April 23, 2021
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April 29, 2020
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April 22, 2020
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March 18, 2020
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February 25, 2020
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January 24, 2020
There's More to a Bubble Than Rising Home Prices
What truly causes a housing bubble and the inevitable crash? For the best explanation, let’s go to a person who correctly called the last housing bubble ?– a year before it happened.
“A bubble requires both overvaluation based on fundamentals and speculation. It is natural to focus on an asset’s fundamental value, but the real key for detecting a bubble is speculation…Speculation tends to chase appreciating assets, and then speculation begets more speculation, until finally, for some reason that will become obvious to all in hindsight, the ‘bubble’ bursts.
I have taken to calling the housing market a ‘bubble’.”
– Bill McBride of Calculated Risk calling the bubble back in April 2005
Where do we stand today regarding speculation?
There are two measurements that are used to determine the speculation in a housing market:
1. The number of homes purchased by an investor and
2. The number of homes being flipped (resold within a twelve-month period)
As compared to 2005, investor purchases are down dramatically (from 23% to 13%) and so is flipping (from 8.2% to 5.7%). McBride explains:
“There is currently some flipping activity, but this is more the normal type of flipping (buy, improve and then sell). Back in 2005, people were just buying homes and letting them sit vacant – and then selling without significant improvements. Classic speculation.”
What are the experts saying about speculation in today’s market?
DSNews recently ran an article which asked two economists to compare the speculation in today’s market to that in 2005-2007. Here is what they said:
Dr. Eddie Seiler, Chief Housing Economist at Summit Consulting: “The speculative ‘flipping mania’ of 2006 is absent from most metro areas.”
Tian Liu, Chief Economist of Genworth Mortgage Insurance:
“The nature of housing demand is different as well, with more potential homeowners and far fewer speculators in the housing market compared to the 2005-2007 period.”
And what does McBride, who called the last housing bubble, think about today’s real estate market? Sixty days ago, he explained:
“In 2005, people were just buying homes and letting them sit vacant – and then selling without significant improvements. Classic speculation. And even more dangerous during the bubble was the excessive use of leverage (all those poor-quality loans). Currently lending standards are decent, and loan quality is excellent… I wouldn’t call house prices a bubble – and I don’t expect house prices to decline nationally like during the bust?.”
Harry’s Bottom Line:
Speculation is a major element of the housing bubble formula. Right now, there are not elevated percentages of investors and house flippers. Therefore, there is not an elevated rate of speculation.
April 23, 2021
As vaccines are administered and travel resumes, many of us are beginning to plan those long-awaited vacations we missed out on over the past year. Some families are focusing their efforts on buying a vacation home rather than staying in a hotel too. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports:
"Second homes (i.e., homes sold to buyers who are not going to occupy the home year-round,but use it as a vacation home, investment property, etc.) account for 15% of single family home sales."
It's not surprising that there's an increase in demand for vacation homes. The majority of Americans are realizing that they prefer to be around small groups as shown in a recent survey from The Harris Poll:
"Social distancing taught consumers new things about how they like to socialize; 75% said, 'during COVID social distancing, I realized I preferred smaller social gatherings at home or at a friend's place'"
Not only are vacation homes seen as a potentially more pandemic-friendly way to travel and socialize, but they can also serve as an extended home-away-from-home. With more Americans being given the option to continue working remotely or retire earlier than expected, vacation homes can be used year-round. The NAHB explains:
"Remote work arrangements have made it possible for some wealthier Americans to move to alternate locations that are not just small, suburban shifts from within their current metro area. More importantly, second home demand may also be benefitting by an acceleration of retirement plans as well as stock market gains."
The demand for vacation homes has increased and will continue to rise as we head into summer. If you own a house in a destination area and have thought about selling, now is a great time to take advantage of today's high buyer interest. Let's connect to discuss your opportunities in our local market.
May 20, 2020
All eyes are on the American economy. As it goes, so does the world economy. With states beginning to reopen, the question becomes: which sectors of the economy will drive its recovery? There seems to be a growing consensus that the housing market is positioned to be that driving force, the tailwind that is necessary. Some may question that assertion as they look back on the last recession in 2008 when housing was the anchor to the economy - holding it back from sailing forward. But even then, the overall economy did not begin to recover until the real estate market started to regain its strength. This time, the housing market was in great shape when the virus hit. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist of First American, recently explained:
"Many still bear scars from the Great Recession and may expect the housing market to follow a similar trajectory in response to the coronavirus outbreak. But, there are distinct differences that indicate the housing market may follow a much different path. While housing led the recession in 2008-2009, this time it may be poised to bring us out of it."
Fleming is not the only economist who believes this. Last week, Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, (@DrFrankNothaft) tweeted:
"For the first 6 decades after WWII, the housing sector led the rest of the economy out of each recession. Expect it to do so this time as well."
And, Robert Dietz, Chief Economist for the National Association of Home Builders, in an economic update last week explained:
"As the economy begins a recovery later in 2020, we expect housing to play a leading role. Housing enters this recession underbuilt, not overbuilt...Based on demographics and current vacancy rates, the U.S. may have a housing deficit of up to one million units."
Every time a home is sold, it has a tremendous financial impact on local economies. As the real estate market continues its recovery, it will act as a strong tailwind to the overall national economy.
May 11, 2020
With the housing market staggered to some degree by the health crisis the country is currently facing, some potential purchasers are questioning whether home values will be impacted. The price of any item is determined by supply as well as the market's demand for that item.
Each month the National Association of Realtors (NAR) surveys "over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions" for the REALTORS Confidence Index.
Their latest edition sheds some light on the relationship between seller traffic (supply) and buyer traffic (demand) during this pandemic.
The map below was created after asking the question: "How would you rate buyer traffic in your area?"
The darker the blue, the stronger the demand for homes is in that area. The survey shows that in 34 of the 50 U.S. states, buyer demand is now 'strong' and 16 of the 50 states have a 'stable' demand.
The index also asks: "How would you rate seller traffic in your area?"
As the map above indicates, 46 states and Washington, D.C. reported 'weak' seller traffic, 3 states reported 'stable' seller traffic, and 1 sate reported 'strong' seller traffic. This means there are far fewer homes on the market than what is needed to satisfy the needs of buyers looking for homes right now.
With demand still stronger than supply, home values should not depreciate.
What are the experts saying?
Here are the thoughts of three industry experts on the subject:
"We note that inventory as a percent of households sits at the lowest level ever, something we believe will limit the overall degree of home price pressure through the year."
Mark Fleming, Chief Economist, First American:
"Housing supply remains at historicall low levels, so house price growth is likely to slow, but it's not likely to go negative."
"Two forces prevent a collapse in house prices. First, as we indicated in our earlier research report, U.S. housing markets face a large supply deficit. Second, population growth and pent up household formations provide a tailwind to housing demand."
Looking at these maps and listening to the experts, it seems that prices will remain stable throughout 2020. If you're thinking about listing your home, connect with a local real estate professional who can help you capitalize on the somewhat surprising demand in the market now.
May 6, 2020
For nearly two months, most of us have been following strict stay-at-home orders from our state and local governments. It is a whole new way of life that has put our daily lives on pause. On the other hand, many of us have also found a sense of comfort by slowing down and spending time at home, highlighting the feeling of security that comes with having a much-needed safe place for our families to live. The latest results of the Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS) provided by the U.S. Census Bureau shows how Americans place immense value in homeownership, and it is continuing to grow in the United States. The results indicate that the homeownership rate increased to 65.3% for the first quarter of 2020, a number that has been rising since 2016 and is the highest we've seen in eight years (see graph below):
Why is the rate increasing? The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) explained:
"Strong owner household formation with around 2.7 million homeowners added in the first quarter has driven up the homeownership rate, especially under the decreasing mortgage interest rates and strong new home sales and existing home sales in the first two months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the economy."
The NAHB also emphasizes the year-over-year increase in each generational group:
"The homeownership rates among all age groups increased in the first quarter of 2020. Households under age 35, mostly first-time homebuyers, registered the largest gains with the homeownership rate up 1.9 percentage points from a year ago. Households ages 35-44 experienced a 1.2 percentage point gain, followed by the 55-64 age group (a 0.9 percentage point increase), the 45-54 age group (a 0.8 percentage point gain), and the 65+ age group (up by 0.2 percentage point)." See chart below:
Home ownership is an important part of the American dream, especially in moments like this when many are feeling incredibly grateful for the home they have to shelter in place with their families. COVID-19 may be slowing our lives down, but it's showing us the emotional value of homeownership too.
If you're considering buying a home this year, let's connect to set a plan tat will help you get one step closer to achieving your dream.
April 29, 2020
A big challenge facing the housing industry is determining what impact the current pandemic may have on home values. Some buyers are hoping for major price reductions because the health crisis is straining the economy.
The price of any item, however, is determined by supply and demand, which is how many items are available in relation to how many consumers want to buy that item.
In residential real estate, the measurement used to decipher that ratio is called months supply inventory. A normal market would have 6-7 months of inventory. Anything over seven months would be considered a buyer's market, with downward pressure on prices. Anything under six months would indicate a seller's market, which would put upward pressure on prices.
Going into March of this year, the supply stood at three months - a strong seller's market. While buyer demand has decreased rather dramatically during the pandemic, the number of homes on the market has also decreased. The recently released Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that we currently have 3.4 months of inventory. This means that homes should maintain their value during the pandemic.
This information is consistent with the research completed by John Burns Real Estate Consulting, which recently reported:
"Historical analysis showed us that pandemics are usually V-shaped (sharp recessions that recover quickly enough to provide little damage to home prices)."
What are the experts saying?
Here's a look at what some experts recently reported on the matter:
Ivy Zelman, President, Zelman & Associates
"Supported by our analysis of home price dynamics though cycles and other periods of economic and housing disruption, we expect home price appreciation to decelerate from current levels in 2020, though easily remain in positive territory year over year given the benefical factors of record-low inventories and a historically-low interest rate environment."
"The fiscal stimulus provided by the CARES Act will mute the impact that the economic shock has on house prices. Additionally, forbearance and foreclosure mitigation programs will limit the fire sale contagion effect on house prices. We forecast house prices to fall 0.5 percentage points over the next four quarters. Two forces prevent a collapse in house prices. First, as we indicated in our earlier research report, U.S. Housing markets face a large supply deficit. Second, population growth and pent up household formations provide a tailwind to housing demand. Price growth accelerates back towards a long-run trend of between 2 and 3% per year."
Mark Fleming, Chief Economist, First American
"The housing supply remains at historically low levels, so house price growth is likely to slow, but it's unlikely to go negative."
Even though the economy has been placed on pause, there are other factors that will have an impact on home values.
April 29, 2020
Through all of the volatility in the economy right now, some shoppers have put their search for a home on hold, yet others have not. According to ShowingTime, the real estate industry's leading showing management technology provider, buyers have started to reappear over the last several weeks. In the latest report, they revealed:
"The March ShowingTime Showing Index recorded the first nationwide drop in showing traffic in eight months as communities responded to COVID-19. Early April data show signs of an upswing, however."
Why would people be setting appointments to look at prospective homes when the process of purchasing a home has become more difficult with shelter-in-place orders throughout the country?
Here are three reasons for this uptick in activity:
1. Some people need to move. Whether because of a death in the family, a new birth, divorce, financial hardship, or a job transfer, some families need to make a move as quickly as possible.
2. Real estate agents across the country have become very innovative, utilizing technology that allows purchasers to virtually:
- View homes
- Meet with mortgage professionals, and
- Consult with their agent throughout the process
All of this can happen within the required safety protocols, so real estate professionals are continuing to help families make important moves.
3. Buyers understand that mortgage rates are a key component when determining their monthly mortgage payments, and mortgage interest rates are very close to all-time lows and afford today's purchaser the opportunity to save tens of thousand s of dollars over the lifetime of the loan.
Looking closely at the third reason, we can see that there's a big difference between purchasing a house last December and purchasing one now (see Chart below):
Sometimes your move just can't be postponed! If you need to make a move, I can safely and professionally navigate you through the process during these changing times. Call me at (954)336-DAWN(3296), or visit my webpage.
April 22, 2020
In a recent survey by realtor.com, people thinking about selling their homes indicated they're generally willing to allow their agent and some potential buyers inside if done under the right conditions. They're less comfortable, however, hosting an open house. This is understandable given the health concerns associated with social contact these days. The question is, if you need to sell your house now, what virtual practices should you use to make sure you, your family, and potential buyers stay safe in the process?
In today's rapidly changing market, it's more important than ever to make sure that you have a digital game plan and an effective online marketing strategy when selling your house. One of the ways your agent can help with this is to make sure your listing photos and virtual tours stand out from the crowd, truly giving buyers a detailed and thorough view of your home.
So if you're ready to move forward, virtual practices may help you win big when you're ready to sell. While abiding by state and local regulations is a top priority, a real estate agent can help make your sale happen. Agents know exactly what today's buyers need, and how to put the necessary digital steps in place. For example, according to the same survey, when asked to select what technology would be most helpful when deciding on a new home, here's what today's homebuyers said, in order of preference:
- Virtual tour of the home
- Accurate and detailed listing information
- Detailed neighborhood information
- High-quality listing photos
- Agent-led video chat
After leveraging technology, if you have serious buyers who still want to see your house in person, keep in mind that according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there are ways to proceed safely. Here are a few of the guidelines, understanding that the top priority should always be to obey state and local restrictions first:
- Limit in-person activity
- Require guests to wash their hands or use an alcohol-based sanitizer
- Remove shoes or cover with booties
- Follow CDC guidance on social distancing and wearing face coverings
Getting comfortable with your agent - a true trusted advisor - taking these steps under the new safety standards might be your best plan. This is especially important if you're in a position where you need to sell your house sooner rather than later.
Nate Johnson, CMO at realtor.com notes:
"As real estate agents and consumers seek out ways to safely complete these transactions, we believe that technology will become an even more imperative part of how we search for, buy and sell homes moving forward."
It sounds like some of these new practices might be here to stay.
In this new era of life as things are shifting quickly, virtual strategies for sellers may be a great option. Opening your doors up to digital approaches may be game-changing when it comes to selling your house. Let's connect so you have a trusted real estate professional to help you safely and effectively navigate though all that's new when it comes to making your next move.
April 6, 2020
Ten million Americans lost their jobs over the last two weeks. The next announced unemployment rate on May 8 is expected to be in the double digits. Because the health crisis has brought the economy to a screeching halt, many are feeling a personal financial crisis. James Bullard, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, explained that the government is trying to find ways to assist those who have lost their jobs and the companies which were forced to close (think: your neighborhood restaurant). In a recent interview, he said:
"This is a planned, organized partial shutdown of the U.S. economy in the second quarter. The overall goal is to keep everyone, households and businesses, whole."
That's promising, but we're still uncertain as to when the recently unemployed will be able to return to work.
Another concern: how badly will the U.S. economy be damaged if people can't buy homes?
A new concern is whether the high number of unemployed Americans will cause the residential real estate market to crash, putting a greater strain on the economy and leading to even more job losses. The housing industry is a major piece of the overall economy in this country.
Chris Herbert, Managing Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, in a post titled Responding to the Covid-19 Pandemic, addressed the toll that this crisis will have on our nation, explaining:
"Housing is a foundational element of every person's well-being. And with nearly a fifth of US gross domestic product rooted in housing-related expenditures, it is also critical to the well-being of our broader economy."
How has the unemployment rate affected home sales in the past?
It's logical to think there would be a direct correlation between the unemployment rate and home sales: as the unemployment rate went up, home sales would go down, and when the unemployment rate went down, home sales would go up.
However, research reviewing the last thirty years doesn't show that direct relationship, as noted in the graph below. The blue and grey bars represent home sales, while the yellow line represents the unemployment rate. Take a look at numbers 1 though 4:
- The unemployment rate was rising between 1992-1993, yet home sales increased.
- The unemployment rate was rising between 2001-2003, and home sales increased.
- The unemployment rate was rising between 2007-2010, and home sales significantly decreased.
- The unemployment rate was falling continuously between 2015-2019, and home sales remained relatively flat.
The impact of the unemployment rate on home sales doesn't seem to be as strong as we may have thought.
Isn't this time different?
Yes. There's no doubt that the country hasn't seen job losses this quickly in almost a hundred years. How bad could it get? Goldman Sachs projects the unemployment rate to be 15% in the third quarter of 2020, flattening to single digits by the fourth quarter of this year, and then just over 6% by the fourth quarter of 2021. Not ideal for the housing industry, but manageable.
How does this compare to the other financial crises?
Some believe this is going to be reminiscent of The Great Depression. From the standpoint of unemployment rates alone (the only thing this article addresses), it does not compare. Here are the unemployment rates during the Great Depression, the Great Recession, and the projected rates moving forward:
We've given you the facts as we know them. The housing market will have challenges this year. However, with the help being given to those who have lost their jobs and the fact that we're looking at a quick recovery for the economy after we address the health problem, the housing industry should be fine in the long term. Stay healthy.
March 18, 2020
In times of uncertainty, one of the best things we can do to ease our fears is to educate ourselves with research, facts, and data. Digging into past experiences by reviewing historical trends and understanding the peaks and valleys of what's come before us is one of the many ways we can confidently evaluate any situation. With concerns of a global recession on everyone's minds today, it's important to take an objective look at what has transpired over the years and how the housing market has successfully weathered these storms.
1. The Market Today is Vastly Different from 2008
We all remember 2008. This is not 2008. Today's market conditions are far from the time when housing was a key factor that triggered a recession. From easy-to=access mortgages to skyrocketing home price appreciation, a surplus of inventory, excessive equity-tapping, and more - we're not where we were twelve years ago. None of those factors are in play today. Rest assured, housing is not a catalyst that could spiral us back to that time or place.
According to Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.com, if there is a recession:
"It will be different than the Great Recession. Things unraveled pretty quickly, and then the recovery was pretty slow. I would expect this to be milder. There's no dysfunction in the banking system, we don't have many households who are overleveraged with their mortgage payments and are potentially in trouble."
In addition, the Goldman Sachs GDP Forecast released this week indicates that although there is no growth anticipated immediately, gains are forecasted heading into the second half of this year and getting even stronger in early 2021.
Both of these expert sources indicate this is a momentary even tin time, not a collapse of the financial industry. It is a drop that will rebound quickly, a stark difference to the crash of 20008 that failed to get back to a sense of normal for almost four years. Although it poses plenty of near-term financial challenges, a potential recession this year is not a repeat of the long-term housing market crash we remember all too well.
2. A Recession Does Not Equal a Housing Crisis
Next, take a look at the past five recessions in U.S. History. Home values actually appreciated during three of them. It is true that they sank by almost 20% during the last receission, but as we've identified above, 2008 presented different circumstances. In the four previous recessions, home values depreciated only once (by less than 2%). In the other three, residential real estate values increased by 3.5%, 6.1%, and 6.6% (see below):
3. We Can Be Confident About What We Know
Concerns about the global impact COVID-19 will have on the economy are real, and they're scary, as the health and wellness of our friends, families and love ones are high on everyone's emotional radar.
According to Bloomberg,
"Several economists made clear that the extent of the economic wreckage will depend on factors such as how long the virus lasts, whether governments will loosen fiscal policy enough and can markets avoid freezing up."
That said, we can be confident that, while we don't know the exact impact the virus will have on the housing market, we do know that housing isn't the driver.
The reasons we move - marriage, children, job changes, retirement, etc. are steadfast parts of life. As noted in a recent piece in the New York Times, "Everyone needs someplace to live." That won't change.
Concerns about a recession are real, but housing isn't the driver. If you have questions about what it means for your family's homebuying or selling plans, let's connect to discuss your needs.
March 8, 2020
The housing market has started off much stronger in Florida this year than it did last year. Lower mortgage interest rates have been a driving factor in that change. The average 30-year rate in 2019 according to Freddie Mac was 3.94% while today that rate is closer to 3.5%.
The Census Bureau also just reported the highest homeownership rate since 2014 for people under 35. This is evidence that owning their own home is becoming more important to Millennials as they reach the age where marriage and children may become part of their lives.
According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index Survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer demand across the country is strong. That's not the case, however, with seller demand, which remains weak throughout most of the nation. Here's a breakdown by state:
Demand for housing is high, but supply is extremely low. NAR also just reported that the actual number of homes currently for sale stands at 1.42 million, which is one of the lowest totals in almost three decades. Additionally, the ration of homes for sale to the number purchased currently stands at 3.1 months of inventory. In a normal market, that number would be nearly double that at 6 months of inventory.
What does this mean for buyers and sellers?
Buyers need to remain patient in the search process. At the same time, buyers must be ready to act immediately once they find the right home.
Sellers may not want to wait until spring to put their houses on the market. With demand so high and supply so low, now is the perfect time to sell your house for the greatest dollar value and the least hassle.
The real estate market is entering the year like a lion. There's no indication it will lose that roar, assuming inventory continues to come to market.
Discover your home value using my home valuation tool, or reach out to me directly at (954)336-DAWN(3296) to find out how I can help you sell your home quickly while saving you money.