Tag Archives: #homeprices

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

Questions Homebuyers Should Be Asking Right Now

The increase in interest rates has started to slow the overheated housing market as potential monthly mortgage payments have pushed — at least temporarily — some buyers to the sidelines. This is leaving some people, who want to purchase a home or sell their current one, wondering if now is really the right time.

If this sounds like you, here are two questions you should be asking yourself.

1. Where Do I Think Home Prices Are Heading?

There are two places to turn for answers to this question. If you look at what experts are projecting for home prices in 2023, they’re forecasting home price appreciation around 2%. While it’s true that a few are calling for depreciation, most are calling for appreciation in home values over the next year.

The second spot to turn to for information is the Home Price Expectation Survey from Pulsenomics – a survey of a national panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists. According to the latest release, the experts surveyed are also calling for home price appreciation for the next several years (see graph below):

Two Questions Every Homebuyer Should Ask Themselves Right Now | MyKCM

2. Where Do I Think Interest Rates Are Heading?

Most experts see mortgage rates rising over the next several months. According to Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American: “While mortgage rates are expected to continue to drift higher over the coming months, much of the rapid increase in rates is likely behind us.”

To date, we’ve seen mortgage interest rates generate head-line grabbing increases only to inch back with little or no fanfare. It’s important to remember that mortgage rates remain lower than they have in years, and while they won’t return to historical lows, rates also won’t spike to the historic highs of the late 90s.

Buyers should keep in close contact with their lenders to stay up-to-date on what they can afford.

If you’re thinking about buying a home, asking yourself about prices and mortgage rates will help you make a powerful and confident decision. The alternative is renting, but they’re also increasing and are often higher than what your mortgage could be. That may mean buying a home makes more sense. And don’t forget that when you rent, you’re really just paying your landlord’s mortgage. So, you might as well pay your own.

Questions? We’re happy to sit down with you and review your options. We can also put you in touch with qualified lenders, who can discuss with you financial options. It’s important that you speak with experts in order to make an informed decision and not your Mother’s cousin Gretchen, who sold a few houses 20 years ago.

So, let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. Let’s talk soon…

Mari and Hank

What’s Next for Home Prices

Whether you’re a potential homebuyerseller, or both, you’re probably wondering: will home prices fall this year? So, let’s take a look at what the real experts are saying 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 is because record-low mortgage rates motivated more buyers to enter the market. As a result, there were more people looking to make purchases 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% 2021, up from the 2020 average of 6%”

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

Home Price Appreciation Is Moderating

Home price appreciation is now 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

On Cape Cod, the median sales price for a single family home was up 14.3% this July when compared to last. Year-to-date the median price is up 14.9% over 2021. That’s on the high end of what’s predicted, but within range of what the experts are saying.

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, this year’s true price appreciation 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 on your favorite cable TV news channel or from your mother’s cousin Gretchen, who had her real estate license 20 year ago , the actual experts say home prices won’t fall in most markets. They’ll just appreciate more moderately.

If you’re worried that the house you’re trying to sell or the home that you want to buy will decrease in value, you should know the 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. Real estate remains one of the best long term financial investments available.

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.

Still on the fence about selling? With the market cooling, you’ve arguably lost money by waiting. You’ll still receive a very nice price for your home, but possibly not what your neighbor received eight months ago when there were bidding wars.

Curious about your options? Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’ll share with you the latest market data, as well as our experience this spring as sellers and buyers.

Finally, please be patient with our local merchants and their employees. Many businesses remain understaffed and are doing the best they can to serve you as efficiently as possible. Being told at a restaurant that there’s a 30 minute wait when you see open tables simply means they don’t have the staff to properly serve you. It’s better to not seat you, than have you sitting at a table getting frustrated over the “lousy service” and posting negative comments on social media. Thanks…

Mari and Hank

Should You Buy a Home Right Now?

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home, there’s one question that you’re no doubt asking yourself: should I buy right now, or should I wait?  While no one can answer that question for you, here’s some information that could help you make your decision.

The Future of Home Price Appreciation

Each quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a national panel of over 100 economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists to compile projections for the future of home price appreciation. The output is the Home Price Expectation Survey. In the latest release, it forecasts home prices will continue appreciating over the next five years (see graph below):

Should I Buy a Home Right Now? | MyKCM

As the graph shows, the rate of appreciation will moderate over the next few years as the market shifts away from the unsustainable pace it saw during the pandemic. After this year, experts project home price appreciation will continue, but at levels that are more typical for the market. 

As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says: “People should not anticipate another double-digit price appreciation. Those days are over…We may return to a more normal price appreciation of 4-5% a year.”

For you, ongoing appreciation should give you peace of mind that your investment in homeownership is worthwhile, because you’re buying an asset that’s projected to grow in value in the years ahead.

What Does That Mean for You?

To give you an idea of how this could impact your net worth, here’s how a typical home could grow in value over the next few years using the expert price appreciation projections from the Pulsenomics survey mentioned above (see graph below):

Should I Buy a Home Right Now? | MyKCM

As the graph conveys, even at a more typical pace of appreciation, you still stand to make significant equity gains as your home grows in value. That’s what’s at stake if you delay your plans.

As of June 20, the median sales price for a single family home on Cape Cod is $694,250.00. While that is certainly higher than just a few years ago, it’s still less than Boston ($800,000) and many surrounding communities. Plus, the Cape also offers much more in terms of quality school systems, recreational and outdoor activities, etc.

So, if you’re ready to become a homeowner, know that buying today can set you up for long-term success as your home’s value (and your own net worth) is projected to grow with ongoing price appreciation.

Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 and msennott@todayrealestate.com to discuss your options. We’re happy to answer your questons.

…and remember last month we sold our home of 28 years and downsized to an area that we had been thinking about for years.

Stay safe this week and please keep an eye on the kids and adults, who are not familiar with the water. Thanks…

Mari and Hank

The High Cost of Waiting

You’ve been thinking about buying a home, but the current economic situation has you skittish. As predicted, Interest rates have inched up. But, they’re nowhere near what you’re currently paying on your credit cards.

Well-meaning relatives, who “know a little something about real estate,” and not so sincere talking heads on your favorite cable news channel are saying you should wait because sales prices are going to drop.

Level off?

Possibly.

Drop?

No.

So, here’s what waiting is costing you.

If you already owned a home, your net worth likely got a big boost thanks to rising home equity. Equity is the current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan. And today, based on recent home price appreciation, you would be building equity far faster than you would have expected. Here’s why.

Because there’s an ongoing imbalance between the number of homes available for sale and the number of buyers looking to make a purchase, home prices are on the rise. That means a home is worth more in today’s market because it’s in high demand. As Patrick Dodd, President and CEO of CoreLogicexplains: “Price growth is the key ingredient for the creation of home equity wealth…This has led to the largest one year gain in average home equity wealth for owners…”

Basically, because home values have climbed so much, equity has increased too. According to the latest Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogicthe average homeowner’s equity has grown by $64,000 over the last 12 months.

While that’s the nationwide number, the map below shows that average equity for Massachusetts homeowners has increased $62,000.

The Average Homeowner Gained $64K in Equity over the Past Year | MyKCM

The Opportunity Your Rising Home Equity Provides

Thinking about marketing your home and upsizing, downsizing or moving to that someday neighborhood? Your equity can help you purchase your next home. When you sell your current house, the equity you built up comes back to you in the sale. In a market where homeowners are gaining so much equity, it may be just what you need to cover a large portion – if not all – of the down payment on your next home.

So, if you’ve been holding off on selling or you’re worried about being priced out of your next home because of today’s ongoing home price appreciation, your equity can help fuel your move.

That’s what we just did. We took advantage of the equity in our home to downsize and purchase something smaller in an area that we’ve been looking at for years. We had no home sale contingency when we made our offer. We then sold our house and received $45,000 over asking price! You can do it, too!

Curious about your options? We’re happy to answer your questions. Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’ll share with you current market statistics, as well as our experiences as both buyers and sellers. Let’s talk soon.

Enjoy your week. It looks like summer is finally here!

Best regards,

Mari and Hank

Your Best Options as a First-Time Homebuyer

If you’re looking to buy your first home, you’re likely balancing several factors. Because both mortgage rates and home prices have risen this year, it costs more to buy a house than it did even just a few months ago. But that doesn’t mean you have to put your plans on hold.

Here are two tips to help you get started.

Prioritize Your Wish List

If you’re having trouble finding a home in your budget that checks all the boxes, it may be worth taking another look at your list of what you want and what you really need. 

According to the latest First-Time Homebuyer Metro Affordability Report from NerdWallet, your wish list can have as much impact on your search as your finances: “Your budget isn’t all that you need to be concerned about. Your wish list and desired location may carry just as much weight.”

It’s all about prioritization. If you’re serious about purchasing your first home soon, be flexible in what you’re looking for to open up your pool of options. Work with a local professional — not your Uncle’s cousin’s son from 50 miles away. Most properties come and go quickly. Local realtors have the best access to information about when homes become available. We also know what the current successful strategies are to have an offer an accepted.

Remember, making a concession on your wish list now doesn’t mean you’ll never have everything you want. After you’ve moved in, you can always add certain features to make the home your own. Countertops can be changed. Cabinets added. Basements finished. In many cases, there’s really no rush.

Increase Your Search Radius To Consider More Locations

Some areas may have more homes within your target price range than others, but it may require you to be flexible on your location.

For example, if you’re a remote worker, you may be able to expand your search radius. As Fannie Mae explains: “…continued remote work flexibility is likely giving many the ability to live farther away.”

The median selling price in the Boston area for a single family home in April was $845,000. On Cape, it was $675,000.

So, if you’ve vacationed on Cape for years and always wanted to live here full time, now could be your chance. Buying on Cape is less expensive and there’s a big difference between driving to Boston twice a week, as opposed to daily.

The Cape also offers more open space and lifestyle options.

If you’re serious about purchasing your first home this year, revisiting your wish list and desired location can help. Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to explore all the options here on Cape – and beyond, if you’re interested – so you can achieve your homeownership dreams.


The move to our new home was very successful. (Getting our new furniture delivered is another story!) We chronicled the day for you on our YouTube series Mari Makes the Move. You can see it here.

Selling and buying was a new experience for us as we lived in our previous home for 28 years. We learned a lot that we’ll be sharing with you in the weeks ahead.

Have a great week…

Mari and Hank


How Homeownership Can Help Shield You from Inflation

If you follow the news, you know about inflation. You’re also likely feeling its impact in 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 be sure that 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 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 that a fixed rate mortgage allows you to maintain what is probably your largest monthly expense at the same level. While property taxes will rise and other expenses related to your home will creep up, your monthly housing payment will remain the same.

In other words, no calls from the landlord telling you that your rent is going up – again.

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 climb 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):

How Homeownership Can Help Shield You from Inflation | MyKCM

So, what does that mean for you?

Experts are saying home prices will continue to go up 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.

Curious about your options? Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to review a plan for you to buy and/or sell.

…and remember. We know of what we speak. We’re selling and buying now, too. Check out our series “Mari Makes the Move” on our YouTube Channel, Mari Sennott Plus.


We hope to see you this Saturday from 9am to Noon at the Today Real Estate parking lot at 299 Cotuit Road in Sandwich, where you can safely dispose of your important documents. Great White Shred will be there to shred your valuable paperwork that contain personal information.

Stephanie (Viva) in the Morning from 102.3FM will be there spinning your favorites and we’re joining with Kristi Sassone from First Home Mortgage to provide Cape Cod Coffee and donuts.

Limit of ten boxes of material to be shredded, please.

See you there!

Mari and Hank

The Right Time to Sell Your Home

When Is the Right Time To Sell [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • If you’re trying to decide when to list your house, the time is now. There are plenty of buyers eagerly waiting for your home to hit the market. Just this morning, one of our colleagues at our office team meeting reported 120 buyers attending her weekend open houses!
  • The latest data indicates home showings are rising after a holiday lull. There are more buyers than homes for sale right now. That means you’ll likely receive multiple offers, and your home won’t be on the market long. But, as of now, those over asking price offers don’t seem to be as head scratching as they were back in the summer.

For more information about the market here on Cape, please check out this video that we posted at the end of last week on our YouTube channel, Mari Sennott Plus.

Today’s market favors sellers. If you have questions, we’d be happy to provide answers. Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to discus your options. You need the right information to make an educated and informed decision about buying or selling in the year ahead.

Have a great week…

Mari and Hank

Think Strategically as a Buyer in Current Market

The game of chess can provide incredible lessons to apply to all aspects of life, including the homebuying process. Chess requires you to plan and think about your strategy from the very beginning of the game.

The homebuying process, like chess, requires strategy and planning. Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your plan is as strong as possible when you begin your home search.

Pre-Approval: the Best Opening Play To Make as a Homebuyer

It’s important to have a great opening play when you’re buying a home. And the best move you can make when you begin your home search is getting pre-approved by a lender. You’ve probably already heard this is an important step, but what exactly is pre-approval and what benefits does it provide you?

The pre-approval letter from a lender tells you the maximum amount you are qualified to borrow. Receiving a pre-approval letter is not a loan guarantee, it simply states how much a lender might be willing to lend you.

And while determining how much you can afford at the start of your search is critical, the pre-approval letter also serves another important purpose. 

It helps you set a budget for your search and allows you to look for a home in your price range with confidence. The pre-approval also demonstrates to sellers that you are serious.

We — and most other real estate professionals — advise our seller clients to be careful with offers that are not accompanied by pre-approval letters.

So, in terms of chess, a pre-approval letter is a strong opening move.

Homebuying: It’s a Team Game, Not a Single-Player Experience

Every step you take to create your strategy as a buyer is important in today’s market. Why? Mortgage rates are still low, but increasing. Prices are going up. There’s a limited supply of homes for sale. These are just a few key variables in today’s market you need to be prepared for.

That means leaning on expert guidance as you plan every move is more important than ever. Have a team of professionals – like your trusted real estate agent and a loan officer – working with you every step of the way to help you make make the right moves.

If you have questions about the home buying process or need recommendations for reputable lenders, we’d be happy to help. Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. Talk soon….

Have a great week…

Mari and Hank

Homes Are Not “Unaffordable”

It’s impossible to research the subject of buying a home without coming across a headline declaring that the drop in home affordability is a cris

However, when you add context to the most recent affordability statistics, you soon realize that, though homes are less affordable than they have been over the last few years, they are actually more affordable than they historically have been.

Black Knight, a premier provider of data and analytics for the mortgage industry, just released their latest Monthly Mortgage Monitor which includes a new analysis of the affordability situation. The big headline from the report: the payment to income ratio standard that has long been used to determine affordability has actually dropped!

Important Distinction: Homes Are Less Affordable, Not Unaffordable | MyKCM

Today’s payment-to-income ratio is more affordable than the average over the last 25 years. Given that context, we can see that today’s homebuyers still have the same ability to be homeowners as their parents did 20 years ago.

This confirms the recent analylsis of ATTOM Data resources where Todd Teta, Chief Product and Technology Officer, said that the typical median-priced home around the U.S. remains affordable despite prices going through the roof.

“Super-low interest rates and rising pay continue to be the main reasons why,” he says.

So, while it’s true that it’s less affordable to buy a home today than it has been the last few years, it is more affordable to buy today than the average over the last 25 years. Homes are less affordable, but they’re not unaffordable.

That’s an important distinction.


What are your questions about the housing market?

Mari has started a “30 Questions; 30 Days” project to provide answers.

Please visit our Facebook page, Mari Sennott Plus, to see what we’ve posted and send along your questions.

Have a great week…

Mari and Hank