Kentucky REALTOR® News
The latter half of 2021 showed signs of a cooling housing market. Units sold numbers were down year-over-year for July through December. They were not down enough, however, to keep 2021 from breaking records across the board. Year-over-year December home sales dropped by 7%, to 4,467 (from 4,807). This bumped the grand total for homes sold to 57,140. This is an increase of 3% from 2020’s tally of 55,507. Kentucky topped the 50,000 mark for the very first time just 2 years ago (2019) when sales peaked at 50,891.
Sales volume broke records once again in 2021 totaling $14.3 billion. This is almost 16% over the 2020 year-to-date volume of $12.4 billion. This figure has essentially doubled over the past 5 years having reached $7.9 billion in 2016.
Nationally, sales seem to be slowing at about the same pace being experienced here in the Commonwealth. "Pending home sales faded toward the end of 2021, as a diminished housing supply offered consumers very few options," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "Mortgage rates have climbed steadily the last several weeks, which unfortunately will ultimately push aside marginal buyers."
Even with December's slowdown in transactions, Yun says last year was an overall great period for housing in terms of sales and price appreciation. "The market will likely endure a minor reduction in sales as mortgage rates continue to edge higher," he added. Yun forecasts the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to jump to 3.9% by the fourth quarter and existing-home sales to dip by 2.8% to 5.95 million units.
The median sale price of homes in Kentucky surged about 15% to $221,000. This is just shy of the high-water mark reached in July and November of this year. The average price of homes sold in the Bluegrass state in December crested at $261,252. This pulled the 2021 average price just north of $250,000. This is a record-high and up 12.5% from last year’s high of $223,000.
The recent surge in home prices is good news for those who have owned their home for a few years. “A shot of home equity is a fitting reward for those who worked to acquire private property”, said Kentucky REALTORS® President Mike Inman. “While this doesn’t necessarily mean more money in your paycheck, it is a key factor in wealth-building and the cornerstone of how families pass their wealth down to future generations.”
Pending sales in December were down 10%, indicating that the housing market is continuing its gradual slowing. It is hoped that new construction in 2022, along with a natural slowdown in sales activity, will help boost housing inventory numbers.
Known for giving back to the communities in which they work and live, REALTORS® care about their neighbors. In this spirit, Kentucky REALTORS® (KYR) is making $1.5 million available to Kentuckians who have been affected or displaced by the recent tornado outbreak.
Parts of our state have been ravaged by multiple tornadoes that cut a path more than 100 miles long through 18 of Kentucky’s counties. Unfortunately, many communities no longer exist, are unrecognizable, and will be forever changed because of these powerful storms. Thousands of Kentuckians are homeless and/or without their jobs or businesses. The assistance provided through the support of the REALTOR® Relief Fund, a program of the National Association of REALTORS®, can help ease the tremendous hardship, worry, and challenges of many by offsetting the costs of the basic need of housing.
KYR President Charles Hinckley says this program is a first step in assisting Kentuckians affected by the storms. “This is just the beginning of plans to make a lasting impact in the lives of our neighbors”, he said. “While a priority is to make housing funds available, our wider approach will also include organizing manpower over the weeks and months ahead and helping to collect physical and monetary donations”.
To ensure that as many Kentuckians as possible receive the aid they need from this program, the maximum amount available per application is $3,000. Those interested in applying should visit kyrealtors.com/relief for more details and download an application.
Marshall County Commissioner (District 3) Monti Collins is excited about the aid that his constituents can apply to receive. “As a REALTOR® and elected official that represents a small community, I know a lot of the strained faces that remain under the weight of this disaster”, he said. “I’m hopeful knowing that these funds will help give them one less thing to worry about as they work to rebuild their homes and lives.”
This is the second consecutive year that Kentucky REALTORS® has made funds available to residents of the Commonwealth. In spring 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic began to grip the nation, Kentucky REALTORS® assisted families in southeastern Kentucky who were affected by rising waters. More recently, $17,000 was distributed to applicants in Carlisle who fell victim to flash-flooding.
Mercer County REALTOR® Michael T. Inman was installed as the 2022 President of Kentucky REALTORS® at a ceremony on Monday. He will complete his term as President-elect at the end of this month and officially take the helm on January 1, 2022.
Inman took his oath of office at a black-tie dinner at the Marriott Griffin Gate Resort in Lexington. He was sworn in by colleagues Elaine Hangis and Kelley Nisbet, as well as his wife, Linda Inman.
Inman was licensed as a real estate agent in 2006 after serving as Chief Information Officer for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Prior to 6 years of work in the IT sector, he served in the United States Army. He is a veteran of the Gulf War serving with the 101’st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and retired after 25 years of service.
His “theme” for his presidency next year is a variation of a philosophy he learned in the military. The concept is constantly “Improving the Camp”. Consequently, he has adopted “Improving the R” as his focus for 2022. This refers to the REALTOR® “R” which has come to be synonymous with REALTORS®. His four-pillar approach will serve to elevate the organization by focusing on governance, advocacy, professionalism, and education. Inman said, “What I hope we are able to focus on in 2022, as we celebrate our centennial successes, is a long-term vision for our organization,” Inman said at the dinner honoring him. “We will use this year to develop a new vision for our industry and membership for the next 100 years as we continue our support of homeownership and private property rights.”
Inman is very involved in his Mercer County community. He has served as chair of the Harrodsburg-Mercer County Tourist Commission and served on the board of the Mercer Chamber of Commerce. He has been married to his wife, Linda, for over 48 years and resides with her in Salvisa, KY. Professionally. he is affiliated with Coldwell Banker McMahan Company.
Year-over-year October home sales dropped by 14%, the largest decline since the pandemic began. Even though closings only reached 4,515, that still bested the number of closings in October 2019 (4,476) which is just before the pandemic began affecting businesses in the U.S. 2021 year-to-date closings reached 47,803 which is 4.7% above the mark set in October of 2020 (45,649).
Pending sales in October were down about 11%, indicating that the housing market is continuing its gradual slowdown into November. “Now is a great time to think about selling if you have been putting it off”, said Charles Hinckley, President of Kentucky REALTORS®. “Inventory is rising which means there is more opportunity for consumers to find that new perfect fit for them.”
Nationally, existing-home sales increased in October, marking two straight months of growth, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Two of the four major U.S. regions saw month-over-month sales climb, one region reported a drop and the fourth area held steady in October. On a year-over-year basis, each region witnessed sales decrease.
"Home sales remain resilient, despite low inventory and increasing affordability challenges," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "Inflationary pressures, such as fast-rising rents and increasing consumer prices, may have some prospective buyers seeking the protection of a fixed, consistent mortgage payment."
The median sale price of homes in Kentucky rose slightly to $223,000 which nearly tied the record high from July of $225k. The remarkable statistic remains the jump in median price from just before the pandemic. October 2019 saw that number reach $175,500. The October 2021 figure shows a 25% increase in just 2 years. “Wealth building has always been a key benefit of property ownership”, said Kentucky REALTORS® C.E.O. Steve Stevens. “The value increases over the past 18 months have affected the consumer’s ability to enter the housing market, but homeowners have simultaneously enjoyed record equity gains.”
Housing inventory dropped slightly from last month to 2.2 months. Experts agree that a stable housing market contains about 6 months of inventory.
Sales volume continues to outpace last year’s figures. Through October, closing sales volume totaled $11.9 billion. This is over 17% ahead of the 2020 year-to-date volume amount of $10.1 billion. The Kentucky housing market is on-track to shatter last year’s record sales volume of $12.4 billion and nearly double the figure from just five years ago.
KYR and the Kentucky REALTOR® Institute are excited to announce the launch of “Fairhaven: A Fair Housing Simulation”.
This is a new course that is offered FREE for Kentucky REALTORS® (KYR) members and provides CE/PLE hours for licensees. It was written several months ago and submitted for approval from the Kentucky Real Estate Commission as a for-credit course. Now, KYR Members may now go to the Kentucky REALTOR® Institute website and register for the course and receive continuing education or post-licensing credit in the Commonwealth.
“Fairhaven: A Fair Housing Simulation” was adapted with permission from the Fairhaven simulation developed and offered by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) making Kentucky the first state where this course is available for credit. The original course from NAR uses the power of storytelling to help members identify, prevent, and address discriminatory practices in real estate. Inspired by real stories, this innovative online experience has agents work against the clock to sell homes in the fictional town of Fairhaven while confronting discrimination in the homebuying process. Learners will also walk in the shoes of a homebuyer facing discrimination. The training provides customized feedback that learners can apply to daily business interactions.
“REALTORS® have a track record of improving the communities where they work and live”, said Steve Stevens, CEO of Kentucky REALTORS®. “Combating discrimination, whether it is intentional or not, within the housing industry is just another way to strengthen our communities and make the American dream of homeownership a reality for more Kentuckians”.
To register for the course visit the KRI Fairhaven page at https://kyrealtorinstitute.com/fairhaven-fair-housing-simulation.
For more information contact Nicole Knutdson or Suzanne Reeves at 859.263-7377.
It was only two years ago (2019) that the sales volume figure for the year for Kentucky residential sales topped the ten-billion-dollar mark. It was a milestone that was the result of a booming economy and record low unemployment rates. This caused more homes to sell but the median price did not increase sharply. The pandemic ushered in a time when home prices soared quickly. This, coupled with record sales counts, meant that sales volume would hit record highs more quickly than ever. For example, 2021 only needed the first three fiscal quarters to top that ten-billion-dollar level. Year-to-date sales volume through September reached $10.74 billion (up 20% over 2020).
Closed sales were down slightly to 5,163 from Sept. 2021 (5,199). Pending sales in Sept. were down almost 14% over last year, signaling a continued slowing of the frenzied market pace of the spring and early summer. “We anticipate a steady pace of listings coming to the market”, said Charles Hinckley, President of Kentucky REALTORS®. “A number of factors are pointing to more choices being available to those that are ready to purchase property.”
Nationally, total existing-home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 7.0% from August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.29 million in September. However, sales decreased 2.3% from a year ago (6.44 million in September 2020).
"Some improvement in supply during prior months helped nudge up sales in September," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "Housing demand remains strong as buyers likely want to secure a home before mortgage rates increase even further next year."
The median sale price of homes in Kentucky remained steady at $200,000, which is up by eleven percent over last year. “Prices are finally leveling off”, said Kentucky REALTORS® C.E.O. Steve Stevens. “We will continue to advocate, for policies and programs that encourage more new home construction to help ease the strain on inventory.”
Housing inventory continues to hold at 2.3 months in Kentucky, while the nationwide average sat at 2.4 months in September. Experts agree that a stable housing market contains about 6 months of inventory.
Distressed sales in September remained low at only 8 units. This indicates that programs put in place, such as mortgage forbearance, were effective in keeping Kentuckians in their homes. This could change soon, however, as programs will begin to expire. It remains to be seen how many new listings will be created if owners that were adversely affected by the pandemic can’t afford their current mortgage.
One of the best indicators of the following month’s home sales is pending sales. For the third consecutive month, year-over-year pending home sales continue to drop, signaling a slow and steady recovery to a more sustainable market pace. Pending sales in August dropped slightly over ten percent to 7,690 (from 8,593 in August of 2020). Closed sales were down just under three percent at 5,458. In August, Kentucky’s year-to-date sales stand at 38,379. This is a 7.5% increase from 2021 when that number reached 35,704.
Nationally, total existing-home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 2.0% from July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.88 million in August. Year-over-year, sales dropped 1.5% from a year ago (5.97 million in August 2020).
"Sales slipped a bit in August as prices rose nationwide," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "Although there was a decline in home purchases, potential buyers are out and about searching, but much more measured about their financial limits, and simply waiting for more inventory."
The median sale price of homes in Kentucky jumped by ten percent from $199,900 to reach $220,000. This figure is down just slightly from July’s record high of $225k. “This plateau of the sale price trend couldn’t have come at a better time”, said Kentucky REALTORS® C.E.O. Steve Stevens. “Generally, the fall and winter months see a slowing down of the market’s pace. We’re hopeful that growth in inventory will continue to moderate prices a bit further.”
70% of Kentucky REALTORS® said that their buyers were waiting for prices to stabilize, according to the August 2021 edition of the HousingIQ Survey of Kentucky REALTORS®. “Amidst the uncertainty caused by the Delta variant, struggling homeowners who are also exiting mortgage forbearance should consult with their local market experts”, said Charles Hinckley, President of Kentucky REALTORS®. “Last year’s price gains have likely created an equity cushion. A REALTOR® can educate them about their options.”
Housing inventory continues to hover at a critically low level. Though the figure stands at more than double what it was in the spring, it still would take only about 2 months to sell every home currently listed in the Commonwealth. Experts agree that a stable housing market contains about 6 months of inventory.
Distressed sales in Kentucky sat at just 12 units in August. This is identical to the August 2020 figure.
New listings hitting the market increased for the fifth consecutive month and active listings are also trending upward. These indicators signal that the recent price surge will soon peak as more options will become available to consumers. Those hesitant to list their homes for fear of not finding a new property to move into may also be spurred into listing by the increasing inventory, thereby boosting the listing count further. Closed sales in July reached 5,393. That figure is down slightly (at 7%) from 5,943 in July 2020. The year-to-date closings figure climbed to 32,485. This is a 9% increase from July of 2020 when that number reached 29,811.
Nationally, total existing-home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, grew 2.0% from June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.99 million in July. Sales inched up year-over-year, increasing 1.5% from a year ago (5.90 million in July 2020).
"We see inventory beginning to tick up, which will lessen the intensity of multiple offers," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "Much of the home sales growth is still occurring in the upper-end markets, while the mid- to lower-tier areas aren't seeing as much growth because there are still too few starter homes available."
The median sale price of homes in Kentucky surged 12.5% from $200k to reach $225,000. This figure sat at $179,000 just 2 years ago. “We are definitely looking forward to a moderating of the sale price of homes”, said Kentucky REALTORS® C.E.O. Steve Stevens. “While it’s good that consumers are seeing their equity grow, the fact that so many Kentuckians remain priced out of the market is unfortunate.”
Nationally, REALTORS® continue to advocate for property owners as it relates to rental properties. “The eviction relief programs are dispersing money at an alarmingly slow pace”, said Kentucky REALTORS® President Charles Hinckley. There are several reasons for the delay in delivering the money, according to a report published by the Aspen Institute and COVID-19 Defense Projection, including high documentation burdens, long payment timelines, and insufficient infrastructure for rental assistance support. Hinckley continued, “REALTORS® will continue to fight for the rights of all property owners. There is help available and we can all do our part to let our leaders know that processing this aid is paramount to letting Kentuckians remain in their homes while our small business owners receive the funds they need to bring their accounts current.”
Distressed sales in Kentucky remained low in July. There were just 13 last month, down 32% from last year’s figure of 19.
State and local organizations are distributing federal rental assistance in their communities. This money can help landlords and renters who are struggling to keep up with rent and other bills.
Many programs take applications from both landlords and renters. The following information is taken from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) website:
Rental assistance programs for Kentucky
Program name: Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund
Program type: State
Get started: https://teamkyhherf.ky.gov/
Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government
Program name: Housing Stabilization Partnership Program
Program type: County
Get started: https://www.lexingtonky.gov/how-do-i-get-help
Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government
Program name: Jefferson County Rental Assistance
Program type: County
Get started: https://www.stopmyeviction.org/form
Last month’s year-over-year pending sales count showed a dip for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Though down slightly at just over one percent, this signals good news. The drop in pending contracts is due to more listings coming to the market rather than homes sales slipping. The falling number of active listings leveled off in May and then rose in June to about 11,600 which is the highest level since December of 2020.
“It’s wonderful to see Kentuckians beginning to list more homes”, said Charles Hinckley, President of Kentucky REALTORS®. “It serves to moderate prices, reduces instances of bidding wars, and can encourage other potential sellers to enter the marketplace as well.”
Closed sales in June were up just three percent to 5,553 from one year ago (5,392). The year-to-date closings figure surged to 26,984. This is a 13% increase from June of 2020 when the COVID affected count sat at 23,845.
Nationally, total existing-home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, grew 1.4% from May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.86 million in June. Sales climbed year-over-year, up 22.9% from a year ago (4.77 million in June 2020).
"Supply has modestly improved in recent months due to more housing starts and existing homeowners listing their homes, all of which has resulted in an uptick in sales," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "Home sales continue to run at a pace above the rate seen before the pandemic." The median sale price of homes in Kentucky for April was up about ten percent, to $205,000. Year-to-date, Kentucky’s median sale price is up almost twelve percent at $198,000.
When the market is fueled by high buyer demand coupled with low inventory, historically low interest rates have a limited effect on real estate prices and what consumers can ultimately afford. Kentucky REALTORS® C.E.O. Steve Stevens says that this trajectory is finally easing some concerns. “Many Kentuckians have had to sit this market out since prices surged so quickly over the past 12 months”, he said. “I think we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel here and folks who have been saving up should soon have both the inventory to choose from and a price tag they can afford.”
June’s sales volume spiked to $1.4 billion, up 20% from $1.2 billion just one year ago. The median sale price rose almost 17%, from $192,000 to $224,000. Year-to-date, the median home sales price is up about 14% to just over $206,000.