Sales Up in Nearly Every Price Range

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The National Association of Realtors’ most recent Existing Home Sales Report revealed that home sales were up rather dramatically over last year in five of the six price ranges they measure.

Only those homes priced under $100,000 showed a decline (-4.6%). The decline in this price range points to the lower inventory of distressed properties available for sale and speaks to the strength of the market.

Every other category showed a minimum increase of at least 4.6%, with sales in the $250,000- $500,000 range up 15.2%!

Here is the breakdown:

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What does that mean to you if you are selling?

Houses are definitely selling. If your house has been on the market for any length of time and has not yet sold, let’s meet up to see if it is priced appropriately to compete in today’s market.

Housing Market

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Some Highlights:

  • Home sales are up 1.5% year-over-year and 5.1% month-over-month.
  • Demand is still much higher than the available housing inventory which declined 2.2% from March 2015.
  • This is the 49th consecutive month with year-0ver-year price gains.

Housing for 2016

STM-Share-6With the overall economy just inching along, some experts are questioning whether the housing market can continue its momentum throughout the rest of the year. People are beginning to ask questions such as:

  • Will disappointing economic news adversely impact housing?
  • Is affordability a major concern in today’s real estate market?
  • Are we approaching a new housing bubble?
  • Are mortgage standards too tight? Or have they loosened too much?

Freddie Mac, in their April Economic Outlook, addresses the disappointing economic news and what impact they think it will have on housing:

“Recent data darkened the growth outlook for the first quarter of 2016. However, despite the disappointing economic reports, we still forecast housing to maintain its momentum in 2016.

We’ve revised down our forecast for economic growth to reflect the recent data for the first quarter, but our outlook for the balance of the year remains modestly optimistic for the economy.”

What about real estate?

Freddie Mac was much more optimistic about housing…

“We maintain our positive view on housing. In fact, the declines in long-term interest rates that accompanied much of the recent news should increase mortgage market activity.”

They went on to conclude:

“We expect housing to be an engine of growth. Construction activity will pick up as we enter the spring and summer months, and rising home values will bolster consumers and help support renewed confidence in the remaining months of this year.”

Americans – Real Estate is the the Best Long-Term Investment

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Some Highlights:

  • Real estate outranks stocks/mutual funds, gold, savings accounts/CDs, and bonds as the best long-term investment among Americans.
  • Real estate is ranked as the best long-term investment among all age groups.
  • Millennials rank both real estate and savings/CDs at 26% when it comes to the best long-term investment.

Student Debt vs Home Ownership

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IS STUDENT DEBT STANDING IN THE WAY OF HOMEOWNERSHIP?

Student loan balances have doubled since 2007 to well over $1 trillion. Meanwhile, millennials are taking much longer than previous generations to buy their first home.  A recent study examined whether student loan debt is preventing young adults from purchasing homes*.

Surprisingly, the study concluded that there is no causal relationship between student debt and delayed homeownership.  In fact, debtors in their late 20s were more likely to own a home than non-debtors.  The study gives several alternative explanations for why millennials are delaying their first home purchase when compared to prior generations.  Mainly, the delay in homeownership seems to be part of a larger trend of delaying the period of life known as “transition to adulthood”.  For example, the share of 18-34 year-olds who are married with children has also fallen from 27% in 2000 to 20% in 2015.

The study did find one major correlation between student loans and delayed homeownership: student loan debtors who dropped out of college did have much lower rates of homeownership vs. student loan debtors who graduated from college.

Moral of the story?  If you’re going to take out student loans, it’s better to graduate from college with a degree that leads to a high-paying job.

*Jason Houle and Lonnie Berger. 2015 “Is Student Loan Debt Discouraging Home Buying Among Young Adults?”89:589-621, Social Service Review

No Housing Bubble

WBWith home prices expected to appreciate by over 5% this year, some are beginning to worry about a new housing bubble forming. Warren Buffet addressed this issue last week in an article by Fortune Magazine. He simply explained:

“I don’t see a nationwide bubble in real estate right now at all.”

Later, when questioned whether real estate and/or mortgaging could present the same challenges for the economy as they did in 2008, Buffet said:

“I don’t think we will have a repeat of that.”

What factors are driving home prices up?

It is easily explained by the theory of supply and demand. There is a lack of housing inventory for sale while demand for that inventory is very strong. According to a recent survey of agents by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer traffic was seen as either “strong” or “very strong” in 44 of the 50 states (the exceptions being: Alaska, Wyoming, North Dakota, West Virginia, Connecticut and Delaware).

Also, in NAR’s latest Pending Home Sales Report, it was revealed that the index was the highest it has been in a year.

What does the future bring?

As prices rise, more families will have increased equity in their homes which will enable them to put their home on the market. As more listings come to market, price increases should slow to more normal levels.

Anand Nallathambi, President & CEO of CoreLogic, recently addressed the issue:

“Home price gains have clearly been a driving force in building positive equity for homeowners. Longer term, we anticipate a better balance of supply and demand in many markets which will help sustain healthy & affordable home values into the future.”WB

Real Estate #1 Long Term Investment

STM-ShareThe Gallup organization recently released a survey in which Americans were asked to rank what they considered to be the “best long term investment.” Real estate ranked number one, with 35% of those surveyed saying it was a better long term investment than stocks & mutual funds, gold, savings accounts or bonds.

Here is the breakdown:

Americans Rank Real Estate #1 Long Term Investment | Simplifying The Market

The survey revealed that real estate was the number one choice among each of the following groups:

  • Men
  • Women
  • People between the ages of 18-29
  • People between the ages of 30-49
  • People between the ages of 50-64
  • People 65 and older
  • People with annual earnings of less than $30,000
  • People with annual earnings between $30,000 and $74,999
  • People with annual earnings of over $75,000
  • People with a college degree
  • People without a college degree

Even stock investors ranked real estate number one. According to the report:

“With housing prices showing a steadier path upward in recent months, even stock investors are about as likely…to choose real estate (37%) as stocks (32%) as the best long-term investment.”

Homes Selling Strong

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The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their latest Existing Home Sales Report, which revealed that homes were on the market for an average of 47 days in March. This is a decrease from the 59 days reported in February, as well as the 52 days reported back in March 2015.

42% of homes across the country were on the market for less than a month, which is the highest it’s been since July 2015 (43%)!

Among the states with homes selling in 30 days or less are Washington, Oregon, and Minnesota. The map below was created using results from NAR’s Monthly Realtor Confidence Survey.

Homes Continue to Sell Quickly Nationwide | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Buyer demand is increasing as the inventory of homes available for sale remains low. If you are thinking about listing your home for sale this year, let’s meet up so I can help you take advantage of current market conditions!

Home Inventory Disappearing

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The price of any item is determined by the supply of that item, and the market demand. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their latest Existing Home Sales Report which gives insight into today’s market conditions.

Inventory Levels & Demand

Sales of existing homes rose 5.1% month-over-month in March and are 1.5% higher than this time last year. Sales rose in all four major regions in March.

Total unsold housing inventory is 1.5% lower than March 2015 at a 4.5-month supply and remains well below the six months that is needed for a historically normal market.

Consumer confidence is at the highest level in over a decade. Pair that with interest rates still below 4%, programs available for down payments as low as 3%, and you have an attractive market for buyers.

Homes sold in March were on the market for an average of 47 days and 42% of properties sold in less than a month.

Prices Rising

March marked the 49th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains as the median price of existing homes sold rose to $210,700 (up 5.7% from 2015).

So What Does This Mean?

The chart below shows the impact that inventory levels have on home prices.

Housing Inventory Disappearing | Simplifying The Market

 

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun gave some insight into the correlation:

“Buyer demand remains sturdy in most areas this spring and the mid-priced market is doing quite well. However, sales are softer both at the very low and very high ends of the market because of supply limitations and affordability pressures.”

Bottom Line

If you are debating putting your home on the market in 2016, now may be the time. The number of buyers ready and willing to make a purchase is at the highest level in years. Let’s meet up so we can get the process started.