There is no doubt that getting a mortgage is easier today than it was right after the housing crash a decade ago. However, the easing of credit availability has led to some questioning of whether or not we are headed for another housing crisis.
Let’s put everything into the proper perspective.
Mortgage Credit Availability Over the Last Three Years
Getting a home mortgage has definitely gotten easier over the last three years as evidenced by the Mortgage Credit Availability Index, issued by the Mortgage Bankers Association, in the following graph (the higher the index, the easier it is to get a mortgage):
However, if we look further back at the index we see quite a different story.
Mortgage Credit Availability Today Compared to 2006
The graph below shows the index going back to 2004, and the first graph we showed you above is represented by the small, orange, triangular section all the way in the lower-right corner.
As this visual easily illustrates, today’s index is nowhere near the levels it shot up to in 2006.
Mortgage credit is definitely easing. However, we are not coming close to the lax standards that caused the housing crisis of last decade.
There is some thinking that the pace of the housing recovery is unsustainable and that we may be heading for another housing bubble. However, Jonathan Smoke, the Chief Economist of realtor.com explains the basic difference between 2005 and today:
“The havoc during the last cycle was the result of building too many homes and of speculation fueled by loose credit. That’s the exact opposite of what we have today.”
If we look at the number of new single family housing starts over the last 30 years, we can see that the numbers of housing starts during the current recovery (2012-Today) are still way below historic averages, and are far less than the numbers built during the run-up to the housing bubble (2002-2006).
A single family housing start is defined as “the number of permits issued for construction of new single family housing units. Housing starts are an important economic indicator due to its extensive spill over benefits for the other sectors of the economy (retail, manufacturing, utilities).”
Current demand for housing actually calls for more new construction to be built – not less. We should at least return to historically normal levels.
There are some experts questioning whether the current pace of residential home sales is sustainable. Are too many people buying homes like in 2004-2006? Are we headed for another housing crisis? Actually, if we look closely at the numbers, we can see that we are looking at a very healthy real estate market.
Why the concern?
Some are looking at the last three years of home sales and comparing them to the three years just prior to the housing bubble. Looking at the graph below, we can understand that thinking.
However, if we go further back in history, we can see the real picture. After taking out the “boom & bust” years, the pace of sales is growing at a quite natural pace.
And new home sales are way below historic numbers. Trulia’s Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin explains:
“Adjusted for population, [new home sales] are at about 63% of their fifty-year average level—way better than 2011, but nowhere near heated.”
The current pace of residential home sales definitely seems sustainable.
School is back in session, the holidays are right around the corner, you might not think that now is the best time to sell your house. But with inventory below historic numbers and demand still strong, you could be missing out on a great opportunity for your family.
Here are five reasons why you should consider selling your house this fall:
1. Demand Is Strong
The latest Realtors’ Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now!
Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.
2. There Is Less Competition Now
According to NAR’s latest Existing Home Sales Report, the supply of homes for sale is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market at 4.7-months.
This means, in most areas, 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 real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market this fall.
Also, as builders regain confidence in the market, new construction of single-family homes is projected to continue to increase over the next two years, reaching historic levels by 2017. Last month’s new home sales numbers show that many buyers who have not been able to find their dream home within the existing inventory have turned to new construction to fulfill their needs.
The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.
3. The Process Will Be Quicker
Fannie Mae announced that they anticipate an acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007’s pace. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing-time lines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker & 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 5.3% over the next year, according to CoreLogic. 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.
According to Freddie Mac’s latest report, you can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate around 3.46% right now. Interest rates are projected to increase moderately over the next 12 months. Even a small increase in rate will have a big impact on your housing cost.
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 control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.
There are some homeowners that have been waiting for months to get a price they hoped for when they originally listed their house for sale. The only thing they might want to consider is… If it hasn’t sold yet, maybe it’s not priced properly.
After all,14,767 houses sold yesterday, 14,767 will sell today and 14,767 will sell tomorrow.
That is the average number of homes that sell each and every day in this country, according to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Existing Home Sales Report. NAR reported that sales are at an annual rate of 5.39 million. Divide that number by 365 (days in a year) and we can see that, on average, over 14,767 homes sell every day.
The report from NAR also revealed that there is currently only a 4.7-month supply of inventory available for sale, (6-months inventory is considered ‘historically normal’).
This means that there are not enough homes available for sale to satisfy the buyers who are out in the market now in record numbers.
We realize that you want to get the fair market value for your home. However, if it hasn’t sold in today’s active real estate market, perhaps you should reconsider your current asking price.
There are some that think that housing affordability is a challenge. Historically, that’s not true. Others think that home prices are approaching bubble values. If we look back over the last sixteen years, that is also not the case. As a matter of fact, the numbers show that the U.S. residential real estate market is doing just fine.
Here are two articles and excerpts that make this point:
“It has been an excruciatingly long time coming, but the housing sector in the United States is finally getting healthy. Thank millennials and thank homebuilders who are starting to produce more of the starter houses young people demand.”
“Interest rates are so low now that a family can buy the median-priced U.S. home on income of less than $45,000 a year — about $11,000 less than the median household income. And half of America’s houses are cheaper than that.”
There are those worried that all this positive talk resembles what was being said in 2004 and 2005. Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com, explains the difference very simply but effectively:
“The havoc during the last cycle was the result of building too many homes and of speculation fueled by loose credit. That’s the exact opposite of what we have today.” (emphasis added)
There are some industry pundits claiming that residential home values have risen too quickly and that current levels are on the verge of another housing bubble. It is easy to see how this thinking has taken form if we look at a graph of home prices from 2000 to today.
The graph definitely looks like a rollercoaster ride. And, as prices begin to reach 2006 levels again, it “seems logical” that the next part of the ride would be downhill. However, this graph includes the anomaly of the price bubble and the correction (the housing crash).
What if the bubble & bust didn’t occur?
Let’s assume that instead of the rise and fall in home prices that we saw last decade, we just had normal historic appreciation from 2000 to today. According to the 100+ experts that are surveyed for the Home Price Expectation Survey, normal annual appreciation for residential single family homes from 1987 to 1999 was 3.6%.
Starting with the median home price in 2000, we added 3.6% to it each year since then. Here is that graph intermixed with the above graph.
What this shows us is that, had the bubble and crash not occurred and instead we just had normal annual appreciation over this period, prices would actually be greater than they are today.
There is no reason for alarm as prices seem to be right in line with where they should be.
Some industry pundits are saying that the housing market may be heading for a slowdown. One of the data points they use is the falling numbers of the Housing Affordability Index, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Here is how NAR defines the index:
“The Housing Affordability Index measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national level based on the most recent price and income data.”
Basically, a value of 100 means a family earning the median income earns enough to qualify for a mortgage on a median priced home, based on the price and mortgage interest rates at the time. Anything above 100 means the family has more than enough to qualify.
The higher the index the easier it is to afford a home.
Why the concern?
The index has been declining over the last several years as home values increased. Some are concerned that too many buyers could be priced out of the market. Here is a snapshot of the index since 2009:
But, wait a minute…
Though the index has decreased over the last four years, we must realize that at that time there was an overabundance of housing inventory and as many as one out of three listings was a distressed property (foreclosure or short sale). All prices dropped dramatically and distressed properties sold at major discounts. Then, mortgage rates fell like a rock.
The market is recovering and values are coming back nicely. That has caused the index to fall.
However, let’s remove the crisis years and look at the current index as compared to the index from 1990 – 2008. We can see that, even though prices have increased, historically low mortgage rates have put the index in a better position than every year for the nineteen years prior to the crash.
The Housing Affordability Index is in great shape and should not be seen as a challenge to the real estate market’s continued recovery.
Many experts have been calling upon home builders to ramp up construction to help with the lack of existing inventory for sale. For the past two months, new home sales have surged, with July’s total coming in at the highest since October 2007.
The latest estimates from the US Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development show that sales in July were 31.3% higher than this time last year, and 12.4% higher than last month, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 654,000.
Zillow’s Chief Economist, Svenja Gudell, echoed the reaction of some as she commented:
“July(‘s) new home sales data was a surprise, but a welcome one. For years, the market has been practically begging builders to both ramp up their efforts overall and to put more focus on serving the less expensive end of the market. Today’s data confirms both are happening in earnest.”
“This rise in new home sales is consistent with our builders’ reports that market conditions have been improving. As existing home inventory remains flat, we should see more consumers turning to new construction.”
NAHB’s Chief Economist, Robert Dietz, believes this is just the start for new home sales if market conditions continue:
“July’s positive report shows there is a need for new single-family homes, buoyed by increased household formation, job gains and attractive mortgage rates. This uptick in demand should translate into increased housing production throughout 2016 and into next year.”
The existing home sales numbers for July will be released today and will shed more light on the overall health of the housing market.
New home sales hit their highest mark in over 9 years. Buyers are out in force to find a home that fits their needs. Many are turning to new construction, as the inventory of existing homes has not been able to keep up with demand.