We all realize that the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and the supply of that item is limited. The last two major reports issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed information that suggests that now may be the best time to sell your house. Let’s look at the data covered by the latest Pending Home Sales Report and Existing Home Sales Report.
THE PENDING HOME SALES REPORT
The report announced that pending home sales (homes going into contract) “surged” by 6.1%. The increase was “the largest month-over-month gain since April 2010, when first-time home buyers rushed to sign purchase contracts before a popular tax credit program ended”.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, expects improving home sales throughout the rest of the year:
“Sales should exceed an annual pace of five million homes in some of the upcoming months behind favorable mortgage rates, more inventory and improved job creation.”
Takeaway: Demand is beginning to increase dramatically compared to earlier in the year.
THE EXISTING HOME SALES REPORT
The most important data point revealed in the report was not sales but instead the inventory of homes on the market (supply). The report explained:
- Total housing inventory climbed 2.2 percent to 2.28 million homes available for sale
- That represents a 5.6-month supply at the current sales pace
- Unsold inventory is 6.0 percent higher than a year ago
There were two more interesting comments made by Yun in the report:
1.) “Rising inventory bodes well for slower price growth and greater affordability, but the amount of homes for sale is still modestly below a balanced market.”
In real estate, there is a guideline that often applies. When there is less than 6 months inventory available, we are in a sellers’ market and we will see appreciation. Between 6-7 months is a neutral market where prices will increase at the rate of inflation. More than 7 months inventory means we are in a buyers’ market and should expect depreciation in home values.
As Yun notes, we are currently in a sellers’ market (prices still increasing) but are headed to a neutral market.
2.) New home construction is still needed to keep prices and housing supply healthy in the long run.”
As new construction begins to be built, there will be increased downward pressure on the prices of existing homes on the market.
Takeaway: Supply is about to increase significantly. The supply of existing homes is already increasing and the number of newly constructed homes is about to increase.
If you are going to sell, now may be the time.
In a post earlier this week, we suggested that the Millennial generation’s struggles with student debt and the overarching concept of homeownership are not the reasons for so many first time buyers hesitating to move forward with the purchase of their first home. Now there is another firm suggesting the same. The asset management company, Nomura, came out with strong guidance to their investors. According to an article in Housing Wire last week:
“Nomura’s note to clients has a take few have offered: The first time homebuyers are holding out and it’s not student debt, a shift away from homeownership as a choice by Millennials, or any of that.”
Instead, they think it is a lack of a full understanding of the mortgage process. The article explains:
“Analysts say it’s not that Millennials and other potential homebuyers aren’t qualified in terms of their credit scores or in how much they have saved for their down payment. It’s that they think they’re not qualified or they think that they don’t have a big enough down payment.” (emphasis added)
This comes off the heels of a survey by Zelman & Associates that revealed that 38% of those between the ages of 25-29 years old and 42% of those between the ages of 30-34 years old believe that a minimum of 15% is required as a down payment to purchase a home. In actually, a purchaser may be able to put down far less.
The Reality of the Situation
According to Christina Boyle, Freddie Mac’s VP and Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management, in a recent Executive Perspectives piece:
- A person “can get a conforming, conventional mortgage with a down payment of as little as 5 percent (sometimes with as little as 3 percent coming out of their own pockets)”.
- Freddie Mac’s purchase of mortgages with down payments under 10 percent more than quadrupled between 2009 and 2013.
- More than one in five borrowers who took out conforming, conventional mortgages in 2014 put down 10 percent or less.
- Qualified borrowers can further reduce the down payment coming out of their own pockets to 3 percent by lining up gifts from family or grants or loans from non-profits or public agencies.
Ms. Boyle goes on to explain:
“Letting more consumers know how down payments are determined could bring more qualified borrowers off the sidelines. Depending on their credit history and other factors, many borrowers can expect to make a down payment of about 5 or 10 percent.”
If you have considered purchasing a house or moving-up to a new dream home, know all of your options. Reach out to a real estate and/or mortgage professional in your marketplace to get the best, most up-to-date information available. You may be surprised to learn what you and your family are capable of achieving.
Whether you are a first time buyer or a move-up buyer, you should look at the projections housing experts are making in two major areas: home prices and mortgage rates.
Over 100 economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists were recently surveyed. They were asked to project where home prices were headed. The average value appreciation projected over the next twelve month period was approximately 4%.
MORTGAGE INTEREST RATES
In their last Economic & Housing Market Outlook, Freddie Mac predicted that 30 year fixed mortgage rates would be 4.8% by this time next year. As of last week, the Freddie Mac rate was 4.14%.
What does this mean to you?
If you are a first time buyer currently looking at a home priced at $250,000, this is what it could cost you on a monthly basis if you wait to buy next year:
If you are a move-up buyer currently looking at a home priced at $500,000, this is what it could cost you on a monthly basis if you wait to buy next year:
With both home prices and interest rates projected to increase, buying now instead of later might make sense.
For almost a year now, we have been trying to debunk the myth that student debt is keeping the vast majority of Millennials from purchasing a home.
We explained that Millennials have purchased more homes over a recent twelve month period than any other generation as was reported by the National Association of Realtors).
We explained that the homeownership rate of people currently between the ages of 25-29 is 34.3%. That is higher than the 33.6% rate members of the previous generation (people currently between the ages of 45-49) achieved when they were that age (as per John Burns Consulting).
We explained that a recent survey showed that almost three out of every four (74%) young adults between the ages of 18-34 plan to buy a home in the next five years with 32% planning to do it in the next twelve months.
However, no matter how hard we tried, the same recourse was trumpeted back at us – What about student debt?
The good news is that the real facts about student debt are coming to light. Last week, The New York Times posted an article titled The Reality of Student Debt Is Different from the Clichés. This article went into great depth regarding the findings of a new study just released by the Brookings Institution, Is a Student Loan Crisis on the Horizon? which looked at data through 2010. The NYT article quoted key elements of the report:
- 58% of young-adult households have less than $10,000 in debt. An additional 18% have between $10,000 and $20,000
- 36% of households with people between the ages of 20 and 40 had education debt, up from 14% in 1989. Some of the increase stems from the good news that more people are going to college.
- Taking financial aid into account, the average tuition at private (nonprofit) colleges has not increased any faster than overall inflation over the last decade.
- Because the incomes of college graduates have grown since the early 1990s, the share of income that a typical student debtor has to devote to loan payments is only marginally higher than it was in the early 1990s — and somewhat lower than it was in late 1990s. It was 3.5% in 1992, 4.3% in 1998 and 4% in 2010.
- The burden for the people with the most debt is significantly lower today than two decades ago. Someone at the 90th percentile of debt had to devote 15% of their income to repayment in 2010, down from 20% in 1992.
The authors of the actual study put it simply in their conclusion:
“Despite the widely held belief that circumstances for borrowers with student loan debt are growing worse over time, our findings reveal no evidence in support of this narrative. In fact, the average growth in lifetime income among households with student loan debt easily exceeds the average growth in debt, suggesting that, all else equal, households with debt today are in a better financial position than households with debt were two decades ago. Furthermore, the incidence of burdensome monthly payments does not appear to have become more widespread over the last two decades.”