Tallahassee Real Estate Market Update October 2020
September is over and it's time for a new housing market update.
As with all things 2020, this just does not seem like October in Tallahassee (though the weather is wonderful). Buyers are as active as they were in May, and we still have a chance to finish 2020 with the most home sales in the past 13 years.
Before we hit a few graphs that do a good job depicting housing market conditions, I've included pictures of all the active homes for sale in Tallahassee. Can you believe how many are already under contract?
Listings In The Tallahassee Housing Market
October 2020 Housing Market Report
Our October 2020 housing market report begins with a look at the big picture first and then narrows to specific conditions that will be very important to you if you sell or buy a home.
Our first graph shows how well the market fared in September.
Year Over Year Home Sales
This graph shows how each month's home sales compared with the corresponding month from the year prior. For this reason, it's called the year-over-year home sales graph.
Year over year home sales rose more than 5% in September, registering the second month of growth in the past three months.
I can tell you from street level too that for every one buyer that closed on a home in September, there was more than one that missed out on a home and was left hoping to find a home to close on in October.
Demand remains strong, it remains the supply-side slowing the housing market. We need more sellers to enter the market, whether this comes from existing homes or the new homes market, we need more inventory.
Year To Date Home Sales
The next graph shows the number of homes sold during the first nine months of each year. It allows us to compare the real estate market at the end of September with 18 previous years (each through September as well).
Home sales are down 2.8% in 2020 when compared to 2019 (through September), and right now are slightly above the level recorded in 2003. When we compare 2020 to the past 18 years, 2020 trails just five other years (and I don't recall dealing with a pandemic during any of those years).
These two graphs show that the demand for homes in Tallahassee remains very strong, so next, we'll look at two graphs that will help better show the supply and demand dynamic in the housing market.
Housing Market Activity
Take a look at this graph of current market conditions.
It shows the supply of homes relative to the current rate of demand so we call it the relative supply of homes. We measure relative supply in “months of supply,” meaning the number of months it would take to consume the current supply of homes for sale.
Here we see the green line shows the number of homes sold each month (that’s the demand) and the red line shows the number of homes for sale each month (that’s the supply). When we divided the demand into the supply, the result gives us the relative supply of homes shown in blue.
Finally, we take the one-year average of the relative supply to remove seasonality and we can see this plotted in yellow. When the market is balanced, we refer to it as market equilibrium.
Most real estate experts consider equilibrium, or a balanced market, as one with 6.0 months of supply of homes for sale. Look at how glutted the market was from 2006 through 2014, where the relative supply of homes peaked at nearly 14 months of supply. We spent very little time at equilibrium and now for the past 6 years, the overall market has favored home sellers.
I cover this graph in more detail in the video that goes along with this report.
Relative Supply Of Homes For Sale
The following table shows the relative supply of homes for sale in Tallahassee. Again, this merely means the supply of homes for sale relative to the current rate of demand.
The relative supply of homes is a number that shows us the months of supply of homes for sale (the supply of homes relative to the current rate of demand). A measure of 6.0 is traditionally considered a balanced market, where neither sellers nor buyers have an advantage in the market.
When the relative supply drops below 6.0, the market moves to a seller's market. The opposite is true when the number grows above 6.0 and the market moves to favor buyers.
In the table above, the red cells show sellers' market conditions, orange cells show buyers' market conditions and green shows where the market is balanced.
Overall, the entire market is undersupplied and all four quadrants in Tallahassee are in a sellers' market. There remain many different pockets where a buyer's market exist.
Southeast Tallahassee has an interesting trend forming. It's the only quadrant in Tallahassee where the high-end has hit market equilibrium, but just below that priceline we see a pocket of homes from $450K to $550K that remain in a buyer's market.
Luxury Homes Market
This graph is identical to the home sales activity graph we examined previously, with the exception of this one is limited to homes priced above $600K.
Unlike the lower-priced homes in the bottom 90% of the market, the top of the market remains in control of buyers. There are far more high-end homes for sale then there are high-end buyers.
But conditions are improving. As we reported in last week's housing report, the top of the market is having a banner year. It is still a buyer's market for luxury homes, but less so than in the past.
The market is enjoying the best conditions for selling a luxury home in Tallahassee then we have measured over the past 18 years.
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Where Is Tallahassee Moving?
The next graph shows the percentage of home sales that fall in each of Tallahassee's four quadrants, shown over the years. It allows us to find trends for where people are moving.
NE Tallahassee continues to dominate the home sales in Tallahassee, though we can see a significant decline occurring. What used to be more than 50% of all homes sold were in the NE quadrant is now down to below 49%.
NW Tallahassee appears to be the beneficiary of the market movement away from NE Tallahassee. Currently, NW Tallahassee holds about 31% of all homes sold.
This means that 79% of all home sales are on the north side of town. The 21% on the south side of town breaks down to about 16% in SE Tallahassee and 5% in SW Tallahassee.
Tallahassee Housing Supply And Demand
The next graph shows the supply and demand for homes in the Tallahassee housing market, arranged by price range.
Tallahassee is in a VERY STRONG sellers' market for homes priced below $400K and a strong sellers' market under $550K. We don't see buyer's market conditions until we get above that $550K mark.
NE Tallahassee Housing Supply And Demand
The next graph shows the supply and demand for homes in Northeast Tallahassee, arranged by price range.
NE Tallahassee is in a VERY STRONG sellers' market for homes priced below $550K and a buyers' market above $550K.
NW Tallahassee Housing Supply And Demand
The next graph shows the supply and demand for homes in Northwest Tallahassee, arranged by price range.
NW Tallahassee is in a VERY STRONG sellers' market for homes priced below $250K and a sellers' market under $350K. We don't see buyer's market conditions in Northwest Tallahassee until we get near the $400K mark.
SE Tallahassee Housing Supply And Demand
The next graph shows the supply and demand for homes in Southeast Tallahassee, arranged by price range.
SE Tallahassee is in a VERY STRONG sellers' market for homes priced below $400K, and a seller's market below $450K, and above $550K. We only see buyer's market conditions in Southeast Tallahassee for homes priced between $450K and $550K.
SW Tallahassee Housing Supply And Demand
The next graph shows the supply and demand for homes in Southwest Tallahassee, arranged by price range.
SW Tallahassee is in a VERY STRONG sellers' market for homes priced below $150K. We don't see buyer's market conditions in Southwest Tallahassee until we get near the $250K mark. Of all the quadrants in our market, SW Tallahassee is the furthest behind in the housing market recovery that began in 2012.
How Competitive Is Your Price Range?
The next graph shows how competitive each price range is in the Tallahassee housing market.
If you are thinking about buying a home or about selling your home, this graph will show you what you should expect in the market. It shows the percentage of homes already under contract in each price range.
The green lines measure the number of listed homes that are already under contract with buyers, while the red lines measure the homes without contracts. Nearly 50% of all listed homes are already under contract, so whether buying or selling, you should know that it is highly competitive out there and you need to be prepared in order to get the best deal possible.
You should also know that there are so few homes above $600K that this graph ends up with a lot of volatility at the upper end. For example, if one or two $1M plus homes dropped prices just below $1M, we would see the $950K price point shoot higher.
You would think that with these strong seller's market conditions, we would see a high number of homes sell at full price or above market value. That is not the case, however. Too many sellers are leaving money on the table. You can learn how to avoid this by reading my article and watching my video on using a sound pre-marketing campaign).
Percentage Of The Inventory Selling Each Month
I have mentioned that the supply of homes for sale is far too low and the competition for available listings is fierce among buyers. Our next two graphs prove this point.
This graph shows the percentage of homes sold each month. During normal market conditions, about 17% of the homes sell each month. But look to the right side of the graph, we're often doubling that amount in recent months.
Each month, a red dot is posted to show the percentage of the inventory that sold each month. If there were no seasonality in real estate, we would expect to see about 1/6th of the homes sell each month (16.7%).
As seasonality is real, we actually expect to see roughly 4 months above 17%, 4 months near 17%, and four months below 17% during the different times of the year. This graph makes it clear, these are not normal times.
When the market was coming out of its collapse, we went more than 8 years without a single month falling within the "normal" range. There were just too many homes on the market and it was common for fewer than 1/10th of them to sell each month.
Now, low inventory levels have the opposite results. About 1 in 3 homes listed for sale sold in each of the past six months. That means when buyers go looking at homes, there is not much out there and the best-priced homes are already under contract with other buyers.
Homes Already Under Contract With Buyers
This next graph shows that more homes for sale in Tallahassee are under contract with buyers than ever before. That means slim pickings for buyers and favorable market conditions for sellers.
Nothing is more frustrating as a buyer than finding the perfect home, only to find out somebody else beat you to it. That's why I recommend you keep a close eye on the "Coming Soon Website," so you'll get an advanced warning before some of the best homes hit the market.
Nearly one-half of all listed homes for sale are already under contract. The green line in the graph above shows that 48% of the current listings are already under contract, and the one-year trend of the under-contract percentage is at an all-time high of more than 42%.
Hopefully, we'll see more sellers enter the market these next few months, and perhaps see a dip in this ratio. But don't be surprised to see it continue higher if too few sellers arrive.
Housing Supply And Demand Reality
The following two tables make it very easy to do a supply and demand analysis for your specific price range and area of town that you live (or want to live).
Both tables segment the market by quadrant and by price range. The one on the left shows the average number of homes that sell each month, while the one on the right shows the current number of homes for sale.
Let's start at the bottom right of each table. There are 1,215 homes for sale right now in the Tallahassee housing market, which is 5% fewer than the 1,284 we reported last month.
There are 357 selling each month, which is 6% greater than the 337 we reported last month. When we divide sales into the active listings, we can see that nearly 30% are selling each month (which is about 60% higher than normal).
These tables report fewer homes for sale and rising demand from a growing buyer pool. It is strong evidence for buyers that they need to be ready to go when they are serious about buying a home. While you do not necessarily need to be in a hurry to buy a home, you do need to move with urgency when you find a home you would like to buy.
When it's time to make a decision on a home, just remember that the market will have brought you to a specific home that you like because of its relative value, so you can be certain the market will be bringing many other buyers to compete with you. These sellers' market conditions require buyers to make prompt decisions and move aggressively when the right home is found.
There are a lot of people who endorse Joe for the job of selling your home, from Barbara Corcoran (Star of ABC's Shark Tank) to Preston Scott (host of Tallahassee's top daily "Audio Magazine," as well as the thousands of happy customers Joe has helped in the past. Listen why!
Real Estate Seasonality
As stated earlier, there are seasonal changes that influence the housing market. This next graph identifies the percentage of listed homes that sold each month for the five-year period of 2015-2019.
If you saw our report last month, you might remember this graph. I went ahead and updated it to be current using the past five years.
Think of this as what "should" happen during normal times, with "normal" being defined as the past five years.
As you can see, we have now started what would traditionally be the slower six months of the year, from September through February.
What's really interesting is that inventory levels have been so low over the past few years that only January is averaging fewer than 1/6th of the inventory selling. To put this into perspective, only 6% of listings sold in January of 2013 and just 7% in January of 2014. Last year, more than 14% of the listings in January sold.
So what this means is that the time of year is really not significant if you want to sell your home. Right now, buyer demand is high, inventory is low, and we're going to be blowing up historical seasonal numbers.
Right now, there is both pent-up demand from buyers who have yet been able to secure a home in this uber-competitive market, as well as pent-up supply from sellers who were waiting for the pandemic to pass.
Many of these hesitant sellers have seen their friends and family members move safely to a new home and take advantage of the historically low mortgage interest rates. I expect to see new inventory come in during the final quarter of 2020 at a higher rate than we would normally see.
Mortgage Interest Rates Motivating Buyers
The final graph and tables in today's housing market report is the catalyst of the fire that has been lit under buyers. It is bringing them en masse to the market despite the pandemic occurring all around the world.
The mortgage graph shows nearly 50 years of monthly mortgage interest rates. We've seen them as high as 18.45% and as low as 2.89% (the current rate). Over the past fifty years, the average rate has come down to 7.92%, a full 5% higher than today's rate!
We saw a new record-low mortgage interest rate recorded in August and then again in September, and I want to show you exactly what it means to homebuyers today.
It's probably more significant than you might imagine (After all, what's a few percentage points anyway?).
How Low Mortgage Rates Impact Home Affordability
The tables shown here allow us to do two separate studies of the impact of low mortgage interest rates. First, we show the monthly savings a buyer is getting today versus rates we've seen in the recent past, while the second shows how buying power will fall when mortgage interest rates begin to return to normal.
The table on the left was built to show a $300,000 loan and the impact of changing mortgage interest rates on that borrower's monthly payment.
If rates were to move up one full percent (to a still-very-low rate of 3.89%), that buyer's payment would go up 13%. When rates return to the fifty-year average, that buyer's payment would be 75% higher each month!
This is not a small deal to most people that I know. What monthly payment do you have that you wouldn't care about a 75% increase? That's why these rates are so outrageously good today.
I think a better way to understand changing interest rates though can be found in the table on the right. My experience selling homes in Tallahassee for the past 30 years has taught me that most buyers purchase as much home as they can get based upon what they can borrow.
So instead of seeing monthly mortgage payments rise, we'll see the borrower's loan amount drop (to keep the payment the same). So a buyer who can borrow $300K today will only be able to borrow $265K when interest rates rise 1%.
If the buyer waits until rates return to the fifty-year average, then the buyer will be able to just $171K! That means the buyer who waits until normal rates return will see his buying power reduced 43%.
This buying power, strengthened by today's low mortgage interest rates, is the primary reason demand has remained so strong during the pandemic. Had there been no COVID-19, we wouldn't have seen rates drop so low.
These temporarily low rates are part of the government's stimulus to help restore the economy. The stimulus only helps you if you use it. If you do not want to move, you should still talk to a lender about refinancing any homes that you own. Conversations are free and the resulting refinancing that many will enjoy will end up saving a lot of money on each loan repayment.
If you have been holding off selling, then it likely means that you've been holding off buying too. If you are strong enough to pay cash, then this is not necessarily a big deal. But if you plan to finance your next home, you should strongly consider getting your home sold and getting into the next one with today's cheap money.
Housing Market Report Information
I hope our October 2020 Housing Market Report has given you insight into today's conditions. Do you have any questions you'd like answered in this or other housing market reports? If so, you can leave a comment below or give us a call anytime!
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