EIGHT REASONS THE CORONAVIRUS WON’T CRASH THE HOUSING MARKET …There are very real reasons to be optimistic about the real estate market. Of course, every market is different. I’m available to discuss OUR market and to provide needed support and advice for your current or future needs.

1. Inventory is low. 

A December 2019 Forbes article predicted a historically low level of housing inventory in 2020. According to NAR statistics, there is a chronic shortfall of 300,000 to 400,000 housing units every year. 

Bryan Souza, a real estate agent from Fresno, Calif., who worked through the 2008 recession, says there is a key difference between that market and today’s.

“Back then, we had 18 months of supply…it was a buyer’s market,” Souza said. Today, in our local metro and actually nationwide, we’re looking at two to three months of inventory. And so, it’s more of a seller’s market.”

Even when markets turn, buyer demand remains. Even if some buyers initially delay their purchases out of fear, when that fear subsides, most buyers will still want to buy — and that pent-up demand will turn into sales. 

2. Mortgage rates are low.

Mortgage rates have been below 4% for some time and are expected to remain low. These low rates will encourage more people to buy, even if they are dissuaded by initial fears caused by the virus.  

3. Subprime loans are down. 

The 2008 crash was set off when banks and other lenders approved an overabundance of mortgages to unqualified buyers, driving up home prices to too-high levels. When home prices began spiraling down, millions of Americans stopped making mortgage payments and lost their homes, and banks were pushed to the edge of bankruptcy.

At that time, household debt climbed to a record 134% of gross domestic product. Today, household debt is at a historically low 96% of GDP.  Households today are saving about 8% of their income, compared to just 3% in 2008. 

According to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Equifax Consumer Credit Panel, from the third quarter of 2001 through the end of 2008, an average of 20% of all mortgages originated went to people with subprime credit scores (lower than 660). In the third quarter of 2018, subprime borrowers received just 9% of all mortgages.

All of this means more Americans are better equipped to handle a temporary economic disruption that won’t significantly impact their ability to buy homes or hold onto their current ones. 

4. Today’s homeowners have more equity in their homes. 

According to a Federal Reserve report called the Flow of Funds, Americans owned $18.7 trillion of their homes, giving them a 64% equity stake. By comparison, this number was just 52.7% in the first quarter of 2007This means that the vast majority of homeowners will have no problem keeping their homes during these uncertain times.