Pandemic’s Impact on Real Estate July 2020
Real estate markets nationwide surge in demand & greater Orlando achieves major milestone for the first time in 13 years.
Based on data reported by Orlando Regional Realtor ® Association, central Florida’s median home value of $265,000 finally surpasses July 2007 peak level of $264,436. Home values now at all-time record highs as average mortgage interest rates inversely plummet to record lows in the 3% range. Lower credit risk loans, such as 15 fixed-mortgages, being reported with interest rates as low as 2.75%.
Since the market bottom of January 2011, Central Florida home values are up 179%.
Inventory of all homes available is down a whopping 18% year-over-year & distressed properties (REO/SS) becoming depleted to less than 3% of all sales. Scarce supply & multiple offer scenarios becoming the norm — the ultimate seller’s market conditions – strong demand, dwindling supply & lowest average mortgage rates on-record.
Demand skyrocketing for single-family homes with pools, amenities, yard/acreage, bonus rooms, spare bedrooms, garages, & outbuildings including in-law suites or other convertible home office space.
A report by Redfin tracked online home searches & reported a 100% increase in the searches for smaller cities & non-urban areas under 50,000 in population. The national telecommuting revolution is providing workers with more options – freedom, flexibility, & mobility; without any indication work-from-home will be declining in the future. The advent of new paradigm shift in how we conduct business.
FHFA & FHA have extended all eviction & foreclosure moratoriums on GSE backed loans (on SFH’s only) through August 31, 2020. All new & existing foreclosure actions suspended, however “legally vacant” properties are excluded. In Florida, all counties have suspended & postponed foreclosure sales.
As part of the CARES Act, borrowers with FHA mortgages have a year of delayed mortgage payment forbearance & no balloon payment at conclusion of forbearance period. Deferred payments can be placed into a junior lien payable upon sale, refi or if mortgage is extinguished.
The Mortgage Bankers Association is reporting approx. 8% of all loans are currently in forbearance, which computes to 1 out of 12 loans.
However, no agencies reporting any forgiveness on deferred loan or rental payments. Rental policies will be mostly determined by state authorities, at least in Florida. Governor DeSantis issued an executive order banning evictions through August 1, 2020. The governor has twice extended the original eviction moratorium from April 1st & a third extension may be announced any moment. Landlords may still issue eviction notices, but court hearings & orders are suspended. The systemic risk, or chain reaction, of landlords’ inability to repay financing is potentially a serious concern for credit markets, but no data currently available on the percentage of residential and/or commercial tenants in default on leases.
Commercial real estate is certainly in an extremely vulnerable position from the devastating situation with small businesses, limited capacity/occupancy, mandated closures (gyms/bars), virtual office trend, re-direct to online shopping & overall lack of necessity for office space. It wouldn’t be surprising to see mass re-zoning & re-purposing of redundant commercial space.
Residential real estate market & credit data not currently indicating any type of “crash” metrics. Although, overall market performance will ultimately be correlated with macroeconomics, further government stimulus programs, & how long consequences of the Covid-19 depress certain economic sectors – energy, financials, & consumer discretionary – travel, tourism, apparel, gyms, automotive, and restaurants. Any shock to the volume of loan default rates will be a key indicator.
Meanwhile, information technology sector is booming with the NASDAQ index approaching 11,000 points, all-time record highs, as well as upward spikes in consumer staple, telecommunication, home improvement, pharmaceutical sectors; also gold commodity. Technology winners have emerged — Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google, Microsoft & Zoom Video Communications.
U.S. Q1 GDP, as reported by BEA, down 5% & Q2 results will be released tomorrow, July 30th. Two consecutive quarters with declining GDP will satisfy the definition of a recession.
BLS reporting national unemployment rate of only 11.1% likely with PPP being used as a flotation device from the $3 Trillion CARES Act, combined with the government stimulus payments “lifeline” extended to most Americans in March/April.
The Fed will be forced to maintain low interests to prevent total economic meltdown & the prospect of inflation will be an inevitability down the road. The current fed funds target rate is 0-0.25%. Prior to 2020, the Fed had been raising the federal funds rate from 0.25% to 2.5% from 2016-2019.
November elections are looming & potential regime changes at the executive & legislative branches could have long-term consequences on policy changes, consumer sentiment, diplomacy & other market-affecting factors. The top questions on everybody’s minds are how long is the global pandemic going to linger & when will a vaccine be available?
Jason Crane Real Estate, LLC
July 28, 2020
Economies & markets are complex structures of interrelated factors both tangible & intangible & data is a lagging indicator of performance & subject to unpredictable events & unforeseen volatility.