Market Snapshots

Week of Nov. 9- 15 2020

More U.S. Second-Home Locations Becoming Full-Time Residences

Popular second- and vacation-home destinations across the U.S., including Lake Tahoe, the Jersey Shore and Cape Cod in Massachusetts, have been promoted to full-time hotspots amid the coronavirus pandemic and the increased adoption of remote working, according to a report Wednesday from Redfin. Read More

12 East Coast Apple and Pumpkin Picking Farms You Need to Visit

1

New Hampshire

Applecrest Farm Orchards, Hampton Falls

Visit the state’s largest and oldest apple orchard, offering over 40

varieties of apples from 220 sprawling acres, as well as a wide array

of other seasonal pick-your-own crops including pumpkins, peaches, sweet corn and more. Scents of fresh-baked pies, biscuits and gooey cookies waft throughout the bakery. The market carries locally produced jams, honeys, hand-pressed cider and made-from-scratch confectioneries, including their hot cider donuts — a local favorite. The farm has no shortage of old-fashioned family fun with festivals and activities like storybook hayrides, the great pumpkin carve, an orchard cross bike race and fall foliage spectacular.

DeMeritt Hill Farm, Lee

Take in the magnificent fall foliage as you pick your own apples, pumpkins and more at this dog-friendly farm. Stop by the newly expanded bakery for an assortment of goodies including apple cider donuts, cupcakes and pies, and check their event schedule for upcoming festivals, hayrides and craft fairs. Consistently ranked as one of the country’s top haunted attractions, Haunted Overload features hundreds of lighted pumpkins, movie-quality sets and super-spooky actors. The haunt is also open without actors during the day for younger spectators to enjoy. (For other haunted houses guaranteed to make you scream, click here.)

2

Massachusetts

C.N. Smith Farm, East Bridgewater

Founded in 1920 and spanning over 90 acres, this family-owned and -operated farm is the perfect spot for some classic autumn fun. Pick your own apples and pumpkins this fall (and be sure to return next year to pick from their strawberry, blueberry and peach harvest). The whole family will love to sample scrumptious sweet corn and other farm-fresh favorites at the corn festival and attend the annual harvest hoedown featuring spooky decorations, live bands, hayrides, moonwalks and pony rides. Don’t leave without visiting their adorable farm animals and concession stand. And be sure to grab some fresh apple cider donuts for the ride home!

Connors Farm, Danvers

Come to pick farm-fresh apples and pumpkins and stay for an endless array of attractions the whole family will love. Navigate your way through their exciting seven-acre corn maze and check out various play areas, train rides, zip lining, a mechanical bull, climb-on spider web, tree houses, barnyard animals and jumping pillows, just to name a few. Older kids and grownups can get a good scare at their famous haunt, Hysteria at Connors Farm. The farm stand offers hardy mums, freshly squeezed apple cider, hot apple cider donuts, produce and a delectable selection of baked pies.

3

Connecticut

Blue Jay Orchards, Bethel

Nestled in the quaint town of Bethel, this picturesque 140-acre farm attracts generations of loyal customers who return each year to make new memories in the apple orchards and pumpkin patch. Located in their signature red barn, the farm market sells everything from maple syrup to maple sugar candy to fresh-pressed cider. You’ll also want to grab some goodies to take home from the bakery including fresh-baked pies, turnovers, dumplings, cookies and, of course, apple cider donuts. As their website states, their recipes, lovingly passed from generation to generation, could almost transport you back to Grandma’s kitchen. And we certainly agree.

Bishop’s Orchards, Guilford

Visit the orchards where you can pick from over 20 varieties of apples and take a weekend tractor trailer ride from late August to late October. Mid-September through Halloween is the time to choose fall favorites including pumpkins, gourds, mums and Indian corn. While you’re there, experience family-friendly activities including the annual hay maze challenge and scarecrow making. The farm market carries a fresh selection of seasonal favorites including world-famous pies, breads, croissants, ice cream, “grab n go” crock pot or grill meals and more. And the edible cookie dough is not to be missed.

4

New York

Fishkill Farms, Hopewell Junction

Family-operated for more than a century and spanning over 270 acres, Fishkill Farms offers so much more than apple and pumpkin picking, including a generous variety of pick-your-own eco-certified fruit and organic vegetables from June through October. In addition to live music on the weekends, little ones can enjoy a corn maze and face painting while adults can visit the cider garden against the backdrop of the eye-catching orchards and Catskill Mountains. Don’t forget to try yoga on the farm and grab a bite to eat from the grill, food trucks or farm store.

Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm, Yorktown Heights

Head an hour north of New York City for some serious apple, pumpkin and peach picking. Other attractions include a corn maze, the cozy White Hill Vineyard winery and three country markets carrying fresh-baked pies, pressed apple cider and the Wilkens’ famous apple cider donuts. But the fun doesn’t end in the fall. Come back after Thanksgiving to choose your own Christmas tree.

5

New Jersey

Demarest Farms, Hillsdale

Bask in the breathtaking scenery while picking the perfect pumpkin and choosing from 14 varieties of apples. While you’re there, stop by their charming farm store and grab some apple cider donuts — a customer favorite. Little ones will love to mingle with adorable farm animals at the two petting zoos, take a hay wagon ride and watch a spooky movie under the stars. The Haunted Orchards and hay ride will give older kids and grownups a good scare. Return this winter for the Orchard of Lights, where you can take a magical wagon ride through 32 acres of brilliant holiday light displays. (For more holiday light displays worthy of a road trip, click here.)

Alstede Farms, Chester

Open year-round, this family-owned farm has been a Morris County tradition for years, offering a generous selection of certified organic or sustainably grown fruits, veggies and flowers to pick from June to November. But the family fun doesn’t stop there. Other attractions include farm animals, a corn maze, a sunflower maze and farm store with produce, cider and baked goods. Special events include food festivals and tastings, live entertainment, children’s activities and a harvest moon hayride.

6

Pennsylvania

Highland Orchards, West Chester

For the quintessential fall day trip, visit this 200-acre farm. Weekends offer hayrides, shuttle rides and harvest festivals. Apple picking begins in August and pumpkin picking in mid-September. The more you pick, the more you save, so include friends and family in on the fun. The farm market sells fresh produce from the farm and also partners with other local growers and vendors to bring you an array of bakery and dairy items, jams, coffees, teas, flowers and gifts. Relax in the picnic area with some heavenly apple cider and cider donuts.

Shady Brook Farm, Yardley

Make lasting memories at Shady Brook Farm, where you’ll find fun family-oriented activities including apple and pumpkin picking, a five-acre corn maze, wagon rides, live entertainment, barnyard animals, pig races, inflatable attractions and jumping pillows. Fall is a special time for festivals on the farm, including AppleFest, the award-winning PumpkinFest, PumpkinFest After Dark and the scary HorrorFest. For an unforgettable experience, celebrate your child’s fall birthday here.

Supply of pick-your-own apples and pumpkins is based on weather conditions and demand, so be sure to call the farm or check their website before planning your trip.

#seabright #apple #nj #gloribee#fall #thingstodo

Lowest Mortgage Rates in History: What It Means for Homeowners and Buyers

Lowest Mortgage Rates in History: What It Means for Homeowners and Buyers

In July, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell below 3% for the first time in history.1 And while many Americans have rushed to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity, others question the hype. Are today’s rates truly a bargain?

 

While average mortgage rates have drifted between 4% and 5% in recent years, they haven’t always been so low. Freddie Mac began tracking 30-year mortgage rates in 1971. At that time, the national average was 7.31%.2 As the rate of inflation started to rise in the mid-1970s, mortgage rates surged. It’s hard to imagine now, but the average U.S. mortgage rate reached a high of 18.63% in 1981.3

 

Fortunately for home buyers, inflation normalized by October 1982, which sent mortgage rates on a downward trajectory that would bring them as low as 3.31% in 2012.3 Since 2012, 30-year fixed rates have risen modestly, with the daily average climbing as high as 4.94% in 2018.4

 

So what’s causing today’s rates to sink to unprecedented lows? Economic uncertainty.

 

Mortgage rates generally follow bond yields, because the majority of U.S. mortgages are packaged together and sold as bonds. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to dampen the economy and inject volatility into the stock market, a growing number of investors are shifting their money into low-risk bonds. Increased demand has driven bond yields—and mortgage rates—down.5

 

However, according to National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, “the number one driver of low mortgage rates is the accommodating Federal Reserve stance to keep interest rates low and to buy up mortgage-backed securities.” According to Yun, “we will see mortgage rates stay near this level for the next 18 months because of the significance of the Fed’s stance.”6

 

 

HOW DO LOW MORTGAGE RATES BENEFIT CURRENT HOMEOWNERS?

 

Low mortgage rates increase buyer demand, which is good news for sellers. But what if you don’t have any plans to sell your home? Can current homeowners benefit from falling mortgage rates? Yes, they can!

 

A growing number of homeowners are capitalizing on today’s rock-bottom rates by refinancing their existing mortgages. In fact, refinance applications have surged over the past few months—and for a good reason.7 Reduced interest rates can save homeowners a bundle on both monthly payments and total payments over the lifetime of a mortgage.

 

The chart below illustrates the potential savings when you decrease your mortgage rate by just one percentage point. When it comes to refinancing, the bigger the spread, the greater the savings.

 

Estimated Monthly Payment On a 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage

 

Loan Amount 4.0% 3.0% Monthly Savings Savings Over 30 Years
$100,000 $477 $422 $55 $20,093
$200,000 $955 $843 $112 $40,184
$300,000 $1,432 $1,265 $167 $60,277
$400,000 $1,910 $1,686 $224 $80,368
$500,000 $2,387 $2,108 $279 $100,461

 

 

Be sure to factor in any prepayment penalties on your current mortgage and closing costs for your new mortgage. For a refinance, expect to pay between 2% to 5% of your loan amount.8 You can divide your closing costs by your monthly savings to find out how long it will take to recoup your investment, or use an online refinance calculator. For a more precise calculation of your potential savings, we’d be happy to connect you with a mortgage professional in our network who can help you decide if refinancing is a good option for you.

 

 

HOW DO LOW MORTGAGE RATES BENEFIT HOME BUYERS?

 

We’ve already shown how low rates can save you money on your mortgage payments. But they can also give a boost to your budget by increasing your purchasing power. For example, imagine you have a budget of $1,500 to put toward your monthly mortgage payment. If you take out a 30-year mortgage at 5.0%, you can afford a loan of $279,000.

 

Now let’s assume the mortgage rate falls to 4.0%. At that rate, you can afford to borrow $314,000 while still keeping the same $1,500 monthly payment. That’s a budget increase of $35,000!

 

If the rate falls even further to 3.0%, you can afford to borrow $355,000 and still pay the same $1,500 each month. That’s $76,000 over your original budget! All because the interest rate fell by two percentage points. If you’ve been priced out of the market before, today’s low rates may put you in a better position to afford your dream home.

 

On the other hand, rising mortgages rates will erode your purchasing power. Wait to buy, and you may have to settle for a smaller home in a less-desirable neighborhood. So if you’re planning to move, don’t miss out on the phenomenal discount you can get with today’s historically-low rates.

 

 

HOW LOW COULD MORTGAGE RATES GO?

 

No one can say with certainty how low mortgage rates will fall or when they will rise again. A lot will depend on the trajectory of the pandemic and subsequent economic impact.

 

Forecasters at Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association predict 30-year mortgage rates will average 3.2% and 3.5% respectively in 2021.9,10 However, economists at Fannie Mae expect them to dip even lower to an average of 2.8% next year.11

 

Still, many experts agree that those who wait to take advantage of these unprecedented rates could miss out on the deal of a lifetime. “With rates now at all-time historic lows, it’s hard to imagine that people may be holding out for something even better,” warns Paul Buege, president and COO of Inlanta Mortgage.12 Positive news about a vaccine or a faster-than-expected economic recovery could send rates back up to pre-pandemic levels.

 

 

HOW CAN I SECURE THE BEST AVAILABLE MORTGAGE RATE?

 

While the average 30-year mortgage rate is hovering around 3%, you can do a quick search online and find advertised rates that are even lower. But these ultra-low mortgages are typically reserved for only prime borrowers. So what steps can you take to secure the lowest possible rate?

 

  1. Consider a 15-Year Mortgage Term

 

Lock in an even lower rate by opting for a 15-year mortgage. If you can afford the higher monthly payment, a shorter mortgage term can save you a bundle in interest, and you’ll pay off your home in half the time.13

 

  1. Give Your Credit Score a Boost

 

The economic downturn has made lenders more cautious. These days, you’ll probably need a credit score of at least 740 to secure their lowest rates.14 While there’s no fast fix for bad credit, you can take steps to help your score before you apply for a loan:15

  • Dispute inaccuracies on your credit report.
  • Pay your bills on time, and catch up on any missed payments.
  • Hold off on applying for new credit.
  • Pay off debt, and keep balances low on your credit cards.
  • Don’t close unused credit cards (unless they’re charging you an annual fee).

 

  1. Make a Large Down Payment

 

The more equity you have in a home, the less likely you are to default on your mortgage. That’s why lenders offer better rates to borrowers who make a sizable down payment. Plus, if you put down at least 20%, you can avoid paying for private mortgage insurance.

 

  1. Pay for Points

 

Discount points are fees paid to the mortgage company in exchange for a lower interest rate. At a cost of 1% of the loan amount, they aren’t cheap. But the investment can pay off over the long-term in interest savings.

 

  1. Shop Around

 

Rates, terms, and fees can vary widely amongst mortgage providers, so do your homework. Contact several lenders to find out which one is willing to offer you the best overall deal. But be sure to complete the process within 45 days—or else the credit inquiries by multiple mortgage companies could have a negative impact on your credit score.16

 

 

READY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE LOWEST MORTGAGE RATES IN HISTORY?

 

Mortgage rates have never been this low. Don’t miss out on your chance to lock in a great rate on a new home or refinance your existing mortgage. Either way, we can help.

 

We’d be happy to connect you with the most trusted mortgage professionals in our network. And if you’re ready to start shopping for a new home, we’d love to assist you with your search—all at no cost to you! Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

 

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.

 

 

Sources:

  1. CNN Business –
    https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/16/success/30-year-mortgage-rates-record-low/index.html
  2. Freddie Mac –
    http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms/pmms30.html)
  3. Value Penguin –
    https://www.valuepenguin.com/mortgages/historical-mortgage-rates
  4. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis –
    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=NUh
  5. Bankrate –
    https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/how-interest-rates-are-set/
  6. Washington Post –
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/25/mortgage-rate-remains-historic-low/
  7. Yahoo! Finance –
    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/mortgage-refinancing-makes-big-comeback-151500346.html
  8. Bankrate –
    https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/is-no-closing-cost-for-you/
  9. Freddie Mac June 2020 Quarterly Forecast –
    http://www.freddiemac.com/fmac-resources/research/pdf/202006-Forecast.pdf
  10. Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Market Forecast July 15, 2020 –
    https://www.mba.org/news-research-and-resources/research-and-economics/forecasts-and-commentary
  11. Fannie Mae July 2020 Housing Forecast –
    https://www.fanniemae.com/resources/file/research/emma/pdf/Housing_Forecast_071420.pdf
  12. Washington Post –
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/25/mortgage-rate-remains-historic-low/
  13. Investopedia –
    https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/042015/comparison-30year-vs-15year-mortgage.asp
  14. Money –
    https://money.com/mortgage-rates-below-three-percent/
  15. Experian –
    https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/credit-education/improving-credit/improve-credit-score/
  16. Equifax –
    https://www.equifax.com/personal/education/credit/report/understanding-hard-inquiries-on-your-credit-report/

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Is a Recession Here? Yes. Does that Mean a Housing Crash? No.

Is a Recession Here? Yes. Does that Mean a Housing Crash? No.

Is a Recession Here? Yes. Does that Mean a Housing Crash? No. | MyKCM

On Monday, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) announced that the U.S. economy is officially in a recession. This did not come as a surprise to many, as the Bureau defines a recession this way:

“A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, normally visible in production, employment, and other indicators. A recession begins when the economy reaches a peak of economic activity and ends when the economy reaches its trough. Between trough and peak, the economy is in an expansion.”

Everyone realizes that the pandemic shut down the country earlier this year, causing a “significant decline in economic activity.”

Though not surprising, headlines announcing the country is in a recession will cause consumers to remember the devastating impact the last recession had on the housing market just over a decade ago.

The real estate market, however, is in a totally different position than it was then. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americanexplained:

“Many still bear scars from the Great Recession and may expect the housing market to follow a similar trajectory in response to the coronavirus outbreak. But, there are distinct differences that indicate the housing market may follow a much different path. While housing led the recession in 2008-2009, this time it may be poised to bring us out of it.”

Four major differences in today’s real estate market are:

  1. Families have large sums of equity in their homes
  2. We have a shortage of housing inventory, not an overabundance
  3. Irresponsible lending no longer exists
  4. Home price appreciation is not out of control

We must also realize that a recession does not mean a housing crash will follow.  In three of the four previous recessions prior to 2008, home values increased. In the other one, home prices depreciated by only 1.9%.

Bottom Line

Yes, we are now officially in a recession. However, unlike 2008, this time the housing industry is in much better shape to weather the storm.

National Homeownership Month

National Homeownership Month [INFOGRAPHIC]

National Homeownership Month [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • National Homeownership Month is a great time to reflect on how we can each promote stronger community growth.
  • Homeownership helps families build financial freedom, find greater happiness and satisfaction, and make a positive impact on our local communities.
  • Let’s connect today if homeownership is part of your future plans.

The Shocking News in the Unemployment Report

The Shocking News in the Unemployment Report

Last Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released their May Employment Situation SummaryLeading up to the release, most experts predicted the unemployment rate would jump up to approximately 20% from the 14.7% rate announced last month.

The experts were shocked.

The Wall Street Journal put it this way:

“The May U.S. jobless rate fell to 13.3% and employers added 2.5 million jobs, blowing Wall Street expectations out of the water: Economists had forecast a loss of 8.3 million jobs and a 19.5% unemployment rate.”

In addition, CNBC revealed:

“The May gain was by far the biggest one-month jobs surge in U.S. history since at least 1939.”

Here are some of the job gains by sector:

  • Food Service and Bartenders – 1,400,000
  • Construction – 464,000
  • Education and Health Services – 424,000
  • Retail – 368,000
  • Other Services – 272,000
  • Manufacturing – 225,000
  • Professional Services – 127,000

There’s still a long way to go before the economy fully recovers, as 21 million Americans remain unemployed. That number is down, however, from 23 million just last month. And, of the 21 million in the current report, 73% feel their layoff is temporary. This aligns with a recent Federal Reserve Bank report that showed employers felt 75% of the job losses are temporary layoffs and furloughs.

The Employment Situation Summary was definitely a pleasant surprise, and evidence that the country’s economic turnaround is underway. The data also offers a labor-market snapshot from mid-May, when the government conducted its monthly survey of households and businesses. Many states did not open for business until the second half of May. This bodes well for next month’s jobs report.

Bottom Line

We cannot rejoice over a report that reveals millions of American families are still without work. We can, however, feel relieved that we are headed in the right direction, and much more quickly than most anticipated.

Note: In its original report, the BLS explained that a misclassification error could have occurred over the last 3 months, starting in March of 2020. Readjusting for this error, the unemployment rate would actually show a drop from 19.7% in April to 16.3% in May. Nobody would say the original report of 13.3% unemployment was a good number, nor is the revised 16.3%. What is a positive move for our country and the economy is the significant drop in the rate from April to May, meaning more people are getting jobs than losing them. That’s the key takeaway.

How to Choose the Right Type of Barbecue Grill

How to Choose the Right Type of Barbecue Grill

Lots of people enjoy the flavors of grilling over other types of cooking. It’s a tried and true method of getting juicy and deliciously cooked food. If you’re thinking of purchasing a grill but unsure about the best option for you, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn about the different types of grills on the market right now and which one will deliver you the performance you’re after. Although many think of grilling as a summertime activity, you can grill 12 months a year in much of the country.

Gas Grills

One of the best outdoor barbecue grill setups you can use to improve your home is a quality backyard gas grill. Widely popular and designed to run on propane, this type of grill can also be converted quite easily to work on natural gas. If you want to fire up your grill on short notice and not worry too much about food preparation or clean up, this is the perfect solution for your home.

Electric Grills

An electric grill is especially convenient since a lot of units can be run both outside and indoors. Safe to use in areas with strict fire regulation codes, electric grills can be a great idea when you don’t want city laws to prevent you from having a great time in the summer.

Charcoal Grills

If you long for that genuine, smoky and delightfully flavored barbecue, consider getting a charcoal grill.

These barbecue grills run on charcoal briquettes and are considered to be healthier than regular gas grills. You do need a bit more skill to use it, and the price and maintenance costs may be higher than gas or electric outdoor grills, but it’s well worth it, especially if you add a firebox to cook delicious meat at lower temperatures.

All these options are great depending on your budget and lifestyle. If space is an issue, a portable grill running on propane or charcoal will help you minimize the space needed for a fun outdoor barbecue.

Should You Go for Built-in Grills?

A built-in model can be very costly, but totally worth it for those planning to grill all year round. What’s more, it can increase your home’s value considerably. Portable units are a lot more affordable, but they don’t provide the same level of convenience and elegance. An in-between option for those who don’t have the budget for a built-in is to go for a freestanding island, which is cost effective and still comes with a lot of features.

All in all, there’s really no one best grill—it all depends on your specific situation and needs, so do a little research and find the grill that is perfect for you.

1st Time Buyer – Tips for the Moving Day! Tips for the Moving Day!

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