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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Are Interest Rates Affecting the Real Estate Market?


The average mortgage rate is at a seven-year high. Is this what’s behind the shift we’re seeing in the market? 

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The 30-year fixed mortgage rate currently stands at around 4.77%. That's near a seven-year high, and almost 1% higher than just a year ago. This is the result of a steady rise starting last September and ending this May.

What impact is this having on the real estate market? It's certainly true that affordability is down. In fact, one estimate from June found that home affordability is at a 10-year low. This is translating into fewer home sales, fewer viewings, and fewer mortgage applications.

However, I don't believe that the shifts in the mortgage rate is the primary mover of the changes we're seeing in the real estate market. In fact, even at its current level, the mortgage rate is still historically low.

Instead, the big reason for the changes in the real estate market is the ongoing growth in prices. Over the past several years, home prices have gone up at close to twice the rate of inflation, and have far outstripped the growth of incomes. 
Over the past several years, home prices have increased at twice the rate of inflation.
The price increases, in turn, have been caused by a lack of inventory, which has been shrinking for the past three years. In my opinion, it’s this lack of inventory (and the resulting hike in prices) that explains most of the effects on the real estate market that I listed above.

If you're looking to sell, you should still have no trouble doing so. Demand continues to outstrip supply, and even with dropping affordability, it's very likely that you would find a buyer quickly and at a top price.

If you're looking to buy, the picture is more complex, because it's so hard to predict what the mortgage rate might do in the near term. One thing we do know is that the severe lack of inventory is unlikely to change any time soon.

As always, if you have questions about the Greater Phoenix real estate market, whether you're buying or selling, you can give me a call or send me an email. I'm here to help.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Is Greater Phoenix Entering a Buyer’s Market?


After being in a seller’s market for quite some time now, it looks like a shift is on the horizon. Here’s what you can expect. 

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After several years of continuous price gains, the real estate market seems to be reaching its price cap. In June, the last month for which we have complete numbers, 14% of all listings saw a price cut. That's up from a low of 11.7% at the end of 2016.

In the same month, housing demand fell 9.6%, the largest decline in over two years. Mortgage applications to purchase a home have decreased as well. 

A few things are at play here. One is rising mortgage rates, which have been steadily climbing for much of this year. Another is an overall decrease in affordability, resulting from a combination of the growth in home prices and mortgage rates. 

If this is the start of a buyer's market, it's unlikely to be just a momentary blip. One sign of this is that homebuilder sentiment has recently fallen to the lowest point in almost a year. In other words, homebuilders are losing confidence in their business due to the mentioned affordability concerns. 
This is certainly good news if you’re looking to buy a home.
So, what does this mean for you?

Well, it's certainly good news if you're looking to buy, because it means you will have more choice at more affordable prices.

On the other hand, if you've been thinking of selling, this might mean that it’s time to act. Listing your home now would give you the best odds of achieving a top price before the change in the market occurs. 

Remember that all real estate is local. There are big differences even within the Greater Phoenix area, and prices can change from block to block. 

If you want more specific information about the Greater Phoenix market, or you're mulling over the idea of buying or selling a home, give me a call or send me an email. I'm here to help.