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Looking Ahead to Post-Pandemic Housing Inventory in 2022

Housing Markets

Looking Ahead to Post-Pandemic Housing Inventory in 2022

Will housing supply increase as the pandemic subsides, or is a greater deficit ahead in 2022?

December 28, 2021
construction inventory

During the pandemic, housing inventory decreased sharply as potential sellers opted to keep their properties off the market and buyers were motivated by low mortgage rates. Thanks to high demand and low interest rates during each wave of the pandemic, home buying activity increased even as prices hit record highs.

Inventory in November was down 13.3% year-over-year from 2020 rates, according to Bill McBride in the CalculatedRisk Newsletter, and record low housing supply over the next several months will also lead to strong price gains ahead of likely another record-breaking year for the housing industry. 

Each new wave of the pandemic has driven down interest rates, and that has made home buying more affordable (even as prices increased sharply). Making the assumption that the pandemic will be mostly over by mid-2022 (due to a combination of vaccines and therapeutics), we can make a few general predictions:

1. Mortgage rates will increase in 2022 (from the current 3.25% for a 30-year fixed rate), and this will make house prices less affordable.  This should dampen some of the buying frenzy.

2. Sellers will be more willing to list their homes as the pandemic subsides, and price increases slow.

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