Happy September y’all. It’s obvious many of you have been hard at work these past few months. Congratulations if you found time to take a vacation. Congrats also if you just sent some kids back to school. I enjoy this time of year for two simple reasons: golf and football. It’s just a little cooler and I simply love watching the Broncos. I also love writing this stats report.
The boring stuff is the numbers, but what they have to say can be interesting. If you haven’t been in the business for 11 or more years, you have never seen a report with a number of closed single family homes as high as it was this month. Back in July of 2004 we had 154 closings and not once since have we broken 150 in any month. Pretty impressive. We’ve also never had an average price this high. August is typically the first of the months that begins our annual volume slide into the slower winter months. As I predicted…not this August. September will finally reveal a bit of seasonal softening, but that’s to be expected and that summer demand is going to cool off like the weather.
A hot topic around town and even across the metro area is affordable housing. It’s interesting, there are really three parts to this discussion that all get lumped into a single title. Affordable housing means different things to different people who expect something different depending on their situation. The three main areas are: affordable houses to buy, affordable places to rent, and subsidized housing to take care of those who need help. When I talk of housing affordability I stick to what I know and that’s the Longmont real estate market. It’s my contention that housing affordability isn’t just a function of the average home sale price. This metric is generally used to compare different areas because it’s handy, convenient and accessible information. This discussion should include the number of homes available in each area, within an affordable range. Take the Carbon Valley for instance, The average home price in Firestone, Frederick and Dacono was about $23k less than Longmont. This typically means this area is more affordable. If you separate those towns and calculate the averages individually, Dacono (Avg Price-$225,034, 8 total sales, 4 under $250k, 2 modular, 1 manufactured) seems waaaay more affordable than Longmont. Now think of this. Last month there were 31 out of 153 (or 20.3%) homes that sold in Longmont for under $250k. In the whole Carbon Valley there were 12 of 87 (or 13.8%) sold for under $250k. These numbers are typical of almost any month. Using this information, does it seem like Longmont lacks affordable housing to purchase when 20% of the sold last month were under $250k? See the report for yourself. Click here to see the full, updated Housing Affordability Report.
August 2015 Longmont Area Stats
- Longmont Sold Volume +10.6% YTD
- Carbon Valley +42.8% YTD Solds
- BoCo Plains 59 DOM
- Attached Dwelling in Longmont Avg $245,194
Now the graph. I resurrected and updated this chart from a year ago. Back then the lines unemployment and average price lines were intersecting. A year later there is separation. Again, I don’t have the capacity to go into cause and effect on this issue even though there surely is some. But it is interesting to me that as housing prices have risen, unemployment has continued to drop or vice-versa. You can check out the unemployment data yourself at http://1.usa.gov/1UzXak0. The graph shows January 2007 as the baseline. Since then unemployment is 55% lower (currently 3.3%) than it’s high water mark of 7.4% in June of 2010. Housing, on the other hand is 28.3% higher on average. I think these two numbers are going in the right direction. How far can each line go? We will take another look at this time next year.
By this time next month we will all be in the grips of the new TRID, CFPB, TILA/RESPA, Regulation X, Regulation Z guidelines , laws, disclosures and more regulations. Many lenders I’ve spoken to are prepared. Realtors have all taken a class or two on the topic. All I can say is good luck, be patient and learn everything you can from the people around you. It is going to be interesting.