A Cruel Season for Home Buyers

Typically, the housing market starts to slow in late summer, and prices drop slightly. But so far this year that hasn’t been the case.

“Homes are not selling faster than last July, but faster than last year’s peak months,” says Javier Vivas, manager of economic research at realtor.com®. “However, quick sales don’t necessarily mean more sales, particularly when there isn’t enough inventory, as is the current case. Home prices also remain stubbornly high, failing to show hints of the usual seasonal cool down. Low and moderately priced homes are being snatched up especially quickly, keeping many would-be buyers from being able to get into the market.”

“In this market, home buyers have to move fast, yet high prices and low inventory are slowing down even the most earnest of house hunters,” Nela Richardson, Redfin’s chief economist, told CNBC. “Faced with a low supply of homes for sale and extremely competitive conditions, many home buyers are struggling to make it to the offer stage.”

Source: “Housing Demand Strengthens Through Summer, But Here’s Why Some Buyers Are Giving Up,” CNBC (Aug. 2, 2017)

Expect a More Modest Housing Market in 2016

In 2015, the housing market reached its best year in nearly a decade, but 2016 will likely see a slowdown in many housing markets across the country. Home sales are forecasted to increase this year, but at a more moderate pace, “as pent-up demand combats affordability pressures and meager economic growth,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®.

Yun says pent-up demand, sustained job growth, and improving inventory conditions will be the main triggers pushing the expected gains in new and existing-home sales in 2016.

However, Yun cites rising mortgage rates, home prices that still outpace wage growth, and a fragile global economy as the main challenges that could hold back a stronger pace of sales this year.

Watch the video below for more from Yun’s forecast.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Luxury Market Takes Larger Chunk of Home Sales

The share of home sales in the $200,000-and-below price range is down 9 percent from a year ago, while those above $200,000 have increased 10 percent in the same time period, according to the latest housing report from RealtyTrac, which reflects August housing data.

Broken down further, the share of sales between $500,000 and $1 million rose 18 percent from year-ago levels, and the share of sales higher than $1 million jumped 38 percent year-over-year.

Overall, RealtyTrac’s report shows that the share of sales above $500,000 rose 23 percent from a year ago.

“Higher-end properties are taking up a bigger share of a smaller home-sales pie, boosting the median home price nationwide higher, even as home-price appreciation slows to single digits in many of last year’s red-hot local housing markets,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “On the other hand, markets where large institutional investors and other buyers have not picked clean lower-priced inventory are continuing to see strong, double-digit increases in median home prices.”

Source: RealtyTrac

Rising Mortgage Rates ‘Chip Away at Affordability’

The majority of housing markets remain affordable,  but rising mortgage rates and rising housing prices are causing more families to have to stretch financially, according to Freddie Mac’s U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for December.

According to Freddie Mac’s report, more than 70 percent of the nation’s housing stock remained affordable to the typical family in the third quarter at a 4.4 percent interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. However, that percentage decreases to about 63 percent at a 5 percent mortgage rate;  55 percent at a 6 percent interest rate; and 35 percent at a 7 percent interest rate.

Rising mortgage rates and rising housing prices over the past six months are making it more challenging for the typical family to purchase a home without stretching beyond their means, especially in the Northeast and along the Pacific Coast,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Like most, we expect mortgage rates to rise over the coming year, so it’s critical we start to see more job gains and income growth in the coming year. This will help to keep payment-to-income ratios in balance — an important factor not only for first-time buyers but for sustaining homeownership levels among existing owners.”

Source: Freddie Mac

 

 

Source: Freddie Mac