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

“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 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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Entry-Level Homeowners Are in the Driver’s Seat

Entry-Level Homeowners Are in the Driver’s Seat | MyKCM

One thing helping homeowners right now is price appreciation, especially in the entry-level market. In the latest Home Price Insights report, CoreLogic reveals how home prices increased by 4% year-over-year and projects prices will rise 5.2% by December 2020.

Why is this good news for the homeowners?

When prices appreciate, homeowners gain equity. In addition, those planning to sell this year, especially in the entry-level market, can potentially earn a substantial profit.

Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, says:

“Moderately priced homes are in high demand and short supply, pushing up values…Homes that sold for 25% or more below the local median price experienced a 5.9% price gain in 2019, compared with a 3.7% gain for homes that sold for 25% or more above the median.”

As Dr. Nothaft indicates, the lack of inventory continues to drive home price growth. This means there’s a high demand for homes in this tier of the market, making it a great time to consider using your equity to move up to a bigger or more premium home.

When you upgrade your home, you may be able to find the amenities or features you’ve dreamed of – such as a yard to plant or garden in with your family this spring, or more outdoor space for entertaining this summer. Maybe it’s the master bath you’ve always hoped for, or a garage to finally park your car inside.

Whatever you choose, if you’re moving out of an entry-level house, you’re likely going to be in the driver’s seat as a seller.

Bottom Line

If you’d like to own a bigger home, let’s get together to discuss your situation. You may be surprised by the current value of your home and the equity you’ve gained.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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Interest Rates Over Time

Interest Rates Over Time [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • With interest rates hovering at near historic lows, now is a great time to look back at where they’ve been, and how much they’ve changed over time.
  • According to Freddie Mac, mortgage interest rates are currently hovering near a five-decade low.
  • The impact your interest rate has on your monthly mortgage payment is significant. An increase of just $20 dollars in your monthly payment can add up to $240 per year or $7,200 over the life of your loan. Maybe it’s time to lock in now while rates are still low.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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The #1 Misconception in the Homebuying Process

The #1 Misconception in the Homebuying Process | MyKCM

After over a year of moderating home prices, it appears home value appreciation is about to reaccelerate. Skylar Olsen, Director of Economic Research at Zillow, explained in a recent article:

 “A year ago, a combination of a government shutdown, stock market slump and mortgage rate spike caused a long-anticipated inventory rise. That supposed boom turned out to be a short-lived mirage as buyers came back into the market and more than erased the inventory gains. As a natural reaction, the recent slowdown in home values looks like it’s set to reverse back.”

CoreLogic, in their January 2020 Market Pulse Report, agrees with Olsen, projecting home value appreciation in all fifty states this year. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 21 states appreciating 5% or more
  • 26 states appreciating between 3-5%
  • Only 3 states appreciating less than 3%

The Misconception

Many believe when real estate values are increasing, owning a home becomes less affordable. That misconception is not necessarily true.

In most cases, homes are purchased with a mortgage. The current mortgage rate is a major component of the affordability equation. Mortgage rates have fallen by almost a full percentage point since this time last year.

Another major piece of the equation is a buyer’s income. The median family income has risen by 5% over the last year, contributing to the affordability factor.

Black Knight, in their latest Mortgage Monitor, addressed this exact issue:

 “Despite the average home price increasing by nearly $13,000 from just over a year ago, the monthly mortgage payment required to buy that same home has actually dropped by 10% over that same span due to falling interest rates…

Put another way, prospective homebuyers can now purchase a $48K more expensive home than a year ago while still paying the same in principal and interest, a 16% increase in buying power.”

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about purchasing a home, realize that homes are still affordable even though prices are increasing. As the Black Knight report concluded:

“Even with home price growth accelerating, today’s low-interest-rate environment has made home affordability the best it’s been since early 2018.”

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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January 2020

Saginaw Home Sales for January 2020

Only nineteen preowned homes sold in Saginaw through the multiple listing service in January of 2020, about half of the number of houses that sold in December.  The average sold price was $221,953, just $646 less than the average price last month, but $18,836 more than the average January sales price in Saginaw in 2019.  Six homes sold for less than $200,000, and five homes sold for more than $250,000.

The sold price ranged from $150,000 to $295,900.  The price range has been very typical of the sold prices in Saginaw for many months.  The least expensive homes are in the older neighborhoods, including Saginaw North and Rancho North, and the most expensive homes are most often in Creekwood or Saginaw Springs. 

The average time on the market was thirty-three days, but six homes sold in less than two weeks.  Six homes were on the market for more than a month, including the home that sold for $295,000.  All of these had list prices at more than $225,000 and were larger than 2000 square feet, except the one older home with a pool in Rancho North that sold in 56 days. 

Sellers continued to price their homes appropriately, and buyers paid an average of 99.07% of their list price.  The lowest percentage was 96.19% of the list price.  Some sellers allowed the buyers to raise the list price to pay for some buyer’s closing costs, which explains some of the sales that were more than 100% of the original list price.  A careful analysis of the MLS sales and prices does not show a single multiple offer situation, and this is traditionally the time of year when fewer buyers are searching for houses.  On the other hand, the low inventory of homes for sale, the short time needed to sell many homes, and the willingness of buyers to pay full price, proves the seriousness of the potential buyers.

With the low inventory of homes for sale, this is a great time of the year to list a home or prepare to buy or sell in the spring. Let me help you get ready with information about the sales process and what you can do to sell your home for the best price. If you wish to purchase a home, I can help you set up a free, automatic search that will send you all of the new listings that meet your special criteria immediately as they come on the market.  Even if your actual plans are to buy a home several months from now, this online search will acquaint you with the areas and homes available and give you knowledge that will help you when you are ready to purchase a home. Please call me, e-mail me or text me, and learn how I can help you with all your real estate needs.  I look forward to serving you!

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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Three Reasons Why Pre-Approval Is the First Step in the 2020 Homebuying Journey

Three Reasons Why Pre-Approval Is the First Step in the 2020 Homebuying Journey | MyKCM

When the number of buyers in the housing market outnumbers the number of homes for sale, it’s called a “seller’s market.” The advantage tips toward the seller as low inventory heats up the competition among those searching for a place to call their own. This can create multiple offer scenarios and bidding wars, making it tough for buyers to land their dream homes – unless they stand out from the crowd. Here are three reasons why pre-approval should be your first step in the homebuying process.

1. Gain a Competitive Advantage

Low inventory, like we have today, means homebuyers need every advantage they can get to make a strong impression and close the deal. One of the best ways to get one step ahead of other buyers is to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you make an offer. For one, it shows the sellers you’re serious about buying a home, which is always a plus in your corner.

2. Accelerate the Homebuying Process

Pre-approval can also speed up the homebuying process, so you can move faster when you’re ready to make an offer. In a competitive arena like we have today, being ready to put your best foot forward when the time comes may be the leg-up you need to cross the finish line first and land the home of your dreams.

3. Know What You Can Borrow and Afford

Here’s the other thing: if you’re pre-approved, you also have a better sense of your budget, what you can afford, and ultimately how much you’re eligible to borrow for your mortgage. This way, you’re less apt to fall in love with a home that may be out of your reach.

Freddie Mac sets out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

Local real estate professionals also have relationships with lenders who can help you through this process, so partnering with a trusted advisor will be key for that introduction. Once you select a lender, you’ll need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac also describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you’ll be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or Cash Reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

While there are still many additional steps you’ll need to take in the homebuying process, it’s clear why pre-approval is always the best place to begin. It’s your chance to gain the competitive edge you may need if you’re serious about owning a home.

Bottom Line

Getting started with pre-approval is a great way to begin the homebuying journey. Let’s get together today to make sure you’re on the fastest path to homeownership.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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2020 Homebuying Checklist

2020 Homebuying Checklist [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • If you’re thinking of buying a home, plan ahead and stay on the right track, starting with pre-approval.
  • Being proactive about the homebuying process will help set you up for success in each step.
  • Make sure to work with a trusted real estate professional along the way, to help guide you through the homebuying steps specific to your area.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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Housing Inventory Vanishing: What Is the Impact on You?

Housing Inventory Vanishing: What Is the Impact on You? | MyKCM

The real estate market is expected to do very well this year as mortgage rates remain at historic lows. One challenge to the housing industry is the lack of homes available for sale. Last week, released a report showing that 2020 is beginning with the lowest available housing inventory in two years. The report explains:

“Last month saw the largest year-over-year decline of housing inventory in almost three years with a dramatic 12 percent decline, pushing the number of homes for sale in the U.S. to the lowest level since January 2018.”

The report also revealed that the decline in inventory stretches across all price points, as shown in the following graph:Housing Inventory Vanishing: What Is the Impact on You? | MyKCMGeorge Ratiu, Senior Economist at, explains how this drop in available homes for sale comes at a time when more buyers are expected to enter the market:

“The market is struggling with a large housing undersupply just as 4.8 million millennials are reaching 30-years of age in 2020, a prime age for many to purchase their first home. The significant inventory drop…is a harbinger of the continuing imbalance expected to plague this year’s markets, as the number of homes for sale are poised to reach historically low levels.”

The question is: What does this mean to you?

If You’re a Buyer…

Be patient during your home search. It may take time to find a home you love. Once you do, however, be ready to move forward quickly. Get pre-approved for a mortgage, be ready to make a competitive offer from the start, and understand that a shortage in inventory could lead to the resurgence of bidding wars. Calculate just how far you’re willing to go to secure a home, if you truly love it.

If You’re a Seller…

Realize that, in some ways, you’re in the driver’s seat. When there is a shortage of an item at the same time there is a strong demand for that item, the seller of that item is in a good position to negotiate. Whether it is price, moving date, possible repairs, or anything else, you’ll be able to demand more from a potential purchaser at a time like this – especially if you have multiple interested buyers. Don’t be unreasonable, but understand you probably have the upper hand.

Bottom Line

The housing market will remain strong throughout 2020. Understand what that means to you, whether you’re buying, selling, or doing both.

If you’re wondering what’s happening in our local market, let’s get together today.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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December 2019

Saginaw real estate sales of preowned homes ended the year with a total of 36 sales for December, giving December more sales than October.   Buyers continue to search for the right properties while the inventory of homes for sale stayed low.  New construction is very plentiful in a few Saginaw neighborhoods and the areas close to Saginaw, and these new homes compete for buyers. New construction prices start at about $240,000.

The 36 preowned homes sold in an average of 35 days, but ten homes sold in two weeks or less.  Very desirable homes sold quickly, but other stayed on the market much longer.  One house sold in one day, but another was for sale 169 days.  Despite the competition from new construction, many of the more expensive homes sold quickly for good prices, reflecting the amenities of the established neighborhoods, the beautiful condition of these homes, the larger lots sizes and greater size of these homes.

The average price for a Saginaw home was $222,599.  Thirteen homes sold for less than $200,000.  The sales prices ranged from $159,000 for one house in Saginaw North to $350,000 for a home in Creekwood.  The graph above shows the average sold prices for Saginaw homes during 2019 by month.  The graph indicates little change in the value over this past year.  Looking carefully at the higher late spring and summer averages and what homes sold during those months, the sales included larger homes and more homes with swimming pools, but not real price changes in the market.  Families often move during the summer, and sellers plan to sell larger homes at this time of year.

Buyers paid 98.62% of the list price for their homes.  Of course, this statistic is based on prices that may have been previously lowered and does not include closing costs that the seller paid for the buyer.  In October the average sales price was 98.47% of the list price, which shows that the market has changed very little in the last two months.  The lowest price a seller received was 91% of the list price, and many sellers received 100% of their list price.

The newest home that sold last month was a home in Basswood Crossing built in 2019.  This was a relocation sale because the seller was transferred for work.  The oldest home is located on Thompson Drive and was built in 1964.  It sold in one day for the list price of $175,000.

Let me help you take advantage of this good real estate market in 2020. Please call me, e-mail me or text me, and learn how I can help you with all your real estate needs.  With more than twenty years in our local real estate market, I know many experts in fields related to real estate, and I will share their expertise with you.  I look forward to serving you!

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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Expert Insights on the 2020 Housing Market

Expert Insights on the 2020 Housing Market | MyKCM

When closing out another year, it’s normal to wonder what’s ahead for the housing market. Though there will be future inventory issues, we expect interest rates to stay low and appreciation to continue.

Here’s what three experts are saying we’ll likely see in 2020:

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at

“I think the biggest surprise from the forecast is how long the market is staying in this low inventory environment, especially as Millennials are in a major home-buying phase…sellers will contend with flattening price growth and slowing activity with existing home sales down 1.8%. Nationwide you can look to flat home prices with an increase of less than 1%.”

Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist at Mortgage Banker Association (MBA)

“Interest rates will, on average, remain lower…These lower rates will in turn support both purchase and refinance origination volume in 2020.”

Skylar Olsen, Director of Economic Research at Zillow

“If current trends hold, then slower means healthier and smaller means more affordable. Yes, we expect a slower market than we’ve become accustomed to the last few years…consumers will continue to absorb available inventory and the market will remain competitive in much of the country.”

As we can see, we’re still going to have a healthy market. It is forecasted to be a more moderate (or normal) market than the last few years, but strong enough for Americans to continue to believe in homeownership and to capitalize on the opportunities that come with low interest rates.

Bottom Line

If you’re wondering what’s happening in our local market, let’s get together today.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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Holiday Gifts Are Not the Only Hot Things Right Now

Holiday Gifts Are Not the Only Hot Things Right Now | MyKCM

Black Friday is behind us and holiday gifts are flying off the shelves in stores and online. Unlike last year, however, there’s another type of buyer that is very active this winter – the homebuyer.

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

“Traffic was more active once again compared to 2018, as the nation saw its third straight month of higher year-over-year showing activity…The 5.5% increase in showings nationwide was the largest jump in activity during the now three-month streak of year-over-year increases vs. 2018.”

The same report indicates showings increased in every region of the country:

  • The South increased by 10.8%
  • The West increased by 8.6%
  • The Northeast increased by 3.8%
  • The Midwest increased by 1.5%

Why is the traffic more active?

One of the main reasons buyer traffic has increased year-over-year is that mortgage rates have fallen dramatically. According to Freddie Mac, the average mortgage rate last December was 4.64%. Today, the rate is almost 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 2020, you don’t need to wait until the spring to do it. Your potential buyer may be searching for a home in your neighborhood right now.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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November 2019

  November 2019 Saginaw Residential Real Estate Sales Report

Despite the lack of homes listed for sale by current owners in Saginaw this fall, the statistics for November sales changed little from the previous months’ sales.  Thirty-five homes sold in Saginaw in November ranging in price from $143,000 to $315,000.  The least expensive is only 865 square feet, built in 1962 and located in Rancho North.  Two homes sold for $315,000, one in the Dominion and one in Saginaw Springs.  The home in Saginaw Springs was built in 2015 and was almost 3000 square feet. The amazing landscaping and beautiful pool earned the home in the Dominion a top price.  The third most expensive home cost $280,000.  $180,000 to $270,000 was the usual price range for Saginaw homes with eight homes selling for less than $200,000.  The average sold price was $227,530, about what the average has been for many months.

Surprisingly, the average home that sold in November in Saginaw had four bedrooms.  Nineteen homes had four bedrooms, and the average size of the homes that sold was 2069 square feet.  Five houses with more than 2500 square feet sold, and one had five bedrooms.  Fall appears to be a good time for move-up buyers to find a larger home or for newcomers moving to our area with a family looking for a house.

The average time on the market went up to 30 days as the sales made typical seasonal adjustments and didn’t sell as quickly as in the spring or summer, but thirteen homes sold in less than two weeks.  Buyers are still waiting for the right house to come on the market, and they are ready, willing and able to purchase when the home they really want is for sale.  They are even paying an average of 99.16% of the list price for the houses they purchase.  Are you considering buying or selling?  Please allow me the opportunity to explain the current market, the sales process and my services as they apply to your plans and goals.  Please call me, text me or e-mail me.  I look forward to serving you.

– Kathleenwheeler –

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5 Reasons to Sell This Winter

5 Reasons to Sell This Winter | MyKCM

Below are five compelling reasons to list your house this winter.

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing, and able to purchase, and are in the market right now. More often than not, in many areas of the country, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy the same home.

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Inventory is still under the 6-month supply needed for a normal housing market. This means in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in the market.

Historically, a homeowner would stay an average of six years in his or her home. Since 2011, that number has hovered between nine and ten years. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years due to a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners will be given the freedom to move.

Many homeowners were reluctant to list their homes over the last couple of years, for fear they would not find a home to move into. That is all changing now as more homes come to market at the higher end. The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until additional inventory comes to market before you decide to sell.

3. Buyers Are Serious at This Time of Year

Traditionally, homeowners think about spring as a great time to list their homes, when more buyer traffic may be out there actively searching. In the winter, however, the buyers who are seeking a home – whether for relocation or otherwise – are serious ones. They’re ready to make offers and they’re eager to move, often quickly. Your house may be exactly what they’re looking for, so listing when other potential sellers are holding off may be your best opportunity to shine.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If your next move will be into the premium or luxury market, now is the time to move up. There is currently ample inventory for sale at higher price ranges. This means if you’re planning on selling a starter or trade-up home and moving into your dream home, you’ll be able to do that now. Demand for your entry-level home is high, and inventory in the luxury or premium market is too.

According to CoreLogic, prices are projected to appreciate by 5.6% over the next year. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and in your mortgage) if you wait.

5. It’s Time to Move On With Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it’s worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Are you ready to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to these questions. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market this winter. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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7 Reasons to List Your House This Holiday Season

7 Reasons to List Your House This Holiday Season | MyKCM

Around this time each year, many homeowners decide to wait until after the holidays to list their houses. Similarly, others who already have their homes on the market remove their listings until the spring. Let’s unpack the top reasons why listing your house now or keeping it on the market this winter may be the best choice you can make.

Here are seven great reasons not to wait:

  1. Relocation buyers are out there now. Many companies are still hiring throughout the holidays, and they need their new employees to start as soon as possible.
  2. Purchasers who are looking for homes during the holidays are serious buyers and are ready to buy now.
  3. You can restrict the showings on your home to days and times that are most convenient for you. You will remain in control.
  4. Homes show better when decorated for the holidays.
  5. There is minimal competition for you as a seller right now. Over the past few months we’ve seen the supply of homes for sale decreasing year-over-year, as shown in the graph below:7 Reasons to List Your House This Holiday Season | MyKCM
  6. The desire to own a home doesn’t stop during the holidays. Buyers who were unable to find their dream homes during the busy spring and summer months are still searching, and your home may be the answer.
  7. Late fall and early winter make up the “sweet spot” for sellers. The supply of listings increases substantially after the holidays. Also, in many parts of the country, new construction will continue to surge and reach new heights in 2020, which will lessen the demand for your house next year.

Bottom Line

It may make the most sense to list your home this holiday season. Let’s get together to determine if selling now is your best move.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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