Will Coronavirus Impact the Housing Market too?

Ever since the outbreak of the Coronavirus from China, things have turned a little upside down. Stores are running out of food and toilet paper. Businesses are closing down, some being forced to close and only do take-out. Even the President has put limits on things such as no gatherings over ten people.

If you’ve been monitoring the situation at all, you know that with all the madness, the stock market has already taken a significant hit and this virus is beginning to affect our economy in many ways. With that being said, the question on everyone’s minds is, “Is the housing market next?”

Will the ramifications of the Coronavirus make their way into the Real Estate world?

One great article from curbed.com dives into this question. Read below for their take on the Coronavirus and the Housing Market, discussing where the market stands, what has happened in years past, and what you should be thinking about both as a potential buyer and a as a homeowner.

HOW CORONAVIRUS IS IMPACTING THE HOUSING MARKET: THE ECONOMY IS GRINDING TO A HALT. WILL THE HOUSING MARKET FOLLOW?

Few homes look their best in the dirty grays of late winter, which is, in part, why homebuying season coincides with the arrival of spring. This year, however, the crocuses that can make a house look that much nicer are showing up alongside the less reassuring news of a virus circling the globe.

The spread of COVID-19—more commonly referred to as coronavirus or novel coronavirus—has officially been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. It’s already claimed more than 6,000 lives worldwide. Major events and conferences have been postponed or canceled, corporations are telling employees to work from home, and the stock market has dropped almost 30 percent since February 24.

The CDC has recommended social distancing as a preventive measure for getting the virus, but if you’re already in the market for a house, all the uncertainty might have you worried about the housing market. Will it suffer a swoon similar to Wall Street?

There are almost 4,000 cases currently confirmed in the United States, and that number is almost certain to rise. The countries where the virus has hit the hardest—namely China, where more than 81,000 cases have been documented—are global manufacturing hubs that corporations use as suppliers. China’s economy has been brought to a standstill as a result of the virus, and the longer it stays that way, the more the United States economy will be effected.

Historically low inventory and rock-bottom mortgage rates would normally set the stage for a highly competitive homebuying season. While recessions normally have only a minor effect on the housing market, the coronavirus is making life and markets anything but normal.

Coronavirus already pushing mortgage rates lower

Late Sunday, the Federal Reserve announced a second emergency interest rate cut since the coronavirus outbreak, bringing the yield on Treasury bonds to almost 0 percent. Furthermore, the stock market crash can have an effect on interest rates, too.

When investors start thinking the stock market is too risky—like right now—they sell their stocks and buy bonds. The increased demand pushes the price of bonds higher. The higher the price of bonds, the lower the interest payment—called the yield—is relative to the price. When bond yields are lower, mortgage rates are lower, too.

However, the New York Times reported that this inverse relationship between stocks and bonds has not held as firm as it has historically, probably in part because interest rates were already so low. Rates are down to around 3.7 percent, and it’s an open question how low mortgage lenders are willing to go, regardless of whether the Federal Reserve cuts its target rate again.

Where the housing market currently stands

The housing market is, in a word, tight. Consider Seattle, where home prices have risen dramatically as it has become one of the country’s leading tech hubs. And while the nation as a whole is suffering from housing shortages, Seattle’s available homes for sale dropped a dramatic 27.6 percent year-over-year in January.

The housing market in other cities isn’t much better off: supply is at near record lows nationwide, and demand is near an all-time high. This combination means home prices are also near all-time highs in most cities as many potential buyers are bidding on a limited supply of homes for sale.

At the end of 2019, the number of houses for sale dropped even lower, particularly on the West Coast. Compared to a year ago, some cities saw double-digit percentage decreases in available homes for sale, although that is partly a function of there having been a supply spike in the second half of 2019, so the decrease looks more stark than it otherwise would.

But the supply spike was short lived. “It’s actually back down near record lows in terms of the level of inventory for many markets and the country as a whole,” says Jeff Tucker, an economist with Zillow.

On the demand side, key indicators suggest there will be a lot of buyers in the market. Low unemployment, solid wage growth, and low mortgage rates are all signals of high demand. Todd Teta of ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate data provider, says they’ve seen unusually high web traffic to real estate portals like Zillow and Redfin.

“We look at the portals, and traffic was way up relative to seasonality than what you saw in January of 2019,” he says. “All those indicators are looking pretty strong.”

It’s hard to forget the recent history, but while the 2008 financial crisis saw both the housing and stock markets drop in tandem, this was an aberration in so many ways; the housing market crash was ultimately the cause of the stock market crash. Typically the housing market isn’t tied to swings in the stock market, because people don’t buy houses purely as an investment. Housing is a basic need, and the decision to buy one is usually prompted by entering a new stage of life.

A newly married couple is moving in together and is buying a house. A couple is having a kid and needs more space to accommodate the baby so they buy bigger house. Empty nesters have more house than they need after their kids go to college, so they downgrade to a smaller house.

A stock market correction doesn’t change these circumstances for people. Even in full-blown recessions, the housing market is incredibly durable. In some previous recessions home prices have actually gone up.

Another thing to consider is that as the stock market drops, investors look for safer places to park their wealth, hence the bond market going up. The stock market drop can have the same effect on the housing market. Roofstock, a platform investors use to buy and sell single-family rental properties, has seen huge spikes in web traffic since the outbreak of the virus, as global investors look for less volatile investment options.

Are homebuilder supply lines being disrupted by coronavirus?

The short answer is yes. Nearly a third of home building material inputs come from China, according to the National Association of Home Builders, not to mention more finished products like bathtubs, sinks, appliances, and more.

This could delay home construction at a time when it has finally picked back up. Since the financial crisis, home building has struggled to keep pace with demand because of the cost of construction, lack of available land, and a construction labor shortage.

However, home builder confidence has skyrocketed in recent months, according to the NAHB. This signals that builders are more inclined to start construction on homes. To wit, new home sales—largely dependent on how many homes are built—have spiked dramatically in recent months, as have construction starts.

But if supply lines are disrupted, it could dampen the pace of home building and contribute to inventory shortages.

“Low interest rates help support demand, and consumer confidence readings in the coming months will be key, but the virus does heighten some of the longer-term challenges on the supply side in terms of housing supply,” says Robert Dietz, an economist with NAHB.

So how should I approach things heading into the spring homebuying season?

The conditions were set for the spring being an incredibly competitive housing market. Inventory is low, demand was high, and mortgage rates are low. If you already own a home, you might consider refinancing while rates are this low; other homeowners are already jumping at the chance.

However, it’s worth taking recent housing market history into consideration. Two years ago, similar conditions existed in the market and one realtor told Curbed that we were entering “the most competitive housing market in recorded history.”

That market didn’t materialize. Instead, home prices hit an affordability ceiling that kept many buyers out of the market. Eager sellers who listed their homes in hopes of taking advantage of the favorable conditions saw their homes linger on the market, leading to an inventory pile up not seen since the 2008 housing crash, particularly on the West Coast.

Home prices are still very high. If the same conditions existed and home prices were a little undervalued, it would likely create rapid home-price appreciation. But with prices already potentially maxed out, it remains to be seen whether current market conditions cause prices to break even higher or hit a ceiling.

The wild card in the housing market is coronavirus. If its impact is prolonged and induces even a minor recession, it could put a damper on demand—which would actually be welcome for buyers in particularly competitive markets. Still, don’t expect home prices to drop. It would likely just slow down the pace at which they are rising.

Listing Feature – 2201 Forest Hills Road

Breathtaking views including city lights and Thumb Butte are captured from this fabulous split-level home near the base of Thumb Butte in Country Club Park. Perfect for a family home or AirBnb investment, this home has been well loved and taken care of.

Complete with a raised hearth fireplace and wood floors, it also has large picture windows that give views in three directions. The main level is comprised of the master suite including bathroom and walk-in closet, office with built-in shelves and desks, a second bedroom, and guest bath. Also on the main level is the sunny kitchen and adjacent morning room. Nearly every window you look out from this home you are met with views and nature.

The lower level has a family room with a fireplace, two bedrooms, two baths, laundry room and a fabulous bonus space which has potential for a great lock-off Airbnb suite.

Nestled on a 1.29 acre tree and boulder studded home site, this house boasts 3168 square feet and a detached over-sized 2.5 car garage with shop. It opens to tiered decking and patios to extend living outdoors with the jaw-dropping views of Prescott we all love.

You don’t want to miss this amazing property with plenty of room for the whole family and land that is to die for!

Interested in seeing this home? Call us today for your showing appointment at 928-771-1111.

Let Us Help You Find the Perfect Home!

After this weekend, we will be in March, which means it’s home buying and selling season! Maybe you’re looking to move into the greater Prescott area because of a job, or to be closer to family, or maybe you just love the area and town and all the amazing qualities it has to offer.

Whatever it may be, we’d love to help you find your dream home here in our beautiful Northern Arizona town.

Reading this article from houseopedia.com, it will give you great insights into what to work with your agent on when talking about buying your new home. Your likes, dislikes, non-negotiables, and everything in between:

Partner with Your Agent to Find the Perfect Home

Your real estate professional is your best asset when searching for potential homes, but your agent needs certain key information to find the right fit. Knowing what to tell your agent can help you make the most out of this important partnership.

Budget. Figure out what you can afford. Think carefully about all the costs of owning a home — not just the down payment and mortgage. Don’t forget about homeowners association fees, maintenance costs, taxes and private mortgage insurance, if you need it. Be honest with yourself and your agent about how much you are willing and able to spend. While not necessary, it’s smart to be preapproved or at least but prequalified for a certain mortgage amount.

Time frame. If you’re in a hurry to find a new place, your agent needs to know. If you have plenty of time to search, agents will handle that differently, perhaps sending periodic listings that match your exact wish list.

Location. Be prepared to tell your agent where you want to live, being as specific as possible. It may be a larger search, such as a radius around a specific location, it may be a particular town or city, or it may be as specific as a single neighborhood. Also let your agent know if you need to be close to public transportation or in a specific school district. He or she may know of an alternative location that you may not have considered.

Type and size. Do you want a single-family home, a condominium, or some other type of property? Size is also an important factor. For example, how many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Do you have a certain square footage in mind? Do you want a small yard or acreage? Think about how much space you need and what is right for your lifestyle. Are you planning a large family? Do you want to maintain a large home or piece of land?

Wish list. It’s a good idea to create a wish list and rank items from most to least important. You may have a certain style of home that your prefer. Many people want a home that is move-in ready. There may be amenities that are important to you. Some of the most common wish list items include updated kitchens and bathrooms, hardwood floors, open floor plans and big yards. Depending on this list, you might be able to find a home that satisfies all your wants and needs for the right price. But often, buyers need to make tradeoffs.

Deal breakers. All homebuyers have certain things they just can’t live with — or without — in a home. Maybe it’s being located next to a busy road or having a driveway on a hill. Or perhaps you must have at least three bedrooms. Whatever your deal breakers might be, tell your agent up front. You’ll save everyone a lot of time and effort.

 

Give us a call today at 928-771-1111 and we’d love to help you on your home search. On top of helping you with everything listed above, we’ve also got dozens of years of Real Estate expertise in the greater Prescott areas.

2020 Housing Market: Economic Perspectives

As we get ready for another month in 2020, let’s look some more about how our housing market is predicted to do this year. Below is an article from realtor.com (which you can read further by clicking here) going over the housing forecast of 2020 from an economic standpoint.

Economic Perspectives

Gross Domestic Product

Economic activity in the United States started 2019 on an upbeat note, fueled by consumer optimism and business confidence. Riding the corporate tax restructuring of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, companies boosted investments and, coupled with solid consumer spending, led to a 4.1 percent annualized gain in gross domestic product (GDP) during the first quarter of the year, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In addition, exports outpaced imports during the period, leading to expectations of increased trade windfalls.

However, as the year wore on, the trade rifts between the US and its trading partners deepened, leading to an escalation in tariffs and overall uncertainty. While consumer optimism remained unabated—leading to a 4.6 percent annualized gain in consumer spending—business confidence waned and resulted in a 1.0 percent drop in investment in the second quarter. Even as government spending picked up the pace, the cumulative effect was a mild 2.0 percent GDP gain in the second quarter.

The loss of momentum was reflected in the third quarter’s GDP figure, which advanced at an initial estimate of 1.9 percent annual rate. The Bureau of Economic Analysis subsequently revised third quarter GDP to 2.1 percent, showing stronger business investment. The Federal Reserve, concerned about a deteriorating global economic outlook, decided to boost liquidity in the financial system, in an effort to prevent an economic slide.

Monetary Policy

The Federal Reserve moved into 2019 signaling through its forward guidance that, as the economy continued on an expansionary track, it would maintain a policy focused on monetary tightening. Markets expected at least two additional short-term interest rate increases at the outset of the year.

Towards the midpoint of the year, however, the central bank’s policy shifted, in response to global changes. While the US economy continued showing signs of growth, major economies around the world slowed. In response to the slowdown, central banks around the world engaged in accommodative monetary responses, resorting to cutting rates and purchasing assets, in an effort to boost output. Along with the Bank of Japan, several central banks in Europe took interest rates into negative territory, attempting to spur investment and liquidity. In response, world currencies dropped against the US dollar, adding pressure on US exporters and sectors sensitive to currency risks.

The Federal Reserve decided to change tack in light of these shifts, and responded by cutting rates 3 times, at the Federal Open Market Committee’s meetings in July, September, and October. The central bank also expressed that it would move from a longer term outlook to a shorter term horizon, assessing incoming economic data through the year to guide its policy actions. While the bank’s two main objectives—stable employment and low inflation—remained on track in 2019, the rate cuts seemed aimed at walking a tightrope between maintaining US economic momentum amid a global economic moderation and placating investors’ expectations for growth.

Employment

Mirroring the shift in business confidence, the pace of employment growth moderated in the first three quarters of 2019. While companies continued adding positions to their payrolls, the number of net new jobs totaled 1.45 million during the January to September timeframe, 27 percent lower than the same period in 2018, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The professional and business services sector—the main driver of employment growth during the past decade—took a back seat to the healthcare and social assistance sector, accounting for 311,000 net new jobs, a 29 percent decline from 2018. With over 410,000 new jobs added to payrolls, the healthcare sector led the pack, posting a 19 percent gain compared with the same period in 2018. Stemming from solid growth in business travel, the lodging and food services sector provided the third largest number of net new jobs in the first nine months of 2019, with 136,000 employees added to payrolls.

As the corporate outlook dimmed partway through the year, employment in manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities slowed. In addition, despite strong demand for housing, construction companies hired 58 percent fewer employees in 2019 compared with the prior year. The slowdown in hiring was also evident in other sectors, such as mining and logging, financial activities, as well as arts, entertainment and recreation.

Government entities also reflected shifting priorities in 2019. After an extended period of flat hiring, the federal government added 45,000 new positions during the first nine months of the year. Local governments—enjoying rising property tax revenues—also went on a hiring spree, adding 91,000 new employees to payrolls, a 44 percent increase year-over-year. State governments pared back their hiring, adding a more moderate 20,000 new jobs.

The pace of employment, while slower than a year ago, pushed the unemployment rate to 3.6 percent in the third quarter of 2019, the same rate last experienced in the second half of 1969. The labor force participation rate reached 62.8 percent in the third quarter of the year, slightly below the average rate recorded over the past decade. While wages gained ground during 2019, at 3.0 percent during the first half of the year, when adjusted for inflation, they managed a more modest 1.2 percent year-over-year average gain.

Consumer Confidence

Consumer confidence spent the better part of 2019 moving sideways, despite monthly fluctuations. In September, the Present Situation component of the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index was unchanged compared with the same month in 2018. However, the Expectations component dropped 15 percent over the figure from the prior year, leading to an 8 percent decline in the overall index, and implying that consumers were expecting deteriorating conditions over the next few months.

2020 Economic Outlook

As economic momentum moderated through 2019 and global headwinds gather, GDP growth is projected to post a modest 1.7 percent advance in 2020. As the housing share of expenses continues rising, consumers—the largest contributor to output—will likely trim back on non-housing spending. A slowdown in consumer spending, coupled with rising global uncertainty and market volatility, can be expected to lead companies to contain costs and trim employment goals. An employment slowdown will move the unemployment rate from 3.6 percent at the start of 2020 to 3.9 percent by the end of the year—a jobless rate still below what would be expected in a healthy economy, but a shift in the wrong direction. In turn, consumer confidence will soften during the year, with the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index estimated to decline 21 percent.

Following the Federal Reserve’s monetary accommodation, inflation expectations remain modest and well-anchored, translating into a 2.0 percent year-over-year increase in 2020. While short term rates remain low, economic moderation is likely to impact bond markets, leading to mortgage rates moving mostly sideways in 2020. Rates for 30-year fixed mortgages are projected to average 3.85 percent during the next year.

 

Homeowners Buying a New Home in the 2020’s

If you are currently a homeowner, there’s a 45% chance that you’re planning to sell your home and move to a new one within this decade according to lendingtree.com.

With a booming market there are plenty of reasons homeowners might be considering making a move in the next 10 years. Moving because you want a newer and nicer home, moving to cash out on the investment that is your home, changing cities or states, moving closer to kids or grand-kids, retiring, opting to go back to renting rather than owning, and so much more!

CLICK HERE to read this great article from lendingtree.com on how and why homeowners are making an address change in the 2020’s.

Are We In a Housing Bubble?

With higher home prices that just keep rising and a competitive real estate market, the phrase “housing bubble” is one that has been getting tossed around a lot as of late. People are wondering and worrying if there will be another housing market crash, afraid to buy in the event that there is or propelled to sell to make the most of their money while they can.

Well, while no one can say for certain because we can’t predict the future, many real estate professionals are leaning on the side of no, we are not headed for another crash.

Check out this article from scottsdalerealtors.org that details why many believe this is not a concern to be had:

Financial blogger Logan Mohtashami is not the first and certainly won’t be the last to write about whether the U.S. is entering another housing bubble.

With more than 30 years of experience in the home lending business, he recently remarked “it is bullish for housing that year-over-year real home prices went negative last year” as shown on the three Case-Shiller indexes below.

“Despite what some want you to believe, this housing cycle is not in a bubble. Look at the difference in the metrics for the real bubble years of 2002-2005 compared to the current cycle years 2012-2020.” – Logan Mohtashami | HousingWire

Did the Valley mirror this cycle? See the Cromford Market Index graph shared by senior analyst Tina Tamboer at the Scottsdale REALTORS® Influencer Marketing panel.

“What pushed demand so high?,” Tamboer asked the sellout crowd. “Dumb loans and false demand — somebody buying the house who’s not going to live in it and not going to rent it. Now, we’re back to normal demand, but we have no houses for them to buy.”

Despite the market rollercoaster, Tamboer said homeowners who kept their homes through the Bubble and the Crash saw a 20-year average Annual Appreciation Rate of 4.5%. Between 2009 and 2019, that rate more than doubled to 9.3% as shown below.

Listing Feature – 9560 N. Rincon Ridge Trail

Check out our gorgeous new listing in the desirable Legend Hills!

This home has breathtaking views of both the city lights and distant mountains, including Mingus Mountain as a backdrop.

Coming with its own gated entry and perimeter fencing, this single level home sits on 2.07 acres well-suited for dogs, horses, and kids (two hoofed animals per acre are allowed per the HOA – no pigs but goats are okay).

This warm and inviting home has 4 bedrooms, an office/den, and a great room with an open floor plan. The great room features a gorgeous floor-to-ceiling stacked-rock wood-burning fireplace and wood-look tile flooring runs throughout all living areas.

The master bedroom is roomy and inviting with its own entrance onto the back porch, a spacious walk-in closet, dual vanity sinks, a large walk-in shower, and a luxurious bathtub.

Other features include a walk-in pantry, 4-burner stove plus griddle, granite counter tops, a split bedroom floor plan, 8 foot doors, 9 foot ceilings, a separate laundry room with ample storage and utility sink, covered decks in the front and back of the house, a 3-car garage with a paver driveway, and a dog run.

There are also great wells in this area – pumping 30+ gpm at the time of drilling.

Interested in this amazing listing? Give us a call at 928-771-1111, we’d love to tell you more about it!

The 2020 Housing Market by ARMLS

As we kick off the 2020 Real Estate season, we love to look at what some trusted sources around our state have to say about it. What are their predictions? Will the market keep booming, or take a dip?

That being said, here is what Scottsdale’s multiple listing service (aka ARMLS) has to say about what the housing market might look like in the year 2020:

2020 Housing Market: Gen X, Boomers, and Millennials

As we head into 2020, many in the Real Estate industry, or those who are looking to buy or sell this year, may be wondering what the market will look like in the months to come and overall this year.

According to Realtor.com, one factor playing a major roll in the housing market this year is age groups. Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, and Millennials will all have an effect on the year 2020, just as they started to in 2019.

With Gen Xers and Baby Boomers:

Though many are beginning to retire and seek places that are sunnier, warmer, have lower taxes, and have lower costs of living, many are also opting to hang onto their homes a little longer than they did in the past. This is causing a diminish in home supply – even more of a diminish than there was before – and a diminish that new home builds cannot keep up with in order to keep inventory steady.

When it comes to mortgages, around 32% of home purchases this year are projected to be from Gen Xers, while around 17% of home purchases are projected to be from the Baby Boomer generation, a smaller percentage than in previous years.

About Millennials:

As for millennials, they are projected to make up a whopping 50% of all home purchases this year! That means they’ll take out more mortgages than the Gen Xers and Baby Boomers combined.

While some may think that Millennials are just looking for hip apartments in the city within walking distance to everything (or are drowning in too much student debt to hold their own in the Real Estate market), that isn’t the case. Not only are Millennials looking for other types of homes – such as an 1,800 square foot house in the suburbs – but they also have peak savings for down payments. The median age for millennials is 30 years old, which is also the age of the average home buyer now. These 30-somethings are starting families and seeking homes in good neighborhoods closer to good schools.

The only problem millennials will face, as will every other home buyer this year, is the inventory shortage, making it harder for them to find the right home.

 

This is just one factor looking to affect the 2020 market this year, but there are many more, which we’ll continue to write about in blogs to come. If you’re looking to possibly buy or sell a home this year, we’d love to help you in any way we can! You can call us at 928-771-1111.

Your Guide to Home Appraisals

Well, you did it, you found your dream house! Now that that part is done with, it’s time to cross all your T’s and dot all your I’s before you can call it home. One of the things to be done before you can close on your potential new home is the home appraisal. But, some might be wondering, what exactly is that?

The home appraisal is essentially a value assessment of the home and property. It is conducted by a certified third party and is used to determine whether the home is priced appropriately. What this does is protect you from over-paying for a home, but also it protects the company who is lending to you, which we’ll talk about in more detail below.

During a home appraisal, the appraiser conducts a complete visual inspection of the interior and exterior of the home. He or she factors in a variety of things, including the home’s floor plan, functionality, condition, location, school district, fixtures, lot size, and more. Upward adjustments can be made for things such as a home having  a deck, a view, or a large yard. The appraiser will also compare the home to several similar homes that were sold within the last six months in the area. By doing this, they make sure that the home you are buying is selling for what similar homes like it have sold for, thus validating its listed price.

The final report must include a street map showing the property and the ones’ compared, photographs of the interior and exterior, an explanation on how the square footage was calculated, market sales data, public land records, and more. All of these things, in the end, help show how the appraiser came to the conclusion they did when they say whether or not the home appraised.

After the appraisal is complete, the lender uses the information found to ensure that the property is worth the amount they are investing. This is a safe-guard for the lender as the home acts as collateral for the mortgage. If the buyer defaults on the mortgage and goes into foreclosure, the lender generally sells the home to recover the money borrowed.

If a home does not appraise for the price it is being purchased for, a lender will not lend that money in order for the buyer to get the home because it puts their investment at risk. When this happens, the sellers and buyers have a few options. The sellers can come down to the appraised price, or they can try to contest the appraisal and show that the home is worth what it is being sold for. The buyers can try to come up with more cash down to the cover the difference in sales price and appraisal price (generally not recommended because then you are buying a home for more than it is worth), or if the seller will not come down on price, the buyer can walk away.

This is just a very short description of home appraisals and how they generally work. If you still have questions, we’d love to talk to you more about them and you can always call our office at 928-771-1111.