Buying and selling a home is about to get a lot more difficult in 2019, or so says one expert in her forecast for next year.
Realtor.com explained that rising interest rates and home prices will overshadow any inventory increases in the year to come. In fact, affordability is set to worsen, making it more difficult to buy or sell a home in 2019.
The forecast predicts mortgage interest rates will average 5.3% and hit 5.5% by the end of 2019. That would make the average home purchase 8% more expensive per month than in 2018.
Home price growth is also expected to continue, rising slowly at a rate of 2.2% over the year. Inventory increases will also remain moderate with a less than 7% projected increase. The result will be a 2% decline in home sales, realtor.com predicted.
“Inventory will continue to increase next year, but unless there is a major shift in the economic trajectory, we don’t expect a buyer's market on the horizon within the next five years,” realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale said.
“Unfortunately for buyers, it’s only going to get more costly to buy, especially the most-demanded entry level real estate,” Hale said. “To be successful, buyers should think through how they’ll adapt to higher rates and prices.”
The forecast outlined what the market will look like for both homebuyers and sellers in 2019:
2019 for homebuyers
Buying a home will be an even more expensive undertaking in 2019 as mortgage rates and home prices increase. Buyers who are able to stay in the market will find less competition as more buyers are priced out, but feel an increased sense of urgency to close before it gets even more expensive. Their largest struggle next year will be reconciling wants, needs and budget versus the heavy competition of 2018. Although the number of homes for sale is increasing, which is an improvement for buyers, the majority of new inventory is focused in the mid- to higher-end price tier, not entry-level. Rising mortgage rates and prices will keep a lot of new inventory out of their budget and make it especially tough for first time home buyers who have historically been a much larger share of home purchase activity.
2019 for home sellers
Although it remains a seller’s market, sellers will need to be mindful of their increasing competition and shouldn’t necessarily expect to name their price and get it in full – a change from the past few years. Above-median priced sellers may find it will take longer to sell and requires offering incentives such as price cuts or other offerings. With less demand in the market, there will be fewer bidding wars and multiple offers. However, with inventory expected to remain limited in most markets, sellers who price competitively can still walk away with a handsome amount of profit, but not the price jumps observed in previous years.
Realtor.com also noted that Millennials will continue to make up the largest segment of homebuyers in 2019, and account for 45% of all mortgages, compared with 17% of Baby Boomers and 37% of Gen Xers.
In fact, 2020 is expected to be the peak Millennial home buying year as the largest cohort of the generation will turn 30. Millennials are also likely to make up the largest share of homebuyers for the next decade as their housing needs adjust over time, according to the forecast.