Homeowners December 5, 2022

3 Ways You Can Use Your Home Equity

If you’re a homeowner, odds are your equity has grown significantly over the last few years as home prices skyrocketed and you made your monthly mortgage payments. Home equity builds over time and can help you achieve certain goals. According to the latest Equity Insights Report from CoreLogicthe average borrower with a home loan has almost $300,000 in equity right now.

As you weigh your options, especially in the face of inflation and talk of a recession, it’s important to understand your assets and how you can leverage them. A real estate professional is the best resource to help you understand how much home equity you have and advise you on some of the ways you can use it.  Here are a few examples.

1. Buy a Home That Fits Your Needs

If 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 need something smaller. No matter the situation, consider using your equity to power a move into a home that fits your changing lifestyle. 

If you want to upgrade your house, you can put your equity toward a down payment on the home of your dreams. And if you’re planning to downsize, you may be surprised that your equity may cover some, if not all, of the cost of your next home. A real estate advisor can help you figure out how much equity you have and how you can use it toward the purchase of your next home.

2. Reinvest in Your Current House

According to a recent survey from Point, 39% of homeowners would invest in home improvement projects if they chose to access their equity. This is a great option if you want to change some things about your living space but you aren’t ready to make a move just yet.

Home improvement projects allow you to customize your home to suit your needs and sense of style. Just remember to think ahead with any updates you make, as some renovations add more value to your home and are more likely to appeal to future buyers than others. For example, a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows refinishing or replacing wood flooring has a high cost recovery. Lean on a local professional for the best advice on which projects to invest in to get the greatest return on your investment when you sell.

3. Pursue Your Personal Goals

In addition to making a move or updating your house, home equity can also help you achieve the life goals you’ve dreamed of. That could mean investing in a new business venture, retiring or downsizing, or funding an education. While you shouldn’t use your equity for unnecessary spending, leveraging it to start a business or putting it toward education costs can help you achieve other lifelong goals.

Bottom Line

Your equity can be a game changer. If you’re unsure how much equity you have in your home, let’s connect so you can start planning your next move.

Sellers December 5, 2022

Your House Could Be the #1 Item on a Homebuyer’s Wish List During the Holidays

Each year, homeowners planning to make a move are faced with a decision: sell their house during the holidays or wait. And others who have already listed their homes may think about removing their listings and waiting until the new year to go back on the market.

The truth is many buyers want to purchase a home for the holidays, and your house might be just what they’re looking for. Here are five great reasons you shouldn’t wait to sell your house.

1. While the supply of homes for sale has increased this year, there still aren’t enough homes on the market to keep up with buyer demand. As Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist & Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

“There’s still this gap between demand and supply because we were underbuilding for many years. . . . So now we see demand is slowing, but it still outpaces supply.”

2. Serious homebuyers are out looking right now. Millennials are driving homebuying demand today, and many are eager to make a purchase. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, explains:

“While not the frenzy of 2021, the largest living generation, the Millennials, will continue to age into their prime home-buying years, creating a demographic tailwind for the housing market.”

3. The desire to own a home doesn’t stop during the holidays. In fact, homes decorated for the holidays appeal to many buyers. Plus, purchasers who look for homes during the holidays are ready to buy.

4. You can restrict the showings in your house to days and times that are most convenient for you. That can help you minimize disruptions, which is especially important this time of year.

5. Rents have skyrocketed in recent years. And, many buyers are looking to escape rising rents and avoid falling into the rental trap for another year. As an article from Zillow says:

“Over the next 12 months, rents are expected to grow more than inflation, the stock market and home values.”

Your home could be their ticket to leaving renting behind for good.

Bottom Line

There are still many reasons it makes sense to list your house during the holiday season. Let’s connect to determine if selling now is your best move.

About Team Blue November 28, 2022

Team Blue and DaMore Law Raise $1,050 for We’re One Wilmington Organization

Team Blue with ERA Key Realty Services and DaMore Law is proud to announce that they have raised $1,050 for the We’re One Wilmington (WOW) organization through their annual Thanksgiving Pie fundraiser. Wilmington Thanksgiving Fundraiser

“This year’s fundraiser was a great success, thanks to the generosity of local businesses and individuals who donated pies, time, and money,” said Lori Penney, the leader of Team Blue.

The WOW organization supports Wilmington families and individuals connect to the Wilmington Community who are experiencing financial, emotional or medical emergency, death, house fire, or other life-changing events. Each year the WOW organization also provides Holiday Gift Assistance to individuals, families, and households of financial need. Team Blue is proud to partner with them in this important work. Thanks again to everyone who contributed; your support will help make a real difference in the lives of many people right here in our community!

Wilmington Pies“Supporting the Wilmington community is extremely important to Team Blue,” Penney said. “We host this fundraiser annually for Thanksgiving to help give back to the community during the holiday season, which can be stressful for some.”

Pictured above, left to right, are Team Blue’s Tim Penney, Tatum Fales, Lori Penney, and Linda Ducharme.

For more information on Team Blue’s services, contact Lori Penney at 978-375-2520 or loripenney@erakey.com, or visit the team’s Facebook and Instagram pages @TeamBlueRealEstate.

Sellers November 16, 2022

Top Questions About Selling Your Home This Winter

There’s no denying the housing market is undergoing a shift this season, and that may leave you with some questions about whether it still makes sense to sell your house. Here are three of the top questions you may be asking – and the data that helps answer them – so you can make a confident decision.

1. Should I Wait To Sell?

Even though the supply of homes for sale has increased in 2022, inventory is still low overall. That means it’s still a sellers’ market. The graph below helps put the inventory growth into perspective. Using data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), it shows just how far off we are from flipping to a buyers’ market:

Top Questions About Selling Your Home This Winter | MyKCM

While buyers have regained some negotiation power as inventory has grown, you haven’t missed your window to sell. Your house could still stand out since inventory is low, especially if you list now while other sellers hold off until after the holiday rush and the start of the new year.

2. Are Buyers Still Out There?

If you’re thinking of selling your house but are hesitant because you’re worried buyer demand has disappeared in the face of higher mortgage rates, know that isn’t the case for everyone. While demand has eased this year, millennials are still looking for homes. As an article in Forbes explains:

At about 80 million strong, millennials currently make up the largest share of homebuyers (43%) in the U.S., according to a recent National Association of Realtors (NAR) report. Simply due to their numbers and eagerness to become homeowners, this cohort is quite literally shaping the next frontier of the homebuying process. Once known as the ‘rent generation,’ millennials have proven to be savvy buyers who are quite nimble in their quest to own real estate. In fact, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say they are the key to the overall health and stability of the current housing industry.”

While the millennial generation has been dubbed the renter generation, that namesake may not be appropriate anymore. Millennials, the largest generation, are actually a significant driving force for buyer demand in the housing market today. If you’re wondering if buyers are still out there, know that there are still people who are searching for a home to buy today. And your house may be exactly what they’re looking for.

3. Can I Afford To Buy My Next Home?

If current market conditions have you worried about how you’ll afford your next move, consider this: you may have more equity in your current home than you realize.

Homeowners have gained significant equity over the past few years and that equity can make a big difference in the affordability equation, especially with mortgage rates higher now than they were last year. According to Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American:

“. . . homeowners, in aggregate, have historically high levels of home equity. For some of those equity-rich homeowners, that means moving and taking on a higher mortgage rate isn’t a huge deal—especially if they are moving to a more affordable city.” 

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your house this season, let’s connect so you have the expert insights you need to make the best possible move today.

For BuyersHousing Market Updates November 7, 2022

Key Factors Affecting Home Affordability Today

Every time there’s a news segment about the housing market, we hear about the affordability challenges buyers are facing today. Those headlines are focused on how much mortgage rates have climbed this year. And while its true rates have risen dramatically, it’s important to remember they aren’t the only factor in the affordability equation.

Here are three measures used to establish home affordability: home pricesmortgage rates, and wages. Let’s look closely at each one.

1. Mortgage Rates

This is the factor most people are focused on when they talk about homebuying conditions today. So far, current rates are almost four full percentage points higher than they were at the beginning of the year. As Len Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, explains:

“U.S. 30-year fixed mortgage rates have increased 3.83 percentage points since the end of last year. That’s the biggest year-to-date increase in rates in over 50 years.”

That increase in mortgage rates is impacting how much it costs to finance a home purchase, creating a challenge for many buyers that’s pricing some out of the market. While the current global uncertainty makes it difficult to project where mortgage rates will go in the future, experts do say that rates will likely remain high as long as inflation does.

2. Home Prices

The second factor at play is home prices. Home prices have made headlines over the past few years because they skyrocketed during the pandemic. Now, the most recent Home Price Index from S&P Case-Shiller shows home values continued to decelerate for a fifth consecutive month (shown in green in the graph below):

Key Factors Affecting Home Affordability Today | MyKCM

This deceleration is happening because higher mortgage rates are moderating demand, and as a result, easing the buyer competition and bidding wars that previously drove prices up.

What’s worth noting though, is how much higher home prices still are than they were before the pandemic (shown in blue in the graph above). Even now, we have a long way to go to get to more normal levels of home price appreciation, which is historically closer to 4%. When both mortgage rates and home prices are high, affordability and your purchasing power become a greater challenge.

But while prices are still elevated in many markets, some areas are seeing slight declines. It all depends on your local market. For insight into what’s happening in your area, reach out to a trusted real estate professional.

3. Wages

The one big, positive component in the affordability equation is the increase in American wages. The graph below uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to show how wages have grown over time. This year is no exception.

Key Factors Affecting Home Affordability Today | MyKCM

As the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports:

Median weekly earnings of the nation’s 120.2 million full-time wage and salary workers were $1,070 in the third quarter of 2022 (not seasonally adjusted), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported…This was 6.9 percent higher than a year earlier

So, when you think about affordability, remember the full picture includes more than just mortgage rates. Home prices and wages need to be factored in as well. Because wages have been rising, they’re a big reason why serious buyers are still purchasing homes this year.

If you have questions or want to learn more, reach out to a trusted advisor who can explain how all of these variables work together and what’s happening in your area. As Leslie Rouda Smith, President of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

Buying or selling a home involves a series of requirements and variables, and it’s important to have someone in your corner from start to finish to make the process as smooth as possible… and objectivity to deliver trusted expertise to consumers in every U.S. ZIP code.”

Bottom Line

To learn more, let’s connect today and make sure you have a trusted lender so you’re able to make an informed decision if you’re planning to buy or sell a home right now.

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.
About Team Blue November 7, 2022

Team Blue Raises $600 for We’re One Wilmington

Team Blue at ERA Key Realty Services is getting into the holiday spirit this year after hosting its first Jingle and Mingle event to support local small businesses. Team Blue, along with Wilmington/Tewksbury Chamber of Commerce members, raised $600 for the We’re One Wilmington (WOW), a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening the Wilmington community one good deed at a time.

Fourteen vendors came to support a great cause while also promoting their own small businesses to the community. Approximately 150 people came to prepare for the holiday season with Thanksgiving pies and potential holiday gifts for loved ones. Participating vendors included Josie’s Bakery, Wow Factor Auto Detailing, Resin8 With Me, Red Door Mobile Bar Co., CARMA Salon & Spa, NU Skin, Wildflower Designs, Love Candles, Theresa Layton, S& L’S Luscious Sweets, Theresa Sharp, Dottye Vaccaro, and Linda Bruen.

“Supporting local small businesses is extremely important to Team Blue,” said Lori Penney, the leader of Team Blue. “The holiday season can be fun, yet overwhelming for some, so we decided to take some of that stress away by bringing local vendors together. It was a great way to support local small businesses, while also preparing for this year’s holiday season.”

Team Blue is located at the Wilmington branch of ERA Key Realty Services. The team specializes in real estate in the Boston Suburban areas and Southern New Hampshire. For the past 5 years, Team Blue has been awarded the #1 Team at ERA Key Realty Services. Their goal is to guide their clients through the contractual, investment, and emotional decisions involved in the real estate process.

For more information on Team Blue’s services, contact Lori Penney at 978-375-2520 or loripenney@erakey.com, or visit the team’s Facebook and Instagram pages @TeamBlueRealEstate.

BuyersFor BuyersHousing Market UpdatesSellers October 11, 2022

What Are Experts Saying About the Fall Housing Market?

What Are Experts Saying About the Fall Housing Market? | MyKCM

The housing market is rapidly changing from the peak frenzy it saw over the past two years. That means you probably have questions about what your best move is if you’re thinking of buying or selling this fall.

To help you make a confident decision, lean on the professionals for insights. Here are a few things experts are saying about the fall housing market.

Expert Quotes for Fall Homebuyers

A recent article from realtor.com:

This fall, a more moderate pace of home selling, more listings to choose from, and softening price growth will provide some breathing room for buyers searching for a home during what is typically the best time to buy a home.”

Michael Lane, VP and General Manager, ShowingTime:

Buyers will continue to see less competition for homes and have more time to tour homes they like and consider their options.” 

Expert Quotes for Fall Sellers

Selma Hepp, Interim Lead of the Office of the Chief Economist, CoreLogic:

“. . . record equity continues to provide fuel for housing demand, particularly if households are relocating to more affordable areas.”

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist, realtor.com:

“For homeowners deciding whether to make a move this year, remember that listing prices – while lower than a few months ago – remain higher than in prior years, so you’re still likely to find opportunities to cash-in on record-high levels of equity, particularly if you’ve owned your home for a longer period of time.”

Bottom Line

Mortgage rates, home prices, and the supply of homes for sale are top of mind for buyers and sellers today. And if you want the latest information for our area, let’s connect today.

BuyersFor BuyersHousing Market UpdatesPricingSellers September 7, 2022

What Does the Rest of the Year Hold for Home Prices?

What Does the Rest of the Year Hold for Home Prices? | MyKCM

Whether you’re a potential homebuyerseller, or both, you probably want to know: will home prices fall this year? Let’s break down what’s happening with home prices, where experts say they’re headed, and why this matters for your homeownership goals.

Last Year’s Rapid Home Price Growth Wasn’t the Norm

In 2021, home prices appreciated quickly. One reason why is that record-low mortgage rates motivated more buyers to enter the market. As a result, there were more people looking to make a purchase than there were homes available for sale. That led to competitive bidding wars which drove prices up. CoreLogic helps explain how unusual last year’s appreciation was:

Price appreciation averaged 15% for the full year of 2021, up from the 2020 full year average of 6%.”

In other words, the pace of appreciation in 2021 far surpassed the 6% the market saw in 2020. And even that appreciation was greater than the pre-pandemic norm which was typically around 3.8%. This goes to show, 2021 was an anomaly in the housing market spurred by more buyers than homes for sale.

Home Price Appreciation Moderates Today

This year, home price appreciation is slowing (or decelerating) from the feverish pace the market saw over the past two years. According to the latest forecasts, experts say on average, nationwide, prices will still appreciate by roughly 10% in 2022 (see graph below):

What Does the Rest of the Year Hold for Home Prices? | MyKCM

Why do all of these experts agree prices will continue to rise? It’s simple. Even though housing supply is growing today, it’s still low overall thanks to several factors, including a long period of underbuilding homes. And experts say that’s going to help keep upward pressure on home prices this year. Additionally, since mortgage rates are higher this year than they were last year, buyer demand has slowed.

As the market undergoes this change, it’s true price appreciation this year won’t match the feverish pace in 2021. But the rapid appreciation the market saw last year wasn’t sustainable anyway.

What Does That Mean for You?

Today, the market is beginning to move back toward pre-pandemic levels. But even the forecast for 10% home price growth in 2022 is well beyond the 3.8% that’s more typical for a normal market.

So, despite what you may have heard, experts say home prices won’t fall in most markets. They’ll just appreciate more moderately.

If you’re worried the house you’re trying to sell or the home you want to buy will decrease in value, you should know experts aren’t calling for depreciation in most markets, just deceleration. That means your home should still grow in value, just not as fast as it did last year.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of making a move, you shouldn’t wait for prices to fall. Experts say nationally, prices will continue to appreciate this year, just at a more moderate pace. When you’re ready to begin the process of buying or selling, let’s connect so you have a local market expert on your side each step of the way.

BuyersFirst Time Home BuyersFor BuyersHousing Market UpdatesSellers July 29, 2022

Three Reasons To Buy a Home in Today’s Shifting Market [INFOGRAPHIC]

Three Reasons To Buy a Home in Today’s Shifting Market [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • The housing market is moving away from the frenzy of the past year and it’s opening doors for you if you’re thinking about buying a home.
  • Housing inventory is increasing, which means more options for your search. Plus, the intensity of bidding wars may ease as buyer demand moderates, leading to fewer homes selling above asking price.
  • If you’re ready to buy a home, now may be the moment you’ve been waiting for. Let’s connect to start the homebuying process today.
Housing Market Updates July 18, 2022

Housing Experts Say This Isn’t a Bubble

With so much talk about an economic slowdown, some people are asking if the housing market is heading for a crash like the one in 2008. To really understand what’s happening with real estate today, it’s important to lean on the experts for reliable information.

Here’s why economists and industry experts say the housing market is not a bubble ready to pop.

Today Is Nothing Like 2008

The 2008 housing crash is still fresh in the minds of many homebuyers and sellers. But today’s market is different. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, says:

“This is not the same market of 2008. . . . It’s no secret the housing market played a central role in the Great Recession, but this market is just fundamentally different in so many ways.”

Natalie Campisi, Advisor Staff for Forbesexplains how today’s lending standards are different than those during the lead-up to the housing market crash:

“Among the differences between today’s housing market and that of the 2008 housing crash is that lending standards are tighter due to lessons learned and new regulations enacted after the last crisis. Essentially, that means those approved for a mortgage nowadays are less likely to default than those who were approved in the pre-crisis lending period.”

Another reason today’s housing market is nothing like 2008 is that the number of people looking to buy a home still outweighs the supply of homes for sale. As realtor.com notes:

. . . experts don’t believe the market is in a bubble or a crash is in the cards, like during the Great Recession. The nation is still suffering from a housing shortage that has reached crisis proportions at a time when many millennials are reaching the age when they start to consider homeownership. That’s likely to keep prices high.”

Bottom Line

Experts say the housing market isn’t a bubble, and we’re not heading for a crash. Let’s connect so you can have a full picture of today’s housing market in our local area.