Will Forbearance Plans Lead to a Tsunami of Foreclosures?

How can a future wave of foreclosures be avoided?

Woman sitting on sofa with question marks on wall.

At the onset of the economic disruptions caused by the COVID pandemic, the government quickly put into place forbearance plans to allow homeowners to remain in their homes without making their monthly mortgage payments. Today, almost three million households are actively in a forbearance plan. Though 29.4% of those in forbearance have continued to stay current on their payments, many have not.

Yanling Mayer, Principal Economist at CoreLogic, recently revealed:

“A distributional analysis of forborne loans’ payment status reveals that more than one third (39.1%) of all forborne loans are now 150+ days behind payment, while as many as 1-in-4 (25.5%) are 180+ days past due.”

These homeowners have been given permission to not make their payments, but the question now is: how many of them will be able to catch up after their forbearance plan ends? There’s speculation that a forthcoming wave of foreclosures could be the result, and that could lead to another crash in home values like we saw a decade ago.

However, today’s situation is different than the 2006-2008 housing crisis as many homeowners have tremendous amounts of equity in their homes.

What are the experts saying?

Over the last 30 days, several industry experts have weighed in on this subject.

Michael Sklarz, President at Collateral Analytics:

“We may very well see a meaningful increase in the number of homes listed for sale as these borrowers choose to sell at what is arguably an intermediate top in the market and downsize to more affordable homes rather than face foreclosure.”

Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American:

“The foreclosure process is based on two steps. First, the homeowner suffers an adverse economic shock…leading to the homeowner becoming delinquent on their mortgage. However, delinquency by itself is not enough to send a mortgage into foreclosure. With enough equity, a homeowner has the option of selling their home, or tapping into their equity through a refinance, to help weather the economic shock. It is a lack of sufficient equity, the second component of the dual trigger, that causes a serious delinquency to become a foreclosure.”

Don Layton, Senior Industry Fellow at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University:

“With a greater cushion of equity, troubled homeowners have dramatically improved options: a greater ability to access funding (e.g. home equity lines) to keep paying monthly expenses until family finances might recover, improved ability to qualify for and support a loan modification, and, if push comes to shove, the ability to sell the home and monetize their increased net worth while reducing monthly payment obligations. So, what should lenders and servicers expect: a large number of foreclosures or only a modest increase? I believe the latter.”

With today’s positive equity situation, many homeowners will be able to use a loan modification or refinance to stay in their homes. If not, some will go to foreclosure, but most will be able to sell and walk away with their equity.

Won’t the additional homes on the market impact prices?

Distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) sell at a significant discount. If homeowners sell instead of going into foreclosure, the impact on the housing market will be much less severe.

We must also realize there is currently an unprecedented lack of inventory on the market. Just last week, realtor.com explained:

“Nationally, the number of homes for sale was down 39.6%, amounting to 449,000 fewer homes for sale than last December.”

It’s important to remember that there weren’t enough homes for sale even then, and inventory has only continued to decline.

The market has the potential to absorb half a million homes this year without it causing home values to depreciate.

Bottom Line

The pandemic has led to both personal and economic hardships for many American households. The overall residential real estate market, however, has weathered the storm and will continue to do so in 2021.

Couple holding keys to their new house

Florida’s Housing Market: Sales, Median Prices, New Listings Up

Florida Realtor’s data: Single-family home sales are up 22.9% year-over-year, median sales price up 14.1%; condo sales up 30.2%, median price up 16.9%. Chief Economist O’Connor: All of Florida’s metros saw gains in closed sales – but inventory remains far below normal levels.

According to a recently published article from Floridarealtors.org, Florida’s housing market reported more closed sales, more new pending sales, higher median prices, and more new listings in November compared to a year ago. This is despite the ongoing pandemic, according to Florida Realtors ® latest housing data. Single-family existing home sales rose 22.9% compared to a year ago.

“Our homes are more important that ever, becoming the hub of our daily lives as we continue to take steps to safeguard our health, our families, and our communities in the face of the ongoing pandemic,” says Florida Realtor’s President Barry Grooms. “With high demand, Florida’s housing market continues to gain momentum and provide support for the state’s economy.”

Realtors are available in every community to help assist buyers navigate the challenging market conditions of high demand and an inventory shortage of homes for sale.

In November, closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 26,406, up 22.9% year-over-year, while existing condo-townhouse sales totaled 11,003, up 30.2% over November 2019. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.

The statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and condo-townhouse properties rose year-over-year in November for 107 consecutive months. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $305,000, up 14.1% from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Research Department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Last month’s statewide median price for condo-townhouse units was $228,000, up 16.9% over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor noted that November’s closed sales registered the highest percent year-over-year increase of any month this year, except for October’s 26.9% year-over-year rise.

“This growth in sales remained very broad-based in November, with all 22 of Florida’s metro areas seeing positive year-over-year gains,” he said. “The question remains, though, how long can we keep up this pace? Mortgage rates remain at all-time lows and demand will likely remain strong in the coming months, but inventory levels – particularly for single-family homes – remain far below normal levels. As of the end of November, our statewide inventory of single-family homes was down 41.3% compared to a year ago. Even listings of properties north of a million dollars, where we’ve had more inventory, are down by almost 25%.”

This lack of supply continues to keep home prices elevated because of strong competition for the properties that are on the market, O’Connor explained.

“In November, the median price among closed sales of single-family homes was $305,000, which matches October’s figure but still represents a 14.1% year-over-year increase,” he said. “Some of this figure represents a shift in the mix of the types of homes that are selling – we’ve seen a greater share of luxury home sales this year because the inventory shortage hasn’t hit this segment of the market as hard. However, a substantial amount of this increase is entirely due to the lack of supply in the face of strong demand resulting in greater competition among prospective home buyers.”

Meanwhile, inventory hasn’t been quite as much of an issue in the condo/townhouse category, O’Connor said. Still, statewide, that category was down 14.5% year-over-year at the end of November.

New listings statewide increased year-over-year in both property type categories in November, by just 0.3% for single-family existing homes and by 4.2% for condo and townhouse units.

On the supply side of the market, inventory (active listings) remains constrained, particularly in the single-family existing home category, which was at a very limited 2-months’ supply in November. Condo-townhouse inventory was at a 4.7-months’ supply.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.77% in November 2020, significantly lower than the 3.70% averaged during the same month a year earlier.

If you are considering to sell your home, now is the time. With inventory low and sales prices up, it is a seller’s market. Contact our St. Petersburg office today at (727) 343-8600 and let’s connect to discuss how we can utilize our tools and expertise to maximize the sale of your home and get you best return on your investment.

Mortgage Delinquencies Level Off, According to CoreLogic Report

According to a  CoreLogic Insights Blog report just posted, loan performance insights highlights for September 2020 include:

  • The nation’s overall delinquency rate was 6.3% in September.
  • All states experienced annual increases in both overall and serious delinquency rates in September.
Source: CoreLogic
Source: CoreLogic

In September 2020, 6.3% of home mortgages were in some stage of delinquency (30 days or more past due, including those in foreclosure), which was a small decline from August 2020, but a 2.5% increase from September 2019.

Mortgages in early-stage delinquencies (30-59 days past due) was 1.5% in September 2020, down sharply from 4.2% in April 2020 and also below the rate from one year ago, which was 1.9%. Mortgages that were 60-89 days past due was 0.7% in September 2020, up from 0.6% in September 2019, but down from 2.8% in May 2020.

The serious delinquency rate, which is identified as 90 days or more past due, including loans in foreclosure, was 4.2% in September, up from 1.3% a year earlier, but down a bit from 4.3% in August 2020. August represented the highest rate since February 2014. The spike in delinquency that began in April has worked its way through the stages of delinquency and is sitting in the 180-days past-due stage, which increased to 1.6% in September, the highest rate since 2014 and more than five times the year ago rate.

The CARES Act provides relief to mortgage holders and prevented the seriously delinquent mortgages from progressing into foreclosure. The foreclosure inventory rate – the share of mortgages in some stage of the foreclosure process remained low at 0.3% in September 2020, down from 0.4% in September 2019.

Source: CoreLogic
Source: CoreLogic

States with the highest and lowest share of mortgages that are 30 days or more delinquent are shown in the above graph. All states posted annual gains in their overall delinquency rate in September 2020. The states that logged the largest annual increases were Nevada (+4.9 percentage points), Hawaii (+4.7 percentage points), Florida (+4 percentage points) and New Jersey (+3.9 percentage points).

Source: CoreLogic
Source: CoreLogic

The graph above shows the 30-plus-day past-due rate for September 2020 for 10 large metropolitan areas. Miami is in the lead with the highest rate of 11%, San Francisco has the lowest rate at 3.9%, Miami experienced an increase of 6 percentage points from the year prior. Outside of the largest 10, all but two metros recorded an increase in overall delinquency rate. Metro areas that were also hit hard included Lake Charles, Louisiana with the largest spike of 10.7 percentage points, followed by Odessa, Texas (up 10.3 percentage points) and Kahului, Hawaii (up 7.5 percentage points).

 

 

 

How Remote Work Can Power Your Vacation Home Sale

Remote Work is Fueling Demand for Vacation Homes

How Remote Work Can Power Your Vacation Home Sale | MyKCM

This year, the opportunity to work remotely has increased the demand for vacation homes. Gay Cororaton, Senior Economist and Director of Housing and Commercial Research at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), notes:

“Working from home is a positive factor in demand for vacation homes.”

Buyers are taking advantage of the fact that working from home might be someplace other than their primary residence – at the beach, in the mountains, or somewhere in between. NAR explains:

Sales in vacation-home counties increased 48% on average year over year in the third quarter; overall, 81% of vacation-home counties saw a year-over-year sales increase.”

Is it Time to Sell Your Vacation Home?

If you’ve been thinking about selling your vacation home, putting it on the market now while demand is high might be your best move. Here are two reasons why.

1. Vacation Homes Are Selling Quickly

These homes are not staying in the market for very long. NAR also notes:

In September, 68% of vacation homes sold in less than a month. Historically, about 30% sell that quickly…It’s a pretty amazing uptick compared to past years.”

2. Home Prices Are Rising

With an increase in demand, prices go up. NAR continues:

“In the third quarter, prices in vacation-home counties rose by about 32% year over year. Seventy-nine percent of these counties experienced year-over-year price gains. NAR defines a vacation-home county as one in which seasonal housing accounts for at least 20% of stock.”

If your vacation home is sitting idle, maybe not attracting as many renters as you usually see, or if you simply want to sell it so you can trade up or take it off your worry list, now may be the time. Demand is high, so you’re in the ideal spot to get a stronger return on your investment today.

Bottom Line

Demand is on the rise, so let’s discuss your next steps when it comes to selling your vacation home.

Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year?

Mortgage Rates Continually Hitting Record Lows in  2020 – How Long Will it Last?

Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | MyKCM

In 2020, buyers got a big boost in the housing market as mortgage rates dropped throughout the year. According to Freddie Mac, rates hit all-time lows 12 times this year, dipping below 3% for the first time ever while making buying a home more and more attractive as the year progressed (See graph below):Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | MyKCMWhen you continually hear how rates are hitting record lows, you may be wondering: Are they going to keep falling? Should I wait until they get even lower?

The Challenge with Waiting

The challenge with waiting is that you can easily miss this optimal window of time and then end up paying more in the long run. Last week, mortgage rates ticked up slightly. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, explains:

Mortgage rates jumped this week as a result of positive news about a COVID-19 vaccine. Despite this rise, mortgage rates remain about a percentage point below a year ago.”

While rates are still lower today than they were one year ago, as the economy continues to get stronger and the pandemic is resolved, there’s a very good chance interest rates will rise again. Several top institutions in the real estate industry are projecting an increase in mortgage rates over the next four quarters (See chart below): Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | MyKCMIf you’re planning to wait until next year or later, Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), forecasts mortgage rates will begin to steadily rise:Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | MyKCMAs a buyer, you need to decide if waiting makes financial sense for you.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning to buy a home and want to take advantage of today’s low rates, now is the time to do so. Don’t assume they’re going to stay this low forever.

Homes for Sale are Rapidly Disappearing

Low Mortgage Rates, High Demand, and Lack of Homes for Sale Means No Slowing Down this Winter

Homes for Sale Are Rapidly Disappearing | MyKCM

Through all the challenges of 2020, the real estate market has done very well, and purchasers are continuing to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates. Realtor Magazine just explained:

“While winter may be typically a slow season in real estate, economists predict it isn’t likely to happen this year…Low inventories combined with high demand due to record-low mortgage rates is sending buyers to the market in a flurry.”

However, one challenge for the housing industry heading into this winter is the dwindling number of homes available for sale. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), recently said:

“There is no shortage of hopeful, potential buyers, but inventory is historically low.”

In addition, Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, notes:

“Fewer new sellers coming to market while a greater than usual number of buyers continue to search for a home causes inventory to continue to evaporate.”

One major indicator the industry uses to measure housing supply is the months’ supply of inventory. According to NAR:

“Months’ supply refers to the number of months it would take for the current inventory of homes on the market to sell given the current sales pace.”

Historically, six months of supply is considered a normal real estate market. Going into the pandemic, inventory was already well below this mark. As the year progressed, the supply has was reduced even further. Here is a graph showing this measurement over the last year:Homes for Sale Are Rapidly Disappearing | MyKCM

What does this mean if you’re a buyer?

Be patient during your home search. It may take time to find a home you love. Once you do, be ready to move forward quickly. Get pre-approved for a mortgage, be prepared to make a competitive offer from the start, and understand how the shortage in inventory has led to more bidding wars. Calculate just how far you’re willing to go to secure a home if you truly love it.

What does this mean if you’re a seller?

Realize that, in some ways, you’re in the driver’s seat. When there’s a shortage of an item at the same time there’s a strong demand for it, the seller is in a good position to negotiate. Whether it’s the price, moving date, possible repairs, or anything else, you’ll be able to ask for more from a potential purchaser at a time like this – especially if you have multiple interested buyers. Do not be unreasonable, but understand you probably have the upper hand.

Bottom Line

The housing market will remain strong throughout the winter and heading into the spring. Know what that means for you, whether you’re buying, selling, or doing both.

Why Working from Home May Spark Your Next Move

A Large Part of the Workforce Expects to Work Remotely for the Foreseeable Future

Why Working from Home May Spark Your Next Move | MyKCM

If you’ve been working from home this year, chances are you’ve been at it a little longer than you initially expected. Businesses all over the country have figured out how to operate remotely to keep their employees healthy, safe, and productive. For many, it may be carrying into next year, and possibly beyond.

While the pandemic continues, Americans are re-evaluating their homes, floorplans, locations, needs, and more. Some need more space, while others need less. Whether you’re renting or own your home, if remote work is part of your future, you may be thinking about moving, especially while today’s mortgage rates are so low.

A recent study from Upwork notes:

“Anywhere from 14 to 23 million Americans are planning to move as a result of remote work.”

To put this into perspective, last year, 6 million homes were sold in the U.S. This means roughly 2 – 4X as many people are considering moving now, and there’s a direct connection to their ability to work from home.

The same study also notes while 45.3% of people are planning to stay within a 2-hour drive from their current location, 41.5% of the people who are citing working from home as their primary reason for making a move are willing to look for a home more than 4 hours away from where they live now (See graph below):Why Working from Home May Spark Your Next Move | MyKCMIn some cases, moving a little further away from your current location might mean you can get more home for your money. If you have the opportunity to work remotely, you may have more options available by expanding your search. Upwork also indicates, of those surveyed:

“People are seeking less expensive housing: Altogether, more than half (52.5%) are planning to move to a house that is significantly more affordable than their current home.”

Whether you can eliminate your daily commute to the office, or you simply need more space to work from home, your plans may be changing. If that’s the case, it’s time to connect with a local real estate professional to assess your evolving needs and determine your path together.

Bottom Line

This has been a year of change, and what you need in a home is no exception. Let’s connect today to make sure you have expert guidance on your side to help you find a home that fits your remote work needs.

Tips to Sell Your House Safely Right Now

When you think about how you can sell your house safely, just remember:

Your agent now has over 6 months of experience selling houses during the pandemic and can make the process easier and safer for you today.

COVID-19 protocols and technology usage recommendations from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) are making it possible to sell houses right now, while agents continue to abide first and foremost by state and local regulations.

Today, with a full suite of tools, real estate professionals can literally do all of the paperwork remotely without missing a beat. Contactless closings are taking place with ease. This is when the buyer, seller, title agent, etc. do not have to meet in person and instead can conduct the entire closing electronically. Measures to conduct contactless closings were established prior to the pandemic. These measures included the necessary technological advances and changes to laws in many states to facilitate them.

Tips to Sell Your House Safely Right Now [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Let’s connect to discuss how to sell your house safely in today’s housing market.

Homeownership: Investing in Your Financial Future

Homeownership Is a Key to Building Wealth

Homeownership Is a Key to Building Wealth | MyKCM

For years, real estate has been considered the best investment you can make. A major reason for this is due to the net worth a household gains through homeownership. In fact, according to the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finance Data from the Federal Reserve, for the average homeowner:

“…a primary home accounts for 90% of the total wealth of a family in the U.S.”

How do homeowners gain wealth?

Most large purchases, like cars and appliances, depreciate in value as they age, so it’s understandable to question how owning a home can increase wealth over time. In a simple equation, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains how the combination of paying your mortgage and home price appreciation grow overall wealth:

Principal Payments + Price Appreciation Gains = Housing Wealth Gain

As home values increase and you make payments toward your home loan, you’ll gain wealth through equity. The same article from NAR also addresses how wealth gains tend to play out over time:

“Housing wealth accumulation takes time and is built up by paying off the mortgage debt and by price appreciation. And while home prices can fall, home prices tend to recover and go up over the longer term. As of September 2020, the median sales price of existing home sales was $311,800, a 35% gain since July 2006 when prices peaked at $230,000.”

Taking a look at how equity has grown for the typical homeowner, it’s clear to see how real estate is a sound long-term investment. NAR notes:

“Nationally, a person who purchased a typical home 30 years ago would have typically gained about $283,000 as of the second quarter of 2020.” (See graph below):

Homeownership Is a Key to Building Wealth | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a current homeowner planning to put your equity toward a new home or have hopes of buying your first home soon, homeownership will always be a great opportunity to build your net worth and overall wealth. Owning a home is truly an investment in your financial future.

Is it Safe to Sell Your House Right Now?

Sell Your House: Weighing a Seller’s Market Against Valid Concerns

Is it Safe to Sell My House Right Now? | MyKCM

In today’s real estate market, the buzz is all about how it’s a great time to sell your house. Buyer demand is high, and there simply aren’t enough homes available to buy to meet that growing need. This means now is the time to make a move so you can close the deal on your ideal terms.

Even in today’s strong sellers’ market, there are homeowners who are choosing not to sell due to ongoing concerns around the health crisis, financial uncertainty, and life in general. According to Zillow, here are the top three reasons homeowners who are thinking of selling sometime in the next three years are not putting their houses on the market right now:

  • 34% – Life is too uncertain right now
  • 31% – Financial uncertainty
  • 25% – COVID-19 health concerns

If you identify with any of these, you’re not alone. Whether it’s the future of your employment situation or simply being uncomfortable having guests in your home for showings, life feels a lot different than it did at this time last year. The good news is, real estate professionals have spent the majority of 2020 figuring out how to sell homes safely, and it’s paying off for those who are choosing to move this year.

Real estate agents are doing two things very well to make selling your house possible:

1. Agents Are Implementing Technology in the Process

While abiding by state and local regulations as a top priority, real estate agents are making sales happen safely and effectively by leveraging key pieces of technology. Agents know exactly what today’s buyers and sellers need and how to put the necessary digital steps in place. For example, agents have capitalized on the technology buyers find most helpful when deciding on a new home:

  • Virtual tours
  • Accurate and detailed listing information
  • Detailed neighborhood information
  • High-quality listing photos
  • Agent-led video chats

They’re listening to their audience and leveraging the tools that help buyers get an initial look at a home without having to step inside. This helps reduce the number of people entering your home, so only those who are very seriously interested need to take the next step: in-person showings.

2. Agents Are Facilitating Safe and Effective In-Person Showings

After leveraging technology, if you have serious buyers who still want to see your house in person, agents are following the guidelines set by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and utilizing safe ways to proceed. Here are a few of them, understanding again that the agent’s top priority is always to follow­ state and local restrictions first:

  • Limiting in-person activity
  • R­­­equiring guests to wash their hands or use an alcohol-based sanitizer
  • Removing shoes or covering them with booties
  • Following CDC guidance on social distancing and wearing face coverings

Getting comfortable with your agent – a true trusted advisor – taking these steps under the modern-era safety standards might be your best plan. This is especially important if you’re in a position where you need to sell your house sooner rather than later.

As Jeff Tucker, Senior Economist for Zillow notes:

“Homeowners who feel life is uncertain right now may think they can still get a strong price if they delay selling until they have more clarity. The catch is that waiting to sell may raise the cost of a trade-up. This fall’s record low mortgage rates, which make a trade-up more affordable on a monthly basis, are not guaranteed to last.”

Bottom Line

In this new era in our lives, things are shifting quickly, and virtual strategies for sellers may be your ideal option. Opening your doors up to new approaches could be game-changing when it comes to selling your house while the market is leaning in your favor. Let’s connect so you have a trusted real estate professional to help you safely and effectively navigate all that’s new when it comes to making your next move.