After 8 years of wanting to go, this year I finally got to go to an Inman Connect conference. Earlier this month, I joined 3,000 other real estate professionals at the Aria in Las Vegas to talk about real estate. It was awesome! This is my summary from 36 pages of notes.
Sellers have less power than they did only 6 weeks ago. The market is very different than it was recently. It is not catastrophically bad, but it is far trickier than it was.
While the Greater Phoenix housing market follows the same trends of the national housing market, it does so first (currently running 4-6 weeks ahead versus the usual 6-9 months ahead). The cooling trend emerged 10-12 weeks ago locally, while nationally the trend became more apparent in April. Not only does the Greater Phoenix market run ahead of the national market, it has bigger swings. Our highs are higher and lows are lower. For example, over the past three months, the national single family inventory has increased by 64% and during the same time period, Greater Phoenix’s single family inventory increased by 148%.
There are a lot of forecasts from different publications, analysts, and economists. It seems as though the analysts and economists who are not in real estate tend to predict that home prices will decline. Many of the housing analysts and housing economists say that appreciation will go flat but unlikely go negative by much if at all. I am not sure if the housing analysts either know more than the others or they do not want to give bad news to the real estate industry. I’d like to believe that it is because they know more but at this point, anything could happen.
The US housing market is shifting and it is shifting quickly. The speed in which the changes are happening is making both real estate consumers and practitioners uncomfortable. The velocity of rate increases, the velocity of inflation (despite the very recent modest decline), the velocity of price appreciation, and now the simultaneous velocity of growing inventory and declining buyer demand. Using facts and not emotion is the best way to address the discomfort.
The newness of the market frenzy has worn off. Buyers are exhausted and sellers hesitate to list, unsure where they will go. While we know that this market will not last forever, no market ever does, we do not need to wait for the other shoe to drop. Real estate moves slowly and as long as we watch it closely and carefully, we should have a general idea of what to expect.
Demand is stable. Do not let the headlines fool you, demand is not crazy high right now, it is stable. It seems that demand is so high because of the extremely low inventory. Remind sellers on the fence that it will not last forever. Demand may further weaken, or inventory could rise; both of which limit the strength of the seller’s market.
In Greater Phoenix, demand has been declining slowly since early January when demand was 23% above normal. Yesterday’s demand was about 15% above normal. Because inventory is 75% below normal (about 4,000 available single family homes in Greater Phoenix), the decline in demand is nearly unnoticeable. Listings may now only receive 10 offers instead of 20. Despite the decline in demand those remaining buyers still want to buy that property which usually only goes to the highest bidder.
Prices are increasing slightly faster than they were at the end of 2021 but not as quickly as they were in the first half of 2021. Currently prices are increasing at a 1.8% month over month, up from 1.6% just last month. We may see this go up but unlikely to go up to the 4-5% we saw last year. Definitely be faster than 1.1% from last year.
Sensationalism in the news media hurts consumer sentiment. Consumer sentiment has the greatest impact on the market and the economy as a whole. As much as we value our individualism and our ability to think for ourselves, we are heavily influenced by the decisions and actions of others.