By “fall,” I mean autumn, not the fall of civilization, which one could be forgiven for misunderstanding. The past six months have been a crazy rollercoaster ride, and many of the statistics we track indeed look like a sadistic rollercoaster. One statistician remarked to me that “I have datapoints on my charts where no datapoints have ever been before.”
So, where are we now and what is the fall likely to look like? Let us look at a few key indicators that help tell the story.
Appreciation. Many people predicted that as uncertainty grew in the pandemic, people would become more conservative in their decisions and less willing to take the risk of purchasing a new home, and average home prices would fall accordingly. This, however, has not been the case, and single-home values were actually 7% higher at the end of this August than they were in August 2019. The average price of a single-family home in Boulder County is now over $850,000. What has caused home values to generally increase during the pandemic? Much of this phenomenon can be explained by looking at inventory, buyer psychology, and interest rates.
Inventory. Inventory, or more specifically the lack thereof, is the biggest story this fall. At the end of August, the number of active listings in Boulder County was down more than 46% from the same time in 2019. In fact, we are currently experiencing the fewest number of homes per sale that we have ever seen at this time of year. Remember above where conventional wisdom (wrongly) held that people would become more conservative during a pandemic? Well, it turns out that while it may have been wrong with respect to buyers, it appears to have been a spot-on prediction for sellers. It seems that those who already own a home are holding onto it as a form of security and are less willing to part with it in these increasingly uncertain times. And, as basic micro economic theory dictates, when the supply of a good is restricted, it can increase the price of that good, even when buyer demand stays the same. Only in this case, buyer demand has not stayed the same, it has increased.
Buyer Psychology. It would seem that shelter truly is one of life’s basic necessities, and it further appears that many buyers are seeking to own a home in order to feel more certain in their situations. This can be seen in the 11% decrease in the average days a home spends on the market before selling as compared to last year. And not only are buyers looking for just any home, the pandemic has shifted the kind of home buyers are looking for. Because many people are anticipating spending a greater share of their time at home, they are now looking for larger homes (a home office, more room for family members to spread out, etc.), as well as more land. For example, the median price for a single-family home (which comes with some land) in the city of Boulder increased about 2% from last August through this August, but the median price for attached dwellings (which mostly do not include a yard) fell 9% over the same period. Not only are buyers looking for larger homes with more land, thanks to historically low interest rates, they can also afford a lot more.
Interest Rates. I have discussed the 1% = 10% Rule for mortgage rates in the past. Essentially, this rules states that, for every 1% drop in mortgage rates, a buyer can afford 10% more house. And interest rates have plummeted nearly 2%, back to historic lows — to 3% or less for a 30-year fixed conventional mortgage. We are seeing buyers taking advantage of this extra buying power to buy larger homes with more land. In fact, the median price of homes on the suburban plains and in the mountains, which typically feature larger homes on larger lots, are up 16.3% (almost $100,000) and 18.4%, respectively, compared to this time last year.
Looking forward. What all this means as we head deeper into fall is that it will likely be an unusually good time for homeowners to sell, as less competition and strong demand boost home prices. It is also an unusually good time for home buyers because mortgage rates are projected to stay very low — if they can find an available home.
Of course, this party could be interrupted by more significant spikes in COVID-19 and/or the political fallout of a presidential election whose results are not immediately known. So, buyers and sellers, enjoy October and make hay while the sun shines.
Originally posted by Jay Kalinski is the 2020 chair of the Boulder Area Realtor Association and owner of ReMax of Boulder and ReMax Elevate.
As we look ahead to coming trends in 2019 real estate, home buyers and sellers nationwide will face changes in the marketplace, according to the economic research team at realtor.com. From housing inventory to generational shifts, here are four top trends to look for in 2019.
1. Inventory will grow, especially for luxury homes
Inventory has been tight nationwide, hitting its lowest level in recorded history in the winter of 2017, says realtor.com. Supply finally began catching up with demand in 2018. That inventory growth will continue in 2019, but at rate of less than 7 percent. While sellers will have more competition, it will still be a good market.
“More inventory for sellers means it’s not going to be as easy as it has been in past years—it means they will have to think about the competition,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com chief economist.
“It’s still going to be a very good market for sellers, but if they’ve had their expectations set by listening to stories of how quickly their neighbor’s home sold in 2017 or in 2018, they may have to adjust their expectations,” she adds.
In markets with strong economies and high-paying jobs, most of the expected inventory growth will come from listings of luxury homes.
2. Affording a home will be challenging
Interest rates and home prices are expected to continue to increase. Hale says homebuyers will continue to feel a “pinch” from affordability, as costs will still be a pain point. She predicts mortgage rates will reach around 5.5 percent by the end of 2019, which translates into the typical mortgage payment increasing by about 8 percent. Incomes are growing about 3 percent on average. These factors are hardest on first-time home buyers, who tend to borrow most heavily.
3. Millennials will dominate
Millennials are now the biggest generation of home buyers. Some are first-time home buyers, while others are moving up from starter homes. The millennial group accounts for 45 percent of mortgages compared with baby boomers and Gen Xers at 17 and 37 percent respectively, reports realtor.com. And many millennials still have student debt, which adds to the challenge of affording a home.
4. The new tax law’s effect is still unknown
For many tax filers, the effect of the new tax law won’t be known until their April tax filing results in a bigger tax bill or a bigger refund.
Renters are likely to have lower tax bills, but the new increased standard deduction reduces the appeal of the homeowner’s mortgage-interest deduction. The new tax law may dissuade people from taking out large mortgages which will affect higher cost homes. Add these factors to the challenge of affording a home and homeownership for some may be harder to achieve or less appealing.
The net effect of the coming 2019 trends is that even with these challenges, sellers are in a good position and homeowners will continue to enjoy positive financial gains from their home.
For more information, read the full report at https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/real-estate-trends-expect-2019/
The eleventh annual Boulder Valley Real Estate Conference offers a packed day Thursday, November 15, exploring trends, commercial impacts, and inventory shortages in Boulder County commercial and residential real estate.
Organized by BizWest with presenting sponsor RE/MAX of Boulder, the event delivers an intensive schedule of national keynote speakers and panels made up of local real estate experts and development officials.
More than 500 real estate professionals and anyone interested in the local real estate market are expected to attend. Attendees get insights into residential and commercial real estate activity and coming opportunities in Boulder and Broomfield counties.
The conference kicks off with local real estate expert Todd Gullette, RE/MAX of Boulder Managing Broker, discussing the latest sales and price statistics and implications for residential real estate across Boulder Valley. The commercial forecast follows, with Angela Topel, Gibbons-White Senior Broker, exploring major commercial developments, sales and vacancy statistics.
Future technology – now turned present – takes center stage when Jay Kalinski, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, moderates a panel of real estate banking and technology experts, exploring “The Impact of Blockchain” on residential real estate. Blockchain technologies enable a shared, nationwide database of houses on the market. The panel will look at how Blockchain platforms affect Boulder County’s housing market and how Realtors should respond.
“Big Tech Settles In” focuses on the local impact of the tech economy and examines the surging Boulder tech scene, including expansions by Google, Twitter, Microsoft and Uber.
Conference keynote address presents the outlook of Wells Fargo’s EVP of Housing Policy and Homeownership Growth Strategies, Brad Blackwell, and MetroStudy’s Senior Director West Region, John Covert.
Next up, “Breaking Ground” – back by popular demand – reveals commercial and residential developments in the Boulder Valley and beyond. A panel of city-employed development directors from Lafayette, Longmont, Louisville, Superior, Boulder, Erie and Broomfield provide a complete rundown of the region’s top projects.
“Wrestling with Supply” tackles the top challenge for Boulder-area residential real estate markets. Lack of housing inventory, issues with infill development, height limits, accessory-dwelling units and zoning conspire to cause a critical housing shortage. Moderated by Duane Duggan, RE/MAX of Boulder Realtor, the panel will discuss policy changes developers believe would address the problem.
“Icons of Real Estate” is back by popular demand. Featuring long-time successful real estate experts Tom Kalinski, Owner/Founder, RE/MAX of Boulder; Stephanie Iannone, Managing Broker, Housing Helpers; and Seth Chernoff, CEO, Chernoff Boulder Properties, audience members will ask questions to learn proven best practices and advice for success in commercial real estate.
The conference will be held from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on Thursday, Nov. 15 at the Embassy Suites hotel, 2601 Canyon Blvd. in Boulder. Registration opens at 8:15 am. For details and to pre-register visit http://fallrealestateconference.com. Breakfast and lunch are included. The conference is open to anyone with an interest in Boulder Valley real estate. Conference attendees can earn six Van Education credits.
Conference details in this quick video: https://bit.ly/2PAsWQV