Over the past two years, the substantial imbalance of low housing supply and high buyer demand pushed home sales and buyer competition to new heights. But this year, things are shifting as supply and demand reach an inflection point.
The graph below helps tell the story of just how different things are today.
This year, buyer demand has eased as higher mortgage rates and mounting economic uncertainty moderated the market. This slowdown in demand is clear when you look at the red bar on the graph. It uses the latest data from ShowingTime to illustrate how showings (an indicator of buyer demand) have softened by just over 12% compared to the same time last year.
Now for a look at how housing supply has changed, turn to the green bar. It uses data from realtor.com to show active listings are up nearly 27% compared to last year. That’s because the moderation of demand allowed housing inventory to increase in 2022.
What Does This Inflection Point Mean for Buyers?
If you’re thinking of buying a home, you’ll have less competition and more options than you would have had last year. Enjoy having more homes to choose from in your home search and lean on a trusted real estate professional to understand how the increase in supply has also increased your negotiation power. That professional can talk you through the opportunities and challenges buyers face in today’s shifting market. You may be surprised to find they’re different than they were a year ago.
What Does This Inflection Point Mean for Sellers?
If you’re looking to sell your house, know that inventory is still low overall. That means, if you work with an agent to price your house based on current market value, it will still sell despite the inventory gains and moderating buyer demand this year. That’s because there are still buyers out there who want to move, and your house may be exactly what they’re looking for.
If you’re thinking about buying a home, you likely have a lot of factors on your mind. You’re weighing your own needs against higher mortgage rates, today’s home prices, and more to try to decide if you want to jump into the market. While some buyers may wait things out, there’s a reason serious buyers are making moves right now, and that’s the growing number of homes for sale.
So far this year, housing inventory has been increasing and that’s making the prospect of finding your dream home less difficult. While there are always reasons you could delay making a big decision, there are also always reasons to consider moving forward. And having a growing number of options for your home search may be exactly what you needed to feel more confident in making a move.
What’s Causing Housing Inventory To Grow?
As new data comes out, we’re getting an updated picture of why housing supply is increasing so much this year. As Bill McBride, Author of Calculated Risk, explains:
“We are seeing a significant change in inventory, but no pickup in new listings. Most of the increase in inventory so far has been due to softer demand – likely because of higher mortgage rates.”
Basically, the inventory growth is primarily from homes staying on the market a bit longer (known as active listings). And that’s happening because higher mortgage rates and home prices have helped moderate the peak frenzy of buyer demand.
The graph below uses data from realtor.com to show how much active listings have risen over the past five months as a result (shown in green):
Why This Growth Is Good News for You
Regardless of the source, the increase in available housing supply is good for buyers. More housing supply actively for sale means you have more options as your search for your next home. A recent article from realtor.com explains just how significant the inventory growth has been and why it’s good news for your plans to buy:
“Nationally, the inventory of homes actively for sale on a typical day in July increased by 30.7% over the past year, the largest increase in inventory in the data history and higher than last month’s growth rate of 18.7% which was itself record-breaking. This amounted to 176,000 more homes actively for sale on a typical day in July compared to the previous year and more choice for buyers who are still looking for a new home.”
The growth this year is certainly good news for you, especially if you’ve had trouble finding a home that meets your needs. If you start your search today, those additional options should make it less difficult to find a home than it would have been over the past two years.
Whether you’re a potential homebuyer, seller, or both, you probably want to know: will home prices fall this year? Let’s break down what’s happening with home prices, where experts say they’re headed, and why this matters for your homeownership goals.
Last Year’s Rapid Home Price Growth Wasn’t the Norm
In 2021, home prices appreciated quickly. One reason why is that record-low mortgage rates motivated more buyers to enter the market. As a result, there were more people looking to make a purchase than there were homes available for sale. That led to competitive bidding wars which drove prices up. CoreLogic helps explain how unusual last year’s appreciation was:
“Price appreciation averaged 15% for the full year of 2021, up from the 2020 full year average of 6%.”
In other words, the pace of appreciation in 2021 far surpassed the 6% the market saw in 2020. And even that appreciation was greater than the pre-pandemic norm which was typically around 3.8%. This goes to show, 2021 was an anomaly in the housing market spurred by more buyers than homes for sale.
Home Price Appreciation Moderates Today
This year, home price appreciation is slowing (or decelerating) from the feverish pace the market saw over the past two years. According to the latest forecasts, experts say on average, nationwide, prices will still appreciate by roughly 10% in 2022 (see graph below):
Why do all of these experts agree prices will continue to rise? It’s simple. Even though housing supply is growing today, it’s still low overall thanks to several factors, including a long period of underbuilding homes. And experts say that’s going to help keep upward pressure on home prices this year. Additionally, since mortgage rates are higher this year than they were last year, buyer demand has slowed.
As the market undergoes this change, it’s true price appreciation this year won’t match the feverish pace in 2021. But the rapid appreciation the market saw last year wasn’t sustainable anyway.
What Does That Mean for You?
Today, the market is beginning to move back toward pre-pandemic levels. But even the forecast for 10% home price growth in 2022 is well beyond the 3.8% that’s more typical for a normal market.
So, despite what you may have heard, experts say home prices won’t fall in most markets. They’ll just appreciate more moderately.
If you’re worried the house you’re trying to sell or the home you want to buy will decrease in value, you should know experts aren’t calling for depreciation in most markets, just deceleration. That means your home should still grow in value, just not as fast as it did last year.
If you’re thinking of making a move, you shouldn’t wait for prices to fall. Experts say nationally, prices will continue to appreciate this year, just at a more moderate pace.
If you put a pause on your home search because you weren’t sure where you’d go once you sold your house, it might be a good time to get back into the market. That’s because today’s market is undergoing a shift, and the supply of homes for sale is increasing as a result. That means you may have a better chance of finding a home that will meet your current needs. Here are some options to consider.
Buying an Existing Home Can Give You That Lived-in Charm
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the supply of existing homes (a home that’s been previously owned) has steadily increased since the beginning of the year. The graph below indicates inventory levels are rising, and that’s largely due to more homes coming onto the market and the pace of sales slowing:
As the graph shows, if you’re looking for a home with lived-in charm, supply is rising, and that’s great news for you.
Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, gives insight into why more homeowners are listing their homes and adding to the growing supply of existing homes today:
“Home sellers in many markets across the country continue to benefit from rising home prices and fast-selling homes. That’s prompted a growing number of homeowners to sell homes this year compared to last, giving home shoppers much needed options. We’ve seen more homes come up for sale this year compared to last year . . .”
There are several benefits to buying an existing home. Many buyers want to purchase a home with history, and the character of older houses is hard to reproduce. Existing homes can often be part of an established neighborhood featuring mature landscaping that can give you additional privacy and boost your curb appeal.
Plus, timing can be a consideration as well. With an existing home, you can move in based on the timeline you agree to with the sellers, rather than building a new home and waiting for construction to finish. This is something to keep in mind, especially if you need to move sooner rather than later.
Just remember, while more sellers are listing their homes, supply is still low overall. That means you’ll have more options to choose from as you search for your next home, but you’ll still need to be prepared for a fast-moving market.
Purchasing a Newly Built or Under Construction Home Means Brand New Everything
Census data shows there’s an increasing number of new homes available for sale. It includes homes that are under construction, soon to be completed, and fully built. As the graph below highlights, the supply of new homes for sale has also grown this year:
When building a new home, you can create your perfect living space and customize it to your lifestyle. That could mean everything from requesting energy efficient options to specific design features. Plus, you’ll have the benefit of all new appliances, windows, roofing, and more. These can all help lower your energy costs, which can add up to significant savings over time.
The lower maintenance that comes with a newer home is another great advantage. When you have a new home, you likely won’t have as many little repairs to tackle, like leaky faucets, shutters to paint, and other odd jobs around the house. And with new construction, you’ll also have warranty options that may cover portions of your investment for the first few years.
Keep in mind, purchasing a new home could mean waiting a considerable amount of time before you can move. Robert Dietz, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Economics and Housing Policy at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), explains:
“New single-family home inventory remained elevated at a 7.7 months’ supply. . . . However, only 8.3% of new home inventory is completed and ready to occupy. The remaining have not started construction (25.9%) or are currently under construction.”
That’s an important factor when making your decision and one you should discuss with a trusted real estate advisor. They’ll help you think through all the pros and cons of both new and existing homes to help you arrive at your best decision.
With the supply of homes for sale rising, you have options for your next home no matter what your preferences are. If you have questions or want help deciding what’s best for you, let’s connect and start the conversation.