If you’re following the news, all of the headlines about conditions in the current housing market may leave you with more questions than answers. Is the boom over? Is the market crashing or correcting? Here’s what you need to know.
The housing market is moderating compared to the last two years, but what everyone needs to remember is that the past two years were record-breaking in nearly every way. Record-low mortgage rates and millennials reaching peak homebuying years led to an influx of buyer demand. At the same time, there weren’t enough homes available to purchase thanks to many years of underbuilding and sellers who held off on listing their homes due to the health crisis.
This combination led to record-high demand and record-low supply, and that wasn’t going to be sustainable for the long term. The latest data shows early signs of a shift back to the market pace seen in the years leading up to the pandemic – not a crash nor a correction. As realtor.com says:
“The housing market is at a turning point. . . . We’re starting to see signs of a new direction, . . .”
Home Showings Then and Now
The ShowingTime Showing Index tracks the traffic of home showings according to agents and brokers. It’s a good indication of buyer demand. Here’s a look at that data going back to 2019 (see graph below):
The 2019 numbers give a good baseline of pre-pandemic demand (shown in gray). As the graph indicates, home showings skyrocketed during the pandemic (shown in blue). And while current buyer demand has begun to moderate slightly based on the latest data (shown in green), showings are still above 2019 levels.
And since 2019 was such a strong year for the housing market, this helps show that the market isn’t crashing – it’s just at a turning point that’s moving back toward more pre-pandemic levels.
Existing Home Sales Then and Now
Headlines are also talking about how existing home sales are declining, but perspective matters. Here’s a look at existing home sales going all the way back to 2019 using data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) (see graph below):
Again, a similar story emerges. The pandemic numbers (shown in blue) beat the more typical year of 2019 home sales (shown in gray). And according to the latest projections for 2022 (shown in green), the market is on pace to close this year with more home sales than 2019 as well.
It’s important to compare today not to the abnormal pandemic years, but to the most recent normal year to show the current housing market is still strong. First American sums it up like this:
“. . . today’s housing market looks a lot like the 2019 housing market, which was the strongest housing market in a decade at the time.”
If recent headlines are generating any concerns, look at a more typical year for perspective. The current market is not a crash or correction. It’s just a turning point toward more typical, pre-pandemic levels.
If you’re thinking of buying or selling a house, you’re at an exciting decision point. And anytime you make a big decision like that, one thing you should always consider is timing. So, what does the rest of the year hold for the housing market? Here’s what experts have to say.
The Number of Homes Available for Sale Is Likely To Grow
There are early signs housing inventory is starting to grow and experts say that should continue in the months ahead. According to Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com:
“The gap between this year’s homes for sale and last year’s is one-fifth the size that it was at the beginning of the year. The catch up is likely to continue, . . . This growth will mean more options for shoppers than they’ve had in a while, even though inventory continues to lag pre-pandemic normal.”
- As a buyer, having more options is welcome news. Just remember, housing supply is still low, so be ready to act fast and put in your best offer up front.
- As a seller, your house may soon face more competition when other sellers list their homes. But the good news is, if you’re also buying your next home, having more options to choose from should make that move-up process easier.
Mortgage Rates Will Likely Continue To Respond to Inflationary Pressures
Experts also agree inflation should continue to drive up mortgage rates, albeit more moderately. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, says:
“… ongoing inflationary pressure remains likely to push mortgage rates even higher in the months to come.”
- As a buyer, work with trusted real estate professionals, including your lender, so you can learn how rising mortgage rate environments impact your purchasing power. It may make sense to buy now before it costs more to do so, if you’re ready.
- As a seller, rising mortgage rates are motivating some homeowners to make a move up sooner rather than later. If you’re planning to buy your next home, talk to a trusted real estate advisor to decide how to time your move.
Home Prices Are Projected To Continue To Climb
Home prices are forecast to keep appreciating because there are still fewer homes for sale than there are buyers in the market. That said, experts agree the pace of that appreciation should moderate – but home prices won’t fall. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:
“Prices throughout the country have surged for the better part of two years, including in the first quarter of 2022. . . Given the extremely low inventory, we’re unlikely to see price declines, but appreciation should slow in the coming months.”
- As a buyer, continued home price appreciation means it’ll cost you more to buy the longer you wait. But it also gives you peace of mind that, once you do buy a home, it will likely grow in value. That makes it historically a good investment and a strong hedge against inflation
- As a seller, price appreciation is great news for the value of your home. Again, lean on a professional to strike the right balance of the best conditions possible for both selling your house and buying your next one.
If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, you’ll want to keep a pulse on what’s happening with mortgage rates. Rates have been climbing in recent months, especially since January. And just a few weeks ago, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate from Freddie Mac approached 4% for the first time since May of 2019. But that climb has dropped slightly over the past few weeks (see graph below):
The recent decline in mortgage rates is primarily due to growing uncertainty around geopolitical tensions surrounding Russia and Ukraine. But experts say it’s to be expected.
Here’s a look at how industry leaders are explaining the impact global uncertainty has on mortgage rates:
Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, says:
“While mortgage rates trended upward in 2022, one unintended side effect of global uncertainty is that it often results in downward pressure on mortgage rates.”
In another interview, Kushi adds:
“Geopolitical events play an important role in impacting the long end of the yield curve and mortgage rates. For example, in the weeks following the ‘Brexit’ vote in 2016, the U.S. Treasury bond yield declined and led to a corresponding decline in mortgage rates.”
Kushi’s insights are a reminder that, historically, economic uncertainty can impact the 10-year treasury yield – which has a long-standing relationship with mortgage rates and is often considered a leading indicator of where rates are headed. Basically, events overseas can have an impact on mortgage rates here, and that’s what we’re seeing today.
Will Mortgage Rates Stay Down?
While no one has a crystal ball to predict exactly what will happen with rates in the future, experts agree this slight decline is temporary. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, echoes Kushi’s sentiment, but adds that the decline in rates won’t last:
“Geopolitical tensions caused U.S. Treasury yields to recede this week . . . leading to a drop in mortgage rates. While inflationary pressures remain, the cascading impacts of the war in Ukraine have created market uncertainty. Consequently, rates are expected to stay low in the short-term but will likely increase in the coming months.”
Rates will likely fluctuate in the short-term based on what’s happening globally. But before long, experts project rates will renew their climb. If you’re in the market to buy a home, doing so before rates start to rise again may be your most affordable option.
Mortgage rates are an important piece of the puzzle because they help determine how much you’ll owe on your monthly mortgage payment in your next home.
We’re in the middle of a hot market. With historically low inventory and soaring prices, it might seem like a great time to sell your home yourself. My house will sell itself, right? Not exactly. Here’s why it’s best to let a professional handle the biggest transaction of your life.
1. Agents will help you avoid emotional sales
Working with an agent can help you effectively negotiate what is often the biggest transaction of your life. Sellers are likely to be emotional about the process (it’s your house after all!) Yes, selling a home is a BIG deal, so let’s try and keep a level head : )
2. Correct pricing
Overpricing is a common mistake FSBOs make. Pricing it correctly will help attract the right buyers for your home. The money you think you’re saving by not paying a commission, may end up costing you. Ironically, the National Association of Realtors estimates FSBO homes sell for as much as 11% less than those who sold with a real estate agent. In the end, FSBO sellers often end up accepting a lower price for their home than they would with an agent.
3. Effectively negotiate and show your home
It’s important to have someone on your team who understands how to fulfill contracts and negotiate on your behalf. Added to that, having the seller present for showings makes everyone a bit uncomfortable. A much better showing experience for all is when buyers have the freedom to take their time going through a house.
4. An agent will help weed out unqualified buyers
It’s more than just pricing and accepting an offer. Working with an agent will help limit the risks of selecting a buyer who is unprepared to purchase your home and will help you identify the strongest offers.
5. Are you ready to make this your full-time job?
From marketing, to the open house, showings, inspection, appraisal, paperwork, phone calls, offer deadlines, and everything in between, selling a home is a full-time job. Agents help hold it all together and make sure you meet the commitments that are essential to the final sale of your home.