A Shift Toward Buyers Bodes Well for Higher Home Sales Activity

Earlier this week, Wall Street Journal writer Laura Kusisto reported that, “The spring home-buying season is shaping up as the best in years, offering new opportunities after last year’s tough housing market drove away many would-be buyers.

A number of economic factors that slowed sales in 2018 have eased or even reversed in recent weeks. Mortgage rates have been falling, home inventory is rising in many once-tight markets and the pace of home-price growth is slowing.

“These more favorable conditions are already bringing price cuts and fewer of the bidding wars that left many buyers empty-handed, recent data show. The housing market had become so skewed toward sellers that many buyers were giving up, causing sales to drop.”

The Journal article noted that, “Now, a shift toward buyers bodes well for higher sales activity as the crucial spring selling season heats up. About 40% of the year’s sales take place from March through June, making these months pivotal for the housing market each year, according to the National Association of Realtors.”

Ms. Kusisto noted that, “Still, economists caution that even as activity picks up, a return to a period of booming home sales is unlikely. Nationally home prices have risen more than 50% since the bottom of the market in 2012, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index.

That has made affordability a challenge for many buyers. Home sales tumbled more than 7% in the fourth quarter compared with a year earlier, making 2018 the weakest year since 2015. While inventory is increasing in many markets, it isn’t necessarily because more people are putting homes on the market, economists said. Rather, homes are taking longer to sell.”

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