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 these permits were up 7.4% over last year.
How will this impact buyers?
More inventory means more options. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, explained this is good news for the housing market – especially for those looking to buy:
“This rise in single-family housing construction will help tame home price growth, and the increase in multifamily units should continue to help slow rent growth.”
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 so little to choose from
- Fewer hassles as buyers don’t want to “rock the boat” on the deal
With an increase in competition, the seller may not enjoy these same benefits. As Chief Economist Nela Richardson, added:
“Because existing home inventory has been so low for so long, new construction is taking a larger share of the market…Builders meet the buyers and see the demand firsthand.”
If you are considering selling your house, you’ll want to beat this new competition to market to ensure you get the most attention for your listing and the best price.
- Interest rates are projected to increase steadily heading into 2019.
- The higher your interest rate, the more money you end up paying for your home and the higher your monthly payment will be.
- Rates are still low right now. Don’t wait until rates hit 5% to start searching for your dream home!
A recent report by CoreLogic revealed that U.S. home values appreciated by more than 37% over the last five years. Some are concerned that this is evidence we may be on the verge of another housing “boom & bust” like the one we experienced from 2006-2008.
Recently, several housing experts weighed in on the subject to alleviate these fears.
Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac Chief Economist
“The evidence indicates there currently is no house price bubble in the U.S., despite the rapid increase of house prices over the last five years.”
Edward Golding, a Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center
“There is not likely to be a national bubble in the way that we saw the first decade of the century.”
Christopher Thornberg, Partner at Beacon Economics
“There is no direct or indirect sign of any kind of bubble.”
Bill McBride, Calculated Risk
“I wouldn’t call house prices a bubble.”
David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices
“Housing is not repeating the bubble period of 2000-2006.”
A recent article by Teo Nicolais, a real estate entrepreneur who teaches courses on real estate principles, markets, and finance at Harvard Extension School concluded that the next housing bubble may not occur until 2024.
The article, How to Use Real Estate Trends to Predict the Next Housing Bubble, looks at previous peaks in real estate values going all the way back to 1818. Nicolais uses the research of several economists. The article details the four phases of a real estate cycle and what defines each phase.
Nicolais concluded his article by saying:
“Those who study the financial crisis of 2008 will (we hope) always be weary of the next major crash. If George, Harrison, and Foldvary are right, however, that won’t happen until after the next peak around 2024.
Between now and then, aside from the occasional slow down and inevitable market hiccups, the real estate industry is likely to enjoy a long period of expansion.”
The reason for the price appreciation we are seeing is an imbalance between supply and demand for housing. This has created a natural increase in values, not a bubble in prices.
The housing crisis is finally in the rear-view mirror as the real estate market moves down the road to a complete recovery. Home values are up, home sales are up, and distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have fallen to their lowest points in years. It seems that the market will continue to strengthen in 2018.
However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory. While buyer demand looks like it will remain strong throughout the winter, supply is not keeping up.
Here are the thoughts of a few industry experts on the subject:
“Total housing inventory at the end of November dropped 7.2 percent to 1.67 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 9.7 percent lower than a year ago (1.85 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 30 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.4-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 4.0 months a year ago.”
“The increases in single-family permits and starts show that builders are planning and starting new construction projects, that’s a good thing because it will help to relieve the shortage of homes on the market.”
“Inventory is tighter than it appears. It’s much lower for entry-level buyers.”
If you are thinking of selling, now may be the time. Demand for your house will be strong at a time when there is very little competition. That could lead to a quick sale for a really good price.
Just like our clocks this weekend in the majority of the country, the housing market will soon “spring forward!” Similar to tension in a spring, the lack of inventory available for sale in the market right now is what is holding back the market.
Many potential sellers believe that waiting until Spring is in their best interest, and traditionally they would have been right.
Buyer demand has seasonality to it, which usually falls off in the winter months, especially in areas of the country impacted by arctic temperatures and conditions.
That hasn’t happened this year.
Demand for housing has remained strong as mortgage rates have remained near historic lows. Even with the recent increase in rates, buyers are still able to lock in an affordable monthly payment. Many more buyers are jumping off the fence and into the market to secure a lower rate.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the top 10 dates sellers listed their homes in 2017 all fell in April, May, or June.
Those who act quickly and list now could benefit greatly from additional exposure to buyers prior to a flood of more competition coming to market in the next few months.
If you are planning on selling your home in 2018, meet with a local real estate professional to evaluate the opportunities in your market.