The US housing market is currently experiencing a tough time, which is a big deal because housing is a crucial sector of the economy. Recent reports from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reveal a startling drop in the sales of previously owned homes, reaching the lowest level since August 2010. This trend goes beyond mere statistics; it shows that many things are changing regarding how people buy homes in America.

Home sales dropped 4.1 percent between September and October to just under 3.8 million units. This decline is particularly significant, representing the lowest sales volume in a decade. Even though fewer homes are being sold, the average price of a house still went up by 3.4 percent compared to last year, hitting a new record of around $390,000. This situation suggests there aren’t enough homes for sale, rather than people not wanting to buy homes. 

One big reason for this change in the housing market is that mortgage rates are rising. This is mainly because the Federal Reserve is trying to control inflation. According to Freddie Mac, since November 2021, the interest rate for a standard 30-year mortgage has shot up from 3.1% to 7.4%. This increase makes buying a new home more expensive and prevents people who already own homes from moving to new ones. 

Many homeowners are deciding to keep their current homes. They’re doing this because they received low mortgage rates in the past 15 years and don’t want to give them up. This decision has significant consequences for the market; only 1% of Americans sold their houses in the first half of 2023, leading to a severe shortage in housing supply. 

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Estimates from the Biden Administration and the NAR indicate that the country is facing a shortfall of 1.5 million to 5.5 million homes. This scarcity has further aggravated the slowdown in housing market activity.

Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s chief economist, offers insight into the current market dynamics. “Prospective home buyers experienced another difficult month due to the persistent lack of housing inventory and the highest mortgage rates in a generation,” he said. This comment shows how tough it is for people trying to buy a house.

Despite buyers’ difficulties, the situation remains favorable for sellers. Yun adds, “While circumstances for buyers remain tight, home sellers have done well as prices continue to rise year over year, including a new all-time high for the month of October.” This is good news for homeowners, as many have seen the value of their homes increase significantly over the last three years, with some gaining over $100,000 in value.

The housing market currently shows two very different sides: buyers are struggling with high prices and limited choices, while sellers are benefiting from the increased value of their homes. This situation makes people wonder about the housing market’s future and what it means for the overall US economy.

As the housing market changes, buyers and sellers must stay informed and be ready to adjust. The current market demonstrates how factors such as the number of homes available, the cost of mortgages, and government policies are interconnected. 

Right now, the US housing market is currently at a crossroads, marked by a notable decline in sales to the lowest point in 13 years. This decline is not just short-term; it shows bigger economic changes. For people trying to figure out this complicated market, being well-informed and ready to adapt is vital for making good decisions.