You may have heard that the housing market is softening. There is no doubt that buyer traffic has decreased. There are fewer purchasers in the market than there were last month and at this time last year. What you may not have heard, however, is that there is still a severe shortage of listing inventory in many regions of the country.
In a recent interview discussing the housing market, First American’s Chief Economist Mark Fleming put it simply:
“The biggest challenge is really the availability of supply.”
When we look at available inventory numbers released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), we see that the actual number of homes for sale has decreased in each of the last five months.
What does this mean to you as a seller?
The best time to sell is when there is less competition. That guarantees you a better price and fewer hassles in the transaction.
If you are thinking of selling your house this year, the best time to put it on the market might be right now. Let’s get together to evaluate the demand for your house in our market!
As we kick off the new year, many families have made resolutions to enter the housing market in 2019. Whether you are thinking of finally ditching your landlord and buying your first home or selling your starter house to move into your forever home, there are two pieces of the real estate puzzle you need to watch carefully: interest rates & inventory.
Mortgage interest rates had been on the rise for much of 2018, but they made a welcome reversal at the end of the year. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates climbed to 4.94% in November before falling to 4.62% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage last week. Despite the recent drop, interest rates are projected to reach 5% in 2019.
The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.
Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford to buy will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.
The chart below shows the impact that rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a $400,000 home while keeping your principal and interest payments between $2,020-$2,050 a month.
With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000).
A ‘normal’ real estate market requires there to be a 6-month supply of homes for sale in order for prices to increase only with inflation. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), listing inventory is currently at a 3.9-month supply (still well below the 6-months needed), which has put upward pressure on home prices. Home prices have increased year-over-year for the last 81 straight months.
The inventory of homes for sale in the real estate market had been on a steady decline and experienced year-over-year drops for 36 straight months (from July 2015 to May 2018), but we are starting to see a shift in inventory over the last six months.
The chart below shows the change in housing supply over the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. As you can see, since June, inventory levels have started to increase as compared to the same time last year.
This is a trend to watch as we move further into the new year. If we continue to see an increase in homes for sale, we could start moving further away from a seller’s market and closer to a normal market.
If you are planning to enter the housing market, either as a buyer or a seller, let’s get together to discuss the changes in mortgage interest rates and inventory and what they could mean for you.
This year started strong for real estate, but then the market began to soften. Home inventory in the starter and move-up categories dwindled to almost nothing, mortgage rates were projected to rise, and home sales had decreased for several months in a row.
To many, the outlook heading into 2019 appeared dim… at best.
Then, in a 24-hour window last week, things seemed to change. On Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) revealed in theirExisting Homes Sales Report that home sales had INCREASED for the second consecutive month. The next day, NAR’s economic research team announced that the percentage of first-time buyers in the market was higher than last month and even higher than a year ago.
What happened to turn around the downward momentum in the market?
“After nearly four years of annual declines in inventory, the number of homes for sale has now increased year-over-year for three straight months…”
Ending 2018, we now know two things:
Listing inventory increased over the last three months
Home sales increased over the last two months
Maybe a lack of inventory was the major challenge all along.
But, what about those pesky interest rates?
Last Thursday (the day after all of the above news), Freddie Macannounced that mortgage rates did not increase but instead decreased…again. From their release:
“The response to the recent decline in mortgage rates is already being felt in the housing market. After declining for six consecutive months, existing home sales finally rose in October and November and are essentially at the same level as during the summer months.
This modest rebound in sales indicates that homebuyers are very sensitive to mortgage rate changes – and given the further drop in rates we’ve seen this month, we expect to see a modest rebound in home sales as well.”
Will 2019 start out better than many have predicted? Perhaps, but we’ll have to wait and see. Things do look much better today, though, than they did just a month ago.
There is a lot of uncertainty regarding the real estate market heading into 2019. That uncertainty has raised concerns that we may be headed toward another housing crash like the one we experienced a decade ago.
Here are four reasons why today’s market is much different:
1. There are fewer foreclosures now than there were in 2006
A major challenge in 2006 was the number of foreclosures. There will always be foreclosures, but they spiked by over 100% prior to the crash. Foreclosures sold at a discount and, in many cases, lowered the values of adjacent homes. We are ending 2018 with foreclosures at historic pre-crashnumbers – much fewer foreclosures than we ended 2006 with.
2. Most homeowners have tremendous equity in their homes
Ten years ago, many homeowners irrationally converted much, if not all, of their equity into cash with a cash-out refinance. When foreclosures rose and prices fell, they found themselves in a negative equity situation where their homes were worth less than their mortgage amounts. Many just walked away from their houses which led to even more foreclosures entering the market. Today is different. Over forty-eight percent of homeowners have at least 50% equity in their homesand they are not extracting their equity at the same rates they did in 2006.
3. Lending standards are much tougher
One of the causes of the crash ten years ago was that lending standards were almost non-existent. NINJA loans (no income, no job, and no assets) no longer exist. ARMs (adjustable rate mortgages) still exist but only as a fraction of the number from a decade ago. Though mortgage standards have loosened somewhat during the last few years, we are nowhere near the standards that helped create the housing crisis ten years ago.
4. Affordability is better now than in 2006
Though it is difficult to afford a home for many Americans, data shows that it is more affordable to purchase a home now than it was from 1985 to 2000. And, it requires much less of a percentage of your income today than it did in 2006.
The housing industry is facing some rough waters heading into 2019. However, the graphs above show that the market is much healthier than it was prior to the crash ten years ago.
As we head into 2019, many news outlets and housing experts warn that the housing market may slow down. Over the last six years, the inventory of homes for sale has been near historic lows, which has been the force behind increasing home prices.
This has been great news for sellers as many of them have been able to capitalize on the demand in the market and sell their homes quickly and at a great profit.
One of the big reasons why inventory has remained so low for so long is that an entire generation of home buyers is finally buying! The millennial generation (ages 19-35) has been the driving force behind bidding wars in many areas of the country as they ditch their renter lifestyles and put down roots in new communities.
First American recently released a study entitled “How ‘Renter’ Millennials Will Transform the Housing Market.” In their study, they explained that:
“…As more millennials age into their early-to-mid thirties, and begin to get married, have children and form households, they will continue to be the primary drivers of homeownership demand.”
Because of this, it is safe to say that one aspect of 2019’s housing market that WILL NOT slow down is the demand for housing from young renters who are no longer satisfied living in someone else’s homes.
According to the latest Housing Vacancies and Homeownership Reportfrom the Census Bureau, home buyers under 35 are already out-buying older Americans. The chart below shows the year-over-year change in homeownership rate by those under and over the age of 35.
The national homeownership rate spiked to its highest level in 2004 and then steadily declined until the second quarter of 2016 when it reversed course. Homebuyers under the age of 35 are the reason for that shift.
More than half of the purchase mortgages originated by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2018 were to first-time homebuyers. In fact,
“according to Census Bureau and First Americancalculations, over the next 10 years, aging millennials are expected to purchase at least 10 million new homes. By 2060, it is estimated millennials will have produced more than 20 million first-time home buyers.”
If you are a homeowner who is nervous that the demand for your home will slow, don’t worry! If your home is priced competitively, there will be demand for years to come as this generation of renters is finally able to buy!