I wonder if the rest of America looks at the homes in the bottom half of this photo above and correctly guesses that they are selling in the mid-millions…..Excerpts from article linked at bottom (hat tip Ray!):
Would-be home sellers have numerous reasons for staying out of the market, say real-estate agents. Some are worried about potential virus exposure by letting strangers tour their homes. Others have canceled or delayed their plans to move due to the pandemic, or they are worried about finding a new home in a competitive market.
KC Hart has experienced the inventory shortage firsthand as a real-estate broker in Missoula, Mont., where demand is high from buyers moving from other states. He’s also contributed to the problem. Mr. Hart and his wife were planning to sell their house this summer after their youngest went to college, but they delayed their move because their son is staying at home this fall while taking classes locally.
“That’s one more house not on the market,” Mr. Hart said.
In some cases, sellers are waiting until the spring, traditionally the busiest home-selling season, said Quentin Dane, chief executive of Dash Realty Group in Raleigh, N.C.
“We hear this all the time: ‘They might get a vaccine for Covid coming at the end of the year, and the spring market is right around the corner,’” Mr. Dane said. “Sellers [are] saying, ‘If I don’t need to sell, why go through the risk of selling right now?’”
Another obstacle for sellers is the high demand for contractors, painters and other workers who can perform repairs or upgrades to houses to prepare them for sale, said Beth Traverso, managing broker at Re/Max Northwest Realtors. Once houses in her area of the Seattle suburbs go on the market, they are usually sold within days, she said.
Jeff and Jill Borgida wanted to sell their house in Bothell, Wash., this spring now that their children were grown. But with inventory so low, they struggled to find a new house in their area and budget that met their needs.
“We were getting nervous, because we were along a path to list our house and we’re not finding any really suitable options,” Mr. Borgida said. Finally, they widened their search parameters and found a house farther out than they had originally looked.
The pandemic is being blamed for people leaving town.
I think it’s more that Covid-19 is the last straw that is causing people to take the action they would have taken at some point anyway. The ‘rona will be gone in 1-18 months – moving is a major life-changing event.
But these two conflicting articles probably demonstrate who is being impacted.
On one hand, we have people – probably those who want/need to be economical – who are moving themselves and are being ripped off by the rental-truck agencies (hat tip SM):
But a survey of full-service moving companies describe a different scenario:
Are people in the U.S. migrating during the coronavirus crisis in different ways than pre-pandemic? Are they leaving cities? Moving to the suburbs? These are popular questions without definitive answers — yet. But there is some data emerging that can paint a better picture of Americans’ geographic response to the pandemic.
One thing’s for certain: So far, there is little support for the dramatic claims that people are fleeingcities writ large. In fact, available data indicates that overall, fewer people moved at all since the beginning of stay-at-home orders and through June — even with interest in moving on the rise again.
Among those who have moved, it’s unclear how many of those moves will be only temporary. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t interesting migration takeaways worth following. A select few cities including New York City and San Francisco do seem to be seeing more out-migration than most. But guess where many of those people are going? Other very large metropolitan areas, like Seattle and Los Angeles.
If there is a perception that the pandemic has ushered in a mass migration, it is not supported by the data. According to figures from two national moving companies, Americans moved less during the pandemic than they normally would have, not more.
Several surveys have found that the great majority of people who did move duringthe first months of the pandemic did so for reasons unrelated to the coronavirus. In one such survey of 1,300 individuals conducted by Hire A Helper, just 15% said they had relocated because of Covid-19.Out of these pandemic-induced migrations, 37% of respondents said they moved because they could not afford current housingdue to a Covid-related income loss. Thirty-three percent of the respondents said that they moved to shelter in place with friends or family, and 24% that they didn’t feel safe where they were.
A Pew Research Center survey in June looked more closely at Americans who said they did make pandemic-induced moves. It found that overall, young people between the ages of 18 and 29 were moving because of Covid-19 in higher numbers, whether permanently or temporarily (college closing for in-person education might be to blame, at least partially.) Only 3% of the respondents said they had moved because of Covid-19, and 6% said someone else had moved in with them because of it.
What the pandemic is exposing is the gap between the haves and have-nots.
Those who are moving are seeking financial relief – either homeowners cashing in their home-equity lottery ticket and moving down, or those who flee so they can afford to start their American dream in a cheaper area.
The affluent don’t have to worry about that stuff. But they’ll move closer to the grandkids!
The 2021 selling season should be the craziest market in the history of the world.
My theory: The covid-19 pandemic has jumbled the usual timing of the elective movers, and we are experiencing a not-natural compression of reasons to move.
We will have our Big Three (death, divorce, and job transfer) causing their usual sales. Making the difference will be the elective buyers and sellers who expedite their plans.
There are always a group of buyers and sellers who contemplate moving for 1-5 years before they get around to it. But the current environment (covid+ultra-low rates+unemployment+prices+politics) has captured their attention, and it will pull forward buyers AND sellers from 2022-2023.
Plus we will have some buyers AND sellers who ordinarily wouldn’t have even thought about moving until 2022-2023 who are realizing sooner that they should move in 2021.
Not all of them, but some of them.
It won’t take many.
We have been very fortunate to have a steady consistent flow of listings and sales over the last few years. The number of listings between January and August varied by less than 1% between 2017 and 2019.
The pandemic changed that though, and look at results. Listings dropped off significantly YoY (-11%) yet sales are only down 4%. Oh happy day, we’re surviving the covid – for now!
Number of Detached-Home Listings
Number of Detached-Home Sales
But we know that more than half of boomers delayed their plans of selling in 2020.
All we need is for the compression of moving motivations to cause 500-800 more listings in the 2021 selling season and it will be a whole new ball game – unlike anyone has seen recently!
Historically, buyers are known to freeze up quickly when they see more homes hitting the market. But all we need there is 300-400 more buyers to jump at the chance of securing their forever home at ultra-low rates, and ending their unsettling insanity of 2020.
With all the bidding wars, there are probably 300-400 unsatisfied buyers in the marketplace today.
Next year’s selling season could be the Frenzy of All-Time!
Proposition 19 is on the ballot, and the California Association of Realtors wants you to believe that if it passes, there will be a surge of new inventory from seniors finally being able to sell their homes and take their ultra-low property-tax basis with them to a new home in a county not previously available.
They have deftly orchestrated a campaign that touches on all the hot buttons too. Just look at the title – who doesn’t want to protect the homes of seniors, severely-disabled, families, and victims of wildfire or natural disasters?
But they ignore that seniors have been able to sell and take their ultra-low property-tax basis with them for years – but only if they move to one of the 10 counties in California (out of 58) who have previously approved the benefit.
The ten counties are the major population centers; Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Tuolumne, and Ventura. So they want us to believe that seniors have always wanted to move to the sticks – and if passed, the taking of their property-tax basis is the game-changer that gets them to finally move?
How much do seniors need to spend on a replacement home in the sticks? Half a million should do it, so without Prop 19, the regular tax basis would be around $5,000 per year. If a senior pays less than $2,000 annually on their old home….the actual savings isn’t a large amount ($1,000 to $3,000 annually) but yes, every little bit helps.
Did the grandkids already move to the same town? Probably a more-important ingredient than saving $1,000 to $3,000 per year.
It only benefits seniors leaving the big cities for small towns. Are they going to live without their modern conveniences like doctors (a big issue), shopping, entertainment, and a way of life to which they’ve become accustomed to for decades, just to save $1,000 to $3,000 per year?
Prop 19 protects the ability of kids and grandkids to inherit the ultra-low tax basis from the parents and grandparents. How does that create more homes on the market?
But the Association is throwing their full weight behind Prop 19, have gotten the firefighters on board in order to play the wildfire card, and they are advertising on TV:
To me, the thought of Prop 19 creating “tens of thousands of housing opportunities” is preposterous. But seniors are overdue, and maybe it will be the final reason that gets them to move. For that reason, let’s add the passing of Prop 19 to our list of reasons why the 2021 selling season will be like no other!
Sales has been robust over the last couple of months, and the national pending-home-sales index above shows how we’re just making up for lost time. We don’t have a local PHSI, so let’s look at how the NSDCC closed sales for 2020 have compared to last couple of years:
NSDCC Detached-Home Sales, Jan-Aug:
After six months of Covid-19, we’re only 87 sales behind last year!
I bring it up because the doomer-of-the-century chimed in, and I just wanted to present more-current evidence before reading his take on the 2020 market:
He did mention that we got off to a hot start this year, and it can be attributed to the lower mortgage rates. With the Fed saying they are going to ignore inflation, let’s include ultra-low mortgage rates high on our list of why the 2021 Spring Selling Season will likely be craziest market of all-time!
This article is written by a professor at the Wharton School who has a book coming out this week. It appears we have a glut of boomers – will we stay put, or sell the family homestead (once the covid is solved) and explore the world during retirement?
Population aging is a powerful force. By 2030 the population above age 60 will have grown so much that other generations like millennials and Gen-Z will be outnumbered by them in Europe, China, Japan and the United States.
Each day, 12,000 Americans celebrate their 60th birthday; in China, 54,000; and in the world, about 210,000, according to the United Nations Population Division. The pandemic will only accelerate this trend given the predictable decline in fertility — which tends to occur whenever unemployment is high — and the shifting demographics of cases and deaths, which are trending younger as time goes by.
The 60+ crowd will become very important economically for three reasons.
First, they own more than half of the net worth around the world, a proportion that reaches 80 percent in the United States, according to a study by the Federal Reserve. Second, the same study concluded that the net worth of seniors is more evenly distributed than among younger age groups, and poverty rates are also lower. And third, their incomes tend to be more resilient because many of them depend on pensions or investment income, and they can do some work on the side to cover potential shortfalls.
Not all seniors are financially secure, but they tend to be less exposed to large-scale financial disruption during episodes of crisis. Moreover, there are 25 percent more women above the age of 60 than men, they tend to be much better at managing their money and making it last, and they account for a smaller percentage of COVID-related health problems and hospitalizations, mainly because they heed the advice of health authorities and they have more robust anti-viral immune responses to begin with.
The gray market is quickly becoming in vogue because ever larger proportions of seniors are enjoying life by using their income and wealth wisely to procure goods and services that enhance their experiences.
Moreover, a 70-year-old nowadays lives the life of a 50-year-old in the 1980s.
The pandemic has also accelerated the technological savviness of this group, and not just in the area of e-commerce. In fact, a study in the Journal of Gerontology found that use of the Internet increases cognitive functioning rather than vice versa. Myriad new applications in virtual reality, robotics, and artificial intelligence are seeking to capture a rapidly growing market.
Other areas of technology will help seniors live longer and more fulfilling lives. Virtual reality can stimulate motor functions and the overall performance of the nervous system, and it can help reduce loneliness, a key problem afflicting large numbers of people at advanced ages. Artificial intelligence and robotics will also contribute to quality of life. Over the last decade, Japanese companies have invested heavily in robotics to aid with daily tasks like lifting weights, conduct physiotherapy sessions, and provide for companionship.
My video on Monday touched on the different groups of buyers and sellers that should be very active in the 2021 selling season. Let’s break it down further, shall we?
Boomer liquidations – When we first started talking about boomer liquidations, people in their 60s scoffed and shrugged it off. Now they are in their seventies, and the burdens of homeownership have never been so apparent. Stuff needs to be fixed regularly, and that dang property tax bill keeps coming twice a year. If you didn’t mind leaving town, a homeowner’s equity position has never been so solid, and you could go to most towns in America and buy a house for cash and live happily ever after. It’s a temptation that aging boomers will find harder to resist in 2021.
Health considerations – Covid isn’t going away, and for those who are physically challenged, selling their house here and moving to a healthier location will feel like a life-or-death decision – they need to do it. Cashing out their equity is a nice bonus too, and provides enough grease to make it easier to leave San Diego. Let’s note that there are good doctors everywhere, and while the transition may be uncomfortable for the first couple of months, you’ll adjust.
Grandkids – Obviously, it is harder for the kids to get a foothold here than the parents who came 10-30 years ago – home prices have doubled. If the kids pack it up and take the grandkids somewhere that is affordable, it is inevitable that the grandparents will follow. They don’t have much time left, and they want to spend it with family. The grandkids may be the #1 factor in real estate decisions for the next few years.
Move-Uppers – For those who want to stay local, the best time to move up is when you can sell your existing home for more money than ever, AND get a lower interest rate. My rule-of-thumb for move-uppers is that you have to spend 50% more on the next house to make it worth the move – if you only spend 10% more, you only get an extra bedroom, and it’s not worth moving. There aren’t many in this group who finance – you still need a big cash infusion to make it work. Here’s an example:
If you bought your home for $500,000, with a loan of $400,000 at 4%, the payment is $1,910 per month. If you sell now for $1,000,000, and use $600,000 for your down payment to purchase a $1,500,000 house, the payment is $3,794 per month at 3%.
Most who are used to paying $1,910 per month will want to inject more capital into the equation.
Last Movers – You are of the age where you have one more move left in you, and it’s probably due to hanging on to the 2-story family homestead for a little too long. The kids have been gone for a while, and you’ve been rattling around in a house that should be passed on to the next generation before you fall down those stairs.
First-timers or Out-of-Towners – If you don’t own a house here yet, your motivation is substantially higher than those who do own and are just trying to re-position. It’s why current homeowners struggle to understand why homes keep selling for record amounts – because heck, they’d never pay that much. But first-timers and out-of-towners are more desperate to get in, and will pay an extra few bucks to finally get something.
Downsizers – Rarely do locals downsize in the same town – keeping the old house makes to much sense, and why we have such low inventory. But San Diego County is well-positioned to be a landing ground for those selling for big bucks in L.A./O.C./Bay Area and coming here where our prices look like a bargain. This may be the largest group of buyers, judging by how fast prices go up.
Next year’s selling season won’t be as predictable as they’ve been recently.
We are overdue for a surge of sellers.
It may be disguised in the overall stats as a blip, but if you have three houses on your street go up for sale, and two others on the next street over, don’t be surprised if buyers freeze up and wait it out. If you live in a neighborhood where most of the residents have been there for 10, 20, or 30 years, there only needs to be one from each of my five seller categories above to cause a glut of homes for sale within a week or two. If any of them are desperate for money and undercut the pricing to get out, it will affect all.
Next year will be exciting because each seller and buyer group could grow 10%+ without notice. Remember the graph that said 57% of boomers are delaying the sale of their home? Add a possible covid bump in the usual number of deaths, divorces, & job transfers and we could experience a surge of inventory that nobody sees coming.
If you are thinking of selling……are you willing to get out in February or March will all-time record money, or are you going to wait until June or July and try to milk it for another 5% because you can? And risk not getting out at all because those ‘lowball’ offers based on 2020 comps are insulting and unacceptable?
Next year will be here before you know it – could it get any crazier? Oh yeah!
In the video below, you’ll hear my list of buyers and sellers who we can expect to be extremely active next year. Then add in the Big Three (death, divorce, and job transfer), and we could have the most insane real estate market in the history of the world!
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