10 things to know about low housing inventory

Inventory is low. Really low. That’s one of the big stories right now in real estate, so I wanted to spend some time kicking around some thoughts. Let’s take a look at ten things to know about housing supply in Sacramento. If you aren’t local, I hope you can still find some value. Do you see any parallels to your market? Any thoughts? 

DOWNLOAD 50 graphs HERE: Please download new market graphs here as a zip file. See my sharing policy for 5 ways to share (please don’t copy verbatim).

10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT LOW HOUSING INVENTORY

1) Housing inventory is clearly on a declining trend.

inventory in sacramento county Since 2013 - part 2 - by sacramento appraisal blog

Housing supply has been vanishing over the past few years in light of greater buyer demand, sellers sitting instead of selling, less new construction, increasing sales volume, and other reasons.

2) Housing supply is really sparse (except at the top).

inventory - March 2017 - by home appraiser blog

Housing supply was low last year, but this year it’s 15-20% lower. Having less listings means it’s really competitive for buyers – especially under $400,000. However, inventory is not low at every price range as there are far more listings at the top. Before freaking out though, this is actually a normal trend we see almost every single month. But the disparity between under $500,000 and above $1,000,000 is striking. As an FYI, it’s worth noting the top of the market does feel a bit soft.

3) Inventory is still not as low as the Blackstone days.

inventory in sacramento county Since 2011 - by sacramento appraisal blog

It’s true that inventory is anemic, but we have to remember during 2012 and 2013 it was at one month for nearly an entire year when Blackstone and other investors were gutting the market. I mention this because while the market has an aggressive feel, it’s still not what it was. If inventory persists in declining though it will be a bloodbath in terms of competition for buyers (good for sellers though as a developer mentioned to me on Twitter). 

4) Inventory was 1400% higher ten years ago during the “bubble”.

inventory in sacramento county Since 2007 - by sacramento appraisal blog

Ten years ago during the worst of the real estate “bubble” popping we had a 14-month supply of homes for sale (as opposed to one month now).

5) Bank-owned inventory is not a driving factor today.

REOs and Short Sales Sacramento County - by Sac Appraisal Blog

Eight years ago over 70% of all sales in Sacramento County were REOs, but that number is now about 3%. Some folks promise a new “foreclosure wave”, but it’s definitely not here right now.

6) Low inventory is putting pressure on values to increase.

Median price since 2013 in sacramento county

Declining inventory over the past few years is a big factor in rising prices. Right now values are about where they were at the height of last summer (or slightly higher) after a lull in the fall in many neighborhoods in Sacramento County. But let’s not make the mistake to think the market is doing the same thing everywhere. The truth is in some areas increases have been modest at best over the past year while some price ranges feel flat, but the bottom of the market is hands-down experiencing the largest increases. Remember, in some price ranges the market feels more aggressive than actual value increases too, so it’s really important to sift through emotions, look at actual numbers, and not overprice because the market is “hot”. A good mantra for some areas is “Aggressive Demand, Modest Appreciation.”

7) Strong demand is a huge reason why inventory is declining:

price metrics since 2014 in sacramento county

Demand is strong right now for both buying and renting, and buyers and tenants are simply gobbling up almost anything out there (I say “almost” because buyers are still sensitive about adverse locations and overpriced homes). Thus it’s not surprising to see the median price is 7% higher than last year, the average sales price is 9% higher, and the average price per sq ft is about 9% higher. Prices increases from February to March were anywhere from 1-3% depending on the metric (this doesn’t mean values went up by 1-3% though). 

8) Increasing sales volume is one reason for lower inventory.

Cash in Q1 - by Sacramento Regional Appraisal Blog

Housing inventory is the relationship between sales and listings, so if there are more sales and no real change in the number of listings it will naturally mean inventory as a metric will show a decline. Look at the graph above to see all sales since 2013 for the first quarter of the year. Can you see how sales volume is increasing? At the same time we see cash volume declining. This reminds us the market is trying to figure out what normal looks like. It’s healthy to see sales volume growing.

9) Low interest rates have helped take homes off the market.

Interest Rates Since 2008

Historically low interest rates have played a big role in shaping inventory in that some owners are sitting on a 3.5% interest rate from years ago and they are simply not going to move unless necessary. Why would they anyway if their replacement home would come with a much higher mortgage? This means there are fewer homes hitting the market that might otherwise sell.

10) Low inventory is causing homes to sell faster.

CDOM in Sacramento County - by Sacramento Regional Appraisal Blog

Last year it was taking 5 days longer to sell a home and two years ago in March 2015 it was taking 15 days longer to sell a home. Can you see how low inventory makes a difference in how long it takes to sell? By the way, here is CDOM by price range. As you can see, the higher the price the longer it takes to sell. Just because it is a “hot” market does not mean every property is selling in 3 days.

BIG MONTHLY POST NOTE: Once a month I do a big market update (and it’s long purpose). Normally I talk about Placer County and the Sac Region too, but I tore my MCL a few weeks back, so I only had time to focus on Sacramento County in today’s post. Next month I’ll likely be back to normal (but I may change it up too).

DOWNLOAD 50 graphs HERE: Please download new market graphs here as a zip file. See my sharing policy for 5 ways to share (please don’t copy verbatim).

Questions: Did I miss anything? Any other thoughts as to why inventory is low? How would you describe the market right now? I’d love to hear your take.

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An open letter about celebrity flipping seminars

Dear Public,

Last week I got an invite to a celebrity flipping seminar. That’s right, I can go learn how to flip houses from Tarek & Christina, the stars of HGTV’s Flip or Flop. Being that this is the second celebrity event to come to town this year, let’s talk about some of the dangers of these events and the real temperature of the flipping market. Please note: I’m not angry. I’m not a hater. I’m not jealous. I only want to give thoughtful commentary for the sake of others.

Celebrity flipping event HGTV Sacramento Appraisal Blog

Some things to know about these events:

  1. The reality stars won’t be there: This may come as a surprise, but the stars are not likely going to be there unless you consider a video appearance as being present.
  2. The goal is to make money off you: The event is designed to whet your appetite only to invite you to go deeper by paying for courses. From the reading I’ve done it sounds like the next step costs $1,000 to $2,000, but some students end up spending far more over time ($5000+ easily). The event will feel good and you’ll probably be inspired, but make no mistake the real goal is to get you to open your wallet.
  3. Flipping formulas don’t work everywhere: There is no such thing as a flipping model that will work in every location and every type of housing market in the United States, yet this event is being hosted in many cities and states. Moreover, it may be wise to be cautious about listening to a company coming from the outside, knowing far less about the local market, and using a celebrity’s star power to talk about flipping.
  4. It’s no longer a foreclosure market: The market used to be full of bank-owned properties, so it used to be much easier to buy low-priced homes to make a quick buck. For example, in 2009 over 70% of all sales in Sacramento County were bank-owned, but now that number is 3%.
  5. Experienced investors are struggling to find good deals: This event touts attendees will “gain insider access to private pre-auction real estate inventories.” Keep in mind even seasoned investors are struggling to find good deals right now because housing inventory is sparse and the foreclosure market dried up. Just last week I talked with an investor who was once easily in the top 10 in my market a few years ago, but is having a hard time finding deals lately. This doesn’t mean flipping is impossible, but it’s currently a really competitive market. That might be good to know before forking out thousands of dollars so you can “retire rich”, right?
  6. More skill is required: Today’s market in flipping is much different than it used to be. A friend on Twitter said it perfectly: “The anybody flip market has dried up. It’s a contractors-special flip market now. Serious add-value needed.” I agree with this as today’s flippers often need to add square footage, add a second bath, maybe do a more substantial kitchen remodel, etc… It’s often not just a matter of picking up a property, putting on some “lipstick”, and re-listing it. The rules have simply changed since the “foreclosure flood” ended. In short, it takes more skill to flip in today’s market.

My advice? Be careful. We all want financial freedom, but you could easily spend thousands of dollars on these seminars to obtain “secret flipping knowledge” (that you can probably get for free). If you want to get into flipping I suggest meeting investors in your local market and scouring the forums on BiggerPockets.com for free flipping advice.

I hope this was helpful.

Sincerely,

Ryan

Questions: What is your favorite HGTV show? Did I leave anything out? What point resonates with you the most? If you’ve attended an event like this, was it valuable? If you are currently flipping properties, what advice would you give to a newbie? Any suggestions for places to meet local investors?

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Packing a market punch in Sacramento

It’s easy to say things like, “The market is on fire” or “Buyers are hungry out there”. Yet I find vague statements don’t pack much of a punch. It’s far more powerful when we get specific. For instance, did you know sales volume is up almost 10% this year so far? Or FHA buyers were 28% of all sales this past quarter in Sacramento County? Those stats carry some weight and bring me pause.

sacramento appraisal blog - image purchased and used with permission from 123rf dot com

Goal of the Big Monthly Post: The goal of this big market update is to help highlight what the market is doing and help us describe it a bit better. If you’re local, absorb what is here and share some of the talking points below with your contacts. If you’re out of town, I’d love to hear about your market also. Email subscribers, I recommend reading this post on the blog instead of email.

Two ways to read this post:

  1. Scan the talking points and graphs quickly.
  2. Grab a cup of coffee and spend a few minutes digesting what is here.

One Paragraph to Describe the Sacramento Market: The first half of 2015 is now over, and all year buyers have expressed a huge appetite for the market. Sales volume is up about 10% in the region, and pendings have routinely been 20%+ higher each month this whole year. Sales volume in June was actually higher than it’s been in about three years. More sales has led to inventory declining, though it’s important to note more listings have definitely been hitting the market (and there have been more price reductions too). While many properties are generating multiple offers and selling very quickly, buyers are also finicky about pulling the trigger on anything that is not well-priced or with an adverse location or condition. Some sellers are severely overpricing their homes too. The median price stayed about the same last month compared to the previous month. One of the biggest factors shaping this market is the power of FHA buyers who now represent 23% of all sales in 2015 in the Sacramento region (and 27.5% of all sales last month in Sacramento County). The byproduct of more FHA buyers is stiff competition at the lower end and higher offers too (this makes overall housing stats look more impressive). As housing inventory presumably begins to increase over the next few months (as it did last year), watch out for price reductions, unrealistic expectations from sellers, and buyers gaining more power.

DOWNLOAD 64 graphs HERE (zip file): Please download all graphs in this post (and more) here as a zip file (or send me an email). Use them for study, for your newsletter, or some on your blog. See my sharing policy for 5 ways to share.

Sacramento County Market Trends for June 2015:

  1. The median price at $290,500 is 7.5% higher than one year ago (June 2014).
  2. It took an average of 30 days to sell a house last month (35 in May).
  3. Cash sales were 16% of all sales during Q2 2015 (31% in 2013).
  4. Short sales were only 5.1% of all sales in Q2 2015.
  5. REOs were only 5.3% of all sales in Q2 2015.
  6. FHA sales were 27.9% of all sales in Sacramento County in Q2 2015.
  7. Sales volume is 17.5% higher this June compared to last June.
  8. There is 1.6 months of housing inventory (2.1 months last June).
  9. The average price per sq ft is 186 (8% higher than last June).
  10. The average sales price is $323,082 (9.8% higher than last year).

price metrics since 2014 in sacramento county

inventory - June 2015 - by home appraiser blog

REOs and short sales in sacramento county - by sacramento appraisal blog

CDOM in Sacramento County - by Sacramento Appraisal Blog

cash sales - sacramento appraisal blog

cash and fha under since 2009 - sacramento appraisal blog

sales volume in Sacramento County

Median price and inventory since 2011 by sacramento appraisal blog

Sacramento Regional Trends for June 2015 (Sac, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado):

  1. Sales volume was up 17% in June 2015 compared to June 2014.
  2. Sales volume for the year is up 9.6% compared with 2014.
  3. The median price at $332,250 is 7.1% higher than one year ago (June 2014).
  4. FHA sales are up 31% this year so far.
  5. Cash sales were roughly 16% of all sales last month.
  6. It took an average of 33 days to sell a house last month (37 days in May).
  7. FHA sales were 23.7% of all sales in the region last month.
  8. There is 1.85 months of housing inventory (1.92 months in May 2015).
  9. The average sales price is $370,013 (7.9% higher than last year).
  10. It took 4 less days to sell a house this June compared to June 2014.

median price and inventory in sacramento placer yolo el dorado county

volume cash and conventional in region by sacramento appraisal blog

months of housing inventory in region by sacramento appraisal blog

days on market in placer sac el dorado yolo county by sacramento appraisal blog

median price and inventory in sacramento regional market

interest rates inventory median price in sacramento regional market by sacramento appraisal blog

Placer County Market Trends for June 2015:

  1. The median price in Placer County is $401,000.
  2. The median price is 5.5% higher than one year ago (June 2014).
  3. It took 36 days on average to sell a house last month.
  4. Cash sales were 14% of all sales last month.
  5. FHA sales were 17.8% of all sales in Placer County last month.
  6. Sales volume was 31% higher this May compared to last May.
  7. Sales volume is up 18% in 2015 compared to last year.
  8. There is 1.88 months of housing inventory (2.76 months last June).
  9. The average price per sq ft is is 200 (up from 184 last June).
  10. The average sales price is $454,643 (8% higher than June 2014).

Placer County sales volume - by sacramento appraisal blog

months of housing inventory in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

days on market in placer county by sacramento appraisal bloginterest rates inventory median price in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

Placer County median price since 2012 - by home appraiser blog

Placer County median price and inventory - by home appraiser blog

I hope this was helpful. Thank you so much for being here.

DOWNLOAD 64 graphs HERE (zip file): Please download all graphs in this post (and more) here as a zip file (or send me an email). Use them for study, for your newsletter, or some on your blog. See my sharing policy for 5 ways to share.

Home Office Progress: I’ve been sharing some progress on my new home office. It’s been so much fun to build and now customize. Last week I finished some cork boards and hung crown moulding. Yes, I know I need to upgrade my chair (coming soon) and have multiple monitors (coming soon).

my home office

Questions: How do you think sellers and buyers are feeling about the market right now? What are you seeing out there?

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Noticing more foreclosures hitting the market?

Have you started to notice a few more foreclosures lately? Let’s talk about that and interpret what is happening. Take a look at the graphs below and then let’s consider a few points.

foreclosures and short sales in sacramento county by sacramento appraisal blogforeclosure in sacramento county by sacramento appraisal blog

A Few Thoughts on the Foreclosure Market:

  1. Sifting Numbers Carefully: The percentage of foreclosures has technically increased lately. However, the most important thing to look at is the number of foreclosures. Since sales volume has been very sparse these past few months in Sacramento County, and foreclosure sales have been more consistent during that time, this naturally gives foreclosure figures a boost for the overall percentage of the market. For instance, we saw a 1% increase in foreclosures from Q3 to Q4 2013, yet we saw the same amount of foreclosures during each respective quarter. Or the numbers for January & February technically show another increase, yet the number of foreclosure sales thus far are actually consistent with the two previous quarters. This goes to show we can make numbers say whatever we want if we’re not careful.
  2. A Key Factor: However, there are definitely more foreclosure listings, which is exactly what we’ve all been seeing on MLS. For context, the past two quarters in Sacramento County each had about 210 foreclosure sales, and there were 139 bank-owned sales in January & February combined. But there are a total of 157 foreclosure listings and 157 foreclosure pendings on the market right now. If these properties end up closing escrow and others continue to hit the market at the same pace, we could see a difference in sales volume in coming time.
  3. No Tidal Wave: We’re not talking about a tidal wave or avalanche increase here, so call off the troops and don’t sound the alarms. But do be aware of some movement stirring in the foreclosure scene.

Paying attention to the trends helps us better serve our existing clients and it can help us see who our future clients are going to be. I hope this was helpful.

Questions: What are you seeing out there in the market? What are you hearing from clients? If you are a real estate agent, are you doing more REO BPOs or taking on more REO listings?

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