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Just like our clocks this weekend, in the majority of the country, the housing market will soon “spring forward!” Similar to tension in a spring, the lack of inventory available for sale has been holding back the market.
Many potential sellers believe that waiting until Spring is in their best interest. Traditionally, they would have been right.
Buyer demand has seasonality to it. Usually, this falls off in the winter months, especially in areas of the country impacted by arctic conditions.
Demand for housing has remained strong as mortgage rates have remained near historic lows. Even with an increase in rates forecasted for 2019, buyers are still able to lock in an affordable monthly payment. Buyers are increasingly jumping off the fence and into the market to secure a lower rate.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that in 2018 the top 10 dates sellers listed their homes all fell in April, May, or June.
Those who act quickly and list now, before a flood of increased competition, will benefit from additional exposure to buyers.
If you are planning on selling your home in 2019, call me to evaluate the opportunities in your market. Cell or Text 407-925-7721.
Real estate is shifting to a more normal market; the days of national home appreciation topping 6% annually are over and inventories are increasing which is causing bidding wars to almost disappear. Some see these as signs that the market will soon come tumbling down as it did in 2008.
As it becomes easier for buyers to obtain mortgages, many are suggesting that this is definite proof that banks are repeating the same mistakes they made a decade ago. Today, we want to assure everyone that we are not heading to another housing “bubble & bust.”
Each month, the Mortgage Bankers’ Association (MBA) releases a measurement which indicates the availability of mortgage credit known as the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI). According to the MBA:
“The MCAI provides the only standardized quantitative index that is solely focused on mortgage credit. The MCAI is calculated using several factors related to borrower eligibility (credit score, loan type, loan-to-value ratio, etc.).” *
The higher the measurement, the easier it is to get a mortgage. During the buildup to the last housing bubble, the measurement sat at around 400. In 2005 and 2006, the measurement more than doubled to over 800 and was still at almost 600 in 2007. When the market crashed in 2008, the index fell to just over 100.
Over the last decade, as credit began to ease, the index increased to where it is today at 186.7 – still less than half of what it was prior to the buildup of last decade and less than one-quarter of where it was during the bubble.
Here is a graph depicting this information (remember, the higher the index, the easier it was to get a mortgage):
Though mortgage standards have loosened somewhat during the last few years, we are nowhere near the standards that helped create the housing crisis ten years ago.
*For more information on the MCAI, including methodology, FAQs, and other helpful resources, please click here.
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 the inventory 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 current supply 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).
With home prices rising again this year, some are concerned that we may be repeating the 2006 housing bubble that caused families so much pain when it collapsed. Today’s market is quite different than the bubble market of twelve years ago. There are four key metrics that explain why:
There is no doubt that home prices have reached 2006 levels in many markets across the country. However, after more than a decade, home prices should be much higher based on inflation alone.
Frank Nothaft is the Chief Economist for CoreLogic (which compiles some of the best data on past, current, and future home prices). Nothaft recently explained:
“Even though CoreLogic’s national home price index got to the same level it was at the prior peak in April of 2006, once you account for inflation over the ensuing 11.5 years, values are still about 18% below where they were.” (emphasis added)
Some are concerned that banks are once again easing lending standards to a level similar to the one that helped create the last housing bubble. However, there is proof that today’s standards are nowhere near as lenient as they were leading up to the crash.
The Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center issues a Housing Credit Availability Index(HCAI). According to the Urban Institute:
“The HCAI measures the percentage of home purchase loans that are likely to default—that is, go unpaid for more than 90 days past their due date. A lower HCAI indicates that lenders are unwilling to tolerate defaults and are imposing tighter lending standards, making it harder to get a loan. A higher HCAI indicates that lenders are willing to tolerate defaults and are taking more risks, making it easier to get a loan.”
The graph below reveals that standards today are much tighter on a borrower’s credit situation and have all but eliminated the riskiest loan products.
Back in 2006, many homeowners mistakenly used their homes as ATMs by withdrawing their equity and spending it with no concern for the ramifications. They overloaded themselves with mortgage debt that they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) repay when prices crashed. That is not occurring today.
The best indicator of mortgage debt is the Federal Reserve Board’s household Debt Service Ratio for mortgages, which calculates mortgage debt as a percentage of disposable personal income.
At the height of the bubble market a decade ago, the ratio stood at 7.21%. That meant over 7% of disposable personal income was being spent on mortgage payments. Today, the ratio stands at 4.48% – the lowest level in 38 years!
With both house prices and mortgage rates on the rise, there is concern that many buyers may no longer be able to afford a home. However, when we look at the Housing Affordability Indexreleased by the National Association of Realtors, homes are more affordable now than at any other time since 1985 (except for when prices crashed after the bubble popped in 2008).
After using four key housing metrics to compare today to 2006, we can see that the current market is not anything like the bubble market.
A recent report by CoreLogic revealed that U.S. home values appreciated by more than 37% over the last five years. Some are concerned that this is evidence we may be on the verge of another housing “boom & bust” like the one we experienced from 2006-2008.
Recently, several housing experts weighed in on the subject to alleviate these fears.
“The evidence indicates there currently is no house price bubble in the U.S., despite the rapid increase of house prices over the last five years.”
“There is not likely to be a national bubble in the way that we saw the first decade of the century.”
“There is no direct or indirect sign of any kind of bubble.”
“I wouldn’t call house prices a bubble.”
“Housing is not repeating the bubble period of 2000-2006.”
A recent article by Teo Nicolais, a real estate entrepreneur who teaches courses on real estate principles, markets, and finance at Harvard Extension School concluded that the next housing bubble may not occur until 2024.
The article, How to Use Real Estate Trends to Predict the Next Housing Bubble, looks at previous peaks in real estate values going all the way back to 1818. Nicolais uses the research of several economists. The article details the four phases of a real estate cycle and what defines each phase.
Nicolais concluded his article by saying:
“Those who study the financial crisis of 2008 will (we hope) always be weary of the next major crash. If George, Harrison, and Foldvary are right, however, that won’t happen until after the next peak around 2024.
Between now and then, aside from the occasional slow down and inevitable market hiccups, the real estate industry is likely to enjoy a long period of expansion.”
The reason for the price appreciation we are seeing is an imbalance between supply and demand for housing. This has created a natural increase in values, not a bubble in prices.
Just like with any product or service, the law of supply and demand impacts home prices. Any time that there is less supply than the market demands, prices increase.
In many areas of the country, the supply of homes for sale in the starter and trade-up home markets is so low that bidding wars have ensued, and the busy spring-buying season is just around the corner.
CoreLogic recently conducted an analysis on national home prices at the time of sale for their January 2018 MarketPulse Report and found that a third of homes sold for at least list price.
“The share selling above list price was almost three times the trough in January 2008 and represented more than one-fifth of total sales.”
Many markets in the western part of the country and around major cities are experiencing higher shares of homes selling above list price.
“San Francisco had the largest share of homes—76 percent—that sold for at least the list price, and Seattle and Los Angeles followed with 63 and 51 percent, respectively. Miami had the lowest share—16 percent—of homes selling at or above the list price.”
Increased demand during the spring and summer months, the traditionally busier seasons for real estate, will no doubt influence how many homes continue to sell over list price.
This should not be seen by sellers as permission to overprice their homes, though. Buyers are becoming more and more educated, especially those who have been searching for their dream homes for a while now while waiting for new inventory to come to market.
Realtor.com gives this advice:
“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”
Without a large wave of new listings coming to market, buyers will continue competing with each other for the homes that are available. If you are thinking of selling your home, now may be the time to do so before more competition comes this spring. Let’s get together to determine the demand for your house in our area.