Home prices are moving up moderately this year, but not to the point of discouraging buyers from a first or second home purchase. In fact, the moderate value increase is – in part – due to a supply vs. demand imbalance in many cities across the United States. With new construction at a 50-year low, there are currently more prospective buyers in the market than there are sellers of existing homes.
Interest Rates and Income Growth
Some of the demand is due to the prospect of a raise to interest rates in the future. Many looking to lock in at today’s lower rates are not waiting for those changes, even though it is a sign of a growing economic stability. Low to moderate income growth for those in the middle class also is impacting the supply, as many who were able to hold onto their homes amid the financial crisis nearly a decade ago are nervous to sell or are still recovering their equity. Yet unable to use equity to perhaps buy above their original starter home, many are sitting tight on their current homes. These factors have created a somewhat even and steady market, with it leaning slightly to the advantage of the seller.
The Rental Cost Impact on the Market
Rental prices have increased, with the result having a multispectral effect on real estate. On one hand, the increases in rental prices are a nudge to the renter to take the necessary steps to become a buyer. On the other, it is often more difficult for a prospective buyer to save for a down payment when more of his or her expendable income is going towards maintaining the rent. At the same time, it is a boon for real estate investors and those looking to purchase a second home to rent, rather than sell, the first.
The 2016 market certainly isn’t the gloom and doom prophesied by some. While homeownership is still at its lowest in 50 years and new development has also slowed, values are growing and sellers are finding that buyers are making smart, competitive bids on property. These positive trends are expected to continue as the average wage income increases over the next few years.