As the nation reopens, housing is well-positioned to lead the economy forward. Inventory is tight, mortgage applications are increasing, interest rates are low and confidence is rising. And buyer traffic more than doubled in one month even as builders report growing online and phone inquiries stemming from the outbreak.
Housing clearly shows signs of momentum as challenges and opportunities exist in the single-family market. Builders report increasing demand for families seeking single-family homes in inner and outer suburbs that feature lower density neighborhoods. At the same time, elevated unemployment and the risk of new, local virus outbreaks remain a risk to the housing market.
Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.
All the HMI indices posted gains in June. The HMI index gauging current sales conditions jumped 21 points to 63, the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months surged 22 points to 68 and the measure charting traffic of prospective buyers vaulted 22 points to 43.
Looking at the monthly average regional HMI scores, the Northeast surged 31 point to 48, the South jumped 20 points to 62, the Midwest posted a 19-point gain to 51 and the West catapulted 22 points to 66.
(Bloomberg Opinion) — No matter how you look at it, the economic fallout from the coronavirus is going to be brutal, with a projected 6.5% decline in real gross domestic product in 2020 and an unemployment rate of 9.3% at year-end, according to the Federal Reserve. In ordinary times, and without any policy response from government, a blow of this magnitude should weaken the housing market.Yet, what we’re starting to see is the very opposite. For various reasons, the supply of homes on the market continues to fall to record lows and home prices are, if anything, accelerating. For many homeowners stressed about the value of their biggest investment, it’s a welcome relief. But this signals one more hurdle for would-be millennial homebuyers as they age into their family-forming years.
The biggest reason we’re seeing home-price growth accelerating in the middle of a pandemic is that the disruption to the supply of housing is persisting longer than the disruption to demand — that is, would-be buyers. Wednesday’s weekly mortgage data showed that purchase applications rose for the eighth consecutive week and are approaching an 11-year high on a seasonally adjusted basis. Part of the reason for the quick rebound in demand is surely the decline in interest rates on mortgages to all-time lows, with few signs they are likely to rise for the foreseeable future.
But as is always the case in the housing market, supply doesn’t respond as quickly as demand. Single-family housing starts plunged in March and April, with the most recent report showing a 25% year-over-year tumble. Part of this decline is because construction in some states shutdown, and much more so in some regions than others. Single-family starts fell 73% in the Northeast but only 13% in the South. Even where construction continued, the pace slowed as builders adopted social distancing and other health measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Even as demand rebounds, homebuilders may be slow to acquire new construction lots and might hold back on increasing production after getting the scare they did in March and April. They may prefer to wait a while to make sure these revived levels of demand are sustainable, while they also shore up their balance sheets before beginning to build at the same pace as earlier this year.
Beyond the impact on construction, a little discussed factor leading to fewer homes on the market is mortgage forbearance programs put in place by banks, states and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. From a policy standpoint it’s great that banks and governments are helping to prevent a deluge of foreclosure as millions of people lose their livelihoods because of the pandemic. But a consequence of that policy change is that it deprives the housing market of the supply of foreclosed properties that occurs even in strong economies and solid job markets; this amounted to almost 500,000 houses in 2019.
Some homeowners may also be delaying the listing of their homes for sale because they’re sheltering-in-place, or have lost their jobs and can no longer provide income verification to buy a different home. They may also not be comfortable having potential buyers, who could be carrying the virus, walking into their homes for sales showings.
Put it all together and housing supply continues to fall. Mike Simonsen of Altos Research, who tracks real-time housing data, notes that there are only 700,000 single-family homes for sale in U.S. compared to more than 900,000 at this time last year. Normally at this time of year the housing supply has been rising for a few months amid the traditional spring buying season, only to fall later in the year as activity slows. But that’s not what we’ve seen during the past few months, as supply continues to contract. As a result, the percentage of homes for sale with price reductions is the lowest he’s seen in his database, a leading indicator suggesting faster home-price growth in coming months.
Presumably, at some point the coronavirus crisis will pass, foreclosures will move forward again and all participants in the housing market from would-be buyers, sellers and homebuilders resume normal behavior. To the extent home prices rose too high because of supply distortions, we should see home prices leveling off or even declining. But it’s not clear that this will be a 2020 story. And in the meantime, steadily rising home prices may join steadily rising stock-market prices in the middle of a pandemic as a phenomenon that continues to flummox everyone.
A revised map of New York State showing the phases each of the 10 regions are currently in. On June 10, Long Island will join the rest of the state when it enters phase two.
WHITE PLAINS—Today is the day real estate brokers and agents have been anxiously waiting for since March 22 when Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued the “New York on Pause” order that virtually shut down the real estate industry and all other “non-essential” businesses in the state.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this morning (June 9) that the Mid-Hudson region, which includes Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, Dutchess, Sullivan and Ulster counties, entered phase two which lessen restrictions on real estate, offices, essential and phase II in-store retail, vehicle sales, leases, and rentals, retail rental, repair, and cleaning, commercial building management, hair salons and barbershops and now allows outdoor dining at restaurants.
The Mid-Hudson entered phase one of the reopening process on May 26, which loosened restrictions on the construction and manufacturing industries, as well as the wholesale supply chain. In addition, certain retail operations were eligible to be expanded for curbside pickup and drop-off or in-store pickup. The phase one designation also affected the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries, but had no beneficial impact on the real estate industry, with the exception of real estate development construction.
The Mid-Hudson could be eligible for phase three of the four-phased reopening program on Tuesday, June 23, which will lift some restrictions on food service and personal care. The final phase (four) would impact arts/entertainment/recreation and educational sectors.
Gov. Cuomo, who noted that today was day 101 since the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in the state, praised the work of government, health and business leaders for helping facilitate the phase two designation. “The numbers are down because you brought the numbers down,” he said. The governor noted that at the peak of COVID-19 back in April, the Mid-Hudson reported 75 deaths in one day. On June 8, there were no COVID-19 related deaths in the entire Hudson Valley region. Westchester County Executive George Latimer, in a later press conference, noted that there was one COVID-19 related death the previous evening in Westchester County.
Latimer chronicled the great progress the county and the Mid-Hudson region has achieved since the peak of the pandemic in April. He noted that two months ago on April 9, there were 44 COVID-related deaths in Westchester County. Since the pandemic began, there have been 1,396 deaths attributed to the coronavirus in Westchester.
He said that with the onset of phase two the county can “return to a reasonable place in our society, hopefully where we are fighting the contagion effectively, but at the same time we are starting to reopen businesses and really get back to something close to normal.”
Since the shutdown of the economy back in March, real estate professionals have tried to offer services and facilitate sale transactions on a virtual basis. The phase two designation lifts restrictions, but does mandate safety protocols, including social distancing. One key change with the phase two designation is that in-person real estate showings are now permissible as long as safety protocols are adhered to.
“The day we’ve all been yearning for is finally here! Many agents are jumping right in, with appointments already scheduled today. I expect that we are going to be as busy as we’ve ever been, with pent up buyer demand, sellers who’ve been waiting until now to put their homes on the market, and a lot more steps to every showing,” said HGAR President Gail Fattizzi.
She added, “As we begin meeting our clients in-person again, we must stay mindful that COVID-19 is still here, and take every precaution. HGAR intends to continue providing CE classes and holding meetings virtually, along with great free programs via Zoom. We should all expect that ‘re-opening’ is going to be a slow, steady process, not an instant change back to normal.”
HGAR Chief Executive Officer Richard Haggerty noted, “For 11 weeks the Realtor community has done our part, first by ‘pausing’ and then by shifting our business to a remote environment, in order to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19. That goal has been achieved and now it’s time to relaunch real estate, following the ESD guidance and with great concern for safety, and get the state economy relaunched.”
Other county and business leaders hailed the beginning of phase two as a milestone that will hopefully begin to relaunch the regional economy, now that New York City has entered phase one (yesterday).
John Ravitz, executive vice president of the Business Council of Westchester, said that the Westchester economy is still in uncharted waters and praised the business community for its resiliency to date in dealing with the COVID pandemic.
“None of us knew what we were facing when the pandemic hit and so many different businesses in different sectors had to pivot; had to deal with their concerns for their employees, as well as their clients and customers,” Ravitz said. “I think what puts Westchester on the map throughout the country is the ingenuity and the creativity we have seen from our business leaders.”
Government officials talked of the work that has been done and the efforts that will need to be made to get their economies back on track.
“County government is doing everything humanly possible to assist these businesses as they reopen,” said Rockland County Executive Ed Day. “We have been sharing guidance with municipalities, local chambers of commerce and with businesses directly through our Office of Economic Development and Tourism. We have also hosted three business info livestreams to communicate critical information and promote Rockland’s tech sector.”
Day also noted that last week the county’s ROCK GOV – FACE COV program which gave out 25,000 masks to local small businesses and nonprofits which have fewer than 20 employees.
“Bottom line, we are working to ensure that businesses reopen in a way that is responsible and protects the health and safety of both their employees and customers,” he added.
Sullivan County government offices will slowly begin reopening to in-person visits, according to County Manager Josh Potosek. “We are bringing back less than 50% of our employees onsite, and offices will be open to the public by appointment only,” Potosek stated. “This is to ensure that the plan we’ve developed is workable and safe before we bring back more employees and reopen for walk-in customers—likely with the start of phase 3.”
The following is guidance from Empire State Development Corp. on In-Person Showings in Phase Two
Residential In-Person Property Showings and Related Activities
Responsible Parties may conduct in-person property showings while adhering to social distancing and required PPE safety guidelines. The following measures must be followed:
• Showings and open houses will only be allowed in unoccupied (e.g., current owner or lessee is not inside the property) or vacant properties;
• For all showings and open houses, Responsible Parties should limit the number of individuals viewing a property at any one time. If multiple parties (from different households) arrive for a showing at the same time, Responsible Parties should encourage those in line to wait outside until their turn.
• As a best practice, appointments for showings should be scheduled in advance, when possible.
Responsible Parties as well as all individuals (e.g. building inspectors / appraiser or potential buyer/lessee) visiting the property will be required to wear a face covering at all times, and Responsible Parties may choose to require gloves and shoe-covers to be worn;
• Responsible Parties should provide face coverings and gloves to prospective tenants and/or buyers, if necessary;
• Responsible Parties should advise prospective tenants/buyers to only touch essential surfaces (e.g. handrails going up/down stairs if necessary) during their time in the property. Other areas or surfaces such as cabinets, countertops, appliances etc. should not be touched by tenants/buyers.
• Responsible Parties must ensure employees, salespeople, agents and brokers clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces (e.g. handrails, doorknobs etc.) before and after every showing; and
• Responsible Parties must stagger showings in order to avoid the congregation of people outside and inside properties.
• Responsible Parties are encouraged not to show common building amenities in-person (e.g. gym, roof deck, pool).
• If the common areas mentioned above are shown, Responsible Parties must ensure that those areas are frequently cleaned and disinfected and appropriate social distancing of 6 feet is maintained for all parties at all times.
• Responsible Parties should encourage only one party (e.g. building inspector, home appraiser, prospective tenant/buyer, photographer, stager) to be allowed inside the property at a time. If more than one party is inside the property at the same time, 6 feet of distance must be maintained at all times between individuals, and face coverings must be worn.
• Responsible Parties and prospective tenants/buyers are encouraged not to bring young children or extraneous guests to property showings, when possible, or leave attended children outside.
• Responsible Parties should limit salespeople / brokers from driving in the same car with prospective tenants / buyers. If this cannot be avoided, face coverings must be worn by everyone in the vehicle and frequently touched areas of the vehicle should be cleaned and disinfected.
• Open houses must also only allow one party inside the property at a time.
• Responsible Parties are encouraged, but not required, to conduct remote walkthroughs rather than in-person walkthroughs (e.g. recorded/live video), where possible.
For important information, guidance and forms related to the Reopening of Real Estate in NY during Phase 2 go to HGAR.com COVID-19 Resources or click links below:
New York Forward – Reopening Guidelines and Forms
New York State Safety Plan Template—(This template, or another safety plan template, needs to be completed and made available upon an inspection by the Dept. of Health or local safety dept.)
Over the first four months of 2020 – and at the onset of the impact of the coronavirus, total single-family permits issued year-to-date (YTD) nationwide reached 283,344. On a year-over-year (YoY) basis, this is an 8.5% increase over the April 2019 level of 261,119.
Year-to-date ending in April, single-family permits across the four regions ranging from an increase of 11.5% in the South to a decline of 0.6% in the Northeast. In multifamily permits, except for the West (+2.1%), all other regions reported declines – Northeast (-13.4%), Midwest (-13.4%) and the South (-2.8).
Between April 2019 YTD and April 2020 YTD, 35 states saw growth in single-family permits issued while 15 states and the District of Columbia registered a decline. South Dakota recorded the highest growth rate during this time at 35.9% from 588 to 799, while single-family permits in the District of Columbia declined by 70.5%, from 95 in 2019 to 28 in 2020. The 10 states issuing the highest number of single-family permits combined accounted for 63.5% of the total single-family permits issued. Consider hiring a company like montrealmovers.com to help you though this stressful process.
Year-to-date, ending in April 2020, the total number of multifamily permits issued nationwide reached 143,194. This is 4.5% decline over the April 2019 level of 149,921.
Between April 2019 YTD and April 2020 YTD, 23 states recorded growth while 27 states and the District of Columbia recorded a decline in multifamily permits. North Dakota led the way with a sharp rise (837.1%) in multifamily permits from 35 to 328, while Michigan had the largest decline of 60.5% from 2,346 to 927. The 10 states issuing the highest number of multifamily permits combined accounted for 65.0% of the multifamily permits issued.
The CoreLogic Home Price Insights report features an interactive view of our Home Price Index product with analysis through April 2020 with forecasts from May 2020 and April 2021.
CoreLogic HPI™ is designed to provide an early indication of home price trends. The indexes are fully revised with each release and employ techniques to signal turning points sooner. CoreLogic HPI Forecasts™ (with a 30-year forecast horizon), project CoreLogic HPI levels for two tiers—Single-Family Combined (both Attached and Detached) and Single-Family Combined excluding distressed sales.
The report is published monthly with coverage at the national, state and Core Based Statistical Area (CBSA)/Metro level and includes home price indices (including distressed sale); home price forecast and market condition indicators. The data incorporates more than 40 years of repeat-sales transactions for analyzing home price trends.
HPI National Change
April 2020 National Home Prices
Home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased year over year by 5.4% in April 2020 compared with April 2019 and increased month over month by 1.4% in April 2020 compared with March 2020 (revisions with public records data are standard, and to ensure accuracy, CoreLogic incorporates the newly released public data to provide updated results).
Forecast Prices Nationally
The CoreLogic HPI Forecast indicates that home prices will increase on a month-over-month basis by 0.3% from April 2020 to May 2020, and decline 1.3% on a year-over-year basic from April 2020 to April 2021. 2021 will mark the first year home prices are expected to decline in more than nine years
“The very low inventory of homes for sale, coupled with homebuyers’ spur of record-low mortgage rates, will likely continue to support home price growth during the spring. If unemployment remains elevated in early 2021, then we can expect home prices to soften. Our forecast has home prices down in 12 months across 41 states.”
– Dr. Frank Nothaft Chief Economist for CoreLogic
HPI & Case-Shiller Trends
This graph shows a comparison of the national year-over-year percent change for the CoreLogic HPI and CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index from 2000 to present month with forecasts one year into the future. We note that both the CoreLogic HPI Single Family Combined tier and the CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index are posting positive, but moderating year-over-year percent changes, and forecasting gains for the next year.
COVID-19 Impact on Home Prices
The home price acceleration in the April HPI was supported by increased homes sales in the first quarter of the year. Home price growth is expected to decelerate somewhat in May, with the CoreLogic HPI Forecast calling for a month-over-month increase of 0.3% compared with April 2020. Looking ahead, the CoreLogic HPI Forecast predicts an annual price decline of 1.3% from April 2020 to April 2021. In 2021, home prices are expected to decline for the first time in more than nine years.
Home-purchase activity slowed over March and April compared to last year as shelter-in-place orders, and an unprecedented spike in unemployment, dented home-buying activity fueled by millennials. Nationally, the for-sale inventory of entry-level homes plummeted on average 25% in April. Should this trend continue, we may see an adverse effect on home sales in the near term.
“Tight supply and pent-up demand, particularly among millennials, provides optimism for a bounce-back in the housing market purchase activity and home prices over the medium term. The next 12 to 18 months are going to be very tough times for the broader economy. As employment and economic activity begin to pick up, as it will surely do, we expect housing to be a driver in a national recovery.”
-Frank Martell President and CEO of CoreLogic
HPI National and State Maps – April 2020
The CoreLogic HPI provides measures for multiple market segments, referred to as tiers, based on property type, price, time between sales, loan type (conforming vs. non-conforming) and distressed sales. Broad national coverage is available from the national level down to ZIP Code, including non-disclosure states.
Nationally, the year-over-year home price changed by 5.4%. No states posted an annual decline in home prices in April 2020.
The states with the highest increases year-over-year were Idaho (12%, Arizona (8.3%), Indiana (8%) and Missouri (8%).
HPI Top 10 Metros Change
The CoreLogic HPI provides measures for multiple market segments, referred to as tiers, based on property type, price, time between sales, loan type (conforming vs. non-conforming) and distressed sales. Broad national coverage is available from the national level down to ZIP Code, including non-disclosure states.
These large cities continue to experience price increases, with Washington D.C. leading the way at 5.7% year over year.
Markets to Watch: Top Markets at Risk of Home Price Decline
The Market Risk Indicator (MRI), a monthly update of the overall health of housing markets across the country, predicts a very high probability (above 60%) of a decline in home prices in Prescott, Arizona; Huntington, West Virginia; Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida and College Station-Bryan, Texas, over the next 12 months. It also predicts a moderate probability of a price decline (40-60%) in North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida. Huntington, West Virginia, was hit particularly hard by the recent downturn in the oil and gas industry. Typical vacation spots, like Cape Coral-Fort Myers and North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton in Florida, as well as Prescott, Arizona, are also expected to experience a decline in home property value as visitors stay home and vacation rentals are sold.
Market Conditions Indicators (MCI) Metro Area Maps – April 2020
The first map displayed is the HPI by CBSA for April 2020.
According to the CoreLogic Market Condition Indicators (MCI), an analysis of housing values in the country’s 50 largest metropolitan areas based on housing stock, 40% of metropolitan areas had an overvalued housing market in April 2020, while 18% were undervalued and 42% were at value. The MCI analysis categorizes home prices in individual markets as undervalued, at value or overvalued by comparing home prices to their long-run, sustainable levels, which are supported by local market fundamentals such as disposable income. The MCI analysis defines an overvalued housing market as one in which home prices are at least 10% higher than the long-term, sustainable level, while an undervalued housing market is one in which home prices are at least 10% below the sustainable level.
CoreLogic HPI features deep, broad coverage, including non-disclosure state data. The index is built from industry-leading real-estate public record, servicing, and securities databases—including more than 40 years of repeat-sales transaction data—and all undergo strict pre-boarding assessment and normalization processes.
CoreLogic HPI and HPI Forecasts both provide multi-tier market evaluations based on price, time between sales, property type, loan type (conforming vs. non-conforming) and distressed sales, helping clients hone in on price movements in specific market segments.
Updated monthly, the index is the fastest home-price valuation information in the industry—complete home-price index datasets five weeks after month’s end. The Index is completely refreshed each month—all pricing history from 1976 to the current month—to provide the most up-to-date, accurate indication of home-price movements available.
The CoreLogic HPI™ is built on industry-leading public record, servicing and securities real-estate databases and incorporates more than 40 years of repeat-sales transactions for analyzing home price trends. Generally released on the first Tuesday of each month with an average five-week lag, the CoreLogic HPI is designed to provide an early indication of home price trends by market segment and for the “Single-Family Combined” tier, representing the most comprehensive set of properties, including all sales for single-family attached and single-family detached properties. The indices are fully revised with each release and employ techniques to signal turning points sooner. The CoreLogic HPI provides measures for multiple market segments, referred to as tiers, based on property type, price, time between sales, loan type (conforming vs. non-conforming) and distressed sales. Broad national coverage is available from the national level down to ZIP Code, including non-disclosure states.
CoreLogic HPI Forecasts™ are based on a two-stage, error-correction econometric model that combines the equilibrium home price—as a function of real disposable income per capita—with short-run fluctuations caused by market momentum, mean-reversion, and exogenous economic shocks like changes in the unemployment rate. With a 30-year forecast horizon, CoreLogic HPI Forecasts project CoreLogic HPI levels for two tiers — “Single-Family Combined” (both attached and detached) and “Single-Family Combined Excluding Distressed Sales.” As a companion to the CoreLogic HPI Forecasts, Stress-Testing Scenarios align with Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) national scenarios to project five years of home prices under baseline, adverse and severely adverse scenarios at state, metropolitan areas and ZIP Code levels. The forecast accuracy represents a 95% statistical confidence interval with a +/- 2% margin of error for the index.
About Market Risk Indicator
Market Risk Indicators are a subscription-based analytics solution that provide monthly updates on the overall “health” of housing markets across the country. CoreLogic data scientists combine world-class analytics with detailed economic and housing data to help determine the likelihood of a housing bubble burst in 392 major metros and all 50 states. Market Risk Indicators is a multi-phase regression model that provides a probability score (from 1 to 100) on the likelihood of two scenarios per metro: a >10% price reduction and a ≤ 10% price reduction. The higher the score, the higher the risk of a price reduction.
About the Market Condition Indicators
As part of the CoreLogic HPI and HPI Forecasts offerings, Market Condition Indicators are available for all metropolitan areas and identify individual markets as “overvalued”, “at value”, or “undervalued.” These indicators are derived from the long-term fundamental values, which are a function of real disposable income per capita. Markets are labeled as overvalued if the current home price indexes exceed their long-term values by greater than 10%, and undervalued where the long-term values exceed the index levels by greater than 10%.
The data provided are for use only by the primary recipient or the primary recipient’s publication or broadcast. This data may not be resold, republished or licensed to any other source, including publications and sources owned by the primary recipient’s parent company without prior written permission from CoreLogic. Any CoreLogic data used for publication or broadcast, in whole or in part, must be sourced as coming from CoreLogic, a data and analytics company. For use with broadcast or web content, the citation must directly accompany first reference of the data. If the data are illustrated with maps, charts, graphs or other visual elements, the CoreLogic logo must be included on screen or website.
For questions, analysis or interpretation of the data, contact Allyse Sanchez at email@example.com. Data provided may not be modified without the prior written permission of CoreLogic. Do not use the data in any unlawful manner. The data are compiled from public records, contributory databases and proprietary analytics, and its accuracy is dependent upon these sources.
CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX), the leading provider of property insights and solutions, promotes a healthy housing market and thriving communities. Through its enhanced property data solutions, services and technologies, CoreLogic enables real estate professionals, financial institutions, insurance carriers, government agencies and other housing market participants to help millions of people find, acquire and protect their homes. For more information, please visit www.corelogic.com.
CORELOGIC, the CoreLogic logo, CoreLogic HPI, CoreLogic HPI Forecast and HPI are trademarks of CoreLogic, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.
New York COVID Hospitalizations, Deaths Hit Record Low New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who announced the opening of the 3.6-mile shared bicycle and pedestrian path on the new Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge today, reported that the total number of hospitalizations (1,607) and 27 COVID-19 related deaths (Sunday, June 14) were the lowest since the pandemic began in March. In connection with the reopening process, he said he would be raising the maximum amount of people allowed at gatherings in regions in phase three of the reopening from 10 to 25. Western New York enters phase three tomorrow and the Capital Region will progress to that stage on Wednesday. The Mid-Hudson is eligible to enter phase three on Tuesday, June 23. For further information on the new bicycle-pedestrian path on the bridge, go to the governor’s announcement. NEW YORK STATE NEWS Governor Threatens to Reverse Reopenings if Safety Rules Not Followed On Sunday Gov. Andrew Cuomo, frustrated over 25,000 reports of reopening violations, predominantly in Manhattan and the Hamptons, warned that the state would take action against businesses and localities that violate or fail to enforce safety regulations. He stressed that local governments are charged with compliance and that a region’s reopening could be reversed or delayed if these violations are allowed to continue. “Lots of violations of social distancing, parties in the street, restaurants and bars ignoring laws,” Cuomo said on Twitter. “Enforce the law or there will be state action.” Today, he told local governments: “Do your job.” See governor’s announcement. Local Sales Tax Collections Down $437M in May The coronavirus pandemic continues to batter the New York State economy. Sales tax revenue for local governments in May fell 32.3% compared to the same period last year, according to a report released Friday by New State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Sales tax collections for counties and cities in May totaled $918 million, or $437 million less than 2019. The sharp decline in revenues was widespread across the state, ranging from a drop of 19.5% in Westchester County to a 41.5% decline in Tioga County. New York City experienced a 31.9% decline, calculating out to $196 million in lost revenues for the month. View further information on the sales tax report. NATIONAL NEWS CMBS Delinquency Rate Posts Highest Increase Since Great Recession The CMBS delinquency and special servicing rate in May recorded the largest increase since the metric was introduced in 2009, according to a Trepp report. The delinquency rate in May for commercial mortgage-backed securities increased to 7.15%, according to the Trepp May CMBS Delinquency Report. A total of 5% of those troubled loans were identified as 30 days past due. In May, $9.4 billion involving 243 commercial loan notes were sent to special servicing, according to servicer and watchlist data compiled by Trepp. The Trepp report states that initial reports in June indicate troubled commercial mortgages are centered on single-asset or single-borrower deals, most backed by hotels or malls. Click Here for further coverage. Multifamily Rents Continue to Struggle In what is normally prime leasing season, multifamily rents continue their decline thanks to the coronavirus. In May, rents declined nationally by .3% month-over-month, with the largest drops in gateway markets, according to a report released by YardiMatrix. The May numbers were an improvement over the previous month when rents fell by .5%. The markets that were hit the hardest included Boston and San Francisco, each down 1%; Chicago was down .9%; and Los Angeles saw a decline of .7%. For further details, see Globest.com report.
Commercial tenants in New York City are struggling to pay their rent after the coronavirus outbreak triggered a near-paralysis of nonessential business for two months, threatening to drain the city of millions of dollars in vital tax revenue.
One of the city’s biggest commercial landlords, Vornado Property Trust, said during an earnings call this month that nearly all its retail clients, except for grocery stores and other essential businesses, have sought financial relief, including a deferral on rent payments.
About 80 percent of its retail tenants did not pay rent in April and May, its CEO Steven Roth, said during the call.
Empire State Realty Trust, another major real estate company that owns the Empire State Building, said that more than 50 percent of its retail tenants and a quarter of its office tenants did not pay April rent.
If building owners are unable to pay their next property tax bill at the beginning of July, a deadline the city has refused to shift, the city will lose out on its single biggest source of funding, which accounts for more than half of the city’s tax revenue.
The Community House Improvement Program, which represents about 4,000 landlords of rent-stabilized apartment buildings in the city, said that about two-thirds of ground-floor retail tenants did not pay rent in April and May. Before the crisis, the figure was about 15 percent per month.
“Unless the federal government steps in to help renters and owners in a big way, we are going to see a housing disaster the likes of which we have never seen,” Jay Martin, CHIP’s executive director, said in a statement. “Congress must provide financial aid directly to renters and the state must match that with property tax relief for owners or in weeks, not months, we will see buildings going under.”
On top of that, in April, New York City and state collected a combined $78.5 million in tax revenue on the sale of commercial and residential properties — well below March, when it raked in $217.5 million, according to a report published by the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY).
That marks a 64 decrease from March, and a 48 percent loss from the year-ago period, according to the report.
“This dramatic loss in tax revenue is alarming,” REBNY President James Whelan said in a statement. “The real estate sector is the city’s economic engine. The pandemic has caused that engine to stall and we should expect such alarming trends to carry through May and June in the best-case scenario.”
More than 4 million Americans have stopped making mortgage payments because of economic hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Fewer Americans are calling their mortgage servicers to ask for relief from mortgage payments, but the housing industry isn’t out of the woods yet.
More than 4.1 million homeowners are in forbearance plans now, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
While mortgage servicers are still facing stress because of the record deluge of requests for payment relief, signs suggest that homeowners’ prospects have improved as parts of the country have begun to emerge from coronavirus stay-at-home orders.
Overall, 8.16% of all mortgages were in forbearance as of May 10, meaning borrowers can either skip or make reduced payments, the trade group said. That was up from 7.91% as of May 3, which is the smallest increase since March. Forbearance requests dropped from 0.52% of the total mortgage volume to 0.32%.
“There has been a pronounced flattening in loans put into forbearance — despite April’s uniformly negative economic data, remarkably high unemployment, and it now being past May payment due dates,” Mike Fratantoni, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, said in the report.
The potential exception to this trend is the segment of the market for loans backed by Ginnie Mae, including Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Veterans Affairs (VA) loans. More than 11% of Ginnie Mae loans are in forbearance because of the coronavirus outbreak. These loans tend to go to borrowers who are first-time homeowners with weaker credit — people who could be more exposed to the economic downturn the pandemic has caused.
The outlook for homeowners will likely depend on their ability to bounce back, particularly for those who have lost their jobs. The good news for mortgage lenders is that job losses caused by the coronavirus have largely been concentrated in the service sector, according to a report from First American Financial FAF, 3.06% , a title insurance company. Because these jobs are lower skilled and lower paid, it’s less likely that the newly unemployed already owned homes.
It’s the surprise of a spring selling season that’s been anything but normal: Buyers returning to the housing market have been battling over the few available properties.
While sales are way down, the lack of inventory has propped up prices and led to bidding wars, even as economic fallout from the pandemic mounts and real estate agents adjust to new public health guidelines that have made it more difficult to market homes.
“Since the pandemic began, demand fell off a cliff,” said Taylor Marr, an economist at Redfin Corp. “What most people overlook is that sellers also pulled back.”
The supply-demand imbalance meant that roughly 40% of homebuyers that Redfin agents worked with recently faced competition when they tried to purchase a home. The rate was even higher in cities like San Francisco, Boston and even Fort Worth, Texas, where more than 60% of properties the company’s clients bid on received multiple offers.
The U.S. housing market went into the Covid crisis with a supply shortage that was driving up prices beyond the reach of many buyers, even with years of low interest rates. That problem hasn’t gone away, despite the economic uncertainty. The number of active listings shrank by almost a quarter in April, compared with a year earlier, according to Redfin.
Still, the market has cooled. Sales of existing homes are projected to fall 20% in April from a month earlier, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That would follow an 8.5% drop in March. Construction of new houses plunged by the most on record in April, with builders waiting out the virus. That means new supply will be slower to materialize.
The market dynamics are a shock to some buyers. Kenzo Teves, a 24-year-old business analyst for a pharmaceutical company, decided to start shopping for his first house this spring, because interest rates were so low. He had money saved for a down payment and was secure in his job — factors he thought would help him find a home near Boston.
In late April, he made his first bid on a three-bedroom house in Chelsea, Massachusetts, that was listed for $420,000. The property got six other offers and even bidding $30,000 over the asking price wasn’t enough to cinch the deal.
“It’s pretty strange,” he said. “I would have thought that it would have tipped more to my favor as a buyer.”
The inventory shortage is being felt in smaller cities, too. Kim Park, an agent with Keller Williams Realty in Boise, Idaho, said her business is down about 20% because sales have slowed. But bargains are still hard to find.
She’s working with a young family with two kids and a rental lease coming up for renewal next month. To buy a house for almost $300,000, they had to fight off three other bidders and pay $10,000 above asking price, Park said. They got it only because the winning bidder’s financing fell through.
Homeowners in Boise are staying put, worried about about letting potential buyers in during the pandemic or upgrading to a more expensive property when employment is so tenuous.
“It’s made our tight market that much tighter,” Park said.
In Los Angeles, Sally Forster Jones said two of her clients bid unsuccessfully this month on two different houses. One was listed for about $800,000 and the other for less than $1.5 million. Each received more than 30 offers and are now in escrow at above the listed price. Jones declined to share specifics on the homes because her clients made backup offers and she doesn’t want to invite more competition.
“I’m encouraging my sellers to put their property back on the market,” she said. “The fact that there’s limited inventory is to their advantage right now.”
Not all real estate agents see cutthroat competition. Nina Hatvany, a luxury agent with Compass in San Francisco, said buyers are coming back to the market but the complications of showing houses during a pandemic has weeded out all but the most motivated people. And, even then, there’s sometimes a mismatch between what people think a property is worth.
“I’ve got plenty of buyers saying, ‘I’m ready to buy if it’s a good price,’” she said. Meanwhile, “the sellers are worried about taking a big hit.”
Home prices will hold up, at least through the summer, but declines are coming, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. Once foreclosure moratoriums and forbearance programs end, lenders will start repossessions as unemployment persists. Ultimately, as many as 2 million homeowners will lose properties because of the the pandemic, he said.
In the near term, buyers are going to have to slug it out, especially for the types of property that are most in demand. Redfin’s data show that houses listed below $1 million were the most competitive, partly because banks have tightened standards for jumbo loans, said Marr. With everyone sheltering in place, buyers are also more eager to buy single-family houses than condos.
Going down an Amazon product rabbit hole, you can find just about anything. There’s some weird stuff out there, like this Nicolas Cage sequin pillow and this wine bra. But deep into the patio and outdoor category, you’ll find one major (OK, huge) item that you probably didn’t know existed on Amazon: tiny houses.
If you can’t get enough of the TV shows that are all about tiny house-living, you can actually live out your own tiny home dreams by purchasing one from Amazon. There’s one caveat however — the tiny houses come as a kit that you then have to build yourself. But if you’ve been looking for your next backyard DIY project, we’ve found it.
While you’d expect tiny homes to be a bit of a splurge purchase, Allwood’s 172-sqaure foot Solvalla Studio got so popular after customers found it on the site in May 2019 that it sold out in less than a week.
Right now, Allwood is the primary brand that’s selling these tiny house kits on Amazon, and unsurprisingly, they aren’t cheap. One the most affordable options is one that’s 113-square feet going for a mere $5,350. There’s one that’s even selling for more than $64,000!
But what’s interesting about these kits if you read the product description is that they can be built by two people in just eight hours. Each “cabin kit” also comes with all the building materials and directions you would need. There’s even a kit that can make a two-room tiny house! Plus, all of the options are less than 250 square feet too, in case your space is limited.
While these tiny cabins could act as little backyard getaway, they don’t come with electricity or utilities, which is an added expense. And if you’re wondering exactly what you could do in this tiny home exactly, well the product description mentions that they are ideal as a “backyard recreation lounge, guest house or even a home office.”
Oddly enough, these tiny homes are one of Amazon’s most sought-out products right now. So if you have the space, the time and the money, it might be worth investing in, to finally live out those tiny house dreams of yours. By the way, if you hop over to this website you’ll find a discount code that may get you a discount.
Below, we’ve rounded up the top six more ~affordable~ options to browse before they might sell out.