Some housing experts are concerned that the housing recovery seems to be stalling. Some are blaming the one percent increase in mortgage interest rates since the first quarter of last year. Others are pointing at an economy that is improving but only at a snail’s pace. Still, others are questioning whether homeownership is even considered by some to still be part of the American Dream.
However, there is great evidence that the true reason home sales aren’t stronger is because we lack inventory in the vast majority of markets across the country.
Here are a few reasons why we believe this to be true:
Buyers Are Searching the Internet for Homes in Record Numbers
Trulia, a major online residential real estate site for home buyers that lists properties for sale, recently reported that it is experiencing record levels of traffic as the spring buying season kicks into high gear. The site reached a record number of unique visitors in April with nearly 50 million.
Buyers Are Physically Out Shopping
The number of potential home buyers physically looking at homes is increasing. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) measures this each month in a data point they call “foot traffic”. Foot traffic measures the number of homes being shown by agents. That number has increased for each of the last three months and has doubled over that period of time.
Inventory Levels are BELOW Historic Norms
History shows us that a balanced real estate market requires a six month supply of available housing inventory. We have not reached that mark in over two years. Though inventory numbers are improving, the recent increase in buyers now looking will again put a strain on this number.
While inventory levels remain below historic norms, it will remain a seller’s market. This being the case, if you are considering selling your home, now may be the time to list it for sale.
American consumers’ perception of the residential real estate market was revealed in a recent survey by Edelman Berland. They interviewed 2,500 Americans who are “in the market” to buy or sell a home. Respondents were between 25-64 years old with a household income of at least $50,000.
Here are the key findings of the survey:
BELIEF in the HOUSING MARKET
There is a strong belief among this segment of the population that the housing market is on the right track and that is committing almost 7 out of 10 to buy or sell a home this year. Millennials belief in real estate is actually higher than the overall population.
- 77% of consumers (and 85% of Millennials) have a favorable view of housing
- 79% of people (and 83% of Millennials) believe the housing market is on the right track
- 69% of consumers said they are committed to buying or selling a home now
The extreme weather faced by much of the U.S. definitely delayed many real estate transactions. That pent-up demand is now being released causing price appreciation in many regions of the country. This rise in prices and the expected increase in interest rates is causing many purchasers to buy sooner than later.
- The main reason (45%) people waited to make a real estate transaction is they were waiting for spring weather to arrive
- 76% of consumers believe that pent-up demand will create even more competition for existing homes
- 74% of consumers are most concerned about higher than expected prices when buying a home this spring
- 83% of consumers are motivated to act sooner than later because they fear interest rates will increase
Other interesting findings from the survey (broken down by buyers and sellers):
- 80% of real estate consumers are more committed to buying
- 78% of potential buyers said it will be easier to purchase a home this spring since “homeowners want to sell”
- 72% are encouraged because “the economy is improving”
- 46% of buyers said spring was a more favorable time to buy a home
- 28% of buyers said summer was a more favorable time to buy a home (an 8% increase over last summer)
- 83% of real estate consumers are more committed to selling
- 63% of sellers are buoyed this spring by the improving economy and their perception that buyers are motivated following the difficult winter
The real estate market will continue to gain ground through the summer as more and more people realize this is a great time to move. And, the vast majority (88%) of those surveyed realized that hiring a real estate professional is important to their home buying or selling success.
National Homeownership Month actually started as a week-long celebration of homeownership during the Clinton administration in 1995. In 2002, President George W. Bush proclaimed June as the National Homeownership Month. Here is an excerpt from his proclamation:
“Homeownership is an important part of the American Dream…A home provides shelter and a safe place where families can prosper and children can thrive. For many Americans, their home is an important financial investment, and it can be a source of great personal pride and an important part of community stability.”
“Homeownership encourages personal responsibility and the values necessary for strong families. Where homeownership flourishes, neighborhoods are more stable, residents are more civic-minded, schools are better, and crime rates decline.”
“During National Homeownership Month, I encourage all Americans to learn more about financial management and to explore homeownership opportunities in their communities. By taking this important step, individuals and families help safeguard their financial futures and contribute to the strength of our Nation.”
Help celebrate National Homeownership Month by posting the above photo on your social media accounts, blogs and newsletters.
Many sellers are still hesitant about putting their house up for sale. Where are prices headed? Where are interest rates headed? Can buyers qualify for a mortgage? These are all valid questions. However, there are several reasons to sell your home sooner rather than later. Here are five of those reasons.
1. Demand is Strong
There is currently a pent-up demand of purchasers as many home buyers pushed off their search this past winter because of extreme weather. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the number of buyers in the market, which feel off dramatically in December, January and February, has begun to increase again over the last few months. These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!
2. There Is Less Competition Now
Housing supply is still under the historical number of 6 months’ supply. This means that, in many markets, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.
There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as prices increased over the last eighteen months. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future. Also, new construction of single-family homes is again beginning to increase. A recent study by Harris Poll revealed that 41% of buyers would prefer to buy a new home while only 21% prefer an existing home (38% had no preference).
The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.
3. The Process Will Be Quicker
One of the biggest challenges of the 2014 housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing timelines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker and simpler.
4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up
If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by over 19% from now to 2018. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30 year housing expense with an interest rate in the low 4’s right now. Rates are projected to be over 5% by this time next year.
5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life
Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?
Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take back control of the situation by putting your home on the market and pricing it so it sells. Perhaps, the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.
That is what is truly important.
Our guest blogger today is Nikki Buckelew. As the Founder and CEO of the Seniors Real Estate Institute, Nikki brings great insight into the Senior Market.
It's probably only natural for real estate agents to assume that most boomers or retirees bent on moving to a new city to enjoy their golden years will be on the trail to Florida, Arizona, or some other state blessed with warmth and plenty of sunshine. And those states are probably the ones best situated to offer plenty of age-in-place benefits, right?
When a boomer or senior who's open-minded about where they wish to move and retire searches Google for the best cities to age in place or best cities to retire, they finds some spots that are a bit out of the norm, but quite intriguing nonetheless.
Places like Sioux Falls, SD; Provo, UT; Iowa City, IA; Bismarck, ND; Columbia, MO; Omaha, NE; Madison, WI; and Boston, MA top the list.
As adults 55+ begin to contemplate their future and plan for a possible move, they are hearing more and more about the importance of preparing to age-in-place. They already know they hope to live in their own home, independently, for as long as possible. And the cities listed above – plus many other non-traditional retirement options – are receiving plenty of attention as go-to spots for their aging-in-place benefits in the form of quality healthcare, accessible transportation, government initiatives in building the city as senior-friendly, and a number of other indexes.
The Milken Institute, a non-partisan think tank, compiled a list in 2012 of the 259 Best Cities to Age Successfully. Another ranking is due later this summer of 2014. It divided the rankings into "Large Metros" and 'Small Metros," with Provo, Utah topping the Large City list and Sioux Falls the Small City rankings.
Others in the Top 10 of Large Cities to Age Successfully include Pittsburgh, Toledo, Des Moines, Salt Lake City, and Washington D.C.
Others in the Top 10 of Small Cities to Age Successfully include Rochester, MN, Ann Arbor, MI, Missoula, MT, Durham-Chapel Hill, NC, and Gainesville, FL.
See the entire list here and learn more about the Milken Institute's approach to promoting aging-in-place awareness: http://successfulaging.milkeninstitute.org/bcsa.html
Frankly, if I were a real estate agent or broker in any of these top cities (and even many further down the list), I'd be going full-bore to make sure I was positioned to capture as much of this older adult segment in my town as possible. Yes, older adults will purposefully be moving to my city and I should be the one to serve them and find a stellar house for them to buy. That would include promoting my area's dominance as a haven for older adults, while working to ensure that I had the knowledge to properly help them. And oh yeah. Since older adults from outside the area will be searching online for information about my city, I'd want to make sure that I popped up front and center on Google as an expert in real estate for boomers and seniors in my town.
Simply put, lists like this give you plenty of marketing power - plus motivation - to grab a huge segment of business in your market that perhaps you never even knew existed.
Many experts are currently discussing a variety of topics such as real estate as an investment, the movement on mortgage interest rates and reasons to buy now instead of waiting. It is important that we realize that this does not apply solely to the first time home buyer.
The opportunity that exists in real estate today is there for everyone.
However, the family that already owns a home might be thinking that, if they wait, their home could be worth more next year than it is now. And that may cause them to delay moving up to the home of their dreams thinking it makes good financial sense. Actually, the opposite is true. This is the best chance a family has to buy up into the home that makes sense for their family right now.
We must realize that whatever percentage of value we gain on our house will also be gained on our dream home.
Let’s assume your current home is worth $500,000. Your house will be worth $520,000 next year if prices rise by 4% over that time (a number projected by the Home Price Expectation Survey).
However, the $750,000 home you are hoping to move into will also appreciate by about that same 4%. That means next year it will be valued at $780,000. You wouldn’t make $20,000 by waiting. You would actually be losing $10,000 ($30,000 - $20,000).
And, you will pay a lower interest rate on the mortgage than you probably will next year.
Plug in the numbers that apply to your house and the home you are longing to buy and see what the bottom line turns out to be for you.
That is how wealth is built in this country - by purchasing real estate at the right time, at the right price and at the right terms.
Go out and find your family's dream house and buy it! Ten years from now, you will be glad you did!