Gilbert and East Valley Real Estate News & Market Trends

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!

April 12, 2021

1 Year After Start of Pandemic - Luxury has Exploded Homes Selling for 101% of List Price on Average

For Buyers:

 

With 54% of all sales closed over the 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 the 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 the 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 the 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 the asking price may cause a buyer some anxiety, especially a first-time homebuyer. 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 the asking price on a $360K home ($14,400 over) would recoup their investment through appreciation in approximately 2 months.

 

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For Sellers:

 

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 a 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 the contract, half of the contracts accepted valley-wide in the last week were on the market for 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%.

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Commentary was written by Tina Tamboer, Senior Housing Analyst with The Cromford Report ©2020 Cromford Associates LLC and Tamboer Consulting LLC

April 4, 2021

Housing Inventory So Low...Need About 24,000 New Listings To Be At Normal Level

Here are the basics - the ARMLS numbers for April 1, 2021, compared with April 1, 2020, for all areas & types:

  • Active Listings (excluding UCB & CCBS): 4,088 versus 13,211 last year - down 69.1% - and down 9.0% from 4,491 last month

  • Active Listings (including UCB & CCBS): 8,699 versus 17,238 last year - down 49.5% - and down 4.3% compared with 9,094 last month

  • Pending Listings: 7,964 versus 6,125 last year - up 30.0% - but down 0.8% from 8,027 last month

  • Under Contract Listings (including Pending, CCBS & UCB): 10,152 versus 11,988 last year - up 23.9% - but down 0.4% from 12,630 last month

  • Monthly Sales: 10,385 versus 8,076 last year - up 28.6% - and up 29.2% from 8,039 last month

  • Monthly Average Sales Price per Sq. Ft.: $231.61 versus $186.61 last year - up 24.1% - and up 1.7% from $227.68 last month

  • Monthly Median Sales Price: $358,250 versus $301,000 last year - up 19.0% - and up 2.7% from $349,000 last month

The active listing counts are now so small that it makes a huge difference in which day of the week you measure. Over the last week, the maximum count (on Saturday) is 16% higher than the minimum (on Wednesday). In some locations, there can be twice as many homes listed on Saturday as the following Wednesday. This means that comparisons of April 1 with March 1 can be misleading because it depends on the day of the week they happen to fall on.

 

What we can tell you for certain is that the active listing count was painfully small last month and this month it is no better. We would need to add about 24,000 active listings to get back to a normal level. Many of the younger agents working in Phoenix have never experienced a normal level of supply.

 

The monthly sales count for March 2020 was strong but the annual comparison with March 2020 is affected by the COVID-19 measures that started to bite in March last year. Between March and June last year the pending listing counts and under contract counts were dramatically lower than normal, which tends to obscure the fact that these counts in 2021 are also somewhat lower than we would normally expect. This is one of several signs that demand is starting to fall from the heights achieved in 4Q 2020.

 

Once borrowers start emerging from forbearance, we may see some degree of improvement to the abysmal supply shortage. However, indications from the lending industry suggest that any increase in supply will be tiny compared with the flood of distressed homes that hit the market between 2007 and 2013. We expect to see price rises slowing a little after June 2021, but there are currently no indications that a change in the direction of those prices is likely.

 

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Commentary was written by Tina Tamboer, Senior Housing Analyst with The Cromford Report

 

©2020 Cromford Associates LLC and Tamboer Consulting LLC

March 7, 2021

Median Sales Price Up 18%, Inventory Down 61%: Luxury Sales Over $3M up 140%.

For Buyers: Yes, it’s still a good time to buy. Is it fun? No.

 

Inventory is down 61% from this time last year and competition among buyers is steep. New listings are not keeping up with demand and the purchase experience can be stressful, disappointing, and heartbreaking; but it’s a good time to buy.

 

The median sales price has risen 18% to $339,000 and the median monthly rental rate through the Arizona Regional MLS has also risen 18%. A 1,500-2,000 square foot home is roughly $1,600-$1,700 per month to purchase with 10% down while that same home rents at a median of $1,850 per month, up to $250 over last year at this time. For those who would like to reduce and stabilize their monthly housing expense with a historically low 30-year fixed mortgage rate, it’s a good time to buy.

 

According to the National Association of Home Builders, a family making the median annual income of $72,300 in Greater Phoenix could afford 60.6% of what sold in the 4th Quarter of 2020. That rate has been steadily declining, but it’s still within the normal range of 60-75% for now. In San Francisco, the median sales price is $1,350,000 and a family making the median annual income of $130,900 can only afford 11% of what’s selling there. For those who can work from home and no longer need to live in the same expensive city as their employer, it’s a good time to buy.

 

Finally, it’s a good time to buy because Greater Phoenix is experiencing a housing shortage. Over the past decade, a gap between the total number of housing units built and the total number of people to be housed has been growing wider and developers have not been able to bridge it. This is not something that will be solved this year, and probably not next year either. As affordability wanes, it’s a good time to stake your claim on a home while it’s still an option.

 

For Sellers: Brace yourself, the showings are coming. It’s not uncommon these days to see a stampede of buyers through a home within the first day or so on the market. It doesn’t matter the price range, all areas and types of homes are flying off the market and so far this month 37% of closings are over the asking price.

 

The most impressive development has been in the luxury market. After California announced it was considering raising income and other taxes last summer, contracts over $1M surged in Greater Phoenix. So far in 2021, sales between $1M-$3M are up 102% and sales over $3M are up 140% over last year and there is little sign of a slowdown.

 

Appreciation rates based on annual sales between $1M-$2M range between 5%-6.5% and 2%-5% over $2M. While the northeast cities of Paradise Valley and Scottsdale have long been associated with luxury real estate, Gilbert has emerged in the top 5 cities for sales over $1M in 2020.

 

Appreciation rates for homes sold below $600K range from 7%-11% annually and 5%-7% for sales between $600K-$1M.

 

The commentary was written by Tina Tamboer, Senior Housing Analyst with The Cromford Report ©2020 Cromford Associates LLC and Tamboer Consulting LLC

Jan. 27, 2021

What Happens When Homeowners Leave Their Forbearance Plans?

According to the latest report from Black Knight, Inc., a well-respected provider of data and analytics for mortgage companies, 6.48 million households have entered a forbearance plan as a result of financial concerns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s where these homeowners stand right now:

  • 2,543,000 (39%) are current on their payments and have left the program
  • 625,000 (9%) have paid off their mortgages
  • 434,000 (7%) have negotiated a repayment plan and have left the program
  • 2,254,000 (35%) have extended their original forbearance plan
  • 512,000 (8%) are still in their original forbearance plan
  • 116,000 (2%) have left the program and are still behind on payments

This shows that of the almost 3.72 million homeowners who have left the program, only 116,000 (2%) exited while they were still behind on their payments. There are still 2.77 million borrowers in a forbearance program. No one knows for sure how many of those will become foreclosures. There are, however, three major reasons why most experts believe there will not be a tsunami of foreclosures as we saw during the housing crash over a decade ago:

  1. Almost 30% of borrowers in forbearance are still current on their mortgage payments.
  2. Banks likely don’t want to repeat the mistakes of 2008-2012 when they put large numbers of foreclosures on their books. This time, many will instead negotiate a modification plan with the borrower, which will enable households to maintain ownership of the home.
  3. With the significant equity homeowners have today, many will be able to sell instead of going into foreclosure.

Will there be foreclosures coming to the market? Yes. There are hundreds of thousands of foreclosures in this country each year. People experience economic hardships, and in some cases, are not able to meet their mortgage obligations.

Here’s the breakdown of new foreclosures over the last three years, prior to the pandemic:

  • 2017: 314,220
  • 2018: 279,040
  • 2019: 277,520

Through the first three quarters of 2020 (the latest data available), there were only 114,780 new foreclosures. If 10% of those currently in forbearance go to foreclosure, 275,000 foreclosures would be added to the market in 2021. That would be an average year as the numbers above show.

What happens if the number is more than 10%?

If we do experience a higher foreclosure rate from those in forbearance, most experts believe the current housing market will easily absorb the excess inventory. We entered 2020 with 1,210,000 single-family homes available for purchase. At the time, that was low and problematic. The market was experiencing high buyer demand, and we needed more houses to meet that demand. We’re now entering 2021 with 320,000 fewer homes for sale, while buyer demand remains extremely strong. This means the housing market has the capacity to soak up a lot of inventory.

Bottom Line

There will be more foreclosures entering the market later this year, especially compared to the record-low numbers in 2020. However, the market will be able to handle the increase as buyer demand remains strong.

Jan. 11, 2021

2020 Broke the Record for Luxury Sales Supply Down 51%, Slim Pickings in 2021

For Buyers:

There were 111,036 new listings added to the Arizona Regional MLS (ARMLS) in 2020, only 38 more than in 2019, while 100,650 sold. As of January 10th, 2021 there were only 6,162 listings still active in the MLS, which is the lowest supply count recorded in at least 20 years. To make matters worse, 10% of those properties are outside of the Greater Phoenix boundary.

While the number of new listings barely changed last year, demand for homes accelerated between June and December to 35% above normal. Luxury sales over $1M soared after the pandemic restrictions were lifted. While they were already up 7.7% over 2019 at the end of June, by the end of December annual luxury sales were up 48.7%, securing an enormous record for 2020 at 2,575 sales over $1M.

 

Outside of the MLS, new home developers have been struggling to meet demand as well. Despite the roadblocks in production due to the pandemic, forest fires, and supply line disruptions, as of November builders still managed to sell 14% more homes and obtain 28,204 more single-family permits for future supply, up 24% over 2019. The median price of a new single-family home only rose 6% from $333K to $353K and considering the median price of a resale home is $335K, that’s extremely competitive.

 

As supply began to drop last month, December saw 33% of sales closed over the asking price, and only 10% involved seller-paid closing costs in the 4th Quarter.

The bottom line for buyers starting their search in 2021, be on top of your loan and be ready to pounce on every new listing that fits your needs. Many new listings will be on the market for less than a week prior to accepting a contract.

 

For Sellers:

The state of Arizona ranked 3rd in the nation for population growth behind Texas and Florida in the latest 2020 Census release. When the full report comes out later this year, we expect to see California as the #1 source of inbound migration for Greater Phoenix. Moving companies such as Atlas, United Van Lines, and North American have released their annual migration reports, and 2 out of the 3 lists Arizona in their Top 5 states for inbound moves. United Van Lines specifically cites “retirement” as the primary reason for 37% of inbound moves, 70% were over 55 years old and 63% made incomes over $100,000 per year.

While median home prices have risen 15.5% year-over-year, the median rental rates through ARMLS have also risen 12.9% from $1,550 to $1,750/month. This increase, combined with historically low mortgage rates, has fueled more demand to purchase.

 

As the population continues to grow, the housing gap is becoming harder to close. After a decade of underbuilding, this will take more than a few months or a year to correct. However, as prices rise and affordability quickly drops, it’s reasonable to expect some demand to drop with it. With that expectation, home prices are still projected to rise throughout 2021 but possibly at a slower rate in the latter half of the year. It will be another great year for sellers.

 

The commentary was written by Tina Tamboer, Senior Housing Analyst with The Cromford Report ©2020 Cromford Associates LLC and Tamboer Consulting LLC

Jan. 7, 2021

Is This the Year to Sell My House?


Is This the Year to Sell My House?

Is This the Year to Sell My House? | MyKCM

If one of the questions you’re asking yourself is, “Should I sell my house this year?” consumer sentiment about selling today should boost your confidence in the right direction. Even with the current health crisis that continues to challenge our nation, Americans still feel good about selling a house. Here’s why.

According to the latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index from Fannie Mae, 57% of consumer respondents to their survey indicate now is a good time to buy a home, while 59% feel it’s a good time to sell one:

“The percentage of respondents who say it is a good time to sell a home remained the same at 59%, while the percentage who say it’s a bad time to sell decreased from 35% to 33%. As a result, the net share of those who say it is a good time to sell increased 2 percentage points month over month.”

As you can see, many still believe that, despite everything going on in the world, it is still a good time to sell a house.

Why is now a good time to sell?

There simply are not enough homes available to meet today’s buyer demand, and they’re selling just as quickly as they’re coming to the market. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), unsold inventory available today sits at a 2.3-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from a 2.5-month supply from the previous month. This record-low inventory is not even half of what we need for a normal or neutral housing market, which should have a 6.0-month supply of unsold inventory to balance out.

With so few homes available for buyers to choose from, we’re in a true sellers’ market. Homeowners ready to make a move right now have the opportunity to negotiate the best possible contracts with buyers who are feeling the pull of intense competition when it comes to finding their dream home. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for NAR, notes how quickly homes are selling right now, further confirming the benefits to sellers this season:

“The market is incredibly swift this winter with the listed homes going under contract on average at less than a month due to a backlog of buyers wanting to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates.”

However, this sweet spot for sellers won’t last forever. As more homes are listed this year, this tip toward sellers may start to wane. According to Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.commore choices for buyers are on the not-too-distant horizon:

“The bright spot for buyers is that more homes are likely to become available in the last six months of 2021. That should give folks more options to choose from and take away some of their urgency. With a larger selection, buyers may not be forced to make a decision in mere hours and will have more time to make up their minds.”

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to make a move, you can feel good about the current sentiment in the market and the advantageous conditions for today’s sellers. Let’s connect today to determine the best next step when it comes to selling your house this year.

 

Jan. 4, 2021

3 Must-Do’s When Selling Your House This Year

 

It’s exciting to put a house on the market and to think about making new memories in new spaces. However, despite the anticipation of what’s to come, we can still have deep sentimental attachments to the home we’re leaving behind. Growing emotions can help or hinder a sale depending on how we manage them.

When it comes to the bottom line, homeowners need to know what it takes to avoid costly mistakes when it’s time to move. Being mindful and prepared for the process can help you stay on the right track when selling your house this year.

1. Price Your Home Right

When inventory is low, like it is in the current market, it’s common to think buyers will pay whatever we ask when setting a listing price. Believe it or not, that’s not always true. Don’t forget that the buyer’s bank will send an appraiser to determine the fair value for your house. The bank will not lend more than what the house is worth, so be aware that you might need to renegotiate the price after the appraisal. A real estate professional will help you set the true value of your home.

2. Keep Your Emotions in Check

Today, homeowners are living in their houses for a longer period of time. Since 1985, the average tenure, or the time a homeowner has owned their home, has increased from 5 to 10 years (as shown in the graph below):3 Must-Do’s When Selling Your House This Year | MyKCMThis is several years longer than what used to be the historical norm. The side effect, however, is when you stay in one place for so long, you may get even more emotionally attached to your space. If it’s the first home you bought or the house where your children grew up, it very likely means something extra special to you. Every room has memories, and it’s hard to detach from the sentimental value.

For some homeowners, that makes it even harder to negotiate and separate the emotional value of the house from the fair market price. That’s why you need a real estate professional to help you with the negotiations along the way.

3. Stage Your Home Properly

We’re generally quite proud of our décor and how we’ve customized our houses to make them our own unique homes, but not all buyers will feel the same way about your design. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you stage your house with the buyer in mind.

Buyers want to envision themselves in the space so it truly feels like it could be their own. They need to see themselves inside with their furniture and keepsakes – not your pictures and decorations. Stage and declutter so they can visualize their own dreams as they walk down the hall. A real estate professional can help you with tips to get your home ready to stage and sell.

Bottom Line

Today’s sellers’ market might be your best chance to make a move. If you’re considering selling your house, let’s connect so you have the help need to navigate through the process while prioritizing these must-do’s.

 

Dec. 29, 2020

More Generations Are Living Under One Roof This Year

 

This year challenged us to reprioritize everything – from the way we use our time to where we work, how we socialize and gather together, and our needs at home. For many, this also meant making decisions about how to best support and engage with our extended families, near and far.

In some cases, we weren’t able to see our relatives and loved ones who were living in senior facilities. In others, maybe older children moved back home. Jessica Lautz, Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

A lot of families have an aging senior relative who was living independently or in senior care and wanted to move them into their home.

These changes led to more homebuyers to invest in multi-generational homes to accommodate more long-term plans. A multi-generational home, according to the 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from NAR, is a home that has adult siblings, adult children over the age of 18, parents, and/or grandparents in the household.

A recent study from NAR shows that since the health crisis began, there’s been an increase in purchasing trends for homes that cater to this dynamic:

“Buyers who purchased after March were more likely to purchase a multi-generational home at 15% compared to 11% who purchased before April.”

There are many reasons for this uptick in preference toward multi-generational homes. The graph below shows the top two reasons and how they’ve increased this year:More Generations Are Living under One Roof This Year | MyKCM

Bottom Line

More homeowners are making arrangements to accommodate their loved ones so they can safely take care of them at home. If you’re in a similar situation, let’s connect to discuss your options in our local area and maybe even have your whole family under one roof by early next year.

Posted in Buyers, Buying a Home
Dec. 22, 2020

The Difference a Year Makes for Homeownership

Over the past year, mortgage rates have fallen more than a full percentage point, hitting a new historic low 15 times. This is a great driver for homeownership, as today’s low rates provide consumers with some significant benefits. Here’s a look at three of them.

1. Move-up or Downsize: One option is to consider moving into a new home, putting the equity you’ve likely gained in your current house toward a down payment on a new one that better meets your needs – something that’s truly a perfect fit, especially if your lifestyle has changed this year.

2. Become a First-Time Homebuyer: There are many financial and non-financial benefits to owning a home, and the most important thing is to first decide when the time is right for you. You have to determine that on your own, but know that now is a great time to buy if you’re considering it. Just take a look at the cost of renting vs. buying.

3. Refinance: If you already own a home, you may decide you’re going to refinance. It’s one way to lock in a lower monthly payment and save more over time. However, it also means paying upfront closing costs, too. If you want to take this route, you have to answer the question: Should I refinance my home?

Why 2020 Was a Great Year for Homeownership

Last year, the average mortgage rate was 3.93% (substantially higher than it is today). If you waited for a better time to make a move, market conditions have improved significantly. Today’s low mortgage rates are a huge perk for buyers, so it’s a great time to get more for your money and consider a new home.

The chart below shows how much you would save per month based on today’s rates compared to what you would have paid if you purchased a home exactly one year ago, depending on how much you finance:

If you’ve been waiting since last year to make your move into homeownership or to find a house that better meets your needs, today’s low mortgage rates may be just what you need to get the process going. Let’s connect today to discuss how you may benefit from the current rates.

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

Posted in Buyers, Buying a Home
Dec. 21, 2020

The Do's and Don'ts after Applying for a Mortgage

 

Once you’ve found the right home and applied for a mortgage, there are some key things to keep in mind before you close. You’re undoubtedly excited about the opportunity to decorate your new place, but before you make any large purchases, move your money around, or make any major life changes, consult your lender – someone who is qualified to tell you how your financial decisions may impact your home loan.

Below is a list of things you shouldn’t do after applying for a mortgage. They’re all important to know – or simply just good reminders – for the process.

1. Don’t Deposit Cash into Your Bank Accounts Before Speaking with Your Bank or Lender. Lenders need to source your money, and cash is not easily traceable. Before you deposit any amount of cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer.

2. Don’t Make Any Large Purchases Like a New Car or Furniture for Your New Home. New debt comes with new monthly obligations. New obligations create new qualifications. People with new debt have higher debt-to-income ratios. Higher ratios make for riskier loans, and then sometimes qualified borrowers no longer qualify.

3. Don’t Co-Sign Other Loans for Anyone. When you co-sign, you’re obligated. With that obligation comes higher ratios as well. Even if you promise you won’t be the one making the payments, your lender will have to count the payments against you.

4. Don’t Change Bank Accounts. Remember, lenders need to source and track your assets. That task is significantly easier when there’s consistency among your accounts. Before you transfer any money, speak with your loan officer.

5. Don’t Apply for New Credit. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new credit card or a new car. When you have your credit report run by organizations in multiple financial channels (mortgage, credit card, auto, etc.), your FICO® score will be impacted. Lower credit scores can determine your interest rate and maybe even your eligibility for approval.

6. Don’t Close Any Credit Accounts. Many buyers believe having less available credit makes them less risky and more likely to be approved. Wrong. A major component of your score is your length and depth of credit history (as opposed to just your payment history) and your total usage of credit as a percentage of available credit. Closing accounts has a negative impact on both of those determinants of your score.

Bottom Line

Any blip in income, assets, or credit should be reviewed and executed in a way that ensures your home loan can still be approved. If your job or employment status has changed recently, share that with your lender as well. The best plan is to fully disclose and discuss your intentions with your loan officer before you do anything financial in nature.

 

Posted in Buyers, Buying a Home, Loans