Home prices were consistently up again in most markets in 2018 but at reduced
levels compared to recent years. High demand for few homes for sale fueled price
increases, but evidence is mounting that inventory will finally improve in 2019. This
may apply some downward pressure on prices for beleaguered home buyers. A
fourth interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve in 2018 spooked the stock market to
close out the year. The Fed has indicated that the number of rate increases in 2019
will be halved, which may be of little comfort to an already compressed consumer.
New Listings were down 12.7 percent to 827. Pending Sales increased 0.1 percent
to 787. Inventory grew 2.7 percent to 3,162 units.
Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 8.0 percent to $176,023. Days
on Market decreased 6.1 percent to 62 days. Months Supply of Inventory was down
6.9 percent to 2.7 months, indicating that demand increased relative to supply.
Unemployment rates remained remarkably low again in 2018, and wages continued
to improve for many U.S. households. It is generally good for all parties involved in
real estate transactions when wages grow, but the percentage of increase, on
average, has not kept pace with home price increases. This created an affordability
crux in the second half of 2018. Housing affordability will remain an important
storyline in 2019.
Information courtesy of CMLS*