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Yun discussed economic issues and trends, provided forecast at 2024 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings

National Association of Realtors® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun forecasts that interest rates will fall in the long term, 2024 existing-home sales will rise to 4.46 million (up 9% from 4.09 million in 2023) and 2025 existing-home sales will increase to 5.05 million (up 13.2% from 2024) – with further gains in eight of the next 10 years – during the “Residential Economic Issues & Trends Forum” at NAR’s 2024 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings.

Yun also explained that rents will calm down further, which will hold down the consumer price index (CPI) and make the Federal Reserve cut interest rates.

Yun said that based on April’s employment data, there are six million more jobs compared to the pre-Covid highs, and jobs are boosting home prices.

“More jobs mean more home sales and higher housing demand,” said Yun. “You need a strong local economy for a strong housing market.”

Yun discussed the wealth comparison between homeowners and renters. In 2022, the median net worth of homeowners was $396,200, while the median net worth of renters was $10,400.

“The referral business is key,” Yun told a crowd of Realtors®. “Your past clients are super happy in terms of their wealth gains. Seven percent mortgage rates are high compared to a couple of years ago, but you have to buy a home in order to build wealth. Have Americans lost the dream of homeownership? I don’t think so.”

Yun made several comparisons to 1995. The U.S. currently has 40 million more total payroll jobs and 70 million more people than in 1995. However, annual existing-home sales in 2023 experienced their worst year since 1995. So far in 2024, monthly existing-home sales rates have struggled to climb above last year’s level.

 “How is it that home sales can be this low when we’ve got so many people living in this country?” asked Yun. “High mortgage rates and lack of inventory were a shock. Over the next 10 years, probably eight of those 10 years will improve for home sales.”

Yun touched on housing inventory saying, “Not all housing demand is being satisfied, due to lack of supply. We are looking at advocacy policies to counteract that.”

“Mortgage rates are very important,” explained Yun. “The Federal Reserve has delayed rate cuts. I would have thought that, by now, rates would be lower and rate cuts would have begun. Whatever rate cut the Federal Reserve does not do this year will simply get pushed back to 2025. They’re calling for a September rate cut, but we’ll see.”

Yun discussed how the 30-year mortgage and federal funds rate are in a high-rate environment. He explained that the monthly payment for first-time home buyers – with a 10% down payment and 80% of median home price – has gone up significantly during Covid, doubling the cost.

Yun noted that homeowners are happy. According to NAR data (2023 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers), nine out of 10 buyers (89%) relied on the services of a real estate agent or broker. Of those, there is a 90% satisfaction rate – they would use their agent again or recommend their agent to others.

Yun questioned whether the immense size of the government deficit is further pressuring rising rates. He addressed government spending: “Four years out from the start of the pandemic, the U.S. is spending money as if we’re still in the heights of Covid-19.”

“We had a massive budget deficit while experiencing a good economy, meaning low unemployment,” said Yun. “People may get used to permanently high inflation, and people will be looking for an inflation hedge. Real estate is proven.”

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Roughly 1 in 5 new mortgages went to low-income homebuyers in 2023, down from 23% in 2020. Meanwhile, high-income buyers have gained share because they’re more prepared to weather the storm of high home prices and mortgage rates

Roughly one in five (20.6%) new mortgages issued last year went to low-income Americans, bringing that group’s piece of the homebuying pie back down to where it was in 2018. That is according to a new report from Redfin (redfin.com), the technology-powered real estate brokerage.

Low-income earners gained ground at the start of the pandemic, taking out 23.2% of all new mortgages in 2020, but that progress has since been erased because high home prices and elevated mortgage rates have eroded affordability.

The small bit of progress that Americans earning very low incomes made on taking out mortgages at the start of the pandemic has also been erased. Just under 6% of new mortgages issued last year went to very low income Americans, down from 7.7% in 2020. Very-low-income Americans now make up a smaller percentage of mortgage borrowers than they did in 2018 (7.1%).

Higher-income homebuyers are taking up the share of new mortgages that lower-income homebuyers have lost in the last several years. While low-income borrowers gained share during the pandemic and then lost it, the opposite has happened with high-income borrowers, who are more prepared to weather the storm of high prices and rates. Nearly half (44.8%) of all new mortgages nationwide went to high-income buyers in 2023, bringing that group’s piece of the pie back up to almost exactly where it was in 2018. Their share dipped to a low of 41.2% in 2020.

This is according to a Redfin analysis of Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data covering purchases of primary homes.

Homebuying has become increasingly out of reach for lower-income people because housing affordability dropped to a record low in 2023 due to sky-high home prices and mortgage rates. Affordability hasn’t improved during the first few months of 2024:

  • Home prices: Today’s median-home sale price is about $420,000, up 5% year over year. That’s up nearly 40% since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 and up nearly 50% since March 2019.
  • Mortgage rates: Today’s average 30-year mortgage rate is about 7.2%, up from 6.43% a year ago and more than double the record low of 2.65% in 2021. It’s also higher than the 4% to 5% levels in 2018 and 2019.
  • Monthly payments: The typical homebuyer’s monthly payment is now a record-high $2,886, up 13% year over year. That’s up from just over $1,500 in both March 2020 and March 2019.
  • Down payments: The typical down payment for someone putting down 20% is $84,000, up from $80,200 a year ago, $60,800 in March 2020 and $56,800 in March 2019.

While the U.S. economy is fairly strong, unemployment is low and wages are increasing, housing costs are increasing much faster. Hourly wages are up roughly 5% year over year, while monthly housing costs are up 15%. Surging housing costs have an outsized impact on low earners, who are less likely to have money in the bank for down payments and record-high monthly payments.

“There was a sweet spot in 2020 when mortgage rates were ultra low and home prices had yet to skyrocket, allowing some lower-income Americans to break into the housing market,” said Redfin Senior Economist Elijah de la Campa. “But somewhat ironically, the continued strength of the economy has made it harder to afford a home and widened the real-estate wealth gap between rich and poor Americans. The Fed’s interest-rate hikes, meant to help cool inflation and slow a hot economy, have pushed mortgage rates to near their highest level in more than two decades. That’s on top of home prices, which skyrocketed during the pandemic buying boom and have stayed high due to a shortage of homes for sale.”

It’s also important to note that due to the prevalence of all-cash home purchases in today’s market, housing wealth is even more concentrated in the hands of affluent Americans. More than one-third of all U.S. home purchases were made in cash as of February, near the highest level on record, and the share has steadily been rising since 2020.

While high-income Americans made up the biggest piece of last year’s homebuying pie, people at all income levels purchased far fewer homes in 2023 than the year before. The number of U.S. homes bought by high-income earners fell 19% year over year in 2023, and it fell 18% for moderate earners, 22% for low-income earners and 31% for very-low-income earners. That’s because housing costs shot up due to rising home prices and mortgage rates, and inventory dwindled.

Low-income earners take up biggest share of homebuying pie in Minneapolis, Detroit

Low-income earners take up the biggest piece of the homebuying pie in relatively affordable Midwest and East Coast metros, where home prices are lower. Nearly one-third (32.1%) of new mortgages issued last year in Minneapolis went to low-income earners, the highest share of any of the 50 most populous U.S. metros. It’s followed by Detroit (30.8%), Philadelphia (29.9%), Virginia Beach, VA (29.7%) and Baltimore (28.3%).

Low-income earners gained mortgage share from 2020 to 2023 in just three of the metros in this analysis: Chicago (26.5% to 27.7%), Cleveland (26.4% to 27.8%) and Washington, D.C. (26.8% to 27.1%).

Just 1.9% of new mortgages issued last year in Anaheim, CA, went to low-income earners, the lowest share in this analysis. Next come Los Angeles (3.6%), Miami (4.4%), San Diego (5.5%) and San Francisco (6.1%). Those California metros are among the most expensive places to buy a home in the country.

To view the full report, including charts, metro-level data and methodology, please visit:
https://www.redfin.com/news/home-mortgages-by-income-analysis

Posted On Monday, 06 May 2024 16:38 Written by
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