Experts see the sellers’ market continuing into 2022 but as a less wild sellers’ market than during 2021.
Inventory to Remain Scarce
Goldman Sachs is predicting that of all the shortages facing our economy, the housing shortage “…will last the longest.” Why? Years of under-building, demand spikes due to ongoing and more permanent remote working policies, comparatively low mortgage rates even though the Federal Reserve will gradually raise interest rates and the demographic uptick of Millennials both buying and “moving up” more and Gen-Zers aging into homeownership.
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Though there will likely be more listings in the spring and summer than the record-low level of inventory at the end of November 2021, Zillow research indicates it unlikely that there will be enough houses to meet demand. According to Zillow’s 2022 housing outlook, “The (inventory) gap shrunk in 2021 and will likely shrink again in 2022, but the housing shortage will be a defining feature of the market once again…”
Interest Rates to Rise
Diane Olich, real estate reporter with CNBC, said that rising interest rates are to take “center stage of the housing market” in 2022.
Both Redfin and Realtor.com predict a 30-year fixed mortgage rate will hit 3.60% by the end of 2022. This prediction of 3.60% compares to the current average of 3.30%.
Skylar Olsen, principal economist with the home-buying app Tomo, said that the “silver lining” of higher mortgage rates is that there may be fewer speculative (investment) buyers in the housing market. Olsen said, “When you have higher interest rates, it (the housing market) becomes more of the people who buy homes just to live in them. That’s something the market will benefit from, coming back down to sanity.”
CNBC’s Olich’s big question about rising interest rates is whether or not investors will remain in the market as rising interest rates dampen their return on investment. If investors are lured into higher returns elsewhere, perhaps the ’22 housing market will become less wild and more sane than in 2021.
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Home Prices to Continue Rising
Sellers are predicted to continue wielding the upper hand in the housing market in 2022 due to the continuing trifecta of low inventories, high demand and historically low interest rates.
Most prognosticators forecast prices coming back to earth in 2022 but not back to ground level earth. On the low end, CoreLogic predicts prices to rise +3%. Zillow, on the high end, predicts home prices to rise +11%. Fannie and Freddie are taking the middle ground by forecasting home prices to rise between 7% – 8%.
First-Time Buyers to Continue Being at Affordability Disadvantage
Because houses are so much more expensive now than when older generations were buying them for the first time and because Boomers are remaining in their homes longer as they live longer, first-time buyers, mostly Millennials and Gen-Zers, continue to be at an affordability disadvantage when it comes to buying their first house.
Olsen said that due to affordability and tight supply issues, more and more first-time buyers will likely need financial help from their family and friends to make a down payment on a house. Obviously, if first-time buyers don’t have family members or friends who can help them financially, they will likely be side-lined from the housing market…unless they can find a down payment assistance program in their state/region.
Thanks to CNBC.