How Restrictive Growth Policies Affect Housing Affordability in Many Cities

Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner explains how restrictive growth policies are affecting housing affordability in many cities.​

Posted on October 4, 2018 at 9:14 am
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5 Reasons Rising Interest Rates Won’t Wreck the Housing Market

Interest rates have been trending higher since the fall of 2017, and I fully expect they will continue in that direction – albeit relatively slowly – as we move through the balance of the year and into 2019. So what does this mean for the US housing market?

It might come as a surprise to learn that I really don’t think rising interest rates will have a major impact on the housing market. Here is my reasoning:

1. First Time Home Buyers 

As interest rates rise, I expect more buyers to get off the fence and into the market; specifically, first time buyers who, according to Freddie Mac, made up nearly half of new mortgages in the first quarter of this year. First-time buyers are critical to the overall health of the housing market because of the subsequent chain reaction of sales that result so this is actually a positive outcome of rising rates.

2. Easing Credit Standards

Rising interest rates may actually push some lenders to modestly ease credit standards. I know this statement will cause some people to think that easing credit will immediately send us back to the days of sub-prime lending and housing bubbles, but I don’t see this happening. Even a very modest easing of credit will allow for more than one million new home buyers to qualify for a mortgage.

3. Low Unemployment 

We stand today in a country with very low unemployment (currently 4.0% and likely to get close to 3.5% by year’s end). Low unemployment rates encourage employers to raise wages to keep existing talent, as well as to recruit new talent. Wage growth can, to a degree, offset increasing interest rates because, as wages rise, buyers can afford higher mortgage payments.

4. Supply

There is a clear relationship between housing supply, home prices, and interest rates. We’re already seeing a shift in inventory levels with more homes coming on the market, and I fully expect this trend to continue for the foreseeable future. This increase in supply is, in part, a result of homeowners looking to cash in on their home’s appreciation before interest rates rise too far. This, on its own, will help ease the growth of home prices and offset rising interest rates. Furthermore, if we start to see more new construction activity at the lower end of the market, this too will help.

National versus Local

Up until this point, I’ve looked at how rising interest rates might impact the housing market on a national level, but as we all know, real estate is local, and different markets react to shifts in different ways. For example, rising interest rates will be felt more in expensive housing markets, such as San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Orange County, but I expect to see less impact in areas like Cleveland, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, and Detroit, where buyers spend a lower percentage of their incomes on housing. The exception to this would be if interest rates continue to rise for a prolonged period; in that case, we might see demand start to taper off, especially in the less expensive housing markets where buyers are more price sensitive.

For more than seven years, home buyers and real estate professionals alike have grown very accustomed to historically low interest rates. We always knew the time would come when they would begin to rise again, but that doesn’t mean the outlook for housing is doom and gloom. On the contrary, I believe rising interest rates will help bring us closer to a more balanced real estate market, something that is sorely needed in many markets across the country.

Posted on October 3, 2018 at 9:12 am
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Challenges Builders Face with New Construction

Housing demand remains high across the Western United States, but home-building is still struggling to keep up. What can be done to help encourage construction of new homes? Windermere Real Estate’s Chief Economist Matthew Gardner has insight.​

Posted on October 2, 2018 at 9:15 am
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The Gardner Report – Q2 2018

 

The following analysis of the Metro Denver & Northern Colorado real estate market (which now includes Clear Creek, Gilpin, and Park Counties) is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact your Windermere agent.

 

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

Colorado continues to see very strong job growth, adding 72,800 non-agricultural jobs over the past 12 months—an impressive increase of 2.7%. Through the first five months of 2018, the state added an average of 7,300 new jobs per month. I expect this growth to continue through the remainder of the year, resulting in about 80,000 new jobs in 2018.

In May, the state unemployment rate was 2.8%. This is slightly above the 2.6% we saw a year ago but still represents a remarkably low level. Unemployment remains either stable or is dropping in all the markets contained in this report, with the lowest reported rates in Fort Collins and Boulder, where just 2.2% of the labor force was actively looking for work. The highest unemployment rate was in Grand Junction, which came in at 3.1%.

 

HOME SALES ACTIVITY

  • In the second quarter of 2018, 17,769 homes sold—a drop of 2.4% compared to the second quarter of 2017.
  • Sales rose in 5 of the 11 counties contained in this report, with Gilpin County sales rising by an impressive 10.7% compared to second quarter of last year. There were also noticeable increases in Clear Creek and Weld Counties. Sales fell the most in Park County but, as this is a relatively small area, I see no great cause for concern at this time.
  • Slowing sales activity is to be expected given the low levels of available homes for sale in many of the counties contained in this report. That said, we did see some significant increases in listing activity in Denver and Larimer Counties. This should translate into increasing sales through the summer months.
  • The takeaway here is that sales growth is being hobbled by a general lack of homes for sale, and due to a drop in housing demand.

 

 

HOME PRICES

  • With strong economic growth and a persistent lack of inventory, prices continue to trend higher. The average home price in the region rose
    9.8% year-over-year to $479,943.
  • The smallest price gains in the region were in Park County, though the increase there was still a respectable 7%.
  • Appreciation was strongest in Clear Creek and Gilpin Counties, where prices rose by 28.9% and 26%, respectively. All other counties in this report saw gains above the long-term average.
  • Although there was some growth in listings, the ongoing imbalance between supply and demand persists, driving home prices higher.

 

 

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home remained at the same level as a year ago.
  • The length of time it took to sell a home dropped in most markets contained in this report. Gilpin County saw a very significant jump in days on market, but this can be attributed to the fact that it is a very small area which makes it prone to severe swings.
  • In the second quarter of 2018, it took an average of 24 days to sell a home. Of note is Adams County, where it took an average of only 10 days to sell a home.
  • Housing demand remains very strong and all the markets in this report continue to be in dire need of additional inventory to satisfy demand.

 

 

CONCLUSIONS

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors.

For the second quarter of 2018, I have moved the needle very slightly towards buyers as a few counties actually saw inventories rise. However, while I expect to see listings increase in the coming months, for now, the housing market continues to heavily favor sellers.

 

Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has more than 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

Posted on July 31, 2018 at 1:43 pm
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Colorado Real Estate Market Update – 1st Quarter 2018

 

The following analysis of the Metro Denver & Northern Colorado real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

It’s good news for the state of Colorado, which saw annual employment grow in all of the metropolitan markets included in this report. The state added 63,400 non-agricultural jobs over the past 12 months, an impressive growth rate of 2.4%. Colorado has been adding an average of 5,300 new jobs per month for the past year, and I anticipate that this growth rate will continue through the balance of 2018.

In February, the unemployment rate in Colorado was 3.0%—a level that has held steady for the past six months. Unemployment has dropped in all the markets contained in this report, with the lowest reported rates in Fort Collins and Denver, where 3.1% of the labor force was actively looking for work. The highest unemployment rate was in Grand Junction, which came in at 4.6%.

 

HOME SALES ACTIVITY

  • In the first quarter of 2018, there were 11,173 home sales—a drop of 5.6% when compared to the first quarter of 2017.
  • With an increase of 5.3%, home sales rose the fastest in Boulder County, as compared to first quarter of last year. There was also a modest sales increase of 1.2% in Larimer County. Sales fell in all the other counties contained within this report.
  • Home sales continue to slow due to low inventory levels, which were down 5.7% compared to a year ago.
  • The takeaway here is that sales growth continues to stagnate due to the lack of homes for sale.

 

 

HOME PRICES

  • Strong economic growth, combined with limited inventory, continued to push prices higher. The average home price in the markets covered by this report was up by 11.7% year-over-year to $448,687.
  • Arapahoe County saw slower appreciation in home values, but the trend is still positiveand above its long-term average.
  • Appreciation was strongest in Boulder County, which saw prices rise 14.8%. Almost all other counties in this report experienced solid gains.
  • The ongoing imbalance between supply and demand persists and home prices continue to appreciate at above-average rates.

 

 

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home dropped by three days when compared to the first quarter of 2017.
  • Homes in all but two counties contained in this report took less than a month to sell. Adams County continues to stand out where it took an average of just 17 days to sell a home.
  • During the first quarter, it took an average of 27 days to sell a home. That rate is down 2 days from the fourth quarter of 2017.
  • Housing demand remains strong and would-be buyers should expect to see stiff competition for well-positioned, well-priced homes.

 

 

CONCLUSIONS

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. In the first quarter of 2018, I have left the needle where it was in the fourth quarter of last year. Even as interest rates trend higher, it appears as if demand will continue to outweigh supply. As we head into the spring months, I had hoped to see an increase in the number of homes for sale, but so far that has not happened. As a result, the housing market continues to heavily favor sellers.

 

Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has more than 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

Posted on May 7, 2018 at 12:56 pm
Windermere DTC | Category: Market News

FHFA Appreciation Graph 1977-2017

 

Denver metro real estate has been appreciating more than 10% per year for the last 5 years in a row!

Below is a breakdown of the past 40 years thanks to FHFA and Focus1st.

Posted on March 8, 2018 at 1:02 pm
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A Week in the Denver MLS – February 23, 2018

With the home inventory at all time lows our team is constantly monitoring the listing activity in the local MLS – REcolorado, and some interesting observations can be made on reviewing the data over this past week.

This first graph takes a look at how new listing numbers (homes just placed on the market for the first time) compare with price reductions and failed sale attempts (withdrawn & expired listings) over the last 7 days.

The standouts from this chart —

  • Only 1,122 new listings came on the market.
  • Relative to the number of new listings, about 14% of that number reduced their price.
  • 261 listings were taken off the market because they failed to sell (roughly 1/4 the number of new listings)!

The listings that are priced well are moving very quickly and often choosing between multiple offers, but the impact of this lessens as price increases.  

Once a listing goes under contract as it will either successfully close or go back on the market for some reason.

The data here shows that relative to the Sold listing numbers roughly 7 out of 8 are successfully closing which leaves 1 out of 8 coming back on the market.

We’ve seen this number fluctuate over the last 6 months, with the current numbers actually on the lower end.  This could be due to the fact that we are near month end, but some would still find it surprising given the low inventory market we find ourselves in.

Properly positioning a property within the market not only with the right price, but also an effective marketing plan and the benefits of the Windermere Certified Listing program have lowered our price reductions and expiration rate to nearly zero, while still maximizing the bottom-line return for our sellers.  To learn more, connect with one of the amazing Brokers on our team!

Posted on February 23, 2018 at 4:00 pm
Windermere DTC | Category: Market News

Colorado Real Estate Update – 4th Quarter 2017

 

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

Colorado added 45,300 non-agricultural jobs over the past 12 months, a growth rate of 1.7%. Although that is a respectable number, employment growth has been trending lower in 2017 as the state reaches full employment. Within the metropolitan market areas included in this report, there was annual employment growth in all areas other than Grand Junction, where employment was modestly lower. There was solid growth in Greeley and Fort Collins, where annual job growth was measured at 4% and 2.7%, respectively.

In November, the unemployment rate in the state was a remarkably low 2.9%, down from 3% a year ago. The lowest reported unemployment rates were seen in Fort Collins and Boulder, where only 2.5% of the labor force was actively looking for work. The highest unemployment rate (3.7%) was in Grand Junction.

The state economy has been performing very well, which is why the wage growth over the past year has averaged a very solid 3.3%. I expect the labor market to remain tight and this will lead to wages rising at above-average rates through 2018.

 

HOME SALES ACTIVITY

  • In the fourth quarter of 2017, there were 14,534 home sales—a drop of 2.0% compared to a year ago.
  • Sales again rose the fastest in Boulder County, which saw sales grow 17.9% versus the third quarter of 2016. There were also reasonable increases in Weld and Larimer Counties. Sales fell in all other counties contained within this report because there is such a shortage of available homes for sale.
  • As I discussed in my third quarter report, sales slowed due to the lack of homes for sale. The average number of homes for sale in the markets in this report is down by 8.2% from the fourth quarter of 2016.
  • The takeaway is that sales growth has moderated due to the lack of homes for sale.

 

 

HOME PRICE

  • With continued competition for the limited number of available homes, prices continued their upward trend. Average prices were up 9.8% year-over-year to a regional average of $431,403, which was slightly higher than the third quarter of 2017.
  • There was slower appreciation in home values in Boulder County, but the trend is still positive.
  • Appreciation was strongest in Weld County, which saw prices rise 14.3%. There were also solid gains in almost all other counties considered in this report.
  • The ongoing imbalance between supply and demand persists, which means we can expect home prices to continue appreciating at above-average rates for the foreseeable future.

 

 

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home rose by two days when compared to the fourth quarter of 2016.
  • Homes in all but three counties contained in this report took less than a month to sell. Adams County continues to stand out, where it took an average of just 21 days for homes to sell.
  • It took an average of 29 days to sell a home last quarter. This is up nine days over the third quarter of 2017.
  • Housing demand remains strong in Colorado and this will continue with well-positioned, well-priced homes continuing to sell very quickly.

 

 

CONCLUSIONS

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors.

For the fourth quarter of 2017, I have chosen to leave the needle where it was in the previous quarter. Listings remain scarce, but this did not deter buyers who are still active in the market. As much as I want to see more balance between supply and demand, I believe the market will remain supply-constrained as we move toward the spring, which will continue to heavily favor sellers.

 

Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has more than 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

Posted on February 8, 2018 at 12:59 pm
Windermere DTC | Category: Market News | Tagged ,

2018 Real Estate Forecast Event

Are we in a housing bubble? Is there a recession coming?

Learn the answers to those questions plus more at this fun, interactive, informative presentation full of valuable takeaways featuring Windermere Real Estate’s Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. Hear hyper-local stats and facts as well as national information about the real estate, employment and financial markets.

Reception to follow! Please stay after the presentation and join us for complimentary hors d’oeuvres and drinks.

We hope to see you there!  Please click the image below to register.

 

Posted on January 4, 2018 at 10:20 am
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Colorado Real Estate Update – 3rd Quarter 2017

The following analysis of the Metro Denver and Northern Colorado real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW


Colorado added 45,800 non-agricultural jobs over the past 12 months, a growth rate of 1.8%. Within the metropolitan market areas included in this report, annual employment growth was seen in all areas other than Grand Junction (where employment was stable) with substantial growth seen in Fort Collins (4.6%) and Greeley (3.5%).

In August, the unemployment rate in the state was 2.2%, down from 3.1% a year ago. The lowest reported unemployment rates were again seen in Fort Collins at just 1.8%. The highest rate was in Grand Junction, at a very respectable 3.0%. It is still reasonable to assume that all the markets contained within this report will see above-average wage growth given the very tight labor market.

HOME SALES ACTIVITY


  • There were 17,140 home sales during the third quarter of 2017, which was a drop of 3.3% from the same period in 2016.
  • Sales rose the fastest in Boulder County, which saw sales grow 4% more than the third quarter of 2016. There were marginal increases in Weld and Larimer Counties. Sales fell in all the other counties contained within this report.
  • Home sales slowed due to very low levels of available inventory. Listing activity continues to trend at well below historic averages, with the total number of homes for sale in the third quarter 5.5% below the level seen a year ago.
  • The takeaway here is that sales growth has stalled due to the lack of homes for sale.
Annual Change in Home Sales

HOME PRICES


  • With substantial competition for the few available homes, prices continue to rise. Average prices were up 7.5% year-over-year to a regional average of $428,602.
  • Slower appreciation in home values was again seen in Boulder County, but the trend is still positive.
  • Appreciation was strongest in Weld County, which saw prices rise 12%.
  • Due to an ongoing imbalance between supply and demand, home prices will continue to appreciate at above-average rates for the foreseeable future.
Metro Denver and Northern Colorado Heat Map
Annual Change in Home Sale Prices

DAYS ON MARKET


  • The average number of days it took to sell a home dropped by one day when compared to the third quarter of 2016.
  • Homes in all counties contained in this report took less than a month to sell. Adams County continues to stand out as it took an average of just two weeks to sell a home there.
  • During the third quarter, it took an average of 20 days to sell a home. This is up by 3 days compared to the second quarter of this year.
  • Demand remains strong, and well-positioned, well-priced homes continue to sell very quickly.
Average Days on Market

CONCLUSIONS


This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors.

In the third quarter of 2017, I have chosen to leave the needle where it was in the second quarter. Homes are still scarce; however, there is a small slowdown in price growth and a decline in both closed and pending sales. This may suggest the market is either getting weary of all the competition or that would-be buyers are possibly putting off buying until they see more choices in the number of homes for sale.

 

Posted on December 4, 2017 at 2:26 pm
Windermere DTC | Category: Market News