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Evans Realty was established in 1985 and servicing the Treasure Valley for the past 39 years.
Why Median Home Sales Price Is Confusing Right Now

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Why Median Home Sales Price Is Confusing Right Now

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is set to release its most recent Existing Home Sales (EHS) report tomorrow. This monthly release provides information on the volume of sales and price trends for homes that have previously been owned. In the upcoming release, it’ll likely say home prices are down. This may seem a bit confusing, especially if you’ve been following along and reading the blogs saying home prices have hit the bottom and have since rebounded.

So, why would this say home prices are falling when so many other price reports say they’re going back up? It all depends on the methodology of each one. NAR reports on the median home sales price, while some other sources use repeat sales prices. Here’s how those approaches differ.

The Center for Real Estate Studies at Wichita State University explains median sales prices like this:

The median sale price measures the ‘middle’ price of homes that sold, meaning that half of the homes sold for a higher price and half sold for less . . . For example, if more lower-priced homes have sold recently, the median sale price would decline (because the “middle” home is now a lower-priced home), even if the value of each individual home is rising.”

Investopedia helps define what a repeat sales approach means:

Repeat-sales methods calculate changes in home prices based on sales of the same property, thereby avoiding the problem of trying to account for price differences in homes with varying characteristics.”

The Challenge with the Median Home Sales Price Today

As the quotes above say, the approaches can tell different stories. That’s why median home sales price data (like EHS) may say prices are down, even though the vast majority of the repeat sales reports show prices are appreciating again.

Bill McBride, Author of the Calculated Risk blog, sums the difference up like this:

Median prices are distorted by the mix and repeat sales indexes like Case-Shiller and FHFA are probably better for measuring prices.”

To drive this point home, here’s a simple explanation of median value (see visual below). Let’s say you have three coins in your pocket, and you decide to line them up according to their value from low to high. If you have one nickel and two dimes, the median value (the middle one) is 10 cents. If you have two nickels and one dime, the median value is now five cents.

In both cases, a nickel is still worth five cents and a dime is still worth 10 cents. The value of each coin didn’t change.

That’s why using the median home sales price as a gauge of what’s happening with home values may be confusing right now. Most buyers look at home prices as a starting point to determine if they match their budgets. But most people buy homes based on the monthly mortgage payment they can afford, not just the price of the house. When mortgage rates are higher, you may have to buy a less expensive home to keep your monthly housing expense affordable.

That’s why a greater number of ‘less-expensive’ houses are selling right now – and that’s causing the median home sales price to decline. But that doesn’t mean any single house lost value. 

When you see the stories in the media that prices are falling later this week, remember the coins. Just because the median home sales price changes, it doesn’t mean home prices are falling. What it means is the mix of homes being sold is being impacted by affordability and current mortgage rates.

Bottom Line

For a more in-depth understanding of home price trends and reports, let’s connect.

Don’t Expect a Flood of Foreclosures

Don’t Expect a Flood of Foreclosures


The rising cost of just about everything from groceries to gas right now is leading to speculation that more people won’t be able to afford their mortgage payments. And that’s creating concern that a lot of foreclosures are on the horizon. While it’s true that foreclosure filings have gone up a bit compared to last year, experts say a flood of foreclosures isn’t coming.

Take it from Bill McBride of Calculated Risk. McBride is an expert on the housing market, and after closely following the data and market environment leading up to the crash, he was able to see the foreclosures coming in 2008. With the same careful eye and analysis, he has a different take on what’s ahead in the current market:

There will not be a foreclosure crisis this time.

Let’s look at why another flood is so unlikely.

There Aren’t Many Homeowners Who Are Seriously Behind on Their Mortgage Payments

One of the main reasons there were so many foreclosures during the last housing crash was because relaxed lending standards made it easy for people to take out mortgages, even if they couldn't show that they’d be able to pay them back. At that time, lenders weren’t being very strict when assessing applicant credit scores, income levels, employment status, and debt-to-income ratio.

But now, lending standards have tightened, leading to more qualified buyers who can afford to make their mortgage payments. And data from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae shows the number of homeowners who are seriously behind on their mortgage payments is declining (see graph below):

Molly Boese, Principal Economist at CoreLogicexplains just how few homeowners are struggling to make their mortgage payments:

May’s overall mortgage delinquency rate matched the all-time low, and serious delinquencies followed suit. Furthermore, the rate of mortgages that were six months or more past due, a measure that ballooned in 2021, has receded to a level last observed in March 2020.”

Before there can be a significant rise in foreclosures, the number of people who can’t make their mortgage payments would need to rise. Since so many buyers are making their payments today, a wave of foreclosures isn’t likely.

Bottom Line

If you’re worried about a potential flood of foreclosures, know there’s nothing in the data today to suggest that’ll happen. In fact, qualified buyers are making their mortgage payments at a very high rate.

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.

Equity Is a Game Changer for Homeowners Looking To Sell

Equity Is a Game Changer for Homeowners Looking To Sell


If you’re a homeowner, you might be torn on whether or not to sell your house right now. Maybe that’s because you don’t want to take on a higher mortgage rate on your next home. If that’s your biggest hurdle, understanding your equity may be exactly what you need to help you feel more comfortable making your move.

What Equity Is and How It Works

Equity is the current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan. And recently, that equity has been growing far faster than you may expect.

Over the last few years, home prices rose dramatically, and that gave your equity a big boost very quickly. While the market has started to normalize, there’s still an imbalance between the number of homes available for sale and the number of buyers looking to make a purchase. And it’s because homes are in such high demand that prices are back on the rise today. Rob Barber, CEO of ATTOM, a property data provider, explains:

“Equity levels were high even during the recent downturn, and now they are going back up and better than ever.”

How Equity Benefits You in Today’s Market

With today’s affordability challenges, that equity can be a game changer when you move. Here’s why. Based on data from ATTOM and the Census, nearly two-thirds (68.7%) of homeowners have either paid off their mortgages or have at least 50% equity (see chart below):

That means roughly 70% have a tremendous amount of equity right now.

Once you sell your house, you can use your equity to help with your next purchase. It could be some (if not all) of what you’ll need for your next down payment. It may even be enough to allow you to put a considerably larger down payment on your next home, so you don’t have to finance quite as much. And, if you’ve been in your current house for years, you may have even built up enough equity to pay in all cash. If that’s true for you, you’d be able to avoid borrowing altogether, so you wouldn’t have to worry about today’s mortgage rates.

How To Find Out How Much Equity You Have

The best way to learn how much you have is to reach out to a trusted real estate agent for a Professional Equity Assessment Report (PEAR).

Bottom Line

If you’re planning to make a move, the equity you’ve gained can make a big impact. To find out just how much equity you have in your current home and how you can use it to fuel your next purchase, let’s connect.

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.

Where Are People Moving Today and Why?

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Where Are People Moving Today and Why?

Plenty of people are still moving these days. And if you’re thinking of making a move yourself, you may be considering the inventory and affordability challenges in the housing market and wondering what you can do to help offset those. A new report from Gravy Analytics provides insight into where people are searching for homes and what they’re prioritizing most right now. That information could help you plan your own move.

1. People Are Moving to Cities with Lower Housing Costs

One big factor motivating where buyers are going is affordability and that’s no big surprise. People are relocating to areas that have less expensive housing options. As a result, small cities are thriving. Hannah Jones, Economics Data Analyst at Realtor.comsummarizes why:

“Affordability is still very much front and center . . . a lot of what’s available is outside of the price range of many buyers. . . . so they look elsewhere for a little more bang for the buck.”

The takeaway for you? If you’re having trouble finding a home that fits your budget, it may help to browse other, more affordable locations nearby.

2. People Want to Live Where They Vacation

And, if you’re already expanding your search radius, you may be able to include a location that features your favorite type of destination, like a suburb near the beach or a mountain town. Data shows many other homeowners are making that type of move a priority today. According to the same report from Gravy Analytics:

“Whether it’s the opportunity to enjoy more weekend hikes in the mountains or to wake up to a lakeside sunrise, people are moving to areas that were once thought of as vacation spots.”

Even with today’s home prices and mortgage rates, here’s why a move like this could be possible for you. If you’re already a homeowner, the equity you’ll get when you sell your current house can help fuel that move and give you the down payment you’d need for your dream home.

3. People Who Work Remotely Are Taking Advantage of that Flexibility

Ongoing remote work is another major factor in where people are moving. A recent report from the McKinsey Global Institute says this about recent movement patterns:

“Many of these moves happened because employees untethered from their daily commutes began to care less about how far they lived from the office.”

If you’re a remote or hybrid worker, you don’t have to live in the same city, or sometimes even the same state, as your job. That means you can prioritize other things, like being closer to loved ones, when buying a home.

In fact, the same McKinsey Global Institute report notes for people who moved during the pandemic, 55% reported moving farther from the office. And since remote work is still a popular choice today, homebuyers will likely continue to take advantage of that flexibility.

Bottom Line

Lots of people are still moving today. If you want help navigating today’s inventory or affordability challenges, and expert advice to help you find your ideal home, let's connect.

Home Prices Are Back on the Rise [INFOGRAPHIC]

Home Prices Are Back on the Rise [INFOGRAPHIC]

 

Some Highlights

  • Looking at monthly home price data from six expert sources shows the worst home price declines are behind us, and they’re rising again nationally.
  • If you’ve put your plans to move on pause because you were worried about home prices crashing, this rebound is good news.
  • Let’s connect so you know what’s happening with prices in our area.

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.

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