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Pending Home Sales Drop Below Financial Crisis (Record Low)

Pending Home Sales Drop Below Financial Crisis (Record Low) - NOT FOR SALE, do not call
Significant downturn in U.S. pending home sales to a record low, driven by high mortgage rates and limited inventory, with a potential market shift forecasted for 2024.
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Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Record Low in Pending Home Sales: The U.S. housing market has seen pending home sales drop to their lowest level since record-keeping began in 2001.
  • High Mortgage Rates and Limited Inventory: Soaring mortgage rates and a scarcity of housing inventory are significant factors driving this downturn.
  • Potential Market Shift in 2024: Experts predict a potential recovery in 2024, with expectations of stable existing home sales and slightly lower prices.
Pending Home Sales Drop Below Financial Crisis (Record Low)

Homeowners Holding On For Dear Life

The U.S. housing market has witnessed a significant downturn in pending home sales, reaching the lowest level since record-keeping began in 2001.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported a 1.5% decline in October, marking a continued inconsistency in pending home sales throughout the year.

The drop is attributed to soaring mortgage rates, limited housing inventory, and high borrowing costs, factors that have significantly impacted homebuyers’ ability to purchase properties.

Regional Analysis

  • Northeast: Despite the overall decline, the Northeast experienced a 2.7% increase in pending home sales in October. However, the region still faced an annual drop.
  • Midwest: The Midwest observed a modest decrease of 0.4%.
  • South and West: More significant declines were seen in the South (1.9%) and West (6.0%), with these areas showing substantial variability in housing inventory and buyer purchasing power.

Market Dynamics

  • Economic Factors: High mortgage rates, which peaked in October, were a major contributor to the decline. The average monthly mortgage cost rose to $2,199, up from $2,155 in September​​.
  • Inventory and Price Trends: Limited housing inventory and rising home prices have further strained the market. However, there’s a silver lining as inventory levels show signs of increasing in some regions​​.
  • Future Outlook: Despite the current challenges, experts anticipate a market shift in 2024, with expectations of slightly lower prices and softening mortgage rates. This could lead to existing home sales remaining roughly level with the previous year​​​​.

Assessment

The current state of the U.S. housing market reflects a complex interplay of economic factors, including high mortgage rates, limited inventory, and rising prices.

While the market faces significant challenges, there are indicators of potential recovery in 2024.

Buyer Behavior and Alternatives

  • Shift to New Constructions: Buyers are increasingly turning towards new construction homes due to the scarcity of existing home supply. New home sales, although also impacted, have not declined as significantly as existing home sales​​.
  • Rental Market Appeal: As the for-sale market becomes tougher, more home shoppers are considering rental options. The national median rent has seen a decline for six consecutive months​​.

References

  • Pending home sales drop to lowest level on record. RealEstateNews.com
  • Pending home sales fall 1.5% in October to record low. Realtor.com
  • Contracts to buy existing homes decline to a record-low in October – NAR. Reuters.com

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