62.8% of Homes Sold Considered Affordable
Median Sales Price Up 27%; Incomes Up 26%
You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!
Despite all the incredible news about rising real estate prices, a family making the median income of $79,000 in Greater Phoenix could still afford 62.8% of what sold in the first quarter of 2021. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB.org) assumes that “a family can afford to spend 28% of its gross income on housing.” That means 62.8% of homes sold cost their new owners $1,843 per month or less assuming a 10% down-payment and including principal, interest, taxes and insurance.
According to HUD, $79,000 represents a 26% increase in the local median annual income over the past 5 years; up $16,500 from $62,500 in 2016.
While reassuring, it doesn’t remove the frustrations of competing for homes in this marketplace. Last month, 56% of all sales closed over asking price and half of them went $15,000 over or more to win. For the last 7 weeks, half of all listings that went under contract in the MLS were active for just 6 days or less.
However, the last few months have shown a glimmer of relief for buyers as supply counts actually stopped declining; and in price ranges between $500K-$800K they have noticeably increased 40% since February. Supply is still 69% lower than last year at this time so there’s a long way to go before it’s considered normal, but it’s something.
You’re not going to notice this, but the housing market has begun to cool down. It’s still hot however, like 400 degrees is still hot despite being cooler than 500 degrees. Sellers can still expect multiple offers and closings over asking price; however it’s important to note that supply has stopped dropping and has been rising in certain price points over $500K. Seasonally speaking, Greater Phoenix supply should be dropping at this time of year, not going flat or rising. When measures go against the season, it can be the beginning of a shift. The reason this shift will not be noticed is because supply is still much lower than demand, so any slight increase in competition is inconsequential to a seller’s ability to secure a buyer, even one willing to pay over asking price.
One of the early indicators that a market is shifting, however, is the number of list price reductions. For example, supply between $600K-$800K has risen 45% since late February; in the same time frame, the number of weekly price reductions increased 223% and hit the highest count taken in nearly 6 months. That’s notable. However in other price points where supply has flattened out, price reductions have remained low and stable.
The advantage in any market, not just housing, is being one of the first to know when things are shifting. Especially today, it’s a good idea to consult a Realtor® who can analyze your price point and area so you can make an informed decision regarding the sale of your home.
Today’s real estate market is one of the fastest-moving in recent memory. With record-low inventory in many market segments, we’re seeing multiple offers—and sometimes even bidding wars—for homes in the most sought-after neighborhoods. This has led some sellers to question the need for an agent. After all, why spend money on a listing agent when it seems that you can stick a For Sale sign in the yard then watch a line form around the block?
Some buyers may also believe they’d be better off purchasing a property without an agent. For those seeking a competitive edge, proceeding without a buyer’s agent may seem like a good way to stand out from the competition—and maybe even score a discount. Since the seller pays the buyer agent’s commission, wouldn’t a do-it-yourself purchase sweeten the offer?
We all like to save money. However, when it comes to your largest financial asset, forgoing professional representation may not always be in your best interest. Find out whether the benefits outweigh the risks (and considerable time and effort) of selling or buying a home on your own—so you can head to the closing table with confidence.
Most homeowners who choose to sell their home without professional assistance opt for a traditional “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) or a direct sale to an investor, such as an iBuyer. In an active, low inventory real estate market, it may seem like a no-brainer to sell your home yourself and save money on the listing agent’s commission. However, you’ll need to weigh your potential savings against the significant effort and risk involved.
One of the biggest problems FSBOs run into is pricing the home appropriately. Even during last year’s strong seller’s market, the median sales price for FSBOs was 10% less than those sold by an agent.This suggests that, while you may think you’ll price and market your home more effectively yourself, in fact you may lose far more than you would pay for an agent’s assistance.
Homeowners who choose to sell to an iBuyer may walk away with less money, too. Also known as Direct Buyers, these companies use computer algorithms to provide sellers with a quick cash offer to buy their home.
However, sellers will pay for that convenience with, generally, a far lower sale price than the market will provide—as well as fees that can add up to as much or more than a real estate agent’s commission. According to a study conducted by MarketWatch, iBuyers netted, on average, 11% less than a conventional sale when both the lower price and fees are considered.
You may be considering negotiating your home purchase directly with the seller or listing agent, especially if you are accustomed to deal-making as part of your job and if you are familiar with the neighborhood where you are searching. However, putting together a winning offer package can be challenging, especially in a multiple-offer situation. And a trusted agent can help you avoid overpaying for a property or glossing over “red flags” in your inspection.
As a buyer, your real estate agent’s commission is paid by the seller and costs you nothing out of pocket. In exchange, you’ll obtain fiduciary-level guidance on one of the most important financial transactions of your life. From finding the perfect home to submitting a winning offer to navigating the inspection and closing processes, most homebuyers find their expertise and guidance invaluable.
Understand your options when considering whether or not to work with a real estate professional. If you are experienced in real estate transactions and legal contracts, comfortable negotiating for high stakes, and have plenty of extra time on your hands, you may find that a do-it-yourself sale or purchase works. However, if, like most people, you value expert guidance, experience, and professionalism, you will probably enjoy far more peace of mind and security in working with a real estate agent or broker.
A real estate agent’s comprehensive suite of services and expert negotiation skills can benefit both buyers and sellers financially. On average, sellers who utilize an agent walk away with more money than those who choose the FSBO or iBuyer route. And buyers pay nothing out of pocket for expert representation that can help them avoid expensive mistakes all along the way from contract to closing.
The best way to find out whether you need a real estate agent or broker is to speak with one. We’re here to help and to offer the insights you need to make better-informed decisions. Let’s talk about the value-added services we provide when we help you buy or sell in today’s competitive real estate landscape.
When COVID-related shutdowns began in March, real estate brokers scrambled to respond to the shift and homeowners debated whether or not to put their houses on the market. What followed was a period of unprecedented demand in the U.S. real estate market, which ended the year with increasing average home prices and shrinking days on market. You may be wondering whether the good times can continue to roll on. If you’re a homeowner, should you take advantage of this opportunity? If you’re a buyer, should you jump in and risk paying too much? Below we answer some of your most pressing questions.
The conditions that led to 2008’s recession differed from those that triggered the current downturn—and this time, the housing market is the source of much of the good news. This is in line with historical patterns, as housing prices traditionally hold steady in the face of recession. This time banks are better funded, homeowners hold more equity, and economic activity is focused on financial factors outside the housing market. As industries pivoted to work-from-home, early fears of widespread job loss-related foreclosures have failed to materialize. Federal stimulus and the Paycheck Protection Program also helped to offset some of the worst early effects of the shutdown.
A real estate bubble can occur when there is a rapid and unjustified increase in housing prices, often triggered by speculation from investors. Because the bubble is (in a sense) filled with “hot air,” it pops—and a swift drop in value occurs. By contrast, the current rise in home prices is based on the predictable results of historically low interest rates and widespread low inventory. Freddie Mac projects continuing low interest rates throughout 2021, aiding in economic recovery and increasing affordability. This helps offset the effects of high home costs even in markets where real estate might otherwise be considered overpriced. Continuing low inventory should gradually ease as an aggressive vaccination rollout and continuing buyer demand drive more homeowners to move forward with long-delayed sales plans and as new home construction ramps up to meet demand.
One of the big stories of 2020 was the exodus of young professionals and families to the larger square footage and wide-open spaces of suburban and rural markets. However, it appears that speculation about the demise of cities and the condo market was greatly exaggerated. With the first vaccine rollouts, renters have begun returning to major urban centers, attracted by the sudden rise in available inventory and newly discounted rental rates. And buyers who were previously laser-focused on a single-family home are responding to tight inventory by taking a second look at condos
Projected policy around housing promises to boost the real estate market. A proposed $15,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit and investments in construction and refurbishment should help to increase affordability and bring eager new home buyers into the market. Overall, according to most indicators, the real estate news looks overwhelmingly positive throughout the rest of 2021 and possibly beyond. Pent-up demand and consumer-driven policies, along with a continued low-interest-rate environment and rising inventory, should help homeowners hold on to their increased equity without throwing the market out of balance. In addition, the increase in long-term work-from-home policies promises to give a boost to a wide variety of markets, both now and in the years to come
While economic indicators and trends are national, real estate is local. We’re here to answer your questions and help you understand what’s happening in your neighborhood. Reach out to learn how these larger movements affect our local market and your home’s value
If you’re thinking about modifying your home to create a multigenerational household or make it easier to age in place, look at a recent survey by the American Institute of Architects.
The AIA’s Home Design Trends Survey (https://bit.ly/37Z0EXs) for Q3 2020 provides a snapshot of residential trends that architects are seeing. It looked at special home features, some of which focus on accommodations for aging. Some findings are summarized below:
If you’re a snowbird heading home from a warm spot, Kiplinger https://bit.ly/3laQ6uu has some advice about preparing your seasonal property for the months it will be empty.
Here are four basics:
Until they’re thrust into the role of caregiver, few are really prepared for the job.
Many more people have suddenly become caregivers during the pandemic because they’ve opted to bring a parent or loved one into their home and create a multigenerational household. Others have pulled loved ones out of long-term care settings permanently.
Maybe you’re now sharing a roof with a senior relative or are responsible for caring for one.
Though such work can be rewarding, it also entails a considerable amount of emotional, physical, and financial strain. You’re likely to need resources and advice to get you through the tough days and plan for the obstacles that may come.
How to Be a Caregiver from the New York Times (https://nyti.ms/3gR3mSR) can help. It provides an overview of preparing for caregiving and need-to-know information in five categories—"six things to know,” “prepare and organize,” “finding help,” “self-care,” and “care during the pandemic.”
Among the “things to know” are:
If you have the luxury of not facing an emergency and you have time to plan for future caregiving responsibilities, do it.
According to the guide, that advanced planning includes talking with parents and siblings about what to do if something happens—who can provide care, what kind of care your parent wants, and information on finances, doctors, and so forth. For help on getting touchy conversations started, see the Conversation Project (https://bit.ly/2LEX25C).
Ask loved ones to get their paperwork in order well before a crisis. That includes advance health care directives, wills, and information about their finances.
Also, consider how well suited a loved one’s home is for aging in place and what modifications you make to improve safety.
After all, the vast majority of those over age 65 say they want to age in place. Yet just 10% of U.S. homes have key features to accommodate older residents, according to Old Housing, New Needs: Are U.S. Homes Ready for an Aging Population? (https://bit.ly/3ah8y1c)
In addition, research other housing options, even if you plan to care for someone at home. Things change, and if your parent suddenly needs nursing care, you won’t be forced to make housing and long-term care choices amid a crisis.
Other valuable insights from the guide include self-care for caregivers, watching out for caregiver burnout, and finding respite care. It also features a timely section about caring for a COVID-19 patient.
With 54% of all sales closed over asking price so far in April, the average sale price per square foot is now higher than the list price for every price range up to $1M. In a balanced market, homes typically sell within 97% of list price; that percentage is now 101%. This means that, for the past month or so, the majority of list prices have been the starting price for where negotiations begin instead of a top price to work down from. In past extreme seller markets, $5,000 over asking was typically enough to win a contract; that was true last year as well when the market took off. However, last January the median over ask was $6,000; by February it was 10,000; in March it was $11,000; and so far in April it’s $15,000. The highest was $905,000 over list price closed in March (It was an auction for a 10-acre property in Cave Creek that sold for $2,255,000). By price range, over 62% of homes listed between $250K-$400K closed over asking price; the percentage is 54% for sales between $400K-$600K; 47% between $600K-$900K; 30% between $900K-$2.5M; 9.5% over $2.5M. Putting an offer in over asking price may cause a buyer some anxiety, especially a first-time home buyer. The median sale price is now $360K. Since January, the sales price per square foot for a home between $300K-$400K has appreciated 6%. That’s approximately 2% per month and the current sale price to list price ratio within the price range is 102.4%. If this rate of appreciation continues in the short term, a buyer who paid 4% over asking price on a $360K home ($14,400 over) would recoup their investment through appreciation in approximately 2 months.
The luxury market has been exploding since last summer and continues to be at the strongest level ever seen in Greater Phoenix. The number of listings under contract over $1M is up 156% over last year; but the number under contract between $2M-$3M is up 296% and over $3M is up 212%. In a typical market, sales prices in this range would be landing around 93% of list price. However in the 2021 market, the sales price ratio is averaging 98% of list. The luxury market is also keeping up with the rest of the market in terms of marketing time. Prior to contract, half of the contracts accepted valley wide in the last week were on the market 6 days or less. Over $1M, the median was 12 days prior to contract. Over $2M, the median is 67 days. The market over $1M is outperforming in terms of annual appreciation in sales price per square foot. The median price for a 4,000-5,000 square foot home is running at $1.1M with an appreciation rate of 31%. The median price for a 5,000-10,000 square foot home is $2.3M with an appreciation rate of 35%. For perspective, the median price of a 1,500-2,000 square foot home is $365K with an appreciation rate of 25%.
44% of sales through the Arizona Regional MLS have closed over asking price in the last 30 days. The median amount over asking price for all price ranges combined is $10,000 with a range between $1 to $310,000. (I know what you’re thinking, “$1 over? What is this, ‘The Price is Right’?” In some cases, yes.)
While 56% of all homes still sell for at or below list price, if you have a budget between $250K-$400K, the percentage selling over list is highest at 52% with the median amount over asking at $10,000. However even if your budget is over $400K, a significant percentage is closing over asking price. Up to $800K, 42% have sold over list with a median escalation of $12,000-$15,000. From $800K-$1M, 30% sold over list with a median escalation of $17,000-$20,000. From $1M-$2.5M, 20% sold over list with a median escalation of $30,000-$50,000. Over $2.5M, only 2 sold over asking price with a median escalation of $150,000.
Over the past 6 weeks, REALTORS® have added an average of 2,059 new listings per week to the Arizona Regional MLS. During the same time period, an average of 2,312 contracts were accepted per week. This is what has caused the overall supply of homes to consistently drop and competition between buyers to escalate.
While just over 2,000 new listings per week may seem like a lot, it’s actually the lowest rate for this time of year in at least 20 years. A normal level would be considered around 2,500 new listings.
While supply is still 77% below normal for this time of year and demand is 17% above normal, demand has been dropping faster than supply over the last 30 days. It’s not noticeable when one is in the midst of a contract negotiation today because sellers rarely notice when they’re getting, for example, only 15 offers instead of 25. But consider last December demand was 35% above normal; at this rate, demand could be at a normal level in a couple months and below normal by June. This will not cause prices to decline because there are still a miniscule number of competing listings in the MLS, but it could mean that the second half of 2021 could look different from the first, especially if there’s a temporary boost in new listings after the forbearance period ends and the foreclosure moratorium is lifted.
The average mortgage rate rose to 3.02% this month according to Freddie Mac. Even though this is still considered an excellent rate, it understandably weakens the purchasing power for some buyers and reduces the affordability measure for Greater Phoenix overall. When a family making the median income can afford less than 60% of what’s selling, demand is typically expected to suffer. However, buyers with median incomes coming from Los Angeles and San Francisco are used to only affording 9-11% of what’s selling in their home towns, so Greater Phoenix prices look amazing by comparison. In fact, for some coming from these areas the idea of being able to own a home at all is amazing.
Giving up the car is a significant and sad event that can drastically reduce seniors’ freedom.
And when seniors live in inaccessible, unwalkable areas, surrendering the car also often forces them to move, even if they’d prefer to age in place.
Sometimes, seniors’ driving life can be extended by refreshing their driving skills and modifying cars with adaptive technology.
Learn more about keeping seniors safe behind the wheel by checking out the resources from Older Driver Safety Awareness Week (https://bit.ly/3fbZmf1). Each December, the American Occupational Therapy Association will address improving senior drivers’ safety, provide insight on how best to have the giving-up-driving conversation with a loved one, and ways seniors can remain active once they do surrender the car keys.
Each day AOTA will cover a different topic. They are:
Click Below For More Senior Guides and Information!