Research shows that in many markets, home prices have reached their pre-recession peaks when adjusting for inflation. As an HR and mobility program leader, it's important to consider what's driving the continued rise in prices and how best to ensure your mobile employees can effectively (and affordably) relocate for their new roles.
Did your employees buy during the bubble or use up their equity with a Home Equity Line of Credit or HELOC, and now are challenged to buy in the new location (i.e., can't afford the down payment.)? This is a great reason to continue providing some type of pre-decision assistance to flush out these issues in advance.
Are there more career opportunities in your employees' departure location (with your company or a competitor) that will allow them to stay put and advance their career? This is a perfect time to review your policy and ensure you're being competitive with home sale and purchase benefits to entice mobility.
Lastly, there's been plenty of talk about limited homes for sale in many U.S. markets. Not surprisingly, popular destination cities and towns continue to have slim pickings for choice homes, which further increases pricing pressure. Little can be done about inventory until builders create more first-time buyer inventory to stimulate the "buy up" market, and existing homeowners' equity increases to cover the mortgage qualification process and down payment requirements in the destination location.
Every market is different, so this is a perfect time to review your mobility patterns (in conjunction with your relocation policy) to ensure you're offering the most effective provisions to address each market.
Home prices have finally clawed their way back to the housing bubble's peak on average nationally. The story is very different if you zoom in on different counties or cities. A new tabulation of home price data by Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies lets you zoom in on an interactive map to see prices in various parts of the country. Some of the decline in buying and selling houses is Americans are moving around the country less than they used to. 25 years ago, Americans were more than twice as likely to pick up and move. "It's a huge difference in how people are moving around the country today," says Greg Kaplan at University of Chicago. Kaplan's research suggests one reason for change is people don't have to move as often to find a good job matching their skills.