Sales of new homes have jumped to their highest levels in 14 years.
The annualized rate of single-family new construction homes is now at 901,000 according to the new Census Bureau report.
This means that across the U.S., at the current pace of sales, there will be almost 1,000,000 new homes built and sold over the next 12 months.
This pace is 36% higher than one year ago and the highest it has been since the end of 2006.
Given the low inventory levels of previously-owned homes that most of the Country is experiencing, this uptick in new home activity is welcome news.
Start it Up
As further evidence that the housing market is more than alive and well, new home starts have recently jumped across the U.S.
Building of residential properties is up 23.4% compared to last year and up 22.6% from last month.
Pre-pandemic demand for new homes was very high. Now, record-low interest rates are fueling the market to new highs.
Periodically we track a stat which we find to be quite interesting.
It answers this question – how many properties are selling for at least list price (asking price or higher)?
This stat tells us how active the market is and helps our buyers to realize that, in some cases, they will be in a competitive situation.
When we look at single-family home sales so far this month, this is what we find:
57% of properties in Larimer County sell for at least list price
62% of properties in Weld County sell for at least list price
So, in well over half of the transactions, buyers need to offer list price or higher to acquire the property.
The data gets even more interesting when this information is broken out by price range.
To no one’s surprise, the percentage increases for properties priced under $400,000:
81% in Larimer County
70% in Weld County
We find that for properties over $400,000 the percentages still tell a story of a very active market:
47% in Larimer County
56% in Weld County
Bottom line, in most locations and price ranges we see a strong sellers’ market where buyers need to be prepared to make a strong offer and to also compete.
This year the Spring market is occurring in the Summer.
Typically the busiest months for real estate along the Front Range are April, May and June.
This year, because showing activity was restricted in the Spring months, we are seeing robust activity this Summer.
Here’s an indicator. Sales through July 2020 versus July 2019 are up:
12.6% in Metro Denver
13.7% in Northern Colorado
To see double-digit increases in sales despite was is occurring in the National economy, is nothing short of remarkable.
Mortgage interest rates have hit another record low this week.
Mortgage applications for purchases just hit an 11-year high.
Rates are at a level that many people could never have imagined.
Here’s something that is surprising to many people…
Rates are 1.5% lower than they were just two years ago.
Here’s what that means for buyers…
Pretend someone is looking at a $500,000 home and they will have a 20% down payment.
The difference in monthly payment is $320 between two years ago and today.
Obviously that is a significant amount of money.
Imagine what a person could do with $320 per month.
The fact that rates are at record lows is one of many reasons that the market is so strong right now and prices continue to appreciate at healthy levels.
Money is on sale (again).
30-year mortgage rates now sit at 3.3%.
This is less than half of the long-term, 40-year average.
This is also almost a full percentage point lower than they were one year ago (which was still very low).
Let’s put this in real numbers.
A $300,000 loan at today’s rates has a $1,313 monthly principal and interest payment.
One year ago, that same loan would be $1,432 per month.
That’s a 8.3% difference in monthly payment.
The fact that money is on sale is one of many reasons that the housing market remains very strong right now.
At Windermere Real Estate we are taking Safer at Home and Social Distancing very seriously. Our people are following our Safe Showings protocol, staying connected to their clients, and providing help wherever needed.
We notice a very interesting dynamic in the market right now.
There was clearly a pent-up real estate demand created during the recent time when in-person showings were not allowed. The numbers back it up.
First, a little background. During a portion of “Shelter in Place,” all in-person viewing of properties ceased. Instead, buyers spent time online viewing virtual tours and 3-D photography.
Even though clients could view homes virtually, purchase activity did slow down.
Today, showings are allowed again as long as clear protocols are followed. We’ve implemented a Safe Showings program to keep our clients protected.
Now, to the numbers.
Through the first two weeks of May 2020, the number of closed properties is down compared to the same time period in 2019.
In most cases these closed properties are a result of purchase agreements that were written in April- a time when in-person showings were restricted.
So, a decrease in closings was expected.
However, the number of new written contracts so far this month is up considerably compared to the same time frame last year.
• Metro Denver closed properties down 47%
• Metro Denver new contracts up 6%
• Northern Colorado closed properties down 41%
• Northern Colorado new contracts up 19%
So, buyer activity is up compared to last year, even in our current environment.
This speaks to the resiliency of our market and the effect of low interest rates.
At Windermere Real Estate we are taking Safer at Home and Social Distancing very seriously. Our people are following our Safe Showings protocol, staying connected to their clients, and providing help wherever needed