Housing Market: Another Gigantic Difference Between 2008 and 2018

Some are attempting to compare the current housing market to the market leading up to the “boom and bust” that we experienced a decade ago. They look at price appreciation and conclude that we are on a similar trajectory, speeding toward another housing crisis. However, there is a major difference between the two markets. Last decade, while demand was being artificially created by extremely loose lending standards, a tremendous amount of inventory was coming to the market to satisfy that demand. Below is a graph of the inventory of homes available for sale leading up to the 2008 crash. A normal market should have approximately 6 months supply of housing inventory. As we can see, that number jumped to over 11 months supply leading up to the housing crisis. When questionable mortgage practices ceased, and demand dried up, there was a glut of inventory on the market which caused prices to drop as there was too much supply and not enough demand. Today is radically different! There are those who believe that low mortgage rates have created an artificial demand in the current market. They fear that if mortgage rates continue to rise, some of the current demand will dry up (which is a possibility). However, if we look at supply again, we can see that the current supply of homes is well below the norm of 6 months. Bottom Line We will not have a glut of inventory like we did back in 2008 and home values won’t come tumbling down.…

Homebuyers Willing to Sacrifice ‘Must-Haves’ in Favor of Good School Districts

It should come as no surprise that buying a home in a good school district is important to homebuyers. According to a report from Realtor.com, 86% of 18-34 year-olds and 84% of those aged 35-54 indicated that their home search areas were defined by school district boundaries. What is surprising, however, is that 78% of recent homebuyers sacrificed features from their “must-have” lists in order to find homes within their dream school districts. The top feature sacrificed was a garage at 19%, followed closely by a large backyard, an updated kitchen, the desired number of bedrooms, and an outdoor living area. The full results are shown in the graph below. Buyers are attracted to schools with high test scores, accelerated academic programs, art and music programs, diversity, and before and after-school programs. With a limited number of homes available to buy in today’s real estate market, competition is fierce for homes in good school districts. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for Realtor.com, explained further, “Most buyers understand that they may not be able to find a home that covers every single item on their wish list, but our survey shows that school districts are an area where many buyers aren’t willing to compromise. For many buyers and not just buyers with children, ‘location, location, location,’ means ‘schools, schools, schools.’” (emphasis added) Bottom Line For buyers across the country, the quality of their children’s (or future children’s) education ranks highest on their must-have lists. Before you start the search for your next…

Have You Outgrown Your Starter Home?

For many Americans, buying their first home is their first taste of achieving part of the American Dream. There is a sense of pride that comes along with owning your own home and building your family’s wealth through your monthly mortgage payment. It may seem hard to imagine that the first home you purchased (which made your dreams come true) might not be the home that will allow you to achieve the rest of your dreams. The good news is that it’s ok to admit that your home no longer fits your needs! According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, prices in the starter home market have appreciated faster than any other category over the last year, at 9.4%. At the same time, inventory in this category has dropped 14.2%. These two stats are directly related to one another. As inventory has decreased and demand has increased, prices have been driven up. This is great news if you own a starter home and are looking to move up to a larger home as the equity in your home has risen as prices have gone up. Even better is the fact that there is a large pool of buyers out there searching for your starter home to help them achieve their American Dream! Bottom Line If you have outgrown your starter home, contact a local real estate professional who can explain the market conditions in your area and help you find your next home!

Are You Thinking of Selling Your Home? Competition Is Coming!

The number of building permits issued for single-family homes is the best indicator of how many newly built homes will rise over the next few months. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development Residential Sales Report, the number of building permits issued in June was 850,000, a 0.8% increase from May. How will this impact buyers? More inventory means more options. Mark Fleming, First American’s Chief Economist, explained that this is good news for the housing market – especially for those looking to buy: “The continued year-over-year growth in completions means more homes on the market in the short-term, offering some immediate relief in alleviating housing supply shortages.” How will this impact sellers? More inventory means more competition. Today, because of the tremendous lack of inventory, a seller can expect: A great price on their home as buyers outbid each other for it. A quick sale as buyers have such little inventory to choose from. Fewer hassles as buyers don’t want to “rock the boat” on the deal. Bottom Line If you are considering selling your house, you’ll want to beat this new competition to market to ensure that you get the most attention on your listing and the best price for your house.

Existing Home Sales Cooling Off This Summer [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights: According to the National Association of Realtors’ latest Existing Home Sales Report, sales in June were down 2.2% from last year. Inventory of homes for sale showed a modest improvement of 0.5% over last year’s figures, but still remains under the 6-month supply needed for a normal market. NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun had this to say: “There continues to be a mismatch since the spring between the growing level of homebuyer demand in most of the country in relation to the actual pace of home sales, which are declining. The root cause is without a doubt the severe housing shortage that is not releasing its grip on the nation’s housing market.”

Supply & Demand Will Determine Future Home Values

Will home values continue to appreciate throughout 2018? The answer is simple: YES! – as long as there are more purchasers in the market than there are available homes for them to buy. This is known as the theory of “supply and demand,” which is defined as: “The amount of a commodity, product, or service available and the desire of buyers for it, considered as factors regulating its price.” When demand exceeds supply, prices go up. Every month this year, demand (buyer traffic) has increased as compared to last year and for the first five months of 2018, supply (the number of available listings) had decreased as compared to last year. However, a recent report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed the first year-over-year increase in supply in three years. Here are the numbers for supply and demand as compared to last year since the beginning of 2018: The increase in the June numbers doesn’t mean that prices won’t continue to appreciate. In that same report, Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, explained: “It’s important to note that despite the modest year-over-year rise in inventory, the current level is far from what’s needed to satisfy demand levels. Furthermore, it remains to be seen if this modest increase will stick, given the fact that the robust economy is bringing more interested buyers into the market, and new home construction is failing to keep up.” Bottom Line The reason home prices are still rising is that there are many purchasers looking…

The Wave of Millennial Homebuyers Continues to Swell

Many have written about the millennial generation and whether or not they, as a whole, believe in homeownership as a part of attaining their American Dream. Comparatively speaking, millennials have taken longer to obtain traditional milestones (like getting married, having kids and buying a home) than generations before them, but that does not mean that they do not aspire to still achieve those things. For older millennials (aged 25-34) who have established themselves in their career and are starting to build their families, homeownership is the next logical choice. According to the Urban Institute’s State of Millennial Housing, the probability of a millennial becoming a homeowner increases by 17.9% if they are married, and by an additional 6.2% if they have children. Last year, according to the US Census Bureau, the average age at first marriage was 30 for men and 27 for women, while the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that the average first-time homebuyer was 32 years old. With most of this generation having yet to age into the ‘Responsibility Zone’ (the time in their lives when their responsibilities start to dictate their behaviors), there will be a steady wave of buyers for years to come! Those who are currently out in the market searching for a home are being met with a strong, highly competitive seller’s market. NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun recently commented, “Realtors® throughout the country continue to stress that there’s considerable pent-up demand for buying a home among the millennial households in their…

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional Before Entering the Market!

Whether you are buying or selling a home, it can be quite the adventure. In this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers think that they can ‘For Sale by Owner’ or ‘FSBO,’ but it’s not as easy as it may seem. That’s why you need an experienced real estate professional to guide you on the path to achieving your ultimate goal! The 5 reasons you need a real estate professional in your corner haven’t changed but have rather been strengthened by the projections of higher mortgage interest rates and home prices as the market continues to pick up steam. 1. What do you do with all this paperwork? Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true real estate professional is an expert in his or her market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality. 2. So you found your dream house, now what? There are over 230 possible steps that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, someone who knows what these actions are, to ensure you achieve your dream? 3. Are you a good negotiator? So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. After looking at the list of parties that you will need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll soon realize the value in selecting a real estate professional. From the buyers (who want…

Millionaire to Millennials: Owning Your Home Can Help You Retire Sooner!

In a CNBC article, self-made millionaire David Bach explained that: “Buying a home is the escalator to wealth in America. Homeownership can also help you retire early, that is, if you pay your mortgage off.”  Bach suggests that homebuyers should, “Take out a 30-year mortgage, but with the intention of paying it off in 25, 20 or ideally, 15 years.” How does he suggest you do this? Here’s the secret: “…If you were paying $1,000 a month, now you’re going to make $1,100 payments every month. Inform the bank that you are doing this and that you want the extra $100 a month to be applied to the principal (not the interest).” What will happen to your mortgage? Bach explains that, “If you keep this up, you’ll wind up paying off your 30-year mortgage in about 25 years. Increase your monthly payment by 20 percent, and you’ll have that mortgage retired in about 22 years.” Bottom Line Whenever a well-respected millionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This millionaire gave simple advice – buy a home and pay off your mortgage early so that you can retire sooner with the money you will have saved! Who is David Bach? Bach is a self-made millionaire who has written nine consecutive New York Times bestsellers. His book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” spent 31 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He is one of the only business authors in history to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and USA Today bestseller lists. He has been…

Are Lending Standards Propping Up Home Prices?

Back in 2005, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan described the dramatic increases in residential real estate values as a “froth in housing markets.” Greenspan went on to say: “The increase in the prevalence of interest-only loans and the introduction of more-exotic forms of adjustable-rate mortgages are developments of particular concern…some households may be employing these instruments to purchase homes that would otherwise be unaffordable, and consequently their use could be adding to pressures in the housing market.” Greenspan was warning that the loosening of lending standards could lead to disaster. And it did. With home prices again appreciating at percentages well above historic norms, many are wondering whether the market is again becoming “frothy.” Mortgage standards are much stricter now, however, than they were in 2005. The Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center issues a monthly index which measures the percentage of home purchase loans that are likely to default. A lower score indicates that lenders are unwilling to tolerate defaults and are imposing tighter lending standards. A higher score indicates that lenders are willing to tolerate defaults and are taking more risks. Their July Housing Credit Availability Index revealed credit availability rose to 5.9%. For context, they went on to explain: “Significant space remains to safely expand the credit box. If the current default risk was doubled across all channels, risk would still be well within the pre-crisis standard of 12.5 percent from 2001 to 2003 for the whole mortgage market.” Here is a graph depicting the Urban Institute’s…