December 2019 Market Reports

Housing Supply Overview

This month the Federal Reserve voted to leave its key benchmark rate unchanged, which was widely expected. While the rate decisions by the Federal Reserve do not directly affect mortgage rates, Federal Reserve policy does affect the economic markets overall. Mortgage rates ended the year close to three-quarters of a percent lower than in 2018, a welcomed improvement for buyers as well as homeowners who took the opportunity to refinance. For the 12-month period spanning January 2019 through December 2019, Pending Sales in the Western Upstate region were up 6.4 percent overall. The price range with the largest gain in sales was the $150,001 to $200,000 range, where they increased 18.1 percent.

The overall Median Sales Price was up 5.4 percent to $181,742. The property type with the largest price gain was the Condos segment, where prices increased 9.0 percent to $139,500. The price range that tended to sell the quickest was the $100,000 and Below range at 87 days; the price range that tended to sell the slowest was the $300,001 and Above range at 121 days.

Market-wide, inventory levels were up 2.3 percent. The property type that gained the most inventory was the Condos segment, where it increased 22.9 percent. That amounts to 3.8 months supply for Single-Family homes and 4.6 months supply for Condos.

Monthly Indicators

In 2019 home prices were up again in most markets. Buyer demand continues to be strong but with tepid seller activity still in many locations, total sales are lower than they would normally be in a more balanced market. While up from their recent lows a few months ago, mortgage rates end the year close to three-quarters of a percent lower than a year ago, helping to improve affordability and offset rising home prices.

New Listings were up 17.7 percent to 372. Pending Sales decreased 19.1 percent to 212. Inventory grew 2.3 percent to 1,819 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 1.0 percent to $180,000. Days on Market decreased 19.8 percent to 85 days. Months Supply of Inventory was down 5.0 percent to 3.8 months, indicating that demand increased relative to supply.

With low mortgage rates, low unemployment, and continued wage growth, home buyer activity is expected to remain healthy into the new year. New construction has been on the rise in 2019 and is expected to continue into 2020, but many experts note that the country is still not building enough new units to quench demand. It remains to be seen whether existing homeowners will be enticed to sell by higher home prices, which could finally bring the overall housing market into greater balance.

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