If you’re following the news, all of the headlines about conditions in the current housing market may be leaving you with more questions than answers. Is the boom over? Is the market crashing or correcting? Here’s what you need to know.
The housing market is moderating compared to the last two years, but what everyone needs to remember is that the past two years were record-breaking in nearly every way. Record-low mortgage rates and millennials reaching peak homebuying years led to an influx of buyer demand. At the same time, there weren’t enough homes available to purchase thanks to many years of underbuilding and sellers who held off on listing their homes due to the health crisis.
This combination led to record-high demand and record-low supply, and that just wasn’t going to be sustainable for the long term. The latest data shows early signs of a shift back to the market pace seen in the years leading up to the pandemic – not a crash nor a correction.
Home Showings Then and Now
The ShowingTime Showing Index tracks the traffic of home showings according to agents and brokers. It’s a good indication of buyer demand. Here’s a look at that data going back to 2019 (see graph below):
The 2019 numbers give a good baseline of pre-pandemic demand (shown in gray). As the graph indicates, home showings skyrocketed during the pandemic (shown in blue). And while current buyer demand has begun to moderate slightly based on the latest data (shown in green), showings are still above 2019 levels.
And since 2019 was such a strong year for the housing market, this helps show that the market isn’t crashing – it’s just at a turning point that’s moving back toward more pre-pandemic levels.
Based on our own experience and that of our colleagues we can say that not every Open House has lines of potential buyers stretching down the driveway, as was the case not that long ago. Appropriately priced homes still attract a crowd, but buyers have become a bit more discerning. Houses whose asking price aren’t realistic because of condition or location are getting less attention when they might have a year ago.
What we are seeing — and again, this is anecdotally — are some homes becoming available to see if they will sell at some crazy price, because buyers are thought to still be “desperate.” But, there’s not much interest.
Existing Home Sales Then and Now
The headlines are also talking about how existing home sales are declining, but perspective matters here, as well. Let’s look at existing home sales going all the way back to 2019 using data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) (see graph below):
Again, a similar story emerges. The pandemic numbers (shown in blue) beat the more typical year of 2019 home sales (shown in gray). And according to the latest projections for 2022 (shown in green), the market is on pace to close this year with more home sales than 2019 as well.
It’s important to compare today not to the abnormal pandemic years, but to the most recent normal year to show the current housing market is still strong. First American sums it up like this: “…today’s housing market looks a lot like the 2019 housing market, which was the strongest housing market in a decade at the time…”
Housing sales statistics for May have just been released by the Cape Cod and the Islands Board of Realtors and show that YTD the median sales price for a single family home is $690,000.00. (The YTD number one year ago was $607,000.00) New listings YTD are 1,613 compared to 1,836 in 2021.
New listings in May numbered 468. Last May there were 511. Months of housing supply in May is 1.4. In January it was 0.7 meaning more homes are coming on the market. This trend is expected to continue, but we have a long way to go to reach the more than five months supply we had pre-pandemic when good houses were available for sale for more than 100 days.
If recent headlines are concerning you and you’re thinking about buying, selling or both, look at a more typical year for perspective. The current market is not a crash or correction. It’s just a turning point toward more typical, pre-pandemic levels.
We’re happy to answer your questions. Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s important that you have the correct information before making a decision.
…and remember, we just sold our house of 28 years and moved to a smaller property. So, we get it.
Have a great week…
Mari and Hank