The Rise of Housing Inventory and Market Prices
According to the latest National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index (HMI), builder confidence has reached its highest level since October 2018 and NAR chief economist, Lawrence Yun, predicted at NARs mid-year meeting This Week in Real Estate, that he expects new home sales to reach a 12-year high this year. Below are a few highlights from the second week of May that influence our business:
Builder Confidence Posts Solid Gain in May. Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose three points to 66 in May, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Builder sentiment is at its highest level since October 2018 after declines in late 2018 due to higher interest rates and concerns over slower growth. Builders are catching up after a wet winter and many characterize sales as solid, driven by improved demand and ongoing low overall supply. All the HMI indices posted gains in May. The index measuring current sales conditions rose three points to 72, the component gauging expectations in the next six months edged one point higher to 72 and the metric charting buyer traffic moved up two points to 49. Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast posted a six-point gain to 57, the West increased two points to 71, the Midwest gained one point to 54, and the South rose a single point to 68.
Home Prices Continue on Healthy Course in Q1. Inventory increased and metro market prices rose in the first quarter of 2019, but at a slower pace than the previous quarter, according to new research. From the first quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2019, home prices rose 3.9 percent, according to a National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) report. On an annual basis, there were higher home prices in 86 percent or 153 of the 178 metropolitan areas in the report. Comparing the largest markets, the median price was $254,800, up from $245,300 in Q1 2018. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the first quarter has been beneficial to U.S. homeowners. “Homeowners in the majority of markets are continuing to enjoy price gains, albeit at a slower rate of growth. A typical homeowner accumulated $9,500 in wealth over the past year,” he said.
NAR’s Yun Forecast for 2019 Housing Sales: New Homes Will Drive Market Gains. Sales of new homes probably will reach a 12-year high this year as builders scramble to meet demand from entry-level buyers, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors. Existing home sales probably will be flat, he said. The number of new houses sold in 2019 probably will total 667,000, the highest level since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2007, Yun said at NAR’s Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington D.C. on Thursday. Sales of existing homes, which tumbled 3.1% in 2018 as mortgage rates rose to an eight-year high, probably will be flat this year, Yun said. Next year, existing home sales probably will gain 3.7%, he said. Nationally, the inventory of homes on the market has grown for eight straight months on a year-over-year basis, and Yun said he expects that to continue.