Last week, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their most recent Existing Home Sales Report. According to the report:
“The median existing-home price for all housing types in January was $240,500, up 5.8 percent from January 2017 ($227,300). January’s price increase marks the 71st straight month of year-over-year gains.”
Seventy-one consecutive months of price increases may have some concerned that current home values may be overinflated.
However, at the same time, Zillow issued a press release which revealed:
“If the housing bubble and bust had not happened, and home values had instead appreciated at a steady pace, the median home value would be higher than its current value.”
Here are two graphs that help show why home prices are exactly where they should be.
The first graph shows actual median home sales prices from 2000 through 2017.
By itself, this graph could heighten concerns as it shows home values rose in the early 2000s, came tumbling down and are now headed up again. It gives the feel of a rollercoaster ride that is about to take another turn downward.
However, if we also include where prices would naturally be, had there not been a boom & bust, we see a different story.
The blue bars on this graph represent were prices would be if they had increased by the normal annual appreciation rate (3.6%). By adding 3.6% to the actual 2000 price and repeating that for each subsequent year, we can see that prices were overvalued during the boom, undervalued during the bust, and a little bit LOWER than where they should be right now.
Based on historic appreciation levels, we should be very comfortable that current home values are not overinflated.
In today’s housing market, where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values are increasing rapidly. Many experts are projecting that home values could appreciate by another 4% or more over the next twelve months. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal.
When prices are surging, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that recently closed) to defend the selling price when performing the appraisal for the bank.
Every month in their Home Price Perception Index (HPPI), Quicken Loans measures the disparity between what a homeowner who is seeking to refinance their home believes their house is worth and what an appraiser’s evaluation of that same home is.
In the latest release, the disparity was the narrowest it has been in over two years, as the gap between appraisers and homeowners was only -0.5%. This is important for homeowners to note as even a .5% difference in appraisal can mean thousands of dollars that a buyer or seller would have to come up with at closing (depending on the price of the home)
The chart below illustrates the changes in home price estimates over the last two years.
Bill Banfield, Executive VP of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans urges homeowners to find out how their local markets have been impacted by supply and demand:
“Appraisers and real estate professionals evaluate their local housing markets daily. Homeowners, on the other hand, may only think about their housing market when they see ‘for sale’ signs hit front yards in the spring or when they think about accessing their equity.”
“With several years of growth, owners may have more equity than they realize. Many consumers use the tax season at the beginning of the year to reevaluate their entire financial life. It also provides a good opportunity for them to consider how best to take advantage of their equity while mortgage interest rates and borrowing costs are still near record lows.”
Every house on the market must be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the bank’s appraisal). With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first. If you are planning on entering the housing market this year, let’s get together to discuss this and any other obstacles that may arise.