September 2020 Real Estate Update

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The California housing market continued to improve in August, with the median home price breaking $700,000 to hit a new record. August sales topped 465,400, the strongest pace in 10 years, and the second straight month over 400,000 as motivated buyers flooded the market. According to C.A.R.’s weekly data, home sales in California have fallen in recent weeks.

In response to high demand, builders are ramping up construction on single-family homes nationwide, and builder confidence is at a 35-year high. But due both to the COVID-19 crisis and the widespread wildfires on the West Coast, lumber prices have jumped 170 percent since April, adding more than $16,000 to the cost of the typical newly built single-family home.

According to a recent study from mortgage data firm Black Knight, a little over 1 million homeowners are at least 30 days past due on their monthly payments and have not entered a forbearance program or engaged their lender about another solution. This could be due to confusion on the homeowners’ parts: Over half of owners surveyed by the National Housing Resource Center in July said they were not aware of a forbearance program or didn’t know how it worked.

Meanwhile, iBuyers — many of which stopped buying homes altogether at the start of the pandemic — seem to be back in business. Opendoor announced it will become a public company through a merger with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. II, and RedfinNow is expanding to a new California market in Palm Springs.

Sources: ABC News, The San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Deadline, Forbes, The Mercury News, C.A.R. Research & Economics, The New York Times

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