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March 23, 2020
We are currently in the midst of an economic quarantine due to a world-wide pandemic. The following is a share from Michael Orr regarding the effects on and forecast for the Arizona real estate market. Michael predicted the 2008 crash by looking at nothing but numbers. As a real estate professional, I rely on his information to determine property values in every area of the valley. Here are his thoughts. I would highly value your thoughts in response to this forecast.
Michael Orr, Chief Economist
Arizona State University
WP Carey School of Business
March 18, 2020
The Forecast for the AZ Real Estate Market
A number of people seem to assume that we are heading for a recession and that home prices will fall. The first assumption is quite reasonable. The second assumption is based on fear and has little analytical data to back it up. Obviously anything can happen in an uncertain and disrupted world, but a fall in home prices is still looking very unlikely from today's numbers.
In 2005 the housing industry started to sicken because homes were being used as speculative commodities not for places to live. In 2005 I met a man in his early 20s who owned 12 homes in the Phoenix area, all with no occupants. How had he been able to buy them? 100% loans from unscrupulous lenders who went bust between 2007 and 2010. The housing industry (and more particularly the lending industry within it) was the cause of the 2008 recession. Phoenix was a hot spot for the cause of the problem, as was Las Vegas.
In 2020, housing is an innocent bystander to a probable recession caused by a pandemic. It has supply at extremely low levels and most homeowners have a large amount of equity. Even if they lost all their income and could no longer pay their mortgage, they could quickly find a buyer to release that equity. There is little likelihood of them facing foreclosure because the lender can be paid off with the sale proceeds. Only when demand collapses do the banks have to foreclose to get their money back. At the moment demand is still well above normal and has only shown very tiny signs of easing. In 2006 demand fell off a cliff yet home builders continued to build even more new homes because lenders continued to write ill-advised loans in huge numbers.
In 2020 builders are probably going to have to build fewer homes than they wish because of shortages of labor and materials. We are unlikely to see a glut of homes on the market for a very long time. A successful vaccine for the novel corona virus is more likely to appear before a surplus of homes could possibly develop.
Because the virus has not been contained yet, except in several parts of Southeast Asia, we are likely to see a lot of people out of work. We do not yet know how long it will take to get control of the pandemic in Arizona, but many people may be out of work for quite some time. These people are more likely to be renters rather than homeowners. Landlords may find it much harder to collect rents and the yields from their portfolios are likely to fall. Some may decide to evict tenants and sell their properties. At the moment the extra supply would be welcomed and receive multiple offers, even in these troubled times. The evicted tenants still exist and therefore still represent demand for shelter of some sort. There will be hardship, but not a flood of homes with no-one to live in them.
Housing demand is created by the existence of people and increases when more people turn up and decreases if they go away. In 2005 the people we were building new homes for were largely imaginary. In 2020 they are very real and migration trends have been very favorable with families and individuals moving to Arizona from other parts of the USA.
All the indicators for the Central Arizona housing market remain very healthy at the moment and we will report any change as soon as we spot one. There is no cause for panic and if you are delaying a purchase because you think the price will come down, you are probably making a poor decision.
Michael Orr, Chief Economist
Arizona State University
WP Carey School of Business
February 4, 2020
The following link includes graphs from ARMLS that cover number of sales, inventory, sales prices, average days on the market, number of active listings and more. In short, the 2019 market exceeded everyone's expectations, most likely a result of low interest rates.
The major issue at the start of 2020 is lack of inventory as described by Michael Orr of the Cromford Report on February 3:
“The current situation is remarkable. The lack of supply can only be described as shocking. A 30% decline since this time last year to reach the lowest level since August 2005. This to satisfy a population that has grown more than 20% since 2005. Anyone who thinks this severe shortage will not result in a significant rise in prices is going to have another thought coming soon. The median sales price is already up 11% over the last 12 months and the average price per square foot is up almost 9% and probably heading for a double figure appreciation rate.
“Demand remains higher than normal but the Cromford® Demand Index has eased from around 107 to around 103 over the past 4 weeks. This will not make much of a difference while supply remains under half of what is needed for a balanced market.
“The big hope for buyers must be for a surge in new listings arriving over the next 12 weeks. Perhaps sellers will be tempted by the higher pricing they can achieve. However, if they are staying around Phoenix, they will have to pay more for their new home too. Phoenix is currently the strongest large-city housing market in the USA, and this is fueled by inter-state population movements. Retirees are a big part of that, but so are people moving here from California and other Western states for work and the lower cost of living. Demand is likely to remain healthy despite the rising prices.
“The primary question is whether we will see any change in the meager supply of homes for sale. If this is to take place it is likely to be visible over the next few weeks. There has been no sign of an improvement in new listing flows in the last several weeks of 2019. But 2020 is a new year, so we will be watching closely for signs of change.”
December 18, 2019
So you know how inexpensive the homes are in Sun City? Well apparently they're trying to figure out a way to appeal to younger buyers when the boomers vaca (one way of another). Many don't want to live that far west in a retirement community. However, a bunch of boomers at ARMLS have redesigned the "City of the Future" to appeal to millennials. And you know they'll be a Starbucks on every corner! Scroll to page 10 of the link to check it out the vision. Just curious...What are your thoughts??
"On the forefront of my mind recently is the extreme deficit in affordable housing. One example that our industry needs to address is the severe cost burden put on renters as they face annual rent increases ranging from 2-5%. There are housing alternatives out there and we as an industry need to do a better job educating people about the very real fact that mortgage credit is available and very reasonable. With only a 3.5% down payment, and as low as a 580 FICO score with a debt-to-income ratio as high as 50%, you can buy a home using a FHA/VA mortgage. In many cases renters aren't aware of how much mortgage credit is open to help them pursue the American Dream, and instead are absorbing higher annual housing costs, which can be difficult cycle to break out of for many young consumers." - Ivy Zelman
Zelman is widely respected for providing unique housing market insights and analysis to global institutional investors and industry executives.
Price momentum is rising, and in normal markets this tends to bring the market closer to balance. It does this by giving sellers better reasons to sell and giving buyers greater affordability problems.
We can see this in the Cromford® Market Index table for the 17 largest cities and their single-family markets:
Cromford Market Index™ is a value that provides a short term forecast for the balance of the market. It is derived from the trends in pending, active and sold listings compared with historical data over the previous four years. Values below 100 indicate a buyer's market, while values above 100 indicate a seller's market. A value of 100 indicates a balanced market.
Only 3 of the 17 cities are showing improvement for sellers, though interestingly, Cave Creek is one of them, having under performed the average for the last several months.
The largest declines are seen in Buckeye, Paradise Valley, Fountain Hills, Goodyear and Avondale.
We expect this downward trend in the CMI to continue for another 5 weeks and then, most likely it will peter out.
The following infographic and commentary represents Metropolitan Phoenix.
Asking Prices up 9% Over Last Year, but are Buyers Paying It?
These Homes Have Appreciated the Most since 2000
The news media is filled with short-term predictions regarding the economy and how it will, or will not, affect real estate prices. It’s understandable for buyers to want their home to ap-preciate in value after they purchase, who doesn’t? However there is far too much attention paid to short-term influences and fluctuations these days and not enough attention paid to the long view. Real estate is a long-term investment for many people. Despite the euphoria of 2005-2007 and the nightmare of 2008-2011, on average homes are selling 81.6% higher to-day than they were in the year 2000. That’s an average appreciation rate of 4.3% per year over the course of 19 years. Smaller homes appreciated the most over time while larger homes appreciated the least. Homes under 1,000sf have appreciated 122% since 2000, an av-erage of 6.4% per year. Those between 1,000-2,000sf appreciated 106%, an average of 5.6% per year. 2,000-3,000sf appreciated 68% at 3.6% per year. 3,000-4,000sf appreciated 49% at 2.6% per year and homes over 4,000sf appreciated 11% at 0.6% per year.
Average asking prices per square foot are up 9% over this time last year and they’re continu-ing to rise. However, not one individual price range has risen 9% or more; confusing, right? That’s because the sharp increase in the average has more to do with a growing market share of luxury active listings over $500K as inventory has plummeted everywhere else. The highest increase is within $200K-$250K, where sellers are asking 5.6% more than they were last year. That’s followed by listings over $1M where they’re asking 4.2% more and $500K-$1M at 4.0%. All other price ranges are just 1-3% higher. But are buyers paying? Actually, many of them are! In the $200K-$250K range, the average sales price per square foot is still 0.8% higher than the average list price; and between $250-$300K the average sales price is 6.8% higher than the average list per square foot. Things change over $500K. Between $500K-$1M there’s a -6.3% gap between asking price and sales price and over $1M the average sales price is -15.1% below the average asking price.
Commentary written by Tina Tamboer, Senior Housing Analyst with The Cromford Report ©2019 Cromford Associates LLC and Tamboer Consulting LLC
July 31, 2017
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