July 24th, 2018 11:02 AM by Gregg Mower
The Real Estate Market is still Hot in California but not as hot as it was so why? Rising interest rates has a lot to do with the lag or slight slow-down in the market as well as a few other factors. When evaluating Economics and economic trends you have to look at more than just the numbers and statistics, you should be looking around and talking with people in the industry to hear first hand what is happening. To fully understand what is going with Real Estate Economics there are many factors to take into consideration such as people and their tastes or appetite to purchase Real Estate which can't be found in published statistics. In California we have about as many different Real Estate Markets as we have climate zones. So to throw a blanket over the entire State’s Real Estate Markets would be doing everyone reading this a disservice. So for the interest of time I will cover the macro economics of Real Estate in California (or for those that follow Bernie Sanders Macro is a broad overview of the Real Estate Markets in the state). I know economics is not a class taught in High schools in California so I will try to break the theories down to a level that everyone should understand.
First let’s start with the obvious change since the beginning of the year in the world of Real Estate and that is the fact that interest rates have gone up. Interest have gone up from an average of 3.5% a year ago to 4.5% this year. This may not seem like a lot but when you equate it to qualifying for a home loan it can be significant. An example would be a couple that makes $100,000 annual income with about $800 a month in car payments and revolving debt. These folks would have been able to qualify for a $464,000 home loan last year at 3.5% and this year making the same income they will only qualify for a $411,000 home loan. The difference in buying power is $53,000. So as you can see their buying power was diminished by higher interest rates.
The next factor we have seen is that prices of home have gone up by 10-20% over the last year depending on the area in California you look at. What this means is that if you were looking at houses last year in the $400,000 range those same houses are selling today for an average of $480,000 at a 20% increase and to $440,000 with a 10% increase. So if your income has not gone up as fast as home prices you just lost buying power. Some Home buyers are feeling this coupled with higher interest rates and many have decided to stay put where they are at. Potential move-up buyers may re-evaluate his or her ability to better their current living situation with these factors and may chose to stay put. With rising prices and interest rates some first-time home buyers may have "priced out of the market" and not have the ability to purchase a home. If you live in a market like Southern California or the San Francisco Bay area these percentage increases will hurt even more people with the higher home costs in these areas.
Supply of housing is also a huge factor in how fast Real Estate will increase in value. For example, in Southern California or the SF Bay Area there is only so much land available to build new housing on. With a limited supply of housing and a large demand for the housing that exists the prices are soaring and in those markets like Southern California and the Bay Area many people have been held out of the ability to buy or even live in those areas. So we have seen, and continue to see, people and businesses migrating to the central Valley to places like Sacramento, Fresno, Bakersfield, and the desert areas of Southern California. This migration has caused home prices to increase in those areas to record highs as well. Construction of new homes in those areas have increased dramatically and continue to do so as long as people and businesses need a place to be. As we see the creation of more jobs in California we will continue see the demand for those homes to house the workers. This could also be the demise of California’s housing boom as more and more employers are tired of the business environment in California and are choosing to leave this state. With more taxes and regulations put on businesses in California we are also seeing a record migration of businesses leaving the state. Although this is regulating the demand for housing to an extent currently there will become a time in the not so distant future that the business cycle will slow and the California Real Estate Market may be the first to feel a down-turn.
Which brings up the fact that there is a current migration out the state of people, especially retired folks due to it’s high cost of living. People are realizing that they can’t retire in this state and are looking to other states that have lower taxes and a lower cost of living to retire. If this migration out the state continues when the Real Estate market corrects California could feel the pains worse than other places around the country. However, as long as there are good paying jobs in California there will be people to fill them, but as soon as that changes so goes the Real Estate Markets.
Going back to rising interest rates and what effects that has on the economy we will see business slowing their expansion for the simple fact that the money to expand is costing more. This is the whole point of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates in the first place, to slow a hot economy and keep inflation down. In California we are experiencing that slowing effect now in some industries. The Real Estate Finance or the Mortgage Business has slowed dramatically with the rise of interest rates cutting out those that may have wanted to refinance to lower their mortgage payment. Although there is the home purchase business that is still good Mortgage companies depend on the demand for money to keep going as people need to mortgage their homes for other reasons that purchasing them, such as bill consolidation, College, home improvement and the rising interest rates have slowed those areas so the financial industry has also slowed.
Other factors that are slowing the demand are seasonal with vacations in full swing people are looking for fun not buying or selling Real Estate. The weather could have an effect on Real Estate Sales as the hotter the weather becomes the less people want to go out and look at houses. This time of year traditionally we have seen the vacation/weather slow-down to around mid-august to September then it starts to pick up as children start back to school and people have more free time to think about moving. At MAE Capital Real Estate and Loan we know these cycles as we have seen them occur for over 30 years of being in the business. We are here to help you buy and sell Real Estate as well as Finance it whether it be a cash-out refinance to pay for college or home improvement or to finance that first home or even that 20th investment property we have done it all and are doing it every day and look forward to working with you. Call us today at 916-672-6130 and we can help you with all your questions.