Living Room Designs Part 1 of 3
The housing and stock markets continue to be the leaders in the economy. In August, showings and pending sales remained at strong levels while housing inventory remained limited, continuing the competitive bidding market we have seen in recent months. With the stock indexes at or near record highs as mortgage rates remain near record lows, signs point to a busy fall housing market.
When most of us begin searching for a home, we naturally start by looking at the price. It’s important, however, to closely consider what else impacts the purchase. It’s not just the price of the house that matters, but the overall cost in the long run. Today, that’s largely impacted by low mortgage rates. Low rates are actually making homes more affordable now than at any time since 2016, and here’s why.
Today’s low rates are off-setting rising home prices because it’s less expensive to borrow money. In essence, purchasing a home while mortgage rates are this low may save you significantly over the life of your home loan.
Taking a look at the graph below with data sourced from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the higher the bars rise, the more affordable homes are. The orange bars represent the period of time when homes were most affordable, but that’s also reflective of when the housing bubble burst. At that time, distressed properties, like foreclosures and short sales, dominated the market. That’s a drastically different environment than what we have in the housing market now.
The green bar represents today’s market. It shows that homes truly are more affordable than they have been in years, and much more so than they were in the normal market that led up to the housing crash. Low mortgage rates are a big differentiator driving this affordability.
What are the experts saying about affordability?
Experts agree that this unique moment in time is making homes incredibly affordable for buyers.
“Although housing prices have consistently moved higher, when the favorable mortgage rates are factored in, an overall home purchase was more affordable in 2020’s second quarter compared to one year ago.”
“No matter what you’re looking for, this is a great time to buy since the current low interest rates can stretch your spending power.”
“Those shopping for a home can afford 10 percent more home than they could have one year ago while keeping their monthly payment unchanged. This translates into nearly $32,000 more buying power.”
“Homeowners are the clear winners. Low mortgage rates mean the cost of owning is at historically low levels and who gains all the benefits of strong house price appreciation? Homeowners.”
When purchasing a home, it’s important to think about the overall cost, not just the price of the house. Homes on your wish list may be more affordable today than you think. Reach out to a local real estate professional to discuss how affordability plays a role in your local market, and your long-term homeownership goals.
Which is your favorite?
Healthy buyer demand and constrained supply continue to be the story for
much of the country. Nationally, showing activity in July remained
substantially higher than a year before and multiple offer situations are a
frequent experience in many markets. With the inventory of homes for sale still constrained, a competitive market for buyers shows little sign of waning.
- July 2020 average sales price for new & existing homes combined ($283,683) is 11.4 percent higher than July 2019.
- There were 4,625 home sales (new & existing combined) for July 2020, which is 8.6 percent higher than last July (4,259).
- Home inventory (new & existing combined) for July 2020 (5,014) is 45.7 percent lower compared to July 2019 (9,237).
- The supply of new and existing homes for July 2020 is currently 1.5 months.
Submitting an offer on a home is a process filled with hope, excitement and anxiety — especially if you’ve fallen in love with a home and feel like you can’t live without it. Here’s how the process typically goes.
As remote work continues on for many businesses and Americans weigh the risks of being in densely populated areas, will more people start to move out of bigger cities? Spending extra time at home and dreaming of more indoor and outdoor space is certainly sparking some interest among homebuyers. Early data shows an initial trend in this direction of moving from urban to suburban communities, but the question is: will the trend continue?
According to recent data from Zillow, there is a current surge in urban high-end listings in some larger metro areas. The month-over-month increase in these homes going on the market indicates more urban homeowners may be ready to make a move out of the city, particularly at the upper end of the market (See graph below):
Why are people starting to move out of larger cities?
With the ongoing health crisis, it’s no surprise that many people are starting to consider this shift. A July survey from HomeLight notes the top reasons people are actually moving today:
- More interior space
- Desire to own
- Move from city to suburbs
- More outdoor space
More space, proximity to fewer people, and a desire to own at a more affordable price point are highly desirable features in this new era, so the list makes sense.
John Burns Consulting notes:
“The trend is accelerating faster than anyone could have predicted. The need for more space is driving suburban migration.”
In addition, Sheryl Palmer, CEO of Taylor Morrison, a home building company, indicates:
“Most recently, we’re really seeing a pickup in folks saying they want more rural or suburban locations. Initially, there was a lot of talk about that, but it’s really coming through our buyers today.”
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) also shares:
“New home demand is improving in lower density markets, including small metro areas, rural markets and large metro exurbs, as people seek out larger homes and anticipate more flexibility for telework in the years ahead. Flight to the suburbs is real.”
Will the shift pick up speed and continue on?
The question remains, will this interest in suburban and rural living continue? Some, like Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) think the possibility is there, but it is still quite early to tell for sure. Yun notes:
“Homebuyers considering a move to the suburbs is a growing possibility after a decade of urban downtown revival…Greater work-from-home options and flexibility will likely remain beyond the virus and any forthcoming vaccine.”
While much of the energy behind this trend has largely been accelerated by the current health crisis, monitoring the momentum over time is critically important. Businesses are discovering new and innovative ways to function in remote environments, so the shift has the potential to stick. Much like the economic recovery, however, the long-term impact may hinge largely on the health situation throughout this country.
Early data is showing a shift from urban to suburban markets, but keeping an eye on this trend will help us understand how it will ultimately play out. It may just be a temporary swing in a new direction until Americans once again feel a sense of comfort in the cities they’ve grown to love.
Which of these styles do you prefer? Don’t worry if you don’t see a style you like. Check back next month for more options.
While much of the country was working on a phased reopening of the
economy in June, real estate activity continued to strengthen as well.
Nationally, June showing activity as tracked by ShowingTime was up notably from the COVID-19 depressed levels in recent months but was also up from June 2019, reflecting pent-up demand by prospective home buyers.
- June 2020 average sales price for new & existing homes combined ($275,922) is 6.5 percent higher than June 2019.
- There were 4,156 home sales (new & existing combined) for June 2020, which is 4 percent lower than last June (4,328).
- Home inventory (new & existing combined) for June 2020 (4,953) is 45.5 percent lower compared to June 2019 (9,084).
- The supply of new and existing homes for June 2020 is currently 1.5 months.
Visit: http://kcrar.com/june-2020-market-reports for more info.