U.S. homebuilders bounced back in August from a recent funk, as current sales and sales expectations leaped forward.
A monthly index of builder sentiment rose 4 points to the highest level since May. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index now stands at 68. Anything above 50 is considered
positive sentiment. The index was at 59 last August.
Builder sentiment had jumped to a cyclical high in March, following a move by the Trump administration to ease water regulations. Builders say over-regulation at the federal, state and local levels have hampered production and driven up the cost of new construction. Sentiment had dropped more recently due to rising material costs, especially lumber. The Trump administration imposed a tariff on Canadian lumber, causing the price to spike.
Builders say over-regulation at the federal, state and local levels have hampered production and driven up the cost of new construction. Sentiment had dropped more recently due to rising material costs, especially lumber. The Trump administration imposed a tariff on Canadian lumber, causing the price to spike.
Now it appears builders are less concerned with policy and more enthused about the economy. They say they are seeing rising demand from buyers, who seem ready to pay a premium for new construction. New home sales in June were 9 percent higher compared with a year ago, according to the latest reading from the U.S. Census.
“This is due to ongoing job and economic growth, attractive mortgage rates, and growing consumer confidence,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald, a homebuilder and developer from Kerrville, Texas.
The index’s three components all saw gains in August. Current sales conditions rose 4 points to 74. Sales expectations over the next six months jumped 5 points to 78, and buyer traffic increased 1 point to 49 — the only component still in negative territory.
The new-home industry is also benefiting from a severe shortage of existing homes for sale. Most buyer demand, however, is on the lower end of the market, where builders have trouble meeting margins.
Construction is still running well behind even normal levels, never mind the strong, pent-up demand. Most builders are also still concentrating on the move-up market, rather than entry-level.
“The fact that builder confidence has returned to the healthy levels we saw this spring is consistent with our forecast for a gradual strengthening in the housing market,” said Home Builders Chief Economist Robert Dietz.
“GDP growth improved in the second quarter, which helped sustain housing demand. However, builders continue to face supply-side challenges, such as lot and labor shortages and rising building material costs.”
Regionally, on a three-month moving average, builder sentiment in the Northeast rose 1 point to 48. The West, South and Midwest were unchanged at 75, 67 and 66, respectively.
By Maryalene LaPonsie, Contributor |June 23, 2017, at 11:22 a.m.
If you’re thinking about putting a “for sale” sign in front of your house, you may also have home renovations in mind. It seems logical that replacing outdated features, dingy appliances and worn carpeting should increase the value of your home, but don’t be too sure. Some renovations have a poor return on investment, while others will do little to impress buyers with their own vision for the property.
“Buyers in New York are very picky, and they want what they want,” says Steven Kopstein, a licensed real estate associate broker with Triplemint in New York City. He cautions people not to pour a lot of money into projects that are too personalized.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make any updates. If you think you’ll be in the home for a while, go ahead and renovate so you can better enjoy the property. Otherwise, if you’re renovating for resale value, focus on these projects that offer the best return on investment.
Added insulation. Each year, Remodeling Magazine conducts a cost-versus-value analysis to determine which of 29 home projects offers the best return on investment. In 2017, it isn’t a new kitchen or bathroom that tops the list. It’s attic insulation.
It’s an inexpensive project that can be done for less than $1,500 and has an estimated return of 108 percent. Plus, it’s a good investment regardless of whether you plan to sell. “Anything that makes your house cheaper and lowers the cost of owning a home [is smart],” says Jason Shepherd, co-founder of Atlas Real Estate Group in Denver.
New garage door. When it comes to what it considers upscale renovations, Remodeling Magazine says replacing the garage door offers the best return on investment. Sellers can expect to recoup 85 percent of the cost of this project.
Kopstein says that while a new garage door can help sell a house, people should be smart about which one they install. He recently fixed and flipped two houses in New Jersey. On one, he opted for a basic door without an electric opener. “I didn’t think people were expecting that,” he says, based on the other homes in the neighborhood. He was right. The house sold in one day.
Better front door. Don’t stop with the garage door. A new front door can also be a good investment. According to Remodeling Magazine, you’ll recoup almost 91 percent of the cost on a steel entry door and nearly 78 percent on the price of a fiberglass one.
Improved landscaping. The National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Landscape Professionals conducted a survey in 2016 to determine which outside projects offer homeowners the best value. An overall landscape upgrade topped the list with an estimated 105 percent return on investment.
Kitchen remodel. Said to be the heart of the home, the kitchen deserves some extra attention if you’re hoping to sell. “You want to go after the wow factor,” says Michael Foguth, founder of Foguth Financial Group in Brighton, Michigan.
That doesn’t necessarily mean making a complete overhaul, but could include refacing cabinets or updating finishes. A minor kitchen remodel will recoup 80 percent of its cost, according to Remodeling Magazine, while a major midrange kitchen remodel only has a 65 percent return on investment.
Bathroom improvements. The bathroom is another prime place for renovations. On one of the houses Kopstein flipped, he choose to replace the vanity, lighting and toilet. It was an inexpensive way to dramatically improve the look and feel of the room.
Adding a bathroom is a major investment, and it doesn’t have the best return. Reports from both the National Association of Realtors and Remodeling Magazine say homeowners will recoup slightly more than half their investment. However, it may be essential to making a sale, especially if there is only one bathroom in the house. “When you’ve got over three bedrooms and you’re all sharing one shower, that’s really tough in a resale market,” Shepherd says.
New windows. Replacing old windows can brighten a room and resale prospects. There’s no need to splurge though. “You’re not going to get your money back with a top of the line window,” Foguth says. Remodeling Magazine reports vinyl replacement windows have a 74 percent return on investment, giving them a 1 percent edge over wood windows.
More square footage. Refinishing a basement or other space can dramatically boost the value of a house in some areas. “In Denver, we have a high price per square foot,” Shepherd says. “To spend $20,000 to $30,000 to finish [off a space] makes a ton of sense.”
A 2015 National Association of Realtors report considered the value of converting a basement to living space. It estimated homeowners could expect to recoup 69 percent of the project price. The return on investment for converting an attic to living space was estimated at 61 percent.
High efficiency appliances. Like insulation, upgrading to high efficiency appliances, water heaters and furnaces has a dual benefit. These may make the home more attractive, but just as importantly, they reduce living costs for the homeowner. Some states and cities may also have tax incentives or other programs to help offset the cost. “That’s way better than stainless steel appliances or throwing up some granite,” Shepherd says.
Interior paint. It’s hard to calculate the return on investment for a coat of paint, but Kopstein says 25 years as a real estate broker have taught him that buyers like clean lines and airy spaces. “If there is any way you can bring light in, it’s going to affect your price,” he says. For those on a tight budget, fresh paint can go a long way to brightening a room.
While these 10 renovations make the most sense from a dollar and cents perspective, every market is different. Kopstein recommends talking to a broker and understanding the expectations of buyers in your area before sinking too much money into a home renovation.
Original content via USNews
Genworth Q2 2017 report shows homebuilders are increasing efforts to meet demand in lower end of pricing spectrum
RICHMOND, PRNewswire — During the second quarter of 2017, first-time homebuyers purchased 570,000 single-family homes compared to 426,000 last quarter, marking the highest number of first-time homebuyer purchases during a second quarter since 1999, which had 599,000, according to the First-Time Homebuyer Market Report, released today by Genworth Mortgage Insurance, an operating segment of Genworth Financial, Inc. (NYSE: GNW).
First-Time Homebuyers Outpace Housing and Mortgage Market
While the number of single-family home sales increased by just two percent during the quarter from a year ago, purchase mortgage origination increased by five percent, and sales and mortgages made to first-time homebuyers increased by eight percent. This resulted in a higher first-time homebuyer mix in both markets.
First-time homebuyers accounted for 36 percent of all single-family homes sold during the second quarter, up from 34 percent a year ago. In the mortgage market, they accounted for 57 percent of all purchase mortgages originated, up from 56 percent a year ago. Historically, first-time homebuyers have accounted for 35 percent of single-family housing market and 45 percent of the purchase mortgage market.
“The rapid growth in the first-time homebuyer market that began in 2015 continued into the second quarter. As the housing market matures, first-time homebuyers are becoming an even more important source of growth,” said Tian Liu, Chief Economist for Genworth Mortgage Insurance. “Whether one looks at the three million missing first-time homebuyers since 2007 or the historically low homeownership rate among young households, the potential growth opportunity remains large and will likely take years to play out. The current housing cycle will be defined by first-time homebuyers.”
A key driver was an improved effort by homebuilders to build more single-family homes priced between $200,000 and $250,000, the segment most popular with first-time homebuyers. This was the fastest-growing segment for homebuilders, accounting for 36 percent of all homes purchased during the second quarter and 33 percent year-over-year growth. However, while homebuilders have increased their focus on building homes within this price range, volume growth has still not caught up due to a low starting level, growing modestly by 13,000 units in the first half of the year.
“As first-time homebuyers continue outpacing the rest of the single-family homes market, homebuilders have begun adjusting their products further down the pricing curve,” said Liu. “However, the growth in supply has not been sufficient enough to offset the supply-demand imbalance, leaving many potential first-time homebuyers still frozen out of the market.”
The supply shortage of new, affordable starter homes has also led to a sharp decline in vacant homes for sale, sending the homeowner vacancy rate during the second quarter into its lowest level since 1994, which Genworth Mortgage Insurance believes will continue to drive home price appreciation.
“While many forecasters predict that increased supply will stem home price appreciation, we believe a slowdown in home price appreciation will be unlikely in 2017 and 2018,” said Liu. “We do not believe that the strong growth in home prices is leading to another housing bubble. A key feature of housing bubbles is speculative demand. Today, first-time homebuyers are out-bidding investors and cash-buyers.”
Booming First-Time Homebuyer Demographic Uses Less Cash, Accrues Mortgage Debt
First-time homebuyers continued to rely on low-down payment mortgages during the second quarter, financing 448,000 homes, or 78 percent of all purchases. This represents a year-over-year increase of eight percent, exceeding the growth in the purchase origination market. “Faster growth in the low down payment mortgage market is primarily the result of an expanding first-time homebuyer market, rather than a relaxation of lending standards,” said Liu. “As long as the expansion in the first-time homebuyer market continues, low down payment mortgages will continue to outpace the rest of the mortgage market.” The surge in home financing shows that first-time homebuyers are driving mortgage credit expansion, taking on mortgage debt to fulfill homeownership priorities, and shifting their debt appropriation away from other sources like student loans. Over time, this is expected to drive faster growth in the amount of outstanding mortgage debt which has grown by just one-to-two percent in 2015 and 2016.
PMI Products Outgrowing FHA
Among the low down payment products utilized by first-time homebuyers, conventional loans with 97 LTVs became more popular with both lenders and borrowers. Year over year, first-time homebuyer purchases using private mortgage insurance increased by 163,000, or 17 percent. As such, during the second quarter, 58 percent of growth in first-time homebuyer purchases came from the private mortgage insurance market, compared to nine percent coming from Federal Housing Administration (FHA) products. FHA and other government lending programs remain three times as large as they were in 2007 in terms of their exposure to the first-time homebuyer market. Under the current policy, their share of the mortgage market is expected to grow because of their specialization in low down payment mortgages.
The First-Time Homebuyer Market Report is the only economic series measuring the number of home sales and mortgages to first-time homebuyers covering the entire housing market. This report provides quarterly estimates of the first-time homebuyer market between the first quarter of 1994 and the second quarter of 2017 – spanning two housing cycles and 24 years. It provides a historical perspective necessary to understand today’s first-time homebuyer market. It is based on a sample size of 20.9 million first-time homebuyers from government reports and industry data, which is larger than any aggregate report on record. By capturing the entire market over a long period, and providing the latest market snapshot, this report will make the first-time homebuyer market more visible to housing industry participants and policymakers.
©2017 PR Newswire. All Rights Reserved.
Post via Akin Oyedele – Business Insider
Home Depot, America’s largest home-improvement store, is counting on millennials to extend the US housing recovery.
The US homeownership rate for people under 35 still trails other age groups for reasonsincluding delayed marriage and record student debt. According to the Census Bureau, 35.3% of people in this age bracket owned homes in the second quarter, up from 34.1% a year ago.
Home Depot noticed this uptick in the increase of first-time homebuyers that visited its stores for supplies. Carol Tome, Home Depot’s chief financial officer, said the company served 424,000 first-time homebuyers in the second quarter, the highest since 2005 and an 11% increase from a year ago. This group made up 38% of all buyers, Tome told analysts during the quarterly earnings call on Tuesday.
“So that is good news. Why? Because first-time homebuyers tend to buy homes that need repair and remodel … we anticipated this happening with millennials coming into an age where they start to form families, children, or pets or whatever their family unit might look like. They’re moving into homes, which bodes very well for us and to your point, it extends the recovery.”
Higher home ownership was just one reason why Home Depot reported another strong quarter. Home Depot also benefited from rising home prices caused by a shortage of non-luxury houses relative to the demand.
Tome’s comments are “consistent with our view that pent up entry-level demand along with moderately increasing supply should provide for housing expansion over the next several years,” said Susan Maklari and Christie Fredericks, analysts at Credit Suisse, in a note Wednesday.
“Low levels of for-sale inventory are creating an environment for accelerated home price appreciation, likely to spur incremental repair and remodel activity going forward,” the note added.
Home Depot stands to continue benefitting from rising home prices and greater homeownership. But for more millennials to find houses they can afford, construction needs to pick up.
“As more and more millennials age into household formation, the pace of housing starts will need to not only meet but exceed the growth in new households so that the housing inventory shortage doesn’t increase further,” said Mark Fleming, the chief economist at First American, in a note on Wednesday.
Builders have cited land shortages and rising building-material costs as reasons for the supply shortage.
“More home building is needed, otherwise nominal home prices will only go one way up,” Fleming said.
SEATTLE, July 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The typical U.S. home is worth over $200,000 for the first time ever, according to the June Zillow® Real Estate Market Reportsi. The national median home value is now $200,400, up about 7 and a half percent since this time last year.
High buyer demand coupled with fewer homes for sale is driving up home values across the country — there are 11 percent fewer homes on the market than a year ago, the greatest drop in inventory since July 2013. National home values have been rising at over 7 percent annually for the past five months, with many markets consistently rising in the double-digits.
During the height of the housing bubble over a decade ago, the median U.S. home value peaked at $196,600 but never surpassed the $200,000 threshold until now.
“The national housing market remains red hot and shows no signs of slowing, even as some local markets like the Bay Area have noticeably cooled,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “But even in areas where the housing market has slowed, home values are at or very near peak levels, selection is limited, demand is high and competition is fierce. Given these high costs and high competition, the most important thing you can do is get your finances in order so you know what you can comfortably afford, and find an agent who has experience with bidding wars and will help you stand out in a competitive market, especially if you’re buying for the first time.”
Millennials are better informed about their housing options than any other generation before them.
I remember buying my first home with my wife. I will never forget the feeling of walking in together for the first time as homeowners. It was a defining moment in both our lives.
Today, younger Millennials are purchasing their first homes and older ones are already moving on to buying their second. Millennials are known as the generation that will buy a $200 pair of jeans after extensive research and trying on 67 different pairs to find the exact right ones. The way they shop for homes is no different.
This research-driven culture is supported by the internet where everything they could ever possibly want to know is right at their fingertips.
The most surprising thing about the way Millennials buy their homes is that they actually want a realtor to help guide them through the process, but that’s not the only generational shift here.
Millennials Want Everything To Be Just Right
Millennials consider owning their own home as an important part of living the American Dream. Unfortunately, thanks to stagnating wages and a sharp increase in student loan debt, saving for that down payment isn’t going to be easy. As a result, there isn’t much cash left over after closing to make any updates Millennials want, so they instead seek out homes that are fully updated and move in ready to begin with.
At the top of Millennials’ wish lists are updated kitchens and bathrooms, green features like solar panels, an open floor plan, a home office, a good location, and good Internet and cell service. Almost half of Millennials would rather buy a brand new house in order to avoid any maintenance issues that might occur early on. Only 11% of Millennials consider a home to be permanent anyway.
Eventually, Millennials plan to sell their starter home as 68% view it as a stepping stone to the home they really want and making improvements is not part of that plan. The average homeowner keeps their home for ten years, while the average Millennial only keeps their home for six years.
Some Things Remain the Same Regardless of Generation
When it comes to where Millennials want to live, the suburbs still reign supreme. Half of Millennials live in the suburbs and a surprisingly low 25% live in urban areas. Research shows Millennials want to live in a place that is close to work and close to things to do, and urban areas typically provide both of those things.
Four out of five adults between the ages of 18 and 25 live outside of the urban core of a city, which indicates an even stronger shift toward the suburbs. Still, they want to be close to work to save on commute times and travel expenses, and 65% choose the location of their home based on how far it is to work.
Why Should Sellers Cater To Millennial Home Buyers, Anyway?
Of all first-time home buyers, Millennials make up 66%, and they are 34% of home buyers overall. Over 66% plan to purchase a new home within the next 5 years. That’s a huge generational shift in real estate. Millennials are better informed about their options than probably any other generation before them.
In short, if you aren’t catering to this generation’s enormous buying potential you’re probably going to be missing out on a lot of opportunities. If you are considering selling your home:
- Make all necessary repairs and upgrades before listing
- Consider updating kitchens and baths – these have always sold homes, but now they are more important than ever
- Do an energy efficiency audit and make upgrades anywhere you can, including solar panels
- Consider upgrading any old appliances
- Install smart home features like programmable thermostats
Millennials do hours of online research just to buy a sweater, so they are naturally going to do even more research when it comes to buying a home. More than three-quarters of Millennial home buyers drove by a home because of photos and listings they found online, and over 60% did walkthroughs because of these listings.
Getting the information in front of them is key, and making sure you highlight relevant features is crucial.
Millennials Now Hold Massive Buying Power
Millennials hold a lot of buying power in today’s real estate market, but many are using their parents to close the deal. According to top performing Denver realtor, Denise Fisher, this makes for an interesting family dynamic with clients that she doesn’t see with other generations:
“One thing real estate agents must adapt to when working with Millennials is dealing with two sets of buyers for the same home. The millennial is usually the one that researches the home online but when it comes to the showing and buying, more and more parents are getting involved in the process. Millennials are frequently getting their down payment or the whole mortgage from their parents so when they are looking it’s a family affair. While the Millennial is my main client, I will often be talking to the parents through the transaction and while showing houses I’ll have 2 carloads of a family to walk through a house. They often have different tastes and ideas for the ideal home. This adds a new element to the sale for realtors.”
Millennials are quickly changing the face of real estate. Gone are the days of only seeing what your Realtor wants to show you. Gone are the days of the glorified fixer upper and the weekend warrior. Millennials are busy working their side hustle anyway. New homes and already fixed up homes are the ones that are going to be moving on the real estate market, an ode to the buying power of the Millennial generation.
Learn more about what Millennials want in a new home from this infographic from Nationwide Mortgages. Much like baby boomers changed the real estate market to shape the suburbs, Millennials are just now starting to make their mark.
- The average house sold in May went under contract in just 37 days.
- Homes are selling faster than ever because supply is tight and demand is high.
- Denver led the nation in fastest home sales.
The competition for housing is heating up along with the summer temperatures and continuing to set new records.
The average house sold in May went under contract in just 37 days, that’s the fastest reading since Redfin, a real estate brokerage, began tracking the market seven years ago. The previous record, set in April, was 40 days.
Homes are selling faster than ever because supply is tight and demand is high. The number of listings in May was nearly 11 percent lower than in May 2016, leaving just 2.7 months of supply — another record low in the Redfin report. As a reference point, the National Association of Realtors considers a six-month supply to be a balanced market between buyers and sellers.
Denver led the nation in fastest sales, with nearly half of its new listings going under contract in just six days. Seattle came in second at seven days, and Grand Rapids, Michigan; Portland, Oregon; and Omaha, Nebraska; rounded out the top five.
On the inventory side, Rochester, New York, had the largest decrease in supply of homes for sale, down nearly 36 percent compared with a year ago. Buffalo, New York, (-32 percent), San Jose, California, (-31 percent), and Seattle (-27 percent), also saw significant drops in inventory.
The tight supply is only pushing home prices higher. The median price of a home sold in May jumped 6.8 percent compared with a year ago. That is about triple the average income gains and may already be hurting sales, as affordability weakens.
“There is still a lot of momentum in home prices in many metros, not only on the coasts but also in places like Buffalo, Grand Rapids and Omaha,” said Redfin’s chief economist, Nela Richardson. “Strong local economic growth and burgeoning demand from older millennials are accelerating home-price growth in this very competitive, low-inventory, pre-summer market.”
Richardson is not concerned about the latest hike in short-term interest rates by the Federal Reserve. Mortgage rates do not follow the Fed rate directly, but track the yield on the 10-year Treasury bond, which is at its lowest since the presidential election last November. Rates are expected to move higher at some point, as the central bank continues to shrink its balance sheet of mortgage-backed securities.
“If anything, it may motivate buyers to make their purchases sooner rather than later,” she added.
The current interest rate on the popular 30-year fixed conforming loan is hovering just above 4 percent. If rates were to hit 5 percent, most homebuyers said they would not change their homebuying plans, according to a survey commissioned by Redfin last month. About a quarter of those surveyed said it would increase their urgency to buy, but rates at 5 percent would not change their plans to buy a home.
Of all the emerging consumer technology markets out there, the one that seems to have the most promise surrounding it is the smart home, and it’s not even close. It feels like we’ve been talking about smart home tech for at least a decade, which means it’s been around the block a couple of times, which can’t be said for some other emerging tech markets. But here we are in 2017 still talking about the potential of smart home tech.
There are a couple of reasons why the runway for this category seems to be extraordinarily long. For one, cost is definitely a factor. Smart home tech began reaching the mass consumer market around the time consumers started tightening their purse strings. And, at the outset, smart home products were on the pricey side. Still today, consumers are under the impression that smart home tech is impossibly expensive. According to a survey by hardware and software company Wink, one third of Americans believe it costs $5,000 or more to convert their home into a smart home. In reality, Wink’s own data shows that the average smart home shopper starts with around four smart devices and spends only about $200.
Another factor in the slow adoption rate of smart home tech is the security issue. Data privacy is a major concern for consumers, and right now—with everything going on around data privacy, or the lack thereof—most Americans are a bit hesitant to purchase a product or set of products that they feel will compromise their personal information.
The combined impact on the current state of the smart home market is that just four in ten households have an automation device active in them, according to a recent study by Report Linker.
Taken at face value, some of the data to come out of the Report Linker survey would have you believe that the smart home market is going nowhere fast. Consider some of the other key data points to come out of the report:
- 59 percent of those surveyed said they do not own any automation devices.
- 63 percent of those surveyed said it is unlikely that they would purchase a home automation device in the near future—of which, 42 percent responded ‘very unlikely.’
- Top reasons for not being interested in smart home devices included: too expensive (29 percent), they don’t see the benefits (26 percent), and privacy concerns (25 percent). Just 6 percent cited ‘complicated to install and monitor’ as a reason.
- Of the two-thirds of respondents who said they don’t own a voice assistant product, 66 percent said it’s unlikely they’d be interested in buying one in the near future.
Believe it or not, there are some pretty positive takeaways. Chief among them: the opportunity exists for everyone in the CE space—from manufacturers all the way down to the retailer—to educate consumers on home automation technology. In 2017, a majority of consumers consider themselves to be tech savvy (right around 50 percent, actually, according to the Report Linker survey), but they’re lazy when it comes to educating themselves on new tech solutions. They want something to just work, and when it doesn’t—or if they have a not-so-easy time figuring it out—they just give up. One of the top responses from owners of automation devices when asked about the main benefits is that the product is “user friendly,” a.k.a. easy to use. It just takes a little effort to make the consumer realize why that’s the case.
Beyond education, a major reason for automation device makers and sellers to remain positive is the basic numbers game at play here. According to the Report Linker survey, the average smart home consumer right now has 3.4 devices in their home (50 percent have one to two devices, 24 percent have three or four, and 26 percent have five or more). That’s a lot of smart home product floating around out there. Better yet, that’s a lot of product, and we’re only talking about 40 percent market penetration. There’s still 60 percent of households out there that haven’t bought into the smart home concept yet.
As of 2015, the smart home market was valued at around $47 billion by Markets and Markets. With that growth potential, it’s easy to see why they expect the smart home market to boom to a $121 million market by 2022.
Smart home products also stand ready to benefit from the eventual introduction of 5G network technology as well. Network reliability and the realization of an always-connected world will make the smart home concept a more feasible reality to consumers at 5G rolls out, so expect that market value to continue to skyrocket into the late 2020s.
Rob is Content Editor for CT Lab at NAPCO Media.
Diana Olick | @DianaOlick
Tuesday, 16 May 2017 | 11:31 AM
· During the Great Recession, investors bought hundreds of thousands of “starter homes” and instead of selling them when prices recovered, they turned them into single-family rentals.
· The median price of a newly built home in March was $315,000, significantly higher than the $236,400 median for existing homes.
· Demand for homes is clearly growing among younger buyers.
The largest generation is finally starting to buy houses. The trouble is, there aren’t enough houses for sale to feed their appetite, at least not enough they can afford.
Enter the nation’s recovering homebuilders. They may want to play to this great big audience, but doing that will hurt their bottom lines.
“Since the recovery has really been at the middle end of the market, home prices have gone up and land prices have followed,” said Megan McGrath, managing director at MKM Partners. “So it is very, very hard to make a good profit at a lower price point these days.”
In the wake of the Great Recession, investors both small and institutional swooped in and bought hundreds of thousands of foreclosed properties. The vast majority of those were originally lower-priced so-called starter homes. Some of them were barely a few years old, thanks to the massive boom in construction. Rather than sell them when home prices recovered, investors held onto them, turning them into still lucrative single-family rentals. As a result, there are very few existing starter homes for sale today.
The median price of a newly built home in March was $315,000, significantly higher than the $236,400 median for existing homes. Newly built homes always come at a price premium, but that spread widened significantly during the housing recovery, because builders were focused only on the move-up buyer. Young buyers were sidelined by weak employment, weak wage growth and high levels of student debt. That is now changing, but not dramatically.
“I don’t think anyone’s doing jumping jacks in terms of that lower end of the market, but I do think you’re also seeing … a little slowdown at that middle end, because that’s where the bulk of the recovery has been so far. And so we’ve seen a lot of sales so far in the last four years in that middle end, so you need to find another avenue of growth,” said McGrath.
New homes, lower prices
Big builders are slowly starting to introduce new product lines at lower price points, but they’re by no means starter homes. Only D.R. Horton, which introduced its Express Homes line in 2014 to much criticism, and LGI Homes, have substantial entry-level product.
“Finally they are selling well, so you are seeing everybody start to migrate to those types of homes, but they’re starting,” said John Burns, CEO of John Burns Real Estate Consulting. “People are doing more townhomes in good locations, and they’re also stripping stuff out of the house to get the price cheaper.”
Median rent is more expensive than the mortgage payment on a median valued home in the U.S., but many renters are struggling to come up with a down payment
SEATTLE, April 28, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Rent is so high that a typical renter in the U.S. can purchase a home nearly 50 percent more expensive than the median valued home and keep the same monthly housing budget, according to a new Zillow® analysis.
The median rent in the U.S. is $1,416 per month, which is enough to cover the monthly expenses associated with owning a $289,505 home. The median U.S. home value is $196,500.
Rent is more expensive than ever before. Affordability is a growing concern across the country, and rent requires almost half of the median income in some of the nation’s most expensive markets. A mortgage payment is cheaper than a rental payment on a monthly basis, but saving enough money for the down payment is holding back many renters from crossing over into homeownership.
Zillow analyzed the median rent payment in cities across the country to determine how much home a prospective buyer could afford without spending more on a mortgage than they were currently spending on rent. Zillow factored in all monthly homeownership costs, such as property taxes, maintenance and insurancei. In 37 of the 50 cities Zillow analyzed, renters could buy a home worth more than the median valued home in their city without spending more on monthly housing costs.
Renters paying the median rent in Cleveland and Milwaukee can afford to buy a home more than twice as expensive as the local median home value. In Cleveland, prospective buyers can buy a home valued at $174,194 while keeping all monthly housing costs the same — this represents more than 80 percent of homes currently on the market.
San Francisco is one of the only cities in the country where a monthly rental payment would not cover the costs of owning the median valued home. Renters in San Francisco who want to keep monthly expenses the same would have to buy a home valued at $865,857, representing just 23 percent of homes currently on the market. The median home value in the city of San Francisco is over $1 million.
“Renters hesitant to enter the home buying market for fear of not being able to find an affordable home should be encouraged to discover they may have more options than they thought,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “However, it’s worth noting that many of the more affordable homes for sale may be older, smaller and/or located in less-desirable neighborhoods than they might like. The decision between buying and renting is a financial trade-off between saving more each month on a mortgage payment versus spending more on rent but taking advantage of the location and lifestyle amenities urban renting often offers. Recent slowdowns in rent growth may take some of the edge off for renters saving to become homeowners. This is good news, since saving a down payment, qualifying for a loan and finding a home available at a manageable price remain hurdles for millions of aspiring buyers.”
Nearly half of all buyers are entering the market for the first-time, according to the 2016 Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends. The majority of all buyers stay within the same city when they move.
Value of Home
New York, NY
Los Angeles, CA
Las Vegas, NV
San Diego, CA
San Jose, CA
San Francisco, CA
El Paso, TX
Long Beach, CA
Kansas City, MO
Virginia Beach, VA
Colorado Springs, CO
Baton Rouge, LA
New Orleans, LA
Santa Ana, CA
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