The True Strength of Homeowners Today

The real estate market is on just about everyone’s mind these days. That’s because the unsustainable market of the past two years is behind us, and the difference is being felt. The question now is, just how financially strong are homeowners throughout the country? Mortgage debt grew beyond 10 trillion dollars over the past year, and many called that a troubling sign when it happened for the first time in history.

Recently Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, answered that question when she said:

“U.S. households own $41 trillion in owner-occupied real estate, just over $12 trillion in debt, and the remaining ~$29 trillion in equity. The national “LTV” in Q2 2022 was 29.5%, the lowest since 1983.”

She continued on to say:

“Homeowners had an average of $320,000 in inflation-adjusted equity in their homes in Q2 2022, an all-time high.”

What Is LTV?

The term LTV refers to loan to-value ratio. For more context, here’s how the Mortgage Reports defines it:

“Your ‘loan to value ratio’ (LTV) compares the size of your mortgage loan to the value of the home. For example: If your home is worth $200,000, and you have a mortgage for $180,000, your LTV ratio is 90% — because the loan makes up 90% of the total price.

You can also think about LTV in terms of your down payment. If you put 20% down, that means you’re borrowing 80% of the home’s value. So your LTV ratio is 80%.”

Why Is This Important?

This is yet another reason we won’t see the housing market crash. Home equity allows homeowners to be in control. For example, if someone did need to sell their home, they likely have the equity they need to be able to sell it and still put money in their pocket. This was not the case back in 2008 when many owed more on their homes than they were worth.

Bottom Line

Homeowners today have more financial strength than they have had since 1983. This is a combination of how homeowners have handled equity since the crash and the rising home prices over the last two years. And this is yet another reason homeownership in any market makes sense.

Questions? Contact us today!

(989) 429-1057 Ashley -or- (989) 302-0610 Bethanne

What’s Actually Happening with Home Prices Today?

One of the biggest questions people are asking right now is: what’s happening with home prices? There are headlines about ongoing price appreciation, but at the same time, some sellers are reducing the price of their homes. That can feel confusing and makes it more difficult to get a clear picture.

Part of the challenge is that it can be hard to understand what experts are saying when the words they use sound similar. Let’s break down the differences among those terms to help clarify what’s actually happening today.

  • Appreciation is when home prices increase.
  • Depreciation is when home prices decrease.
  • Deceleration is when home prices continue to appreciate, but at a slower or more moderate pace.

Experts agree that, nationally, what we’re seeing today is deceleration. That means home prices are appreciating, just not at the record-breaking pace they have over the past year. In 2021, data from CoreLogic tells us home prices appreciated by an average of 15% nationwide. And earlier this year, that appreciation was upward of 20%. This year, experts forecast home prices will appreciate at a decelerated pace of around 10 to 11%, on average.

The graph below uses the latest data from CoreLogic to help tell the story of how home prices are decelerating, but not depreciating so far this year.

As the green bars show, home prices appreciated between 19-20% year-over-year from January to March. But over the last few months, the pace of that appreciation has decelerated to 18%. This means price growth is still climbing compared to last year but at a slower rate.

As the Monthly Mortgage Monitor from Black Knight explains:

“Annual home price growth dropped by nearly two percentage points . . . – the greatest single-month slowdown on record since at least the early 1970s. . . While June’s slowdown was record-breaking, home price growth would need to decelerate at this pace for six more months to drive annual appreciation back to 5%, a rate more in line with long-run averages.”

Basically, this means, while moderating, home prices are still far above the norm, and we’d have to see a lot more deceleration to even fall in line with more typical rates of home price growth. That’s still not home price depreciation.

The big takeaway is home prices haven’t fallen or depreciated nationwide, they’re just decelerating or moderating. While some unique and overheated markets may see declines, nationally, home prices are forecast to appreciate. And when we look at the country as a whole, none of the experts project home prices will net depreciate or fall. They’re all projecting ongoing appreciation.

Bottom Line

If you have questions about what’s happening with home prices in our local area, let’s connect.

A Window of Opportunity for Homebuyers

Mortgage rates are much higher today than they were at the beginning of the year, and that’s had a clear impact on the housing market. As a result, the market is seeing a shift back toward the range of pre-pandemic levels for buyer demand and home sales.

But the transition back toward pre-pandemic levels isn’t a bad thing. In fact, the years leading up to the pandemic were some of the best the housing market has seen. That’s why, as the market undergoes this shift, it’s important to compare today not to the abnormal pandemic years, but to the most recent normal years to show how the current housing market is still strong.

Higher Mortgage Rates Are Moderating the Housing Market 

The ShowingTime Showing Index tracks the traffic of home showings according to agents and brokers. It’s also a good indication of buyer demand over time. Here’s a look at their data going back to 2017 (see graph below):

A Window of Opportunity for Homebuyers | MyKCM

Here’s a breakdown of the story this data tells:

  • The 2017 through early 2020 numbers (shown in gray) give a good baseline of pre-pandemic demand. The steady up and down trends seen in each of these years show typical seasonality in the market.
  • The blue on the graph represents the pandemic years. The height of those blue bars indicates home showings skyrocketed during the pandemic.
  • The most recent data (shown in green), indicates buyer demand is moderating back toward more pre-pandemic levels.

This shows that buyer demand is coming down from levels seen over the past two years, and the frenzy in real estate is easing because of higher mortgage rates. For you, that means buying your next home should be less challenging than it would’ve been during the pandemic because there is more inventory available.

Higher Mortgage Rates Slow the Once Frenzied Pace of Home Sales

As mortgage rates started to rise this year, other shifts began to occur too. One additional example is the slowing pace of home sales. Using data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), here’s a look at existing home sales going all the way back to 2017. Much like the previous graph, a similar trend emerges (see graph below):

A Window of Opportunity for Homebuyers | MyKCM

Again, the data paints a picture of the shift:

  • The pre-pandemic years (shown in gray) establish a baseline of the number of existing home sales in more typical years.
  • The pandemic years (shown in blue) exceeded the level of sales seen in previous years. That’s largely because low mortgage rates during that time spurred buyer demand and home sales to new heights.
  • This year (shown in green), the market is feeling the impact of higher mortgage rates and that’s moderating buyer demand (and by extension home sales). That’s why the expectation for home sales this year is closer to what the market saw in 2018-2019.

Why Is All of This Good News for You?

Both of those factors have opened up a window of opportunity for homeowners looking to move and for buyers looking to purchase a home. As demand moderates and the pace of home sales slow, housing inventory is able to grow – and that gives you more options for your home search.

So don’t let the headlines about the market cooling or moderating scare you. The housing market is still strong; it’s just easing off from the unsustainable frenzy it saw during the height of the pandemic – and that’s a good thing. It opens up new opportunities for you to find a home that meets your needs.

Bottom Line

The housing market is undergoing a shift because of higher mortgage rates, but the market is still strong. If you’ve been looking to buy a home over the last couple of years and it felt impossible to do, now may be your opportunity. Buying a home right now isn’t easy, but there is more opportunity for those looking.

Two Reasons Why Today’s Housing Market Isn’t a Bubble

You may be reading headlines and hearing talk about a potential housing bubble or a crash, but it’s important to understand that the data and expert opinions tell a different story. A recent survey from Pulsenomics asked over one hundred housing market experts and real estate economists if they believe the housing market is in a bubble. The results indicate most experts don’t think that’s the case (see graph below):

Two Reasons Why Today’s Housing Market Isn’t a Bubble | MyKCM

As the graph shows, a strong majority (60%) said the real estate market is not currently in a bubble. In the same survey, experts give the following reasons why this isn’t like 2008:

  • The recent growth in home prices is because of demographics and low inventory
  • Credit risks are low because underwriting and lending standards are sound

If you’re concerned a crash may be coming, here’s a deep dive into those two key factors that should help ease your concerns.

1. Low Housing Inventory Is Causing Home Prices To Rise

The supply of homes available for sale needed to sustain a normal real estate market is approximately six months. Anything more than that is an overabundance and will causes prices to depreciate. Anything less than that is a shortage and will lead to continued price appreciation.

As the graph below shows, there were too many homes for sale from 2007 to 2010 (many of which were short sales and foreclosures), and that caused prices to tumble. Today, there’s still a shortage of inventory, which is causing ongoing home price appreciation (see graph below):

Inventory is nothing like the last time. Prices are rising because there’s a healthy demand for homeownership at the same time there’s a limited supply of homes for sale. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, explains:

“The fundamentals driving house price growth in the U.S. remain intact. . . . The demand for homes continues to exceed the supply of homes for sale, which is keeping house price growth high.”

2. Mortgage Lending Standards Today Are Nothing Like the Last Time

During the housing bubble, it was much easier to get a mortgage than it is today. Here’s a graph showing the mortgage volume issued to purchasers with a credit score of less than 620 during the housing boom, and the subsequent volume in the years after:

This graph helps show one element of why mortgage standards are nothing like they were the last time. Purchasers who acquired a mortgage over the last decade are much more qualified than they were in the years leading up to the crash.

Bottom Line

A majority of experts agree we’re not in a housing bubble. That’s because home price growth is backed by strong housing market fundamentals and lending standards are much tighter today. If you have questions, let’s connect to discuss why today’s housing market is nothing like 2008.

How Homeownership Can Help Shield You from Inflation

If you’re following along with the news today, you’ve likely heard about rising inflation. You’re also likely feeling the impact in your day-to-day life as prices go up for gas, groceries, and more. These rising consumer costs can put a pinch on your wallet and make you re-evaluate any big purchases you have planned to ensure they’re still worthwhile.

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a home this year, you’re probably wondering if you should continue down that path or if it makes more sense to wait. While the answer depends on your situation, here’s how homeownership can help you combat the rising costs that come with inflation.

Homeownership Offers Stability and Security

Investopedia explains that during a period of high inflation, prices rise across the board. That’s true for things like food, entertainment, and other goods and services, even housing. Both rental prices and home prices are on the rise. So, as a buyer, how can you protect yourself from increasing costs? The answer lies in homeownership.

Buying a home allows you to stabilize what’s typically your biggest monthly expense: your housing cost. If you get a fixed-rate mortgage on your home, you lock in your monthly payment for the duration of your loan, often 15 to 30 years. James Royal, Senior Wealth Management Reporter at Bankrate, says:

A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to maintain the biggest portion of housing expenses at the same payment. Sure, property taxes will rise and other expenses may creep up, but your monthly housing payment remains the same.” 

So even if other prices rise, your housing payment will be a reliable amount that can help keep your budget in check. If you rent, you don’t have that same benefit, and you won’t be protected from rising housing costs.

Use Home Price Appreciation to Your Benefit

While it’s true rising mortgage rates and home prices mean buying a house today costs more than it did a year ago, you still have an opportunity to set yourself up for a long-term win. Buying now lets you lock in at today’s rates and prices before both climbs higher.

In inflationary times, it’s especially important to invest your money in an asset that traditionally holds or grows in value. The graph below shows how home price appreciation outperformed inflation in most decades going all the way back to the seventies – making homeownership a historically strong hedge against inflation (see graph below):

So, what does that mean for you? Today, experts say home prices will only go up from here thanks to the ongoing imbalance in supply and demand. Once you buy a house, any home price appreciation that does occur will be good for your equity and your net worth. And since homes are typically assets that grow in value (even in inflationary times), you have peace of mind that history shows your investment is a strong one.

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to buy a home, it may make sense to move forward with your plans despite rising inflation. If you want expert advice on your specific situation and how to time your purchase, let’s connect.

There Are Several Great Reasons To Consider Buying a Condo Today

If you’re a first-time buyer looking to break into the housing market but struggling to find a home to buy, condominiums (or condos) could be a great alternative for you. Here are a few reasons condos may be something you’ll want to consider.

Exploring Condos Could Add Options That Fit Your Budget

Supply challenges are a reality across the board in today’s housing market. Broadening your home search to include condos could increase your overall pool of options. Just keep in mind, condos generally differ from single-family homes in average space and floorplans.

In a recent articleBankrate covers some of these differences:

“Condos are generally more affordable because they come with less space — you likely won’t have your own backyard, for example, and the interior tends to be smaller than the square footage of a single-family home.”

But if the size of a condominium meets your needs, they could match your budget as well. Data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the difference in the median price for both housing types. For single-family homes, the median price is $363,800. And for condominiums, the median price is lower at $305,400.

So, if budget is top of mind for you, a condominium could be a great fit within your target price range.

Not to mention, buying a condo is a great way to break into the market and start building equity that can help power a future move up. The condo you purchase today may not be your forever home, but it can be a great stairstep that can help you buy your dream home later on.

Find Out if Condo Living Is Right for You 

In addition, owning and living in a condo is also a lifestyle choice. While it’s true they may be smaller than single-family homes, the amenities condos provide could be a draw for many buyers. Less space in your home might mean minimal upkeep, lower maintenance, and more time for you to spend doing the things you enjoy.

To understand if condo life is for you, Bankrate recommends asking yourself a few simple questions:

“Hate to mow the lawn and trim the hedges? What about pressure washing your driveway? Are your finances such that having to lay out $5,000 or more for a new roof will be a burden? . . . Condos tend to work best for those comfortable with most of the aspects of apartment living, minus the built-in maintenance.

If you are interested in looking into purchasing a condo, we have information on local options! In fact, we have a newly listed condo for sale, here in the Houghton Lake area that might just be the perfect spot for you!

View MLS Details *This listing could get an accepted offer at any time after the publication of this blog post. If that has happened by the time you have read this blog and went to view the listing, please do not hesitate to reach out to us today – to let us know what you are looking for and put us to work finding alternatives for you to see!

Bottom Line

Condominiums are a great option for many buyers, especially those looking to buy their first home. If you’re willing to consider condos in your search, you could find something that’s in line with your target numbers and your needs. To learn more, let’s connect so you have an expert in the condo-buying process on your side.

4 Ways To Use Your Equity

Your equity is a powerful tool that can help you achieve your goals as a homeowner. And chances are, your equity grew substantially over the past year. According to the latest Equity Insights Report from CoreLogic, homeowners gained an average of $51,500 in equity over the past year.

If you’re looking for the best ways to use your growing equity, here are four options:

1. Use Your Equity To Buy a Home That Fits Your Needs

If you’re finding you no longer have the space you need, it might be time to move into a larger home. Or, it’s possible you have too much space and would like something smaller. No matter the situation, consider using your equity to power a move into a home that fits your changing lifestyle. Moving into a larger home can provide extra space for remote work or loved ones. Downsizing, on the other hand, may mean saving time and money by caring for a smaller home.

2. Move to the Location of Your Dreams

If the size of your home isn’t a challenge but your current location is, it could be time to relocate to a new area. Maybe you enjoy vacationing in the mountains, at the beach, or another area, and you’re dreaming of living there year-round. Or perhaps the distance between you and your loved ones is greater than you’d like, and you want to close the gap. No matter what, your home equity can fuel your move to the location where you really want to live.

3. Start a New Business

If you’re not ready to move into a new home, you can use your equity to invest in a new business venture. As the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy says:

“There is an estimate of 31.7 million small business owners in the United States, many of them started their business with the equity they had in their home.

While it’s not recommended that homeowners use their equity for unnecessary spending, leveraging your equity to start a business that you’re passionate about can potentially grow your nest egg further.

4. Fund an Education

Whether you have a loved one preparing to head off to college or you’re planning to go back to school yourself, the thought of paying for higher education can be daunting. In either situation, using a portion of your growing equity can help with those costs, so you can make an investment in someone’s future.

Bottom Line

Your equity can help you achieve your goals. If you’re unsure how much equity you have in your home, let’s connect today so you can start planning your next move.