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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May 2020

Update for Saginaw, Texas, Residential Real Estate Sales for May 2020

Last month individuals sold 30 homes in Saginaw in May.  Last year in May 43 homes sold in Saginaw, but May sales this year reflect homes that went under contract during the time of “Shelter in Place”.  Considering the circumstances of last month, the sales were good, but not compared with last year’s sales. Sales remained steady, especially for less expensive homes, because of lack of supply[CW1]  to meet demand.  Today there are only 15 houses actively on the market for less than $230,000 in Saginaw, and we agents have clients who are eager to buy them.

The homes ranged in sold price from $309,900 to $167,000.  The most expensive home was one of the two homes that had an inground pool.  The other home with a pool sold for $288,000.  The average sales price for a home was $232,942.  Seven homes sold for less than $200,000, and nine homes sold for prices between $200,000 and $228,000.  The most expensive 14 homes sold for more than $234,000.

Sellers received an average of 99.53% of their list price.  This average has changed little in many months.  Sometimes the seller must reduce the original asking price, but when the price is right for a Saginaw home, the home will sell close to the list price.  The lowest percentage that a seller received was 94.22% of list price, which has been typical of the lowest price sellers accepted for several years.

Surprisingly, the houses were on the market an average of 26 days this May, the exact number of days they were on the market in May of 2019. Last month 16 houses sold in less than two weeks, and the longest time on the market for a home priced less than $230,000 was three weeks.  When the prices jumped up to $250,000, the time on the market increased to over 40 days for many homes. 

The new construction in Saginaw and in Fort Worth surrounding Saginaw directly effects sales of preowned homes. The new construction in Saginaw listed in our MLS ranges in price from $275,000 to $313,000, but builders have new construction in Fort Worth in the Eagle Mt.-Saginaw ISD starting as low as $209,900.  Houses competing with homes for sale in Saginaw include 25 new homes for $242,000 or less.

We continue to have a strong real estate market here.  Please let me be of service to you as you move forward with buying or selling.  Call me, text me or e-mail to learn what I can do for you.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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Why This Summer Is the 2020 Real Estate Season

Why This Summer Is the 2020 Real Estate Season | MyKCM

With stay-at-home orders starting to gradually lift throughout parts of the country, data indicates homebuyers are jumping back into the market. After many families put their plans on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what we once called the busy spring real estate season is shifting into the summer. In 2020, summer is the new spring for real estate.

Joel KanEconomist at The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) notes:

“Applications for home purchases continue to recover from April’s sizable drop and have now increased for five consecutive weeks…Government purchase applications, which include FHA, VA, and USDA loans, are now 5 percent higher than a year ago, which is an encouraging turnaround after the weakness seen over the past two months.”

Additionally, according to Google Trends, which scores search terms online, searches for real estate increased from 68 points the week of March 15th to 92 points last week. As we can see, more potential homebuyers are looking for homes virtually.

What’s the Opportunity for Buyers?

Another reason buyers are coming back to the market, even with forced unemployment and stay-at-home orders, is historically low mortgage rates. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac indicates:

“For the fourth consecutive week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has been below 3.30 percent, giving potential buyers a good reason to continue shopping even amid the pandemic…As states reopen, we’re seeing purchase demand improve remarkably fast, now essentially flat relative to a year ago.”

With mortgage rates at such low levels and states gradually beginning to reopen, there’s more incentive than ever to buy a home this summer.

What’s the Opportunity for Sellers?

Finding a home to buy, however, is still a challenge, as this spring sellers removed many listings from the market. Though more people are now putting their houses up for sale this month as compared to last month, current inventory is still well below last year’s level.

According to last week’s Weekly Economic and Housing Market Update from realtor.com:

“Weekly Housing Inventory showed continued tightening. New Listings declined 28% compared with a year ago, as sellers grappled with uncertainty and hesitated bringing homes to market. Total Listings dropped 20% YoY, a faster rate than in prior weeks, leaving very few homes available for sale. As Time on Market was 15 days slower YoY, asking prices moved up 1.5% YoY.”

If you’re thinking of selling your house this summer, now may be your best opportunity. With so few homes on the market for buyers to purchase, this season may be the time for your house to stand out from the crowd. Trusted real estate professionals can help you list safely and effectively, keeping your family’s needs top of mind. Buyers are looking, and your house may be at the top of their list.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of selling, many buyers may be eager to find a home just like yours. Let’s connect today to make sure you can get your house in on the action this summer.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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Want to Challenge Your Tax Appraisal?

If you think the Tarrant County tax appraisal is too high on your home, let me do a free comparative market analysis for you.  Simply call me or send me an e-mail with your name and address, and I will send you the information via e-mail.  This information will help you know the market value of your home to use to challenge the tax appraisal value.  I am happy to serve you.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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April 2020

Saginaw, Texas, Residential Real Estate Blog for April, 2020

Only eighteen homes were sold by individuals in Saginaw in April as compared to thirty- six homes sold in March.  By April, the Covid 19 virus had begun to affect the market because of the medical and financial uncertainties for buyers and sellers.  April sales reflected the chaos and fear from everything happening in March, and the average days on the market increased from forty-two days in March to fifty-one days in April.

Instead of March’s average home price of $238,187, the average sold price of a Saginaw home in April was $221,351, and the median price dropped from $235,899 to $205,001. The least expensive home was $127,000 and the most expensive was $420,000. The next most expensive sold for $272,00. Nine homes, exactly 50% of the April sales, were listed for less than $200,000.  In March with twice as many houses sold, only six houses were listed for less than $200,000.  What are some possible explanations for this larger inventory of less expensive homes?  Some sellers have been planning for months to sell during the spring, which is usually the best time of the year for real estate, and they know that their home is in a price range that will sell in Saginaw despite the Covid 19 virus.  Landlords who have vacant homes might be considering selling instead of leasing again with the current financial disruptions and new leasing rules.

Because inventories remain low and buyers want to buy homes in Saginaw, homes continued to sell well.  Six of the homes selling for less than $230,000 sold within two weeks, and the average ratio of list price to sales price was 98.63%.  Even the lowest percentage was 94.81%.  These prices and percentages demonstrate that the market is strong, and prices are remaining stable.

This might be a good time for you to buy or sell a home despite Covid 19.  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!

– Kathleenwheeler –

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What Impact Might COVID-19 Have on Home Values?

What Impact Might COVID-19 Have on Home Values? | MyKCM

A big challenge facing the housing industry is determining what impact the current pandemic may have on home values. Some buyers are hoping for major price reductions because the health crisis is straining the economy.

The price of any item, however, is determined by supply and demand, which is how many items are available in relation to how many consumers want to buy that item.

In residential real estate, the measurement used to decipher that ratio is called months supply of inventory. A normal market would have 6-7 months of inventory. Anything over seven months would be considered a buyers’ market, with downward pressure on prices. Anything under six months would indicate a sellers’ market, which would put upward pressure on prices.

Going into March of this year, the supply stood at three months – a strong seller’s market. While buyer demand has decreased rather dramatically during the pandemic, the number of homes on the market has also decreased. The recently released Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed we currently have 3.4 months of inventory. This means homes should maintain their value during the pandemic.

This information is consistent with the research completed by John Burns Real Estate Consulting, which recently reported:

“Historical analysis showed us that pandemics are usually V-shaped (sharp recessions that recover quickly enough to provide little damage to home prices).”

What are the experts saying?

Here’s a look at what some experts recently reported on the matter:

Ivy Zelman, President, Zelman & Associates

“Supported by our analysis of home price dynamics through cycles and other periods of economic and housing disruption, we expect home price appreciation to decelerate from current levels in 2020, though easily remain in positive territory year over year given the beneficial factors of record-low inventories & a historically-low interest rate environment.”

Freddie Mac

“The fiscal stimulus provided by the CARES Act will mute the impact that the economic shock has on house prices. Additionally, forbearance and foreclosure mitigation programs will limit the fire sale contagion effect on house prices. We forecast house prices to fall 0.5 percentage points over the next four quarters. Two forces prevent a collapse in house prices. First, as we indicated in our earlier research report, U.S. housing markets face a large supply deficit. Second, population growth and pent up household formations provide a tailwind to housing demand. Price growth accelerates back towards a long-run trend of between 2 and 3% per year.”

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist, First American

“The housing supply remains at historically low levels, so house price growth is likely to slow, but it’s unlikely to go negative.”

Bottom Line

Even though the economy has been placed on pause, it appears home prices will remain steady throughout the pandemic.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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How Technology is Helping Buyers Navigate the Home Search Process

How Technology is Helping Buyers Navigate the Home Search Process [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • A recent realtor.com survey revealed that buyers are still considering moving forward with the homebuying process, even if they can’t see the home in-person.
  • While they still prefer to physically see a home, virtual home tours and accurate listing information top the list of tech specs buyers find most helpful in today’s process.
  • Let’s connect today to determine how technology can help power your home search.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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March 2020

March 2020 Saginaw, Texas, Residential Real Estate Update

March concluded the period of normalcy for the real estate market that began 2020. Houses that sold before the end of March were generally under contract before the pandemic had much effect on the economy.

Of the 35 homes sold by individuals, the average home was on the market for 41 days. Seventeen houses sold in less than two weeks although one home was for sale for 319 days.

The least expensive home, built in1962 and located in Rancho North, sold for $169,000. The two highest priced homes were $315,000, and another was $300,000. In the past few months very few homes which were not new construction have sold for more than $300,000. These expensive homes are in Willow Vista Estates, the Dominion and Creekwood. The average house in Saginaw sold for $237,281 last month.

The homes sold in March ranged in size from 1239 square feet to 3298 square feet with an average size of 2043 square feet. Only one house with more than 3000 square feet was sold. All the homes had either three or four bedrooms, but they ranged between offering two to three and a half bathrooms.

This monthly report may represent the last update of a normal market for the near future as we move into unknown economic times. I am here to help. I worked through the Recession trying to help buyers and sellers and I will serve you as we get through the pandemic. Please call me with questions, concerns or just to talk. I will try to keep in touch with lenders, title companies and other real estate professionals to be ready to serve you.

– Kathleen Wheeler –


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Will Surging Unemployment Crush Home Sales?

Will Surging Unemployment Crush Home Sales? | MyKCM

Ten million Americans lost their jobs over the last two weeks. The next announced unemployment rate on May 8th is expected to be in the double digits. Because the health crisis brought the economy to a screeching halt, many are feeling a personal financial crisis. James Bullard, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, explained that the government is trying to find ways to assist those who have lost their jobs and the companies which were forced to close (think: your neighborhood restaurant). In a recent interview he said:

“This is a planned, organized partial shutdown of the U.S. economy in the second quarter. The overall goal is to keep everyone, households and businesses, whole.”

That’s promising, but we’re still uncertain as to when the recently unemployed will be able to return to work.

Another concern: how badly will the U.S. economy be damaged if people can’t buy homes?

A new concern is whether the high number of unemployed Americans will cause the residential real estate market to crash, putting a greater strain on the economy and leading to even more job losses. The housing industry is a major piece of the overall economy in this country.

Chris Herbert, Managing Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, in a post titled Responding to the Covid-19 Pandemic, addressed the toll this crisis will have on our nation, explaining:

“Housing is a foundational element of every person’s well-being. And with nearly a fifth of US gross domestic product rooted in housing-related expenditures, it is also critical to the well-being of our broader economy.”

How has the unemployment rate affected home sales in the past?

It’s logical to think there would be a direct correlation between the unemployment rate and home sales: as the unemployment rate went up, home sales would go down, and when the unemployment rate went down, home sales would go up.

However, research reviewing the last thirty years doesn’t show that direct relationship, as noted in the graph below. The blue and grey bars represent home sales, while the yellow line is the unemployment rate. Take a look at numbers 1 through 4:Will Surging Unemployment Crush Home Sales? | MyKCM

  1. The unemployment rate was rising between 1992-1993, yet home sales increased.
  2. The unemployment rate was rising between 2001-2003, and home sales increased.
  3. The unemployment rate was rising between 2007-2010, and home sales significantly decreased.
  4. The unemployment rate was falling continuously between 2015-2019, and home sales remained relatively flat.

The impact of the unemployment rate on home sales doesn’t seem to be as strong as we may have thought.

Isn’t this time different?

Yes. There is no doubt the country hasn’t seen job losses this quickly in almost one hundred years. How bad could it get? Goldman Sachs projects the unemployment rate to be 15% in the third quarter of 2020, flattening to single digits by the fourth quarter of this year, and then just over 6% percent by the fourth quarter of 2021. Not ideal for the housing industry, but manageable.

How does this compare to the other financial crises?

Some believe this is going to be reminiscent of The Great Depression. From the standpoint of unemployment rates alone (the only thing this article addresses), it does not compare. Here are the unemployment rates during the Great Depression, the Great Recession, and the projected rates moving forward:Will Surging Unemployment Crush Home Sales? | MyKCM

Bottom Line

We’ve given you the facts as we know them. The housing market will have challenges this year. However, with the help being given to those who have lost their jobs and the fact that we’re looking at a quick recovery for the economy after we address the health problem, the housing industry should be fine in the long term. Stay safe.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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Economic Slowdown: What the Experts Are Saying

Economic Slowdown: What the Experts Are Saying | MyKCM

More and more economists are predicting a recession is imminent as the result of the pullback in the economy caused by COVID-19. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research:

“A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.”

Bill McBride, the founder of Calculated Riskbelieves we are already in a recession:

“With the sudden economic stop, and with many states shutting down by closing down schools, bars and restaurants…my view is the US economy is now in a recession (started in March 2020), and GDP will decline sharply in Q2. The length of the recession will depend on the course of the pandemic.”

How deep will it go?

No one knows for sure. It depends on how long it takes to beat this virus. Goldman Sachs anticipates we will see a difficult first half of the year, but the economy will recover in the second half (see below):Economic Slowdown: What the Experts Are Saying | MyKCMGoldman also projects we’ll have “further strong gains in early 2021.”

This aligns with the projection from Wells Fargo Investment Institute:

“Once the virus infection rate peaks, we expect a recovery to gain momentum into the final quarter of the year and especially into 2021.”

Again, no one knows for sure how long the pandemic will last. The hope is that it will resolve sometime over the next several months. Most agree that when it does, the economy will regain its strength quickly.


Bottom Line

This virus is not only impacting the physical health of Americans, but also the financial health of the nation. The sooner we beat it, the sooner our lives will return to normal.

– Kathleen Wheeler –
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February 2020

Residential Sales for Saginaw, Texas

Twenty- one previously owned homes sold in Saginaw in February.  The sales statistics did not show any significant changes from the last several months, although the smaller homes were the best sellers in February.  The largest home that sold was 2637 square feet as compared to a 3964 square foot that sold in January when three homes sold with more than 3000 square feet.  The average size of the homes sold dropped from 2090 to just 1870 square feet as first- time homebuyers and those hoping to downsize dominated the market.  Only seven, or 1/3, of the homes were over 2000 square feet, and five of the houses were less than 1500 square feet. The middle of winter is not the ideal season for families with children to be moving, especially if they are moving a great distance and changing schools midyear.  Affordability and lack of competition with new construction also favor smaller, less expensive homes.

As in January, only one home sold for more than $300,000.  This residence is in Saginaw Springs and was built in 2016 and sold for $314,000.  Eight houses sold for less than $200,000. Generally, buyers purchased older homes with only three of the twenty-one homes being built within the last ten years and only nine within the last twenty.  The average sold price in January was $224,190, but in February the average dropped to $219,086.  Are prices going down? No, the houses sold in February were smaller and sold for $118.32 per square foot as compared to $111.06 per square foot a month earlier.  Smaller homes contain the expensive components of the larger homes, such as plumbing fixtures, heating and air conditioning, and appliances, all in a smaller space, but larger homes include more air space.

Low inventories of homes for sale allowed nine sellers to receive full price for their homes.  The average sold price was 99.11% of the list price.  If a home is priced fairly, buyers need to be ready to offer full price and make offers as soon as the new listing comes on the market. 

The average time on the market was only 22 days, and only three homes were on the market for more than two months.  In January the average days on the market was forty days with three houses taking more than 100 days to sell.  In February eleven homes sold in less than two weeks.  All price ranges had quick sales; even the most expensive home sold in one week.  These sales statistics show that there are buyers who are ready to purchase a home now, and they are waiting for just the right home to come on the market.  With our low inventory, many of these potential buyers have been looking for their perfect home for many months.

Full price offers and quick sales in our market can give you a rare opportunity to be a seller and a buyer at the same time. If you own a smaller home, now is a perfect time to “upsize” your home. The larger home faces more competition, especially from new construction, plus an average longer time on the market.  The seller might consider a “kickout”, a contingency which allows you to sell your home before you can make your new home purchase.  Traditionally, seller’s agents discouraged sellers from accepting offers with “kickout” contingencies unless the buyer’s home was under contract, but with the current Saginaw market, agents and sellers should rethink this strategy.  A careful analysis of the current market in the buyer’s home’s neighborhood will help the seller make wise decisions and sell the home more quickly.  A new mindset for these contingency sales can give a buyer a perfect opportunity to move from one home to another with ease by taking advantage of this market. Let my more than twenty years of experience in Saginaw work for you!  If you are interested in buying, selling or asking real estate questions, I would love to serve you.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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