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!

May 10, 2024

Probate Timeline

Probate Timeliine

Posted in Probate
April 23, 2024

What You Really Need To Know About Home Prices



According to recent data from Fannie Mae, almost 1 in 4 people still think home prices are going to come down. If you’re one of the people worried about that, here’s what you need to know.

A lot of that fear is probably coming from what you’re hearing in the media or reading online. But here’s the thing to remember. Negative news sells. That means, you may not be getting the full picture. You may only be getting the clickbait version. As Jay Thompson, a Real Estate Industry Consultant, explains:

“Housing market headlines are everywhere. Many are quite sensational, ending with exclamation points or predicting impending doom for the industry. Clickbait, the sensationalizing of headlines and content, has been an issue since the dawn of the internet, and housing news is not immune to it.”

Here’s a look at the data to set the record straight.

Home Prices Rose the Majority of the Past Year

Case-Shiller releases a report each month on the percent of monthly home price changes. If you look at their data from January 2023 through the latest numbers available, here’s what you’d see:

 a graph of green bars

 

What do you notice when you look at this graph? It depends on what color you’re more drawn to. If you look at the green, you’ll see home prices rose for the majority of the past year.

But, if you’re drawn to the red, you may only focus on the two slight declines. This is what a lot of media coverage does. Since negative news sells, drawing attention to these slight dips happens often. But that loses sight of the bigger picture. 

Here’s what this data really says. There’s a lot more green in that graph than red. And even for the two red bars, they’re so slight, they’re practically flat. If you look at the year as a whole, home prices still rose overall.

It’s perfectly normal in the housing market for home price growth to slow down in the winter. That’s because fewer people move during the holidays and at the start of the year, so there’s not as much upward pressure on home prices during that time. That’s why, even the green bars toward the end of the year show smaller price gains.

The overarching story is that prices went up last year, not down.

To sum all that up, the source for that data in the graph above, Case Shiller, explains it like this:

Month-over-month numbers were relatively flat, . . . However, the annual growth was more significant for both indices, rising 7.4 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively.”

If one of the expert organizations tracking home price trends says the very slight dips are nothing to worry about, why be concerned? Even Case-Shiller is drawing your attention to how those were virtually flat and how home prices actually grew over the year.

Bottom Line

The data shows that, as a whole, home prices rose over the past year. If you have questions about what’s happening with home prices in our area, let's chat.

April 18, 2024

Is It Getting More Affordable To Buy a Home?




Over the past year or so, a lot of people have been talking about how tough it is to buy a home. And while there’s no arguing affordability is still tight, there are signs it’s starting to get a bit better and may improve even more throughout the year. Elijah de la Campa, Senior Economist at Redfinsays:

We’re slowly climbing our way out of an affordability hole, but we have a long way to go. Rates have come down from their peak and are expected to fall again by the end of the year, which should make homebuying a little more affordable and incentivize buyers to come off the sidelines.”

Here’s a look at the latest data for the three biggest factors that affect home affordability: mortgage rateshome prices, and wages.

1. Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates have been volatile this year – bouncing around in the upper 6% to low 7% range. That’s still quite a bit higher than where they were a couple of years ago. But there is a sliver of good news.

Despite the recent volatility, rates are still lower than they were last fall when they reached nearly 8%. On top of that, most experts still think they’ll come down some over the course of the year. A recent article from Bright MLS explains:

Expect rates to come down in the second half of 2024 but remain above 6% this year. Even a modest drop in rates will bring both more buyers and more sellers into the market.” 

Any drop in rates can make a difference for you. When rates go down, you can afford the home you really want more easily because your monthly payment would be lower.

2. Home Prices

The second big factor to think about is home prices. Most experts project they'll keep going up this year, but at a more normal pace. That’s because there are more homes on the market this year, but still not enough for everyone who wants to buy one. The graph below shows the latest 2024 home price forecasts from seven different organizations:

 No Caption Received

 

These forecasts are actually good news for you because it means the prices aren't likely to shoot up sky high like they did during the pandemic. That doesn’t mean they’re going to fall – they'll just rise at a slower pace.

3. Wages

One factor helping affordability right now is the fact that wages are rising. The graph below uses data from the Federal Reserve to show how wages have been growing over time:

 No Caption Received

 

Check out the blue dotted line. That shows how wages typically rise. If you look at the right side of the graph, you'll see wages are climbing even faster than normal right now.

Here’s how this helps you. If your income has increased, it's easier to afford a home because you don't have to spend as big of a percentage of your paycheck on your monthly mortgage payment.

Bottom Line

If you stack these factors up, you’ll see mortgage rates are still projected to come down a bit later this year, home prices are going up at a more moderate pace, and wages are growing quicker than normal. Those trends are a good sign for your ability to afford a home.

April 10, 2024

Should I Move with Today’s Mortgage Rates?




When mortgage rates spiked up over the last few years, some homeowners put their plans to move on pause. Maybe you did too because you didn’t want to sell and take on a higher mortgage rate for your next home. But is that still the right strategy for you?

In today’s market, data shows more homeowners are getting used to where rates are and thinking it may be time to move. As Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody’s Analyticsexplains:

“Listings are up a bit as life events and job changes are putting increasing pressure on locked-in homeowners to sell their homes. Homeowners may also be slowly coming to the realization that mortgage rates aren’t going back anywhere near the rate on their existing mortgage.

recent study from Bank of America sheds light on some of the things homeowners say would make them sell, even with rates where they are right now (see visual below):

a group of blue and white icons

 

What Would Motivate You To Move?

Now that you know why other people would move, take a minute to think about what would make a move worth it for you. Is it time to take a chance and go for your dream job, even though it’s not local? Are you looking for a neighborhood that has more to offer and a close-knit sense of community? Maybe you just need more space, you’re looking for your next great adventure, or you want a house that opens up rental opportunities to pad your income.

And here’s something else to consider. Mortgage rates are still expected to go down over the course of the year. And once that happens, there’s going to be a big rush of buyers jumping back into the market. While you could delay your plans until rates drop, you’ll only have more competition with those buyers if you do.

So, does that mean it’s worth it to move now, even with rates where they are? The answer is: that it depends.

You'll want to consider today’s mortgage rates, where they’re expected to go from here, and what would prompt you to want to make a change as you decide on your next steps. An expert can help with that. 

Bottom Line

Other homeowners are getting used to rates and deciding to move. Let’s chat to go over what matters most to you and if it’s time for you to jump back into the market too. 

Nov. 30, 2023

Is Owning a Home Still the American Dream for Younger Buyers?




Everyone has their own idea of the American Dream, and it's different for each person. But, in a recent survey by Bankrate, people were asked about the achievements they believe represent the American Dream the most. The answers show that owning a home still claims the #1 spot for many Americans today (see graph below):

 

 

In fact, according to the graph, owning a home is more important to people than retiring, having a successful career, or even getting a college degree. But is the dream of homeownership still alive for younger generations?

A recent survey by 1000watt dives into how the two generations many people believed would be the renter generations (Gen Z and millennials) feel about homeownership. Specifically, it asks if they want to buy a home in the future. The resounding answer is yes (see graph below):

 

While there are plenty of reasons why someone might prefer homeownership to renting, the same 1000watt survey shows, that for 63% of Gen Z and millennials, it’s that your place doesn’t feel like “home” unless you own it – maybe you feel the same way.

That emotional draw is further emphasized when you look at the reasons why Gen Z and millennials want to become homeowners. For all the financial benefits homeownership provides, in most cases it’s about the lifestyle or emotional benefits (see graph below):

 

 

What Does This Mean for You?

If you’re a part of Gen Z or are a millennial and you’re ready, willing, and able to buy a home, you’ll want a great real estate agent by your side. Their experience and expertise in the local housing market will help you overcome today’s high mortgage rateslow inventory, and rising home prices to find your first home and turn your dream into a reality.

Working with a local real estate agent to find your dream home is the key to unlocking the American Dream.

Bottom Line

Buying a home is a big, important decision that represents the heart of the American Dream. If you want to accomplish your goal, let’s connect to start the process today.

Feb. 15, 2023

Planning To Sell Your House? It’s Critical To Hire a Pro

 

Planning To Sell Your House? It’s Critical To Hire a Pro | MyKCM

With higher mortgage rates and moderating buyer demand, conditions in the housing market are different today. And if you’re thinking of selling your house, it’s important to understand how the market has changed and what that means for you. The best way to make sure you’re in the know is to work with a trusted housing market expert.

Here are five reasons working with a professional can ensure you’ll get the most out of your sale.

1. A Real Estate Advisor Is an Expert on Market Trends

Leslie Rouda Smith, 2022 President of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

"During challenging and changing market conditions, one thing that's calming and constant is the assurance that comes from a Realtor® being in your corner through every step of the home transaction. Consumers can rely on Realtors®' unmatched work ethic, trusted guidance and objectivity to help manage the complexities associated with the home buying and selling process.”

An expert real estate advisor has the latest information about national trends and your local area too. More importantly, they’ll know what all of this means for you so they’ll be able to help you make a decision based on trustworthy, data-bound information.

2. A Local Professional Knows How To Set the Right Price for Your House

Home price appreciation has moderated this year. If you sell your house on your own, you may be more likely to overshoot your asking price because you’re not as aware of where prices are today. If you do, you run the risk of deterring buyers or seeing your house sit on the market for longer.

Real estate professionals provide an unbiased eye when they help you determine a price for your house. They’ll use a variety of factors, like the condition of your home and any upgrades you’ve made, and compare your house to recently sold homes in your area to find the best price for today’s market. These steps are key to making sure it’s set to move as quickly as possible.

3. A Real Estate Advisor Helps Maximize Your Pool of Buyers

Since buyer demand has cooled this year, you'll want to do what you can to help bring in more buyers. Real estate professionals have a large variety of tools at their disposal, such as social media followers, agency resources, and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to ensure your house gets in front of people looking to make a purchase. Investopedia explains why it’s risky to sell on your own without the network an agent provides:

You don’t have relationships with clients, other agents, or a real estate agency to bring the largest pool of potential buyers to your home.”

Without access to the tools and your agent’s marketing expertise, your buyer pool – and your home’s selling potential – is limited.

4. A Real Estate Expert Will Read – and Understand – the Fine Print

Today, more disclosures and regulations are mandatory when selling a house. That means the number of legal documents you’ll need to juggle is growing. NAR explains it like this:

“Selling a home typically requires a variety of forms, reports, disclosures, and other legal and financial documents. . . . Also, there’s a lot of jargon involved in a real estate transaction; you want to work with a professional who can speak the language.”

A real estate professional knows exactly what all the fine print means and how to work through it efficiently. They’ll help you review the documents and avoid any costly missteps that could occur if you try to handle them on your own.

5. A Trusted Advisor Is a Skilled Negotiator

In today’s market, buyers are also regaining some negotiation power as bidding wars ease. If you sell without a professional, you’ll also be responsible for any back-and-forth. That means you’ll have to coordinate with:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who will use their expertise to advocate for the buyer
  • The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find concerns with the house
  • The appraiser, who assesses the property’s value to protect the lender

Instead of going toe-to-toe with all the above parties alone, lean on an expert. They’ll know what levers to pull, how to address everyone’s concerns, and when you may want to get a second opinion.

Bottom Line

Don’t go at it alone. If you’re planning to sell your house this winter, let’s connect so you have an expert by your side to guide you in today’s market.

Feb. 13, 2023

Applying For a Mortgage? Here’s What You Should Avoid Once You Do

 

Applying For a Mortgage? Here’s What You Should Avoid Once You Do. | MyKCM

While it’s exciting to start thinking about moving in and decorating after you’ve applied for your mortgage, there are some key things to keep in mind before you close. Here’s a list of things you may not realize you need to avoid after applying for your home loan.

Don’t Deposit Large Sums of Cash

Lenders need to source your money, and cash isn’t easily traceable. Before you deposit any amount of cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer.

Don’t Make Any Large Purchases

It’s not just home-related purchases that could disqualify you from your loan. Any large purchases can be red flags for lenders. People with new debt have higher debt-to-income ratios (how much debt you have compared to your monthly income). Since higher ratios make for riskier loans, borrowers may no longer qualify for their mortgage. Resist the temptation to make any large purchases, even for furniture or appliances.

Don’t Cosign Loans for Anyone

When you cosign for a loan, you’re making yourself accountable for that loan’s success and repayment. With that obligation comes higher debt-to-income ratios as well. Even if you promise you won’t be the one making the payments, your lender will have to count the payments against you.

Don’t Switch Bank Accounts

Lenders need to source and track your assets. That task is much easier when there’s consistency among your accounts. Before you transfer any money, speak with your loan officer.

Don’t Apply for New Credit

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new credit card or a new car, when you have your credit report run by organizations in multiple financial channels (mortgage, credit card, auto, etc.), it will have an impact on your FICO® score. Lower credit scores can determine your interest rate and possibly even your eligibility for approval.

Don’t Close Any Accounts

Many buyers believe having less available credit makes them less risky and more likely to be approved. This isn’t true. A major component of your score is your length and depth of credit history (as opposed to just your payment history) and your total usage of credit as a percentage of available credit. Closing accounts has a negative impact on both of those aspects of your score.

Do Discuss Changes with Your Lender

Be upfront about any changes that occur or you’re expecting to occur when talking with your lender. Blips in income, assets or credit should be reviewed and executed in a way that ensures your home loan can still be approved. If your job or employment status has changed recently, share that with your lender as well. Ultimately, it’s best to fully disclose and discuss your intentions with your loan officer before you do anything financial in nature.

Bottom Line

You want your home purchase to go as smoothly as possible. Remember, before you make any large purchases, move your money around, or make major life changes, be sure to consult your lender – someone who’s qualified to explain how your financial decisions may impact your home loan.

Feb. 9, 2023

Arlington Neighborhood Guide

Posted in Neighborhood Guide
Jan. 20, 2023

Create Your Perfect Home by Perfecting It After You Purchase

Jan. 18, 2023

Think Twice Before Waiting for 3% Mortgage Rates

Think Twice Before Waiting for 3% Mortgage Rates | MyKCM

Last year, the Federal Reserve took action to try to bring down inflation. In response to those efforts, mortgage rates jumped up rapidly from the record lows we saw in 2021, peaking at just over 7% last October. Hopeful buyers experienced a hit to their purchasing power as a result, and some decided to press pause on their plans.

Today, the rate of inflation is starting to drop. And as a result, mortgage rates have dipped below last year’s peak. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Macshares:

“While mortgage market activity has significantly shrunk over the last year, inflationary pressures are easing and should lead to lower mortgage rates in 2023.”

That’s potentially great news if you’re a buyer aiming to jump back into the housing market. Any drop in mortgage rates helps boost your purchasing power by bringing down your expected monthly mortgage payment. This means the lower mortgage rates experts forecast this year could be just what you need to reignite your homebuying goals.

While this opens up a window of opportunity for you, remember: you shouldn’t expect rates to drop back down to record lows like we saw in 2021. Experts agree that’s not the range buyers should bank on. Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrateexplains:

“I think we could be surprised at how much mortgage rates pull back this year. But we’re not going back to 3 percent anytime soon, because inflation is not going back to 2 percent anytime soon.

It’s important to have a realistic vision for what you can expect this year, and that’s where the advice of expert real estate advisors is critical. You may be surprised by the impact even a mild drop in mortgage rates has on your budget. If you’re ready to buy a home now, today’s market presents the opportunity to get a more affordable mortgage rate, find your dream home, and face less competition from other buyers.

Bottom Line

The recent pullback in mortgage rates is great news – but if you’re ready to buy now, holding out for 3% is a mistake. Work with a local lender to learn how today’s rates impact your goals, and let’s connect to explore your options in our area.