Why Today’s Housing Inventory Shows a Crash Isn’t on the Horizon
You might remember the housing crash in 2008, even if you didn’t own a home at the time. If you’re worried there’s going to be a repeat of what happened back then, there’s good news – the housing market now is different from 2008. That is Why Todays’ Housing Inventory Shows a Crash Isn’t on the Horizon.
One important reason is there aren’t enough homes for sale. That means there’s an undersupply, not an oversupply like the last time. For the market to crash, there would have to be too many houses for sale, but the data doesn’t show that happening.
Housing supply comes from three main sources:
- Homeowners deciding to sell their houses
- Newly built homes
- Distressed properties (foreclosures or short sales)
Here’s a closer look at today’s housing inventory to understand why this isn’t like 2008.
Homeowners Deciding To Sell Their Houses
Although housing supply did grow compared to last year, it’s still low. The current months’ supply is below the norm. The graph below shows this more clearly. If you look at the latest data (shown in green), compared to 2008 (shown in red), there’s only about a third of that available inventory today.
So, what does this mean? There just aren’t enough homes available to make home values drop. To have a repeat of 2008, there’d need to be a lot more people selling their houses with very few buyers, and that’s not happening right now.
Newly Built Homes
People are also talking a lot about what’s going on with newly built houses these days, and that might make you wonder if homebuilders are overdoing it. The graph below shows the number of new houses built over the last 52 years:
The 14 years of underbuilding (shown in red) is a big part of the reason why inventory is so low today. Basically, builders haven’t been building enough homes for years now and that’s created a significant deficit in supply.
While the final blue bar on the graph shows that’s ramping up and is on pace to hit the long-term average again, it won’t suddenly create an oversupply. That’s because there’s too much of a gap to make up. Plus, builders are being intentional about not overbuilding homes like they did during the bubble.
Distressed Properties (Foreclosures and Short Sales)
The last place inventory can come from is distressed properties, including short sales and foreclosures. Back during the housing crisis, there was a flood of foreclosures due to lending standards that allowed many people to get a home loan they couldn’t truly afford.
Today, lending standards are much tighter, resulting in more qualified buyers and far fewer foreclosures. The graph below uses data from the Federal Reserve to show how things have changed since the housing crash:
This graph illustrates, as lending standards got tighter and buyers were more qualified, the number of foreclosures started to go down. And in 2020 and 2021, the combination of a moratorium on foreclosures and the forbearance program helped prevent a repeat of the wave of foreclosures we saw back around 2008.
The forbearance program was a game changer, giving homeowners options for things like loan deferrals and modifications they didn’t have before. And data on the success of that program shows four out of every five homeowners coming out of forbearance are either paid in full or have worked out a repayment plan to avoid foreclosure. These are a few of the biggest reasons there won’t be a wave of foreclosures coming to the market.
What This Means for You
Inventory levels aren’t anywhere near where they’d need to be for prices to drop significantly and the housing market to crash. According to Bankrate, that isn’t going to change anytime soon, especially considering buyer demand is still strong:
“This ongoing lack of inventory explains why many buyers still have little choice but to bid up prices. And it also indicates that the supply-and-demand equation simply won’t allow a price crash in the near future.”
The market doesn’t have enough available homes for a repeat of the 2008 housing crisis – and there’s nothing that suggests that will change anytime soon. That’s why housing inventory tells us there’s no crash on the horizon.
If you want to know more about the real estate market in your neighborhood, or condominium building, I can set up a search for you so you are notified of New Listings, Homes Under Contract, and those that have Sold! Feel free to call, text or you can reach me at Thom (at) MyMidtownMojo.com
Lending Standards Are Not Like They Were Leading Up to the Crash
You might be worried we’re heading for a housing crash, but there are many reasons why this housing market isn’t like the one we saw in 2008. One of which is how lending standards are different today. Here’s a look at the data to help prove it. And why the idea of waiting to buy a home until “the market crashes” is not a wise decision.
Every month, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) releases the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI). According to their website:
“The MCAI provides the only standardized quantitative index that is solely focused on mortgage credit. The MCAI is . . . a summary measure which indicates the availability of mortgage credit at a point in time.”
Basically, the index determines how easy it is to get a mortgage. Take a look at the graph below of the MCAI since they started keeping track of this data in 2004. It shows how lending standards have changed over time. It works like this:
- When lending standards are less strict, it’s easier to get a mortgage, and the index (the green line in the graph) is higher.
- When lending standards are stricter, it’s harder to get a mortgage, and the line representing the index is lower.
In 2004, the index was around 400. But, by 2006, it had gone up to over 850. Today, the story is quite different. Since the crash, the index went down because lending standards got tighter, so today it’s harder to get a mortgage.
Loose Lending Standards Contributed to the Housing Bubble
One of the main factors that contributed to the housing bubble was that lending standards were a lot less strict back then. Realtor.com explains it like this:
“In the early 2000s, it wasn’t exactly hard to snag a home mortgage. . . . plenty of mortgages were doled out to people who lied about their incomes and employment, and couldn’t actually afford homeownership.”
The tall peak in the graph above indicates that leading up to the housing crisis, it was much easier to get credit, and the requirements for getting a loan were far from strict. Back then, credit was widely
Lenders were approving loans without always going through a verification process to confirm if the borrower would likely be able to repay the loan. That means creditors were lending to more borrowers who had a higher risk of defaulting on their loans.
Today’s Loans Are Much Tougher To Get than Before
As mentioned, lending standards have changed a lot since then. Bankrate describes the difference:
“Today, lenders impose tough standards on borrowers – and those who are getting a mortgage overwhelmingly have excellent credit.”
If you look back at the graph, you’ll notice after the peak around the time of the housing crash, the line representing the index went down dramatically and has stayed low since. In fact, the line is far below where standards were even in 2004 – and it’s getting lower. Joel Kan, VP and Deputy Chief Economist at MBA, provides the most recent update from May:
“Mortgage credit availability decreased for the third consecutive month . . . With the decline in availability, the MCAI is now at its lowest level since January 2013.”
The decreasing index suggests standards are getting much tougher – which makes it clear we’re far away from the extreme lending practices that contributed to the crash.
Leading up to the housing crash, lending standards were much more relaxed with little evaluation done to measure a borrower’s potential to repay their loan. Today, standards are tighter, and the risk is reduced for both lenders and borrowers. This goes to show, these are two very different housing markets, and this market isn’t like the last time.
Eco-Friendly, Energy-Efficient Homes Attract Buyers
Are you planning to sell your house? If so, you may be surprised to hear just how much buyers value energy efficiency and eco-friendly features today. This is especially true as summer officially kicks off.
In fact, the 2023 Realtors and Sustainability Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows 48% of agents or brokers have noticed consumers are interested in sustainability.
So, if you’re considering selling your house, why does this matter to you? It helps you know what you can do to make your house even more appealing to today’s buyers. According to Jessica Lautz, Deputy Chief Economist and VP of Research at NAR:
“Buyers often seek homes that either lessen their environmental footprint or reduce their monthly energy costs. There is value in promoting green features and energy information to future home buyers.”
Consider Upgrading Your Home To Make It More Appealing
If you want to upgrade your house in a way that maximizes its green appeal, you need to work with a local agent to understand what buyers in your area are looking for. The same NAR report identifies the following green home features as most important to buyers at a national level:
- Windows, doors, and siding
- Proximity to frequently visited places
- A comfortable living space
- A home’s utility bills and operating costs
While you can’t change the location of your house, you can take action to make sure it’s as comfortable as possible while also setting up the next owners for lower operating costs. ENERGY STAR shares some suggested upgrades as ones that may be worth considering:
- Heating and cooling: Ensure your HVAC system is properly maintained and regularly serviced to maximize its efficiency. Consider upgrading to a high-efficiency model, if needed.
- Water heater: Your water heater uses a lot of energy. Upgrading to a heat pump water heater can significantly reduce energy consumption and appeal to environmentally conscious buyers.
- Smart thermostat: A big part of your energy bill goes to heating and cooling. Install a programmable thermostat to better regulate temperature settings. This not only enhances comfort but can also lower energy usage.
- Attic insulation: Proper sealing and insulation in your attic help prevent air leaks and maintain a comfortable temperature, reducing the strain on heating and cooling systems.
- Energy-efficient windows: Replacing old, drafty windows with energy-efficient ones can minimize heat transfer and lower your energy bills.
It’s worth noting that you may be able to take advantage of tax credits and rebates for energy-efficient home installations and upgrades. These incentives could help offset a portion of the costs associated with eco-friendly home improvements.
As you prepare to sell your house, it’s important to recognize that real estate agents are valuable resources. They can help you determine which upgrades would be most appealing for buyers in your area and provide guidance on which green features to highlight in your listing. If you’ve already made these updates recently, tell your agent so they can feature them in your listing.
Focusing on energy efficiency and eco-friendly features can help make your house more appealing to buyers today. Let’s connect to ensure you’re choosing the right upgrades for our area.