SEATTLE, WA — The housing market will be more competitive in 2020 as the cooldown that began in the second half of 2018 comes to an end, according to new predictions released by Redfin real estate brokerage.
"Low mortgage rates started to revitalize the market at the end of this summer, but we won't see their full impact on demand for housing until next year," said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather, who authored the report. "In 2020, buyers will have fewer homes to choose from than they have in five years. But the return of bidding wars is good news for sellers who may have been holding out this year as the market stabilized. The competition and faster price growth will tempt more homeowners and builders to list homes, which will help improve the balance between supply and demand by the end of the year."
Redfin's 2020 housing market predictions:
Bidding wars will rebound thanks to low mortgage rates and a lack of homes for sale
Low mortgage rates will continue to strengthen homebuying demand, but due to a lack of new homes for sale and homeowners staying put longer, there will be fewer homes on the market in 2020 than in the past five years. More demand and less supply mean bidding wars will rebound in the first quarter. Redfin expects about one in four offers to face bidding wars in 2020 compared to only one in 10 in 2019. This increase in competition will push year-over-year price growth up to 6% in the first half of the year, considerably stronger than the 2% growth seen in the first half of 2019. Supply and demand will become more balanced later in the year as more listings of new and existing homes hit the market and price growth will moderate to 3%.
30-year fixed mortgage rates will stabilize at 3.8%
Throughout 2020, 30-year fixed mortgage rates will remain low, hovering around 3.8%. Faced with slowing economic growth, the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates low. Although the housing market is strong, weakness in other sectors, like manufacturing, is pulling down on the economy. Because investors are already bracing for the possibility of a recession, Redfin doesn't expect mortgage rates to fall much lower than 3.5% in 2020 even if the economy weakens. If the economy strengthens, Redfin expects mortgage rates to stay below 4.1%.
For the first time, Hispanic Americans will gain more wealth from home equity than white Americans
In the next decade, Hispanic Americans will, for the first time, gain more home equity than white Americans. That's because the majority of new homeowners are Hispanic, and home values in Hispanic neighborhoods are increasing faster than in white neighborhoods. There are more Hispanic homeowners in Texas than in any other state, and Texas cities are likely to experience strong gains in home values over the next decade as people move here from more expensive places like San Francisco and Los Angeles. Over time, this will improve economic equality for Hispanic Americans.
Climate change will become a bigger financial factor for homebuyers and sellers
In 2020, homebuyers and sellers will take the consequences of climate change into account when deciding to buy. The financial costs of climate change are already becoming more tangible as fire and flood insurance premiums rise. Over the next decade, higher insurance premiums in high-risk areas will make housing even less affordable to more people. And in areas with the highest risk, insurers may stop providing insurance altogether, which means it will be nearly impossible to secure a mortgage in those areas.
Charleston and Charlotte will lead the nation in home price growth More city streets will become car-free
Affordable Southeast cities like Charleston and Charlotte are attracting an increasing number of migrants from expensive cities, which will drive up home price growth in these areas. Charleston saw a 104% annual increase in the number of Redfin users looking to move in, relative to the number of users looking to move out, in the third quarter of 2019, and Charlotte saw a 44% increase. Migrants are attracted to the growing economies of Charleston and Charlotte—Microsoft is spending $23 million to expand its Charlotte campus, and in Charleston, the new Volvo plant is adding thousands of jobs.
In 2020, more cities will favor green modes of transit and actively discourage driving. Some cities already have plans in the works—San Francisco's Market Street will transform into a car-free corridor in 2020, and New York City drivers will have to pay to drive into the heart of the city beginning in 2021. In cities that become less car-friendly, those that frequently spend time in the city-center will place more value on a commute that doesn't require a car and move to either a walkable city-center or close to public transit. Meanwhile, some people will choose to avoid the city-center altogether and put a higher value on suburbs where they can work, play and live