Tandy On Real Estate

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Housing – Building Permits

Spring Buying Season Is Here

Spring is here. Finally, after a long, cloudy and wet winter we have had a couple sunny days, the bluebonnets are starting to boom, allergies are on high alert, and the Spring buying season is starting. To help you prepare, here is a snapshot of the housing market forecast.

Freddie Mac recently reported, “Mortgage interest rates have been steadily declining since the start of 2019. These lower mortgage interest rates combined with a strong labor market should attract prospective homebuyers this spring and could help the housing sector regain its momentum later in the year.” This is great news as we approach our typical Homebuying Season.

Mortgage interest rates continue to decline

According to Primary Mortgage Market Weekly Survey mortgage rates have steadily declined after reaching a high of 4.94 percent in November of 2018. As of late-March, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 4.28 percent, its lowest level since February 2018.

Home sales to slowly regain momentum

Existing home sales nationally fell by 7 percent, to 5.32 million homes, in November compared with November 2017, according to the National Assoc­iation of Realtors. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, expects sales to be flat in 2019. This spring will be the best measure of whether the housing market is returning from very tight to normal, Yun says.

Freddie Mac reports, “existing home sales slumped to start the year, likely in part due to exceptionally cold weather in January and the temporary effects of the government shutdown. With mortgage rates down significantly from last fall, we expect to see existing home sales bounce back and trend higher for the rest of the year. However, our forecast indicates that total home sales (new and existing) will remain down at 5.94 million in 2019 since home sales are starting the year at such a slow rate, before increasing to 6.14 million in 2020.”

However, home sales for the Austin MSA increased 1.5 percent for 2018 vs 2017. Median home price increased 3.7 percent to $305,900. 

Housing starts
Freddie Mac reports, “Housing starts averaged 1.25 million in 2018. Due to the recent increases in building permits, we anticipate that total housing starts will gradually increase over the next two years with most of the growth coming from single-family housing starts. We forecast that total housing starts will increase to 1.27 million units in 2019 and to 1.33 million units in 2020.”

According to Moody’s Analytics, “homebuilders have been underbuilding for more than a decade. Builders have been hindered by labor shortages, community opposition to high-density projects and growing costs of land, labor and materials. Plus, they’ve been building at the mid-to-high end of the market, not at the entry level. But it’s not all bad news. Builders are offering in­centives to buyers, and they’re slowly starting to build smaller, lower-price homes that are more affordable.”

Locally, Austin single family building permits increased 4.6 percent in 2018 over the previous year. 

Home equity

CoreLogic Homeowner Equity Insights 4th Quarter Report continues to see a rise in home equity. “U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 63 percent of all properties*) have seen their equity increase by a total of nearly $678.4 billion since the fourth quarter 2017, an increase of 8.1 percent, year over year.”

A look at home prices

Home prices started to soften in mid-2018. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance recently reported, “Prices will continue rising, but more slowly, as the housing market regains some balance between buyers and sellers.”

Freddie Mac similarly reports, “After accelerating in recent years, home price growth in the United States has continued to moderate. In line with recent trends, we have lowered our home price growth forecasts to annual increases of 3.5 percent and 2.5 percent in 2019 and 2020, respectively.”

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SOURCES:

Freddie Mac – http://www.freddiemac.com/research/forecast/20190322_economic_growth.page?

Freddie Mac – http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms/

National Association of Realtors – https://www.nar.realtor/

Real Estate Center Texas A&M University – https://www.recenter.tamu.edu/data/housing-activity/#!/activity/MSA/Austin-Round_Rock

Moody’s Analytics – https://www.moodysanalytics.com/

Real Estate Center Texas A&M University – https://www.recenter.tamu.edu/data/building-permits/#!/msa/Austin-Round_Rock%2C_TX 

CoreLogic – https://www.corelogic.com/insights-download/homeowner-equity-report.aspx

Homeownership mortgage source: 2016 American Community Survey – https://www.census.gov/acs/www/data/data-tables-and-tools/data-profiles/2016/

MReport – https://themreport.com/daily-dose/03-25-2019/important-drivers-home-sales

Kiplinger – https://www.kiplinger.com/article/real-estate/T010-C000-S002-where-home-prices-are-headed-2019.html

Austin No. 1 City Gaining Company Migrations from California

Austin continues to grow from California residents and business relocations. A recent study by Joseph Vranich of Spectrum Location Solutions revealed more than 13,000 companies have left California for friendlier locations, with Austin being the No. 1 city to gain the California migrations. The study also ranked Texas as No. 1 in the Top 10 states gaining the most from California business relocations, a distinction Texas has held for the past decade.

“During the study period, $76.7 billion in capital funds were diverted out of California along with 275,000 jobs – and companies acquired at least 133 million sq. ft. elsewhere – all of which are greatly understated because such information often went unreported,” according to the study.

The Austin Business Journal summarized that “Departures are understandable when year after year CEOs nationwide surveyed by Chief Executive Magazine have declared California the worst state in which to do business,” said Vranich, a corporate relocation expert who jokes that he loves California’s weather, but not its business climate. Until recently, Spectrum and Vranich were based in Irvine, Calif. Texas, on the other hand, consistently ranks as one of the best states to do business in.”

The top 10 states starting in the order of those that gained the most from California business relocations were:

  1. Texas, which has held the first-place distinction for at least a decade
  2. Nevada
  3. Arizona
  4. Colorado
  5. Oregon
  6. Washington
  7. North Carolina
  8. Florida
  9. Georgia
  10. Virginia

The top 10 cities gaining company migrations from California were:

  1. Austin
  2. Reno, Nev.
  3. Las Vegas
  4. Phoenix
  5. Seattle
  6. Dallas
  7. Portland, Ore.
  8. Denver
  9. San Antonio
  10. Scottsdale, Ariz.


The report’s ranking is based only on cities, not metro areas. Fort Worth, Houston, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Indianapolis and Nashville also ranked among the top twenty.

Vranich further details the Texas metro market migrations in the Austin Relocation Guide. Metropolitan areas benefiting from California divestment events show Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos in the top spot, followed by No. 2 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, and No. 10 San Antonio, which was tied with Salt Lake City. Of the Top 15 destination metropolitan communities benefiting from out-of-California Austin tops the list, followed by No. 6 Dallas, No. 8 San Antonio, No. 11 Houston, No. 13 Irving and Plano (tied) and No. 14 Fort Worth.”

The new 2018 Migration Trends study by residential real estate brokerage site Redfin shows California is the top source of people from other metro areas shopping for homes in Austin. KVUE reported that in the Austin area, the biggest generator of inflow (more people seeking to move to area than leave it) was from San Francisco, unsurprising considering both cities are hubs for the technology sector. In Dallas, the L.A. area produced the most potential newcomers.

With the California migrations, it begs the question, how is Austin doing today?

The Austin Chamber of Commerce recently reported:

  • Austin added 36,800 net new jobs, growth of 3.5%, in the 12 months ending in December, making Austin the fourth fastest growing major metro.
  • In Austin, the industry adding the most jobs and growing the fastest is wholesale trade which grew by 6,900 jobs or 12.8% over the last 12 months. Also growing at faster-than-average rates are construction and natural resources (8.1% or 5,000 jobs) and other services (4.4% or 2,000 jobs).
  • Austin’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 2.9%, up from 2.8% in November. Unemployment has been at or below 3.0% for the last 16 months.
  • For new home construction Austin ranked number 1 in the nation in per capita building permits through midyear 2018 with a projected increase over 2017.
  • Home prices are rising with a median home price increase of approx. 4% in 2018.
  • Incomes are rising with total personal income in the Austin metro growing by 6.4% in 2017, the 5th fastest growth rate among major metros.

We continue to see growth in Austin, and we welcome California transplants to make Austin their home.

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Resources:

Austin Business Journal – https://www.bizjournals.com/austin/news/2018/12/13/1-800-companies-left-california-in-a-year-with.html 

The Kumar Law Firm – https://thekumarlawfirm.com/lawyer/2018/12/31/Business-Law/California-Businesses-Flock-to-Texas_bl36525.htm

KVUE – https://www.kvue.com/article/news/local/california-homebuyers-continue-coasting-into-austins-real-estate-market/269-608008889 

PRWeb – https://www.prweb.com/releases/record_number_of_companies_departing_california_study_urges_more_to_leave/prweb15977005.htm

Redfin – https://www.redfin.com/blog/2018/10/q3-2018-migration-report.html

Culture Map – http://austin.culturemap.com/news/real-estate/10-25-18-homebuyer-interest-in-austin-california-san-franscisco-redfin/

Austin Chamber of Commerce – https://www.austinchamber.com/blog/01-22-2019-job-growth-unemployment

Austin Chamber of Commerce – https://www.austinchamber.com/economic-development/business-climate/economic-perspective

Austin Relocation Guide – http://www.austinrelocationguide.com/Austin-Wins-Big-as-Companies-Leave-California/

A vision for homebuilding

At the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) Conference in Denver, Douglas Yearley, CEO of Toll Brothers presented the Keynote Address “A Vision for Homebuilding”. Here is a snapshot of his state of builder/buyer.

Business is good
Toll Brothers announced earlier this summer that they had the best spring selling season that it has had in the past ten years. This can be attributed to many things:

  • Low interest rates
  • Rising home values
  • Consumer confidence
  • Improving job growth, along with wage growth

There are low inventories in most markets in used homes, and we finally have release of pent up demand. As the economy improves and personal balance sheets improve, pent up demand could bring people off the sidelines.

A slow recovery
According to Toll Brothers, we have seen a slower recovery than past cycles:

  • Key metrics are improving
    • Number of households has grown 98% since 1970.
    • 1980 – 1989 – 1.49 million housing starts
    • 2008 – 2016 – .85 million housing starts
    • Home ownership peaked in 2004 at 69%.
    • Today’s home ownership rate is at 63.6%.

We are not quite where we should be. We are still behind the demand, but this only leave room for growth.

Buyers buying new and where the sun shines
There is a 32% premium from a new home to used home. The average is 18%. People are gravitating to buying new homes as the used inventory is older. And, energy efficiency and the opportunity to customize home is driving the premium.

More than 50% of Toll Brothers’ business in done in the West. Denver to the West is where builders are focused. Builders are focused on pro-business states, where land is available and where people want to live – where the sun shines. Boomers are buying in Florida, no big surprise here. And, Texas, a pro-business state, is doing very well in Dallas.

Demographics – the Boomer is driving growth
Baby boomers continue to drive Toll Brothers’ business. As they did for years when they moved to suburban areas to “move up”, and still today as they downsize and prepare for the next stage of their life. Many are buying into active-adult communities or are buying second homes in Palm Springs, Florida and Scottsdale, Arizona.

Design trends – casual family-friendly spaces
According to Toll Brothers the open, casual living with free flow indoor and outdoor space has completely caught on. People want casual environments where living space is connected. And, where the outdoors is a continuation of the home. Where the back of the home will be one big wall of glass making the outdoors, the indoors.

There is also a trend for multi-generational living. With additional living space with a sitting area, little kitchen area, direct access outside and separate entry in the home for older generations living with their family.

And, smart home solutions are evolving and expanding with the ability to remotely control the home.

Labor on the rise
We went from two million houses a year to 500,000. Labor dramatically went away. And, every market has a different issue; there is no national plumber. As we get further into recovery, we are seeing improvements and a return of the builder labor market. Contractors are ramping up their businesses. There is still cost pressure, but according to Yearley, it is definitely less now than it was a year or two ago.

Getting creative with land acquisition
For Builders it is all about the land – whether you are building one home or a master-planned community. You are stuck with the land once you buy it. Builders have to be much more creative in how they look for buy land because people want to live differently. Buyers want to live in a more connected community. And, creativity comes into play due to the availability of land in urban areas. An example of this creativity in land acquisition is buying a car dealership and renovating it. Or, building a park with the mixed use and condo development as part of the sales price for the land, like Maxwell House, former Maxwell House Coffee plant, in Hoboken, NJ. This was the largest in the world and a landmark on the Hudson River since 1939. What was a tragedy for Hoboken is now a trendy redevelopment leveraging both the best of the outdoor and the indoor space.

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SOURCE:
National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) Conference
Toll Brothers
https://www.upi.com/Archives/1990/06/27/Landmark-Maxwell-House-plant-to-shut-down/2261646459200/

 

 

 

The housing shortage

At the National Association of Real Estate Editors Conference (NAREE) in Denver this month “The housing shortage: dealing with barren inventory” was presented. The panel presenting included Thomas O’Grady, Pro Teck Valuation Services; Aaron Terrazas, Zillow; and Javier Vivas, realtor.com. Here is a snapshot of what was covered.

According to the panel we have had 23 months of historic low home sales. With 200K fewer homes for sale, and 150K of the homes being in the mid- to low-tier. We are losing inventory at record pace and in a segment where we are seeing the most demand – in the entry-level buyer. The shortage is national, and in smaller square footage homes.

When looking at the inventory shortage, there are two factors to consider:

  1. Homes hitting the market are selling fast.
  2. There are not enough homes entering the market.

What’s causing the inventory shortage?

  1. New construction has lagged among existing home sales. Homebuilders are not building at the levels they were.
  2. Homeowners have negative equity in some markets.
  3. There is a shift of owner occupied stock to rented occupied stock with 6.3 million more renter-occupied.
  4. The power of psychology. There is a psychology of market for seller; they are holding on to homes to see what kind of gains they can get.

The homebuilder blame game

Homebuilders are getting a lot of the blame, particularly for affordable homes. 24% of all home building costs is put towards regulations – making it expensive for builders to build. And, there is a ack of labor and a high cost of acquiring land. Smaller builders are also having issues will accessing financing.

Housing trends:

It’s hard to move up in a rising market

People aren’t selling because they cannot replace what they have. Buying up is becoming out of people’s grasp in some markets. There is a fear that I can’t put my house in market because I won’t be able to find anything to buy. This is the inverse of what we had in the boom. Appreciation and run upon price is going to hit into affordability, and as always, people want to get a deal.

A rise in home equity

In appreciating markets where the homeowners have equity and a low interest rate, we are seeing homeowners tap into equity and make home improvements versus putting their homes on the market. 40% of home owners have more than 20% equity. And to further support this, people are staying in homes for 10 years which is an all-time high. This stat used to be only 6 years.

Homeowners in love with their loans Many homeowners are locked in by their super affordable mortgage rate. REALTORS® are starting to say that they have more people in love with their loan than with their home. Many homeowners do not want hassle with competitive market.

Investors are staying in the market

Investors propped up the market by buying homes in the crash. People thought they would sell them but they have been making so much money that they aren’t selling. Rental securitizations are bringing a lot of liquidation. We are seeing this more in urban areas.

Seasonal adjustment disorder

Spring buying season started in the winter this year. This is a very big trend this year. Spring home buying season started 3 weeks earlier based on online activity and market velocity. We typically see a spike in online activity in January. This year we saw a peak at the second week of January. This is important because we saw buyers earlier. 1 in 4 homes are selling in less than a month – typically the housing market hits that in March, but this year we hit it in January. And, some of this seasonal adjustment disorder is attributable to the shift in the population demographics. Younger buyers are not held to seasonality and schools.

The urbanization of employment

Job growth – employment growth over past decade has been concentrated in urban areas. There is an employment drive in a lot of markets. The panel called this the Urbanization of employment – creating white collar jobs.

Creating “gray space”

We are seeing people moving further out and now seeing commuting as a more viable solution for home ownership. A good example of this is people moving from San Francisco to Antioch.

In Nashville the population grew by 10%, but housing stopped and home prices went up. People can’t afford to live there anymore. The Mayor is trying to put housing along transit roots to make more affordable home options.

There is an urban, suburban myth. Will urban searchers ever compromise on their urban dream, or will they move to the “gray space”? These are the “gray spaces” between urban and suburban popping up and picking up in demand. The future of housing could be the Long Island’s of the U.S.

Building wealth and potentially frustration

There is a shadow buyer demand – a lot of renters who got in their rental really wanted to buy. They had no other option and needed the extra space. People want the white picket fence, and are almost frustrated that they cannot get it.

Boomers have preached that the best way for middle class to build wealth is through home ownership. Buyers not yet on the market are asking themselves, “Will I have less wealth because I entered the market later in life compared to the baby boomer?” There is a common legacy of thinking that owning a house is a big deal, and we will see frustration around this.

It is getting harder to get into the market. Many potential homebuyers know that the longer they wait the harder it will be to get into the housing market. The market at the entry level is very competitive. The high end the market is slowing down a bit.

All of this will resolve itself through natural evolutions. LA was a low-cost alternative to NY. And now, Dallas is a low cost alternative to LA.

Ways of adapting to the shortage

  • Seeing more multigenerational, joint home investments.
  • The spillover effect – people will move further out and commute longer.
  • Mermaid effect – people are falling in love with their 2nd and 3rd home choices.
  • Macroeconomic play in effect that will make us have to wait it out.
  • Only feasible relief is through the homebuilders.

Despite all of this according to the panel, the U.S. real estate is one of the most attractive asset classes.

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SOURCE:
https://www.proteckservices.com/category/home-value-forecast/
https://www.zillow.com/research/about-us/aaron-terrazas/
http://research.realtor.com/

 

Corpus Christi real estate activity is alive and well; City continues to turn on seasonal activity

It is that time of year to start planning your summer vacations. The days are longer, Spring Break is over, and now we can look forward to a sunny spring and summer. This planning brings to mind our Texas beaches. On that note, today I would like to highlight Corpus Christi.

The South Texas Economic Development Center Economic Pulse, 2017, Issue 4 on the “Housing Market Downswing?” covers how the Corpus Christi housing market has boomed since the beginning of the decade. According to the article, “recently, the local economy has stalled in the wake of falling oil prices. Still the area’s residential construction remains remarkably active, and home prices stay at historically high levels.”

Here is a snapshot of the article:

  • The housing market has grown without major interruptions since 2000. Even during the burst of the nationwide housing bubble and the subsequent recession of 2007-2009, local home prices merely slowed down.
  • Along with other metro areas in Texas, Corpus Christi was among the top cities in home price appreciation during the decade ending in 2016.
  • The area’s median home price grew nearly 40 percent over the 2006-2016 period, slightly below the 45 percent and 44 percent growth rates for Houston and Dallas, respectively.While the median home price of the Corpus Christi metro area tended to rise at a solid pace in the past decade, the housing conditions varied widely across its local communities.A real estate bubble might have developed and then burst recently in the Rockport-Fulton area—the major community of Aransas County. Construction of a large number of industrial sites around the Port of Corpus Christi seems to have boosted the housing markets of various communities in San Patricio County. Following a long period of swings in different directions, the median home prices of these three counties converged to about $160,000 by the end of 2016.
  • Developers responded to rising home prices by increasing the supply of home units.The column chart below shows the Real Estate Center’s Texas Home Affordability Index (THAI) for Corpus Christi and the state. The index indicates the ability of the typical household, measured by total earnings, to buy a house selling for the median home price. The higher is the index, the more affordable are homes in the area.The chart suggests that homes in both Corpus Christi and Texas are less affordable today than in 2012. Home prices across Texas have caught up with income growth, which has recently slowed down from the 2011-2014 period of economic boom. Still the latest THAI readings remain higher, meaning more affordable, than their respective readings at the previous housing boom ending in 2007.
  • Given its relatively large exposure to the oil and gas industry, Corpus Christi’s overall economic condition is tied to developments in the oil market. For the three years that local personal income per capita recorded a loss, the crude oil price also fell. Year 2016 was the most recent period that local income per capita shrank, after the collapse of the oil market beginning in early 2015.
  • Oil and gas drilling and production in South Texas began to rebound in late 2016, and based on the oil futures market, oil prices are expected to rise steadily at least in the next six months.
  • Should the current market trends continue under normal conditions, home prices would rise modestly through the end of this year.
  • Corpus Christi will likely continue to recover from the recent economic downturn, holding up home demand.

Let’s talk about seasonal activity.

According to the Texas A & M Corpus Christi South Texas Economic Development Center Corpus Christi employment and unemployment reflect remarkable seasonal fluctuations. This to me, is no surprise given the tourist attractiveness of the city. In this article, Jim Lee covers the seasonal variations in unemployment not only from tourism, but also other cyclical activities which greatly effect South Texas, like harvest seasons and how this effects the agricultural sector, as well as government job and hiring patterns and their contribution to seasonal fluctuations. The graph below shows the Corpus Christi MSA unemployment rates, both the original and then in blue the seasonally adjusted rates.

“The level of farm employment indeed shows considerable seasonal variations. For the United States as a whole, the peak months for farm employment are March and September. Another regular seasonally pattern occurs in retail sales, which tend to peak during the holiday season in November and December 2017.” For Corpus, “employment typically peaks in April, and dips the most in January with New Year holidays.”

To explain the dips in the latter summer months, Lee attributes this to local government. He states, “compared to the average for the first half of the year, employment in the local government sector fell about 1,500 positions on average in July and about 1,200 position in August. This regular pattern was attributable to the summer break taken by some of those 2,500 local grade school teachers. The public sector typically recovered most of the jobs lost from those two summer months in the latter part of the year beginning in September.”

The bottom line, Corpus Christi will continue to be a strong housing market. There is inventory, homes continue to be affordable and the city is on the upward swing of recovery from the energy crisis. And, we now have the seasonal activity to look forward to. Bring on the summer.

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SOURCES:
http://stedc.tamucc.edu/files/Econ_Pulse_2017_1.pdf
https://stedc.atavist.com/housing-market-downswing

 

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