As Skittish Investors Back Off, First-Time Buyers Step In

May 28, 2020
RE investors base a purchase price on future expectations, but the pandemic created market confusion. As a result, first-timers face less competition for starter homes.

CHICAGO – The mix of homebuyers has been shifting since the pandemic began: Investor numbers are shrinking, as the number of first-time homebuyers is on the rise. First-timers don’t have to sell one home before purchasing another, and many have a newly boosted appreciation for homeownership after weeks of isolation.

In April 2020, the share of first-time buyers rose to 36%, a year-to-year increase from 32%, according to the National Association of Realtors®’ April 2020 Realtors Confidence Index Survey.

“Homebuyers are facing less competition from investors, and they are also benefiting from low mortgage rates,” says Scholastica “Gay” Cororaton, a, NAR researcher on the Economists’ Outlook blog. With fewer investors, cash sales dropped to 15% of existing-home sales in April, down from 20% a year earlier.

Record low mortgage rates also entice some first-time buyers. The estimated monthly mortgage payment on a home purchased at the median price of $286,800 with a 10% down payment on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was $1,131 – $90 less than the median rent of $1,041 in the first quarter of 2020.

Meanwhile, as first-time buyers increase in the marketplace, investors retreat. Those who plan to rent out a home to fix up and rent may perceive greater financial risk associated with renters due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cororaton thinks investors are unlikely to purchase single-family properties at the rate they did during the Great Recession, which had sparked a wave of discounted foreclosures.

“In the current health and economic crisis, properties are not being foreclosed,” Cororaton notes. Also, so far, home prices are standing firm.

Source: “5 Housing Market Trends as Of April 2020,” National Association of REALTORS® Economists’ Outlook blog (May 22, 2020)

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New-home sales rise as Americans freed from lockdowns go house-hunting

May 27, 2020

Demand is being boosted by mortgage rates near record lows, says NAHB’s chief economist

New-home sales rose in April as Americans went on a buying spree as soon as state lockdowns were lifted.

Builders sold 623,000 houses at an annualized and seasonally adjusted pace, a gain of 0.6% from the revised March rate of 619,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday in a report that records signed contracts as sales. Economists had expected sales would drop for a third consecutive month in April because of the economic shock caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was among the group expecting to see a decline in sales, but instead we’re seeing the stabilization of the housing market in April,” said Robert Dietz, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders. “March may have been the low point.”

New-home sales are being boosted by mortgage rates near the lowest levels ever recorded, said Dietz. It’s helping to overcome “headwinds” such as a spike in the jobless rate and a tightening in requirements to get a mortgage, he said.

“Housing demand is responding to the low interest rates,” Dietz said. “There’s a pent-up demand as states begin to reopen, and it’s showing us that housing really is going to be a sector that helps to lead the economy into recovery mode.”

Three of four U.S. regions posted gains in April, compared to March, led by an 8.7% increase in the Northeast and gains of 2.4% in the South and Midwest. The West region that includes California, the nation’s most populous state, dropped 6.3%, the report said.

The average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.24% last week, within one basis point of an all-time low set two weeks earlier, according to Freddie Mac.

The Federal Reserve began buying mortgage-backed securities in mid-March to keep credit flowing amid the economic jolt caused by the pandemic, which boosted competition for the bonds and put downward pressure on rates.

The average 30-year fixed rate probably will continue dropping through the rest of 2020, Fannie Mae said in a forecast earlier this month. It likely will average 3.2% in the current quarter, 3.1% in the third quarter, and 3% in the final three months of the year, Fannie Mae said.

 

Call Imagination Realty (Kathleen Carlson, Owner/Broker)  to start your search!            321-939-1300


8 Factors that Enhance a Home’s Value

January 2, 2018

8 Factors to Enhance Home Value