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Home Prices, Housing Trends, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing, Residential Real Estate Index

Low Home Inventory Beginning to Affect Sales Volume: First Time Home Buyers Fueling Growth

MINNEAPOLIS, (June 21, 2017)— According to the First-Time Homebuyer Market Report recently released by Genworth Mortgage Insurance this segment of the market is having a big influence on the national housing market. The report found that this demographic accounted for 424,000 single-family home sales, or 38 percent of the total homes sold in Q1 of 2017. This amount is an 11 percent increase from Q1 2016, and the most since 2005. Their source data dates back to 1994 and analyzes over 20 million records. The survey tracks home sales for first-time homebuyers on a monthly basis, publishes quarterly, and compares the data against national housing market indicators.

“The first time home buyer segment is poised for additional growth in the Twin Cities. In fact, historically low interest rates and a strong local economy are all feeding demand in this market segment.” said Herb Tousley, director of real estate programs at the University of St. Thomas.

There are some head winds that are creating a drag on the willingness and ability of first time buyers to jump into home ownership. Student loan debt is a major factor making it very difficult to save for a down payment, qualify for a mortgage, and afford a mortgage payment. Additionally, the extreme shortage of moderately priced homes is making it difficult for first time buyers to find affordable homes in good locations.

The limited availability of homes to buy is creating upward pressure on sale prices. Home prices have been rising faster than wages for the last several years. This situation is starting to create affordability issues for first time buyers who typically do not have large down payments. The idea of home ownership is still very much alive among younger potential home buyers. However, due to the aforementioned factors many are needing to delay their first home purchase by several years.

 Setting New Records

The Twin Cities housing market continues to set new records in May. Record high median sales prices and historically low supply continue to dominate the market. The overall median sale price jumped from $245,500 in April to $250,000 in May.

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Affordable Housing, Development, Home Prices, Housing, Housing Trends, Industry News, Residential Real Estate

Ten Surprising Facts: State of the Nation’s Housing Report

Since the housing bubble burst in 2008, the market has seen an increase in demand for homes, but home inventories remain stagnant. Further, either from the bank restrictions or consumer caution new home growth has been at record lows for the last 10 years. Whether this is just a trend or due to socio-economic reasons can be debated, but statistics do show Millenials are living with their parents longer and seem to be putting off buying homes due to a different economic situation than previous generations at the same age (US Census).

Further a recent housing report by Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, posit similar statistics in the market strengthening the argument that Millenials and uncertainty are holding down the housing market.

1. For-sale inventories dropped even lower over the past year.

For the fourth year in a row, the inventory of homes for sale across the US not only failed to recover, but dropped yet again. At the end of 2016 there were an historically low 1.65 million homes for sale nationwide, which at the current sales rate was just 3.6 months of supply – almost half of the 6.0 months level that is considered a balanced market.

2. Fewer homes were built over the last 10 years than any 10-year period in recent history.

Even with the recent recovery in both single-family and multifamily construction, markets nationwide are still feeling the effects of the deep and extended decline in housing construction. Over the past 10 years, just 9 million new housing units were completed and added to the housing stock. This was the lowest 10-year period on records dating back to the 1970s, and far below the 14 and 15 million units averaged over the 1980s and 1990s.

Read more of the Full Article or go straight to the full Housing Report by Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

 

Architecture & Design, Commercial Lending, Commercial Real Estate, Development, Housing Trends

Finance & Commerce: Will Minnesota law change revive condo development?

Original Article

Date: June 7th, 2017

By: Brian Johnson

 

A change in Minnesota law that makes it more difficult for homeowner associations to sue over construction defect claims may or may not revive condominium and townhome construction. But builders, developers and real estate agents who pushed for the change say it’s a good start.

House File 1538, signed by Gov. Mark Dayton last week, requires homeowner associations to implement a preventive maintenance plan, go through mediation, and get the majority of association members on board before they can proceed with a construction defect lawsuit.

“None of us have a crystal ball as to whether any of this will change the market,” said Ryan Hamilton, associate legal counsel for the Minnesota Association of Realtors, which supported the bill. “It is an effort to improve the risk environment. We hope it does that.”

Builders and developers have been clinging to that hope for a while. In recent years, they have been hesitant to move forward with condo and townhome developments for fear of litigation, despite growing demand for such homes. Another barrier: Some still feel the sting of the condo bust in the previous decade, and the lenders do, too.

As Finance & Commerce has reported, state law allows a condo owner or association to sue project teams for “major construction defects” for up to 10 years after the unit or building was completed. The law was amended in 2010 to add commercial contractors to the list of liable partners. That 10-year statute still applies, said Minneapolis attorney Peter Coyle, who worked with the Housing Options Coalition.

Homebuilding has been on the upswing overall. More than 7,600 new multifamily units were added in the seven-county metro area in 2015, up from 2,329 in 2007, according to the Housing Options Coalition, which pushed for the new law. Coalition members include the Minneapolis Downtown Council, the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota, the Builders Association of the Twin Cities and the Minnesota Association of Realtors.

But because of the liability issue, condos and townhomes represent a much smaller share of new housing units. Two years ago, 3 percent of new multifamily units were condos and townhomes, down from 23 percent in 2007, the coalition said.

Speaking to the demand side, Herb Tousley of the University of St. Thomas points specifically to downtown Minneapolis and the city’s North Loop.

Demand is solid for condos there, but “hardly any” units are for sale, said Tousley, director of real estate programs at St. Thomas. Still, he noted new ones are coming online, including developer Jim Stanton’s 374-unit Legacy Condos project at 121 12th Ave. S. in the Mill District of Minneapolis.

“I think you will see people moving in to fill that supply,” he predicted.

Abbey Bryduck, legislative director for AGC-Minnesota, hopes the change will encourage more development. In particular, the preventive maintenance requirement “goes a long way in making sure these buildings are maintained properly,” she said.

The bill, which was approved by a wide margin in the Legislature, had a Republican author in the House and a DFL author in the Senate.

Despite the bipartisan support, some language in the bill, including the requirement to get the majority of condo owners on board with a lawsuit, gives pause to David Hellmuth, an Edina attorney who represents homeowner associations.

Hellmuth said the requirement puts an “unnecessary restriction” on the association when legitimate claims need to be addressed.

A typical defense against construction defect claims is that the association didn’t do enough preventive maintenance. In other words defendants claim the association “caused their own problems,” he said.

“Whether or not that is true is debatable,” Hellmuth said.

Even so, housing industry advocates like David Siegel of the Builders Association of the Twin Cities expect to see more condo and townhome projects sprout up in the metro area and across the state with the changes in effect.

How far has townhome ownership declined?

A number of years ago, BATC held an event that showcased townhomes, condominiums and other for-sale multifamily properties. “We could not do any such thing today,” Siegel said, because the options are too limited.

“I think this legislation will lead to more condo development, and will similarly result in more townhome construction,” Siegel added.

The Builders Association of Minnesota also supported the legislation, said Remi Stone, BAM”s executive vice president.

Stone said it “improves the landscape” for builders and developers looking to produce condos and townhomes, which appeal to younger buyers just entering the market as well as empty-nesters. That goes for markets such as Rochester, St. Cloud and Duluth, as well as the Twin Cities, she said.

Stone hopes the statute changes will spur more development. “This is one feature,” she said. “We still have issues of financing, we still have regulatory costs. But there is demand. And where there’s demand, the market will go.”

Affordable Housing, Home Prices, Housing, Housing Trends, Industry News, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing, Real Estate Trends, Residential Real Estate, Residential Real Estate Index, Twin Cities Real Estate

University of St. Thomas Real Estate Analysis for April 2017: High Demand and Low Supply Continue to Put Upward Pressure on Sale Prices

Negative Equity – Continued Improvement in 2016 but Still an Issue

The number of homeowners with negative or near negative equity continues to decline but is still high by historical standards. Lack of equity is a reason that many homeowners are not willing or able to put their homes up for sale which is a contributing factor to the very low number of homes for sale in the Twin Cities. As can be seen in the table below about 1 in 5 homeowners in the metro area with a mortgage is in a negative or near negative situation.

% of Home Owners in the Twin Cities with Negative or Near Negative Equity

County Negative Equity* Near Negative Equity**   County Negative Equity* Near Negative Equity**
Hennepin 8.0% 20.4% Scott 6.1% 20.1%
Ramsey 6.6% 18.7% Carver 5.9% 21.3%
Dakota 6.6% 20.5% Chisago 8.5% 22.9%
Washington 6.6% 21.1% St. Croix (WI) 7.9% 23.0%
Anoka 7.0% 23.6% Pierce (WI) 11.3% 27.5%
Twin Cities 7.3% National 10.5%

     Source: Zillow

* Negative Equity – Owes more than the house is worth

** Near Negative Equity – Equity is less than 20% of value

“The problem with near negative equity is that home owners are not actually underwater, but in many cases they do not have enough equity after they sell their home to pay for the costs of buying a new home, including a down payment, commissions and taxes” said Herb Tousley, director of real estate programs at the University of St. Thomas. In 2017, home prices are expected to increase about 5% – 6% in the Twin Cities, which will free many more homeowners from negative equity Rising prices and loan repayments will also continue to improve the equity position for homeowners, but this will be a slow process and we should be prepared for higher than normal negative and near negative equity to be a part the housing market for a long time to come.

 High demand and low supply of homes for sale continue to put upward pressure on sale prices in April. The overall median sale price jumped from $237,300 in March to $246,000 in April. The traditional, non-distressed median sale price is at a new all-time high at $250,000, a 4.2% increase compared to April 2016. On the supply side in April there were 10,969 homes available for sale, 19.9% less than April 2016. Again, the shortage is most acute in the low to moderately priced homes. See the table below.

Homes For Sale vs. Closed Sales –  Where The Action Is

Price Range Number of Homes For Sale % of Total Homes For Sale Number of Closed Sales % of Total Sales Months Supply
0 – $200,000 1992 18.2% 1449 30.7% 1.2
$200,000 – $400,000 4554 41.5% 2484 52.5% 1.9
$400,000 – $600,000 2270 20.7% 563 11.9% 4.2
$600,000 + 2095 19.0% 230 4.9% 8.5
       Total 10969 4726

The number of homes sold in April was 4,726 compared to 4,348 in March and 5,252 in April 2016. That is 10% less than the number of sales recorded in the same period a year ago. We believe that this is a reflection that extreme the low supply of homes for sale is beginning to impact the number of homes sold in April. This this the first time since 2011 that the number of closed sales has declined on a year over year basis. The number of new listings was 7,747, which is 8.3% less than recorded in April 2016. That decrease is a sign that the short supply situation is likely to continue for at least the next several months. We believe that the changes observed in April are the beginning of an indication that the supply and demand sides of the market are becoming slightly less imbalanced.

 The St. Thomas Indexes

Here are the Shenehon Center’s monthly composite index scores for April 2017. The index, which tracks nine data elements for the three types of sales (traditional, short sales and foreclosures) started in January 2005. For that month, the center gave each of the three indexes a value of 1,000.

At a level of 1172 the April UST Residential Real Estate Traditional Sale Composite Index is up significantly, registering a 3.1% monthly increase compared to the level of 1137 that was recorded in March.

The UST Residential Real Estate Short Sale Composite Market Health Index was 1045 in April, up 3.1% from the 1014 recorded in March.

The UST Residential Real Estate Foreclosure Composite Index was observed in April at 924 a significant increase over the 901 recorded in March.

For more information, visit the Shenehon Center’s complete report for March 2017 at http://www.stthomas.edu/business/centers/shenehon/research/default.html.The report is also available for free via email from Tousley at hwtousley1@stthomas.edu.

 

Economics, Home Prices, Housing, Housing Trends, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing, Real Estate Trends, Residential Real Estate, Residential Real Estate Index, Twin Cities Real Estate

St. Thomas Real Estate Analysis: More Twin Cities Homes for Rent Means Fewer are Available to Purchase

The growing number of single-family rentals is contributing to a chronic shortage of moderately priced homes on the market.

More and more single-family rental homes — a trend that has been developing locally and nationally since the start of the Great Recession in 2008 – means there are fewer and fewer single-family homes available for purchase. According to the most recent market analysis by the Shenehon Center for Real Estate at the University of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business, this increased percentage of rental homes is yet another factor contributing to a historically low supply of homes for sale in the 13-county Twin Cities region. In earlier reports, the center examined other causes that contribute to the shortage: low or negative equity during the recession, concerns about job or financial situations, and a trend of keeping homes longer than in the past. Earlier this year, the center predicted that the persistent low availability of homes for sale, coupled with strong demand, will result in a 5 percent increase in the median sale price of Twin Cities homes this year.

“On a national and local basis we have seen the formation of companies and funds such as Blackstone’s Invitation Partners and American Homes 4 Rent that are buying large numbers of single-family homes for investment purposes,” said Herb Tousley, director of real estate programs at the university. “Blackstone is the largest of single-family investors; they currently own about 50,000 homes across the country,” he said. “Their strategy was to purchase single-family homes at deeply discounted prices during the recession, rehab the property, and then hold the property longterm as a rental property. Even though home values have increased since the end of the recession, many of these companies are still actively buying. “Institutional investors have largely figured out how to maintain and efficiently operate ‘scattered-site single family rentals’ on a professional basis. Most of these homes are in established neighborhoods. Renovation and a regular maintenance schedule preserves the housing stock and maintains the quality of the surrounding neighborhood,” Tousley said.

This is a trend that is not only occurring in the core cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, it is happening all across the Twin Cities metro area. The total number of single-family homes being rented in suburban neighborhoods has increased from 12,000 in 2000 to over 28,000 in recent years, according to data compiled by the Metropolitan Council. Of the 93 cities that were tracked, all but 32 saw their single-family rentals grow by at least 100 percent between 2000 and 2013.

Where are the Single Family Rentals in the Twin Cities?         Top 5 Cities by %

City Single Family Homes as Rentals in 2000 % of Rentals in 2000 Single Family Homes as Rentals in 2013 % of Rentals in 2013
Minneapolis 5864 8% 10278 14%
St Paul 3976 7% 7416 13%
Brooklyn Center 193 3% 867 12%
Columbia Heights 153 3% 610 12%
Anoka 177 5% 449 11%

Meanwhile, the number of homes available for sale that are priced between $150,000 and $350,000 has been steadily declining since 2008. Tousley said that homes in this price range are very attractive to the large institutional investors because they make good rental properties that provide a good return to their investors. However, homes in that same price range also are the most attractive to first-time homebuyers and first-move-up buyers. “The homes that are purchased by the institutional investors are going to be held longterm as rental properties so they in effect would be ‘off the market’ and will not be available for sale for a long period of time. The institutional ownership of large numbers of homes as single-family rentals is a relatively new development in the housing market and it is one more factor that is contributing to the chronically low number of homes available for sale,” he said.

February Market Summary

The housing market in the Twin Cities continued on its normal seasonal pattern in February. As expected the overall median sale price was essentially the same as January at $223,000. The traditional, non-distressed median sale price was $230,000, a 4.2 percent increase compared to February 2016.

The number of homes sold in February was 2,696 compared to 2,814 in January and 2,716 in February 2016. The percentage of distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) ticked up slightly in February at 9.2 percent, however that percentage should continue to decline to pre-recession levels as we move into the spring selling season.

As noted earlier, the continued shortage of homes available for sale continues to be an issue. As buyers become more active in the spring-summer selling season, the shortage will create additional upward pressure on sale prices.

“The concern is that if this continues over a long period of time … where median sale prices are increasing faster than wages and income … it will begin to create affordability issues especially if interest rates begin to rise,” Tousley said.

The St. Thomas indexes.

Here are the Shenehon Center’s monthly composite index scores for February 2017. The index, which tracks nine data elements for the three types of sales (traditional, short sales and foreclosures), started in January 2005. For that month, the center gave each of the three indexes a value of 1,000.

 

  • The February 2017 index score for traditional sales was 1,114, down 0.4 percent from January 2017 and up 4.1 percent from February 2016.

 

  • The February 2017 index score for short sales was 993, down 2.5 percent from January 2017 and up .1 percent from February 2016.

 

  • The February 2017 index score for foreclosures was 842, up .2 percent from January 2017 and up 7.5 percent from February 2016.

 

More information online

The Shenehon Center’s complete online report for February can be found at: http://www.stthomas.edu/business/centers/shenehon/research/default.html.

The report is available via email from Tousley at hwtousley1@stthomas.edu.

Affordable Housing, Economics, Home Prices, Housing, Housing Trends, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing, Multifamily, Twin Cities Real Estate

St. Thomas real estate analysis for July: Tight market is the result of several long-term trends that won’t change soon

Current trends, including the low number of moderately priced homes, are expected to continue through the end of 2017.mortgages

Current real estate trends in the 13-county Twin Cities region, including the historically low number of moderately priced homes available to purchase, are the result of several long-term trends that are expected to change slowly over time. That’s the conclusion reached by the Shenehon Center for Real Estate at the University of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business. The center examined the Twin Cities’ long-term trends, expected to continue through the end of 2017, in its monthly analysis of metro area real estate data. “The historically low-supply-of-homes-for-sale situation has been with us for the last several years although it has been most acute since mid-2015,” said Herb Tousley, director of real estate programs at the university.

He cited five statistics that illustrate the housing supply-and-demand situation in the Twin Cities:

  • Days on Market:       It was 53 days in July. That’s 15 percent less than a year ago and the fastest turnover since 2007.
  • Month’s Supply: It was 2.9 months in July. That’s 24 percent less than a year ago and the lowest 12-month average since 2005.
  • New Listings: It was 7,522 in July. Down 14 percent from June and 6 percent from a year ago.
  • Closed Sales: It was 6,030 in July. The annualized number of homes sold has increased 59 percent since early 2011.
  • Homes for Sale: It was 14,457 in July. The annualized number of homes for sale has decreased 48 percent since early 2011.

The shortage of homes is most pronounced for homes selling for less than $200,000 and for those selling between $200,000 and $399,000.

For example, in July there was only a two-month supply of homes selling for less than $200,000 and a 2.6-month supply for homes selling between $200,000 and $399,000. However, there was 5.2-month supply of homes selling between $400,000 and $599,000 and a 10.5-month supply of homes selling for more than $600,000.

Also in July, 56.3 percent of homes available for purchase were under $400,000 while 81.7 percent of homes sold were under $400,000.

The median price for homes sold in the Twin Cities in July was $239,000. That’s down $6,000 from the all-time high median sale price of $245,900 that was set in June. However, it still is in record territory; the previous high was $238,000 set in June 2006.

Supply Side Trends

The Shenehon report cited these long-term underlying trends on the supply side of the Twin Cities market.

  • Americans are keep their homes longer. CoreLogic reported recently that the number of years homeowners owned their homes increased by three years between 2007 and 2013 and it has increased an additional year since then.
  • The homeownership in the Twin Cities, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, was 68.6 percent in the second quarter of 2016. That’s the highest rate of any major metro area in the nation. Nationally, the rate is 62.9 percent.

“Since we have a very high ownership rate and homeowners are keeping their homes longer, the result is fewer existing homes being listed and a shortage of homes available for sale,” Tousley said.

Demand Side Trends

According to this month’s Shenehon report, “On the demand side the simple answer is that people want to live here.”

  • The Twin Cities population has been increasing and is expected to increase for at least the next 10 to 15 years. This is mainly due to migration from rural areas and other parts of the country, and immigration.
  • Housing is affordable. According to a recent Bloomberg News report, the Twin Cities area ranks fourth in the top-10 list of most affordable places for people between the ages of 24 and 44 to purchase a home.

“These people are going to need a place to live here,” Tousley said. “Our diverse economy, strong job growth and high median income attracts people to the area.

“Favorable economic conditions coupled with historically low interest rates and an increasing number of potential home buyers will continue to create strong demand for single-family homes.”

How long will the shortage last?

According to the Metropolitan Council, the Twin Cities region had 1,176,600 owned or rented households in 2015, up almost 59,000 since 2010. During that time, however, only 43,000 housing units were added. The remaining 16,000 new households moved into existing housing, and that in turn reduced the vacancy rate. “This growth pattern is expected to continue for at least the next five years,” Tousley said. “It is unlikely that we will be able to build our way out of this situation in the near term. “Single family home builders have not yet returned to pre-recession production levels. Over the last several years there has been a great deal of multi-family construction but much of this new product has been high-end luxury units, beyond the financial reach of many households. “For the housing market to become more balanced between buyers and sellers we are going to have to add a significant number of affordably priced rental and for-sale housing units. “These units need to be affordable to households who earn the area median income in order to keep up with the expected population growth in the Twin Cities market area. As this happens the market should begin to slowly come back into balance. “However, this is a process that is going to take a number of years and until then we should expect similar market conditions to what we have experienced over the last couple of years. “In the meantime, expect to see solid annual price appreciation for existing homeowners. As you can see from the table below in the past year the supply of homes for sale has become even tighter, especially for homes are priced at less than $400,000

The St. Thomas indexes.

Here are the Shenehon Center’s monthly composite index scores for July 2016. The index, which tracks nine data elements for the three types of sales (traditional, short sales and foreclosures), started in January 2005. For that month, the center gave each of the three indexes a value of 1,000.

  • The July 2016 index score for traditional sales was 1,192, up .3 percent from June 2016 and up 5.7 percent from July 2015.

 

  • The July 2016 index score for short sales was 1,031, up 2.1 percent from June 2016 and up 5.9 percent from July 2015.

 

  • The July 2016 index score for foreclosures was 875, which is unchanged from June 2016 and up 7.1% from July 2015.

For the third consecutive month, the score for traditional sales set new record highs. “Although the increase was small in July, it is the result of a continuing tight supply of homes for sale couple with very low interest rates,” Tousley said in Shenehon Center’s July report.

 More information online

The Shenehon Center’s complete online report for July can be found at: http://www.stthomas.edu/business/centers/shenehon/research/default.html.

The report is available free via email from Tousley at hwtousley1@stthomas.edu.

 

 

 

Economics, Home Prices, Housing, Housing Trends, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing, Real Estate Trends, Residential Real Estate, Residential Real Estate Index, Twin Cities Real Estate

Twin Cities Sets Records for Median Sale Price and Number of Homes Sold

Are we seeing another bubble in the Twin Cities housingMarket Report

market? Not this time, says St. Thomas’ monthly analysis  

With median sale prices hitting a record high in June, is the Twin Cities housing market experiencing the kind of bubble we saw back in June 2006? According to a monthly analysis conducted by the Shenehon Center for Real Estate at the University of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business, the short answer is no. The median sale price of homes sold in the 13-county Twin Cities region reached $242,000 in June. That tops the previous high-water mark of $238,000 set in June 2006. On top of that, the 7,110 homes sold in June was another record high.

Each month the St. Thomas center tracks the median price for three types of sales: nondistressed or traditional; foreclosures; and short sales (when a home is sold for less than the outstanding mortgage balance). In addition, it looks for trends in the market and creates a monthly composite index score by tracking nine data elements for those three types of sales.

Herb Tousley, director of real estate programs at the university, said the reasons for the current run up in housing prices are much different than the conditions that led to the run up in values in the mid-2000s followed by the subsequent crash. “Before 2008, lending standards were very lax,” he said. “Little to no down payments were required since everyone believed that home prices would always keep going up. There were many low-documentation or ‘no-doc’ loans that were made to people who were not qualified, resulting in high numbers of foreclosures and short sales. “Additionally, overbuilding, speculation, and excessive flipping of homes were major contributors to the housing market crises of 2008. “Today, mortgages are only being made to qualified buyers, home flipping has returned to normal levels, and overbuilding is not a problem. The current run up in home prices can be attributed to market fundamentals. There is a shortage of homes for sale and a historically high level of demand fueled by low interest rates and an improving economy. “One concern is the affordability issue; that occurs when home prices rise faster than family income. When this occurs over an extended period of time it becomes more difficult for families to afford to purchase a home due to higher required down payments and higher monthly payments,” Tousley said.

It has taken 10 years for the median sale price of a Twin Cities home to recover to its previous peak level. Where do we go from here?

Number of sales: In 2015 there were just over 56,000 homes sold in the Twin Cities. Tousley predicts that the second half of 2016 should continue to see a high sales volume. Look for a total of about 58,000 homes sold in 2016.

 Median sale price: In most years, the peak median sale price occurs in June. Maybe not this year. With the low number of homes for sale and continued low interest rates, Tousley feels that median sales prices should be at or above record levels in July and possibly August before tapering off in September. At the end of the year, look for an annual increase in the median sale price of 5 percent to 6 percent, with the median sale price settling in the low $230,000 range.

One reason for the higher median selling price recently is because the percentage of distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – has finally returned to pre-crash levels. In June, only 5 percent of home sales were distressed. Before 2007, the level of distressed sales was in the 3 percent to five percent range. But during the recession, and especially from 2008 to 2013, the level of distressed sales was in the 40 percent to 60 percent range. Since the median price of distressed homes is considerably lower than nondistressed homes, when there are fewer distressed homes sold the overall median selling price goes up.

In addition to robust home sales, the Twin Cities is seeing more remodeling and more new homes being built. In 2015, the Twin Cities saw the construction of 4,680 new single-family homes. So far this year single-family “starts” are up about 15 percent. “Look for a 2016 year-end total of 5,300 to 5,500,” Tousley said. That would make 2016 the best year for new-home construction since before the recession.

Meanwhile, the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity, calculated by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, estimates that this year the growth in home improvement and repair spending will reach 8 percent, well above the average of 4.9 percent. Tousley said there are two main reasons for the increase.

First, because of the shortage of homes for sale, many potential homeowners are opting to stay where they are and enlarge or remodel their existing homes.

Second, rising home prices and the current “seller’s market” is encouraging some homeowners to upgrade or remodel their home in anticipation of listing it for sale.

“In either case,” Tousley said, “it is good news for remodeling contractors in our area. Many are booked ahead with work well into the fall.”

The St. Thomas indexes.

Here are the Shenehon Center’s monthly composite index scores for June 2016. The index, which tracks nine data elements for the three types of sales (traditional, short sales and foreclosures), started in January 2005. For that month, the center gave each of the three indexes a value of 1,000.

The June 2016 index score for traditional sales was 1,188, up 2.1 percent from May 2016 and up 6.3 percent from June 2015.

The June 2016 index score for short sales was 1,010, up 2.8 percent from May 2016 and up 4.2 percent from June 2015.

The June 2016 index score for foreclosures was 875, up 1.86 from May 2016 and up 7.86 from June 2015.

The score for traditional sales hit record highs in May and June. “It is a result of a continuing tight supply situation and high sales activity indicating the ongoing health a resurgence of the Twin Cities housing market,” Tousley said in Shenehon Center’s June report.

Index Chart June 2016

Development, Economics, Home Prices, Housing, Housing Trends, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing, Real Estate Trends, Residential Real Estate, Twin Cities Real Estate

Survey of Twin Cities’ home builders finds them in a slightly more optimistic mood than six months ago

The composite score of this new forecasting tool increased slightly, but there were more significant changes found in the six individual questions that St. Thomas asked industry leaders.

Leaders in the Twin Cities single-family-home-construction industry were “slightly less pessimistic” about market conditions in June than they were last December. That’s according to a survey conducted by the University of St. Thomas Shenehon Center for Real Estate in partnership with the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC). Last December’s survey produced a composite index of 45. The second survey, conducted in June 2016, produced a slightly more optimistic 46. The Twin Cities Home Builders Survey is patterned after St. Thomas’ Minnesota Commercial Real Estate Survey that began in 2010. The home builders survey polls the same panel of 35 industry leaders every six months about their expectations in six key areas of the housing market one year in the future.  The first survey was conducted in December 2015.

“The participants were strongly optimistic in their expectation of increasing sale prices per square foot and the number of single-family housing starts, and they were moderately optimistic about an increase in availability of finished lots in the coming year,” said Herb Tousley, director of Real Estate Programs at the University of St. Thomas. “However, the expectation of increasing land prices and a belief that the cost of building materials will increase over the next year was a cause for concern that tempered the composite index,” according to David Siegel, executive director of the Builders Association of the Twin Cities.  “Increasing prices of land and building materials increase total building costs which in turn creates a drag on single-family housing construction and is reflected in the survey as a pessimistic score. There is also an expectation that mortgage rates are going to increase moderately over the next year. This is also reflected pessimistically in the survey as it adds to the total cost of purchasing a home,” said Siegel.

Tousley noted that these first two surveys are providing a baseline to compare with future surveys. “As we accumulate more survey results over the next few years, the results will begin to reveal market trends that will be useful as a forecasting tool,” he said. “The industry leaders we poll are actively engaged in studying both the demand and supply side of the housing market,” said Tousley. “Since they are involved in creating new housing units and adjusting supply-to-demand conditions, these individuals are close to the actual changes taking place in the market.” These experts are asked to assign a number of zero to 100 for each of the six questions. A midpoint score of 50 is neutral; scores higher than 50 indicate a more favorable outlook and scores lower than 50 indicate a more pessimistic outlook. The survey also provides a composite score, or overall average, for the six questions.

Here are the scores for each of the six questions:

Housing Starts: 63 (up 3 from December)

This score indicates an increasingly optimistic expectation by the panel that the number of new single-family housing starts will increase in the coming year.

Square-foot sale price: 69 (same as December)

This reflects the panel’s strong belief that sale prices will be significantly higher a year from now. The net result is the expectation that when compared to previous years, 2016 will be a much better year for single-family home builders.

Land prices: 31 (up 1 from December)

This pessimistic score changed little from the first survey in December. The score reflects a belief that the rate of increase for land prices is going to be greater than the rate of increase for home prices in general.

Availability of finished lots: 56 (up 6 from December)

This indicates an increasing optimism that there will be more finished lots available over the next 12 months. That’s a good thing for the market since it helps moderate land prices and encourages more construction.

Cost of building materials: 36 (up 2 from December)

Like land prices, this score is just slightly less pessimistic and continues to reflect a concern that some of the gains from increased sale prices and more building starts could be offset by the higher costs of building materials.

 Mortgage rates: 32 (up 2 from December)

This reflects the panel’s expectation that mortgage rates are going to increase moderately over the next year. Most panelists are expecting an increase of .5% to 1%.

June 2016 Homebuilders Image

More Information

Additional details can be found on the Shenehon Center’s website: http://www.stthomas.edu/centers/shenehon/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2014/07/Twin-Cities-Home-Builders-Survey-June-2016.pdf.

 

Affordable Housing, Economics, Home Prices, Housing, Housing Trends, Industry News, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing, Real Estate Trends, Residential Real Estate, Residential Real Estate Index, Twin Cities Real Estate

St. Thomas Real Estate Analysis: Super-tight Housing Market Drives Metro Area Median Sale Price to Near Record Levels

High demand and low supply helped drive the median price of a Twin Cities home in

May 2016 to within $1,000 of the record set back in the bubble days of June 2006.

mortgagesIt has taken a full decade, but the median sale price of a home in the Twin Cities in May 2016 almost reached the all-time record high set back in the housing-bubble days of 2006, according to a monthly analysis conducted by the Shenehon Center for Real Estate at the University of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business. Fueled by low supply and brisk demand, the median sale price of a home in the 13-county Twin Cities region reached $237,000 in May. That’s just shy of the highest median price on record, which was $238,000 back in June 2006. While the selling prices are similar, there are many differences in the 2016 market when compared to 2006. Each month the St. Thomas center tracks the median price for three types of sales: non-distressed or traditional; foreclosures; and short sales (when a home is sold for less than the outstanding mortgage balance). In addition, it looks for trends in the market and creates a monthly composite index score by tracking nine data elements for those three types of sales.

Herb Tousley, director of real estate programs at the university, observed that the supply of homes on the market dropped to its current low level in early 2013 and has remained historically low since then. He said possible reasons include difficulty in finding and purchasing a replacement home at a reasonable price; higher standards to qualify for a new mortgage; lackluster wage growth over the last several years; and homebuilders not building as many single-family homes as they used to. Meanwhile, on the demand side, Tousley said low interest rates, an improving economy, and a tight rental market are key reasons why the number of sales has steadily been increasing to near pre-recession levels.

“In spite of all of the new apartments that have been built over the last few years we remain in a very tight rental market,” he said. “The area has been absorbing all of the new units and vacancies continue to remain historically very low. The result of a low vacancy and a tight rental market is high rent growth. In 2015 the average rent in the Twin Cities increased by 5 percent. Repeated large rent increases over the last several years have many renters considering the idea of homeownership as an alternative, creating additional potential homebuyers.”

Comparing 2016 to 2006

The Shenehon Center for Real Estate compared May 2016 housing-market statistics with those of 2006. While the selling prices are very similar, some characteristics are quite different. A few examples: in May 2006 there were 5,079 closed sales and in May 2016 there were 6,234; in May 2006 there was a 6.7-month supply of homes for sale and in May 2016 there was a 2.8-month supply; in May 2006 there were 11,458 new listings and in May 2016 there were 8,676; and in May 2006 there were 30,235 homes for sale and in May 2016 there were 13,501.

10 yrs after- then & now

Another way of looking at the impact of low inventory on sale prices is to create a ratio for the number of homes available for sale divided by the number of homes sold that month. For example, if the ratio was 5, it means there were 5 homes available on the market for each buyer. A lower number indicates a tighter market. There were months back in 2007 to 2010 when the ratio was 10 to 14; it has dropped significantly. Tousley said that for most of the previous 14 months the ratio in the Twin Cities market has been less than 4, and in May 2016 the ratio hit an all-time low of 2.17. “When the ratio gets lower and the market gets tighter, the median sale price increases,” he said.

 

Sales Pressure - May 16

The St. Thomas indexes.

Here are the Shenehon Center’s monthly composite index scores for May 2016. The index, which tracks nine data elements for the three types of sales (traditional, short sales and foreclosures), started in January 2005. For that month, the center gave each of the three indexes a value of 1,000.

The May 2016 index score for traditional sales was 1,163, up 3.7 percent from April 2016 and up 8.6 percent from May 2015.

The May 2016 index score for short sales was 980, up 1.6 percent from April 2016 and up 7.7 percent from May 2015.

The May 2016 index score for foreclosures was 859, up 3.2 percent from April 2016 and up 9.4 percent from May 2015.

The May 2016 score was the highest ever for the traditional sale index. “It is the result of a very tight supply situation and continuing high sales activity, indicating the continued health and resurgence of the Twin Cities housing market,” Tousley said. There are far fewer distressed sales now than there were during the height of the Great Recession. In May, the 79 short sales represented 1.3 percent of total sales and the 341 foreclosure sales represented 5.5 percent of total sales. “As the number of distressed sales continue to return to pre-crash levels, the foreclosure index will continue to diminish in importance,” Tousley said.

Index Chart June 2016

Data - May 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Shenehon Center’s complete online report for May can be found at: http://www.stthomas.edu/business/centers/shenehon/research/default.html.

The report is available free via email from Tousley at hwtousley1@stthomas.edu.

 

 

Affordable Housing, Home Prices, Housing, Housing Trends, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing, Residential Real Estate, Twin Cities Real Estate

Entry Level Home Construction Makes a Comeback

The number of U.S. home builders offering entry-level housing last year rose 25% compared to the year before.

An entry level home from D.R. Horton Express
An entry level home from D.R. Horton Express

Maybe the starter home isn’t dead. Our analysis of the latest Builder 100/Next 100 data shows a surprising trend in one type of housing offered by U.S. home builders last year: an uptick in entry-level. This segment of the market, which has been floundering since the recession, prompted BUILDER to declare starter homes nearly extinct last year.

So editors were surprised to see a rise in the number of builders on our 2016 Builder 100/Next 100 list that reported devoting at least 50% of their business to entry level product. It was a substantial increase, with 45 builders reporting entry level work compared to 36 the year before, a 25% rise. (Click here for a report on one entry-level builder.)

To be sure, the number of builders engaged in the entry-level market is still way short of the 70 builders that reported working in that segment in 2010, and it remains to be seen whether this year’s numbers become a trend or are just a blip. But it appears that more young buyers are coming into the market, according to Metrostudy’s Brad Hunter. “The re-entry of the entry-level buyer has begun, but this group’s next moves will be gradual. Income challenges remain, and there are still relatively few new home developments who target this group,” he says in this BUILDER article.

This graphic illustrates the top product types over the past six years:

Entry Level HomesIn addition, 2016 Builder 100 data shows that two other important product types—move-up and luxury/custom–leveled off in 2015. Nevertheless, move-up housing continued to dominate the list with 107 builders reporting activity in that sement in 50% or more of their business. ( Click here for a report on one of them.)

Three firms reported building 50% or more of their homes for affordable housing–Habitat for Humanity, NeighborWorks America, and Tropicana Properties. One builder—Stock Development—reported at least 50% of its business was in the vacation market.

Jennifer Goodman is Senior Editor at BUILDER. Connect with her on Twitter at @Jenn4Builder.