Here are the updated national housing market trends—home prices, inventory, sales, and forecast. If you're wondering what the state of the housing market 2020 will be like over the next twelve months, especially if you're an investor, then here is some good news for you. Given the current fundamentals, real estate sales should remain strong in most U.S. houisng markets for the foreseeable future. The US housing market has begun to show signs of heating up as more buyers and sellers returned to the market in July.
Housing units are still in short supply with the problem getting worse. Unsold inventory sits at a near 4.0-month supply at the current sales pace. Buying activity slowed due to the pandemic but has significantly rebounded since June. The pent-up demand drove the home prices up 8.1 percent in July. 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.
Home prices rose during the pandemic and could rise even further due to heavy buyer competition and a significant shortage of supply. In July, the national median home price gain marked 101 straight months of year-over-year gains. According to Realtor.com, it has taken four months for the U.S. housing market to get back to the more normal pace of growth we saw before the COVID-19 pandemic.
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. Record low mortgage rates are providing opportunities for buyers to lock-in low monthly mortgage payments for future years. Their “Housing Market Recovery Index” reached 103.7 nationwide for the week ending July 25, posting a 2.7 point increase over last week and bringing the index 3.7 points above the pre-COVID baseline.
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 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.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types in May was $284,600, up 2.3% from May 2019 ($278,200). The median price gain for June was $295,300, up 3.5% from June 2019 ($285,400), as prices rose in every region—marking 100 straight months of year-over-year gains. The median existing single-family home price was $298,600 in June, up 3.5% from June 2019. The median existing condo price was $262,700 in June, an increase of 1.4% from a year ago.
Existing-home sales rebounded at a record pace in June, showing strong signs of a market turnaround after three straight months of sales declines caused by the ongoing pandemic, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Individual investors or second-home buyers, who account for many cash sales, purchased 9% of homes in June, down from 14% in May 2020, and 10% in June 2019. Home sales, which had gone on a declining spree due to social distancing & economic unpredictability, have now started to rebound.
The month of June recorded a jump of 20.7% in existing home sales from May, according to N.A.R. These include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops. June’s national median housing price increase marks 100 straight months of year-over-year gains. Individual investors or second-home buyers, who account for many cash sales, purchased 9% of homes in June, down from 14% in May 2020, and 10% in June 2019.
First-time buyers were responsible for 35% of sales in June, up from 34% in May 2020 and about equal to 35% in June 2019. 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 Recovering?
According to Realtor.com's latest weekly housing trends report, the Housing Market Recovery Index reached 103.7 nationwide for the week ending July 25, posting a 2.7 point increase over last week and bringing the index 3.7 points above the pre-COVID baseline (Click on the image below to find out how to read the recovery index).
Earlier the recovery index had reached 101.0 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.
Regionally, the West and Northeast continue to lead the housing market recovery with the overall index now visibly above the pre-COVID benchmark. The Northeast (108.0) remains above recovery pace and continues to improve, while the South (99.5) and Midwest (99.0) are just below recovery. 30 of the largest 50 markets in the country are now above the recovery benchmark, with the overall index showing the greatest recovery in New York, Boston, Seattle, Las Vegas, and Philadelphia.
Is Housing Demand Increasing?
Yes, according to the demand index tracked by Realtor.com, it has reached 16.8 points above the January baseline. This demand index is calculated by tracking growth in online search activity. It remained visibly above recovery, with this week’s index reaching 116.8, up 0.3 points over the prior week. 47 of the 50 largest markets are positioned above the recovery trend of the housing demand index. The most recovered markets for home-buying interest include Minneapolis, New York, Sacramento, Riverside-San Bernardino, and Oklahoma City, with a housing demand growth index between 135.1 and 148.8.
Are Home Prices Increasing?
Yes, the ‘home price’ component of the recovery index – which tracks growth in asking prices – increased by 0.1 points last week, and is now at 105.5, 5.5 points above the January baseline. With supply at record lows and buyer competition on the rise, sellers have regained leverage, enabling the fastest price growth recorded this year. With supply being limited, it is more likely that higher asking prices will translate into higher selling prices.
32 of the 50 largest markets are seeing growth in asking prices to surpass the January baseline. In the top 10 most-recovered markets, asking prices are now growing at 12 percent year-over-year, on average. The most recovered markets for home prices include Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville, and San Francisco, with a home price growth index between 106.6 and 113.7.
Are Home Sales Increasing?
Yes, the ‘pace of sales’ component saw continued signs of improvement for the sixth week in a row and is now above the pre-COVID baseline. The time-on-market index reached 104.5, up 4.9 points over last week, and now4.5 points above the January baseline. This component tracks the differences in time-on-market and an increase of 4.9 points suggests that buyers and sellers are connecting at a faster rate.
34 of the 50 largest markets are now seeing the time on market index surpass the January baseline, up from 27 last week. In the top 10 most recovered markets for the pace of sales, time-on-market is now down 19 percent, on average, year over year. The most recovered markets for time-on-market include Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Virginia Beach, and Seattle, with a pace of sales growth index between 119.6 and 135.8.
Is Housing Supply Increasing?
Yes, but it is still below the growth experienced in January before the pandemic. The reason is that even though sellers are re-entering the market but they are still very cautious amid the lingering coronavirus concerns, and economic uncertainty going into the fall. The ‘housing supply’ component – which tracks the growth of new listings – reached 96.8, up 3.9 points over the prior week, and was just 3.2 points shy of the January growth baseline.
19 of the 50 largest markets saw the new listings index surpass the January baseline, up from 16 last week. The most recovered markets for new listings included San Jose, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, with a new listings growth index between 129.2 and 136.8.
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.
US Housing Market Forecast 2020 – 2021
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 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?
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.
Housing Market Forecast Concerning Affordability
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.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 4.8 million in June, and the unemployment rate declined to 11.1 percent. The national unemployment rate in May was 13.0 percent, not seasonally adjusted, up from 3.4 percent a year earlier. 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 and efforts to contain it. Payroll jobs (seasonally adjusted) rose in 49 states in May compared to April. Nationally, job growth was 2% in May from April.
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.
According to Realtor.com's weekly report, the homeownership rate rose to 65.3% in Q1 of 2020. Encouragingly, the under-35-year-old age group experienced the largest jump. Mortgage rates dropped to a new record low, at 3.23% and mortgage applications saw a slight rise. 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.
Lower mortgage rates made home purchases more affordable in both 2019 and the first quarter of 2020. 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.
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.
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). 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. This is about 15% of the median family income of $78,500, down from about 16% one year ago. 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. 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. In 135 of the 181 metro areas, a family needed less than $50,000 to afford a home in the first quarter of 2020, assuming a 20% down payment. However, in the most expensive metro areas, a given family needed over $100,000 to afford a home.
Housing Market 2020 Monthly Trends: Prices Are Up By 8.5%
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 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, coupled with pent-up buyer demand, is driving inventory to all-time lows and is also steadily pushing prices up higher. Regionally, Northeastern metros have seen the most improvement, with properties now selling more quickly than last year, an improving rate of newly listed properties, and strong price growth.
- National inventory declined by 32.6 percent year-over-year, and inventory in large markets decreased by 34.8 percent.
- The inventory of newly listed properties declined by 13.4 percent nationally over the past year, and also 13.4 percent in large markets
- The July national median listing price was $349,000, up 8.5 percent year-over-year. Prices rose 7.8 percent in larger markets.
- Nationally, the typical home spent 60 days on the market in July, the same as last year. The typical home spent 1 day less on the market compared to last year in larger markets.
Nationally, inventory decreased 32.6 percent year-over-year, a faster rate of decline compared to the 27.4 percent year-over-year drop in June. This amounted to a loss of 440,000 listings compared to July of last year. The volume of newly listed properties in July decreased by 13.4 percent since last year. While still well below last year’s levels, the rate of decline in newly listed properties has improved from a peak decline of 44.1 percent year-over-year in April, and a decline of 19.3 percent year-over-year last month.
Regionally, the Northeast has seen the greatest improvement in newly listed properties, now down only 1.2 percent year-over-year, compared to down 10.0 percent in the West, 16.1 percent in the South, and 20.8 percent in the Midwest. Housing inventory in the 50 largest U.S. metros declined by 34.8 percent year-over-year in July. This is acceleration compared to the 26.5 percent year-over-year decline in June.
The metros which saw the biggest declines in inventory include Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA (-50.4 percent); Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD (-48.7 percent); and Providence-Warwick, RI-MA (-47.4 percent).
This month, none of the largest 50 metros saw an inventory increase on a year-over-year basis and 45 out of 50 saw greater inventory declines than last month. However, 35 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.
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 June as well.
|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 4.0-month supply at the current sales pace, down from both 4.8 months in May and from the 4.3-month figure recorded in June 2019.|
|Unsold inventory was at 3.4-months in March 2020.|
What Is The Housing Inventory Forecast?
While more sellers are comfortable entering the housing market compared to April & May, 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. 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.
While more sellers are comfortable entering the housing market compared to April, 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. Also, 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.
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.
The median national home listing price grew by 8.5 percent year-over-year, to a new high of $349,000 in July. 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 last month. Regionally, prices are increasing most in the Northeast, where they are now growing at an average rate of 11.4 percent year-over-year, compared to a growth rate of 9.1 percent for the West, 9.1 percent for the Midwest and 5.0 percent for the South.
|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.|
Within the nation’s largest metros, the median listing price growth also accelerated compared to last month. Listing prices in the largest metros grew by an average of 7.8 percent compared to last year, an acceleration from the 5.7 percent year-over-year gain seen last month. Of the largest 50 metros, 48 saw year-over-year gains in median listing prices in June, up from 46 last month. Prices declined over the year in only two metros.
|Nation’s Largest Metros|
|Highest Year-Over-Year Price Gains||Highest Year-Over-Year Price Declines|
|May||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%)|
|June||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%)|
|July||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%)|
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 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.
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 fell in May, marking a three-month decline in sales as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. However, existing-home sales rebounded at a record pace in June, showing strong signs of a market turnaround after three straight months of sales declines caused by the ongoing pandemic, according to the National Association of Realtors®. The released date of July Existing-Home Sales by N.A.R. is August 21.
Total existing-home sales that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, jumped 20.7% from May to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.72 million in June. Sales overall, however, dipped year-over-year, down 11.3% from a year ago (5.32 million in June 2019).
Pending home sales continued to ascend in June, sustaining two consecutive months of increases in contract activity. Each of the four major regions experienced growth in month-over-month pending home sales transactions, while the Northeast was the only region to not record increases in year-over-year pending transactions.
|Existing-home sales rebounded at a record pace in June.|
|Total existing-home sales that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops increased.|
|The jump in total sales was 20.7% from May to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.72 million in June.|
|Sales overall, however, dipped year-over-year, down 11.3% from a year ago (5.32 million in June 2019).|
|The median existing-home price for all housing types in June was $295,300, up 3.5% from June 2019 ($285,400), as prices rose in every region.|
|First-time buyers were responsible for 35% of sales in June, up from 34% in May 2020 and about equal to 35% in June 2019.|
|All-cash sales accounted for 16% of transactions in June, down from 17% in May 2020 and about equal to 16% in June 2019.|
|Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – represented 3% of sales in June, about even with May but up from 2% in June 2019.|
|Single-family home sales sat at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.28 million in June, up 19.9% from 3.57 million in May, and down 9.9% from one year ago.|
|The median existing single-family home price was $298,600 in June, up 3.5% from June 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.|
|The median existing condo price was $262,700 in June, an increase of 1.4% from a year ago.|
Housing 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.
According to N.A.R,'s recent forecast, for all of 2020, existing-home sales are expected to decline by only 3%, with sales ramping up to 5.6 million by the fourth quarter. New home sales are projected to rise by 3%. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, expects that the positive GDP growth of 4% in 2021 will boost both existing and new home sales, which he forecasts to grow by 7% and 16%, respectively. New home sales are expected to be higher this year than last, and annual existing-home sales are now projected to be down by less than 10% – even after missing the spring buying season due to the pandemic lockdown.
Will the Housing Market Crash in 2020 or 2021?
Let first examine what was the state and forecast of the housing market before the pandemic hit the nation and caused a huge disruption. 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.
Realtor.com's national housing forecast was that home price growth will flatten, with an expected increase of 0.8 percent. Inventory will remain constrained, especially at the entry-level price segment. Mortgage rates are likely to bump up to 3.88 percent by the end of the year. Tight inventory coupled with rising mortgage rates will lead to dropping sales. Buyers will 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.
Forecast After Pandemic: 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 — with a forecasted increase of just 1.1 percent by the end of 2020. The continuous and steep decline in new listings has kept the market warm but this kind of trend has a greater impact on overall sales in the housing market.
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 June through August 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.
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. This will be the key factor driving housing demand as state economies steadily reopen.
The Federal Reserve says it will keep buying bonds to maintain low borrowing rates and support the U.S. economy during a recession. 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 federal government has dropped interest rates in an attempt to stimulate the economy. 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 June 30, 2020.
The foreclosure moratorium applies to Enterprise-backed, single-family mortgages only. The current moratorium was set to expire on May 17th. Interest rates are already at an all-time low, which allows homebuyers who qualify. 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.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased 4.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter of 2019, real GDP increased by 2.1 percent. Economic activity dropped at the largest annual rate since the Great Recession of 2008 in Q1, with consumers cutting back their spending on necessities.
Most of the loss occurred in the last three weeks of the quarter, as quarantine orders took effect, which underscores the severity of the pandemic’s impact. The decline in the first-quarter GDP was, in part, due to the response to the spread of COVID-19, as governments issued “stay-at-home” orders in March. This led to rapid changes in demand, as businesses and schools switched to remote work or canceled operations, and consumers canceled, restricted, or redirected their spending.
Personal saving was $1.60 trillion in the first quarter, compared with $1.27 trillion in the fourth quarter. The personal saving rate – Personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income—was 9.6 percent in the first quarter, compared with 7.6 percent in the fourth quarter.
Disposable personal income increased $76.7 billion, or 1.9 percent, in the first quarter, compared with an increase of $123.7 billion, or 3.0 percent, in the fourth quarter. Real disposable personal income increased 0.5 percent, compared with an increase of 1.6 percent.
The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the GDP estimate for the first 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.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 4.8 million in June, and the unemployment rate fell to 11.1 percent. 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.
What will 2020 be like for buyers? As states continue to open up, mortgage rates trend at historic lows, and jobs recover. 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 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. 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.
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