Some industry experts are claiming that the housing market may be headed for a slowdown as we proceed through 2017, based on rising home prices and a potential jump in mortgage interest rates. One of the data points they use is the Housing Affordability Index, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Here is how NAR defines the index:
“The Housing Affordability Index measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national level based on the most recent price and income data.”
Basically, a value of 100 means a family earning the median income earns enough to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home, based on the price and mortgage interest rates at the time. Anything above 100 means the family has more than enough to qualify.
The higher the index, the easier it is to afford a home.
Why the concern?
The index has been declining over the last several years as home values increased. Some are concerned that too many buyers could be priced out of the market.
But, wait a minute…
Though the index skyrocketed from 2009 through 2013, we must realize that during that time, the housing crisis left the market with an overabundance of distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales). All prices dropped dramatically and distressed properties sold at major discounts. Then, mortgage rates fell like a rock.
The market is recovering, and values are coming back nicely. That has caused the index to fall.
However, let’s remove the crisis years (shaded in gray) and look at the current index as compared to the index from 1990 – 2008:
Though prices and rates appear to be increasing, we must realize that affordability is composed of three ingredients: home prices, interest rates, and income. And, incomes are finally rising.
ATTOM Data Solutions recently released their Q1 2017 U.S. Home Affordability Index. The report explained:
“Stronger wage growth is the silver lining in this report, outpacing home price growth in more than half of the markets for the first time since Q1 2012, when median home prices were still falling nationwide. If that pattern continues, it will help turn the tide in the eroding home affordability trend.”
Compared to historic norms, it is still a great time to buy from an affordability standpoint.
Traditionally, spring is the busiest season for real estate. Buyers come out in force and homeowners list their houses for sale hoping to capitalize on buyer activity. This year will be no different!
Buyers have already been out in force looking for their dream homes and more are on their way, but the challenge is that the inventory of homes for sale has not kept up with demand, which has lead to A LOT of competition for the homes that are available.
A recent Bloomberg article touched on the current market conditions:
“It’s the 2017 U.S. spring home-selling season, and listings are scarcer than they’ve ever been. Bidding wars common in perennially hot markets like the San Francisco Bay area, Denver and Boston are now also prevalent in the once slow-and-steady heartland, sending prices higher and sparking desperation among buyers across the country.”
Sam Khater, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic went on to explain why buyers are flocking to the market in big numbers:
“In today’s market, many buyers think the trough in [interest] rates is over. If you don’t get in now, it’s just going to be worse later. Rates will be higher, prices will be higher, and maybe inventory selection will be lower.”
In some markets, “thirty-five percent of properties are selling within the first week or two of hitting the market.” Homes are selling at a rapid clip in places like:
- Denver, CO
- Seattle, WA
- Oakland, CA
- Grand Rapids, MI
- Boise, ID
- Madison, WI
- Omaha, NE
Let’s get together to discuss your exact market conditions and help you create a strategy to secure your new home in this competitive atmosphere!
Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.
1. Prices Will Continue to Rise
CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.9% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.8% over the next year.
The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.
2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase
Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have remained around 4% over the last couple months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by at least a half a percentage point this time next year.
An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.
3. Either Way, You are Paying a Mortgage
There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage - either yours or your landlord’s.
As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.
Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?
4. It’s Time to Move on with Your Life
The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.
But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?
Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.
If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.
Home values have risen dramatically over the last twelve months. The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors puts the annual increase in the median existing-home price at 7.1%. CoreLogic, in their most recent Home Price Insights Report, reveals that national home prices have increased by 6.9% year-over-year.
The CoreLogic report broke down appreciation even further into four different price categories:
- Lower Priced Homes: priced at 75% or less of the median
- Low-to-Middle Priced Homes: priced between 75-100% of the median
- Middle-to-Moderate Priced Homes: priced between 100-125% of the median
- High Price Homes: priced greater than 125% of the median
Here is how each category did in 2016:
Looking at the maps above, it is not hard to see why prices are appreciating in many areas of the country. Until the supply of homes for sale starts to meet the buyer demand, prices will continue to increase. If you are debating listing your home for sale, let’s get together to help you capitalize on the demand in the market now!
- Realtor.com recently shared “5 Habits to Start Now If You Hope to Buy a Home in 2017.”
- Setting up an automatic savings plan that saves a small amount of every check is one of the best ways to save without thinking a lot about it.
- Living within a budget now will help you save money for down payments and pay down other debts that might be holding you back.
January 9, 2017 Market Update:
QUOTE OF THE WEEK... "Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year." --Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, lecturer and poet
INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE ... This year we should have 357 best days ahead of us, if most of the housing market forecasts come true. One online real estate firm expects a fast sales pace, thanks to millennials surging into the market, helping to push existing home sales up by 2.8% in 2017. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) currently estimates existing home sales will rise by 2.0%, their lower estimate based on increasing home prices. Yet a financial services company, whose house price index looks at inflation, wage growth and other factors, says prices are still more affordable now than during the housing boom.
Speaking of home prices, a real estate tech and data firm reported prices in November up 7.1% versus a year ago. The property economist for a research consultancy put this to continued low inventories and the rise in housing demand after the election. Of course, the situation varies by market. That data firm forecasts the year will show a 5% increase in prices overall. But some areas may hit double-digit gains, while others decline. Last week, Case-Shiller reported home prices were finally above their all-time highs. Now a listing site notes that the value of housing stock nationally hit an all-time high in 2016, though some markets are still below their peak prices.
BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK... The beginning of the year is a great time to re-commit yourself to your business. It takes a 100% commitment to give you the drive you need to keep meeting the challenges and enjoying the ride.
The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed a direct correlation between a lack of inventory and rising prices.
We are all familiar with the concept of supply and demand. As the demand for an item increases the supply of that same item goes down, driving prices up.
Year-over-year inventory levels have dropped each of the last 18 months, as inventory now stands at a 4.0-month supply, well below the 6.0-month supply needed for a ‘normal’ market.
The median price of homes sold in November (the latest data available) was $234,900, up 6.8% from last year and marking the 57th consecutive month with year-over-year gains.
NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun had this to say:
"Existing housing supply at the beginning of the year was inadequate and is now even worse heading into 2017. Rental units are also seeing this shortage. As a result, both home prices and rents continue to far outstrip incomes in much of the country."
But there is good news about rising prices. More and more homeowners are recovering from a negative equity situation and learning that they are able to sell their homes and either move up to their dream home or downsize to a property that will better suit their needs. Look for these homes to come to market soon.
Buyer demand continues to outpace the supply of homes for sale. Listing your home in the winter attracts serious buyers who are looking to close the transaction quickly.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK... "And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been." --Rainer Maria Rilke, German poet
INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE ... In the housing market we hope this year will be chock full of new transactions. But some question whether this will happen. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) Pending Home Sales index dipped in November, 2.5% below its October reading. This measure of contracts signed on existing homes points to actual sales a few months out. The NAR said higher borrowing costs "somewhat cloud" the housing market outlook for 2017. Yet their chief economist noted that the effect of higher rates will be "partly neutralized" by stronger growth in wages and this year's expected two million net new job additions.
Meanwhile, the Case-Shiller National Home Price Index (HPI) came in with an annual gain of 5.6% in October. This finally put prices past the all-time highs set more than ten years ago--long recovery, hey? However, since the National HPI bottomed out in February 2012, it climbed to a peak yearly rate just shy of 11% before falling to its present 5% range of annual gains. Case-Shiller's managing director noted "the current high consumer confidence numbers and low unemployment rate...do not suggest an immediate reversal in home price trends." But some observers point out that more buyers and sellers might get off the fence given the new market conditions.
BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK... Take every opportunity to build trust with clients and prospects. Make phone calls and deliver information when you say you will and show up for meetings on time. Trust is the basis of business success.
There are some who are calling for a decrease in home prices should mortgage interest rates begin to rise rapidly. Intuitively, this makes sense as the cost of a home is determined by the price of the home, plus the cost of financing that home. If mortgage interest rates increase, fewer people will be able to buy, and logic says prices will fall if demand decreases.
However, history shows us that this has not been the case the last four times mortgage interest rates dramatically increased.
Here is a graph showing what actually happened:
Last week, in an article titled “Higher Rates Don’t Mean Lower House Prices After All,” the Wall Street Journal revealed that a recent study by John Burns Real Estate Consulting Inc. found that:
“[P]rices weren’t especially sensitive to rising rates, particularly in the presence of other positive economic factors, such as strong job growth, rising wages and improving consumer confidence.”
Last week’s jobs report was strong and the Conference Board just reported that the Consumer Confidence Index was back to pre-recession levels.
We will have to wait and see what happens as we move forward, but a decrease in home prices should rates go up is anything but guaranteed.
- The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their latest Existing Home Sales Report.
- First-time homebuyers made up 33% of all sales in October.
- Homes are selling quickly with 43% of homes on the market for less than a month.
- A limited supply continues to drive up prices for the 56th consecutive month.
Today the FHFA announced the new conforming loan limits for loans purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on or after January 1, 2017. The base limit will increase to $424,100 and the high balance ceiling will increase to $636,150. The base limit in Hawaii will be $636,150.
1) The National Association of REALTORS® surveyed their members for the release of their Confidence Index.
2) The REALTORS® Confidence Index is a key indicator of housing market strength based on a monthly survey sent to over 50,000 real estate practitioners. Practitioners are asked about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions.
3) Homes sold in 60 days or less in 42 out of 50 states, and Washington D.C.
4) Homes sold in 30 days or less in 17 states.