Sabrina Speianu, Economic Data Manager, realtor.com®
The national inventory of active listings increased by 26.6% over last year.
The total inventory of unsold homes, including pending listings, increased by just 1.3% year-over-year due to a decline in pending inventory (-21.9%).
Selling sentiment declined and listing activity followed, with newly listed homes declining by 13.4% on a year-over-year basis.
The median list price grew by 14.3% in August, a deceleration from recent highs.
Time on market was 42 days, 5 days more than last year but 22 days less than typical pre-pandemic levels.
Regionally, large Western markets which saw some of the most growth last year and earlier this year are now showing the greatest signs of deceleration, with larger inventory increases, more price reductions, and more quickly decelerating price growth than other regions.
Buyers Gaining Time and Options as Housing Market Rebalances (July Market Report)
By Skylar Olsen on Aug. 18, 2022
U.S. home values fell 0.1% from June to July, the first decline in the raw Zillow Home Value Index since 2012. Home values fell last month in 30 of the 50 largest metro areas, but are still up 16% from a year ago.
Rising inventory is being driven by homes lingering on the market and new listings trailing pre-pandemic levels. It took 10 days for a listing to go pending in July, two days longer than in June.
Rent appreciation is slowing, but the growth rate remains much higher than pre-pandemic levels
After two years of unprecedented growth, national home values fell slightly month-over-month for the first time since 2012, the year home values hit a trough after the housing bubble and bust of the aughts. While July’s housing market data update is big news, and could get first-time buyers’ hopes up, the future is unlikely to bring meaningful improvement to housing affordability.
Prices fall for the first time in a decade
The typical U.S. home value now stands at $357,107 after declining by 0.1% ($366) month over month in July, as measured by the raw Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI). A more responsive, but also more volatile flavor of Zillow’s headline price index – monthly growth in the raw ZHVI – has relaxed since reaching a recent peak in April of 1.9% (a rate that would annualize to a whopping 25.1%), slowing to 1.2% growth (15.3% anualized) in May and 0.8% growth (9.7% annualized) in June.
Home values measured by raw ZHVI fell from June to July in 30 of the 50 largest metro areas, an increase from 13 metros the previous month. The largest monthly home value declines were in San Jose (-4.5%) and San Francisco (-2.8%, that’s -28.7% anualized) — the nation’s most expensive major markets — followed by Phoenix (-2.8%) and Austin (-2.7%), which saw the most extreme growth over the pandemic. Values increased the most from June in Miami (1.5%, a still aggressive 19% annualized rate), Richmond (1%, 12.1% annualized) and Memphis (0.9%, 11.2% annualized), although monthly growth is decelerating in these markets as well.
While the recent decline in prices is a notable development, the housing market is still far from a return to “normal” conditions. The current slowdown is prompted by the collision of extreme price growth during the early- and mid-pandemic with the sudden increase in mortgage rates since December – a combination that swiftly weakened would-be homebuyers’ ability to afford or qualify to purchase their next house. The nation’s typical home value is still up 16% year over year and 44.5% since July 2019, despite softer pricing in more recent months. Incorporate higher mortgage rates, and the typical mortgage payment has risen by more than 60% in just one year. While high prices plus higher mortgage rates have pushed some buyers from the market for now, those shoppers who are able to proceed suddenly face a much less competitive market, offering them more time to conduct their search and more options to consider.
Inventory increases continue as homes take longer to sell and sellers cut prices
Cooling competition among buyers has resulted in homes spending more time on the market before selling. While the typical home that goes under contract still does so in a historically short amount of time, this market velocity has slowed considerably from the rapid pace set earlier this year. Homes went pending in a median of 10 days in July – two days slower than the median pace in June. Homes lingering on the market continue to push for-sale inventory up, even as the rate of new homes entering the market slows. The number of active for-sale listings during the month increased by 5.1% in July from June. The increase was the fifth consecutive monthly uptick, with each month successively stronger (for the most part) than seasonally typical for the spring into summer shopping season. July’s monthly inventory lift at 5.1%, for example, dwarfs the 1% average for July during 2018 and 2019.
While the pool of inventory is increasing quickly, a more substantial increase in for-sale listings has been hindered by slowing new construction – home starts fell 9.6% in July from June – and general hesitation from would-be sellers. New for-sale listings of existing homes fell 13.6% month over month in July. A far bigger drop than is seasonally typical, the rate of new listings hitting the market has been slower than pre-pandemic norms since the beginning of the year. In July for example, 16.6% fewer new listings were put on the market than the average July from 2018 and 2019. Would-be sellers remain mindful of their ability (or lack thereof) to purchase their next home and rising mortgage rates have left many homeowners “locked in” to their existing interest rate. A massive wave of homeowners refinanced during the pandemic, either to benefit from historically low mortgage rates directly or to harvest their home’s equity with a cash out refinance. Cheap financing offered an opportunity for many to remodel their property to better meet their changing needs rather than move on. As a result, the recent increases in for-sale inventory are more reflective of reduced competition than any real increase in the overall options that buyers will have over their multi-month shopping experience. What’s more, this lack of new listing activity should continue to buoy home prices against persistent or deeper declines.
Active sellers and their agents are suddenly having to adjust to the changing market conditions. The share of for-sale listings with a price cut jumped to 18.6% in July – up 7.5 percentage points from July 2021 and more than double the share of listings that saw a price decrease in April. While the overall share of listings seeing a price reduction isn’t abnormal – in the years preceding the pandemic it wasn’t uncommon for one in five listings to adjust their price during the month to help the property sell in reasonable time – the sharp increase in this activity is a loud indicator of how sellers are shifting their pricing strategies to account for quickly changing market conditions, even if recent price reductions haven’t materialized into true bargains for home shoppers yet.
Rent growth continues to moderate
The rental market remains in a period of relative calm, continuing a trend that’s formed in recent months. The nation’s typical monthly rent in July was $2,031, up 0.6% from June and up 13.7% from a year prior. After a rapid run-up that peaked in February, and seeing higher volatility throughout the pandemic’s first year and a half, rent growth has moderated in recent months. That said, although growth is decelerating, the annual growth rate is still more than three times that of July 2019.
Among major metros, the most significant slowdowns in monthly rent growth since July of last year occurred in Las Vegas (from 3.6% to -0.2%), Phoenix (3.5% to -0.3%), Tampa (3.9% to 0.3%), and Austin (3.8% to 0.7%).
The Big Picture
The housing market is ultimately correcting for extreme pressure during the pandemic. However, challenges to new supply and strong long-run housing demand driven by massive younger generations aging into first-time home buying suggests that, as the slowdown continues to progress and competition and price pressures ease, enough buyers will be ready to move forward and turn the market back toward (hopefully healthier) positive price growth.
Sales will weaken and for-sale inventory will grow, but it won’t do much to help affordability, Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said.
WASHINGTON – National Association of Realtors® (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun spoke before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs as they dig deeper in an attempt to understand what’s happening in the U.S. housing market.
Yun told the committee that he doesn’t foresee a nationwide decline in home prices despite indications that price growth is set to slow. He testified that the potential for weaker sales should increase available for-sale inventory in some markets, but not enough to diminish persistent affordability constraints that, for many Americans, have kept homeownership out of reach for years.
“In the near term, I do not expect the situation to change appreciably,” Yun said Thursday. “Historic undersupply in the market, combined with continued demand, will likely drive ongoing issues with affordability for many Americans.
“Any short-term price adjustments, if they occur, will be less consequential compared to the immense longer-term housing affordability challenges we face as a country.”
The committee hearings come as the nation confronts a 6-million-unit housing shortage. The decades-in-the-making phenomenon has helped sustain year-over-year price growth for a record 124 consecutive months. A study of other circumstances influencing the market is also particularly compelling given COVID’s impact on U.S. housing and the more recent fluctuations in mortgage interest rates.
“When the Federal Reserve essentially went all-in in the early months of the pandemic … the decline in mortgage rates and the cautious reopening of the economy boosted housing demand,” said Yun. “The housing market always responds to changes in mortgage rates.”
Interest rates, which had been consistently in the 4-to-5% range in the decade preceding COVID-19, hovered near record lows of around 3% throughout much of 2020 and 2021. NAR’s most recent existing home sales report found that the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage in June was up to 5.52%.
“Any increases in available inventory observed over the first half of this year have been offset by the corresponding increases in consumer costs,” Yun said on Capitol Hill, explaining that rate increases of roughly 2.5 percentage points have added about $800 per month to a median-priced house payment.
“This affordability crunch is felt most acutely as we move down the income scale and by minority households, given the current income distribution in America,” he continued. “That is why housing supply must be addressed to moderate home price and rent gains.”
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.”
Homebuying is as competitive and costly as ever as soaring mortgage rates make the market less inviting for many would-be sellers.
The share of home sellers who dropped their asking price shot up to a six-month-high of 15% for the four weeks ending May 1, up from 9% a year earlier. The 5.9% increase is the largest annual gain on record in Redfin’s weekly housing data back through 2015. For homebuyers, the typical monthly mortgage payment skyrocketed a record 42% to a new high during the same period. Although a growing share of sellers are responding to the palpable drop in homebuyer demand by lowering their prices, sellers remain far outnumbered by buyers, so the typical home flies off the market at the fastest pace on record and for more than its asking price.
“Homebuyers continue to be squeezed in nearly every way possible, which is causing some to take a step back from the market,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “Unfortunately for buyers hoping to find a deal as competition cools, sellers are pulling back even faster, which is keeping the market deep in seller’s territory. So even though price drops are becoming more common, most homes are still selling above asking price and in record time.”
The seasonally-adjusted Redfin Homebuyer Demand Index—a measure of requests for home tours and other home-buying services from Redfin agents—was down 1% year over year during the week ending May 1. It dropped 10% in the past four weeks, compared with a 1% decrease during the same period a year earlier.
Key housing market takeaways for 400+ U.S. metro areas:
Unless otherwise noted, the data in this report covers the four-week period ending May 1. Redfin’s housing market data goes back through 2012.
Data based on homes listed and/or sold during the period:
The median home sale price was up 17% year over year—the biggest increase since August—to a record $396,125.
The median asking price of newly listed homes increased 16% year over year to $408,458, a new all-time high.
The monthly mortgage payment on the median asking price home rose to a record high of $2,404 at the current 5.27% mortgage rate. This was up 42%—an all-time high—from $1,688 a year earlier, when mortgage rates were 2.96%.
Pending home sales were down 4% year over year, the largest decrease since mid-February.
New listings of homes for sale were down 6% from a year earlier, and have been down from 2021 since mid-March.
Active listings (the number of homes listed for sale at any point during the period) fell 18% year over year.
56% of homes that went under contract had an accepted offer within the first two weeks on the market, up from 54% a year earlier, down less than a percentage point from the record high during the four-week period ending March 27.
42% of homes that went under contract had an accepted offer within one week of hitting the market, up from 41% a year earlier, down less than a percentage point from the record high during the four-week period ending March 27.
Homes that sold were on the market for a record-low median of 15.5 days, down from 21.2 days a year earlier.
A record 56% of homes sold above list price, up from 47% a year earlier.
On average, 3.7% of homes for sale each week had a price drop. Overall, 14.9% dropped their price in the past four weeks, up from 11.2% a month earlier and 9.1% a year ago. This was the highest share since mid-November.
The average sale-to-list price ratio, which measures how close homes are selling to their asking prices, rose to an all-time high of 102.8%. In other words, the average home sold for 2.8% above its asking price. This was up from 101% a year earlier.
If you’re following along with the news today, you’ve likely heard about rising inflation. You’re also likely feeling the impact in your day-to-day life as prices go up for gas, groceries, and more. These rising consumer costs can put a pinch on your wallet and make you re-evaluate any big purchases you have planned to ensure they’re still worthwhile.
If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a home this year, you’re probably wondering if you should continue down that path or if it makes more sense to wait. While the answer depends on your situation, here’s how homeownership can help you combat the rising costs that come with inflation.
Homeownership Offers Stability and Security
Investopediaexplains that during a period of high inflation, prices rise across the board. That’s true for things like food, entertainment, and other goods and services, even housing. Both rental prices and home prices are on the rise. So, as a buyer, how can you protect yourself from increasing costs? The answer lies in homeownership.
Buying a home allows you to stabilize what’s typically your biggest monthly expense: your housing cost. If you get a fixed-rate mortgage on your home, you lock in your monthly payment for the duration of your loan, often 15 to 30 years. James Royal, Senior Wealth Management Reporter at Bankrate, says:
“A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to maintain the biggest portion of housing expenses at the same payment. Sure, property taxes will rise and other expenses may creep up, but your monthly housing payment remains the same.”
So even if other prices rise, your housing payment will be a reliable amount that can help keep your budget in check. If you rent, you don’t have that same benefit, and you won’t be protected from rising housing costs.
Use Home Price Appreciation to Your Benefit
While it’s true rising mortgage rates and home prices mean buying a house today costs more than it did a year ago, you still have an opportunity to set yourself up for a long-term win. Buying now lets you lock in at today’s rates and prices before both climb higher.
In inflationary times, it’s especially important to invest your money in an asset that traditionally holds or grows in value. The graph below shows how home price appreciation outperformed inflation in most decades going all the way back to the seventies – making homeownership a historically strong hedge against inflation (see graph below):
So, what does that mean for you? Today, experts say home prices will only go up from here thanks to the ongoing imbalance in supply and demand. Once you buy a house, any home price appreciation that does occur will be good for your equity and your net worth. And since homes are typically assets that grow in value (even in inflationary times), you have peace of mind that history shows your investment is a strong one.
If you’re ready to buy a home, it may make sense to move forward with your plans despite rising inflation. If you want expert advice on your specific situation and how to time your purchase, let’s connect.
Year-to-year, sales declined 2.4%. NAR’s chief economist calls it a “double whammy” for buyers who face rising mortgage rates and sustained price increases.
WASHINGTON – U.S. existing-home sales dipped in February, continuing a seesawing pattern of gains and declines over the last few months, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).
Each of the four major U.S. regions tracked in NAR’s monthly survey saw sales fall on a month-over-month basis. While sales activity year-over-year was also down overall, the South – the region that includes Florida – saw an increase while the remaining three regions reported drops.
Total existing-home sales – completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – sank 7.2% from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.02 million in February. Year-over-year, sales decreased 2.4% (6.17 million in February 2021).
“Housing affordability continues to be a major challenge as buyers are getting a double whammy: rising mortgage rates and sustained price increases,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Some who had previously qualified at a 3% mortgage rate are no longer able to buy at the 4% rate.
“Monthly payments have risen by 28% from one year ago – which interestingly is not a part of the consumer price index – and the market remains swift with multiple offers still being recorded on most properties.”
Total housing inventory at the end of February totaled 870,000 units, up 2.4% from January and down 15.5% from one year ago (1.03 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 1.7-month supply at the current sales pace, up from the record-low supply in January of 1.6 months, but down from 2.0 months in February 2021.
“The sharp jump in mortgage rates and increasing inflation is taking a heavy toll on consumers’ savings,” Yun says. “However, I expect the pace of price appreciation to slow as demand cools and as supply improves somewhat due to more home construction.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types in February was $357,300, up 15.0% from February 2021 ($310,600), with prices higher in all four regions. It’s the 120th consecutive months for year-over-year increases – the longest-running streak on record.
Properties typically remained on the market for 18 days in February, down from 19 days in January and 20 days in February 2021, with 84% of February homes on the market for less than a month.
First-time buyers made up 29% of February sales, an increase from 27% in January, though down from 31% in February 2021.
Individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 19% of homes in February, down from 22% in January and up from 17% in February 2021. All-cash sales accounted for 25% of transactions in February, down from 27% in January and up from 22% in February 2021.
Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – represented less than 1% of sales in February, equal to the percentage seen both month-to-month and year-to-year.
According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.76% in February, up from 3.45% in January. The average commitment rate across all of 2021 was 2.96%.
Single-family and condo/co-op sales: Single-family home sales jumped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million in February, down 7.0% month-to-month and down 2.2% year-to-year. The median existing single-family home price was $363,800 in February, up 15.5% from February 2021.
Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 670,000 units in February, down 9.5% from 740,000 in January and down 4.3% from one year ago. The median existing condo price was $305,400 in February, an annual increase of 10.9%.
“For the past couple of years, buyers have had to contend with a market of high demand, low inventory and a mix of uncertainties with COVID-19 protocols,” says NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith. “Consumers are presently challenged with higher mortgage rates, so now, more than ever, interested buyers need the trusted expertise of Realtors in order to navigate this current market.”
Regional breakdown: Existing-home sales in the Northeast slipped 11.5% in February, registering an annual rate of 690,000 – a 12.7% drop from February 2021. The median price in the Northeast was $383,700, up 7.1% from one year ago.
Existing-home sales in the Midwest sagged 11.3% from the prior month to an annual rate of 1,330,000 in February, a 1.5% decrease from February 2021. The median price in the Midwest was $248,900, a 7.5% climb from February 2021.
Existing-home sales in the South fell 5.1% in February month-to-month, posting an annual rate of 2,790,000 – which was an increase of 3.0% compared to February 2021. The median price in the South was $318,800, an 18.1% jump from one year earlier.
For the sixth straight month, the South experienced the highest pace of price appreciation compared to the other regions.
“Employment is vital for housing demand,” said Yun. “The Southern states are seeing faster job growth, and consequently, it’s the only region to experience a sales gain from a year ago.”
Existing-home sales in the West slid 4.7% from the previous month, reporting an annual rate of 1,210,000 in February, down 8.3% from one year ago. The median price in the West was $512,600, up 7.1% from February 2021.
The expected interest-rate increase will raise short-term borrowing costs for things like credit cards, and it often has an indirect impact on mortgage rates.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve launched a high-risk effort Wednesday to tame the worst inflation since the 1970s, raising its benchmark short-term interest rate and signaling potentially up to seven rate hikes this year.
The Fed’s quarter-point hike in its key rate, which it had pinned near zero since the pandemic recession struck two years ago, marks the start of its effort to curb the high inflation that has followed the recovery from the recession. The rate hikes will eventually mean higher loan rates for many consumers and businesses.
The central bank’s policymakers expect inflation to remain elevated and to end 2022 at 4.3%, according to updated quarterly projections they released Wednesday. That’s far above the Fed’s 2% annual target. The officials also now forecast much slower economic growth this year: 2.8%, down from its 4% estimate in December.
Chair Jerome Powell is steering the Fed into a sharp U-turn. Officials had kept rates ultra-low to support growth and hiring during the recession and its aftermath. As recently as December, Fed officials had expected to raise rates just three times this year. Now, its projected seven hikes would raise its short-term rate to 1.875% at the end of 2022. It could increase rates by a half-point at future meetings.
Fed officials also forecast four additional hikes in 2023, boosting its benchmark rate to 2.8%. That would be the highest level since March 2008. Borrowing costs for mortgage loans, credit cards and auto loans will likely rise as a result.
Powell is hoping that the rate hikes will achieve a difficult and narrow objective: Raising borrowing costs enough to slow growth and tame high inflation, yet not so much as to topple the economy into recession.
Yet many economists worry that with inflation already so high – it reached 7.9% in February, the worst in four decades – and with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine driving up gas prices, the Fed may have to raise rates even higher than it now expects and potentially tip the economy into recession.
By its own admission, the central bank underestimated the breadth and persistence of high inflation after the pandemic struck. Many economists say the Fed made its task riskier by waiting too long to begin raising rates.
Since its last meeting in January, the challenges and uncertainties for the Fed have escalated. Russia’s invasion has magnified the cost of oil, gas, wheat and other commodities. China has closed ports and factories again to try to contain a new outbreak of COVID, which will worsen supply chain disruptions and likely further fuel price pressures.
In the meantime, the sharp rise in average gas prices since the invasion, up more than 60 cents to $4.31 a gallon nationally, will send inflation higher while also probably slowing growth – two conflicting trends that are notoriously difficult for the Fed to manage simultaneously.
The economy’s steady expansion does provide some cushion against higher rates and more expensive gas. Consumers are spending at a healthy pace, and employers keep rapidly hiring. There are still a near-record 11.3 million job openings, far outnumbering the number of unemployed.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies about monetary policy and the state of the economy before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. Powell reiterated the Fed is gearing up to raise interest rates this month.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Wednesday the central bank is on track to start raising interest rates this month — likely by a quarter percentage point — in an effort to combat inflation, which is the highest it’s been in nearly 40 years.
But the Fed will proceed with caution, Powell told the House Financial Services Committee, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine adds more uncertainty to the economic outlook.
“The economics of these events are highly uncertain,” Powell said. “So far, we’ve seen energy prices move up further and those increases will move through the economy and push up headline inflation, and also they’re going to weigh on spending.”
The average price of gasoline in the U.S. approached $3.66 per gallon on Wednesday. Rising energy prices have been a significant driver of annual inflation, which hit 7.5% in January – the highest level since 1982.
Powell says it’s too soon to tell on Ukraine
Powell said it’s too soon to know how large or long-lasting price increases tied to events in Ukraine will be, so he and his colleagues on the central bank’s rate-setting committee are prepared to be flexible.
“We’re never on auto-pilot,” Powell said. “Those of us on the committee have an expectation that inflation will peak and begin to come down this year. And to the extent that inflation comes in higher or is more persistently high than that, then we would be prepared move more aggressively.”
Forecasters expect the Fed to impose additional interest rate hikes later this year in an effort to cool red-hot consumer demand, which has outstripped supply and driven prices sharply higher.