When will the US housing market improve? That’s not an easy one!
The wide gap between supply and demand that dominated the U.S. housing market in 2021 appears to have culminated in an almost 11 percent drop in sales at the end of the year.
The number of seasonally-adjusted home sales in December dropped 3.6 percent month-over-month and 10.7 percent year-over-year, according to a report from Redfin. The monthly drop is the largest since May 2020, while the annual decline was the largest since June
“Home sales are slumping, but not for lack of demand,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “There are plenty of homebuyers on the hunt, but there is just nothing for sale.”
That shows in the number of active home listings (seasonally-adjusted), which dropped 18.9 percent year-over-year to a record low in December. Detroit was the only one of 88 markets tracked to see listings rise year-over-year, while San Francisco saw one of the biggest drops at 46.1 percent.
Meanwhile, new real estate listings were down 13.4 percent year-over-year, the biggest decline since May 2020.
The small amount of inventory for big demand is pushing prices upwards. According to Redfin, the median sale price hit $382,900 in December, marking a 15.2 percent jump year-over-year and the 17th straight month of double-digit annual percentage increases.
Pricing may not look any better in the first weeks of 2022.
In January, I expect to see more Boston condo buyers and sellers in the market, but demand will increase more than supply – pushing prices higher at the start of this year.
Still, the news isn’t all bad for homebuyers. In December, the average home spent 24 days on the market, seven fewer days than a year earlier but nine days more than six months earlier. That’s one hallmark of a market that is beginning to look slightly less competitive.
Additionally, 43 percent of homes sold above the listing price in December. While that’s 9 percentage points higher year-over-year, it’s 14 percentage points lower than it was in June. The average sale-to-list price ratio is also down 2.1 percentage points from June.
Updated: Boston Real Estate Blog 2022
When will the US housing market improve?
Everyone wants to know.
Some, of course, think it never will. To those I say, good luck, let me know where to contact you, in that cave on the hill where you’re going to hide out until Armageddon (or until the asteroid hits Mars …).
Well, this is an easy question to answer … if you’re a genius.
Which he is.
Jonathan Miller tells you all you need to know (although, to be fair, in this case, he shares his geniuses with Fannie Mae PMI Chief Economist David Berson).
Mr Berson has put together a chart that compares “purchase” mortgage activity (you know, when you buy a home) with “all” mortgage activity (refinancings, home equity loans, purchases).
What’d he find out?
In the period 2004-2006, the value of “all” activity was significantly higher than due to home purchases, alone. This was contrary to the norm.
Looking At Refinance Mortgages: An Early Warning Indicator Of House Price Risk? – By Jonathan J. Miller, Matrix
Since non-sale transactions drove the mortgage business over this period and were not transactions driven by buyers and sellers haggling over price, it likely placed the housing mortgage market at greater risk.
You can see the 2004-2006 period were all transactions were well above purchases providing an early warning to the mortgage market problems we are seeing now.
The main reason (in my opinion – geniuses defined) that we’re having trouble now is money was too cheap and non-accountable.
Prior to 2004, although home prices were increasing rapidly, low inventory, available credit, and eager, able and willing buyers drove the market.
Those things will continue after we get rid of all this dead weight.
Or, after the asteroid hits …
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