The median listing price grew by 6.3% over last year. Growth in the typical asking price of for-sale homes moved lower after a slight uptick last week’s pace, once again hitting a new low since June 2020, when the housing market was beginning to bounce back from the initial pandemic shock. While the housing market had shown some signs of stabilizing, a renewed climb in mortgage rates could undermine the recovery. With the Fed signaling that higher rates for longer may be necessary to tame inflation, all eyes are focused on their March statement and clues on how their view of the future has evolved.
New listings–a measure of sellers putting homes up for sale–were again down, this week by 26% from one year ago. For 35 weeks now, fewer homeowners put their homes on the market for sale than at this time one year ago. Until this week, the gap was slightly smaller than we saw in the last quarter of 2022. In February, attitudes toward housing worsened among both potential buyers and potential sellers as mortgage rates began to climb again and respondents reported lower job security. These attitudes could mean ongoing weakness in the number of homeowners deciding to sell.
Active inventory growth continued to climb with for-sale homes up 61% above one year ago. Inventories of for-sale homes rose again, but the gain was the lowest we’ve seen since December. With new listings lagging behind year-ago pace, the growing number of homes for sale reflects longer time on market rather than an influx of sellers. It’s also important to remember that this year over year comparison is relative to early 2022, when active listings were at or near long-term lows. Even after these huge year over year gains, February data show that nationwide there are only just more than half as many homes for sale as were available pre-pandemic (-47%).
Homes spent 18 extra days on the market compared to this time last year. For 31 weeks, homes on the market have been for-sale longer than was typical one year ago. After rising steadily from summer 2022, the gap surged early in 2023, surpassing the 3 week mark in mid-February. This week, however, marks the third week that the gap has shrunk even as new listings remain scarce, suggesting that buyers are active in the market, even if they are not as numerous as this time last year. Our February Housing Trends Report helps put these changes into context. Even though the median home listing was on the market for 67 days, 23 days longer than this time last year, this still trailed the pre-pandemic average for February by a nearly equal amount (20 days). In other words, using time on market as a guide, today’s housing market is halfway between its most frenetic period one year ago and what was typical before the pandemic-era frenzy. This means that the market has room to adjust in either direction, and mortgage rates will likely play a strong role in determining whether the market slows further or picks up speed.
This week, Chief Economist Danielle Hale discusses what small business optimism, consumer and producer inflation data, and retail sales data signal about the U.S. economy. She also highlights what these data imply for the Fed’s likely path forward.
0:10 – Business optimism trends 0:25 – Inflation trends 1:24 – Mortgage rates 1:40 – Construction trends 2:11 – Real estate listings trends
Existing-home sales fell for the third straight month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.61 million. Sales were down 2.4% from the prior month and 5.9% from one year ago.
With slower demand, the inventory of unsold existing homes climbed to 1.03 million by the end of April, or the equivalent of 2.2 months of the monthly sales pace.
The median existing-home sales price increased at a slower year-over-year pace of 14.8% to $391,200.
“Higher home prices and sharply higher mortgage rates have reduced buyer activity,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “It looks like more declines are imminent in the upcoming months, and we’ll likely return to the pre-pandemic home sales activity after the remarkable surge over the past two years.”
A year before his death, he launched the Poor People’s Campaign to fight job and housing inequality, among other issues. Historians say the Poor People’s Campaign and the Chicago Open Housing Movement laid the groundwork for the 1968 Fair Housing Act
Although Martin Luther King, Jr. is most remembered for his struggle to secure voting rights and stop segregation, the civil rights icon’s dream of racial equity reached far beyond integrated public life — it also included economic security and housing rights for the millions of minority and low-income Americans who’d been relegated to their cities’ under-resourced neighborhoods and housing projects.
King began planting the seeds of what would become the Poor People’s Campaign in Chicago, where thousands of Black Chicagoans struggled with job and housing insecurity — something they’d hoped they escaped during the Great Migration, the term used to describe a decades-long exodus from the fields of the South to the factories of the North.
Although some Black people found great success in Chicago, Detroit, New York City and other similar places, many more found the only thing that changed in their life was their address.
“Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy,” he added. “Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children.”
According to articles by HuffPost and NPR, Dr. King spent much of 1966 in Chicago, even moving his family to an apartment on the city’s predominately Black west side. There, King and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) launched the Chicago Open Housing Movement, whose goals included the rehab of public housing, increasing the supply of affordable housing, pushing for diversity and integration in businesses and unions, a $2 minimum wage and the abolition of wage garnishment.
Over the course of the year, King and SCLC activists held citywide rallies, planned demonstrations in front of real estate brokerages and marched into Chicago’s all-white neighborhoods, which were met with violent reactions from the city’s white residents. “Well, this is a terrible thing,” King said in a soundbite acquired by NPR. “I’ve been in many demonstrations all across the South, but I can say that I have never seen, even in Mississippi and Alabama, mobs as hostile and as hate-filled as I’m seeing in Chicago.”
Eager to quell the violence, Chicago’s mayor, Richard J. Daley, agreed to meet with King and other activists in August 1966 to work out an agreement, which included building future public housing with “limited height requirements,” and requiring the Mortgage Bankers Association to make mortgages available regardless of race.
King hailed the agreement ‘‘the most signiﬁcant program ever conceived to make open housing a reality,’’ but tempered his assessment by recognizing it as only “the ﬁrst step in a 1,000-mile journey.’’
The next year, King went back to the South and began planning the Poor People’s Campaign, which was built from his experiences in Chicago the year before. He and the SCLC began creating a blueprint for economic and housing equity that addressed the systems and policies that kept minority and low-income communities behind the eight ball.
“This is a highly significant event,” King told the SCLC in November 1967, according to an archive at Stanford’s King Institute. “[This] the beginning of a new co-operation, understanding, and a determination by poor people of all colors and backgrounds to assert and win their right to a decent life and respect for their culture and dignity.”
He garnered support from civil rights leaders in American Indian, Puerto Rican, Mexican American, and poor white communities and began planning another March on Washington to demand jobs, unemployment insurance, a fair minimum wage, and education for adults and children. “It’s as pure as a man needing an income to support his family,” King said.
King was assassinated before he could finish planning the demonstration; however, other SCLC leaders and his wife, Coretta Scott King, banned together and finished planning the march, which took place on Mothers’ Day 1968. After the initial demonstration, protestors pitched tents on the Mall in Washington and lobbied for fair employment and housing policies until their park permit expired a month later.
Even though the campaign was largely unsuccessful in making widespread change — they did secure free food surplus distribution to 200 counties — historians say the Poor People’s Campaign and the Chicago Open Housing Movement laid the groundwork for the 1968 Fair Housing Act, which ensures that all Americans have access to equal housing opportunities and outlaws discrimination based on an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or familial status.
“And we have to continue in the legacy of MLK and the civil rights movement and the legacy of abolition movements of before,” said Paige May, a Chicago resident who spoke to NPR after an event to celebrate MLK.
“We have a lot of work to do, but it’s also — it feels like a day that’s celebratory in a lot of ways, right? But in the sphere of struggle and resistance.”
Many homeowners who plan to sell in 2022 may think the wise thing to do is to wait for the spring buying market since historically about 40 percent of home sales occur between April and July. However, this year’s expected to be much different than the norm. Here are five reasons to list your house now rather than waiting until the spring.
1. Buyers Are Looking Right Now, and They’re Ready To Purchase
The ShowingTime Showing Index reports data from more than six million property showings scheduled across the country each month. In other words, it’s a gauge of how many buyers are out looking at homes at the current time.
The latest index, which covers November showings, reveals that buyers are still very active in the market. Comparing this November’s numbers to previous years, this graph shows that the index is higher than last year and much higher than the three years prior to the pandemic. Clearly, there’s an influx of buyers searching for your home.
Also, at this time of year, only those purchasers who are serious about buying a home will be in the market. You and your loved ones won’t be inconvenienced by casual searchers. Freddie Mac addresses this in a recent blog:
“The buyers who are willing to house hunt in a winter market, when there are fewer options, are typically more serious. Plus, year-end bonuses and overtime payouts give people more purchasing power.”
And that theory is proving to be true right now based on the number of buyers who have put a home under contract to purchase. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) publishes a monthly Pending Home Sales Index which measures housing contract activity. It’s based on signed real estate contracts for existing single-family homes, condos, and co-ops. The latest index shows:
“…housing demand continues to be high. . . . Homes placed on the market for sale go from ‘listed status’ to ‘under contract’ in approximately 18 days.”
Comparing the index to previous Novembers, while it’s slightly below November 2020 (when sales were pushed to later in the year because of the pandemic), it’s well above the previous three years.
The takeaway for you: There are purchasers in the market, and they’re ready and willing to buy.
2. Other Sellers Plan To List Earlier This Year
The law of supply and demand tells us that if you want the best price possible and to negotiate your ideal contract terms, put your house on the market when there’s strong demand and less competition.
A recent study by realtor.com reveals that, unlike in previous years, sellers plan to list their homes this winter instead of waiting until spring or summer. The study shows that 65% of sellers who plan to sell in 2022 have either already listed their home (19%) or are planning to put it on the market this winter.
Again, if you’re looking for the best price and the ability to best negotiate the other terms of the sale of your house, listing before this competition hits the market makes sense.
3. Newly Constructed Homes Will Be Your Competition in the Spring
In 2020, there were over 979,000 new single-family housing units authorized by building permits. Many of those homes have yet to be built because of labor shortages and supply chain bottlenecks brought on by the pandemic. They will, however, be completed in 2022. That will create additional competition when you sell your house. Beating these newly constructed homes to the market is something you should consider to ensure your house gets as much attention from interested buyers as possible.
4. There Will Never Be a Better Time To Move-Up
If you’re moving into a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by approximately 5% over the next 12 months. That means it will cost you more (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock in your 30-year housing expense with a mortgage rate in the low 3’s right now. If you’re thinking of selling in 2022, you may want to do it now instead of waiting, as mortgage rates are forecast to rise throughout the year.
5. It May Be Time for You To Make a Change
Consider why you’re thinking of selling in the first place and determine whether it’s worth waiting. Is waiting more important than being closer to your loved ones now? Is waiting more important than your health? Is waiting more important than having the space you truly need?
Only you know the answers to those questions. Take time to think about your goals and priorities as we move into 2022 and consider what’s most important to act on now.
If you’ve been debating whether or not to sell your house and are curious about market conditions in your area, let’s connect so you have expert advice on the best time to put your house on the market.
Based on compiled data from more than six million property showings scheduled across the country, Home Buyer Demand jumps 98.4% in the West as traffic grows again nationwide.
March 24, 2021 – Dwindling inventory was again met with an outpouring of buyer demand throughout the country in February as an unprecedented 75 markets reported double-digit growth, according to the ShowingTime Showing Index®
Nationwide, buyer traffic jumped 49.5 percent, continuing a trend of national year-over-year growth in buyer demand that began in May 2020.
“In March and April, year-over-year comparisons will be less meaningful as the onset of COVID-19 in 2020 drove showing traffic down in those two months, but on a month-to-month basis we’re still likely to see further seasonal increases in demand, taking us further into this unprecedented direction. We expect that this will correlate with continued broad increases in prices.”
That’s roughly half of overall global savings during the pandemic, and the same as South Korea’s GDP.
It’s also greater than the output gap, or economic hole created by Covid-19, signaling a coming economic boom.
Experts are currently projecting 4.6% growth for US GDP this year, per Bloomberg. If Americans spend all the money they saved in the past year, that could jump to 9%; whereas if they don’t, the GDP forecast could drop to 2.2%.
The housing market made an incredible recovery in 2020 and is now positioned for an even stronger year in 2021. Record-low mortgage interest rates are a driving factor in this continued momentum, with average rates hovering at historic all-time lows.
According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index Survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer demand across the country is incredibly strong. That’s not the case, however, on the supply side. Seller traffic is simply not keeping up. Here’s a breakdown by state:As the maps show, buyer traffic is high, but seller traffic is low. With so few homes for sale right now, record-low inventory is creating a mismatch between supply and demand.
NAR also just reported that the actual number of homes currently for sale stands at 1.28 million, down 22% from one year ago (1.64 million). Additionally, inventory is at an all-time low with 2.3 months supply available at the current sales pace. In a normal market, that number would be 6.0 months of inventory – significantly higher than it is today.
What does this mean for buyers and sellers?
Buyers need to remain patient in the search process. At the same time, they must be ready to act immediately once they find the right home since bidding wars are more common when so few houses are available for sale.
Sellers may not want to wait until spring to put their houses on the market, though. With such high buyerdemand and such a low supply, now is the perfect time to sell a house on optimal terms.
The real estate market is entering the year like a lion. There’s no indication it will lose that roar, assuming inventory continues to come to market.