The Makings of a Buyer’s Market

Buyers are pulling back. Home prices have been rising too much relative to income for many would-be buyers to keep pace. Since 2011, the U.S. median home price has risen 55 percent while wages are up only 18 percent. Now, the Federal Reserve has become more aggressive against inflation; with several short-term interest rate increases over the past year. A monthly mortgage payment on a typical home today is $1,136, up from $639 in 2011.

And confidence is down. Only 38 percent of consumers today strongly believe it’s a good time to buy, down from 43 percent last year, and the numbers are lower for renters who don’t have equity to tap for a down payment.

With buyers stepping back a bit, inventory is no longer falling. New-home construction is increasing and more homeowners are considering listing. A recent survey NAR conducted shows 50 percent of consumers strongly indicate it is a good time to sell, compared to only 28 percent just two years ago. Most home sellers will also be buyers. With inventory expected to grow, prices will stop rising so fast. That’s a healthy adjustment. Buyers can soon resume their search for the American dream.

Source: magazine.realtor/news-and-commentary/economy/article/2018/10/the-makings-of-a-buyer-s-market?

Market Shifting to Home Buyers’ Favor

A housing market defined by rapidly rising home prices, bidding wars, a lack of inventory, and sellers with the upper hand in negotiations may be changing. “The signs are pointing to a market that’s shifting toward buyers,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “But in most places, we’re still a long way from a full reversal.”

After all, home sales aren’t exactly tanking. Prices for existing homes were up 4.6 percent from a year ago in the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report. The median home list price in August was up 7 percent from last year.

While these numbers are still higher than last year, economists point to a slowing growth in the percentage jumps. Last year, median home list prices increased by 10 percent from the previous year and by 9 percent the year before that.

Best Tip to First-Time Buyers: Act Fast!

A shortage of homes for sale and rising home prices are making it challenging for first-time buyers, in particular, this spring. For those who want to land a home, urge them to move fast and be less picky.

The price of an existing home in March was about $250,000, up nearly 6 percent from a year ago, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Homes are selling in about a month.

Home buyers needn’t wait for a 20 percent down payment. More than half of first-time buyers make down payments of 6 percent or less, according to NAR data from 2017. Both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae support home loans to eligible buyers who put down as little as 3 percent on a home purchase, as does the FHA.

Source: “First-Time Home Buyers Learn to Move Quickly in Tight Markets,” The New York Times (May 11, 2018)

Housing Affordability to get ‘Worse in Spring”

As mortgage rates continue to inch higher, consumers are bracing for steeper homebuying costs this spring. Households earning the national median income of $68,000 a year could afford about 59.6 percent of new and existing homes that were sold in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The trade group’s latest report looks at home prices, mortgage interest rates, and median household income across 238 U.S. metros.

Mortgage rates have increased for the past five consecutive weeks. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, predicts that mortgage rates will reach 4.5 percent by the second half of the year. Inventory shortages along with high buyer demand, have prompted home prices to escalate, fueling bidding wars.

Source: “Will It Become Harder to Afford a Home? Experts Say Yes,” realtor.com® (Feb. 9, 2018) and National Association of Home Builders

A Cruel Season for Home Buyers

Typically, the housing market starts to slow in late summer, and prices drop slightly. But so far this year that hasn’t been the case.

“Homes are not selling faster than last July, but faster than last year’s peak months,” says Javier Vivas, manager of economic research at realtor.com®. “However, quick sales don’t necessarily mean more sales, particularly when there isn’t enough inventory, as is the current case. Home prices also remain stubbornly high, failing to show hints of the usual seasonal cool down. Low and moderately priced homes are being snatched up especially quickly, keeping many would-be buyers from being able to get into the market.”

“In this market, home buyers have to move fast, yet high prices and low inventory are slowing down even the most earnest of house hunters,” Nela Richardson, Redfin’s chief economist, told CNBC. “Faced with a low supply of homes for sale and extremely competitive conditions, many home buyers are struggling to make it to the offer stage.”

Source: “Housing Demand Strengthens Through Summer, But Here’s Why Some Buyers Are Giving Up,” CNBC (Aug. 2, 2017)

Existing-Home Sales Reach Decade High

Existing-home sales in January reached their fastest pace in nearly a decade, with all major regions except the Midwest posting gains last month, the National Association of REALTORS® reports.

Total existing-home sales—completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops—rose 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million in January. That’s 3.8 percent higher than a year ago and marks the strongest month since February 2007, according to the NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

The REALTORS® Affordability Distribution Curve and Score, a new measurement of homebuying activity created by NAR and realtor.com®, revealed that the combination of higher mortgage rates and home prices made active listings less affordable for households in more than half of all states last month.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

 

California Groups Sue for More Housing

California homeowners and neighborhood groups are filing lawsuits against the state’s major cities, demanding they roll back some of their zoning restrictions for more housing development. While the nation’s most populous state, California ranks 49th in the number of housing units per capita. Low inventory has pushed home prices in California 2.5 times higher than the U.S. median.

“California’s complex land-use and regulatory structure gives opponents of development extraordinary powers to stymie new projects,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “Environmental reviews intended to preserve California’s picturesque coastline and hillsides also provide a means for residents to challenge ordinary development proposals. If a review finds adverse impacts on parking, traffic, noise, or air quality, elected officials can’t approve it until they have addressed opponents’ concerns. Even after a project is approved, opponents can file environmental challenges, a process that can delay projects by two to four years.”

Source: “California Housing Crunch Prompts Push to Allow Building,” The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 25, 2017)

Study: January, February ‘Great for Buying’

For home buyers hoping to snag a deal, they may want to make a move now. Home prices in January usually decrease compared to the spring and summer buying season.

There’s plenty of research to back that up too. NerdWallet recently crunched two years of realtor.com® data that reflected the 50 largest U.S. metros. Researchers found that January and February were the top months for those looking to get a bargain. In those months, home sales prices were 8.45 percent lower on average than in June through August.

“You basically face almost half of the competition with almost the same amount of inventory in the market,” says Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist. Plus, buyers likely will face fewer homes with multiple bidders.

“As we look toward spring and later in 2017, [mortgage rates are] another reason to buy in January and February,” Smoke says. “Because rates are expected to be about 50 basis points, or half a percent, more as the year goes on.”

Source: “Why January Is the Best Time to Buy a Home” NerdWallet (Jan. 13, 2017)

80% of Housing Markets Are Getting Better

The majority of the top 100 housing markets nationwide are improving compared to their historic benchmark range of housing activity, according to Freddie Mac’s Multi-Indicator Market Index.

The index measures the stability of the housing market by reflecting how single-family housing markets are performing to their long-term stable range based on home purchase applications, payment-to-income ratios (changes in home purchasing power based on home prices, mortgage rates, and household income), proportion of on-time mortgage payments, and local employment.

“The purchase applications indicator is up nearly 20 percent from last year and is reflected in the recent better-than-expected existing and new home sales purchase data,” says Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac’s deputy chief economist.

Source: Freddie Mac

First-Time Home Buyers Aren’t Backing Down!

Higher mortgage rates and home prices aren’t deterring first-time buyers yet. Those new to the home-purchase game comprised 32 percent of the market in November, up from a 30 percent share a year ago, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report.

Overall, this has been a good year for this segment of the population. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, released in November, showed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent in 2016, which is the highest since 2013 (38 percent).

“There are fewer available homes during the winter months but also fewer buyers,” suggests NAR President William E. Brown. “With mortgage rates and prices expected to increase as the year goes on, the first few months of 2017 could be an opportune time close on a home.” 
So we suggest let us start your home search now, plus the loan options ASAP!

Source: National Association of REALTORS®