Kentucky REALTOR® News

Kentucky REALTOR® News

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Dec 2020One year ago, the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic was only just beginning to be understood. Just one month later, business shutdowns would start to cast doubt on the health of Kentucky’s (and the nation’s) economy as housing sales numbers plummeted. Like everyone else, REALTORS® wondered how long it would take their sector to recover. Those fears, however, were short-lived. It only took until June for the numbers to roar back and surpass anything experienced to date. December 2019 home sales came in at 3,902. December 2020 saw that mark bested by nearly 25% at 4,846. This pushed the year-to-date total sales for 2020 to 56,218. Only once before (last year) had that figure surpassed the 50k mark. The bigger story may be the total sales volume figures. Total home sales volume for 2019 was $10.4 billion. 2020 saw that number swell by an incredible 19% to $12.3 billion.

Every metro area tracked by the National Association of REALTORS® through the fourth quarter of 2020 witnessed home prices grow from a year ago, according to NAR's latest quarterly report. Eighty-eight percent of the metros followed (161 areas) saw double-digit price increases. For comparison, only 115 metro areas saw such growth in the third quarter.

"The fourth quarter of 2020 presented circumstances ripe for home price increases," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "Mortgage rates reached record lows, thereby driving up the demand," he continued. "At the same time, inventory levels also reached record lows, leading to grim inventory conditions of insufficient supply in the fourth quarter."

The median sale price of homes in Kentucky for December rose ten percent from last year’s mark to $192,500. The statewide average home price also rose ten percent over last December reaching $227k.

Dec 2020 YTDHousing inventory continues to stagnate at a critically low level. For December, it would take only 1.68 months to sell all of the homes listed. Economists feel that 6 months of inventory is the hallmark of a balanced market. “REALTORS® have been hopeful that record low interest rates have mitigated the rising home prices somewhat”, said Charles Hinckley, President of Kentucky REALTORS®. “However, we look to new construction and investment in communities to help bump up the available number of properties hitting the market in 2021.” 

Just 21 units sold as distressed, which is down seventy percent from December 2019, suggesting government programs designed to keep homeowners from losing their properties continue to be effective.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Oct2020The unlikely story of the 2020 Kentucky Housing market continues to be written. As 2020 began and the super-charged market took a hit from the pandemic restrictions that were put in place, doubts were cast on the speed of recovery and what the market’s year would end up performing. Here is that story in a nutshell. The total home sales volume figure for 2019 was $10.4 billion. The October 2020 year-to-date sales volume figure came in at $10.25 billion. With 2 months of data remaining to be collected, 2020 will almost certainly demolish records. Home sales were up for the fifth consecutive month in October and peaked over 5,000 units for the first time ever. 5,019 homes were sold in October 2020 compared to last year’s record of 4,476 (up 12%).

Total existing-home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, increased 4.3% from September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.85 million in October. Overall, sales rose year-over-year, up 26.6% from a year ago (5.41 million in October 2019). "Considering that we remain in a period of stubbornly high unemployment relative to pre-pandemic levels, the housing sector has performed remarkably well this year," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist.

The median sale price of homes in Kentucky rose slightly from last month, reaching $200,000. This is up from $176,000 in October 2019. The statewide average home price rose 12% over last October reaching $235,000.

Oct2020YTDHousing inventory continues at record low numbers. It will take only 1.7 months to sell all of the homes currently listed. Economists feel that 6 months of inventory is the hallmark of a balanced market. “A lack of options has been a factor for the past couple of years”, said Lester T. Sanders, President of Kentucky REALTORS®. “This year’s competitive market activity and increased sales prices coupled with fewer new homes being built have made a difficult market to enter even more challenging for first-time buyers.”

Although the market’s performance seems to be cooling, it is doing so only slightly. Pending sales have risen over 30% each of the last three months and was up in double digits for all of 2020 with the exception of April and May. Distressed sales (foreclosures or short sales) were down 76% in October compared to October of 2019. Just 16 units sold as distressed, which is the lowest number on record in Kentucky.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Home sales were up for the fourth consecutive month in September. The market continued its high-performance recovery, reaching 5,202 units. This was up 16% over September 2019Sept 2020 (4,489). Year-to-date sales are once again in record territory as they now stand at 41,083 up over 6% from last year’s mark.

Total existing-home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 9.4% from August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.54 million in September. Overall sales rose year-over-year, up 20.9% from a year ago (5.41 million in September 2019).

"Home sales traditionally taper off toward the end of the year, but in September they surged beyond what we normally see during this season," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "I would attribute this jump to record-low interest rates and an abundance of buyers in the marketplace, including buyers of vacation homes given the greater flexibility to work from home."

Sept 2020 YTDThe median sale price of homes in Kentucky dipped only slightly from last month, holding at $199,000. This is up from $175,000 in September 2019. The statewide average home price was up nearly 15% at $233,836. “These higher home prices continue to be mitigated by record-low interest rates”, said Lester T. Sanders, President of Kentucky REALTORS®. “However, I’m afraid we may be at the ceiling for that relief. Those that are able to borrow are definitely going to encounter a market with higher prices and more competition. Furthermore, diminishing housing affordability could cause others to encounter a more difficult market to enter.”

Sales volume was also up for the third consecutive month. A 33% surge saw that figure top out at $1.22 billion (up from $914 million in September 2019). 2020 Year-to-date sales volume at the end of the third quarter stands at $9.05 billion. Last year’s volume through Q3 was $7.9 billion.

The elevated sales activity means the number of homes available on the market remains at critically low levels. At the current pace, it would take just 1.8 months to sell all of the homes on the market right now. September of last year saw that number at 3.9 months. The pending sales figure of 8,672 bears this out as that figure is up 33% over last year’s level.

Distressed sales (foreclosures or short sales) were down 77% over last year. Just 21 units sold as distressed, identical to last month’s figure.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Home sales were up for the third consecutive month since the housing market roared back to life in June. 5,475 closings took place in Kentucky, up almost 7% over August of 2019. That follows an almost 15% increase experienced in July. Year-to-date sales surged to 35,705, up 4% from August of last year.

Nationally, total existing-home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 2.4% from July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.00 million in August. Sales as a whole rose year-over-year, up 10.5% from a year ago (5.43 million in August 2019).

"Home sales continue to amaze, and there are plenty of buyers in the pipeline ready to enter the market," said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. "Further gains in sales are likely for the remainder of the year, with mortgage rates hovering around 3% and with continued job recovery."

The median sale price of homes in Kentucky soared 15% to $199,900 (up from $175,500 just one year ago). The statewide average home price climbed to $236,169. For the second consecutive month, sales volume surged over 20%. That figure reached $1.3 billion, up from $1.06 billion in August 2019. This continues the 2020 sales volume hot streak and pushes the year-to-date sales volume almost 12% ahead of 2019’s figure at $6.98 billion.

The number of homes available on the market still hovers at near all-time lows with 1.74 months of inventory in August. This figure is down over 40% for the third consecutive month and down almost 48% over August 2019.

“REALTORS® continue to assist Kentuckians with, arguably, the most important investment of their lives”, said Lester T. Sanders, President of Kentucky REALTORS®. “Whether COVID-19 and related circumstances has changed their situation, or whether record low interest rates have inspired a decision, REALTORS® are there when we needed to help facilitate smooth and successful transactions.”

Distressed sales (foreclosures or short sales) were down almost 80% over August of 2019. This amounted to only 21 units as programs seem to be helping homeowners to remain in their property.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

FRANKFORT, Ky. (September 14, 2020) – Secretary of State Michael Adams and Attorney General Daniel Cameron announce two election scams aimed at Kentuckians.

In one, Kentuckians are receiving letters from a group called the “Center for Voter Information,” pushing them to register to vote. However, the letters have been sent to people who are already registered to vote. The Center purports to have a Frankfort address on its mailers, but in fact the address simply represents a mailbox at a UPS Store.

Because the letters encourage people to register who have already done so, they confuse voters and disrupt Kentucky election officials’ efforts.

“I condemn this shady out-of-state group and their efforts to tamper with our elections,” said Adams. “They mislead voters, who then drive unnecessary call volume to our overworked election officials around the state. In fact, this group has even sent out voter registration materials with the wrong return-envelope addresses. Whether this organization is nefarious, or just recklessly incompetent, Kentuckians should disregard any communication they receive from the Center for Voter Information.”

In the other scam, voters have received text messages from a 502 area code saying they are not registered to vote and directing them to a fake website, ky.reg.com. If you receive this text, do not go to the website. Scammers may use the fake website to steal an individual’s personal and financial information.

“We’re committed to fully investigating and prosecuting any attempts to compromise our electoral process, and I’m proud to partner with Secretary of State Adams and our law enforcement partners within the Election Integrity Task Force to ensure a free and fair election,” said Attorney General Cameron. “If you encounter an election-related scam, please alert our Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-888-432-9257 or visit ag.ky.gov/scams.”

The Secretary of State and Attorney General urge Kentuckians to be on guard for election scams and to follow these scam prevention tips:

Use govoteky.com, a state sponsored website, to register to vote and apply for an absentee ballot.

If you receive an email or text message from an unverified source, do not click the link.

Do not provide your personal or financial information to unknown callers or text message senders.

Monday, August 3, 2020

June 2020COVID-19 had an adverse, albeit short, impact on the Kentucky housing market this spring. Higher pending contracts over the past two months indicated that sales would come roaring back. June would not disappoint. 5,426 closings took place in Kentucky, up a whopping 13% over June of last year. Year-to-date sales climbed to 24,159. This is 1% greater than sales through June of 2019 which peaked at 23,945.

Nationally, total existing-home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, jumped 20.7% from May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.72 million in June. Sales overall, however, dipped year-over-year, down 11.3% from a year ago (5.32 million in June 2019).

“The sales recovery is strong, as buyers were eager to purchase homes and properties that they had been eyeing during the shutdown,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “This revitalization looks to be sustainable for many months ahead as long as mortgage rates remain low and job gains continue.”

The median sale price of homes in Kentucky continues to climb. The June median price, up from $183,000 in June 2019, rose 5% to $192,00. The statewide average home price hit $224,195. Sales volume rebounded strongly, up 45% from last month ($837.9 million) to $1.05 billion. That figure also marks an increase of almost 17% from June of 2019. This surge raises the year-to-date sales volume 6.5% ahead of 2019’s figure at $5.1 billion.

The number of homes available on the market hit a record low for the state for the second month in a row. There is now less than 2 months of inventory in Kentucky for the first time since record-keeping began. The figure currently sits at 1.96 months.

June 2020 YTD“The housing market rebound in June shows that REALTORS® responded admirably to the health and safety recommendations made by experts and state leadership”, said Lester T. Sanders, President of Kentucky REALTORS®. “We stood ready to help Kentucky consumers successfully buy and sell property so the American dream of homeownership and wealth-building could continue. A housing market rebound means a better economic impact and outlook for all Kentuckians”, he said.

Distressed sales (foreclosures or short sales) were down 46% over June of 2019. It remains to be seen whether this figure will climb as forbearances and other programs expire as the year continues.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

May 2020Home sales numbers were down as expected in May. 3,894 closings took place, down 23% from the 5,051 homes sold in May of 2019. The best way to measure what the next month will look like, however, is to look at pending sales (homes under contract). Last year, that figure for May was 7,311. This May saw that indicator rise by over 16% to 8,511. This indicates that June could emerge much stronger.

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings, rose an astounding 44.3% to 99.6 in May, chronicling the highest month-over-month gain in the index since NAR started this series in January 2001. Year-over-year, contract signings fell 5.1%. An index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001.

“This has been a spectacular recovery for contract signings and goes to show the resiliency of American consumers and their evergreen desire for homeownership,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “This bounce back also speaks to how the housing sector could lead the way for a broader economic recovery.

The average sale price of homes in Kentucky continues to rise. It climbed 4% to $215,187 (up from $207,000 in April 2019). Sales volume did take a hit, dipping 20%. to $837.9 million. However, the surging home prices due to the current lack of inventory is keeping the volume numbers impressively ahead of last year’s numbers. Even with the sale slowdown of the past 2 months, the year-to-date sales volume is 2.5% ahead of 2019 at $3.8 billion.

May 2020 YTDThe number of homes available on the market hit an all-time record low for the state, plunging to 2.6 months of inventory. It was down over 16% from May of 2019 (3.1 months).

“KYR’s May Opinion Survey showed that 59% of Kentucky REALTORS® saw buyers returning to the market last month”, said Lester T. Sanders, President of Kentucky REALTORS®. “Currently, consumers don’t have enough options on the market. It’s a great time for homeowners who have considered selling to list their homes”, he said. “Multiple offer situations are becoming the rule rather than the exception.”

Strikingly, distressed sales (foreclosures or short sales) were down a remarkable 65% over May of 2019. This suggests that homeowner protection programs such as mortgage forbearances or loans are accomplishing what they were intended to do.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Hello Kentucky REALTOR® FAMILY

I greet you as family, friend, and as President of Kentucky REALTORS®. These are the most difficult of times, and this is a difficult letter to write.A conversation about race

We have witnessed with our own eyes a black man (any man) dying from asphyxiation at the hands of those chosen to protect and serve. His name is George Floyd. Here in our Commonwealth, we are outraged at hearing of a young black woman named Breonna Taylor, a first responder, shot in her home by a police officer’s gunfire. These are outrageous acts. They occurred while we are in the midst of a pandemic. People are already stressed and emotions are running over the top. This combined with mistrust and anger is the perfect formula for devastation.

What we have seen across our state and nation are peaceful protests against racial injustice. In other cases, we saw riots that hurt people and destroyed property. Unfortunately, this is history repeating itself based on injustice, police brutality, and unresolved racial issues. To not speak out on these issues could simply mean we are complicit.

As champions of fair housing and inclusion, both the National Association of REALTORS® and Kentucky REALTORS® recognize and accept our responsibility to support policies that address racial injustice. We have reached out to National Association of Real Estate Brokers to join affiliated groups in conversations affecting the real estate business.

I recently announced a KYR Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion. This group will make recommendations, suggest policy changes, and devise strategies to help build a more inclusive organization. KYR will then be a resource to encourage and help local associations in developing their own Diversity Committees. KYR has already scheduled an interactive Cultural and Diversity session as we move into our Strategic Planning. 

The Presidential Advisory Group, after in-depth discussion, has planned “A Conversation on Race” for our entire membership. This Virtual Town Hall will take place on Thursday, June 4th at 2:00 pm ET.  The panel will include REALTORS®, Brokers, and Cultural Experts. 

We are Champions for Home Ownership and we believe in the Protection of Private Property Rights. Kentucky REALTORS® NEVER condones violence of any kind against anyone or their property. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” As REALTOR® leaders we must be the calming voice in the midst of this storm (both physically and on social media). I welcome and invite the thoughts, comments, and suggestions of you, our members, as we work together for positive change. Our job is to respect our differences and “Lift as we climb.“ Yes, our families, communities, and each other. Why? 

Because That's who We R!

 

I remain,

Lester T. Sanders,  KYR President

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

April 2020The effect of COVID-19 on the housing market in Kentucky was finally seen in the April statistics as a 12.5% drop in homes sold. 3,748 closings took place in April, down from 4,281 in April 2019. Housing market experts have been predicting a nationwide dip in sales for 2020 of about ten percent.

Nationwide existing-home sales dropped 17.8% from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.33 million in April. Overall, sales decreased year-over-year, down 17.2% from a year ago (5.23 million in April 2019). April’s decline in existing-home sales is the largest month-over-month drop since July 2010 (-22.5%).

“The economic lockdowns – occurring from mid-March through April in most states – have temporarily disrupted home sales,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “But the listings that are on the market are still attracting buyers and boosting home prices. Record-low mortgage rates are likely to remain in place for the rest of the year and will be the key factor driving housing demand as state economies steadily reopen,” Yun said. “Still, more listings and increased home construction will be needed to tame price growth.”

As expected, the market slowdown in Kentucky did not decrease sale prices. The average sale price of homes in Kentucky surged 8.4% to $212,361 (up from $195,994 in April 2019). Notably, sales volume was only down only 5.1%. April 2019 saw sales volume reach $839 million while April 2020 dipped to about $796 million.

April 2020 YTD“Buyers have not relaxed much during the pandemic shutdowns and the demand remains”, said Lester T. Sanders, President of Kentucky REALTORS®. “Some sellers have been cautious and waited to list homes. But, creative strategies, such as distancing, sanitizing, and virtual showings have allowed Kentuckians to keep homes on the market and still get top dollar.”

The number of homes available on the market continued its fall. The inventory level fell again to 3.28 months, down from 3.48 months in April 2019, a decline of about 6%. It continues to remain well below the ideal level of a 6-month supply.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Kentucky housing market continued its strong start despite March being the beginning of the “COVID-19 season”. March home sales were up 3.6% over last year cresting at 4,194 (up from 4,048). Sales volume in March continued to climb, reaching $884.7 million. This bested the March 2019 figure of $773.9 million by nearly 15%.infographic

Nationwide existing-home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, dropped 8.5% from February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.27 million in March. Despite the decline, overall sales increased year-over-year for the ninth straight month, up 0.8% from a year ago (5.23 million in March 2019).

“Unfortunately, we knew home sales would wane in March due to the coronavirus outbreak,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “More temporary interruptions to home sales should be expected in the next couple of months, though home prices will still likely rise.”

Any slowdown Kentucky may experience in the housing market most likely won’t affect prices. The March figures show that the rising median prices are still on their upward trajectory. The median sale price (month-over-month) in Kentucky rose once again in March. It was up almost 10% at $179,500, up from $164,000 just one year ago. The March year-to-date median price is $172,191.

Sales volume was up significantly for the third month in a row. It swelled 14% in March reaching $884.7 million. This was up from $773.9 million in March of 2019.

infographic“REALTORS® have adapted quickly to a changing marketplace over the last few weeks”, said Lester T. Sanders, President of Kentucky REALTORS®. “Virtual showings, procedural changes, and following CDC, state and local guidelines for safety have helped clients continue buying and selling their homes.  REALTOR® best practices have softened the impact that a fearful reaction to the pandemic might have had on the housing market in Kentucky.”

The number of homes available on the market is dwindling ever further. That inventory figure continues to flirt with the sub-three-month mark. The March 2020 level of 3.1 months of inventory (down 14% over March 2019) remains well below the ideal level of a 6-month supply.