The spring and early summer brought a very robust real estate market in many areas and many price points. Multiple offers became the norm in many markets and agents found themselves busier than they had been in years. The market was moving, buyers were out looking and sellers who previously couldn’t sell were finally getting the offers they needed to make a move possible. Pending home sales rose consistently and real estate was back in the media in a positive way.
However, agents in many areas may have noticed a slight slowdown in August prompting concern about whether the market was taking a turn downward. To answer this question I want to address some key things that we need to look at to answer that question.
HOUSING AFFORDABILITY INDEX
The housing affordability index is measured looking at median home prices, median family incomes and the mortgage interest rate. The higher the index, the more buying power a buyer has. As the index reduces, so does the buyer’s buying power. The recent increase in home sale prices nationally and regionally has caused the Housing Affordability Index to decline from 196.5 in 2012 to 175.8 in 2013. It is going down even further in many areas. The West Coast has been particularly affected because of the high price gains in the past 18 months.
Even though the market has picked up, we still have not seen enough new construction development to keep up with the demand. It is still difficult for builders to get financing and although it is better than it was, it is still not where it needs to be. That is why some areas are having such dramatic price gains; there just isn’t enough inventory. In many areas we are seeing a shortage of new construction which means that prices will continue to be pushed upward if this shortage is not filled with new homes. Our new home product is built by two different types of builders: the production volume builder and the small builder. The small builder still struggles to get financing because they have not yet made up for their losses from the past economic challenges.
We have also seen recent dips in the stock market which always brings up questions and concerns for consumers, when consumers are concerned they stop buying. When consumers stop buying it creates a domino effect. As weather begins to change and kids return to school I am fully confident that the real estate market will continue to move along at a very healthy pace. Consumers will soon forget about the stock market declines and the change in the weather and they will once again settle in and put their attention back to buying or selling real estate.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BUYERS
Buyers who buy right now will benefit from the temporary slowdown in the market because they won’t be competing with as many other buyers. Buyers who are serious need to take advantage of this temporary distraction in the market.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR SELLERS
Sellers who need to sell right now need to get serious about their price. “Market” priced homes ARE selling and if sellers want to sell there are plenty of serious buyers out there right now taking advantage of the timing in the market.
The real estate industry is a moving market. It expands contracts, corrects and grows. Trust that any slowdown you may be experiencing is only a very temporary “breather” that is healthy for the market to take.