With forbearance plans about to come to an end, many are concerned the housing market will experience a wave of foreclosures like what happened after the housing bubble 15 years ago. Here are four reasons why that won’t happen.
1. There are fewer homeowners in trouble this timeAfter the last housing crash, about 9.3 million households lost their home to a foreclosure, short sale, or because they simply gave it back to the bank.
As stay-at-home orders were issued early last year, the overwhelming fear was the pandemic would decimate the housing industry in a similar way. Many experts projected 30% of all mortgage holders would enter the forbearance program. Only 8.5% actually did, and that number is now down to 3.5%.
As of last Friday, the total number of mortgages still in forbearance stood at 1,863,000. That’s definitely a large number, but nowhere near 9.3 million.
2. Most of the 1.86M in forbearance have enough equity to sell their home Of the 1.86 million homeowners currently in forbearance, 87% have at least 10% equity in their homes. The 10% equity number is important because it enables homeowners to sell their houses and pay the related expenses instead of facing the hit on their credit that a foreclosure or short sale would create.
The remaining 13% might not all have the option to sell, so if the entire 13% of the 1.86M homes went into foreclosure, that would total 241,800 mortgages. To give that number context, here are the annual foreclosure numbers of the three years leading up to the pandemic:
3. The current market can absorb any listings coming to the marketWhen foreclosures hit the market in 2008, there was an excess supply of homes for sale. The situation is exactly the opposite today. In 2008, there was a 9-month supply of listings for sale. Today, that number stands at less than 3 months of inventory on the market.
As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains when addressing potential foreclosures emerging from the forbearance program:
“Any foreclosure increases will likely be quickly absorbed by the market. It will not lead to any price declines.”
4. Those in power will do whatever is necessary to prevent a wave of foreclosuresJust last Friday, the White House released a fact sheet explaining how homeowners with government-backed mortgages will be given further options to enable them to keep their homes when exiting forbearance. Here are two examples mentioned in the release:
As Ivy Zelman, founder of the major housing market analytical firm Zelman & Associates, notes:
“The likelihood of us having a foreclosure crisis again is about zero percent.”
As we move into the second half of the year, one thing is clear: the current real estate market is one for the record books. The exact mix of conditions we have today creates opportunities for both buyers and sellers. Here’s a look at four key components that are shaping this unprecedented market.
A Shortage of Homes for Sale
Earlier this year, the number of homes available for sale fell to an all-time low. In recent months, however, inventory levels are starting to trend up. The latest Monthly Housing Market Trends Report from realtor.com says:
“In June, newly listed homes grew by 5.5% on a year-over-year basis, and by 10.9% on a month-over-month basis. Typically, fewer newly listed homes appear on the market in the month of June compared to May. This year, growth in new listings is continuing later into the summer season, a welcome sign for a tight housing market.”
This is good news for buyers who crave more options. But even though we’re experiencing small gains in the number of available homes for sale, inventory remains a challenge in most areas. That’s why it’s still a sellers’ market, giving homeowners immense leverage when they decide to make a move.
Buyer Competition and Bidding Wars
Today’s ongoing low supply, coupled with high demand, creates a market characterized by high buyer competition and bidding wars. Buyers are going above and beyond to make sure their offer stands out from the crowd by offering over the asking price, all cash, or waiving some contingencies. The number of offers on the average house for sale broke records this year – and that’s great news for sellers.
The latest Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says the average home for sale receives five offers (see graph below):
For buyers, the best way to put a compelling offer together is by working with a local real estate professional. That agent can act as your trusted advisor on what terms are best for you and what’s most appealing to the seller.
Home Price Appreciation
The competition among buyers is driving prices up. Over the past year, we’ve seen home price appreciation rise across the country. According to the most recent Home Price Index (HPI) from CoreLogic, national home prices increased 15.4% year-over-year in May:
“The May 2021 HPI gain was up from the May 2020 gain of 4.2% and was the highest year-over-year gain since November 2005. Low mortgage rates and low for-sale inventory drove the increase in home prices.”
Rising home values are a big part of why real estate remains one of the top sought-after investments for Americans. For potential sellers, it also means it’s a great time to list your house to maximize the return on your investment.
A Rise in Home Values and Equity
The equity in a home doesn’t just grow when a homeowner pays their mortgage – it also grows as the home’s value appreciates. Thanks to the jump in price appreciation, homeowners across the country are seeing record-breaking gains in home equity. CoreLogic recently reported:
“…homeowners with mortgages (which account for roughly 62% of all properties) have seen their equity increase by 19.6% year over year, representing a collective equity gain of over $1.9 trillion, and an average gain of $33,400 per borrower, since the first quarter of 2020.”
That’s a major perk for households to leverage. Homeowners can use that equity to accomplish major life goals or move into their dream homes.
If you’re thinking about buying or selling, there’s no time like the present. Let’s connect to talk about how you can take advantage of the conditions we’re seeing today to meet your homeownership goals.