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The Zelman Buzz

Exclusive insights and analyses from our industry-leading research team

FHA Borrowers Cry "Uncle" for Downpayment Help

August 25, 2022 by Kevin Kaczmarek

Entry-level credits are facing a unique set of macro circumstances that have made it increasingly challenging to navigate the home purchase market. Prospective homebuyers are now having to factor in higher monthly mortgage payments, leaving less room for other expenses, while at the same time higher inflation eats away at how much...
U.N. Population Reduction Likely First of Many to Come

July 14, 2022 by Dennis McGill

Earlier this week, the United Nations published updated global population estimates, the first release since 2019 and the onset of the pandemic. Not surprisingly given our concerns around decelerating demographic growth detailed in our Cradle to Grave report, the U.N. cut its United States outlook for the current decade by 14%.
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demographics

How Quickly Could “No Inventory” Narrative Change?

May 26, 2022 by Ryan McKeveny

Including a 10% year-over-year decline in April’s existing home inventory to 1.03 million – a record low for the month – the NAR has reported year-over-year inventory decreases for 35 consecutive months. While narratives around “no inventory” have been pervasive, data from Redfin and implied by the NAR both suggest that the number of new listings – or the flow into inventory – was highest in at least a decade in 2021.
With Cash-Outs Now Dominating Refinances, Which Lenders Are Best Positioned?

May 19, 2022 by Kevin Kaczmarek

In 2021, elevated home price appreciation alongside low rates resulted in a mortgage origination market ideal for cash-out refinances, which saw unit volumes increase 39%, building on 50% growth in 2020. Many lenders saw the opportunity to create a bigger presence in this market...
Fighting Over a Melting Ice Cube?

April 29, 2022 by Dennis McGill

In our Cradle to Grave thematic report published last August, we raised the concern that population growth was on a “troubling trajectory”, but it has been dismissed by many as not a problem in “their” markets. Is this true?

Advertising Expense Across Homebuilding Industry Plunges; A Secular Shift or Cyclical Benefit?

March 16, 2022 by Alan Ratner

In 2021, SG&A expenses across the public homebuilding industry equaled just 8.8% of sales, down 90 basis points year over year to the lowest level on record. For comparison, during the previous boom period in the mid-2000s, SG&A expenses troughed at 10.7% of revenue, while the average ratio since 2000 has been 11.8%...
Is the 2021 Baby Bump Temporary or Shift in Direction?

February 10, 2022 by Dennis McGill

In 2020, national births plunged 3.6%, the largest decline since 1972, attributable to slowing young adult population growth and a historic low in fertility rates. Given the lagging effect of the pandemic and concerns about the recessionary drag on planned births, as part of our Cradle to Grave thematic report, we forecasted births to decline another 2.8% in 2021. It turns out, it is likely that births increased for the first time since 2014.
Share of Homebuyers With Weaker Credit Profiles Bouncing Back, But Not Everywhere

February 03, 2022 by Kevin Kaczmarek

As we noted in our latest mortgage survey and November newsletterlower-quality credits have been gaining share in the home purchase market and likely will continue to do so, barring a sudden resurgence in refinance activity. Some may ask how this can be the case given daily media headlines describing red-hot housing markets and affordability crises. Before addressing that, we should examine some facts...
 
High-End Housing in Focus as Loan Limits Rise

December 06, 2021 by Kevin Kaczmarek & Ryan McKeveny

While housing’s strength since the pandemic began has been fairly broad-based, it is informative to delineate sales trends by price point. Although overall existing home sales have started to inflect lower on a year-over-year basis in recent months, the high-end segment of the market has continued to post growth, remaining…
Built-For-Rent Participants Targeting More Tertiary Markets

November 30, 2021 by Kevin Kaczmarek & Jesse Lederman

In a report titled Built-For-Rent Set to Alter New Home Landscape, we discussed the dynamics of the $60 billion of capital raised to target the white-hot built-for-rent space. Within roughly two months of the publication of our report, we have identified an additional $15 billion of ventures earmarked for deployment…