Wall Street Journal: Housing Recovery Picks Up Steam

Wall Street Journal: Housing Recovery Picks Up Steam

Yesterday, I made a post quoting major housing experts on the increasing strength of the U.S. housing market. I was pleasantly surprised that, on the same day, the Wall Street Journal decided to run a front page story titled, “Housing Recovery Picks Up Steam” (article available to WSJ subscribers).

Wall Street Journal: Housing Recovery Picks Up Steam | Simplifying The Market

The first paragraph of the article says it best:

“Home prices are back to near-record highs across the U.S. amid rising demand and supply constraints, a sign that the lopsided housing-market recovery of the past five years is gaining some strength.” (emphasis added).

What about the struggles in the economy?

Some openly question how the real estate market can be gaining ground if the overall economy is still struggling. According to the WSJ, it is:

“Despite the unbalanced recovery, Federal Reserve officials have seen housing as a bright spot for the U.S. economy in recent years. Residential construction has contributed to overall economic output for eight straight quarters, expanding at a 17% annual rate in a first quarter marked by slow growth in other sectors.”

Bottom Line

The housing market is gaining strength and all indicators point to an even stronger real estate market moving forward. This is obviously mixed news depending on which housing market you’re in, but the signs all point to a rise in prices.

Some Experts Disagree That There is a Housing Meltdown Incoming

Some Experts Disagree That There is a Housing Meltdown Incoming

I want to let you know that “rumors of a new market meltdown” are not based on any reputable data. As proof, I offer you the comments of the following experts who have a totally different view on the current housing market.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR:

“In spite of deficient supply levels, stock market volatility and the paltry economic growth seen so far this year, the housing market did show resilience and had its best first quarter of existing-sales since 2007.”

Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com:

“We had a triple crown of April home sales reports, so 2016 is in the pole position to earn best year of home sales in a decade.”

Andrea Riquier, MarketWatch housing reporter:

“I’m calling the end of the housing “recovery.” On to ‘expansion.’”

Freddie Mac:

“Despite the disappointing economic reports, we still forecast housing to maintain its momentum in 2016.”

Steven Russolillo, Wall Street Journal housing reporter:

“A recent gauge of home builder sentiment held firmly in positive territory, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Perhaps more important, expectations for sales in the next six months jumped to the highest level of the year.”

Fannie Mae:

“Our latest housing tracker shows that the first quarter of 2016 was the second fastest first quarter pace of home sales in the past decade… Home sales typically rise in the spring and summer months, and we anticipate an acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007’s pace by late summer.”

There you have it. Experts in the field that disagree with many of the infotainment shows and water cooler economists. Get in touch with me if you have more questions.

Now Is Not The Time To Rent

Now Is Not The Time To Rent

People often ask whether or not now is a good time to buy a home. No one ever asks when a good time to rent is. However, we want to make certain that everyone understands that today is NOT a good time to rent.

The Census Bureau recently released their first quarter median rent numbers. Here is a graph showing rent increases from 1988 until today:

When Is It A Good Time To Rent? Definitely NOT NOW! | Simplifying The Market

A recent Wall Street Journal article reports that rents rose “faster last year than at any time since 2007, a boon for landlords but one that has stoked concerns about housing affordability for renters.”

The article also cited results from a recent Reis Inc. report which revealed that average effective rents rose 4.6% in 2015, the biggest gain since before the recession. Over the past 15 years, rents have risen at a rate of 2.7% annually. 

Where are rents headed?

Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com recently warned that:

“Low rental vacancies and a lack of new rental construction are pushing up rents, and we expect that they’ll outpace home price appreciation in the year ahead.”  

Bottom Line

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun had this to say in the latest Existing Home Sales Report:

 “With rents steadily rising and average fixed rates well below 4 percent, qualified first-time buyers should be more active participants than what they are right now.”

One way to protect yourself from rising rents is to lock in your housing expense by buying a home. If you are ready and willing to buy, let’s meet up to determine if you are able to today!

Where is Housing Headed for the Rest of 2016?

Where is Housing Headed for the Rest of 2016?

With the overall economy just inching along, some experts are questioning whether the housing market can continue its momentum throughout the rest of the year. People are beginning to ask questions such as:

  • Will disappointing economic news adversely impact housing?
  • Is affordability a major concern in today’s real estate market?
  • Are we approaching a new housing bubble?
  • Are mortgage standards too tight? Or have they loosened too much?

Freddie Mac, in their April Economic Outlook, addresses the disappointing economic news and what impact they think it will have on housing:

“Recent data darkened the growth outlook for the first quarter of 2016. However, despite the disappointing economic reports, we still forecast housing to maintain its momentum in 2016.

We’ve revised down our forecast for economic growth to reflect the recent data for the first quarter, but our outlook for the balance of the year remains modestly optimistic for the economy.”

What about real estate?

Freddie Mac was much more optimistic about housing…

“We maintain our positive view on housing. In fact, the declines in long-term interest rates that accompanied much of the recent news should increase mortgage market activity.”

They went on to conclude:

“We expect housing to be an engine of growth. Construction activity will pick up as we enter the spring and summer months, and rising home values will bolster consumers and help support renewed confidence in the remaining months of this year.”

2016 Home Sales Doing Just Fine

2016 Home Sales Doing Just Fine

Some of the housing headlines are causing concern for some consumers who are in the process of either buying or selling a home. Pundits are concerned over the lack of new construction or the month-over-month sales numbers. Let’s set the record straight; 2015 was a good year for residential real estate in the United States and 2016 home sales are starting out stronger. 

Here is a graph of total homes sold (new construction and existing homes) in the first two months in 2016 compared to last year:

2016 Home Sales Doing Just Fine!! | Simplifying The Market

Will this momentum continue?

If we look at foot traffic (the number of purchasers currently out looking at homes), we can see that the spring buying market has started early and all indicators point to the fact that we may have the best spring in over a decade.

2016 Home Sales Doing Just Fine!! | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

The 2016 housing market started out well and looks to be gaining steam. If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, now may be a great time.