Thursday, April 26, 2018 / by Bryan Arnold
Scarcity drives price, and the <$250,000 is where there is less than a week's worth inventory on the market in some areas. There are several reasons for the shortage:
-Cost of labor, land and materials (especially because of the Caribbean, Texas, and Florida hurricanes in 2017) have driven up the price of building. Buyer's tastes have also increased to wanting hardwood, granite, etc. This has put the price of building above the $150,000 price point in most cases. As the price of building increases are further and further out of reach for first time home buyers, those prices are bringing up the value of existing homes.
-Home Ownership rates are historically low. We have finally started increasing from the all time low of 62% in 2016 after 11 straight years of decreased home ownership. Right now, the US home ownership rates is about 64.5%, which is still below the average over the last 50 years and far below the high in 2005 of 69%.
-Interest rates are still historically low.
-First time home buyer's, mostly Millennial, are no longer buying lower end starter homes. The average age of a first time home buyer has increased to the mid 30's, and they are more affluent than every before. With home ownership on the rise, Millennials are coming into the market and skipping the starter home. They are buying all the homes from people that would be upgrading or moving up for more space. Since pre-existing home owners typically cannot afford two mortgages, they are deciding to stay put because it is too hard for contingent offers to be competitive in this market (offers made with the contingency of having to sell their current home). If I'm a seller and have a 20% down offer or a 20% down offer with the contingency of closing on their home for the sale to go through, I'm choosing the non-contingent offer every time. These potential move-ups staying put are causing the market to be even more stressed with minimal inventory.
So what does this all mean? These factors combined make it the best time ever to sell. The market has seen 8 straight years of growth in sale prices. My assessment is that we are close to the height of the market if we aren't already there yet. The shift is coming, and when the market shifts, it will happen in the blink of an eye.
The majority of the people in the industry thought maybe interest rates would hit 5% by the end of the year...we just hit that number this week. Historically, that is still very low, but there are several more potential increases this year especially with a new Federal Reserve Chairman being appointed. Millennials have grown accustomed to the 3.75% and 4.0% rates. Will an increase to 5.5% or 6.0% knock out buyers that were on the border of being approved? If so, will this then allow for the potential move-up/upgrade people to finally buy and put their home on the market? I have 40-50 people in my pipeline that are scared to put their home on the market because they can't find anywhere to move-up, that number grows daily. I haven't talked to a realtor that hasn't said the same thing. When those move-ups are unafraid because they can finally find something without being rushed into one of the biggest decisions of their life, the supply is going to increase dramatically and quickly. We will then shift to a more balanced/buyer's market essentially overnight. I see this chain reaction coming within the next year.
What are your thoughts?