Is the housing market about to hit rock bottom?
Mar 4, 2023
Is the housing market about to hit rock bottom? Atlanta
By   Internet
  • City News
  • Housing Market Status
  • Housing Market Trends
  • US Housing Market
Abstract: By many standards, today's housing market has been in a deep slump, but the latest real estate statistics suggest that something more serious may be happening - the market may be hurtling towards some sort of rock bottom.

"Taken as a whole, this week's data is consistent with other indicators that suggest housing market activity may be bottoming out at a fairly low level," noted Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at®, in her recent analysis.


So, does this mean that the worst days for housing will soon be over?


Not quite, as the four harbingers of housing - house prices, inventory, days on market and mortgage rates - show little sign of rebounding yet.


They are not yet strong indicators of how long the market will bounce along the bottom", Hale explains.


In other words, we could be struggling in this strange new netherworld for a while.


However, that doesn't mean it's all hopelessness and despair down here.


The depths of winter are actually seeing some signs that homebuyers are feeling optimistic. The National Association of Home Builders recently reported that more people were out visiting new construction with the intention of buying - for the second month in a row.


In addition, there was a jump in pending home contracts in January. This suggests higher sales volumes in the coming months as buyers and sellers sign contracts and then close the deal a few weeks later.


But with mortgage rates soaring, this burst of enthusiasm may be short-lived.


According to Freddie Mac, the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 6.65 per cent in the week ending March 2, the fourth consecutive week of an upward trend. This has severely impacted homebuyers who are desperately struggling to keep their finances in order.


House prices are not exactly cooperating either. The annual increases are moderating, which is the economists' way of saying that they are not rising as fast as they did last autumn. But they were still rising in the week ending February 25, up 7.2 per cent compared to the same week a year ago.


In February, the median price of a home for sale was $415,000. Paying $630 more per month for a typical home compared to February 2022 may simply be too much for some buyers to handle.


Each week for the past nine months, fewer homeowners have listed their homes for sale than this time last year, and the last week of February was no exception.


In the week ending February 25, there were 16 per cent fewer new listings than in 2022, meaning, in Hale's words, less "fresh potential" for buyers.


"Fresh" is probably the key word here. If you look at all the listings, not just the newbies entering the market, there are actually more homes for sale on the market now than there were a year ago - 67 per cent more, to be exact. But many of these properties are staying on the market for longer, averaging 19 days in the most recent weekly statistics.


In fact, the pace of sales has slowed for 30 consecutive weeks. This means that buyers have seen most of these listings and decided to give up.


However, although there seems to be a glut of these stale listings, it must also be remembered that overall there are still only half as many homes for sale as there were before the COVID-19 pandemic.


The housing market may be slowing down, but it is still faster than it was before the pandemic.


Using time on the market as a guide, the housing market today is halfway between the most frenetic period a year ago and the typical period before the frenzy of the pandemic era," Hale explains.


In other words, our entire frame of reference for what constitutes a fast, slow, surplus or shortage of housing has changed.


This shift in perspective may help "explain why both buyers and sellers are chilly about this spring home-buying and selling season," Hale said.


"Mortgage rates will likely play a strong role in determining whether the market slows or accelerates further," Hale predicted.

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