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Did you ever think that a lack of new construction homes could actually hurt the housing market?

Why are Existing Home Sales Down?

Why are Existing Home Sales Down? | MyKCM

The latest Existing Home Sales Report issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that home sales have decreased for four consecutive months and are at their slowest pace in over two years. This has some industry leaders puzzled considering the fact that the economy is strengthening, unemployment is down, and wages are beginning to rise. This begs the question: “Where are the buyers?”

Actually, agents in the field of most communities are still seeing strong desire from prospective purchasers. They have a list of potential buyers ready to go if the right houses come on the market and they claim it is not a shortage of demand, but is instead a shortage of inventory that is causing the market to soften.

Why is there a shortage of inventory?

You only need to look at the graph below to understand:

Why are Existing Home Sales Down? | MyKCM

 

New construction sales over the last ten years are far below historic numbers from 1995-2002.

A recent industry report looked at building permits and concluded:

“If construction over the past decade matched historic norms, accounting for population change, the country would have had 2.3 million more single-family home permits.”

That decade of not building enough homes is the primary reason for the concerns about today’s market.

Wait, weren’t we talking about ‘existing’ home sales?

Some may argue that NAR’s sales report deals with existing home sales and not new construction, and they would be correct. However, reports have shown that one of the main reasons why existing homeowners are not selling is because they can’t find homes that meet the needs of their current lifestyles. Historically, the upgrades in a newly constructed home were the answers to those needs.

Over the last decade, however, there were fewer homes built to satisfy this move-up seller. Consequently, there are many homeowners who stayed in their homes for a longer tenure, instead of putting their homes up for sale.

Bottom Line

As more new homes are being built, there will be more housing inventory to satisfy current demand which will cause prices to moderate and sales volumes to increase.


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Distressed sales dropping…

The National Association of Realtors began tracking distressed sales in October of 2008. When the housing market hit its lowest point in 2012, distressed sales accounted for 35% of all homes sold. This October, distressed sales amounted to only 6% of all homes sold. That is an improvement from 9% in October of 2014, and the lowest ever, since NAR started keeping tabs on distressed sales. Now that is something to be thankful for!
Distressed Property Sales Hit New Low | Keeping Current Matters

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) just released their Existing Home Sales Report revealing that distressed property sales accounted for 6% of sales in October. This is down from 9% in 2014 and the lowest figure since NAR began tracking distressed sales in October 2008.

Below is a graph that shows just how far the market has come since January 2012 when distressed sales accounted for 35% of all sales.

Percentage of Distressed Property Sales | Keeping Current Matters

Existing Home Sales Up Year-Over-Year

Mortgage interest rates remained below 4% in October prompting existing home sales to stay at a healthy annual pace of 5.36 million. Year-over-year sales were up 3.9%.

Inventory of homes for sale remain below the 6-month supply that is necessary for a normal market, as they fell 2.3% to a 4.8-months supply. The shortage in inventory has contributed to the median home price rising an additional 5.8% to $219,600.

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun had this to say about the lack of inventory:

“New and existing-home supply has struggled to improve so far this Fall, leading to few choices for buyers and no easement of the ongoing affordability concerns still prevalent in some markets.”

There is good news though, as Yun went on to say:

“As long as solid job creation continues, a gradual easing of credit standards even with moderately higher mortgage rates should support steady demand and sales continuing to rise above a year ago.”

Bottom Line

If you are debating putting your home on the market this year, now may be the time. Buyers are still out there looking for their dream home. Meet with a local real estate professional who can help you determine your best plan.