Home Sale Predictions 2021

home sale predictions
Home equity 2020

Given the performance of the housing market this year, can we make home sale predictions for next year? The housing market had quite a year!  It’s amazing how resilient the market is, which demonstrates the appeal of homeownership.  Even after a significant spring slowdown, home sales rebounded to record levels in the fall.  NAR’s Existing Home Sales and Pending Home Sale Indices for October 2020 increased year-over-year 26.6 and 20 percent respectively (nar.realtor).  Even as we headed toward the holidays, NAR’s November Existing Home Sales increased 25.8 percent year-over-year.  And year-over-year median home prices increased 14.6 percent. 

While some experts expect the recent housing market activity to continue, others question if this intense home buying is sustainable.  Making home sale predictions for the new year has always been predicated on recent trends.  However, 2020 was different.  Unexpected and unusual events occurred throughout the year affecting the housing market.  First taking a pause because of an economic shock, home sales made up ground later in the year. 

Recent trends suggest that home buying will continue at a healthy rate, as long as the economy remains relatively similar.  However, being an election year there is anticipation for change.  Even many economists, who are typically ready to offer their opinion, are ambivalent about the economy.  This may suggest that the economic outlook for the near future is uncertain.

A main factor to watch in 2021, is employment.  It’s a known fact that unemployment directly effects home sales.  In periods of increasing unemployment, home sales decline.  A 2010 Florida Realtors (floridayrealtors.org) survey demonstrated a correlation between unemployment and foreclosures.  There is no coincidence that home sales strongly rebounded along with employment and the economy.  If employment remains stable into 2021, home sales will continue to over-perform. 

Other factors that will drive the housing market in 2021 include mortgage interest rates, home sale inventory, and home buyer demand. 

Mortgage rates have been relatively low since 2008.  At that time, rates hovered in the low 4’s, and were though to be “historically low.”  Also, consider that mortgage rates were in the 18 percent range during the early 1980’s.  Even during the go-go market of 2005-2006, rates hovered in the 6 percent range.  But the most recent mortgage interest rate average of 2.66 percent for a 30-year-fixed rate is described as “another record low” by Freddie Mac’s December 24th 2020 Primary Mortgage Market Survey (freddiemac.com).  If mortgage rates remain low, home buyers will be incentivized to buy homes.

Another after-effect of the Great Recession, which continues today, is low home sale inventory.  The Great Recession changed how consumers thought of housing.  Since 2008, home owners have remained in their homes much longer.  Many growing families make due with smaller spaces, rather than moving-up to a larger home.  Many older home owners are deciding to “age in place,” in lieu of down-sizing.  And telecommuting is outpacing job relocation.  Home sale inventory of non-distressed properties will continue to remain low through 2021.

There is always “home buyer demand.”  Meaning there are always active home buyers.  However, the strength of the demand varies.  Home buyer demand is typically gauged in hindsight through home sales and pending home sales.  When you combine housing stats with other factors, such as employment, economy, and mortgage rates you can estimate the strength of future home buyer demand.  If economic factors remain stable, home buyer demand will continue to be strong in 2021. 

Original published at https://dankrell.com/blog/2020/12/27/home-sale-predictions-2021/

By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2020

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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.

Price is Everything

Price is everything
Home owner equity

Home sellers want to get top dollar, and home buyers want value.  This is a hard to truth to acknowledge, but regardless of your home’s condition, location, etc. it all comes down to the home sale price.  Don’t just take my word on it. There’s plenty of peer reviewed research on the topic.  For example, Han and Strange’s study that demonstrates how home price effects home buyers’ response and motivation to visit and/or make an offer on your home (What is the Role of the Asking Price for a House?; Journal of Urban Economics; Volume 93, May 2016, P115-130).  The conclusion indicated that list prices that are consistent with neighborhood values (not overpriced) maximize home buyer engagement.  Price is everything .

The “price is everything” concept applies to any housing market.  It applies when the market is slow, and even when the market is doing well.  Take for example this year, when it seemed as if any home that come on the market sold quickly. However, there’s a caveat: homes that were priced correctly sold quickly.  Homes that were overpriced took much longer to sell.  For those overpriced homes that sold, they sold for less than original list price. 

As home prices continue to appreciate, home sellers are eager to push the envelope when setting their list price.  But home buyers are savvy and won’t overpay for a home, so creating a realistic pricing strategy is key to your home sale success.  Things to consider include your home’s condition, your local market, and your competition.

The main tool to help you decide on a list price is the CMA (comparative market analysis), which you can get from your agent.  The CMA is not an appraisal, but it is a snapshot of market activity for similar homes in your market area.  The CMA can show how homes like yours (that are similar in size, style, age and condition) sell by price and days on market.  Typically, the CMA is broken down into 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month segments to show how home sales are trending.  Compare active homes to homes that sold as well as those that didn’t sell for sale price and days-on-market).  Also be aware of any seller concession, which can affect your net sale.  Finally keep track of neighborhood active listings, this is your competition that can also help you modulate your price if needed.

To help sellers understand how their homes compare to the competition, I used to advise clients to visit neighborhood open houses.  This was helpful in understanding how to prepare their homes by comparing the homes’ condition and features.  Although visiting open houses may not be practical for you these days, technology makes it easy to see the interior of home via HD pictures, virtual tours and floor plans. 

Another pricing strategy that many home sellers use to get more buyer traffic is “just-below” pricing.  Just-below pricing is reducing your decided list price below the rounded number.  For example, if your list price is $450,000, the just-below price might be $449,900. This strategy was demonstrated through research by Beracha and Seiler (The Effect of Pricing Strategy on Home Selection and Transaction Prices: An Investigation of the Left-Most Digit Effect; Journal of Housing Research; 2015; Vol. 24, No. 2, pp.147-161).  Just-below pricing works best the list price is rounded down to the nearest hundred or thousand.

Original published at https://dankrell.com/blog/2020/12/20/price-is-everything/

By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2020

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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.

Rent vs Buy 2021

rent vs buy 2021
Increasing rent

Thinking of your Rent vs Buy 2021 question? Consider Quarterly Residential Vacancies and Homeownership released by the US Census (census.gov) for the third quarter of 2020 is very interesting.  First the good news is that the US homeownership rate is the highest it’s been in a decade!  The seasonally adjusted US homeownership rate of 68.2 percent recorded in the second quarter 2020, was the highest rate since 2007.  In fact, the homeownership rate hasn’t had two consecutive quarters above 67 percent since 2009.  As you remember, the homeownership rate progressively dropped through 2015 to hover in the 63 percent range, which was the lowest homeownership rate in several generations.

rent vs buy 2021
Homeownership rate 1997-2020

The story of the housing market this year has been nothing short of phenomenal.  Initially thwarted by a dismal spring market, only to rebound at a record setting pace.  Even with historically low existing home sale inventory and rising home prices, eager home buyers are actively pursuing homeownership. 

On the flip side, the second and third quarter US rental vacancy rates are the lowest since 2008.  And the mean US rental asking rent of $1,600 marks a high point as rents continue to creep higher.  Of course, homeownership rates and rental vacancies will vary significantly depending on the region and locality.  However, looking at the US averages is a good benchmark to see trends develop.

For many, comparing increasing rent versus a low interest mortgage rates makes buying a home the answer to the rent vs buy 2021 question.  A November 8, 2012 article from Realtor Magazine (Rising Rents Press More Americans to Make Big Decision; magazine.realtor) describes the renter’s plight, by saying, “Rental price expectations continue to rise and are much higher than home price expectations…” This sentiment continues to hold true.  Besides escaping rising rents, many home buyers are drawn to the touted benefits of homeownership, including increased well-being and wealth-building.

How do you know if renting or buying is better?  First, when deciding on the rent vs buy 2021 question, there are many other considerations besides rising rents.  Consider how long you intend to live in the area.  Renting is often the housing solution if you think your residence in the area is temporary. 

Next, if you don’t already have one, create a housing budget.  Besides deciding on how much rent you can afford, talk to a mortgage lender to get prequalified to further help you understand how much you can afford to pay for mortgage or rent. 

Once you have a budget of what you can afford, create an estimated renter’s and home owner’s budget to compare.  Besides the basic housing payment (rent or mortgage), there are other items that need to be taken into account and can vary depending if you rent or own.  These other items include (but not limited to) monthly utilities, insurance, and maintenance.  To help with estimating the “extras,” start by asking the landlord and/or home seller for twelve months of utility bills (Montgomery County MD requires home sellers to provide this for owner-occupied homes).  Ask your insurance agent for a quote to compare renters’ vs homeowners’ insurance. 

Home maintenance is usually forgotten and not budgeted.  Tenants typically have minimal maintenance, which is an attraction to renting.  Generally, home maintenance for owners usually includes having seasonal or annual inspections on the home’s systems (e.g., HVAC, roof, etc).  Additionally, you have to budget to repair and/or replace systems as they age. 

By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2020

Original located at https://dankrell.com/blog/2020/12/13/rent-vs-buy-2021/

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Home Prices 2021

It’s almost inconceivable to think that the housing market will undergo a foreclosure crisis similar to what we went through back in 2008.  How will home prices 2021 be affected by an impending wave of foreclosures?

home prices 2021
Home Buyer traffic 2020

If you remember, the 2007 housing market peaked as home prices skyrocketed.  Homes were a hot commodity as home buyers and speculators seemingly could not get enough.  But by the fall 2007, as if someone flipped a switch, inventory piled up.  There was a reckoning in 2008 as the market was flooded with foreclosures.  Home prices dropped to the lowest levels in a decade and days-on-market averaged in months.  It took five years for home prices to stabilize and maintain solid gains.

Fast forward to the 2020 lockdowns.  The housing market took off like a rocket during the summer and fall, after taking several months off.  Pent-up demand was the catalyst for record home sales leaving inventory depleted and forced upward pressure on home prices.  Housing is again economy’s workhorse.

A November 19th NAR press release (nar.realtor) touting October home sales indicated that existing-home sales increased 26.6 percent year-over-year!   Additionally, the median existing-home sale price increased 16 percent year-over-year.  All this occurred as home sale inventory levels are historically low.  Interestingly, it was noted that about 70% of homes sold during October, which means not all homes sold.

Additionally, October’s pending home sales point to a strong market into 2021.  The NAR’s October Pending Home Sale Index indicated that although new contracts declined a slight 1.1 percent from September to October, the year-over-year new contracts increased about 20 percent!

With stats like this, many industry experts are expecting a strong housing market and increased home prices 2021.  The high expectations for the housing market is demonstrated by a December 3rd HousingWire report (housingwire.com) titled, “Even with low inventory, expect a strong 2021 housing market.

home prices 2021
Home Sale Inventory 2020

And as many celebrate this hot housing market during a global pan-demic, some are raising concerns about the many home owners who are delinquent on their mortgages.  Unfortunately, delinquent mortgages haven’t received as much coverage as it probably should have.  Many home owners are unable to stay current on their mortgages due to lock-down job cutbacks.  As a result, some are expecting a surge in foreclosure notices.

An October 13th CoreLogic press release indicated that the July mortgage delinquency rate (30 days or more late) was 6.6 percent.  Although the rate slightly dropped from June’s 7.1 percent, serious delinquencies (90 days or more past due) jumped to 4.1 percent (compared to 1.3 percent a year earlier).  Serious delinquencies are the highest since April 2014.  Troubling is that mortgages which are 120 days or more late surged to 1.4 percent – which is a 21-year high, eclipsing the 2009 peak!  The metropolitan areas experiencing the highest delinquency rates are those where home price increases made the most gains (such as New York, Miami, Las Vegas, and Houston). 

So, what does this mean?

An August 27th CoreLogic report made a case for declining home prices in 2021.  There’s no denying it, there is a foreclosure wave waiting in the wings.  It’s unclear when the foreclosures will occur because of the current pan-demic moratorium.  However, if foreclosures are as numerous as they were in 2008, home prices 2021 will likely decline when these homes come to market.

By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2020

Original located at https://dankrell.com/blog/2020/12/05/home-prices-2021/

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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.

Real Estate Agent Personality

real estate agent personality
Working with a real estate agent (infographic from keepingcurrentmatters.com)

Many home buyers and sellers don’t give much thought in choosing their real estate agent. They may decide to work with an agent after meeting once or a phone call.  But having the right agent by your side can mean the difference in having an event-free home buying or selling experience, or one that is full of pitfalls and non-communication.  Besides professional expertise and experience, is there a real estate agent personality trait that gives you an advantage?

Lee Davenport conducted a groundbreaking study comparing real estate agent personality differences (Home Sales Success and Personality Types: Is There a Connection?; Journal of Real Estate Practice and Education; 2018; Vol 21, No 1; p29-57.)  The study investigated the question whether there is a connection between successful real estate agents and their personality type.  Success was measured through lead generation (e.g., meeting new clients).  Although you might think there is a personality that is better suited for real estate, the study concluded that there wasn’t one specific personality type that correlated to real estate success.  However, he suggested that there should be further research to understand why there is no difference in the success among real estate personality types.

Back in 2014, Graham Wood wrote an article for NAR that also questioned if there was a perfect agent personality (Are You Sure Your Agents Have the Right Personality for the Job? nar.realtor; April 11, 2014).  Although the article was not a study published in a peer reviewed journal like Lee Davenport’s, it does provide food for thought and an obvious conclusion. 

Wood, like Davenport, questioned which personality dimension on the DISC test was better suited for real estate.  After testing himself, Wood believed his personality traits were not suited for a people-skills intensive field (such as real estate sales).  However, after interviewing several brokers, he learned that there is place in real estate for pretty much any personality type.  The DISC (discprofile.com) is a behavioral assessment tool that helps people be more self-aware, and increase productivity. 

What should you look for when choosing your agent?  First, make sure they are licensed in the area you intend to buy and/or sell.  I can tell you that there are agents who try to do business over state lines where they are not licensed.  It happens more than you think. 

Second, what’s their experience and expertise?  In today’s market, most agents don’t confine themselves to specific neighborhoods.  The idea of “neighborhood specialists” is antiquated.  Information is abundant to agents and consumers, and can easily be applied to any neighborhood.  You can learn more about an agent by how they handle adversity. Instead of asking about how many sales they have or neighborhood experience, ask about specific transactions where they overcame obstacles.

Other considerations include getting a referral from a friend or relative. But referrals should be vetted.  Just because your friend had a good experience with their agent, doesn’t guarantee success for you.  Sometimes agents and clients connect and work well together, and sometimes they don’t. Just in case, make sure you can walk away from your agent by ensuring your buyer or listing agreement provides for termination without a penalty.

Also, it doesn’t hurt asking the agent for a couple of references from recent clients.  You can get insight into the agent’s business by calling the references and asking about their experience with the agent. 

By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2020

Original located at https://dankrell.com/blog/2020/11/28/real-estate-agent-personality/

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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.