As with everything supply and demand also impacts the housing economy. In today’s economy, there is still uncertainty because of the pandemic. As we reach the end of 2020, home prices are still on the rise and are predicted to keep on the same path into the new year.

The current housing market is lacking still in inventory. The high demand for housing combined with the lack of inventory is pushing home prices up. Bidding wars are becoming the norm and homebuyers are willing to pay the hefty price tag in today’s real estate market.

According to housing experts, the new year will continue to see home prices rising due to the continued lack of home inventory on the market. Showtime, which tracks the average number of buyer showings on residential properties, reported that buyer showings are up 61.9% this fall compared to the fall of 2019.

“Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic in March, nearly 400,000 fewer homes have been listed compared to last year, leaving a gaping hole in the U.S. housing inventory,” according to ShowingTime.

If you are in the market to purchase a home, reach out to a Realtor. A Realtor will be able to help you navigate the current face-paced housing market.

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The pandemic has changed the way people view their homes. From the stay-at-home orders to the scare of spreading the virus, the home is everyone’s safe haven. Luckily today’s technology has enabled many Americans to work from home. More and more people are reassessing what they want in a home such as a home office, flex space and outdoor living space.

The housing market is booming in fact, home sales are higher than they were before the pandemic. The existing and new home sales are the highest level we have seen in over a decade. With the increase in home sales, comes an increase in the demand for building materials and labor.

Lumber has been in very high demand during recent months. Not only are builders building new homes but many homeowners are remodeling their current homes. Home offices and remote work locations have also spiked the demand for this hot commodity. The November 2020 Random Length Lumber contract shows a low set during the height of COVID in April at 277 but then in August lumber was set at 820.

The copper market has also been greatly affected by the booming housing market. Looking at the September 2020 copper futures contract, we witness a low set on March 19 at 1.99, followed by a big move up to 3.08 by September 15. Copper is also valuable to the technology industry where it is used for building servers, semiconductors and switches.

Currently, sales of single-family homes are up 24% from the spring, existing condominiums and co-ops are up 32%. Lumber and copper numbers are a great way to measure and predict the direction the housing industry will go, knowing which markets are directly affected by the growing demand for single-family units can be important for every trader and investor.

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Realtor.com’s Monthly Housing Trends Report said this October saw close to record levels in sales in the U.S. housing market. In fact, this October houses sold faster than September for the first time since 2011.

“In the fall, we normally see homes sell more slowly and prices pull back from peak levels. But this October, we saw a drop in the time it takes to sell a home even while home prices remain at their summer peak,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com.

According to Realtor.com in October homes sold in 53 days which was 13 days faster than October of last year. For home prices, the median listing price rose 12.2% year-over-year to $350,000.

The numbers for the newly listed homes by U.S. metropolitan area were very different. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California had the highest new listing count year-over-year at 30.6% with a median listing price of $1,199,100.00 with 34 days on the market while Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin,
Tennessee had the lowest new listing count year-over-year at -27.5% with a median listing price of $400,000 with 32 days on the market. Within the country’s 50 largest metros, homes sold in a record 45 days.

As far as the nation’s regions, the Northeast had the highest gains at 11.4%, next the West had 10.1%, followed by the Midwest with 9% and the South came in last at 7.3%.

Here is a look at the number of newly listed homes by metropolitan area:

Metro New Listing
Count YoY
Median
Listing
Price YoY
Median
Listing Price
Median
Days on
Market
Active
Listing
Count
YoY
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. 30.6% 8.1% $1,199,100 34 -18.5%
New York-Newark-Jersey City, N.Y.-N.J.-Pa. 28.2% 15.1% $639,100 58 -6.1%
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif. 25.9% 11.6% $1,049,100 35 -4.2%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif. 17.2% 16.9% $995,100 49 -22.9%
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Conn. 15.9% 7.1% $300,000 41 -31.3%
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H. 15.1% 13.9% $669,100 33 -29.4%
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash. 12.5% 6.4% $625,000 35 -31.6%
Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, Calif. 11.3% 12.3% $549,100 35 -48.4%
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis. 9.9% 2.4% $348,000 37 -30.1%
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-Va.-
Md.-W. Va.
5.4% 4.6% $502,100 36 -36.7%
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev. 0.4% 7.9% $345,300 41 -7.8%
San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif. -0.6% 11.2% $795,100 24 -25.4%
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md. -1.2% 16.7% $349,100 48 -41.8%
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. -2.0% 5.0% $520,000 36 -44.2%
Birmingham-Hoover, Ala. -2.4% 1.7% $260,000 51 -36.1%
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash. -2.7% 9.1% $510,100 49 -44.0%
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. -3.8% 14.6% $470,100 41 -53.6%
Rochester, N.Y. -3.9% 12.9% $228,700 31 -43.3%
St. Louis, Mo.-Ill. -4.4% 10.3% $248,000 56 -38.4%
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va.-
N.C.
-4.9% 6.9% $320,600 39 -46.7%
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md. -7.3% 4.6% $340,000 43 -51.4%
Raleigh, N.C. -7.3% 6.8% $390,000 49 -45.4%
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis. -7.6% 3.8% $300,000 42 -39.2%
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas -7.6% 7.8% $334,100 52 -32.8%
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Ill.-Ind.-Wis. -7.9% 9.5% $345,000 43 -32.6%
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, N.Y. -8.2% 7.5% $215,000 52 -46.7%
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. -8.2% 10.0% $308,000 48 -43.0%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Fla. -8.8% 2.5% $410,100 93 -15.6%
Austin-Round Rock, Texas -9.0% 15.9% $413,200 46 -47.7%
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla. -9.2% 1.6% $325,000 59 -20.9%
Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio -9.3% 3.2% $200,000 47 -48.2%
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. -9.3% 7.7% $415,600 36 -41.8%
Pittsburgh, Pa. -9.4% N/A $245,100 57 -36.8%
Providence-Warwick, R.I.-Mass. -10.3% 6.1% $400,000 42 -52.5%
Kansas City, Mo.-Kan. -11.1% 10.1% $330,100 47 -48.7%
New Orleans-Metairie, La. -12.8% 15.7% $329,100 64 -39.1%
Cincinnati, Ohio-Ky.-Ind. -13.7% 16.3% $310,000 39 -44.9%
Oklahoma City, Okla. -15.4% 6.6% $270,000 48 -40.5%
San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas -16.0% 3.6% $300,000 53 -40.8%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas -16.1% 4.1% $356,000 47 -46.8%
Louisville/Jefferson County, Ky.-Ind. -17.4% 2.2% $258,100 35 -50.2%
Columbus, Ohio -17.5% 9.0% $305,100 35 -47.8%
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga. -18.8% 10.6% $355,100 46 -45.5%
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind. -19.8% 5.7% $275,000 43 -47.8%
Jacksonville, Fla. -20.4% 2.6% $318,100 55 -45.5%
Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark. -21.7% 14.0% $263,800 45 -49.3%
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Mich -21.7% 12.4% $269,100 38 -47.4%
Richmond, Va. -21.8% 11.7% $357,000 45 -48.2%
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, N.C.-S.C. -22.9% 9.0% $365,400 43 -48.7%
Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin,
Tenn.
-27.5% 8.1% $400,000 32 -43.6%
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The COVID pandemic is still causing uncertainty in the world today. A person’s home has become their essential safe haven. The NAHB has learned from a two-part presentation lead by the Leading Suppliers Council (LSC) there are two building trends that have become essential to buyers in the housing market. Buyers are more concerned about purchasing a smart home and a healthy home.

Homeowners are spending more time than ever at home during the pandemic. People are living, working and playing all at home. Utility costs are on the rise. Potential homebuyers are interested in smart technologies that can make their home more convenient, secure and energy-efficient. Smart devices are becoming the norm in newly built and renovated homes.

Two-thirds of consumers say they want a connected home. According to Stephen Embry, a partner with the law firm of Frost Brown Todd, in approximately 3 years around 43% of homeowners will have some sort of connected devices in their homes. She says that a home that does not have technology will not be worth as much as a home with technology.

Builders have also seen a trend in homeowners stressing the importance of a healthy home. What does this mean? Consumers want a home with good indoor air quality, plenty of sunlight and the use of non-toxic building materials.

Eco Pulse reports that 66% of Millennials are concerned about indoor air quality. According to the report, in one year six rooms can collect around 40 pounds of dust. There is a possibility that the dust collected could have close to 45 toxic chemicals in it. This is in the air homeowners breathe in their homes on a daily basis.

When building or remodeling a home to improve the home’s health there are many things to consider. Always use clean, renewable energy to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Use paints that do not contain VOC that will emit harmful chemicals into the home. Use sound insulation and lighting that adapt to circadian rhythms in the bedroom for improving sleep. Install sensors that monitor air quality. Use double-glazed windows to reduce noise and create better insulation, also make sure your windows provide maximum views to allow natural light in. Most importantly use energy-efficient systems that are easy to control and monitor.

Today more than ever, homeowners want to be able to depend on their homes for their safe place away from the stresses of the pandemic. These two trends are a great way to create a better, healthier environment for families to live, work and play in.

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Building Permits Survey, since the beginning of 2020, there have been 525,623 single-family permits issued YTD. They go on to report that this is a 5.8% increase over July 2019’s 496,726.

Across the country’s four regions the outcome was both an increase and decrease in certain areas. The South saw an 8.6% increase while the Northeast saw a 1.7% decrease. From July 2019 to July 2020 35 states reported an increase in single-family home permits and 14 states and the District of Columbia reported a decline.

Louisiana did not see a change while South Dakota saw the highest growth rate from 1,508 to 2,050, a 35.9% increase. The District of Columbia reported a 41% decline from 117 in 2019 to only 69 in 2020.

The top 10 metro areas with the highest single-family permits issued were Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX with 25,577, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX with 23,535, Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ with 16,584, Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA with 14,505, Austin-Round Rock, TX with 11,649, Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC with 10,071, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL with 8,924, Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL with 8,244, Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN with 8,000 and Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV with 7,592.

Multi-family permits saw different statistics from July 2019 YTD to 2020 YTD. Reports showed a 2.3% decline from July 2019. Half of the states saw an increase while the other half saw a decline. North Dakota had the highest rise from 218 to 760, which was a 248.6% increase. New Hampshire saw the sharpest decline from 577 to 265 making it a 54.1% decrease.

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The home has definitely turned into the live work and play of 2020. COVID-19 has caused many to rethink rooms and turn them into home offices and exercise rooms. The overall need for our home has changed due to shelter-in-place.

Energy usage has also gone up as we are staying home more than ever. According to Freddie Mac, March saw a 22% higher household electrical usage than March of 2019. The biggest consumption was midday between 10 am to 3 pm. Shelter-in place caused the nation to live work and play in their homes 24/7. On average there was a $25 increase to monthly utility bills the month of April.

COVID-19 will not be going away anytime soon, and shelter-in-place could be a likely possibility for us in the near future. Homeowners are looking for ways to cut back on energy consumption.

Energy-efficient appliances are a good way to conserve energy and cut down on the cost of utility bills. Other options to reduce energy consumption are updated HVAC units, new windows, and new doors. Sealing around entryways can also help with insulation. Solar panels and geothermal heating are other good solutions.

If the cost of upgrading is an issue, energy or green mortgages might be the solution. Green mortgages can offer homeowners an opportunity to purchase homes that utilize these technologies through mortgages that permit higher debt-to-income ratio requirements. Freddie Mac states that purchasing a home that is green-building certified will not only help decrease utility bills but will also increase the house’s market value.

If you are not planning on moving anytime soon, there is a type of energy (green) mortgage that is specifically for energy improvements to existing homes. Homeowners are able to finance through this mortgage to help increase their home’s energy efficiency.

Green mortgages have many advantages such as greater purchasing power, affordable energy-efficient upgrades and an increase in home values. If you are looking to purchase a home or update your current home to make it more energy efficient a green mortgage is right for you.

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Freddie Mac announced another round of record-low mortgage rates. This will be the ninth record low since March 2020. The first full week of September saw a 2.86% drop in the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and a 2.37% drop on a 15-year fixed-rate.

“Mortgage rates have hit another record low due to a late-summer slowdown in the economic recovery,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Home sales remain very strong according to Joel Kan, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s associate vice president of economic industry and forecasting. Both the loan size and applications for new mortgages rose. For the week ending on September 4, applications were up 3% and the average loan size was the highest amount since the Mortgage Bankers Association began recording at $368,600.

“Homebuyers continue placing offers on homes, pushing existing inventory toward historic lows,” said George Ratiu, Realtor.com’s senior economist. “Would-be sellers are stuck in their homes, struggling to find their next house amid a dearth of supply, further contributing to the decline in inventory.”

The limited supply of homes for sale is driving the price higher. Home prices are 11% higher than they were a year ago. Homebuyers have to purchase less home at a higher price.

Refinancing for homeowners has also been on the rise. The record-low interest rates makes it more affordable for homeowners who would like to refinance.

Black Knight, a mortgage data company, says there are approximately 19.3 million high-quality refinance candidates. This number includes 43% of all 30-year mortgage holders, making this the largest group of this kind there has ever been.

Whether you are looking for your first home, a new home or refinancing your current home, now is the time. The mortgage rates are very low and FHFA also announced Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will exempt refinance loans with balances under $125,000 from the fee. The housing market is the strongest we have seen in a long time and only proves to make a great investment for the future.

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The U.S. labor market saw 1.4 million jobs added in August. The unemployment rate dipped to 8.4% which shows a strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s The Employment Situation for August shows total nonfarm payroll employment jumped by 1.4 million. This increase comes after a 4.8 million increase in June and a 1.7 million increase in July.

The summary indicates that in the past four months, the country has seen 10.6 million new jobs created. This is good news after 22.1 million jobs in March and April were lost due to the pandemic.

Government employment rose in August which added up to 25% of the gain in total payroll employment recorded for the month. The 344,000 new jobs were due mainly to the hiring of temporary positions for the 2020 census.

Retail trade, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, education and health services and temporary health services all saw an increase in jobs in the six figures. Health care and social assistance, transportation and warehousing, goods-producing, financial activities, manufacturing, nondurable goods, construction, information, wholesale trade, durable goods and utilities fell under the six-figure mark while mining and logging lost jobs.

August also saw an 8.4% decline in the unemployment rate which dropped 1.8 percentage points. Those that were unemployed declined by 2.8 million and those looking for a job or already with a job (labor force participation rate) rose to 61.7%.

As far as the housing industry goes, residential construction employment went up 27,700 to 2.9 million in August. The breakdown shows 820,000 builders and 2.1 million residential specialty trade contractors.

The unemployment rate for construction workers also dropped 9.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis. This shows a drop in the unemployment rate for construction workers for the past four months.

Along with the data, the Household Survey indicated 24.3% of employed teleworked or worked from home due to COVID-19. The Household Survey report comes from questions added to the Current Population Survey (CPS) since May 2020.

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Even though the housing market was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is rebounding at record speeds. According to the latest National Association of Realtors (NAR) Existing Home Sales Report, June marked a record-setting rebound in home sales. NAR reported a 20.7% jump in home sales from May to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.72 million in June.

“Existing-home sales rebounded at a record pace in June, showing strong signs of a market turnaround after three straight months of sales declines caused by the ongoing pandemic…Each of the four major regions achieved month-over-month growth,” reports the National Association of Realtors.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for NAR says this is a major boost for the housing market and the U.S. economy as a whole. He goes on to explain the sales recovery is strong because buyers are back in the market purchasing the properties they have been eyeing during the country’s shut-down.

The low mortgage rates and increase job gains will keep this revitalization going for many months ahead. Mortgage rates are at an all-time low at under 3% for the first time. Everyone wants to take advantage of the rates while they are so low. Low inventory and a massive amount of buyers have increased home prices because of bidding wars. In June the median existing-home price for all types of housing was $295,300 which was up 3.5% from this time last year. This marks the 100 straight months of year-over-year gains.

The housing industry is leading the economy to recovery. This is the right time to purchase a home and a Realtor can take you step by step through the home buying process.

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The housing industry and the residential construction industry is still the catalyst for a rebounding economy. Single-family permits and starts gained ground in July. Low-interest rates and the importance of homes due to COVID-19 have fueled the buyer’s market.

According to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), single-family permits rose 17% in July. So far in 2020, the total permits for single-family homes on year-to-date bases are up around 6% higher than the first seven months of 2019.

The HMI is based on data collected from the NAHB’s monthly survey which the National Association of Home Builders has been conducting for 30 years. It measures builder’s perceptions of the current single-family home sales and expectations of sales for the next six months. Builders will rate their perception as good, fair or poor.

There are signs that more gains for single-family starts are on the horizon. This can be determined by the fast pace of permits and the renewal of builder confidence. The graph shows that single-family construction has been on the rise since it hit a low in April from the pandemic. April had a 679,000 annual pace while July saw a 940,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate.

Per region single-family starts are up and down depending on the region. In the Northeast single-family starts are down on a year-to-date basis 1%, in the South, they are up 0.7%, in the Midwest they are up 3.4% and in the West, they are also in the positive at 0.5%.

So far the housing market has remained strong during these unprecedented times. The count of single-family homes in various stages of construction is still on the rise. Now is a good time to sell or purchase a home.

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