With 2020 one day away, experts and forecasters have issued many market predictions, aligning on certain points, but diverging in opinion on others. Below is a snapshot:
Although homebuilders maintain optimism, buyer demand is stronger, and analysts are divided on whether inventory is meaningfully rising. For 2020, the National Association of REALTORS® expects 10.6 percent more housing starts (multifamily and single-family), while realtor.com® researchers forecast a 6 percent increase in single-family starts. On the flip side, the Urban Land Institute projected single-family starts to tumble 4.7 percent. According to Census data, construction in November spiked—an encouraging indicator.
After a cooling-off period, home prices reignited this year, and are expected to further increase in 2020. How much? At most, a cohort of economists at the NAR Forecast Summit predicted a 3.6 percent rise; at least, realtor.com predicted 0.8 percent; and in the middle, both the ULI and Zillow settled within 2 percent (2.5 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively). By comparison, from January-November 2019, the median price rose 3.18 percent, according to data from Homesnap.
Despite benefiting from low mortgage rates, buyers continue to grapple with limited options, contributing to muted sales this year—a challenge continuing into 2020, experts predict. As of September, NAR expected a 3.4 percent gain in home sales in 2020; in December, however, realtor.com researchers dialed down to a modest 1.8 percent. On an annual basis, existing-home sales inched up 2.7 percent, according to NAR’s November report.
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