While today’s residential real estate market remains unhealthy (remember when 10% appreciation was a lot?), initial progress has been made. Prices are leveling off, supply is increasing, and immediate sales are declining. This is good for buyers, especially first-time homebuyers, which are foundation of the real estate market.
April saw its best sales rate in 15 years and at the same time sales declined again for the third straight month. Homes are selling faster than ever before, and prices are higher than ever before; yet the signs are all there, the market is slowing – very slowly – and just starting to normalize.
Residential real estate continues moving at breakneck speeds. In April, nearly 75% of offers written by Redfin agents were for listings with multiple offers, nationwide. In greater Phoenix, it was 80.5%. Last week Tina Tamboer with the Cromford Report told us that 57.1% homes that closed in greater Phoenix in April, closed over asking. These exciting times of economic growth and massive home-price appreciation are being dampened by fear, not just of a bubble – which we are not in – but also by the threat of inflation. One of the ways the government is able to slow inflation, is by increasing rates (not mortgage), which then usually puts pressure on mortgage rates which would increase affordability challenges thus weakening homebuyer demand.
On Wednesday, Lawyers Title hosted a presentation with Tina Tamboer with the Cromford Report. She always shares pertinent and timely information. Below I have combined a lot of her information from her presentation, along with additional information from my research.
Yesterday one of my clients excitedly called to tell me she had accepted an offer on her home for $1.2M more than she paid for it about two years ago. She then said, “Now what do we do? Rent, buy, flip?” I paused, gathered my thoughts, considered the numbers, and answered, “Don’t rent. Buy.”
Despite movement towards normal, sales prices continue to grow. While yes, inventory has increased, locally it remains over 77% below normal and demand has decreased, it is still over 8% above normal. This supply/demand imbalance is so severe, it will take years to correct, and is why sales prices continue increasing at an appreciation rate of nearly 22%, year over year.
Despite our fear of change, humans are quite resilient and are far more flexible than we realize. Quite often, change is good. Demand is declining and seasonality is beginning to emerge in the market. I am hearing stories about an FHA buyer who finally had a contract accepted and a seller who agreed to a few concessions. This is good news for our exhausted buyers; they need some wins too. This is how the machine is supposed to work.
Now, this is a headline that says it all, “Who’s Lying About The Housing Market? The housing market is heating and cooling at the same time, depending on the data in question. Who’s telling the truth? Actually, maybe everyone…” Author, Matthew Graham explains that prices are appreciating faster than they have in 15 years, homes are selling in minutes, and bidding wars are commonplace all while demand is actually falling. Demand was THAT high and remains above normal.
Real estate disruption is all about creating efficiency. As we lead busier and busier lives, fast and efficient is appealing, right? In theory, buying and selling a property with Amazon-like ease sounds great. In reality, our human condition drives us to desire human input, not just in reading interesting articles but in being able to talk to someone about specifics.
The percent of homes with price reductions is currently at record lows at 16.1%. Enough contracts are coming in over-asking which means very few sellers are reducing their asking price. For Realtors working with sellers and potential sellers, the next 3-4 weeks is likely going to be the absolute peak. The rest of the year will continue to have strong buyer demand and increasing prices, but the absolute peak of the demand frenzy is likely happening right now. So now is the time for sellers to get the biggest premium.