No More Federal Rate Hikes Expected

The high mortgage interest rates we’ve been experiencing have been the result of benchmark rate increases by the Federal Reserve. The benchmark rate isn’t directly tied to mortgage interest rates, but the benchmark rate does have a strong effect on interest rates. Now, though, no more rate hikes are expected, which should cause interest rates to level off, and then start to decline.

This levelling off followed by a decline is exactly what the Fed was aiming for with the rate hikes. It’s impossible for mortgage rates to drop without the real estate market, and in turn the economy as a whole, taking a hit. By raising rates above what they should be during a period of high prices, what the Fed has done is soften the blow by allowing the decline to be more gradual. Of course, this comes at the cost of significantly decreased affordability for the period of the rate hikes. Once interest rates fall below 6%, which should happen before the end of the year, the market should pick back up again. However, the effect may not be noticed until next year, as the end of the year is not generally a time of heavy market activity.

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Builders Reducing Home Sizes To Meet Demand For Affordability

Builders have had it rough the past few years. The pandemic resulted in skyrocketing lumber prices as well as many job losses for construction workers. In order to get the most bang for their buck, builders started building luxury homes, which generally have a higher profit to cost ratio. But this couldn’t last long, as both market demand and legislation pressured them towards construction of affordable living homes, while at the same time, zoning restrictions made even this rather difficult.

Pressures on construction companies have started to ease up in most of the country, but not everywhere. Particularly in the West and Northwest, available land is an issue. Fortunately, builders may have figured it out and now have a new plan: Make smaller homes. It’s predicted that more affordable starter homes will become available within the next year or two, as 42% of builders are reducing the square footage of their homes. It doesn’t even require a big change — the nation’s largest homebuilder, D.R. Horton, is only reducing home sizes by an average of 2%. Builders are also planning to build more townhomes and duplexes, which take up significantly less space per unit than single-family residences.

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Affordability Rebounding, But Still Below A Year Ago

The initial estimate of the median home price in California in the first quarter of 2023 was $760,260, for single-family residences (SFRs) only. Using this estimate, about 20% of California households could afford to purchase a median-priced home. This demonstrates a rebound from the last quarter of 2022, where it had dropped to 17% of households, down from 24% in the first quarter of 2022.

Affordability is weakest in Mono County, which experienced no change from its very low 7% affordability. The most affordable county has remained Lassen County, despise a slight drop from 54% at the end of 2022 to 53% now. Mendocino County had the largest increase in affordability, an increase of 12% from 14% at the end of 2022 to 26% now. No decreases in affordability exceeded 3% during the same time frame.

Though the US as a whole is significantly more affordable that the rather expensive California, the numbers show a similar trend. Affordability was higher in the first quarter of 2022, at 47%. It had dropped to 38% in the last quarter of 2022 before inching back up to 40% in 2023. Only three California counties — Siskiyou, Plumas, and Lassen — have a higher affordability rating than the national average.

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Home Sales Plummet 40%

April of 2023 ended with a 40% drop in the number of homes sold across the South Bay compared to 2022. The median price was down 20% from last year in Palos Verdes and is up by a mere 1% at the Beach. Year to year median prices across the South Bay are down approximately 5%. Cumulative sales revenue for the first four months across the South Bay has dropped 39% from 2022 numbers.

Year to date, 2023 has been one of the slowest markets we’ve seen in recent years. Sales are off by 43% in the Beach Cities and are down by 22% across the South Bay compared to last year. Median prices escalated dramatically in 2021-2022, and are still above those of 2019 by 30-35%. However, the median has fallen in all four areas since late last year. We anticipate the median price continuing to drop until interest rates seriously decline again.

Business in the years between 2019 and 2023 was seriously impacted by the pandemic, and the massive government funds released to counter the effect of the pandemic. Looking back at 2019 and comparing it to 2023 offers a perspective on where the market is and where we can expect it to go during the balance of the year. Today we see a huge decline in the number of homes being sold. That has yet to translate into a significant decline in median prices, although 75% of year over year sales show prices falling.

At the same time the Average Days On Market (ADOM) has increased from about 7 days during the sales boom of 2021-2022 to about 30 days now. That’s a four-fold increase in the amount of time it takes to sell a home. For a seller who needs to move, that will feel like an eternity. It’s that sense of urgency that drives prices down and ultimately results in a shift of the market.

At the Beach “Sticky Prices”

Sellers in the Beach Cities had a good month in April—at least compared to March of this year. Compared to April of last year, the picture is far worse.

The number of homes sold in April was up 8% compared to March. That sounds positive, until the realization that sales volume was down 36% compared to April of 2022. At the same time, the median price was up 2% versus last month, and down 2% compared to the same month last year.

There’s a lot of talk among brokers these days about “sticky prices.” Recent sales at the Beach offer a good example of what that means. The statistics show that sales are down 36% from last year, however prices have only dropped 2%. Sales are falling because the number of viable buyers is down.

Interest rate increases have pushed the most tenuous group of prospective buyers out of the market. At the same time, sellers are still revelling in the boost to median prices that came with record low interest rates during the pandemic. Beach area sellers have yet to adjust to the reality of a re-trenching economy. That adjustment is “sticky prices.”

Harbor Sales and Prices Off

The neighborhood can affect how long it takes the median price to respond to changes in the economic environment. While sales volume and pricing has remained strong at the Beach, sellers and buyers in entry level communities are impacted more immediately by shifts in the economy.

Thus we see the give and take of the market bring median prices into a stable range early in the year in the Harbor area. The red line in the median price chart below shows four months of reasonably steady prices. While month over month prices have shown only a 1% drop, the monthly sales volume has taken a 12% dive from March, as shown in the Sales Volume chart, above.

The monthly decline in sales was multiplied in the year over year statistics. April sales volume was down 39% from April of 2022. For the same period, the declining sales volume was coupled with a 9% drop in median price. So the entry level communities demonstrate a much quicker and deeper response to changes in the financial picture.

Part of that response is the time on market, which has risen from 15 ADOM in mid-2021 to 26 ADOM in April of this year. The increasing time required to sell homes contributes to the number of homes available on the market. Both factors contribute to falling purchase prices.

Palos Verdes In Extremes

Through 2021 and 2022 home prices on the Palos Verdes peninsula benefitted from the Covid pandemic more than any area in the South Bay. In the median price by quarter chart, shown below, the yellow line is seen jumping up and away from the blue line of the Beach Cities. Unfortunately for home owners on the Hill, that price boost has already pulled back into line with prices of Beach area homes.

Comparing the first four months of the 2023 to 2022 median prices on the Hill have dropped 16%. It’s a steep decline in view of decreases at 3% and 6% in the Inland and Harbor areas, respectively. Even more so when looking at the 1% increase at the Beach.

The statistics look much better when comparing Palos Verdes sales from 2023 to statistics from 2019, the last “normal” year of real estate business. Sales volume on the Hill is down a modest 13%–modest by comparison to the Beach, which is down 43%. In contrast, median prices in 2023, compared to 2019, are still showing positive growth of 30%.

So, if one were to take the Federal Reserve System position that 2% annual growth is a desirable target, where would prices be today? The median price in Palos Verdes in May of 2019 was $1.5M. Jump forward to 2023 and that becomes about $1.6M. The median on the Hill last month was $1.9M, which suggests further price reductions.

Inland – The Steepest Fall

From an investment perspective, homes in the Inland area of the Los Angeles South Bay are “bread and butter.” These are the homes, much like those in the Harbor area, which reliably increase in value over long periods of time at a slow and steady rate. Most importantly, they house the bulk of our community.

In the short term, Inland home sales volume is down 25% from March to April of this year. Median prices are up 2% for the same period. This is the steepest fall in number of homes sold in the four areas charted.

Year over year, sales volume is off even more at 43% below April of 2022, and prices similarly down by 4%. We expect a seasonal boost to sales for the second quarter, when families most frequently schedule moves. Beyond that, most predictions are for continued softening in the real estate market as the Fed struggles with inflation. (The April Consumer Price Index, [CPI-U] for Los Angeles metro was 5.2% for Housing.)

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California Sales Trends Don’t Match Rest Of US

In the US in general, the market has been slowing down. This is leading to a higher inventory — in March 2023, the number of homes for sale was 9% higher than in March 2022. But this isn’t the case in California. In fact, for-sale inventory in California’s largest metro areas was actually down 14% between the same two months. The difference is most stark in San Jose, where inventory dropped 32%.

However, this does have a couple of explanations. Available inventory is a raw number. It doesn’t take into account the number of buyers. Home sales volume is more indicative of the number of buyers, and that dropped significantly more than 14% between March 2022 and March 2023, by 33%. Thus, the ratio of homes available per buyer is actually higher than it was last year. In addition, California is still being affected by lower construction rates, while it has recovered in many other states. The major reason is pushback from local homeowners who don’t want additional construction in their neighborhood.

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Most Popular Baby Names Of 2022

Are you planning to have kids soon and need ideas for names? The Social Security Administration (SSA) just released the list of the most popular baby names last year. If you want to be trendy, you can pick something from this list. Alternatively, you can take it as a list of names to avoid. Either way, it could be useful information, or could simply spark your creativity.

Liam and Olivia are the top choices for boys and girls respectively, and have been for several years now. Liam has been #1 for six years, and Olivia for four. The rest of the top ten list for boys are Noah, Oliver, James, Elijah, William, Henry, Lucas, Benjamin, and Theodore. For girls, they’re Emma, Charlotte, Amelia, Sophia, Isabella, Ava, Mia, Evelyn, and Luna. Of all twenty of these names, Luna is the only one that has never been in the top 10 before now.

The SSA also provided data on which names are growing fastest in popularity. None of these names are anywhere near the top 10, but they’re gaining the fastest. For boys, they’re Dutton, Kayce, Chosen, Khaza, and Eithan. For girls, they’re Wrenlee, Neriah, Arlet, Georgina, and Amiri.

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Construction Down Overall, But Up For SFRs

While construction rates have been low overall since the pandemic, construction rates can potentially vary significantly depending on the type of building you’re looking at. This can be the result of different levels of demand or zoning regulations. Recent zoning reforms have tried to push construction more towards multi-family residences, believing that zoning is the primary obstacle.

However, if recent numbers are any indicator, there simply isn’t much demand for multi-family residences. Construction starts on buildings with five or more units dropped by 6.7% in March. Permits for such buildings also fell sharply, by 24.3%. At the same time, construction of single-family residences (SFRs) increased by 2.7%, and SFR construction permits increased by 4.1%. Overall, construction starts dipped down 0.8% and permits decreased by 8.8%.

Even though this wasn’t the goal of the zoning reforms, not everyone sees this as a bad thing. SFRs being in higher demand could signal that more people are ready to buy as opposed to rent. However, since it’s not renters but potential landlords that would create demand for multi-family residences, it’s also possible that homeowners simply aren’t seeing the value in renting the units out, leaving potential tenants in the dust.

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High Interest Rates May Be Contributing To Low Inventory

With how much discussions of real estate tend to pit buyers and sellers against each other, it’s easy to forget they’re often actually the same people. Many sellers are also buyers, either planning to buy to replace the home they’re selling, or already bought another home. This isn’t always the case, of course — it’s entirely possible that someone could have never purchased anything, inherited two homes, and sold one of them. But this isn’t most sellers. What this means is that market conditions that are generally considered to primarily affect buyers will also affect sellers.

Such as right now, where it appears that the high interest rates that are holding buyers back are also making sellers hesitate. The majority of homeowners now have an interest rate lower than the current rates, especially if they took advantage of ultra-low rates such as the rates during the pandemic. If these homeowners were to sell and buy a new home, they would be losing their low interest rate and gaining a high interest rate. For 82% of them, that may not be worth it. Over half of those considering selling right now are deciding to wait until interest rates drop.

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Sharp Divide Between East And West US Market Direction

For the past couple of years, house prices had been rising dramatically across the country. Here in California, we’re now starting to see prices drop since the start of this year. Prices are now falling in all 12 major housing regions west of Texas, as well as in Austin, TX. The same can’t be said everywhere, though. In the 37 largest metros east of Colorado, excluding Austin, TX, prices are still rising. Of course, markets can differ drastically by state, but such a clear divide between eastern and western US may be unprecedented.

Falling home prices was the expected result of the federal benchmark rate hikes. It seems to be working in the western US, as prices become too unsustainable to continue to increase. The regions with the most significant price drops are the ones that were rather expensive. But there are still other factors at play in the eastern US, driving prices still upward. Some areas, such as Hartford, CT and Buffalo, NY, never reached unsustainable home prices and remain rather affordable. They also have rather low inventory. These factors combined are keeping prices from dropping, leading to an 8% increase in prices in January. Florida is attracting many new employees with multiple financial companies relocating to Miami in 2021 and 2022. Prices are expected to eventually start falling even in the east, but don’t expect anything drastic. Low inventory across the country is preventing any sudden market collapse.

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Most Recent Buyers Underestimated Costs Beyond Purchase Price

Most buyers are aware that homeownership has some extra costs associated with it. You can’t just pay the purchase price and be done. But it seems the vast majority aren’t prepared for just how high those costs can be. A whopping 90% of homebuyers in the past three years underestimated the hidden costs of homeownership, and 73% regretted some aspect of their purchase.

For a third of them, the culprit was property taxes. Even if you have purchased before, buying a new home in a high-priced market will probably drastically change your property tax values. A quarter or slightly over a quarter of respondents didn’t think roof work, renovations, or utilities would be so expensive. Annual expenses among respondents average $17,459 on top of mortgage payments. In hindsight, 57% of buyers know what they would have done differently. Among this subgroup, 42% would have purchased a home that didn’t require quite so much maintenance. It may cost more up front, but the annual costs could be significantly lower. 33% think they just needed to negotiate a lower price, and 29% would have gone for a lower-priced home to begin with. 27% believe it was simply the wrong time to buy, and they would have waited for a better deal.

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Recession Drives Price Reductions

Median Price Tumbles

Last year ended with sales volume off, median prices coming down and revenue dropping fast. January showed little change. February of this year shows sales volume up from January by as much as 50%. The reason why is obvious–the median price is simultaneously dropping by percentages as high as 18%.

Comparing February activity to February a year ago shows significant declines in both sales volume and in median price. At that point in 2022 the market was just beginning to dip a toe in the recessionary waters. Now we’re wading into it.

The first week of March Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told Congress, “…the ultimate level of interest rates is likely to be higher than previously anticipated.” Powell’s pointed remark clearly tells us the most recent pause in interest rate hikes is momentary. The lowest local mortgage rates we could find at the time was 6.75%. As such, we anticipate rates in excess of 7% by summer.

February Sales Volume Climbs

About the second week of January mortgage lenders began loosening the interest rates in anticipation of a relaxation by the Federal Reserve. For the most part, local rates stayed below 6% until late in February when the Fed began dropping hints that inflation was still raging.

After a “soft” January, sellers in the market were dropping prices and buyers responding positively by making offers. Now that mortgage rates have resumed climbing, sellers will have to drop prices some more to remain attractive to buyers.

With only two months behind us this year, there are indications lenders will “see-saw” the rates throughout the year. Already this year we have seen retail mortgage rates moving up and moving down without influence from the Fed. It seems to be an effort to induce buyers to accept high interest rates based on the theory they were higher last week so this temporary reduction is a good deal.

Revenue Climbs From January Depth

On a month-to-month basis, revenue across the South Bay is up 21% from January of this year. Don’t get excited—it’s only one month. January was one of the lowest performing months we’ve seen recently.

On a year-over-year basis, revenue is down 34% from last February! January was 38% lower than January of 2022. Year to date through February, revenue in the South Bay is down 36% and is expected to continue falling.

One of the more important statistics to note is how 2023 activity compares to 2019, which was the most recent “normal” year of real estate business. Across the South Bay real estate revenue for the first two months of 2023 is 7% below the same period in 2019. Restated, the South Bay has already lost over four years of gain in real estate revenue.

Median Price Slips, Volume Rises

More units of housing were sold in February than January, and the median price was lower in February. The Beach Cities saw a drop of 18% from January while the PV Hill held the decline to 3%. The Harbor area fell 4% and the Inland area dropped 14%.

Comparing February of this year to February of 2022 brought a harsher focus to the picture. All four areas have fallen from last years median price. The Beach is down 17%, the Harbor down 11%, the Hill is off 29% and the Inland cities down just 3%.

2023 Versus 2019 Shows a Sinking Market

The summary numbers comparing the first two months of 2023 to the most recent “normal” year of 2019 are not encouraging. Overall, sales revenue has fallen 7% below revenue figures for the same period in 2019. The Harbor area has fared the best, showing a 9% increase in revenue over January and February activity in 2019. Of course, that was four years ago and classic inflation would give that type of gain. It’s clear the “inflation on steriods” we’ve been experiencing is gone from the real estate industry.

The Beach cities provide an excellent indication of where the real estate economy is going. The first two months of revenue for 2023 is down 32%. Palos Verdes is down 2%, while the Inland area is up be a mere 1%. After four years of pandemic, recession, inflation and Federal Reserve manipulation the real estate market is tanking.


The areas are:
Beach: includes the cities of El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach;
PV Hill: includes the cities of Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates;
Harbor: includes the cities of San Pedro, Long Beach, Wilmington, Harbor City and Carson;
Inland: includes the cities of Torrance, Gardena and Lomita.

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Black Homeownership Inching Upward

Discrimination — sometimes legal, sometimes not — has kept Black homeownership rates below white homeownership rates for decades. Even now, Black homeownership rates are nearly 20 percentage points lower than the overall homeownership rate in California, at 35.6% versus 55% in 2021. Fortunately, it’s going up, albeit slowly. Between 2016 and 2021, the rate increased 2.5% percentage points.

Riverside County experienced the largest increase, going from 44% to 53% across the five years. However, the rate stayed the same or even decreased in some counties, including San Francisco where it’s remained just 22% and Santa Clara County which saw a drop from 30% to 25%. Even with the Black population in California only being about 6%, compared to the national value of 13.6%, it still accounts for over 2 million people. It certainly is difficult to find affordable non-rental housing for that many people, but there’s no reason it should be more difficult to house Black people than white people.

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Biggest Regrets Of First-Time Sellers

Real estate articles will frequently talk about first-time buyers, since they are a significant proportion of buyers overall. Less discussed are first-time sellers. It may be time to change that, since it seems like they could use some advice from experts. In the past two years, 84% of first-time sellers wished they did something differently during the sale process. The four things first-time sellers most regret are their decisions regarding pricing, online presence, timing, and repairs.

The most frequent comment was that they should have priced their home higher. Of course, that depends on the market. That may have been true when they sold, but don’t necessarily take that to heart. It’s also possible to list too high, which may be a more common regret this upcoming spring. Regardless of the list price, though, 90% of first-time sellers believe they could have done something to get a higher price. For 39% of them, this may be better listing photos. Virtual curb appeal is important nowadays when many people are looking online for their purchases. Since listings with virtual tours get 69% more views, this could boost your chances by quite a bit, and 25% of people agree a virtual tour would have helped. According to Zillow, the optimal time to sell is the second half of April. Not everyone has the flexibility to do this, but 25% still wish they listed at different time. 36% also didn’t have a good idea of how long it would take to sell. Even though 66% of first-time sellers completed at least two home improvements before selling, 25% believe a bigger investment in repairs or improvements would have increased the sale price.

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Despite Population Decline, California Remains Desirable

California has been experiencing a significant exodus of its residents, many of them moving to arguably quite dissimilar states, such as Florida, Texas, and North Carolina. The most salient difference between California and these states is political leanings; however, that’s not the reason people are leaving. The real reason is that California is simply too expensive. When asked where they would move if money were no object, the greatest percentage of people named California, at 27% of respondents.

This is definitely not where most people did move in 2022, but the responses of those people regarding their reasons for moving corroborate this idea. The two biggest reasons were better quality of life for 24% of respondents and lower cost of living or home prices for 23% of respondents. Note that respondents could pick multiple options, so they do not add up to 100%. Within quality of life, affordability was rated as the second most important factor, only below a safe neighborhood.

Along with California, New York and Illinois were also among the states that the greatest number of people left. The fact that these three states contain the three most populous cities in the country is probably not a coincidence. But this is not because people don’t like big cities. 40% of people would prefer to move to a city if they could, but many can’t afford it.

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Fremont Retains Title As Happiest City In US

WalletHub, a personal finance website, releases its report on the Happiest Cities in America each year. 182 of the largest cities are ranked on 30 different metrics, condensed into three categories — emotional & physical well being, income & employment, and community & environment. Taking the number one spot with a total score of 76.10 out of 100 is Fremont, California, which has now been number one for its third consecutive year. Not only that, Fremont ranks highest in two of the three major categories, both emotional & physical well being and community & environment. Fremont’s rank in income & employment is 34.

California’s San Francisco Bay Area seems to be doing quite well for itself. Fremont itself is in this region, and so are the number 2 and number 5 ranked cities on the list, San Jose and San Francisco. These three cities and Oakland are the four largest cities in the Bay Area. Oakland is also in the top 15, sitting at number 13. The other 2 cities in the top 5 aren’t in California, though. These are Madison, WI at number 3 and Overland Park, KS at number 4. As far as best in category, we already know Fremont takes the top spot in two of them. But the top spot for income & employment belongs to Burlington, VT, which is also number 10 overall. The least happy city overall is Detroit, MI, but at least it’s not the absolute bottom in any category.

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Keep Your Eyes Open For Fraud

When less fraud is being reported, that tends to mean consumers get complacent and aren’t being vigilant, thinking that fraud is less common. But what it actually entails is that fraudsters are getting smarter. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the total value of fraud reported by consumers in 2022 was $8.8 billion, with 2.4 million fraud reports. This dollar value is an increase of 30% from 2021, despite fewer reports. In 2021, there were 2.9 million reports totaling $6.1 billion.

The increasing online presence is definitely contributing to the problem. The greatest amount of losses by method of contact is social media, accounting for $1.2 billion. The second most reported method of scam is an online shopping scam. Older methods of fraudulent activity are still alive and well, though. Imposter scams are the most common method, and phone calls have the highest per-person reported losses at a median of $1400. Investment scams are also getting increasingly popular, with losses more than doubling from $1.8 billion in 2021 to $3.8 billion in 2022.

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Seasonal Adjustments Reveal Slight Home Sales Growth

No matter which region of California you’re looking at, things initially appear pretty dire for home sales. From December 2022 to January 2023, it’s down in every single major area. The decrease is smallest in the Inland Empire at 15.4% and highest in the San Francisco Bay Area, where sales dropped 38.1%. They also dropped significantly in the Central Valley, by 30.8%. Even in the Far North, where prices actually increased by 4.9%, home sales are down 18.4%. Most regions experienced a decrease of approximately 19%.

However, that rate is not seasonally adjusted. Winter is the slowest season in terms of home sales, so it makes sense that sales would be down. One rate that is seasonally adjusted is the statewide single-family residence (SFR) data. With sales being down in every region, you’d expect sales to be down statewide, since those regions do encompass the entire state. But with seasonal adjustment, we discover that the month-to-month SFR sales actually increased ever so slightly, by 0.4%. In fact, this was the second straight month of seasonally adjusted increase in SFR home sales. It’s hard to say just yet whether this is an overall increase in market confidence, or simply preparation for the often-hot spring season, but in either case, expect sales to increase. If spring sees not only an increase — which is expected regardless — but a seasonally adjusted increase, then we’ll know that market confidence has improved.

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Fastest Growing Homeless Population Is Those Over 50

The homeless population grew rapidly between 2017 and 2021, in part due to the pandemic, but this doesn’t explain all of a 43% increase in those seeking to access homelessness services. Even more alarming is the increase in those over 55 seeking assistance, a whopping 84%. This is not at all proportional to the 7% increase in the total population over 55.

Many of these people were already homeless and are growing older on the streets or in shelters. If these conditions continue, such people are unlikely to live much longer. With the living conditions of people out on the streets, poor access to healthcare, and crackdowns on homelessness by authorities, an age of 50 is more like an age of 70 in terms of health and life expectancy. With the slowly decreasing overall life expectancy in the US in recent years, this does not give them much time.

An increasing number of them, though, are becoming homeless after the age of 50. Older adults, especially those who are retired, often live alone on a small fixed income. Their income is frequently just barely enough to pay rent and afford groceries. With rent prices having skyrocketed, and Social Security benefits not keeping up, many of these people are no longer able to afford rent and are forced out of their homes.

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Millennials Living With Parents Are Ready To Move Out

During the pandemic, there was a large influx of young adults who moved back in with their parents during lockdowns, or simply stayed there if they already were. There were various reasons for this — some include not wanting to be away from them while isolating, losing their job or transitioning to work-from-home, or graduating from college — but regardless of the reason, many of them were able to spend the last couple of years saving up money for a down payment. Now these young adults are looking to buy, in many cases for the first time, as they were probably renting before.

The share of adults age 25-34 living at home has been steadily increasing since 2003, when it was 10%. Back then, that age group was entirely Generation X. Now in 2022, it’s almost entirely Millennials, and the youngest among them are in Generation Z. But 2020 was actually the peak year, despite being the year of the sharpest increase. It has since decreased from 17.8% in 2020 to 15.6% in 2022, about the same level it was at in 2015. Based on historical trends, it’s expected that the number will drop back down to somewhere in the 8-12% range at some point, but this is unclear given that the steady increase was already in progress long before the pandemic.

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Top Metros For Millennial Buyers

Millennials currently form the largest cohort of homebuyers, and have done so for about a decade. That means the places where millennials are looking are probably going to be the hottest spots overall. By looking at mortgage data, LendingTree analyzed the top metro areas where millennials are considering buying. Note that this doesn’t include full cash sales since it’s derived from mortgage data, and LendingTree only has access to mortgage data for users of their platform.

LendingTree found that millennials make up the largest share of homebuyers in all 50 of the largest metros, and are a majority in 37 of them. The top metro area is San Jose, CA with 63.57% of mortgage offers going to millennials. The remaining top 10 are Denver, CO; Boston, MA; Seattle, WA; Austin, TX; San Francisco, CA; New York, NY; San Diego, CA; Los Angeles, CA; and Washington, DC. Narrowly missing the top 10 is Pittsburgh, PA, only a hundredth of a percent below Washington, DC’s 56.35%. But really, millennials are buying everywhere — not a single metro has a millennial homebuyer share below 40%, the lowest being Las Vegas, NV at 41.92%.

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