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How Do Presidential Elections Impact the Housing Market?

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Some Highlights

  • Are you wondering if the upcoming election will have an impact on the housing market? Here’s what history tells us you need to know if you’re considering a move.​
  • Data shows home sales slow in November but quickly bounce back and rise the following year. Prices usually keep climbing. And mortgage rates typically come down slightly.
  • Presidential elections have only a small and temporary impact on the housing market. If you have questions, connect with a real estate agent.

Not a Crash: 3 Graphs That Show How Today’s Inventory Differs from 2008

Even if you didn’t own a home at the time, you probably remember the housing crisis in 2008. That crash impacted the lives of countless people, and many now live with the worry that something like that could happen again. But rest easy, because things are different than they were back then. As Business Insider says:

“Though many Americans believe the housing market is at risk of crashing, the economists who study housing market conditions overwhelmingly do not expect a crash in 2024 or beyond.”

Here’s why experts are so confident. For the market (and home prices) to crash, there would have to be too many houses for sale, but the data doesn’t show that’s happening. Right now, there’s an undersupply, not an oversupply like the last time – and that’s true even with the inventory growth we’ve seen this year. You see, the housing supply comes from three main sources:

  • Homeowners deciding to sell their houses (existing homes)
  • New home construction (newly built homes)
  • Distressed properties (foreclosures or short sales)

And if we look at those three main sources of inventory, you’ll see it’s clear this isn’t like 2008.

Homeowners Deciding To Sell Their Houses

Although the supply of existing (previously owned) homes is up compared to this time last year, it’s still low overall. And while this varies by local market, nationally, the current months’ supply is well below the norm, and even further below what we saw during the crash. The graph below shows this more clearly.

If you look at the latest data (shown in green), compared to 2008 (shown in red), we only have about a third of that available inventory today. No Caption Received

So, what does this mean? There just aren’t enough homes available to make values drop. To have a repeat of 2008, there’d need to be a lot more people selling their houses with very few buyers, and that’s not the case right now.

New Home Construction

People are also talking a lot about what’s going on with newly built houses these days, and that might make you wonder if homebuilders are overdoing it. Even though new homes make up a larger percentage of the total inventory than the norm, there’s no need for alarm. Here’s why.

The graph below uses data from the Census to show the number of new houses built over the last 52 years. The orange on the graph shows the overbuilding that happened in the lead-up to the crash. And, if you look at the red in the graph, you’ll see that builders have been underbuilding pretty consistently since then: No Caption Received

There’s just too much of a gap to make up. Builders aren’t overbuilding today, they’re catching up. A recent article from Bankrate says:

“What’s more, builders remember the Great Recession all too well, and they’ve been cautious about their pace of construction. The result is an ongoing shortage of homes for sale.”

Distressed Properties (Foreclosures and Short Sales)

The last place inventory can come from is distressed properties, including short sales and foreclosures. During the housing crisis, there was a flood of foreclosures due to lending standards that allowed many people to get a home loan they couldn’t truly afford.

Today, lending standards are much tighter, resulting in more qualified buyers and far fewer foreclosures. The graph below uses data from ATTOM to show how things have changed since the housing crash: No Caption Received

This graph makes it clear that as lending standards got tighter and buyers became more qualified, the number of foreclosures started to go down. And in 2020 and 2021, the combination of a moratorium on foreclosures (shown in black) and the forbearance program helped prevent a repeat of the wave of foreclosures we saw when the market crashed.

While you may see headlines that foreclosure volume is ticking up – remember, that’s only compared to recent years when very few foreclosures happened. We’re still below the normal level we’d see in a typical year.

What This Means for You

Inventory levels aren’t anywhere near where they’d need to be for prices to drop significantly and the housing market to crash. As Forbes explains:

“As already-high home prices continue trending upward, you may be concerned that we’re in a bubble ready to pop. However, the likelihood of a housing market crash—a rapid drop in unsustainably high home prices due to waning demand—remains low for 2024.”

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, points to the laws of supply and demand as a reason why we aren’t headed for a crash:

“There’s just generally not enough supply. There are more people than housing inventory. It’s Econ 101.”

And Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“We will not have a repeat of the 2008–2012 housing market crash. There are no risky subprime mortgages that could implode, nor the combination of a massive oversupply and overproduction of homes.”

Bottom Line

The market doesn’t have enough available homes for a repeat of the 2008 housing crisis – and there’s nothing that suggests that will change anytime soon. That’s why housing experts and inventory data tell us there isn’t a crash on the horizon.

Focus on Time in the Market, Not Timing the Market

Should you buy a home now or should you wait? That’s a big question on many people’s minds today. And while what timing is right for you will depend on a lot of other personal factors, here’s something you may not have considered.

If you’re able to buy at today’s rates and prices, it may be better to focus on time in the market, rather than timing the market.

The Downside of Trying To Time the Market 

Trying to time the market isn’t a good strategy because things can change. Here’s an example. For the better part of this year, projections have said mortgage rates will come down. And while experts agree that’s still what’s ahead, shifts in various market and economic factors have pushed back the timing of when that’ll happen. Here’s how that’s impacted homebuyers who’ve been sitting on the sidelines. As U.S. News says:

Those who put off buying a home during the past few years as they were holding out for lower mortgage rates have been left out of the market . . . mortgage rates have stayed higher for longer than previously expected, keeping monthly housing payments elevated. In other words, affordability didn’t improve for those who chose to wait.”

This is why timing the market may not pay off if you’re ready and able to buy now.

The Proof Is in the Pudding: How Homeowners Benefit from Rising Home Prices

Delaying your plans also means missing out on the equity you’d gain if you went ahead with your purchase today. And the potential equity gains that are at stake may surprise you.

Each quarter, Fannie Mae releases the Home Price Expectations Survey. It asks over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists what they forecast for home prices over the next five years. In the latest release, experts are projecting home prices will continue to rise through at least 2028 (see the graph below): No Caption Received

To give these numbers context, let’s take a look at a breakdown of what you stand to gain once you buy. The graph below uses a typical home’s value to show how a home could appreciate over the next few years using those HPES projections: No Caption Received

In this example, let’s say you went ahead and bought a $400,000 home at the beginning of this year. Based on the expert forecasts from the HPES, you could gain more than $83,000 in household wealth over the next five years. That’s not a small number.

This data helps paint the picture of why time in the market really matters.

The Advice You Need To Hear If You’re Ready and Able To Buy Now

Right now, you may be focused on what’s happening with mortgage rates and how those impact your monthly payment, but don’t forget to factor in home prices.

Prices are expected to continue climbing, just at a more moderate pace. And while a moderate rise in prices may not be fun for you now, once you own a home, that growth will be a huge perk. That’s the time in the market piece.

Sure, you could try timing the market, but the equity you’ll be missing out on in the meantime is something to seriously consider. If you’re ready and able to buy now, you have to decide: is it really worth waiting?

Rather than focusing on timing the market. It’s better to have time in the market.

As U.S. News Real Estate sums up:

“There’s never a one-size-fits-all answer to whether now is the right time to buy a home. . . . There’s also no way to predict precisely what the market will do in the near future . . . Perfectly timing the market shouldn’t be the goal. This decision should be determined by your personal needs, financial means and the time you have to find the right home.” 

Bottom Line

If you’re debating whether to buy now or wait, remember it’s time in the market, not timing the market. And if you want to get the ball rolling and set yourself up for those big equity gains, connect with an agent to make it happen. 

Worried About Mortgage Rates? Control the Controllables

Chances are you’re hearing a lot about mortgage rates right now. You may even see some headlines talking about last week’s Federal Reserve (the Fed) meeting and what it means for rates. But the Fed doesn’t determine mortgage rates, even if the headlines make it sound like they do.

The truth is, mortgage rates are impacted by a lot of factors: geo-political uncertainty, inflation and the economy, and more. And trying to pin down when all those factors will line up enough for rates to come down is tricky.

That’s why it’s generally not worth it to try to time the market. There’s too much at play that you can’t control. The best thing you can do is control the controllables.

And when it comes to rates, here’s what you can influence to make your moving plans a reality.

Your Credit Score

Credit scores can play a big role in your mortgage rate. As an article from CNET explains:

You can’t control the economic factors influencing interest rates. But you can get the best rate for your situation, and improving your credit score is the right place to start. Lenders look at your credit score to decide whether to approve you for a loan and at what interest rate. A higher credit score can help you secure a lower interest rate, maybe even better than the average.”

That’s why it’s even more important to maintain a good credit score right now. With rates where they are, you want to do what you can to get the best rate possible. If you want to focus on improving your score, your trusted loan officer can give you expert advice to help.

Your Loan Type

There are many types of loans, each offering different terms for qualified buyers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) says:

There are several broad categories of mortgage loans, such as conventional, FHA, USDA, and VA loans. Lenders decide which products to offer, and loan types have different eligibility requirements. Rates can be significantly different depending on what loan type you choose.”

When working with your team of real estate professionals, make sure you find out what’s available for your situation and which types of loans you may qualify for.

Your Loan Term

Another factor to consider is the term of your loan. Just like with loan types, you have options. Freddie Mac says:

When choosing the right home loan for you, it’s important to consider the loan term, which is the length of time it will take you to repay your loan before you fully own your home. Your loan term will affect your interest rate, monthly payment, and the total amount of interest you will pay over the life of the loan.”

Depending on your situation, the length of your loan can also change your mortgage rate.

Bottom Line

Remember, you can’t control what happens in the broader economy. But you can control the controllables.

Let’s connect to go over the things you can do that’ll make a difference. By being strategic with these factors, you may be able to combat today’s higher rates and lock in the lowest one you can.

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