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.

June 30, 2021

What Do Experts See on the Horizon for the Second Half of the Year?

What Do Experts See on the Horizon for the Second Half of the Year? | MyKCM

As we move into the latter half of the year, questions about what’s to come are top of mind for buyers and sellers. Near record-low mortgage rates coupled with rising home price appreciation kicked off a robust housing market in the first half of 2021, but what does the forecast tell us about what’s on the horizon?

Mortgage Rates Will Likely Increase, but Remain Low

Many experts are projecting a rise in interest rates. The latest Quarterly Forecast from Freddie Mac states:

“We foercast that mortgage rates will continue to rise through the end of next year. We estimate the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will average 3.4% in the fourth quarter of 2021, rising to 3.8% in the fourth quarter of 2022.”

However, even as mortgage rates rise, the anticipated increase is expected to be modest at most, and still well below historical averages. Rates remaining low is good news for homebuyers who are looking to maximize their purchasing power. The same report from Freddie Mac goes on to say:

“While higher mortgage rates will help slow the pace of home sales and moderate house price growth, we expect overall housing market activity will remain robust. Our forecast has total home sales, the sum of new and existing home sales, at 7.1 million in 2021….”

Home Price Appreciation Will Continue, but Price Growth Will Likely Slow

Joe Seydl, Senior Markets Economist at J.P. Morgan, projects home prices to continue rising as well, indicating buyers interested in purchasing a home should do so sooner rather than later. Waiting for rates or home prices to fall may not be wise:

“Homebuyers—interest rates are still historically low, though they are inching up. Housing prices have spiked during the last six-to-nine months, but we don’t expect them to fall soon, and we believe they are more likely to keep rising. If you are looking to purchase a new home, conditions now may be better than 12 months hence.”

Other experts remain optimistic about home prices, too. The graph below highlights 2021 home price forecasts from multiple industry leaders:

What Do Experts See on the Horizon for the Second Half of the Year? | MyKCM

Inventory Remains a Challenge, but There’s Reason To Be Optimistic

Home prices are rising, but they should moderate as more housing inventory comes to market. George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.com, notes there are signs that we may see the current inventory challenges lessen, slowing the fast-paced home price appreciation and creating more choices for buyers:

“We have seen more new listings this year compared with 2020 in 11 of the last 13 weeks. The influx of new sellers over the last couple of months has been especially helpful in slowing price gains.”

New home starts are also showing signs of improvement, which further bolsters hopes of more options coming to market. Robert Dietz, Chief Economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), writes:

“As an indicator of the economic impact of housing, there are now 652,000 single-family homes under construction. This is 28% higher than a year ago.”

Finally, while it may not fundamentally change the market conditions we’re currently experiencing, another reason to be optimistic more homes might come to market: our improving economy. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, notes:

“A growing economy in the summer months has multiple implications for the housing market. Growing consumer confidence, a stronger labor market, and higher wages bode well for housing demand. While a growing economy and improving public health conditions may also spur hesitant existing owners to list their homes for sale, it’s unlikely to significantly ease the super sellers’ market conditions.”

Bottom Line

As we look at the forecast for prices, interest rates, inventory, and home sales, experts remain optimistic about what’s on the horizon for the second half of 2021. Let’s connect today to discuss how we can navigate the market together in the coming months.

Posted in Market Updates
June 15, 2021

MVP Dear Home Scholarship Winner!

WINNER IS HERE!!!

CONGRATULATIONS TO CASSIE BLAKE!!

Winning Entry

Dear Home,

Thank you for being my safe place. When I am tired from a long day at school, I can turn to you for a warm, quiet place to complete my homework. When I am sweaty and exhausted from hours of ballet rehearsals, I can collapse inside your four walls. When a global pandemic rages outside, I am safe on your couch reading a book.

I have never spent as much time at home as I did last spring. At first, I enjoyed the break from everyday chaos that I had by relaxing at home. As the stay-at-home orders extended though, I became restless. You could say the relationship I had with my home was love-hate. I would jump from feelings of pure joy from the idea of getting to spend another day reading comfortably inside, to feelings of anxiousness due to consistently moving furniture around my room, in an attempt to ease my boredom.

But Home, the love I have for you will always outweigh any other feelings. I love that you protect me from the elements, intruders, and viruses. I love that I can slide and dance across the kitchen floor in crazy colorful socks, without judgment. I love that I can let go of stress and simply be myself when we are together.

It will be an adjustment, to say the least, to be leaving you in a few months. Seven hundred miles is not too far of a journey though, right? I will be sure to tell you all about my adventures in my new home in California. But do not worry, you will never be forgotten or replaced. Because of you, I've grown up content, joyful, and out of harm's way. I could not forget, nor could I thank you enough for being my safe space. I know that when I need a place of serenity and familiarity I can always come back to you.

For me, my family completes you. As long as I have holiday tunes playing over the kitchen speakers at Christmas, can join my parents and brother sampling sugar cookies in the winter, and savor family dinners on the back porch in the summer, Home, you will always be my refuge.

Much love,

Cassie -- from the room with the four purple walls, second door on the left.

 

PARTICIPANT RELEASE: This promotion is governed by the laws of Washington State. By accepting the Scholarship Award, winners agree to release MVP Realty Group and any/all agents, affiliates, employees, suppliers, and advertising, promotional, or judging agencies from any and all liability whatsoever for injuries, damages, or losses to persons and property which may be sustained in connection with the receipt, ownership, or use of the awarded funds.

Posted in MVP Events
June 9, 2021

Home Price Appreciation Is as Simple as Supply and Demand

Home Price Appreciation Is as Simple as Supply and Demand | MyKCM

Home price appreciation continues to accelerate. Today, prices are driven by the simple concept of supply and demand. Pricing of any item is determined by how many items are available compared to how many people want to buy that item. As a result, the strong year-over-year home price appreciation is simple to explain. The demand for housing is up while the supply of homes for sale hovers at historic lows.

Let’s use three maps to show how this theory continues to affect the residential real estate market.

Map #1 – State-by-state price appreciation reported by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) for the first quarter of 2021 compared to the first quarter of 2020:

Home Price Appreciation Is as Simple as Supply and Demand | MyKCM

the map shows, certain states (colored in red) have appreciated well above the national average of 12.6%.

 

Map #2 – The change in state-by-state inventory levels year-over-year reported by realtor.com:

Home Price Appreciation Is as Simple as Supply and Demand | MyKCM

Comparing the two maps shows a correlation between change in listing inventory and price appreciation in many states. The best examples are Idaho, Utah, and Arizona. Though the correlation is not as easy to see in every state, the overall picture is one of causation.

The reason prices continue to accelerate is that housing inventory is still at all-time lows while demand remains high. However, this may be changing.

Is there relief around the corner?

The report by realtor.com also shows the monthly change in inventory for each state.

Home Price Appreciation Is as Simple as Supply and Demand | MyKCM

As the map indicates, 39 of the 50 states (plus the District of Columbia) saw increases in inventory over the last month. This may be evidence that homeowners who have been afraid to let buyers in their homes during the pandemic are now putting their houses on the market.

We’ll know for certain as we move through the rest of the year.

Bottom Line

Some are concerned by the rapid price appreciation we’ve experienced over the last year. The maps above show that the increases were warranted based on great demand and limited supply. Going forward, if the number of homes for sale better aligns with demand, price appreciation will moderate to more historical levels.

May 26, 2021

Buying a Home Is Still Affordable

Buying a Home Is Still Affordable | MyKCMThe last year has put emphasis on the importance of one’s home. As a result, some renters are making the jump into homeownership while some homeowners are re-evaluating their current house and considering a move to one that better fits their current lifestyle. Understanding how housing affordability works and the main market factors that impact it may help those who are ready to buy a home narrow down the optimal window of time in which to make a purchase.

 

There are three main factors that go into determining how affordable homes are for buyers:

  1. Mortgage Rates
  2. Mortgage Payments as a Percentage of Income
  3. Home Prices

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) produces a Housing Affordability Index. It takes these three factors into account and determines an overall affordability score for housing. According to NAR, the index:

 

“…measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national and regional levels based on the most recent price and income data.”

 

Their methodology states:

 

“To interpret the indices, a value of 100 means that a family with the median income has exactly enough income to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home. An index above 100 signifies that family earning the median income has more than enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a median-priced home, assuming a 20 percent down payment.”

 

So, the higher the index, the more affordable it is to purchase a home. Here’s a graph of the index going back to 1990:

Buying a Home Is Still Affordable | MyKCMThe blue bar represents today’s affordability. We can see that homes are more affordable now than they’ve been at any point since the housing crash when distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) dominated the market. Those properties were sold at large discounts not seen before in the housing market for almost one hundred years.

 

Why are homes so affordable today?

Although there are three factors that drive the overall equation, the one that’s playing the largest part in today’s homebuying affordability is historically low mortgage rates. Based on this primary factor, we can see that it’s more affordable to buy a home today than at any time in the last eight years.

 

If you’re considering purchasing your first home or moving up to the one you’ve always hoped for, it’s important to understand how affordability plays into the overall cost of your home. With that in mind, buying while mortgage rates are as low as they are now may save you quite a bit of money over the life of your home loan.

 

Bottom Line

If you feel ready to buy, purchasing a home this summer may save you a significant amount of money over time based on historical affordability trends. Let’s connect today to determine if now is the right time for you to make your move.

April 6, 2021

Final Notice to Protect your Mortgage

Final Notice Marketing

You've just closed on your home purchase or refinanced your mortgage and you are now receiving official-looking notices in the mail with your mortgage company name, balance, date warning you that you need to take action to protect your mortgage. What the heck! CEO and Designated Broker, Matthew Plummer, explains this popular marketing ploy. 

March 19, 2021

Eviction Moratorium Extended

Governor Inslee Extends Eviction Moratorium

 

In case you missed it in the news, Governor Inslee extended the eviction moratorium. It was set to expire on March 31st, but has been extended through June 30th.

 

What does this mean for you, as an owner? You cannot move a tenant out, even if they do not pay rent. You cannot change terms to your lease, like raising rent, etc. You cannot charge late fees or any other fees - including if a tenant moves out prior to their lease expiring. If a tenant does not pay rent, we can still communicate with them, as usual. We can provide a worksheet to help make a repayment plan. Just because they don't pay rent and we can't evict, doesn't relieve them of the debt.

 

The only ways (at the time of this posting) to move a tenant out of your property is 1) as the owner, you can give a 60-day notice to move back into the property as your PRIMARY residence or 2) you can give a 60-day notice that you intend to sell the home. If you find yourself in this situation, we can help you through that process. 

 

Many of our owners are wondering when they will be able to raise rents to keep up with the rise in their own expenses. We understand and we are watching the changes as they come and will keep you posted!

 

Links for more information:

https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-announces-extension-eviction-moratorium-expansion-vaccine-eligibility-long-term

https://medium.com/wagovernor/inslee-announces-extension-of-eviction-moratorium-expansion-of-vaccine-eligibility-long-term-635b34eb0ca

https://www.king5.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/eviction-moratorium-extended-through-june-30-washington-coronavirus/281-77606e0f-8164-4f34-9fa0-77657d38ff92

Posted in Rent
March 18, 2021

How to Make a Winning Offer on a Home

How to Make a Winning Offer on a Home

Today’s homebuyers are faced with a strong sellers’ market, which means there are a lot of active buyers competing for a relatively low number of available homes. As a result, it’s essential to understand how to make a confident and competitive offer on your dream home. Here are five tips for success in this critical stage of the homebuying process.

1. Listen to Your Real Estate Advisor

An article from Freddie Mac gives direction on making an offer on a home. From the start, it emphasizes how trusted professionals can help you stay focused on the most important things, especially at times when this process can get emotional for buyers:

“Remember to let your homebuying team guide you on your journey, not your emotions. Their support and expertise will keep you from compromising on your must-haves and future financial stability.”

A real estate professional should be the expert guide you lean on for advice when you’re ready to make an offer.

2. Understand Your Finances

Having a complete understanding of your budget and how much house you can afford is essential. The best way to know this is to get pre-approved for a loan early in the homebuying process. Only 44% of today’s prospective homebuyers are planning to apply for pre-approval, so be sure to take this step so you stand out from the crowd. Doing so make it clear to sellers you’re a serious and qualified buyer, and it can give you a competitive edge in a bidding war.

3. Be Prepared to Move Quickly

According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average property sold today receives 3.7 offers and is on the market for just 21 days. These are both results of today’s competitive market, showing how important it is to stay agile and alert in your search. As soon as you find the right home for your needs, be prepared to submit an offer as quickly as possible.

4. Make a Fair Offer

It’s only natural to want the best deal you can get on a home. However, Freddie Mac also warns that submitting an offer that’s too low can lead sellers to doubt how serious you are as a buyer. Don’t make an offer that will be tossed out as soon as it’s received. The expertise your agent brings to this part of the process will help you stay competitive:

“Your agent will work with you to make an informed offer based on the market value of the home, the condition of the home and recent home sale prices in the area.”

5. Stay Flexible in Negotiations

After submitting an offer, the seller may accept it, reject it, or counter it with their own changes. In a competitive market, it’s important to stay nimble throughout the negotiation process. You can strengthen your position with an offer that includes flexible move-in dates, a higher price, or minimal contingencies (conditions you set that the seller must meet for the purchase to be finalized). Freddie Mac explains that there are, however, certain contingencies you don’t want to forego:

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 market makes it more important than ever to make a strong offer on a home. Reach out to your local real estate professional to make sure you rise to the top along the way.

Feb. 23, 2021

The Reason Mortgage Rates Are Projected to Increase and What It Means for You

The Reason Mortgage Rates Are Projected to Increase and What It Means for You | MyKCM

We’re currently experiencing historically low mortgage rates. Over the last fifty years, the average on a Freddie Mac 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has been 7.76%. Today, that rate is 2.81%. Flocks of homebuyers have been taking advantage of these remarkably low rates over the last twelve months. However, there’s no guarantee rates will remain this low much longer.

Whenever we try to forecast mortgage rates, we should consider the advice of Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American:

“You know, the fallacy of economic forecasting is don’t ever try and forecast interest rates and/or, more specifically, if you’re a real estate economist mortgage rates, because you will always invariably be wrong.”

Many things impact mortgage rates. The economy, inflation, and Fed policy, just to name a few. That makes forecasting rates difficult. However, there’s one metric that has held up over the last fifty years – the relationship between mortgage rates and the 10-year treasury rate. Here’s a graph detailing this relationship since Freddie Mac started keeping mortgage rate records in 1972:

The Reason Mortgage Rates Are Projected to Increase and What It Means for You | MyKCM

There’s no denying the close relationship between the two. Over the last five decades, there’s been an average 1.7-point spread between these two rates. It’s this long-term relationship that has some forecasters projecting an increase in mortgage rates as we move throughout the year. This is based on the recent surge in the 10-year treasury rate shown here:

The Reason Mortgage Rates Are Projected to Increase and What It Means for You | MyKCM

The spread between the two is now 1.53, indicating mortgage rates could rise. Actually, a bump-up in rate has already begun. As Joel Kan, Associate VP of Economic Forecasting for the Mortgage Bankers Association, reveals:

“Expectations of faster economic growth and inflation continue to push Treasury yields & mortgage rates higher. Since hitting a survey low in December, the 30-year fixed rate has slowly risen, & last week climbed to its highest level since Nov 2020.”

How high might they go in 2021?

No one knows for sure. Sam Khater, Chief Economist for Freddie Mac, recently suggested:

“While there are multiple temporary factors driving up rates, the underlying economic fundamentals point to rates remaining in the low 3% range for the year.”

What does this mean for you?

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or you’ve purchased a home before, even an increase of half a point in mortgage rate (2.81 to 3.31%) makes a big difference. On a $300,000 mortgage, that difference (including principal and interest) is $82 a month, $984 a year, or a total of $29,520 over the life of the home loan.

Bottom Line

Based on the 50-year symbiotic relationship between treasury rates and mortgage rates, it appears mortgage rates could be headed up this year. It may make sense to buy now rather than wait.

Feb. 19, 2021

100 Days to Greatness

EXCITING NEWS

MVP's CEO and Certified Mentor, Matthew Plummer, is going to be facilitating 100 Days to Greatness and we want you to consider taking it!

This is the most comprehensive, step-by-step training program ever created for the real estate industry. Developed and taught by industry legend, Brian Buffini, the course will guide you through proven systems to launch your real estate career. You’ll receive weekly action steps to generate a steady stream of leads, gain the skills needed to close sales and learn how to leverage your time, money and energy to be successful in your career in just 100 days!

Hurry! Space if very limited in order to maintain social distancing. Masks will be required to attend.

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • Real-world role plays, dialogues and strategies to help you build strong client relationships.
  • Professionally-designed marketing materials to provide valuable information to your database.
  • A content-packed Online Resource Center with weekly action steps to help you launch your real estate career.
  • Complimentary access to Referral Maker®CRM designed to maximize your results.

CLASS INFORMATION

Facilitator: Matthew Plummer

Start Date: 3/1/2021 | 10:00 AM

Location: 1219 11th Ave SE Olympia WA 98501

INVEST IN YOUR FUTURE TODAY!

Cost: $495* + S&H/Tax

*Only $195 for Buffini & Company Members

*Special discounts and current sale pricing will be reflected at check out. Includes your materials for the 100 Days to Greatness course.

Please note that in order to be included in my class you will need to register by clicking our personalized registration link below. We hope you will join us for 100 Days to Greatness!

This is the same business model MVP Realty Group’s business of nearly two decades is built upon. Come learn how we do it! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Feb. 18, 2021

Will Low Mortgage Rates Continue through 2021?

Will Low Mortgage Rates Continue through 2021? | MyKCM

With mortgage interest rates hitting record lows so many times recently, some are wondering if we’ll see low rates continue throughout 2021, or if they’ll start to rise. Recently, Freddie Mac released their quarterly forecast, noting:

“The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit a record low over a dozen times in 2020 and the low interest rate environment is projected to continue through this year. We expect interest rates to average below 3% through the end of 2021. While this is a modest rise from 2020 averages, the recent vote by the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates anchored near zero should keep rates low.”

As shown in the graph below, Freddie Mac is projecting low rates going forward with a modest rise that’s expected to continue through 2022.Will Low Mortgage Rates Continue through 2021?

Will Low Mortgage Rates Continue through 2021? | MyKCM

Mac isn’t the only authority forecasting low rates with a slight rise. Fannie Mae, The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) also anticipate low rates with a small increase as 2021 continues on. Here’s the quarterly breakdown of their projections and how they’re expected to play out over the next year.Will Low Mortgage Rates Continue through 2021? | MyKCM

It’s important to note that, while a small change in interest rates can have a substantial impact on monthly mortgage payments, these rates are still incredibly low compared to where they were just a couple of years ago.

What does this mean for buyers?

Low mortgage rates are creating an outstanding opportunity for current homebuyers to get more for their money while staying within their budget. As the economy gets stronger and we recover from the challenges of 2020, it’s natural for rates to potentially rise in response to a healthier economy. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, reminds us:

“Rising interest rates reduce house-buying power and affordability, but are often a sign of a strong economy, which increases home buyer demand. By any historic standard, today’s mortgage rates remain historically low and will continue to boost house-buying power and keep purchase demand robust.”

With low rates fueling activity among hopeful buyers, there are a lot of people who are highly motivated and looking for homes to purchase right now. In this environment, it can be challenging to find a home to buy, so a local real estate agent will be key to your success if you’re thinking of buying too. Working with a trusted real estate professional to navigate the process while rates are in your favor might be the best move you can make.

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to buy a home, it may be wise to make your move before mortgage rates begin to rise. Let’s connect to discuss how today’s low rates can create more opportunities for you this year.