Marin County Real Estate Blog

Experts Project Home Prices Will Increase in 2024


Even though home prices are going up nationally, some people are still worried they might come down. In fact, a recent survey from Fannie Mae found that 24% of people think home prices will actually decline over the next 12 months. That means almost one out of every four people are dealing with that fear, and you might be, too.

To help ease that concern, here's what experts forecast will happen with prices this year.

Experts Project a Modest Increase

Check out the latest home price forecasts from eight different sources (see graph below):

...

Things To Consider If Your House Didn’t Sell


If your listing has expired and your house didn’t sell, it's completely normal to feel a mix of frustration and disappointment. Understandably, you're probably wondering what may have gone wrong. Here are three questions to think about as you figure out what to do next.

Did You Limit Access to Your House?

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when selling your house is restricting the days and times when potential buyers can tour it. Being flexible with your schedule is important, even though it might feel a bit stressful to drop everything and leave when buyers want to see it. After all, minimal access means minimal exposure to buyers. ShowingTime advises:

“. . . do your best to be as flexible as possible when granting access to your house for showings.”

Sometimes, the most determined buyers might come...

People Are Still Moving, Even with Today’s Affordability Challenges


If you're thinking about buying or selling a home, you might have heard that it’s tough right now because mortgage rates are higher than they’ve been over the past few years, and home prices are rising. That much is true. Take a look at the graph below. It breaks down how the current affordability situation stacks up to recent years.

 

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains how to read the values on the graph:

“To interpret the indices, a value of 100 means that a family with the median income has exactly enough income to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home.”

The black dotted line represents that 100 value...

Don’t Believe Everything You Read About Home Prices


According to the latest data from Fannie Mae, 23% of Americans still think home prices will go down over the next twelve months. But why do roughly 1 in 4 people feel that way?

It has a lot to do with all the negative talk about home prices over the past year. Since late 2022, the media has created a lot of fear about a price crash and those concerns are still lingering. You may be hearing people in your own life saying they’re worried about home prices or see on social media that some influencers are saying prices are going to come tumbling down.

If you’re someone who still thinks prices are going to fall, ask yourself this: Which is a more reliable place to get your information – clickbait headlines and social media or a trusted expert on the housing market?

The answer is simple. Listen to the professionals who specialize in residential real estate.

Here’s the latest data you can actually trust. Housing market experts acknowledge that nationally, prices did dip down slightly late last year, but that was short-lived. ...

Should Baby Boomers Buy or Rent After Selling Their Houses?


Are you a baby boomer who’s lived in your current house for a long time and you’re ready for a change? If you’re thinking about selling your house, you have a lot to consider. Will you move to a different state or stay nearby? Is it time to downsize or do you want more space to accommodate your loved ones? But maybe the biggest consideration boils down to this – will you buy your next home or choose to rent instead?

That decision ultimately depends on your current situation and your future plans. Here are two important factors to help you decide what’s right for you.

Expect Rents to Keep Going Up

The graph below uses data from the Census to show how rents have been climbing steadily since 1988:Rents have been going up consistently over the long run. If you choose to rent, there’s a risk your rental payment will go up each time you renew your lease. Having a higher rental expense may not be something you want to deal with every year.

When you...

Mortgage Rates: Past, Present, and Possible Future


If you’re hoping to buy a home this year, you’re probably paying close attention to mortgage rates. Since mortgage rates impact what you can afford when you take out a home loan – and affordability is a challenge today – it’s a good time to look at the big picture of where mortgage rates have been historically compared to where they are now. Beyond that, it’s important to understand their relationship with inflation for insights into where mortgage rates might go in the near future.

Giving Context to the Sticker Shock

Freddie Mac has been tracking the 30-year fixed mortgage rate since April of 1971. Every week, they release the results of their Primary Mortgage Market Survey, which averages mortgage application data from lenders across the country (see graph below):

...

Four Ways You Can Use Your Home Equity


If you’re a homeowner, odds are your equity has grown significantly over the last few years. Equity builds over time as home values grow and as you pay down your home loan. And, since home prices skyrocketed during the ‘unicorn’ years, you’ve likely gained more than you think.

According to the latest Equity Insights Report from CoreLogic, the average homeowner has more than $274,000 in equity right now. That much equity can help you achieve certain goals. In a recent article, Bankrate elaborates: 

While the pandemic created serious challenges, the silver lining for anyone who owned a home was the sizable equity gain. Understanding how home equity works, and how to leverage it, is important for any homeowner.”

Here are a few examples of how you can put your home equity...

Two Questions To Ask Yourself if You’re Considering Buying a Home


If you’re thinking of buying a home, chances are you’re paying attention to just about everything you hear about the housing market. And you’re getting your information from a variety of channels: the news, social media, your real estate agent, conversations with friends and loved ones, overhearing someone chatting at the local supermarket, the list goes on and on. Most likely, home prices and mortgage rates are coming up a lot. 

To help cut through the noise and give you the information you need most, take a look at what the data says. Here are the top two questions you need to ask yourself about home prices and mortgage rates as you make your decision: 

1. Where Do I Think Home Prices Are Heading?

One reliable place you can turn to for that 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 projecting slight depreciation this year (see the red in the graph below). But here’s the context you need most. The worst home price declines are already behind us, and prices are actually ...

Why Buying or Selling a Home Helps the Economy and Your Community


If you're thinking about buying or selling a house, it's important to know that it doesn't just affect your life, but also your community.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) releases a report every year to show how much economic activity is generated by home sales. The chart below illustrates that impact:

As the visual shows, when a house is sold, it can make a big difference in the local economy. The impact comes largely from the workers required to build, update, and buy and sell homes. Robert Dietz, Chief Economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), ...

Real Estate Is Still Considered the Best Long-Term Investment


With all the headlines circulating about home prices and rising mortgage rates, you may wonder if it still makes sense to invest in homeownership right now. A recent poll from Gallup shows the answer is yes. In fact, real estate was voted the best long-term investment for the 11th consecutive year, consistently beating other investment types like gold, stocks, and bonds (see graph below):

If you’re thinking about purchasing a home, let this poll reassure you. Even with everything happening today, Americans recognize owning a home is a powerful financial decision.

Why Do Americans Still Feel So Positive About the Value of Investing in a...

Why Aren’t Home Prices Crashing?


There have been a lot of shifts in the housing market recently. Mortgage rates rose dramatically last year, impacting many people’s ability to buy a home. And after several years of rapid price appreciation, home prices finally peaked last summer. These changes led to a rise in headlines saying prices would end up crashing.

Even though we’re no longer seeing the buyer frenzy that drove home values up during the pandemic, prices have been relatively flat at the national level. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), doesn’t expect that to change:

[H]ome prices will be steady in most parts of the country with a minor change in the national median home price.”

You might think sellers would have to lower prices to attract buyers in today’s market, and that’s part of why some may have been waiting for prices to come crashing down. But there’s another factor at play – low inventory. And according to Yun, that’s limiting just how low prices will go:

“We simply don’t have enough inventory. Will some markets see a price decline? Yes. [But] with the supply not being there, the repeat of a 30 percent price decline is highly, highly unlikely.”

As you can see in the graph below, we’ve been at or...

Reasons To Consider Condos in Your Home Search

Are you having trouble finding a home that fits your needs and your budget? If so, you should know there’s an option worth considering – condominiums, also known as condos. According to Bankrate:

A condo can be a more affordable entry point to homeownership than a single-family home. And as a homeowner, you’ll build equity over time and have access to tax benefits that a renter wouldn’t.”

That’s why expanding your search to include additional housing types, like condominiums, could help you accomplish your homeownership goals this spring, especially if you can be flexible about the space you need. Condos are typically smaller than a single-family home, but that’s part of what can make them more budget-friendly (see graph below):

...

A Smaller Home Could Be Your Best Option

A Smaller Home Could Be Your Best Option | MyKCM

Many people are reaching the point in their lives when they need to decide where they want to live when they retire. If you’re a homeowner approaching this stage, you have several options to explore. Jessica Lautz, Deputy Chief Economist and Vice President of Research at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“As we see the transition of the large Baby Boomer generation age into retirement, it will be interesting to see if they move in with their Millennial and Gen Z children or if they stay put in their own homes.”

Lautz lists two options: move into a multigenerational home with loved ones, or stay in your current house. Multigenerational living is rising in popularity, but it isn’t an option for everyone. And staying put may fit fewer and fewer of your needs. There’s a third option though, and for some, it’s the best one: downsizing.

When you sell your house and purchase a smaller one, it’s known as downsizing. Sometimes smaller homes are more suited to your changing needs, and moving...

Should You Rent Your House or Sell It?

Should You Rent Your House
or Sell It? | MyKCM

If you're a homeowner ready to make a move, you may be thinking about using your current house as a short-term rental property instead of selling it. A short-term rental (STR) is typically offered as an alternative to a hotel, and they're an investment that's gained popularity in recent years. According to a Harris Poll survey, 28% of homeowners have considered using a rental service to temporarily rent out their home for additional income.

Owning a short-term rental can be a tempting idea, but you may find the reality of being responsible for one difficult to take on. Here are some of the challenges you could face if you rent out your house instead of selling it.

A Short-Term Rental Comes with Responsibilities

Successfully owning and renting a house takes work. Think through your ability to make that commitment, especially if you plan to use a platform that advertises your rental listing. Most of them have specific requirements hosts have to meet, and it takes a lot of work. A recent article from Bankrate explains:

Managing a rental property can be time-consuming and challenging. Are you handy and able to make some repairs yourself? If not, do you have a network of affordable contractors you can...

Have Home Values Hit Bottom?

Have Home Values Hit
Bottom? | MyKCM

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

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

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

Have Home Values Hit Bottom? | MyKCM

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

Let's focus in on what the red numbers tell us. The red numbers are the change...

Ready To Sell? Today's Housing Supply Gives You Two Opportunities.

Ready To Sell? Today's
Housing Supply Gives You Two Opportunities. | MyKCM

At first glance, the increase in housing supply compared to last year may not sound like good news for prospective sellers, but it actually gives you two key opportunities in today's housing market.

An article from Calculated Risk helps put the inventory gains the market has seen in 2022 into perspective by comparing it to recent years (see graph below). It shows supply has surpassed 2021 levels by 58%. But the further back you look, the more you'll understand the bigger picture. And if you go all the way back to 2019, the last normal year in real estate, we're roughly 35% below the housing supply we had at that time.

...

Prioritizing Your Wants and Needs as a Homebuyer in Today's Market

Prioritizing Your Wants and
Needs as a Homebuyer in Today's Market | MyKCM

There's no denying mortgage rates are higher now than they were last year. And if you're thinking about buying a home, this may be top of mind for you. That's because those higher rates impact how much it costs to borrow money for your home loan. As you set out to make a purchase this winter, you'll need to be strategic so you can find a home that meets your needs and budget.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, explains:

The key to making a good decision in this challenging housing market is to be laser focused on what you need now and in the years ahead, . . . Another key point is to avoid stretching your budget, as tempting as it may be given the diminished purchasing power.

In other words, it's important to be mindful of what's a necessity and what's a nice-to-have when searching for a home. And the best way to understand this is to put together a list of desired features for your home search.

The first step? Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Pre-approval helps you better understand what you can borrow for your home loan, and that plays an important role in how you'll craft your list. After all, you don't want to fall in love with a home that's out of reach. Once you have a good grasp of your budget, you can begin to list (and prioritize) all the features of a home you would like.

Here's a great way to think about them before you begin:

  • Must-Haves – If a house doesn't have these features, it won't work for you and your lifestyle...

Buyers Are Regaining Some of Their Negotiation Power in Today's Housing Market

Buyers Are Regaining Some of
Their Negotiation Power in Today's Housing Market | MyKCM

If you’re thinking about buying a home today, there’s welcome news. Even though it's still a sellers' market, it's a more moderate sellers' market than last year. And the days of feeling like you may need to waive contingencies or pay drastically over asking price to get your offer considered may be coming to a close.

Today, you should have less competition and more negotiating power as a buyer. That's because the intensity of buyer demand and bidding wars is easing this year. So, if bidding wars were the biggest factor that had you sitting on the sidelines, here are two trends that may be just what you need to re-enter the market.

1. The Return of Contingencies

Over the last two years, more buyers were willing to skip important steps in the homebuying process, like the appraisal or inspection, to try to win a bidding war. But now, fewer people are waiving the inspection and appraisal.

The ...

Experts Increase 2022 Home Price Projections

Experts Increase 2022 Home
Price Projections | MyKCM

If you're wondering if home prices are going to come down due to the cooldown in the housing market or a potential recession, here's what you need to know. Not only are experts forecasting home prices will continue to appreciate nationwide this year, but most of them also actually increased their projections for home price appreciation from their original 2022 forecasts (shown in green in the chart below):

Experts Increase 2022 Home Price Projections | MyKCMAs the chart shows, most sources adjusted up, and now call for more appreciation in 2022 than they originally projected this January. But why are experts so confident the housing market will see ongoing appreciation? It's because of supply and demand in most markets. As Bankrate says:

After all, supplies of homes for sale remain near record lows. And while a jump in mortgage rates has dampened demand somewhat, demand still outpaces supply, thanks to a combination of little new construction and strong household formation by large numbers of millennials.

Knowing that experts forecast home prices will continue to appreciate in most markets and that they've actually increased their original projections for this year should help you answer the question: will home prices fall? According to the latest forecasts, experts are confident prices will continue to appreciate this year, although at a more moderate...

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...

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