2019’s Housing Market Is Likely to Be Stronger Than We Thought—Here’s Why
Despite the housing slowdown that’s gripped the nation, higher prices and more home sales than anticipated are on the way.
By Clare Trapasso | Apr 23, 2019
Despite a real estate slowdown gripping the nation, this year’s housing market is expected to be busier than realtor.com® economists originally predicted late last year. That means more home sales—and higher prices—are on the way.
The anticipated uptick in activity is due to lower mortgage rates, which make homes more affordable for buyers. The economic team expected rates to climb to 5.5% in 2019, but instead they have hovered around 4%. (They were 4.17% on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages as of April 18, according to Freddie Mac data.) Economists say rates are now likely to rise a little to 4.5%, still well below what buyers were dreading.
However, it’ll be nothing like the feeding frenzy of recent years.
With Mortgage Rates at a Low, Loan and Refinance Applications Surge
Bucking Expectations, Mortgage Rates Are Falling for This Unexpected Reason
The 10 Surprising Housing Markets Poised to Rule in 2019
“It’s still going to be a lukewarm year for the housing market,” says Chief Economist Danielle Hale of realtor.com. “We’re going to see higher prices and slightly higher home sales than we expected. But home sales are still going to decline slightly as a result of the housing slowdown. There’s a gap between what sellers are looking for and buyers are hoping to pay.”
Find a lender who can offer competitive mortgage rates and help you with pre-approval.
Enter the ZIP code where you plan to buy a home
While a single percentage point difference may not seem that significant, it can add more than $100 to the monthly loan payment on a median-priced home of $300,000. (This assumes buyers put 20% down.) That can translate into tens of thousands of dollars over the life of a 30-year loan.
The downside for buyers—and upside for sellers—is that prices are expected to rise more than Hale’s team originally forecast, going up 2.9% in 2019 instead of 2.2%. That’s because the swelling ranks of buyers motivated by those lower mortgage rates will increase demand—and therefore prices.
Watch: Here’s What Has Surprised Our Real-Estate Economist in 2019
Meanwhile, realtor.com’s economists predict the number of home sales will almost hold steady, dipping just 0.3%. They originally believed the number of sales would fall by 2%.
The market has slowed down from previous years because sellers, seeing an end to the good days of high prices, rushed to put their homes on the market. But this happened at the same time that many buyers backed off because of those same high prices. The glut in supply led to lower price growth and fewer home sales.
But as always, local conditions will be the main factor for real estate in your market, Hale says.
“In some markets there’s still not enough housing available, so buyers are likely to find a competitive market,” she says. “But in some markets prices are so high that buyers are choosing to be patient and sit on the sidelines.”
Clare Trapasso is the senior news editor of realtor.com and an adjunct journalism professor at St. John’s University. She previously wrote for a Financial Times publication, the New York Daily News, and the Associated Press. She is also a licensed real estate agent with R New York. Contact her at email@example.com. Follow @claretrap