Here are the updated housing market trends & predictions for 2020 & 2021. Home buying and selling prospects drastically improved in August as economic concerns continued to ease for both buyers and sellers. Significant uncertainty remains for the housing market going into the fall, as the economy faces a long and bumpy recovery in the upcoming months. Nonetheless, real estate is still a hot seller’s market and improved selling prospects are a good sign and will need to remain on that path to bring more homes into the market.
Record-low mortgage rates and shortage of inventory has kept the US housing market strong with respect to buyer demand. With unusually high buyer interest this late in the homebuying season, buyers are moving much faster than this time last year to beat out competition and lock in low mortgage rates. The national median listing price on Realtor.com was $350,000, up 10.1 percent year-over-year while prices rose 8.9 percent in larger markets. While rising prices are making sellers rejoice and list more & more homes, the buyers are worried as home prices rose during the lockdown and could rise even further due to heavy buyer competition and a significant shortage of supply.
The new listings are quickly taken out of the market from heavy buyer competition. Therefore, housing units are still in short supply with unsold inventory sitting at a 3.1-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 3.9 months in June and down from the 4.2-month figure recorded in July 2019. This figure is a sign of a strong seller’s real estate market. The national inventory has declined by 36.4 percent year-over-year, and inventory in large real estate markets has decreased by 38.1 percent in August.
Buying activity slowed due to the pandemic but has significantly rebounded since June. The pace with which other buyers are willing to make offers, and a desire to lock in record-low interest rates are driving the buyer demand. Growth in housing demand, asking prices, and sales have all recovered in the past two months, but new listings remain the missing link. After a temporary boost in the new listing in mid-August, the growth of new listings again has dropped again. Further improvement in the new listings could be limited going into the fall as the peak sales cycle subsides.
Home prices rose during the pandemic and could rise even further due to heavy buyer competition and a significant shortage of supply. For the first time, the national median sales price surpassed the $300,000 level. The national median existing-home price for all housing types in July was $304,100, up 8.5% from July 2019 ($280,400), as prices rose in every region. It is a new record. July’s national price increase marks 101 straight months of year-over-year gains. The US median existing-home price was about 12% higher than its previous peak, which is a modest rise since over 10 years have passed.
In fact, in just the second quarter alone, the housing demand went from being down 41% to up 40% year-over-year. That’s a quick and huge bounce back even seen before in the housing market. Low mortgage rates, population growth, and an increase in buyer interest are further driving the demand for available housing. Earlier, in the first quarter, some economists had predicted that housing prices would fall in 2020 but such forecasts are losing grounds as the U.S. housing market, so far, remains undaunted by the economic recession.
Effectively, it’s taken nearly five months for sellers to make a full return into the housing market. During this pandemic, the real estate activity has been continuing (at a slower pace) with some buyers & sellers merely shifting their timing down the line. The seller’s real estate markets in the pre-COVID period are in a better position for the recovery in sales in the coming months of the fall season.
On the supply side, it is interesting to see that the housing markets where new supply is improving the fastest, tend to be higher priced than those that haven’t yet recovered. This suggests that sellers are returning faster in the more expensive housing markets like Seattle, San Jose, and San Francisco. Given the current fundamentals, all these housing components should continue to recover nationally as well as regionally. The latest weekly housing data released on September 5, 2020, by Realtor.com, shows that median listing prices grew at 10.8 percent over last year, the fastest pace of growth in more than two years.
New listings were down 12 percent. The new listings trend regained momentum, after declining for three consecutive weeks. This will provide some slight relief for buyers facing few options to choose from. The overall four-week trend points to an improvement in the horizon but sustained new listings growth could put a dent in fall home sales.
Total inventory was down 39 percent. With the number of active buyers growing rapidly and beyond seasonal normals, more deals are taking place late in the summer. They’re quickly putting offers on homes that come up for sale, driving the overall number of homes for sale lower. That continues to put a dent on overall inventory volumes.
Time on the market is still 12 days faster than last year. This means homes are sitting on the market for much less time, despite notably higher price tags. In addition to the sellers’ market pressures, in which homes sell quickly after listing, measured time on market is also dropping as the share of fresh listings rises.
Week ending Sep 5
Week ending Aug 29
Week ending Aug 22
First Two Weeks March
Time on Market
12 days faster YOY
10 days faster YOY
9 days faster YOY
4 days faster YOY
Median Listing Prices
Single-Family Housing Market
The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) index is designed to measure sentiment for the U.S. single-family housing market and is a widely watched gauge of the outlook for the U.S. housing sector. Since housing is a large investment, housing market indices help to monitor the overall health of the economy. In a sign that housing continues to lead the economy forward, builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes increased six points to 78 in August, beating market expectation of 73.
It was the highest reading since December 1998, as sentiment rebounded following the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions and as record-low mortgage rates boosted demand for new homes. A reading over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good compared with those who view them as poor.
New Home Sales
Sales of new single-family houses in July 2020 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 901,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 13.9 percent (±20.0 percent) above the revised June rate of 791,000 and is 36.3 percent (±27.4 percent) above the July 2019 estimate of 661,000. The median sales price of new houses sold in July 2020 was $330,600. The average sales price was $391,300. The seasonally-adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of July was 299,000. This represents a supply of 4.0 months at the current sales rate.
Courtesy of Census.gov
As far as home sales are concerned there could again be a dip in sales due to the rise in infections in the fall season. Till the time coronavirus pandemic exists it will lead to a see-saw recovery with ups and downs. Let us discuss in detail the various housing indices & their predictions for 2020 & 2021. We have updated this article with the latest housing market report from various credible sources like Realtor.com (check reference section).
Housing Market 2020: Is It Crashing or Recovering?
The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) increased 3.3 points in August to 77.5, recovering after falling slightly in July and continuing the rebound from May and June. Year over year, the HPSI is down 16.3 points. The index which measures housing attitudes, intentions, and perceptions, using six questions from the National Housing Survey® (NHS), is a good indicator of the recovery and buyer and seller behavior. Five of the six HPSI components increased month over month, with consumers reporting a more optimistic view of both home buying and home-selling conditions, but a slightly more pessimistic view of expected home price growth.
The jump in August more than makes up for the lost ground in July when both buyers and sellers reported significant short term challenges. The latest survey reveals sellers, in particular, are quickly gaining leverage. Those who think it’s a ‘good time to sell’ (48%) have now outnumbered those who think it’s a ‘bad time to sell’ (44%) once again for the first time since the pandemic started. The move comes as more potential sellers are realizing the demand for homes has quickly bounced back in their market and prices have regained strength.
Buyers too reported improved conditions, with increasingly more feeling it’s a ‘good time to buy’ (59%) and fewer feeling it’s a ‘bad time to buy’ (35%). Mortgage rates and slow but steady improvements to the job landscape continue to propel confidence for first-time buyers.
According to Realtor.com’s latest recovery report, the Housing Market Recovery Index reached 107.7 nationwide for the week ending September 5, posting a 1.5 point increase over last week and 7.7 points above the pre-COVID baseline (Click on the image below to find out how to read the recovery index).
This week’s demand-supply imbalance improved slightly, as the housing demand index declined to 121.0, while the housing supply index increased to 95.7. Earlier the recovery index had reached 106.6 nationwide for the week ending July 18, bringing the index above the pre-COVID recovery benchmark for the first time since March. As a result, measures of growth in the pace of sales, demand, and price have surpassed last year’s levels. Growth in supply remains below seasonal normals but could reach recovery in the weeks to come.
Week ending 9/5
Overall Housing Recovery Index
Housing Demand Growth Index
Listing Price Growth Index
New Supply Growth Index
The pace of Sales Index
Regionally, the West (114.1) continues to lead the pack in the recovery, with its index increasing 0.7 points above last week. Locally, a total of 42 markets have crossed the recovery benchmark as of this week. The overall recovery index is showing the greatest recovery in Las Vegas, Riverside-San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Baltimore.
Is Housing Demand Increasing or Decreasing?
Yes, according to the demand index tracked by Realtor.com, it stayed well above recovery at 121.0. However, it decreased by 3.3 points over the prior week. It is currently 21.0 points above the January baseline. This demand index is calculated by tracking growth in online search activity. Homebuyer interest continues to outpace last year’s levels over the last few months.
Despite record-high prices, short supply, and economic uncertainty, buyer demand continues to run ahead of supply, sustaining annual house price growth of 10.1 percent. Housing demand is expected to remain stronger than last year for the rest of 2020. All 50 largest markets are now positioned above the recovery trend. The most recovered markets for home-buying interest include Miami, New York, Minneapolis, Jacksonville, and Sacramento, with a housing demand growth index between 141 and 150.
Are Housing Prices Increasing or Decreasing?
The ‘home price’ component of the recovery index – which tracks growth in asking prices – increased by 0.2 points last week. This is 7.2 points above the January baseline. Housing prices are increasing due to tight supply and higher demand. Due to the extremely tight inventory, the sellers have regained leverage with the fastest listing price growth recorded in more than two years. Although the fastest price growth has been recorded since January 2018 it is yet to be seen whether higher asking prices will translate into higher selling prices. A seller would always prefer sales to list price ratio of 100% or more. As inventory and foot traffic grow through the end of the summer, we’ll get a clear indication of this ratio.
Regionally, more than half of markets are now positioned above the recovery trend, with 31 of the 50 largest markets seeing growth in asking prices surpass the January baseline, one more than the previous week. In the top 10 most-recovered markets, asking prices are now growing at 11 percent year-over-year, on average. The most recovered markets for housing prices include Pittsburgh, Austin, Cleveland, Riverside-San Bernardino, and New Orleans, with a home price growth index between 108 and 113.
Are Home Sales Increasing or Decreasing?
Home sales are recovering from the setback of the coronavirus led crisis with August becoming the peak homebuying season. The housing sales are predicted to recover at a faster rate in this quarter. The ‘pace of sales’ component saw continued signs of improvement in this week as well and continues to remain above the pre-COVID baseline. The time-on-market index reached 107.2, up 0.2 points from last week, and 7.2 points above the January baseline. This component tracks the differences in time-on-market and an increase of 7.2 points suggests that buyers and sellers are connecting at a faster rate.
47 of the 50 largest markets are now seeing the time on market index surpass the January baseline, unchanged from last week. In the top 10 most recovered markets for the pace of sales, time-on-market is now down 28 percent, on average, year-over-year. For this week, the most recovered markets for time-on-market include Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Baltimore, Virginia Beach, and Riverside-San Bernardino with a pace of sales growth index between 133 and 154. Seller’s real estate markets in the pre-COVID period are better positioned for a recovery in the months ahead.
Is Housing Supply Increasing or Decreasing?
In the week ending September 5, the housing supply component, which tracks the growth of new listings, has increased to 95.7. It is up 3.2 points over the prior week after three weeks of declines. It is currently 7.4 points below the January baseline. In the first week of August, the index had managed to reach the January baseline as more sellers re-entered the market. It looks like it was a temporary boost in new listings. This seasonality boost weakened later in August. Further improvement in the housing supply could be limited going into the fall as the peak cycle subsides. Also, sellers re still very cautious amid the lingering coronavirus concerns, and economic uncertainty going into the fall.
Regionally, 20 of the 50 largest markets saw the new listings index surpass the January baseline, six more than last week. The most recovered markets for new listings included Las Vegas, San Jose, Phoenix, San Diego, and Oklahoma City, with a new listings growth index between 115 and 153.
Trends show that sellers were returning faster in the more expensive housing markets. More homes being listed for sale in areas with wealthier demographics goes some way to explain the strength of the housing market at a time of recession and rising unemployment.
Are Rents Increasing or Decreasing?
Increasing sales, quicker turnover, and rising prices are also driving up rental rates. Real estate data analytics firm CoreLogic found that the average rent for a single-family home in May rose by 1.7 percent on an annualized basis. Although this represents a drop from the roughly 3 percent increase of a year earlier, rents on the cheapest homes still rose by 2.8 percent across the board. This is resulting in making things even harder for the families who don’t already have a foothold in the real estate market.
According to Realtor.com’s Market Hotness Index, measuring time-on-the-market data and listing views per property, the east coast accounts for seven of the top 10 zip codes, with a focus in the northeast region. Although these markets were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic first, they were also some of the first to recover, with caseloads easing over time. The resulting pent up demand has driven homebuyers back to these markets, but now with an increasing preference for neighborhoods outside of the dense city centers and more toward suburban areas.
Affordability continues to be a key factor in attracting buyers to these neighborhoods. The median listing price in the hottest zip codes was $335,000, up 1.8 percent year-over-year. However, these prices were 15 percent cheaper than their surrounding metros, on average, and essentially right in line with the national median price of $331,000 during the same period. The top 10 zip codes follow the overall trend of homebuyers shifting their buying behavior in response to the pandemic by increasing their search toward less dense suburbs beyond urban city centers.
The 2020 Hottest ZIP Codes in America by Realtor.com
Views Per Property Y/Y
Median Days on Market
Median Listing Price
Colorado Springs, CO
South Portland, ME
All of this shows that with the opening up U.S economy, the key housing indicators have begun to turn around. Yearly declines in newly listed inventory have slowed and listing prices have recovered after reaching their low point during mid-April. The overall move above recovery was much needed and it will need to hold for at least another 10 weeks to make up for the lost activity in the second quarter of the year. However, a sustained seller comeback is uncertain — the fear of the rise in coronavirus cases in the fall season is still looming large. The health & economic crisis poses a real upward hill for housing participants going into the fall.
Housing Market 2020: Monthly Report (August)
The housing market before the pandemic was remarkably strong. The coronavirus crisis response was unprecedented. The federal government ordered a de facto shutdown of the entire private economy, closing an estimated eighty percent of businesses. It has caused unemployment to soar to at least ten percent, while tens of millions are idled. According to the National Association of Realtors®, overall sales decreased year-over-year, down 17.2% (4.33 million units in April 2020) from a year ago (5.23 million in April 2019).
The national median existing single-family home price in the first quarter of 2020 was $274,600, up 7.7% from the first quarter of 2019. The national median existing single-family home price in the first quarter of 2020 was $274,600, up 7.7% from the first quarter of 2019 ($254,900). Housing market data of the last month showed that it is beginning to heat up again as more sellers and buyers enter the market.
According to Realtor.com, listing prices in July were up 8.5% higher than a year earlier. Prices continue to march upwards in 48 out of 50 larger metros. Even the costliest metros like Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA saw a 24.3 percent increase in housing prices as compared to last year. As home sales being to accelerate and business activity continues to expand at a cautious pace, it is a long way to go.
Buyer demand is inching up but many sellers have yet to return to the market. As inventory declines in the major U.S housing markets, it raises new challenges for both buyers and sellers. Some real estate market experts feel that the recovery has already begun as suggested by the housing market report of July. However, it will likely be gradual, and it will also be subject to the pandemic flaring up again in the fall season.
Now we’ll discuss how housing market trends and forecasts have changed after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These key housing figures and their forecast are changing every month depending upon the level of economic uncertainty caused by the outbreak. As you peruse further, we’ll discuss some of the key housing indicators, and based on them we’d get reasonably accurate housing market predictions for 2020 and 2021.
Realtor.com’s recent national housing report shows that improving but continued lack of newly listed homes on the market is driving inventory to all-time lows and is also steadily pushing prices up higher into double-digit growth territory for the first time since 2017. Homes continue to be quickly sold as pent-up buyer demand eats away at a small inventory of homes for sale, and sellers are still slow to bring new homes onto the market.
National inventory declined by 36.4 percent year-over-year, and inventory in large markets decreased by 38.1 percent.
The inventory of newly listed properties declined by 11.8 percent nationally over the past year, and also 11.4 percent in large markets.
The August national median listing price was $350,000, up 10.1 percent year-over-year.
Housing prices rose 8.9 percent in larger markets.
Nationally, the typical home spent 56 days on the market in July, the same as last year, and 4 days less as compared to the previous month.
The typical home spent seven days less on the market compared to last year in larger markets.
Housing Market Supply And Trends
Nationally, inventory decreased 36.4 percent year-over-year, a faster rate of decline compared to the 32.6 percent year-over-year drop in July. This amounted to a loss of 493,000 listings compared to August of 2019. The volume of newly listed properties in August decreased by 11.8% percent since last year. While still well below last year’s levels, the rate of decline in newly listed properties for sale has improved a lot from a peak decline of 44.1 percent year-over-year in April, and a decline of 13.4 percent year-over-year last month.
Regionally, the Western US housing market has seen the greatest improvement in newly listed properties, now down only 3 percent year-over-year, compared to down 6.6 percent in the northeastern metros, 14.4 percent in southern metros, and 18.0 percent in midwestern metros. Housing inventory in the 50 largest U.S. metros overall declined by 38.1 percent year-over-year in August. This is acceleration compared to the 34.8 percent year-over-year decline in July.
The metros which saw the biggest declines in inventory include Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN (-55.9 percent); Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA (-55.5 percent); and Providence-Warwick, RI-MA (-51.7 percent).
In August, none of the largest 50 metros saw an inventory increase on a year-over-year basis and 44 out of 50 saw greater inventory declines than last month. However, 34 out of the 50 markets saw the yearly decline in newly listed properties improve somewhat since last month, an indication that homes are coming onto the market and selling. Overall, new listings decreased 11.4 percent year-over-year in the nation’s 100 largest metros.
The metros with the steepest declines in housing inventory in May 2020 were – Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD (-38.6 percent); Providence-Warwick, RI-MA (-35.8%); and Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD (-34.5%).
According to the National Association of Realtors, the total number of homes available for sale continued to be constrained in July as well. Their data for August is not released yet.
Total housing inventory at the end of July totaled 1.50 million units, down from both 2.6% in June and 21.1% from one year ago (1.90 million).
Total housing inventory at the end of June totaled 1.57 million units, up 1.3% from May, but still down 18.2% from one year ago (1.92 million).
Total housing inventory at the end of May totaled 1.55 million units, up 6.2% from April, and down 18.8% from one year ago (1.91 million).
Total housing inventory at the end of April totaled 1.47 million units, down 1.3% from March, and down 19.7% from one year ago (1.83 million).
Unsold inventory sits at a 3.1-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 3.9 months in June and down from the 4.2-month figure recorded in July 2019.
Unsold inventory was at 3.4-months in March 2020, when this pandemic hit the nation.
What Is The Housing Inventory Forecast?
While more sellers are comfortable entering the housing market compared to previous months, the lack of further improvement in newly listed properties signals that a return to normal conditions for the housing market is still just beyond reach at this time. The number of new listings is increasing, but they are quickly taken out of the market from heavy buyer competition and pent up demand.
Based on realtor.com data, the volume of new listings has also been trending lower over the past couple of months, as sellers across the country were reluctant to wade into uncertain U.S. housing markets. New listings are an important contributor to the volume of home sales, and a failure of new listings to improve beyond the current pace could prove to be an obstacle for further sales improvements.
Due to an ongoing constrain in new listings, the existing home sales are expected to be 15 percent lower in 2020. Inventory will remain low, but the rate of decline steadies and the mix of homes for sale shifts toward greater availability of lower-priced homes. Sellers continue to be cautious, and further improvement could be constrained by lingering coronavirus concerns, and economic uncertainty going into the fall. A failure of new listings to improve beyond the current pace could prove to be an obstacle for further sales improvements, given their strong correlation with sales.
Housing Market Prices And Trends
In August, the median national home listing price on Realtor.com grew by 10.1 percent year-over-year, to a new high of $350,000. This is the first time the market has seen double-digit year-over-year listing price growth since 2017. This is an acceleration from the 8.5 percent year-over-year growth seen in July ($349,000). The nation’s median listing price per square foot also grew by 11.9 percent year-over-year, an acceleration from the 9.5 percent growth seen last month.
In April & May, the nation’s median listing price growth had deaccelerated, driven by diminished seller expectations and a shift in the mix of homes for sale. In June, the median national home listing price growth accelerated. It grew by 5.1 percent year-over-year, to a new high of $342,000. This is an acceleration from the 1.6 percent year-over-year growth seen in May, 0.6 percent year-over-year growth seen in April, and 3.8 percent year-over-year growth seen in March.
National Housing Price Trends From March till August
In the first two weeks of March, the median listing prices were increasing 4.4 percent year-over-year on average.
The median list price on pending contracts in the four weeks through April 26 was up 2.6% from one year ago.
The April national median listing price was $320,000, up 0.6 percent year-over-year.
This was a further deceleration from the 3.8 percent year-over-year growth seen in March.
In the three weeks of May ending May 9, May 16, and May 23, the median national listing price posted an increase of 1.4 percent, 1.5 percent, and 3.1 percent year-over-year, respectively.
Locally, 77 of 100 large metros saw asking prices increase over last year.
In May 2020, the median national home listing price grew by 1.6 percent year-over-year, to a new high of $330,000.
This is a re-acceleration from the 0.6 percent year-over-year growth seen in April.
In June, the median national home listing price grew by 5.1 percent year-over-year, to a new high of $342,000.
This is an acceleration from the 1.6 percent year-over-year growth seen in May.
The nation’s median listing price per square foot also grew by 7.7 percent year-over-year, an acceleration from the 5.4 percent growth seen last month.
The July national median listing price was $349,000, up 8.5 percent year-over-year. Prices rose 7.8 percent in larger markets.
This is an acceleration from the 5.1 percent year-over-year growth seen in June.
The nation’s median listing price per square foot also grew by 9.5 percent year-over-year, an acceleration from the 7.7 percent growth seen in June.
The median national home listing price grew by 10.1 percent year-over-year, to a new high of $350,000 in August.
This is an acceleration from the 8.5 percent year-over-year growth seen in July.
The nation’s median listing price per square foot also grew by 11.9 percent year-over-year, an acceleration from the 9.5 percent growth seen last month.
Within the nation’s largest metros, the median listing price growth also accelerated compared to last month. Listing prices in the nation’s largest metros grew by an average of 8.9 percent compared to last year, an increase from the 7.8 percent year-over-year gain seen last month. Regionally, prices are increasing most in the Northeastern housing markets, where they are now growing at an average rate of 12.4 percent year-over-year, compared to a growth rate of 10.8 percent for the midwestern metros, 8.8 percent for western metros, and 6.5 percent for southern metro housing markets.
Of the largest 50 metros, 49 saw year-over-year gains in median listing prices in August, up from 48 last month. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD (+18.6 percent); Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN (+17.8 percent); and Cleveland-Elyria, OH (+15.6 percent); posted the highest year-over-year median list price growth in August. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL (-0.2 percent) was the only metro to see a year-over-year decline in listing prices.
Housing Price Growth in The Nation’s Largest Metros
Highest Year-Over-Year Price Gains
Highest Year-Over-Year Price Declines
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA (+14.9%)
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI (-3.4%)
Pittsburgh, PA (+14.0%); and Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN (+12.1%)
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX (-3.2%)
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA (-3.1%)
Pittsburgh, PA (+23.8%)
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL (-2.3%)
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA (+21.4%)
Jacksonville, FL (-0.8%)
Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN (+16.6%)
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX (-0.7%)
Pittsburgh, PA (+25.0%)
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL (-1.5%)
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA (+24.3%)
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL (-0.9%)
Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN (+18.5%)
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD (+18.6 percent)
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL (-0.2 percent)
Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN (+17.8 percent)
Cleveland-Elyria, OH (+15.6 percent)
Home Price Forecast
With supply-constrained and demand boosted, house prices seem to rest on solid foundations during the Covid-19 outbreak. In 2019, the average home cost around 250,000 dollars. The general forecast is that home prices will fall through the end of 2020 before recovering in the spring of 2021. For example, Zillow housing market predictions show prices falling through the fall of 2021. They expect to see home prices recovering in 2021.
US housing market predictions for 2021 say prices to remain unchanged year over year at best. The decline in sales is projected to be accompanied by a flattening in price growth. With the supply of available homes continuing to balance, and the entry-level demand is expected to remain strong. Mortgage rates are anticipated to stay at near 3% over the next 18 months. Home prices will likely appreciate 4% in 2020, before moderating to 3% in 2021 as more new supply reaches the market, according to Yun, NAR’s chief economist.
Realtor.com’s National Housing Forecast shows that prices are expected to increase by 1.1 percent in 2020. Before COVID-19 went viral, US housing market predictions for 2020 showed appreciation of roughly 1 percent. Existing home sales were predicted to fall about two percent, while single-family starts were predicted to increase six percent. Many real estate experts do not predict a steep price declines in the next 12 months. Home prices are holding up to the decline in transaction activity. Price gains are reaccelerating as the mix of homes for sale appears to be reverting toward pricier properties.
Housing Market Sales Trends
Homes for sale in August were being scooped up more quickly than last year, as pent-up buyer demand continues to fuel a hot late-summer housing market. The typical home spent 56 days on the market this August, which is five days fewer than last year. In the 50 largest U.S. metros, the typical home spent 45 days on the market, and homes spent seven days less on the market, on average, compared to last August.
Among these 50 largest metros, the time a typical property spends on the market improved most in northeastern markets, where properties now typically spend 11 fewer days on the market than last year, followed by southern markets (-7 days), western markets (-6 days) and midwestern markets (-3 days).
Home sales generally pick up in the spring-summer season. People start shopping for new homes around Spring Break with the hope of moving over holiday weekends like Memorial Day weekend or moving during the summer when it has the least impact on their kids’ education.
This is why housing market predictions always include an increase in sales between March and September. The federal government’s shutdown of so-called non-essential businesses put a hold on most real estate transactions. The existing-home sales marked a three-month decline in sales (March to May) as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Existing-home sales continue to recover at a record pace in July, after showing strong signs of a market turnaround in the previous month, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Home sales, which had gone on a declining spree due to social distancing & economic unpredictability, have now reached the pre-COVID levels. The month of June recorded a spike of 24.7% in existing home sales from June, according to N.A.R. These include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops. June’s record monthly increase in sales was 20.7%. Sales as a whole rose year-over-year, up 8.7% from a year ago in July 2019.
The released date of August Existing-Home Sales by N.A.R. is September 21. Total existing-home sales that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, jumped 24.7% from June to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.86 million in July. The previous record monthly increase in sales was 20.7% in June of this year. Sales as a whole rose year-over-year, up 8.7% from a year ago (5.39 million in July 2019).
Single-family homes are continuing to outperform condominium units. Single-family home sales sat at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.28 million in July, up 23.9% from 4.26 million in June, and up 9.8% from one year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $307,800 in July, up 8.5% from July 2019.
Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 580,000 units in July, up 31.8% from June and equal to a year ago. The median existing condo price was $270,100 in July, an increase of 6.4% from a year ago.
Housing Sales By Region
July 2020 existing-home sales jumped 30.6%, recording an annual rate of 640,000, a 5.9% decrease from a year ago.
The median price in the Northeast was $317,800, up 4.0% from July 2019.
Existing-home sales jumped 27.5% to an annual rate of 1,390,000 in July, up 10.3% from a year ago.
The median price in the Midwest was $244,500, an 8.0% increase from July 2019.
Existing-home sales shot up 19.4% to an annual rate of 2.59 million in July, up 12.6% from the same time one year ago.
The median price in the South was $268,500, a 9.9% increase from a year ago.
Existing-home sales climbed 30.5% to an annual rate of 1,240,000 in July, a 7.8% increase from a year ago.
The median price in the West was $453,800, up 11.3% from July 2019.
First-time buyers were responsible for 34% of sales in July, down from 35% in June 2020 and up from 32% in July 2019. Individual investors or second-home buyers, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15% of homes in July, up from both 9% in June 2020 and from 11% in July 2019. All-cash sales accounted for 16% of transactions in July, equal to the percentage in June 2020 and down from 19% in July 2019. Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – represented less than 1% of sales in July, down from 3% in June up from 2% in June 2019.
Pending home sales continued to ascend in June, sustaining two consecutive months of increases in contract activity. In July, the NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), rose 5.9% to 122.1. Year-over-year, contract signings rose 15.5%. An index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001.
All four regional indices recorded increases in contract activity on a month-over-month basis in July. The Northeast PHSI grew 25.2% to 112.3 in July, a 20.6% jump from a year ago. In the Midwest, the index rose 3.3% to 114.6 last month, up 15.4% from July 2019. Pending home sales in the South increased 0.9% to an index of 142.0 in July, up 14.9% from July 2019. The index in the West rose 6.8% in July to 106.4, up 13.2% from a year ago.
Housing Market Sales Forecast
Home sales are constrained by low inventory and diminished seller and buyer confidence as the effects of COVID linger in the labor market. However, real estate activity has begun to see signs of improvement and growth. The housing sales recovery is strong, as buyers are eager to purchase homes and properties that they had been eyeing during the shutdown. This increase in buyer activity can go on for many months ahead as long as mortgage rates remain low and jobs continue to recover.
Capital Economics’ housing market predictions are that we’ll see a one-third decline in home sales for the summer of 2020. Fannie Mae is assuming that the economic shutdown will last through the summer season and spike in unemployment will drag on the housing market for the entire year. This is why Fannie Mae is predicting a 15 percent drop in home sales for 2020 over 2019 numbers.
Realtor.com’s home sales recovery index saw continued signs of improvement for the fifth week (Ending July 18) in a row (and is extremely close to the pre-COVID baseline). The time-on-market index reached 99.7, up 3.4 points over last week, and now just 0.3 points below the January baseline, suggesting buyers and sellers are connecting at a faster rate. However, further improvement in the pace of sales remains highly dependent on each market’s ability to contain COVID-19 and weather the economic impact.
For the year 2020: According to N.A.R,’s recent forecast, for all of 2020, existing-home sales are expected to increase by 1.1% compared to 2019, with sales ramping up to 5.4 million by the fourth quarter. According to their chief economist, Lawrence Yun, they are witnessing a true V-shaped sales recovery as homebuyers continue their strong return to the housing market.
For the year 2021, Yun projects existing-home sales to reach 5.86 million, supported by an economy that he expects to expand by 4% and a low-interest-rate environment, with the 30-year mortgage rate average of 3.2%.
New home sales are expected to be higher this year than last, and annual existing-home sales are now projected to be up – even after missing the spring buying season due to the pandemic lockdown.
Housing Market Crash: Is It Going To Crash In 2020 or 2021?
With 10 years having now passed since the Great Recession, the U.S. has been on the longest period of continued economic expansion on record. The housing market has been along for much of the ride and continues to benefit greatly from the overall health of the economy. However, hot economies eventually cool and with that, hot housing markets move more towards balance.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Realtor.com’s national housing forecast was that home price growth will flatten, with an expected increase of 0.8 percent. Inventory was predicted to remain constrained, especially at the entry-level price segment. Mortgage rates were predicted to likely bump up to 3.88 percent by the end of the year. Tight inventory coupled with rising mortgage rates would have lead to dropping sales. Buyers were expected to continue to move to affordability, benefiting smaller and mid-sized markets.
The housing market predictions were pointing out that all the housing indices would trend upward for the nation as a whole as well as in every state, including the top 100 metro areas. After the coronavirus pandemic came into being, the housing market forecast runs the gamut from optimistic to pessimistic. The pace of home sales relative to inventory reached a new record high in February, although hints of deceleration were beginning to surface.
The median existing-home price for all housing types in March was $280,600, up 8.0% from March 2019 ($259,700), as prices increased in every region. The median home price gains marked 97 straight months of year-over-year gains (nationally). In March, the unsold inventory was equal to a 3.4-month supply at the current sales pace, up from three months in February and down from the 3.8-month figure (from a year ago).
Zillow had earlier predicted that there will be a housing recession in 2020. They blamed monetary policy for this; the market has been expanding rapidly but is due for a correction. They also cite housing affordability or a lack thereof. That means the Millennials hitting the ideal age to buy their first home often can’t afford it or build it. Nor are we going to see the masses of regulation that limit land use and drive up housing costs repealed any time soon.
Minor tweaks to allow for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) or new denser multifamily housing units take years to achieve anything. What does this mean for the housing market in 2020? We’ll see prices for affordable and starter homes continue to increase at near double-digit rates while the general real estate market goes up at near or just above the rate of inflation. Specific areas may appreciate or depreciate depending on inventory and demand. We can use the consumer’s demand for each generation to give us a housing market forecast for 2020 and beyond.
The inflation of new home prices has slowed to something close to the rate of inflation. However, we shouldn’t expect housing prices to fall, since the cost of new construction is going up. A lack of people in the skilled trades and increases in the minimum wage will increase the pay rates of those building homes. That’s aside from the steadily inflating material costs. Baby Boomers continue to have a major impact on the housing market, though this is radically different from how older generations impacted housing markets in the past. Baby Boomers are much more likely to remain healthy and active in their old age.
This means they’re less likely to pass-away or sell the family home to a young family and move into assisted living. When the retiree decides to downsize, they may sell the 2500 square foot single-family home, but they compete for a smaller starter home instead of moving into a retired adult community. The divorce rate and broken families of the past few decades exacerbate things, too. Mom or Dad lives alone in the house instead of sharing it with their significant other. Housing demand is driven by the number of households, not the number of adults, so divorced and single individuals drive up demand for their own homes, too.
The sheer cost and inconvenience of moving have resulted in the average time people remain in one place to increase. In 2019, the average person remained in the same house for roughly eight years. For comparison, the average stay was only four years in 2007. This results in less churn in the housing market and fewer available existing homes on the market. At the same time, Generation Xers were hard hit by the Great Recession.
They’ve only recovered since 2012. This means that Generation Xers are much more likely to remain in the rental market than prior generations at that age. This drives up rental rates and eats into the rental supply. Yet this generation hasn’t abandoned the dream of owning a home, increasing demand for starter homes.
Housing market predictions for 2020 and beyond run the gamut from optimistic to pessimistic. For example, Zillow predicts that there will be a housing recession in 2020. They blame monetary policy for this; the market has been expanding rapidly but is due for a correction. They also cite housing affordability, or a lack thereof. That means the Millennials hitting the ideal age to buy their first home often can’t afford it or build it. Nor are we going to see the masses of regulation that limit land use and drive up housing costs repealed any time soon.
While Millennials are painted as unwilling to settle down (and they are much more likely to rent than prior generations), they do account for a third of all new home buyers. They also account for nearly half of all mortgages. We can expect them to continue to buy homes and condos at an increasing rate as they settle down and start families. They’re just more likely to buy a condo in a walkable community than a single-family house in the suburbs than Generation X.
Millennials are affecting the real estate market in other ways, too. They prioritize a low maintenance home with smart appliances and an energy-efficient design. If you can’t offer this, they’ll either lower the price or move on to something else. They also prefer walkable communities over having to drive everywhere. They’ll pay a premium to be near public transit, too, since this can offset transportation costs.
In short, they’ll pay a little more for a house or condo that lets them ditch a car. What does this mean for our 2020 housing market forecast and beyond? Home prices will continue to rise slowly due to limited supply and demand, but homes that meet Millennial’s ideals and their budgets will continue to appreciate at double-digit rates.
The fall in GDP associated with the coronavirus pandemic, and the rise in unemployment, is unprecedented. Despite that, there is little sign so far that the housing market is about to subside. Housing market predictions that take Covid-19 into account have already come out. Before the pandemic hit the nation the supply of new housing was failing to keep up with demand. Social-distancing requirements are also likely to hold construction back in the coming months. With many sellers remaining on the sideline and a decline in housing starts, inventory will remain constricted.
Under normal market conditions, prices would be expected to skyrocket as inventory declines at a faster rate, but buyer demand is expected to see-saw throughout 2020 as the second wave of coronavirus pandemic pop-ups in fall. Hence, home price growth will flatten, with a forecasted increase of just 1.1 percent. If the pandemic worsens further in the coming months, the sales are forecasted to take a hit as sellers might again de-list their properties and buyers would also stay away.
Capital Economics is estimating four million homes will be sold in 2020. This would be the lowest rate since 1991. For comparison, roughly 5.3 million homes sold in 2019. The trade war with China threatened international trade, creating a cloud that deferred business investment. Now we’re looking at a certain economic downturn due to the government’s choice to close the vast majority of businesses, nearly killing the service economy.
Experts think that the economic cost we’ve paid to try to contain the virus will weight down the economy into 2021. That is why home sales are expected to be around six million in 2021 instead of the previously projected 6.3 million. Economic sentiment affected the U.S. housing market, too. The number of homes for sale fell nearly 16 percent in March 2020, after listings fell 15 percent year over year in February. This was equal to roughly 200,000 homes being taken off the market.
People were reluctant or unable to show their homes, while others are afraid it won’t sell and thus didn’t list their homes at all. US housing market predictions for the longer term will depend on the lingering impact of this virus. How long will it take for the economy to return to normal? How quickly will the service economy re-open and get people back to work?
Housing Market Forecast 2021
Recovery is also expected to be uneven. Housing markets that are more heavily impacted should expect a slower recovery than markets that were hit less severely. If you’re wondering what the state of the housing market will be like over the next six months, especially if you’re an investor, then here is some good news for you. The mismatch between supply and demand is driving prices higher, but this isn’t a housing bubble. While housing demand has been softening nationwide due to the pandemic and job losses, the market is in much better shape than a decade ago.
The housing market is well past the recovery phase and is now booming with higher home sales compared to the pre-pandemic period. For the first time since the pandemic began, all four major components of real estate activity—the demand, supply, pricing, and sales—are growing above the pre-COVID pace. However, we may see home sales temper toward the latter part of 2020 and into 2021 if the unemployment rate stays elevated, but slower home sales are different than a busted housing bubble.
Many experts were predicting that the pandemic could lead to a housing crash worse than the great depression. But that’s not the case. The good thing, at least for buyers and investors alike, is that house prices have nearly flattened and are poised to remain stable in the latter half of this year. The housing market forecast from Realtor.com shows that sales of homes will decline by 15 percent in the year 2020 as a whole. The home prices would flatten out. That’s compared to the original housing market forecast of a decline of 1.8 percent in home sales. Single-family housing starts, which were expected to increase by 10 percent in 2020, are now predicted to decline by 11 percent.
Home price growth will flatten, with a forecasted increase of 1.1 percent
Inventory will remain low, but the rate of decline steadies and the mix of homes for sale shifts toward greater availability of lower-priced homes
Mortgage rates remain low and may slide under 3 percent by the end of the year
Home sales are constrained by low inventory and diminished seller and buyer confidence as the effects of COVID linger in the labor market
Buyers seeking affordability and space drive interest in the suburbs
It’s mainly due to an unprecedented health crisis and economic uncertainty that has compounded this temporary restraint on real estate transactions. According to their statistics, the new listings have declined across the nation’s largest metros as sellers wait out the crisis. The positive forecast is that there is expected a short-term bump in sales for late summer and early fall due to pent up buyer demand, fear of the pandemic reducing, and low mortgage rates.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data released the June 2020 Survey of Consumer Expectations, which shows continued gradual declines in pessimism about household financial conditions. The survey reveals that while consumers overall remain less optimistic about earnings growth, income growth, and job finding expectations compared to the pre-COVID-19 environment, some indicators showed considerable improvements in June.
Home price growth expectations increased and the average probability of missing a future minimum debt payment reached a new series’ low. Median home price change expectations continued its recent rebound from a series’ low of 0% reached in April 2020, increasing from 0.6% in May to 2.0% in June. Despite the recent rise, the median expected home price change remains well below its 2019 and early 2020 readings of around 3.0%. The increase was broad-based across demographic groups and census regions.
A decrease in new listings leads to a drop in sales as more listings help buyers with inventory choices. As sellers are expected to return to the market in the July through September time frame, we do see a rebound in new listings on the market. But there’s a catch. Firstly, we’re expecting a second wave of coronavirus pandemic in the fall season, which might again lead to some percentage of sellers & buyers backing out. Secondly, according to Realtor.com, the historical trend for the colder months of the year show that home sales slow down.
Therefore, all these factors indicate a slower pace of sales toward the end this year – already a 15 percent drop in existing home sales has been forecasted for 2020. According to NAR, the annual existing-home sales would be down by less than 10% and new home sales are expected to be higher this year than last.
The year started strong for the single-family sector, but the current economic woes have dampened that optimism. The National Association of Realtors is now projecting a meager 1.1 percent increase for the 2020 calendar year. It predicts existing home sales will be down 15 percent and new construction starts down 11 percent for the year. On a positive note, mortgage interest rates may fall below 3 percent and that may expand the base of potential new homeowners.
Before the coronavirus pandemic began, the U.S. housing market was already short from the supply side. Years of slow home-building activity coupled with the ongoing financial crisis point to the fact that the number of homes for sale would still fall well short of demand in the coming months. Housing market experts predict that sharp declines in the prices look improbable as the buyer demand has remained relatively strong despite the pandemic. A lot of new buyers want to purchase a house and while investors have taken a pause.
The housing market 2020 was running at a record pace in the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak in February 2020, with sellers continuing to gain leverage, and buyers benefit from lower mortgage rates. We saw some of the best home sales and housing starts to pace in more than a decade until February 2020. As the population of millennials is increasing, the demand side of housing remains strong. Many buyers need to get into a larger home because they have a growing family.
The homebuyers in every segment will continue moving forward with transactions. According to the National Association of Realtors®, pending home sales mounted a record comeback in May, seeing encouraging contract activity after two previous months of declines brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) is NAR’s forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings. It rose 44.3% to 99.6 in May, chronicling the highest month-over-month gain in the index since NAR started this series in January 2001.
The median existing single-family home price was $287,700 in May, up 2.4% from May 2019. Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 340,000 units in May, down 12.8% from April and down 41.4% from a year ago. According to data from Realtor.com®, among the largest metro areas, active listings were up by more than 10% in May compared to April in several metro areas, including Urban Honolulu, San Francisco, San Jose, Denver, and Colorado Springs.
Therefore, taking into the current housing market trends, we believe that it is going to more like a balanced real estate market with buyers getting some relief from the rising housing costs.
As we know the U.S. housing market saw modest increases across the board in the past year, though there were hot spots in the market in terms of both geography and price ranges. House prices had risen for 33 consecutive quarters across the United States. Under the current conditions, the sellers won’t expect buyers to present offers well over the asking price. Prices in the rental housing market are likely to remain stable too. Although over 20 million people lost their jobs in April, the average rent fell by a mere 0.2% from April to May.
The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) found that 80.2% of apartment households made a full or partial rent payment by May 6 in its recent survey of 11.4 million units of professionally managed apartment units across the country. Short term or vacation rentals have had a major impact, though. Year over year short-term rental reservations for 2020 summer travel is now down by a whopping 75%. Owning a home has been part of the American Dream.
While the effect of lower mortgage rates reignited housing market activity toward the end of 2019 and the start of 2020, February showed some early signs of coronavirus outbreak, particularly in markets that were hit early and hard. Those interested in purchasing homes are looking at the enticing low mortgage rates.
According to Freddie Mac, mortgage rates continue to slowly drift downward with a distinct possibility that the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage could dip below 3 percent later this year. The current average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage is 3.15%. The average commitment rate across all of 2019 was 3.94%. Record-low mortgage rates are likely to remain in place for the rest of the year, and all the Fed’s policymakers foresee no rate hike through 2022.
It’s highly likely that you’ll start to see those long-term rates remain low and potentially slip a bit lower in tandem with short-term borrowing costs. That means refinancing could be a smart option for your pocketbook. A reduction in even just a quarter of a percentage point could potentially shave off a couple of hundred dollars from your monthly payments. This will be the key factor driving housing demand as state economies steadily reopen.
We can expect a wave of mortgage refinances to save money. Fannie Mae predicts 40% more mortgage refinances in 2020 than 2019. To help borrowers and renters who are at risk of losing their home due to the coronavirus national emergency, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) are extending their moratorium on foreclosures and evictions until at least until December 31, 2020—originally moratorium was supposed to expire at the end of August.
That gives potential home sellers hope, though it will take time for these low-interest rates to offset the spike in unemployment and general economic malaise. The foreclosure moratorium applies to Enterprise-backed, single-family mortgages only while the REO eviction moratorium applies to properties that are acquired by Fannie or Freddie through foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transactions. The moratorium is expected to cost the two government-sponsored enterprises between $1.1 billion and $1.7 billion, and it protects more than 28 million homeowners across the country.
Current Economic Situation
The pandemic cost 22 million payroll jobs in March and April, and about 9 million have been recovered through July. But more recently, job openings appear to have stalled, and other statistics indicated that the labor market remains in the grips of recession. On August 27, the Labor Department said that the number of Americans applying for jobless benefits topped 1 million last week, just as it has most weeks since late March.
That’s about four times the number of average weekly applicants before the pandemic. And the near-term job prospects are dim for people in service industries such as restaurants, hotels, travel, and entertainment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of July, the U.S. unemployment rate stood at 10.2 percent.
The rate is encouraging when compared to previous months but is still above the highest rate during the Great Recession—10 percent in October 2009. These improvements in the labor market reflected the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. At the same time, the stimulus package that Congress passed in March was more than double the financial aid offered during the last downturn.
Real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 31.7 percent in the second quarter of 2020, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP decreased by 5.0 percent. The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month.
In the advance estimate, the decrease in real GDP was 32.9 percent. With the second estimate, private inventory investment and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) decreased less than previously estimated.
Current-dollar GDP decreased 33.3 percent, or $2.07 trillion, in the second quarter to a level of $19.49 trillion. In the first quarter, GDP decreased by 3.4 percent, or $186.3 billion.
The price index for gross domestic purchases decreased by 1.5 percent in the second quarter, in contrast to an increase of 1.4 percent in the first quarter (table 4). The PCE price index decreased 1.8 percent, in contrast to an increase of 1.3 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index decreased 1.0 percent, in contrast to an increase of 1.6 percent.
The decline in second-quarter GDP reflected the response to COVID-19, as “stay-at-home” orders issued in March and April were partially lifted in some areas of the country in May and June, and government pandemic assistance payments were distributed to households and businesses. This led to rapid shifts inactivity, as businesses and schools continued remote work, and consumers and businesses canceled, restricted, or redirected their spending.
Courtesy of Bea.gov
In addition to presenting updated estimates for the second quarter, the latest release from the Bureau of Economic Analysis presents revised estimates of first-quarter wages and salaries, personal taxes, and contributions for government social insurance, based on updated data from the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program. Wages and salaries are now estimated to have increased by $103.6 billion in the first quarter of 2020, a downward revision of $3.4 billion. Real GDI decreased 2.5 percent in the first quarter, unrevised from the previously published estimate.
Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments) decreased $226.9 billion in the second quarter, compared with a decrease of $276.2 billion in the first quarter.
The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the GDP estimate for the second quarter of 2020 because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified. For more information, see the Technical Note on BEA’s Web site.
The Federal Reserve says it will keep buying bonds to maintain low borrowing rates and support the U.S. economy during a recession. It intends to keep the interest rates at rock bottom for even longer than previously expected after a major policy shift that has profound implications for Wall Street, workers, and savers.
The economy is expected to shrink by 6.5% this year, in line with other forecasts, before expanding 5% in 2021. The Federal Reserve foresees the unemployment rate at 9.3%, near the peak of the last recession, by the end of this year. The rate is now 13.3%. The whole new policy aims to address the immediate economic problems caused by the pandemic-induced downturn. But knowing that the Fed’s benchmark rate is likely to stay at its current level of near zero for a long time — analysts say that could be several years — might give companies more confidence to invest and hire.
Employers and households also could benefit from cheaper borrowing rates for houses, cars, and other loans. And over the long run, if an extended period of low-interest rates supports economic growth, that could lead to further drops in unemployment, which in turn could help disadvantaged workers who are typically the last to benefit from a long economic expansion.
Over the long term, the U.S. will probably face slower growth, a weaker dollar, and a huge debt related to paying for the crisis response.
What will 2020 be like for buyers? Economic activities are ramping up in all the sectors, mortgage rates trend at historic lows, and jobs are also recovering. Record low mortgage rates are providing opportunities for buyers to lock-in low monthly mortgage payments for future years. The latest housing market trends show that prices are rising in most parts of the country and most price segments because of the lack of supply.
Although growth in supply remains below the normal seasonal pace it continues to improve as buyers anxiously await more sellers to put fresh new homes for sale on the market. Tight housing inventory was the issue for buyers before Covid-19 as well. Due to this persistent shortage of housing, some experts predict that the median home price for the country as a whole could easily rise by 10% cumulatively over the next two years.
If you qualify for a mortgage, you have a more limited selection and prices close to what they were before the coronavirus hit, but you have relatively little competition. In response to the COVID-19 national emergency, borrowers with financial hardship due to the pandemic have been able to receive forbearance, which is a pause or reduction in their monthly mortgage payment. Borrowers can request an additional six months if needed. FHA does not require lump sum repayment at the end of the forbearance.
The latest step in this direction was the announcement of the payment deferral option for borrowers. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced on May 13 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) are making available a new payment deferral option. The payment deferral option allows borrowers, who can return to making their normal monthly mortgage payment, the ability to repay their missed payments at the time the home is sold, refinanced, or at maturity.
Before Covid-19, the top 5 markets favoring buyers were Pittsburgh, Rochester, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Tampa. According to Realtor.com, these markets were cooling off the fastest every year, with a month’s supply of homes up at least 26 percent year over year (as compared to last February).
What will 2020 & 2021 be like for sellers? Expect homes to be slow to sell, and you may have to market it down to move it. Or you may need to wait a few months to see things shift from a buyer’s market to a balanced market. The only exception would be the “affordable” homes that are in short supply. In this case, you face a seller’s market as soon as people are allowed to go out shopping.
Colorado Springs, CO retained the title of the hottest housing market (list by Realtor.com) in the country for the second consecutive month in March 2020. Half of all homes in Colorado Springs were selling in under 28 days — nine days faster than last year, and 32 days faster than the rest of the country. Properties in the metro garnered 2.4 times as many views than the average property around the United States. Colorado Springs was the only metro from Colorado on the list of hottest markets.
Other markets favoring sellers were Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Riverside, and Baltimore. These markets are heating up the fastest every year, with a month’s supply of homes down by at least 52 percent year over year (as compared to last February).
What will 2020 & 2021 be like for investors? Many investors who primarily acquired at the courthouse foreclosure auction are migrating to buy bank-owned (REO) homes via online auction, which also provides the added benefit of safety from viral exposure. The added competition for these homes due to the moratorium on foreclosures could drive up the prices in the distressed housing market.
While for someone looking to buy a home and then immediately flip it seems a bit difficult because it’s not clear where real-estate prices will go. On the other hand, investors looking to buy a home and hold onto it in the long term, particularly as a rental property, won’t face as much risk. According to a recent survey from Auction.com, 64% of investors who primarily buy investment properties as rentals said they planned to increase or keep their acquisitions, despite the pandemic.
Even though the housing market likely won’t be the cause of the next recession, an economic downturn would still have an impact on the US real estate sector. The housing market in the U.S. could enter a recession in under five years, with Zillow predicting that it will occur in 2020.
The spillover to the housing market will rely upon the profundity, length, and severity of the 2020 recession and, if some parts of the country feel the effect worse than others, some local housing markets could see greater effects.
“The current economic expansion is getting long in the tooth by historical standards, and more late-cycle signs are emerging,” said Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West, who was among those predicting a 2020 recession.
According to a survey published by WSJ, some 59% of private-sector economists surveyed in recent days said the economic expansion that began in mid-2009 was most likely to end in 2020. An additional 22% selected 2021, and smaller camps predicted the next recession would arrive the following year, in 2022 or at some unspecified later date.
In a research report in which Zillow surveyed 100 real estate experts and economists about their predictions for the housing market, it disclosed that almost 50% of all survey respondents said the following recession will initiate in 2020, with the first quarter of the year referred to the most as to when the recession will start.
The main culprit for the housing recession: monetary policy. The experts predicted that monetary policy will be the deciding factor this time around. In particular, they argued that the Federal Reserve could prompt slower growth if it raises short-term interest rates too quickly.
To put it simply, the US housing market is ripe for investment in 2020, making it a great time to buy a rental property for sale to increase your cash flow. A multi-generational housing market is creating limited supply and increased competition, driving up prices at the affordable end of the market for the foreseeable future. In hot job markets and communities that fit the youngest generation’s ideals, price increases of 8-15 percent are possible year-over-year.
For everyone else, real estate is appreciating at or just above the rate of inflation. The home price appreciation rate has slowed so far but prices are still rising. While many economists predict that home prices will continue to rise, much will depend on the economy’s ability to bounce back from the pandemic.
Housing Affordability Overview For 2020 & 2021
Housing Affordability is driven largely by the gap between household income and home value. It is influenced by the balance between housing supply and demand, the labor market, and mortgage rates by way of Federal monetary policy. Housing is affordable when the housing of an acceptable minimum standard can be obtained and retained leaving sufficient income to meet essential non-housing expenditure.
The most commonly used indicator in the US and many other countries is the ratio of house prices to incomes or earnings. A higher ratio indicates relatively more affordability. A ratio of 100 indicates that median- family income is just sufficient to purchase the median-priced home. Ratios above 100 indicate that the typical household has more income than necessary to purchase the typical house.
Therefore, low-income households spending a high proportion of their income on housing may and vice versa. To afford a typical mortgage payment, a given family needs to spend no more than 25% of income on its mortgage payment (for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 20% down payment).
Households spending more than 25% of the income on housing costs are likely to face financial burden or stress. Qualifying income is derived from the monthly payment on the median-priced existing home, at the effective mortgage interest rate.
Affordability was already a problem for the US housing market before the coronavirus hit. There was a shortage of affordable housing, driving up the cost of the homes Millennials can afford. This is important since half of all home mortgages are given to Millennials. And they are forced to compete for new housing stock since Boomers and Generation Xers tend to hold onto their homes. The housing affordability index determines the affordability of the housing market by comparing the median household income to the median home price.
The national housing affordability index was 170.0 for February 2020. That was a nearly one percent increase from the prior month and an eight percent increase from a year before. An affordability index of 100 would mean that the average person could afford the average home. An increasing affordability index means more people are priced out of the housing market. The economic fallout of the coronavirus is probably going to make housing less affordable, not more so. The official unemployment rate jumping ten percentage points or more means many people are out of work.
In June, employment in leisure and hospitality rose sharply. Notable job gains also occurred in retail trade, education and health services, other services, manufacturing, and professional and business services. All of this adds up to tens of millions of households seeing their income drop, many of them substantially. And home prices will remain steady or drop just a few percentage points. The result is a dramatic drop in the average household income while the housing portion of this equation is almost unchanged. We could easily see the housing affordability index hit 200.
This is one of the more certain housing market predictions. Another factor affecting this equation is the rising average price of new homes. Homebuilders were already prioritizing luxury homes over affordable and/or starter homes. This is why the median home price was rising in 2019. We can expect home builders to focus their limited manpower and resources on luxury homes that will sell for more. And that will worsen the housing affordability index as long as the economic crisis continues.
However, the housing market forecast should not affect your decision to buy a home. Instead, you should make the decision to buy a home based on your economic situation. Pessimistic housing market predictions may scare some from listing their home, but many motivated sellers will list their property. That may contribute to a decline in sale prices, but it presents an excellent buying opportunity.
An April Realtor.com survey found out that after spending many long weeks confined in their homes, consumers’ preferences shifted toward bigger homes and more outdoor space for their next homes. The share of home buyers looking at suburban markets near large cities and even across state lines is showing a rebound, as consumers look to a post-pandemic landscape, with cities in the Southeast seeing renewed interest.
What Makes Housing Affordable?
Lower mortgage costs and median income rises are the two important factors that make housing relatively more affordable. In 2020, historically low mortgage rates are certainly making home purchases more affordable. People still want to own homes, and with mortgage rates low, a lot of people are taking advantage of that even though there is an apparent economic slump.
The homeownership rate reached 67.9% in the second quarter of 2020, according to a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s up from 65.3% of Americans owning their residences in the first quarter of the year and 64.1% in the second quarter of last year. The homeownership rate of 67.9 percent was 3.8 percentage points higher than the rate in the second quarter 2019 (64.1 percent) and 2.6 percentage points higher than the rate in the first quarter 2020 (65.3 percent).
The 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.57% in the first quarter of 2020, down from 4.62% one year ago. The average monthly mortgage payment on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 20% down payment was $995, down from $1,048 a year ago. The current 30-year fixed-rate is averaged 3.15%. When refinancing a $200,000 outstanding loan balance into a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, at the recent 50-year low average mortgage rate of 3.15%, your monthly mortgage payment would now be $859.
The national median family income for the United States for FY 2020 is $78,500, an increase of almost four percent over the national median family income in FY 2019, according to U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This ($859 mortgage payment) is about 13% of the median family income of $78,500, down from about 16% one year ago.
Courtesy of Freddiemac.com
To afford a typical mortgage payment, a given family needs to spend no more than 25% of income on its mortgage payment (for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 20% down payment). The income that is needed for this scenario decreased to $47,760, down from $50,304 one year ago.
The national median sales price of existing single-family homes was up 4.2 percent in Q2 2020 to $291,300 and up 5.9 percent to $280,200 based on the Trailing Twelve Month (TTM) average of quarterly median prices according to the National of Association of Realtors® (NAR).
For the US, at the 5% down-payment threshold, the qualifying income amount for the second quarter of 2020 was $58,613. At the 10% down-payment mark, the qualifying income was $55,528 and with a 20% down-payment, the income required to qualify for a mortgage was $49,358. The West led all regions with the highest qualifying income while the Midwest had the lowest income for 5%, 10%, and 20% down payments on a single-family home.
A household is said to be cost-burdened when it pays more than 30 percent of its income toward housing expenses. As a more extreme measure, a household is said to be severely cost-burdened when it pays at least 50 percent of its income toward housing expenses. With today’s mortgage rates at historic lows, you can refinance your mortgage to lower your monthly payments and improve your financial situation.
With rates at or near historic lows, refinancing could help you save by reducing your monthly payments and reducing the total amount of interest that you pay over the life of the loan. Also, the mortgage rates continue to slowly drift downward with a distinct possibility that the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage could dip below 3 percent later this year.
Courtesy of Census.gov
National vacancy rates in the second quarter of 2020 were 5.7 percent for rental housing and 0.9 percent for homeowner housing. The rental vacancy rate of 5.7 percent was 1.1 percentage points lower than the rate in the second quarter 2019 (6.8 percent) and 0.9 percentage points lower than the rate in the first quarter 2020 (6.6 percent). The homeowner vacancy rate of 0.9 percent was 0.4 percentage points lower than the rate in the second quarter 2019 (1.3 percent) and 0.2 percentage points lower than the rate in the first quarter 2020 (1.1 percent).
Current economic conditions resemble a “swoosh” pattern, with the initial impact from the lockdown followed by a gradual recovery as the economy reopens. If the reopening is followed by a second wave of the COVID pandemic leading to a second shutdown, the “double-dip” is a possible result (W-shaped recovery). In either case, the overall outlook points to declining rent growth in the short term followed by a gradual period of recovery.
Courtesy of Census.gov
Latest Housing Market Statistics
Current avg. home prices and forecast
Housing construction, demand, and supply
Affordability index (nationally) – Median household income vs median home price
Factors affecting the 2020 housing market
Where Is the Housing Market Headed In 2020
2020 and Beyond Forecast
2020 Economic Outlook
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