It’s hard to believe that the real estate market could be booming in the middle of a pandemic. But the fact is, coronavirus hasn’t killed the housing market, it’s helped reveal how viable and healthy it really is. With buyers and sellers continuing to safely and securely close home transactions amid COVID-19, the real estate market is a great bet right now.
Need to see the proof? Let’s review the facts and figures of buyer and seller activity that reveal the housing shortage and bidding wars contributing to a housing boom on pace to continue for several years.
Healthy Buyer and Seller Activity
In July, new home sales surged 55%, experiencing their biggest gain since 2005. In addition, mortgage applications to purchase a home rose 33%, and mortgage refinances jumped 111% compared to last year. Interest rates hit historic lows, dipping below 3% for the first time in 50 years, and encouraged a record number of buyers to purchase homes as Americans are recognizing the true value of a home. Coronavirus has reminded us all how precious our homes are, and for buyers, that means they’re willing to prioritize housing even as they cut back on other expenses.
Last month, the average home sale price spiked 6%, continuing over 8 years of gains, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). That’s why right now is the ideal time to sell for most homeowners who have equity because they can cash out for top dollar and then secure their next home for less with a low mortgage rate. Coronavirus has not negatively affected home prices like some expected, in fact, it’s helping them grow. It’s just simple supply and demand.
America’s Housing Shortage
Today, the supply of homes for sale is tight. And with record numbers of house hunters entering the market, they are pushing up home prices. There are two main factors that contributed to our housing shortage, beginning back in 2008. First of all, home builders have been cautious since the Great Recession, building fewer homes every year since the market crash. Since 1959, on average, 1.5 million homes were built each year according to Census Bureau data. However, in the past decade, only 900,000 homes have been built each year!
Second, millions of homeowners understandably chose not to list their homes during quarantine which has shrunk inventory even lower. The real estate market was hit the hardest in March and April and has begun its rebound, but the market has a long way to go.
Millennials homebuyers who are officially ready to enter the market are putting pressure on the limited inventory as well. According to the latest NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers, millennials by far make up the largest segment of homebuyers, 38% of all buyers. This only makes sense because the average millennial turns 32 this year, coinciding with the median age of a first time home buyer, which is 31. So as millennials continue to hit home-buying age amid our housing shortage, we will continue to experience a fiercely competitive real estate market.
The Bidding Wars Have Begun
Over the past three months, there has been an uptick in bidding wars on the real estate market. Following new regulations for safe home viewings, buyers are continuing their house-hunting despite the pandemic. For example, First Team agents Geoffrey and Lisa Thompson who listed their home for sale during the COVID-19 lockdown received an overwhelming buyer response with multiple offers.
Affordable homes for sale in Southern California nearly always sell quickly, and the high-end luxury market is now following suit, like this Yorba Linda vineyard that sold for $8.75 million in just 4 months with multiple offers. And this $7.25 million beachfront home in Laguna Beach that fell out of escrow in March, but ultimately sold in June with 3 competing offers.
The conditions of low supply and high demand won’t be solved overnight, which all but guarantees the housing boom we’re currently experiencing has years left to play out. So if you’re ready to sell your home and move onto the next stage in your life, this is the perfect time to do it.