Market Trends August 17, 2023

5 Reasons the Housing Market is Reversing

In 2023, the housing market is undergoing a peculiar phenomenon — a reverse crash. The rise in mortgage rates, surprisingly, hasn’t instigated a significant decrease in home prices. This perplexing trend can be attributed to a complex interplay of economic, demographic, and market determinants.

Today, a significant proportion of homeowners — 92% of those with mortgages — enjoy rates below 6%, with a lucky 62% relishing rates under 4%. As mortgage rates climb, these homeowners are opting to hold onto their properties, rather than sell and risk locking in a higher mortgage rate.

Consequently, this shift in homeowner behavior has reduced the volume of home sales. This is corroborated by a recent study, revealing that approximately 27% of homeowners would be motivated to sell if rates descend to 5% or lower.

Furthermore, nearly half of the homeowners surveyed would consider listing their properties if rates were to plunge to 4%.

Despite these evolving dynamics, home prices have seen only a nominal drop. The manager of the S&P Case Shiller Index predicted a peak-to-trough decline of around 5%, leaving 2% yet to be recuperated.

This forecast is supported by Goldman Sachs, who foresee a 2.2% dip in 2023 and do not anticipate any substantial recovery until interest rates start their downward journey.

In contrast, Fannie Mae, the mortgage giant, revised their outlook last week, projecting a 1.2% deflation in national home prices in 2023, which is predicted to be followed by an extra 2.2% contraction in 2024.

However, Zillow challenges this prediction, suggesting that 2023 will wrap up with home prices 5% greater than their starting point.

This projection was revised upwards from their original forecast of a 3.9% increment, thanks to the rapid pace of sales — a staggering 15% decrease in pending home sales implies a faster rate of purchase than listing.

Analysts have identified five crucial elements contributing to the unexpected tenacity of housing prices:
  1. Limited Inventory: The enticingly low interest rates have convinced many homeowners to retain their properties unless selling becomes indispensable.
  2. Construction Lag: Challenges like regulatory hurdles, disrupted supply chains, and heightened costs are stifling builders from catching up with the soaring demand.
  3. New Buyer Demographics: Millennials, representing 43% of the housing market, are influencing the market with their specific preferences – affordability, roomier homes, opportunities for DIY renovations, and cost-effective locations, according to BankRate.
  4. Banks’ Conservative Lending: If financial institutions decide to relax their lending standards, a surge of buyers could push home values even higher.
  5. Scarcity of Foreclosures: Presently, foreclosure is usually an option only when a homeowner’s debt surpasses the home’s value, which is currently not a widespread issue.
These forces, collectively, are driving the peculiar ‘reverse crash’ of the 2023 housing market. Rather than witnessing the conventional collapse in home values, we’re experiencing an intriguing resilience in prices. As we continue to observe these trends, the longevity and broader implications of this housing market anomaly remain to be seen.