With the rising home prices, it seems that luxury homes are bouncing back as homebuyers returned to the market in full force in May.
According to realtor.com’s Luxury Housing Report released on Thursday, the luxury market outpaced the rest of the housing market in both price growth and views.
Luxury home sellers returned to the market with new listings of homes priced above $1 million, dropped by 15.1% year over year in May, compared to 57.8% in April. This means that luxury home new listings were still reduced, but to a lesser degree than the month prior. However, like the rest of the market, low inventory is the biggest challenge for these homebuyers.
Chief Economist, Danielle Hale, says the luxury market is leading the recovery. Stay at home and social distancing orders made ‘extra space’ even more relevant. This leads high-end buyers to find a second home that is within driving distance from their primary residence.
Only 25 of the 94 luxury markets tracked by realtor.com showed listing price growth since January. The pandemic has also slowed price growth in the luxury market, which had increased by 15% at the beginning of the year.
Zillow said new listings of higher-end homes dropped by 46%, while the less expensive homes are reduced by 32%. In response to the pandemic, new listings of the most expensive homes were the first to drop below 2019 levels, while cheaper listings fell over a week later.
According to realtor.com, luxury listing price entry points reached $2.97 million in May despite a small pace of growth. This is up 0.5% from April and 6.1% year over year.
As Hale said, it’s the luxury market that led the housing market’s median price growth, which was up 1.6% in May year over year.
After falling 9.5% year over year in April, searches for million-dollar homes grew 7.3% year over year. This topped the 6.2% growth that we saw before the pandemic slowed things down.
Not only are luxury listings seeing more viewers, but popular second-home markets are seeing the love, too.
As Covid-19 caused cities and businesses to shut down operations, new home constructions were also put to a pause in the previous months.
Fortunately, those days are almost over as the Census Bureau has released data last June 17th showing that the housing starts have increased by 4.3% in May, with 934,000 new starts recorded for the month. Building permits also rose to 14.4% over April. Single-family permits also jumped by 11.9%.
This bodes well for the supply-strapped housing market but this is not a quick relief. It usually takes about 8 months for a permit to become a housing completion or a finished property ready for sale. This means that buyers won’t see the outcome from the production in May until early next year.
Fannie Mae’s chief economist says the Census Bureau report was weaker than expected but it seems that the housing construction has already turned a corner. Single-family starts should see a stronger June due to the limited housing supply and record-low mortgage rates, which have sent applications to purchase a home rising for the last nine weeks straight.
The rising buyer demand should also inspire builders. A data released by Redfin earlier this week shows that homebuying demand increases by 25% over pre-pandemic levels.
The latest data from the National Association of Home Builders proves as much. Based on their latest survey, builder confidence jumped from 21 points to 58 this week. Anything over 50 indicates general optimism among builders. Their chief economist said that as the nation reopens, the housing is currently well-positioned to lead the economy forward.
Concerns about the country’s financial standpoint continue to come up daily now that everyone is thinking about the U.S. economy. The top question emerging is -when will the economy begin to recover? No one knows when the economic rebound is likely to happen, but expert economists are becoming aligned on when this will transpire.
Based on Economic Forecasting Survey from the Wall Street Journal, 85.3% believe a recovery will begin in the second half of 2020.
Chris Hyzy who is the Chief Investment Officer for Merrill stated they are fully expecting that the economy could begin to pick up in late June and July, then a strong recovery in Q4 of this year will follow.
Furthermore, five of the major financial institutions are also forecasting positive GDP in the second half of the year. Today, four of the five expect a recovery to begin in Q3 of 2020, and all five agree a recovery should start by Q4.
Leading economists, analysts, and financial institutions are all in agreement that the economic recovery should begin in the second half of 2020.
Everyone is so focused on the American economy at the moment. As it goes, so does the world economy. With states beginning to reopen, the question becomes: which sectors of the economy will drive its recovery? There seems to be a growing agreement that the housing market is positioned to be that driving force toward the necessary improvement.
Some may question that statement as they look back on the last recession in 2008 when housing was the anchor to the economy – holding it back from sailing forward. But even then, the overall economy did not begin to recover until the real estate market started to regain its strength. This time, the housing market was in great shape when the virus hit.
According to Mark Fleming, Chief Economist of First American, many still live with the effect of the Great Recession. People may be expecting the housing market to follow the same path in response to the coronavirus outbreak. But, distinct differences are showing that the housing market may follow a much different path. The housing market may have led the recession in 2008-2009, it may also manage to bring us out of it this time.
Every piece of sold property has an impressive financial impact on local economies. As the real estate market continues to recover, it will act as a strong tailwind to the overall national economy.
Homebuyers seem to be taking full advantage now that social distancing orders are being less tight across the country. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, applications from homebuyers increased last week by 11%, marking the third consecutive week of increases.
The homebuying activity is still down 10% over the year, but that year-over-year gap is thinning out every week. The number of home buying loan applications in April was down 35% annually.
According to Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry forecasting, we can expect the wave of improvement to keep on spreading.
Refinance applications have been declining in recent weeks despite record-low mortgage rates. The average rate on a 30-year, the fixed-rate loan came in at 3.43%, but refinancing activity dropped 3% this week and 2% the week prior. This is probably due to a combination of factors, including stricter lending standards, increasing unemployment, and more time-strapped lenders.
If rates continue to drop, demand for refinances may see an even bigger spike. According to a report from Bloomberg, mortgage rates could drop below 3% in the coming weeks—well below the lowest point on record. This could add serious incentives for homeowners to refinance.
According to the recent Mortgage Monitor report from real estate analytics firm Black Knight, if rates drop to just 3%, more than 19 million homeowners could shave at least 0.75% off their mortgage rate.
This could mean a difference of around $80 per month and nearly $1,000 per year on a $250,000 home.
Almost everyone has been complying with the stay-at-home orders from our state and local governments for nearly two months now. This unexpected situation has put our daily lives on pause making us find comfort in spending time at home and feel secured from having a much-needed safe place to live.
According to the Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS), Americans place great value in homeownership and it is continuing to grow in the United States. The results provided by the U.S Census Bureau show that the homeownership rate rose to 65.3% for the first quarter of 2020. This is a number that has been rising since 2016 and is the highest rate obtained in eight years.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) explained that a strong owner household formation with around 2.7 million homeowners added in the first quarter has made the increase of the homeownership rate, especially under the decreasing mortgage interest rates and strong new home sales and existing home sales in the first two months before coronavirus hit the economy.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) also highlighted that the homeownership rates among all age groups increased in the first quarter of 2020.
Households under 35, who are mostly first-time homebuyers, have registered as the largest gains, with the homeownership rate increased by 1.9% from a year ago.
Households with ages between 35-44 have increased by 1.2%.
Households with ages between 55-64 have increased by 0.9%.
Households with ages between 45-54 have increased by 0.8%.
Households with ages over 65 have increased by 0.2%.
Homeownership has always been a great financial investment and an important part of the American Dream. The current situation makes many people feel more thankful for the home they get to share with their families. Coronavirus may be slowing our lives down, but it is showing us the emotional value of homeownership too.
Americans feel cynical about stock market investing due to the economic shock caused by coronavirus. 21% of Americans who think stocks or mutual funds are the best long-term investment is down by six points from 2019 and the lowest percentage recorded by Gallup since 2012. Real estate ranked first, followed by gold and savings accounts.
Since 2013, 35% of Americans say real estate is the most recommended long-term investment. And since 2016, over one-third of Americans have named real estate as the top investment.
Stocks and mutual funds remain the second most preferred long-term investment, despite the dip. Savings accounts or CDs (17%) and gold (16%) followed. Bonds lagged at roughly 8%.
Stockowners have also lost interest in stocks or mutual funds — with the percentage naming stocks dropping from 37% in 2019 to 30% now.
The results came from Gallup’s annual Economy and Finance survey that was conducted from April 1–14 among 1,017 U.S. adults.
High-income Americans believe stocks and mutual funds as the best long-term investment. However, the drop occurred among both high-income and low-income Americans, with a decline of nine points each from last year’s survey, while the percentage of middle-income respondents who chose stocks or mutual funds did not change.
The survey shows that the ownership of stocks is stable at 55% of Americans. But confidence among stock owners fell, with only 30% picking stocks and mutual funds as the best investment — down from 37% in 2019. And even after a decade of economic expansion and record stock market gains, the percentage of Americans that own stocks have not reached its 63% peak from before the Great Recession. A low was reached by 52% in 2013.
65% of high-income households said investing $1,000 in the stock market is a good idea, but 47% of middle-income households and 39% of low-income households agreed. Over half of stock owners believe the investment to be valuable, while the sentiment among non-investors hovered closer to a third.
Stocks appeal’ may have faded after the longest-running bull market in the U.S. history ended, they still ranked as the second most valued investment. However, the economic fallout from coronavirus could scramble Americans’ preferences as the stock market is at risk and the real estate market’s future is uncertain.
From dairy farmers with nowhere to send their milk and cattle ranchers reeling from plummeting beef prices, the impact of the coronavirus is rippling through farm country. Corn, cotton and soybean futures have tumbled, ethanol plants have been idled, and some fruit and vegetable farmers are finding their best option is leaving produce in the field.
Price forecasts for most agricultural products are bleak. In the past month, dairy prices have dropped 26-36%, corn futures have dropped by 14%, soybean futures are down 8% and cotton futures have plummeted 31%. Hog futures are down by 31%. A surge in demand for beef emptied grocery store meat aisles, but there is no lack of supply. Despite a rise in retail prices in some areas, the prices paid to cattle ranchers have fallen 25%.
Dairy producers were optimistic at the start of 2020 that it would be a turnaround year, with milk prices on the rise and feed costs holding steady. But hopes were dashed when the coronavirus quickly and dramatically impacted demand, disrupted supply chains and led to the 26-36% drop in prices. Schools, restaurants and universities that were among the main purchasers of milk and milk products were suddenly shuttered, leaving dairy farmers with far more milk than plants are capable of processing. The sometimes-empty supermarket milk coolers reflect supply chain adaptation challenges, not lack of supply. Experts do not expect retail demand for dairy to make up for lost food service and restaurant demand.
“Farmers and ranchers are determined to deliver on their commitment to provide a safe and abundant food supply, but make no mistake, they are facing make-or-break struggles, like many Americans,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. “After years of a down farm economy and damaging severe weather, the COVID-19 ripple effects are forcing farmers and ranchers to face heartbreaking financial realities. Without question, the disaster aid provided in the CARES Act is a lifeline that will help many farmers hold on. We don’t know how many for how long, but we’re grateful.”
The CARES Act provides $9.5 billion to the Agriculture Secretary for financial support to farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus and $14 billion for the Commodity Credit Corporation. Direct food- and agriculture-related provisions in the CARES Act, including the support for USDA and the CCC and additional funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, account for only .02% of the total aid provided in the bill.
USDA has not yet announced how it will distribute the aid. Meanwhile farmers reliant on direct consumer sales, such as farmers’ markets and u-pick farms, are also facing dramatic losses. Often highly perishable, a loss of market at peak harvest has led some to cut their losses by leaving fruits and vegetables in the fields.
Abiding by travel restrictions, people are driving far less, pushing down demand for both oil and ethanol made from corn. A 35% drop in ethanol prices caused some plants to stop production, further depressing corn prices. The sudden change also cut off the supply of dried distillers grains — a byproduct of ethanol production and source of high-protein feed — for livestock producers, who are left scrambling to find a replacement.
While the impact to agriculture has been acute and immediate on many fronts, there is more to come if farmers and ranchers are forced to downsize or stop farming and ranching altogether.
“There are millions of people involved in producing America’s food supply. Fewer farms mean fewer farm workers, truck drivers, processors and manufacturers and potentially higher food prices – not today, maybe not even this year, but farmers won’t be the only ones affected by the long-term agricultural impacts of the coronavirus pandemic if prices continue to drop and markets aren’t restored,” Duvall explained. “We’re all in this together. No one is more mindful of that than farmers and ranchers who keep planting, harvesting and finding new and creative ways to ensure their products reach America’s dinner tables.”
Sotheby’s International Realty is pleased to announce that its affiliated brokers and sales professionals achieved more than $114billion USD in global sales volume, the highest annual U.S. sales volume performance in the history of the brand. $102 billion USD of the global sales volume was achieved in the U.S., marking another record accomplishment for the brand.
“In 2019, the Sotheby’s International Realty® brand continued to achieve solid growth,” said Philip White, president and chief executive officer for Sotheby’s International Realty. “The brand expanded into new countries and territories and entered new markets in the U.S. We continued to make strategic business decisions that benefitted both our independent sales associates and affiliate companies. I am immensely proud of the hard work and dedication from our vast global network, and I look forward to continuing this momentum in 2020.”
Propelled by a strategic business move in March 2019, when Sotheby’s International Realty integrated its affiliate network and company-owned brokerage into one global organization, 50 new Sotheby’s International Realty offices were opened, bringing the brand’s presence to 1,000 offices in 70 countries and territories and more than 23,000 affiliated sales associates worldwide.
Sotheby’s International Realty continued to lead the category with the roll-out of exclusive marketing affiliations and first-ever technology launches, announcing it will soon unveil a new, fully integrated website. The brand’s existing website, sothebysrealty.com, saw another record year with more than 34 million visits, a 14 percent increase year-over-year. In addition, Sotheby’s International Realty was the first real estate brand to launch and implement mixed reality to its Curate by Sotheby’s International Realty sm augmented reality app, which merges the real world with virtual home staging. The platform can be utilized in various homebuying and selling scenarios, and particularly benefits agents and developers to help prospective buyers envision their new home. To support the daily business needs of the network’s more than 23,000 independent sales associates, the brand unveiled Current by Sotheby’s International Realty® a robust marketing suite of technology tools consisting of best-in-class and exclusive apps, which provide sales associates with a distinctive and competitive edge in the market. For partnerships, the brand entered into an affiliation with Bloomberg.com as the exclusive launch sponsor for a new luxury properties marketplace.
The Sotheby’s International Realty brand and its independent sales associates continued its support for New Story, the brand’s charitable partner and a certified 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. As a result, 83 families, who were among those who lost their homes in the 2017 earthquakes, were able to move into their new homes in Morelos, Mexico. A total of 153 homes in Haiti and Mexico were funded through the initiative.
This year observed significant growth for the brand’s existing affiliate companies in the United States through recruitment efforts and strategic mergers and acquisitions. Most notably, the brand increased its market presence in Brooklyn, New York; the Greater Boston area, Massachusetts; and Indiana. The brand also entered several new key markets last year, expanding the Sotheby’s International Realty network’s presence to 43 states across the country.
Outside the U.S. the Sotheby’s International Realty brand achieved more than $12 billion USD in sales volume and continued to expand into key markets around the world. In Europe, the brand grew its presence in Monaco; France; and Berlin and Binz, Germany. New offices were also opened in Doha, Qatar; and Paphos, Cyprus, expanding the brand’s global presence in marketing luxury listings. In the Caribbean and South America, the brand saw growth in Zapallar, Chile, an upscale residential community located two hours outside of Santiago; and agreements were signed to expand into the Anguilla territory. In the Asia-Pacific region, new offices were opened in Tauranga, New Zealand; and Port Douglas, Hobart, and Perth, Australia.
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