U.S. Reps. Mondaire Jones (D-NY), Tom Suozzi (D-NY) and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer on Thursday introduced the SALT Deductibility Act that would remove the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions imposed in 2017 under the federal tax reform law.
The SALT Cap was highly criticized by New York politicians, as well as the New York State real estate industry, including the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.
“When it comes to SALT, if you think Westchester and Rockland families needed and deserved this money before the coronavirus took hold, the stakes are even higher now because the cap is costing this community tens-of-thousands of dollars they could be using amid the crisis… Double taxing hardworking homeowners is plainly unfair. We need to bring our federal dollars back home to cushion the blow of this virus—and this harmful SALT cap—has dealt so many homeowners and families locally,” said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer.
The SALT Deductibility Act would remove the cap on the SALT deduction instituted in 2017 as part of then President Donald Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and would allow New Yorkers to fully deduct their state and local taxes from their federal taxes.
“Donald Trump cut taxes for billionaires and big corporations and paid for it on the backs of hardworking families in Westchester and Rockland counties, where we pay the highest property taxes in the entire nation,” said Rep. Jones at a press conference announcing the introduction of the SALT bill. “That must change. Restoring the SALT deduction is a necessary first step to creating an equitable tax system – one where we put money back in the pockets of working people.”
Congressman Jones’ said the passage of the bill will bring needed relief to his constituents in Westchester and Rockland residents who pay the highest property taxes of any Congressional District in the entire nation, with Westchester ranked first and Rockland ranked second.
Others who praised the bill’s introduction were U.S, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who said, “The reinstating of the SALT Deduction will ensure that New York families have more money in their pockets, get much-needed tax relief and will once again be treated fairly.”
New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins noted that over the last three years, “Trump’s unfair attack on Blue States has cost New Yorkers over $30 billion, while wealthy corporations saw tax breaks.”
“I want to thank US Congressman Mondaire Jones for his work, in conjunction with US Senator Chuck Schumer, to restore the State and Local Tax or ‘SALT’ deduction,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer. “This federal tax law is not only double taxation, but it also unfairly targets communities like Westchester County–and every homeowner in this county is a victim. In Westchester, where the average home is valued at $691,392.00, our homes are our greatest asset and this cap is a hit to our wallet. We cannot stand for this—and we will not. We won’t stop fighting until we overturn the SALT deduction cap.”
In other legislative news, Spectrum News reported that two state lawmakers had introduced a bill to tax capital gains in New York as a means to increase taxes on the state’s wealthiest residents. The bill backed by Sen. Gustavo Rivera and Assemblyman Ron Kim that would tax investment income could raise an estimated $7 billion in revenue for the state.
“Mortgage rates jumped this week as a result of positive news about a COVID-19 vaccine,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “Despite this rise, mortgage rates remain about a percentage point below a year ago and the low rate environment is supportive of both purchase and refinance demand. Heading into late fall, the housing market continues to grow and buttress the economy.”
30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.84 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending November 12, 2020, up from last week when it averaged 2.78 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.75 percent.
15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.34 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.32. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.20 percent.
The PMMS is focused on conventional, conforming, fully-amortizing home purchase loans for borrowers who put 20 percent down and have excellent credit. Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.
According to the data from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction (SOC), stucco was the most common principal exterior material on new single-family homes started in 2019 (27 percent), followed by Vinyl siding (25 percent), fiber cement siding (such as Hardiplank or Hardiboard (21 percent), brick or brick veneer (20 percent). Far smaller shares of single-family homes started last year had wood or wood products (5 percent) or stone or rock or other stone materials (1 percent) as the principal exterior wall material.
The Census Bureau’s SOC data is available by the nine census divisions and there are substantial differences in the use of siding across divisions. Vinyl siding was the most widely used primary exterior material in 4 out of 9 census divisions. In the Middle Atlantic and New England, vinyl siding was used in 75 percent and 68 percent of the new homes started in 2019. In the East and West North Central divisions, vinyl siding accounted for 62 and 44 percent respectively.
Stucco was the most common widely used as the primary exterior wall material in the Pacific, Mountain and South Atlantic divisions in 2019: 57 percent, 52 percent and 38 percent, respectively, of the new single-family homes started in those areas used it. Brick or brick veneer was the top choice in East and West South Central divisions. In the West South Central, 62 percent of the new single-family homes started in 2019 used Brick or brick veneer as the primary exterior material, compared to 44 percent in East South Central division.
Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.07 percent, the lowest rate in the survey’s history dating back to 1971.
“Mortgage rates continue to slowly drift downward with a distinct possibility that the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage could dip below 3 percent later this year,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “On the economic front, incoming data suggest the rebound in economic activity has paused in the last couple of weeks with modest declines in consumer spending and a pullback in purchase activity.”
30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.07 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending July 2, 2020, down from 3.13 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.75 percent.
15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.56 percent with an average 0.8 point, down slightly from last week when it averaged 2.59 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.18 percent.
Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.
Freddie Mac makes home possible for millions of families and individuals by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Since our creation by Congress in 1970, we’ve made housing more accessible and affordable for homebuyers and renters in communities nationwide. We are building a better housing finance system for homebuyers, renters, lenders, investors and taxpayers.
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.
Contracts for new, single-family home sales increased 7.9% in January to a 764,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate according to estimates from the joint release of HUD and the Census Bureau. The increase came off an upwardly revised December estimate, which was revised from an initial reading of 694,000 to a new estimate of 708,000. Year-over-year, the January estimate is 18.6% higher than the same period in 2019. The three-month moving average for new home sales reached 721,000 in January, the strongest since September 2007. Sales were strong in January, supported by lower mortgage rates and historically low unemployment.
Regionally, new home sales were up 4.8% in the Northeast, 30.3% in Midwest, and 23.5% in the West, and down 4.4% in the South.
Compared to last month, inventory of new homes for sale increased 0.3% to 324,000 in January. Year-over-year, inventory of new homes for sale was 6.6% lower than a year ago (347,000). The current months’ supply fell to 5.1 in January, pointing to additional production gains.
Median new home sales price (price of a home in the middle of the distribution) rose 7.4% in January to $348,200 compared to December ($324,100) and 14.0% higher than a year ago ($305,400).
About 9% of newly built home sales are priced under $200,000 in January, compared to 11% last month and 9% one year ago. The number of new homes priced above $400,000 increased.
After nearly a decade of ever-escalating home prices and frenzied bidding wars, many buyers are wondering if finding an affordable piece of real estate has become about as likely as discovering a mint condition Honus Wagner baseball card in your stuff drawer, a double eagle coin on your dresser, or a unicorn in your driveway.
But wait! The list of markets where folks can score a home without shattering the bank is, in fact, growing. About 81% of housing markets have become more affordable since the beginning of the year, according to a realtor.com® report.
Reality check: This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s suddenly a cinch to become a homeowner in these areas, only that it’s getting a little better for tapped-out buyers. And in a hot market, every little bit helps.
So we decided to take a deep dive into where home affordability is increasing—and decreasing—the most. To figure this out, we looked at home prices as well as local household income in the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the third quarter of the year.* (Metros include the main city and the surrounding towns, suburbs, and smaller cities.)
So what’s driving the more affordable side of the equation?
“Mortgage rates are much lower than they were, and incomes have actually grown this year for most Americans,” says George Ratiu, realtor.com®’s senior economist. “Those two things combined have led to an improvement in affordability for home buyers.”
Nationally, affordability rose the most in predominantly midsized cities, many in the Midwest and South. These places tend to have strong economies and job markets and a larger supply of available homes for sale.
With the potential to make good money, more buyers in these areas are positioned to become homeowners or to trade up to nicer residences.
In most of these markets, millennials looking for homes where they can raise growing families are still competing with Generation Xers searching for move-up residences, and baby boomers wanting to find their forever abodes.
But in most cases, inventory’s not plunging by the double digits, which leads to insane price increases. (The one exception on our list was Jackson, MS, No. 8, where the number of homes for sale was down a steep 14.5% in October compared to a year ago.)
The inventory situation is trending in a whole different direction, however, in markets where homes are becoming less affordable.
Affordability primarily dropped in smaller cities with good job markets—places that are growing in popularity with cost-conscious buyers from other parts of the country. These cities tend to be far from the bigger, more expensive metros.
The influx of new residents is putting the squeeze on inventory, meaning that the number of homes for sale plummets and that prices spike.
“Before the recession, a lot of young professionals flocked to coastal cities looking for better-paying jobs and an urban lifestyle,” says Ratiu. “What we’re seeing now is a lot of the same professionals, approaching 40, with families and kids, are returning to their hometowns in the Midwest and South, looking for a better quality of life and a more affordable housing market.”
OK, so let’s take a deeper look—first at the places where buying a house is getting a bit easier.
Where has it become more affordable to buy a home?
Median home list price**
Percentage of homes available at the median income
Where should buyers on a more limited budget go? They might want to head to the heart of the Rust Belt, to Allentown, PA, a one-time industrial powerhouse that fell on hard times, inspired a catchy-but-depressing Billy Joel song, and is now staging a strong comeback. Affordability in the rebounding area improved the most compared to the rest of the nation.
Already-low real estate prices in the former steel town slipped almost 1% in October compared to the previous year, according to realtor.com data.
The median price was $224,950—38.7% less than the national median of $312,000. The low prices meant that middle-income buyers in Allentown could afford 59% of the properties in the metro.
“Lately more than ever, I’ve been working with people relocating to our area,” says Allentown real estate agent Faith Brenneisen of Keller Williams Real Estate.
About a third of her clients are professionals, either starting out their careers or beginning to contemplate retirement and coming from pricier New Jersey or the Washington, DC, area suburbs.
“They come here, and they can get similar jobs with less of a commute, a better quality of life, and a more distinguished home—for a much more affordable price tag.”
She noted Allentown’s convenient location, about 90 miles west of New York City and 60 miles north of Philadelphia. The area also boasts plenty of outdoor activities, such as fishing, hiking, and skiing. New businesses are moving into Allentown’s downtown area, helping to revitalize the city.
“You can live in a three-bedroom Cape Cod home in a cute West End neighborhood in Allentown for $200,000,” says Brenneisen. “And you can walk to restaurants and shopping and theater.”
In Des Moines, which placed just behind Allentown in affordability gains, median-income buyers could afford 56% of homes on the market. That’s because a current surge of available homes, thanks to heavy sales activity, resulted in an 8.1% annual drop in prices.
Add in the metro’s booming job market, and the result is that more folks can finally get into the housing market. (The financial firm Principal Financial Group is headquartered in Des Moines, and the companies Nationwide Insurance, UPS, and John Deere have operations there.)
With 5.7% more homes for sale year over year, they don’t have to bid up the prices to score the keys to a new abode.
“More people are at a point where they’re comfortable selling,” says Paul Walter, a Des Moines-based real estate agent at Re/Max Real Estate Group.
Walter works with a lot of millennial buyers moving out of their apartments and into single-family homes as they begin to start families.
“A lot of people have enough [home] equity, and they’re comfortable enough with the economy to move up [into nicer houses]—or, if they’re retirees, to downsize.”
There were a few surprises on our list. For example, it’s getting more affordable to buy a home in—wait for it—the nation’s most notoriously expensive market, San Francisco!
But take that with a shaker full of salt. The median price in that metro is still an astronomical $940,000—well out of reach of the vast majority of those who are not millionaires. If they’re earning the median household income for the Bay Area, buyers can only afford 18% of the listings available.
In San Francisco, lower mortgage rates have played a role in boosting the area’s affordability, says Patrick Carlisle, chief market analyst in the Bay Area for the real estate brokerage Compass.
Plus, after years of sky-high annual price rises, the market has flattened, he says. Even in the United States’ tech and startup capital, home prices can’t go up forever.
“People bumped their heads up against the ceiling of what they could (or were willing to) pay,” Carlisle says,
Sorry to put a damper on things—now it’s time to zero in on places where it’s becoming harder to make that big down payment.
Where has it become less affordable to buy a home?
Median home list price**
Percentage of homes available at the median income
Just because it’s getting a little easier to buy a home in many parts of the country, it doesn’t mean the real estate market is finally hunky-dory for aspiring homeowners who aren’t raking in high six-figure salaries.
Only 18% of markets are truly affordable for the folks who live there, according to the report. Even in metros showing signs of improvement, home prices are still well out of reach for many regular folks.
Metros where it’s becoming even harder for locals to purchase a home are more often than not seeing big inventory decreases. That lack of supply leads to surging prices—which effectively puts the kibosh on any dreams of homeownership.
“Demand has been so strong, it’s pushing demand up,” says realtor.com’s Ratiu. “More people want to buy homes than there are homes for sale.”
Tulsa‘s affordability dropped the most in the nation, as its home inventory plummeted. It nose-dived roughly 26% in October compared to the previous year, according to realtor.com data. That’s thanks to a rush of opportunistic buyers entering the market when mortgage interest rates fell.
First-time buyers and investors gobbled up whatever they could find, leading prices to shoot up by nearly 15% in October compared to the previous year. Tulsa’s median list price was $246,700 in October, according to realtor.com data.
The scarcity of available homes leads to bidding wars. Tulsa real estate agent Suzanne Rentz is now getting up to nine or 10 offers within 72 hours on properties in the most desirable areas.
In the rest of the metros on this list, the number of homes for sale also fell by the double digits. While that’s great for sellers who may not have to make all those needed repairs, or knock down the price, it’s bad news for buyers as they compete against one another.
The Manhattan real estate market stumbled in the third quarter of 2019, new reports show, as prices plunged and fewer buyers were willing to purchase higher-priced properties in the wake of two recent tax increases.
The median sales price for properties fell 17 percent from the same quarter last year, to $999,950, according to new data from CORE. The average sales price dropped 12 percent, to $1.64 million.
Condo sales fell 8 percent, logging 946 transactions. Co-op sales, on the other hand, were up a modest 2 percent year over year.
“The third quarter of 2019 was undoubtedly the most challenging quarter in recent memory, especially for condo sales,” Garrett Derderian, managing director of market analysis at CORE, said in a statement. “Market prices have gone from what was once described as the kindest, gentlest correction to a near free fall. The last time conditions were described in such a way was in the height of the recession.”
Only 9.7 percent of sales were above $3 million, down 14.8 percent from last year. The last time sales above $3 million were that low was in 2012.
Consequently, nearly 30 percent of inventory on the market was priced above $3 million.
It’s worth noting that many buyers rushed to purchase properties before an increase in the city’s mansion tax and transfer tax took effect in July.
“Third quarter data reflects a more accurate snapshot of the current market – continued price correction,” Diane M. Ramirez, Chairman & CEO of Halstead, said in a statement.
Halstead’s own report released on Wednesday showed Manhattan apartment sales fell 16 percent in the third quarter – with sales above $5 million dropping nearly 50 percent.
Properties, meanwhile, spent an average of 192 days on the market – the highest quarterly total since the final quarter of 2012.
In July, New York City increased its mansion tax – a progressive tax that applies to home sales of more than $1 million – to a maximum of 3.9 percent, up from a flat-rate of 1 percent. The tax rates vary from 1.25 percent for $2 million sales, to 3.9 percent for sales of $25 million and higher. The city also increased a one-time charge on properties worth more than $2 million – known as the transfer tax. That fee, typically paid by a seller, varies from 0.4 percent for transactions under $3 million, to 0.65 percent for anything above $3 million.
As previously reported by FOX Business, more than 25 percent of new condos that have been built in New York City since 2013 remain unsold. In terms of units – of the 16,242 condos built since 2013, about 12,133 have sold. That means more than 4,100 have not.
Experts have said the trend could be indicative of a potential future recession.
Falling real estate prices come as concerns mount over the new tax law’s impact on high-tax states – particularly a $10,000 cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions. Some people have begun fleeing states like New York and New Jersey, headed for lower-tax areas like Florida and Texas.
New York was one of a handful of states dealt a blow in its bid to challenge the SALT cap this week, after a judge dismissed its lawsuit.
A second housing price index is showing an uptick in the rate of appreciation, possibly because interest rates declines have begun to mitigate affordability issues. CoreLogic says its Home Price Index for July was up 3.6 percent in July, the annual increase in June, was 3.4 percent. On a month over month basis the gain was 0.5 percent compared to an increase of 0.4 percent the previous month. Last week Black Knight noted that the rate of increase in its index had risen for the first time in 16 months.
CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said, “Sales of new and existing homes this July were up from a year ago, supported by low mortgage rates and rising family income. With the for-sale inventory remaining low in many markets, the pick-up in buying has nudged price growth up. If low interest rates and rising income continue, then we expect home-price growth will strengthen over the coming year.”
Annual price gains were experienced in all states but Connecticut and South Dakota. The highest increases were posted in Idaho (11.5 percent) Utah (8.4 percent) and Maine (7.7 percent).
The company’s forecast is for home prices to increase by 5.4 percent on a year over year basis from July to this year to the corresponding month in 2020. On a month-over-month basis, home prices are expected to increase by 0.4 percent from July 2019 to August 2019.
The graph below 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. 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.
“Although the rise in home prices has slowed over the past several months, we see a reacceleration over the next year to just over 5 percent on an annualized basis,” CEO President and CEO Frank Martell commented. “Lower rates are certainly making it more affordable to buy homes and millennial buyers are entering the market with increasing force. These positive demand drivers, which are occurring against a backdrop of persistent shortages in housing stock, are the major drivers for higher home prices, which will likely continue to rise for the foreseeable future.”
During the second quarter of 2019, CoreLogic and RTi Research conducted a survey of Millennial generation consumer-housing sentiment. They found that approximately 26 percent of that age group expressed an interest in buying a home in the next 12 months, but only 8 percent indicated a desire to sell their home within the same time frame. This means that new housing starts, or sellers from other age cohorts, will need to make up the necessary available supply to meet the demand. This desire to buy while housing stock is limited will continue to force prices up as buyers search for a home to purchase.
CoreLogic considers 37 percent of large metropolitan areas to have an overvalued housing stock as of July. Their 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. Twenty-three percent were undervalued, and 40 percent were at value. When the analysis is done on only the top 50 markets 40 percent were overvalued, 16 percent were undervalued, and 44 percent were at value.
In June, New York State rolled out a slate of proposals to protect renters. Among other changes, the new legislation closes several loopholes that have permitted owners to legally spike rents following renovations—a tactic that has been successfully used to deregulate more than 150,000 units over the past two decades. In essence, under the new legislation, owners will no longer be able to deregulate rent-regulated apartments at all. While the new legislation is certainly good news for many renters, for the tens of thousands of New Yorkers who now already live in unregulated apartments, the current legislation doesn’t fix their current woes. But could a five-year rent freeze help? It may sound impossible, but this is precisely what Berlin—once an oasis of inexpensive rents—has just approved as a way to put the brakes on rising rental prices.
Berlin’s changing rental landscape and five-year price freeze
Just a decade ago, Berlin was still known around the world as a phenomenally cool city where one could rent a large apartment at a very reasonable rate. As Berlin’s economy has improved and its tourism industry has expanded, finding an affordable apartment in some of Berlin’s most desirable neighborhoods has become increasingly difficult.
By one estimate, since 2008, Berlin rents have doubled from 5.60 euros to 11.40 euros. Downtown neighborhoods such as Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg have been especially hard hit. And prices aren’t just soaring on the rental side of the market. Buying a unit in Berlin is also increasingly out of reach. According to a recent report by the UK-based Frank-Knight, in 2017, Berlin bucked global trends, becoming the only major city in the world to report real estate price growth above 20 percent. However, in a city with more renters than any other European city, Berliners’ real concern remains the rising cost of rentals.
To be clear, Berliners are still not as hard up as people in New York, London, Paris, or Tokyo, but there are fears the city may be heading in this direction. On average, one-bedroom units in Berlin’s center are about 1,000 euros per month. Of course, this figure reflects area averages, and therefore, takes into account the high number of units still being rented out at pre-gentrification prices. As a result, if you’re new to Berlin’s housing market and looking for an apartment, you’ll likely pay much more than 1,000 euros monthly for a decent one-bedroom unit in a desirable neighborhood—as much as 1,500 to 2,000 euros or roughly $1,700 to $2,250 USD.
With rents rising, competition is also getting tough. A recent BBC report noted that over 100 prospective tenants often show up for apartment viewings. To stand out, some Berliners have reportedly even started to bribe prospective landlords who are willing to take them on as tenants. One couple, both professional photographers, reportedly offered prospective landlords a free photoshoot. Another house hunter posted a sign offering regular baking to any landlord willing to rent her a flat. While a free photoshoot or weekly fresh-based bread may not be enough to close a deal in New York City, such bribes are apparently growing increasingly common in Berlin’s rental market.
To put the kibosh on the rising rents, tough competition, and bribes, on June 18, the Berlin Senate voted in favor of a five-year rental freeze. Although planned to take effect on January 2020, the freeze will be applied retroactively from June 18. While many Berliners are in support, not everyone in Germany is happy about the proposal. Some critics worry that the freeze will prevent landlords from making necessary repairs to their buildings. Business analysts also fear the freeze may negatively impact Berlin’s economy. Even Chancellor Angela Merkel is skeptical. She’s suggested that building more affordable housing in the city may be a better solution.
Could a five-year rental freeze work in New York City?
Theoretically, a five-year freeze on both rent-regulated and market-rate units could be imposed—albeit not without major backlash from the real estate industry—but would it help control the city’s already inflated rental market?
NYU Furman Center’s historical data reveals that a lot can happen in five years, depending on a wide range of factors. The graph above features real median gross rental prices for MN 03 (the Lower East Side-Chinatown) compared to Manhattan and citywide rents from 2006 to 2017. As illustrated, had a five-year freeze on rents come into play in 2012, average rental prices would have been about $200 less on average by 2017. However, in the inflated Lower East Side-Chinatown market, a rental freeze in 2012 would have had virtually no impact on real median gross rental prices at all since the freeze would have happened during the area’s 2012 peak in prices.
Another risk of imposing a five-year rental freeze in New York City is what would happen next. In Berlin, no new lease can be 10 percent higher than the previous lease, but in New York, owners of unregulated units are free to raise rents as high as they like when an apartment turns over and even when an existing tenant renews a lease. The risk, then, is that if the city did impose a five-year freeze, owners would rebel and spike rents after the freeze, creating an even more untenable rental landscape.