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Five Predictions for the Real Estate Market for the Remainder of 2018
Home ownership, once a staple of the “American Dream” has hit a resurgence the past several years. Favorable market conditions, such as low interest rates, increased housing starts and a generally strong economy have spurred robust interest in the real estate market. As we continue into 2018, forecasters point to several factors which may negatively impact decision-making. Most recently, fluctuations in the stock market, signs of higher interest rates, along with a change to the allowable mortgage interest deduction, could all play a significant role.
The market throughout the Pacific Northwest, specifically the Portland, Oregon region, has been extremely active in the last few years. Unfortunately, that growth is expected to slow in 2018, down 3-5%. Much will be dependent on affordability of a neighborhood and some are showing lower appreciation growth than in previous years. Factors predicted to affect Portland home buyers and sellers are low inventory, slow economic growth and rising mortgage rates. In other areas, such as the resort town of Bend, located in Central Oregon, brokerage firms such as Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty, have experienced record growth. In fact, as part of their expansion strategy, the firm has concentrated efforts throughout Portland, the Oregon Coast and SW Washington.
Take a look at several possible scenarios that could have consequence on the market.
1) Affordability pressure plagues slower market growth. Available inventory of homes, actually considered affordable on a median income, has been in steady decline. Experts predict that inventory will recover slightly, up 1.7% year over year, after falling about 3.4% in 2016. Predictions also suggest that median home sale prices will increase 5.3% year over year while existing home sales are forecast to increase 2.8% in 2018.
2) The average number of days a home spends on the market will be the lowest on record. In 2016, the average home spent only 52 days on the market, the shortest since 2009. Due to low home inventory over the last several years, in particular, with entry level homes in certain markets, homes have had offers within only 6 days of being listed. In addition, transactions have become less time consuming and drastically more efficient due to new technologies, resulting in making the home buying process easier.
3) Anticipate a minimal increase in mortgage rates. Industry experts predict that 30-year-fixed mortgage rates will rise to 4.3% next year. The 30-year-fixed mortgage rate has already increased from 3.5% at the end of 2017 to just above 4%. Wall Street’s optimism is said to be in response to the economic proposals from the White House and the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike earlier this year.
4) Everyone can get a home loan – for now. A positive credit score will go a long way in this market. Some financial institutions have introduced mortgage down payments of as little as 1-3% of the home’s purchase price. However, an immaculate credit history is often necessary to be eligible. Last year, government-sponsored Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac awarded considerable larger mortgages for the first time since the 2006 financial crisis. In fact, loan limits saw an increase from $417,000 to $424,1000 in many regions.
5) There’s still an ongoing housing shortage in many regions. It’s no secret that in 2018 there is a serious shortage of affordable housing across the entire country. It’s a combination of construction slow-downs, mortgage rate increases, and so much more. Little is predicted to change in the near future. Population growth has dramatically outpaced new construction and the industry is having difficulty in keeping up with demand. Ironic, considering new home building remains has encountered a slowdown.
What does this all equate to when influencing our decision-making regarding the market? Mortgage rates should remain for the immediate future and continue to promote confidence in the home buying sector. The advice of most industry professionals, though, is to act now, to capitalize on advantageous conditions before inevitable changes in the market climate begins to take effect.
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