The Only Question is “When?”
“Has Oklahoma reached another 2008 Market Crash?” This is the question burning in most people’s minds when I speak to them about buying or selling homes right now. But what really even happened in Oklahoma in 2008? And what should we expect to come next?
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To understand, first let’s look at the United States national market in 2008:
MAJOR PROBLEM!!! In just a couple short years, the national average home value dropped by 25%!* That means if you had bought a $200,000 home in 2007, by 2011 it would have lost $50,000 in value!
Why did this happen? While there were a lot of factors, the main trigger for banks failing was bad loans given to people who couldn’t afford them. There was a large increase in foreclosures because the “subprime” mortgages were going into default (aka: NINJA Loans, No Income No Job No Assets). This put too many homes on the market all at once, forcing prices to drop. Once prices dropped, EVEN MORE people went into foreclosure because they didn’t have any reason to keep the house after they lost all their equity. All triggered by NINJA loans.
But, real estate is local, not national. For example, here is Oklahoma-specific data from that same time period:
Don’t get me wrong, no one’s ever happy about losing value in their home. BUT! Compared with markets like California and New York, Oklahoma was hardly touched in 2008, posting only a 3% decrease in home values.* On that $200,000 house, you would only have lost $6,000 in Oklahoma instead of the $50,000 nationally. So, 2008 wasn’t a disaster for us. But hang on… Look back up at that graph! WHAT HAPPENED in the 1980’s?!?!?
THIS WAS OUR 2008!!! YIKES! Over a few short years, homes lost 28% in value!* Is that going to happen again? Weren’t the 1980’s the last time we experienced inflation? Aren’t oil prices out of control like they were in the ‘80’s??? IS INFLATION DESTROYING OKLAHOMA’S ECONOMY?!?!?!?!?
Want to know what happened in Oklahoma in the 1980’s? The Penn Bank failure. What’s that, you ask? Think something like NINJA Loans made out to small-time oil companies. We had a flood of national money invested into our oil projects and then… nobody could pay them back because the bank that made them all was corrupt and gave away money without requiring adequate proof of ability to repay. It was such a big deal in Oklahoma, that Mayor Mick Cornett produced a documentary about it called “The Boom, the Bust, and the Bomb”.
So… What happened nationally in the 1980’s? Rapid inflation followed by a rapid climb in interest rates: likely what is happening to us NOW. In the ’80’s, the interest rates peaked out as high as 17%+!
But what did that mean for home values? Strangely… rapid growth early followed by steady growth for over a decade.* A 35% INCREASE of home values through that period. No crash. No bust.
This is why Dave Ramsey says that right now is the best time to buy we will see for the next 5 years, and why prices aren’t likely to go down. We have every historic reason to believe that home prices are going to continue climbing even in a high interest rate environment.
So, if home prices were increasing so strongly for so long, what was the downside to the national picture in the ‘80’s? Affordability. With home prices through the roof (and staying there) and interest rates going up rapidly, fewer and fewer people could afford to buy. So, the market slowed down and fewer people were buying and selling, but nothing triggered a crash because we didn’t have NINJA loans nationally.
One final piece to the puzzle: in April of 2020, in the height of the Covid Lockdowns across the country, mortgages became really, really hard to get. “The Covid Rules” were the new, stricter FHA guidelines which prevented people who were showing any sign of potentially losing their jobs or even being furloughed from being able to buy for a longer period of time than normal, just to be on the safe side. So, even though interest rates were much lower than normal and made people WANT to buy homes and get mortgages, in 2020 “The Covid Rules” made it much harder for people to get financing if they had questionable financing.
In short: we didn’t have NINJA loans. Our boom happened, but it wasn’t because of people getting loans who shouldn’t have been able to get financing.
Oklahoma is in for some trouble, but not the trouble the national market had in 2008, OR the trouble we had in the 1980’s. We are headed for the trouble caused by runaway inflation in the 1980’s nationally. When inflation is too high, you can’t afford anything. Everything costs way more, including houses.
So, buckle up. We are most likely still heading up on home prices, though probably more slowly than we have recently. So, now is a great time to BOTH buy and sell!
Still not clear on what’s going on with this crazy market? Download our most recent Maven Market Guide with ALL the information you ought to know right now about Central Oklahoma Real Estate!
*All Market data was based on the April 2022 release of the Freddie Mac House Price Index, which uses appraisal data from both purchases and refinances to model the change in value of individual homes over time. For more information visit https://www.freddiemac.com/research/indices/house-price-index.