Real Estate Recovery is Expected to Continue
Leading up to 2014 real estate experts had very high expectations for the year’s market performance. Throughout the first half of 2014, however, those expectations were not met. Despite the lag in activity in the beginning months, which is likely due to the harsh winter weather and high consumer doubt, over the summer the national housing market has shown a steady increase in activity. HomeServices of America has developed and released a national perspective of the residential housing market, stating “we anticipate a robust second half of 2014” as housing inventories approach healthier levels.
During and after the recession, housing marketing throughout the country had an extremely high amount of distressed properties. It was private equity and investors that primarily drove the real estate market into recovery. This tactic of fueling market recovery, however, was a short-term resurgence. While investors removed a large amount of distressed properties from the market—which helped return property values to where they should be—once they did, recovery depended on the more traditional cycle. Fortunately, consumer confidence is on the rise. This is vital for the real estate market, because if people are fearful about buying and selling homes, than they simply won’t. According to HomeServices of America along with this increase in consumer confidence, the real estate activity is being led more by homeowners, instead of driven by investors or banks dealing with distressed properties. They have noted that more consumers are buying homes as their own residences and more homeowners are selling their own properties. This trend is a great sign that the real estate market will only continue to thrive.
The housing industry is made up of a number of segments, each of which is experiencing different paths to recovery. For example, luxury properties have displayed a strong sense of recovery, with good sales recorded in many markets nationwide; however, the sales of mid-priced residential properties have not been showing the same enthusiasm. Buy looking at the most recent price-branded reports for the Louisville, Southern Indiana, and Elizabethtown markets shown at the bottom of this post, you see that the majority of homes that sell in the area are in the $125k-$150k range, with less than 3% of homes selling for more than $500k in the Louisville market. This could be why we hear of many other markets undergoing a quicker recovery than we are.
Strong sales of luxury properties is most likely due to a number of factors that affect the buyers and sellers in this market segment. A large portion of this segment are made up of first-time homebuyers who are struggling with getting a loan due to strict credit standards and student loan debts, which has recently shown a dramatic uptick cross the country. The mid-market segment is also facing lower inventory levels which cannot keep up with the demand that is higher than other market segments. Real estate experts are hopeful that these issues will subside, especially as more and more buyers are seeking professional and quality loan officers to assist them through the process of getting a mortgage loan. With the guidance and expertise of such loan officers, more homebuyers are taking the right steps, such as getting pre-qualified for a mortgage prior to shopping for homes.
Americans are beginning to once again become confident and enthusiastic towards real estate. According to a 2014 survey by Gallup, more Americans consider real estate to be the best long-term investment, ranking above gold and stocks. The fact that consumers are still seeing the value in homeownership is a great indicator that things will continue to improve. While we are still a ways away from achieving full recovery, the signs are pointing in the right direction. Assuming that job creation and the overall economy will continue to grow, the momentum of real estate market is anticipated to continuously pick up speed through the rest of 2014.