As there’s more and more talk about the real estate market cooling off from the peak frenzy it saw during the pandemic, you may be questioning what that means for your plans to sell your house. If you’re thinking of making a move, you should know the market is still anything but normal.
Even though the supply of homes for sale has been growing this year, there’s still a shortage of homes on the market. And that means conditions continue to favor sellers today. That’s because the level of inventory of homes for sale can help determine if buyers or sellers are in the driver’s seat. Think of it like this:
- A buyers’ market is when there are more homes for sale than buyers looking to buy. When that happens, buyers have the negotiation power because sellers are more willing to compromise so they can sell their house.
- In a sellers’ market, it’s just the opposite. There are too few homes available for the number of buyers in the market and that gives the seller all the leverage. In that situation, buyers will do what they can to compete for the limited number of homes for sale.
- A neutral market is when supply is balanced and there are enough homes to meet buyer demand at the current sales pace.
And for the past two years, we’ve been in a red-hot sellers’ market because inventory has been near record lows. The blue section of this graph highlights just how far below a neutral market inventory still is today.
What Does This Mean for You?
Ed Pinto, Director of the American Enterprise Institute’s Housing Center, gives a perfect summary of what’s happening in today’s market, saying:
“Overall, the best summary is that we’ll move from a gangbuster sellers’ market to a modest sellers’ market.”
Conditions are still in your favor even though the market is cooling. If you work with an agent to price your house at market value, you’ll find success when you sell your house today. While buyer demand is softening due to higher mortgage rates, homes that are priced right are still selling fast. That means your window of opportunity to list your house hasn’t closed.
Today’s housing market still favors sellers. If you’re ready to sell your house, connect with a local real estate advisor so you can start making your moves.
If rising home prices leave you wondering if it makes more sense to rent or buy a home in today’s housing market, consider this. It’s not just home prices that have risen in recent years – rental prices have skyrocketed as well. As a recent article from realtor.com says:
“The median rent across the 50 largest US metropolitan areas reached $1,876 in June, a new record level for Realtor.com data for the 16th consecutive month.”
That means rising prices will likely impact your housing plans either way. But there are a few key differences that could make buying a home a more worthwhile option for you.
If You Need More Space, Buying a Home May Be More Affordable
What you may not realize is that, according to the latest data from realtor.com and the National Association of Realtors (NAR), it may actually be more affordable to buy than rent depending on how many bedrooms you need. The graph below uses the median rental payment and median mortgage payment across the country to show why.
As the graph conveys, if you need two or more bedrooms, it may actually be more affordable to buy a home even as prices rise. While this doesn’t take into consideration the interest deduction or other financial advantages that come with owning a home, it does help paint the picture that it may be more affordable to buy then rent for that unit size based on nationwide averages. So, if one of the factors motivating you to move is a desire for more space, this could be the added encouragement you need to consider homeownership.
Homeownership Also Provides Stability and a Chance To Grow Your Wealth
In addition to being more affordable depending on how many bedrooms you need, buying has two other key benefits: payment stability and equity.
When you buy a home, you lock in your monthly payment with your fixed-rate mortgage. And that’s especially important in today’s inflationary economy. With inflation, prices rise across the board for things like gas, groceries, and more. Locking in your housing payment, which is likely your largest monthly expense, can provide greater long-term stability and help shield you from those rising expenses moving forward. Renting doesn’t provide that same predictability. A recent article from CNET explains it like this:
“…if you buy a house and secure a fixed-rate mortgage, that means that no matter how much prices or interest rates go up, your fixed payment will stay the same every month. That’s an advantage over renting since there’s a good chance your landlord will raise your rent to counter inflationary pressures.”
Not to mention, when you buy, you have the chance to build equity, which in turn grows your net worth. It works like this. As you pay down your home loan over time and as home values continue to appreciate, so does your equity. And that equity can make it easier to fuel a move into a future home if you decide you need a bigger home later on. Again, the CNET article mentioned above helps explain:
“Homeownership is still considered one of the most reliable ways to build wealth. When you make monthly mortgage payments, you’re building equity in your home that you can tap into later on. When you rent, you aren’t investing in your financial future the same way you are when you’re paying off a mortgage.”
If you’re trying to decide whether to keep renting or buy a home, work with a trusted real estate professional to explore your options. With home equity and a shield against inflation on the line, it may make more sense to buy a home if you’re able to.
With all the headlines and buzz in the media, some consumers believe the market is in a housing bubble. As the housing market shifts, you may be wondering what’ll happen next. It’s only natural for concerns to creep in that it could be a repeat of what took place in 2008. The good news is, there’s concrete data to show why this is nothing like the last time.
There’s a Shortage of Homes on the Market Today, Not a Surplus
The supply of inventory needed to sustain a normal real estate market is approximately six months. Anything more than that is an overabundance and will causes prices to depreciate. Anything less than that is a shortage and will lead to continued price appreciation.
For historical context, there were too many homes for sale during the housing crisis (many of which were short sales and foreclosures), and that caused prices to tumble. Today, supply is growing, but there’s still a shortage of inventory available.
The graph below uses data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to show how this time compares to the crash. Today, unsold inventory sits at just a 3.0-months’ supply at the current sales pace.
One of the reasons inventory is still low is because of sustained underbuilding. When you couple that with ongoing buyer demand as millennials age into their peak homebuying years, it continues to put upward pressure on home prices. That limited supply compared to buyer demand is why experts forecast home prices won’t fall this time.
Mortgage Standards Were Much More Relaxed During the Crash
During the lead-up to the housing crisis, it was much easier to get a home loan than it is today. The graph below showcases data on the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The higher the number, the easier it is to get a mortgage.
Running up to 2006, banks were creating artificial demand by lowering lending standards and making it easy for just about anyone to qualify for a home loan or refinance their current home. Back then, lending institutions took on much greater risk in both the person and the mortgage products offered. That led to mass defaults, foreclosures, and falling prices.
Today, things are different, and purchasers face much higher standards from mortgage companies. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, says:
“Credit standards tightened in recent months due to increasing economic uncertainty and monetary policy tightening.”
Stricter standards, like there are today, help prevent a risk of a rash of foreclosures like there was last time.
The Foreclosure Volume Is Nothing Like It Was During the Crash
The most obvious difference is the number of homeowners that were facing foreclosure after the housing bubble burst. Foreclosure activity has been on the way down since the crash because buyers today are more qualified and less likely to default on their loans. The graph below uses data from ATTOM Data Solutions to help tell the story:
In addition, homeowners today are equity rich, not tapped out. In the run-up to the housing bubble, some homeowners were using their homes as personal ATMs. Many immediately withdrew their equity once it built up. When home values began to fall, some homeowners found themselves in a negative equity situation where the amount they owed on their mortgage was greater than the value of their home. Some of those households decided to walk away from their homes, and that led to a wave of distressed property listings (foreclosures and short sales), which sold at considerable discounts that lowered the value of other homes in the area.
Today, prices have risen nicely over the last few years, and that’s given homeowners an equity boost. According to Black Knight:
“In total, mortgage holders gained $2.8 trillion in tappable equity over the past 12 months – a 34% increase that equates to more than $207,000 in equity available per borrower. . . .”
With the average home equity now standing at $207,000, homeowners are in a completely different position this time.
If you’re worried we’re making the same mistakes that led to the housing crash, the graphs above should help alleviate your concerns. Concrete data and expert insights clearly show why this is nothing like the last time.
Buying a home is a major life decision. That’s true whether you’re purchasing for the first time or selling your house to fuel a move. And if you’re planning to buy a home, you might be hearing about today’s shifting market and wondering what it means for you.
While mortgage rates are higher than they were at the start of the year and home prices are rising, you shouldn’t put your plans on hold based solely on market factors. Instead, it’s necessary to consider why you want to move and how important those reasons are to you. Here are two of the biggest personal motivators driving people to buy homes today.
A Need for More Space
Moving.com looked at migration patterns to determine why people moved to specific areas. One trend that emerged was the need for additional space, both indoors and outdoors.
Outgrowing your home isn’t new. If you’re craving a large yard, more entertaining room, or just need more storage areas or bedrooms overall, having the physical space you need for your desired lifestyle may be reason enough to make a change.
A Desire To Be Closer to Loved Ones
Moving and storage company United Van Lines surveys customers each year to get a better sense of why people move. The latest survey finds nearly 32% of people moved to be closer to loved ones.
Another moving and storage company, Pods, also highlights this as a top motivator for why people move. They note that an increase in flexible work options has helped many homeowners make a move closer to the people they care about most:
“. . . a shifting of priorities has also affected why people are moving. Many companies have moved to permanent remote working policies, giving employees the option to move freely around the country, and people are taking advantage of the perk.”
If you can move to another location because of remote work, retirement, or for any other reason, you could leverage that flexibility to be closer to the most important people in your life. Being nearby for caregiving and being able to attend get-togethers and life milestones could be exactly what you’re looking for.
What Does That Mean for You?
If you’re thinking about moving, one of these reasons might be a top motivator for you. And while what’s happening with mortgage rates and home prices in the housing market today will likely play a role in your decision, it’s equally important to make sure your home meets your needs. Like Charlie Bilello, Founder and CEO of Compound Capital Advisors, says:
“Your home is your castle and should confer benefits beyond just the numbers.”
There are many reasons why people decide to move. No matter what the reason may be, if your needs have changed, connect with a local real estate advisor to discuss your options in today’s housing market.