Earlier this year, many economists and market analysts were predicting an apocalyptic financial downturn that would potentially rattle the U.S. economy for years to come. They immediately started to compare it to the Great Depression of a century ago. Six months later, the economy is still trying to stabilize, but it is evident that the country will not face the total devastation projected by some. As we continue to battle the pandemic, forecasts are now being revised upward. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) just reported:
“The U.S. economy and labor market are recovering from the coronavirus-related downturn more quickly than previously expected, economists said in a monthly survey.
Business and academic economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expect gross domestic product to increase at an annualized rate of 23.9% in the third quarter. That is up sharply from an expectation of an 18.3% growth rate in the previous survey.”
What Shape Will the Recovery Take?
Economists have historically cast economic recoveries in the form of one of four letters – V, U, W, or L.
A V-shaped recovery is all about the speed of the recovery. This quick recovery is treated as the best-case scenario for any economy that enters a recession. NOTE: Economists are now also using a new term for this type of recovery called the “Nike Swoosh.” It is a form of the V-shape that may take several months to recover, thus resembling the Nike Swoosh logo.
A U-shaped recovery is when the economy experiences a sharp fall into a recession, like the V-shaped scenario. In this case, however, the economy remains depressed for a longer period of time, possibly several years, before growth starts to pick back up again.
A W-shaped recovery can look like an economy is undergoing a V-shaped recovery until it plunges into a second, often smaller, contraction before fully recovering to pre-recession levels.
An L-shaped recovery is seen as the worst-case scenario. Although the economy returns to growth, it is at a much lower base than pre-recession levels, which means it takes significantly longer to fully recover.
Many experts predicted that this would be a dreaded L-shaped recovery, like the 2008 recession that followed the housing market collapse. Fortunately, that does not seem to be the case.
What About the Unemployment Numbers?
It’s difficult to speak positively about a jobs report that shows millions of Americans are still out of work. However, when we compare it to many forecasts from earlier this year, the numbers are much better than most experts expected. There was talk of numbers that would rival the Great Depression when the nation suffered through four consecutive years of unemployment over 20%.
The first report after the 2020 shutdown did show a 14.7% unemployment rate, but much to the surprise of many analysts, the rate has decreased each of the last three months and is now in the single digits (8.4%).
Economist Jason Furman, Professor at Harvard University‘s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers during the previous administration, recently put it into context:
“An unemployment rate of 8.4% is much lower than most anyone would have thought it a few months ago. It is still a bad recession but not a historically unprecedented event or one we need to go back to the Great Depression for comparison.”
The economists surveyed by the WSJ also forecasted unemployment rates going forward:
- 2021: 6.3%
- 2022: 5.2%
- 2023: 4.9%
The economic recovery still has a long way to go. So far, we are doing much better than most thought would be possible.
There has been much talk around the possibility that Americans are feeling less enamored with the benefits of living in a large city and now may be longing for the open spaces that suburban and rural areas provide.
In a recent Realtor Magazine article, they discussed the issue and addressed comments made by Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR):
“While migration trends were toward urban centers before the pandemic, real estate thought leaders have predicted a suburban resurgence as home buyers seek more space for social distancing. Now the data is supporting that theory. Coronavirus and work-from-home flexibility is sparking the trend reversal, Yun said. More first-time home buyers and minorities have also been looking to the suburbs for affordability, he added.”
NAR surveyed agents across the country asking them to best describe the locations where their clients are looking for homes (they could check multiple answers). Here are the results of the survey:
- 47% suburban/subdivision
- 39% rural area
- 25% small town
- 14% urban area/central city
- 13% resort community/recreational area
According to real estate agents, there’s a strong preference for less populated locations such as suburban and rural areas.
Real Estate Brokers and Owners Agree
Zelman & Associates surveys brokers and owners of real estate firms for their monthly Real Estate Brokers Report. The last report revealed that 68% see either a ‘moderate’ or ‘significant’ shift to more suburban locations. Here are the results of the survey:
No one knows if this will be a short-term trend or an industry game-changer. For now, there appears to be a migration to more open environments.
With so few houses for sale today and low mortgage rates driving buyer activity, bidding wars are becoming more common. Multiple-offer scenarios are heating up, so it’s important to get pre-approved before you start your search. This way, you can put your best foot forward – quickly and efficiently – if you’re planning to buy a home this season.
Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research at realtor.com, explains:
“COVID-19 has accelerated earlier trends, bringing even more buyers than the market can handle. In many markets, fierce competition, bidding wars, and multiple offer scenarios may be the common theme in the weeks to come.”
Here are three things you can do to make your offer a competitive one when you’re ready to make your move.
1. Be Ready
A recent survey shows that only 52% of active homebuyers obtained a pre-approval letter before they began their home search. That means about half of active buyers missed out on this key part of the process.
Buyers who are pre-approved are definitely a step ahead when it’s time to make an offer. Having a pre-approval letter indicating you’re a qualified buyer shows sellers you’re serious. It’s often a deciding factor that can tip the scale in your direction if there’s more than one offer on a home. It’s best to contact a mortgage professional to start your pre-approval process early, so you’re in the best position right from the start of your home search.
2. Present Your Best Offer
In a highly competitive market, it’s common for sellers to pick a date and time to review all offers on a house at one time. If this is the case, you may not have an opportunity to negotiate back and forth with the sellers. As a matter of fact, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) notes:
“Not only are properties selling quickly, but they are also getting more offers. On average, REALTORS® reported nearly three offers per sold property in July 2020.”
Make sure the offer you’re presenting is the best one the sellers receive. A real estate professional can help you make sure your offer is a fair and highly competitive one.
3. Act Fast
“Properties typically remained on the market for 22 days in July, seasonally down from 24 days in June and from 29 days in July 2019. Sixty-eight percent of homes sold in July 2020 were on the market for less than a month.”
In addition, NAR notes:
“Total existing-home sales…jumped 24.7% from June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.86 million in July. The previous record monthly increase in sales was 20.7% in June of this year. Sales as a whole rose year-over-year, up 8.7% from a year ago (5.39 million in July 2019).”
As you can see, the market is gaining steam. For two consecutive months houses have sold very quickly. Essentially, you may not have time to sleep on it or shop around when you find a home you love. Chances are, someone else loves it too. If you take your time, it may not be available when you’re ready to commit.
The housing market is very strong right now, and buyers are scooping up available homes faster than they’re coming to market. If you’re planning to purchase a home this year, let’s connect to discuss the trends in our current area, so you’re ready to compete – and win.
One of the biggest surprises of 2020 is the resilience of the residential real estate market. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), is now forecasting that more homes will sell this year than last year. He’s also predicting home sales to increase by 8-12% next year. There’s strong evidence that he will be right.
ShowingTime, a leading showing software and market stat service provider for the residential real estate industry, just reported on their latest the ShowingTime Showing Index:
“Home buyer traffic jumped again in July, recording a 60.7 percent year-over-year increase in nationwide showing activity.”
That means there are 60% more buyers setting appointments to see homes than there were at this same time last year. The number of potential purchasers was also up dramatically in every region of the country:
- The Northeast was up 76.6%
- The West was up 56.7%
- The Midwest was up 52.1%
- The South was up 46.7%
The Housing Market Is Showing a ‘V’ Type Recovery
ShowingTime also indicates the real estate market has already come back from the downturn earlier this year that was caused by shelter-in-place orders. Here are the year-over-year numbers for each region on a monthly basis (See graph below):We’re way ahead of where we were at this time last year. This data validates the thoughts of Frank Martell, President and CEO of CoreLogic, who recently noted:
“On an aggregated level, the housing economy remains rock solid despite the shock and awe of the pandemic.”
If you’re thinking about selling your house, this may be a great time to get the best price and the most favorable terms.
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While many people across the U.S. have traditionally enjoyed the perks of an urban lifestyle, some who live in more populated city limits today are beginning to rethink their current neighborhoods. Being in close proximity to everything from the grocery store to local entertainment is definitely a perk, especially if you can also walk to some of these hot spots and have a short commute to work. The trade-off, however, is that highly populated cities can lack access to open space, a yard, and other desirable features. These are the kinds of things you may miss when spending a lot of time at home. When it comes to social distancing, as we’ve experienced recently, the newest trend seems to be around re-evaluating a once-desired city lifestyle and trading it for suburban or rural living. George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.com notes:
“With the re-opening of the economy scheduled to be cautious, the impact on consumer preferences will likely shift buying behavior…consumers are already looking for larger homes, bigger yards, access to the outdoors and more separation from neighbors. As we move into the recovery stage, these preferences will play an important role in the type of homes consumers will want to buy. They will also play a role in the coming discussions on zoning and urban planning. While higher density has been a hallmark of urban development over the past decade, the pandemic may lead to a re-thinking of space allocation.”
The Harris Poll recently surveyed 2,000 Americans, and 39% of the respondents who live in urban areas indicated the COVID-19 crisis has caused them to consider moving to a less populated area.Today, moving outside the city limits is also more feasible than ever, especially as Americans have quickly become more accustomed to – and more accepting of – remote work. According to the Pew Research Center, access to the Internet has increased significantly in rural and suburban areas, making working from home more accessible. The number of people working from home has also spiked considerably, even before the pandemic came into play this year.
If you have a home in the suburbs or a rural area, you may see an increasing number of buyers looking for a property like yours. If you’re thinking of buying and don’t mind a commute to work for the well-being of your family, you may want to consider looking at homes for sale outside the city. Let’s connect today to discuss the options available in our area.
Homes cost a lot of money to maintain. But are you spending extra money unnecessarily on upkeep? Here are seven of the most expensive mistakes you could be making in your home:
1. Using Traditional Light Bulbs. If you still have incandescent light bulbs in your home, you could be throwing a lot of money away every month on inflated electric bills. Over its life span, an incandescent bulb can use almost $200 worth of electricity. A CFL will only use about $40 worth of electricity over the same time period. Even better is the LED bulb, which only uses around $30 per bulb. Think what replacing every light bulb in your home could do to your home’s bottom line!
2. Letting Faucets Leak. A leaky faucet that drips one drop per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year, which is enough water to take more than 180 showers. Some people live in areas where water is plentiful, but for others in areas plagued with drought, this could be costing a fortune. Fix or replace your leaky faucet, and save a ton on your water bill.
3. Using the Wrong Air Filter Size. We all sometimes forget to change out the air filters for our HVAC systems or accidentally buy the wrong size. But using the wrong filter or a dirty one can increase your power bill and cause expensive problems for your furnace down the road. Use the correct filters for your system, and set a reminder to change them after the recommended amount of time. You won’t regret it.
4. Not Customizing the Temperature. Invest in a customizable thermostat. If you’re away at the office all day, you can program your heater to shift down a few degrees while you’re gone and then shift back up shortly before you return home. Heating or cooling an empty home wastes a lot of money in energy costs.
5. Not Adjusting Air Vents Properly. Is one room in your home hot, while the others are cold? Oftentimes homeowners will crank up the air conditioning in the whole house to combat hot temperatures in one area. Instead, adjust air vents to direct the flow of air more evenly throughout your entire home. Professionals will come regulate this to ensure your entire home is receiving the same amount of air conditioning or heating.
6. Overwatering the Lawn. Many homeowners have their sprinkler systems programmed to come on in the early morning hours for optimum lawn health. This can become a problem, however, if you’re never around to see what you’re actually watering. A broken sprinkler head could be causing a fountain, or the trajectory of your sprinkler may be directed at a fence instead of your lawn. Periodically run your sprinklers during the day so you can see how they’re performing when you’re not around.
7. Ignoring Leaky Windows and Doors. Leaky windows and doors are great places for cold winds or hot air to enter your home. Many homeowners simply ignore them and crank up their heaters or AC. Caulk leaky windows and put rubber seal around doors to maintain your indoor climate.
Use these tips to cut maintenance costs on your home today.
Through all the volatility in the economy right now, some have put their search for a home on hold, yet others have not. According to ShowingTime, the real estate industry’s leading showing management technology provider, buyers have started to reappear over the last several weeks. In the latest report, they revealed:
“The March ShowingTime Showing Index® recorded the first nationwide drop in showing traffic in eight months as communities responded to COVID-19. Early April data show signs of an upswing, however.”
Why would people be setting appointments to look at prospective homes when the process of purchasing a home has become more difficult with shelter-in-place orders throughout the country?
Here are three reasons for this uptick in activity:
1. Some people need to move. Whether because of a death in the family, a new birth, divorce, financial hardship, or a job transfer, some families need to make a move as quickly as possible.
2. Real estate agents across the country have become very innovative, utilizing technology that allows purchasers to virtually:
- View homes
- Meet with mortgage professionals
- Consult with their agent throughout the process
All of this can happen within the required safety protocols, so real estate professionals are continuing to help families make important moves.
3. Buyers understand that mortgage rates are a key component when determining their monthly mortgage payments. Mortgage interest rates are very close to all-time lows and afford today’s purchaser the opportunity to save tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the loan.
Many families have decided not to postpone their plans to purchase a home, even in these difficult times. If you need to make a move, let’s connect today so you have a trusted advisor to safely and professionally guide you through the process.
Real Estate is profound work; a noble offering to the community we live in. When I do my job, the city I love thrives because the families I serve thrive. The trajectory of lives and generations is altered when we help people become homeowners for the first time, or sell property to move them into a new chapter of their life story. This pandemic-induced pause is offering us an invitation to think creatively and support one another. Seattle will be revived, and I am extending an invitation for you to join Metropolist for us to grow collectively.
Why should you consider joining Metropolist during a crisis?
Metropolist cares about the health of your business because we care about the health of Seattle; we care about you. As a broker myself, my job is to serve you so you can continue serving the people you care about. When I’m healthy, I have more energy to offer my family and my clients. I want the same for you.
Seasoned broker, Sarah Georger-Clark joined Metropolist in February this year. We asked her what the transition has been like for her.
“Here, I am energized. I have the freedom to express my personal brand and infuse who I am into the work I do. Metropolist is first about relationships; they are generous with their time and encourage collaboration to foster success, so every agent is able to best serve our clients.”
Read more from Sarah
Did you know that 42% of brokers with 6+ years experience make less than $5OK?
Brokers at Metropolist with 6+ years experience make $142K.
At Metropolist, we operate at a high level of connection and collaboration. I don’t know about you, but I need the accountability–more some days than others!
- Join our weekly Production Meeting on Zoom, Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. Email our concierge for your exclusive access to all of our broker-community-at-large learning opportunities.
We welcome vulnerability; that means we want you to come as you are–crisis-exhausted and looking for a place to refuel–and discover new ways to show up in your business despite current stressors.
To quote my favorite thought-leader, Brené Brown, “I define vulnerability as emotional risk, exposure, uncertainty; it is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.”
Education like no other.
What are you currently missing in your business? What are your struggles?
- Education at Metropolist is customizable.
The Metropolist Method is our approach to broker support. Every Monday, we offer virtual Skills and Contracts classes where we dive deeply into the minutiae of real estate’s necessary evils—that industry paperwork that can overwhelm us time and time again.We dissect topics so they are easy to understand and provide plenty of support to navigate with ease. I can guarantee a room of cheerleaders to encourage you when you want to throw your hands up. We won’t let you give up.
- Clock hour classes at no cost to you—ever.
Our Learning Lab is a Washington State accredited real estate school that offers a variety of clock-hour classes to area brokers. Metropolist agents receive access to these classes for FREE, giving you countless opportunities to learn, grow, and thrive in your business.Check out our upcoming, unboring Real Estate classes in our Learning Lab and sign up today!
Metropolist is focused on you. We will not capitalize on your fears. When you join us, we encourage you to bring who you are to the table so we can provide the best tools and resources just for you.
“Metropolist is there for agents the way I am there for my clients. For me, it was a big decision; a refreshing change for my business and personal life.”
We stand out.
Don’t join Metropolist because of the crisis. Join us because of a change of heart; because you are ready to grow your business and yourself in new ways. I don’t want you perpetually worried about finances, wondering how your business is going to survive a crisis, because I don’t want that for myself. I am here to help you. We all are.
Learn the method. Join the madness.
Come to Metropolist if you want to connect with new and seasoned agents, sharpen your skills, add more resources to your toolkit, and stay accountable and excited about the business you love. Email me today and let’s chat about what’s important to you as you consider the next steps in your career.
We are agents of change, and we’re here to help you make a move.
by Chad Zinda, Designated Broker