Real Estate's Tougher 'New Normal'

January 29, 2019
Person by building exterior | September 2018 was something of an inflection point in the market. Homes that would have flown off the market just months before were sitting unsold, despite competitive pricing, strong marketing, and overall desirability.
Photo: Unsplash/Josh Edgoose

Buying and selling a home will be more difficult in 2019 than last year, according to D.C.-based Compass Realtor Jonathan Fox.

In a column for The Washington Post, Fox writes that September 2018 was something of an inflection point in the market. Homes that would have flown off the market just months before were sitting unsold, despite competitive pricing, strong marketing, and overall desirability. Around the same time, the stock market starting losing months worth of gains in days, and rates were rising.

"Right away that took a chunk of the would-be buyers out of the market," says Fox, adding that the new tax law also took away incentives for some buyers and sellers. Fewer buyers are competing for a greater supply of attractive homes, and home sellers are unwilling to make price concessions once the market has changed, Fox reports. 

A booming real estate market in the first half of 2018 marked by record home prices and multiple contracts overshadowed the Federal Reserve’s steadfast changes to monetary policy. But by the second half of 2018, the 30-year mortgage rate had risen to levels we had not seen since before the 2008 housing crash. It probably did not help that by the end of 2018 the stock market had ended lower than where it began at the start of the year, meaning people’s wealth through investments and savings is stagnant at best. Once the flurry of the spring market came to an end, buyers seemingly overnight realized buying a home just got a lot more expensive, and many took a step back in unison around Labor Day.

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