If you’ve entered the real estate market as a buyer or a seller, you’ve inevitably heard the mantra “location, location, location” in reference to identical homes increasing or decreasing in value based on where they’re located.
In today’s housing market where home prices are appreciating quickly, it’s important to know that not every home appreciates at the same rate. The map below demonstrates that point on a state-by-state basis using data from the National Association of Realtors.
How A Lack of Inventory Impacts the Housing Market
The housing crisis is finally in the rear-view mirror as the real estate market moves down the road to a complete recovery. Home values are up, home sales are up, and distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have fallen to their lowest points in years. The market will continue to strengthen in 2018.
However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory. Buyer demand naturally increases during the summer months, but supply is not keeping up.
Here are the thoughts of a few industry experts on the subject:
According to recently released data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median number of days that a home spent on the market hit a new low of 26 days in April, as 57% of homes were on the market for under a month.
NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, had this to say,
“What is available for sale is going under contract at a rapid pace. Since NAR began tracking this data in May 2011, the median days a listing was on the market was at an all-time low in April, and the share of homes sold in less than a month was at an all-time high.”
Strong buyer demand, a good economy, and a low inventory of new and existing homes for sale created the perfect storm to accelerate the time between listing and signing a contract.
The chart below shows the median days on the market from April 2017 to April 2018:
In this extremely hot real estate market, some homeowners might consider selling their homes on their own which is known as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). They rationalize that they don’t need a real estate agent and believe that they can save the fee for the services a real estate agent offers.
However, a study by Collateral Analytics reveals that FSBOs don’t actually save anything, and in some cases may be costing themselves more, by not listing with an agent.
In the study, they analyzed home sales in a variety of markets. The data showed that:
“FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.” (emphasis added)
Why would FSBOs net less money than if they had used an agent?
Don’t Wait to Sell Your House! Buyers Are Out Now!
Recently released data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) suggests that now is a great time to sell your home. The concept of ‘supply & demand’ reveals that the best price for an item is realized when the supply of that item is low and the demand for that item is high.
Let’s see how this applies to the current residential real estate market.
It is no secret that the supply of homes for sale has been far below the number needed to sustain a normal market for over a year at this point. A normal market requires six months of housing inventory to meet the demand. The latest report from NAR revealed that there is currently only a 3.6-month supply of houses on the market.
One of the many questions asked in the housing section of the survey was:
Assuming you had the financial resources to do so, would you like to OWN instead of RENT your primary residence?
Over three-quarters of respondents under the age of 50 said that they would prefer to own their home, rather than rent. While only 52.6% of those over 50 would prefer to own. The full breakdown can be found in the chart below.
Real Estate Tops Best Investment Poll for 5th Year Running
Every year, Gallupsurveys Americans to determine their choice for the best long-term investment. Respondents are given a choice between real estate, stocks/mutual funds, gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds.
For the fifth year in a row, real estate has come out on top as the best long-term investment!
This year’s results showed that 34% of Americans chose real estate, followed by stocks at 26%. The full results are shown in the chart below.
This month, Arch Mortgage Insurance released their spring Housing and Mortgage Market Review. The report explained that an increase in mortgage rates and/or home prices would impact monthly payments this way:
A 5% increase in home prices increases payments by roughly 5%
A 1% rise in interest rates increases payments by roughly 13% or 14%
That begs the question…
What if both rates and prices increase as predicted?
The report revealed:
“If interest rates and home prices rise by year-end in the ballpark of what most analysts are forecasting, monthly mortgage payments on a new home purchase could increase another 10–15%. That would make 2018 one of the worst full-year deteriorations in affordability for the past 25 years.”
The percent increase in mortgage payments would negatively impact affordability. But, how would affordability then compare to historic norms?
Per the report:
“For the U.S. overall, even if affordability were to deteriorate as forecasted, affordability would still be reasonable by historic norms. That is because the percentage of pre-tax income needed to buy a typical home in 2019 would still be similar to the historical average during 1987–2004. Thus, nationally at least, even with higher rates and home prices, affordability will just revert to historical norms.”
What about home prices?
A decrease in affordability will cause some concern about home values. Won’t an increase in mortgage payments negatively impact the housing market? The report addressed this question:
“Even recent interest rate increases and higher taxes on some upper-income earners didn’t slow the market, as many had feared…Short of a war or stock market crash, housing markets could continue to surprise on the upside over the next few years.”
To this point, Arch Mortgage Insurance also revealed their Risk Index which estimates the probability of home prices being lower in two years. The index is based on factors such as regional unemployment rates, affordability, net migration, housing starts and the percentage of delinquent mortgages.
Below is a map depicting their projections (the darker the blue, the lower the probability of a price decrease):