Category Archives: Cape Cod

Have Home Prices Levelled Off?

Whether you’re already a homeowner or you’re looking to become one, recent headlines about home prices may leave you with more questions than answers. News stories are talking about home prices falling, and that’s raising concerns about a repeat of what happened to prices in the crash in 2008.

One of the questions that’s on many minds, based on those headlines, is: how much will home prices decline? But what you may not realize is expert forecasters aren’t calling for a free fall in prices. In fact, if you look at the latest data, there’s a case to be made that the biggest portion of month-over-month price depreciation nationally may already be behind us – and even those numbers weren’t significant declines on the national level. Instead of how far will they drop, the question becomes: have home values levelled off?

Let’s take a look at the latest data from several reputable industry sources (see chart below):

Have Home Values Hit Bottom? | MyKCM

The chart above provides a look at the most recent reports from Case-Shiller, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Black Knight, and CoreLogic. It shows how, on a national scale, home values have changed month-over-month since January 2022. November and December numbers have yet to come out.

Let’s focus in on what the red numbers tell us. The red numbers are the change in home values over the last four months that have been published. And if we isolate the last four months, what the data shows is, in each case, home price depreciation peaked in August.

While that doesn’t guarantee home price depreciation has moderated, it confirms prices aren’t in a free fall, and it may be an early signal that the worst is already behind us.

According to the Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors, the median sales price for a single family home in January 2022 was $586, 500.00. In June it was $665,000.00 and by December, the median price was $650,000.00. This certainly suggests that, in general prices, have calmed down.

What does this mean?

If you’re a buyer who stepped out of the market mid-year because of prices, it’s probably time to get back in.

If you’re a potential seller, what are you waiting for?

Either option, let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We can provide you with up-to-date information about the housing market that will help you make the best decision for your individual situation.

Talk soon…

Mari and Hank

Looking Ahead to 2023 Home Prices

When it comes to real estate and the housing market, everyone has an opinion. It doesn’t matter where — a family gathering, the grocery store, out to dinner — we’re always asked: “How’s the market?”

After sharing our opinion based on the most current information available, the questioners sometimes offer their opinions. This is where we’re told that the market is going to crash or interest rates are going sky high or need to drop further.

It can be confusing. Last year — after a very active 2021 that few predicted — the market underwent a major shift as economic uncertainty and higher mortgage rates reduced buyer demand, slowed the pace of home sales, and moderated home prices.

Nonetheless, median sales prices for single family homes on Cape Cod in 2022 increased 10.8% from $620,00.00 to $667,000.00. Median sales prices for condominiums went up $18.4% from $380,000.00 to $450,000.00 driven by the lack of inventory for single family homes.

So what’s going to happen in  2023?

An article from HousingWire offers this perspective:

“The red-hot housing market of the past 2 ½ years was characterized by sub-three percent mortgage rates, fast-paced bidding wars and record-low inventory. But more recently, market conditions have done an about-face. . . . now is the opportunity for everyone to become re-educated about what a ‘typical’ housing market looks like.”

This year, experts agree we may see the return of greater stability and predictability in the housing market if inflation continues to ease and mortgage rates stabilize. Here’s what they have to say.

The 2023 forecast from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:

While 2022 may be remembered as a year of housing volatility, 2023 likely will become a year of long-lost normalcy returning to the market, . . . mortgage rates are expected to stabilize while home sales and prices moderate after recent highs, . . .”

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comadds:

“. . . buyers will not face the extreme competition that was commonplace over the past few years.”

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, explains home prices will vary by local area, but will net neutral nationwide as the market continues to adjust:

After a big boom over the past two years, there will essentially be no change nationally . . . Half of the country may experience small price gains, while the other half may see slight price declines.”

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, says:

“The housing market, once adjusted to the new normal of higher mortgage rates, will benefit from continued strong demographic-driven demand relative to an overall, long-run shortage of supply.

If you have specific questions about today’s housing market and whether this is the time you should make your move, please connect with us at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’ll provide you with the most current, fact based information that can help you make a decision that is in your best interest.

Talk soon…

Mari and Hank

What Makes a House a Home?

Happy New Year! We hope you enjoyed the holidays with family and friends.

It’s during this time of year that we tend to focus on our homes more than at any other. The decorations. The family gatherings. The memories.

We don’t think as much about the long-term financial benefits of owning a home, and today’s housing market may have you wondering if the start of the new year is a good time to buy, sell, or both. While the financial aspects of making a move are important, there are non-financial and emotional reasons to consider, too.

Home means something different to all of us. Here are some of the things that make a house a home.

1. You Can Be Proud of Your Accomplishment

Buying a home is a major life milestone. Whether you’re setting out to buy your first home or your fifth, congratulations will be in order when you’ve achieved your goal. The sense of accomplishment you’ll feel at the end of your journey will truly make your home feel like a special place.

2. You Have Your Own Designated Happy Place

Owning your own home offers not only safety and security, but also a comfortable place where you can relax and unwind after a long day. Sometimes that’s just what you need to feel recharged and content.

3. You Can Find the Space To Meet Your Needs

Whether you want more room for your changing lifestyle (like retirement, dedicated space for a hobby, or a personal gym) or you simply prefer to have a large backyard for entertaining, you can invest in a home that truly works for your evolving needs.

4. You Can Customize Your Surroundings

Looking to try one of those decorative wall treatments you saw online? Tired of paying an additional pet deposit for your apartment building? Or maybe you want to create an in-home yoga studio. You can do all these things in your own home.

Whether you’re planning to purchase your first home in 2023 or are ready to sell and buy a different one to meet your needs, consider the emotional benefits that can turn a house into a happy home.

BTW… Interest rates and prices have stabilized. Those of you waiting for one or the other to significantly drop will be disappointed. So, there are really no excuses to delay your plans any longer.

Last year, we sold our home of 28 years and bought something that better fits our current lifestyle. We will be happy to share our experiences with you. We can also provide you with the most up-to-date information about the status of the housing market. Please connect with us at 508-360-5664 or msennot@todayrealestate.com.

Talk soon….

Mari and Hank

Is 2023 Your Year?

As we prepare for the holidays, many of us are also thinking about the year that’s ending and making plans for the one ahead.

If 2022 was the year you made a change, congratulations! Whether upsizing, downsizing, or moving to that “someday” neighborhood, it no doubt wasn’t easy due to limited inventory, prices, and stress producing bidding wars. But, if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that life goes on.

We certainly didn’t start 2022 with the goal of leaving our home of 28 years. But, as the year progressed we realized that we were the people who we frequently talked about. We had a house that had become too big; was getting increasingly expensive to maintain, and didn’t fit our lifestyle. It was time to downsize.

Making the long story short, we used the equity in our home to help finance the purchase our new — and smaller — one. We then marketed our old house putting us in the position of knowing where we were going, which is a common concern expressed by homeowners, who want to sell.

If you sat on the sidelines this year waiting for prices to drop (or go even higher), you should know that — as predicted — prices are stabilizing. According to the latest report from the Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors, the median sales price of a single family home last month is just 1.4% higher than November 2021.

BTW…The median sales price of a condominium for the same time period is up 32.3%!

Last month, sellers received 95.9% of original list price. YTD that figure is 100.5%. This is good news for buyers and maybe not so good for sellers, who were hoping to receive the same crazy price that their neighbor got earlier this year. Anecdotally, price reductions, which had been rare, are now on the rise.

A home priced right will still sell quickly. We just put two under contract. And equity will put homeowners in a favorable position to make their next move.

With family often together over these next few weeks, please don’t hesitate to contact us, if you discuss making a change. We’d be happy to provide the most current information available to help you make a decision. You reach us at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com.

As the holidays approach, we can’t help but think of the clients/friends who we worked with in 2022 and the hundreds we’ve gotten to know over the last 22 years. We hope everyone enjoys this special time of year in the place that they now call “home.”

Best wishes,

Mari and Hank

What Can You Expected for Home Prices?

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home soon, you may have questions about what’s happening with prices right as the market cools. The simple answer is that the real experts don’t expect prices to come crashing down, but the level of home price moderation will depend on factors like supply and demand in each local market.

That means, moving forward, home price appreciation will continue to vary by location, with more significant changes happening in overheated areas. Here’s a quick snapshot of what the experts are saying:

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comsays: “The major question on the minds of homeowners and aspiring buyers alike is what will happen to home prices. . . Soaring prices were propelled by all-time low mortgage rates which are a thing of the past. As a result, home price growth is expected to continue slowing, dipping below its pre-pandemic average to 5.4% for 2023, as a whole.

According to Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American: “House price appreciation has slowed in all 50 markets we track, but the deceleration is generally more dramatic in areas that experienced the strongest peak appreciation rates.”

Taylor Marr, Deputy Chief Economist at Redfin, says: For those bearish folks eagerly awaiting the home price crash, you’ll have to keep waiting. As much as demand is pulling back supply, it is also reducing downward pressure on prices in the short run.”

On Cape Cod, the median sales price for a single family home is up 1.4% comparing this November to a year ago. Prices were up 12% comparing November 2021 to November 2020! Year to date median sales prices are still up almost 22%, but the trend is stabilizing.

What Does This Mean for You?

If you’ve been playing the “waiting game” for prices to continue to increase (sellers) or decrease (buyers), time may be running out.

Potential sellers should know that Open Houses aren’t the social events that they were and, in general, bidding wars are a thing of the past. The number of days a property stays on the market is increasing, too, as are price reductions as sellers try to get the price their neighbors or friends got six months ago.

Buyers, who are hoping for prices to drop, are losing out. Some have told us that they’re waiting for interest rates to drop. They have been ticking back and the difference between 5.25% and 5.50% may not be as significant as you think, when you remember your mortgage is for 30 years and refinancing is always an option. (We’re never going to see 3% again…)

If you don’t have a relationship with a reputable lender, we can recommend several whom we have worked with over the years. It’s important to have that pre-approval letter and know how changes in interest rates impact what you can afford.

If 2023 is going to be you year and you have questions about what’s happening with home prices, let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com so we can share with you the latest information on what’s happening.

Talk soon…

Mari and Hank

How You Can Use Your Home’s Equity

If you’re currently 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 during these somewhat confusing economic times, it’s important to understand your assets and how you can leverage them. As real estate professionals, we can be a good source of information to help you understand how much home equity you have and suggest 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 you may 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 of the cost of your next home, if not all.

Earlier this year, we used the equity in our home to put us in the position to make a successful offer on our new home without including a home sale contingency. We then marketed our house after our offer was accepted.

If you’re concerned about where you will move when you successfully market your home, your equity allows you to answer that question before listing your property.

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 quite ready to make a move.

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. We can advise you 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, buying a vacation home, 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 personal goals.

Bottom Line

Your equity can be a game changer. If you’re unsure how much equity you have in your home and how might you best use it, let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’re happy to help.

Mari and Hank

Mortgage Rates Will Come Down, It’s Just a Matter of Time

This past year, rising mortgage rates have slowed the red-hot housing market. Over the past nine months, we’ve seen fewer homes sold than the previous month as home price growth has slowed. This is due to the fact that the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage r has doubled this year, putting the breaks on escalating prices.

This was the goal of the Federal Reserve when it raised rates: to cool down the market.

This month, the average rate for financing a home briefly rose over 7% before coming back down into the 6% range. But we’re starting to see a hint of what mortgage interest rates could look like next year.

Inflation Is the Enemy of Long-Term Interest Rates

As long as inflation is high, we’ll see higher mortgage rates. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen indications that inflation may be cooling, giving us a glimpse into what may happen in the future. The mortgage market is eagerly awaiting positive news on inflation. As Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zondasays: “We are watching for any additional stability in the MBs market, signs of cooling inflation, and/or less aggressive Federal Reserve action to give us confidence that mortgage rates are past their peak.”

What Does This Mean for the Future of Mortgage Rates?

As we get through the inflation battle and start to see that coming down, we should expect mortgage rates to follow. We’ve seen nods of this over the past couple of weeks. As the Federal Reserve works to bring inflation down, mortgage rates will come down as well. Bill McBride from Calculated Risk says: “My current view is inflation will ease quicker than the Fed currently expects.”

Not every mortgage lender is the same. They offer different options and different rates. For example, local banks that have their own portfolios and don’t sell their mortgages to investors have different financing opportunities when compared to mortgage finance companies that do sell their mortgages. So, it’s important to shop around.

As a buyer, it’s a questionable strategy to sit on the sidelines waiting for your magic number when it comes to interest rates. We know for sure that the chances of seeing rates of 3% or less are almost non-existent. Consider meeting with your financial advisor or lender and determine what the impact of rates in the 4% to 6% rate range, can have on your personal financial situation. You could miss out on the home you really want while waiting for a rate that will never be available.

And remember: mortgages can be re-financed to lower rates.

If you don’t have a working relationship with a lender, we can recommend several who we work with on a regular basis. Please contact us at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. With inventory increasing every day, be in the position to make your move when you find your next home.


We were happy to host our Third Annual Thanksgiving Pie Party last Tuesday at JD’s Burgers and Sushi in Sandwich. More than 70 of our client-friends turned out to re-connect with people they met last year and make new acquaintances.

We donated the pies that were not taken to the Sandwich Food Pantry, which reminds us that tomorrow is Giving Tuesday. Please take a moment to support a charity or non-profit that is close to your heart. Thanks…

Mari and Hank

Top Questions About Selling Your Home During the Holidays

In our blog two weeks ago, we made the suggestion that you should consider selling your home before or during the holidays.

That led to several questions.

1. But, doesn’t it make more sense the wait?

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.

On Cape Cod, we have a 2.2 months inventory of homes which means that if nothing else would become available, it would take 2.2 months to exhaust the supply. A “normal” market is considered six months.

2. Are there 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. If I sell, 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.” 

For us, that meant that we were able this spring to use our equity to make a significant down payment on our new home, then market our old one. We didn’t have a home sale contingency in the offer to purchase our new home.

If you’re intrigued about the idea of selling your house before year’s end, let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to review your options. Remember: your home never looks better (or is more marketable) than during the holidays.

Thursday is Thanksgiving and we would be remiss if we did not wish everyone a blessed and memorable day. We’ve all come to appreciate this holiday more because we lost the chance to celebrate it during the height of the pandemic. So we hope you enjoy the chance to spend time with family and friends.

Mari and Hank

What Impacts Home Affordability

Every time there’s a news segment about the housing market, we hear about the affordability challenges facing today’s buyers. Those headlines are focused on how much mortgage rates have climbed this year. And while it’s true rates have risen dramatically, they’ve also dropped to much less media coverage and comment.

But, it’s important to remember that mortgage interest rates 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.”

The increase in mortgage rates is impacting how much it costs to finance a home purchase, creating a challenge for many buyers as it’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.

But, it’s important to remember that individual lenders offer different rates and different options. You have many potential sources for your mortgage from banks, to mortgage finance companies and credit unions. Be sure to shop them all before deciding what you can or can’t afford.

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. nationally have decelerated 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.

On Cape Cod, prices are moderating. Property is not being sold in a weekend and there are more price reductions. Those crazy bidding wars seem to be over. Open houses have returned to normal as those lines down the driveway are gone. Sellers are seeing more competition from their neighbors.

3. Wages

The one big, positive component in the affordability equation is the increase in 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 nations 120.2 million full-time wage and salary workers were $1,070 in the third quarter of 2022. This was 6.9% 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 active.

The decision to buy is not as simple as the so called experts and commentators would like the public to believe.

It’s important to work with a reputable lender, who can keep you appraised about the impact mortgage rates are having on what you can afford. If you’re not connected with a lender, we can put you in touch with several who we work with.

If you’re looking to sell, as well as buy, you should know the value of your current property. Please visit our website to find out what your home is worth and how much equity you may have.

Finally, please sit down with us to review your options whether buying, selling, or both. Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com.

Earlier this year, we sold our home and bought something that better suits our lifestyle. So, hopefully our experience can help you make the best decisions for your situation. Talk soon…

Mari and Hank

Selling Your Home Before the Holidays

As you look ahead to the winter, you’re likely making plans about what you want to accomplish before 2022 ends. If the location or size of your current home no longer meets your needs, finding a house that better suits your lifestyle may be a top priority. But with today’s cooling housing market, is this really a good time to sell, or should you wait?

If you’re ready to make your move, here are three reasons why you may want to decide selling before the holidays.

1. Get One Step Ahead of Other Sellers

Typically, homeowners are less likely to list their houses toward the end of the year. That’s because people get busy around the holidays and deprioritize selling their home until the start of the new year when their schedules and social calendars calm down.

Selling now, while other homeowners are holding off, can help your house stand out. Start the process today so you can get your property on the market and be ahead of your competition.

It’s also around the holidays that we often complete minor maintenance projects, because relatives and friends will be visiting. We paint the extra bedroom, fix a broken step on the back deck or give the guest bathroom a quick touch up. These are all tasks that will also help in marketing your home.

2. Get in Front of Serious Buyers

Even though housing supply has increased this year as buyer demand has moderated, it’s still low overall. That means there aren’t enough homes on the market today, especially as the millennial generation reaches their peak homebuying years. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americansays: “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.”

Serious buyers will continue to look this winter and your house may be exactly what they’re searching for. If you list your house now, you’ll be able to get in front of the eager buyers, who are hoping to make a move before the year ends or by early in 2023.

3. Seize a Great Chance To Move Up

Don’t forget, that as a homeowner you quite possibly have a substantial amount of equity. According to CoreLogic, the average amount of equity per mortgage holder has climbed to almost $300,000. That’s an all-time high. That means the equity you have in your house right now could cover some, if not all, of a down payment on your next home. (That’s what we did.)

As you weigh the reasons to sell before winter, don’t lose sight of why you’re thinking about moving in the first place. Maybe it’s time to buy a house that’s in a better location, has the space you and your loved ones have been craving, or simply gives you that sense of home.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your house so you can find a home that better suits your needs, don’t delay your plans. Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@ todayrealestate.com so we can develop a marketing plan for your current home and begin the search for your new one.

The Friday, November 11, is Veterans Day, a federal holiday set aside to honor the men and women who have served in our Armed Forces.. We thank all of them for their service and sacrifices. We are forever grateful.

Mari and Hank