Home sales numbers are leveling off, the rate of price appreciation has slowed to more historically normal averages, and inventory is finally increasing. We are headed into a more normal housing market.
However, some are seeing these adjustments as red flags and are suggesting that we are headed back to the same challenges we experienced in 2008. Today, let’s look at one set of statistics that prove the current market is nothing like the one that preceded the housing crash last decade.
The previous bubble was partially caused by unhealthy levels of mortgage debt. New purchasers were putting down the minimum down payment, resulting in them having little if any equity in their homes.
Existing homeowners were using their homes as ATMs by refinancing and swapping their equity for cash. When prices started to fall, many homeowners found themselves in a negative equity situation (where their mortgage was higher than the value of their home) so they walked away which caused prices to fall even further. When this happened, even more homeowners found themselves in negative equity situations which caused them to walk away as well, and so a vicious cycle formed.
Today, the equity situation is totally different. According to a new report from ATTOM Data Solutions more than 1-in-4 homes with a mortgage have at least 50% equity. The report explains:
“…nearly 14.5 million U.S. properties were equity rich — where the combined estimated amount of loans secured by the property was 50 percent or less of the property’s estimated market value…The 14.5 million equity rich properties in Q3 2018 represented 25.7 percent of all properties with a mortgage.”
If we take both numbers, the 30.3% of all homes without a mortgage and the 17.9% with at least 50% equity (25.7% of the 69.3% of homes with a mortgage), we realize that 48.2% of all homes in the country have at least 50% equity.
Unlike 2008, almost half of the homeowners in the country are sitting on massive amounts of home equity. They will not be walking away from their homes if the housing market begins to soften.
In real estate, the spring is often seen as the ideal time to buy or sell a house. The term “Spring Buyer’s Season” exists for a reason, as renters and those looking to move on from their current home thaw out from the winter and hit the market ready to buy.
According to Bank of America’s annualHome Buyer Insights Report, 41% of renters surveyed agree that spring is the best time to buy a home. The surprising result, however, is that when ranking the seasons, winter comes in second at 24%.
In many areas of the country, the spring and summer are the most competitive seasons for buyers. Families with children often want to move over the summer to make sure that their kids are ready for school in the fall. This often leads those families who haven’t found homes to buy to push pause on their search in the fall and winter months.
This creates a great environment for buyers to find a home with less competition. According to moving.com, scheduling a move during the winter months also comes with the best price.
“If you define ‘best’ by cost then, generally speaking, you are more likely to save on a move during the late September to April window. Demand for movers usually slows down during this time frame and rates are low.”
There are also many benefits to listing your house for sale during the winter months as well!
As we recently mentioned, buyers who are out in the winter are serious about wanting to find a home, and there is traditionally less competition on the market which gives you greater exposure to those buyers.
As always, the best time to buy or move all depends on each individual buyer or seller’s goals and needs. If you are one of the many who would like to make a move this winter, let’s get together to create a plan to make it happen!
Many sellers believe that spring is the best time to place their homes on the market because buyer demand traditionally increases at that time of year, but what they don’t realize is that if every homeowner believes the same thing, then that is when they will have the most competition!
The #1 Reason to List Your Home in the Winter Months is Less Competition!
Housing supply traditionally shrinks at this time of year, so the choices buyers have will be limited. The chart below was created using the months’ supply of listings from the National Association of Realtors.
As you can see, the ‘sweet spot’ to list your home for the most exposure naturally occurs in the late fall and winter months (November – February).
Temperatures aren’t the only thing that heats up in the spring – so do listings!
In 2017, listings increased by nearly half a million houses from December to June. Don’t wait for these listings to come to market before you decide to list your house.
Added Bonus: Only Serious Buyers Are Out in the Winter
At this time of year, only those purchasers who are serious about buying a home will be in the marketplace. You and your family will not be bothered and inconvenienced by mere ‘lookers.’ The lookers are at the mall or online doing their holiday shopping.
If you have been debating whether or not to sell your home and are curious about market conditions in your area, let’s get together to help you decide the best time to list your house for sale.