Mild inflation is a good thing because it means the economy is growing. Rapid inflation suppresses real estate and the economy and is not a good thing. The fed’s target for inflation has been around 2 percent the past several years.

Currently we are experiencing rapid inflation. Many US employees woke up to a 3% rise in wages on January 1st, and they are excited about that.  The sad thing is, prices are rising at 7% overall, and some things are much worse than that. Inflation is like a hidden tax in that consumers just lost 7% purchasing power on their money.

Everything is going up in price, from food, gas, clothing, cars, construction, etc. If you have a rise in wages, you are further behind because of inflation. Seniors will be hit the hardest because they live off social security and investments. They are not even enjoying the 3% raise workers are.

If you own a house, you might think that’s good because rising home prices will help protect you.  That may seem true right now, but it’s what comes next that might alarm you.

To combat inflation the Fed must slow things down.  There are too many dollars chasing too few goods and services in the economy. The Fed will be forced to halt stimulus. In addition, the Fed is ending bond purchases to take money supply out of the market. When that is completed in March, they will begin the process of raising interest rates.

You may have noticed rates have already risen. This is because the Fed has already begun tapering of the bond purchases. Many are now expecting 4 rate hikes this year instead of 3, and the rate hikes might need to be bigger than .25% The last time we saw inflation at 7% was back in 1982. To combat inflation the Fed raised interest rates in chunks of .5% to1%

Inflation Suppresses Real Estate and the Economy
10 Year Treasury Yield

Mortgage rates are closely tied to the 10 Year Treasury Note. As of today’s writing, the 10-year treasury note stands at 1.716%. Lenders use this as a baseline and add a percentage to determine today’s 30-year mortgage rate.

Rising interest rates temper consumer spending. If there is less stimulus and borrowing costs rise, consumers must spend less. When consumers spend less, businesses make less, and consumers have less in their pockets. Taxes may rise to pay for last year’s spending spree by the government which will serve as a double whammy to consumer pocketbooks. We will have an increased tax bill plus the hidden inflation tax leaving you with less money to spend. This is exactly what the government wants. They need to slow down the too many dollars chasing too few products and services. The economy feels like it is doing well now, but the bad medicine is coming.

There are other ways to tackle inflation. This government has not done that, and they will not use those tools, so unfortunately monetary policy will be the only tool they will use, and only reluctantly. Had they enacted the other tools or acted sooner we would not be in this mess, but now here we are.

It will not do any good to complain or worry about it. The bad medicine is coming. The fed may try to sweeten the medicine with more stimulus, but that is like giving pain pills to an addict. It is what helped cause inflation in the first place.

For every 1% rise in interest rates buyers lose 11% purchasing power. As the economy slows you eventually run out of people who can afford to pay rising prices. Back in the 80’s we had over 18% interest rates, and selling real estate was tough. Back then, home sellers had to pay thousands of dollars in buyer’s points just so buyer could get a loan that was legal. The US has usury rates which were the maximum rates allowed by law a lender could charge.  Because market rates were higher than usury rates, buyers had to pay points to buy-down the rate.  Buyers did not always have the money to buy-down the rate, so sellers had to do it to unload their property.  It was simply a cost of doing business in inflationary times.

Rising rates and a slowing economy will eventually catch up with the housing market. Using monetary policy alone is the toughest way to fight inflation and takes the longest. Rising rates are a lagging component of slowing the economy.  Monetarily, the sooner the fed tapers the balance sheet and raises the rate the sooner we will slow the economy.  Doing it slowly can lead to a recession.

Of course, if the government did this the correct way we could have avoided much of the pain that will come from doing it only monetarily. This administration caused inflation, so asking them to correct and reverse course does not seem likely.

Some people believe the economy will slow in 2nd half of 2022. Whatever happens, rates will rise, and the economy will slow for rates to be held in check.

To find out your home’s current value, go to www.SWFLhomevalues.com or call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-310-6500 We can help you sell at today’s high prices. If you are a buyer, call us at 239-489-4042. Let’s get you in before rates go up.

A recent study shows a mass exodus to Florida according to a United Van Lines national migration study for 2021.  Florida saw 13,201 inbound shipments which was the most in the country followed by Texas at 12,358.

Mass Exodus to Florida

As a percentage, Punta Gorda was the #2 destination in the country and Fort Myers-Cape Coral was #7. Judging by the traffic on our roads you wouldn’t need a national study to confirm what you have already witnessed. Local housing numbers back up the premise that we have more demand than supply in SW Florida.

The top 5 states people are moving out of in the study were 1. New Jersey 2. Illinois 3. New York 4. Connecticut 5. California  United Van Lines asked people why they were moving.  Florida was #1 on the list for retirement and #2 on the list for a lifestyle change. Florida was ranked #9 on the list for health/personal reasons.

Mass Exodus to Florida

Mass Exodus to Florida United Van Lines Study

Approximately 900 people per day are moving to Florida. Last year we saw 211,000 people move to Florida.  The reasons we hear people move here are numerous. Of course, we have low taxes, moderate temperatures, abundant sunshine, water, boating, golf, and beaches.  Add in the ability to work remotely and Florida becomes supremely attractive. Others like the fact that Florida has stayed open during the pandemic while other states have suffered lockdowns and business disruptions.

We hear that more companies are making the decision to relocate to Florida.  Corporate relocations take time and planning and do not happen in a day, or year.  Some plans already in place have not occurred yet, so expect to see more companies announcing relocation to Florida.

Economy Improving in Florida

While tax rates are low in Florida and Texas, tax receipts are going through the roof. Florida has no income tax and low property taxes.  So how is it that tax revenues are increasing? Simply out, more people wish to be here, and they are bringing their wallets.  They are buying houses and spending money and tax revenue to the state is expanding.  States losing residents will continue to see decreasing tax revenue.  High tax states will be forced to cut spending or increase taxes which further exacerbates their situation.  If people are moving to Florida due to high taxes where they come from, raising taxes on the ones that are left will not help them retain those residents.  Rising taxes simply makes more people want to move to low tax states.

The same is true at the national level.  Rising taxes force companies to produce goods elsewhere. Lower taxes bring those jobs back home.  The national government could learn an economics lesson from the states.

Inflation

Inflation is a real thing, and it is making housing less affordable.  Many people woke up to a 3% raise in 2022, but the things they buy may have increased by 10% or more.  That is like taking a 7% plus pay cut.  Even though wages rose, people lost purchasing power. We are seeing this in housing. Because so many want to live here it is not hurting our market. It is hurting people at the middle and low end as they are finding it difficult to live where they work.

Affordable housing has once again become an issue, and it will continue. Rising real estate prices makes current homeowners happy and makes affordability an issue for those renting.  Rents have risen along with home prices, so it is increasingly difficult to escape the affordability issue.

In many cases it is less expensive to buy than rent.  When interest rates go up in 2022 it will make purchasing more expensive, so if you are getting squeezed on your rent, call us and let’s see if we can get you into a home.  To purchase, our buyer specialist line is 239-489-4042.  To sell, our listing specialist line is 239-310-6500.

Good luck and happy house hunting! To find your home’s value, go to www.SWFLHomevalues.com

Southwest Florida sales prices climb to highest levels of 2021 in November.  Official sales numbers were just released and the median price of a rose to $376,500 while the average price rose $533,697.  This represents a 18.0% and 26.3% price increase respectively.

Sales Prices Climb to Highest Levels of 2021

The median price last November was $319,150.  In October 2021 it was $368,000.  The median price rose 2.31% last month alone.  The average price last November was $422,452.  Average price rose over $111,000 in the past year and it rose 6.56% in the past month.

Sales Prices Climb to Highest Levels

As you can see, prices are still appreciating rapidly.  Inventory is down 38.6% from last year and declined 5.08% in the last month.  Sales are doing well, inventory is falling, and prices are rising rapidly.  Our market couldn’t be hotter, and yet it seems somebody said something like that last month.  The truth is, the market is hot, and it could get hotter.

Florida is where everyone wants to be.  We have always been known for sun, sand, beach, palm trees, and moderate year-round temperatures.  Who wouldn’t want that?  Lately Florida has also been known for low Covid numbers, low taxes, and low government mandates which is enticing to people who want to enjoy their lives or run a business.  We are seeing customers move here from practically every state.  Of course, some states stand out more than others.

What Will 2022 Bring?

We don’t see much change coming in 2022.  People love how Florida is run, and that looks to remain.  What we cannot predict is how other states will govern in the coming years.  Florida will continue to see a tax and climate advantage.  For the reasons and the leadership reason we expect the Florida real estate market to continue its journey in 2022.

Of course, we will keep our eye on the overall economy, interest rates, and political changes.  All these factors have led to a Florida advantage, and any changes would need to be evaluated. If the phone calls we are receiving from out of state buyers are any indication, 2022 is going to be another good year.

We are also hearing that people are flying into SW Florida in masses again.  In fact, the airport has released statements that there are no parking spaces available. People are having to drive in circles until spaces open.  This tells us more people have moved to SW Florida in the past year as I don’t recall this issue before.  It makes sense because the roads seem busier this year too.

Best SW Florida Real Estate Online Search Engine

We don’t have to prove how great things are in Florida.  The numbers speak for themselves.  If you are interested in buying, now would be a great time.  Prices are doing well, and as interest rates rise the mortgage payments will only go up.  The best website to search for new listings is www.LeeCountyOnline.com It is updated every few minutes and has the latest listings, unlike some of the other websites.

It is also a good time to sell.  Prices are at their highest.  Many sellers do not even realize how much their home is worth.  One of the best websites to check your value is www.SWFLhomevalues.com.  It has the most accurate data we have found.  While no computer estimate will ever be 100% accurate, this website is one of the best.  Regardless of the price, it will remind you of your new price going forward, so you can keep track of the direction of the market.

If you have questions about the market, give Sande or Brett Ellis a call at 239-610-3500  We can show you how we get Top Dollar for our listings.  If you are a buyer, we might have a new listing coming on the market you might want to know about.  Our team is a great resource in SW Florida.

Happy New Year!  Let’s make 2022 your year!

Each week we give you our insight and analysis on the housing market and the economy. We talk about the factors that will influence the Southwest Florida real estate market.  This week we thought it would be fun to research top housing expert predictions for 2022 on the national level.  Keep in mind, local markets may vary, and our sources are from a wide range of experts and data sources.

The National Association of Realtors conducted a study of 20 top economic and housing experts and issued a report.  We will use this report and several other expert predictions and hopefully a consensus will form.

The NAR report from 20 experts predicts home prices will climb 5.7% in 2022 while inflation will tame and settle in at 4% for the year. The group predicted the Fed will raise their rates twice in 2022 by .25% each time.  Just this past week the Fed announced it is looking at increasing rates three times in 2022.  If the Fed follows through with three rate hikes, this will exceed this group’s predictions. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR predicts 30-year mortgage rates will rise to 3.5%.  We have seen other predictions that suggest 3.6% to 3.7% recently.

Yun predicts about 6 million sales in 2021 and about 5.9 million in 2022.  Rising rates may stall home sales, but they are still predicting price gains.

Another article from Fortune Magazine studied 7 forecast models for 2022.    The article quotes Zillow predicts a 13.6% price gain from October 2021 to October 2022 while Goldman Sachs predicts 16% between October 2021 and December 2022. Additional article from Forbes Magazine with Top Housing Experts Predictions for 2022.

The reason for their rosy outlook stated demand outpacing supply and no letup in millennial home buying growth. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are predicting 7.9% and 7% price gains respectively.  Redfin and CoreLogic see price gains of 3% and 1.9% in 2022.

More articles quote more sources, so there seems to be no shortfall of predictions.  The consensus seems to be more price gains in 2022 to varying degrees, increased interest rates and borrowing costs for buyers, and inflation.  Builders are still going to build, but not fast enough.  Hopefully supply chain issues will abate in 2022.

All these articles sort of prove the point that now is a good time to buy or sell.  Prices are likely to go up along with borrowing costs, so it is definitely advantageous for buyers. Sellers may finally have enough equity to move on to their next home.  Prices have risen enough to make some sellers want to move.

No matter whether you’d like to buy or sell, or both, the Ellis Team at Keller Williams has tools to help you.  I met with a seller the other day that needs to sell before he can buy, but he’s afraid of being homeless and not finding a property.  I told him about a program that allows him to purchase a home first, then put his home on the market and only pay one mortgage payment.  This way he can find a home that suits his needs and purchase it without having to sell.  He can then move in a relaxed atmosphere and have time to sell his existing home, all with one low payment.

If you are thinking of selling, there are solutions.  For other sellers we have been able to negotiate delayed occupancy after closing to allow time to purchase a different home and move out.

If you are contemplating selling but don’t know how you could do it, call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-310-6500.  If you are just curious as to your home’s value, check out www.SWFLhomevalues.com for a fast and free computer estimate.

Good luck and Happy Holidays!