The Housing Market is Doing Just Fine

The Housing Market is Doing Just Fine | Simplifying The Market

There are some that think that housing affordability is a challenge. Historically, that’s not true. Others think that home prices are approaching bubble values. If we look back over the last sixteen years, that is also not the case. As a matter of fact, the numbers show that the U.S. residential real estate market is doing just fine.

Here are two articles and excerpts that make this point:

The Housing Market Is Finally Starting to Look HealthyThe NY Times

It has been an excruciatingly long time coming, but the housing sector in the United States is finally getting healthy. Thank millennials and thank homebuilders who are starting to produce more of the starter houses young people demand.”

Why the U.S. Housing Market Is Good and Getting Even BetterThe Street

“Interest rates are so low now that a family can buy the median-priced U.S. home on income of less than $45,000 a year — about $11,000 less than the median household income. And half of America’s houses are cheaper than that.” 

There are those worried that all this positive talk resembles what was being said in 2004 and 2005. Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com, explains the difference very simply but effectively:

“The havoc during the last cycle was the result of building too many homes and of speculation fueled by loose credit. That’s the exact opposite of what we have today.” (emphasis added)

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Home Values: DEFINITELY NOT in Bubble Range!!

Home Values: DEFINITELY NOT in Bubble Range!! | Simplifying The Market

There are some industry pundits claiming that residential home values have risen too quickly and that current levels are on the verge of another housing bubble. It is easy to see how this thinking has taken form if we look at a graph of home prices from 2000 to today.

Home Values: DEFINITELY NOT in Bubble Range!! | Simplifying The Market

The graph definitely looks like a rollercoaster ride. And, as prices begin to reach 2006 levels again, it “seems logical” that the next part of the ride would be downhill. However, this graph includes the anomaly of the price bubble and the correction (the housing crash).

What if the bubble & bust didn’t occur?

Let’s assume that instead of the rise and fall in home prices that we saw last decade, we just had normal historic appreciation from 2000 to today. According to the 100+ experts that are surveyed for the Home Price Expectation Survey, normal annual appreciation for residential single family homes from 1987 to 1999 was 3.6%.

Starting with the median home price in 2000, we added 3.6% to it each year since then. Here is that graph intermixed with the above graph.

Home Values: DEFINITELY NOT in Bubble Range!! | Simplifying The Market
What this shows us is that, had the bubble and crash not occurred and instead we just had normal annual appreciation over this period, prices would actually be greater than they are today.

Bottom Line

There is no reason for alarm as prices seem to be right in line with where they should be.

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How Supply & Demand Impacts the Real Estate Market [INFOGRAPHIC]

How Supply & Demand Impacts the Real Estate Market [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • The Concept of Supply & Demand is a simple one. The best time to sell something is when supply of that item is low & demand for that item is high!
  • Anything under a 6-month supply is a Seller’s Market!
  • There has not been a 6-months inventory supply since August 2012!
  • Buyer Demand continues to out-pace Seller Supply!

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How Scary is the Housing Affordability Index?

How Scary is the Housing Affordability Index? | Simplifying The Market

Some industry pundits are saying that the housing market may be heading for a slowdown. One of the data points they use is the falling numbers of 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. Here is a snapshot of the index since 2009:

How Scary is the Housing Affordability Index? | Simplifying The Market

But, wait a minute…

Though the index has decreased over the last four years, we must realize that at that time there was an overabundance of housing inventory and as many as one out of three listings was a distressed property (foreclosure or short sale). 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 and look at the current index as compared to the index from 1990 – 2008. We can see that, even though prices have increased, historically low mortgage rates have put the index in a better position than every year for the nineteen years prior to the crash.

How Scary is the Housing Affordability Index? | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

The Housing Affordability Index is in great shape and should not be seen as a challenge to the real estate market’s continued recovery.

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Housing Market Slowing Down? Don’t Tell Builders!

Housing Market Slowing Down? Don’t Tell Builders! | Simplifying The Market

Many experts have been calling upon home builders to ramp up construction to help with the lack of existing inventory for sale. For the past two months, new home sales have surged, with July’s total coming in at the highest since October 2007.

The latest estimates from the US Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development show that sales in July were 31.3% higher than this time last year, and 12.4% higher than last month, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 654,000. 

Zillow’s Chief Economist, Svenja Gudell, echoed the reaction of some as she commented:

“July(‘s) new home sales data was a surprise, but a welcome one. For years, the market has been practically begging builders to both ramp up their efforts overall and to put more focus on serving the less expensive end of the market. Today’s data confirms both are happening in earnest.”

The National Association of Home Builder’s (NAHB) Chairman, Ed Brady, didn’t seem as surprised:

“This rise in new home sales is consistent with our builders’ reports that market conditions have been improving. As existing home inventory remains flat, we should see more consumers turning to new construction.”

NAHB’s Chief Economist, Robert Dietz, believes this is just the start for new home sales if market conditions continue:

“July’s positive report shows there is a need for new single-family homes, buoyed by increased household formation, job gains and attractive mortgage rates. This uptick in demand should translate into increased housing production throughout 2016 and into next year.”

The existing home sales numbers for July will be released today and will shed more light on the overall health of the housing market.

Bottom Line

New home sales hit their highest mark in over 9 years. Buyers are out in force to find a home that fits their needs. Many are turning to new construction, as the inventory of existing homes has not been able to keep up with demand.

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‘Old Millennials’ Are Diving Head-First into Homeownership [INFOGRAPHIC]

‘Old Millennials’ Are Diving Head-First into Homeownership [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • ‘Old Millennials’ are defined as 25-36 year olds according to the US Census Bureau.
  • According to NAR’s latest Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the median age of all first-time home buyers is 31 years old.
  • More and more ‘Old Millennials’ are realizing that homeownership is within their reach now!

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4 Stats That PROVE This Is NOT 2005 All over Again

4 Stats That PROVE This Is NOT 2005 All over Again | Simplifying The Market

Recent research by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) examined certain red flags that caused the housing crisis in 2005, and then compared them to today’s real estate market. Today, we want to concentrate on four of those red flags.

  1. Price to Rent Ratio
  2. Price to Income Ratio
  3. Mortgage Transactions
  4. House Flipping

All four categories were outside historical norms in 2005. Home prices were way above normal ratios when compared to both rents and incomes at the time.

NAR explained that mortgage transactions as a percentage of all home sales were also at a higher percentage:

“Loose credit was one of the main culprits of the housing crisis. Mortgage lending expanded dramatically as unhealthy housing speculation reached its peak and was met by the highest level of credit availability as measured by the Mortgage Bankers Association. The index measures the overall mortgage credit condition by the share of home sales financed by mortgages. This metric does not capture credit quality, but it does set a view of the importance of financing in supporting the housing market.”

House flipping was rampant in 2005. As NAR’s research points out:

“Heightened flipping activity is a clear indication of speculation in the real estate market. A property is considered as a speculative flip if the property is sold twice within 12 months and with positive profit. Flipping is a normal part of a healthy housing market. In an inflated housing market, expectations about short-term profit from pure price appreciation are very high; therefore, the level of flipping activity would show evidence of being heightened.”

Here are the categories with percentages reflecting the unrealistic ratios & numbers of 2005 as compared to the current market. Remember, a negative percentage reflects a positive gain for the market.

4 Stats That PROVE This Is NOT 2005 All over Again | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

They say hindsight is 20/20… Today, experts are keeping a close watch on the potential red flags that went unnoticed in 2005.

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What States Give You the Most ‘Bang for Your Buck’? [INFOGRAPHIC]

What States Give You the Most ‘Bang for Your Buck’? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Thinking of moving across the country? How far will your money take you?
  • The majority of states in the Midwest and South offer a lower cost of living compared to Northeast and Western states.
  • The ‘Biggest Bang for your Buck’ comes in Mississippi where, compared to the national average, you can actually purchase $115.34 worth of goods for $100.

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Home Sales Up in Every Price Range over $100K!

Homes Sales Up in Every Price Range over $100K! | Simplifying The Market

The National Association of Realtors’ most recent Existing Home Sales Report revealed that home sales were up rather dramatically over last year in five of the six price ranges they measure.

Homes priced between $100-250K showed a modest increase at 3.4%. This not only points to the lower inventory of homes available for sale in this price range but also speaks to the overall strength of the housing market.

Sales of homes over $250,000 increased by double digit percentages with sales in the $750,000- $1 million range showing the largest increase, up 16.7%!

As prices in many markets continue to accelerate, it is no surprise to see the percentage of homes in the higher price ranges increasing.

Here is the breakdown:

Homes Sales Up in Every Price Range over $100K! | Simplifying The Market

What does that mean to you if you are selling?

Houses are definitely selling. If your house has been on the market for any length of time and has not yet sold, perhaps it is time to sit with your agent and see if it is priced appropriately to compete in today’s market.

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New Home Sales Up 25.4% Last Month!

New Home Sales Up 25.4% Last Month! | Simplifying The Market

According to the latest Census Bureau Report, sales of newly constructed homes soared to new heights in June to a seasonally adjusted rate of 592,000. This marks the highest annual rate in 8 years. 

Trulia’s Chief Economist, Ralph McLaughlin had this to say:

“New home sales jumped sharply in June, and marked the best month since February 2008. This is a continued sign that demand for homes remains solid and aptly reflects increasing homebuilder confidence.” 

Sales have been climbing consistently over the last six months as shown in the graph below.

New Home Sales Up 25.4% Last Month! | Simplifying The Market

One of the many reasons why many homeowners turn to the new homes market to find their dream home is due to the lack of existing homes for sale. As we have mentioned before, buyer demand is outpacing the supply of homes for sale at record rates.

Bottom Line

If you are a homeowner who is debating listing your home for sale this year, now may be the time. Let’s get together to help you take advantage of the buyers that are ready, willing and able to buy in your area.

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