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Is the Shifting Market a Challenge or an Opportunity for Homebuyers?

If you tried to buy a home during the pandemic, you know the limited supply of homes for sale was a considerable challenge. It created intense bidding wars which drove home prices up as buyers competed with one another to be the winning offer.

But what was once your greatest challenge may now be your greatest opportunity. Today, data shows buyer demand is moderating in the wake of higher mortgage rates. Here are a few reasons why this shift in the housing market is good news for your homebuying plans.

The Challenge

There were many reasons for the limited number of homes on the market during the pandemic, including a history of underbuilding new homes since the market crash in 2008. As the graph below shows, housing supply is well below what the market has seen for most of the past 10 years (see graph below):

Is the Shifting Market a Challenge or an Opportunity for Homebuyers? | Simplifying The Market

The Opportunity

But that graph also shows a trend back up in the right direction this year. That’s because moderating demand is slowing the pace of home sales and that’s one of the reasons housing supply is finally able to grow. For you, that means you’ll have more options to choose from, so it shouldn’t be as difficult to find your next home as it has been recently.

And having more options may also lead to less intense bidding wars. Data from the Realtors Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows this trend has already begun. In their recent reports, bidding wars are easing month-over-month (see graph below):

Is the Shifting Market a Challenge or an Opportunity for Homebuyers? | Simplifying The Market

If you’ve been outbid before or you’ve struggled to find a home that meets your needs, breathe a welcome sigh of relief. The big takeaway here is you have more options and less competition today.

Just remember, while easing, data shows multiple-offer scenarios are still happening – they’re just not as intense as they were over the past year. You should still lean on an agent to guide you through the process and help you make your strongest offer up front.

Bottom Line

If you’re still looking to make a move, it may be time to pick your home search back up today. Let’s connect to kick off the homebuying process.

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Why the Forbearance Program Changed the Housing Market

When the pandemic hit in 2020, many experts thought the housing market would crash. They feared job loss and economic uncertainty would lead to a wave of foreclosures similar to when the housing bubble burst over a decade ago. Thankfully, the forbearance program changed that. It provided much-needed relief for homeowners so a foreclosure crisis wouldn’t happen again. Here’s why forbearance worked.

Forbearance enabled nearly five million homeowners to get back on their feet in a time when having the security and protection of a home was more important than ever. Those in need were able to work with their banks and lenders to stay in their homes rather than go into foreclosure. Marina Walsh, Vice President of Industry Analysis at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), notes:

“Most borrowers exiting forbearance are moving into either a loan modification, payment deferral, or a combination of the two workout options.”

As the graph below shows, with modification, deferral, and workout options in place, four out of every five homeowners in forbearance are either paid in full or are exiting with a plan. They’re able to stay in their homes.

Why the Forbearance Program Changed the Housing Market | Simplifying The Market

What does this mean for the housing market?

Since so many people can stay in their homes and work out alternative options, there won’t be a wave of foreclosures coming to the market. And while rising slightly since the foreclosure moratorium was lifted this year, foreclosures today are still nowhere near the levels seen in the housing crisis.

Forbearance wasn’t the only game changer, either. Lending standards have improved significantly since the housing bubble burst, and that’s one more thing keeping foreclosure filings low. Today’s borrowers are much more qualified to pay their home loans.

And while the majority of homeowners are exiting the forbearance program with a plan, for those who still need to make a change due to financial hardship or other challenges, today’s record-level of equity is giving them the opportunity to sell their houses and avoid foreclosure altogether. Homeowners have options they just didn’t have in the housing crisis when so many people owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth. Thanks to their equity and the current undersupply of homes on the market, homeowners can sell their houses, make a move, and not have to go through the foreclosure process that led to the housing market crash in 2008.

Thomas LaSalvia, Chief Economist with Moody’s Analytics, states:

“There’s some excess savings out there, over 2 trillion worth. . . . There are people that have ownership of those homes right now, that even in a downturn, they’d still likely be able to pay that mortgage and won’t have to hand over keys. And there won’t be a lot of those distressed sales that happened in the 2008 crisis.”

Bottom Line

The forbearance program was a game changer for homeowners in need. It’s one of the big reasons why we won’t see a wave of foreclosures coming to the market.

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Housing Market Forecast for the Rest of 2022 [INFOGRAPHIC]

Housing Market Forecast for the Rest of 2022 [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

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Why It’s Still a Sellers’ Market

As there’s more and more talk about the real estate market cooling off from the peak frenzy it saw during the pandemic, you may be questioning what that means for your plans to sell your house. If you’re thinking of making a move, you should know the market is still anything but normal.

Even though the supply of homes for sale has been growing this year, there’s still a shortage of homes on the market. And that means conditions continue to favor sellers today. That’s because the level of inventory of homes for sale can help determine if buyers or sellers are in the driver’s seat. Think of it like this:

  • A buyers’ market is when there are more homes for sale than buyers looking to buy. When that happens, buyers have the negotiation power because sellers are more willing to compromise so they can sell their house.
  • In a sellers’ market, it’s just the opposite. There are too few homes available for the number of buyers in the market and that gives the seller all the leverage. In that situation, buyers will do what they can to compete for the limited number of homes for sale.
  • A neutral market is when supply is balanced and there are enough homes to meet buyer demand at the current sales pace.

And for the past two years, we’ve been in a red-hot sellers’ market because inventory has been near record lows. The blue section of this graph highlights just how far below a neutral market inventory still is today.

Why It’s Still a Sellers’ Market | Simplifying The Market

What Does This Mean for You?

Ed Pinto, Director of the American Enterprise Institute’s Housing Center, gives a perfect summary of what’s happening in today’s market, saying:

“Overall, the best summary is that we’ll move from a gangbuster sellers’ market to a modest sellers’ market.”

Conditions are still in your favor even though the market is cooling. If you work with an agent to price your house at market value, you’ll find success when you sell your house today. While buyer demand is softening due to higher mortgage rates, homes that are priced right are still selling fast. That means your window of opportunity to list your house hasn’t closed.

Bottom Line

Today’s housing market still favors sellers. If you’re ready to sell your house, let’s connect so you can start making your moves.

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3 Graphs To Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble

With all the headlines and buzz in the media, some consumers believe the market is in a housing bubble. As the housing market shifts, you may be wondering what’ll happen next. It’s only natural for concerns to creep in that it could be a repeat of what took place in 2008. The good news is, there’s concrete data to show why this is nothing like the last time.

There’s a Shortage of Homes on the Market Today, Not a Surplus

The supply of inventory needed to sustain a normal real estate market is approximately six months. Anything more than that is an overabundance and will causes prices to depreciate. Anything less than that is a shortage and will lead to continued price appreciation.

For historical context, there were too many homes for sale during the housing crisis (many of which were short sales and foreclosures), and that caused prices to tumble. Today, supply is growing, but there’s still a shortage of inventory available.

The graph below uses data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to show how this time compares to the crash. Today, unsold inventory sits at just a 3.0-months’ supply at the current sales pace.

3 Graphs To Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

One of the reasons inventory is still low is because of sustained underbuilding. When you couple that with ongoing buyer demand as millennials age into their peak homebuying years, it continues to put upward pressure on home prices. That limited supply compared to buyer demand is why experts forecast home prices won’t fall this time.

Mortgage Standards Were Much More Relaxed During the Crash

During the lead-up to the housing crisis, it was much easier to get a home loan than it is today. The graph below showcases data on the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The higher the number, the easier it is to get a mortgage.

3 Graphs To Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

Running up to 2006, banks were creating artificial demand by lowering lending standards and making it easy for just about anyone to qualify for a home loan or refinance their current home. Back then, lending institutions took on much greater risk in both the person and the mortgage products offered. That led to mass defaults, foreclosures, and falling prices.

Today, things are different, and purchasers face much higher standards from mortgage companies. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, says:

Credit standards tightened in recent months due to increasing economic uncertainty and monetary policy tightening.” 

Stricter standards, like there are today, help prevent a risk of a rash of foreclosures like there was last time.

The Foreclosure Volume Is Nothing Like It Was During the Crash

The most obvious difference is the number of homeowners that were facing foreclosure after the housing bubble burst. Foreclosure activity has been on the way down since the crash because buyers today are more qualified and less likely to default on their loans. The graph below uses data from ATTOM Data Solutions to help tell the story:

3 Graphs To Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | Simplifying The Market

In addition, homeowners today are equity rich, not tapped out. In the run-up to the housing bubble, some homeowners were using their homes as personal ATMs. Many immediately withdrew their equity once it built up. When home values began to fall, some homeowners found themselves in a negative equity situation where the amount they owed on their mortgage was greater than the value of their home. Some of those households decided to walk away from their homes, and that led to a wave of distressed property listings (foreclosures and short sales), which sold at considerable discounts that lowered the value of other homes in the area.

Today, prices have risen nicely over the last few years, and that’s given homeowners an equity boost. According to Black Knight:

In total, mortgage holders gained $2.8 trillion in tappable equity over the past 12 months – a 34% increase that equates to more than $207,000 in equity available per borrower. . . .”

With the average home equity now standing at $207,000, homeowners are in a completely different position this time.

Bottom Line

If you’re worried we’re making the same mistakes that led to the housing crash, the graphs above should help alleviate your concerns. Concrete data and expert insights clearly show why this is nothing like the last time.

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Three Reasons To Buy a Home in Today’s Shifting Market [INFOGRAPHIC]

Three Reasons To Buy a Home in Today’s Shifting Market [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights

  • The housing market is moving away from the frenzy of the past year and it’s opening doors for you if you’re thinking about buying a home.
  • Housing inventory is increasing, which means more options for your search. Plus, the intensity of bidding wars may ease as buyer demand moderates, leading to fewer homes selling above asking price.
  • If you’re ready to buy a home, now may be the moment you’ve been waiting for. Let’s connect to start the homebuying process today.
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A Real Estate Professional Helps You Separate Fact from Fiction

If you’re following the news, chances are you’ve seen or heard some headlines about the housing market that don’t give the full picture. The real estate market is shifting, and when that happens, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. That’s where a trusted real estate professional comes in. They can help debunk the headlines so you can really understand today’s market and what it means for you.

Here are three common housing market myths you might be hearing, along with the expert analysis that provides better context.

Myth 1: Home Prices Are Going To Fall

One piece of fiction many buyers may have seen or heard is that home prices are going to crash. That’s because headlines often use similar, but different, terms to describe what’s happening with prices. A few you might be seeing right now include:

  • Appreciation, or an increase in home prices.
  • Depreciation, or a decrease in home prices.
  • And deceleration, which is an increase in home prices, but at a slower pace.

The fact is, experts aren’t calling for a decrease in prices. Instead, they forecast appreciation will continue, just at a decelerated pace. That means home prices will continue rising and won’t fall. Selma Hepp, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains:

“. . . higher mortgage rates coupled with more inventory will lead to slower home price growth but unlikely declines in home prices.”

Myth 2: The Housing Market Is in a Correction

Another common myth is that the housing market is in a correction. Again, that’s not the case. Here’s why. According to Forbes:

“A correction is a sustained decline in the value of a market index or the price of an individual asset. A correction is generally agreed to be a 10% to 20% drop in value from a recent peak.

As mentioned above, home prices are still appreciating, and experts project that will continue, just at a slower pace. That means the housing market isn’t in a correction because prices aren’t falling. It’s just moderating compared to the last two years, which were record-breaking in nearly every way.

Myth 3: The Housing Market Is Going To Crash

Some headlines are generating worry that the housing market is a bubble ready to burst. But experts say today is nothing like 2008. One of the reasons why is because lending standards are very different today. Logan Mohtashami, Lead Analyst for HousingWire, explains:

“As recession talk becomes more prevalent, some people are concerned that mortgage credit lending will get much tighter. This typically happens in a recession, however, the notion that credit lending in America will collapse as it did from 2005 to 2008 couldn’t be more incorrect, as we haven’t had a credit boom in the period between 2008-2022.”

During the last housing bubble, it was much easier to get a mortgage than it is today. Since then, lending standards have tightened significantly, and purchasers who acquired a mortgage over the last decade are much more qualified than they were in the years leading up to the crash.

Bottom Line

No matter what you’re hearing about the housing market, let’s connect. That way, you’ll have a knowledgeable authority on your side that knows the ins and outs of the market, including current trends, historical context, and so much more.

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A Window of Opportunity for Homebuyers

Mortgage rates are much higher today than they were at the beginning of the year, and that’s had a clear impact on the housing market. As a result, the market is seeing a shift back toward the range of pre-pandemic levels for buyer demand and home sales.

But the transition back toward pre-pandemic levels isn’t a bad thing. In fact, the years leading up to the pandemic were some of the best the housing market has seen. That’s why, as the market undergoes this shift, it’s important to compare today not to the abnormal pandemic years, but to the most recent normal years to show how the current housing market is still strong.

Higher Mortgage Rates Are Moderating the Housing Market 

The ShowingTime Showing Index tracks the traffic of home showings according to agents and brokers. It’s also a good indication of buyer demand over time. Here’s a look at their data going back to 2017 (see graph below):

A Window of Opportunity for Homebuyers | Simplifying The Market

Here’s a breakdown of the story this data tells:

  • The 2017 through early 2020 numbers (shown in gray) give a good baseline of pre-pandemic demand. The steady up and down trends seen in each of these years show typical seasonality in the market.
  • The blue on the graph represents the pandemic years. The height of those blue bars indicates home showings skyrocketed during the pandemic.
  • The most recent data (shown in green), indicates buyer demand is moderating back toward more pre-pandemic levels.

This shows that buyer demand is coming down from levels seen over the past two years, and the frenzy in real estate is easing because of higher mortgage rates. For you, that means buying your next home should be less challenging than it would’ve been during the pandemic because there is more inventory available.

Higher Mortgage Rates Slow the Once Frenzied Pace of Home Sales

As mortgage rates started to rise this year, other shifts began to occur too. One additional example is the slowing pace of home sales. Using data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), here’s a look at existing home sales going all the way back to 2017. Much like the previous graph, a similar trend emerges (see graph below):

A Window of Opportunity for Homebuyers | Simplifying The Market

Again, the data paints a picture of the shift:

  • The pre-pandemic years (shown in gray) establish a baseline of the number of existing home sales in more typical years.
  • The pandemic years (shown in blue) exceeded the level of sales seen in previous years. That’s largely because low mortgage rates during that time spurred buyer demand and home sales to new heights.
  • This year (shown in green), the market is feeling the impact of higher mortgage rates and that’s moderating buyer demand (and by extension home sales). That’s why the expectation for home sales this year is closer to what the market saw in 2018-2019.

Why Is All of This Good News for You?

Both of those factors have opened up a window of opportunity for homeowners looking to move and for buyers looking to purchase a home. As demand moderates and the pace of home sales slows, housing inventory is able to grow – and that gives you more options for your home search.

So don’t let the headlines about the market cooling or moderating scare you. The housing market is still strong; it’s just easing off from the unsustainable frenzy it saw during the height of the pandemic – and that’s a good thing. It opens up new opportunities for you to find a home that meets your needs.

Bottom Line

The housing market is undergoing a shift because of higher mortgage rates, but the market is still strong. If you’ve been looking to buy a home over the last couple of years and it felt impossible to do, now may be your opportunity. Buying a home right now isn’t easy, but there is more opportunity for those who are looking.

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What’s Causing Ongoing Home Price Appreciation?

If you’re thinking about making a move, you probably want to know what’s going to happen to home prices for the rest of the year. While experts say price growth will moderate due to the shifting market, ongoing appreciation is expected. That means home prices won’t fall. Here’s a look at two key reasons experts forecast continued price growth: supply and demand.

While Growing, Housing Supply Is Still Low

Even though inventory is increasing this year as the market moderates, supply is still low. The graph below helps tell the story of why there still aren’t enough homes on the market today. It uses data from the Census to show the number of single-family homes that were built in this country going all the way back to the 1970s.

What’s Causing Ongoing Home Price Appreciation? | Simplifying The Market

The blue bars represent the years leading up to the housing crisis in 2008. As the graph shows, right before the crash, homebuilding increased significantly. That’s because buyer demand was so high due to loose lending standards that enabled more people to qualify for a home loan.

The resulting oversupply of homes for sale led to prices dropping during the crash and some builders leaving the industry or closing their businesses – and that led to a long period of underbuilding of new homes. And even as more new homes are constructed this year and in the years ahead, this isn’t something that can be resolved overnight. It’ll take time to build enough homes to meet the deficit of underbuilding that took place over the past 14 years.

Millennials Will Create Sustained Buyer Demand Moving Forward

The frenzy the market saw during the pandemic is because there was more demand than homes for sale. That drove home prices up as buyers competed with one another for available homes. And while buyer demand has moderated today in response to higher mortgage rates, data tells us demand will continue to be driven by the large generation of millennials aging into their peak homebuying years (see graph below):

What’s Causing Ongoing Home Price Appreciation? | Simplifying The Market

Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, explains:

 “. . . millennials continue to transition to their prime home-buying age and will remain the driving force in potential homeownership demand in the years ahead.”

That combination of millennial demand and low housing supply continues to put upward pressure on home prices. As Bankrate says:

“After all, supplies of homes for sale remain near record lows. And while a jump in mortgage rates has dampened demand somewhat, demand still outpaces supply, thanks to a combination of little new construction and strong household formation by large numbers of millennials.”

What This Means for Home Prices

If you’re worried home values will fall, rest assured that experts forecast ongoing home price appreciation thanks to the lingering imbalance of supply and demand. That means home prices won’t decline.

Bottom Line

Based on today’s factors driving supply and demand, experts project home price appreciation will continue. It’ll just happen at a more moderate pace as the housing market continues its shift back toward pre-pandemic levels.

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Great News About Housing Inventory [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights

  • Experts say the number of homes for sale is growing this year, and that can have a big impact on your move.
  • If you’re planning to buy, additional options in today’s market may be just what you’ve been waiting for. More inventory means added opportunities to find the home of your dreams.
  • Let’s connect so you have the latest information on available homes in our area.