Do you have clients still worrying about when the housing market will crash? The intensity of late 2020 and early 2021 felt like the market frenzy of 2005. As the market normalizes it may feel weird or uncomfortable as we pivot again. While those emotions are important and we have to have emotion to make decisions, we have to look at the facts. And the facts point towards stabilization and continued appreciation, just at a slower rate.
Looking at housing, things look good and the market is attempting to normalize, but we do not see the whole picture. Wall Street, federal policy, a worldwide pandemic, labor and supply chain shortages also impact housing. But there is still more to consider: the intense and seemingly ever-increasing battle between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Long before residential real estate pulled us out of the shortest recession in history, Wall Street and Silicon Valley were plotting ways to infiltrate housing. While big money and new technology provide powerful incentives, it is very difficult to replace a well-informed, well-connected, local real estate professional.
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.
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.
The frequency in which I am asked, “Is real estate headed for a crash?” is increasing, by a lot. Given the enormity of uncertainty we have lived with for nearly a year, the question isn’t surprising. Things are going well in real estate and with the limited good news, it is easy to wonder when the other shoe will drop.
In the US there are about 140 million housing units. Of those, about 84 million are single family homes. (Greater Phoenix has about 2 million housing units and just over 1.4 million single family homes) Last week, for the first time in history, the number of single family homes for sale nationwide dropped to just below 500,000. There were only 55,000 new listings to come on the market, fewer than the amount that came off the market. Past trends show that available listings typically drop 1-2% a week from Thanksgiving through the second week of January. It is likely we will end the year with 450,000 single family homes available. Once we hit that, 0.5% of single family homes will be listed for sale. With these inventory levels, home prices will continue to increase. (Altos Research)
Every Monday afternoon Amber Kovarik and I talk about what happened this week in our local and national real estate market in 15 minutes or less. Today’s Takeaways: The AZ Market: Listings under contract are up nearly 20% year over year while active inventory is down 43% year over year. There are roughly 8800 availableContinue reading “Afternoon Bite 7/13/2020 (Video)”
Phoenix metro is the fastest growing major employment market in the country year to date. That means we have lost the fewest jobs, as a population percentage, in the country. This could have major implications for real estate. A larger employed population could lead to fewer potential issues down the road.