Kentucky REALTOR® News
The low inventory in Kentucky’s housing market, along with slowly rising mortgage interest rates, is finally influencing the sales boom we have experienced since May of 2020. February closings topped out at 3,484, up just below 2% from February of 2020 (3,424).
Nationally, pending home sales dipped for a second straight month in February, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Each of the four major U.S. regions witnessed month-over-month declines in February, while results were mixed in the four regions year-over-year. The Pending Home Sales Index dropped 10.6% to 110.3 in February. Year-over-year, contract signings fell 0.5%. An index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001.
"The demand for a home purchase is widespread, multiple offers are prevalent, and days-on-market are swift, but contracts are not clicking due to record-low inventory," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "Only the upper-end market is experiencing more activity because of reasonable supply," he continued. "Demand, interestingly, does not yet appear to be impacted by recent modest rises in mortgage rates."
The median sale price of homes in Kentucky for February was up once again. The figure of $195,000 was a 15.4% increase over the $169,000 we saw in February of 2020. The statewide average home price in Kentucky has now been above $200k for twelve consecutive months. It rose almost 16% over last February topping out at $228,961. Sales volume numbers are still posting large gains as February saw that figure surge again to just under $800 million, up 18% from $667 million last February.
“While buyers are keeping an eye on rising mortgage rates, there is still a huge demand for properties out there”, said Steve Stevens, CEO of Kentucky REALTORS®. “We’re hopeful that the spring thaw will bring some new sellers into the market.”
“Folks may have been waiting for the best time to sell to get the most equity out of the property they have cared for so far”, said Charles Hinckley, President of Kentucky REALTORS®. “A housing market like this one offers Kentuckians, who may have been on the fence about whether to sell, the opportunity to get creative about their future. Cashing in on the wealth-building that homeownership provides is helping to start writing new chapters for some sellers.”
Just 13 homes sold as distressed in February. Consumers facing the prospect of foreclosure may now have would have more time before facing foreclosure under rules proposed this week by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The set of proposed rules, which the regulator will seek public comment on, is intended to give both servicers and borrowers the “tools and time” needed to prevent a deluge of foreclosures.
Steve Stevens, C.E.O. of Kentucky REALTORS®, is being honored by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® with the REALTOR® association Certified Executive (RCE) designation, which recognizes exceptional efforts made by REALTOR® association executives.
Stevens is one of over 500 REALTOR® association executives who have achieved this mark of excellence. Local and state association executives who hold the RCE designation represent REALTORS® in 49 states/territories.
“This is truly an honor, and I am very proud to be receiving this designation. It is a high point in my career as an association executive,” Stevens said.
Prior to becoming a candidate for the RCE designation, applicants must document their association management and academic experiences. Once they have completed this first step, eligible candidates must successfully complete a multiple-choice exam, which is based on a comprehensive understanding of association operations and management practices. Candidates must demonstrate knowledge of areas critical to REALTOR® association management, including association law, governance, and issues related to member services. To retain the designation, RCEs must be recertified every four years.
Stevens has served as C.E.O. of Kentucky REALTORS® since 2016.
Known for giving back to the communities in which they work and live, REALTORS® care about their neighbors. In this spirit, Kentucky REALTORS® has made over $17,000 available to Kentuckians who have been displaced by recent flooding in the bluegrass
Following the flooding that occurred in late February/early March of this year, a total of 71 cities or counties in Kentucky made local disaster declarations in addition to the state declaration. The hardest-hit counties were in eastern Kentucky - Estill, Lee, Owsley, Breathitt, Powell, Jackson, Clay, and Johnson. However, any Kentucky resident affected by the flooding in late February and early March of 2021 can fill out an application for assistance from Kentucky REALTORS® and will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis. To ensure that the maximum number of Kentuckians receive aid, the maximum amount available per application is $1000. Those interested in applying should visit kyrealtors.com/flood for more details and download an application.
KYR President Charles Hinckley said that a priority of this program is to make the funds available immediately. “Kentucky REALTORS® knows how harrowing a situation like a displacement can be”, he said. “We hope to make a difference in what is bound to be a very difficult time in the lives of our neighbors.”
This is the second year in a row that Kentucky REALTORS® has made funds available to residents of the Commonwealth. In spring 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic began to grip the nation, Kentucky REALTORS® assisted families in southeastern Kentucky who were affected by rising waters.
Last January, the market was off to a great start with home sales topping out 19% higher than January of 2019. One year (and a pandemic) later, the Kentucky housing market has duplicated that feat. January 2021 home sales were up 19% once again, reaching 3,512.
Nationally, total existing-home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 0.6% from December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.69 million in January. Sales in total climbed year-over-year, up 23.7% from a year ago (5.41 million in January 2020).
"Home sales continue to ascend in the first month of the year, as buyers quickly snatched up virtually every new listing coming on the market," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "Sales easily could have been even 20% higher if there had been more inventory and more choices."
The median sale price of homes in Kentucky for January rose almost 14% percent from last year’s mark to $190,000. The statewide average home price jumped 17% over last December surging to $230,245. The big story continues to be sales volume. An already booming market had home prices up about 18% year-over-year in January of 2020. After six months of a scorching hot post-pandemic affected market, which saw inventory plummet to record lows, January 2021 saw sales volume surge another 31% to $808.6 million. This is up from $511 million just 2 years ago.
2021 began with record low inventory levels. Economists declare that a healthy housing market contains 6 months of inventory. January saw that figure hover at just below 2 months. “With low inventory and the speed with which homes are being sold, it is more important than ever to partner with your local REALTOR®”, said Charles Hinckley, President of Kentucky REALTORS®. “They possess local market knowledge and can help Kentuckians achieve their real estate goals.”
The market is showing signs of slowing down as pending sales were down for the first time since April. This is most likely due to a combination of decreased foot traffic due to cold weather, and a simple lack of properties to consider. Pending sales for January 2021 were 3,212 which was down 4.5% from 3,365 in January of 2020. “REALTORS® are partnering with sellers to give their homes the best position in the market”, said Hinckley. “This is important, especially for those who are relocating.”
Just 11 units sold as distressed, which is down 85% from January of 2020. More property owners are remaining in their homes due to government programs continuing to assist those with hardships.
One 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.
Housing 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.
The 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.
Housing 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.
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 2019 (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."
The 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.
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.
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.
COVID-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.
“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.