Olympia and Thurston County Washington
Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from national market statistics to greater Olympia area home value trends and Thurston County happenings. That’s because we care about the community we serve and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all or have a question or situation we can bring clarity to, and maybe it will end up being an article to help everyone!

Search our blog for helpful videos and articles.

Dec. 29, 2021

2021 Real Estate Market in Review

With the year 2021 the real estate market exploded! Here is a brief run through of the 2021 market with a focus on Thurston and surrounding counties. We'll take a closer look at this year's stats like home sales, average market time and more while also comparing it to the "quote-unquote" 'normal' and why the definition of a normal market is changing.  

Available Homes for Sale

Seasons will always impact the market. Right now, with the holiday season and the dark, damp time of year upon us we are seeing a predictably low amount of new listings but in reality 2021 as a whole has been consistently low inventory with just a couple hundred on the market currently in Thurston County. 

Days on Market

This low inventory combined with the pace of the market creates lots of competition. The average time on market is just 15 days and here at MVP it's even shorter, usually just 7 days. Find out how that time frame might change in the 2022 Market Forecast

Months of Inventory

When taking the pace of the market and comparing it to the average number of homes for sale, we find the absorption rate, or the rate at which available homes are sold. Right now, we are looking at just .6 months of inventory in Thurston County or just a couple of weeks worth. 

Home Sales vs Inventory

While we might have low inventory, this is not synonymous with a low number of sales. Yes, we're talking supply vs. demand. We are experiencing a lack of inventory for the current demand but a record number of sales for the last several years. 

Why the High Demand?

The recent surge in home prices is due to more active buyers in the market than there are homes for sale. More buyers trying to take advantage of the low interest rates and affordability before it's gone. We are also seeing an influx in the number of Millennials joining the housing market, often times as first time homebuyers. With Millennials taking advantage of their monthly housing cost to build wealth, demand is higher than ever. When demand is high and supply is low, prices will naturally continue to rise. If you're a Millennial and looking to learn more about how you can join your peers on the path to owning your first home, check out our guide A Millennial's Guide to Homeownership

 

Why it Might Cost You to Wait?

Early 2021 saw the lowest mortgage interest rates in recorded history but rates are starting to climb. When mortgage rates go up, it impacts affordability. Here is a calculation prediction of how much more it will cost you waiting just one year to buy. To learn more about buying and making your dreams of homeownership happen in 2022, check out our Home Buying 2022 Guide

Bottom Line

A perfect storm of low inventory and high demand means don't expect home prices to drop in 2022. Think about your homeownership goals and considering purchasing a home before prices and mortgage rates rise further. Find out how in our Buying Guide Winter 2022 or debunk some common misconceptions about home buying with us in our Millennial's Guide to Homeownership

If you have given any thought to selling, now is the time as our Selling Your Home Winter 2022 Guide goes more in depth on. Today’s buyers are motivated to purchase a home and this might be the best time to sell in our lifetimes. If you're looking to make a move, you have a great opportunity to get the best of both worlds this season.

Let’s connect today to discuss how much leverage you have, and why it might be best to make that move now instead of later. Contact Us and don't forgot to download your 2022 Real Estate Market Forecast.

Dec. 8, 2021

Struggling To Find a Home To Buy? New Construction May Be an Option.

Struggling To Find a Home To Buy? New Construction May Be an Option. | MyKCM

There’s no question that the financial benefits of selling a house are outstanding today. Now is truly a great time to list if you’re ready to make a change. But if you do sell your house right now, you may be wondering where you’ll go when you move.

With so few homes available to buy right now, you might be considering building a new home as one of your options. But you may be unsure if that’s the way to go. Let’s compare the benefits of a newly built home versus moving into an existing one, and why working with a real estate agent throughout the process is mission-critical to your success no matter what you decide.

The Pros of Newly Built Homes

First, let’s look at the benefits of purchasing a newly constructed home. With a brand-new home, you’ll be able to:

1. Create your perfect home.

If you build a home from the ground up, you’ll have the option to select the custom features you want, including appliances, finishes, landscaping, layout, and more.

2. Cash-in on energy efficiency.

When building a home, you can choose energy-efficient options to help lower your utility costs, protect the environment, and reduce your carbon footprint.

3. Minimize the need for repairs.

Many builders offer a warranty, so you’ll have peace of mind on unlikely repairs. Plus, you won’t have as many little projects to tackle. QuickenLoans puts it like this

“Buying a new construction vs. existing home typically means you’ll have fewer repairs to do. It can be a huge relief to know that it’s unlikely you’ll have to repair the roof or replace the furnace.”

4. Have brand new everything.

Another perk of a new home is that nothing in the house is used. It’s all brand new and uniquely yours from day one.

The Pros of Existing Homes

Now, let’s compare that to the perks that come with buying an existing home. With a pre-existing home, you can:

1. Explore a wider variety of home styles and floorplans.

With decades of homes to choose from, you’ll have a broader range of floorplans and designs available.

2. Join an established neighborhood.

Existing homes give you the option to get to know the neighborhood, community, or traffic patterns before you commit.

3. Enjoy mature trees and landscaping.

Established neighborhoods also have more developed landscaping and trees, which can give you additional privacy and curb appeal. As Investopedia says, if you buy an existing home:

“Odds are, too, that the home will have mature landscaping, so you won’t have to worry about starting a lawn, planting shrubs, and waiting for trees to grow.”

4. Appreciate that lived-in charm.

The character of older homes is hard to reproduce. If you value timeless craftsmanship or design elements, you may prefer an existing home. According to Houseopedia:

“Charm is priceless. Existing homes, especially those built in the 1950’s or before, often offer architectural elements, historic charm and a quality of craftsmanship not available in new homes.”

The choice is yours. When you start your search for the perfect home, remember that you can go either route – you just need to decide which features and benefits are most important to you. Working with the guidance of your trusted real estate advisor will help you make the most informed and educated decision, so you can move into the home of your dreams.

Bottom Line

If you have questions about the options in your area, let’s discuss what’s available and what’s right for you, so you’re ready to make your next move with confidence.

Nov. 24, 2021

Taking Time Off of Your Home Search Could Cost You Thousands

How Smart Buyers Are Approaching Rising Mortgage Rates | MyKCM

Last week, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate from Freddie Mac inched up to 3.1%, and experts project rates will continue rising through 2022:

“The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 2.9% in the third quarter of 2021. We forecast mortgage rates to increase slightly through the remainder of the year and reach 3.0%, rising to 3.5% for full year 2022.”

If you’re thinking of buying a home, here are a few things to keep in mind so you can succeed even as mortgage rates rise.

Taking Time Off Can Be Costly

Mortgage rates play a significant role in your home search. As rates go up, your monthly mortgage payment increases if you’re buying a home, directly affecting how much you can afford. And even the smallest increase can have a large impact on your monthly payment (see chart below):How Smart Buyers Are Approaching Rising Mortgage Rates | MyKCMWith mortgage rates on the rise, you’ve likely seen your purchasing power impacted already. Instead of waiting and hoping rates will fall, today’s rates should motivate you to purchase now before rates increase more.

Smart Buyers Can Succeed by Planning Ahead

You can use your newfound motivation to energize your search and plan your next steps accordingly so you’re prepared to act no matter what happens with mortgage rates. One way to do that: take rising rates into consideration as part of your budget.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, puts it best, saying:

“Smart buyers should consider calculating a monthly payment not only at today’s rates, but also at rates that are a bit higher so that they won’t be derailed by a sudden upward move. . . .”

You should also be ready to act when you find the home that meets your needs. That means getting pre-approved with a lender so there won’t be any delays when the time arrives.

The best way to prepare is to work with a trusted real estate advisor now. An agent can connect you with a lender, help you adjust your search based on your budget, and be ready to act quickly when it’s time to make an offer.

Bottom Line

Serious buyers should approach rising rates as a motivating factor to buy sooner, not a reason to wait. Waiting will cost you more in the long run. Let’s connect today so you can better understand your budget and be prepared to buy your home even before rates climb higher.

Posted in Buying, Mortgages
Nov. 23, 2021

Don’t Believe Everything You Read: The Truth Many Headlines Overlook

Don't Believe Everything You Read: The Truth Many Headlines Overlook | MyKCM

There are a lot of questions right now regarding the real estate market as we head into 2022. The forbearance program is coming to an end and mortgage rates are beginning to rise.

With all of this uncertainty, anyone with a megaphone – from the mainstream media to a lone blogger – has realized that bad news sells. Unfortunately, we’ll continue to see a rash of troublesome headlines over the next few months. To make sure you aren’t paralyzed by a headline, turn to reliable resources for a look at what to expect from the housing market next year.

There are already alarmist headlines starting to appear. Here are two recent topics you may have seen in the news.

1. Foreclosures Are Spiking Today

There are a number of headlines circulating that call out the rising foreclosures in today’s real estate market. Those stories focus on an overly narrow view on that topic: the current volume of foreclosures compared to 2020. They emphasize that we’re seeing far more foreclosures this year compared to last.

That seems rather daunting. However, though it’s true foreclosures have been up over the 2020 numbers, it’s important to realize that there were virtually no foreclosures last year because of the forbearance plan. If we compare this September to September of 2019 (the last normal year), foreclosures were down 70% according to ATTOM.

Even Rick Sharga, an Executive Vice President of the firm that issued the report referenced in the above article, says:

“As expected, now that the moratorium has been over for three months, foreclosure activity continues to increase. But it’s increasing at a slower rate, and it appears that most of the activity is primarily on vacant and abandoned properties, or loans in foreclosure prior to the pandemic.”

Homeowners who have been impacted by the pandemic are not generally the ones being burdened right now. That’s because the forbearance program has worked. Ali Haralson, President of Auction.com, explains that the program has done a remarkable job:

“The tsunami of foreclosures many feared in the early days of the pandemic has not materialized thanks in large part to the swift and decisive foreclosure protections put in place by government policymakers and the mortgage servicing industry.”

And the government is still making sure homeowners have every opportunity to stay in their homes. Rohit Chopra, the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), issued this statement just last week:

“Failures by mortgage servicers and regulators worsened the impact of the economic crisis a decade ago. Regulators have learned their lesson, and we will be scrutinizing servicers to ensure they are doing all they can to help homeowners and follow the law.”

2. Rising Mortgage Rates Will Slow the Housing Market

Another topic that’s generating frequent headlines is the rise in mortgage rates. Some people are expressing concern that rising rates will negatively impact the housing market by causing home sales to dramatically decline. The resulting headlines are raising unneeded alarm bells. To counteract those headlines, we need to take a look at what history tells us. Looking at data over the last 20 years, there’s no evidence that an increase in rates dramatically forces sales to come to a halt. Nor does home price appreciation come to a screeching stop. Let’s look at home sales first:

The last three times rates increased (shown in the graph above in red), sales (depicted in blue in the graph) remained rather consistent. It’s true that sales fell rather dramatically from 2007 through 2010, but mortgage rates were also falling at the time. The next two instances showed no meaningful drop in sales.

Now, let’s take a look at home price appreciation (see graph below):

Don't Believe Everything You Read: The Truth Many Headlines Overlook | MyKCM

Again, we see that a rise in rates didn’t cause prices to depreciate. Outside of the years following the crash, prices continued to appreciate, just at a slower rate. 

Bottom Line 

There’s a lot of misinformation out there. If you want the best advice on what’s happening in the current housing market, let’s connect.

Nov. 8, 2021

A Different Kind of Buyer's Remorse

It is still a challenging market in which to be a buyer, and we continue encouraging our clients to get in before prices and interest rates go up any more. If you don't currently own a home, you are experiencing inflation while homeowners are experiencing appreciation -- two very different things.

Besides being advisor, negotiator, and coordinator for our clients when they are purchasing a home, we do a lot of counseling; doing our best to keep their spirits up in what can be a rollercoaster ride until the very end. We remind our clients that everyone gets the home they were intended to have, and it will feel right.

But, despite all the counsel and insights we provide, many buyers still need to experience that sense of loss when they miss out on the first couple homes because they hesitate or don't make their "no regrets offer" right out of the gate, and that's okay. It's just part of the learning process.

Check out this article our CEO and Designated Broker, Matthew Plummer, was interviewed for in The Residential Specialist Magazine. https://trsmag.com/oh-no-no-dealing-with-buyers-remorse/

TRS Magazine Buyer's Remorse

Nov. 4, 2021

Why a Wave of Foreclosures Is Not on the Way

Why a Wave of Foreclosures Is Not on the Way | MyKCM

With forbearance plans coming to an end, many are concerned the housing market will experience a wave of foreclosures similar to what happened after the housing bubble 15 years ago. Here are a few reasons why that won’t happen.

There are fewer homeowners in trouble this time

After the last housing crash, about 9.3 million households lost their homes to a foreclosure, short sale, or because they simply gave it back to the bank.

As stay-at-home orders were issued early last year, the fear was the pandemic would impact the housing industry in a similar way. Many projected up to 30% of all mortgage holders would enter the forbearance program. In reality, only 8.5% actually did, and that number is now down to 2.2%.

As of last Friday, the total number of mortgages still in forbearance stood at  1,221,000. That’s far fewer than the 9.3 million households that lost their homes just over a decade ago.

Most of the mortgages in forbearance have enough equity to sell their homes

Due to rapidly rising home prices over the last two years, of the 1.22 million homeowners currently in forbearance, 93% have at least 10% equity in their homes. This 10% equity is important because it enables homeowners to sell their homes and pay the related expenses instead of facing the hit on their credit that a foreclosure or short sale would create.

The remaining 7% might not have the option to sell, but if the entire 7% of those 1.22 million homes went into foreclosure, that would total about 85,400 mortgages. To give that number context, here are the annual foreclosure numbers for the three years leading up to the pandemic:

  • 2017: 314,220
  • 2018: 279,040
  • 2019: 277,520

The probable number of foreclosures coming out of the forbearance program is nowhere near the number of foreclosures that impacted the housing crash 15 years ago. It’s actually less than one-third of any of the three years prior to the pandemic.

The current market can absorb listings coming to the market

When foreclosures hit the market back in 2008, there was an oversupply of houses for sale. It’s exactly the opposite today. In 2008, there was over a nine-month supply of listings on the market. Today, that number is less than a three-month supply. Here’s a graph showing the difference between the two markets.Why a Wave of Foreclosures Is Not on the Way | MyKCM

Bottom Line

The data indicates why Ivy Zelman, founder of the major housing market analytical firm Zelman and Associates, was on point when she stated:

“The likelihood of us having a foreclosure crisis again is about zero percent.”

Posted in Real Estate News
Oct. 22, 2021

FAQ - Inspection: Buyer Response Options

After the home buyer has completed the home inspection with their licensed home inspector, the Inspection Addendum to the Purchase and Sale Agreement gives he buyer a few options. We'll line them out below, and Matthew provides a detailed explanation in the following video.

Here are the available options and possible outcomes to each approach:

  1. Declare buyer satisfaction.
  2. Terminate and demand buyer be refunded their earnest money.
  3. Request seller make modifications to the property or modify the terms of the agreement.
  4. Notify the seller of additional inspections to come based upon the recommendation of the home inspector.

No matter what you ask of the seller, they do not have the right to terminate your purchase. However, they also have no obligation to negotiate with you or even respond to your requests.

Posted in Buying, FAQ
Oct. 15, 2021

Home Characteristics Buyers Compromise On

This chart from the National Association of Realtors Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report of 2021 shows that compromise is a big part of successful home buying. Further, you can see that, across the generations, price is one of the biggest compromises buyers make. Other major compromises include the condition of the home, size of the home and distance from work.

Are you ready to commit to a plan of becoming a homeowner? Or perhaps you need someone who understands how to appeal to the market in selling your home. Reach out today!

Sept. 17, 2021

Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing?

Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing? | MyKCM

An important metric in today’s residential real estate market is the number of homes available for sale. The shortage of available housing inventory is the major reason for the double-digit price appreciation we’ve seen in each of the last two years. It’s the reason many would-be purchasers are frustrated with the bidding wars over the homes that are available. However, signs of relief are finally appearing.

 

According to data from realtor.com, active listings have increased over the last four months. They define active listings as:

“The active listing count tracks the number of for sale properties on the market, excluding pending listings where a pending status is available. This is a snapshot measure of how many active listings can be expected on any given day of the specified month.”

 

What normally happens throughout the year?

Historically, housing inventory increases throughout the summer months, starts to tail off in the fall, and then drops significantly over the winter. The graph below shows this trend along with the month active listings peaked in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing? | MyKCM

What happened last year?

Last year, the trend was different. Historical seasonality wasn’t repeated in 2020 since many homeowners held off on putting their houses up for sale because of the pandemic (see graph below). In 2020, active listings peaked in April, and then fell off dramatically for the remainder of the year.

Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing? | MyKCM

What’s happening this year?

Due to the decline of active listings in 2020, 2021 began with record-low housing inventory counts. However, we’ve been building inventory over the last several months as more listings come to the market (see graph below)

Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing? | MyKCM

There are three main reasons we may see listings continue to increase throughout this fall and into the winter.

 

  1. Pent-up selling demand – Homeowners may be more comfortable putting their homes on the market as more and more Americans get vaccinated.
  2. New construction is starting to take off – Though new construction is not included in the realtor.com numbers, as more new homes are built, there will be more options for current homeowners to consider when they sell. The lack of options has slowed many potential sellers in the past.
  3. The end of forbearance will create some new listings – Most experts believe the end of the forbearance program will not lead to a wave of foreclosures for several reasons. The main reason is the level of equity homeowners currently have in their homes. Many homeowners will be able to sell their homes instead of going to foreclosure, which will lead to some additional listings on the market.

Bottom Line

If you’re in the market to buy a home, stick with it. There are new listings becoming available every day. If you’re thinking of selling your house, you may want to list your home before this additional competition comes to market.

Sept. 9, 2021

2022 Education Opportunities from MVP


Matthew Plummer

CEO/Owner/Designated Broker
Of MVP Realty Group

Matthew has extensive knowledge in both Real Estate Opportunities and Tips to Gaining Financial Independence.


Spend an evening (or both evenings) to learn how to take the next step toward your financial goals!

Bring your notebooks and come with your questions.

February 22nd from 6:30-8pm

Introduction to Real Estate Investing 

Location: In-Person at 1219 11th Ave SE, Olympia WA 98501 & Virtually via Ringcentral Meetings

Learn about the best types of properties to invest in, what mortgage options exist, cash requirements, and how to evaluate a property's potential ROI objectively.

Real Estate Investment Lifecycle

January 11th from 6:30-8pm

Introduction to Financial Independence - Meeting Online via Ringcentral Meetings

Whether you wish to become wealthy or simply get out of the cycle of living paycheck-to-paycheck, this class will cover proven (not new) concepts only a small percentage of people understand and follow in order to achieve financial independence.

Couple Budgeting