Archive for February, 2023

When will the housing shortage end?

February 21, 2023

Isn’t that the million dollar question? I wish I knew the exact answer. A safe answer is not in the next couple of years.

I’ve talked a lot about the lack of homes for sale. The same issue is in the rental market too. Reflecting the unprecedented housing shortages across the United States in the post-pandemic market, U.S. vacancy rates hit their lowest readings in decades in 2021. According to NAHB’s analysis of the 2021 American Community Survey (ACS), rental vacancy rates reached a new low of 5.2%, the lowest levels recorded by the ACS since the survey started generating these data in 2005.

Additionally, NAHB’s forecast indicates the balancing of the market will take years to correct itself, and will take place between 2025 and 2030. Even on their short term projection, it is still two years away.

If the rental market is stretched, and we’ve already discussed the shortage of homes being built/for sale in my February series, what should a buyer expect in 2023? Glad the question was asked 🙂

Realtor.com 2023 housing forecast says 2023 will offer buyers less competition on the number of for-sale homes. Compared to the wild ride of the past two years, 2023 will be a slower-paced housing market, which means drastic shifts like price declines may not happen (if at all) as quickly as some have anticipated.

Going back to the Zillow report referenced in my first post this month, it noted, while national home value declines from peak levels have been minimal, some markets have seen significant changes. Atlanta isn’t one of those markets. People are still moving into metro Atlanta, and there are not enough homes to buy for the number of people wanting to own homes in this market. Our housing prices have a floor, so there is no need to fear a 2008 home value crash.

In all of my posts, we are seeing a trend. The housing crunch isn’t changing in the next few years, more buyers will enter the metro Atlanta housing market as the US population continues to move to the southeast, housing prices have a “built in” floor due to supply and demand… the only thing different from the past few years and when the market heats up again is the competition… or lack thereof. Those who got out of the market and quit trying to buy will find it very different now in this cooled/fewer looking for homes market.

I remember speaking with someone is March 2020 saying they wanted to wait until the summer to get a really good deal as the housing market collapsed from Covid. I advised him if he wanted a good deal, he needed to purchase a home in March or April. Why? My thought process then was there was nothing wrong with the economy. When things open up and go back to normal in a month or two, home prices will go back to where they were and we will pick back up where we left off. Other than me being wildly optimistic on when life would go back to normal, when the economy opened up, the “deals” were gone.

I feel we are in a similar window now with fewer buyers making offers on homes. My clients are getting under contract with time for due diligence, appraisal/financing contingencies, the seller giving money for closing costs, and even contingencies to sell a home prior to buying the new home! This is as close to a “buyer’s” market we will see until the housing inventory issue sorts itself out, which is forecast to be years down the road.

Next month – new topics. Promise!

If you’ve read these posts and decided now is the time to buy before everyone else jumps back into the housing market, contact me today (see my banner above for contact info). I’ll get you ready to make offers on homes in no time!

Request to Extend Affordable Mortgage Access

February 16, 2023

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) has officially requested that the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) expand income eligibility for certain low down payment loan programs. FHFA regulates mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The MBA sent a letter to FHFA specifically requesting changes to the Home Ready and Home Possible loan programs.

Home Ready and Home Possible currently provide interest rate pricing discounts and mortgage insurance premium discounts for borrowers whose incomes are less than 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) where the subject property is located. These discounts apply to home buyers whose credit scores are 680+ and who complete a free online home ownership course. Lender pricing typically adjusts interest rates higher for borrowers with lower credit scores and those who are financing condos using loan amounts greater than 75% of the condo’s value. For Home Ready and Home Possible borrowers, these credit score and condo pricing adjustments are eliminated. Making these programs even more powerful is the fact that the discounts apply to borrowers who can make only a 3% down payment.

Saving enough cash for a down payment is one of the greatest challenges that homebuyers can face. Providing these interest rate and mortgage insurance discounts for loans with only a 3% down payment is a powerful tool for homebuyers without alot of available cash.

In the letter to FHFA, MBA requested that the agency expand Home Ready / Home Possible eligibility to borrowers with incomes up to 100% of the subject property’s AMI. MBA also requested that the income threshold be eliminated completely in low-income census tracts. This change would encourage homebuyers to seek properties in low-income areas. MBA president and CEO Robert Broeksmit stated, “Raising the AMI limits to expand access to these programs would still be beneficial as there are key features of Home Ready and Home Possible loans, such as a 3% down payment, that make homeownership attainable for historically underserved borrowers.”

I think an increase is warranted. When you look at 80% of the average income in an area versus the average home price, it eliminates many borrowers from qualifying for these programs. For example, in DeKalb County, the Home Ready / Home Possible annual income limit is $76,560. Some first-time buyers may qualify to buy an average-priced home, if they have no additional debt, but it is tight. By allowing the amount to go to 100%, more borrowers would qualify to purchase the average home price in the market with some additional debt. This is important as most first-time home buyers are in the Millennial/Gen Z demographic. These generations have additional student loan debt that previous generations didn’t have. Raising the income threshold to 100% AGI isn’t about buying more home. It is allowing first-time home buyers to purchase the average home in their area while having some additional debt obligations. If these programs are intended to help first-time home buyers, then let’s help them.

For reasons covered in a recent Mortgage Blog post, now is a great time to buy a home. If you want to buy a home in Georgia, give me a call and we can quickly determine which discounts you can obtain, and then set you on a path to home ownership.

2023 is not like 2008

February 14, 2023

Another housing crash weighs on a lot of people’s minds. Sharply rising mortgage rates, a steep decline in home sales and a record price appreciation slowdown have raised concerns that the housing market could crash. I get the logic, yet experts argue that these market trends are a symptom of a correction after two years of massive growth.

I wouldn’t expect 2023 to be like 2008. For one, something as extreme as 2008 only occurred twice in the past 100 years…. the first was the Great Depression in the 1930s. The second was the Great Recession beginning in 2008. The housing market and overall economy is completely different now versus 2008.

There are two huge differences:

  • Risky mortgages created an environment where people could buy more home than they could afford to pay. If people lost their jobs (and they did), it created a vicious feedback loop a cooling market/declining value market + more foreclosures = more declines in home values (and this cycle kept repeating itself).
  • In 2008, there was a glut of housing inventory. For once, too many homes were being built. This is the opposite problem we have today with housing inventory levels in Atlanta hovering around 3 months (ideal amount is 6 months to create a balanced market).

There are also too many people who do not own a home that want to buy a home. The housing glut in the 2000s was followed by close to a decade of under-building that contributed to a shortage of millions homes today. This was exacerbated by millennials coming of age near the end of this period of underproduction along with Boomers not downsizing as previous generations did (moving in with extended family, or to retirement communities, or to assisting living/nursing homes). The lack of homes along with the housing needs of the two largest generations in the history of this country (one looking to buy their first homes and the other not selling their homes) should put a floor on home prices.

While 2023 isn’t like 2008, 2024 could be like 2020- 2021. When the national media begins talking about “now being a great time to buy a home,” we’ll see a similar situation as we did during the peak buying years of the pandemic. This is why I keep harping on now being a great time to buy. Purchasing a home now with fewer competitors – even with a slight decline in home values – will be much better than double digit offers, over asking price offers, no contingencies, etc. as we are likely to see the next time it is ” a good time” to buy.

If you are thinking, “maybe 2023 is a good time to buy,” contact me today (see my banner above for contact info). We can get started in just a few minutes and get you pre-approved for the offer on your new home!

Home prices stabilizing

February 1, 2023

I started the year saying now is a great time to buy a home. For the month of February, I’ll include a series of posts expanding on this thought process. We’ll touch on affordability, housing prices, and the shortage of homes.

Let’s start with affordability. Zillow, Seattle, said U.S. home values are easing down, starting to provide relief for potential home buyers facing affordability challenges. Zillow reported the typical U.S. home fell to $357,733 in November, and is now down 0.5% from the peak peak last year.

Add on the fact mortgages rates improved to end 2022/start 2023, monthly costs for home ownership went down for the first time since July, and for only the second time in the past 19 months.  

We are not at a point of home prices dropping (more on this in the next post). But for the first time in several years, we aren’t seeing double digit appreciation.

Zillow Senior Economist Jeff Tucker said November’s news is a positive sign that affordability may at least stabilize in 2023, helping households budget and plan for housing decisions in the months and years ahead. Tucker said, “The two big questions are whether mortgage rates will continue to decline, and whether that will be enough to bring buyers back in time for the spring selling season. In the meantime, those on the prowl for a house will benefit from motivated sellers, unusual bargains and a welcome lack of competition.”

As I said to start the year, the articles saying 2023 is a bad time to purchase a home aren’t talking about the lack of competition. The quote from Zillow’s Senior Economist is spot on for those who are looking, and they are seeing contingencies, sellers doing repairs on homes, and seller concessions.

Beginning to think 2023 may be a good time to buy a home? If you are buying in the state of Georgia, contact me today! I can get you pre-approved quickly and have you out making offers in no time!