The latest housing data show a market experiencing a winter slowdown.
“When home prices are going up quickly, buyers feel like they are forced to move fast and purchase a home before prices rise even more,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “Now that home prices are growing slower than inflation—prices for consumer goods were up 1.5 percent annually in February—there really isn’t much downside to taking your time. And now that mortgage rates are no longer going up every week, buyers in many markets have the luxury of knowing that whether they buy now or later they will pay about the same for a home.
“While these low rates will get the attention of prospective homebuyers, the supply of homes for sale remains stubbornly low,” said Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater.
On the sales front, the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development reported that January’s ales of new single-family houses were at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 607,000, down 6.9 percent from the revised December rate of 652,000 and down 4.1 percent from the January 2018 estimate of 633,000. The median sales price of new houses sold in January 2019 was $317,200 and the average sales price was $373,100, while the seasonally-adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of January was 336,000, a 6.6-month supply at the current sales rate.
“The housing market remains poised for a strong spring, with last month’s increase in builder applications likely leading to a healthy seven percent year-over-year rise in new home sales,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “We are starting to see signs of more new residential construction and inventory, which increases buying opportunities for the many home shoppers who have been hampered by the ongoing lack of supply.”