Real Estate Trends and News

July 27, 2022

Understanding the impact of the Federal Interest rate on mortgage rates

The increase in the federal interest rate is the topic du jour. But what does this mean in real terms for the average home buyer and the home market in general?

 

The US Federal Reserve or ‘the Fed’ is the central bank which loans money to banks and sets the interest rate based on the state of the national economy. Increasing the interest rate discourages spending and keeps the costs of goods and services lower by decreasing demand. An increase in interest rates encourages borrowing and spending which generally stimulates growth.

 

Interest rates have fluctuated between near zero and highs of over 20 in the last 60 years. Check out the graph below for the context of current federal interest rates.

 

 

Federal interest rates directly influence mortgage lender rates. When federal interest rates go up, mortgage lenders increase the rates for their products. Some home loan packages are less impacted by the federal interest rates because they are directly subsidized by the federal government. For instance veteran home loans or first time home-buyer loans have lower rates than conventional loans. 

 

Compare the above chart with the chart below of average mortgage rates since the 1970’s.



 

As you can see, mortgage rates and Federal Interest rates are siblings but not twins. This is because mortgage lenders have flexibility to adjust their rates based on the Federal Interest rates, their customer base, and the market.

 

Mortgage lenders also have an interest in keeping their rates less volatile than Federal Interest rates to prevent shock. 

 

Let’s look at the difference between a 3% and a 5% interest rate for a conventional 30 year loan with 5% down on a $250,000 home. As you can see from the charts below the monthly payment difference between a 3% and 5% loan is over $200 per month, which almost doubles when looking at a 6% rate. For a homeowner to afford the monthly payment, they will need to have a better income to debt ratio as well as more for down payment.






This could potentially be a great thing for middle income buyers. Even though the interest rates are higher which increases the cost of the loan, there are fewer buyers which means fewer bidding wars. In Beaverton for instance this could knock off an additional $50,000 from the final price of the home!

 

Let's say you're looking at a $450,000 home at 3.5% with 10% down, you have a loan balance of $405,000. At the 3.5% rate, your monthly payments would be $1819. At 5.75%, today's rates, the same payment would now be $2363, an increase of $545 monthly of $6,538 annually. Here's the advantage, up until the end of May 2022, buyers were bidding anywhere from $20,000 to $80,000 more than asking. By not having to bid $20,000-$50,000 over you'll make up the difference in 4-8 years.

 

 

 

Posted in Market Updates
July 22, 2022

A deeper dive into the recent housing market trends

The dream of many young adults, and even older adults, is to one day own a home. This right-of-passage has become increasingly more out-of-reach as wage growth hasn’t kept up with inflation, let alone home prices. But the market is controlled by factors largely outside of the average American home buyer's control. And Zillow is now facing a class action lawsuit for market manipulation. Lets take a look at some of the factors that lead to Zillow dominating the home buying and real estate market, as well as the potential fall out.

First some data. The way people buy and sell homes has changed a great deal in the 30+ years since the takeover of the internet. Whether you look at the inception date of 1983 or Google’s birthday in 1998, the increasing digitalization of commerce and tracking means that we have substantive data to evaluate regarding what people are looking for, how they search, and where they search.

We’re going to look at a few different factors here. First the search terms. Google analytics show that within the US, people searching for housing is relatively stable and fluctuates cyclically generally peaking in the summer and waning in the winter. Nobody wants to move in the middle of a snow storm. Not surprisingly, there were two peaks in people searching for housing, just before the 2007/08 housing market crash, and March of 2020 when people looked for new places where they could escape the pandemic. 

Housing Search Terms Google Analytics

Let's drill down more. In Oregon, this trend was somewhat muted since social distancing is already possible throughout most of the state. The biggest signal coming from the Willamette Valley, Oregon’s most populous region. Most people don’t search for the term housing when they want to buy or sell their home. Let’s instead look at a few other search terms including, homes for sale, real estate, mortgage loans, and of course “Zillow.”

Housing Search Terms Google Analytics Oregon

As you can see, over time, as the internet became more effective, the term real estate was replaced with homes for sale, which became ubiquitous for Zillow starting around 2012. Surprisingly, search terms for mortgage lender matched the seasonality of homes for sale and real estate but decreased right around the same time as Zillow took off. Likely because part of Zillow’s service included connecting potential buyer’s with lenders in their network. Searches for mortgage lenders peaked around March 2020 but never quite hit the highs of the pre-bubble burst of 2007. 

What did this do for Zillow's stock? It skyrocketed in March 2020 like many tech companies that provided services during the pandemic.

 

Of course Zillow isn’t entirely to blame for the housing market recession. Many people across all income brackets are finding that the purchasing power of their wages is progressively less as inflation increases. 

Zillow is accused of misleading investors regarding the state of their now shuttered home buying arm. By purchasing homes they controlled both ends of the real estate transaction and had more control over comps which lead buyers to believe that home prices in many areas were increasing because of surging demand. Zillow was then left with a surplus of inventory that couldn't move at their inflated prices. They inflated prices in markets that couldn’t support it, pricing many out of homes altogether. When the market bubble peaked many were left without options for buying a home, which coupled with increasing rents exacerbated the ongoing housing crisis in many cities. 

The result is that investors who bought prior to the pandemic and sold at the peak of the market in 2021 made a lot of money, while new investors who bought on the way to the top may have to suffer the loss. Zillow had a nearly half a billion dollar write down and laid off 2000 people. In May of 2022 CEO Rich Barton told shareholders that Zillow now has $3.6 billion in cash, up $500 million from the previous quarter. So the write down went straight to the balance sheet in the form of cash. It's likely that Zillow will take several years to recover stock price, if ever. 

Naturally the Vice President of Recruiting for Zillow for the past 17 years is leaving for Google. 

 

 

Posted in Market Updates
July 20, 2022

Housing market officially enters recession, here’s what that means

During the pandemic US home prices grew 40-50% in most major markets as people moved to suburbs and rural areas. One assessment found that a US household would have to spend 31% of its monthly income to make a mortgage payment for an average-priced home, the highest mortgage payment to income ratio since 2007.

 

As a result, home buying has slowed. Home builders have also slowed the pace of new construction, in part because of supply chain issues and in part because of pandemic related labor shortages. 

 

 

Coupled with rising interest rates and existing home inventory being at all time lows, this means that prices may soon correct allowing more people to enter the property ladder. 


This could actually be a good thing for first time home buyers and those on a budget. As the market corrects home prices above market value will likely lower and interest rates should go down. Moody’s predicts a 5% housing price drop nationwide and upwards of 20% in the most overvalued markets.

 

Rising interest rates have also likely led to faster sales as buyers move quickly to lock in better rates. Average listing age for homes nationwide is 14 days, a record low.

Posted in Market Updates
July 16, 2022

Oregon Housing Market Less Affordable than Last Year

A new report from the Oregon Department of Economic Analysis released a report indicating that only 1 in 5 people can afford a home in the Portland metro area, a similar rate to other cities in Oregon. This has an impact on demand, fewer people are able to buy homes, which can decrease competition for existing homes for sale.

A quick back of the hand calculation using Portland median household income of ~$73,000 and a 25% allocation for living expenses suggest that an affordable home in the Portland area would be between $200,000 and $300,000, depending on the down payment and loan terms. The inventory available in this price range is limited to tear-downs, extreme fixer uppers appealing to investors, manufactured housing in parks, and floating houses with high monthly slip fees. 

This means that anyone trying to purchase a home in the Portland area at the median household income will not likely find something that will build value without a significant cash investment. Coupled with the slowdown in apartment building, rising rents, and increased property taxes, Oregon is becoming increasingly unaffordable. 

So what is a new home buyer to do? Get creative. Firstly condos are good options in some cases. They can increase in value depending upon the unit and location. There is a reduced maintenance cost since the monthly fee is spread amongst many residents. If that isn't appealing consider purchasing a home with a family member or group of close friends. While this can increase complications, in the right circumstance it can make entering the property ladder possible. When neither of these options seem possible reach out to a lender and real estate agent. You might be surprised with what is possible. Build a team of people that can support and encourage you towards your goal. Happy house hunting!

 

Posted in Market Updates
July 6, 2022

How to Sell or Buy a Home 2022

Guide to Selling or Buying a Home 

Buying or selling real estate is stressful enough, we're here to make it easy. Here's a helpful guide to getting your home ready to sell as well as information about the home buying process. 

Download the full Guide: How to Sell Your House

Download the full Guide: How to Buy a House

How to Sell Your House

  • Know the market! Is it a buyer's or seller's market? If you need to sell your house it might not matter, if you can wait, selling your home when there isn't much on the market can guarantee you a premium. 
  • Get the curb appeal. A fresh coat of paint and new landscaping can do wonders for making your home stand out from the competition. Invest in a cleaning your windows, cleaning your gutters, weeding and mowing your lawn, and remove the clutter. 
  • Price it to the market. Don't overprice your home. A good real estate agent will tell you what you can likely get for your home. If you overprice your home and then have to lower your price, you may make less overall than if you priced it correctly. 
  • Find an agent that will meet your needs. Shop around! Finding the right real estate agent is essential to selling your home quickly and at a the best price. 

How to Buy A House

  • Know the area. Buying a home is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. The reason for buying your home is important for selecting an area. If you're buying a family home and want to raise your children, you may want to consider the school district and the distance to key activities. If you're buying a home as an investment you may want to consider the average rents. Either way you'll want to research the area you're looking to buy in first and foremost. 
  • Get a preapproval letter from a lender. This lets buyers know you're serious about buying and can help guide you to homes within your budget. Keep in mind you may need extra funds for moving, fees and closing costs, new appliances, and updates. 
  • Expect to miss out on a few perfect places. Also consider that those perfect places may not have been ideal if you'd actually lived there. The best place is going to come to you when you're ready. 
  • Be consistent, be persistent, and be prepared. You'll need to have steady income for at least two years, a credit score above 650 for most lenders, and a solid down payment. Keep the down payment in an account that you don't touch and don't move the money or change banks during the transaction.
  • You'll need to be responsive. Buying a house includes a lot of paperwork. You'll need to be available to answer your phone, attend home inspections (occasionally) and be open to viewing new listings. 

 

Get the most out of your experience by connecting with a trusted real estate agent who can help navigate the process for you. 

 

 

 

July 2, 2022

June Real Estate Trends 2022

Home prices in Oregon have doubled over the last decade, with a steady rise in prices that increased sharply during the pandemic as more people wanted work-from-home spaces. Home affordability has hit a 35 year low. 

 

Oregon’s housing prices are higher than the US average driven largely by home prices in Portland. As many people left the city proper for the suburbs, for Seattle, and other states, this created a housing supply shortage as affordable homes were snapped up quickly leaving many buyers priced out of the market altogether. 

 

 

There is about one-third the inventory historically available, so even though home affordability is about the same as it was in 2006, the low inventory is keeping prices higher.  This means that many new homeowners aren’t buying, even though they’d like to. 

 

 

Mortgage demand is as low as it has been since 2018, but with increasing mortgage rates, bidding wars may start to cool down leaving more options on the table for first time home buyers. This downward trend suggests that those who were able to buy homes when the inventory was high, prices were average, and mortgage rates were as low as they’ve been in decades have already purchased their homes. 

 

 

This shift in the market has led many sellers to drop their prices, including in the Portland market, where 40% of homes lowered their listing price in May of 2022, double that of May 2021 where only 20% of listed homes lowered their asking price. Demand is still high however with 60% of homes selling above their listing price. 



 

Posted in Market Updates
July 31, 2017

Real Estate Evaluation and Market Reports

Sign up to receive a market report of pending, active and sold properties straight to your inbox. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool to get a property value estimation.

Posted in Market Updates