Existing-Home Sales Retract 2.4% in April

May 19, 2022

Media Contact:  Quintin Simmons 202-383-1178

Key Highlights

  • Existing-home sales fell for the third straight month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.61 million. Sales were down 2.4% from the prior month and 5.9% from one year ago.
  • With slower demand, the inventory of unsold existing homes climbed to 1.03 million by the end of April, or the equivalent of 2.2 months of the monthly sales pace.
  • The median existing-home sales price increased at a slower year-over-year pace of 14.8% to $391,200.

“Higher home prices and sharply higher mortgage rates have reduced buyer activity,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “It looks like more declines are imminent in the upcoming months, and we’ll likely return to the pre-pandemic home sales activity after the remarkable surge over the past two years.”

Read full NAR article


How Homeownership Can Help Shield You from Inflation

How Homeownership Can Help Shield You from Inflation | MyKCM

If you’re following along with the news today, you’ve likely heard about rising inflation. You’re also likely feeling the impact in your day-to-day life as prices go up for gas, groceries, and more. These rising consumer costs can put a pinch on your wallet and make you re-evaluate any big purchases you have planned to ensure they’re still worthwhile.

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a home this year, you’re probably wondering if you should continue down that path or if it makes more sense to wait. While the answer depends on your situation, here’s how homeownership can help you combat the rising costs that come with inflation.

Homeownership Offers Stability and Security

Investopedia explains that during a period of high inflation, prices rise across the board. That’s true for things like food, entertainment, and other goods and services, even housing. Both rental prices and home prices are on the rise. So, as a buyer, how can you protect yourself from increasing costs? The answer lies in homeownership.

Buying a home allows you to stabilize what’s typically your biggest monthly expense: your housing cost. If you get a fixed-rate mortgage on your home, you lock in your monthly payment for the duration of your loan, often 15 to 30 years. James Royal, Senior Wealth Management Reporter at Bankrate, says:

A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to maintain the biggest portion of housing expenses at the same payment. Sure, property taxes will rise and other expenses may creep up, but your monthly housing payment remains the same.” 

So even if other prices rise, your housing payment will be a reliable amount that can help keep your budget in check. If you rent, you don’t have that same benefit, and you won’t be protected from rising housing costs.

Use Home Price Appreciation to Your Benefit

While it’s true rising mortgage rates and home prices mean buying a house today costs more than it did a year ago, you still have an opportunity to set yourself up for a long-term win. Buying now lets you lock in at today’s rates and prices before both climb higher.

In inflationary times, it’s especially important to invest your money in an asset that traditionally holds or grows in value. The graph below shows how home price appreciation outperformed inflation in most decades going all the way back to the seventies – making homeownership a historically strong hedge against inflation (see graph below):

How Homeownership Can Help Shield You from Inflation | MyKCM

So, what does that mean for you? Today, experts say home prices will only go up from here thanks to the ongoing imbalance in supply and demand. Once you buy a house, any home price appreciation that does occur will be good for your equity and your net worth. And since homes are typically assets that grow in value (even in inflationary times), you have peace of mind that history shows your investment is a strong one.

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to buy a home, it may make sense to move forward with your plans despite rising inflation. If you want expert advice on your specific situation and how to time your purchase, let’s connect.


Not many more homes are expected to go up for sale

By Clare Trapasso
Dec 1, 2021

2 of a 3 part series
Highlights:

  • “The shortage of homes for sale, that has been more than a decade in the making, will keep home prices high,”
  • Millennials are a massive generation—next year, there will be more than 45 million millennials between the ages of 26 and 35, which are prime homebuying years.

Unfortunately, for frustrated buyers who have had trouble finding the right homes in the right locations at the right price, there isn’t expected to be a rush of homes hitting the market.

Realtor.com economists predict the number of homes for sale, which is hovering around record lows, will tick up only 0.3%. That’s partly due to builders having a tough time ramping up construction as they contend with shortages in workers and materials, compounded by the global supply chain backups. (Single-family housing starts, which is when builders start construction, is expected to rise only 5% next year.)

There are plenty of investors snapping up single-family homes and turning them into rentals. And there is no tidal wave of foreclosures expected to hit now that the government moratoriums are expiring.

There are also more homebuyers today than there are abodes for sale.

Millennials are a massive generation—next year, there will be more than 45 million millennials between the ages of 26 and 35, which are prime homebuying years. So there would need to be substantially more homes built to keep up with the needed housing—except builders stopped building during the Great Recession and there are fewer homes going up today.

“The shortage of homes for sale, that has been more than a decade in the making, will keep home prices high,” says Hale.

Sales will also continue to climb, hitting a 16-year high as they go up by 6.6%, Realtor.com economists anticipate. That’s partly because technology has sped up the homebuying process. Plus, buyers are jumping on whatever comes up for sale in record time before the property is snapped up by another eager buyer.

Attractively priced homes in good shape are expected to continue going under contract quickly.

“Homes are selling so much faster than they have in any previous [years],” says Hale.

That speed supports increased housing turnover as more abodes change hands as folks move into their first homes or relocate, trade up into larger residences, and downsize.

The popularity of the suburbs is also likely to endure. They emerged as the places to be during the pandemic as buyers could score more square footage and bigger yards for less money than in the bigger cities.

“For years, we heard about the dying suburbs because millennials didn’t want to live there, but as they age, guess where they’re heading?” asks Hale.

Some were even moving to the burbs before the pandemic.

“This budding trend was accelerated by the needs of aging millennials, often with families, trying to grapple head-on with the realities of doing more than ever before from home,” says Hale.

Remote work will also likely be a factor. With more workers telecommuting or going into the office only a few times a week, they don’t have to contend with grueling commutes five days a week. Many are more comfortable moving farther outside of the cities where they can get larger abodes with room for a home office at an attractive price.

That’s likely to keep prices high in desirable communities.

“Shoppers were looking for affordable homes with space that could be used flexibly to accommodate working, schooling, exercising, cooking, and all of the other living and relaxing we used to take for granted,” says Hale.

It won’t be easy for first-time homebuyers

First-time buyers are likely to continue struggling to compete with the offers over the asking price and win the bidding wars.

The ace in their pocket is the work-from-home phenomenon that has allowed many white-collar professionals to work from anywhere they have a strong Wi-Fi connection. So they may be able to relocate to cheaper destinations that make up for what they lack in Michelin star restaurants with more affordable home prices.

“Maybe they’re not buying a home in or near a major city where prices are high and the market is still competitive,” says Hale. “But they can move farther away from the city to the suburbs or to an entirely new city where it’s more affordable.”

The savings many who held on to their jobs were able to amass early on in the pandemic—when the stimulus checks went out and many folks cut back on dining out and traveling—may help them with the down payments. Some buyers temporarily moved back home with families or doubled up with friends to save on housing costs as well.

“I know a lot of people are expecting housing prices and sales to peak and then decline. Instead, I think there’s enough momentum from these younger buyers who want to get into the housing market to keep sales moving forward,” says Hale. “They are going to succeed because that drive to buy a home and make it happen when you’re ready is really strong.”


Will Home Prices and Rents Finally Fall? Our Bold Predictions on Real Estate in 2022

By Clare Trapasso
Dec 1, 2021

1 of a 3 part series
Highlights:

  • Prices will stay high, inventory will remain tight, and mortgage rates will rise
  • Prices aren’t anticipated to come down from the highs
  • “The pace of price growth is going to slow notably, bringing it more in line with buyers’ incomes”

Here’s what we already know: Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the real estate market has been on a wild ride of unprecedented highs and lows—record-high home prices on one side, record-low mortgage rates and available homes for sale on the other. It’s been a time of overwhelming stress for many, gigantic profits for some, and great disorientation for most of us.

Now the housing experts say the market is “normalizing.” But what does that mean? Will home prices and rents finally come down? Will more homes go up for sale? And what does the year ahead have in store for the real estate market?

The Realtor.com® 2022 housing forecast anticipates the market will continue slowing down from the frenzy seen in the spring when prices shot up to new heights. However, prices will stay high, inventory will remain tight, and mortgage rates will rise.

The bottom line: Even as the market calms down further, it’s still expected to be challenging for buyers, especially those purchasing their first homes.

“The 2022 housing market will continue to be a seller’s market with fast-moving homes and rising prices,” says Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “But the competition should be a bit less intense than we’ve seen recently.”

Home prices will stay high, but price growth will continue slowing

Home prices aren’t expected to keep zooming up into the stratosphere in 2022 the way they did this year. So buyers can breathe at least a shallow sigh of relief. Instead, Realtor.com economists anticipate they’ll increase at a much slower rate of just 2.9% over this year compared with an anticipated 12% rise in 2021.

This means the double-digit price growth that confounded buyers earlier this year is expected to taper off.

However, prices aren’t anticipated to come down from the highs they reached this year due to the continuing shortage of properties for sale and hordes of buyers continuing to enter the market. They just won’t go up so much as quickly.

“Price growth is expected to move back toward a normal range, but this is on top of recent high prices,” says Hale. “So prices will [still] hit new highs.”

While that’s not great news for buyers, homes aren’t expected to cost much more than they did just a few months ago.

“The pace of price growth is going to slow notably, bringing it more in line with buyers’ incomes,” says Hale. “With prices high and mortgage rates beginning to tick up, people won’t be able to be as aggressive in what they’re willing to pay.”


Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing?

Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing? | MyKCM

An important metric in today’s residential real estate market is the number of homes available for sale. The shortage of available housing inventory is the major reason for the double-digit price appreciation we’ve seen in each of the last two years. It’s the reason many would-be purchasers are frustrated with the bidding wars over the homes that are available. However, signs of relief are finally appearing.

According to data from realtor.com, active listings have increased over the last four months. They define active listings as:

The active listing count tracks the number of for sale properties on the market, excluding pending listings where a pending status is available. This is a snapshot measure of how many active listings can be expected on any given day of the specified month.”

What normally happens throughout the year?

Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing? | MyKCM

Historically, housing inventory increases throughout the summer months, starts to tail off in the fall, and then drops significantly over the winter. The graph below shows this trend along with the month active listings peaked in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

What happened last year?

Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing? | MyKCM

Last year, the trend was different. Historical seasonality wasn’t repeated in 2020 since many homeowners held off on putting their houses up for sale because of the pandemic (see graph below). In 2020, active listings peaked in April, and then fell off dramatically for the remainder of the year.

What’s happening this year?

Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing? | MyKCM

Due to the decline of active listings in 2020, 2021 began with record-low housing inventory counts. However, we’ve been building inventory over the last several months as more listings come to the market (see graph below):There are three main reasons we may see listings continue to increase throughout this fall and into the winter.

  1. Pent-up selling demand – Homeowners may be more comfortable putting their homes on the market as more and more Americans get vaccinated.
  2. New construction is starting to take off – Though new construction is not included in the realtor.com numbers, as more new homes are built, there will be more options for current homeowners to consider when they sell. The lack of options has slowed many potential sellers in the past.
  3. The end of forbearance will create some new listings – Most experts believe the end of the forbearance program will not lead to a wave of foreclosures for several reasons. The main reason is the level of equity homeowners currently have in their homes. Many homeowners will be able to sell their homes instead of going to foreclosure, which will lead to some additional listings on the market.

Bottom Line

If you’re in the market to buy a home, stick with it. There are new listings becoming available every day. If you’re thinking of selling your house, you may want to list your home before this additional competition comes to market.


Experts Agree: Options Are Improving for Buyers

Experts Agree: Options Are Improving for Buyers [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • Buyers hoping for more homes to choose from may be in luck as housing inventory begins to rise. Many experts agree – new sellers listing their homes is great news for buyers and the overall market.
  • Although the supply increases are modest, more homes means more options for buyers. A rise in inventory may also help slow the price gains we’ve seen recently and could be a sign of good things to come.
  • If you’re searching for a home, rising inventory is welcome news. Let’s connect today to discuss new listings in our area.

U.S. Homeowners Enjoyed $1.9 Trillion of Equity Gains in Early 2021

CoreLogic’s newly released Homeowner Equity Report for the first quarter of 2021 shows U.S. homeowners with mortgages (which account for roughly 62% of all properties) have seen their equity increase by 19.6% year over year, representing a collective equity gain of over $1.9 trillion, and an average gain of $33,400 per borrower, since the first quarter of 2020.

Residential News » Irvine Edition | By Michael Gerrity | June 10, 2021 8:59 AM ET

While the coronavirus pandemic created economic uncertainty for many, the continued acceleration in home prices over the last year has meant existing homeowners saw a notable boost in home equity. The accumulation of equity has become critically important to homeowners deciding on their post-forbearance options. In contrast to the financial crisis, when many borrowers were underwater, borrowers today who are behind on mortgage payments can tap into their equity and sell their home rather than lose it through foreclosure. These conditions are reflected in a recent CoreLogic survey, with 74% of current homeowners with mortgages noting they are not concerned with owing more on their home than it is worth within the next five years.

“Homeowner equity has more than doubled over the past decade and become a crucial buffer for many weathering the challenges of the pandemic,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “These gains have become an important financial tool and boosted consumer confidence in the U.S. housing market, especially for older homeowners and baby boomers who’ve experienced years of price appreciation.”

WPJ News | Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist
Dr. Frank Nothaft

“Double-digit home price growth in the past year has bolstered home equity to a record amount. The national CoreLogic Home Price Index recorded an 11.4% rise in the year through March 2021, leading to a $216,000 increase in the average amount of equity held by homeowners with a mortgage,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “This reduces the likelihood for a large number of distressed sales of homeowners to emerge from forbearance later in the year.”

Negative equity, also referred to as underwater or upside down, applies to borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are currently worth. As of the first quarter of 2021, negative equity share, and the quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year changes, were as follows:

  • Quarterly change: From the fourth quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021, the total number of mortgaged homes in negative equity decreased by 7% to 1.4 million homes, or 2.6% of all mortgaged properties.
  • Annual change: In the fourth quarter of 2020, 1.8 million homes, or 3.4% of all mortgaged properties, were in negative equity. This number decreased by 24%, or 450,000 properties, in the first quarter of 2021.
  • National aggregate value: The national aggregate value of negative equity was approximately $273 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2021. This is down quarter over quarter by approximately $8.1 billion, or 2.9%, from $281.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020, and down year over year by approximately $13.3 billion, or 4.6%, from $286.3 billion in the first quarter of 2020.

Because home equity is affected by home price changes, borrowers with equity positions near (+/- 5%) the negative equity cutoff are most likely to move out of or into negative equity as prices change, respectively. Looking at the first quarter of 2021 book of mortgages, if home prices increase by 5%, 195,000 homes would regain equity; if home prices decline by 5%, 260,000 would fall underwater.


Home Price Appreciation Is as Simple as Supply and Demand

Home price appreciation continues to accelerate. Today, prices are driven by the simple concept of supply and demand. Pricing of any item is determined by how many items are available compared to how many people want to buy that item. As a result, the strong year-over-year home price appreciation is simple to explain. The demand for housing is up while the supply of homes for sale hovers at historic lows.

Let’s use three maps to show how this theory continues to affect the residential real estate market.

Home Price Appreciation Is as Simple as Supply and Demand | MyKCM

Map #1 – State-by-state price appreciation reported by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) for the first quarter of 2021 compared to the first quarter of 2020:As the map shows, certain states (colored in red) have appreciated well above the national average of 12.6%.

Home Price Appreciation Is as Simple as Supply and Demand | MyKCM

Map #2 – The change in state-by-state inventory levels year-over-year reported by realtor.com:Comparing the two maps shows a correlation between change in listing inventory and price appreciation in many states. The best examples are Idaho, Utah, and Arizona. Though the correlation is not as easy to see in every state, the overall picture is one of causation.

The reason prices continue to accelerate is that housing inventory is still at all-time lows while demand remains high. However, this may be changing.

Is there relief around the corner?

The report by realtor.com also shows the monthly change in inventory for each state.

Home Price Appreciation Is as Simple as Supply and Demand | MyKCM

Map #3 – State-by-state changes in inventory levels month-over-month reported by realtor.com:As the map indicates, 39 of the 50 states (plus the District of Columbia) saw increases in inventory over the last month. This may be evidence that homeowners who have been afraid to let buyers in their homes during the pandemic are now putting their houses on the market.

We’ll know for certain as we move through the rest of the year.

Bottom Line

Some are concerned by the rapid price appreciation we’ve experienced over the last year. The maps above show that the increases were warranted based on great demand and limited supply. Going forward, if the number of homes for sale better aligns with demand, price appreciation will moderate to more historical levels.


Experts Say You Have to Stand Out In Today’s Real Estate Market

My clients are standouts every day. Each helping to provide for and serve their community. Most recently, one runs a community farmers market, one is a federal law enforcement officer and another is a social media guru, community advocate and owner of a small business. Real estate is a people business and I get to work with some outstanding ones.

SOLD


“Laurel is an amazing professional and one of the best in the business. She is well plugged in DMV real estate network – something that comes extremely handy when you are selling your home. She came prepared with a plan to market our home and got us the price we were comfortable with in 3 days. We could not recommend her enough especially for sales in north Chevy Chase neighborhood.” – read more LMRE reviews

First Time Home Buyers


Shout out to @taylorxpatrick for recognizing me on Instagram to her thousands of followers. I feel like this is the beginning of a long standing friendship. Not only in helping you and Asia close on your first home but also working together on some custom client closing gifts.


Instant Reaction: Housing Starts, May 18, 2021

 

“Today’s data, showing a decline in housing starts in April, is discouraging at first glance. America is facing an epic housing shortage and more homes need to be built. The monthly data can be volatile, but the overall underlying trend is still on the upside. The year-to-date figures in 2021 for housing starts were 1.59 million units (annualized pace) compared to 1.38 million in 2020, a 15% gain. More importantly, single-family housing starts also declined in the latest month but were up 26% on a year-to-date basis.

More housing inventory will reach the market in a few months, certainly by autumn, because of the upward trend in home construction. In addition, the mortgage forbearance program will also steadily wind down, leading to further inventory. Moreover, the progress in vaccination among elderly homeowners will lead to normal life activity, including home sales that had been postponed since the onset of the pandemic.

Housing starts are projected to reach 1.6 million for all of 2021 and rise further to 1.7 million in 2022. This would mark the highest home construction activity in 15 years. It is not an overproduction, but rather an attempt to compensate for multiple years of underproduction that led to the current housing shortage.”

Lawrence Yun

Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, Research Lawrence Yun is Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research for the National Association of REALTORS®.

The year-to-date figures in 2021 for housing starts were 1.59 million units (annualized pace) compared to 1.38 million in 2020, a 15% gain.

Source: Instant Reaction: Housing Starts, May 18, 2021


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