Looking Ahead: What’s in Store for Real Estate Sales in 2019?

As 2018 comes to a close, what real estate trends are on the horizon? While no one can predict precisely what the future holds, 2019 is likely to reflect the following issues in the housing market:

New Home Construction on the Rise

There’s a rise in building permits nationwide, up 8.4% over April 2017 levels, offering hope for a much-needed influx of new single-family homes. However, with long lag times until completion 2019 will likely continue to suffer supply shortages.

Rising Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates, which hovered below 4% back in 2017, have risen substantially. Their steady upward climb has continued for months, from 4.52% for the average 30-year mortgage back in July of this year to around 4.75% today.

Moving forward, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) predicts rates hitting around 4.9% by the close of the year, with rates continuing to inch upward in 2019. Economists at Freddie Mac concur. Despite rising rates, however, the economy is strong and employment is high, thus real estate sales are not expected to take a hit.

Continually Rising Home Prices

Given short supply and increased demand, home prices in most U.S. cities are expected to continue to climb in 2019. How high will they go? Zillow estimates the median home price rose 8.1% over the past year, and anticipates a 6.5% increase over the 12-month period from July 2018 to July 2019. Tighter markets, such as those in California, Oregon, and Washington, are likely to see the greatest gains.

Despite This, It’s Still a Seller’s Market

Despite all of the above, 2019 is expected to remain a seller’s market. The inventory shortages seen in most markets through 2017-18 are likely to continue, driving the trend and putting upward pressure on prices.

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