Rising home prices have been in the news a lot lately and much of the focus has been on whether home prices are accelerating too quickly, as well as how sustainable the growth in prices really is. One of the often-overlooked benefits of rising prices, however, is the impact that they have on a homeowner’s equity position.
Home equity is defined as the difference between the home’s fair market value and the outstanding balance of all liens (loans) on the property. While homeowners pay down their mortgages, the amount of equity they have in their homes climbs each time the value of their homes go up!
According to the latest Equity Report from ATTOM Data Solutions, “13.9 million U.S. properties in Q2 2018 were equity rich — where the combined estimated balance of loans secured by the property was 50 percent or less of the property’s estimated market value — representing 24.9% of all U.S. properties with a mortgage.”
This means that nearly a quarter of Americans who have a mortgage would be able to sell their homes and have a significant down payment toward their next home. Many who sell could also use their new-found equity to pay off high-interest credit cards or help children with tuition costs.
The map below shows the percentage of properties with a mortgage in each state that were equity rich in Q2 2018.
If you are a homeowner looking to take advantage of your home equity by moving up to your dream home, let’s get together to discuss your options!
Home prices are at the top of everyone’s minds. Can they maintain their current pace of appreciation? Will rising mortgage rates negatively impact home values? Will the next economic slowdown cause prices to crash?
Let’s try to answer these questions based on what has happened in the past as well as what we know about the current real estate market.
We explained earlier this year that rising mortgage rates have not negatively impacted home prices in the past and probably wouldn’t this time either. Freddie Mac’s comments were very direct:
“In the current housing market, the driving force behind the increase in prices is a low supply of both new and existing homes combined with historically low rates. As mortgage rates increase, the demand for home purchases will likely remain strong relative to the constrained supply and continue to put upward pressure on home prices.”
They were correct. So far this year, home values have continued to appreciate above normal historic percentages and it appears the gradual increase in rates has had little impact on prices.
Many people fear that when the economy turns, we may see the same depreciation in home values as we did a decade ago.
However, we recently reported that the same group of economists, real estate experts, and investment & market strategists who predicted the next recession will occur in the next 18-24 months have also projected that house prices will continue to appreciate for the next five years, albeit at smaller percentages.
As always, home prices will be determined by the demand to purchase compared to the available inventory of homes for sale. For the last six years, demand has far exceeded the available supply which has resulted in the average annual appreciation to top 6% since 2012. That is far greater than the historic norm of 3.6% annual appreciation that we saw prior to the housing boom.
There are currently small signs that housing inventory is slowly beginning to increase. Months supply of houses for sale matched last year’s numbers for the last two months after 37 consecutive months of decreasing inventory. New construction data has also shown positive signs that inventory will be increasing.
As inventory begins to meet demand, we will see appreciation return to more normal levels. We are already seeing projections coming in lower than the 6.2% annual average we have seen more recently.
CoreLogic is predicting that home values will appreciate by 5.1% over the next twelve months and the Home Price Expectation Survey calls for values to increase by 4.2% in 2019.
Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, explained it best:
“We’re seeing the first indications that price appreciation may be slowing, but the underlying fundamental housing market conditions support a natural moderation of house prices rather than a sharp decline.”
The latest Existing Home Sales Report issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that home sales have decreased for four consecutive months and are at their slowest pace in over two years. This has some industry leaders puzzled considering the fact that the economy is strengthening, unemployment is down, and wages are beginning to rise. This begs the question: “Where are the buyers?”
Actually, agents in the field of most communities are still seeing strong desire from prospective purchasers. They have a list of potential buyers ready to go if the right houses come on the market and they claim it is not a shortage of demand, but is instead a shortage of inventory that is causing the market to soften.
You only need to look at the graph below to understand:
New construction sales over the last ten years are far below historic numbers from 1995-2002.
A recent industry report looked at building permits and concluded:
“If construction over the past decade matched historic norms, accounting for population change, the country would have had 2.3 million more single-family home permits.”
That decade of not building enough homes is the primary reason for the concerns about today’s market.
Some may argue that NAR’s sales report deals with existing home sales and not new construction, and they would be correct. However, reports have shown that one of the main reasons why existing homeowners are not selling is because they can’t find homes that meet the needs of their current lifestyles. Historically, the upgrades in a newly constructed home were the answers to those needs.
Over the last decade, however, there were fewer homes built to satisfy this move-up seller. Consequently, there are many homeowners who stayed in their homes for a longer tenure, instead of putting their homes up for sale.
As more new homes are being built, there will be more housing inventory to satisfy current demand which will cause prices to moderate and sales volumes to increase.
There are many conflicting headlines when it comes to describing today’s real estate market. Some are making comparisons to the market we experienced 10 years ago and are starting to believe that we may be doomed to repeat ourselves. Others are just plain wrong when it comes to what it takes to qualify for a mortgage.
Today, we want to try and clear the air by shedding some light on what’s causing some of these headlines, as well as what’s truly going on.
Home prices have appreciated year-over-year for the last 76 straight months. Many areas of the country are at or near their peak prices achieved before the last housing bubble burst. This has many worried that we are headed towards another housing bubble.
Reality: The biggest challenge facing today’s real estate market is a lack of homes for sale! Demand is strong, as many renters have come off the fence and are searching for their dream homes.
Historically, a normal market requires a 6-month supply of inventory in order for prices to rise with the rate of inflation. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) there is currently a 4.3-month supply of inventory.
The US housing market hasn’t had 6-months inventory since August 2012! The concept of supply and demand is what is driving home prices up!
Economists and analysts know that the country has experienced economic growth for almost a decade. When this happens, they also know that a recession can’t be too far off. But what is a recession?
Merriam-Webster defines a recession as “a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two consecutive quarters.”
Reality: Recession DOES NOT equal housing crisis. Many people associate these two terms with one another because the last time we had a recession it was caused by a housing crisis. According to the Federal Reserve, over the last 40 years, there have been six recessions. In each of the previous five recessions, home values appreciated.
Rising home prices have many concerned that the average family will no longer be able to afford the most precious piece of the American Dream – their own home.
There are many different affordability indexes supported by different organizations that all measure different data. For this reason, there is a lot of confusion about what “affordable” actually means.
The monthly cost of a home is determined by the home’s price and the interest rate on the mortgage used to purchase it. According to Freddie Mac, interest rates have risen from 3.95% in January to 4.59% just last week.
Reality: As we mentioned earlier, home prices have appreciated year-over-year for the last 76 months, largely driven by high demand and low supply.
According to a recent study by Zillow, the percentage of median income necessary to buy a home in today’s market (17.1%) is well below the mark reached in 1985 – 2000 (21%), as well as the mark reached in 2006 (25.4)! Interest rates would have to increase to 6% before buying a home would be less affordable than historical norms.
The starter-home market has appreciated at higher levels (9.4% year-over-year) than any other market. One reason for this is the fact that many of the first-time buyers who have flocked to the starter-home market are being met with high competition. For some hopeful buyers, it may take more than a good offer to stand out from the crowd!
There is a lot of confusion in today’s real estate market. If your future plans include buying or selling, make sure you have a trusted advisor and market expert by your side to help guide you to the best decision for you and your family.
Freddie Mac,Fannie Mae, andthe Mortgage Bankers Associationare all projecting that home sales will increase nicely in 2019. Below is a chart depicting the projections of each entity for the remainder of 2018, as well as for 2019.
As we can see, Freddie Mac,Fannie Mae, andthe Mortgage Bankers Association all believe that homes sales will increase steadily over the next year. If you are a homeowner who has considered selling your house recently, now may be the best time to put it on the market.
Last week, in a new report from Zillow, it was revealed that there has been a rash of price reductions across the country. According to the report:
Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas further explained:
“A rising share of on-market listings are seeing price cuts, though these price cuts are concentrated at the most expensive price-points and primarily in markets that have seen outsized price gains in recent years.”
This doesn’t mean home values have depreciated or are about to depreciate.
A seller may put a home worth $300,000 on the market for $325,000 hoping a bidding war will occur and an overanxious buyer will pay more than its actual value. That has happened often over the last few years. If the seller gets no offers and reduces the price to $300,000, it doesn’t mean the home dropped in value. It is still worth $300,000.
Home prices will continue to appreciate over the next 12 months. In this same report, Terrazas remarks:
“It’s far too soon to call this a buyer’s market, home values are still expected to appreciate at double their historic rate over the next 12 months, but the frenetic pace of the housing market over the past few years is starting to return toward a more normal trend.”
This does mean that sellers should be more conservative when it comes to the price at which they list their homes – especially sellers in the upper end of each market.
Sellers have been listing their homes at inflated prices hoping a super-hot market will deliver a buyer willing to pay virtually any price to ensure they don’t lose the house. That strategy has worked somewhat successfully over the last two years. However, the time that strategy would have worked may have passed.
Again, quoting Aaron Terrazas in the report:
“The housing market has tilted sharply in favor of sellers over the past two years, but there are very early preliminary signs that the winds may be starting to shift ever-so-slightly.”
Prices are not depreciating. However, if you want to sell your house quickly and with the least amount of hassles, pricing it correctly from the beginning makes the most sense.
You read that right! First-time buyers across the country are getting creative when it comes to saving the necessary down payment to buy a home.
Many couples are asking their wedding guests to contribute to their “Down Payment Fund” rather than fulfilling a traditional registry. This is fueled by the fact that many couples live together prior to marriage and already have the necessary items to make a house a home…they just need the house!
The average wedding in the United States has 120 guests who give wedding gifts valued, on average, at $186. This means that couples could walk away from their nuptials with over $22,000 towards their down payment!
Services like HomeFundMe allow friends, family members, and almost anyone else in a buyer’s network to contribute funds toward the buyer’s down payment. Contributors can determine, at the time of their donation, if their gifts are ‘conditional’ or ‘non-conditional’ on the beneficiary buying a home.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, “about 400 borrowers have used HomeFundMe to help buy homes since the program launched in October and on average, they raise about $2,500.” The article went on to explain that most borrowers use these funds in combination with their personal savings to shorten the time needed to achieve their goal of homeownership.
There are more and more programs surfacing from lenders that allow buyers to put down as little as 3% to buy their dream home. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan programs require 3% down payments, while FHA programs require as little as 3.5%, and VA Loans are often approved with 0% down!
Gone are the days of 20% down or no loan! If your dreams include buying a home of your own in the next year, you can get creative with your down payment savings to make it happen!
Have you ever been flipping through the channels, only to find yourself glued to the couch in an HGTV binge session? We’ve all been there, watching entire seasons of“Love it or List it,” “Million Dollar Listing,” “House Hunters,” “Property Brothers,”and so many more all in one sitting.
When you’re in the middle of your real estate themed show marathon, you might start to think that everything you see on TV must be how it works in real life, but you may need a reality check.
Myth #1: Buyers look at 3 homes and decide to purchase one of them. Truth: There may be buyers who fall in love and buy the first home they see, but according to theNational Association of Realtorsthe average homebuyer tours10 homesas a part of their search.
Myth #2: The houses the buyers are touring are still for sale. Truth: Everything is staged for TV. Many of the homes being shown are already sold and are off the market.
Myth #3: The buyers haven’t made a purchase decision yet. Truth: Since there is no way to show the entire buying process in a 30-minute show, TV producers often choose buyers who are further along in the process and have already chosen a home to buy.
Myth #4: If you list your home for sale, it will ALWAYS sell at the open house. Truth: Of course, this would be great! Open houses are important to guarantee the most exposure to buyers in your area but are only a PIECE of the overall marketing of your home. Keep in mind that many homes are sold during regular listing appointments as well.
Myth #5: Homeowners decide to sell their homes after a 5-minute conversation. Truth: Similar to the buyers portrayed on the shows, many of the sellers have already spent hours deliberating the decision to list their homes and move on with their lives/goals.
Having an experienced professional on your side while navigating the real estate market is the best way to guarantee that you can make the home of your dreams a reality!
Some are attempting to compare the current housing market to the market leading up to the “boom and bust” that we experienced a decade ago. They look at price appreciation and conclude that we are on a similar trajectory, speeding toward another housing crisis.
However, there is a major difference between the two markets. Last decade, while demand was being artificially created by extremely loose lending standards, a tremendous amount of inventory was coming to the market to satisfy that demand. Below is a graph of theinventory of homes available for sale leading up to the 2008 crash.
A normal market should have approximately 6 months supply of housing inventory. As we can see, that number jumped to over 11 months supply leading up to the housing crisis. When questionable mortgage practices ceased, and demand dried up, there was a glut of inventory on the market which caused prices to drop as there was too much supply and not enough demand.
There are those who believe that low mortgage rates have created an artificial demand in the current market. They fear that if mortgage rates continue to rise, some of the current demand will dry up (which is a possibility).
However, if we look at supply again, we can see that the currentsupply of homes is well below the norm of 6 months.
We will not have a glut of inventory like we did back in 2008 and home values won’t come tumbling down. Instead, if demand weakens, we will return to a normal market (approximately a 6-month supply) with historic levels of appreciation (3.6% annually).