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July
27

MORTGAGE RATES ARE DRIVING A MARKET SHIFT
By Brad Gosslee, President, Coldwell Banker Gosslee

We knew it would come but didn't know what it would look like. I'm talking about the potential end of one housing cycle and the beginning of the next.

The last few years have seen the real estate market hugely impacted by the pandemic. While so many took advantage of the "work from anywhere" phenomenon and mortgage interest rates dropped to record lows, our housing supply quickly reached all-time lows.

With soaring demand and low inventory, prices were sure to rise. And they did.

Today, seemingly overnight, we have seen some softening. This occurred because of rising mortgage rates that are the result of rising inflation that came about because of supply chain issues, the impact of the war in Ukraine and other factors.

We are starting see some potential buyers move to the sidelines because of increased costs. The U.S. Federal Reserve reports that with each rise of 1% in mortgage rates, buyer demand will drop by 10.4%.

But I want to state a few things at the start of this blog that are critically important to both buyers and sellers:

  • We still do not have enough inventory to meet demand. While sellers may have missed "the top of the market," they are still benefitting today.
  • Therefore, we are a long way from emerging out of a very strong sellers' market where that side of the transaction has a negotiating advantage.
  • Buyers need to understand that home prices are technically not coming down. Instead, the pace of percentage increase is slowing. Remember, home prices in Northwest Louisiana are up 11% over last June and 6% for the entire year.
  • Buyers should therefore not expect home prices to return to pre-pandemic levels. Here is an interesting fact. NAR just reported in its monthly Existing Homes Sales Report that the median price of all June home sales in the U.S. was $416,000. Just three years ago, the U.S. reached a then-record $285,700. Home prices would have to tumble 45.6% to reach those levels again. It's likely not going to happen!

I now want to touch on mortgage rates and what their impact is. Rates are currently bouncing between the high 5%'s and low 6%'s according to Fairway Mortgage. When rates were 3.5% a buyer who took out a $250,000 30-year fixed rate mortgage with 5% down had a monthly fee (not including taxes, insurance, etc.) of $1,066.  At 6%, that buyer is paying about $300 more a month each month.

It makes sense that unfortunately, a certain number of potential buyers would not be able to afford a home. Or they now set their sights on a lower-priced home. But for the overall majority of potential buyers, this increase is not an insurmountable hurdle.

For comparison, take a look at some of these annual average mortgage rates:

 

  • 1981 17.00%
  • 1985 12.96%
  • 1990 10.31%
  • 1995 9.13%
  • 2000 8.25%
  • 2005 5.66%
  • 2010 4.98%

 

This is why you will hear real estate professionals explain that today's interest rates are more normal that you might think. And our sales, while off of our record-pace, reflect that buyers are still buying as we are still ahead of our five year June average.

Last month, there were 521 sales in Caddo, Bossier and Desoto Parishes which was down 15% over last June. But we need some perspective. Last June was the strongest sales month EVER with 615 sales. We had never before even cracked the 600 sales mark in any month, in any year.

We are still ahead of pre-pandemic levels - June 2019 (452) and June 2018 (501) - by a nice margin. In fact, our 5-year average is 511 sales in June.

This next chart shows the "slowing" of sales as we are not seeing the huge percentage increases we saw for many, many months. At the same time, we must recognize that part of the sales challenge is simply not having enough homes to sell which is especially the case in Desoto Parish.

Price Range

YTD Number of Home Sales NW LOUISIANA
(% change over June 2021

YTD Number of Home Sales in Bossier Parish (% change over June 2021

YTD Number of Home Sales in Caddo Parish (% change over June 2021

YTD Number of Home Sales in Desoto Parish (% change over June 2021

Total

2,793 (-6%)

1,107 (-6%)

1,601 (-6%)

85 (-7%)

$100,000 & less

405 (-6%)

    102 (+5%)

293 (-8%)

10 (-41%)

$100,000-$200,000

885 (-18%)

266 (-23%)

594 (-15%)

25 (-22%)

$200,000-$300,000

858 (+1%)

402 (-5%)

439 (+7%)

    17 (+13%)

$300,000-$400,000

354 (+2%)

213 (+7%)

127 (-5%)

14 (-7%)

$400,000-$500,000

157 (+4%)

85 (+18%)

63 (-7%)

9 (-18%)

$500,000-
$600,000

64 (+33%)

    22 (0%)

34 (+31%)

8 (+800%)

$600,000+

70 (+27%)

17 (+21%)

51 (+28%)

2 (+100%)

 

To provide even greater insight, let me share a new term – "current pendings." These are properties that have entered the contracting phase. But they have not yet closed. In just two months we have dropped from 677 pending sales to 541. This could be a sign that a return to sales normalcy may be on the horizon.

Our local sales figures – at least on a year-over-year percentage basis – are very similar to what NAR is reporting nationally. Across the U.S., sales were down 14.2% compared to 15% here.

You will also notice in the below chart that our median home price increase is also similar to the U.S, 11% vs. 13.4%. But it is also great to know that our median home is more than $180,000 cheaper than the U.S. norm!

And while our inventory – the number of available homes for sale – is mirroring the U.S. market with a 3% increase vs. 2.4% nationally, you see with the month supply that we still have a critical shortage of homes at only 1.9 months. Just two years ago when the pandemic first began, we had a 3.6-month supply. It was 5.4 months prior to us having ever heard of the word "pandemic."

In most housing markets, a 6-month supply is considered balanced where neither buyer nor seller has a negotiating advantage. I've always felt our line of demarcation was closer to 5 months. You can see we have a long way to go to get there.

 

U.S.

(change over June '21)

Northwest LA

(change over June '21)

Median Price

$416,600/+13.4%

$232,000/+11%

Number of Sales

5.12 million/-14.2%
(annualized)

521/-15%

Inventory

1.26 million/+2.4%

910/+3%

Month Supply

3.0/2.5

1.9/1.7

Median Days on Market

14/16

7/7

 

We also need to be aware that homes went under contract in June in a previously unheard of 7 days. This speed is caused by the supply vs. demand imbalance. Northwest Louisiana is 2 times faster than the overall U.S. figure.

Another thing we want to pay close attention to over the coming months is the supply of homes at the upper-end, since those sales are largely predicated on the "move up" buyer. This next chart shows that our most expensive homes have the highest supply. While this is normally true because it takes longer to sell more expensive homes simply because the buyer pool is smaller, every move higher in supply would be indicative of a normalizing market at the lower to mid-tiers.

Price Range

June 2022 Available Homes/Month Supply

May 2018 Available Homes/Month Supply

Total

910/1.9

2,285/5.6

$100,000 & less

171/2.4

453/4.7

$100,000-$200,000

214/1.3

733/4.6

$200,000-$300,000

216/1.5

500/5.5

$300,000-$400,000

101/1.8

265/9.9

$400,000-$500,000

74/2.8

142/16.2

$500,000+

132/6.3

172/26.1

 

I want to close this month's blog, the same exact way I did last month.

I'm going to strongly suggest that EVERY potential buyer and seller speak with one of our agents. Get your questions answered. Gain a perspective of the state of the market.

Buyers can learn about how much they can afford and how to best work with a lender to learn about different mortgage options that can help get monthly payments where they need them to be. Remember, there are plenty of choices beyond a 30-year-fixed rate mortgage which became even more popular because rates have been so low. As they rise, the options are important. And, because we still have multiple bids occurring, our agents are preparing their buyers to effectively compete.

Sellers also need to learn how to effectively price and prepare their home for sale so it commands top dollar. We also must prepare for a day when homes don't sell as quickly as they are today. At the same time, as market conditions change beyond Northwest Louisiana, our agents are connecting sellers with agents in other cities who can provide insight about what's occurring in that next destination.

Buying, selling and moving are never easy. There are multiple emotional and financial decisions along with numerous steps. Doing it in a market like this is even harder. It's important to remember that there are no dumb questions. And we are here to help!

If you want to get even more insight, you can click here to get our Coldwell Banker Gosslee June 2022 Monthly Market Report.

Please reach out to one of our agents or feel free to reach out to me at bgosslee@cbgosslee.com.

I can't believe we are almost to August. My internal clock is already ticking. Football season is almost here!

 

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