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Sergio Limonta
Sergio Limonta
RE/MAX Executive Group
973-296-6264
Contact Me

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Real Estate News

Median Prices Rose to Highest Level, But Inflation-Adjusted Prices Still Below Bubble Peak

The median sales price of all existing homes sold rose to its highest level in May 2018, to $264,800. This peak price exceeds the housing bubble peak of $230,400 in July 2006. The median sales price of existing homes sold has been trending up (on a year-on-year basis) in the past 75 months since March 2012. This also represents a 71 percent nominal increase from its lowest level in January 2012 of $154,600. However, netting out the effect of inflation, the May 2018 inflation-adjusted median home sales price is at $172,928. This is still 11 percent lower than the inflation-adjusted peak price of $193,781 in June 2005. On an inflation-adjusted basis, home prices have increased 58 percent since February 2012.

An inflation-adjusted measure of house prices provides useful information for both current homeowners and for homebuyers. For current homeowners, a desirable situation is one where home prices are appreciating at a faster rate than inflation, so that they get a positive real return. For homebuyers, a desirable situation is one where home prices are not appreciating too far off from the overall increase in prices (inflation), so that households are not forced to make significant adjustments to their spending behavior just to purchase a home. Moreover, home prices should not be appreciating too far ahead of the rate of increase in income (which is also tied to some extent to inflation), which makes a home purchase unaffordable.

The median sales price of existing homes sold at the nominal and inflation-adjusted levels are still rising, but the pace of appreciation has slowed compared to the double-digit growth rates in October 2012‒ January 2013. Although the May 2018 nominal median home price of $264,800 is a new high, this represents a modest appreciation of 4.9 percent (year-on-year basis) compared to the average price appreciation of 8.5 percent during the bubble period and the 7.0 percent average during this current recovery period.  The inflation-adjusted median home price rose by 2.0 percent in May 2018, also a slower pace of appreciation compared to the 5.7 percent average during the housing bubble period and the 5.5 percent average during this recovery period. This indicates that, nationally, the real estate market during this recovery period has not overheated to the same intensity as that of housing bubble period of January 2012–July 2006.

The pace of price appreciation has started to taper off as home prices have become less affordable, along with interest rates on the rise. Home prices have been rising at a faster pace than income, making a home purchase less affordable.  As of 2017, the median sales price of existing homes was up 40 percent compared to the annual average in 2012, while incomes (measured by weekly earnings) were up by only 12 percent.

Interest rates are still at historically low levels, though they are on the rise, as monetary policy is expected to tighten in response to rising inflation.  The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has increased to 4.62 percent during the week of June 14 compared to 3.91 percent nearly one year ago. A one-percentage point increase in mortgage rates increases the monthly mortgage by $119 (or $1,426 annually) for a borrower making a 20 percent down payment and by $143 for a borrower making a 3.5 percent down payment (or $1,720 annually). For some borrowers, this additional cost can mean the difference between buying or renting.

In summary, nominal home prices are above the peak seen during the bubble years, but the inflation-adjusted price is still below the housing bubble peak. Moreover, while home prices are still increasing, the pace of price appreciation is slowing, as demand is adjusting to the higher price and rising mortgage rates. The trends indicate that the pace of price appreciation during the current recovery period is not likely to reach the intensity of the housing bubble period on a national scale.

Younger Boomers: Purchased Multi-Generational Homes

Younger Boomers, buyers aged 53 to 62 years, made up 18 percent of all home buyers in 2017. The median age for this group was 58 years old and they were born between 1955 and 1964. This age group was the most likely to purchase a multi-generational home at 20 percent. Their reasons for purchasing a multi-generational home were children or relatives over the age of 18 years moving back in (23 percent), health/caretaking of aging parents (22 percent), and children over 18 years that never left (16 percent).

For Younger Boomers, the primary reasons they purchased homes were the desire to own a home of their own (17 percent), a job-related relocation or move (13 percent), and the desire for a smaller home (10 percent), more than other generations. Compared to other buyers, they said it was the right time and that they were just ready to buy when they did (49 percent).

Younger Boomers were less likely to purchase in the suburbs (50 percent) and most likely to purchase in rural areas (15 percent) compared to other generations. They had the second highest median household income at $94,000. They also purchased the second most expensive homes of all generations with a median home price of $249,200. This generation of buyers also purchased the third largest homes in size at a median square footage of 1,870.

Younger Boomers were the most likely to consider heating and cooling costs very important. This age group was unlikely to compromise on the price of the home as well as the quality of and distance from schools. Younger Boomers moved from their previous residence at a median of 17 miles.

Younger Boomers were the most likely to look online for properties for sale as their first step in the home search process (48 percent). They were also the most likely to cite yard signs as useful search information on homes (50 percent) more than other generations. Younger Boomers were the most likely to use money from an inheritance for the downpayment of their home purchase.

Younger Boomers were the second largest share of home sellers last year at 23 percent. They had the third highest median incomes for sellers at $100,000 (Millennials surpassed them this year) and sold the second highest median priced homes at $264,300. Younger Boomers were the most likely to sell a detached single-family home and sold the largest homes at a median of 2,100 square feet. They were the most likely to offer home warranty incentives to help sell the home.

 

REALTORS® Expect Home Prices to Increase by 4% in the Next 12 Months

In a monthly survey of REALTORS®, respondents are asked “In the neighborhood(s) or area(s) where you make the most sales, what are your expectations for residential property prices over the next year?

Among the respondents, the median expected price change is four percent. The chart below shows median expected price change by state based on survey responses collected during February–April 2018[1], according to the  April 2018 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey

Respondents from the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, California, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and Wisconsin expect the highest price growth in the next 12 months, with the expected median price growth at more than five to nearly eight percent.

Owing to tight lack of construction, house prices have increased steeply since 2012 compared to the growth in income. Nationally, the median price of U.S. existing homes sold was 68 percent higher than the level in January 2012, the year the housing market started to recover solidly.  Meanwhile, wages have increased only 15 percent since then.

Based on the FHFA House Price Index at the state level, the strongest price growths from 2012 through 2017 were in the West region such as Nevada (102 percent), California (85 percent), Arizona (76 percent), Oregon (74 percent), Idaho (70 percent), Washington (68 percent), Colorado (68 percent), Utah (65 percent). Home prices have also increased steeply in Florida (73 percent), Michigan (71 percent), and Texas (47 percent).

Use the data visualization below to view median listing prices in April 2018. Red areas are areas where prices are higher than the U.S. median home price growth. Hover on the map to view the historical median listing prices of properties listed on Realtor.com from June 2012 through April 2018.[2]

MedianPrice_DB3

[1] Because each month’s survey asks about the outlook in the next months, the responses collected from January-March 2018 covers the outlook for January 2018-March 2019.

[2] Realtor.com data is freely available and can be download from https://www.realtor.com/research



Sergio Limonta | 973-296-6264 | Contact Me
352 Lafayette Ave Hawthorne, NJ 07506

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