lake county real estate. and then some…

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Housing affordability is not simply the price of a house. Income and interest rates are part of the equation. Right now, that equation is very favorable for buying a home.

The ‘REAL’ News about Housing Affordability

The 'REAL' News about Housing Affordability | MyKCM

Some industry experts are claiming that the housing market may be headed for a slowdown as we proceed through 2017, based on rising home prices and a potential jump in mortgage interest rates. One of the data points they use is the Housing Affordability Index, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Here is how NAR defines the index:

“The Housing Affordability Index measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national level based on the most recent price and income data.”

Basically, a value of 100 means a family earning the median income earns enough to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home, based on the price and mortgage interest rates at the time. Anything above 100 means the family has more than enough to qualify.

The higher the index, the easier it is to afford a home.

Why the concern?

The index has been declining over the last several years as home values increased. Some are concerned that too many buyers could be priced out of the market.

But, wait a minute…

Though the index skyrocketed from 2009 through 2013, we must realize that during that time, the housing crisis left the market with an overabundance of distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales). All prices dropped dramatically and distressed properties sold at major discounts. Then, mortgage rates fell like a rock.

The market is recovering, and values are coming back nicely. That has caused the index to fall.

However, let’s remove the crisis years (shaded in gray) and look at the current index as compared to the index from 1990 – 2008:

The 'REAL' News about Housing Affordability | MyKCM

Though prices and rates appear to be increasing, we must realize that affordability is composed of three ingredients: home prices, interest rates, and income. And, incomes are finally rising.

ATTOM Data Solutions recently released their Q1 2017 U.S. Home Affordability Index. The report explained:

“Stronger wage growth is the silver lining in this report, outpacing home price growth in more than half of the markets for the first time since Q1 2012, when median home prices were still falling nationwide. If that pattern continues, it will help turn the tide in the eroding home affordability trend.”


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Analysts reveal that foreclosures peaked in 2010, and have been on a consistent decline since then.

The Foreclosure Crisis: 10 Years Later

The Foreclosure Crisis: 10 Years Later | MyKCM

CoreLogic recently released a report entitled, United States Residential Foreclosure Crisis: 10 Years Later, in which they examined the years leading up to the crisis all the way through to present day.

With a peak in 2010 when nearly 1.2 million homes were foreclosed on, over 7.7 million families lost their homes throughout the entire foreclosure crisis.

Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, had this to say,

“The country experienced a wild ride in the mortgage market between 2008 and 2012, with the foreclosure peak occurring in 2010. As we look back over 10 years of the foreclosure crisis, we cannot ignore the connection between jobs and homeownership. A healthy economy is driven by jobs coupled with consumer confidence that usually leads to homeownership.”

Since the peak, foreclosures have been steadily on the decline by nearly 100,000 per year all the way through the end of 2016, as seen in the chart below.

The Foreclosure Crisis: 10 Years Later | MyKCM

If this trend continues, the country will be back to 2005 levels by the end of 2017.

Bottom Line

As the economy continues to improve, and employment numbers increase, the number of completed foreclosures should continue to decrease.


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Housing inventory remains low, especially in starter & move-up markets. Buyers continue to snatch up the good homes, and a slight seller market is appearing in select areas.

A Tale of Two Markets: Inventory Mismatch Paints a More Detailed Picture

A Tale of Two Markets: Inventory Mismatch Paints a More Detailed Picture | MyKCM

The inventory of existing homes for sale in today’s market was recently reported to be at a 3.6-month supply according to the National Association of Realtors latest Existing Home Sales Report. Inventory is now 7.1% lower than this time last year, marking the 20th consecutive month of year-over-year drops.

Historically, inventory must reach a 6-month supply for a normal market where home prices appreciate with inflation. Anything less than a 6-month supply is a sellers’ market, where the demand for houses outpaces supply and prices go up.

As you can see from the chart below, the United States has been in a sellers’ market since August 2012, but last month’s numbers reached a new low.

A Tale of Two Markets: Inventory Mismatch Paints a More Detailed Picture | MyKCM

Recently Trulia revealed that not only is there a shortage of homes on the market in general, but the homes that are available for sale are not meeting the needs of the buyers that are searching.

Homes are generally bucketed into three groups by price range: starter, trade-up, and premium.

Trulia’s market mismatch score measures the search interest of buyers against the category of homes that are available on the market. For example: “if 60% of buyers are searching for starter homes but only 40% of listings are starter homes, [the] market mismatch score for starter homes would be 20.”

The results of their latest analysis are detailed in the chart below.

A Tale of Two Markets: Inventory Mismatch Paints a More Detailed Picture | MyKCM

Nationally, buyers are searching for starter and trade-up homes and are coming up short with the listings available, leading to a highly competitive seller’s market in these categories. Ninety-two of the top 100 metros have a shortage in trade-up inventory.

Premium homebuyers have the best chance of less competition and a surplus of listings in their price range with an 11-point surplus, leading to more of a buyer’s market.

“It leaves Americans who are in the market for a home increasingly chasing too fewer options in lower price ranges, and sellers of premium homes more likely to be left waiting longer for a buyer.”

 Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist doesn’t see an end to this coming any time soon: 

“Competition is likely to heat up even more heading into the spring for house hunters looking for homes in the lower- and mid-market price range.”

Bottom Line

Real estate is local. If you are thinking about buying OR selling this spring, let’s get together to discuss the exact market conditions in your area.