Charleston Metro Area 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!

Jan. 20, 2022

Why is the Housing Inventory So Low?

 

Buyers Want To Know: Why Is Housing Supply Still So Low? | MyKCM

One key question that’s top of mind for homebuyers this year is: why is it so hard to find a house to buy? The truth is, we’re in the ultimate sellers’ market, so real estate is ultra-competitive for buyers right now. The number of buyers searching for a home greatly outweighs how many homes are available for sale.

While low inventory in the housing market isn’t new, it’s a challenge that continues to grow over time. Here’s a look at two reasons why today’s housing supply is low and what that means for you.

1. New Home Construction Fell Behind for Several Years

The graph below shows new home construction for single-family homes over the past five decades, including the long-term average for housing units completed. Builders exceeded that average during the housing bubble (shown in red on the graph). The result was an oversupply of homes on the market, so home values declined. That was one of the factors that led to the housing crash back in 2008.

Since then, the level of new home construction has fallen off. For the last 13 straight years, builders haven’t been able to construct enough homes to meet the historical average (as illustrated in green on the graph). That underbuilding left us with a multi-year inventory deficit going into the pandemic.

Buyers Want To Know: Why Is Housing Supply Still So Low? | MyKCM

2. The Pandemic’s Impact on the Housing Market

Then, when the pandemic hit, it fueled a renewed appreciation and focus on the meaning of home. Having a safe space to live, work, school, and exercise became even more important for Americans throughout the country. So, as mortgage rates dropped to at or below 3%, buyers eagerly entered the market looking to capitalize on those low rates to secure a home that would fulfill their changing needs. At the same time, sellers hesitated to put their houses on the market as concerns about the pandemic mounted.

The result? The number of homes available for sale dropped even further. A recent article from realtor.com explains:

Last month, the number of home listings dropped 26.8% compared with the same time a year earlier. This meant there were about 177,000 fewer homes listed in what’s already typically a slower month due to the holidays and colder weather. . . .”

What Does All of This Mean for You?

For a buyer, low inventory can be a challenge. You want to find the home of your dreams, and you don’t want to settle. But what if there just aren’t that many homes to choose from?

There is some good news. Experts are projecting more homes will soon become available thanks to sellers re-entering the market. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, shares this hope, but offers perspective:

We expect that we’ll start to see a turnaround and inventory will stabilize and start to go up a little bit in 2022. . . . But that means we’re looking at inventory levels of roughly half of what we saw before the pandemic. For buyers, the market is likely to continue to move fast. If you see a home you like, you want to jump on it right away.

Basically, inventory is still low, even though more homes are coming. But you shouldn’t put your plans on hold because you’re waiting for those additional houses to hit the market.  Instead, stick with your search and persevere through today’s low inventory. You can find your next home if you’re patient and focused.

Remember your goals and why finding a home is so important. Those things should be the driving force behind your search. Share them with your agent and be clear about your priorities. Your trusted advisor is your greatest support as you navigate today’s low housing supply to find the home of your dreams.

Bottom Line 

If you’re planning to buy this year, the key to success will be patience given today’s low inventory. Let’s connect to discuss what’s happening in our area, what homes are available, and why it’s still worthwhile to prioritize your home search today.

Jan. 18, 2022

Sellers: Don't Wait Until Spring to Make Your Move!

Sellers: Don’t Wait Until Spring To Make Your Move

Sellers: Don’t Wait Until Spring To Make Your Move | MyKCM

As you plan out your goals for the year, moving up to your dream home may top the list. But, how do you know when to make your move? You want to time it just right so you can get the most out of the sale of your current house. You also want to know you’re making a good investment when you buy your new home. What you may not realize is, that opportunity to get the best of both worlds is already here.

You don’t want to wait until spring to spring into action. The current market conditions make this winter an ideal time to move. Here’s why.

1. The Number of Homes on the Market Is Still Low

Today’s limited supply of houses for sale is putting sellers in the driver’s seat. There are far more buyers in the market than there are homes available, and that means buyers are eagerly waiting for your house. Listing your house now makes it the center of attention. As a seller, that means when it’s priced correctly, you can expect it to sell quickly and get multiple strong offers this season. Just remember, experts project more inventory will come to market as we move through the winter months. The realtor.com 2022 forecast says this:

“After years of declining, the inventory of homes for sale is finally expected to rebound from all-time lows.”

Selling now may help you maximize the return on your investment before your house has to face more competition from other sellers.

2. Your Equity Is Growing in Record Amounts

Current homeowners are sitting on record amounts of equity thanks to today’s home price appreciation. According to the latest report from CoreLogicthe average homeowner gained $56,700 in equity over the past 12 months.

That much equity can open doors for you to make a move. If you’ve been holding off on selling because you’re worried about how rising prices will impact your own home search, rest assured your equity can help fuel your next move. It may be just what you need to cover a large portion – if not all – of the down payment on your next purchase.

3. While Rising, Mortgage Rates Are Still Historically Low

In January of last year, mortgage rates hit the lowest point ever recorded. Today, rates are starting to rise, but that doesn’t mean you’ve missed out on locking in a low rate. Current mortgage rates are still far below what they’ve been in recent decades:

  • In the 2000s, the average mortgage rate was 6.27%
  • In the 1990s, the average rate was 8.12%

Even with mortgage rates rising above 3%, they’re still worth taking advantage of. You just want to do so sooner rather than later. Experts are projecting rates will continue to rise throughout this year, and when they do, it’ll cost you more to purchase your next home.

4. Home Prices Are Going To Keep Rising with Time

According to industry leaders, home prices will also continue appreciating this year. While experts are forecasting more moderate home price growth than last year, it’s important to note prices will still be moving in an upward direction throughout 2022.

What does that mean for you? If you’re selling so you can move into a bigger home or downsize to the home of your dreams, you want to consider moving now before rates and prices rise further. If you’re ready, you have an opportunity to get ahead of the curve by purchasing your next home before rates and prices climb higher.

Bottom Line

If you’re considering selling to move up or downsize, this may be your moment, especially with today’s low mortgage rates and limited inventory. Let’s connect today to get set up for homebuying success this year.

Jan. 14, 2022

When is the Right Time to Sell?

 

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

Some Highlights

  • If you’re trying to decide when to list your house, the time is now. There are plenty of buyers eagerly waiting for your home to hit the market.
  • The latest data indicates home showings are rising. There are more buyers than homes for sale right now. That means you’ll likely receive multiple offers, and your home won’t be on the market long.
  • Today’s market favors sellers. If you’re ready to move, let’s meet to discuss the benefits you can expect when you sell this season.
Jan. 13, 2022

What's Going On With Home Prices in 2022?

What’s Going To Happen with Home Prices This Year?

What’s Going To Happen with Home Prices This Year? | MyKCM

After almost two years of double-digit increases, many experts thought home price appreciation would decelerate or happen at a slower pace in the last quarter of 2021. However, the latest Home Price Insights Report from CoreLogic indicates while prices may have plateaued, appreciation has definitely not slowed. The following graph shows year-over-year appreciation throughout 2021. December data has not yet been released.

What’s Going To Happen with Home Prices This Year? | MyKCM

As the graph shows, appreciation has remained steady at around 18% over the last five months.

In addition, the latest S&P Case-Shiller Price Index and the FHFA Price Index show a slight deceleration from the same time last year – it's just not at the level that was expected. However, they also both indicate there’s continued strong price growth throughout the country. FHFA reports all nine regions of the country still experienced double-digit appreciation. The Case-Shiller 20-City Index reveals all 20 metros had double-digit appreciation.

Why Haven’t We Seen the Deeper Deceleration Many Expected?

Experts had projected the supply of housing inventory would increase in the last half of 2021 and buyer demand would decrease, as it historically does later in the year. Since all pricing is subject to supply and demand, it seemed that appreciation would wane under those conditions.

Buyer demand, however, did not slow as much as expected, and the number of listings available for sale dropped instead of improved. The graph below uses data from realtor.com to show the number of available listings for sale each month, including the decline in listings at the end of the year.

What’s Going To Happen with Home Prices This Year? | MyKCM

Here are three reasons why the number of active listings didn’t increase as expected:

1. There hasn’t been a surge of foreclosures as the forbearance program comes to an end.

2. New construction slowed considerably because of supply chain challenges.

3. Many believed more sellers would put their houses on the market once the concerns about the pandemic began to ease. However, those concerns have not yet disappeared. A recent article published by com explains:

“Before the omicron variant of COVID-19 appeared on the scene, the 2021 housing market was rebounding healthily from previous waves of the pandemic and turned downright bullish as the end of the year approached. . . . And then the new omicron strain hit in November, followed by a December dip in new listings. Was this sudden drop due to omicron, or just the typical holiday season lull?”

No one knows for sure, but it does seem possible.

Bottom Line

Home price appreciation might slow (or decelerate) in 2022. However, based on supply and demand, you shouldn’t expect the deceleration to be swift or deep.

Jan. 6, 2022

Don't Expect A Wave of Foreclosures in 2022

There Won’t Be a Wave of Foreclosures in the Housing Market



When mortgage forbearance plans were first announced and the pandemic surged through the country in early 2020, many homeowners were allowed to pause their mortgage payments. Some analysts were concerned that once the forbearance program ended, the housing market would experience a wave of foreclosures like what happened after the housing bubble 15 years ago.

Here’s a look at why that isn’t the case.

1. There Are Fewer Homeowners in Trouble This Time

After the last housing crash, over nine million households lost their homes to a foreclosure, short sale, or because they gave it back to the bank. Many believed millions of homeowners would face the same fate again this time.

However, today’s data shows that most homeowners exited their forbearance plan either fully caught up on payments or with a plan from the bank that restructured their loan in a way that allowed them to start making payments again. The latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) studies how people exited the forbearance program from June 2020 to November 2021.

Here are those findings:

38.6% left the program paid in full
  • 19.9% made their monthly payments during the forbearance period
  • 11.8% made up all past-due payments
  • 6.9% paid off the loan in full
44% negotiated work-out repayment plans
  • 29.1% received a loan deferral
  • 14.1% received a loan modification
  • 0.8% arranged a different repayment plan
0.6% sold as a short sale or did a deed-in-lieu
16.8% left the program still in trouble and without a loss mitigation plan in place

2. Those Left in the Program Can Still Negotiate a Repayment Plan

As of last Friday, the total number of mortgages still in forbearance stood at 890,000. Those who remain in forbearance still have the chance to work out a suitable plan with the servicing company that represents their lender. And the servicing companies are under pressure to do just that by both federal and state agencies.

Rick Sharga, Executive Vice President at RealtyTrac, says in a recent tweet:

“The [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] and state [Attorneys General] look like they're adopting a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to mortgage servicing enforcement. Likely that this will limit #foreclosure activity for a good part of 2022, while servicers explore all possible loss [mitigation] options.”

For more information, read the warning issued by the Attorney General of New York State.

3. Most Homeowners Have More Than Enough Equity To Sell Their Homes

For those who can’t negotiate a solution and the 16.8% who left the forbearance program without a work-out, many will have enough equity to sell their homes and leave the closing with cash instead of facing foreclosures.

Due to rapidly rising home prices over the last two years, the average homeowner has gained record amounts of equity in their home. As Frank Martell, President & CEO of CoreLogic, explains:

“Not only have equity gains helped homeowners more seamlessly transition out of forbearance and avoid a distressed sale, but they’ve also enabled many to continue building their wealth.”

4. There Have Been Far Fewer Foreclosures Over the Last Two Years

One of the seldom-reported benefits of the forbearance program was that it allowed households experiencing financial difficulties prior to the pandemic to enter the program. It gave those homeowners an extra two years to get their finances in order and work out a plan with their lender. That prevented over 400,000 foreclosures that normally would have come to the market had the new forbearance program not been available. Otherwise, the real estate market would have had to absorb those foreclosures. Here’s a graph depicting this data:

There Won’t Be a Wave of Foreclosures in the Housing Market | MyKCM

5. The Current Market Can Easily Absorb Over a Million New Listings

When foreclosures hit the market in 2008, they added to the oversupply of houses that were already for sale. That resulted in over a nine-month supply of listings, and anything over a six-month supply can cause prices to depreciate.

It’s exactly the opposite today. The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reveals:

“Total housing inventory at the end of November amounted to 1.11 million units, down 9.8% from October and down 13.3% from one year ago (1.28 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.1-month supply at the current sales pace, a decline from both the prior month and from one year ago.”

A balanced market would have approximately a six-month supply of inventory. At 2.1 months, the market is severely understocked. Even if one million homes enter the market, there still won’t be enough inventory to meet the current demand.

Bottom Line

The end of the forbearance plan will not cause any upheaval in the housing market. Sharga puts it best:

“The fact that foreclosure starts declined despite hundreds of thousands of borrowers exiting the CARES Act mortgage forbearance program over the last few months is very encouraging. It suggests that the ‘forbearance equals foreclosure’ narrative was incorrect. . . .”

Jan. 3, 2022

How Much Down Payment Do You Need to Purchase Your Home?

How Much Do You Need for Your Down Payment?

house for sale

As you set out on your homebuying journey, you likely have a plan in place, and you’re working on saving for your purchase. But do you know how much you actually need for your down payment?

If you think you have to put 20% down, you may have set your goal based on a common misconception. Freddie Mac says:

“The most damaging down payment myth—since it stops the homebuying process before it can start—is the belief that 20% is necessary.”

Unless specified by your loan type or lender, it’s typically not required to put 20% down. According to the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. It may sound surprising, but today, that number is only 13%. And it’s even lower for first-time homebuyers, whose median down payment is only 7% (see graph below):

How Much Do You Need for Your Down Payment? | MyKCM

What Does This Mean for You?

While a down payment of 20% or more does have benefits, the typical buyer is putting far less down. That’s good news for you because it means you could be closer to your homebuying dream than you realize.

If you’re interested in learning more about low down payment options, there are several places to go. There are programs for qualified buyers with down payments as low as 3.5%. There are also options like VA loans and USDA loans with no down payment requirements for qualified applicants.

To understand your options, you need to do your homework. If you’re interested in learning more about down payment assistance programs, information is available through sites like downpaymentresource.com. Be sure to also work with a real estate advisor from the start to learn what you may qualify for in the homebuying process.

Bottom Line

Remember: a 20% down payment isn’t always required. If you want to purchase a home this year, let’s connect to start the conversation and explore your down payment options.

Oct. 26, 2021

Charleston's Inventory of Homes for Sale is UP vs. Spring 2021!

Charleston's Housing Inventory Increasing vs. Spring 2021!

There Are More Homes Available Now than There Were This Spring | MyKCM

There’s a lot of talk lately about how challenging it can be to find a home to buy. While housing inventory is still low, there are a few important things to understand about the supply of homes for sale as we move into the end of the year.

The Number of Homes for Sale Usually Peaks in the Fall

In the residential real estate market, trends generally follow a predictable and seasonal pattern. Typically, the number of homes available for sale (or active monthly listings) peaks in the fall. But in a chapter where so little feels normal, the question becomes: should we expect a fall peak this year?

If we look at the active monthly listings for 2021 (shown in the chart below), we’ll see that the number of homes on the market has increased fairly steadily since spring this year. The realtor.com data shows we’re still seeing an increase in active inventory month-over-month. While that gain is a bit smaller month-to-month (see August to September in the chart), September numbers are still up from the month prior.There Are More Homes Available Now than There Were This Spring | MyKCMThe important takeaway here is the latest monthly numbers show growth. At the end of September, buyers had more options to pick from than they did this spring. That’s encouraging for buyers who may have paused their search months ago because they had trouble finding a home. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, sums this up nicely:

“Put simply, this September buyers had more options than they've had all year and while that's typical of early fall, that's not what happened in 2020. Still, it's important to remember that while buyers may have an easier time this fall than they did in the spring, the market remains more competitive than it has been historically at this time of year.” 

As Hale says, a fall peak in inventory is in line with typical seasonal trends. While it’s impossible to say for certain what the future holds for housing inventory, we do know both buyers and sellers have opportunities this season based on the latest data.

What Does That Mean for You?

If you’re thinking of buying a home, rest assured you do have more options now than you did earlier this year – and that’s a welcome relief. That said, today’s market is still highly competitive. This isn’t the time to slow your search. It’s actually the season when the number of homes available for sale tends to peak. Focus on the additional options with renewed energy this season and be prepared for ongoing competition from other buyers.

If you’re considering selling your house, realize that while growing, inventory is still low. Selling now means you’ll be in a great position to negotiate with buyers – and competition among buyers is good news for your bottom line. Eager buyers will likely be motivated to act before the holidays, giving you the benefit of a fast sale.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re buying or selling, there’s still a chance to make your goals a reality this season. Let’s connect so we can discuss what’s going on with the local market and current trends and what they mean for you.

Oct. 19, 2021

Where Are Home Prices Heading??

What Does the Future Hold for Home Prices?

What Does the Future Hold for Home Prices? | MyKCM

If you’re looking to buy or sell a house, chances are you’ve heard talk about today’s rising home prices. And while this increase in home values is great news for sellers, you may be wondering what the future holds. Will prices continue to rise with time, or should you expect them to fall?

To answer that question, let’s first understand a few terms you may be hearing right now.

It’s important to note home prices have increased, or appreciated, for 114 straight months. To find out if that trend may continue, look to the experts. Pulsenomics surveyed over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts asking for their five-year projections. In terms of what lies ahead, experts say the market may see some slight deceleration, but not depreciation.

Here’s the forecast for the next few years:What Does the Future Hold for Home Prices? | MyKCMAs the graph above shows, prices are expected to continue to rise, just not at the same pace we’ve seen over the last year. Over 100 experts agree, there is no expectation for price depreciation. As the arrows indicate, each number is an increase, which means prices will rise each year.

Bill McBride, author of the blog Calculated Risk, also expects deceleration, but not depreciation:

“My sense is the Case-Shiller National annual growth rate of 19.7% is probably close to a peak, and that year-over-year price increases will slow later this year.”

Ivy Zelman of Zelman & Associates agrees, saying:

“. . . home price appreciation is on the cusp of flipping to a decelerating trend.”

recent article from realtor.com indicates you should expect:

“. . . annual price increases will slow to a more normal level, . . .”

What Does This Deceleration Mean for You?

What experts are projecting for the years ahead is more in line with the historical norm for appreciation. According to data from Black Knight, the average annual appreciation from 1995-2020 is 4.1%. As you can see from the chart above, the expert forecasts are closer to that pace, which means you should see appreciation at a level that’s aligned with a more normal year.

If you’re a buyer, don’t expect a sudden or drastic drop in home prices – experts say it won’t happen. Instead, think about your homeownership goals and consider purchasing a home before prices rise further.

If you’re a seller, the continued home price appreciation is good news for the value of your house. Work with an agent to list your house for the right price based on market conditions.

Bottom Line

Experts expect price deceleration, not price depreciation over the coming years. Let’s connect to talk through what’s happening in the housing market today, where things are headed, and what it means for you.

Oct. 12, 2021

Don’t Wait for a Lower Mortgage Rate – It Could Cost You!!

Don’t Wait for a Lower Mortgage Rate – It Could Cost You

Don’t Wait for a Lower Mortgage Rate – It Could Cost You | MyKCM

Today’s housing market is truly one for the record books. Over the past year, we’ve seen the lowest mortgage rates in history. And while those rates seemed to bottom out in January of this year, the golden window of opportunity for buyers isn’t over just yet. If you’re one of the buyers who worry they’ve missed out, rest assured today’s mortgage rates are still worth taking advantage of.

Even today, our mortgage rates are below what they’ve been in recent decades. So, while you may not be able to lock in the rate your friend got recently, you’re still in a great position to secure a rate well below what your parents and even grandparents got in years past. The key will be acting sooner rather than later.

In late September, mortgage rates ticked above 3% for the first time in months. And according to experts throughout the industry, mortgage rates are projected to continue rising in the months ahead. Here’s where experts say rates are headed:Don’t Wait for a Lower Mortgage Rate – It Could Cost You | MyKCMWhile a projected half percentage point increase may not seem substantial, it does have an impact when you’re buying a home. When rates rise even slightly, it affects how much you’ll pay month-to-month on your home loan. The chart below shows how it works:Don’t Wait for a Lower Mortgage Rate – It Could Cost You | MyKCMIn this example, if rates rise to 3.55%, you’ll pay an extra $100 each month on your monthly mortgage payment if you purchase a home around this time next year. That extra money can really add up over the life of a 15 or 30-year loan.

Clearly, today’s mortgage rates are worth taking advantage of before they climb further. The rates we’re seeing right now give you a unique opportunity to afford more home for your money while keeping your monthly payment down.

Bottom Line

Waiting for a lower mortgage rate could cost you. Experts project rates will continue to rise in the months ahead. Let’s connect so you can seize this opportunity before they increase further.

Sept. 15, 2021

5 Tips for Making a WINNING Offer!

5 Tips for Making Your Best Offer

In today’s sellers’ market, standing out as a buyer is critical. Multi-offer scenarios and bidding wars are the norm due to the low supply of houses for sale and high buyer demand. If you’re buying this fall, you’ll want every advantage, especially when you’ve found the home of your dreams.

Below are five things to keep in mind when it’s time to make an offer.

1. Know Your Budget

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 lender so you can get pre-approved for a loan. As Freddie Mac puts it:

“This pre-approval allows you to look for a home with greater confidence and demonstrates to the seller that you are a serious buyer.”

Showing sellers you’re serious can give you a competitive edge. It enables you to act quickly when you’ve found your perfect home.

2. Be Prepared To Move Fast

Speed and the pace of sales are contributing factors to today’s competitive housing market. According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average home is on the market for just 17 days. As the report notes:

“Eighty-nine percent of homes sold in July 2021 were on the market for less than a month.”

When homes are selling fast, staying on top of the market and moving quickly are key. After you’ve worked with your agent to find the home that suits your needs, they’ll help you put together and submit your best offer as soon as possible.

3. A Real Estate Professional Can Lead You to Victory

No matter what the housing market looks like, rely on a trusted real estate advisor. As Freddie Mac says:

“The success of your homebuying journey largely depends on the company you keep. . . . be sure to select experienced, trusted professionals who will help you make informed decisions and avoid any pitfalls.”

Agents are experts in the local real estate market. They have insight into what's worked for other buyers in your area and what sellers may be looking for in an offer. It may seem simple, but catering to what a seller may need can help your offer stand out.

4. Craft a Strong, Fair Offer

In the past, offering at or near the asking price was enough to make your offer appealing to sellers. In today’s market, that’s often not the case. According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index from NAR, 50% of offers are above the list price.

In such a competitive market, emotions and prices can run high. Having an agent to help craft a strong, fair offer is critical in these situations. Your agent can help you understand:

The market value of the home

Recent sales trends in the area

Current buyer demand

5. Understand the Seller’s Needs, but Resist Waiving Certain Contingencies

When crafting an offer, you’ll want to keep both your best interest and the interest of the seller in mind. Your trusted real estate advisor will help you consider which levers you could pull, including contract contingencies (conditions you set that the seller must meet for the purchase to be finalized). Of course, there are certain contingencies you don’t want to give up, like the home inspection.

Freddie Mac explains:

“Resist the temptation to waive the inspection contingency, especially in a hot market or if the home is being sold ‘as-is’, which means the seller won’t pay for repairs. Without an inspection contingency, you could be stuck with a contract on a house you can’t afford to fix.”

Bottom Line

Today’s competitive housing market makes it more important than ever to make a strong offer on a home. Let’s connect to make sure your offer rises to the top.