Wednesday, July 25, 2018

You'll Never Guess How Far New Home Prices Have Dropped

If you've been hoping to buy a pristine, newly built home, but hesitating over the price, you may want to take the plunge now.
The median price of a new-construction home continued its slide, hitting $302,100 in June, according to a joint report by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That's the lowest it's been since February 2017, when the median was $298,000.
"It's just a couple months of price declines, so I don't want to read too much into it," says® Chief Economist Danielle Hale. The median price has been declining each month since it peaked in March at $335,400. "But a shift toward lower prices could indicate a shift toward more affordable construction to come."
That's promising news for buyers who have been growing increasingly frustrated by the lack of homes on the market, along with high prices and rising mortgage rates. In fact, the price gap between existing homes (which have previously been lived in) and new homes, which are typically more expensive, has been closing in recent months.
Existing homes cost a median $276,900 in June, according to the most recent National Association of Realtors® report. That's a new all-time high, but is still 9.1% less than the median price tag of a newly constructed abode.
Meanwhile, the number of new homes sold and for sale, 631,000, was down 5.3% from May, according to the report. However, it was up 2.4% from June of 2017. (® looked only at the seasonally adjusted numbers in the report.)
The Northeast was the only region that saw a surge in new homes being sold and hitting the market in June. It was up 26.8% from the previous month and 20.9% from the the previous year.
The West experienced a 5.2% monthly drop and a 15% annual plunge in the number of new homes sold and for sale. It was followed by the South, where it was down 7.7% from May, but was up 8.1% from June of 2017. In the Midwest, it plummeted 13.4% month-over-month, but the number of homes sold and for sale rose 7.6% year-over-year.
The biggest takeaway from this month's report were the lower prices.
"Entry-level buyers might see some relief on the horizon," says Hale. "We're not talking a huge change in the market where buyers overnight will find the [housing] market is now easy. But it should be easier."
Contact McLeod Group Network to find your new home. 971.208.5093 or
By:, Clare Trapasso

Monday, July 23, 2018

Lack of Listings Slowing Down the Market

As the real estate market continues to move down the road to a complete recovery, we see home values and home sales increasing while distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) continue to fall to their lowest points in years. There is no doubt that the housing market will continue to strengthen throughout 2018.
However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory!

Here’s what a few industry experts have to say about the current inventory crisis:

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors

“Inventory coming onto the market during this year’s spring buying season…was not even close to being enough to satisfy demand, that is why home prices keep outpacing incomes and listings are going under contract in less than a month – and much faster – in many parts of the country.”

Sam Khater, Chief Economist for Freddie Mac

“While this spring’s sudden rise in mortgage rates [took] up a good chunk of the conversation, it’s the stubbornly low inventory levels in much of the country that are preventing sales from really taking off like they should… Most markets simply need a lot more new and existing supply to cool price growth and give buyers enough choices.”

Alexandra Lee, Housing Data Analyst for Trulia

This seasonal inventory jump wasn’t enough to offset the historical year-over-year downward trend that has continued over 14 consecutive quarters…Despite the second-quarter gain, inventory was down 5.3% from a year ago. Still, this represents an easing of the double-digit drops we’ve been seeing since the second quarter of 2017.”

Bottom Line

If you are thinking about selling, now may be the time. Demand for your house will be strongest while there is still very little competition which could lead to a quick sale for a great price.

Let’s get together and discuss your options! 971.208.5093 or

By: KCM Crew

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Demand for Homes to Buy Continues to Climb

Across the United States, there is a severe mismatch between the low number of houses for sale and the high demand for those houses! First-time homebuyers are out in force and are being met with a highly competitive summer real estate market.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the inventory of homes for sale “has fallen year-over-year for 36 consecutive months,” and now stands at a 4.1-month supply. A 6-month supply of inventory is necessary for a balanced market and has not been seen since August of 2012.
NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun had this to say,
“Inventory coming onto the market during this year’s spring buying season – as evidenced again by last month’s weak reading – was not even close to being enough to satisfy demand.
That is why home prices keep outpacing incomes and listings are going under contract in less than a month – and much faster – in many parts of the country.”
Is There Any Relief Coming?
According to the CoreLogic’s 2018 Consumer Housing Sentiment Study, four times as many renters are considering buying homes in the next 12 months than homeowners who are planning to sell, “which is the crux of the available housing-supply imbalance.”
pics 1.jpeg
As more and more renters realize the benefits of homeownership, the demand for housing will continue to rise.
Do homeowners realize demand is so high? With home prices rising across the country, homeowners gained over a trillion dollars in equity over the last 12 months, with the average homeowner gaining over $16,000!
The map below shows the breakdown by state:
pic 2.jpeg
Many homeowners who have not thought about listing their homes may not even realize how much equity they have gained, or the opportunity available to them in today’s market!

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many homeowners across the country who hasn’t quite found their forever home, now may be a great time to list your house for sale and find your dream home! 971.208.5093 or

By: KCM Crew

Monday, July 16, 2018

First-Time Home Buyers Continue to Put Down Less Than 6%!

According to the Realtors Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors, 61% of first-time homebuyers purchased their homes with down payments below 6% in 2017.

Many potential homebuyers believe that a 20% down payment is necessary to buy a home and have disqualified themselves without even trying, but in March, 71% of first-time buyers and 54% of all buyers put less than 20% down.

Ralph McLaughlin, Chief Economist and Founder of Veritas Urbis Economicsrecently shed light on why buyer demand has remained strong,

“The fact that we now have four consecutive quarters where owner households increased while renters households fell is a strong sign households are making the switch from renting to buying.

Households under 35 – which represent the largest potential pool of new homeowners in the U.S. – have shown some of the largest gains. While they only make up a third of all homebuyers, the steady uptick in their homeownership rate over the past year suggests their enormous purchasing power may be finally coming to [the] housing market.”

It’s no surprise that with rents rising, more and more first-time buyers are taking advantage of low-down-payment mortgage options to secure their monthly housing costs and finally attain their dream homes.

Bottom Line
If you are one of the many first-time buyers unsure of whether or not they would qualify for a low-down payment mortgage, let’s get together and set you on your path to homeownership! 971.208.5093 or

By: KCM Crew

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Move or Improve? These Scenarios Will Help You Decide How to Spend Your Dough

There comes a time when every homeowner will spread their arms, look around, and say, "This house feels too small." Perhaps your kids have outgrown their bunk beds, or your partner's startup blew up, and now every inch of your bungalow is occupied.
One way or another, you need more room. But do you break ground on your current home or break your budget on a new house? The decision to move or improve can be complex and emotional. On one hand, you love your neighborhood and the memories you've made. But on the other hand, you love space. So how do you choose?
The answer depends on your neighborhood, your budget, the housing market, and (sorry) your mom. Here's how to tell whether you should start over in a new place—or transform your existing property.

First, ask yourself the tough questions

You might be salivating over the houses for sale or dreaming of your double-size, custom-built master bedroom—but don't make a snap decision based on a fantasy.
Instead, start by making a classic list of pros and cons. What is it about buying a new home that tickles your fancy? Or does the process stress you out? Are you pumped for renovation—or would you rather ditch the dust?
"Essentially, these are two different paths to the same destination: a home to love," says Michael Hausam, a Realtor® in Irvine, CA.
Hausam suggests that the mere act of listing your ideas might make the decision. Maybe your "move" column vastly outweighs your "stay" list—but you want that new bedroom, dammit! Then you have your answer.
And if you're struggling still? We've done the heavy lifting for you. Take a peek at the following scenarios to determine whether you should move or improve.

Move: If your city gives your plans the thumbs-down

You've drawn up elaborate plans for popping the top of your two-bed bungalow. But your city might not be on board. Before breaking ground, find out if your proposed idea meets zoning requirements.
"The local government is where you'll need to go to find out if you can even expand your current living space," says Realtor Kaylin Richerson of Prime Real Estate in Valparaiso, IN.
To figure out if your new expansion will pass muster, you'll need to gather a pile of documents. Plan to get a property survey and detailed drawings just for the permit alone. And if your city says no—well, it's time to start house hunting.

Improve: If your home is unique

Your first house hunt was hard enough. Now you want to do it again? Oh, but where will you find the perfect home? You need only an indoor-outdoor shower, built-in library (of real mahogany), and double-vanity bathroom for the kids.
If your current home already comes with the special features you require, add on instead of buying new.
"The more unique the needs and requirements, the more difficult it may be to find another home with those features," Hausam says.

Move: If your current home is in a seller's market

The best part of being in a seller's market is taking advantage of the seller's market. If your home has dramatically increased in value during your tenure, it could be "more beneficial to sell your home and buy a bigger and better home than to expand," Richerson says.
But make sure to check with a local real estate agent before finalizing your decision.
"In certain areas and price ranges, some houses are sitting on the market a bit longer," she says. If that's you, a renovation may be in order.

Improve: If you love your location

Time for a caveat: Just because your home is in a seller's market doesn't mean you should always sell. If you love your location and home prices are skyrocketing, remodeling may be the only way to stay put in your neighborhood.
After all, if your home increased in price, every other house in the area did as well. You might be profiting $100,000 by selling your place—but good-stinking-luck finding anything else in your price range, especially if you want to upgrade. Adding a wing might be the cheapest way to get space without sacrificing your A-plus location.

Move: If renovating will be an ordeal 

Say you're snug in a three-bedroom ranch, but you'd like at least five bedrooms and a new playroom. That's a lot of work. Figure out how big the gap is between what you have and what you want. If it's enormous, undergoing a massive renovation might not be worth it.
Start by considering remodeling costs, the length of time your home will be under construction, and whether you plan to live in the home during construction, Hausam recommends.
"A significant remodel project is an extremely big deal—far more involved than would be packing up your things and moving them," he says.

Improve: If your parents want a say

"But my folks don't get a say in my house!" you might be thinking.
Except when you need additional space to accommodate aging parents. You'll likely be looking for an in-law unit—which can be tricky to find on the market, much less one that said mother-in-law actually likes.
"We deal with many people struggling with this decision," says Christina Souretis, a Realtor in Duxbury, MA. "The ones that decided to expand usually have parents that need to move in with them, so there are more people involved in the home-buying process. Not everyone can decide on a house."
Expanding makes it much easier to take your parents' taste into account by designing an add-on specifically for them.

Move: If you'd be building the biggest house in the neighborhood

Take a look around. Have a lot of your neighbors expanded? Or are they mostly chilling in the original square footage?
"Before expanding, families should make sure they're not adding on in a neighborhood with smaller homes," Souretis says.
Why? When it comes time to sell, unloading the priciest home on the block typically will be a challenge. If you expand and decide to sell in the future, you might be restricting your buyer pool. So before you make any decisions, think about the long-term consequences—not just what makes you happy right now.
Contact The McLeod Group Network to discuss your options! 971.208.5093 or
By:, Jamie Wiebe

Monday, July 9, 2018

The #1 Reason to List Your House for Sale NOW!

If you are debating whether or not to list your house for sale this year, here is the #1 reason not to wait!

Buyer Demand Continues to Outpace the Supply of Homes for Sale
The National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun recently commented on the current lack of inventory:

“Inventory coming onto the market during this year’s spring buying season– as evidenced again by last month’s weak reading – was not even close to being enough to satisfy demand. 

That is why home prices keep outpacing incomes and listings are going under contract in less than a month – and much faster – in many parts of the country.”

The latest Existing Home Sales Report shows that there is currently a 4.1-month supply of homes for sale. This remains lower than the 6-month supply necessary for a normal market, and 6.1% lower than last year’s inventory level.

The chart below details the year-over-year inventory shortages experienced over the last 12 months:

Anything less than a six-month supply is considered a “seller’s market.”

Bottom Line
Let’s get together to discuss the supply conditions in our neighborhood so that I can assist you in gaining access to the buyers who are ready, willing, and able to buy right now! 971.208.5093 or

By: KCM Crew

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Barbecue Grill Safety: 8 Tips to Ensure Your Cookout Doesn't Go Up in Flames

Cooking outside on a barbecue grill is one of the great joys of summer. But before you fire yours up, make sure you're familiar with all the necessary precautions and safety techniques. Yes, of course, you know the obvious risks of cooking on an open flame. But there are preventive measures you should take before and after use to ensure your meal goes off without a hitch.
The following safety tips are easy and effective, and—when put into practice—will make grilling hazard-free.
1. Store your barbecue grill away from flammables
Your grill should be kept far from anything flammable—like a shed, furniture, trees, or dry grass, says Peter Duncanson, a disaster restoration expert with ServiceMaster Restore in Memphis, TN.
The grill should be in a well-ventilated area—not under a canopy, garage, or carport, where it might start a fire or even cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

2. Clean your grill before and after cooking

Before firing up the grill, clean the grate using a grill-specific cleaner, grease-cutting agents, or vinegar and water to get rid of any grease or residue.
“Start it clean, just like you would your oven,” Duncanson says.
Postcleaning, turn on the grill and let it run for 30 to 45 minutes to help sanitize it.
Phil Johnson, the owner and pitmaster of Trapp Haus BBQ in Phoenix, AZ, recommends keeping the temperature higher than normal: 200 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit on a smoker, and 300 to 400 degrees on a propane grill.
After cooking, clean the grates with a coiled-wire brush. When you use the wire brush, you cut down on the accumulation of grease that can lead to fires or attract bugs and animals.

3. Oil the grates

Before you turn on the grill and start cooking, Johnson recommends spraying the grates with cooking spray or pouring some vegetable oil on an old rag and wiping down the grates. This will prevent food from sticking to the grates, which could cause a flare-up.

4. Don’t overload the grill with too much food

If you place too much food on the grill all at once—especially meats with a high fat content—there's a chance the grease will drip on the flames and cause a flare-up.
“If something starts flaring up, it’s very hard to get control,” says Johnson.
One great way to reduce flare-ups? Wrap your food in foil packets before throwing them on the grill.
“I’m a big believer in using foil packs to cut down on the grease,” says Duncanson.

5. Have a fire extinguisher nearby

In the event that your grill does go up in flames, you'll want to have a fire extinguisher an arm's length away. Make sure yours hasn't expired by checking either the expiration date on the side or the pressure gauge. Most extinguishers work for five to 15 years.

6. Never leave your grill unattended

The fire in your grill can grow in mere seconds, so you should never step away from it, even to grab a plate or utensils. Bring all of your clean grilling tools like tongs, a spatula, and a plate over to the grill with you so you don't have to race around to retrieve them.

7. Charcoal barbecue grill safety tips

  • Don't pile too much charcoal inside. It could cause ashes and sparks to become airborne, possibly causing a fire.
  • Dont use too much starter fluid. Use charcoal-specific starter fluid. Apply the fluid only to cold coals before you grill. Do not add extra fluid once the grill is lit as flames could get too high, resulting in possible burns or a fire.
  • Wait to empty your ashes. Empty your used ashes only when they have fully cooled. Never store or dispose of ashes in a garbage can or leave them on a deck. It's best to dump them on garden soil or contain them in a metal receptacle for proper disposal, says Duncanson.

8. Gas barbecue grill safety tips

  • Open the lid before cooking. Opening the lid before lighting is important as this allows oxygen to escape and reduces the risk of fire or a potential explosion.
  • Check the grill's gas line and tank fittings for leaks. You can do this regularly by brushing soapy water around these areas. If you see bubbles emerge, there could be a leak somewhere. Be sure to replace any damaged or leaking parts, and make any other needed repairs before using the grill.
  • Properly shut off the grill. To power off your gas grill, shut off the controls first and then close the gas line at the tank. Once its completely off, open the burners back up so that gas can escape from the line so theres no trapped fuel, says Duncanson.
Contact The McLeod Group Network for all your Real Estate needs! 971.208.5093 or

By and photo credit:, Teresa K. Traverse