Summer is The New Spring (Market)

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic reaching our region, we quickly shifted to updating you more frequently with information to help you stay informed on the real estate market. Since mid-March, we have been committed to gathering high-frequency data (micro-data) to help illustrate “Where We Are Now” and have provided this newsletter bi-monthly vs. monthly. We felt this was important as real estate is typically our biggest investment and the pandemic has certainly had its economic impact.

We have also closely followed Windermere’s Chief Economist Matthew Gardner, and Economist Steve Harney of Keeping Current Matters. They have both been knowledgeable guides and source their micro-data from various credible sources to help determine their conclusions. Check out Matthew’s latest video update below about the real estate market in relation to COVID-19.

The graphs below are a new data set we’ve been studying on a weekly basis. They compare the number of pending sales reported each week to the same week in 2019, which was another stellar year for our local real estate market. 2020 was outpacing 2019 when the National Emergency was declared and then dropped significantly once the Stay Home Orders were put in place in late March.

April stalled, and rightfully so: pending sales were down as people retreated into their homes and started new routines, such as working from home. As we ventured into May however, things changed. From mid-May until now, pending sales activity in both counties has started to reach or outpace 2019 numbers.

Spring is typically our peak season for real estate sales, and what is being made clear is that the historically-active spring market has now shifted to summer. As we come off the Summer Solstice and head into the warmer months, we are seeing tons of buyers out in the marketplace and a limited supply of available inventory. This combination has helped prices maintain, and in some areas appreciate.

One set of micro-data that is illustrating increased buyer demand is the uptick in mortgage applications. Last week, mortgage applications were up 20% over the same week last year. Note this is for purchase loans, not refinances. With the lowest rates we have ever seen in history it is no surprise that buyers are motivated to go secure a home with the lowest debt service ever!

Last week, the micro-data set of the recorded home-showing appointments displayed a 51% increase in showings over 2019! This is measured by comparing key box access compared to the same week last year. Demand certainly paused in the spring, but was not eliminated; it was being deferred to the summer. As we have reported from the beginning, this is a health crisis, not a housing crisis.

Our biggest challenge as we head into the peak summer months is the available inventory. We entered into 2020 with tight inventory to begin with, and COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the number of homes coming to market. We are expecting some homes to wait until the health crisis has passed, and others will be delayed by 45-60 days. Homes take time to prepare for market, and contractors and handy-persons were all at home in April, pushing prep time out to later spring/early summer for those ready to come to market.

We expect to see an increase in new listings as we head into July and August, which will be welcomed after a 40% deficit compared to 2019. Mortgage applications, historical interest rates, industries in our region that are thriving, and entering into Phase 2 are all micro-data sets that indicate strong buyer demand for the second half of 2020.

Unemployment numbers are also an important micro-data point to keep an eye on. Since the Stay Home Orders, initial unemployment claims have dropped significantly, but continued claims are maintaining. We anticipate the continued claims to reduce as more and more people return to work after being furloughed. Not all of those jobs will be recovered, indicating our greatest need for recovery.

The last three months have been an incredible journey helping people safely navigate the real estate market. Some folks just want to know that their nest egg is safe, and some are making actual moves. When COVID-19 hit there was a ton of uncertainty, we weren’t sure how this would play out in regards to housing. Since we went into this with a very formidable economy and housing values, we have sustained, and in some areas we are thriving. It has been remarkable to watch and be a part of. I am grateful every day that this is not the housing crash of 2008 all over again.

If you are curious about the value of your home in today’s market or are considering a move, please reach out. The interest rates are unbelievable and will greatly benefit those who take advantage of them. We are committed to safe business practices and follow all of the protocols put in place, which include mask-wearing, proper social distancing, and sanitizing. It is our goal to help keep our clients informed and empower strong, safe decisions, especially during unprecedented times. Thank you for your trust; we are honored to be your trusted advisor.

 

 


Posted on July 4, 2020 at 6:38 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Statistical Information, Strategy |

Housing Affordability/COVID-19 June 29, 2020


Posted on June 29, 2020 at 8:26 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Statistical Information |

Snohomish County Phase 2 – Real Estate News!

Phase 2 Snohomish County – Now What? Our office re-opened on June 15th, and we’ve been allowed to expand our activities to serve our clients in the safest way possible. We can now show homes to three people at a time instead of two! Yay! Contact us for all the details…the change is good!


Posted on June 15, 2020 at 7:18 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Helpful Information, Local News |

June 2020 What is Happening With Home Prices?

 

It is without question we are living in one of the most unique times in all of our lives. Who would have thought we’d experience living life during a global pandemic? Beyond staying safe, adjusting daily habits, and navigating a changing economy, I’ve kept a very close eye on the housing market. With Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner as one of my guides, I am happy to report that housing has been a bright light in the economy during a very challenging time.

May unemployment numbers settled around 13%, an improvement over April, but still far from the 5% we started out with at the beginning of 2020. We are also embarking on our second quarter of retraction in GDP which is the textbook definition of a recession. Many experts are predicting a V-shaped recovery and I’d venture to say that we are currently at the bottom of the V.

With stay-at-home orders being lifted or eased depending on what part of the country you live in, we are starting to see jobs come back.  Conversely, we are also seeing some industries thrive, but we will also witness some businesses be required to pivot to remain relevant or go away altogether. For example, tech is thriving and aerospace is not. The reorganization and re-prioritizing that is occurring will be impactful to many, some positive and some challenging.

In our region of the country, we entered into this pandemic with a thriving economy and a strong housing market. In January it was predicted that we would see a year-over-year price appreciation of around 5%. This health crisis will slow that level of appreciation, but we are not expecting losses.

Spring is typically our busiest time in the market with many sellers coming to market and buyers shopping in order to land in their new home by summer and the start of the fall school season. COVID-19 and the associated limitations in our daily activities along with employment disruption created a slowdown in our typical spring market. The largest impact has been the amount of available inventory to choose from. Amazingly, the housing market has continued to hum along with many buyers still eager to purchase. Inventory is down 40% year-over-year and buyer demand is strong, creating a frenzy in some price ranges and neighborhoods.

According to Joel Kan, Economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association mortgage applications are on the rise and up 5% from the same time last year. Summer is looking to be the re-invented spring market as our country starts to re-open. Interest rates are the lowest they have ever been, which is encouraging buyers to act and creating a good-sized audience for sellers.

Below is a video where Matthew speaks to his predicted trajectory for home prices as we travel through the second half of 2020 and beyond. Also, note below the latest statistic for both King and Snohomish Counties for the month of May.

King County:
  • Median Price is up 1% complete year-over-year.
  • The median price in May 2020 was down 5% from April 2020.
  • The median price in May 2020  is down 2% from May 2019.
  • Months of Inventory Based on Pending Sales sits at 1 month which is a Seller’s Market.
  • Average Days on Market in May 2020 was 19 days with an average list-to-sale price ratio of 99%.
  • There were 33% more new listings in May 2020 compared to April 2020, and pending sales were up 60% illustrating pent-up buyer demand.
Snohomish County:
  • Median Price is up 3% complete year-over-year.
  • The median price in May 2020 was down 2% from April 2020.
  • The median price in May 2020  is up  2% from May 2019.
  • Months of Inventory Based on Pending Sales sits at 0.8 months which is a Seller’s Market.
  • Average Days on Market in May 2020 was 20 days with an average list-to-sale price ratio of 100%.
  • There were 18% more new listings in May 2020 compared to April 2020 and pending sales were up 62% illustrating pent-up buyer demand.
It is always my goal to report real-time numbers from the front lines and do my best to explain what is happening.  I choose to look at the numbers in tight snippets week-by-week and also dig deep on year-over-year numbers. Right now, we are reporting growth from March and starting to return to the same amount of activity that we saw at the same time last year. We must keep a close eye on unemployment figures and mortgage forbearance reporting, both of which are improving but still have a ways to go.

It is our goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions by studying the stats and reporting my day-to-day observations. Please reach out if you or someone you know has questions or concerns. These are unprecedented times and knowledge is one of your most powerful tools. We are honored to be your trusted advisors.

 

 


Posted on June 12, 2020 at 5:42 am
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Statistical Information |

Is a Recession Here? Yes! Does That Mean a Housing Crash?

 

On Monday, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) announced that the U.S. economy is officially in a recession. This did not come as a surprise to many, as the Bureau defines a recession this way:

“A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, normally visible in production, employment, and other indicators. A recession begins when the economy reaches a peak of economic activity and ends when the economy reaches its trough. Between trough and peak, the economy is in an expansion.”

Everyone realizes that the pandemic shut down the country earlier this year, causing a “significant decline in economic activity.”

Though not surprising, headlines announcing the country is in a recession will cause consumers to remember the devastating impact the last recession had on the housing market just over a decade ago.

The real estate market, however, is in a totally different position than it was then. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americanexplained:

“Many still bear scars from the Great Recession and may expect the housing market to follow a similar trajectory in response to the coronavirus outbreak. But, there are distinct differences that indicate the housing market may follow a much different path. While housing led the recession in 2008-2009, this time it may be poised to bring us out of it.”

Four major differences in today’s real estate market are:

  1. Families have large sums of equity in their homes
  2. We have a shortage of housing inventory, not an overabundance
  3. Irresponsible lending no longer exists
  4. Home price appreciation is not out of control

We must also realize that a recession does not mean a housing crash will follow.  In three of the four previous recessions prior to 2008, home values increased. In the other one, home prices depreciated by only 1.9%.

Bottom Line

Yes, we are now officially in a recession. However, unlike 2008, this time the housing industry is in much better shape to weather the storm.

KCM June 10, 2020


Posted on June 12, 2020 at 4:52 am
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Statistical Information, Strategy |

Windermere Service Day 2020 It Looks Different This Year…

Garden Update – Windermere Service Day 2020

We are making it happen and getting it done! COVID-19 is not getting in the way of our annual Community Service Day! With social distancing and safety as a priority, we broke our office up into small groups and are getting the Martha Perry Veggie Garden planted to help provide fresh produce to food banks in Snohomish County. It feels good to get outside, get our hands dirty, and give back!

This year we worked in several small groups to achieve the same Community Investment – Keeping the Martha Perry Garden going!

Although we couldn’t all be working together at the same time – we got it done!  Our hearts were in the same place – in our community!


Posted on June 1, 2020 at 6:29 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Local Communities, Local News |

15 Backyard Activities to Enjoy Right Now-COVID-19 Style!

House Beautiful By

For those seeking a useful way to spend their time during social distancing—or anyone simply interested in forging a deeper connection with their homes—HB has launched Home Love, a series of daily tips and ideas to make every minute indoors more productive (and gratifying!).

Summer is on its way and warmer temperatures have us running outside to enjoy any space we have. Whether you’re working with a fire escape patio or a wide open backyard, we’ve rounded up plenty of ways to work with what you have. Read on—the perfect outdoor activity awaits.

1. Upgrade Your Outdoor Lounge
woman relaxing in hammock against wall at yard
RODRIGO SNCHEZ / EYEEMGETTY IMAGES

Hammocks have left the campground and entered our patios. Early summer launches have seen luxe macrame at Anthropologie to affordable options at IKEA to change up your WFH space.

Those with less space can opt for an outdoor version of the boho swing chair, for a space-saving version of the vacation staple.

2Bond With the Bees
father and son practicing beekeeping in a domestic back garden
ELVA ETIENNEGETTY IMAGES

We’re all doing our part to save the bees, planting flowers and plants that will help attract and boost the population, but for those ready to take the next step and foster a hive, beekeeping isn’t as hard as it looks.

Beekeeping isn’t just for the honey, either. Owning bees can help give a boost to your garden, provide propolis, wax and other by-products for health and home, and serve as a science lesson during homeschooling.

3. Refresh Old Fabric
handkerchief tie batik dyeing tie batik indigo color
TUAYAIGETTY IMAGES

Whether you’ve been sucked into the tie-dye trend or are looking for a classic shibori, hand dyeing slipcovers, curtains, or napkins can is a fun way to customize your home goods and enjoy outdoor space. All you need are a few buckets, a clothesline, and good idea.

4. Keep Free Range Chicken

close up yellow chicks on the floor , beautiful yellow little chickens, group of yellow chicks
VOLODY10GETTY IMAGES

As urban food deserts spread, people are turning to their backyards and roofs to host their own mini-poultry farm. The low cost of chicks and the high cost of eggs might be attractive to first time chicken farmers, but they are still animals. Just like our pets, chickens need proper care to stay healthy.

Curious on where to start? Find our favorite chicken coops here.

5. Host Outdoor Movie Night
father and daughter day
SVETIKDGETTY IMAGES

Maximize your time outdoors by planning nighttime activities, especially for hot summer days. A big sheet, a picnic blanket and some popcorn can give you the summer screening experience we’re all missing without leaving your yard.

Need some help with your outdoor theater? Find our guide to backyard screening here.

6. Go Backyard Camping
low section of people having marshmallows on barbecue
CHUTIMA TREEARAYAPONG / EYEEMGETTY IMAGES

Create a backyard summer camp with tents, blankets, and nature lessons for kids. If you have outdoor space to spare, fire pits are perfect for s’mores or even tin cookware for those missing mountain days. Our favorites blend in with outdoor decor for a stylish look when out of use. Shop fire pits here.

7. Take a Forest Bath
blanket on grassy field at back yard
YESENIA MIRANDA / EYEEMGETTY IMAGES

Sound baths are the space-saving way to get zen at home and create a spa-like space. Forest baths, based on the Japanese shinrin-yoku, invite people to absorb the sights, sounds and smells of nature as a way to re-connect and center themselves.

The best part? You don’t need to go on a hike to experience it. Sound baths are best when the body is still, so lay a blanket in the backyard and let your mind wander.

Urban sounds interrupting your introspection? Our guide to sound bathing and home spas gives tips on how to enjoy no matter your location. Read it here.

8. Make Clay Pottery

midsection of woman making pottery in workshop
WORAPHON NUSEN / EYEEMGETTY IMAGES

When it’s too hot to turn the oven on, substitute kiln or polymer-based clays with sun or air-drying clay mixtures. These can be shaped and left to dry in the outdoors and can look just as beautiful as the traditional version.

Just paint with a clear or tinted sealant to prevent water leakage if your end result is a vase. And reminder: some self-hardening clays are not food-safe.

9. Transform Your Shed
garden shed and laid table in garden
WESTEND61GETTY IMAGES

Extra square-footage in your yard? A fresh coat of paint and upgraded lighting can upgrade a tool shed into a she-shed or a home office space.

If you have the space, but not the structure, Amazon can ship you a DIY tiny home kit. Ranging from storage sheds to guest homes, the kits come with everything you’ll need to build an at-home escape.  Shop our picks here.

10. Plan an Outdoor Dinner
a table set for dinner outdoors
CARL JOHAN RONNGETTY IMAGES

Now that all that hard gardening work is paying off, it’s time to bring the celebration full circle. Cook a meal with fresh herbs and vegetables, setting the table with a wildflower arrangement. Change up the table setting to match your cuisine to give the feel of your favorite summer brunch spot.

Hosting a virtual picnic can be a great way to upgrade your zoom happy hour and have everyone asking how you pulled together your backyard. Get your patio inspiration here.

11. Create a DIY Swim Park

kids playing with hose and swimming pool
CYNDI MONAGHANGETTY IMAGES

Not ready to commit to an in-ground pool? DIY options have never been better. Portables come in a variety of depths and styles, even hot tubs! Add a slip ‘n’ slide, a sprinkler ,and a pool float for an outdoor amusement park you’ll keep coming back to all summer.

12. Build a Sand Pit
summer fun
CORA ROSENHAFTGETTY IMAGES

Whether it’s for kids to build a championship-worthy sand castle or just to function as a zen garden feature, sand pits are the versatile lawn item the backyard is missing. Easily covered and hidden, sand pits are cheap and easy to assemble for hours of playtime or just giving you the feeling of a beach vacation without leaving your home.

13. Take the Kitchen Outdoors
cropped man pouring oil on pizza on plate in back yard
NICOLAS HOLTZMEYER / EYEEMGETTY IMAGES

Far beyond your dad’s grill, portable kitchen gadgets are coming in all types, making al fresco cooking and dining so much easier. Maybe your grill is due for a modern upgrade, or picnic ready pizza ovens are more your style. Either way, you won’t need a contractor or a culinary degree to navigate your outdoor kitchen.

14. Oversized Lawn Games
chess pieces and board on lawn
LALIDA LEEWATTANATAWORNCHAI / EYEEMGETTY IMAGES

As the weather heats up, we’re moving on from board games by the fire. Luckily lawn games can keep the entertain going while enjoying your outdoor space. Life-size chess, painted grass twister, and lucite corn hole just a few of our favorites.  Check out our favorites here.

15. Update Old Furniture
diy in the garden man painting wooden chair
SLAVEMOTIONGETTY IMAGES

Have old pieces laying in your garage? Maybe your entry table is begging for a trendy navy blue chalk paint. Now that we are using our masks for medical reasons, home improvement projects are better done outside, in fresh air, and by hand. No power sanders, spray paints or compressed air sprayers allowed.

It’s a good thing we can still refinish, repurpose, and repair our favorite pieces with that change of seasons.


Posted on June 1, 2020 at 12:26 am
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Helpful Information, Just for Fun |

6 Reasons Why Selling Your House on Your Own is a Mistake!

 

 

There are many benefits to working with a real estate professional when selling your house. During challenging times like the one we face today, it becomes even more important to have an expert help guide you through the process. If you’re considering selling on your own, known in the industry as a For Sale By Owner or FSBO, please consider the following:

1. Your Safety Is a Priority

During this pandemic, your family’s safety comes first. When you FSBO, it is incredibly difficult to control entry into your home. A real estate professional will have the proper protocols in place to protect not only your belongings, but your family’s health and well-being too. From regulating the number of people in your home at one time to ensuring proper sanitization during and after a showing, and even facilitating virtual tours for buyers, agents are equipped to follow the latest industry standards recommended by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to help protect you and your family.

2. A Powerful Online Strategy Is a Must to Attract a Buyer

Recent studies have shown that, even before COVID-19, the first step 44% of all buyers took when looking for a home was to search online. Throughout the process, that number jumped to 93%. Today, those numbers have grown exponentially. Most real estate agents have developed a strong Internet and social media strategy to promote the sale of your house. Have you?

3. There Are Too Many Negotiations

Here are just a few of the people you’ll need to negotiate with if you decide to FSBO:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find challenges with the house
  • The appraiser, if there is a question of value

As part of their training, agents are taught how to negotiate every aspect of the real estate transaction and how to mediate the emotions felt by buyers looking to make what is probably the largest purchase of their lives.

4. You Won’t Know if Your Purchaser Is Qualified for a Mortgage

Having a buyer who wants to purchase your house is the first step. Making sure they can afford to buy it is just as important. As a FSBO, it’s almost impossible to be involved in the mortgage process of your buyer. A real estate professional is trained to ask the appropriate questions and, in most cases, will be intimately aware of the progress that’s being made toward a purchaser’s mortgage commitment.

Further complicating the situation is how the current mortgage market is rapidly evolving because of the number of families out of work and in mortgage forbearance. A loan program that was there yesterday could be gone tomorrow. You need someone who is working with lenders every day to guarantee your buyer makes it to the closing table.

5. FSBOing Has Become More Difficult from a Legal Standpoint

The documentation involved in the selling process has increased dramatically as more and more disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. In an increasingly litigious society, the agent acts as a third-party to help the seller avoid legal jeopardy. This is one of the major reasons why the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.

6. You Net More Money When Using an Agent

Many homeowners believe they’ll save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

A study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything by forgoing the help of an agent. In some cases, the seller may even net less money from the sale. The study found the difference in price between a FSBO and an agent-listed home was an average of 6%. One of the main reasons for the price difference is effective exposure:

“Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.”

The more buyers that view a home, the greater the chance a bidding war will take place.

Bottom Line

Listing on your own leaves you to manage the entire transaction yourself. Why do that when you can hire an agent and still net the same amount of money? Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house alone, speak with a real estate professional to discuss your options.

KCM May 2020


Posted on May 28, 2020 at 4:05 am
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Helpful Information, Strategy |

Are we keeping pace with 2019:  A Look at Current Sales Activity

 

There have been a lot of questions that I have encountered about the stability of the housing market due to the global health crisis of COVID-19. I have kept close track of the statistics and daily activity in our market in order to help keep my clients well informed. Inventory levels remain very tight and buyer demand has started to return since the Stay Home Orders were put in place. 

Interest rates are at the lowest point they have ever been, providing amazing opportunities for both buyers and sellers. Interest rates continue to fuel buyer demand and create an audience for home sellers. Recently, rates were as low as 3.33%, which is historic. 

Below is a chart that shows the amount of weekly pending sales in 2020 in relation to the weekly pending sales during the same week in 2019. 

In King County, you can see that we started the year off with activity similar to the robust year of 2019. In February 2020, there were more sales, but that was due to “Snowmageddon” in February 2019. March 2020 started off in concurrence with 2019, but once the Stay Home Orders were put in place there was a dramatic and expected drop in pending sales activity.
When the Stay at Home Orders were first put in place, showings were not allowed, causing a legitimate pause in transactions. The following week, the orders were adjusted to allow for showings and since then the amount of pending sales has increased each week. Protocols for showings include only two people in the home at one time, by appointment only, while practicing 6-foot social distancing. 

 

These protocols, along with virtual showings and many different digital tools using video, have helped buyers and sellers safely come together in transactions. Agents are getting creative in order to best serve their buyers and sellers during this unique time. This has helped quell demand brought on by interest rates and the many industries still thriving despite recent unemployment numbers. See this video from Matthew Gardner regarding the latest unemployment report and his forecast. 

Snohomish County followed the same initial pattern as King County, but has seen a quicker return to 2019 sales levels. This is due in part to the more affordable price points in Snohomish County compared to King. In fact, the days on market for closed sales in April 2020 were quicker by 34% at 21 days, and the list-to-sale price ratio was up 1% to 101% over April 2019. Additionally, the median price is up 3% complete year-over-year. In King County, the median price was up 1% complete year-over-year and days on market quicker by 41% at 17 days, and a flat list-to-sale price ratio of 101%. 

Tight inventory started in January and continued due to sellers holding off coming to market amid COVID-19. Available inventory is currently not meeting the buyer demand in the market, especially in the lower to middle price ranges. The higher price points have been affected by the increased cost to obtain a jumbo loan, but are still seeing movement. We anticipate more homes coming to the market as we enter into the different phases Washington State has planned to reopen the economy and remain as safe as possible. 

 

For some, now is the right time to sell, and for some it will be later down the road. The timing, safety, and comfort all need to be assessed along with the market data. What I’m pleased to report is that our market is not crashing. In fact, it is adapting! We will most likely find a balance as we head into the remainder of Q2 and start Q3. Many jobs are set to return as the phases unfold. Unlike the 2008 Great Recession, this is a health crisis, not a housing crisis; see this video from Matthew Gardner on this topic. The numbers are telling that story and so is the recent activity. 

 

We strive for excellence when it comes to educating my clients, especially during these historic times that have created uncertainty. We are committed to providing accurate data and real-time information. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss this information and how it relates to your investment and lifestyle. It is simply our goal to help keep you informed and empower strong decisions. Be well! 


Posted on May 21, 2020 at 3:20 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Statistical Information |

Are We Headed For a Repeat of the 2008 Housing Meltdown?

The pressure the COVID-19 global pandemic is putting on the economy is a reality. As real estate brokers, we take great pride in having the honor of being your trusted advisor when it comes to your investment in the housing market and protecting the value of your home. We have been asked several times, “Is this the Great Recession all over again?”

At Windermere, we have continued to rely on the expertise of Matthew Gardner, Windermere’s Chief Economist. This is a chart he shared from Black Knight Financial comparing the housing market as we headed into this global health crisis versus the start of the Great Recession in 2007. Matthew predicted the Great Recession and does not shy away from heeding the truth, even if it is not great news. We trust him and I hope you do too.

 

Some key points of note:

With the share of homeowners having less than 10% equity being materially lower in 2020, in the event of an economic contraction, the likelihood of owners owing more on their homes than they are worth is significantly less, which allows more owners to use their equity to get through challenging times if needed and keep their homes.

Average Current Loan to Value (LTV) is also lower—we owe less on our mortgage balances reducing the amount of leverage.

Average Debt to Income (DTI) at origination is similar, but prior to the Great Recession, many borrowers’ incomes were not vetted thoroughly prior to loan approval which created false qualificiation—remember hearing “stated income loans” then?

Average Current Credit Scores are now significantly higher. Coming into 2020, borrowers were in such a good position, the Mortgage Delinquency Rate of 3.3% was the lowest on record.

Payment to Income Ratio is the % of income needed to service a mortgage. Despite home prices climbing faster than incomes, the lower amount for 2020 is primarily a function of lower interest rates which the majority are fixed.

The last 4 data sets typify the primary reason we saw the housing market bubble burst in 2007. When rates reset on Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs), homeowners were crippled with massive monthly payment increases. Now, as the Federal Reserve has lowered rates, many homeowners with ARMs will likely see their rates drop and the amount of ARMs are down by 75%.

Bottom line, we are heading into this economic challenge with a much more formidable foundation based on more stringent lending practices, higher equity levels, and we are anticipating a shorter 1-2 year V-shaped recovery, compared to the long U-shaped recovery of the 5-year Great Recession. In fact, we have seen pending sales rise over the last three consecutive weeks, some even with multiple offers.

Every neighborhood and every price-point has its own story. Please reach out with any questions or concerns. It is our goal to help keep you informed and empower strong decisions.

 

To access Matthew Gardner’s explanation via video please access: https://www.windermere.com/blogs/windermere/authors/matthew-gardner-chief-economist-windermere-real-estate/posts/matthew-gardner-weekly-covid-19-housing-economic-update-4-27-2020

 

 


Posted on May 20, 2020 at 12:40 am
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Helpful Information, Statistical Information |