MARKET UPDATE - FEBRUARY 2019
THE MARKET HAS TURNED – HOME SALES STALL
Home sales in December increased a dismal 1.2% year over year according to data provided by Redfin. That market the slowest increase since March 2012; nearly seven years ago. The market has put on the brakes, which is good for homebuyers.
Home sales are slowing, and home prices fell in nine of the largest markets; and they fell at 10.9%, which is the fastest drop in over three years (housingwire.com). The silver lining, homes are slowly but surely becoming more affordable. Home prices have been outpacing wages for nearly seven years which is unsustainable. With long term rates at the lower point in over a year, and falling home prices, buyers now have inventory to choose from, at a lower cost than just months earlier.
With the US and global economy cooling, consumer confidence has dropped. Although the opportunity to take advantage of lower prices, higher inventory and lower borrowing costs may be short lived. Today is a good day to buy. Don’t forget to negotiate lower prices and seller concessions.
HOUSING IN JANUARY – CRICKETS
The U.S. housing market has kicked off the new year with a…. whisper. New data from Realtor.com shows that 15% of listings have already had a price cut in January.
Homes are also staying on the market longer. In the nations highest priced markets, days on the market grew substantially.
We are now in a buyers’ market. With falling interest rates there will be good opportunities aplenty.
The unemployment rate rose to 4% in January. – US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While the job market is strong, and unemployment is a near 50-year lows, wage increases are not keeping pace with housing. Not even close. With home prices falling, and interest rates declining, the gap is closing, but the spread is wide.
CONSUMER DEBT HITS ALL TIME HIGH
$4 Trillion; with a T! Consumer debt, which does not include mortgage debt, has hit an all time high at a staggering $4 Trillion. Say that out loud. Yes, consumer debt, despite unemployment at a 50-year low, is $1 Trillion higher than it was during the Great Recession. The people are simply spending more than they are earning.
Not to beat a dead horse (or feed a full horse), but there has never been a better time to rectify the situation. Consumer debt is at an all time high, but so is home equity. With the recent drop in interest rates, there has never been a better opportunity to pull out some equity and consolidate debt. Even if you currently have a low rate on your current mortgage, with calculated debt consolidation, you may obtain a mortgage at an even or slightly higher rate but save hundreds or even thousands over the life of loan(s) due to proper consolidation. Meet with a licensed mortgage professional today to see if you would benefit from a strategic refinance.
JPMORGAN CHASE WARNS OF A SLOWDOWN
In a move that surprised many in the industry, JPMorgan Chase raised their loan-loss reserves by more the $300 million in the fourth quarter in preparation to a slowdown and potential loses. Jaime Dimon, JPMorgan’s CEO, warned that the market has shifted, and they do not want to get hit with a potential downturn.
“We tell our management that we have no problem seeing loan books shrink,” Dimon said during the call with analysts and investors. “Sometimes … you’re better off telling your sales force to play golf rather than to make new loans. We’re not going to be stupid.” – Jaime Dimon
“We stay in a business knowing there’s going to be a cycle and we’re not going to be children in this cycle,” Dimon said. “We know the losses are going to go up.” (housingwire.com)
MICROSOFT ENTERS INTO AFFORDABLE HOUSING
From 2011-2018, home pricing in Seattle, WA jumped a staggering 96%; while median income only rose 34%. Not a problem for Seattle alone, but exaggerated by the enormous success of tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft. Microsoft alone employees more than 50,000 people in the Seattle market; and has contributed to rapid housing appreciation.
Now, Microsoft has committed to helping the home affordability issue in the Seattle housing market by pledging $500 million to fund construction of affordable housing. $475 million will go to affordable housing construction and $25 million will go to grant programs to assist with the housing of the homeless.
WORLDS LEAST AFFORDABLE HOUSING MARKETS
While the U.S. city does not hold a number one position, the U.S. does have four cities on the top ten list of least affordable housing markets.
The median home price in all cities was approximately 9 times the median household income. (Bloomberg.com)
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