- 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 and Demand Determine Home ValuesWill 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 LineThe reason home prices are still rising is that there are many purchasers looking to buy but very few homeowners ready to sell. This imbalance is the reason prices will remain on the uptick.
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 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 market. Unfortunately, they’re just not making meaningful ground, and continue to be held back by too few choices in their price range, and thereby missing out on homeownership and wealth gains.”
Bottom LineIf you are currently renting and thinking about jumping into the real estate market this year, let’s get together to help you navigate our market.
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 the best deals possible), to the home inspection companies, all the way to the appraisers, there are at least 11 different people who you will need to be knowledgeable of, and answer to, during the process.
4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start in order to attract the right buyers and shorten the amount of time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you its true value. According to a recent article by the National Association of Realtors, FSBOs achieve prices significantly lower than the prices of similar properties sold by real estate agents:
“FSBOs earn an average of $60,000 to $90,000 less on the sale of their home than sellers who work with a real estate agent.”Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional!
5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?There is so much information out there on the news and on the internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively and correctly price your home at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a lowball offer? Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:
“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”Hiring an agent who has his or her finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying or selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.
Bottom LineYou wouldn’t replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic, so why would you make one of the most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a real estate professional?
“…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 LineWhenever 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 a contributor to NBC’s Today Show, appearing more than 100 times, as well as a regular on ABC, CBS, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Yahoo, The View, and PBS. He has also been profiled in many major publications, including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, USA Today, People, Reader’s Digest, Time, Financial Times, Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Working Woman, Glamour, Family Circle, Redbook, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Investors’ Business Daily, and Forbes.
“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 findings:
Bottom LineThough it may be slightly easier to get a mortgage today than it was a year ago, lending standards are nowhere near where they were during the build-up to the housing bubble.
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“One point deserves emphasizing: The ultra-costly San Francisco Bay Area is not a harbinger for the nation as a whole. While renting may outweigh buying in San Jose and San Francisco, it is unlikely that renting will tip the scales nationally anytime soon.”
Bottom LineHomeownership provides many benefits beyond the financial ones. If you are one of the many renters out there who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, let’s get together to find your dream home.
“On my honor, I promise to aid in man’s quest for shelter, to recognize I’m not just in the business of houses — I’m in the business of dreams in the shape of houses. To disclose all illegal additions, shoddy construction, murders, and ghosts. And to put my clients’ needs before my own.”While this might seem silly, as it was definitely written with humor in mind, the themes of helping someone achieve the American Dream and putting a client’s needs above his own are not to be taken lightly.