As several states begin the process of reopening following the COVID-19 pandemic, a new Lending Tree study released This Week in Real Estate shows Google searches for “homes for sale” grew by 54% to end the month of April, purchase activity was higher for the fourth consecutive week, and the fiscal stimulus is impacting consumer sentiment. Click here to read more about business impacting the real estate market this week.
We’re getting a better idea of how the worldwide coronavirus pandemic is impacting home sales as ATTOM Data Solutions releases its First Quarter Home Sales Report. Plus, a growing number of states are relaxing their social distancing protocols, but is it enough to cause the real estate market to thaw? And, homeownership rates are up despite the COVID-19 pandemic. We take a closer look This Week in Real Estate.
* U.S. Home Sellers Realized Average Price Gain of $67,100 in First Quarter of 2020. ATTOM Data Solutions released its First Quarter 2020 U.S. Home Sales Report Thursday, which shows that home sellers nationwide realized a home price gain of $67,100 on the typical sale, up from $66,264 in the fourth quarter of 2019 and up from $59,000 in the first quarter of last year. That $67,100 typical home-seller profit represented a 33.7 percent return on investment compared to the original purchase price, down from the post-recession high of 34.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 but up from 32.8 percent a year ago. “The national housing market continued at full throttle in the first quarter of 2020, setting new price and profit records as it entered its ninth straight year of gains. After it looked like things were settling down last year, the market has again roared ahead, with significant increases,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM Data Solutions. “It is extremely important to note that the latest momentum is likely to hit a wall and reverse because of the drastic economic slowdown caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Millions of Americans are newly unemployed, and most people are practicing social distancing, which could bring things to a halt just as the Spring buying season begins. Despite that cloud, the numbers for Q1 still do remain upbeat.”
* Home Purchase Applications Rise as Coronavirus Slowdown Begins to Thaw. With a growing number of states indicating over the last week that they are moving toward relaxing the social distancing protocols put in place to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, it appears that the real estate market may be beginning to thaw. In recent weeks, home purchase applications have declined sharply as people simply weren’t applying for mortgages. But that trend may be reversing, as new data from the Mortgage Bankers Association shows that home purchase mortgage applications recently rose to the highest level in nearly a month. “The news in this week’s release is that purchase applications, still recovering from a five-year low, increased 12% last week to the strongest level in almost a month,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting.
* Homeownership Rate Up in the First Quarter 2020. According to the Census Bureau’s Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS), the U.S. homeownership rate reaches 65.3% in the first quarter 2020. This is 1.1 percentage points higher than the rate of 64.2% in the first quarter of 2019, but not statistically different from the previous quarter reading of 65.1%. Strong owner household formation with around 2.7 million homeowners added in the first quarter has driven up the homeownership rate, especially under the decreasing mortgage interest rates and strong new home sales and existing home sales in the first two months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the economy. The HVS provides a timely measure of household formations – the key driver of housing demand. The housing stock-based HVS revealed that the number of households increased to 124.4 million in the first quarter of 2020, 2.0 million higher than a year ago.
As a marketing agent, I want to sell homes for more, not merely sell more homes. That’s why I focus on strategic pricing, negotiating, marketing and networking. My last listing went pending in less than a week, during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re interested in selling, let’s talk!
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is suspending foreclosures and evictions for homeowners with a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac-backed single family mortgage for at least 60 days due to the COVID-19 national emergency.
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) and the Federal Home Loan Banks are taking steps to help people who have been impacted by the coronavirus. Fannie and Freddie are providing payment forbearance for borrowers impacted by the crisis, which will allow a mortgage payment to be suspended for up to 12 months by qualified borrowers.
If your ability to pay your mortgage is impacted, and your loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you may be eligible to delay making your monthly mortgage payments for a temporary period, during which:
You won’t incur late fees.
You won’t have delinquencies reported to the credit bureaus.
Foreclosure and other legal proceedings will be suspended
This decision follows the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s announcement earlier this month to halt foreclosures and evictions for FHA loans on single-family homes for 60 days due to COVID-19.
If you have any concerns about your mortgage contact your mortgage servicer (where you send your monthly mortgage payments).
You can visit the HUD and FHFA websites for more information.
According to the Census Bureau, HUD and Commerce Department This Week in Real Estate the market to start the year for newly built single-family homes experienced significant growth year-over-year. Permits in January reached their highest level since June 2007 and housing starts were 21.4% above January 2019. Below are a few highlights from the third week of February that influence our business:
* Housing Starts Mark a Solid Start in 2020. Relative to January 2019 total housing starts are 21.4 percent above the annual pace of 1.29 million units. The three-month moving average for single-family in January is an annual rate of 1,008,000 units, which is the highest pace since the Great recession. Single-family permits have registered a 20.2 percent gain compared to a year ago. This is in line with the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which held builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes at a solid level of 74 in February. Regional data show, on a year-over-year basis positive conditions for single-family construction in the West (+24.7 percent) and Midwest (+17.7 percent) while South (-3.7 percent) and Northeast (-15.4 percent) have posted declines.
* Single-Family Building Permits Rise to a 12-Year High. Permits for new houses rose to a more than 12-year high in January as builders began shifting into high gear amid a property shortage. Single-family home
authorizations, as permits are known, jumped to 987,000 at a seasonally adjusted annual pace, the highest since June 2007, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. The January rate was a gain of 6.4% from December.Overall permits, including multifamily units and single-family homes, jumped 9.2% to an annual pace of 1.551 million, the highest level since March 2007.
* $221M Lost to Wire Transfer Fraud in 2019. Incidents and losses due to real estate wire fraud continue to increase, according to the FBI’s 2019 Internet Crime Report. The report shows there were 11,677 victims in 2019 with $221 million in losses. This compares to 11,300 reported victims and $150 million in losses in 2018. According to the FBI, only 15 percent of all wire fraud incidents are reported. Overall, the FBI reported that IC3 received 467,361 complaints in 2019 – an average of nearly 1,300 every day – and recorded more than $3.5 billion in losses to individual and business victims. The most frequently reported complaints were phishing and similar ploys, non-payment/non-delivery scams and extortion. The most financially costly complaints involved business email compromise, romance or confidence fraud, and spoofing, or mimicking the account of a person or vendor known to the victim to gather personal or financial information. Donna Gregory, the chief of IC3, said that in 2019 the center didn’t see an uptick in new types of fraud but rather saw criminals deploying new tactics and techniques to carry out existing scams. “Criminals are getting so sophisticated,” Gregory said. “It is getting harder and harder for victims to spot the red flags and tell real from fake.” While email is still a common entry point, frauds are also beginning on text messages—a crime called smishing—or even fake websites—a tactic called pharming. Individuals need to be extremely skeptical and double check everything, Gregory emphasized. “In the same way your bank and online accounts have started to require two-factor authentication—apply that to your life,” she said. “Verify requests in person or by phone, double check web and email addresses, and don’t follow the links provided in any messages.”
For the first time since at
least World War II, mortgage rates and the unemployment rate are below
4-percent. As a result, some economists are predicting home prices will
increase at a faster pace over the next 12 months than they have in 2019.
Corelogic says home prices
will likely increase by 5.8% through August 2020. That’s a faster pace than the
3.8% seen in August of this year.
First-time homebuyers, Generation
Z homebuyers and single female homebuyers are taking full advantage of this
46-percent of all loans Freddie
Mac has purchased this year came from first-time homebuyers, while there has
been a 200% and 500% increase in Gen Z and single female homebuyers,
* Labor Costs Likely to Push Home Prices Higher. In an article in CoreLogic’s Insights blog, Nothaft quotes National Association of Home Builder (NAHB) figures that say about 60 percent of a new home’s sales price reflects the construction costs of the home. The major components of building costs are those associated with purchasing and preparing a lot, acquiring permits and inspections, hiring labor and buying materials. There was a significant price run-up in the two major components of framing, lumber and steel. Labor costs are another matter. Much has been written about the shortage of construction labor. Many workers left the trades during the Great Recession and the industry has had trouble luring young people and especially young women into the field. Vacancies as a percent of construction job are now at the highest level in 18 years and compensation has risen accordingly. It is up 3 percent this year, about double the rate of inflation. Worker retention is an issue as well. Nothaft says rising land and labor costs will probably offset any savings builders might realize from lower lumber prices and overall costs for a new home will continue to rise.
* Mortgage Rates Drop Again – And First-Time Homebuyers Take Full Advantage. Mortgage rates dropped again, and according to Freddie Mac, the downward spiral has first-time buyers gaining ground. In fact, of all the loans Freddie Mac has purchased in 2019, 46% came from first-time homebuyers – a two-decade high for the company. According to representatives at online mortgage provider Better.com, the lender has seen a “huge uptick” in first-time homebuyers as well. There’s also been a 200% increase in Generation Z homebuyers (born 1997-2012) and a 500% increase in single female homebuyers aged 30-40. As Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, reported yesterday, “The fifty-year low in the unemployment rate, combined with low mortgage rates, has led to increased homebuyer demand this year. Much of this strength is coming from entry-level buyers.”
* Where Have All the Affordable Homes Gone? Housing affordability has been a growing concern in the housing ecosystem, but why is it such a problem? While home prices have been steadily rising for many years, Nothaft observed, “We find that lower-priced homes have appreciated much, much more than higher-priced homes.” Since May 2018, prices of homes more than 25% above the median have risen 3%, while homes in the lowest tier, those more than 25% below the median, have risen almost 5.5%. As demand rises on affordable homes, the supply has become increasingly constrained. Nothaft noted, “New construction, while picking up gradually over the last few years, is still well below what it was prior to the housing boom.” The current inventory for homes is tightest in the lowest price tiers, particularly in those between 50 and 100 percent of the median home price. On the affordable housing shortage, Nothaft concluded, “I don’t see that changing any time soon unless we find ways to reduce the cost of producing or delivering lower-priced homes into the marketplace and reducing some of the regulatory costs.” In the meantime, with demand rising on an increasingly scarce product, we can expect prices to continue rising on affordable homes for the foreseeable future.
If a new Federal rule is approved it will have a sizeable impact on the real estate market. Federal regulators are close to approving a proposal to increase the appraisal threshold on residential home sales. What’s that mean for you? It means that certain home sales, of $400,000 and under, may not require an appraisal. Since 1994 the appraisal requirement has been set at $250,000.
The proposal is currently awaiting Fed approval to move forward. It has been approved by both the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.) and the OCC (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency), so experts believe it’s only a matter of time before the Fed approves the rule, it’s entered into the Federal Register and enacted as the law of the land.
Now, it’s important to mention this does not apply to ALL loans. New rules do NOT apply to loans that are wholly or partially insured or guaranteed by, or eligible for sale to, a government agency or government sponsored agency. That means loans sold to or guaranteed by the FHA, HUD, the VA or Fannie and Freddie Mac would still require an appraisal, per agency rules. However, the new rule would apply to approximately 40% of home sales.
The second quarter of the year marked a healthy springtime market for Eugene and Southern Oregon. New listings and
active listings surged, the average for days on market narrowed in most cities and even if closed transactions inched
downward, pending transactions for the second quarter showed signs of seasonal promise.
DAYS ON MARKET
Average days on market in the second quarter of 2019 was 42 days, a 6.7% decrease from year-ago figures. In Sweet
Home, days on market surged 44% to 46 days, while year-over-year averages fell in Albany, Lebanon and Roseburg.
CLOSED TRANSACTIONS AND PENDING SALES
The number of closed units dropped 6% this quarter from 2018. Pending sales fared better this quarter, jumping 18.4%
from the same time period in 2018. Closed transactions fell year-over-year in Albany, Roseburg Sweet Home and Leb-
anon, with the latter city experiencing a 21% dip in closed sales from year-ago figures. Pending sales fared better this
quarter, jumping 18.4% from the same time period in 2018.
AVERAGE SALES PRICE
Average sales price posted a moderate first quarter, up 2.6% year-over-year in the region to $300,783. Prices for homes in
Corvallis were up 10% this quarter, landing at $408,960, the highest average price in the region.
As with most markets this quarter, Eugene and Southern Oregon saw a boost in both new and active listings. New listings soared year-over-year by 63.5% to end the quarter at 1,442.
It’s simple math… the more people who see your listing, the greater the chances for a fair and timely sale of your property.
At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices we have one of the industry’s most comprehensive strategies for ensuring maximum exposure of a property to buyers searching in your area.
We also keep our sellers informed about current market trends by providing them with an overview of the competitive selling landscape. This helps you, the seller, make strategic pricing decisions to quickly sell your home at an agreeable price.
Here is what you get with our Seller Advantage:
Listing Presentation Report
Our Seller Advantage program gives you the information and decision-making tools throughout the home sale process. Here’s how… Our Listing Presentation Report will show you exactly how many potential buyers are searching a specific neighborhood for homes similar to yours.
Listing Activity Report
Then, once you’ve listed with me, a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network agent, you will get our Listing Activity Report. This details how many times your home has appeared in potential buyers’ search results and how many times your listing has been viewed.
Market Activity Report
Last, but not least, we offer a market activity report. Perhaps your not ready to sell, but would like a sense of buyer interest in your neighborhood and in homes like yours. The Market Activity Report will show you just how many people are searching in your neighborhood for a home like yours. You’ll gain specific market updates including new listings, price changes and status changes.
Such comprehensive information, combined with the global reach that only Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices can offer, will give you unmatched advantages when you list and sell your home.
Contact me to set up your free home evaluation now. Let me help you get the most money for your investment!