Beware, warns Gary Keller ‘shift’ in housing market

Keller Williams co-founder is not bullish on the

Keller Williams co-founder Gary Keller — who owns the largest real estate company in the world, according to its count — is very bullish about his company.

But he’s not as bullish about economic and housing market conditions.

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Gary Keller

He points to five indicators of a downturn of some sort. Days on the market are up, the supply of move-up and higher end housing is now growing, home prices are going down in some markets, unit sales are slowing and construction is flat. “Only four times in U.S. history have home sales been higher, it’s a sign of a shift,” said Keller.

Plus, the “median home price is higher that it has ever been in the history of recorded time — last time we were here we were on the verge of a recession,” he said.

“It wouldn’t take much right now to push us into a buyer’s market.”

“I want you to get ahead” of these trends, he implored his troops. And there can be long-term implications. “We lost homebuilders in the last downturn that we never got back.”

And in the meantime, “nationally, home sales are on pace for another post-crisis record; sales are slowing in some markets as affordability becomes a serious issue.”

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Housing market

He also said that, “we are now seeing many markets split by price point. Entry-level remain in a seller’s market, but some and move-up markets show signs of shifting.”

The macroeconomic picture is not helping. Economic growth has been held back by low levels of investment in 2016, even though consumer spending remains strong. Low interest rates and an improved employment picture are good news, according to Keller.

But affordability has been declining since January as prices continue to outpace wage growth, hurting home sales. Construction has been focused on the high-end market, which is now showing signs of stress as high net worth buyers sit on the sidelines due to political and economic uncertainty here and abroad.