Small improvements may signal housing market equilibrium on the horizon

Register now

The housing market set some records last year, but they weren't necessarily welcome ones.

Home sales tanked 12.1% in the month of December, according to a Remax report, marking the greatest annual drop in the 10 years this data has been recorded. House shoppers also paid record amounts when buying houses last year, with the median sold price hitting a high of $258,500 in June and prices appreciating in every month of 2018.

But the housing industry seems to think its heading toward equilibrium, and is pointing to small signs of relief as the reasons why.

While property values did appreciate last month, they grew at an annual rate of 2.1%, which is significantly lower than the 8.1% rate of appreciation between December 2016 and December 2017. And though inventory has remained tight, December saw the third consecutive month of home supply growth.

Sold listings last month did hit a record December low of 54 days, but the 4.1-month supply of housing inventory was up year-over-year from 3.7 months, and from November's 3.9-month supply of homes, according to Remax.

"December's inventory gain, continuing the three-month growth trend, is welcome news. The market remains choppy and there's still a long way to go, but these gains represent steps toward a balanced market, which in the long run is healthy for both buyers and sellers," said Remax CEO Adam Contos in a press release.

"We believe sales activity can pick back up if the pace of price escalation continues to moderate, interest rates tick further downward and wage growth continues," he added.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.
Housing market Home prices Housing inventory Purchase Remax