Category Archives: Real Estate Market

Epic Housing Shortage Being Reported

The Joint Center of Housing Studies (JCHS) at Harvard University recently released their 2017 State of the Nation’s Housing Study, and a recent blog from JCHS revealed some of the more surprising aspects of the study.

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The first two revelations centered around the shortage of housing inventory currently available in both existing homes and new construction.

Regarding Existing Home Inventory:

“For the fourth year in a row, the inventory of homes for sale across the US not only failed to recover, but dropped yet again. At the end of 2016 there were historically low 1.65 million homes for sale nationwide, which at the current sales rate was just 3.6 months of supply – almost half of the 6.0 months level that is considered a balanced market.”

Regarding New Home Inventory:

“Markets nationwide are still feeling the effects of the deep and extended decline in housing construction. Over the past 10 years, just 9 million new housing units were completed and added to the housing stock. This was the lowest 10-year period on records dating back to the 1970s, and far below the 14 and 15 million units averaged over the 1980s and 1990s.”

Bottom Line

The biggest challenge in today’s market is getting current homeowners and builders to realize the opportunity they have to maximize profit by selling and/or building NOW!!

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The ‘REAL’ News about Housing Affordability

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Some industry experts are claiming that the housing market may be headed for a slowdown as we proceed through 2017, based on rising home prices and a potential jump in mortgage interest rates. One of the data points they use is the Housing Affordability Index, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Here is how NAR defines the index:

“The 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 level based on the most recent price and income data.”

Basically, a value of 100 means a family earning the median income earns enough to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home, based on the price and mortgage interest rates at the time. Anything above 100 means the family has more than enough to qualify.

The higher the index, the easier it is to afford a home.

Why the concern?

The index has been declining over the last several years as home values increased. Some are concerned that too many buyers could be priced out of the market.

But, wait a minute…

Though the index skyrocketed from 2009 through 2013, we must realize that during that time, the housing crisis left the market with an overabundance of distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales). All prices dropped dramatically and distressed properties sold at major discounts. Then, mortgage rates fell like a rock.

The market is recovering, and values are coming back nicely. That has caused the index to fall.

However, let’s remove the crisis years (shaded in gray) and look at the current index as compared to the index from 1990 – 2008:

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Though prices and rates appear to be increasing, we must realize that affordability is composed of three ingredients: home prices, interest rates, and income. And, incomes are finally rising.

ATTOM Data Solutions recently released their Q1 2017 U.S. Home Affordability Index. The report explained:

“Stronger wage growth is the silver lining in this report, outpacing home price growth in more than half of the markets for the first time since Q1 2012, when median home prices were still falling nationwide. If that pattern continues, it will help turn the tide in the eroding home affordability trend.”

Bottom Line

Compared to historic norms, it is still a great time to buy from an affordability standpoint.

A Tale of Two Markets: Inventory Mismatch Paints a More Detailed Picture

A Tale of Two Markets: Inventory Mismatch Paints a More Detailed Picture | www.EdgemontRealEstate.wordpress.com

The inventory of existing homes for sale in today’s market was recently reported to be at a 3.6-month supply according to the National Association of Realtors latest Existing Home Sales Report. Inventory is now 7.1% lower than this time last year, marking the 20th consecutive month of year-over-year drops. Historically, inventory must reach a 6-month supply for a normal market where home prices appreciate with inflation. Anything less than a 6-month supply is a sellers’ market, where the demand for houses outpaces supply and prices go up. As you can see from the chart below, the United States has been in a sellers’ market since August 2012, but last month’s numbers reached a new low.

A Tale of Two Markets: Inventory Mismatch Paints a More Detailed Picture | www.EdgemontRealEstate.wordpress.com

A Tale of Two Markets: Inventory Mismatch Paints a More Detailed Picture | www.EdgemontRealEstate.wordpress.com

Nationally, buyers are searching for starter and trade-up homes and are coming up short with the listings available, leading to a highly competitive seller’s market in these categories. Ninety-two of the top 100 metros have a shortage in trade-up inventory. Premium homebuyers have the best chance of less competition and a surplus of listings in their price range with an 11-point surplus, leading to more of a buyer’s market.

“It leaves Americans who are in the market for a home increasingly chasing too fewer options in lower price ranges, and sellers of premium homes more likely to be left waiting longer for a buyer.”

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist doesn’t see an end to this coming any time soon:

“Competition is likely to heat up even more heading into the spring for house hunters looking for homes in the lower- and mid-market price range.”

Bottom Line

Real estate is local. If you are thinking about buying OR selling this spring, sit with a local real estate professional who can share with you the exact market conditions in your area.

Which Homes Have Appreciated the Most?

Which Homes Have Appreciated the Most? | www.EdgemontRealEstate.wordpress.com

Home values have risen dramatically over the last twelve months. The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors puts the annual increase in the median existing-home price at 7.1%. CoreLogic, in their most recent Home Price Insights Report, reveals that national home prices have increased by 6.9% year-over-year. The CoreLogic report broke down appreciation even further into four different price categories:

  1. Lower Priced Homes: priced at 75% or less of the median
  2. Low-to-Middle Priced Homes: priced between 75-100% of the median
  3. Middle-to-Moderate Priced Homes: priced between 100-125% of the median
  4. High Price Homes: priced greater than 125% of the median

Here is how each category did in 2016: Which Homes Have Appreciated the Most? | www.EdgemontRealEstate.wordpress.com

Bottom Line

The lower priced homes (which are more in demand) appreciated at greater rates than the homes at the upper ends of the spectrum.

Watch out! 26-year-olds are taking over the US economy, expert says

Millennials, or “echo boomers,” have the world in their hands. At least the future of our world’s finances, one expert says.

As it stands, there are 4.8 million Americans who are 26 years old, according to research from Smead Capital Management Chief Executive William Smead. That tops the nearly 3.9 million individuals in the U.S. who are 43, and is more than the 4.5 million Americans who are 56 years old, he said.

“It’s time to focus on the ‘millennial trade,'” Smead said during an interview on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.” Investments in home stocks such as NVR and Lennar are ones that Smead would suggest, as well as entertainment companies Disney and Comcast.

Think of the two recently married parents with a kid at home when you’re making investments today, Smead explained of his stock picks.

“There is a wave of individuals, who over the next few years will find jobs, buy homes, get married and have kids,” Deutsche Bank’s, chief international economist, Torsten Slok, told “Closing Bell.” It’s not as much about the “urban dweller” living in a high-rise apartment right out of college.

One should also turn their attention away from the other end of the spectrum — the baby boomers — and “keep the ‘wave’ [in the middle] in mind,” Slok emphasized.

As echo boomers are getting more jobs, Slok said, more people will be paying taxes and pouring money into the government.

“And don’t listen to investors who say we will have ‘demographic headwinds’ forever, because echo boomers’ kids will come around,” Slok added, explaining how the cycle will continue and calming any fears about “baby boomers dying before a younger generation can replace them.”

Economywide consumption is shifting — slowly but surely — from baby boomers to echo boomers, Slok reiterated, so be warned.

4 Great Reasons to Buy This Spring!

4 Great Reasons to Buy This Spring! | Keeping Current Matters

Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.9% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.8% over the next year. The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have remained around 4% over the last couple months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by at least a half a percentage point this time next year. An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

3. Either Way, You are Paying a Mortgage

There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s. As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity. Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

4. It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise. But what if they weren’t? Would you wait? Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Economic Confidence May Be Housing’s Buoy

Consumers are getting more confident about the economy and their finances, and that could bode well for the real estate market, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest Housing Opportunities and Market Experience survey.

Indeed, the share of households who say the economy is improving surged to its highest share in the survey’s five-quarter history, reaching 62 percent (up from 48 percent a year ago).

The majority of positive sentiment about the economy is coming from respondents living in the Midwest and rural areas, according to the survey. Last March, 49 percent of Midwesterners and 35 percent of Americans living in rural areas thought the economy was improving. Today, 67 percent of Midwesterns and 63 percent of rural residents report an improvement to the economy.

“Confidence levels generally rise after a presidential election as the nation hopes for the best,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Even though it is a highly polarized country, consumers for the most part have upbeat feelings about the economy right now. Stronger business and consumer morale typically lead to even more hiring and spending, which in turn encourages more households to make big decisions like buying a home. These positive developments would be especially good news for prospective homebuyers in the more affordable Midwest region.”

Households are also feeling more confident about their finances. Respondents in the HOME survey reported confidence that their financial outlook will improve over the next six months. Financial confidence is at the highest levels in the survey’s history (reaching 62.6 on the index in March, up from a 58.1 reading a year ago).

Renters, however, may not be as confident. Fifty-six percent of renters say now is a good time to buy, down from 62 percent a year ago. Younger households, renters, and Americans living in more pricey areas, like the western region, are the least optimistic about buying. Meanwhile, 80 percent of homeowners say now is a good time to buy a home.

“Inventory conditions are even worse than a year ago and home prices and mortgage rates are on an uphill climb,” says Yun. “These factors are giving many renter households a pause about it being a good time to buy, even as their job prospects improve and wages grow. Unless there’s a significant boost in supply levels this spring, these constraints will unfortunately slow or delay some prospective buyers’ pursuit of purchasing a home.”

Source: “2017 Q1 HOME Survey,” National Association of REALTORS® (March 2017)

Home Prices Climb in Unseasonable Winter

It has been an unseasonably hot winter in housing as home prices hike higher, according to Clear Capital’s recently released Home Data Index (HDI) report, showing national quarterly home price growth at 0.9 percent.Home Prices Climb in Unseasonable Winter

Regional quarterly price growth, per the report, was mixed: 0.7 percent in the Northeast, an increase; 0.8 percent in the Midwest, a decrease; and 1.0 percent in the South and West, unchanged. Home prices in 16 of the top 50 largest metropolitan areas—which contain one-third of the nation’s housing stock—have moved past bubble-era peaks. The result, according to Clear Capital Vice President of Research and Analytics Alex Villacorta, is a majority-shift toward positive equity.

“Following several rounds of healthy, peak-season summer growth, winter gains thus far this season have remained relatively healthy across much of the country,” says Villacorta. “As prices have continued to climb in the long term during the post-housing crash, the large portion of the housing market that has been frozen in negative equity has shrunk significantly—meaning that an increasingly large portion of previously underwater homeowners may now have the option of entering the market.”

The market in Portland, Ore., which saw the highest home price growth in the nation in 2016, continues to rank at the top of metropolitan areas measured in the report, growing 2 percent quarter-over-quarter. Another booming market, however—San Jose, Calif.—saw negative quarterly price growth, down 0.3 percent. Hartford, Conn., saw identical negative growth.

Forty percent of homeowners who bought a house during the bubble will regain equity by the end of this year, according to the report, provided prices mirror 2016 movement.

“While the expected spring housing boost is still ahead of us, an influx of fresh new demand on the market could further boost growth potential later this year—as long as there are no other shocks to the market,” Villacorta says.

#1 Factor Shaping the 2017 Housing Market

Rising mortgage rates will have the most impact on the housing market in 2017, according to expert opinions recently assessed in Zillow’s Home Price Expectations Survey, followed by limited housing supply and shifting demographics.

Rising rates, markedly, affect both sides of the transaction—as rates increase, homebuyers are further extended, while sellers hold off on listing to avoid a higher-priced mortgage. The experts surveyed expect the most significant changes to come when rates reach 5.5 percent. According to Freddie Mac, rates currently are in the neighborhood of 4 percent.

“Rising mortgage rates, inventory shortages and demographic shifts will be the main drivers of the U.S. housing economy this year, especially for first-time buyers who will face tougher competition for entry-level homes and often operate with a tighter budget than move-up buyers,” says Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “When you combine higher mortgage rates with increasing home values, mortgage affordability starts to suffer, and buyers will have to spend more and more on their monthly payments. This makes it even more important for buyers to prepare their finances, and shop around to make sure they are getting the best possible rate.”

Seventy-seven percent of homebuyers obtain a mortgage to finance a home purchase, according to Zillow—this widespread use, experts agree, will amplify the effects of rising rates on home price appreciation.

“Compared to their outlook in our previous survey just a few months ago, most of our panelists now expect somewhat stronger home value appreciation this year and next, as tight inventory conditions persist,” says Terry Loebs, founder of Pulsenomics, which partnered with Zillow on the survey. “However, longer-term, the consensus still calls for decelerating prices, with the most pessimistic quartile of experts continuing to project negative inflation-adjusted returns for U.S. housing beyond 2017. The specter of rising mortgage rates and other affordability hurdles are clearly impacting these home value projections.”

Pets Have Pull for Homebuyers and Renters

Three bathrooms? Check.

Garage? Check.

Doggy door? Check.

Pets Have Pull for Homebuyers and Renters

Pets are family—and homes have to accommodate family. According to a recently released report by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), 81 percent of Americans say their pets play a role in their housing situation—so much so that 89 percent say they would not give up their pet due to a housing restriction. What’s more: Nineteen percent of Americans say they would consider moving for their pet, while 12 percent have moved for their pet.

Moving is not the only option for pet owners, however. More than half (52 percent) of Americans in the report completed a renovation for their pet, such as adding a dog door, building a fence around the yard or installing laminate flooring.

Pets also have pull when it comes to buying or renting a home, according to the report. One-third of pet owners will not make an offer on a home that does not meet the needs of their pet, while 61 percent have a hard time finding a pet-friendly homeowners association or rental.

“In 2016, 61 percent of U.S. households either had a pet or planned to get one in the future, so it is important to understand the unique needs and wants of animal owners when it comes to homeownership,” says NAR President Bill Brown. “REALTORS® understand that when someone buys a home, they are buying it with the needs of their whole family in mind; ask pet owners, and they will enthusiastically agree that their animals are part of their family.”