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Opinion: Here’s the latest data on what Realtors are witnessing in the housing market

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The real estate market has shifted, and we are in a new housing paradigm. Mortgage interest rates have risen quickly in the past few months further eroding affordability. However, there are a number of attention-grabbing headlines, which unfortunately only compare today’s housing market to the very recent history of the last two years. It is always good to know where we are with the real estate market, but it is essential to keep all data in historical perspective.

The monthly Realtors Confidence Index helps to dispel many of the myths and cut through the noise of what is currently happening in the market. the National Association of Realtors Research Group has produced the index since 2008, at a time of turmoil in the real estate market. It is a monthly pulse on what is happening in the market from the perspective of Realtors who are active in the field. Questions have evolved and shifted overtime, but it is a steady resource of what is happening on the ground.

As reported in the latest NAR Existing-Home Sales, inventory still remains in tight supply, which means homes are still moving at a fast past despite the recent rise in rates and home prices. The median days on market is just 16 days — a slight increase from the record low seen in the last two months of 14 days. In comparison, in 2011, homes took 96 days to sell.

Notably, the market has contracted as fewer buyers can afford to purchase in today’s market with the rise in interest rates and the continual rise in home prices. However, in many areas of the country it does remain a seller’s market. For every home that was listed, there were 2.5 offers. This is down from the frenzied market from April of this year when every home that was listed had 5.5 offers. Historically 2.5 offers represents a competitive housing market, edging towards a balanced market.

One way to understand the competitiveness of the market is to look at buyers who are waiving contingencies. While this data series is shorter, it does reflect a slight ease that mirrors the number of offers for every home. There had been nearly one-third of buyers who waived an inspection or appraisal contingency, but the last month it fell to just over 20% for both.

Another measure of the housing market is whether a realtor had a client who had a distressed sale in the last month. Due to the consistent rise in home prices, homeowners typically do have equity in their home distressed sales are not common today. In 2008, 49% of Realtors had a client with a distressed sale, today it is only 1%. Another reason why distressed sales are likely low is that lending standards remain tight. It is difficult to obtain a mortgage today. A housing borrower must have a higher credit score, significant savings, and higher incomes to qualify for a mortgage and compete in today’s housing market.

Last month, we saw a shift in who is purchasing homes. There is a reduction in the share of all-cash buyers who may be waiving the home appraisal, and a reduction in vacation and investment purchases. All cash buyers now stand at 24%. The last high among all-cash buyers was seen at 35% in 2014.

The share of non-primary residence buyers is now at 16% from a high of 22% in January 2022. In January of 2022, there may have been buyers who were looking to purchase vacation homes as travel remained suppressed at that time. Investors may have been drawn to the market as they saw rents increase for tenants. Others may have viewed the property for both purposes: a vacation home that could be rented as a short-term vacation rental when not in personal use.

Unfortunately, the share of first-time buyers remains suppressed at just 29% last month. While it is not the high seen during the First-time Home Buyer Tax Credit in 2010, it is also not the historical norm of 40% seen in the annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers report. Notably, during the timeframe of the First-time Home Buyer Tax Credit, there was significantly more inventory than seen today.

To read more on the monthly Realtors Confidence Index, check out the full report the same day Existing-Home Sales is released.

Want to learn more about what to expect when it comes to the future of the housing market? This article offers a preview of our upcoming HousingWire Annual Housing Market Super Session that will feature an all-star panel of housing experts. Join us in Scottsdale, Arizona Oct. 3-5 to attend this super session that is designed to help attendees understand macroeconomic data and housing trends for the next year and beyond. To register for HW Annual, go here.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of HousingWire’s editorial department and its owners.

To contact the author responsible for this story:
Jessica Lautz at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Brena Nath at [email protected]

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Rising interest rates are having a mixed impact on real estate and construction in Vermont

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The doubling of interest rates over the past year is affecting construction and the real estate market across Vermont in different ways.

Some observers say the spike is scaring potential buyers away from purchasing homes.

Joe Carelli is among those observers. Carelli, president of Citizens Bank for New Hampshire and Vermont, said applications for mortgages and refinancings have slowed down significantly. But the economy, he added, is still robust.

“We’re continuing to see very strong employment numbers,” Carelli said. “The indicators today don’t point to a recession.”

Demand for housing remains very strong, according to David White, founder of White and Burke, a Burlington real estate management company. White said builders can still build single-family homes and sell them at a profit.

The construction of multifamily housing is harder, White said, because the costs of building have gone up dramatically, with rising interest rates partly to blame. And while rents have gone up, he said, outside of Chittenden County, developers cannot charge rents high enough to recover the cost of construction.

“Elsewhere in the state, it’s darn near impossible right now to make those numbers work,” White said.

He predicts that, with high interest rates, construction will slow down.

“As interest rates go up, it makes it harder to finance a project,” White said.

Average interest rates on a 30-year mortgage have risen from 3.1% a year ago to 6.6% now, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., which calculates the rates based on thousands of applications it receives from lenders across the country when borrowers apply for a mortgage.

Steve Kendall, the senior residential loan officer at Morrisville-based Union Bank, said he cannot remember a time when interest rates rose as quickly in a single year, but he does not see higher interest rates as having much of an impact. He said he has seen a slowdown in residential construction, but he attributes that to the fact that winter is coming, and not to interest rates.

According to Kendall, builders and remodelers are moving forward with residential and commercial projects.

“Since there’s such limited inventory, I don’t think the rates are going to bring developers and projects to a screeching halt, because there’s still the demand,” Kendall said.

In northwestern Vermont, the number of new homes on the market in October dropped from the previous year by 9.2% for single-family homes and 2.1% for townhouses and condos, according to the Northwest Vermont Realtor Association.

Sales of single-family homes fell during that time, too, by 20.7% for single-family homes and 4.5% for condos and townhouses.

Homes are still selling fast. The average single-family home in northwestern Vermont was on the market for 28 days and the average condo or townhouse for 13 days, according to the Northwest Vermont Realtor Association.

Prices also appear to keep rising. The median sales price for a single-family home rose by 9.8% in that year, to $435,000. The median sales price for a condo or townhouse rose by 16.3%, to $330,000.

The doubling of interest rates has had an effect on how much of a home first-time buyers can afford to purchase in central Vermont, according to Tim Heney, a real estate agent in Montpelier. Heney noted a decline in the number of buyers in the last two months, but he is not certain whether to attribute that decline to interest rates or to the annual dropoff in buyers toward the end of the year.

In Rutland, real estate agent Joshua Lemieux said he is no longer seeing offers of 30% to 35% above the asking price, as he did last year. Because of that, he said, even though people have to pay a higher interest rate on their mortgage, they are paying more or less the same as they would have at the lower interest rates that accompanied higher prices last year.

In Bennington, interest rates appear to be having an impact, according to real estate agent Lilli West.

“It definitely has slowed things down, and that is what the feds wanted to do,” West said. She said she sees this especially with regard to investors, who had made Bennington the focus of tremendous real estate activity in 2021.

“It’s really dried up the investors,” West said. Because they are being scared away by rising interest rates, they are no longer competing against first-time home buyers, and those buyers have an easier time now, West said.

“Now they’re finally able to not be in as many multiple-offer situations,” West said, though she was stressed that the real estate market is still strong.

“I would say it’s comparable to 2018 and 2019,” periods of strong economic growth nationwide, West said. It’s just not as strong as it was in the first two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.

She is noticing that the rising interest rates are leading sellers to rethink their decisions to sell.

“When you’re at a 30-year mortgage at 3%, you don’t want to lose that and go to a 7% mortgage,” West said. Interest rates hit 7% last month before easing to 6.6%, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

In the Bennington area, West said, high interest rates have meant fewer cash buyers. She attributes that to the fact that cash buyers often pull money out of the stock market when they want to buy real estate, and with the stock market driven down by high interest rates, people are reluctant to pull their money out of the market at a loess.

But in Montpelier, Rutland and parts of southern Vermont, cash buyers are still showing up, real estate agents told VTDigger. Cash buyers can drive other buyers out because sellers do not have to wait for the buyer to come up with financing, and they can also drive bidding wars that leave first-time local buyers out of the picture.

‘We’re still seeing some cash sales,’ said Claudia Harris, a Weston-based real estate agent who also covers Ludlow, Winhall, Londonderry, Jamaica and Peru.

Want to stay on top of the latest business news? Sign up here to get a weekly email on all of VTDigger’s reporting on local companies and economic trends. And check out our new Business section here.

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Advice today on leasing commercial real estate might surprise you – Orange County Register

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Like the strong weather patterns of late, much can be said for the headwinds in our commercial real estate market this year.

Shaking off the cobwebs of a post-pandemic hangover, 2022 started with great momentum only to be cooled mid-year.

We received some decent economic news of late with the consumer price index not increasing as fast and some major retailers posting better earnings than expected. But our path forward still remains murky.

So what advice are we giving to tenants, investors and occupants who own? Allow me to categorize each.

tenants

Faced with a lease expiration at the end of this year, we recently recommended a client of ours renew for a short period of time, just six months, to gauge the market trajectory.

We’ve been watching what property has become available for several months. His options to relocate were limited and we’d even created a Plan B to stay put if we didn’t see some loosening in the market.

Lo and behold, we noticed a trick of new buildings hitting the market in October. Now it’s running about three a week. If you’re looking for space, this is a vast improvement vs. six months ago when we were lucky to see one every three weeks.

Another interesting metric is the asking rates have declined. Gone are the days when a newly available property was swept up before it was widely marketed. Every new deal was a new high. Not anymore.

Our advice centers around the belief in a future market softening. Tenants are becoming valuable again, especially if they pay on time and are easy on the building.

What’s causing the increase in supply? Some businesses faced with the new rent structure are headed out of state or out of business. What’s left in their wake are vacancies.

Investors

We see two sets of motivations these days: to defer taxes or not. Unless motivated by tax reasons, it might be wise to put your money in short-term treasuries—say, two years—and wait for the right opportunity to come along.

Institutional capital is largely sidelined and occupants are priced out. Private investors rule. If rents are softening in the face of rising interest rates, values ​​can only decline. Will there be better deals in mid-2023 vs. today? Our opinion is yes.

Certainly, if your investment is dictated by tax-deferred timeframes, you either transact or pay the capital gains taxes. But remember, the impetus of those buys was a sale. Our sense is they’ll be fewer equity sales as values ​​have declined or the market’s evaporated, leading to fewer tax-fueled purchases.

Occupants who own

We saw a voracious appetite from institutional capital targeting properties. Their pitch was a sky-high purchase price in return for a leaseback of two-10 years. This activity peaked in June.

With the uncertainty of recession, inflation and rising rates, these deals weren’t as attractive.

With more lease deals hitting, our prediction is some of these owners will need to sell, especially if faced with a refinance bullet or a shortage of dollars necessary to refurbish the building into rent-ready condition.

Once again, patience is key.

Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR, is a principal with Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Orange. He can be reached at abuchanan@lee-associates.com or 714.564.7104.

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Rotman grad pursues social impact in real estate development

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If anyone had told Fatima Saya four years ago that she’d work in real estate development after completing her MBA at the Rotman School of Management, she probably wouldn’t have believed them.

With a passion for building community, creating social and global impact and advancing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) wherever she goes, Saya was recognized in her second year for creating and leading a diversity education program for the incoming MBA class in partnership with the school’s Office of Student Engagement and her peers.

Today, she is a senior manager of social impact at The Daniels Corporation, a Toronto-based real estate development company – and says the link between the two is not as unusual as it might initially sound.

“Without cultural, economic or social infrastructure, buildings are just buildings,” says Saya. “State-of-the-art construction is a big part of what we do at Daniels, but what we’re really focused on is building inclusive and sustainable communities through real estate development.”

Saya’s work falls under three main categories: social infrastructure development, local economic development and community engagement. One of the largest projects she’s involved in is the Regent Park revitalization project, where Daniels has been the development partner for its first three phases since 2006.

Since the project began, the physical infrastructure in Regent Park has been completely transformed for its residents, including the building of a new youth centre, community arts and culture hub and award-winning athletic facilities. The revitalization project has also helped to connect more than 1,600 people with employment opportunities through the new Regent Park Employment Centre.

“No two days are the same in my world,” says Saya. “One day, I might meet with the employment community group in Regent Park about creating new jobs for residents, then I might meet with Artscape on creative placemaking that we’re trying to bring to one of the communities.”

The Daniels Corporation has been a development partner for three phases of the Regent Park revitalization project (photo by Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

A typical afternoon involves meeting with the College of Carpenters and Allied Trades and the YMCA about CRAFT, the youth employment program Daniels runs in Regent Park and Scarborough. And to cap off the day, an internal meeting on EDI – another key portfolio in her role.

“I’m consistently juggling about two dozen projects, and they’re all different,” says Saya. “I became used to that at Rotman, and it has also been a common thread throughout my academic experience and now at work – I’m always looking for that multidisciplinary approach.”

After working in the education sector in Montreal following her undergraduate studies, Saya recalls noticing a management gap in the non-profit sector. Coming from an international development and political science background, she figured business school would be largely uncharted territory, but took the plunge anyway.

“I wanted to gain those management skills and challenge myself in a new way,” she says. “I like to pull from different disciplines when seeking out solutions to problems, so I was drawn to how inherently interdisciplinary the MBA program was. That’s also why I pursued a dual-degree program, completing my master of global affairs degree from the Munk School of Global Affairs [& Public Policy] at the same time.”

Following her graduation, Saya searched for a role that would allow her to apply her MBA skills in the social sector, with a focus on EDI. In the meantime, she worked as a freelance consultant using the skills she gained from working at NeXus Consulting Group during her second year. NeXus is an in-house consulting firm comprising Rotman MBA students and not-for-profit organizations, which merged with the Impact Consulting Group at Rotman in 2022.

“I was looking for something very specific, and I was comfortable with the reality that it was going to take some time to find whatever that is,” she says.

Now in her ideal role, she says the best part is getting to use her diverse skills on projects that impact thousands of people in the Greater Toronto Area.

“At the end of the day, real estate development is inevitable as we grow rapidly as a city and a country,” says Saya. “It gives me hope that more people are embracing that development can happen in ways that build the social, cultural and economic infrastructure of our cities and our communities.”

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