were built in 1975 or earlier, and only five houses constructed in the last ten years sold last month.  Few owners with newer homes are selling now.  When I checked the multiple listing today, Saginaw only had eleven active listings. 

The low inventory and low interest rates help homes sell quickly and for close to list price.  Fourteen homes sold in less than two weeks, and the average time on the market was 32 days.  The average home sold for 99.61% of list price.  More than half of the homes sold for full list price or above list price.  Many buyers who have been outbid on numerous homes they attempted to buy are growing accustomed to making offers of at least list price.

If you are considering buying or selling, please contact me to learn how I can serve you.  I would like to talk to you about your plans and special situation and how I can help you.  Please call me, text me or send me an e-mail.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

 

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Is it Time to Move into a Single-Story Home?

Is it Time to Move into a Single-Story Home? | MyKCM

Once the kids have left the nest, you may be wondering what to do with all of the extra space in your home. Chances are, you don’t need four bedrooms anymore, and it may be a great time to sell your house and downsize, maybe even into a single-story home. You’ve likely gained significant equity if you’ve lived in your home for a while, so making a move while demand for your current house is high could be your best step forward toward the retirement goals you set out to achieve several years ago.

The dilemma, though, is where to go next. A big concern for many homeowners who are ready to sell is finding a home to move into, given today’s lack of houses available for sale. There is, however, some good news: the number of single-family 1-story homes being built today is on the rise, improving your odds of finding the right home for your changing needs. In a recent article, The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) explains:

“Nationwide, the share of new homes with two or more stories fell from 53% in 2018 to 52% in 2019, while the share of new homes with one story grew from 47% to 48%.”

Here’s a map showing the breakdown of newly constructed homes being built by region, and the percentage of 1-story and 2-story homes in that mix:Is it Time to Move into a Single-Story Home? | MyKCM

What are the benefits of buying a one-story home?

Still not sure about buying a single-story home? An article from Home Talk covers several advantages of switching from two floors to one:

1. Energy Efficient

“It is easier to heat and cool a single-story house [than] it would be to regulate the temperatures of a multi-story house.”

Most single-story homes only need one heating or cooling unit, and they typically stay cooler than a two-story home, both of which can lead to significant savings.

2. Easier to Maintain

“Doing a general cleaning in a single story requires less effort and you will be able to see all areas that need cleaning and the areas are easily accessible.”

Cleaning and maintenance of a single-story home can take less time and effort, and better upkeep helps improve the overall value of the home.

3. Accessible for Everyone

“A single-story house can be accessed by anyone, whether they are young children or the senior citizens.”

If you’re looking for a house that provides a safe and easily accessible environment at any age, a single-story home may be optimal.

4. Good Resell Potential

“When buying a single-story house, you should consider the resale value should you think of reselling it in case of a circumstance that can happen. Look at the growth rate of that area. Due to the high demand of these types of houses it is [easy] to resell them and depending on the growth rate of an area, it increases in value significantly.”

Single-story homes have a lot of benefits and are often in higher demand. This bodes well for future resale opportunities.

Bottom Line

There are many benefits to downsizing into a one-story home. Doing so while demand for your current house is high might make it easier than ever to make a move. Let’s connect if you’re ready to purchase the single-story home you need while homes are so affordable today.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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Why Pricing Your Home Right Matters This Fall

Why Pricing Your Home Right Matters This Fall [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • As a seller today, you may think pricing your home on the high end will result in a higher final sale price, but the opposite is actually true.
  • To sell your home quickly and for the best possible price, you should eliminate buyer concerns by pricing your home competitively right from the start.
  • Let’s connect today to make sure you have the guidance you need to price your home right this fall.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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The Cost of a Home Is Far More Important than the Price

The Cost of a Home Is Far More Important than the Price | MyKCM

Housing inventory is at an all-time low. There are 39% fewer homes for sale today than at this time last year, and buyer demand continues to set records. Zillow recently reported:

“Newly pending sales are up 25.5% compared to the same week last year, the highest year-over-year increase in the weekly Zillow database.”

Whenever there is a shortage in supply of an item that’s in high demand, the price of that item increases. That’s exactly what’s happening in the real estate market right now. CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that values have increased by 5.5% over the last year.

This is great news if you’re planning to sell your house; on the other hand, as either a first-time or repeat buyer, this may instead seem like troubling news. However, purchasers should realize that the price of a house is not as important as the cost. Let’s break it down.

There are several factors that influence the cost of a home. The two major ones are the price of the home and the interest rate at which a buyer can borrow the funds necessary to purchase the home.

Last week, Freddie Mac announced that the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 2.87%. At this time last year, the rate was 3.73%. Let’s use an example to see how that difference impacts the true cost of a home.

Assume you purchased a home last year and took out a $250,000 mortgage. As mentioned above, home values have increased by 5.5% over the last year. To buy that same home this year, you would need to take out a mortgage of $263,750.

How will your monthly mortgage payment change based on today’s lower mortgage rate?

This table calculates the difference in your monthly payment:The Cost of a Home Is Far More Important than the Price | MyKCMThat’s a savings of $61 monthly, which adds up to $732 annually and $21,960 over the life of the loan.

Bottom Line

Even though home values have appreciated, it’s a great time to buy a home because mortgage rates are at historic lows.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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August 2020

Saginaw Home Sales for August 2020

Previously owned homes sold through MLS set new records in Saginaw in August.  For the second month in a row, so many homes sold that our system requires that I break down the areas to analysis the sales.  Here is a look at the areas by zip code:

76179  Zip Code

Thirty-six homes sold in August with an average sold price of $233,718.  The average size of the home was 1890 square feet and the average year built was 1992.  The sold prices ranged from $118,551 to $375,000. The most expensive was in Northfork Estates with an acre of land and an inground pool.  This home was one of only four homes with inground pools that sold in August. The least expensive house was an investor property that sold for cash. Six homes sold for more than $300,000, and ten houses for less than $200,000.

Most homes continued to sell quickly with 19 houses selling in less than two weeks, but.  The average days on the market was 29 days, but three homes were on the market for more than 100 days.

The average seller received 98.81% of list price as the sales price. Ten sellers received more than the list price as the final sales price, and seven obtained 100% of the list price.  These great percentages were often a result of multiple offers. On the other hand, the investor who purchased the home for cash for $118,551 only paid 68.93% of the list price. 

76131  Zip Code

Twenty-one homes sold in 76131 with an average sold price of $266,210.  The average size is 2147 square feet and the average year built is 2007. The most expensive home was in Creekwood with a sold price of $410,000 and the least expensive was $169,000.  Only two houses sold for less than $200,000.  Both were in Heather Ridge.  Six homes sold for more than $300,000.

Houses here are selling quickly. Ten of the twenty-one homes sold in less than two weeks with an average days on the market of only twenty four days.

The average seller sold for close to full price with the average percentage of the list price to sold price being 99.25%.  Ten sellers received more than their list price, and five brought full price.  Only six sold for less than full price, an indicator of the strength of our market.

If you are thinking of buying, selling or want real estate information, please contact me!  I would be delighted to give you more information about this robust market and how I can work for you as your seller’s agent.  If you are a buyer, I have strategies to help you find just the right house even in this competitive market with low inventories.  Call, text or e-mail me.  I look forward to serving you!

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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July 2020

Saginaw Home Sales for July 2020

Imagine my shock when my search for preowned home sales in Saginaw for July showed 56 sales, more than any previous month, ever!  Our system only calculates averages for 50 homes or less, which made me ask, “How can I provide useful information for so many home sales?”  I think dividing Saginaw by the zip codes 76179 and 76131 is the most helpful division.

Maybe you are wondering why so many homes sold last month.  Here are some of the reasons:

  1. Interest rates are historically low, allowing buyers to have lower payments on a more expensive home.
  2. The demographics of our population has many Millennials wanting to buy their first homes especially for young families, and Saginaw is a wonderful place to raise children.
  3. With many fine choices in new construction in our local area, some Saginaw homeowners are moving to these new homes without leaving the community that they love.
  4. This is the time of the year to relocate. Many buyers and sellers were hesitant to buy or sell earlier in the year when the pandemic first hit, but they have become eager buyers and sellers months later. The real estate market is traditionally busiest when school is out for the summer, but even senior citizens care about the time of the year.  No body wants to move in a blizzard!

July 2020 Saginaw 76179

Thirty-seven homes sold in 76179 in July with an average sold price of $244,704. The average size was 1947 square foot and the average year built was 2001.  Four houses sold for over $300,000, but the least expensive home was built in 1959 and cost $135,000.

These Saginaw homes sold quickly.  Twenty-one homes sold in less than two weeks with the average home selling in thirteen days.  The longest a home was on the market was 48 days.

The average seller sold for full price, but the range of percentage of list price that a seller received varied from 90% to 107%.  The home built in 1959 was hit with the greatest percentage price reduction.  The one receiving the highest percentage had an inground pool, a highly desirable amenity in July in Texas.  Only three homes with pools sold in July in Saginaw, which included the most expensive, $343,000 home.

 Saginaw  76131 July Sales

Nineteen homes sold in 76131.  As compared to 76179, this area is newer with many larger homes than in 76179.  This is also an area of more new construction, and these newly built homes are direct competition for the sale of preexisting homes. The average size of a home was 2347 square feet and the average year built was 2008.  Five homes sold for over $300,000, but the least expensive home sold for $200,000.  The least expensive home was in Heather Ridge and the most expensive in Creekwood.

Homes in this zip code were on the market for an average of 43 days, and only four sold in two weeks or less.  The availability of new construction and numerous other homes for sale in the general area of this average size and in this price range gave buyers more choices and contributed to the longer days on the market than in 76179 zip code.

Despite the competition, sellers still received an average of 98.98% of their list price as their final sales price. Seven sellers received full price and four closed at above list price.

This might be a good time for you to buy or sell a home.  Please contact me to learn how I can help you.  I would be delighted to discuss your plans and goals.  Call me, text me or e-mail me.  I am here to serve you!

– Kathleen wheeler –

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June 2020

          Saginaw, Texas, Sales of Preowned Homes for June 2020

The surprise for June was the fact that sales continued as if there were no Covid-19.  The inventory of homes for sale remains low, and the average Saginaw home sells quickly at close to list price.  June saw quick sales across all price ranges.  The local real estate market has been amazingly resilient to all the economic distress in the larger economy.

Thirty-four homes sold through multiple listing in June.  This number of sales is typical for this time of year. The maximum sold price was $315,000, the lowest was $127,300, and the average sold price was $217,659.  The average sold price has been higher when more expensive homes sold during a month.  This average does not indicate a decrease in value of homes but reflects the high number of less expensive homes that were for sale in late May and in June.  Twelve homes were on the market for less than $200,000 with eleven of these priced from $175,000 to $200,000.  Six homes in this price range were in Rancho North.  I was the listing agent for the home that sold for $127,300.  The seller originally listed this house for $120,000, but with so many excited buyers competing for the property, she sold for cash for $7300 over the list price.  Because the home had obvious evidence of foundation issues which the seller did not wish to repair, only a cash buyer could purchase the property easily and quickly, which is what my client wanted.

Saginaw homes continue to sell quickly with on average 21 days on the market.  Eighteen homes sold in less than two weeks, including homes that sold for as much as $280,000.  Listing for the right price is important when trying to sell quickly.  One home was on the market 102 days.  The price was reduced from $242,000 to $224,500 before it sold.

The sold price of homes averaged 98.92% of the list price in June.  The percentage has changed little in many months.  Some homes continue to sell above their original list price as they receive multiple offers. Only four listings sold for less than 95% of their list price.

If you are thinking of buying, selling or want real estate information, please contact me!  I would be delighted to give you more information about this robust market and how I can work for you as your seller’s agent.  If you are a buyer, I have strategies to help you find just the right house even in this competitive market with low inventories.  Call, text or e-mail me.  I look forward to serving you!

– Kathleen Wheeler   –

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Two Reasons We Won’t See a Rush of Foreclosures This Fall

Two Reasons We Won’t See a Rush of Foreclosures This Fall | MyKCM

The health crisis we face as a country has led businesses all over the nation to reduce or discontinue their services altogether. This pause in the economy has greatly impacted the workforce and as a result, many people have been laid off or furloughed. Naturally, that would lead many to believe we might see a rush of foreclosures like we saw in 2008. The market today, however, is very different from 2008.

The concern of more foreclosures based on those that are out of work is one that we need to understand fully. There are two reasons we won’t see a rush of foreclosures this fall: forbearance extension options and strong homeowner equity.

1. Forbearance Extension

Forbearance, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), is when your mortgage servicer or lender allows you to temporarily pay your mortgage at a lower payment or pause paying your mortgage.” This is an option for those who need immediate relief. In today’s economy, the CFPB has given homeowners a way to extend their forbearance, which will greatly assist those families who need it at this critical time.

Under the CARES Act, the CFPB notes:

 “If you experience financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, you have a right to request and obtain a forbearance for up to 180 days. You also have the right to request and obtain an extension for up to another 180 days (for a total of up to 360 days).” 

2. Strong Homeowner Equity

Equity is also working in favor of today’s homeowners. This savings is another reason why we won’t see substantial foreclosures in the near future. Today’s homeowners who are in forbearance actually have more equity in their homes than what the market experienced in 2008.

The Mortgage Monitor report from Black Knight indicates that of all active forbearances which are past due on their mortgage payment, 77% have at least 20% equity in their homes (See graph below):Two Reasons We Won’t See a Rush of Foreclosures This Fall | MyKCMBlack Knight notes:

“The high level of equity provides options for homeowners, policymakers, mortgage investors and servicers in helping to avoid downstream foreclosure activity and default-related losses.”

Bottom Line

Many think we may see a rush of foreclosures this fall, but the facts just don’t add up in this case. Today’s real estate market is very different from 2008 when we saw many homeowners walk away when they owed more than their homes were worth. This time, equity is stronger and plans are in place to help those affected weather the storm.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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Is a Recession Here? Yes. Does that Mean a Housing Crash? No.

Is a Recession Here? Yes. Does that Mean a Housing Crash? No. | MyKCM

On Monday, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) announced that the U.S. economy is officially in a recession. This did not come as a surprise to many, as the Bureau defines a recession this way:

“A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, normally visible in production, employment, and other indicators. A recession begins when the economy reaches a peak of economic activity and ends when the economy reaches its trough. Between trough and peak, the economy is in an expansion.”

Everyone realizes that the pandemic shut down the country earlier this year, causing a “significant decline in economic activity.”

Though not surprising, headlines announcing the country is in a recession will cause consumers to remember the devastating impact the last recession had on the housing market just over a decade ago.

The real estate market, however, is in a totally different position than it was then. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americanexplained:

“Many still bear scars from the Great Recession and may expect the housing market to follow a similar trajectory in response to the coronavirus outbreak. But, there are distinct differences that indicate the housing market may follow a much different path. While housing led the recession in 2008-2009, this time it may be poised to bring us out of it.”

Four major differences in today’s real estate market are:

  1. Families have large sums of equity in their homes
  2. We have a shortage of housing inventory, not an overabundance
  3. Irresponsible lending no longer exists
  4. Home price appreciation is not out of control

We must also realize that a recession does not mean a housing crash will follow.  In three of the four previous recessions prior to 2008, home values increased. In the other one, home prices depreciated by only 1.9%.

Bottom Line

Yes, we are now officially in a recession. However, unlike 2008, this time the housing industry is in much better shape to weather the storm.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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