The National Association of Realtors is projecting a shortage of homes for sale in a variety of price ranges for the coming months, which should help support house prices. That’s bullish for Real Estate IRA owners and other real estate investors, who should continue to enjoy multiple bids for properly-priced houses for sale in most markets.
The NAR is basing their projection on a relatively new data product, the Affordability Distribution Curve. This metric compares how many listings are available to buyers in a particular income percentile. The numbers in January showed a number of houses well below equilibrium, with the housing shortage much greater for those in lower percentiles.
While this does mean that home ownership continues to elude those in lower income strata, recent gains in employment and the effect of Millennials beginning to enter into their prime earning years is laying the groundwork for solid buyer demand this year, according to Jonathan Smoke, an economist for Realtor.com. “However, buyers with a lower maximum affordable price are seeing heavy competition for the newer listings they can afford. At a time of higher borrowing costs, this situation could affect affordability even as more buyers battle for a smaller pool of homes and bid prices upward.”
This indicates that Real Estate IRA owners may do well focusing on affordable properties likely to generate multiple bids when they do come up for sale, but which are still easily rentable should the investor choose to emphasize income rather than capital appreciation in their Real Estate IRA strategies.
“Home prices have ascended far past wage growth in much of the country in recent years because not enough homeowners are selling, and home builders have not boosted production enough to meet rising demand,” said Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. “NAR and Realtor.com’s new affordability measure confirms that buyers aren’t exaggerating about the imbalance. Amidst higher home prices and now mortgage rates, households with lower incomes have been able to afford less of all homes on the market last year and so far in 2017.”
According to Realtor.com and the NAR’s data, the most affordable states for housing, relative to income, were Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan and Missouri. Meanwhile, the least affordable markets were Hawaii, California, the District of Columbia, Montana and Oregon. Oregon, especially, has been undergoing recent house price increases and a general bull market for Real Estate IRA investors.
“This shortfall of inventory at a time of healthy job gains in most states is one of the biggest reasons for the depressed share of first-time buyers and the inability for the home ownership rate to rise above its near-record low,” said Yun. “The only prescription to reversing this adverse situation is to build more entry-level and mid-market housing that aligns with current household incomes.”
Until that happens, however, and the big developers come on board making major muscle moves into expanding development in these markets, the self-directed Real Estate IRA investor should be able to enjoy a seller’s market for houses for some time.