There are a number of ways to determine a changing housing market. An obvious indicator of a changing housing market is a swelling home sale inventory. According to the National Association of Realtors July 20th press release, “inventory of unsold existing homes rose to 1.26 million by the end of June, or the equivalent of 3.0 months at the current monthly sales pace.” As a matter of comparison, home sale inventory rose 9.6 percent from the previous month, and 2.4 percent from the same time last year.
Another indicator of a changing housing market is remodeling activity. Believe it or not, there is an index for this. The Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) is a product of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The LIRA projects that investments in home remodeling will “decelerate” from 2022’s 17.4 percent to 10.1 percent by the second quarter of 2023.
In a July 19th press release, Project Director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Center, Carlos Martín, stated: “Slowing sales of existing homes, rising mortgage interest rates, and moderating house price appreciation are expected to dampen owners’ investments in home improvements and maintenance over the coming year. Steep slowdowns in homebuilding, retail sales of building materials, and renovation permits all also point to a cooling environment for residential remodeling”
Although a changing market sounds ominous, it’s still a viable market. Abbe Will, Associate Project Director of the Remodeling Futures Program, stated: “While beginning to soften, growth in spending for home improvements and repairs is expected to remain well above the market’s historical average of 5 percent. In the first half of 2023, annual remodeling expenditures are still set to expand to nearly $450 billion.”
Other signs the market is still viable, is that first time home buyers are still a large part of the market, and all-cash transactions continue to be a factor as well. As indicated in NAR’s press release, first-time home buyers accounted for 30 percent of the home sales in June, which is an increase from May, but slightly down from the 31 percent the same time last year. Additionally, buyers paying all cash accounted for 25 percent of home sales, which is an increase from 23 percent the same time last year.
A final note on the health of the housing market, NAR reported that distressed, foreclosure and short sales accounted for less than 1 percent of home sales during June, which is basically unchanged from the previous year.
By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2022
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