Chicago Real Estate News

 

Sept. 21, 2022

Will your house still sell in this market

 

 

 

 

If recent headlines about the housing market cooling and buyer demand moderating have you worried you’ve missed your chance to sell, here’s what you need to know. Buyer demand hasn’t disappeared, it’s just eased from the peak intensity we saw over the past two years.

Buyer Demand Then and Now

During the pandemic, mortgage rates hit record lows, and that spurred a significant rise in buyer demand. This year, as rates increased due to factors like rising inflation, buyer demand pulled back or softened as a result. The latest data from ShowingTime confirms this trend (see graph below):

Will My House Still Sell in Today’s Market? | Keeping Current Matters

The orange bars in the graph above represent the last few months of data and the clear cooldown in the volume of home showings the market has seen since mortgage rates started to rise. But context is important. To get the full picture of where today’s demand stands, let’s look at the July data for the past six years (see graph below):

Will My House Still Sell in Today’s Market? | Keeping Current Matters

This second visual makes it clear that, while moderating compared to the frenzy in 2020 and 2021, showing activity is still beating pre-pandemic levels – and those pre-pandemic years were great years for the housing market. That goes to show there’s still demand if you sell your house today.

What That Means for You When You Sell

The key to selling in a changing market is understanding where the housing market is now. It’s not the same market we had last year or even earlier this year, but that doesn’t mean the opportunity to sell has passed.

While things have cooled a bit, it’s still a sellers’ market. If you work with a trusted local expert to price your house at the current market valuethe demand is still there, and it should sell quickly. According to a recent survey from realtor.com, 92% of homeowners who sold in August reported being satisfied with the outcome of their sale.

Bottom Line

Buyer demand hasn’t disappeared, it’s just moderated this year. If you’re ready to sell your house today, lean on a trusted real estate professional to understand how the market has shifted and how to plan accordingly for your sale.

Sept. 14, 2022

Market slow down or a bubble?

 

The talk of a housing bubble in the coming year seems to be at a fever pitch as rising mortgage rates continue to slow down an overheated real estate market. Over the past two years, home prices have appreciated at an unsustainable pace causing many to ask: are things just slowing down, or is a crash coming?

To answer this question, there are two things we want to understand. The first is the reality of the shift in today’s housing market. And the second is what experts are saying about home prices in the coming year.

The Reality of the Shift in Today’s Housing Market

The reality is we’re seeing an inflection point in housing supply and demand. According to realtor.com, active listings have increased more than 26% over last year, while showings from the latest ShowingTime Showing Index have decreased almost 17% from last year (see graph below). This is an inflection point for housing because, over the past two years, we’ve seen a massive amount of demand (showings) and not enough homes available for sale for the number of people that wanted to buy. That caused the market frenzy.

Today, supply and demand look very different, and the market is slowing down from the pace we’ve seen. This offers proof of the sudden slowdown so many people are feeling.

Is the Real Estate Market Slowing Down, or Is This a Housing Bubble? | Keeping Current Matters

What Experts Are Saying About Home Prices in the Coming Year

Right now, most experts are forecasting home price appreciation in 2023, but at a much slower pace than the last two years. The average of the six forecasters below is for national home prices to appreciate by 2.5% in the coming year. Only one of the six is calling for home price depreciation.

Is the Real Estate Market Slowing Down, or Is This a Housing Bubble? | Keeping Current Matters

When we look at the shift taking place along with what experts are saying, we can conclude the national real estate market is slowing down but is not a bubble getting ready to burst. This isn’t to say that a few overheated markets won’t experience home price depreciation, but there isn’t a case to be made for a national housing bubble.

Bottom Line

The real estate market is slowing down, and that’s causing many to fear we’re in a housing bubble. What we’ve experienced in the housing market over the past two years were historic levels of demand and constrained supply. That led to homes going up in value at a record pace. While some overheated markets may experience price depreciation in the short term, according to experts, the national real estate market will appreciate in the coming year.

 

KCM - September 2022

Sept. 7, 2022

What is going on with mortgage rates

If you’ve been thinking of buying a home, you may have been watching what’s happened with mortgage rates over the past year. It’s true they’ve risen dramatically, but where will they go from here, especially as the market continues to slow?

As you think about your homeownership goals and decide if now’s the time to make your move, the best place to turn to for that information is the professionals. Here’s a summary of the latest mortgage rate forecasts from housing market experts.

Experts Project Mortgage Rates Will Stabilize

While mortgage rates continue to fluctuate due to ongoing inflationary pressures and economic uncertainty, experts project they’ll start to stabilize in the months ahead. According to the latest projections, mortgage rates are expected to hover in the low to mid 5% range initially, and then potentially dip into the high 4% range by later next year (see chart below):

Expert Forecasts on Mortgage Rates | Keeping Current Matters

That could bring you some welcome relief. So far this year, mortgage rates have climbed over 2% due to the Federal Reserve’s response to inflation, and that’s made it more expensive to buy a home. And wondering if the rise in rates will continue is keeping some prospective buyers on the sidelines.

But now that experts say mortgage rates should stabilize, this gives you a bit more certainty about what they think the future holds, and that may help you feel more confident about your decision to buy a home.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re looking to buy your first home, move up to a larger home, or even downsize, you need to know what’s happening in the housing market so you can make the most informed decision possible. Reach out to a trusted real estate professional to discuss your goals and determine the best plan for your move.

Keeping Current Matters - September 2022

Aug. 31, 2022

Are the bidding wars over?

One of the top stories in recent real estate headlines was the intensity and frequency of bidding wars. With so many buyers looking to purchase a home and so few of them available for sale, fiercely competitive bidding wars became the norm during the pandemic – and it drove home prices up. If you tried to buy a house over the past two years, you probably experienced this firsthand and may have been outbid on several homes along the way.

But here’s the news you’ve been waiting for: data shows clear signs bidding wars are easing this year.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average number of offers on recently sold homes has declined considerably over the past few months (see graph below):

Buyers: You May Face Less Competition as Bidding Wars Ease | Keeping Current Matters

The graph shows homes were seeing a high of around five offers earlier this year. But the latest data shows that average was down to just shy of three offers per recently sold home. This shift is happening largely because rising mortgage rates moderated buyer demand and slowed home sales, resulting in a growing supply of homes on the market. Essentially, more choices for buyers.

What This Means for You

If you put your home search on pause because you were outbid last year or because you didn’t want to deal with the peak intensity of bidding wars, you can breathe a welcome sigh of relief. While it’s still a sellers’ market, an uptick in inventory gives you a window of opportunity to jump back in. You may still be competing with some buyers, but it likely won’t be anything like it was just a few short months ago.

Bottom Line

If you put your plans on pause because of intense bidding wars in recent years, it may be time to kick off your home search. Today, bidding wars are easing and that may mean less competition for you as a buyer. If you’re serious about buying a home or making a move, partner with a trusted real estate professional to get started today.

 

KCM - 8/2022

Aug. 24, 2022

What makes financial sense, Buying or Renting?

 

If rising home prices leave you wondering if it makes more sense to rent or buy a home in today’s housing market, consider this. It’s not just home prices that have risen in recent years – rental prices have skyrocketed as well. As a recent article from realtor.com says:

“The median rent across the 50 largest US metropolitan areas reached $1,876 in June, a new record level for Realtor.com data for the 16th consecutive month.”

That means rising prices will likely impact your housing plans either way. But there are a few key differences that could make buying a home a more worthwhile option for you.

If You Need More Space, Buying a Home May Be More Affordable

What you may not realize is that, according to the latest data from realtor.com and the National Association of Realtors (NAR), it may actually be more affordable to buy than rent depending on how many bedrooms you need. The graph below uses the median rental payment and median mortgage payment across the country to show why.

Buying a Home May Make More Financial Sense Than Renting One | Keeping Current Matters

As the graph conveys, if you need two or more bedrooms, it may actually be more affordable to buy a home even as prices rise. While this doesn’t take into consideration the interest deduction or other financial advantages that come with owning a home, it does help paint the picture that it may be more affordable to buy then rent for that unit size based on nationwide averages. So, if one of the factors motivating you to move is a desire for more space, this could be the added encouragement you need to consider homeownership.

Homeownership Also Provides Stability and a Chance To Grow Your Wealth

In addition to being more affordable depending on how many bedrooms you need, buying has two other key benefits: payment stability and equity.

When you buy a home, you lock in your monthly payment with your fixed-rate mortgage. And that’s especially important in today’s inflationary economy. With inflation, prices rise across the board for things like gas, groceries, and more. Locking in your housing payment, which is likely your largest monthly expense, can provide greater long-term stability and help shield you from those rising expenses moving forward. Renting doesn’t provide that same predictability. A recent article from CNET explains it like this:

“…if you buy a house and secure a fixed-rate mortgage, that means that no matter how much prices or interest rates go up, your fixed payment will stay the same every month. That’s an advantage over renting since there’s a good chance your landlord will raise your rent to counter inflationary pressures.” 

Not to mention, when you buy, you have the chance to build equity, which in turn grows your net worth. It works like this. As you pay down your home loan over time and as home values continue to appreciate, so does your equity. And that equity can make it easier to fuel a move into a future home if you decide you need a bigger home later on. Again, the CNET article mentioned above helps explain:

Homeownership is still considered one of the most reliable ways to build wealth. When you make monthly mortgage payments, you’re building equity in your home that you can tap into later on. When you rent, you aren’t investing in your financial future the same way you are when you’re paying off a mortgage.”

Bottom Line

If you’re trying to decide whether to keep renting or buy a home, work with a trusted real estate professional to explore your options. With home equity and a shield against inflation on the line, it may make more sense to buy a home if you’re able to.

KCM - 8/2022

Aug. 17, 2022

Experts Increase 2022 Home Price Projections

If you’re wondering if home prices are going to come down due to the cooldown in the housing market or a potential recession, here’s what you need to know. Not only are experts forecasting home prices will continue to appreciate nationwide this year, but most of them also actually increased their projections for home price appreciation from their original 2022 forecasts (shown in green in the chart below):

Experts Increase 2022 Home Price Projections | Keeping Current Matters

As the chart shows, most sources adjusted up, and now call for more appreciation in 2022 than they originally projected this January. But why are experts so confident the housing market will see ongoing appreciation? It’s because of supply and demand in most markets. As Bankrate says:

“After all, supplies of homes for sale remain near record lows. And while a jump in mortgage rates has dampened demand somewhat, demand still outpaces supply, thanks to a combination of little new construction and strong household formation by large numbers of millennials.”

Knowing that experts forecast home prices will continue to appreciate in most markets and that they’ve actually increased their original projections for this year should help you answer the question: will home prices fall? According to the latest forecasts, experts are confident prices will continue to appreciate this year, although at a more moderate rate than they did in 2021.

Bottom Line

If you’re worried home prices are going to decline, rest assured many experts raised their forecasts to say they’ll continue to appreciate in most markets this year. If you have questions about what’s happening with home prices in your local area, connect with a real estate professional.

Aug. 10, 2022

Is the shifting market a challenge or opportunity

 

Is the Shifting Market a Challenge or an Opportunity for Homebuyers?

If you tried to buy a home during the pandemic, you know the limited supply of homes for sale was a considerable challenge. It created intense bidding wars which drove home prices up as buyers competed with one another to be the winning offer.

But what was once your greatest challenge may now be your greatest opportunity. Today, data shows buyer demand is moderating in the wake of higher mortgage rates. Here are a few reasons why this shift in the housing market is good news for your homebuying plans.

The Challenge

There were many reasons for the limited number of homes on the market during the pandemic, including a history of underbuilding new homes since the market crash in 2008. As the graph below shows, housing supply is well below what the market has seen for most of the past 10 years (see graph below):

Is the Shifting Market a Challenge or an Opportunity for Homebuyers? | Keeping Current Matters

The Opportunity

But that graph also shows a trend back up in the right direction this year. That’s because moderating demand is slowing the pace of home sales and that’s one of the reasons housing supply is finally able to grow. For you, that means you’ll have more options to choose from, so it shouldn’t be as difficult to find your next home as it has been recently.

And having more options may also lead to less intense bidding wars. Data from the Realtors Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows this trend has already begun. In their recent reports, bidding wars are easing month-over-month (see graph below):

Is the Shifting Market a Challenge or an Opportunity for Homebuyers? | Keeping Current Matters

If you’ve been outbid before or you’ve struggled to find a home that meets your needs, breathe a welcome sigh of relief. The big takeaway here is you have more options and less competition today.

Just remember, while easing, data shows multiple-offer scenarios are still happening – they’re just not as intense as they were over the past year. You should still lean on an agent to guide you through the process and help you make your strongest offer up front.

Bottom Line

If you’re still looking to make a move, it may be time to pick your home search back up today. Partner with a real estate professional to kick off the homebuying process.

 

KCM August 2022

Aug. 3, 2022

Key statistics on bubble watch: 2007 vs 2022

With all the headlines and buzz in the media, some consumers believe the market is in a housing bubble. As the housing market shifts, you may be wondering what’ll happen next. It’s only natural for concerns to creep in that it could be a repeat of what took place in 2008. The good news is, there’s concrete data to show why this is nothing like the last time.

There’s a Shortage of Homes on the Market Today, Not a Surplus

The supply of inventory needed to sustain a normal real estate market is approximately six months. Anything more than that is an overabundance and will causes prices to depreciate. Anything less than that is a shortage and will lead to continued price appreciation.

For historical context, there were too many homes for sale during the housing crisis (many of which were short sales and foreclosures), and that caused prices to tumble. Today, supply is growing, but there’s still a shortage of inventory available.

The graph below uses data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to show how this time compares to the crash. Today, unsold inventory sits at just a 3.0-months’ supply at the current sales pace.

3 Graphs To Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | Keeping Current Matters

One of the reasons inventory is still low is because of sustained underbuilding. When you couple that with ongoing buyer demand as millennials age into their peak homebuying years, it continues to put upward pressure on home prices. That limited supply compared to buyer demand is why experts forecast home prices won’t fall this time.

Mortgage Standards Were Much More Relaxed During the Crash

During the lead-up to the housing crisis, it was much easier to get a home loan than it is today. The graph below showcases data on the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The higher the number, the easier it is to get a mortgage.

3 Graphs To Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | Keeping Current Matters

Running up to 2006, banks were creating artificial demand by lowering lending standards and making it easy for just about anyone to qualify for a home loan or refinance their current home. Back then, lending institutions took on much greater risk in both the person and the mortgage products offered. That led to mass defaults, foreclosures, and falling prices.

Today, things are different, and purchasers face much higher standards from mortgage companies. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americansays:

Credit standards tightened in recent months due to increasing economic uncertainty and monetary policy tightening.” 

Stricter standards, like there are today, help prevent a risk of a rash of foreclosures like there was last time.

The Foreclosure Volume Is Nothing Like It Was During the Crash

The most obvious difference is the number of homeowners that were facing foreclosure after the housing bubble burst. Foreclosure activity has been on the way down since the crash because buyers today are more qualified and less likely to default on their loans. The graph below uses data from ATTOM Data Solutions to help tell the story:

3 Graphs To Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | Keeping Current Matters

 

In addition, homeowners today are equity rich, not tapped out. In the run-up to the housing bubble, some homeowners were using their homes as personal ATMs. Many immediately withdrew their equity once it built up. When home values began to fall, some homeowners found themselves in a negative equity situation where the amount they owed on their mortgage was greater than the value of their home. Some of those households decided to walk away from their homes, and that led to a wave of distressed property listings (foreclosures and short sales), which sold at considerable discounts that lowered the value of other homes in the area.

Today, prices have risen nicely over the last few years, and that’s given homeowners an equity boost. According to Black Knight:

In total, mortgage holders gained $2.8 trillion in tappable equity over the past 12 months – a 34% increase that equates to more than $207,000 in equity available per borrower. . . .”

With the average home equity now standing at $207,000, homeowners are in a completely different position this time.

Bottom Line

If you’re worried we’re making the same mistakes that led to the housing crash, the graphs above should help alleviate your concerns. Concrete data and expert insights clearly show why this is nothing like the last time.

July 27, 2022

Is this a window of opportunity for buyers

Mortgage rates are much higher today than they were at the beginning of the year, and that’s had a clear impact on the housing market. As a result, the market is seeing a shift back toward the range of pre-pandemic levels for buyer demand and home sales.

But the transition back toward pre-pandemic levels isn’t a bad thing. In fact, the years leading up to the pandemic were some of the best the housing market has seen. That’s why, as the market undergoes this shift, it’s important to compare today not to the abnormal pandemic years, but to the most recent normal years to show how the current housing market is still strong.

Higher Mortgage Rates Are Moderating the Housing Market 

The ShowingTime Showing Index tracks the traffic of home showings according to agents and brokers. It’s also a good indication of buyer demand over time. Here’s a look at their data going back to 2017 (see graph below):

A Window of Opportunity for Homebuyers | Keeping Current Matters

Here’s a breakdown of the story this data tells:

  • The 2017 through early 2020 numbers (shown in gray) give a good baseline of pre-pandemic demand. The steady up and down trends seen in each of these years show typical seasonality in the market.
  • The blue on the graph represents the pandemic years. The height of those blue bars indicates home showings skyrocketed during the pandemic.
  • The most recent data (shown in green), indicates buyer demand is moderating back toward more pre-pandemic levels.

This shows that buyer demand is coming down from levels seen over the past two years, and the frenzy in real estate is easing because of higher mortgage rates. For you, that means buying your next home should be less challenging than it would’ve been during the pandemic because there is more inventory available.

Higher Mortgage Rates Slow the Once Frenzied Pace of Home Sales

As mortgage rates started to rise this year, other shifts began to occur too. One additional example is the slowing pace of home sales. Using data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), here’s a look at existing home sales going all the way back to 2017. Much like the previous graph, a similar trend emerges (see graph below):

A Window of Opportunity for Homebuyers | Keeping Current Matters

Again, the data paints a picture of the shift:

  • The pre-pandemic years (shown in gray) establish a baseline of the number of existing home sales in more typical years.
  • The pandemic years (shown in blue) exceeded the level of sales seen in previous years. That’s largely because low mortgage rates during that time spurred buyer demand and home sales to new heights.
  • This year (shown in green), the market is feeling the impact of higher mortgage rates and that’s moderating buyer demand (and by extension home sales). That’s why the expectation for home sales this year is closer to what the market saw in 2018-2019.

Why Is All of This Good News for You?

Both of those factors have opened up a window of opportunity for homeowners looking to move and for buyers looking to purchase a home. As demand moderates and the pace of home sales slows, housing inventory is able to grow – and that gives you more options for your home search.

So don’t let the headlines about the market cooling or moderating scare you. The housing market is still strong; it’s just easing off from the unsustainable frenzy it saw during the height of the pandemic – and that’s a good thing. It opens up new opportunities for you to find a home that meets your needs.

Bottom Line

The housing market is undergoing a shift because of higher mortgage rates, but the market is still strong. If you’ve been looking to buy a home over the last couple of years and it felt impossible to do, now may be your opportunity. Buying a home right now isn’t easy, but there is more opportunity for those who are looking.

 

KCM 7/2022

July 20, 2022

Should you buy a house with inflation this high

 

 

While the Federal Reserve is working hard to bring down inflation, the latest data shows the inflation rate is still going up. You no doubt are feeling the pinch on your wallet at the gas pump or the grocery store, but that news may also leave you wondering: should I still buy a home right now?

Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrateexplains how inflation is affecting the housing market:

Inflation will have a strong influence on where mortgage rates go in the months ahead. . . . Whenever inflation finally starts to ease, so will mortgage rates — but even then, home prices are still subject to demand and very tight supply.”

No one knows how long it’ll take to bring down inflation, and that means the future trajectory of mortgage rates is also unclear. While that uncertainty isn’t comfortable, here’s why both inflation and mortgage rates are important for you and your homeownership plans.

When you buy a home, the mortgage rate and the price of the home matter. Higher mortgage rates impact how much you’ll pay for your monthly mortgage payment – and that directly affects how much you can comfortably afford. And while there’s no denying it’s more expensive to buy and finance a home this year than it was last year, it doesn’t mean you should pause your search. Here’s why.

Homeownership Is Historically a Great Hedge Against Inflation

In an inflationary economy, prices rise across the board. Historically, homeownership is a great hedge against those rising costs because you can lock in what’s likely your largest monthly payment (your mortgage) for the duration of your loan. That helps stabilize some of your monthly expenses. Not to mention, as home prices continue to appreciate, your home’s value will too. That’s why Mark Cussen, Financial Writer at Investopediasays: 

Real estate is one of the time-honored inflation hedges. It’s a tangible asset, and those tend to hold their value when inflation reigns, unlike paper assets. More specifically, as prices rise, so do property values.”

Also, no one is calling for homes to lose value. As Selma Hepp, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogicsays:

“The current home price growth rate is unsustainable, and higher mortgage rates coupled with more inventory will lead to slower home price growth but unlikely declines in home prices.”

In a nutshell, your home search doesn’t have to go on hold because of rising inflation or higher mortgage rates. There’s more to consider when it comes to why you want to buy a home. In addition to shielding yourself from the impact of inflation and growing your wealth through ongoing price appreciation, there are other reasons to buy a home right now like addressing your changing needs and so much more.

Bottom Line

Homeownership is one of the best decisions you can make in an inflationary economy. You get the benefit of the added security of owning your home in a time when experts are forecasting prices to continue to rise.