Four Biggest Questions Regarding the Coronavirus and the Housing Market Part 4 of 4

 As we come to the end of this four-part series, we look to examine the outcome that we will face once this is all over. With that in mind, we ask ourselves the final question; are we going to see the same outcome and devastation that we saw in 2008?

One of the key factors in buying and selling a home is the confidence that people have, and in times like these, memories of past experiences come back to us as we recall all the uncertainties that we faced. But the focus cannot be on what has occurred in the past, but rather what is occurring today and the days to come. With that, we look to see what is being said from the Federal Housing Administration.  

The Federal Housing Administration indicated it is enacting an “immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages” for the next 60 days. The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced it is directing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for “at least 60 days.”

What we are seeing is things in 2008 that we got wrong that you are now seeing the government respond to in regard to the needs that the consumers and the industry have so that It doesn’t happen again. We are seeing how banks are going to respond individually to borrowers in those situations. Actions like this show that the way this is being handled is significantly different than back then, and there are also structural actions that we can look at that are very different now. The visuals provided below will help to better illustrate this.

This first visual shows us exactly where we were in 2008, and what you’ll notice is that there were $828 Billion in cash out refinances back then, and homes were basically being used as ATM machines to which cash was being taken out to harvest equity from their home, a lot of which was being put in depreciating assets. When we start to look at today in the last 3 years, cash out refinances are a fraction of what they were leading up to 2008. What this entails, is that people have learned their lesson and are no longer doing what they have done in the past with the equity in their homes, and today the equity position is very different than what it once was, with over 50% of homes in the united states having over 50% equity. In 2008, people were walking away from homes when they had negative equity, but that is no longer the case.

We are in a very different situation today than we were back then. Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and its fair to say that the government and the American people have learned their lesson.

As we started out this year, we saw a market where income is rising, and mortgage rates have been falling. What this has created is a drop for the historic norm in the payment as a % of income, as demonstrated in the visual above. Historically speaking, the norm percentage of income that has been dedicated to their mortgage has been 21.2%, and right now what we’ve seen leading into this, is that number being 14.8%. This is significantly lower than the historic norm speaking in leverage to the consumer in relative to housing.

In conclusion, what we are seeing now and, in the months/years to come is not going to be the same as we saw after the crash in 2008. Homeowners have learned from their past mistakes, and the government is taking the necessary precautions to ensure that history does not repeat itself. While the uncertainty factor remains for a lot of what is occurring in the county and the world, it can be said with confidence that we will come out of this stronger, and better than going into it.

We hope that this four-part series has shed some light into the biggest questions that you may have right now. If you have any other questions about the current market and what’s to come, feel free to give us a call at (540) 388-2541.