by janet | May 30, 2023 | Buyers & Sellers, Housing Market Updates
Comparing real estate metrics from one year to another can be challenging in a normal housing market. That’s due to possible variability in the market making the comparison less meaningful or accurate. Unpredictable events can have a significant impact on the circumstances and outcomes being compared.
Comparing this year’s numbers to the two ‘unicorn’ years we just experienced is almost worthless. By ‘unicorn,’ this is the less common definition of the word:
“Something that is greatly desired but difficult or impossible to find.”
The pandemic profoundly changed real estate over the last few years. The demand for a home of our own skyrocketed, and people needed a home office and big backyard.
- Waves of first-time and second-home buyers entered the market.
- Already low mortgage rates were driven to historic lows.
- The forbearance plan all but eliminated foreclosures.
- Home values reached appreciation levels never seen before.
It was a market that forever had been “greatly desired but difficult or impossible to find.” A ‘unicorn’ year.
Now, things are getting back to normal. The ‘unicorns’ have galloped off.
Comparing today’s market to those years makes no sense. Here are three examples:
If you look at the headlines, you’d think there aren’t any buyers out there. We still sell over 10,000 houses a day in the United States. Of course, buyer demand is down from the two ‘unicorn’ years. But, according to ShowingTime, if we compare it to normal years (2017-2019), we can see that buyer activity is still strong (see graph below):
We can’t compare today’s home price increases to the last couple of years. According to Freddie Mac, 2020 and 2021 each had historic appreciation numbers. Here’s a graph also showing the more normal years (2017-2019):
We can see that we’re returning to more normal home value increases. There were several months of minimal depreciation in the second half of 2022. However, according to Fannie Mae, the market has returned to more normal appreciation in the first quarter of this year.
There have already been some startling headlines about the percentage increases in foreclosure filings. Of course, the percentages will be up. They are increases over historically low foreclosure rates. Here’s a graph with information from ATTOM, a property data provider:
There will be an increase over the numbers of the last three years now that the moratorium on foreclosures has ended. There are homeowners who lose their home to foreclosure every year, and it’s heartbreaking for those families. But, if we put the current numbers into perspective, we’ll realize that we’re actually going back to the normal filings from 2017-2019.
There will be very unsettling headlines around the housing market this year. Most will come from inappropriate comparisons to the ‘unicorn’ years. A real estate professional is a great resource to help you keep everything in proper perspective.
by janet | May 16, 2023 | Buyers & Sellers, Housing Market Updates
If you’re following the news today, you may feel a bit unsure about what’s happening with home prices and fear whether or not the worst is yet to come. That’s because today’s headlines are painting an unnecessarily negative picture. Contrary to those headlines, home prices aren’t in a freefall. The latest data tells a very different and much more positive story. Local home price trends still vary by market, but here’s what the national data tells us.
If we take a year-over-year view, home prices stayed positive – they just appreciated more slowly than they did at the peak of the pandemic. To get a more detailed picture of some of the trends in the market, we need to look at monthly data.
The monthly graphs below use recent reports from three sources to show that the worst home price declines are already behind us, and prices are on their way back up nationally.
The story this more detailed monthly view tells us is that the last year has been a tale of two halves in the housing market. In the first half of 2022, home prices were climbing, and they peaked in June. Then, in July, home prices started to decline (shown in red in the graphs above). And by roughly August or September, the trend began to stabilize. As we look at the most recent data for the early part of 2023, these graphs also show a recent rebound in momentum with prices ticking back up. Monthly changes in home prices are gaining steam as we move into the busier spring season.
While one to two months doesn’t make a trend, the fact that all three reports show prices have stabilized is an encouraging sign for the housing market. The month-over-month data conveys a clear, but early, consensus that a national shift is taking place today. In essence, home prices are starting to tick back up.
Andy Walden, Vice President of Enterprise Research at Black Knight, says this about home price trends:
“Just five months ago, prices were declining on a seasonally adjusted month-over-month basis in 92% of all major U.S. markets. Fast forward to March, and the situation has done a literal 180, with prices now rising in 92% of markets from February.”
Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains the limited supply of homes available for sale is contributing to this positive turn:
“ . . . prices in many large metros appeared to have turned the corner, with the U.S. recording a second month of consecutive monthly gains. . . . The monthly rebound in home prices underscores the lack of inventory in this housing cycle.”
Here’s What This Means for You
- Sellers: If you’ve been holding off on selling because you’re worried about what was happening with home prices and how it would impact the value of your home, it may be time to jump back in and partner with an agent to list your house. You don’t have to put your needs on hold any longer because the latest data shows a turn in your favor.
- Buyers: If you’ve been waiting to buy because you didn’t want to purchase something that would decrease in value, you now have the peace of mind things are looking up. Buying now lets you make your move before home prices climb more and gives you the chance to own an asset that typically grows in value over time.
If you put off your plans to move because you were worried about home prices falling, data shows the worst is already behind us and prices are actually rising nationally. Partner with a local real estate professional so you have an expert to explain what’s happening with home prices in your area.
by janet | May 15, 2023 | Buyers & Sellers, Housing Market Updates, Move-Up Buyers
Even though home prices have moderated over the last year, many homeowners still have an incredible amount of equity. But what is equity? In the simplest terms, equity is the difference between the market value of your home and the amount you owe on your mortgage. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains how your equity grows over time:
“Housing wealth (home equity or net worth) gains are built up through price appreciation and by paying off the mortgage.”
How Your Equity Can Help You Achieve Your Goals
The equity you build up over the years can be used to your advantage when you sell your current house and buy your next home. If you no longer have the space you need, it might be time to move into a larger home. Or it’s possible you have too much space and need something smaller. No matter the situation, your equity can be a powerful tool you can use to help you make a move in today’s market. That’s because it may be some (if not all) of what you need for your down payment on your next home.
And how much equity you have may surprise you. A recent survey from Realtor.com finds many homeowners today estimate they’ve built up a significant amount of equity:
The latest data from CoreLogic helps solidify why homeowners are feeling so good about the equity they’ve likely gained over time. As Selma Hepp, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, says:
“While equity gains contracted in late 2022 due to home price declines in some regions, U.S. homeowners on average still have about $270,000 in equity, nearly $90,000 more than they had at the onset of the pandemic.”
How a Skilled Real Estate Agent Can Help
If you’re looking to leverage your equity to boost your buying power in today’s market, having a trusted agent by your side makes a difference.
A real estate professional can help you better understand the value of your home, so you’ll get a clearer picture of how much equity you likely have. As a recent article from Bankrate says:
“Hiring a skilled real estate agent can give you a realistic estimate of home prices in your area and how to price your current home. Using that figure, you can calculate how much equity you have and what your net proceeds will look like, so you can apply that money toward the down payment and closing costs of your new home.”
Having a solid understanding of your equity is key when it comes to making decisions about buying or selling your home. A skilled agent can help you navigate the often-complicated process of selling your house and ensure the transaction goes smoothly.
Today, many homeowners are sitting on a substantial amount of equity, and you may be one of them. A real estate agent can help you estimate how much equity you have and plan how you can use it toward the purchase of your next home.
by janet | May 12, 2023 | Buyers & Sellers, Housing Market Updates, Infographic
While home prices vary by local area, they’ve already hit their low point nationally, and now they’re starting to rise again.
Last July, prices started to decline, but around February, they began climbing back up.
If you put your plans to move on hold waiting to see what would happen with home prices, reach out to a local real estate expert to discuss if now’s the right time to jump back in.
by janet | May 9, 2023 | Buyers & Sellers, Foreclosures, Housing Market Updates
There’s been some concern lately that the housing market is headed for a crash. And given some of the affordability challenges in the housing market, along with a lot of recession talk in the media, it’s easy enough to understand why that worry has come up.
But the data clearly shows today’s market is very different than it was before the housing crash in 2008. Rest assured, this isn’t a repeat of what happened back then. Here’s why.
It’s Harder To Get a Loan Now
It was much easier to get a home loan during the lead-up to the 2008 housing crisis than it is today. Back then, banks had different lending standards, making it easy for just about anyone to qualify for a home loan or refinance an existing one. As a result, 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.
Things are different today as purchasers face increasingly higher standards from mortgage companies. The graph below uses data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) to show this difference. The lower the number, the harder it is to get a mortgage. The higher the number, the easier it is.
Unemployment Recovered Faster This Time
While the pandemic caused unemployment to spike over the last couple of years, the jobless rate has already recovered back to pre-pandemic levels (see the blue line in the graph below). Things were different during the Great Recession as a large number of people stayed unemployed for a much longer period of time (see the red in the graph below):
Here’s how the quick job recovery this time helps the housing market. Because so many people are employed today, there’s less risk of homeowners facing hardship and defaulting on their loans. This helps put today’s housing market on stronger footing and reduces the risk of more foreclosures coming onto the market.
There Are Far Fewer Homes for Sale Today
There were also too many homes for sale during the housing crisis (many of which were short sales and foreclosures), and that caused prices to fall dramatically. Today, there’s a shortage of inventory available overall, primarily due to years of underbuilding homes.
The graph below uses data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Federal Reserve to show how the months’ supply of homes available now compares to the crash. Today, unsold inventory sits at just a 2.6-months’ supply. There just isn’t enough inventory on the market for home prices to come crashing down like they did in 2008.
Equity Levels Are Near Record Highs
That low inventory of homes for sale helped keep upward pressure on home prices over the course of the pandemic. As a result, homeowners today have near-record amounts of equity (see graph below):
And, that equity puts them in a much stronger position compared to the Great Recession. Molly Boesel, Principal Economist at CoreLogic, explains:
“Most homeowners are well positioned to weather a shallow recession. More than a decade of home price increases has given homeowners record amounts of equity, which protects them from foreclosure should they fall behind on their mortgage payments.”
The graphs above should ease any fears you may have that today’s housing market is headed for a crash. The most current data clearly shows that today’s market is nothing like it was last time.
by janet | Apr 25, 2023 | Buyers & Sellers, Housing Market Updates, Interest Rates
The housing market’s been going through a lot of change lately, and there’s been uncertainty surrounding what will happen this spring. You may be wondering if more homes will go on the market, what’s next with home prices and mortgage rates, or what the best advice is for someone in your position right now.
Here’s what industry experts are saying right now about the spring housing market and what it means for you:
Selma Hepp, Chief Economist, CoreLogic:
“We see more competition among buyers . . . Housing supply also tends to grow during the spring months. And this is also the time of year when relatively more migration happens, as people graduate and move elsewhere looking for jobs.”
Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst, Bankrate:
“I don’t expect big moves in prices in the span of a month, but like the flower buds of spring, the housing market is showing signs of improvement. A pick up in activity with inventory still low does bode well for home prices.”
Rick Sharga, Founder and CEO, CJ Patrick Company:
“If you can find a home you love and can afford at today’s prices, don’t wait. Home prices in most of the country are unlikely to crash, and mortgage rates will only come down very gradually if they decline at all this year.”
Jeff Tucker, Senior Economist, Zillow:
“The market is still much friendlier this spring for buyers who can overcome affordability hurdles, but buyers are going to see more competition than they might expect because there are not many homes on the market to go around. New listings are increasing, which they almost always do this time of year, but not nearly as quickly as usual.”
If you’re thinking about selling your house, this spring’s a great time to do so while inventory is still so low. And if you’re in a good position to buy, lean on your team of expert advisors for the best advice. Whatever your plans, work with a real estate agent to make sure you’re able to navigate the spring housing market with confidence.