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Moving Inland

heartland

As money and affluence continue to invade the coasts, those not so fortunate will be making choices.  Warning to all who are thinking about leaving California – it is virtually impossible to move back.  But you can always visit!

http://zillow.mediaroom.com/2016-08-10-Experts-New-Jobs-in-the-Midwest-to-Drive-Migration-Back-to-the-Heartland

As businesses look for cheaper places to expand, job growth in the middle of the country will begin attracting more residents, according to experts surveyed in the latest Zillow® Home Price Expectations (ZHPE) Survey.

That would reverse a trend over the last decade that drew many to the coasts following strong job markets, with more employment and income growth. Over half of experts surveyed said they don’t expect migration to the coasts to continue indefinitely. Of those, 56 percent pointed to jobs and 24 percent said high housing costs on the coasts will drive residents inland.

Recovery from the housing boom and bust has looked very different for Middle America and coastal America. While markets on the East and West coasts experience rapidly rising home values and strong job markets, markets in the Rust Belt and Midwest are moving more slowly; negative equity is still prevalent and job growth is minimal.

The quarterly ZHPE survey, sponsored by Zillow and conducted by Pulsenomics LLC, asked more than 100 housing experts about their expectations for the housing market.

The experts were also asked if they thought the distinct split between Middle America and the two coasts would reverse. Over half of the respondents said this trend has already begun to reverse, or expect it to in the future. A quarter of respondents believe this trend is a permanent shift, and 11 percent believe the migration to the coasts is an illusion.

Of the reasons experts predicted people would move back to the middle of the country, job growth was most popular. Just over 20 percent said people would migrate inland in search of more affordable housing, and 13 percent said Americans will start to seek the traditional lifestyle that the middle of the country has to offer. Only 2 percent said climate change will force residents away from the coasts.

“Since the Recession, employment has boomed in relatively expensive coastal areas, often attributed to a shift in preferences among workers – especially millennials – but also facilitated by soft labor markets that have resulted in a plentiful supply of available workers,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “Now, as labor markets tighten and the country approaches full employment, employers will have to look elsewhere to keep costs in check. For some businesses, this will mean relocating away from expensive coastal areas to more affordable interior communities. Sooner or later workers will follow the jobs, providing an impulse to local housing markets.”

Overall, the experts surveyed predict home price appreciation across the country will be up over 4 percent year-over-year by the end of 2016. They expect home prices to slow down over the next four years and by the end of 2020, they predict home prices will grow at an annual pace of just 2.9 percent.

Rates Are Steady

rate

Janet Yellen has spoken today – but no big shocks:

The possibility of a December hike, around 50 percent before Yellen’s remarks, moved up to 53.5 percent, according to the CME. However, the market continues to doubt anything happening in September, which has just an 18 percent chance.

“Ultimately we think Yellen’s speech really doesn’t give us anything new,” said Chris Gaffney, president of World Markets at EverBank. “They continue to be data dependent and the members still ‘believe’ growth will return in the coming months — but the data continue to prove them wrong so the Fed’s credibility continues to come into question.”

Even if/when the Fed bumps their Fed funds rate, I’m not sure it would change mortgage rates much.

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/26/fed-chair-janet-yellen-chance-for-raising-rates-has-strengthened.html

Canada Real Estate

cflag

Sound familiar?

A year ago, when Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz cut interest rates for the second time in six months, we knew we’d have to take the bad with the good. Slashing the bank’s overnight rate in half to 0.5 per cent would surely further inflate regional real estate bubbles. But that, we figured, was just the price to pay in order to fuel non-energy exports and a sustainable recovery.

A year later, we’re still waiting for the second half of the equation to kick in. The real estate sector keeps setting new records. Indeed, it’s now Canada’s biggest industry, leaving Alberta’s oil patch and Ontario’s manufacturing heartland in the dust. Ongoing weakness in those latter sectors is generating talk of yet another rate cut, no doubt to the delight of the friendly neighbourhood broker who keeps urging you to sell.

Hewers of wood and drawers of water, not. Canada is now a real estate nation, with little else to keep the economy from sinking into an even deeper funk. Gross domestic product shrank 0.1 per cent in May, and that’s after excluding the negative impact of Alberta’s wildfires on oil sands output. Yet, we’re still buying houses like there’s no tomorrow.

And there may not be a tomorrow for the suckers who buy in at the peak, whenever it comes.

The so-called economic rotation from oil to manufacturing exports that rate cuts (and the related decline in the Canadian dollar) were supposed to produce has not only failed to materialize but policy makers have pumped helium into an already overheated real estate sector that is masking structural weaknesses in the economy and setting us up for a bigger fall.

It’s “difficult to believe that any progress has been made in terms of economic rotation. Indeed, the opposite appears to be the case, given real estate’s increasingly large share of economic output,” TD Bank economist Brian DePratto noted in a Thursday report. “Rising home prices do have positive knock-on effects for consumer spending, but over-reliance on the real estate market is hardly the sign of a healthy economy.”

The real estate sector’s share of GDP has grown 0.4 percentage points in the past two years alone, TD noted, while the share of everything else (including oil and manufacturing) has shrunk. Going back 10 years, to May, 2006, manufacturing output is down 11 per cent in real terms and mining (including oil) extraction is flat.

But real estate’s contribution to GDP has surged 35 per cent since then.

When you tack on to all those real estate fees the financial services that are bought and sold as part of real estate transactions, and the home renovations undertaken by prospective sellers or those unable to trade up to bigger or better houses as a result of surging prices, and it’s not going out on a limb to suggest that the sector has grown too big for the country’s own good.

Who’s to blame? The very policy makers now trying to cool the market with demand-side measures that instead risk crashing the entire economy. Not only have low interest rates and restrictive land-use policies created an affordability crisis by driving prices for detached homes through the roof, any sudden reversal of those policies would take the floor out of the market.

Read full article here:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-commentary/canadas-a-real-estate-country-just-waiting-for-a-crash/article31457558/

The Tragically Hip

The Pearl Jam shows at Fenway Park and Wrigley Field were likely candidates for Wednesday Rock Blogging this week, but you have to admire this guy who wrapped up his tour, and his career with this song.

The lead singer has been diagnosed with brain cancer, and this is his final show:

Existing Home Sales, July, 2016

nar

Our N.A.R. head cheerleader does his best at fabricating a believable story behind the 3.2% drop in existing-home sales:

Lawrence Yun, N.A.R. chief economist, says existing sales fell off track in July, after steadily climbing the last four months.  “Severely restrained inventory and the tightening grip it’s putting on affordability, is the primary culprit for the considerable sales slump throughout much of the country last month”, he said. Realtors are reporting diminished buyer traffic because of the scarce number of affordable homes on the market, and the lack of supply is stifling the efforts of many prospective buyers attempting to purchase while mortgage rates hover at historical lows.

He needs to follow me on twitter.  I’ve already pointed out twice that there were 9% fewer days in July than in June – and sales only dropped 3.2%?  Sounds like a positive to me.

But instead he feeds his typical bather to America, and leaves it up to the consumers what to make of it.

He should also point out that 2015 was a hot market, with summer sales exceeding those during the super-frenzy of 2013.  Yet sales over the last four months have been close or surpassed those in 2015!  Even with the two fewer days, look how July, 2016 compares to previous years – it was better than 2013!

Yunnie needs say, “Remember, real estate is local”, to end all of his speeches.  This national data and his blunder of an explanation shouldn’t have any impact on local market conditions.  But they could make a difference if casual readers just grab a headline and decide to pack it in for the year.  Thanks Yunnie – you’re supposed to be on our side!

The local scoop:

Detached-Homes
July, 2013
July, 2014
July, 2015
June, 2016
July, 2016
NSDCC # of Sales
297
271
313
298
262
NSDCC Median SP
$930,000
$1,018,000
$1,025,000
$1,204,500
$1,125,000
SD Co # of Sales
2,401
1,992
2,437
2,360
2,151
SD Co Median SP
$480,000
$513,750
$550,000
$565,000
$562,000

NSDCC detached-home sales in July dropped 12% compared to June, with 9% fewer business days. With higher prices, sales should be declining – and for them to drop a net 3% sounds good to me. House sales in San Diego County dropped 9% month-over-month – let’s call it even.

P.S. Regarding his comment that realtors are reporting diminished traffic, it’s because you are sitting on over-priced listings. Lower the price and get in the game, or go get another listing!

Added later – looks great:

months supply

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