Are House Prices Beginning to Accelerate Again?

Are House Prices Beginning to Accelerate Again? | Simplifying The Market

In a recent post, we explained that the supply of homes for sale in December was at its lowest level in over a year. The January National Housing Trend Report from realtor.com now reveals that inventory in January has decreased another 6.7% month over month and 8.7% year over year. This is occurring at the same time that buyer activity (demand) remains strong.

This prompted realtor.com’s Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke to report:

“January’s inventory data suggest a continuation of the tightening trend we identified last month in the December data, and with a shortage of inventory typically comes increased home prices. Half of the 200 markets realtor.com tracks experienced year-over-year price increases of at least 6% in January.”

This after the National Association of Realtors (NAR) had already reported in their latest quarterly report:

“The majority of metropolitan areas experienced steady but slightly stronger price growth in the fourth quarter of 2014, behind a decline in housing supply and an uptick in demand fueled by lower interest rates and a stronger job market.”

Bottom Line

Whether you are a first time buyer or a move-up buyer, now may be time to purchase a home – before prices increase any further.

Home Sales are NOT Collapsing!

Home Sales are NOT Collapsing! | Simplifying The Market

The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) just released their Existing Home Sales report and some have taken the results and ran with headlines like:

“Existing home sales collapse in January despite low mortgage rates”.

Let’s take a closer look at what the report really shows. There is a seasonality to home sales that happens every year, with a decline in January, (as shown in the graph below.) But in reality 200,000 more homes (3.2%) sold this January over last January.

Existing Home Sales Year-over-Year | Simplifying The Market

The demand for housing hasn’t been a challenge.

Current buyer demand, as shown in the graph below, is actually 3x greater than that of January 2014.

Buyer Activity | Simplifying The Market

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun points to the real issue at hand:

“Realtors® are reporting that low rates are attracting potential buyers, but the lack of new and affordable listings is leading some to delay decisions.”

Months Inventory of Homes For Sale | Simplifying The Market

Even though buyers are out looking for their dream home, they cannot find it! Inventory levels increased slightly since December, but are still below historic norms and unable to keep up with the elevated demand.

Bottom Line

If your plan for 2015 includes selling your house, waiting till the Spring may not be in your best interest. Meet with a local real estate professional in your market who can explain the opportunities available now.

Thinking of Buying? What are you waiting for?

Thinking of Buying? What Are You Waiting For? | Simplifying The Market

If you are planning on becoming a homeowner, or moving up to the home of your dreams in 2015, here are four great reasons to consider buying a home now, instead of waiting until spring.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 11.7% (most pessimistic) and 27.5% (most optimistic).

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

Although Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have softened recently, most experts predict that they will begin to rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by the end of 2015.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

3. Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage

As a paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

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 whether 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 it is 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.

Two Graphs that Scream – List Your Home Today!

Two Graphs that Scream - List Your Home Today! | Simplifying The Market

We all learned in school that when selling anything, you will get the most money if the demand for that item is high and the inventory of that item is low. It is the well-known Theory of Supply & Demand.

If you are thinking of selling your home, here are two graphs that strongly suggest that the time is now. Here is why…

DEMAND

According to research at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer activity last month (January) was three times greater than it was last January. Purchasers who are ready, willing and able to buy are in the market at great numbers.

Buyer Demand | Simplifying The Market

SUPPLY

The most recent Existing Home Sales Report from NAR revealed that the months’ supply of housing inventory had fallen to 4.4 months which is the lowest it has been in over a year.

Months Supply of Home For Sale | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Listing your house for sale when demand is high and supply is low will guarantee the offers made will truly reflect the true value of your property.

Homeownership Rates: Are They Really Crashing?

Homeownership Rates: Are They Crashing? | Simplifying The Market

The Census recently released their 2014 Homeownership Statistics, and many began to worry that Americans have taken a step back from the notion of homeownership.

Easy… Chicken Little

The national homeownership rate peaked in 2004, representing a 69.2% of Americans who bought vs. rented their primary residence. Many have noticed a decline in rate since then and taken that as a bad sign.

However, if you look at the national rate over the last 30 years (1984-2014), you can see that the current homeownership rate has returned closer to the historic norm. 2014 ended the year with a rate of 64% just under the rate in 1985 and 1995.

Homeownership Rates Historically | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

With interest rates and prices still below where experts predict, evaluate your ability to purchase a home with a local real estate professional.

Home Prices: A 5-Year Outlook

Home Prices: A 5-Year Outlook | Simplifying The Market

With inventory presently below historically normal levels, current & future home prices have been the topic of many real estate conversations. The most recent Home Price Expectation Survey was just released; giving insight into where experts believe prices will be leading up to 2019.

Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over 100 economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.

Here are some highlights from their latest survey:

  • Home values will appreciate by 4.4% in 2015.
  • The cumulative appreciation will be 19.3% by 2019.
  • That means the average annual appreciation will be 3.6% over the next 5 years.
  • Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of 11.7% by 2019.

Individual opinions make headlines. We believe the survey is a fairer depiction of future values.

2015: A Year of Housing Opportunity

2015: A Year of Housing Opportunity | Simplifying The Market

Many believed that when the housing market crashed, so too would the desire of American’s to own a home again. Many reports have shown that, especially among younger generations, the American Dream of homeownership is still very much alive.

Julián Castro, Secretary for HUD, recently summed up what it means to own a home in a speech at the National Press Club.

“Homeownership is still the cornerstone of the American Dream — a fact you can see in the lives of everyday folks.

It’s a source of pride. It’s a source of wealth, providing both a nest and a nest egg. And it strengthens communities and fuels growth in the overall economy.”

Castro appropriately named his speech, “2015: A Year of Housing Opportunity”, a theme that rang true throughout.

“Opportunity is not an abstract concept – it’s a path to a more prosperous life, and housing often serves as its foundation. T.S. Elliot once said that “home is where one starts from.”

“A home is often a primary source of wealth in a family… Having a home is generational way to pass that wealth on. We want people responsible enough to own a home to have that opportunity.”

Bottom Line

“Over the years-through decades of economic downturns and wars-the American people have always held on to this Dream, and always will.”

As the economy continues to improve, more and more Americans will qualify for homeownership, allowing more families to obtain the American Dream.