Tag Archives: #mortgageinterestrates

Why People Are Making Their Move

Many were surprised when during the height of the pandemic, the housing market remained strong. In fact, it’s credited with getting the country’s economic engine moving again.

You also may remember that many so called experts, well-meaning observers, and not so well-intentioned TV talking heads were predicting disaster. But, the people who were truly familiar with the housing market were urging calm and saying that things would be fine.

Just like now.

“Those who know” are once again looking at the current economic situation and raising doubt about today’s shifting market and questioning what it means for consumers.

While mortgage rates are higher than they were at the start of the year and home prices are rising, you shouldn’t put your plans on hold based solely on market factors. Instead, it’s necessary to consider why you want to move and how important those reasons are to you. Here are two of the biggest personal motivators driving people to buy homes today.

A Need for More Space

Moving.com looked at migration patterns to determine why people moved to specific areas. One trend that emerged was the need for additional space, both indoors and outdoors. (Something that Cape Cod can certainly provide.)

Outgrowing your home isn’t new. If you need office space, crave a large yard, more room to entertain, or just need additional storage areas or bedrooms overall, having the physical space you need for your desired lifestyle may be reason enough to make a change.

A Desire To Be Closer to Loved Ones

Moving and storage company United Van Lines surveys customers each year to get a better sense of why they move. Their latest survey finds that nearly 32% did so to be closer to loved ones.

A similar company, Pods, also highlights this as a top motivator for why people move. They note that an increase in flexible work options has helped many homeowners make a move closer to the people they care about most.

According to Pods: “a shifting of priorities has also affected why people are moving. Many companies have moved to permanent remote working policies, giving employees the option to move freely around the country, and people are taking advantage of the perk.”

If you can move to another location because of remote work, retirement, or any other reason, you could leverage that flexibility to be closer to the most important people in your life. Being nearby for caregiving and or just seeing those who are important to you on a regular basis could be exactly what you’re looking for.

What Does This Mean for You?

As a seller, especially if you need to downsize, there is a strong demand for your property. Open Houses for typical three bedroom, two bath “family” homes continue to be popular and often result in multiple offers.

If you’re a buyer, sitting on the fence waiting for prices to go down or the market to crash is no more than wishful thinking that is costing you money. Reputable experts — not the alleged ones posting on Facebook — say that prices will moderate, but not drop.

Selling and buying a home is a very personal decision. (We just did both.) But, if there’s one universal lesson from the pandemic it is that life does indeed go on. In the face of genuine tragedy and not insignificant logistical challenges, people nonetheless decided to make their move, whether for work, finances, or personal situations.

Is this your time? Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to review your options. We’ll provide you with the most up-to-date market data, as well as share our own experience as recent sellers and buyers.

We hope that you continue to be safe during the heatwave. Please pay special attention to those kids (and adults) who may not be familiar with the water, but will jump in stay cool. Thanks.

Best regards,

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

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

What You Can Expect from the Spring Market

With the spring housing market underway, many of you are probably curious about what you can expect when it comes to buying or selling a house. While there are multiple factors causing some uncertainty, the housing market seems to be relatively immune from the impacts of the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, and the first rate increase from the Federal Reserve in over three years.

Here’s a look at what the real experts say you can expect this spring.

1. Mortgage Rates Will Climb

Freddie Mac reports the 30-year fixed mortgage rate has increased by more than a full point in the past six months. And despite some mild fluctuation in recent weeks, experts believe rates will continue to edge up over the next 90 days. As Freddie Mac says: “The Federal Reserve raising short-term rates and signaling further increases means mortgage rates should continue to rise over the course of they year.”

If you’re a first-time buyer or a seller thinking of moving to a home that better fits your needs, realize that waiting will likely mean you’ll pay a higher mortgage rate on your purchase. And that higher rate drives up your monthly payment and can really add up over the life of your loan.

2. Housing Inventory Will Increase

There may be some relief coming for buyers searching for a home to purchase.

 Realtor.com recently reported that the number of newly listed homes has grown for each of the last two months. Also, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) just announced the months’ supply of inventory increased for the first time in eight months. The inventory of existing homes usually grows every spring, and it seems, based on recent activity, the next 90 days could bring more listings to the market.

On Cape Cod, there were a little over 200 new listings in January. In February that number was over 400. While that’s not close to normal inventory, it is trending in the right direction.

Anecdotally, our colleagues at our Today Real Estate company wide meetings seem to be talking more about new listings than they have in a while.

If you’re a buyer and have been frustrated with the limited supply of homes available for sale, it looks like you could find some relief this spring. However, be prepared to act quickly if you find the right one.

If you’re a seller, listing now instead of waiting for additional competition to hit the market makes sense. Your leverage in any negotiation during the sale will be impacted as additional homes come to market.

3. Home Prices Will Rise

Prices are always determined by supply and demand. Though the number of homes entering the market is increasing, buyer demand remains very strong.

As realtor.com explains in their most recent Housing Report: “During the final two weeks of the month, more new sellers entered the market than during the same time last year…However, with millions of millennials at first-time buying ages, housing supply faces a long road catching up with demand.”

What does that mean for you? With the demand for housing still outpacing supply, home prices will continue to appreciate. Many experts believe the level of appreciation will decelerate from the high double-digit levels we’ve seen over the last two years. That means prices will continue to climb, just at a more moderate pace. Most experts are predicting home prices will not depreciate.

Won’t Increasing Mortgage Rates Cause Home Prices To Fall?

While some people may believe a 1% increase in mortgage rates will impact demand so dramatically that home prices will have to fall, experts say otherwise. Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Maesays: “What I will caution against is making the inference that interest rates have a direct impacting on house prices. That is not true.”

Freddie Mac studied the impact that mortgage rates increasing by at least 1% had on home prices in the past. Here are the results of that study:

What You Can Expect from the Spring Housing Market | MyKCM

As the chart shows, mortgage rates jumped by at least 1% six times in the last 30 years. In each case, home values increased.

So again, if you’re a first-time buyer or a repeat buyer, waiting to likely means you’ll pay more for a home later in the year (as compared to its current value).

Bottom Line

Three things seem certain going into the spring housing market:

  1. Mortgage rates will continue to rise.
  2. The selection of homes available for sale will modestly improve.
  3. Prices will continue to appreciate, just at a slightly slower pace.

Curious about your options? We’re 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.

Enjoy your week…

Mari and Hank

Multiple Offers Are the New Normal

If you’re thinking of buying a home right now, you know very well that the number of houses available is limited. As a buyer, low housing supply coupled with high buyer demand means you should be prepared to navigate a highly competitive market where homes sell fast and receive multiple offers. 

In a bidding war situation, doing everything you can do to get ahead of the competition is your best move. That’s because when you find a house and submit an offer, it will likely be up against other strong offers from other buyers.

According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), homes today are receiving an average of 3.9 offers nationally. That’s the most offers we’ve seen in January for the last 5 years (see graph below):

How To Navigate a Market Where Multiple Offers Is the New Normal | MyKCM

Over the last few weeks, homes on Cape Cod have been receiving more than the national average of offers. In the last few days, one Sandwich home received 10 offers and sold for significantly above asking price. Anyone waiting for the Open House was out of luck. They were cancelled.

To help you navigate bidding wars with multiple offers, working with a real estate professional is important. They know what has worked for other buyers and what sellers are looking for. They can help you prepare when it comes time to making an offer. Here are three tips to keep in mind that will help you make the best offer possible.

1. Know Your Numbers​

Knowing your budget and what you can afford is critical to your success as a homebuyer. The best way to understand your numbers is to work with a reputable lender so you can be pre-approved for a loan. Pre-approval shows sellers you’re serious, which can give you a competitive edge. As a practical matter, an offer that is not accompanied by a pre-approval letter receives scant attention, if any at all. Offers that are all cash need to provide proof of funds.

You should also realize that making an offer at the home’s asking price probably won’t be enough. In just about every situation, asking price is now the starting point for negotiations. So, submitting a low ball offer to “see what happens” is a waste of time. (Unless the house needs to be totally gutted. But, even then…)

2. Be Ready To Move Fast​

Speed and the pace of sales are contributing to today’s competitive housing market. When homes are selling quickly, it’s important to stay on top of the market and be ready to move. Stay up to date on the latest listings and if you find the home you want to buy, submit your best offer as soon as possible.

3. Make a Strong, but Fair Offer​

​When you’re up against others, presenting your best offer from the start is key. Submit a strong offer and use whatever leverage you can to make it as enticing as possible. One option is to wave some of your contract contingencies (conditions you set that the seller must meet for the purchase to be finalized). Just remember there are certain contingencies you may not want to give up, like the home inspection. But, there are ways to make a home inspection enticing.

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.

Have a good week…

Mari and Hank

Why It Just Became Much Easier To Buy a Home

Since the pandemic began, Americans have reevaluated the meaning of the word home. That has led some renters to realize the many benefits of homeownership, including the feelings of security and stability and the financial benefits that come with rising home equity.

At the same time, many current homeowners have decided their house no longer meets their needs, so they have moved into homes with more space inside and out, including a home office for remote work.

Many of these houses were previously owned by couples or individuals who finally concluded that their properties were just too big.

However, not every purchaser has been able to fulfill their desire for a new home. Here are two obstacles some homebuyers are facing:

  1. The ability to save for a down payment
  2. The ability to qualify for a mortgage at the current lending standards

But, both of those challenges have been mitigated to some degree for many purchasers. The FHFA (which handles mortgages by Freddie MacFannie Mae, and the Federal Housing Administration) is raising its loan limit for prospective purchasers in 2022. The term used to describe the maximum loan amount they will entertain is the Conforming Loan Limit.

What Is the Difference Between a Conforming Loan and a Non-Conforming Loan?

Investopedia explains the difference in a recent post: “Conforming loans are the only loans that meet the requirements to be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Jumbo loans, which exceed the conforming limits, are the most common type of non-conforming loans.”

What Difference Does It Make to Me as a Home Buyer?

Forbes article earlier this year explains the benefits of a conforming loan and why they exist:

“Since lenders can’t sell non-conforming loans to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to free up their cash, they’re a bit riskier for the lender. This is especially true for jumbo loans, which aren’t backed by any government guarantees. If you default on a jumbo loan, it’s a huge blow to the lender.

Thus, lenders generally charge higher interest rates to compensate, and they can have even more requirements. For example, lenders who give out jumbo loans often require that you make a down payment of at least 20% and show that you have at least six months’ worth of cash in reserve, if not more.”

What Changed?

The FHFA has significantly increased its Conforming Loan Limits for 2022. Sandra L. Thompson, FHFA Acting Director, explains in the press release that:

“Compared to previous years, the 2022 Conforming Loan Limits represent a significant increase due to the historic house price appreciation over the last year. While 95 percent of U.S. countie​s will be subject to the new baseline limit of $647,200, approximately 100 counties will have conforming loan limits approaching $1 million.”

This means that more homes now qualify for a conforming loan with lower down payment requirements and easier lending standards – the two challenges holding many buyers back over the last year.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) also increased its Conforming Loan Limits for 2022. That could also mean an easier path to homeownership for many prospective buyers.

So, buying your first or your next home may have just gotten much easier (less stringent qualifying standards) and less expensive (possibly lower mortgage rate).

Looking for more information? Please check out the links below.

  1. To get more information on the new FHFA Conforming Loan Limits, click here.
  2. To get more information on the new FHA Conforming Loan Limits, click here

Or connect with us at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We can put you in touch with one of the several of the highly qualified mortgage lenders we work with.


A quick shout out to our colleagues at the Sandwich Office of Today Real Estate who helped fill a basket and more with home goods in support of the Cape Cod and Islands Board of Realtors’ “Welcome Home” Gift Basket Drive benefitting the Housing Assistance Corporation. Often when individuals and families move into HAC properties they don’t have some of the basics. These “baskets” get them started.

Have a great week…

Mari and Hank


Mortgage Rates Are Expected to Rise

We met a young couple at our favorite watering hole Saturday evening, who started asking us about the housing market when they learned that we were real estate agents. (Funny, how that always happens…)

When the discussion turned to interest rates, they were truly shocked when we told them that the mortgage rate we paid for our first home was about 14% and how thrilled we were when the rate finally dropped to 7%!

Mortgage rates are one of several factors that impact how much you can afford if you’re buying a home. When rates are low, they help you get more house for your money. Within the last year, mortgage rates hit the lowest point ever recorded, and they’ve hovered in this historic-low territory. But even over the past few weeks, rates have started to rise. This past week, the average 30-year fixed rate was 3.14%.

What does this mean if you’re thinking about making a move?  Simply put, waiting until next year will cost you more in the long run. Here’s a look at what several experts project for mortgage rates going into 2022.

Experts Project Mortgage Rates Will Continue To Rise in 2022 | MyKCM

So, whether you’re thinking about buying your first home, moving up to your dream home, or downsizing because your needs have changed, purchasing before mortgage rates rise even higher will help you take advantage of today’s homebuying affordability.

While no one is predicting that rates will be as high as when we bought our first home, if rates rise even a half-point percentage over the next year, it will impact what you pay each month over the life of your loan – and that can really add up. So, the reality is, as prices and mortgage rates rise, it will cost more to purchase a home.

Want to know more about how mortgage rates impact how much of a house you can afford? We’re available to answer this and any question about the housing market. You can connect with us at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’re happy to help.


Mari is continuing her 30 Days; 30 Questions series. Here’s one from last week about staging your home when selling.

Have a good week…

Mari and Hank

Tis The Season

We hate to keep picking on your old Uncle Harry, who “knows a little something about real estate,” but if he — or anyone — is telling you that this is not the time to be in the market, they’re wrong.

Why?

Buyers Are Serious at This Time of Year

Traditionally, homeowners think about spring as a great time to list their homes, when more buyer traffic may be out there actively searching. In the winter, however, the buyers who are seeking a home – whether for relocation or otherwise – are serious ones. They’re ready to make offers and they’re eager to move, often quickly. Your house may be exactly what they’re looking for, so listing when other potential sellers are holding off may be your best opportunity to shine.

There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If your next move will be into the premium or luxury market, now is the time to move up. There is currently ample inventory for sale at higher price ranges. This means if you’re planning on selling a starter or trade-up home and moving into your dream home, you’ll be able to do that now. Demand for your entry-level home is high, and inventory in the luxury or premium market is too.

According to CoreLogic, prices are projected to appreciate by 5.6% over the next year. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and in your mortgage) if you wait.

Interest Rates Are Historically Low

As the graphic below shows, mortgage interest rates are the lowest they’ve been in fifty years!

So, at the moment, both buyers and sellers are in strong positions.

We’re seeing that this is a great time to be in the market based on our business activity. We’ve been recognized as  “Brokers of the Month” for the Sandwich office of Today Real Estate based on four November closings. For December, we’re looking at three more. In January, we’re already projecting at least two closings.

While a few of these have been cooking for a while, many are of a more recent vintage during a time Uncle Harry will tell you is not the best to market or purchase a home.

So, while this is definitely the season, a word of caution.

Sellers,  overpricing your home because it’s a “seller’s market,” only means that it  will take longer to sell, costing you money in terms of additional mortgage payments, taxes, etc.. Even though available inventory is less than a year ago, there are still a number of available options that are priced to sell.

Buyers, have a clear understanding of what you’re looking for in a home; how much you’re willing to spend, and what that may mean in terms of the condition of the house. For example, while the price of a home that needs some TLC  may seem like a deal, if the work is beyond what you’re capable of, or if you’re depending on friends to do the bulk of what’s needed, your cost savings may quickly disappear.

If you’re on the fence about buying or selling or haven’t even climbed on yet, we’d be happy to answer your questions and review your options. Just contact us at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. Thanks.

Enjoy your week…

Mari and Hank