Outperforming the housing market

In 2011 I wrote an article exploring the question of outperforming the housing market by attempting to time real estate transactions. The question was then aimed at home buyers and sellers. New research published in the Journal of Real Estate Research reveals more interesting data as it relates to real estate investors.

outperforming the housing market
markets are cyclical

In my 2011 analysis of research and data, I discussed why attempting to “time the market” as an owner occupant wasn’t very favorable. It appeared as if attempting to time a purchase or sale didn’t yield the desired result. The conclusion was that long term home ownership was probably better than speculating on buying and selling homes on the exact bottom or top of the housing market.

Likewise, home sellers waiting for the housing market to rebound before making a move probably missed an opportunity as well. So, who is outperforming the housing market?

A recent article published by Wong, Deng, and Chau in the Journal of Real Estate Research (Do Short-Term Real Estate Investors Outperform the Market?; 2022, Vol. 44 Issue 2, p287-309) reveals an interesting conclusion.

The study attempted to further look into the incentives of short-term real estate investors, specifically how various market conditions affect short-term real estate investor performance. The study analyzed real estate transaction data from Hong Kong and found that three economic conditions were favorable to the investor’s performance that seem to mimic the current low-inventory market we are experiencing here. The three items that help the investor performance are: 1) having few sale comparables; 2) having sale prices of the comparables dispersed; and 3) market prices go down. The study’s conclusion is that buying and reselling withing three months generates a gross return that is 6 percent above market appreciation. The authors caution that their study is limited such that there are multiple investor strategies that need to be studied as to the effects on short-term real estate investor performance. They describe short-term real estate investors as engaging in arbitrage, which by definition is basically “home flipping.”

By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2022

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Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Perception of a housing crisis

If you’ve watched the news lately, you might get the feeling that the housing market is imploding.  Unfortunately, the talking heads are reporting the titles of the news releases, such as the October 20th National Association of Realtors press release headline “Existing-Home Sales Decreased 1.5% in September,” without delving into the details. Like anything else that’s reported, just parroting a headline doesn’t tell the entire story. Get the big picture and avert the perception of a housing crisis.

perception of a housing crisis
Home price forecast

Here are the highlights of the NAR report: “Existing-home sales sagged for the eighth consecutive month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.71 million. Sales slipped 1.5% from August and 23.8% from the previous year. The median existing-home sales price increased to $384,800, up 8.4% from one year ago. The inventory of unsold existing homes declined for the second straight month to 1.25 million by the end of September, or the equivalent of 3.2 months’ supply at the current monthly sales pace.”

The takeaway is that yes, existing-home sales have been sluggish (eight consecutive months), however does that mean a housing crash? No. Consider the other important data points included in the news release: the median existing-home sale price increased 8.4 percent year-over-year, AND the inventory of unsold homes continues to decrease.

What’s your perception of a housing crisis ? For many, the memories are still fresh of the housing crisis of 2007 and subsequent foreclosure crisis. So, it’s not surprising that the media’s alarms go off when existing-home sales drop as they did recently. However, the fundamentals of today’s housing market are much different than that of 2008-2010. During the housing crisis of 2007, home sale prices plummeted when home sales dropped. Additionally, inventories of unsold homes swelled to record levels.

Today’s housing market is much different and looking at the entire picture, the stats tell a different story than what is being portrayed by the media. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun chalks up the decline in sales to increasing mortgage interest rates, which are approaching the accepted historical average of 7 to 8 percent.  He also points out “…Despite weaker sales, multiple offers are still occurring with more than a quarter of homes selling above list price due to limited inventory… The current lack of supply underscores the vast contrast with the previous major market downturn from 2008 to 2010, when inventory levels were four times higher than they are today.”

By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2022

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Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Reading the housing stats

There has been lots of speculation about the economy and the housing market.  Reading the housing stats, there are a few similarities in today’s housing market compared to that of 2006-2007.  However, there are also many differences. 

Reading the housing stats
Home sale inventory is increasing

Of course, many of you reading the housing stats and bring up that this is as an indication of impending implosion. For example, the National Association of Realtors August 24th press release report on pending home sales indicated that pending home sales “…dropped slightly by 1.0% from June. It was the second straight monthly decline and the eighth in the last nine months.” There are however, regional differences, “Pending sales fell in three of four major regions, with the West posting a small increase. Compared to the prior year, contract signings declined by double digits in each region, with pending sales in the West down 30%.” Pending home sales is a measure of how many homes went under contract during a specified period of time.

Existing-home sales (resale homes) also declined according to the National Association of Realtors.  The NAR August 18th press release reported that existing-home sales “…fell for the sixth consecutive month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.81 million. Sales were down 5.9% from June and 20.2% from one year ago.

Although the contracts and sales are evening out, home prices continue to climb. As reported by the NAR, the median home sale price increased 10.8 percent from the same time last year.  According to National Association of Realtors Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, “Home prices are still rising by double-digit percentages year-over-year, but annual price appreciation should moderate to the typical rate of 5% by the end of this year and into 2023. With mortgage rates expected to stabilize near 6% alongside steady job creation, home sales should start to rise by early next yearThe ongoing sales decline reflects the impact of the mortgage rate peak of 6% in early June. Home sales may soon stabilize since mortgage rates have fallen to near 5%, thereby giving an additional boost of purchasing power to home buyers.

And for those of you who are interested in distressed sales, distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have been essentially unchanged over the last year. July sales comprised about 1% of distressed sales. 

By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2022

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Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

The changing housing market is still viable

There are a number of ways to determine a changing housing market.  An obvious indicator of a changing housing market is a swelling home sale inventory.  According to the National Association of Realtors July 20th press release, “inventory of unsold existing homes rose to 1.26 million by the end of June, or the equivalent of 3.0 months at the current monthly sales pace.”  As a matter of comparison, home sale inventory rose 9.6 percent from the previous month, and 2.4 percent from the same time last year.

changing housing market
what experts are saying

Another indicator of a changing housing market is remodeling activity.  Believe it or not, there is an index for this.  The Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) is a product of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The LIRA projects that investments in home remodeling will “decelerate” from 2022’s 17.4 percent to 10.1 percent by the second quarter of 2023.

In a July 19th press release, Project Director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Center, Carlos Martín, stated: “Slowing sales of existing homes, rising mortgage interest rates, and moderating house price appreciation are expected to dampen owners’ investments in home improvements and maintenance over the coming year. Steep slowdowns in homebuilding, retail sales of building materials, and renovation permits all also point to a cooling environment for residential remodeling”

Although a changing market sounds ominous, it’s still a viable market. Abbe Will, Associate Project Director of the Remodeling Futures Program, stated: “While beginning to soften, growth in spending for home improvements and repairs is expected to remain well above the market’s historical average of 5 percent. In the first half of 2023, annual remodeling expenditures are still set to expand to nearly $450 billion.”

Other signs the market is still viable, is that first time home buyers are still a large part of the market, and all-cash transactions continue to be a factor as well.  As indicated in NAR’s press release, first-time home buyers accounted for 30 percent of the home sales in June, which is an increase from May, but slightly down from the 31 percent the same time last year. Additionally, buyers paying all cash accounted for 25 percent of home sales, which is an increase from 23 percent the same time last year.

A final note on the health of the housing market, NAR reported that distressed, foreclosure and short sales accounted for less than 1 percent of home sales during June, which is basically unchanged from the previous year.

By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2022

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Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Local housing market changing

Lately, the housing market is definitely making noise and grabbing everyone’s attention, and not in a good way.  However, we won’t actually know how it plays out until it’s over.  As the idiom says “hindsight is 20/20.”   Nevertheless, if you’re currently in the market to sell or buy a home, pay attention to current local housing market conditions as they are critical to your decision making.

Here we go…

Changing housing market
More home are being listed for sale

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index (spglobal.com) reported in a June 28 press release that average April 2022 home prices increased 20.4 percent from April 2021.  Tampa, Miami, and Phoenix led metro areas with 35.8 percent, 33.3 percent and 31.3 percent gains respectively.

We won’t really know if rising interest rates have any effect on home prices for several months.  Home pricing and sales data is reported in hindsight (data is reported three to four months behind).  The Case-Shiller release points out that mortgage rates just began to increase when these stats were being compiled (April).  However, the recent S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index is already showing home price moderation (even before rising mortgage rates).  The Year-to Date S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the US only shows an increase of 7.95 percent, while the 3-month index increased 6.66 percent and 1-month only increased 2.08 percent

Rising mortgage interest rates is only part of the economic story that is developing.  It was likely that home prices were already moderating as a reaction to the year and a half of sharp increases.  As I wrote last week, we are in the beginning of the shifting housing cycle.  Mixing in other economic factors, such as mortgage rates etc., can either make the housing market more sever or temperate.  And as I mentioned, we won’t know for sure until it has happened.

Bottom line

If you’re currently in the market to buy and/or sell a home, focus on the short-term local trends.  Speculation of future national home prices and home sales may be interesting, however is meaningless in the here and now.  You should hire a seasoned professional to help understand your neighborhood’s trend, as well as being informed about your potential competition and the local housing market inventory. 

If you’re buying a home, work with a seasoned real estate agent who can provide valid comps and analysis before you make an offer.  Also, consider having a thorough home inspection.  In the last year and half, home buyers felt forced to forgo the inspection to make their offer competitive.  However, in the changing market, home inspections will return.

If you’re selling a home, be aware that home pricing strategies that were lucrative last year won’t work to your advantage this year.  It’s nice to think that your home could sell for a peak price much like other neighborhood homes that sold twelve to twenty-four months ago.  However, in a changing market, overpricing your home sale could be counterproductive, driving potential home buyers to competing homes.

By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2022

Protected by Copyscape Web Plagiarism Detector

Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.