The Green Team’s October 2018 Housing Market Update was held live on Facebook Tuesday, October 16 at 2 p.m. If you missed the live webinar, you can view it at your convenience by clicking here.
You can also sign up for future updates at GreenTeamHQ.com/hmu
Meet this month’s Panelists from Green Team New Jersey Realty and Green Team Home Selling System
Geoffrey Green, President/Broker of Green Team Home Selling System, is the moderator of the monthly webinar and presents stats and market updates for Orange and Sussex County. He is joined this month by Keren Gonen, Pamela Zachowski and Alison Miller of Green Team New Jersey Realty in Vernon and Jacqueline Kraszewski of Green Team Home Selling System in Warwick.
Market Update – The National Perspective
A look at Total Home Sales Nationally
Things seem to be shifting in the housing market. For Geoff, the stats of homes sold are the “mother’s milk” of the industry. Nationally it’s been a mixed bag through 2018. September’s numbers are not yet in, but August numbers for total home sales were just about even for 2017 and 2018. It appears that things are shifting in the market, with the number of sales not increasing like last year, year over year. However, foot traffic in August was much higher in 2018 than in the same period in 2017.
Buying versus Renting…Which is the best way to go?
Lawrence Yun, the economist of NAR, has said that we’ll probably see growth in terms of the housing market on the lower end because the job market is strong. People are working, making money and want to invest their money in real estate. However, there may be a slowdown in the higher end because interest rates are rising. How does affordability of renting compare with buying? There is a steep curve, not a good outlook for renters. Since 2013 it has been cheaper to buy instead of rent on an overall national basis. If you have the ability, it costs less to buy than to rent on an overall monthly basis.
October 2018 Housing Market Update – Orange County
As stated before, Geoff sees this number as the mother’s milk of the housing market. This all-important number gives us a snapshot of how many homes are selling. The number of units sold in Orange County appears to be cooling off. He believes we’ve seen the peak of the last runoff and that it’s behind us. Geoff’s view seems to be backed up by an article that appeared last week in the Wall Street Journal, which referred to a soft downturn in the market.
There is a big variance in price from where we were last year. The downward trend is a seasonal fluctuation and not a cause for concern. Price always lags units sold at least 6 months or more. Price increases may occur over the next 6 to 12 months, even though the number of units sold is dropping.
Average Sold to Asked Ratio
We are still pretty high, still over 98%, which means sellers are only having to negotiate 2% from their asking price.
October 2018 Housing Market Update – Sussex County
A similar trend to Orange County, where some months are up, some down, on a year over year basis. It’s a mixed bag, and the numbers seem to indicate a cooling off.
Average prices never rocketed in Sussex as they did in Orange County. In previous updates, we’ve spoken about how there is simply more foreclosure inventory and activity which has dragged down the average. However, that doesn’t mean that homes that are well maintained and well located haven’t done well.
Average Sold to Asked Ratio
Average price never rocketed here like it did in Orange County. There has been much more foreclosure inventory and activity in Sussex and that has dragged down the average home price. However, that doesn’t mean that well-located, well-maintained homes haven’t done well.
Slightly below Orange County, the numbers are still hovering around 98%.
The Sales Associates Point of View
Geoff believes the market is cooling. He asked the panelists what they were sensing in the field. Keren replied that there are fewer houses that are updated and nicely done, and buyers have higher expectations. During the summer, people were rushing to find homes in order to get situated before the start of the school year. Without that added stress, many buyers are being pickier. Alison finds that people are looking for something that is just not there. Inventory is not meeting the demand. In addition, many of her closings were delayed, affecting numbers for September.
Jacque is finding that there is a lack of finished, move-in-ready homes under the $400,000 price point in Warwick. In addition, many families with school-aged children are waiting for the spring to resume their search. Also, the seasonal fluctuation impacts the market as people are beginning their holiday preparations. Pam is also seeing the issues mentioned by the other sales associates. The inventory shortage, buyers being very picky, even homes that have been flipped that aren’t good enough. It’s difficult for people to find what they’re looking for in their dollar amount.
Geoff summed up these comments by stating it is still a very good time to sell a house. However, there is nothing to stop the housing market from slowing down. Thus he advises sellers not to put off listing their home if they are planning on selling.
Guest Panelist, Matt Zagroda, discusses the bond market…
Matt Zagroda is a Sales Manager at MBS Highway, the leading provider of real-time market data for mortgage professionals. As such, Geoff welcomed his input on the bond market. Geoff asked Matt what is happening with the bond market, as rates seem to be increasing by the minute. Matt explained that at the end of last year the Fed wanted to do quantitative tightening. Previously they had been reinvesting gains from the bond market back into the bond market, which brought their balance sheet up greatly.
They wanted to wind that balance sheet down and made a plan just before Janet Yellen stepped down as Fed Chair. So, October of last year they wanted to reduce it by $10 billion. January of this year, $20 billion, April $30 billion, July $40 billion and October, $50 billion. That was the last tightening session. They weren’t going to continue to reinvest it. There is no Fed buying into the bond market, which is why we’re seeing changes in interest rates. There was a drop in the bond market and a rise in rates.
Matt expects that in the upcoming months we’ll be experiencing volatility. However, this is actually a more normal bond market. If there is any economic news that would potentially hurt bonds, we’ll notice it more. Previously the Fed was buying back into it, softening the blow, creating almost a safety net. Now there is no safety net, so if it’s going to hurt – it’s going to hurt. That doesn’t mean that if there’s good news that it will be the opposite and that it will help the bond market… Again, the Fed is not juicing the good news to buy and make that increase even more so.
More volatility is expected into the future, potentially more to the downside, but it’s not expected to be a straight downward line. Rates may continue to get worse, though the hope is that they’ll remain steady. Much depends on what happens with the Fed and their plans for rate hikes.
Geoff recalled buying his first home around 2003. His 30 year fixed rate was at 6.5%. We’re hovering now at about 5% now. Matt agreed that was about right.
Looking back, it hasn’t been higher than this since 2009. Previously, it was much higher. Rates have been pretty much below 5% since then. The largest run on the housing market was 2005, 06, 07 and rates were pretty high back then. The rates may impact the mortgage industry insofar as refinancing. However, when rates eventually come down, the refinancing market should open up again.
… the stock market, and global contagion
Geoff asked Matt his thoughts on the stock market and its unbelievable run. Matt expects that eventually we can’t go much higher and things will come back to a more normal range. Not a crash, but just a more normal range that will help bonds and interest rates even a little bit. When money comes out of stocks it is generally invested in bonds, especially when there’s talk of trade wars, etc. When there is uncertainty in the market, many people invest in safer, long-term investments like bonds.
Geoff had a final question… The idea that there could be a global contagion. By and large, there is a lot of risk around the globe. Many governments are not in a good fiscal situation. Currencies are all over the place. There’s a lot of risk around the globe. The US seems like the shining city on the hill, on our own pedestal for some time. He asked Matt his thoughts on the global market. Matt replied that there is turmoil in Europe, and especially Italy right now. The world is interconnected. However, we’re not expecting great leaps and bounds right now because of that turmoil. However, it does affect us.
In closing, Geoff recommends the article he mentioned at the beginning of the update. Written by Laura Kusisto, it was published in the Wall Street Journal on October 13. “Housing Market Positioned for a Gentler Slowdown Than in 2007″ provides a good, historical outlook on the market and its future.
The July Housing Market Update was held live on Facebook on Tuesday, July 10, at 9 a.m. If you missed the live webinar, you can view it at your convenience by clicking here.
Meet the Panel
Geoff Green moderated the webinar and also presented relevant statistics in a historical context. Keren Gonen of Green Team Real Estate New Jersey conveyed the sales associate’s perspective on the housing market. Melissa Bressette, Green Team’s Marketing Director, rounded out the company’s participants. This month’s special panelists were Kevin Dolan, Branch Manager and Co-Director of Renovation and Construction Lending at Annie Mac Home Mortgage and Joe Panebianco, CEO of Annie Mac.
Orange County Historical House Price Index
Geoff presented a historical view of national and local prices, and a look at the market before, during and after recessions. In this chart of the Orange County, NY price index, gray bars indicate periods of recession. As shown in the graph, recessions don’t necessarily trigger downturns in the housing market. The inverse is usually true, with downturns in the housing market generally triggering recessions. Exceptions include the recession between 2000 and 2005. The housing market actually started to downturn around 2005, long before the financial collapse of 2008. Prices peaked in 2006, then continued to slide for over a decade. The steepness and duration of the curve is what is of special interest.
Sussex County NJ Historical House PriceIndex
In a historical context, the Sussex County and Orange County stats show a similarity, reflecting national trends.
In Total Home Sales in thousands there are no major increases in the year over year stats.
The number of houses available in lower price ranges is way down. However, there is an uptick in higher priced homes. Because of lack of inventory, buyers are being pushed into that higher price bracket.
The percentage of distressed properties for sale is way down from 2012.
Orange County Market Stats for June 2018
According to Geoff, this is one of the most important analytics in the housing market. No matter where pricing is, you can get an idea of the market by how many houses actually sold. There has been a great year over year increase for the past five years, but now it’s slowing down and we’re seeing a flattening now.
Homes that sold at 100% or more of last asking price
There’s a spike in this number. This is a hot market, and any home that is well located and in good condition will most likely have multiple offers at any one particular time. Basically, almost half of every listing on the market is being bid over asking. Note: Stats are based on last asking price, not original asking price.
Average Days on Market
This number continues to decline, again showing a strong seller’s market.
A Comparison of Units Sold from 2005-2010 versus 2014-2018
Geoff researched units sold in Orange County from 2005-2010 versus 2014-2018. Trends here follow National trends. The peak year was 2005 in terms of units sold. 2006 was the highest average home price the County has seen.. However, in 2010, the number of units sold had slid to almost half of the 2005 figure. Last year, we were above 2006 numbers, and close to 2005 in terms of units sold. Whether we’ll match or exceed that number in 2018 remains to be seen.
In a capitalist society, it is not a question as to whether or not there will be another recession. The question is when.
As defined in Merriam-Webster Dictionary, recession is “a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters.” There is, of course, great interest in when the next recession will hit, and what impact it will have on the housing market.
The graph shows home price changes during the last 6 recessions, over 45 years. The recession periods as designated by economists do not include the housing market downturns. Historically, prices haven’t been that affected during the recession; however, the definition of recession doesn’t include the whole downturn. And the real estate market takes time to recover.
Keren Gonen’s perspective on the market from a sales associate’s point of view…
The market is very hot, in both Orange and Sussex Counties. In Warwick, if you don’t jump on a house right away, you can lose it. Keren is seeing bidding wars on homes within days of listing them.
When asked how long she thought the market would remain strong, she estimated about a year. One of the reasons we’re not seeing the lower priced homes sold, Keren indicated, was that banks that do have foreclosures are releasing them at much higher prices. Some banks are also renovating and flipping homes and charging even more.
Geoff commented that previously, when the market was really bad, there was shadow inventory. Banks would hold on to foreclosures, creating fear in the market that they would dump their inventory of low-priced homes, driving down prices. However, the banks seem to be changing their ways of doing things by renting out some homes, and fixing up others and selling them at higher prices.
The Mortgage Market – Where are we now?
Geoff stated that we’re definitely in an increasing rate environment and the Fed has signaled that they are going to continue to increase the overnight lending rates into the foreseeable future. Geoff asked Kevin Dolan to address where we are at now…
Kevin responded that where rates are concerned, they’re turning higher for the foreseeable future. Partly due to media coverage, people are starting to take the rise of interest rates and home prices seriously. They see continual coverage of higher rates on news shows. Thus, people are becoming proactive, buyers and sellers alike, driving productivity level.
Interest rates, inventory and recession. Oh my!
Joe Panebianco does economic analysis and strategy for Annie Mac. His expertise made him the perfect person to discuss specifics and timings of interest rates, inventory and recession.
Interest Rates: We will most likely be range bound from a 10-year treasury perspective from approximately 2.75 to 3.05 yield in the ten year. In other words, we’ll be relatively stable. Should this estimate be incorrect, Joe believes a slightly higher rise in interest rates will not significantly hurt the housing market. At some point, rates rising will have a deleterious effect and purchasers’ ability to afford a home may be impacted. However, we’re not at that point now.
Inflation and economic growth are the two primary components of interest rates. Inflation has remained stubbornly low and will most likely remain so. Hence, one reason why rates should remain relatively low. People talk about the Fed increasing rates, but they are increasing the short end of the curve.
As the Fed continues to hike rates, the result will be 10 and 30-year rates looking more like 2 and 5 year rates. Most of the duration of a mortgage-backed security is in a 7, 10 and 30-year part of the curve. And Joe believes that the more the Fed increases rates, the more likely we are to be in a recession and more likely to have lower, longer-term rates remain where they are or go lower. The mortgage market on Adjustable Rate Mortgages could be hurt because they’re much more likely to rise as they’re sensitive to the shorter end of the curve. 30-year fixed mortgages are more likely to stay in the aforementioned range.
The Global Connection
We live in a globally connected network and there is a yield spread between US 10-year Treasury bond and bonds in other countries, like Germany, Japan, Australia.. For central banks, very large institutions,etc., putting their money in US Treasuries provides a safer, purer investment over countries with significantly lower yields. However, regarding tariffs, trade wars are inherently bad for economies and may throw a curve ball into any predictions.
There are some who refer to our current economy as a “Goldilocks economy.” Not too hot, not too cold, just right… in some ways. The economy is growing enough to create jobs. And, according to Joe, jobs are far more important to home purchases than interest rates are. In the early 1980’s, interest rates were at 15% and yet homes were flying off the market. When rates go up, prices tend to come down. And there is always a buyer, especially if there is value to be had.
The history is if the Fed goes too far, it will drive the country into recession. Joe believes we have approximately 12 to 18 months left in this cycle. And that at the end of this period, we’ll be in a more normal market with a healthier balance between demand and sup
Factors that impact inventory
Labor, or lack thereof, is a major component. Many significant builders have unused land on their balance sheets, on hold because of the great recession of 2007 to 2010. About 70 to 75% capacity of the productive capacity of the home building industry was lost. Brick layers, sheet rockers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, etc. – left the industry to seek employment in other fields. In addition, when major storms hit Texas, Florida, etc., many people in the industry picked up and went to work in those cities where they could make much more money. There are simply not enough craftsmen and laborer to build all the homes necessary to meet current need.
Municipal Fees, laws – Fees, regulations, etc., have made building a home both difficult and expensive. To help increase taxable base, some municipalities are now trying to make things a little easier for those seeking to build new construction.
Tariffs – The “War of Words” regarding trade with Canada is not good news for the housing industry. A disproportionate share of home building lumber comes from Canada, and price of lumber futures has already risen on expectation of tariffs.
Easing of Credit
In the next 12 months, we may see easing of some requirements. At this time, no one knows how this will be done. However, some options might include reducing Mortgage Insurance on the FHA side, especially for first-time buyers. Also, Freddie Mac might follow Fannie Mae’s lead in reducing Long Term Debt and Debt to Income Ratio. Average renters spends 50-55% on rent. However, the current Debt To Income ratio is in the low 40’s for purchases. There might be a move to update the DTI.
Demand is not going to Cease
According to Joe, by 2025 there will be approximately 10 million new household formations. 35% will be from millenials, 35-40% from among the Hispanic community (with some overlap between the two), and 10% from the African-American community. Many of these new home buyers will be DTI (Debt to Income Ratio) challenged. They will need the services of qualified real estate agents, knowledgeable mortgage specialists/
Geoff pointed out that purchase and rental markets are both hot at the same time. This indicates a true housing shortage. The Millennial population seems to be exceeding Baby Boomers. Pent up demand and limited supply serve to elongate and stretch out the cycle.
Home ownership improves communities – and the economy
Home ownership lends itself to not only building communities, but also to building up business, including home improvement and furniture stores, furniture stores, durable goods vendors, etc., etc.- all of which will help the economy. Inventory may become less of an issue month by month by month.
Kevin Dolan is an expert in renovation loans. There are homes on the market that just won’t sell because they are not in good shape. He believes the renovation lending program is under-utilized simply because it is not understood and there are many misconceptions.
There are two types of renovation loan programs – conventional and FHA. This opens up versatility for buyers as to who it can serve, such as a down payment as low as 3-1/2%. It also allows for lower credit scores. These loans can be utilized for primary homes, second homes and investment properties. The loan allows for someone to buy a house in need of repair, and have an approved, qualified contractor bid on work to be done. Depending on scope of work, sometimes a HUD consultant will make sure prices quoted for the work are appropriate. The renovation funds goes into an escrow account, and contractor has specified time to do improvements, usually within six months. The bank pays contractor directly. The process is streamlined and efficient.
Kevin feels that educating buyers and real estate agents alike is key to opening up this market. Keren agreed, stating that she often does sell homes by telling buyers that renovation loans are available, and explaining how they work. It opens up options and vision for the buyers who cannot afford to buy a home in the $300-$400,000 range. Annie Mac does have a certification program available for real estate agents who would like to become expert in this area.
Renovation loans – not just for buyers
Kevin commented that renovation loans can also be helpful for sellers who need to update their homes in order to sell. By adding another bath or more bedrooms, the value of the home can be increased so that the seller can pay off existing mortgage and closing costs, and hopefully make a profit as well. Also, from Seller’s position, if they have a failed septic tank, they can sell the home at a lower price and buyer can get a renovation loan to cover the cost of having the work done themselves.
Joe added that in looking to build wealth in addition to creating a home for their family, renovations can help improve their property, and therefore their investment.
Geoff spoke about the importance of finding someone who truly understands these loans as they can be tricky for the loan originator. Geoff spoke highly of Annie Mac, not just for renovation loans, but for all financing needs.
Stay tuned for the next market update
The next update is August 14, 2018 at 9 a.m. You can sign up at GreenTeamHQ.com/HMU
Excitement is building at Green Team New Jersey Realty, which launched in September of 2016. In less than two years it has become one of the top 20 real estate agencies in all of Sussex County. Furthermore, it is now one of the top 5 agencies in Vernon. Its formula for success is simple. Follow the systems and training set up by Geoffrey Green, founder of the Green Team Home Selling System in Warwick, New York and a partner in the New Jersey Office. Then put together a dynamic team of realtors who take to heart the Green Team’s commitment to exceed client expectations.
JOYCE ROGERS – FIRST QUARTER SALES LEADER, GOING FOR BROKE(R)
For Joyce Rogers, the first quarter of 2018 has shown what can be accomplished when someone sets a goal and keeps going until it’s achieved.
Joyce became the Sales Leader at Green Team New Jersey Realty for the first quarter of 2018. For Joyce, there is a great deal of personal satisfaction in joining the ranks of those who taught her. And, in this case, surpassing their sales. It has meant a lot of hard work, something Joyce is used to. She makes herself available to her clients whenever they need her. She appreciates the ability the Green Team affords to be able to work from wherever you are. She’s even closed a deal in Shoprite’s parking lot. Joyce feels she is hitting her stride and, while this is her first time achieving this goal, it is most likely not her last.
What makes Joyce’s achievement even more laudable is that she was going for her broker’s license at the same time. She began in December 2017, taking classes twice a week and studying hard and in March got her broker’s license on her first try!
Geoff Green describes Joyce as “driven,” and as someone he knows can make happen whatever she wants. Joyce appreciates Geoff’s support and his vision of the telecommuting model, as well as the camaraderie that sales associates have with each other. They work well together and help each other. And we applaud and congratulate Joyce on her double achievement, looking forward to seeing what comes in the future.
Meet Jared Kunish
Every new sales associate who joins the Green Team brings a unique background and skill set. And Jared Kunish is no exception. With his background as a hedge fund trading manager, Jared’s professional knowledge of interest rates and housing market trends was a definite plus. But Jared was looking for more than the fast-paced, stress-filled life he’d been living in the financial world. Rather, he was looking for a quality driven life. One to share with his three children. He began following his passions, expanding his knowledge base. Woodworking, making furniture with his own hands, helped ground him. So did being an amateur chef.
Becoming a real estate sales agent in Sussex County and a resident of Crystal Springs seems like a natural progression to Jared. He’s far away from the rat race. And he enjoys working with people, helping them find the place that will bring them happiness. Jared enjoys making things as easy as he can for his clients
Green Team Business Review – May 2018
The numbers tell a story all their own. Despite the lack of inventory on the market, despite the specter of rising interest rates, loss of deductions due to new tax laws, etc., the Green Team is doing something very right and finding people buyers for their homes and finding homes for buyers! Both the Warwick and Vernon offices have more than doubled their sales volume from a year ago.
Sussex County, NJ Real Estate Market Report – April 2018 Results
The May Market Update was held on Tuesday, May 8 on Facebook Live. It was moderated by Geoff Green, Founder of Green Team Home Selling System. Panelists included sales agents Vikki Garby from the Warwick office, Keren Goren of the Vernon office, Michael Giannetto from Residential Home Funding and Ken Ford from Warwick Valley Financial Advisors.
If you missed the original live event, click here to watch. The discussion involved not only the housing market, but also perspectives on the economy. Our guest panelists have a great deal of knowledge and expertise, and the conversation was informative, educational and lively.
You can also sign up for monthly updates by email on the Green Team website.
We were experiencing technical difficulties:
Prior to the update going live, the following discussion took place:
The lack of inventory remains the biggest impediment to home sales, and the panel discussed the various reasons why people are reluctant to sell now. Vikki Garby stated that there were more buyers this winter than last spring, but that there is not a lot to buy. Cash buyers were coming in strong, with some people getting full asking price, or over. Keren Goren stated that many people she spoke to were just hanging on, waiting to see what would happen in the market.
Geoffrey Green told the panel that he is often asked, “Should I wait, because prices are going higher?” According to Vikki, sellers are worried about finding a home! People move up here from other places and swamp the market, and people who want to sell but stay in the area are concerned. Keren said that houses in Sussex are outdated, older than what buyers are looking for. Geoff said, “At the end of the day, if you’re moving and need to sell, try to sell and buy at the same time.”
The conversation turned to “fixer-uppers.” Geoff felt that most buyers don’t have the time, experience, and money to do renovation after buying a home. However, he asked the panel if they were seeing more buyers willing to take on a fixer-upper.
Keren cited a buyer who was willing to take out a loan to put a new roof on a house where everything else had been done. He was willing to go that step. Vikki stated there was not much to choose from and buyers trying to get into the area are having to be more flexible. Mike Giannetto stated that reno loans are now a big product and many people are taking the opportunity to fix up a house, put in new appliances, roof, etc., using equity.
Watch the video for more discussion, including a fascinating look into the world of economics and how the bond market impacts the interest rate that buyers may soon be paying.
Sussex County, NJ Real Estate Market Report – April 2018 Results
Average Days on the Market
The faster homes are selling, the hotter the market. Look for the lowest number on the graph, as opposed to the highest.
The average days on the market are slightly higher than April of 2017 but are way below the previous three years. The average number of days on the market is 92.57 for the first four months of 2018.
The average price is just about where it was this time last year and is above the prior three years.
Average Sold to Asked Ratio
This is the percentage a house sold for under or over the last asking (not the original) price.
There was a jump in this number, with the percentage at 98.98% for this April, the highest point for any month in the past five years. Sellers were negotiating at approximately 2 points off the last asking price.
Homes that sold at 100% or more of last asking price
Here again there was a jump in the numbers, reaching the highest point for any month in the past 5 years.
There was a climb in the numbers here, as well, with April 2018 showing the most units sold for this month over the past four years.
We Keep You Informed:
The Green Team Shares this information and more each month during our Live Housing Market Update. Register to join the webinar and hear directly from our participating Green Team Sales Associates who share their personal take on how the marketplace is doing.
Each month we are also joined by industry experts who share insights into the current financing environment as well as broader economic issues affecting the housing market.
Check out our past Housing Market Updates. Then Register to join our next one on June 12th at 9am.