San Diego Real Estate and Community News

Jan. 17, 2022

Inventory Is Key To Housing Health In 2022

Home prices are always a hot topic among prospective home buyers. The reasons for this are obvious. After all, the price of homes in the neighborhoods you're targeting will, in large part, determine whether or not you can afford to buy one. So what might happen to prices, and the overall market, in the year ahead? Well, a lot depends on how many homes are available for sale. The main factor pushing home prices higher these days is a lack of inventory. Naturally, if inventory improves – either because more homeowners list their homes for sale or more new homes are built – it will help balance the market and keep prices from spiking. With a healthier supply of homes, home sales will rise and there'll be less competition between buyers. That's the best case scenario for the 2022 market. On the other hand, if inventory doesn't improve and prices continue to climb higher, affordability conditions may begin to suppress buyer demand – which would also bring more balance to the market, albeit in a less positive way. (source)

Jan. 12, 2022

Homeownership Still A Better Deal Than Renting

It'd be easy to get the impression that owning a home is more expensive than renting. After all, home prices have been increasing for years – and especially over the past year. But, according to a recent analysis from ATTOM Data Solutions, homeownership is still more affordable then renting in 58 percent of counties. The analysis compared the cost of owning a median-priced home to the average rent on a three-bedroom property in 1,154 counties and found that homeownership expenses consumed a smaller portion of average local wages than renting. Todd Teta, ATTOM's chief product officer, says home prices are rising faster than rents but have yet to flip the affordability equation. “Home prices are rising faster than both rents and wages while wages rise faster than rents,” Teta said. “Yet homeownership still remains the more affordable option for average workers in a majority of the country because it still takes up a smaller portion of their pay.” One of the main factors driving homeownership's continuing affordability is the fact that mortgage rates remain low, which helps to counteract rising prices and keeps mortgage payments manageable. (source)

Jan. 10, 2022

Americans Say It's A Good Time To Sell

The percentage of Americans who say it's a good time to sell a house rose 26 percent year over year, according to the December results of Fannie Mae's monthly Home Purchase Sentiment Index. The survey – which asks Americans what they think about buying or selling a home, mortgage rates, home prices, their jobs, and household income – was relatively flat from the month before. However, year-over-year comparisons show a large spike in the number of respondents who think it's a good time to sell – while the number who believe it's a good time to buy saw a significant drop. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae's senior vice president and chief economist, says the results may be a sign that the housing market will soften this year. “The HPSI's underlying components changed dramatically in the last 12 months – particularly the two related to home-buying and home-selling sentiment – and we have seen the index drift slightly downward since March 2021, an indication that the housing market may begin to soften in the coming year,” Duncan said. (source)

Jan. 7, 2022

New Listings Bounce Back In Many Metros

Shopping for a home to buy can be challenging in markets where there aren't many homes for sale. For one, it's more difficult to find an available house in the right neighborhood with the right features. Then, when you do find one, you often have to outbid other prospective buyers who also want it. But, while the number of homes for sale is still lower than normal, you shouldn't let the current inventory crunch put your home-buying plans on hold. Why? Well, there's an expectation that this year's market will see inventory rebound from the declines suffered in 2021. And, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors' consumer website, there is already evidence that new listings are beginning to bounce back. In fact, December data shows 20 percent of the 50 largest U.S. metros saw more new sellers enter the market than last year at the same time – and some of those cities saw double-digit increases. That doesn't mean those markets won't still be competitive but it does offer hope to home buyers that they'll have an easier time finding a house that fits their needs. (source)

Jan. 5, 2022

What's Ahead For The Housing Market In 2022?

There's a natural inclination at the beginning of the year to look forward. The new year offers us a fresh start and a great time to set goals. For a lot of us, one of those goals will be to buy a house. But what should we expect out of the housing market in 2022? Well, according to a survey of more than 20 top economic and housing experts conducted by the National Association of Realtors, we can expect the market to normalize. “Overall, survey participants believe we'll see the housing market and broader economy normalize [this] year,” Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, said of the survey's results. “Though forecasted to rise 4 percent, inflation will decelerate after hefty gains in 2021, while home price increases are also expected to ease with an annual appreciation of less than 6 percent.” Survey participants expect home sales to fall slightly from 2021 but they also see an uptick in the number of new homes built. And, while they expect mortgage rates to move higher, the increases aren't expected to push rates higher than their pre-pandemic level. (source)

Jan. 3, 2022

Americans Look To Move Somewhere Less Expensive

If you're like most Americans, your monthly mortgage payment will be among your biggest bills. That's why it's important for prospective home buyers to crunch the numbers before shopping for a house. Knowing how much you can comfortably afford will help you avoid buying a house that causes you financial stress. And these days, that's a factor. The pandemic has led to more economic uncertainty and it has a lot of us thinking about our bills. For example, in one recent survey, nearly 50 percent of participants said they've worried about their house payment during the past month. And those worries – along with increasing opportunities for remote work – have many of us looking to move somewhere more affordable. In fact, the same survey found 45 percent of respondents considering a move to a less expensive area. It's a common theme, lately. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many surveys have found a growing number of Americans interested in moving to smaller metros, suburbs, exurbs, and anywhere else they can get more house for their money. (source)

Dec. 29, 2021

Home Prices Increase But At A Slower Pace

These days, housing market conditions are fairly easy to understand. There are fewer homes for sale and, because of that, home prices continue to rise. It's simple supply and demand. When there are fewer homes for buyers to choose from, the ones that are available go for a higher price. But while that's been the case for a while now, the most recent S&P Case-Shiller Indices – considered the leading measure of U.S. home prices – offers some encouraging news. The index found that, while prices are still climbing, they're now increasing at a slower pace. Craig J. Lazzara, managing director at S&P, says, in many of the cities the index tracks, price increases have slowed. “We continue to see very strong growth at the city level,” Lazzara said. “As was the case last month, however, in 14 of 20 cities, prices decelerated – i.e., increased by less in October than they had done in September.” But while the rate of increases has slowed, prices are still rising at a double-digit pace. In fact, October's gain was the fourth-highest reading in the 34 years S&P has been tracking price data. (source)

Dec. 27, 2021

Mortgage Rates Fall To Four-Week Low

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates fell to a four-week low last week. Rates were down for loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration and 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with both conforming and jumbo balances. The decline helped push refinance activity up 2 percent from the week before. But while refinancing homeowners were more active, home buyers weren't. In fact, demand for loans to buy homes fell 3 percent from one week earlier. Joel Kan, MBA's associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, says the high end of the market is seeing more activity these days. “The average purchase loan increased for the second straight week to $416,200 – the second highest amount ever,” Kan said. “The elevated loan size is an indication that activity is more on the higher end of the market.” The MBA's weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. (source)

Dec. 23, 2021


In November, the typical home for sale was on the market just 18 days, according to new numbers from the National Association of Realtors. That's down from 21 days in November 2020 but unchanged from the month before. Overall, 83 percent of homes sold in less than a month. The numbers are evidence that the lack of available inventory means home buyers continue to face a challenging, fast-paced market. In fact, the NAR found there was only a 2.1-month supply of existing homes available for sale in November. A 6-month supply is generally considered healthy. Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, says buyers remain motivated, though, due to the expectation that mortgage rates will rise in 2022. “Locking in a constant and firm mortgage payment motivated many consumers who grew weary of escalating rents over the last year,” Yun said. “Mortgage rates are projected to jump in 2022, however, I don't expect the imminent increase to be overly dramatic.” Motivated buyers pushed sales of previously owned homes up 1.9 percent month over month. It was the third consecutive month sales increased. (source)

Dec. 22, 2021

How Much Competition Will Winter Buyers Face?

Home buyers faced a lot of competition this year. Elevated demand and fewer homes available for sale meant interested buyers had to be ready for a bidding war or risk losing a good house to a better prepared buyer. This was certainly true during the spring and summer markets. In fact, according to one measure, 74.6 percent of offers faced competition in April. Fortunately, though, that was the peak. And, as the summer market turned to fall, buyer competition began to slow. By October, the number of offers that saw competition from other buyers had fallen to 61.8 percent. From there, it fell even further. The most recent numbers available show the competition rate was 59.5 percent in November – the first time since December 2020 that it dropped below 60 percent. But while that's a good indication that winter buyers will face less competition than earlier in the year, the rate in November was still up 2 percent from the year before. In other words, though the market isn't as hot, buyers still need to be prepared, since competition remains high and most homes continue to draw multiple buyers. (source)