Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

May 12, 2022

What You Actually Need To Know About the Number of Foreclosures in Today’s Housing Market

While you may have seen recent stories about the volume of foreclosures today, context is important. During the pandemic, many homeowners were able to pause their mortgage payments using the forbearance program. The goal was to help homeowners financially during the uncertainty created by the health crisis.

When the forbearance program began, many experts were concerned it would result in a wave of foreclosures coming to the market, as there was after the housing crash in 2008. Here’s a look at why the number of foreclosures we’re seeing today is nothing like the last time.

1. There Are Fewer Homeowners in Trouble

Today’s data shows that most homeowners are exiting their forbearance plan either fully caught up on payments or with a plan from the bank that restructured their loan in a way that allowed them to start making payments again. The graph below depicts those findings from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA):

National and Baldwin County Foreclosures Info

The same MBA report mentioned above estimates there are approximately 525,000 homeowners who remain in forbearance today. Thankfully, those people still have the chance to work out a suitable repayment plan with the servicing company that represents their lender.

2. Most Homeowners Have Enough Equity To Sell Their Homes

For those who are exiting the forbearance program without a plan in place, many will have enough equity to sell their homes instead of facing foreclosures. Due to rapidly rising home prices over the last two years, the average homeowner has gained record amounts of equity in their home.

Marina Walsh, CMB, Vice President of Industry Analysis at MBA, says:

“Given the nation’s limited housing inventory and the variety of home retention and foreclosure alternatives on the table across various loan types, . . . Borrowers have more choices today to either stay in their homes or sell without resorting to a foreclosure.”

3. There Have Been Fewer Foreclosures over the Last Two Years

One of the seldom-reported benefits of the forbearance program was it gave homeowners facing difficulties an extra two years to get their finances in order and work out a plan with their lender. That helped prevent the foreclosures that normally would have come to the market had the new forbearance program not been available.

 

Even as people leave the forbearance program, there are still fewer foreclosures happening today than before the pandemic. That means, while there are more foreclosures now compared to last year (when foreclosures were paused), the number is still well below what the housing market has seen in a more typical year, like 2017-2019 (see graph below):

Fewer National and Baldwin County Foreclosures

4. The Current Market Can Easily Absorb New Listings

 

When the foreclosures in 2008 hit the market, they added to the oversupply of houses that were already for sale. It’s exactly the opposite today. The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reveals:

“Total housing inventory at the end of March totaled 950,000 units, up 11.8% from February and down 9.5% from one year ago (1.05 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.0-month supply at the present sales pace, up from 1.7 months in February and down from 2.1 months in March 2021.”

A balanced market would have approximately a six-month supply of inventory. At 2.0 months, today’s housing market is severely understocked. Even if one million homes enter the market, there still won’t be enough inventory to meet the current demand.

Bottom Line

If you see headlines about the increasing number of foreclosures today, remember context is important. While it’s true the number of foreclosures is higher now than it was last year, foreclosures are still well below pre-pandemic years.

 

If you have questions, reach out to a real estate professional who can help explain the latest market conditions and what they mean for you. Call Michelle Beckham Today: (251) 709-4558 (Broker, Bellator's Daphne Office)

Posted in Market Updates
Feb. 24, 2022

Want Top Dollar for Your Baldwin County Home? Now’s the Time To List It.

When you’re selling any item, you usually want to sell it for the greatest profit possible. That happens when there’s a strong demand and a limited supply for that item. In the real estate market, that time is right now. If you’re thinking of selling your house this year, here are two reasons why now’s the time to list.

1. Demand Is Very Strong This Winter

recent article in Inman News explains:

“Spring, the hottest time of year for homebuyers and sellers, has started early, according to economists. . . . ‘Home shopping season appears to already be in full swing!’”

And they aren’t the only ones saying buyers are already out in full force. That claim is backed up with data released last week by ShowingTime. The ShowingTime Showing Index tracks the average number of monthly buyer showings on active residential properties, which is a highly reliable leading indicator of current and future trends for buyer demand. The latest index reveals this December was the most active December in five years (see graph below):

Showings Up, Baldwin County Homes for Sale

As the data indicates, buyers are very active this winter. Last December saw even more showings than December of 2020, which was already a stronger-than-usual winter. And remember – you want to sell something when there’s a strong demand for that item. That time is now.

2. Housing Supply Is Extremely Low

Each month, realtor.com releases data on the number of active residential real estate listings (listings currently for sale). Their most recent report reveals the latest monthly number is the lowest we’ve seen in any January since 2017 (see graph below):

Active homes for sale, Baldwin County Real Estate

And don’t forget, the best time to sell an item is when there’s a limited supply of it available. This graph clearly shows how extremely low housing supply is today.

Even Though Supply Is at a Historic Low, Home Sales Are at a 15-Year High

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing-home sales totaled 6.12 million in 2021 – the highest annual level since 2006. This means the market is hot and homeowners are in a great place to sell now while sales are so strong.

NAR also reports available listings by calculating the current months’ supply of inventory. They explain:

“Months’ supply refers to the number of months it would take for the current inventory of homes on the market to sell given the current sales pace.”

The current 1.8-months’ supply is the lowest ever reported. Here are the December numbers over the last five years (see graph below):

Inventory of Homes for Sale, Baldwin County Realtors can help

The ratio of buyers to sellers favors homeowners right now to a greater degree than at any other time in history. Buyer demand is high, and supply is low. That gives sellers like you an incredible opportunity.

Bottom Line

If you agree the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and supply is low, let’s connect to begin discussing the process of listing your house today.

For a full list of available homes for sale in Baldwin County, contact Daphne Agents, Fairhope Realtors, and Spanish Fort Agents, with The Beckham Partners Team! (Bellator Real Estate):

#1 Top Producer 2006 - 2019 and #1 Sales Team, 2020!

#1 Baldwin County Real Estate Agents

For more info, call us today:

  • Michelle Beckham (251) 709-4558 (Broker)
  • Angelina Needham (251) 979-2108 
  • Jennifer Doyle (251) 404-3228
  • Mike Hamm (251) 214-8237

 

Bellator Real Estate

Posted in Market Updates
Feb. 23, 2022

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble

recent survey revealed that many consumers believe there’s a housing bubble beginning to form. That feeling is understandable, as year-over-year home price appreciation is still in the double digits. However, this market is very different than it was during the housing crash 15 years ago. Here are four key reasons why today is nothing like the last time.

1. Houses Are Not Unaffordable Like They Were During the Housing Boom

The affordability formula has three components: the price of the home, wages earned by the purchaser, and the mortgage rate available at the time. Conventional lending standards say a purchaser should not spend more than 28% of their gross income on their mortgage payment.

Fifteen years ago, prices were high, wages were low, and mortgage rates were over 6%. Today, prices are still high. Wages, however, have increased, and the mortgage rate, even after the recent spike, is still well below 6%. That means the average purchaser today pays less of their monthly income toward their mortgage payment than they did back then.

In the latest Affordability Report by ATTOM Data, Chief Product Officer Todd Teta addresses that exact point:

“The average wage earner can still afford the typical home across the U.S., but the financial comfort zone continues shrinking as home prices keep soaring and mortgage rates tick upward.”

Affordability isn’t as strong as it was last year, but it’s much better than it was during the boom. Here’s a chart showing that difference:

If costs were so prohibitive, how did so many homes sell during the housing boom?

2. Mortgage Standards Were Much More Relaxed During the Boom

During the housing bubble, it was much easier to get a mortgage than it is today. As an example, let’s review the number of mortgages granted to purchasers with credit scores under 620. According to credit.org, a credit score between 550-619 is considered poor. In defining those with a score below 620, they explain:

“Credit agencies consider consumers with credit delinquencies, account rejections, and little credit history as subprime borrowers due to their high credit risk.”

Buyers can still qualify for a mortgage with a credit score that low, but they’re considered riskier borrowers. Here’s a graph showing the mortgage volume issued to purchasers with a credit score less than 620 during the housing boom, and the subsequent volume in the 14 years since.

Lending Standards - Baldwin County AL Homes for Sale, Real Estate Agents

Mortgage standards are nothing like they were the last time. Purchasers that acquired a mortgage over the last decade are much more qualified. Let’s take a look at what that means going forward.

3. The Foreclosure Situation Is Nothing Like It Was During the Crash

The most obvious difference is the number of homeowners that were facing foreclosure after the housing bubble burst. The Federal Reserve issues a report showing the number of consumers with a new foreclosure notice. Here are the numbers during the crash compared to today:

Foreclosure Situation - Baldwin County AL Real Estate, Homes for Sale

There’s no doubt the 2020 and 2021 numbers are impacted by the forbearance program, which was created to help homeowners facing uncertainty during the pandemic. However, there are fewer than 800,000 homeowners left in the program today, and most of those will be able to work out a repayment plan with their banks.

Rick Sharga, Executive Vice President of RealtyTracexplains:

“The fact that foreclosure starts declined despite hundreds of thousands of borrowers exiting the CARES Act mortgage forbearance program over the last few months is very encouraging. It suggests that the ‘forbearance equals foreclosure’ narrative was incorrect.”

Why are there so few foreclosures now? Today, homeowners are equity rich, not tapped out.

In the run-up to the housing bubble, some homeowners were using their homes as personal ATM machines. Many immediately withdrew their equity once it built up. When home values began to fall, some homeowners found themselves in a negative equity situation where the amount they owed on their mortgage was greater than the value of their home. Some of those households decided to walk away from their homes, and that led to a rash of distressed property listings (foreclosures and short sales), which sold at huge discounts, thus lowering the value of other homes in the area.

Homeowners, however, have learned their lessons. Prices have risen nicely over the last few years, leading to over 40% of homes in the country having more than 50% equity. But owners have not been tapping into it like the last time, as evidenced by the fact that national tappable equity has increased to a record $9.9 trillion. With the average home equity now standing at $300,000, what happened last time won’t happen today.

As the latest Homeowner Equity Insights report from CoreLogic explains:

“Not only have equity gains helped homeowners more seamlessly transition out of forbearance and avoid a distressed sale, but they’ve also enabled many to continue building their wealth.”

There will be nowhere near the same number of foreclosures as we saw during the crash. So, what does that mean for the housing market?

4. We Don’t Have a Surplus of Homes on the Market – We Have a Shortage

The supply of inventory needed to sustain a normal real estate market is approximately six months. Anything more than that is an overabundance and will causes prices to depreciate. Anything less than that is a shortage and will lead to continued price appreciation. As the next graph shows, there were too many homes for sale from 2007 to 2010 (many of which were short sales and foreclosures), and that caused prices to tumble. Today, there’s a shortage of inventory, which is causing the acceleration in home values to continue.

Supply of Homes - Baldwin County AL Real Estate - Eastern Shore Homes for Sale, Daphne, Fairhope, Spanish Fort

Inventory is nothing like the last time. Prices are rising because there’s a healthy demand for homeownership at the same time there’s a shortage of homes for sale.

Bottom Line

If you’re worried that we’re making the same mistakes that led to the housing crash, the graphs above show data and insights to help alleviate your concerns.

 

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

 

Posted in Market Updates
July 21, 2021

New! June 2021 Alabama Gulf Coast real estate market statistics by area

Alabama’s Gulf Coast contains several real estate markets depending on location and price point – just to name a few factors. The graphic below shows real estate statistics for June 2021, the latest month available.

Residential Units only, as of June 6, 2021:

* Sold Units are from previous month

 

EASTERN SHORE:

Daphne, AL:  Units SOLD: 158, Currently LISTED: 79 (84% Listed are Under$500k)

Fairhope, AL: Units SOLD: 131, Currently LISTED: 127 (66% Listed are under $500k)

Spanish Fort, AL: Units SOLD: 66, Currently LISTED: 32  (69% Listed are under $500k)

 

SOUTH BALDWIN:

Foley, AL: Units SOLD: 180, Currently LISTED: 79 (98% Listed are under $500k)

Gulf Shores, AL: Units SOLD: 208, Currently LISTED: 260 (78% Listed are under $500k)

Orange Beach, AL: Units SOLD: 145, Currently LISTED: 195 (50% Listed are under $500k)

2021 Baldwin County Alabama Home Sales Statistics

 

Vital Signs provides a visual representation of what’s happening in several local markets by showing you supply. The colored-coded numbers represent the absorption rate, the number of months it would take to sell every home on the market in a particular price range if no others were added. If the market is moving quickly, the absorption rate will fall below six months of supply, and if it’s more of a buyer’s market, it will jump above six months of supply. 

The rate is determined by dividing the number of units currently on the market by the number sold in the past month. As you can see, we are seeing a less than six moth supply in most markets across the Gulf Coast, marking a historic seller’s market for our area. For updated information for your specific neighborhood, contact your Bellator agent today.

Posted in Market Updates
July 7, 2021

A Look at Home Price Appreciation Through 2025

Home prices have increased significantly over the last year, which in turn has grown the net worth of homeowners. Appreciation and home equity are directly linked – as the value of a home increases, so does a homeowner’s equity. And with these recent gains, homeowners are witnessing their financial stability and well-being grow to record levels.

In more good news for homeowners, the most recent Home Price Expectations Survey – a survey of a national panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists – forecasts home prices will continue appreciating over the next five years, adding to the record amount of equity homeowners have already gained over the past year. Below are the expected year-over-year rates of home price appreciation from the report:

Home price appreciation

What Does This Mean for Homeowners?

Home prices are climbing today, and the data in the survey indicates they’ll continue to increase, but at rates that approach a more normal pace. Even still, the amount of household wealth a homeowner stands to earn going forward is substantial. This truly becomes clear when we consider a scenario using a median-priced home purchased in January of 2021 and the projected rate of appreciation on that home over the next five years. As the graph below illustrates, a homeowner could increase their net worth by a significant amount – over $93,000 dollars by 2026.

Home Price Appreciation and Home Equity

CoreLogic recently released their quarterly Homeowner Equity Insights Report, which tracks the year-over-year increases in equity. It shows an average annual gain of $33,400 per borrower over the past 12 months. In the report, Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, further explains:

Double-digit home price growth in the past year has bolstered home equity to a record amount. The national CoreLogic Home Price Index recorded an 11.4% rise in the year through March 2021, leading to a $216,000 increase in the average amount of equity held by homeowners with a mortgage.”

The expected, sustained growth of home prices means homeowners can continue to build on the past year’s record levels of home equity – and their financial prosperity. It also presents today’s homeowners with a unique opportunity: using their growing equity for a home upgrade. With so few homes available to purchase and strong buyer demand, there may not be a better time to sell your current house and move into one that better meets your needs.

Bottom Line

 

Home prices are expected to continue appreciating over the next five years, and the associated equity gains are the quickest way homeowners can build household wealth. If you’re a current homeowner who’s ready to take advantage of your built-up equity, let’s connect today to discuss your options.

 

Posted in Market Updates
Feb. 3, 2021

Want to Build Wealth? Recent Studies Say "Buy a Home This Year!"

Every year, families, couples, and individuals across U.S. make the decision to rent for another year or take the leap into homeownership. Looking at their earnings and savings to then decide what makes the most financial sense. That equation will most likely take into consideration factors such as monthly housing costs, tax advantages, and other incremental expenses. Using these measurements, recent studies show that it’s still more affordable to own than rent!

There is, however, another financial advantage to owning a home that’s often forgotten in the analysis – the WEALTH BUILT through equity as a primary advantage of owning a home.

“Once you include the equity benefit of price appreciation, owning made more financial sense than renting in 48/50 top markets (with the only exceptions being San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.)”

What has this equity piece meant to homeowners in the past?

ATTOM Data Solutions, the curator of one of the nation’s premier property databases, just analyzed the typical home-price gain owners nationwide enjoyed when they sold their homes. Here’s a breakdown of their findings:

Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist for First American, discusses this point in a recent blog post. She explains:

“Once you include the equity benefit of price appreciation, owning made more financial sense than renting in 48 out of the 50 top markets, with the only exceptions being San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.”

What has this equity piece meant to homeowners in the past?

ATTOM Data Solutions, the curator of one of the nation’s premier property databases, just analyzed the typical home-price gain owners nationwide enjoyed when they sold their homes. Here’s a breakdown of their findings:

The typical gain in the sale of the home (equity) has increased significantly over the last five years (up from $53,700 in 2019 and $48,500 two years ago). "Both raw profits and ROI have improved nationwide for nine straight years. And last year’s gain in ROI – up more than five percentage points – marked the largest annual increase since 2017", according to that ATTOM report.

CoreLogic, another property data curator, also weighed in on the subject. According to their latest Homeowner Equity Insights Report, the average homeowner gained $17,000 in equity in just the last year alone.

What does the future look like for homeowners when it comes to equity?

Here are the seven major home price appreciation forecasts for 2021:

 

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) just reported that today, the median-priced home in the country sells for $309,800. If homes appreciate by 5% this year (the average of the forecasts), the homeowner will increase their wealth by $15,490 in 2021 through increased equity.

 

Bottom Line

As you make your plans for the coming year, be sure to consider the equity benefits of home price appreciation as you weigh the financial advantages of buying over renting.

When you do, you may find this is the perfect time to jump into homeownership.

Posted in Market Updates
Jan. 25, 2021

Why Moving to Daphne, Fairhope or Spanish Fort May Be Just the Boost You Need

Are you considering moving to Baldwin County's Eastern Shore, for a change of scenery in 2021? Well, we've got just the thing to help you get started - check out our three city home searches, showing every home that's available today - it can even show you what's under contract and what recently sold in any Daphne, Fairhope and/or Spanish Fort neighborhood you're seeking! Also, fee free to call Broker, Michelle Beckham, today with any other questions: (251) 709-4558. No obligation, we're always here to help.

Baldwin County AL Home Search

As we look back over the past year, we’ve certainly lived through one of the most stressful periods in recent history. After spending so much more time at home throughout the health crisis, some of us are wondering if they should move to improve their mental health and well-being. Baldwin county is already the fastest growing county in the state. And, with residents are moving here in 2021 for myriad reasons. Also, Mobilians are moving across the bay to the more scenic cities of Baldwin County - Spanish Fort, Daphne, and Fairhope - all waterfront cities that are also closer to South Baldwin's beaches. Seeking to move for a break is no surprise since the U.S. Census Bureau reported an increase in the percentage of adults with symptoms of anxiety and depression in a recent Household Pulse Survey.

Baldwin County AL Home Search

There’s logic behind the idea that making a move could improve someone’s quality of life. When people change their scenery, they often feel happier. Catherine Hartley, an Assistant Professor at New York University’s Department of Psychology and co-author of a study  on how new experiences impact happiness, mentioned:

“Our results suggest that people feel happier when they have more variety in their daily routines—when they go to novel places and have a wider array of experiences.”

If you’re looking for a new experience, planning a move into a new home may be something you’ve started to consider more carefully. If so, you’re not alone. The 2020 Annual National Movers Study by United Van Lines shows:

“For customers who cited COVID-19 as an influence on their move in 2020, the top reasons associated with COVID-19 were concerns for personal and family health and wellbeing (60%); desires to be closer to family (59%); 57% moved due to changes in employment status or work arrangement (including the ability to work remotely); and 53% desired a lifestyle change or improvement of quality of life.”

So, if you’re thinking of moving this year to help boost your happiness factor, here are a few questions to ask yourself as you make your decision.

How’s the Weather?
Is the weather something that’s important to you? Does it have a tendency to impact your mood? The World Population Review shares:

“What states have the best weather? When evaluating each state for temperature, rain, and sun, some states stand out. Although climate and weather preferences are personal and subjective, some criteria are considered to make up the best weather, according to Current Results:

  • Comfortable temperatures from 63°F to 86°F for more than half of the year.
  • Dry weather with no more than 60 inches of rain per year.
  • Mostly clear skies with an average of sunshine for at least 60% of the year.”

“Better weather” can mean different things to different people – some prefer the heat, others cooler temperatures, and some want to experience all four seasons. Think about what makes you feel happiest if you’re looking for a new location.

Should I Choose the City, Suburbs, or Country?
With the COVID-19 pandemic, some people are deciding to move to lower-density areas. Robert Dietz, Chief Economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), mentions:

“The third quarter Home Building Geography Index (HBGI) reveals that a suburban shift for consumer home buying preferences in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating as telecommuting is providing consumers more flexibility to live further out within large metros or even to relocate to more affordable, smaller metro areas.”

Can you work from home? Are you open to a longer commute in the future? If so, a move to the suburbs or even a quieter rural area may be a win for you. Or, if you’ve always dreamed of life in the city, now may be your chance to move into town.

Bottom Line
As we look beyond the trials of the pandemic, many are hoping for a new beginning, and that may mean moving. Let’s connect today to talk about your new goals and options in today’s market.

Posted in Market Updates
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

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Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

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You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates