We are watching close to see where the real estate market is headed. Anecdotally we can tell you that the vast majority of transactions that are under contract are still closing. We have seen very few transactions cancel because of employment issues or the wild swings of the stock market.
An interesting leading indicator was announced this week that sheds some light as to where the market is headed. Each week the Mortgage Bankers Association releases their index which tracks new mortgage applications.
They track both purchase applications and refinance applications. To no one’s surprise, the index was down this week but not as much as you may have guessed.
New purchase applications were down 11% compared to the same week this last year. Refinance activity fell more sharply, down 34%.
This is a statistic we will watch closely as time goes on.
Each week our Chief Economist produces a video with the latest on the national economy and the housing market. Reach out to us if you would like to see that video.
Our Chief Economist made a video for all of our clients where he shares his perspective on COVID-19’s impact on
housing. You can watch it by clicking the image below:
Headwind vs. Tailwind
So far the tailwind of historically-low mortgage rates are prevailing over Wall Street and COVID-19 concerns.
Buyers are still active. Properties are still closing. Moving trucks are still showing up at people’s homes.
Open house traffic has declined, but we notice plenty of buyers looking for property. (one of our open houses last weekend had over 40 visitors)
For many, the interest rates are just too good to pass up.
We even see instances of multiple-offer situations for properties priced right in high-demand locations.
Rates today, compared to 4%, equate to not only a monthly savings for those refinancing but also equates to tens of thousands in additional purchase power.
For the average price of a home on the Front Range, the savings is $171 per month and the increased purchase power is $35,811.
Here’s what we expect to happen over the coming months. Listing inventory and transaction volume will both decline. We will no doubt see lower activity compared to a year ago.
But thoughts of the market “coming to a screeching halt” can’t be validated because of the historical performance of our market and because of the inherent fundamentals in place.
We will continue to track the numbers and communicate the facts so that you remain well-informed.
|With the stock market on a wild ride and the Dow Jones dropping nearly 1,000 points yesterday, it makes some people wonder if the local real estate market might also crash or at least “correct.”
A little history lesson is in order.
Over the last 40 years, the real estate market along the Front Range has averaged 5.5% appreciation per year.
The highest appreciation in one year was 15.9% in 1994.
The lowest ever was -4.0% in 1982.
The last time Wall Street was in turmoil and the stock market was plummeting was 2008. This was, for many reasons, the worst economy of our lifetime.
That year real estate along the Front Range dropped 2.2%.
Meanwhile that year the Dow Jones fell 33.8%.
Bottom line, our market has no history of crashing or even experiencing a major correction.
Why is that?
The answer is fundamentals.
Our local economy has inherent fundamentals that insulate it from big downturns.
We have an incredibly diverse economy which is not reliant upon a single industry. We have all the way from health care, to technology, agriculture, oil and gas, major universities, and financial services (just to name a few).
We are a global destination with a major international airport.
Oh, and the quality of life here isn’t too shabby.
Prices of real estate, just like prices of anything, come down to basic economic principles of supply and demand.
Because of our diverse economy and desirable quality of life, there has been strong, consistent demand for housing along the Front Range.
While there may be little bumps along the way, over the long term our market has proven that it performs.
Every so often we will hear a concern that another housing bubble is forming.
To help answer that question it’s valuable to look at the reasons that caused the last one.
There were three main drivers of the bubble that burst in 2008:
1. Easy Credit – loans were very easy to attain
2. Over-Leverage – people were using their homes at ATM’s
3. Over-Supply – too many new homes were being built
Now, let’s compare that to today:
1. Stricter Credit – the average home buyer today has a FICO score of 755
2. High Equity – collectively, U.S. homeowners have $19 Trillion of equity in their homes and collective mortgage debt has not increased for 13 years
3. Under-Supply – today we are building only two-thirds of the new homes being built in 2004 yet the population is much higher
Given this healthy information, we don’t see another housing bubble forming today.
A lot of real estate changes hands in Northern Colorado over the course of a year.
In 2019, Larimer and Weld Counties had…
- 12,830 residential sales which is 1.2% more than 2018
- $5,224,834,424 of sales volume which is 4.45% more than 2018
For a detailed look at all the 2019 numbers plus our forecast for 2020, click the link below…
It’s time to register for our annual Market Forecast event. We will be live at 5:30 on January 16th at the Marriott in Fort Collins. Back by popular demand is our Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. Save your seat HERE.
The Case-Shiller Home Price Index is a well-known report in the real estate industry and a valuable way to gauge what is happening in various markets across the Nation.
The report tracks home price appreciation in the 20 largest markets in the country.
Their most recent report shows that, Nation-wide, home prices are up 2.1% year-over-year. Last year prices were rising at 6.3%. So, prices are still going up but not as fast as they were.
The city with the highest appreciation over the last 12 months is Phoenix with 5.8% growth followed closely by Las Vegas at 5.5%.
Denver came in at 3.4% which makes it tied for 8th place out of the 20 cities.
With interest rates so low, one could argue that money is essentially on sale.
It’s actually half off.
30-year mortgage rates hit 3.75% which is exactly half of their long term average.
Rates have averaged 7.5% over the last 40 years so today buyers are getting half of that rate.
The “sale” on mortgage rates creates a significant savings in monthly payment because of the 1%/10% rule.
For every 1% change in interest rate, the monthly payment will change roughly 10%.
So when rates go up to 4.75%, a buyer’s payment will be 10% higher.
For example, the principal and interest payment on a $400,000 home with a 20% down payment at today’s rates is $1,482.
If rates were 1% higher, the payments jump up to $1,669.
An interesting stat which can give some insight to the national market is the Homeownership Rate.
It simply looks at the percentage of Americans who own their home instead of rent.
The most recent report from the Census Bureau shows the rate at 64.2%.
Most importantly, this number is showing stability after many years of change.
After many years of hovering around 64%, the Homeownership Rate started increasing in 1996 and reached as high as 69.5% in 2005.
2008 started several years of declining back to the pre-1996 levels of 64%.
So today it’s back to what seems to be “normal” based the long-term average.