“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 RatesSince 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 InventoryElizabeth Mendenhall, President of NAR, said it best, “Despite small month over month increases, the share of first-time buyers in the market continues to underwhelm because there are simply not enough listings in their price range.” Prices of starter and trade-up homes have appreciated faster than their higher-priced counterparts. Over the last 5 years, the lowest-priced homes have appreciated by 47% while the highest-priced homes have appreciated by only 24%. According to the Institute of Luxury Home Market’s Luxury Market Report, the $1M-and-up price range is now experiencing a buyer’s market. This means that supply (inventory) has finally caught up with demand and buyers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to negotiations. Additionally, many listings in this price range have experienced price cuts in order to entice buyers to put in offers.
Natural DisastersAlthough not fully to blame for the national shortage in sales and inventory, natural disasters like Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Michael, and the wildfires on the West Coast have certainly had an impact.
Bottom LineAdditional inventory coming to market could help normalize the housing market and allow incomes to catch up to home prices. For more information about sales and inventory in your area, let’s get together so we can help you make the best decision for you and your family. Call or text me today! P.S. See a list of Nassau County and Suffolk County towns as inventory has changed from December 2017 to December 2018, Not every town has seen an increase - Click here.
Here are their projections:
Bottom LineEvery source sees home sales increasing next year. Let’s get together to chat about what’s going on in your neighborhood. Feel free to give me a call!
Here are their projections of prices going forward:
Bottom LineEvery source sees home prices continuing to appreciate – just at lower percentages as we move through the next several years.
Bottom LineIf 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.
- 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
“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 peak of 11.1 months in April of 2008. With the current levels of buyer demand, any such increase in months supply is highly unlikely. As Danielle Hale, realtor.com’s Chief Economist explains:
“After years of record-breaking inventory declines, September’s almost flat inventory signals a big change in the real estate market. Would-be buyers who had been waiting for a bigger selection of homes for sale may finally see more listings materialize. But don’t expect the level to jump dramatically. Plenty of buyers in the market are scooping up homes as soon as they’re listed, which will keep national increases relatively small for the time being.”
What will be the result of the increase in inventory?The increase in inventory will allow many families who had been unable to find a home to finally become homeowners. Again, we quote from the ‘Z Report’:
“In our view, the short-term narrative will probably be confusing, but more sustainable growth and affordability will likely be the end result.”
Bottom LineIf you are either a first-time or second-time buyer who has given up, let’s get together. We can discuss the inventory available in any town or towns in our market. You may be surprised to find just how many homes are in your price range.
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 numbers from their National Population Projections:
“The aging of baby boomers means that within just a couple decades, older people are projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history…By 2035, there will be 78.0 million people 65 years and older compared to 76.7 million under the age of 18.”
If you are a baby boomer who is not sure whether you should downsize or move to a warmer climate (other people are doing it, why not you?), let’s get together so we can help you evaluate your options today!
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 AffordabilityPrices 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 stands at 138.8. The index had been higher each of the last ten years, peaking at 197 in 2012 (the higher the index the more affordable houses are). But, the average index between 1990 and 2007 was just 123 and there were no years with an index above 133. That means that homes are more affordable today than at any time during the eighteen years between 1990 and 2007.
Bottom LineWith home prices continuing to appreciate and mortgage rates increasing, home affordability will likely continue to slide. However, this does not mean that buying a house is not an attainable goal in most markets as it is less expensive today than during the eighteen-year stretch immediately preceding the housing bubble and crash.
New Home SalesAccording 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.
“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.”
“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 LineThe 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’ Report, best explained the current confusion:
“With the rate of home price appreciation starting to decelerate alongside the uptick in inventory…we expect significant debate about whether this is a bullish or bearish sign. In our view, the short-term narrative will probably be confusing, but more sustainable growth and affordability will likely be the end result.”