Affordability is on the tip of everybody's tongues right now.
Why is affordability so important?
Well, it's a measurement of how affordable it is for the average person in America to own a home.
NAR has studied this every single month and they gave us a Home Affordability Graph. And you might expect this, but home affordability has actually been going up because of something substantial, which is interest rates going down.
As interest rates go down, affordability goes up.
That's despite the fact that we've had actually super fast rising prices, right? Prices starting to go into double digit territory across the country. And then we see interest rates going down, which pushes affordability up.
But because home prices have gotten so high recently, that's actually starting to level off and come back down. But we recently had another upswing. So we're measuring a few things when we look at affordability.
When NAR looks at...
You'd think by now everybody that was going to refinance their home would have already done it.
Interest rates have been at record lows for months, right? But the answer is, that's not true.
There are 5 million homeowners in America that could benefit from refinancing. And here's how it breaks down, which is crazy:
450,000 of those loans have interest rates above 6.17%. Isn't that amazing In this day and age?
A million of those loans have interest rates above 4.39%.
And 3.6 million have interest rates above 4.21%.
So when we look at that, that's a huge opportunity for you to educate the market in your local area about the power of refinancing. Try partnering with a lender in your local market. And you guys could talk about that through a video or email — really reaching out and doing a good job with communication.
Now what's more powerful about this?
Did you know that when you refi a house, you don't get quite the best rate. You know...
"Should I wait to buy a house?"
The real question behind that is, do they think prices are going to go down or are they going to go up?
Buyers are always debating this in their mind. They think that there's going to be some kind of dip. But statistically, according to every model we're looking at today, that's not likely because this isn't a "housing bubble." This is a "housing shortage" that we're in.
This is a supply versus demand issue more than anything else. And actually, the experts in the industry have just upgraded their projections for what they anticipate sales prices to do in 2021.
Here's the latest update:
I'm going to compare this to what they said in January. In January, Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Zelman & Associates, and the National Association of REALTORS consensus was that home prices during 2021 would go up 5.3%. Somewhere higher, somewhere lower, but the consensus was 5.3%.
Should your buyer float their interest rate or lock now?
Interesting question. Some of you really gotta be working with your lender to have that conversation with them. But let me give you a little bit of what's been happening to date in January through roughly March 2021:
Let's look at the numbers and dig into them that I got from one of my lenders — who is an incredible rockstar in the lending world. His name is Brian Case and his team at Guild Mortgage gave me these numbers:
For the entire year of 2021 so far, a floating borrower — or somebody that took the gamble and threw the dice to see if they can get a better rate tomorrow than
they can get today — would've won 41% of the time. And they would have lost 58% of the time.
Because 48% of the time rates went down and 58% of the time they went up. So it's a gamble that may not be paying off.
Overall interest rates have gone up about a half percent since January....
There's something happening in the market right now that really will impact your sellers. And that is interest rates are starting to climb a little bit.
When interest rates climb, it affects sellers in two different key ways:
1. It affects what's called buying power of all the buyers in the marketplace.
Here's what that looks like when you're talking about buying power:
If you're a buyer who is going to get a loan of, let's say $300,000, and you had your average down payment that would equal a payment and interest charge of about $1,225 per month. Now that interest rates have come up about a half percent, what does that mean for you?
If you still want to have that same payment, roughly $1225 a month of principal and interest, your buying power actually goes down because interest rates have gone up. You can no longer afford the $300,000 mortgage. Now you can only afford $285,000.
This puts "pricing pressure" on the market.
Now we know...
The National Association of REALTORS® shows that home affordability is better than it's been in the last four years.
So what does that mean?
It means that they measure what it would take for the median family in the country and their median income versus the median sales price and the interest rates that you would have to pay in this market. And they come up with how affordable it is to own a home.
The baseline number is 100. In other words, families have 100% of the median income needed to buy the median priced home in the marketplace.
Now guess what that number is today.
So homeowners on the median scale have 187% of what it would take for them to own a home in their marketplace.
Not only is this an amazing number, but it's much better than it was a year ago.
When we look at home prices going up, sometimes we can get in the trap of thinking that things are getting less affordable.
But the offset to this is interest...
One question we always receive as REALTORS is - What's going to happen next? What's the crystal ball for where prices are going over the next 12 months?
According to the NAR, Zelman, Realtor.com, Freddie Mac, CoreLogic, Fannie Mae and the Mortgage Bankers Association, the average of all those top industry insiders and economists within those groups, their prediction for the next 12 months is that we're going to see appreciation at 3.9%. You might think that sounds low. After all we just went through a year where we had double digit appreciation and in many markets we saw appreciation as high as 15-16% . Why would this group of economists predict such a low number when most of us would reasonably expect it to be double digits or high single digits (at the very least).
The reason is I think those economists know something - When you have a low supply and high demand, what happens? Prices go up. When supply increases, it puts pressure on...
What if I told you that there's a new opportunity in the market and no one's looking at? It's what I call a New Delta. A Delta is a point between two markets statistics which creates a gap, and that gap is opportunity.
Interest rates are at a three year low which is great news for home buyers and for home sellers but who else might this benefit?
Anyone who owns a home or investment property that may be in a position to refinance their property. For any of your clients that purchased a property as little as six months ago when interest rates were a full percentage point higher than they are today refinancing could be a huge opportunity to save tens of thousands of dollars.
By reaching out to your database and making this value added call (which has nothing to do with you asking for anything from the client) you can be a hero and your clients will love you!
Watch this quick video as Jim breaks down a simple script you can use as a text, phone call, social media post, or email.
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As buyers watch the national news they are continually hearing about interest rates rising and the impact on payments, affordability, and the overall cost of buying a home.
This negative news can impact their motivation to move forward in purchasing a home and ultimately your ability to sell more homes. How do you respond to this challenge?
Watch and learn how using good data (like the two charts below) can powerfully impact your conversations with buyers and using one simple script can put buyers at ease about moving forward with purchasing a home.
(There is good news in both these graphs)
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About Jim Remley:
Jim Remley is a nationally recognized expert in the field of residential real estate. Entering the real estate industry at the age of 19 he began an unlikely...
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