These are uncertain times, to be sure. Many of us who experienced the Great Recession and the mortgage and housing crisis of 2008 remember that time with anxiety. But this time is different in so many ways.
Here are the reasons we have confidence in our housing market today.
- Housing prices, while still rising, are not nearly at the levels we saw prior to the 2008 crash, where we had home values galloping way ahead of the curve, often with double-digit appreciation. Our appreciation levels over the past six years have held relatively steady, around 5% or so. In February, our housing market was on solid ground with home sales comfortably above one year ago, and home prices had risen for more than 90 consecutive months on a year-over-year basis. Home prices, unlike the stock market, do not move in a quick fashion one way or the other.
- Mortgage lending. At the peak before the crash, mortgages, especially sub-prime mortgages, were readily available to just about anybody. Today, the Mortgage Credit Availability Index measured monthly by the Mortgage Bankers Association indicates mortgage credit has been carefully tracked over the past several years and has remained low.
- Supply and demand. When the market crashed in 2008, we had more homes for sale than people were buying and builders were overbuilding in what’s known as a buyer’s market. Today, we are in a seller’s market – there are more people looking for homes than there are homes for sale, and builders are under-building, creating an inventory shortage.
- Home equity has increased. More than a third of homes in the U.S. are owned free and clear, and more than a quarter of homeowners have at least 50% equity today. During the mortgage crisis, people owed more than their homes were worth, making it easy for them to give up and walk away.
- Other economic downturns. In the early 1980’s recession, when the unemployment rate climbed to 12%, real estate prices kept rising. During the 1990’s recession, home prices rose. Even following the tragedy of 9/11, we had a short recession, but home prices still increased.
Housing market experts are predicting that the real estate and housing markets could very well pull us out of an economic slowdown caused by COVID-19. One of my favorite experts on the economy, Dr. Lawrence Yun, the Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research at the National Association of REALTORS®, sat down to chat with my hero, Brian Buffini, in a podcast recently about the housing market. Take a listen here, and be reassured!
Looking to sell, or know someone who is? Call me today! (775) 309-7979.