Today, many real estate conversations center on housing prices and where they may be headed. That is why we like the Home Price Expectation Survey. Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where they believe prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.
The results of their latest survey:
Home values will appreciate by 4.0% over the course of 2016, 3.4% in 2017 and 3.0% in the next two years, and finally 2.8% in 2020 (as shown below). That means the average annual appreciation will be 3.2% over the next 5 years.
The prediction for cumulative appreciation slowed slightly from 25.0% to 24.7% by 2020. The experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey are still projecting a cumulative appreciation of 9.9%.
Individual opinions make headlines. We believe the survey is a fairer depiction of future values.
People often ask whether or not now is a good time to buy a home. No one ever asks when a good time to rent is. However, we want to make certain that everyone understands that today is NOT a good time to rent. The Census Bureau recently released their first quarter median rent numbers. Here is a graph showing rent increases from 1988 until today:
A recent Wall Street Journalarticle reports that rents rose “faster last year than at any time since 2007, a boon for landlords but one that has stoked concerns about housing affordability for renters.” The article also cited results from a recent Reis Inc. report which revealed that average effective rents rose 4.6% in 2015, the biggest gain since before the recession. Over the past 15 years, rents have risen at a rate of 2.7% annually.
Where are rents headed?
Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com recently warned that:
“Low rental vacancies and a lack of new rental construction are pushing up rents, and we expect that they’ll outpace home price appreciation in the year ahead.”
NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun had this to say in the latest Existing Home Sales Report:
“With rents steadily rising and average fixed rates well below 4 percent, qualified first-time buyers should be more active participants than what they are right now.”
One way to protect yourself from rising rents is to lock in your housing expense by buying a home. If you are ready and willing to buy, meet with a local real estate professional who can help determine if you are able to today!
Every four years people question what effect the Presidential election might have on the national housing market. Let’s take a look at what is currently taking place. The New York Times ran an article earlier this week where they explained:
“A growing body of research shows that during presidential election years — particularly ones like this when there is such uncertainty about the nation’s future — industry becomes almost paralyzed. A look at the last several dozen election cycles shows that during the final year of a presidential term, big corporate investments are routinely postponed, and big deals are put on the back burner.The research is even more persuasive on the final year of an eight-year presidential term, when a new candidate inevitably will become president.”
We are seeing this take form in the latest economic numbers. However, will this lead to a slowdown in the housing market? Not according to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the National Association of Realtors.
The Impact on Housing Throughout 2016
Let’s look at what has happened and what is projected to happen by these three major entities.
“In spite of deficient supply levels, stock market volatility and the paltry economic growth seen so far this year, the housing market did show resilience and had its best first quarter of existing-sales since 2007.”
“Consumers and businesses showed caution at the end of the first quarter…(but) Home sales are expected to pick up heading into the spring season amid the backdrop of declining mortgage rates, rising pending home sales and purchase mortgage applications, and continued easing of lending standards on residential mortgage loans.”
Even during this election year, the desire to achieve the American Dream is greater than the fear of uncertainty of the next presidency.
Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the size of the foreclosure inventory in the nation. There has been some speculation that distressed property inventories are about to skyrocket. Today, we want to reveal what is actually taking place in this segment of the housing market. CoreLogic, in their most recent National Foreclosure Report, reported that foreclosure inventory has decreased by 23.2% since this time last year. The report also showed that foreclosure inventory has decreased in 49 of the 50 states and that 45 states have posted a year-over-year, double-digit decline (see chart below).
Other findings in the report:
The Seriously Delinquent Rate (homeowners more than 90 days behind in their mortgage payment) is 3.1% which is the lowest level since November 2007
The Foreclosure Rate is 1.1% which is also the lowest level since November 2007
This was the 53rd consecutive month that showed a decline in the Foreclosure Rate
Though foreclosures do remain in the market, the number is dramatically decreasing. The fact that mortgage delinquency rates are also decreasing means the worst of the foreclosure crisis is in the rearview mirror.
A study by Edelman Berland reveals that 33% of homeowners who are contemplating selling their house in the near future are planning to scale down. Let’s look at a few reasons why this might make sense for many homeowners, as the majority of the country is currently experiencing a seller’s market. In a recent blog, Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, highlighted the advantages of selling your current house and downsizing into a smaller home that better serves your current needs. Ramsey explains three potential financial advantages to downsizing:
A smaller home means less space, but it also means less time, stress and money spent on upkeep.
Let’s assume you save $500 a month on your mortgage payment. In 30 years, you could have an additional $1-1.6 million in the bank to get you through your golden years.
Use the proceeds from selling your current home to pay cash for a smaller one. Just imagine what you could do with no mortgage holding you down! If you can’t pay cash, aim for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage and put at least 10-20% down on your new home. Apply the $500 you saved from downsizing to your new monthly payment. At 3% interest, you could pay off a $200,000 mortgage in less than 10.5 years, saving almost $16,000 in the process.
Realtor.com also addressed downsizing in a recent article. They suggest that you ask yourself some questions before deciding if downsizing is right for you and your family. Here are two of their questions followed by their answers (in italics) and some additional information that could help.
Q: What kind of lifestyle do I want after I downsize?
A: “For some folks, it’s a matter of living a simpler life focused on family. Some might want to cross off travel destinations on their bucket lists. Some might want a low-maintenance community with high-end upgrades and social events. Decide what you want to achieve from your move first, and you’ll be able to better narrow down your housing options.”
Comments: Many homeowners are taking the profit from the sale of their current home and splitting it in order to put down payments on a smaller home in their current location, as well as a vacation/retirement home where they plan to live when they retire. This allows them to lock in the home price and mortgage interest rate at today’s values. This makes sense financially as both home prices and interest rates are projected to rise.
Q: Have I built up enough equity in my current home to make a profit?
A: “For most homeowners, the answer is yes. This is if they’ve held on to their properties long enough to have positive equity that will be sizable enough to put a large down payment on their next home.”
Comments: A study by Fannie Mae revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have significant equity (> 20%) in their current home. In actuality, CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 72.6% have greater than 20% equity. That equity could enable you to build the life you’ve always dreamt about.
If you are debating downsizing your home and want to evaluate the options you currently have, meet with a real estate professional in your area who can help guide you through the process.
The National Association of Realtors’ most recent Existing Home Sales Reportrevealed 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:
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, perhaps it is time to sit with your agent and see if it is priced appropriately to compete in today’s market.
With 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.”
In today’s highly competitive seller’s market where there are more buyers than there are listings for them to purchase, some sellers may feel like the ball is in their court. And they would be right when it comes to choosing which offer to accept, the closing date, or even which improvements the seller is willing to make to the home prior to selling. One thing to remember though is that there is always a line that shouldn’t be crossed. Interest rates could change, financing might not go through, the appraisal might not come back at the price that you have agreed to. These are all opportunities to work with your buyer to make sure that the sale still happens. You may think that because buyer demand is high right now, that you could choose to make your buyer jump through hoops. But what happens if they reach their limit and need to walk away? You’re starting over… weeks, maybe months later… and other buyers may wonder what’s wrong with the house that the deal fell through.
The Golden Rule
We were all taught from a young age to “treat others as you would like to be treated”. This shouldn’t change once you have a buyer who seems as though they would do anything to buy your home.