Northeast Florida Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Nov. 8, 2022

Utility & Service Information


 

CLAY COUNTY

·        Clay Electric

800-224-4917

https://www.clayelectric.com/myclayelectric

 

·        Clay County Utility Authority (Water)

904-272-5999

https://www.clayutility.org/myservice/request_new_service.aspx

 

 

DUVAL COUNTY

·        JEA (Electric, Water & Sewer)

904-655-6000 or 800-683-5542

https://www.jea.com/My_Account/Add,_Move,_or_Stop_Service/

 

·        Beaches Energy (Electric, Water & Sewer)

Services Jacksonville Beach & Neptune Beach

904-247-6241

https://beachesenergy.com/my-account/start-stop-service/residential

 

 

ST. JOHNS COUNTY

·        Florida Power & Light (FPL)

Services most of St. Johns County

900-226-3545

https://www.fpl.com/account/moving.html?icid=HCTL02

 

·        JEA (Electric, Water & Sewer)

Services North St. Johns County

904-655-6000 or 800-683-5542

https://www.jea.com/My_Account/Add,_Move,_or_Stop_Service/

 

·        Beaches Energy (Electric, Water & Sewer)

Services Ponte Vedra & Palm Valley

904-247-6241

https://beachesenergy.com/my-account/start-stop-service/residential

 

·        City of St. Augustine Public Works (Water, Sewer & Trash)

Services St. Augustine City Limits

904-825-1037

https://www.citystaug.com/453/Customer-Service

 

·        St. Johns County Utility Department (Water & Sewer)

Services Ponte Vedra & Areas Outside St. Augustine City Limits

904-209-2700

http://www.sjcfl.us/Utilities/Billing.aspx

 

** Many areas inside St. Johns County are served by private companies. For more information, contact the St. Johns County Utility Department at 904-209-2700

 

 

CABLE & INTERNET

·        AT&T / Bell South

1-800-288-2020

https://www.att.com/

 

·        Comcast / Xfinity

800-266-2278

https://www.xfinity.com/

 

·        Clearwire / Sprint

904-545-5583

https://www.sprint.com/

 

·        DirecTV

1-800-531-5000

https://www.directv.com/

Nov. 7, 2022

3 Graphs Showing Today's Housing Market Isn't Like 2008

If you're concerned we're making the same mistakes that led to the housing crash, the graphs below should help alleviate your fears. Concrete data and expert insights clearly show why this is nothing like the last time.

 

3 Graphs Showing Why Today’s Housing Market Isn’t Like 2008 | MyKCM

With all the headlines and talk in the media about the shift in the housing market, you might be thinking this is a housing bubble. It’s only natural for those thoughts to creep in that make you think it could be a repeat of what took place in 2008. But the good news is, there’s concrete data to show why this is nothing like the last time.

There’s Still a Shortage of Homes on the Market Today, Not a Surplus

For historical context, there were too many homes for sale during the housing crisis (many of which were short sales and foreclosures), and that caused prices to fall dramatically. Supply has increased since the start of this year, but there’s still a shortage of inventory available overall, primarily due to almost 15 years of underbuilding homes.

The graph below uses data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to show how the months’ supply of homes available now compares to the crash. Today, unsold inventory sits at just a 3.2-months’ supply at the current sales pace, which is significantly lower than the last time. There just isn’t enough inventory on the market for home prices to come crashing down like they did last time, even though some overheated markets may experience slight declines.

3 Graphs Showing Why Today’s Housing Market Isn’t Like 2008 | MyKCM

Mortgage Standards Were Much More Relaxed Back Then

During the lead-up to the housing crisis, it was much easier to get a home loan than it is today. Running up to 2006, banks were creating artificial demand by lowering lending standards and making it easy for just about anyone to qualify for a home loan or refinance their current home.

Back then, lending institutions took on much greater risk in both the person and the mortgage products offered. That led to mass defaults, foreclosures, and falling prices. Today, things are different, and purchasers face much higher standards from mortgage companies.

The graph below uses Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) to help tell this story. In that index, the higher the number, the easier it is to get a mortgage. The lower the number, the harder it is. In the latest report, the index fell by 5.4%, indicating standards are tightening.

3 Graphs Showing Why Today’s Housing Market Isn’t Like 2008 | MyKCM

This graph also shows just how different things are today compared to the spike in credit availability leading up to the crash. Tighter lending standards over the past 14 years have helped prevent a scenario that would lead to a wave of foreclosures like the last time.

The Foreclosure Volume Is Nothing Like It Was During the Crash

Another difference is the number of homeowners that were facing foreclosure after the housing bubble burst. Foreclosure activity has been lower since the crash, largely because buyers today are more qualified and less likely to default on their loans. The graph below uses data from ATTOM Data Solutions to help paint the picture of how different things are this time:

3 Graphs Showing Why Today’s Housing Market Isn’t Like 2008 | MyKCM

Not to mention, homeowners today have options they just didn’t have in the housing crisis when so many people owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth. Today, many homeowners are equity rich. That equity comes, in large part, from the way home prices have appreciated over time. According to CoreLogic:

“The total average equity per borrower has now reached almost $300,000, the highest in the data series.”

Rick Sharga, Executive VP of Market Intelligence at ATTOM Dataexplains the impact this has:

“Very few of the properties entering the foreclosure process have reverted to the lender at the end of the foreclosure. . . . We believe that this may be an indication that borrowers are leveraging their equity and selling their homes rather than risking the loss of their equity in a foreclosure auction.”

 This goes to show homeowners are in a completely different position this time. For those facing challenges today, many have the option to use their equity to sell their house and avoid the foreclosure process.

Bottom Line

If you’re concerned we’re making the same mistakes that led to the housing crash, the graphs above should help alleviate your fears. Concrete data and expert insights clearly show why this is nothing like the last time.

Nov. 3, 2022

Millennials Are Still a Driving Force of Today’s Buyer Demand

 

Millennials are interested in and well-positioned to achieve their homeownership dream. If you're ready to sell you house, know that it may be just what they're looking for. 

 

Millennials Are Still a Driving Force of Today’s Buyer Demand | MyKCM

If you’re thinking about selling your house but 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.

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. Here’s why.

Millennial Homebuying Power

While there’s no denying higher mortgage rates are making it more challenging to afford a home today, many millennials are still eager and able to buy homes – whether it’s their first or they’re moving up. That’s in large part because of the value they place on education.

recent article from First American says millennials may be the most educated generation in our nation’s history. Because of that, they tend to earn higher wages, and that translates to greater homebuying power. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, explains:

“In 2020, millennials with a bachelor’s degree had a median household income of over $100,000, while those with at least a graduate degree had a median household income of over $120,000. Compare those income levels with the median household income of millennials with just a high school degree (or some college) of $60,000 and the earning power benefits of higher education are undeniable. . . . Millennials’ pursuit of higher education is good news for the housing market. . . because education is the key to unlock both greater earning power and, in turn, homeownership.

And since wages are one of the key things that factor into affordability when it comes to buying a home, these higher earnings can help millennials achieve their homeownership goals.

Millennials Continue To Be a Driving Force of Demand

A number of studies have looked into how the millennial generation views homeownership and how they’re uniquely positioned to define the housing market moving forward. As the largest generation, the volume of potential millennial homebuyers will have an impact on the market for years to come. 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.”

If you’re thinking of selling your house but are hesitant because you’re worried that 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 Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, says in an article:

"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.”

Bottom Line

Millennials are interested in and well-positioned to achieve their homeownership dreams. If you’re ready to sell your house, know that it may be just what they’re looking for.

Posted in Seller
Nov. 1, 2022

Four Things That Help Determine Your Mortgage Rate

Four Things That Help Determine Your Mortgage Rate | MyKCM

If you’re looking to buy a home, you probably want to secure the lowest interest rate possible for your home loan. Over the last couple of years, that was easier to do as the housing market saw record-low mortgage rates, but this year rates have risen dramatically.

If you’re looking for ways to combat today’s higher rates and lock in the lowest one you can, here are a few factors to focus on. Since approval opportunities can vary, connect with a trusted lender for customized advice.

Your Credit Score

Credit scores can play a big role in your mortgage rate. Freddie Mac explains:

When you build and maintain strong credit, mortgage lenders have greater confidence when qualifying you for a mortgage because they see that you’ve paid back your loans as agreed and used your credit wisely. Strong credit also means your lender is more apt to approve you for a mortgage that has more favorable terms and a lower interest rate.”

That’s why it’s important to maintain a good credit score. If you want to focus on improving your score, your trusted advisor can give you expert advice to help.

Your Loan Type

There are many types of loans, each offering different terms for qualified buyers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) says:

There are several broad categories of mortgage loans, such as conventional, FHA, USDA, and VA loans. Lenders decide which products to offer, and loan types have different eligibility requirements. Rates can be significantly different depending on what loan type you choose.”

When working with your real estate advisor, make sure you find out what’s available in your area and which types of loans you may qualify for.

Your Loan Term

Another factor to consider is the term of your loan. Just like with location and loan types, you have options. Freddie Mac says:

When choosing the right home loan for you, it’s important to consider the loan term, which is the length of time it will take you to repay your loan before you fully own your home. Your loan term will affect your interest rate, monthly payment, and the total amount of interest you will pay over the life of the loan.”

Depending on your situation, the length of your loan can also change your mortgage rate.

Your Down Payment

If you’re a current homeowner looking to sell and make a move, you can use the home equity you’ve built over time toward the down payment on your next home. The CFPB explains:

In general, a larger down payment means a lower interest rate, because lenders see a lower level of risk when you have more stake in the property. So if you can comfortably put 20 percent or more down, do it—you’ll usually get a lower interest rate.”

To learn more, connect with a lender to find out the difference a higher down payment can make for your new mortgage.

Bottom Line

These are just few factors that can help determine your mortgage rate if you’re buying a home. The best thing you can do is have a team of professionals on your side. Connect with a local real estate professional and a trusted lender so you have the expert advice you need in each step of the process.

Oct. 31, 2022

Don't Be Afraid of Today's Housing Market

Buying or selling a home doesn't have to be scary. Let's connect today to take the fear out of the market. 

Oct. 28, 2022

Applying for a Mortgage Doesn't Have to Be Scary

Even with higher mortgage rates, the mortgage process doesn’t need to be something you fear. Here are some steps to help as you set out to buy a home.

Oct. 27, 2022

Keeping Today’s Housing Market in Perspective Is Key When You Sell

Today’s housing market is cooling from the frenzy it saw over the past two years. Let’s connect so you can have the expert advice you need to sell your house this season.

Posted in Seller
Sept. 27, 2022

A Window of Opportunity for Homebuyers

The housing market is undergoing a shift because of higher mortgage rate, but the market is still strong. If you've been looking to buy a home over the last couple of years and it felt impossible to do, now may be your opportunity.

A Window of Opportunity for Homebuyers | MyKCM

Mortgage rates are much higher today than they were at the beginning of the year, and that’s had a clear impact on the housing market. As a result, the market is seeing a shift back toward the range of pre-pandemic levels for buyer demand and home sales.

But the transition back toward pre-pandemic levels isn’t a bad thing. In fact, the years leading up to the pandemic were some of the best the housing market has seen. That’s why, as the market undergoes this shift, it’s important to compare today not to the abnormal pandemic years, but to the most recent normal years to show how the current housing market is still strong.

Higher Mortgage Rates Are Moderating the Housing Market 

The ShowingTime Showing Index tracks the traffic of home showings according to agents and brokers. It’s also a good indication of buyer demand over time. Here’s a look at their data going back to 2017 (see graph below):

A Window of Opportunity for Homebuyers | MyKCM

Here’s a breakdown of the story this data tells:

  • The 2017 through early 2020 numbers (shown in gray) give a good baseline of pre-pandemic demand. The steady up and down trends seen in each of these years show typical seasonality in the market.
  • The blue on the graph represents the pandemic years. The height of those blue bars indicates home showings skyrocketed during the pandemic.
  • The most recent data (shown in green), indicates buyer demand is moderating back toward more pre-pandemic levels.

This shows that buyer demand is coming down from levels seen over the past two years, and the frenzy in real estate is easing because of higher mortgage rates. For you, that means buying your next home should be less challenging than it would’ve been during the pandemic because there is more inventory available.

Higher Mortgage Rates Slow the Once Frenzied Pace of Home Sales

As mortgage rates started to rise this year, other shifts began to occur too. One additional example is the slowing pace of home sales. Using data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), here’s a look at existing home sales going all the way back to 2017. Much like the previous graph, a similar trend emerges (see graph below):

A Window of Opportunity for Homebuyers | MyKCM

Again, the data paints a picture of the shift:

  • The pre-pandemic years (shown in gray) establish a baseline of the number of existing home sales in more typical years.
  • The pandemic years (shown in blue) exceeded the level of sales seen in previous years. That’s largely because low mortgage rates during that time spurred buyer demand and home sales to new heights.
  • This year (shown in green), the market is feeling the impact of higher mortgage rates and that’s moderating buyer demand (and by extension home sales). That’s why the expectation for home sales this year is closer to what the market saw in 2018-2019.

Why Is All of This Good News for You?

Both of those factors have opened up a window of opportunity for homeowners looking to move and for buyers looking to purchase a home. As demand moderates and the pace of home sales slows, housing inventory is able to grow – and that gives you more options for your home search.

So don’t let the headlines about the market cooling or moderating scare you. The housing market is still strong; it’s just easing off from the unsustainable frenzy it saw during the height of the pandemic – and that’s a good thing. It opens up new opportunities for you to find a home that meets your needs.

Bottom Line

The housing market is undergoing a shift because of higher mortgage rates, but the market is still strong. If you’ve been looking to buy a home over the last couple of years and it felt impossible to do, now may be your opportunity. Buying a home right now isn’t easy, but there is more opportunity for those who are looking.

Sept. 20, 2022

Buying a Home May Make More Financial Sense Than Renting One

Buying a Home May Make More Financial Sense Than Renting One | MyKCM

If rising home prices leave you wondering if it makes more sense to rent or buy a home in today’s housing market, consider this. It’s not just home prices that have risen in recent years – rental prices have skyrocketed as well. As a recent article from realtor.com says:

“The median rent across the 50 largest US metropolitan areas reached $1,876 in June, a new record level for Realtor.com data for the 16th consecutive month.”

That means rising prices will likely impact your housing plans either way. But there are a few key differences that could make buying a home a more worthwhile option for you.

If You Need More Space, Buying a Home May Be More Affordable

What you may not realize is that, according to the latest data from realtor.com and the National Association of Realtors (NAR), it may actually be more affordable to buy than rent depending on how many bedrooms you need. The graph below uses the median rental payment and median mortgage payment across the country to show why.

Buying a Home May Make More Financial Sense Than Renting One | MyKCM

As the graph conveys, if you need two or more bedrooms, it may actually be more affordable to buy a home even as prices rise. While this doesn’t take into consideration the interest deduction or other financial advantages that come with owning a home, it does help paint the picture that it may be more affordable to buy then rent for that unit size based on nationwide averages. So, if one of the factors motivating you to move is a desire for more space, this could be the added encouragement you need to consider homeownership.

Homeownership Also Provides Stability and a Chance To Grow Your Wealth

In addition to being more affordable depending on how many bedrooms you need, buying has two other key benefits: payment stability and equity.

When you buy a home, you lock in your monthly payment with your fixed-rate mortgage. And that’s especially important in today’s inflationary economy. With inflation, prices rise across the board for things like gas, groceries, and more. Locking in your housing payment, which is likely your largest monthly expense, can provide greater long-term stability and help shield you from those rising expenses moving forward. Renting doesn’t provide that same predictability. A recent article from CNET explains it like this:

“...if you buy a house and secure a fixed-rate mortgage, that means that no matter how much prices or interest rates go up, your fixed payment will stay the same every month. That's an advantage over renting since there's a good chance your landlord will raise your rent to counter inflationary pressures.” 

Not to mention, when you buy, you have the chance to build equity, which in turn grows your net worth. It works like this. As you pay down your home loan over time and as home values continue to appreciate, so does your equity. And that equity can make it easier to fuel a move into a future home if you decide you need a bigger home later on. Again, the CNET article mentioned above helps explain:

Homeownership is still considered one of the most reliable ways to build wealth. When you make monthly mortgage payments, you're building equity in your home that you can tap into later on. When you rent, you aren't investing in your financial future the same way you are when you're paying off a mortgage.”

Bottom Line

If you’re trying to decide whether to keep renting or buy a home, let’s connect to explore your options. With home equity and a shield against inflation on the line, it may make more sense to buy a home if you’re able to.

Sept. 12, 2022

Why Are People Moving Today?

Why Are People Moving Today? | MyKCM

Buying a home is a major life decision. That’s true whether you’re purchasing for the first time or selling your house to fuel a move. And if you’re planning to buy a home, you might be hearing about today’s shifting market and wondering what it means for you.

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.

Outgrowing your home isn’t new. If you’re craving a large yard, more entertaining room, or just need more 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 people move. The latest survey finds nearly 32% of people moved to be closer to loved ones.

Another moving and storage 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:

“. . . 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 for any other reason, you could leverage that flexibility to be closer to the most important people in your life. Being nearby for caregiving and being able to attend get-togethers and life milestones could be exactly what you’re looking for.

What Does That Mean for You?

If you’re thinking about moving, one of these reasons might be a top motivator for you. And while what’s happening with mortgage rates and home prices in the housing market today will likely play a role in your decision, it’s equally important to make sure your home meets your needs. Like Charlie Bilello, Founder and CEO of Compound Capital Advisorssays:

Your home is your castle and should confer benefits beyond just the numbers.”

Bottom Line

There are many reasons why people decide to move. No matter what the reason may be, if your needs have changed, let’s connect to discuss your options in today’s housing market.