Monthly Archives: February 2022

Gallup Poll: Real Estate Still the Best Investment

In an annual Gallup poll, Americans chose real estate as the best long-term investment. And it’s not the first time it’s topped the list, either. Real estate has been on a winning streak for the past eight years, consistently gaining traction as the best long-term investment (see graph below):

Real Estate Voted the Best Investment Eight Years in a Row | MyKCM

If you’re thinking about purchasing a home this year, this poll should reassure you. Even when inflation is rising like it is today, Americans agree an investment like real estate truly shines.

Why Is Real Estate a Great Investment During Times of High Inflation?

With inflation reaching its highest level in 40 years, it’s more important than ever to understand the financial benefits of homeownership. Rising inflation means prices are increasing across the board. That includes goods, services, housing costs, and more. But when you purchase your home, you lock in your monthly housing payments, effectively shielding yourself from increasing housing payments.

James Royal, Senior Wealth Management Reporter at Bankrateexplains it like this: “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.”

If you’re a renter, you don’t have that same benefit, and you aren’t protected from increases in your housing costs, especially rising rents.

History Shows During Inflationary Periods, Home Prices Rise as Well

As a homeowner, your house is an asset that typically increases in value over time, even during inflation. That‘s because, as prices rise, the value of your home does, too. And that makes buying a home a great hedge during periods of high inflation. Natalie Campisi, Advisor Staff for Forbesnotes: “Tangible assets like real estate get more valuable over time, which makes buying a home a good way to spend your money during inflationary times.”

Bottom Line

Housing truly is a strong investment, especially when inflation is high. When you lock in a mortgage payment, you’re shielded from housing cost increases, and you own an asset that typically gains value with time.

Curious about your options? Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’re happy to answer your questions.

It’s important that you have the right information to make an educated and informed decision.

Mari and Hank

If You’re Waiting for the Bubble to Burst….

recent survey revealed that many consumers believe a housing bubble is beginning to form. That feeling is understandable, as year-over-year home price appreciation is still in the double digits.

We’ve seen comments on our own Facebook page from posters reacting to recent listings saying that they’re waiting for the market to crash. We see references on various social media sites comparing today’s market to “the last time.”

However, this market is very different than it was during the housing crash 15 years ago. Here are four key reasons why today is nothing like the last time.

1. Houses Are Not Unaffordable Like They Were During the Housing Boom

The affordability formula has three components: the price of the home, wages earned by the purchaser, and the mortgage rate available at the time. Conventional lending standards say a purchaser should spend no more than 28% of their gross income on their mortgage payment.

Fifteen years ago, prices were high, wages were low, and mortgage rates were over 6%. We remember buying our first home and the rate was 14%!

Today, prices are still high. Wages, however, have increased, and the mortgage rate, even after the recent spike, is still well below 6%. That means the average purchaser today pays less of their monthly income toward their mortgage payment than they did back then.

In the latest Affordability Report by ATTOM Data, Chief Product Officer Todd Teta addresses that exact point: “The average wage earner can still afford the typical home across the U.S, but the financial comfort level zone continues to shrink as home prices keep soaring and mortgage rates tick upward.”

Affordability isn’t as strong as it was last year, but it’s much better than it was during the boom. Here’s a chart showing that difference:

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | MyKCM

I

2. Mortgage Standards Were Much More Relaxed During the Boom

During the housing bubble, it was much easier to get a mortgage than it is today. As an example, let’s review the number of mortgages granted to purchasers with credit scores under 620. According to credit.org, a credit score between 550-619 is considered poor. In defining those with a score below 620, they explain: “Credit agencies consider consumers with credit delinquencies, account rejections, and little credit history as subprime borrowers due to their high credit risk.”

Buyers can still qualify for a mortgage with a credit score that low, but they’re considered riskier borrowers. Here’s a graph showing the mortgage volume issued to purchasers with a credit score less than 620 during the housing boom, and the subsequent volume in the 14 years since.

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | MyKCM

Mortgage standards are nothing like they were the last time. Purchasers that acquired a mortgage over the last decade are much more qualified. Let’s take a look at what that means going forward.

3. The Foreclosure Situation Is Nothing Like It Was During the Crash

The most obvious difference is the number of homeowners that were facing foreclosure after the housing bubble burst. The Federal Reserve has a report showing the number of consumers with a new foreclosure notice. Here are the numbers during the crash compared to today:

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | MyKCM

There’s no doubt the 2020 and 2021 numbers are impacted by the forbearance program, which was created to help homeowners facing uncertainty during the pandemic. However, there are fewer than 800,000 homeowners left in the program today, and most of those will be able to work out a repayment plan with their banks.

Why are there so few foreclosures now? Today, homeowners are equity rich, not tapped out.

This suggests that the forebearance equals foreclosure narrative pushed by many so called experts and news network talking heads was incorrect.

In the run-up to the housing bubble, some homeowners were using their homes as personal ATM machines. Many immediately withdrew their equity once it built up. When home values began to fall, some homeowners found themselves in a negative equity situation where the amount they owed on their mortgage was greater than the value of their home. Some of those households decided to walk away from their homes, and that led to a rash of distressed property listings (foreclosures and short sales), which sold at huge discounts, thus lowering the value of other homes in the area.

Homeowners, however, have learned their lessons. Prices have risen nicely over the last few years, leading to over 40% of homes in the country having more than 50% equity. But owners have not been tapping into it like the last time, as evidenced by the fact that national tappable equity has increased to a record $9.9 trillion. With the average home equity now standing at $300,000, what happened last time won’t happen today.

So, there will be nowhere near the same number of foreclosures as we saw during the crash.

4. We Don’t Have a Surplus of Homes on the Market – We Have a Shortage

The supply of inventory 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 next graph 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 a shortage of inventory, which is causing the acceleration in home values to continue.

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | MyKCM

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 shortage of homes for sale.

According to the Cape Cod and Island Board of Realtors, inventory for last month was 256 single family homes. It was 300 in January 2021. In January 2020? The number was 1,397.

As a result, open houses are crowded again and multiple offer situations are frequent. At an Open House we had this past Saturday, more than 30 groups visited the property in just two the first hours! As a result, our sellers are considering multiple offers.

If you’re a buyer waiting for the bubble to burst or for the market to crash before making your move, you’re potentially going to have a long wait. Sellers sitting on the sidelines, should be thinking about getting into the game.

Curious about your options as either a buyer or seller? Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’re happy to answer your questions.

It’s important that you have the right information to make an educated and informed decision.

Have a good week…

Mari and Hank

How to Get Top Dollar for Your House

When you’re selling any item, you want to get the greatest profit possible. That happens when there’s a strong demand and a limited supply. In the real estate market, that time is right now. If you’re thinking of selling your house this year, here are two reasons why now’s the time to do so.

1. Demand Is Very Strong This Winter

recent article in Inman News notes: “Spring, the hottest time of year for homebuyers and sellers, has started early according to economists.”

And they aren’t the only ones saying buyers are already out in full force. That claim is backed up with data released last week by ShowingTime.

The ShowingTime Showing Index tracks the average number of monthly buyer showings on active residential properties, which is a highly reliable leading indicator of current and future trends for buyer demand. The latest index reveals this December was the most active December in five years (see graph below):

Want Top Dollar for Your House? Now’s the Time To List It. | MyKCM

As the data indicates, buyers have been very busy this winter. December 2021 saw even more showings than December of 2020, which was already a stronger-than-usual winter. We know this from personal experience and that of many of our colleagues.

2. Housing Supply Is Extremely Low

Each month, realtor.com releases data on the number of active residential real estate listings (listings currently for sale). Their most recent report reveals the latest monthly number nationally is the lowest we’ve seen in any January since 2017 (see graph below):

Want Top Dollar for Your House? Now’s the Time To List It. | MyKCM

One statistic to track available listings is by calculating the current month’s supply of inventory. A months supply refers to the number of months it would take for the current inventory of homes on the market to sell given the current sales pace.

On Cape Cod, the monthly supply at the end of January was 0.7! That’s 231 homes for sale as compared to 519 a year ago.

For condos, the calculated monthly supply is 1.0. That’s available 90 units this January versus 206 in 2021.

The ratio of buyers to sellers favors homeowners right now to a greater degree than at any other time in history. Buyer demand is high and supply is low. That gives sellers an incredible opportunity.

But, buyers shouldn’t be discouraged as still record low interest rates will help them afford the homes that they’re seeking.

Curious about your options as either a buyer or seller? Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’re happy to answer your questions.

It’s important that you have the right information to make an educated and informed decision.

Mari and Hank

Is Multi-Generational Living an Option?

Whether it’s for financial or health-related circumstances, or simply because you’ve reached a new phase in your life, you might be wondering if living with multiple generations under the same roof is the right move. Many have have found themselves in similar situations and have found that living in a multigenerational home is a good idea.

What Is a Multigenerational Home?

The Pew Research Center defines a multigenerational household as a home with two or more adult generations. They include households with grandparents and grandchildren under the age of 25. As you weigh your options and decide if multigenerational living is right for you, here’s some helpful information including testimony from homeowners living with additional loved ones.

The Benefits of Multigenerational Living

A recent report from Generations United surveyed individuals living in a multigenerational setting and asked them about the key benefits of this arrangement. It says: “Nearly all Americans who live in multigenerational households (98%) feel their household functions successfully citing various aspects of home design, family relationships and interactions, and supports and services influencing their success.”

The study identifies some of the top benefits of this lifestyle including an improved financial situation, better mental and physical health, and strengthened bonds with loved ones.

Millions of Americans Have Discovered the Benefits of Multigenerational Households | MyKCM

Those are just some of the reasons why most people who decide to live in this situation find it worthwhile. As Donna Butts, Executive Director at Generations United, says: “Families may come together from need, but they are staying together by choice.”

With More Adults Living Under One Roof, You May Need More Space

If you decide to look for a multigenerational home, it’s important to understand what everyone will need to make the arrangement work to its fullest. Something that often makes the top of the list is additional space for privacy. This could mean more bedrooms and bathrooms or features like an in-law suite or a basement.

If you’re still living in a house with several bedrooms where you raised your family, but now only use just a few rooms, your property may be of interest to someone looking for a multi-generation setting. Marketing your home and taking advantage of the equity you have in your house could help you finance your next move to a smaller home or a condo.

Curious about multigenerational living and your options as either a buyer or seller? We’d be happy to answer your questions. Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com.

It’s important that you have the right information to make an educated and informed decision.

Mari and Hank