Nationwide Residential Real Estate Market Data Analysis of Negative Equity
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Nationwide Residential Real Estate Market Data Analysis of Negative Equity

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    This report by The Cadmus Group, Inc. is the result of a contracted study and analysis of comparative and determinate sale price data of owner-occupied single-family residential dwelling (SFRD) units to facilitate the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) consideration of whether there is a need to continue the Temporary Waiver of Methodology for Calculating a Replacement Housing Payment (Waiver). This study consisted of a nationwide examination of residential real estate market sale price data by gathering, documenting, compiling, and comparatively analyzing the data for each State aggregated to the zip code level. Data was gathered from 2006, prior to the historically unique 2008 real estate market crash, through the end of July 2019 (the latest reliable data available). To initiate this analysis, market research and evaluation was undertaken to generate a list of potential real estate market data vendors that met the criteria of providing SFRD unit sale price data for the specific time period. Based on the market research and detailed evaluation of the finalist vendors, a recommendation was made for First American Data Tree (FADT) to be selected as the data vendor. It was further recommended that only one data vendor was necessary and would be required to achieve the objective of the study. Multiple purchases from different vendors would come at substantial cost, and would result in acquisition of duplicate sets of essentially the same data that would not deepen the understanding of the equity trends in the residential real estate market. The data received from the vendor had undergone initial filtering to generate a dataset of owner-occupied residential structures that were sold as arm’s length transactions under market conditions (34,513,676 transaction records). During quality control checks, a small percentage (approximately 3%) of anomalous data were excluded, representing erroneously keyed large transaction amounts (over $40 million) and multiple parcels included in a single sale price. The data were then grouped by State, zip code, and aggregation year, and the analysis was conducted. For the zip code level analysis, summaries of zip codes with fewer than 30 transactions per year were not included; however, these transactions are included in the State and National level analyses. Additional quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) was undertaken following the analysis. The nationwide results indicate that the residential real estate market in the United States has returned to its pre-crash level. There are eleven states that have not yet regained 100% of their pre-crash median sale prices, with only two States that have regained less than 90% of their pre-crash median sale prices. Examined at the State and zip code level, a variety of trends are apparent in different States and in the various zip codes within each State, depending on specific conditions in each market. Several publicly available large scale or general analyses were reviewed and compared against the results of the intermediate scale analyses carried out in this project, which validated the findings. Based on review of the sales data, a recommendation is made to allow the Waiver to expire. However, it is important to note that there may be a case by case need for the Waiver because a few markets have not yet fully recovered. A further recommendation is for additional spatial and trend analyses of the data, as such analyses would provide valuable insights to FHWA’s Office of Real Estate Services that are beyond the scope of this project.
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