MReport August 2020

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M REPORT | 53 O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T THE LATEST DATA Housing Inventory Down 32% Annually In the Northeast, housing activity is already above its pre-pandemic level, but some regions are still lagging. A s the U.S. posts around 60,000 new coronavirus cases daily for several days in a row, the hous- ing market seems to be returning to close to its pre-pandemic levels of activity. reported its Housing Market Recovery Index for the week ending July 11 was 98.5, with a benchmark of 100 marking "pre– COVID-19 levels." This is a 0.7-point increase from the previous week. The report measures time on the market, median list prices, and new listings for its recovery index. For the week ending July 11, time on the market was one day more than last year. Median list prices were 7.9% higher than a year ago, and new listings were down 19% over the year. Total inventory, however, is down 32% from a year ago. The low inventories alongside record- low mortgage rates have created a market that favors sellers. Some of what would probably have been spring demand has been pushed into summer. Eighteen of the major metros tracked by are already above their pre-pandemic levels. Markets in the West fared the best with an index of 104.6 for the region overall. The Northeast is also above its pre-pandemic level with a reading of 102.6 for the latest index. The South charted a 96.3, and the Midwest index sat at 95.3. Not only are these regions behind their pre-pandemic levels, but Realtor. com reported that they are "losing momentum in the recovery." The Seattle metro is perform- ing best with an index reading of 115.5, while the Boston metro followed close behind at 114.1. Denver and Philadelphia came next, both ranking just above 109, and New York and Los Angeles followed with a reading of 108.1. The metros with the furthest to go toward recovery are Milwaukee (85.9) and Oklahoma (88.4). "Homebuyers, trying to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates and make up for lost time, are finding limited and more expensive options," said Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for Realtor. com. "Although sellers are slowly acclimating to this unexpected surge in buyer interest, inventory is still lagging behind demand which is driving quick time on market and listing price growth on par with this time last summer." BuildFax reported that while housing activity fell overall in June, "the data tells a more nuanced sto- ry," pointing out that "The number of single-family housing authoriza- tions experienced the steepest year- over-year decline in recent history. Meanwhile, existing housing activity remained relatively flat." BuildFax also noted that con- struction activity has declined as COVID-19 cases have risen and shared maps of construction permit activity alongside COVID-19 cases. Is Summer the Best Time for Homebuying? A new survey revealed fewer people are passing on homeownership. N erdWallet released its latest report on the current state of hous- ing, and it seems that temperatures are the only thing soaring so far this summer. According to the experts, home prices that are normally skyrock- eting by this time of year are not behaving as usual. For most hopeful homebuyers, summer is the season when heat waves are accompanied by an influx of newly listed homes on the market. This pattern usually begins in early spring and is in full swing by the time school lets out in June. But not this year, as according to NerdWallet, all signs point to 2020's increase in market activity being delayed by the com- plications surrounding COVID-19. While many experts still expect that we will indeed have a homebuying season, they predict that it will arrive far later than in recent years. They attribute this delay to factors directly related to the COVID-19 outbreak, includ- ing record unemployment rates, increased regulations on lending, and an overall sense of reluctance from prospective homebuyers. A NerdWallet survey revealed that roughly one-third of those Americans previously planning to purchase a home this season were deciding to forgo this plan for certain, while just a bit more than that (35%) were at least rethinking this plan to purchase in 2020. revealed a mar- ket trend analysis that showed that June and July are usually when home prices are the most expensive (and supply is most plentiful). In contrast, the cheapest times to buy a home are usually in January and February, when inventory is typically at its lowest. But as this year is bucking that trend, the experts anticipate that this there will more likely be a pushback of at least a several- month window for this usual arc in supply and demand. As of this moment, the number of buyers taking advantage of extremely low mortgage rates and ready to purchase far surpasses the number of houses available to purchase. While many experts still expect that we will indeed have a homebuying season, they predict that it will arrive far later than in recent years.

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