News

Sales, prices still rising despite some changes this year

The latest numbers for Twin Cities residential real estate show a stable market with some ongoing signs of transition. Prices are still rising, supply is still tight, and demand has recovered even while market times have lengthened. Even though more buyers are closing on homes, the urgency has subsided somewhat. Days on market rose 2.4 percent from last September, marking the fifth year-over-year increase in the last seven months. Market times remain swift despite modest increases. Sales rose 3.4 percent and the median sales price increased 6.6 percent to $279,250. Pending sales—a measure of signed contracts and future demand—rose 2.9 percent. Both pending and closed sales are down slightly for the year so far, but that may change. New listings were up 2.5 percent, helping some buyers take advantage of historically low rates. Sellers have been accepting a slightly lower share of their list price compared to the year prior for seven of the last eight months—with September bucking that trend. This, along with other indicators, suggests the market is rebalancing in a way that could benefit buyers.

The number of active listings for sale is up over the last 12 months and for most of 2019. Even so, the market remains tight—particularly for first-time buyers and downsizers competing in the under $300,000 segment where multiple offers and homes selling for over list price remain commonplace. Despite the demand, builders struggle to replenish inventory in that undersupplied segment due to high land and material costs combined with a significant labor shortage and tricky regulations. The shortage of affordable homes has led to an increase in remodeling as people are staying in their homes longer. It’s challenging to find comparable home at a similar payment in the desired location. With just 2.5 months of supply, the Twin Cities is still significantly undersupplied.


September 2019 by the Numbers (compared to a year ago)

  • Sellers listed 7,041 properties on the market, a 2.5 percent increase from last September
  • Buyers closed on 5,358 homes, a 3.4 percent increase
  • Inventory levels decreased 5.6 percent from last September to 12,478 units
  • Months Supply of Inventory was down 7.4 percent to 5 months
  • The Median Sales Price rose 6.6 percent to $279,250
  • Cumulative Days on Market rose 2.4 percent to 43 days, on average (median of 22)
  • Changes in Sales activity varied by market segment
    • Single family sales rose 5.5 percent; condo sales increased 1.4 percent; townhome sales fell 0.5 percent
    • Traditional sales increased 4.8 percent; foreclosure sales dropped 21.1 percent; short sales fell 55.6 percent
    • Previously owned sales were up 4.4 percent; new construction sales climbed 2.6 percent

Quotables

“Attractive interest rates have unleashed some of the pent-up demand from earlier this year,” said Todd Urbanski, President of Minneapolis Area REALTORS®. “But each price point, product type and area is unique.”

“Buyers are still very much motivated despite some challenges,” said Linda Rogers, President-Elect of Minneapolis Area REALTORS®. “It really shows the resilience of our region and the value of homeownership.”
From The Skinny Blog.

Mortgage Rates Jump

October 17, 2019
Despite this week’s uptick in mortgage rates, the housing market remains on the upswing with improvement in construction and home sales. While there has been a material weakness in manufacturing and consistent trade uncertainty, other economic trends like employment and homebuilder sentiment are encouraging.

Information provided by Freddie Mac.

3 Reasons This is NOT the 2008 Real Estate Market

3 Reasons This is NOT the 2008 Real Estate Market | Simplifying The Market

Today’s real estate market is nothing like the 2008 market. When an economic slowdown happens, it won’t resemble the last one.

No one knows for sure when the next recession will occur. What is known, however, is that the upcoming economic slowdown will not be caused by a housing market crash, as was the case in 2008. There are those who disagree and are comparing today’s real estate market to the market in 2005-2006, which preceded the crash. In many ways, however, the market is very different now. Here are three suppositions being put forward by some, and why they don’t hold up.

SUPPOSITION #1

A critical warning sign last time was the surging gap between the growth in home prices and household income. Today, home values have also outpaced wage gains. As in 2006, a lack of affordability will kill the market.

Counterpoint

The “gap” between wages and home price growth has existed since 2012. If that is a sign of a recession, why didn’t we have one sometime in the last seven years? Also, a buyer’s purchasing power is MUCH GREATER today than it was thirteen years ago. The equation to determine affordability has three elements:  home prices, wages, AND MORTGAGE INTEREST RATES. Today, the mortgage rate is about 3.5% versus 6.41% in 2006.

SUPPOSITION #2

In 2018, as in 2005, housing-price growth began slowing, with significant price drops occurring in some major markets. Look at Manhattan where home prices are in a “near free-fall.”

Counterpoint

The only major market showing true depreciation is Seattle, and it looks like home values in that city are about to reverse and start appreciating again. CoreLogic is projecting home price appreciation to reaccelerate across the country over the next twelve months.

Regarding Manhattan, home prices are dropping because the city’s new “mansion tax” is sapping demand. Additionally, the new federal tax code that went into effect last year continues to impact the market, capping deductions for state and local taxes, known as SALT, at $10,000. That had the effect of making it more expensive to own homes in states like New York.

SUPPOSITION #3

Prices will crash because that is what happened during the last recession.

Counterpoint

It is true that home values sank by almost 20% during the 2008 recession. However, it is also true that in the four previous recessions, home values depreciated only once (by less than 2%). In the other three, residential real estate values increased by 3.5%, 6.1%, and 6.6%.

Price is determined by supply and demand. In 2008, there was an overabundance of housing inventory (a 9-month supply). Today, housing inventory is less than half of that (a 4-month supply).

Bottom Line

We need to realize that today’s real estate market is nothing like the 2008 market. Therefore, when a recession occurs, it won’t resemble the last one.

3 Reasons to Use a Real Estate Pro in a Complex Digital World

3 Reasons to Use a Real Estate Pro in a Complex Digital World | Simplifying The Market

If you’re searching for a home online, you’re not alone; lots of people are doing it. The question is, are you using all of your available resources, and are you using them wisely? Here’s why the Internet is a great place to start the home-buying process, and the truth on why it should never be your only go-to resource when it comes to making such an important decision.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the three most popular information sources home buyers use in the home search are:

  • Online website (93%)
  • Real estate agent (86%)
  • Mobile/tablet website or app (73%)

Clearly, you’re not alone if you’re starting your search online; 93% of home buyers are right there with you. The even better news: 86% of buyers are also getting their information from a real estate agent at the same time.

Here are 3 top reasons why using a real estate professional in addition to a digital search is key:

1. There’s More to Real Estate Than Finding a Home Online. It’s a lonely and complicated trek around the web if you don’t have a real estate professional to also help you through the 230 possible steps you’ll face as you navigate through a real estate transaction. That’s a pretty staggering number! Determining your price, submitting an offer, and successful negotiation are just a few of these key steps in the sequence. You’ll definitely want someone who has been there before to help you through it.

2. You Need a Skilled Negotiator. In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of dollars. From the original offer to the appraisal and the inspection, many of the intricate steps can get complicated and confusing. You need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

3. It Is Crucial to Make a Competitive and Compelling Offer. There is so much information out there in the news and on the Internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates. How do you know what’s specifically going on in your area? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much or offending the seller with a lowball offer?

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring a real estate professional who has his or her finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying experience an informed and educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to start your search online, let’s get together. You’ll want someone who is educated and informed at your side who can answer your questions and guide you through a process that can be complex and confusing if you go at it with the Internet alone.

Be on the Lookout for Gen Z: The Next Generation of Homebuyers

Be on the Lookout for Gen Z: The Next Generation of Homebuyers | Simplifying The Market

Gen Zers are the next generation of homeowners, and they’re eager to jump in and buy their first homes. Whether you are part of this generation or any other, it’s never too early to start saving, so you can reach your homeownership goal sooner rather than later.

You’ve likely heard a ton about Millennials, but what about Gen Z? In the next 5 years, this generation will be between the ages of 23 and 28, and they’re eager to become homeowners faster than you may think.

According to realtor.com,Nearly 80 percent of Generation Z members say they want to own a home before age 30,” and Concentrix Analytics said, “52% of prospective Gen Z buyers are already saving to buy a home.”

Wikipedia defines Generation Z (Gen Z) as “the demographic cohort after the Millennials. Demographers and researchers typically use the mid-1990s to mid-2000s as starting birth years.”

The report from Concentrix goes a little deeper on Gen Z, identifying the main reasons this cohort wants to own homes:

  • 55% want to own a home because they want to start a family
  • 47% want to build wealth over time
  • 33% want to make their family proud

Although they’re eager to buy, this generation also perceives a few challenges ahead:

  • 66% believe saving for a down payment and closing costs will be challenging
  • 58% feel covering the monthly costs of owning may be difficult
  • 52% perceive a lack of knowledge about where to start

It is also interesting to note that 21% of Gen Zers think their parents will provide financial help, 17% will use a down payment assistance program, and 15% believe other family members will help them. One of the highlights of the report mentioned,

“More than half of Gen Zers who think they’ll receive help also think they will need to pay their parents back, compared to 40 percent of millennials.”

Bottom Line

It is never too early to start saving for your own home, whether you are part of Gen Z or a different generation. If you would like to know where to start and how much you need to save to reach your goal of buying a home, let’s get together so you can better understand the process.

Weekly Market Report

For Week Ending October 5, 2019

With the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage approximately one percentage point lower than a year ago according to Freddie Mac, buyers are actively taking advantage. Home refinancing is also going strong and overall mortgage demand, which includes purchase mortgages as well as refinancings, is up 50% from a year ago. Lower mortgage rates help maintain housing affordability in the face of price appreciation across much of the country.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending October 5:

  • New Listings decreased 2.7% to 1,517
  • Pending Sales increased 1.5% to 1,180
  • Inventory decreased 3.4% to 12,597

For the month of August:

  • Median Sales Price increased 7.1% to $286,900
  • Days on Market increased 2.5% to 41
  • Percent of Original List Price Received decreased 0.2% to 99.0%
  • Months Supply of Homes For Sale remained flat at 2.6

All comparisons are to 2018

Click here for the full Weekly Market Activity Report. From MAAR Market Data News.

Existing-Home Sales Report Indicates Now Is a Great Time to Sell

Existing-Home Sales Report Indicates Now Is a Great Time to Sell | Simplifying The Market

Based on the current state of the market, trends are shifting in favor of sellers. If you are going to sell, now may be the time to take advantage of the number of buyers who are searching for their dream home.

The best time to sell anything is when demand for that item is high and the supply of that item is limited. The latest Existing-Home Sales Report released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), reveals that demand for housing continues to be strong, but the supply is struggling to keep pace. With this trend likely continuing throughout 2020, now is a great time to sell your house.

THE EXISTING-HOME SALES REPORT

The most important data revealed in this report was not actually sales. In reality, it was the inventory of homes for sale (supply). The report explained:

  • Total housing inventory at the end of August decreased 2.6% to 1.86 million homes available for sale.
  • Unsold inventory is lower than the 4.3-month figure recorded in August 2018.
  • This represents a 1-month supply at the current sales pace.

According to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR,

“Sales are up, but inventory numbers remain low and are thereby pushing up
home prices.”

In real estate, there is a simple guideline that often applies here. Essentially, when there is less than a 6-month supply of inventory available, we are in a seller’s market and we will see greater appreciation. Between a 6 to 7-month supply is a neutral market, where prices will increase at the rate of inflation. More than a 7-month supply means we are in a buyer’s market and can expect depreciation in home values (see below):Existing-Home Sales Report Indicates Now Is a Great Time to Sell | Simplifying The MarketAs we mentioned before, there is currently a 4.1-month supply of homes on the market, and houses are going under contract fast. The Existing Home Sales Report also shows that 49% of properties were on the market for less than a month when they were sold. In August, properties sold nationally were typically on the market for 31 days. As Yun notes, this should continue,

“As expected, buyers are finding it hard to resist the current rates…The desire to take advantage of these promising conditions is leading more buyers to the market.” 

Takeaway: Inventory of homes for sale is still well below the 6-month supply needed for a normal market, and supply will fail to catch up with demand if a sizable supply does not enter the market.

Bottom Line

If you are going to sell, now may be the time to take advantage of the ready, willing, and able buyers who are out there searching for your house to become their dream home.