The Zelman Buzz

Exclusive insights and analyses from our industry-leading research team

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…
Will Media Narrative Surrounding Homeownership Declines Embolden Already-Aggressive Built-for-Rent Developers?

November 18, 2021 by Alan Ratner

In recent weeks, a number of media headlines have pointed to a “plummeting" interest in homeownership as a by-product of the pandemic, seemingly justifying the massive push towards purpose-built single-family rental communities as households seek out the flexibility of renting along with the benefits of the single-family lifestyle. The narrative...
Labor Shortages Abound, Not So For Realtors Chasing Robust Pricing

October 27, 2021 by Ryan McKeveny

With severe labor shortages throughout the economy, including in the construction sector, one area seeing fairly unfettered expansion is the real estate agent community, encouraged by the housing market’s strength over the last 18 months and low barriers to entry. The National Association of Realtors’ membership, a rough proxy for industry-wide agent count, has reached its highest level ever...