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
||Near Negative Equity**
||Near Negative Equity**
||St. Croix (WI)
* 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
||Number of Homes For Sale
||% of Total Homes For Sale
||Number of Closed Sales
||% of Total Sales
|0 – $200,000
|$200,000 – $400,000
|$400,000 – $600,000
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.