We are watching close to see where the real estate market is headed. Anecdotally we can tell you that the vast majority of transactions that are under contract are still closing. We have seen very few transactions cancel because of employment issues or the wild swings of the stock market.
An interesting leading indicator was announced this week that sheds some light as to where the market is headed. Each week the Mortgage Bankers Association releases their index which tracks new mortgage applications.
They track both purchase applications and refinance applications. To no one’s surprise, the index was down this week but not as much as you may have guessed.
New purchase applications were down 11% compared to the same week this last year. Refinance activity fell more sharply, down 34%.
This is a statistic we will watch closely as time goes on.
Our Chief Economist made a video for all of our clients where he shares his perspective on COVID-19’s impact on housing. You can watch it by clicking the image below:
So far the tailwind of historically-low mortgage rates are prevailing over Wall Street and COVID-19 concerns.
Buyers are still active. Properties are still closing. Moving trucks are still showing up at people’s homes.
Open house traffic has declined, but we notice plenty of buyers looking for property. (one of our open houses last weekend had over 40 visitors)
For many, the interest rates are just too good to pass up.
We even see instances of multiple-offer situations for properties priced right in high-demand locations.
Rates today, compared to 4%, equate to not only a monthly savings for those refinancing but also equates to tens of thousands in additional purchase power.
For the average price of a home on the Front Range, the savings is $171 per month and the increased purchase power is $35,811.
Here’s what we expect to happen over the coming months. Listing inventory and transaction volume will both decline. We will no doubt see lower activity compared to a year ago.
But thoughts of the market “coming to a screeching halt” can’t be validated because of the historical performance of our market and because of the inherent fundamentals in place.
We will continue to track the numbers and communicate the facts so that you remain well-informed.
Interest rates on a 30-year mortgage right now are just about the lowest they have ever been in history.
- The rate today is 3.45%
- The lowest-ever in November, 2012 was 3.31%
- A year ago they were 4.35%
So, what gives? Why are rates so low? It turns out that the coronavirus is pushing rates down to historic lows.
The virus is causing uncertainty in the global financial markets. When there is uncertainty, there tends to be a flight from stocks into bonds.
Specifically, there tends to be a flight to U.S. Treasuries.
High demand for U.S. Treasuries means that the interest rates on those bonds goes down.
30-year mortgage rates track the rates on the 10-year Treasury and the 10-year Treasury just hit their lowest rates ever at 1.31%.
The uncertainty around the virus will likely keep rates down for the foreseeable future.
If you haven’t done so already, we encourage you to reach out to your mortgage lender to see if you would benefit by refinancing your loan.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are some Northern Colorado stats we think you will love:
- Prices are up 3.5% compared to last year
- Inventory is up 10% which means there is more selection for buyers
- We just had the most active January in terms of closings in over 10 years
- Well over 13,000 residential properties representing $5.4 Billion of volume has sold in the last 12 months
If you would like to see a video recap of our annual Market Forecast you can watch that HERE.
Housing affordability is a hot topic especially after the strong price appreciation that has occurred in our market over the last 7 years.
Here’s some interesting research on affordability…
Each quarter the National Association of Home Builders measures affordability in hundreds of markets across the Country.
Their method is to count the number of homes in a market that could be purchased with that particular market’s median income.
For example, San Francisco is the least-affordable market where only 8.4% of the homes could be purchased with their median income.
The most-affordable is Monroe, Michigan where 95.3% of the homes could be purchased with their median income.
Guess where all of the 10 least-affordable markets are. California!
Guess where almost all of the 10 most-affordable markets are. The rust belt (cities in Michigan, Ohio, upstate New York, etc.)
The U.S. average is 63.6%.
Metro Denver comes in at 55.3% and Northern Colorado at 54.5%.
So, roughly half of the homes in our market could be purchased with our local median income.
Millennials often get a bad rap. One of the myths about Millennials is that they don’t own homes and will be renters forever.
Not true! Especially on the Front Range of Colorado.
Based on research by our very own Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, Millennials make up a significant percentage of all home buyers in Metro Denver and Colorado.
In Metro Denver, 50% of all buyers last year were in the Millennial demographic.
In Northern Colorado, the number is 41%.
It turns out that Millennials, as they move into their mid to late 30’s, see the value of home ownership and are at the point in their lives where it makes sense to own instead of rent.