The words “think” and “guess” have no place in your playbook for how to avoid margin compression and keep profits up in 2024. With regular reports and data coming out on what’s blocking inventory growth, the biggest factors impacting rates and the latest shifts in home sales, there’s a lot of information out there to help you inject more confidence into your business strategy. This is why we brought HousingWire Lead Analyst Logan Mohtashami, Kate Amor, senior vice president and head of enterprise products at Guaranteed Rate, and Arjun Dhingra, who lead sales and business development at All Western Mortgage, together for a preview of the information you can expect to hear at HousingWire Annual in Austin Texas, from Oct. 10-12.
These three speakers, along with others in our agenda, are focused on providing the reassurance you need to be competitive next year through open conversations on how they’ve crafted their playbooks. Click the button below to register for HW Annual, and don’t forget to reserve a room in the hotel block before it closes in September. Spaces are limited and filling up fast!
HousingWire: Logan, starting broad, I want to set up this discussion by starting with inventory and where it stands right now.
Logan Mohtashami: Inventory is still savagely unhealthy. There are 484,000 active listings in the nation. We’re giving you the data for single-family homes, and these are the homes that are just available for sale, not in pending status or anything of that nature.
As of last week, that’s all we have in a country of 335 million people. But, the really painful trend is new listings data. That took another downfall toward the middle part of last year. New listings data is trending at the lowest levels ever recorded in U.S. history for the last 12 months. Last week there were only 62,000 new listings that came to the market. When you have a total lack of listings and new listings data at all-time lows, what happens is if demand is stable, like we’ve seen, it’s no longer the crashing market of 2022. Instead, homes get off the market very quickly. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) data for days on the market — to give you an example — is normally between 30 to 45 days. Back in 2011, it was 101 days. Just this last month it was 18 days.
I have a rule of thumb that whenever the “days on the market” is a teenager, it’s not good. You want people to have choices. And unfortunately, we just don’t have a lot of products out there. The new listings data trending at all-time lows does not help that at all.
HW: Kate, switching now to you as a product expert at a big lender. What are you seeing on how the housing data Logan just covered is impacting affordability across all life stages? I also want to add that the meaning behind affordability has changed, and affordability goes way beyond describing homebuyers at a low- or moderate-income. It is about helping the average millennial or Gen Z wanting to get into a home.
Kate Amor: Oh, I totally agree with you. I think affordability is really something that’s hitting everyday Americans and Main Street America. But, I would say there are three main groups. There’s obviously the first-time homebuyer who has been priced out, especially in the 50% median income segment. We’ve really seen that fall off a cliff, which has been unfortunate. The trade-up group who are locked in because they don’t want to do anything until rates get under 5%. Then of course, there are people who want to retire and are looking to downsize.
There are all these different ways in which people are being impacted by affordability, and we’re having to come up with creative solutions to help get them into houses. You’re seeing a lot of different people struggling to make those payments.
HW: Arjun, you have a specialty in taking the weekly data from Logan and distilling it so others can grow their business. So, how are you taking this data and communicating it to help change the narrative of the market?
Arjun Dhingra: I think the common — and sometimes the more popular — route for people to create excitement online is to fearmonger. They don’t have anything backed by data or numbers. That’s how I actually got connected with Logan, through a mutual friend who’s in private capital. My friend said, “you need to follow this guy because he is literally the smartest man in the country when it comes to housing.”
I had been in the business for a while, so I was just getting started with creating an online presence and putting out content. I started following Logan, and the first thing I noticed was that he has amazing hair. The second thing was that this guy is incredibly sharp. He very much sticks to data and he backs everything up. I’ll debate anyone, anytime, anywhere, bring your facts, bring your data and you won’t be able to stand up.
HousingWire, Logan, and the resources available are able to provide that type of information to us as knowledge brokers. I want to try and get lenders to start viewing themselves as information brokers, taking the data and numbers that we all understand and love to geek out over. But then, how do we take that and translate it to the marketplace?
How do we make this sexy? How do we make this appealing? That’s where science comes in, and I am by no means an expert. But, I’m fascinated by taking what people are afraid of, translating it and then addressing that it’s a massive opportunity for originators to become knowledge brokers because there’s so much BS out there. It’s absolute literal garbage.
The audience is there because if you look at the garbage, you’ll see how many people are actually watching this stuff. There are people with their hands in the air who are thirsty for anything. If you step into a microphone, you can make things appealing, which is what I try to do, answering the question of what this means for you.
I’ve got a phrase that I use when talking to a lot of our fellow marketers and everyone. It’s that you don’t want to talk to a boardroom, you want to talk to a classroom, which is really dumbing this down. Take all this high level information that is sophisticated and backed by numbers and then translate it.
HW Annual is HousingWire’s capstone mortgage event, connecting leading professionals from the housing economy seeking to grow, innovate and win market share. This is where strategies are formed, deals are inked and lifelong relationships are solidified. Remember, HW+ members receive special perks like 50% off your admission to HW Annual, so go here to become a member. Haven’t received a discount code yet? Reach out to us at email@example.com. Join us in Austin, Texas October 10-12 for community, content and commerce.