As we wrap another crazy year for real estate, there's one big question on everyone's minds right now: will the 2022 housing market continue to follow the same trajectory, or are we facing a possible downturn?The past two years have been full of exciting and record-breaking moments. It's also seen its fair share of buyer fatigue, hesitancy and confusion.
It's important to remember that the 2021 market was anything but normal, and that escalating home values were a direct result of record-low inventory.
However, experts project that the inventory situation should improve in the coming year, slowing price appreciation.
But will home prices depreciate in 2022? Over 100 industry experts don't think so. Instead, they are projecting a more modest appreciation of 5.1% in the next 12 months compared to the nearly 20% rise seen on average in 2021.
So, if you are waiting for those rates to come back down or go down more, you may be waiting a very long time.
What's important to remember is that while homes right now may be less affordable than they were a year ago, they're still extremely affordable.
If we look at the 30-year mortgage rate chronicled by Freddie Mac, we can see the average rates by decade:
- 1970s: 8.86%
- 1980s: 12.7%
- 1990s: 8.12%
- 2000s: 6.29%
- 2010s: 4.09%
While experts don't project that mortgage rates will rise a large amount, any increase would mean an increase in monthly mortgage payments.
A couple decimal points may not seem like a lot to most people, but it could make or break someone's budget.
A rise in mortgage rates coupled with continued home price appreciation only means one thing: paying more for the same house they'd buy now.
With buyer fatigue running high, the biggest right question now is "Will housing inventory increase in 2022?"
The good news is, there are many factors that lead industry experts to anticipate a rise in homes for sale.
Of homeowners planning to enter the market in the next year:
- 65% – Have just listed (19%) or plan to list this winter
- 93% – Have already taken steps toward listing their home, including working with an agent (28%)
- 36% – Have researched the value of their home and others in their neighborhood
The other big factor playing into a possible rise in inventory is the large amount of equity accumulated nationwide in 2021. According to experts, homeowners gained an average of $56,700 in equity in the past 12 months, a big incentive for sellers to list this winter.
While more inventory may take a bit of the edge off of today's competitive market, it's important to remember that it doesn't mean prices will fall or homes will become more affordable. There will just be more available to choose from.
BOTTOM LINE: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR BUYERS & SELLERS FOR 2022?
With experts projecting a rise in inventory and mortgage rates remaining relatively low, both sides of the real estate transaction stand to benefit from making a move this year.
While today's market might not be as crazy as it was a year ago, it's still strong. Waiting too long could mean losing out on a less competitive market and better affordability: the two biggest factors positively impacting both buyers and sellers today.