Why Has Housing Supply Increased as Sales Have Slowed Down?

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the inventory of homes for sale this year compared to last year has increased for the last four months, all while sales of existing homes have slowed compared to last year’s numbers. For over three years leading up to this point, the exact opposite was true; Inventory dropped as sales soared. NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun shed some light on what could be contributing to this shift, “This is the lowest existing home sales level since November 2015. A decade’s high mortgage rates are preventing consumers from making quick decisions on home purchases. All the while, affordable home listings remain low, continuing to spur underperforming sales activity across the country.” Let’s take a deeper look: Interest Rates Since January, 30-year fixed mortgage interest rates have increased nearly a full percentage point (from 3.95% to 4.9%). Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the National Association of Realtors, and the Mortgage Bankers Association are all in agreement that rates will continue to increase to about 5.2% over the next 12 months. “The rise in [mortgage] rates paired with this very strong price appreciation absolutely is slowing housing,” said Fannie Mae’s Chief Economist Doug Duncan. Even though rates are higher than they’ve been in a decade, they still remain below the average for the 1970s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s! Mismatch of Inventory Elizabeth Mendenhall, President of NAR, said it best, “Despite small month over month increases, the share of first-time…

How Will Home Sales Measure Up Next Year?

There are many questions about where home sales are headed next year. We have gathered the most reliable sources to help answer this question. Here are our sources: Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) – As the leading advocate for the real estate finance industry, the MBA enables members to successfully deliver fair, sustainable, and responsible real estate financing within ever-changing business environments. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) – The largest association of real estate professionals in the world. Freddie Mac – An organization which provides liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S. housing market in all economic conditions extending to all communities from coast to coast. Fannie Mae – A leading source of financing for mortgage lenders, providing access to affordable mortgage financing in all markets. Here are their projections: Bottom Line Every source sees home sales growing next year. Let’s get together to chat about what’s going on in our neighborhood.

Where are Home Values Headed over the Next Few Years?

There are many questions about where home prices will be next year as well as where they may be headed over the next several years to come. We have gathered the most reliable sources to help answer these questions: The Home Price Expectation Survey – A survey of over 100 market analysts, real estate experts, and economists conducted by Pulsenomics each quarter. Zelman & Associates – The firm leverages unparalleled housing market expertise, extensive surveys of industry executives, and rigorous financial analysis to deliver proprietary research and advice to leading global institutional investors and senior-level company executives. Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) – As the leading advocate for the real estate finance industry, the MBA enables members to successfully deliver fair, sustainable, and responsible real estate financing within ever-changing business environments. Freddie Mac – An organization whose mission is to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S. housing market in all economic conditions extending to all communities from coast to coast. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) – The largest association of real estate professionals in the world. Fannie Mae – A leading source of financing for mortgage lenders, providing access to affordable mortgage financing in all markets always. Here are their projections of prices going forward: Bottom Line Every source sees home prices continuing to appreciate – just at lower percentages as we move through the next several years.

Will Home Prices Continue to Increase?

There are many unsubstantiated theories about what is happening with home prices. From those who are worried that prices are falling (data shows this is untrue), to those who are concerned that prices are again approaching boom peaks because of “irrational exuberance” (this is also untrue as prices are not at peak levels when they are adjusted for inflation), there seems to be no shortage of opinion. However, the increase in prices is easily explained by the theory of supply & demand. Whenever there is a limited supply of an item that is in high demand, prices increase. It is that simple. In real estate, it takes a six-month supply of existing salable inventory to maintain pricing stability. In most housing markets, anything less than six months will cause home values to appreciate and anything greater than seven months will cause prices to depreciate (see chart below). According to the Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the monthly inventory of homes for sale has been below six months for the last five years (see chart below). Bottom Line If buyer demand continues to outpace the current supply of existing homes for sale, prices will continue to appreciate. Nothing nefarious is taking place. It is simply the theory of supply & demand working as it should.

Is the Increase in Inventory a Bullish or Bearish Sign for Real Estate?

In a recent article, National Housing Inventory Crisis Reaches Inflection Point, realtor.com reported that: New listings jumped 8% year-over-year nationally, the largest increase since 2013 Total listings in the 45 largest markets are now up 6% on average over last year This increase in housing inventory has sparked two different reactions. Some are saying this is the first sign of a potential collapse while others are saying it is a welcomed reprieve from the lack of inventory that has stalled the market recently. As Zelman & Associates reported in a recent ‘Z Report’: “With the rate of home price appreciation starting to decelerate alongside the uptick in inventory, we expect significant debate whether this is a bullish or bearish sign.” Is this a sign the market might crash? There are those who look at the increase in inventory as a sign that we are returning to the market we saw last decade. However, a closer look shows that we are nowhere near the levels of inventory we reached before the crash in 2008. A normal market would have about 6-months inventory, but the latest Existing Home Sales Report issued by the National Association of Realtors revealed that: “Unsold inventory is at a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace up from 4.1 months a year ago.” A decade ago, prices began to rapidly depreciate in June 2007. At that time, we had a 9.1-month supply (more than double what it is today) and inventory kept rising until it hit a…

Baby Boomers are Downsizing, Are You Ready to Move?

For a while now baby boomers have been blamed for a portion of the housing market’s current lack of housing inventory, but should they really be getting the blame? Here’s what some of the experts have to say on the subject: Aaron Terrazas, Senior Economist at Zillow, says that “Boomers are healthier and working longer than previous generations, which means they aren’t yet ready to sell their homes.” According to a study by Realtor.com, 85% of baby boomers indicated they were not planning to sell their homes. It is true that baby boomers are healthier and are thus working and living longer, but are they also refusing to sell their homes?  Last month, Trulia looked at the housing situation of seniors (aged 65+) today compared to that of a decade ago. Trulia’s study revealed that: “Although seniors appear to be delaying downsizing until later in life, as a group, households 65 and over are still downsizing at roughly the same rate as in years past.” Trulia also explains that,  “5.5% of households 65 and over moved, pretty evenly split between moves to single family (2.7%) and multifamily (2.4%) homes. In 2005, these percentages were virtually the same, with 5.5% of senior households moving, including 2.5% into single family and 2.5% into multifamily homes.” So, if these percentages are the same, what is the challenge? Recent reports tell us that the older population grew from 3 million in 1900 to 47.8 million in 2017. In addition, the Census recently revised the…

Dispelling the Myth About Home Affordability

We have all seen the headlines that report that buying a home is less affordable today than it was at any other time in the last ten years, and those headlines are accurate. But, have you ever wondered why the headlines don’t say the last 25 years, the last 20 years, or even the last 11 years? The reason is that homes were less affordable 25, 20, or even 11 years ago than they are today. Obviously, buying a home is more expensive now than during the ten years immediately following one of the worst housing crashes in American history. Over the past decade, the market was flooded with distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) that were selling at 10-50% discounts. There were so many distressed properties that the prices of non-distressed properties in the same neighborhoods were lowered and mortgage rates were kept low to help the economy. Low Prices + Low Mortgage Rates = High Affordability Prices have since recovered and mortgage rates have increased as the economy has gained strength. This has and will continue to impact housing affordability moving forward. However, let’s give affordability some historical context. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) issues their Affordability Index each month. According to NAR: “The Monthly Housing Affordability 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 monthly price and income data.” NAR’s current index…

New Home Sales Up 12.7% From Last Year

According to the latest New Residential Sales Report from the Census Bureau, new construction sales in August were up 3.5% from July and 12.7% from last year! This marks the second consecutive month with double-digit year-over-year growth (12.8% in July). The report also showed that builders have ramped up construction with an increase in new construction starts and completions. The summer months are often a busy time for builders as they capitalize on the warmer weather to be able to finish projects. Below is a table showing the change in starts, completions, and sales from last August. Other notable news from the report is that the percentage of new construction sales in the $200-$299k range has continued to break away from the $300-$399k range. This shows that builders are starting to build lower-priced homes that will help alleviate some of the inventory challenges in the starter and trade-up home categories. The chart below shows the full breakdown. What does this mean for buyers and sellers? If you are thinking of buying or selling in today’s market, you no doubt have heard that there is a shortage of existing homes for sale which has been driving home prices up across the country. The additional new construction coming to the market could help alleviate this shortage, but we are still not back up to pre-crisis levels.

Are We About to Enter a Buyers’ Market?

Home sales are below last year’s levels, home values are appreciating at a slower pace, and there are reports showing purchasing demand softening. This has some thinking we may be entering a buyers’ market after sellers have had the upper hand for the past several years. Is this really happening? The market has definitely softened. However, according to two chief economists in the industry, we are a long way from a market that totally favors the purchaser: Dr. Svenja Gudell, Zillow Chief Economist: “These seller challenges don’t indicate we’re suddenly in a buyers’ market – we don’t expect market conditions to shift decidedly in favor of buyers until 2020 or later. But buyers certainly are starting to balk at the rapid rise in prices and home values are starting to grow at a less frenetic pace.” Danielle Hale, Chief Economist of realtor.com: “The signs are pointing to a market that’s shifting toward buyers. But, in most places, we’re still a long way from a full reversal.” In addition, Pulsenomics Inc. recently surveyed over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment & market strategists and asked this question: “When do you expect U.S. housing market conditions to shift decidedly in favor of homebuyers?” Only 5% said the market has already shifted. Here are the rest of the survey results: Bottom Line The market is beginning to normalize but that doesn’t mean we will quickly shift to a market favoring the buyer. We believe Ivy Zelman, author of the well-respected ‘Z’…