#1 Answer to the Housing Shortage: New Construction

The biggest challenge to today’s housing market is the shortage of housing inventory for sale. A normal market would see a six-month supply of homes for sale. Currently, that number is below four months. This is the major reason home prices have continued to appreciate at higher levels than historic averages.

The good news is that builders are now starting to build more homes in lower price ranges.

Builder Confidence is Up

The Housing Market Index from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reveals that builder confidence increased last month. HousingWire quoted NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz about the reason for the increase in confidence amongst builders.

“The HMI measure of future sales conditions reached its highest level since June 2005, a sign of growing consumer confidence in the new home market. Especially as existing home inventory remains tight, we can expect increased demand for new construction moving forward.”

Builders are Meeting the Needs of Today’s Purchaser

Builders are not only jumping into the market – they are doing a better job of matching current demand. The Wall Street Journal recently reported:

“In a shift, new households are overwhelmingly choosing to buy rather than rent. Some 854,000 new-owner households were formed during the first three months of the year, more than double the 365,000 new-renter households formed during the period, according to Census Bureau data.”

The WSJ article went on to say:

“Home builders are beginning to shift their focus away from luxury homes and toward homes at lower price points to cater to this burgeoning millennial clientele.”

The graph below compares 2016 to 2017 new construction sales by price point. As we can see, builders are slowly beginning to shift to prices more favorable to the first-time and non-luxury buyer.

#1 Answer to the Housing Shortage: New Construction | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

There is a drastic need for a larger supply of home inventory to meet the skyrocketing demand. Builders are finally doing their part to help rectify this situation.

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Builder Confidence Hits 11-Year High

Builder Confidence Hits 11-Year High | Simplifying The Market

In many areas of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers looking to purchase their dream homes. Experts have long proposed that a ramp-up in new, single-family home construction would be one of the many ways to overcome this inventory shortage.

According to a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo, housing market confidence amongst builders reached an 11-year high last month.

What Does High Confidence Mean for the Housing Market?

In a recent interview, Rob Dietz, Chief Economist and SVP for NAHB, put it this way:

“Higher market confidence will translate into more building and more inventory in 2017. We expect single-family construction to grow 10 percent next year.”

With 2016 marking the best year in real estate sales in over a decade, a 10 percent ramp-up in single-family construction will only aid in making 2017 an even greater year.

According to the latest US Census data, sales of newly constructed homes were up 3.7% over January 2016 as they reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 555,000. Dietz went on to comment:

“We can expect further growth in new home sales throughout the year, spurred on by employment gains and a rise in household formations. As the supply of existing homes remains tight, more consumers will turn to new construction.”

Bottom Line

With the weather and the real estate market heating up this spring, there will be a surge of new construction coming to the market soon.

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New Home Sales Race to Keep Up with Demand [INFOGRAPHIC]

New Home Sales Race to Keep Up with Demand [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Many buyers who are searching for their dream homes are turning to new home construction after 10% of all new home buyers sighted a lack of inventory of existing homes as their reason for purchase.
  • The median home price decreased slightly from September’s high of $314,100 to $304,500 in October.
  • The West saw the largest month over month jump in sales at 28.7%.

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Why We Need More Newly Constructed Homes

Why We Need More Newly Constructed Homes | Simplifying The Market

The number of new home sales is far off historic norms. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) just reported that the percentage of all house sales that were newly constructed homes has fallen to the lowest numbers in forty years. Here is a graph showing the percentages:

Why We Need More Newly Constructed Homes | Simplifying The Market

This should come as no surprise as the number of new housing starts has fallen dramatically over the last several years:

Why We Need More Newly Constructed Homes | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

We need more new construction for two reasons:

  1. It will relieve some of the pent-up buying demand that is causing price appreciation to continue to increase well above historic norms.
  2. It will give better opportunities to many current homeowners who want to sell but can’t find an adequate home to move in to.

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5 Stats that Prove the Real Estate Market is Getting Stronger

5 Stats that Prove the Real Estate Market is Getting Stronger | Simplifying The Market

Whenever there is talk about an improving housing market, some begin to show concern that we may be headed toward another housing bubble that will be followed by a crash similar to the one we saw last decade.

Here are five data points that show the housing market will continue to recover, and that a new housing crisis is not about to take shape.

1) Mortgage availability is increasing, but is nowhere near the levels we saw in 2004-2006.

A buyer’s chances of being approved for a mortgage have increased over the last three years; That’s good news for the market. This is not a precursor to another challenge, as many experts maintain that it is still too difficult for many buyers to attain house financing.

As Jonathan Smoke, the Chief Economist of realtor.com, recently explained:

“The havoc during the last cycle was the result…of speculation fueled by loose credit. That’s the exact opposite of what we have today.”

2) The Housing Affordability Index, which measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home, based on the most recent price and income data. The current index shows that it is more affordable to buy a home today than at any other time between 1990 and 2008. With median incomes finally beginning to rise, houses should continue to remain affordable and housing demand should remain strong.

3) Home prices are well within historic norms. Prices have increased substantially over the last several years; However, those increases followed the housing crash of 2008 and national prices are still not back to 2006 levels. If there were no bubble (and subsequent bust), today’s prices would actually be lower than if they were measured by historic appreciation levels from 1987-1999.

4) Demand for housing, as measured by new household formations, is growing. The Urban Land Institute projects that 5.95 million new households will be formed over the next three years. Even if the homeownership rate drops to 60%, that would be over 3.5 million new homeowners entering the market.

5) New home starts are finally beginning to increase. This helps eliminate the number one challenge in the industry – lack of inventory. And it does so in two ways:

  1. Some first time buyers will, in fact, purchase a newly constructed home.
  2. Many current homeowners will move-up (or move-down) to a new construction and then put their current home on the market.

This means that there will be an increase in both new construction and existing home inventories.

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New Construction Numbers: Now Versus 2005

New Construction Numbers: Now Versus 2005 | Simplifying The Market

There is some thinking that the pace of the housing recovery is unsustainable and that we may be heading for another housing bubble. However, Jonathan Smoke, the Chief Economist of realtor.com explains the basic difference between 2005 and today:

“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.”

If we look at the number of new single family housing starts over the last 30 years, we can see that the numbers of housing starts during the current recovery (2012-Today) are still way below historic averages, and are far less than the numbers built during the run-up to the housing bubble (2002-2006).

New Construction Numbers: Now Versus 2005 | Simplifying The Market

A single family housing start is defined as “the number of permits issued for construction of new single family housing units. Housing starts are an important economic indicator due to its extensive spill over benefits for the other sectors of the economy (retail, manufacturing, utilities).”

Bottom Line

Current demand for housing actually calls for more new construction to be built – not less. We should at least return to historically normal levels.

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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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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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