The Perks of Selling Your House When Inventory Is Low
When it comes to selling your house, you’re probably trying to juggle the current market conditions and your own needs as you plan your move.
One thing that may be working in your favor is how few homes there are for sale right now. Here’s what you need to know about the current inventory situation and what it means for you.
The Supply of Homes for Sale Is Far Below the Norm
When you’re selling something, it helps if what you’re selling is in demand, but is also in low supply. Why? That makes it even more desirable since there’s not enough to go around. That’s exactly what’s happening in the housing market today. There are more buyers looking to buy than there are homes for sale.
To tell the story of just how low inventory is, here’s the latest information on active listings, or homes available for sale. The graph below uses data from Realtor.com to show how many active listings there were in September of this year compared to what’s more typical in the market.
As you can see in the graph, if you look at the last normal years for the market (shown in the blue bars) versus the latest numbers for this year (shown in the red bar), it’s clear inventory is still far lower than the norm.
What That Means for You
Buyers have fewer choices now than they did in more typical years. And that’s why you could still see some great perks if you sell today. Because there aren’t enough homes to go around, homes that are priced right are still selling fast and the average seller is getting multiple offers from eager buyers. Based on the latest data from the Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR):
- 69% of homes sold in less than a month.
- 2.6 offers: the average number of offers on recently sold homes.
An article from Realtor.com also explains how the limited number of houses for sale benefits you if you’re selling:
“. . . homes spent two weeks less on the market this past month than they did in the average September from 2017 to 2019 . . . as still-limited supply spurs homebuyers to act quickly . . .”
Because the supply of homes for sale is so low, buyers desperately want more options – and your house may be just what they’re looking for. Let’s connect to get your house listed at the right price for today’s market. You could still see it sell quickly and potentially get multiple offers.
Are Higher Mortgage Rates
Here To Stay?
Mortgage rates have been back on the rise recently and that’s getting a lot of attention from the press. If you’ve been following the headlines, you may have even seen rates recently reached their highest level in over two decades (see graph below):
That can feel like a little bit of a gut punch if you’re thinking about making a move. If you’re wondering whether or not you should delay your plans, here’s what you really need to know.
How Higher Mortgage Rates Impact You
There’s no denying mortgage rates are higher right now than they were in recent years. And, when rates are up, that affects overall home affordability. It works like this. The higher the rate, the more expensive it is to borrow money when you buy a home. That’s because, as rates trend up, your monthly mortgage payment for your future home loan also increases.
Urban Institute explains how this is impacting buyers and sellers right now:
“When mortgage rates go up, monthly housing payments on new purchases also increase. For potential buyers, increased monthly payments can reduce the share of available affordable homes . . . Additionally, higher interest rates mean fewer homes on the market, as existing homeowners have an incentive to hold on to their home to keep their low interest rate.”
Basically, some people are deciding to put their plans on hold because of where mortgage rates are right now. But what you want to know is: is that a good strategy?
Where Will Mortgage Rates Go from Here?
If you’re eager for mortgage rates to drop, you’re not alone. A lot of people are waiting for that to happen. But here’s the thing. No one knows when it will. Even the experts can’t say with certainty what’s going to happen next.
Forecasts project rates will fall in the months ahead, but what the latest data says is that rates have been climbing lately. This disconnect shows just how tricky mortgage rates are to project.
The best advice for your move is this: don’t try to control what you can’t control. This includes trying to time the market or guess what the future holds for mortgage rates. As CBS News states:
“If you're in the market for a new home, experts typically recommend focusing your search on the right home purchase — not the interest rate environment.”
Instead, work on building a team of skilled professionals, including a trusted lender and real estate agent, who can explain what’s happening in the market and what it means for you. If you need to move because you’re changing jobs, want to be closer to family, or are in the middle of another big life change, the right team can help you achieve your goal, even now.
The best advice for your move is: don’t try to control what you can’t control – especially mortgage rates. Even the experts can’t say for certain where they’ll go from here. Instead, focus on building a team of trusted professionals who can keep you informed. When you’re ready to get the process started, let’s connect.
The Latest Expert Forecasts for Home Prices in 2023
Are you thinking about making a move? If so, all the speculation that home prices would crash this year may have you feeling a bit on edge about your decision. Let the data and the experts reassure you. Prices aren’t in a downward spiral and will actually finish the year strong.
Even though you may have heard talk that prices would drop 5, 10, or even 20% this year, that hasn’t happened. The big reason why is the supply of homes for sale is too low. There are just more buyers looking to buy than homes available, and that’s kept prices from falling.
To prove this year wasn’t a bust for home prices, let’s look at the latest 2023 forecast from a number of experts.
Most Experts Project Home Prices Will Net Positive this Year
The general consensus from industry experts is that home price appreciation will actually be positive for 2023. The graph below shows the latest 2023 year-end forecasts from six different organizations:
As you can see, all but one project nationally prices will net positive this year. That’s significant because it shows the majority are optimistic about home price growth.
If you’re still worried about the one red bar that shows an overall price drop for the year, think about this. The projection from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is for only a slight decline. It’s not the big crash all the headlines called for. Plus, if you average all six forecasts together, the expectation is that prices will net somewhere around 3.3% positive growth for the year.
If these 6 organizations aren’t enough to convince you that prices won’t come tumbling down, here’s something else to consider. One of the six forecasts represented in the graph is the Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES) from Pulsenomics. It combines survey results from over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. The HPES found that the average from all 100 of those experts is 3.3% price growth for the year.
If you look back at the graph above, you’ll notice the blue average for the forecasts in this graph is also 3.3%. While individual forecasts may vary, both the HPES survey and the average of these forecasts provide the same projection. And 3.3% appreciation is a completely different story than prices falling.
If you’re worried about home prices falling this year, let the experts reassure you. Based on the average of the latest forecasts, home prices will actually show positive growth this year. If you have questions about what’s happening with home prices in our local area, let’s connect.
Why Today’s Housing Inventory Shows a Crash Isn’t on the Horizon
You might remember the housing crash in 2008, even if you didn't own a home at the time. If you’re worried there’s going to be a repeat of what happened back then, there's good news – the housing market now is different from 2008.
One important reason is there aren't enough homes for sale. That means there’s an undersupply, not an oversupply like the last time. For the market to crash, there would have to be too many houses for sale, but the data doesn't show that happening.
Housing supply comes from three main sources:
- Homeowners deciding to sell their houses
- Newly built homes
- Distressed properties (foreclosures or short sales)
Here’s a closer look at today's housing inventory to understand why this isn’t like 2008.
Homeowners Deciding To Sell Their Houses
Although housing supply did grow compared to last year, it’s still low. The current months’ supply is below the norm. The graph below shows this more clearly. If you look at the latest data (shown in green), compared to 2008 (shown in red), there’s only about a third of that available inventory today.
So, what does this mean? There just aren't enough homes available to make home values drop. To have a repeat of 2008, there’d need to be a lot more people selling their houses with very few buyers, and that's not happening right now.
Newly Built Homes
People are also talking a lot about what's going on with newly built houses these days, and that might make you wonder if homebuilders are overdoing it. The graph below shows the number of new houses built over the last 52 years:
The 14 years of underbuilding (shown in red) is a big part of the reason why inventory is so low today. Basically, builders haven’t been building enough homes for years now and that’s created a significant deficit in supply.
While the final blue bar on the graph shows that’s ramping up and is on pace to hit the long-term average again, it won’t suddenly create an oversupply. That’s because there’s too much of a gap to make up. Plus, builders are being intentional about not overbuilding homes like they did during the bubble.
Distressed Properties (Foreclosures and Short Sales)
The last place inventory can come from is distressed properties, including short sales and foreclosures. Back during the housing crisis, there was a flood of foreclosures due to lending standards that allowed many people to get a home loan they couldn’t truly afford.
Today, lending standards are much tighter, resulting in more qualified buyers and far fewer foreclosures. The graph below uses data from the Federal Reserve to show how things have changed since the housing crash:
This graph illustrates, as lending standards got tighter and buyers were more qualified, the number of foreclosures started to go down. And in 2020 and 2021, the combination of a moratorium on foreclosures and the forbearance program helped prevent a repeat of the wave of foreclosures we saw back around 2008.
The forbearance program was a game changer, giving homeowners options for things like loan deferrals and modifications they didn’t have before. And data on the success of that program shows four out of every five homeowners coming out of forbearance are either paid in full or have worked out a repayment plan to avoid foreclosure. These are a few of the biggest reasons there won’t be a wave of foreclosures coming to the market.
What This Means for You
Inventory levels aren’t anywhere near where they’d need to be for prices to drop significantly and the housing market to crash. According to Bankrate, that isn’t going to change anytime soon, especially considering buyer demand is still strong:
“This ongoing lack of inventory explains why many buyers still have little choice but to bid up prices. And it also indicates that the supply-and-demand equation simply won’t allow a price crash in the near future.”
The market doesn’t have enough available homes for a repeat of the 2008 housing crisis – and there’s nothing that suggests that will change anytime soon. That’s why housing inventory tells us there’s no crash on the horizon.
Are More Homes Coming onto the Market?
An important factor shaping today’s market is the number of homes for sale. And, if you’re considering whether or not to list your house, that’s one of the biggest advantages you have right now. When housing inventory is this low, your house will stand out, especially if it’s priced right.
But there are some early signs that more listings are coming. According to the latest data, new listings (homeowners who just put their house up for sale) are trending up. Here’s a look at why this is noteworthy and what it may mean for you.
More Homes Are Coming onto the Market than Usual
It’s well known that the busiest time in the housing market each year is the spring buying season. That’s why there’s a predictable increase in the volume of newly listed homes throughout the first half of the year. Sellers are anticipating this and ramping up for the months when buyers are most active. But, as the school year kicks off and as the holidays approach, the market cools. It’s what’s expected.
But here’s what’s surprising. Based on the latest data from Realtor.com, there’s an increase in the number of sellers listing their houses later this year than usual. A peak this late in the year isn’t typical. You can see both the normal seasonal trend and the unusual August in the graph below:
As Realtor.com explains:
“While inventory continues to be in short supply, August witnessed an unusual uptick in newly listed homes compared to July, hopefully signaling a return in seller activity heading toward the fall season . . .”
While this is only one month of data, it’s unusual enough to note. It’s still too early to say for sure if this trend will continue, but it’s something you’ll want to stay ahead of if it does.
What This Means for You
If you’ve been putting off selling your house, now may be the sweet spot to make your move. That’s because, if this trend continues, you’ll have more competition the longer you wait. And if your neighbor puts their house up for sale too, it means you may have to share buyers’ attention with that other homeowner. If you sell now, you can beat your neighbors to the punch.
But, even with more homes coming onto the market, the market is still well below normal supply levels. And, that inventory deficit isn’t going to be reversed overnight. The graph below helps put this into context, so you can see the opportunity you still have now:
Even though inventory is still low, you don’t want to wait for more competition to pop up in your neighborhood. You still have an incredible opportunity if you sell your house today. Let’s connect to explore the benefits of selling now before more homes come to the market.
Plenty of Buyers Are Still Active Today
- Holding off on selling your house because you believe there aren’t any buyers out there?
- Data shows buyers are still active, even with higher mortgage rates. This goes to show, people still want to buy homes, and those who can are moving now.
- Don’t delay your plan to sell for fear no one is buying. The opposite is true and buyer traffic is still strong today. Let’s connect to get your house in front of these buyers.
Why Is Housing Inventory So Low?
One question that’s top of mind if you’re thinking about making a move today is: Why is it so hard to find a house to buy? And while it may be tempting to wait it out until you have more options, that’s probably not the best strategy. Here’s why.
There aren’t enough homes available for sale, but that shortage isn’t just a today problem. It’s been a challenge for years. Let’s take a look at some of the long-term and short-term factors that have contributed to this limited supply.
Underbuilding Is a Long-Standing Problem
One of the big reasons inventory is low is because builders haven’t been building enough homes in recent years. The graph below shows new construction for single-family homes over the past five decades, including the long-term average for housing units completed:
For 14 straight years, builders didn’t construct enough homes to meet the historical average (shown in red). That underbuilding created a significant inventory deficit. And while new home construction is back on track and meeting the historical average right now, the long-term inventory problem isn’t going to be solved overnight.
Today’s Mortgage Rates Create a Lock-In Effect
There are also a few factors at play in today’s market adding to the inventory challenge. The first is the mortgage rate lock-in effect. Basically, some homeowners are reluctant to sell because of where mortgage rates are right now. They don’t want to move and take on a rate that’s higher than the one they have on their current home. The chart below helps illustrate just how many homeowners may find themselves in this situation:
Those homeowners need to remember their needs may matter just as much as the financial aspects of their move.
Misinformation in the Media Is Creating Unnecessary Fear
Another thing that’s limiting inventory right now is the fear that’s been created by the media. You’ve likely seen the negative headlines calling for a housing crash, or the ones saying home prices would fall by 20%. While neither of those things happened, the stories may have dinged your confidence enough for you to think it’s better to hold off and wait for things to calm down. As Jason Lewris, Co-Founder and Chief Data Officer at Parcl, says:
“In the absence of trustworthy, up-to-date information, real estate decisions are increasingly being driven by fear, uncertainty, and doubt.”
That’s further limiting inventory because people who would make a move otherwise now feel hesitant to do so. But the market isn’t doom and gloom, even if the headlines are. An agent can help you separate fact from fiction.
How This Impacts You
If you’re wondering how today’s low inventory affects you, it depends on if you’re selling or buying a home, or both.
- For buyers: A limited number of homes for sale means you’ll want to seriously consider all of your options, including various areas and housing types. A skilled professional will help you explore all of what’s available and find the home that best fits your needs. They can even coach you through casting a broader net if you need to expand your search.
- For sellers: Today’s low inventory actually offers incredible benefits because your house will stand out. A real estate agent can walk you through why it’s especially worthwhile to sell with these conditions. And since many sellers are also buyers, that agent is also an essential resource to help you stay up to date on the latest homes available for sale in your area so you can find your next dream home.
The low supply of homes for sale isn’t a new challenge. There are a number of long-term and short-term factors leading to the current inventory deficit. If you’re looking to make a move, let’s connect. That way you’ll have an expert on your side to explain how this impacts you and what’s happening with housing inventory in our area.
Expert Home Price Forecasts Revised Up for 2023
Toward the end of last year, there were a number of headlines saying home prices were going to fall substantially in 2023. That led to a lot of fear and questions about whether there was going to be a repeat of the housing crash that happened back in 2008. But the headlines got it wrong.
While there was a slight home price correction after the sky-high price appreciation during the ‘unicorn’ years, nationally, home prices didn’t come crashing down. If anything, prices were a lot more resilient than many people expected.
Let's take a look at some of the expert forecasts from late last year stacked against their most recent forecasts to show that even the experts recognize they were overly pessimistic.
Expert Home Price Forecasts: Then and Now
This visual shows the 2023 home price forecasts from seven organizations. It provides the original 2023 forecasts (released in late 2022) for what would happen to home prices by the end of this year and their most recently revised 2023 forecasts (see chart below):
As the red in the middle column shows, in all instances, their original forecast called for home prices to fall. But, if you look at the right column, you’ll see all experts have updated their projections for the year-end to show they expect prices to either be flat or have positive growth. That’s a significant change from the original negative numbers.
There are a number of reasons why home prices are so resilient to falling. As Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, says:
“One thing is for sure, having long-term, fixed-rate debt in the U.S. protects homeowners from payment shock, acts as an inflation hedge - your primary household expense doesn't change when inflation rises - and is a reason why home prices in the U.S. are downside sticky.”
A Look Forward To Get Ahead of the Next Headlines
For home prices, you’re going to continue to see misleading media coverage in the months ahead. That’s because there’s seasonality to home price appreciation and they’re going to misunderstand that. Here’s what you need to know to get ahead of the next round of negative headlines.
As activity in the housing market slows at the end of this year (as it typically does each year), home price growth will slow too. But, this doesn’t mean prices are falling – it’s just that they’re not increasing as quickly as they were when the market was in the peak homebuying season.
Basically, deceleration of appreciation is not the same thing as home prices depreciating.
The headlines have an impact, even if they’re not true. While the media said home prices would fall significantly in their coverage at the end of last year, that didn’t happen. Let’s connect so you have a trusted resource to help you separate fact from fiction with reliable data.
How Inflation Affects the Housing Market
Have you ever wondered how inflation impacts the housing market? Believe it or not, they’re connected. Whenever there are changes to one, both are affected. Here’s a high-level overview of the connection between the two.
The Relationship Between Housing Inflation and Overall Inflation
Shelter inflation is the measure of price growth specific to housing. It comes from a survey of renters and homeowners that’s done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The survey asks renters how much they’re paying in rent, and homeowners how much they’d rent their homes for, if they weren’t living in them.
Much like overall inflation measures the cost of everyday items, shelter inflation measures the cost of housing. And for four consecutive months, based on that survey, shelter inflation has been coming down (see graph below):
Why does this matter? Well, shelter inflation makes up about one-third of overall inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). So, when shelter inflation moves, it leads to noticeable moves in overall inflation. That means the recent dip in shelter inflation might be a sign that overall inflation could fall in the months ahead.
That moderation would be a welcome sight for the Federal Reserve (the Fed). They’ve been working to get inflation under control since early 2022. While they’ve made some headway (it peaked at 8.9% in the middle of last year), they’re still trying to get to their 2% goal (the latest report is 3.3%).
Inflation and the Federal Funds Rate
What’s the Fed been doing to lower inflation? They’ve been increasing the Federal Funds Rate. That interest rate influences how much it costs banks to borrow money from each other. When inflation climbed, the Fed responded by raising the Federal Funds Rate to keep the economy from overheating.
The graph below shows the relationship between the two. Each time inflation (shown in the blue line) starts to climb, the Fed raises the Federal Funds Rate (shown in the orange line) to try to get it back to their target of 2% (see below):
The circled portion of the graph shows the most recent spike in inflation, the Fed’s actions to raise the Federal Funds Rate to fight that, and the moderation of inflation that happened in response to that hike. As inflation gets closer to the Fed’s current 2% goal, they may not need to raise the Federal Funds Rate much further.
A Brighter Future for Mortgage Rates?
So, what does all of this mean for you? While the actions coming out of the Fed don’t determine mortgage rates, they do have an impact. As Mortgage Professional America (MPA) explains:
“. . . mortgage rates and inflation are connected, however indirectly. When inflation rises, mortgage rates rise to keep up with the value of the US dollar. When inflation drops, mortgage rates follow suit.”
While no one can predict the future for mortgage rates, it’s encouraging to see the signs of moderating inflation in the economy.
Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or just stay informed about the housing market, let’s connect.