Current Market Data
Privately owned housing starts jumped 19.4% from February’s revised estimate to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,739,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development
Rising wages and falling mortgage rates are helping keep homeownership within reach of average wage earners nationwide despite surges in housing prices.
Nationally, home prices increased by an average of 10.4% over the previous year, representing the largest year-over-year gain since April 2006.
“The demand for a home purchase is widespread, multiple offers are prevalent, and days-on-market are swift, but contracts are not clicking due to record-low inventory.” — NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun
Much of the year-over-year increase in home sales was supported by continued robust activity in the Southeast, which saw a 20.2% rise to an annual rate of 458,000 transactions.
Eighty-eight percent of all homebuyers said they used an agent as a source of information during their search, and 91% of millennials age 22 to 30 said the same.
Brokers remain optimistic despite low inventory of homes, the ongoing pandemic and iBuyers.
It is not “first comes love, then comes marriage,” but for many women, “first comes homeownership,” according to First American Chief Economist Odeta Kushi.
Lenders issued $1.06 trillion worth of mortgages in the fourth quarter of 2020 with refis contributing to the boost.
“More jobs are very likely, due to the near certain passage of the $1.9 trillion stimulus package and from two million vaccinations per day,” National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun said in a release.
The increase follows a decline earlier in February that cut the number of homeowners in forbearance plans to less than 2.7 million, the first dip below that threshold since April 2020.
New home listings nationwide fell 17% from last year, while median home sale prices are up 15%, according to a recent Redfin report.
The all-time high for January comes as limited supply cut pending transactions on a monthly basis, the association said.
Redfin homes on the market in Seattle faced bidding wars in January at a rate of 73.8%, up from 66.5% in December 2020.
“In the final months of 2020, single-family rents posted the highest increases in over four years,” said Molly Boesel, principal economist at CoreLogic. “However, single-family rent price reaction to the pandemic and resulting recession differed greatly across metros.”
The report added that vacation homes and affordable homes in small towns near major urban centers were in strong demand as a result of the pandemic.