Oct. 15, 2019

You Need More Than a Guide. You Need a Sherpa.

You Need More Than a Guide. You Need a Sherpa.

You Need More Than a Guide. You Need a Sherpa. | MyKCM

In a normal housing market, whether you’re buying or selling a home, you need an experienced guide to help you navigate the process. You need someone you can turn to who will tell you how to price your home correctly right from the start. You need someone who can help you determine what to offer on your dream home without paying too much or offending the seller with a low-ball offer.

We are, however, in anything but a “normal market” right now. The media is full of stories about an impending recession, a trade war with China, and constant political upheaval. Each of these potential situations could dramatically impact the real estate market. To successfully navigate the landscape today, you need more than an experienced guide. You need a ‘Real Estate Sherpa.’

A Sherpa is a “member of a Himalayan people living on the borders of Nepal and Tibet, renowned for their skill in mountaineering.” Sherpas are skilled in leading their parties through the extreme altitudes of the peaks and passes in the region – some of the most treacherous trails in the world. They take pride in their hardiness, expertise, and experience at very high altitudes.

They are much more than just guides.

This is much more than a normal real estate market.

The average guide just won’t do. You need a ‘Sherpa.’ You need an expert who understands what is happening in the market and why it is happening. You need someone who can simply and effectively explain it to you and your family. You need an expert who will guarantee you make the right decision, even in these challenging times.

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.” 

Bottom Line

Hiring an agent who has a finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying or selling experience an educated one.

Aug. 4, 2019

Market Summary for the Beginning of August 2019

The market is hot and becoming very unbalanced in favor of sellers. Demand recovered suddenly during the second quarter and has stabilized at a level significantly above normal. The last 2 months have seen supply drop sharply from its already low level, so we now have a wholly inadequate number of homes for sale to keep the market functioning normally.

Here are the basics - the ARMLS numbers for August 1, 2019 compared with August 1, 2018 for all areas & types:

  • Active Listings (excluding UCB & CCBS): 13,746 versus 15,686 last year - down 12.4% - and down 11.0% from 15,442 last month
  • Active Listings (including UCB & CCBS): 17,920 versus 19,415 last year - down 7.7% - and down 10.5% compared with 20,030 last month
  • Pending Listings: 6,479 versus 5,655 last year - up 14.6% - and up 0.6% from 6,642 last month
  • Under Contract Listings (including Pending, CCBS & UCB): 10,653 versus 9,384 last year - up 13.5% - but down 5.1% from 11,230 last month
  • Monthly Sales: 9,325 versus 8,543 last year - up 9.2% - but down 1.7% from 9,483 last month
  • Monthly Average Sales Price per Sq. Ft.: $170.16 versus $160.79 last year - up 5.8% - but down 1.2% from $172.21 last month
  • Monthly Median Sales Price: $280,000 versus $265,000 last year - up 5.7% - and up 0.4% from $279,000 last month

Last month we noted the unusual drop in active listings (excluding UCB & CCBS), which fell to 4.1% below the 2018 level on July 1. On August 1 this gap has expanded to a startling 12.4%. Much of this decline was due to the low number of listings activated during July - 8,260 is our current count, the lowest number for July that we have seen since we started keeping records. With pending and UCB contracts up by 13 to 15% from last year, the supply has tightened dramatically. Where have all the sellers gone?

9,325 closed listings is another strong monthly total for July. The 9.2% growth over July 2018 is a little misleading, however. This is because July 2019 had 22 working days, so the number of closings per day was 424. July 2018 had only 21 days so 407 closings per day. The difference is 4%.

Dollar volume for July was $3.1995 billion. This is the highest total for any July in history.

Pricing is showing no excitement whatsoever, behaving as if the market was normal. This cannot last. Remember that sales pricing is a trailing indicator, often as much as 12 months behind the leading indicators. We expect to see fireworks in pricing over the next 12 months. In fact the current situation reminds us of 2004. The huge imbalance between supply and demand and the absence of distressed properties are very similar. The big difference is that 2004 was seeing large price increases and a significant number of the homes were being bought for resale by speculative investors and remained empty. The level of mortgage fraud in 2004 was also extraordinary. Hopefully that is not the case in 2019.

These are very interesting times, unlike the past 5 years which were stable and predictable.

Commentary written by Tina Tamboer, Senior Housing Analyst with The Cromford Report ©2019 Cromford Associates LLC and Tamboer Consulting LLC

Aug. 4, 2019

How to Judge the Impact of the Next Economic Slowdown on Housing

How to Judge the Impact of the Next Economic Slowdown on Housing | MyKCM

We’ve experienced economic growth for almost a decade, which is the longest recovery in the nation’s history. Experts know a recession can’t be too far off, but when will this economic slowdown actually occur?

Pulsenomics just released a special report revealing that nearly 6 out of 10 of the 90 economists, investment strategists, and market analysts surveyed believe the next recession will occur by the end of next year. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 9% believe a recession will occur this year
  • 50% believe it will occur in 2020
  • 35% believe it will occur in 2021
  • 6% believe it will occur after 2021

When asked what would trigger the next recession, the three most common responses by those surveyed were:

  1. Trade Policy
  2. Stock Market Correction
  3. Geopolitical Crisis

How might the recession impact real estate?

Challenges in the housing and mortgage markets were major triggers of the last recession. However, a housing slowdown ranked #9 on the list of potential triggers for the next recession, behind such possibilities as fiscal policy and political gridlock.

As far as the impact the recession may have on home values, the experts surveyed indicated home prices would continue to appreciate over the next few years. They called for a 4.1% appreciation rate this year, 2.8% in 2020, and 2.5% in 2021.

Bottom Line

On the same day, in the same survey, the same experts who forecasted a recession happening within the next 18 months also claimed housing will not be the trigger, and home values will still continue to appreciate.

April 11, 2019

Market Insight April 2019

Mortgage Payments Drop $50 per Month on a Median Priced Home Listings Under Contract Up 19% in 5 Weeks!

For Buyers:

Buyers got a break last month as 30-year mortgage rates dropped significantly from an average of 4.41% to 4.08%, which is the lowest they have been since January 2018. On a $267,000 home (the median sales price in Greater Phoenix) the drop equated to nearly $50 per month in savings on principle and interest, which was enough to get many buyers off the couch and looking for homes. This rate drop combined with an increased conventional loan limit up to $484K and a 32% increase in weekly seller price reductions meant that price ranges between $200K all the way up to $800K saw a combined 19% increase in contracts written over the last 5 weeks. Contract activity is expected to increase at this time of year anyway due to seasonality, but last year over the same 5 weeks it only increased 8.6%. For buyers who are still waiting for prices to begin declining, their wait just got longer.

For Sellers:

The drop in mortgage rates could not have come at a better time for sellers. Up until 6 weeks ago the negotiating advantage sellers have been enjoying for years in Greater Phoenix had weakened to the point where the market was on track to enter balance within a matter of months and price appreciation would have begun to slow even more. However by April 4th the average 30-year mortgage rate (as reported by Freddie Mac) had dropped to a 15-month low. This spurred buyer activity and resulted in Listings Under Contract, which were 10.2% below 2018 last month, to sharply increase and surpass 2018’s April count by 0.8%. Currently sales volume is down 9.6% from last April, however when these contracts close escrow over the next 4-6 weeks May and June should fare much better. Don’t get too excited though, the seller market is still much weaker than last year. Affordability and demand were helped by this interest rate drop but could quickly be negated as prices continue to rise. Sellers still need to be mindful of their asking price to get under contract before buyer activity seasonally begins to decline between May and the end of the year.

Commentary written by Tina Tamboer, Senior Housing Analyst with The Cromford Report ©2019 Cromford Associates LLC and Tamboer Consulting LLC

March 29, 2019

Market Insight - March 2019

Price Reductions up 71% on Listings $200K-$250K

Sellers: Get Competitive, It’s “Buyer Season”

For Buyers:

Good news for buyers over the past few weeks, interest rates came down a few notches. That combined with the increased loan limit for conventional financing gave buyers a little boost. The new loan limit for conventional financing in Maricopa County is $484,350 as of a few months ago and the new limit for FHA financing is $314,827. Just 3 years ago, the limits were $417,000 and $271,050 respectively. The FHA limit increase hasn’t had as much impact on buyer demand as the conventional increase thus far. While the overall market is down 8.7% in sales this month, the biggest winner has been the $500K-$600K price range which is up 15%.

For Sellers:

“Buyer Season” in Greater Phoenix typically lasts from February to May with a peak in April. Sellers who decide to list their home in March should be aware that they have just 8-10 more weeks of peak buyer activity before the summer slowdown. This is a very competitive time for sellers. Price reductions are at their seasonal peak in the luxury price ranges, however it’s most noticeable in the battleground price range of $200K-$400K. The number of weekly price reductions on listings between $200K-$250K are up a whopping 71% where competing supply is 32% higher than last year and price reductions are up 42% between $250K-$400K where supply is 26% higher. It’s a good idea to be competitive in both price and condition right out of the gate as buyer demand remains below normal overall in Greater Phoenix.

Commentary written by Tina Tamboer, Senior Housing Analyst with The Cromford Report ©2019 Cromford Associates LLC and Tamboer Consulting LLC

Posted in Market Insight
March 19, 2019

What Credit Score Do You Need To Buy A House?

 

What Credit Score Do You Need To Buy A House? | MyKCM

There are many misconceptions about the credit score needed to buy a house. Recently, it was reported that 24% of renters believe they need a 780-800 credit score to be considered for a mortgage. The reality is they are misinformed!

Only 25% of the Americans have a FICO® Score between 740 and 800. Here is the breakdown according to Experian:

  • 16% Very Poor (300-579)
  • 18% Fair (580-669)
  • 21% Good (670-739)
  • 25% Very Good (740-799)
  • 20% Exceptional (800-850)

Randy Hopper, Senior Vice President of Mortgage Lending for Navy Federal Credit Union said,

Just because you have a low credit score doesn’t mean you can’t purchase a home. There are a lot of options out there for consumers with low FICO® scores,”

There are many programs available with low or no credit score requirement. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) now requires a minimum FICO® score of 580 if you want to qualify for the low down payment advantage. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not set a minimum credit score requirement, but most lenders require a score of at least 640Veterans Affairs (VA) loans have no credit score requirement.

As you can see, none of them are above 700!

It is true that the average FICO® score for all closed loans in January was 726, but there are plenty of people taking advantage of the low credit score requirements. Here is the average FICO® Score of closed FHA Loans since April 2012 according to Ellie Mae:What Credit Score Do You Need To Buy A House? | MyKCMAs you can see, that number has been dropping for the last seven years. As a matter of fact, the average FHA Purchase FICO® Score reported in January 2019 was 675!

One of the challenges is that Americans are unsure about their credit score. They just assume that it is too low to qualify and do not double check. Credit.com confirmed that only 57% of individuals sought out their credit score at least once last year.

FICO® reported,

Since October 2009, the average year-over-year FICO® Score has steadily and consistently increased, from a low of 686 in 2009 to the latest high of 704 as of 2018.”

Here is the increase in the average US FICO® Score over the same period of time as the graph earlier.

What Credit Score Do You Need To Buy A House? | MyKCM

Bottom Line

At least 84% of Americans have a score that will allow them to buy a house. If you are unsure what your score is or would like to improve your score in order to become a homeowner, let’s get together to help you set a path to reach your dream!

Feb. 10, 2019

Market Insight - February 2019

List Price Reductions up 24% in Greater Phoenix, Up 42% in Some Areas Sellers: Stop Trying to Time the Market

For Buyers:

A weak 4th quarter for sales in 2018 has resulted in 11,874 price reductions in the first 5 weeks of 2019. That’s 24% higher than this same time last year. Price reductions on listings between $200K-$500K specifically are up 40%. The most notable price range with a 42% increase is $200K-$250K. This may come as a surprise to some because this price range is below the median sales price of $263K. However this area is currently a battleground of competition between traditional sellers, flip investors and new construction as inventory is up 26% and contracts are down 10%. Flip investors acquire and sell over 50% of their inventory in this price range. New home builders increased their sales by 22% in this range last year. Traditional sellers are now under more pressure to improve the condition of their home and provide incentives for buyers in order to compete.

For Sellers:

This isn’t a good time for sellers to get caught up in timing the market so as to sell their home at the ideal “peak of price”. While it’s understandable for sellers not to want to leave any money on the table, the reality is that price peaks don’t happen in seller markets. They occur in balanced markets. Balanced markets are fine to sell in, but they’re not as fun or profitable for sellers as they expect; especially if their property is hard to sell due to condition or location. As the seller market continues to weaken, it’s more important than ever for sellers to list their property while they still have the advantage of low competition, price it competitively and don’t spit on the first contract. Buyer activity, while lower, will continue to accelerate through May. This is go time.

 

Commentary written by Tina Tamboer, Senior Housing Analyst with The Cromford Report ©2019 Cromford Associates LLC and Tamboer Consulting LLC

Feb. 5, 2019

January 2019 Market Analysis

Greater Phoenix Buyer Contracts Down 15%

It’s Still a Good Time to Sell… For Now

For Buyers:

The monthly average interest rate rose to 4.64% in December 2018, up 0.69% from the previous December’s 3.95%. For buyers who will purchase at the current median sales price of $260,000, that equates to approximately $100 added to their monthly payment compared to last year. Buyers averaged 1,845 square feet at this price; nearly 100 square feet smaller than if they had purchased last year. It doesn’t help matters by renting either. As single family homes appreciated 8.1% per square foot, single family lease payments also rose 8.6% during the same time frame. With that, buying is still a good option over renting if only to stabilize one’s monthly housing expense. Sale prices will continue rising in the first half of 2019, but at a slower rate and they’re not expected to decline at this juncture. Instead, buyers may see a little more flexibility from sellers in the form of repairs, closing costs, and possibly interest rate buy-downs in the higher price ranges.

 

For Sellers:

The market continues to favor sellers entering into 2019, but not nearly as much as it did at the beginning of 2018. Supply is still 34% below normal compared to 36% below normal this time last year. It’s buyer demand that has shifted as buyers grapple with affordability and concerns about an overvalued market. Demand at this time last year was measured 1% above normal; today it’s 13% below normal. While it may feel like a buyers market compared to the last four years, it is far from one. Greater Phoenix is still in a seller’s market, however it’s weaker out of the gate. This means there is still more demand than supply, but multiple offers will not be as common, there will be fewer sales overall and scenarios will vary widely depending on price range. Demand could change in either direction depending on interest rates, however for the time being buyers and sellers have to play the hand they’ve been dealt. For those wondering if it’s still a good time to sell, the answer is “yes” for now.

Commentary written by Tina Tamboer, Senior Housing Analyst with The Cromford Report

©2019 Cromford Associates LLC and Tamboer Consulting LLC

 

Posted in Market Insight
Feb. 5, 2019

Is Student Loan Debt A Threat to Homeownership? No!

 

Is Student Loan Debt A Threat to Homeownership? No! | MyKCM

Over the course of the last thirty years, a shift has happened. An entire generation has been raised to believe that a college education is their key to unlocking opportunities that were not available to their parent’s or grandparent’s generations.

Due to this, student loan debt has soared to $1.5 trillion and represents the largest category of debt, surpassing credit card and auto loan debt in 2010 and never looking back. As more and more Americans continue their education amongst rising tuition costs, this number will no doubt increase.

Many housing experts have blamed student loans for a drop in the homeownership rate for young families, and to an extent, they’ve been right. Increased debt at the time of graduation has no doubt limited young people from being able to afford a home at the same rate as their parents or grandparents did at the same age.

In a recent Forbes article, the author explained that “in just the class of 2017, the average student has about $40,000 in debt — almost enough for a 20% down payment on a median-priced home.”

The Federal Reserve set out to determine exactly how much impact student loan debt has had on the homeownership rate of those 18-34 (millennials). Their results found that,

Every $1,000 in student loan debt delays homeownership by about 2.5 months, but it doesn’t prevent homeownership entirely.

 In fact, by the time college grads reach their 30s, those with student loan debt have a homeownership rate nearly identical to those who didn’t take out loans.” (emphasis added)

In the Wall Street Journal’s coverage of the Fed report, they found that recent graduates prioritize paying off their student loans over saving for a down payment, despite their desire to be a homeowner. Many with debt want to “get that monkey off (their) back (before they) make any new investments.”

This has just delayed the wave of young home buyers from hitting the market. But as Danielle Hale, the Chief Economist at realtor.com warns,

“2020 will be peak millennial, the year when the largest number of millennials will turn 30.”

 By age 30, those who attained a bachelor’s degree right after high school will be one or two years away from paying off their loans and will have been in their career long enough to earn a higher salary.

In the long run, research shows that attaining a bachelor’s degree or more actually increases the chances that someone will become a homeowner.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many millennials who has prioritized paying down your student loans over saving for a down payment, you’re not alone. Even if you are a couple years away from paying off your loans, let’s get together to help you determine if waiting really is the best decision for you!

 

Click on the icon below to download your FREE  "2019 Home Buyers Guide":

 

Dec. 29, 2018

Where is the Housing Market Headed in 2019?

Where is the Housing Market Headed in 2019? [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • ­Interest rates are projected to increase steadily throughout 2019, but buyers will still be able to lock in a rate lower than their parents or grandparents did when they bought their homes!
  • Home prices will rise at a rate of 4.8% over the course of 2019 according to CoreLogic.
  • All four major reporting agencies believe that home sales will outpace 2018!

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