Matthew Gardner’s 2018 Housing Forecast
Posted January 5 2018, 12:00 PM PST by Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist, Windermere Real Estate
Windermere is fortunate to have Chief Economist Matthew Gardner on staff to provide valuable analysis of the economy and housing market. Matthew recently completed his national forecast which details his predictions for the 2018 housing market.
Current market conditions make it a great time to consider selling your home. Buyer demand is at an all-time high, resulting in multiple offers and less time on the market for sellers. Home values are expected to see continued growth, while interest rates are expected to increase slowly, ensuring continued demand. Whether you’re considering selling your home or just curious about its current value, contact your Local Hometown Realtors for a no-obligation; free Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) at (541) 878-2249.
Here is a recent article from the Medford Mail Tribune regarding current inventory.
Residential inventories have plunged to the lowest level since Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service began tracking them in 2007.
On Jan. 31, there were 660 single-family houses on the market, down 18.1 percent from a year ago.
Houses often attract quick attention when they become available. Between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31, sales picked up 10.3 percent, with 600 transactions during the period.
The average time for existing Jackson County houses to sell during the past three months dropped below six weeks, while median prices forged ahead in most local zones. Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service figures show the county median selling price rose 8.3 percent during a three-month period ending Jan. 31 to $246,950, up from $227,950.
Malepsy said 2016 was his best sales year in a decade, but he could have sold many more if there were more sellers.
“We have a real mix out here with high-end riverfront properties and mobile homes on a lot. The demand continues. There is a lot of interest, just nothing to sell.”
There are fewer options for buyers with particular desires, but with the buildout of the local water system, more construction is in the offing.
Talent continues to absorb Ashland’s overflow demand. That’s reflected in the $301,750 median sales price, a 22.7 percent jump in the past year. In the past five years, Talent’s median has more than doubled from $145,000 in 2012.
“Talent has room to grow, where Ashland is really strict within city limits and focusing on high-density housing,” said Scott Lewis, a past SOMLS president and an agent with John L. Scott Real Estate in Ashland. “You will pay premium for a home with any kind of yard in Ashland.”
He recently listed a 50-year-old, 1,624-square-foot house with a pool on Clay Street for $440,000.
Phoenix, where there are fewer sales, saw its median bump up 23.1 percent to $278,750.
East Medford, where more than 30 percent of sales took place in recent months, saw its median price climb 7.4 percent to $273,400, up from $254,500. January trends indicated pricing will continue to rise.
The median price for a rural home in Jackson County was $375,000, which rose 19 percent from $315,000 a year ago.
5 Things to Consider if You’re Behind on Your Mortgage
Posted by Richard Eastern
SHOULD YOU BUY OR RENT?
Do you dream of owning your own home? Or are you happy to rent a place where a landlord takes care of all your home issues? There are pros and cons of both renting and owning your home. Here are some issues to consider if you are on the fence:
Are you thinking of buying a home, and you aren’t sure exactly where to start? Here is a checklist to help you get ready to make your home dreams come true:
Decide where you want to live! Are you where you want to be? Generally, you will want to plan on staying in your home for at least 5-7 years in order for you investment to pay off, so it’s important to look at homes in an area that will meet your needs over the long term.
Explore the market. Once you know where you will be looking for homes, you can start to explore. Get to know the neighborhoods, the school districts, the local businesses, and community amenities.
Make a list of what you need and want. Create a list of the things in a home that are most important to you. Like the number of bedrooms/bathrooms, home features, commute times, etc. Then make a list of things that you would like to have, but aren’t as important, such as a fireplace, a large back yard, or a pool. It may help you to create a Pinterest board with your favorite home features that you can share with your agent when you’re ready to start looking.
Search for comparable houses in your market. Once you know where you’d like to buy and what type of house you’re looking for, you can start to realistically assess how much it will cost. Use an online search tool like windermere.com to see what’s for sale in your preferred neighborhood(s) and the value of the homes.
Take a good look at your finances. Once you have an idea of what homes cost, you can start figuring out how much money you need for a down payment, monthly mortgage payments, property taxes, etc. Make sure to check your credit score to ensure that everything is in order before applying for a home loan.
Develop your financial plan. Determine how much you need to save for your down payment and create a plan and timeline to achieve this goal. Outstanding debt can drag down your credit score, so make sure that paying down debt is a part of your plan.
Find a real estate agent! Once you’ve met your financial goals, it’s time to find a real estate agent. The best place to start is by asking friends and family for a referral. You can also search on real estate websites, like windermere.com, to find an agent that specializes in the area you are looking to live.
Get pre-approved for your home loan. Your agent should be able to refer you to a mortgage representative who can assist with the financing of your new home. The first step is to get pre-approved so that you know exactly how much home you can afford. Not only does this allow you to refine your home search, but it can also give you a competitive advantage when there are multiple buyers bidding on the same property.
Start shopping! This process involves everything from searching for homes online to visiting open houses on the weekends. But perhaps the most important part of this process is going on a good-old-fashioned home tour with your real estate agent. Looking for homes online lets you search more efficiently, but there’s nothing like seeing the home – and its surroundings – first hand.
The bidding process. The bidding process differs from region to region and season to season, but ultimately you should look to your agent to help you develop a plan based on your priorities and financial abilities. Depending on the market where you’re buying, there could be multiple buyers bidding for the same home, so it’s a good idea to have a well thought out strategy ahead of time.
Offer acceptance & earnest money. Once a seller accepts your offer you are required to put down an earnest money deposit to show that you are committed to purchasing the house. This money is held jointly by the seller and the buyer in a trust or escrow account. The earnest money goes towards your down payment and closing costs upon the closing of the home sale.
Home inspection. Most home sales are pending until a home inspection is completed. This is when a home inspector checks the condition of a home, such as the foundation, roof, windows, insulation, electrical, and heating components. If a home inspection turns up the need for repairs, it can end up being a tool for re-negotiations with the seller.
Home appraisal. This is an all-important step to getting the financing you need for your new home. An appraisal is performed to assess the true value of a home, which in turn, determines how much a lender is willing to give you to buy it. Appraisals protect banks from getting stuck with property that's worth less than they've invested. And it protects you from paying too much for a house simply because it was love at first sight.
Purchase your home insurance. A standard homeowner’s insurance policy typically covers your home, your belongings, injury or property damage to others, and living expenses if you are unable to live in your home temporarily because of an insured disaster.
Closing! The closing marks the final step of the home purchase process. This is when the deed to a property is legally transferred from the seller to the buyer who then takes possession of the home. In simple terms, this is when you get the keys to your new home and you can officially move in.
If you have any additional questions about the home buying process, contact us at 541-878-2249.
Take a look at Oregon & Southwest Washington's quarterly market trends report published be Matthew Gardner:
Windermere Real Estate is proud to partner with Gardner Economics on this analysis of the Oregon and Southwest Washington real estate market. This report is designed to offer insight into the realities of the housing market. Numbers alone do not always give an accurate picture of local economic conditions; therefore our goal is to provide an explanation of what the statistics mean and how they impact the Oregon and Southwest Washington housing economy. We hope that this information may assist you with making an informed real estate decision. For further information about the real estate market in your area, please contact your Windermere agent.
From a job growth perspective, numbers for the end of the first quarter showed a vast majority of the counties contained within this report having added to their job bases over the past 12 months rather nicely.
In aggregate, the market has added 32,621 jobs over the past four quarters which represents an annual growth rate of 1.9 percent. For comparison purposes, the state as a whole grew by 2.9 percent, but the U.S. expanded by a more modest 1.64 percent.
Even though the growth was less robust than seen in Oregon as a whole, we were impressed that the growth crossed all major industry sectors. This is an important fact as it suggests that the job recovery is not limited to lower paying, service jobs but has become broad-based and, therefore, sustainable.
Compared to the end of the first quarter of 2013, growth was most robust in Washington County, which added 8,800 jobs (+3.3%). This was followed by Clark County (+3%), and Klamath, Cowlitz, and Deschutes Counties, each increasing their employment base by 2.5 percent.
When compared to March of 2013, job losses were extremely modest and seen in just three counties. Lincoln County lost 70 jobs while Skamania and Klickitat Counties lost just 20 jobs, respectively. In my last report I suggested that the region should add 35,000 jobs in 2014. With the current annual growth of 32,600 jobs, we appear to be squarely on track.
The unemployment rate continues to drop with every county—other than
Benton—seeing unemployment rates lower than a year ago. We should note that Benton County did not see its rate rise, rather it remained static at a still-fairly-respectable six percent.
That said, I would taper all this enthusiasm with the fact that there are still several counties where the unemployment rate remains stubbornly above 10 percent. In as much as I would like to attribute this to an expanding labor force, this is not the case. Generally, these counties represent areas where there is little economic diversity, which is slowing their recoveries. Still, I am hopeful that they will start to see their unemployment rates drop as we move through 2014.
Although the counties shown here have, generally, seen improvements in their respective job markets, several have seen a slowdown in the first quarter when compared to the end of 2013. However, this is not unusual. County-level data is not seasonally adjusted, which makes direct comparisons to the previous quarter somewhat erroneous. Even with any perceived slowdown, I am still raising the grade to a “C+” from the “C’ grade given at the end of 2013.
Regional Real Estate
The housing market showed a fairly substantial deviation in the first quarter of the year which is worthy of discussion. On the positive side, price growth was quite impressive and generally broad-based; however, this was offset with a somewhat counterintuitive drop in sales activity.
Any hopes of a spring “bump” in sales were eroded by the fact that total listings dropped by five percent when compared to a year ago. It is clear that lower listing activity has started to have a pronounced effect on the market, but that said, it has yet to translate into any real effect on sale prices.
Listings grew at the fastest rate in Cowlitz County where total listings were up by 6.5 percent year-over-year. The only other counties that saw an increase in listings were Klickitat County (+3.2%) and Clark County (+0.5%).
With the lower level of inventory, home sales took a hit in early spring and were two percent lower in the first quarter of this year when compared to a year ago. In total, the quarter saw a total of 6,392 sales—down from 6,524 in the first quarter of 2013.
Compared to the first quarter of 2013, sales rose in just two counties, with Cowlitz County up by 7.6% and Multnomah County growing by 1.9%. Declines were widespread, with the largest drops seen in Hood River (-17.5%), Skamania (-16.7%), and Klickitat (-13.6%) Counties.
It might seem that the drop in sale activity would have a negative impact on prices; however, this was not the case. When we looked at home prices, the picture was generally bright, with 11 counties showing home values above those seen in the first quarter of 2013, and six registering double-digit growth. In total, the markets surveyed saw average home prices rise from $255,508 to $285,091—an increase of a healthy 11.6 percent. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2013, sale prices have risen by 2.9 percent.
We continue to see some very impressive price gains in smaller counties; however, prices in these markets tend to move erratically due to the limited number of home sales. In Coos County, for example, prices rose by 48 percent year-over-year (from $125,000 to $184,667). Other counties that saw large increases in average sale prices were Skamania (+36%) and Columbia (+35%).
There were just two counties where prices fell. Klickitat County saw the greatest drop in value compared to a year ago (-30.7%), but we again attribute this to the fact that it is a small market. The other market where prices dropped was Hood River (-2.1%).
On a positive note, just one county—Klickitat—is showing home values that are below those seen two years ago. Additionally, over half of the counties surveyed saw home prices in the first quarter exceed those seen in early 2009. This is important, as it was at that time that the market started to see a major decline in values.
Home prices are certainly influenced by the number, quality and mix of homes that are being offered for sale. Many times, markets with limited supply demonstrate stronger price growth than markets where inventory is less tight. However, the drop in sales as well as listing activity, although nothing to panic about, does give us pause for thought and may lead to slower price appreciation unless we start to see more activity.
As such, I am maintaining the “C+” grade that I have given this market for the past year.
On a whole, Oregon’s economy is starting to perform well, with seasonally adjusted employment growing by 46,300 jobs over March of 2013.
In the markets covered by this report, employment growth has not been as robust, but is still— on a percentage basis—higher than that seen in the U.S. as a whole. It is also pleasing to see that employment growth is not limited to service sector industries (which are generally lower paying), which bodes well for the housing market.
As discussed earlier, the housing market itself is somewhat contradictory. Prices are, on the whole, higher than those seen a year ago and in the fourth quarter of 2013. That said, the boost in inventory that I was hoping to see this quarter did not occur.
As predicted, interest rates are moving modestly higher and we are standing by our forecast that the year will end with average 30-year fixed rates marginally below five percent. The upward move in rates continues to get prospective buyers off the fence, but they are still faced will little in the way of choice in homes to buy.
I remain hopeful that the region will start adding to its supply of homes for sale, but it will take a dramatic rise during the balance of the year for me to start believing that the market is heading toward equilibrium.
About Matthew Gardner
Mr. Gardner is a land use economist and principal with Gardner Economics and is considered by many to be one of the foremost real estate analysts in the Pacific Northwest.
In addition to managing his consulting practice, Mr. Gardner chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; sits on the Urban Land Institutes Technical Assistance Panel; is an Advisory Board Member for the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington; and is the Editor of the Washington State University’s Central Puget Sound Real Estate Research Report.
He is also the retained economist for the Master Builders Association of King & Snohomish Counties. He has twenty-five years of professional experience in the U.K. and U.S.
He has appeared on CNN, NBC and NPR news services to discuss real estate issues, and is regularly cited in the Wall Street Journal and all local media.