Insatiable Demand: With a record low supply of homes available to purchase and staggering demand, the market is extremely hot.
When a commodity drops to a price that is too good to pass up, everybody flocks to purchase. That is precisely what is occurring in housing. It is not that home values have plunged by 40%; instead, it is historically low mortgage rates that are the catalyst to surging demand. As a result, buyers are coming out in droves to purchase. It is too good to pass up. For a $700,000 mortgage at last year’s 3.6% fixed rate, the payment would have been $3,183 per month. With today’s 2.77% rate, the payment drops to $2,865, a $318 per month savings, essentially a 10% discount. Comparing today to November 2018 when rates nearly hit 5%, the savings jumps to $893 per month, a 24% savings. It is not a one-time savings either. This savings is every single month for 30-years.
With record low mortgage rates, there is almost too much demand. It is like a pot of spaghetti that is boiling over. A quick fix would be to turn down the temperature. That is not that easy in housing. The only way to turn down the heat is for rates to rise. Buyers may be rooting for an easier market with less competition, fewer competing offers, and a gentler rise in values, but that would come at the expense of higher rates and higher monthly payments.
It is the very thing that buyers are eager to take advantage of that is causing all their frustrations, record low mortgage rates below 3%. It seems that everyone wants to cash in on these incredible savings at the same time. At lower rates, homes become a lot more affordable, even for Southern California’s high dollar value housing stock. It improves a buyer’s purchasing power as well, allowing a family on a budget to afford a lot more home.
Orange County Housing Market Summary:
- The active listing inventory decreased by 6 homes in the past two-weeks, nearly unchanged, and now totals 2,627, its lowest January level since tracking began in 2004. COVID-19 is not suppressing the inventory despite the surge in cases. In December, there were 27% more homes that came on the market compared to the prior 5-year average. Last year, there were 4,023 homes on the market, 1,396 additional homes, or 53% more.
- Demand, the number of pending sales over the prior month, increased by 160 pending sales in the past two-weeks, up 8%, and now totals 2,055, its strongest January level since 2013. COVID-19 has no effect on demand. Record low rates are fueling today’s exceptional demand. Last year, there were 1,702 pending sales, 17% fewer than today.
- The Expected Market Time, the number of months to sell all Orange County listings at the current buying pace, decreased from 42 days to 38, a Hot Seller’s Market (less than 60 days). It is the strongest reading to a January since tracking began in 2004. It was at 71 days last year, much slower than today.
- For homes priced below $750,000, the market is a Hot Seller’s Market (less than 60 days) with an Expected Market Time of 29 days. This range represents 33% of the active inventory and 44% of demand.
- For homes priced between $750,000 and $1 million, the Expected Market Time is 25 days, a Hot Seller’s Market. This range represents 16% of the active inventory and 25% of demand.
- For homes priced between $1 million to $1.25 million, the Expected Market Time is 26 days, a Hot Seller’s Market.
- For homes priced between $1.25 million to $1.5 million, the Expected Market Time is 49 days, a Hot Seller’s Market.
- For luxury homes priced between $1.5 million and $2 million, the Expected Market Time increased from 55 to 56 days. For luxury homes priced between $2 million and $4 million, the Expected Market Time decreased from 124 to 83 days. For luxury homes priced above $4 million, the Expected Market Time decreased from 373 to 220 days.
- The luxury end, all homes above $1.5 million, accounts for 35% of the inventory and only 16% of demand.
- Distressed homes, both short sales and foreclosures combined, made up only 0.3% of all listings and 0.4% of demand. There are only 4 foreclosures and 4 short sales available to purchase today in all of Orange County, 8 total distressed homes on the active market, down 1 from two-weeks ago. Last year there were 44 total distressed homes on the market, more than today.
- There were 3,091 closed residential resales in December, 25% more than December 2019’s 2,469 closed sales. December marked a 9% increase compared to November 2020. The sales to list price ratio was 98.7% for all of Orange County. Foreclosures accounted for just 0.2% of all closed sales, and short sales accounted for 0.3%. That means that 99.5% of all sales were good ol’ fashioned sellers with equity
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