Orange County Housing Report July 20th, 2018
The 6-and-a-half year seller’s market is drastically slowing and feels sluggish.
A Changing Market: With more supply and less demand, the overall Orange County housing market has been losing steam.
Have you ever seen a windsock used by pilots to know the direction and speed of the wind? The housing market’s windsock has been blowing extremely hard in the seller’s favor since 2012. In that time, home values have risen about 80%. Over the past couple of month, the housing windsock has dramatically changed. It is not blowing as hard. It is more of a slight evening breeze.
The Orange County housing market has evolved this year. From February through April, there was not enough supply and plenty of demand. That was how the market had been behaving since 2012. Multiple offers within days was the norm. Buyers tripping over themselves to purchase was the norm. Sellers arbitrarily stretching their asking prices $25 thousand or more above the most recent comparable sale, and then getting away with it, was the norm. Not any longer.
What is going on? It all boils down to basic supply and demand. The supply of homes, the active listing inventory, has increased at the fastest pace since 2006. From the start of the year to today, the active inventory has blossomed by 77%. In 2006, it doubled. That was 12 years ago. There is a lot more seller competition today than there was at the start of the year.
Demand, a snapshot of the last 30-days of pending activity, has been a bit more sluggish all year. From April to today, it has been at levels not seen since 2007. With more supply and a lot less demand, the Expected Market Time, the amount of time it would take to list a home today and place it into escrow down the road, has climbed to 80-days, a slight seller’s market. Orange County housing is knocking on the door of a balanced market, 90-days, one that does not favor a seller or buyer.
In comparing the active inventory to last year, it is up in every single price range. Currently, there are 10% more homes on the market than last year. Keep in mind, there were fewer homes year over year for 20-months straight until May of this year. Since then, the difference has increased substantially. It is a new trend that is here to stay.
Similarly, year over year demand is down in nearly every single price range. Overall demand is down by 14% compared to last year at this time. There is a bit more demand in the $1 million to $1.25 million price range and the over $1.5 million luxury range, but both are more sluggish this year compared to last year because there are a lot more homes within those price ranges.
The biggest shift in the market can be found in the lower price ranges, homes priced below $1 million, which accounts for 57% of the active listing inventory and 78% of demand. That is where the Expected Market Time is 32% higher than last year at this time. Above $1 million, the expected market time is already a lot slower, typical for the higher price ranges. However, it is not typical for the meat of the market, homes priced below $1 million, to be this slow at this time of the year.
Why has demand drastically dropped? There are two factors at play: higher values and higher interest rates. Values have been increasing unabated for 6-and-a-half years at a pace that significantly outstrips the rise in incomes. That phenomenon cannot continue forever. Eventually, home values reach a point where they become unaffordable for the masses. As a result, buyer demand drops. That was already occurring on its own, but it was drastically aided by a rise in interest rates. Interest rates have risen from 4% at the start of the year to 4.625% today. Last year, interest rates dropped down to 3.75% by September. Moreover, many experts are forecasting interest rates to rise to 5% by year’s end.
Higher interest rates and higher prices erode affordability. In looking at May’s record Orange County median sales price of $738,500, assuming a 20% down payment, the monthly payment at today’s rate of 4.625% would be $3,038. That payment would have been $2,821 at the start of the year (4%). Because of higher interest rates, today’s median sales price buyer is paying an additional 8%. Housing has appreciated 6% year over year as well. The payment for the May 2017 median sales price of $695,000 would have been $2,654 at 4% (that was the rate a year ago as well). So, the increase in the median sales price and the interest rate in the past year has resulted in a monthly payment that ballooned from $2,654 to $3,038, a 14% increase. That is an additional $384 per month, or $4,608 per year.
With the active inventory rising, demand falling, and interest rates rising, the market will continue to slow and feel even more sluggish. In order for sellers to be successful, properly pricing their homes is fundamental in order to find success. Sellers are not getting away with stretching and padding their asking prices. Buyers are finally getting a little relief. There are a lot more choices and the overall pace is a bit more relaxed.
Active Inventory: The active inventory grew by 3% in the past two-weeks.
The active listing inventory continued its climb in the past two-weeks, adding 217 homes, or 3%, and now totals 6,579, its highest level since September 2016. Expect the active inventory to continue to grow until peaking most likely in mid-August.
Last year at this time, there were 5,983 homes on the market, the 2017 height, 596 fewer. That means that there are 10% more homes on the market today. The year over year difference is growing week by week. The trend of more homes on the market year over year is here to stay.
Demand: Demand dropped by 6% in the past two-weeks.
In the past two-weeks, demand, the number of pending sales over the prior 30-days, decreased by 150 pending sales, or 6%, and now totals 2,454, the lowest demand reading for this time of the year since 2007. It is also the largest two-week drop of the year. Last year at this time, demand was at 2,838 pending sales, 16% more than today, or 384 additional pending sales.
The expected market time, the amount of time it would take for a home that comes onto the market today to be placedinto escrow down the road, increased from 73 to 80 days in the past two-weeks. At 80 days, it is a slight seller’s market (between 60 to 90 days) where sellers still get to call the shots, but appreciation is muted. Last year at this time, the expected market time was at 63 days, a lot hotter than today.
Luxury End: Demand for luxury homes dropped by 9% in the past couple of weeks.
In the past two-weeks, demand for homes above $1.25 million decreased by 33 pending sales, down 9%, and now totals 330, its lowest level since the end of January. The luxury home inventory increased by 20 homes and now totals 2,194. The overall expected market time for homes priced above $1.25 million increased from 179 to 199 daysover the past two-weeks.
Year over year, luxury demand is up by 1 pending sales,nearly identical, and the active luxury listing inventory is up by an additional 105 homes, or 5%. The expected market time last year was at 190 days, slightly better than today.
For homes priced between $1.25 million and $1.5 million, the expected market time increased from 113 to 126 days. For homes priced between $1.5 million and $2 million, the expected market time increased from 150 to 163 days. For homes priced between $2 million and $4 million, the expected market time increased from 225 to 250 days. For homes priced above $4 million, the expected market time increased from 427 to 511 days. At 511 days, a seller would be looking at placing their home into escrow around December 2019.
Orange County Housing Market Summary:
- The active listing inventory increased by 217 homes in the past two weeks, up 3%, and now totals 6,579. Expect the inventory to increase from now through mid-August. Last year, there were 5,983 homes on the market, 596 fewer than today.
- This year, 18% fewer homes have come on the market below $500,000 today compared to last year, andthere have been 26% fewer closed sales so far this year. Fewer and fewer homes and condominiums are now pricedbelow $500,000. This price range is slowly vanishing.
- Demand, the number of pending sales over the prior month, decreased in the past two-weeks by 150 pending sales, down 6%, and now totals 2,454. Demand peaked in mid-May at 2,726 pending sales. Last year, there were 2,838 pending sales, 16% more than today.
- The average list price for all of Orange County dropped to $1.6 million over the past two-weeks. This number is high due to the mix of homes in the luxury ranges that sit on the market and do not move as quickly as the lower end.
- For homes priced below $750,000, the market is HOT with an expected market time of just 54 days, but is knocking on the door of a slight seller’s market (60-90 days). This range represents 37% of the active inventory and 56% of demand.
- For homes priced between $750,000 and $1 million, the expected market time is 72 days, a slight seller’s market (between 60 and 90 days). This range represents 20% of the active inventory and 22% of demand.
- For homes priced between $1 million to $1.25 million, the expected market time is 101 days, a balanced market (between 90 to 120 days).
- For luxury homes priced between $1.25 million and $1.5 million, the expected market time increased from 113 to 126 days. For homes priced between $1.5 million and $2 million, the expected market time increased from 150 to 163 days. For luxury homes priced between $2 million and $4 million, the expected market time increased from 225 to 250 days. For luxury homes priced above $4 million, the expected market time increased from 427 to 511 days.
- The luxury end, all homes above $1.25 million, accounts for 33% of the inventory and only 14% of demand.
- The expected market time for all homes in Orange County increased from 73 to 80 days in the past two weeks, a slight seller’s market (from 60 to 90 days).
- Distressed homes, both short sales and foreclosures combined, made up only 1% of all listings and 1.3% of demand. There are only 28 foreclosures and 36 short sales available to purchase today in all of Orange County, 64 total distressed homes on the active market, up six in the past two weeks. Last year there were 76 total distressed homes on the market, 19% more than today.
- There were 2,851 closed residential resales in June, down by 12% from June 2017’s 3,229 closed sales. June marked a 1% decrease from May 2018. The sales to list price ratio was 98.2% for all of Orange County. Foreclosures accounted for just 0.2% of all closed sales, andshort sales accounted for 0.7%. That means that 99.1% of all sales were good ol’ fashioned sellers with equity.